If you’re drawn to this article, I’ll assume you’re very likely an empathetic person who possesses a high level of emotional intelligence. You crave human connection and strong bonds in your life, and that’s a beautiful trait you shouldn’t be ashamed of.
But, as an empath, you are at risk of attracting narcissists.
Why? Because you are the perfect target.
You are a good listener, and you can give someone attention for an extended time. In the first phase of dating a narcissist, you become overwhelmed by all the love he gives you. Soon you ignore the fact that he crosses your boundaries because setting boundaries is not one of your strengths.
Now you feel small and unworthy, and you wonder what happened to you and the man who love-bombed you for weeks or even months. The reason you feel like crap might be narcissistic abuse.
The term narcissist is overused.
You find tons of articles, podcasts, and documentaries on the internet. But in fact, only a tiny percentage of 0,5 to 1 percent of the general population is diagnosed with this personality disorder.
Not all people who act narcissistic are affected by this disorder. Multiple circumstances lead to selfish and narcissistic behaviors. These behaviors, however, can become quite harmful for its victims.
If you can relate to the following seven signs, you’ve likely been the victim of narcissistic abuse.
1. His emotions, decisions, and statements determine your whole life
When you think back at your relationship, there probably was a time when your feelings were as important as your partner’s feelings. You may remember the first phase where everything seemed perfect, and you felt loved like never before.
But during the last months or years of your relationships, your emotions seemed to lose their legitimacy.
You feel like your partner’s emotions, statements, and life choices determine your daily life. You don’t even know what you want and need anymore.
2. You doubt your sanity
Lately, you feel like something is wrong with you. You are edgy or depressed, and you start doubting your sanity.
You are not sure if you remember things right because your partner tells you so. He alleges that you said or did something you cannot remember, so you doubt your sanity even more.
3. You dream of a perfect future with him, but you doubt the outcome
Deep down, you know your shared future cannot be as bright as you wish it to be. So you lose yourself in fantasies about a happy and careless future with him.
Without your fantasies, you would feel terrible all the time as your relationship doesn’t fulfill your actual desires and needs.
4. You feel exhausted and tired of overthinking about his needs
In your daily life, you walk on eggshells because you are afraid to make mistakes. You fear that every “misstep” you make could lead to a fight or break-up.
You are tired and exhausted of thinking about what he needs, but you don’t feel as worthy as him, so you don’t know how to get out of this vicious cycle.
5. You feel small and unworthy
When someone told you that you are as worthy as everyone else in this world, you’d not believe it. You cannot look into the mirror without hating yourself. You think of multiple ways to improve your look, your personality, and your body shape.
And every critique your partner gives you about how you look, speak, or dress makes you feel even more unworthy and undesirable. Your mind doesn’t tell you how beautiful you are. Instead, your happiness becomes dependent on what your partner thinks of you.
6. You feel starved of love
Every moment of harmony and love is like Christmas. You finally feel safe and loved. Deep down, you know these moments are rare and will pass after a few hours or days. But you forget that your moments of happiness will have an expiry date.
When this phase passed, you go back to being starved of love. So you start dreaming about better times again to make you feel better.
7. You don’t know how to find the strength to leave him
Your friends and family tell you something is wrong. You know that your love life isn’t going well right now, but as you’ve lost your sense of self, you don’t know how to live on your own again.
Leaving him feels like an impossible thing to do, so you give it a chance even though you are exhausted from obsessing over your love life.
How to Reclaim Your Inner Power
Survivors of narcissistic abuse often feel exhausted and powerless. Someone turned their whole life upside down in a reckless and brute way.
Remember that there are ways to come back to life even more powerful!
If you take the chance to grow from your experiences with narcissistic abuse, you are on the best way to find a fulfilling relationship with a man who loves and respects you from all his heart.
Here’s what helped me reclaim my inner strength and self-determination after narcissistic abuse:
1. Surround yourself with empathetic people only
When you recover from narcissistic abuse, it is crucial to focus on the people in your life who make you feel loved and understood.
Empathetic people can sense your emotions. They are considerate of your needs and respect the valuable friendship they have with you. They know your strengths and weaknesses, and they do not take advantage of you.
You feel empowered and happy after meeting them, and you know that you can always count on them.
Surround yourself with these empathetic people. Connection to other human beings will become something uplifting and beautiful to you, and your thoughts of your abuser will become less and less after a while. At the same time, you build a strong safety net of friends who are there for you when you feel sad or lonely.
2. Set healthy boundaries
As mentioned above, empaths are very likely to have weak boundaries. They become deeply involved in the inner life of others and forget about their own struggles.
Often, empaths try to “fix” others because they feel deeply sorry for them and want to help them get a happier life. This is why the connection between empaths and narcissists becomes so toxic.
The only way to avoid getting into this vicious cycle again is to set healthy boundaries. Define red and green flags for your love life, and don’t ignore them just because a man love-bombs you at the beginning of a new relationship.
Write down what you need in a relationship to feel loved and valuable.
Practice setting boundaries in front of the mirror: what would you say to someone who hurt your feelings with a harmful statement? Practice it until you feel safe enough to apply it to your daily life.
Trust your gut feeling. If a statement hurts your feelings, try to express how it makes you feel and what you need to feel better. Tell the other person. Defining your boundaries can be uncomfortable, but your emotions have legitimacy. Don’t talk them down!
3. Reclaim your self-worth with hypnosis and psychotherapy
Hypnosis was a game-changer for me. I went to my psychotherapist, intending to stop thinking about the men in my life who hurt me.
While undergoing the treatment, I traveled back in time and relived phases in my life when I got hurt by my parent’s or ex-boyfriend’s behavior. I made peace with my experiences and planted new healthy thoughts into my mind.
Since then, everything changed for the better. I stopped overthinking. I do not feel hurt anymore when I think of events that happened years or even decades ago. I feel lighter and more awake. Also, when thinking about my future, I feel a deep sense of freedom and love in my heart. I know from all my heart that I deserve a loving romantic relationship.
If you feel like you cannot let go of harmful thoughts because of your narcissistic abuser. Hypnotherapy and psychotherapy can be game-changers for you as well!
Now that I truly feel that I’m worthy of love and attention, I’m convinced that I will find someone who truly appreciates me. Being empathetic is a valuable trait and characterizes your beautiful personality.
Recovering from narcissistic abuse can be one of the most challenging phases in your life. But I promise your life holds ready a loving and beautiful romantic for you. Don’t be afraid to move on. Your effort will be worth it.
You are worthy of love. Always.