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The Energetics of the Empath/Narcissist Dynamic and Pathways of Recovery

Updated: Jan 14

Kerry Jehanne-Guadalupe

 

 

I have frequently heard that if we, as empaths, have entered a relationship with someone with Narcissistic Personality Disorder (NPD), we might have done so unconsciously to heal something. Though this may not be true for all empaths, I can acknowledge it is profoundly true for me. I entered not just one but several relationships (friendships, family members, and work colleagues), as it took multiple relationships to identify the complexities and learn why I was manifesting such connections in my life. Sometimes we repeat a pattern until we graduate with the lessons our unconscious put on our syllabus of life. The "lesson" I have found, be it for myself or clients I have worked with, can be life-transforming. After exiting an insidious, toxic dynamic with a person with NPD, an empath has great potential to come out with a stronger and more empowered version of themselves!

 

I have heard harrowing tales from clients who have had a relationship with someone with NPD. Whether it was a brief but brutal run-in or someone who has had long-term relationships, the energetics within the relationship and the recovery process are common in their stories. Understanding the energetics within the interactions between an empath and a person with NPD can be helpful in an empath's reclamation of personal power.

 

I am not writing from a clinical point of view, nor do I hold any licenses in psychology or social work. Instead, I am sharing from personal experiences, as well as from my observations of clients I have worked with. I am writing from the perspective of energy, with the sole purpose of supporting the healing and restoration process for empaths who have been negatively impacted by someone with NPD. Therefore, this article examines some of the energetics and is not an exploration of the diagnosis of NPD, what an empath is, or the typical relational dynamics between these two types of individuals.

 

As empaths, we are all unique in our perspectives and individual experiences. Therefore, in sharing common themes, I have no intent of lumping us into one empathic category, but to share commonalities in case there is overlap in our experiences and such themes are helpful to the reader. Additionally, this article is not grouping all people with NPD into a generalized category. The empath/narcissist relationship is vast and beyond complete understanding, as each dynamic is unique.


This article examines the energetics within the interactions between an empath and a person with NPD

 

as well as

 

possible pathways for an empath to restore their personal power after being in a relationship with someone with NPD.

 

Some of what I have sensed when working with empathic clients who have had a rodeo with someone with NPD are energetic cords, psychic daggers, and exhausted nervous systems. My intent in outlining these items is solely to deepen the healing process of an empath because, in healing, it can be helpful to understand possible ways we have been harmed. If we have been hurt, great transformation and power can emerge from the recovery process. The re-emergence of an empath after a destructive relationship is often like a phoenix rising from the ashes: from destruction, chaos, and contraction comes profound expansion and the emergence of the empath’s new self.

 

 

Energetic Interactions and Exchanges Between an Empath and a Person with NPD

 

Etheric Cords

 

Etheric cords have been recognized as invisible threads of energy that connect people. Even if we cannot see or feel them and are beyond what our senses can detect, they can potentially have a significant impact on our lives. These etheric lines of energy can naturally form between romantic partners, family members, dear friends, and colleagues. There is a giving and receiving, a back-and-forth energy flow that moves between people via these cords.

 

Cords can be positive and supportive, and cords can be draining and destructive. Cords that positively connect individuals can move loving and supportive energy. The energy movement is balanced over time as sometimes one individual might need more support than the other and vice versa. The nature of the cord is symbiotic. Negative attachment cords can drain one’s energy and provide it to another. The nature of such cords tends to be parasitic if one person benefits from the flow of energy while the other is being harmed.

 

Cords can happen unconsciously between two people and feel abstract. One way to make it less abstract is to sense how we feel after we spend time with someone significant in our lives. Do we feel depleted or rejuvenated? Do we feel like we received a huge dose of love and support? Over time, do we feel the energy exchange with this person is a balanced give and take, or are we giving more attention/energy than we are receiving?

 

One of the main complaints I have heard from empaths who were in a relationship with someone with NPD was that they felt drained and had little lifeforce energy. From what I have sensed, the typical flow of energy in the etheric cords is from the empath to the person with NPD. Energy is literally drained from the empath and received by the person with NPD, especially when the person with NPD needs lots of attention and praise. The literature on NPD speaks of something called "narcissistic supply." Energetic cords play a role in helping the person with NPD to receive the supply of energy they are seeking. As mentioned above, this can happen unconsciously between two people.

 

Some people with NPD build themselves up with the energy of others. Since it is not an internal source of energy they are building with, the energy diminishes over time. Healthy lifeforce energy and self-esteem are not built upon the energy of others. Even "self-esteem" has the word "SELF," indicating building energy in oneself, from oneself. Though many people with NPD present as being powerful, if they are not truly powerful and only maintain a façade of power, they may not be able to maintain their lifeforce and therefore have an unconscious need to drain energy from another person.

 

What happens with the energy after it leaves the empath and enters the person with NPD? It varies significantly from person to person, yet, I have commonly seen the use of the empath's energy for egoic energy in the person with NPD. It doesn't manifest as beautiful lifeforce or heart energy in the person with NPD. Instead, the egoic energy can fuel a false sense of superiority. Sometimes the person with NPD will maintain this sense of superiority by minimizing, criticizing, and diminishing the empath; they build themselves up by putting others down. In the long run, what can get drained is not only lifeforce energy but the personal power and the self-esteem of the empath.

 

Exploring possible effects etheric cords have, or can have, on empaths who have been corded to someone with NPD is not intended to paint the picture of empaths as powerless victims. On the contrary, an empath is very powerful. Empaths are known for their ability to love deeply, be compassionate, be intuitive, for being able to recognize discrepancies in what others may be communicating, for their natural desire to support others when experiencing challenges, and so much more. Thus, detailing possible harms that an empath may experience if, or when, relinquishing part of their lifeforce energy to someone with NPD is aimed at understanding the challenges while finding ways to reclaiming of one's power.

 

Some people with NPD can turn into predators, ruthlessly exploiting others due to a need for power and control that is, by nature, elusive to them. They may, consciously or unconsciously, draw upon the empath's energy, abusing their trusting nature and kindness. The reckless desire to control and satisfy their needs often blinds them from another person's wellness. When this dynamic is present in the relationships between an empath and a person with NPD, especially when the empath has surrendered part of their lifeforce energy by being corded, the empath can feel weak and depleted. While the empath is exhausted, it is easier to knock them down further with insults, gaslighting, and more. It is a drawing of energy, followed by a punch, that is unexpected by the empath.

 

I have witnessed how someone with NPD not only preyed upon energy but also upon the weaknesses of the empath by activating an old wound of theirs and then spreading lies about them. The outcome for the empath was detrimental: their energy was depleted, their willpower to stand up for themselves was exhausted, old wounds were activated and achy, they were in shock from the attack, all while being unsure if the person with NPD was successful in turning people against them. The person with NPD did so as if they had no regard for the human life they were inflicting harm upon and seemed to have found gratification in doing so. This is not to say the empath was a victim, but there is victimization in the actions of the person with NPD.

 

Along with the energy of predation being present, manipulative and controlling energies can also exist. The manipulative energy sometimes manifests as the empath saying yes when they mean no and no when they mean yes. This can happen as the empath might be trying to keep the peace by swallowing their truth. Yet, I have sensed that the etheric cord plays a significant role in dampening the will of the empath, especially when the person with NPD threatens the empath with, "If you don't give me what I want, there will be hell to pay."

 

To me, gaslighting is not just a psychological process but an energetic one. All behaviors have energy associated with them; behaviors are not devoid of energy. The energy of gaslighting presents as a distortion of the truth for the purpose of manipulating others. There can be a great conviction in the distorted energy because the person with NPD can be so adamant that they did nothing wrong, that they are the victim, that the empath is the perpetrator, that the gaslighting is delivered with substantial force. Some people with NPD can be extremely steadfast in believing nothing is wrong with them. Their lack of substantial self-esteem might prevent them from acknowledging they did something wrong, even after engaging in violent behavior such as verbal abuse. If admitting they did something wrong is felt as a threat to their entire being, they might need to avoid responsibility altogether and place blame on the empath. Therefore, the amount of force and conviction behind blaming the empath for something they themselves are guilty of, or denying an event ever happened, might pack a punch.

 

If an empath is corded to someone with NPD, it seems to make the empath more susceptible to not detecting when they are being lied to or gaslit. Sometimes the person with NPD delivers the lie while actually believing that what they said was true, so there is a mixed energetic message being conveyed to the empath; a lie being delivered as a truth. I have also sensed the energy from someone with NPD to the empath as "you better believe this lie or there will be consequences," which is the energy of a threat on top of the energy of the lie. The etheric cords, along with the forceful and distorted energy, may play a part in the empath being gaslit and believing they really did something wrong. The energy can be disorienting for the empath when their inner truth conflicts with the accusations being hurled at them. It can be confusing when empaths, who have no intention of creating harm, and who want to maintain peace, get accused of not only having ill intent but are blamed for the very thing the person with NPD did.

 

Many dynamics can play out between someone with NPD and an empath while they are corded to each other: corded and then verbally abused; corded and then manipulated; corded and then gaslit; corded and lied to, among others. If we consider the energetic dynamics unfolding all while being corded, it can add some insights into the severity of the dynamics. The impact on the empath of the etheric cords on top of manipulative and controlling energy can be that the empath loses touch with their intuition; swallows their yeses and no's; has difficulty in leaving the relationship, and therefore stays longer than they want; loses their ability to sense truth and reality; loses the full force of their willpower; etc.

 

Cutting cords

 

When disentangling and extricating from someone with NPD, I have found it beneficial to cut the energetic cords. Cutting cords severs the energetic link between two people. A common technique is to visualize these cords in our mind’s eye and then use one hand and forearm as a sword to cut the cords. When severing cords from someone with NPD, it is essential to be diligent that one is not re-corded, especially if it was a long-term relationship. The cords might be persistent and feel like an unattachable vacuum cleaner hose set on full suction, as the person with NPD may not be willing to let go of the supply of energy they have grown accustomed to receiving.

 

Severing the energetic cords between an empath and a person with NPD can be life-transforming. Cutting energic cords can play a significant part in the empath’s process of restoring their energy if it has been depleted; gaining the willpower to leave the relationship and reduce or even eliminate the pull to return to the relationship; gaining clarity of what happened in the relationship; reclaiming their truth (after gaslighting); recovering their ability to sense their yeses and no's; and ultimately, move on in their lives as a sovereign being.

 

A trained holistic practitioner can assist in cord-cutting, yet, I believe, it is essential that we learn to do this for ourselves because it can enhance our personal power to manage our energy. Another aspect of enhancing our personal power can be to examine beliefs that allowed us, as empaths, to be negatively corded by someone with NPD. Uncovering and transforming beliefs, such as we are less important than others, or it is our job to take care of others at our own expense, can be empowering. If we are susceptible to negative cords, taking responsibility, examining and changing the beliefs that allow us to participate in having our energy drained via an etheric cord, I believe, enhances our power.

 

 

Psychic Daggers

 

Several people with NPD have been known to say the cruelest comments about whomever they are threatened by. I have heard some doozies! Their words can hurt. Their words can also be thrown as “psychic daggers” and land in the energetic field of their target.

 

Psychic daggers are created through cruel words, venomous thoughts, and toxic emotions. Words, of course, carry energy. When words are fueled with intense emotions, their energy can increase. This energy can move from one person to another and land in the auric field of the receipt. This is known as a psychic dagger within shamanic circles. The movement of energy is different from energetic cords, as a psychic dagger is a bundle of toxic energy that can take the shape of shrapnel, daggers, arrows, or shards of glass.


When the person with NPD says things like "I hate you. Damn you to hell. You are the most wretched thing that has walked this earth. I hope you suffer," and they say it with amplified toxic emotions, there is potential that they can throw a psychic dagger. This can happen without them knowing that they did it or what a dagger is. We all can, consciously and unconsciously, impact others in harmful ways. Yet, the person with NPD can sometimes feel compelled, without control, to injure. They can feel justified in their verbal attacks and even find it quite necessary for their self-preservation. Someone who is in deep psychosis is capable of doing energetic harm to someone else through full-blown psychic attacks, whether conscious of what they are doing or not. By engaging in a violent energetic war where their weapons are psychic daggers, a person with NPD can cause significant harm to an empath.

 

Again, as mentioned earlier, this is not to disregard the power of the empath!

 

When the person with NPD is fueled with anger, jealousy, or hatred for someone, the psychic dagger they may produce can be intense. Some people will have a physical sensation, like the proverbial 'punch in the gut' that leaves physical pain but can also directly impact recipients' thoughts and emotions. This happens because the dagger, filled with toxic energies, can crystallize in someone's auric field with subsequent negative influence on someone's mental, emotional, and physical well-being.


Psychic poison can lead to psychic damage. Words can sometimes weasel their way into our hearts and minds. If the cruel words of someone with NPD are stuck in an empath’s mind, it might be fueled by a psychic dagger in their field, especially if they hear the cadence with which the words were shared. One doesn't need to listen to the comments directly. A common trait of people with NPD is to rally others against an empath. If the person with NPD is slandering one’s name, gossiping behind one’s back, wishing one ill, or judging them, that too can be psychic poison being sent to an empath.

 

Not all words take the form of psychic daggers. For example, I don't feel the energy of gaslighting in someone's field as a psychic dagger. That feels more snake-like, manipulative energy that creates a twist in the auric field, and a dampening of chakras (energy centers).

 

I have worked with clients who were corded by a person with NPD and also had daggers in their field. The energy felt purely toxic. Of course, not all empaths are susceptible to psychic daggers. If one is vulnerable, working with a skilled practitioner can be helpful in finding and removing the daggers. If one is susceptible to psychic damage, part of the healing process can be to heal the parts that are in resonance with receiving the dagger, similar to the process of transforming beliefs that allow one to be corded with negative cords.

 

 

Exploring Spiritual Narcissism

 

There are several types of narcissism. To illustrate the avoidance of responsibility, gaslighting, and other behaviors, and the possible energetic impact of these behaviors on an empath, it can be helpful to look at the interactions between an empath and someone recognized as a "Spiritual Narcissist." The term “Spiritual Narcissism” has been used in the literature. In simple terms, it is the practice of using spiritual principles (e.g., living in harmony, healing oneself from emotional/cognitive pain, becoming whole, etc.) to create a façade of holiness that attempts to mask deeply rooted experiences of insecurities, fears, and ultimately, undealt with pain.

 

Someone with Spiritual Narcissism can use spiritual concepts to avoid taking responsibility, gaslight, deny they caused pain, twist reality, and more. They might say something along the lines of,

 

I am a divine being, so there is no way that I could have done anything to harm you. If anything happened, it happened because we contracted with each other before we incarnated to teach each other lessons. There are no victims. Therefore, I am not responsible for any pain you are experiencing. If you are suffering from what you think I may have done, which I didn't do, please remember suffering is a choice, and clearly, you are choosing to suffer for no reason. So, whatever you think this is between us, is clearly your misunderstanding.”

 

Unadulterated poison! It is rather audacious to say, "All that occurred, needed to occur. Since it needed to occur, no damage has been done; only lessons learned." Hearing, “Nope, no damage here. I am a divine spark, and all is good. I don't need to work on my defects because I don't have them as I am Divinity itself,"can be shocking to the system of an empath after someone with NPD has tried to destroy them. The person with NPD can speak as if God backs their violence.

 

The spiritual narcissist can claim no harm is done. Yet, if they receive the slightest criticism from the empath, it is not uncommon for the person with NPD to feel attacked and deeply harmed. They seem to promptly forget their spiritual principles that there are “no victims” and make themselves into the victim of the empath who only tried to speak to them about their harmful behaviors. On top of this, a spiritual narcissist might believe that getting angry is not spiritual. If an empath gets angry, the person with NPD can pull the 'anger is not spiritual' card to silence the empath. Yet, if the empath holds the spiritual narcissist accountable for their behavior, the spiritual narcissist can become not just angry, but livid. Yet, the person with NPD can believe their anger is justified, quite necessary, and channeled by God or an ascended master. Spiritual laws are bendable to them and by them.

 

Some spiritual narcissists are adept at adopting and adapting spiritual practices like prayer and spiritual concepts such as reincarnation, karma, higher selves, soul contracts, and soul purpose as weapons. They can wield such weapons to avoid responsibility for their behaviors and gaslight. It is like gaslighting on steroids. Their conviction of superiority seems to back their view that there is nothing to be responsible for, even after committing heinous acts. They believe themselves aligned with a supreme force, therefore, incapable of making mistakes. There seems to be a heightened level of grandiosity and superiority in spiritual narcissists because they link their greatness to being divine beings, which fuels their convictions. As mentioned above, behavior has energy. Their increased convictions seem to increase the energy of their gaslighting.

 

When an empath believes the person with NPD has supreme awareness of existence and therefore can sense more than the empath, the empath might think what the person with NPD is saying is true, especially because they cannot sense multidimensional evidence to the contrary. In such cases, the person with NPD has deceived not only themselves but the empath. I have found that clients are more likely to consider they are the ones at fault and take the blame if they believe the ‘spiritual’ person with NPD is: actually in touch with a divine force; sensing things in other dimensions they themselves cannot sense; and has access to a truth they cannot access.

 

Unfortunately, the person struggling with NPD, who is also tapped into a matrix of distorted spirituality, delivers a double whammy! Suppose an empath has bought into any of the spiritual distortions. In that case, disentanglement can be a bit tricker - they might need to extract themselves from the person with NPD as well as the matrix of distorted spirituality. What can add a layer of difficulty is when the spiritual narcissist claims that many spiritual people in their community are awake and can see the truth – that the empath is still asleep, and therefore everything is obviously their fault.

 

Once again, this is not to degrade us as empaths! The dance between an empath and a person with NPD is often a dance of power. An empath can have equal power to a person with NPD; it is simply displayed differently.

 

 

Tendencies of the Empath When in Relationship with a Person with NPD

 

Empaths have endless gifts, including: a deep ability to connect with others; deep empathy; a compassionate nature; a profound capacity to experience emotions; a natural desire to support others when experiencing adversities; a willingness to trust and love authentically, among others. Yet, these gifts can backfire when not accompanied by the power of discernment and the setting of healthy boundaries. Lack of discernment and healthy boundaries can lead to burnout (emotional exhaustion) and hurt when another person is unable to honor the empath's gifts.

 

Due to their natural gifts, it is likely for empaths to enter relationships with a person with NPD. Here are three possible tendencies of an empath when underestimating the power of healthy boundaries in relationships.

 

  • In relationships with a person with NPD, an empath may tend to give away their power as a form of proving loyalty.

  • In relationships with a person with NPD, an empath may tend to personalize another person's struggles/challenges due to a deep desire to help and express one's commitment to the relationship. 

  • In relationships with a person with NPD, an empath may be blinded by trust in others' ability to change, which may prolong staying in an unhealthy relationship that is beyond repair. An empath may excuse insensitive behaviors by acknowledging that the person with NPD had a rough childhood and constantly surrender to forgiveness even if there is no evidence of behavioral changes in the person with NPD. While it is common that people with NPD have often experienced challenging lives, attempting to meet a person's needs, without considering one's own, can become the imprisonment of the empath. 

 

It is understood that as human beings, we are all likely to carry baggage (e.g., wounds from previous experiences). The empath is not exempt from this. As empaths, we may have an unconscious need to feel needed, accepted, and wanted due to recognized or unrecognized fears of abandonment or rejection. Thus, when sharing our gifts, one may be careful not to share of oneself excessively due to undealt with emotional pain. In our relationships with others, including a person with NPD, we may ask:

 

  • Are we in our power, or is there a discrepancy of power while being of service to others?

  • What may be influencing the urgency to assist another or to get them to experience something differently?

  • How often do I tend to excuse hurtful behaviors and not considerate of my expressed needs?

  • How long do I want to tolerate consistently abusive behaviors without signs of profound remorse and changes?

  • What do I consider a healthy life and healthy relationship interactions? Am I living to my standards?

  • What role, if any, is shame and guilt playing in my postponing radical emotional-cognitive-relational changes?

 

 

Personal Empathic Power

 

Empowered Empath

 

The dynamic between an empath and someone with NPD can be a power dynamic. It can feel like the person with NPD has all the power, yet, an empath can be an equal power match to a person with NPD.

 

To me, the power the person with NPD holds often does not feel like a true power but a corrupted power. Sometimes, the person with NPD can be the one who decides what is right and wrong, the person who defines reality, the person who polices the empath and gives or withholds permission to do certain things. Because they can feel utterly powerless and inadequate, they aim to control others by overpowering them, all while having sociopathic tendencies that are not limited by moral or ethical constraints. To me, this is control, manipulation, and abuse regardless of how powerful the person with NPD feels in their behaviors.

 

As empaths, handing over our power can lead us to questioning ourselves, referring to the person with NPD for directions on how to be and what to do, doubting ourselves and our judgment, feeling nervous about being ourselves, altering our moods to adjust to the person with NPD, loosening or even eroding our boundaries, and living for their rules and agenda. When these behaviors accumulate and persist over time, it can lead to us feeling splintered, with little sense of self and our voice, and disconnected from our desires and will. Along with the accumulation of everyday acts where an empath is handing over their power, energy can move via etheric cords from the empath to the person with NPD. The subsequent reduction of lifeforce energy can also relate to a decrease in one's personal power.

 

There can be significant rebuilding after exiting a relationship with someone who has NPD. Many empaths leave having an eroded sense of self, with little to no confidence in all aspects of life. This can especially be the case in long-term relationships where an empath was repeatedly subjected to abusive behaviors that left them feeling they lost parts of themselves, trust in their intuition, and sense of reality.  

 

My experiences with people with NPD have taught me a lot about my personal power. To me, personal power includes a strong sense of self, healthy boundaries, ignited willpower, confidence, autonomy/sovereignty, courage, the ability to use my voice, the ability to change, trust in myself and my intuition, and knowing my truth. It was very empowering to identify what personal power means to me and not rely on definitions of personal power from others because that act in itself is handing over my power to someone else's definition. Also, the more concrete I define personal power, the more accessible it has become.

 

For me, personal power has nothing to do with having influence over others but a mastery of self. I can see where I have handed over or diminished certain aspects of my personal power in relationships. For example, when I said "yes" when I meant "no," it was me diminishing my voice as well as my willpower. When I felt someone lied to me, but I doubted myself, I damped my intuition. To me, it all ties into personal power, and the more specifically I define it, the less abstract the path of recovery.

 

Reclaiming our power is possible. We can rebuild our sense of self. We can ignite our willpower and confidence. We can learn to trust our intuition again. We can claim our truth, trust the reality we are perceiving, and much more.

 

Below are some practical actions for re-empowerment that have emerged from working with clients and from my own experience. They are not suggestions, as I encourage any empath on the path of recovery to listen to their inner truth about what they need. They are simply possible pathways that may or may not resonate with the reader.


Defining our empathic nature

 

I have heard some disempowering cultural stories viewing empaths as unstable because of their ability to feel so deeply. In some harsher viewpoints, I have heard people speak of empaths as one would a negative archetype. The cultural story can paint the empath as someone who has no energetic boundaries, someone who doesn't know where they end and someone else begins energetically, someone that can easily be destabilized by feeling the feelings of others, and one that cannot sense what is theirs and what belongs to other people. Ultimately a victim of others' emotional pain.

 

If an empath has agreed to such stories, recovery might include how one views themselves as empathic. Just like cutting cords with the person with NPD, we might need to sever any alignment to any disparaging cultural stories of sensitive/empathic people and find our TRUTH about what it means to be sensitive and empathic.

 

If we feel that our empathic side allowed us to get trapped by the person with NPD, we might not be feeling so hot about that part of us, as if it failed and betrayed us. If this is the case, what a wonderful opportunity to look at our empathic nature and harness it as the superpower it is. We can reclaim this part of us and wield it wisely. By learning from our experience, our empathic side might even be our saving grace in preventing us from entering another entanglement with someone who has NPD.

 

As empaths, we can maintain a strong sense of self and a knowing of who we are, even within the complexities of energies, including cultural stories. While in the presence of others, we can remain open, receptive, compassionate, and sensitive, as well as grounded and stabilized at the same time. It might take practice, but I believe that this is very possible.


Understanding what we went through and why can be one of the most empowering parts of a healing process.

 

There is an enormous amount of information online about the empath/narcissist dynamic, as well as professionals that can help us understand what we went through. I find that to be helpful in unraveling the complexities of the experience, reorienting to reality, and gaining validation for what we endured.

 

Understanding why it happened is something we can find in ourselves and can be immensely empowering and life-transforming. We may have entered a relationship with a person with NPD to heal something unconscious, like an old wound. Perhaps lessons in boundaries, self-confidence, willpower, and/or sovereignty arose from our experiences.

 

As empaths, we can exhibit narcissistic tendencies (not NPD, but narcissism), such as being self-centered. We might have moments or traits of narcissism, yet, what I have witnessed, is that we don't use those traits to wreak havoc on someone's life. I have seen empathic people, including myself, misstep and cause harm to another by doing something a person with NPD would do. Yet, our hearts ache, we feel remorse, take responsibility, apologize, and adjust our behaviors. I mention this because, in working with clients, a person with NPD has mirrored one or more narcissistic traits to them. They see aspects of themselves in the person with NPD (like power) that they themselves want to cultivate, but in a clean way, and this was part of the unconscious draw to entering the relationship.

 

For example, maybe the person with NPD mirrored something to an empath, like a quality they have that the empath wishes to develop but is afraid to. For example, perhaps the person with NPD presented themselves as very powerful yet held their power in a corrupt way. Maybe this mirrored to an empath their concern that if they stepped into their power, they would be corrupted by it. If an empath doesn't trust a certain quality in the person with NPD, they might be afraid to bring out that quality in themselves. If an empath judges how the person with NPD holds their power, perhaps it is an opportunity to work towards carrying that same quality, but in a pure and unpolluted manner.

 

It might require deep soul work to figure out what we were unconsciously seeking from the relationship as well as to process what we found. Yet, if we endured and survived our experiences with the person with NPD, we have the strength, I believe, for this profound work.

 

For one person, they discovered that they have felt preyed upon by people with NPD: they preyed upon their energy and stalked them for their weakness before coming in for the emotional kill. They felt like a pawn being used not only as a source of energy but used to make the person with NPD feel better about themselves. This uncovered very deep, unconscious beliefs that the world, not just people with NPD, is out to get them, that they are not safe, and that they are not sovereign beings but objects to be used at the discretion of others.

 

For this person, it felt odd for a moment to have this realization, and then beyond empowering for them to see and transform this belief! They stated out loud and with conviction to themselves, “I am no one’s prey. I am no one’s pawn!” and then felt a dramatic shift in their energy, a huge reduction in the level of fear they lived with, and an increase of lifeforce energy. Not only did they realize they were no one's prey, but they were not the predator either. They have no desire to be on that spectrum whatsoever. This might be a unique example or an experience shared by many. Regardless, for this person, this was a very significant part of their transformation.

 

 

Overcoming Victimization. There are several reactions to the effect of victimization. Here are three possible responses:

 

  • Pretend we processed an event: One reaction to a traumatic event is to avoid processing the experience of victimization by attempting to ignore or avoid the impact of the experience. For example, a person can use spiritual bypassing as a way of pretending one has processed pain. Spiritual bypassing is when a person utilizes spiritual principles to evade integration and healing of unresolved trauma. People may do this because they want to be perceived in a certain way.

 

  • Not able to process an event: Another reaction to traumatic events is not processing the experiences of being victimized and living in victimhood well after the incident. This can manifest as, "Woe is me; everything bad happens to me." A person stuck in victimhood can see their lives through the lens of things constantly happening to them, as not resolving the pain impacts their perceptions of the world. A person can embody the archetypes of victim and/or martyr and feel continuously bombarded by the wrongs of the world as if events are personal to them. A person may do this because they have not been taught how to process traumatic events.


  • Process the event: Another response is to actively engage in the process of healing. For example, a person can process the experience of being victimized through feeling anger, confusion, grief, fear, and so forth until the emotions have been integrated. When needed, receiving professional support can help one process any trauma and PTSD caused by painful experiences.

 

If one has been traumatized by being in a relationship with someone with NPD, I believe that there is great empowerment in processing the experience of victimization, a liberation from the past that only one’s heart can present, but only if they integrate the experience. Profound wonders can unfold when we commit to healing just as much or more than we committed ourselves to the person with NPD. We have that level of commitment in us that can be harnessed for us, and that is not an act of selfishness.

 

 

Overcoming Intentional Harm, Denial of Harm, and Misplaced Blame

 

In my experience, there is a different resonance of harm done when it has been accidental vs. intentional. It is well-known that some people with NPD tend to be sadistic. When someone feels justified in their violence, there is a different energy of the harm because it is not only done intentionally but without remorse, responsibility, or apology.

 

There are different ways a person with NPD can seek to cause harm to others. Some people with NPD attempt to break someone down on mental or emotional levels, while others set someone up for personal or professional ruin. After carefully developing their strategy, they can, without hesitation, go for the person’s weakness and attack there, much like a predator stalking their prey. To me, some people with NPD have a sense of entitlement to be abusive, paired with expecting the empath to have unquestioning compliance to their abuse. 

 

Regardless of the type of narcissism, people with NPD can sometimes react with rage when presented with anything that appears to them as criticism. If they are living with feelings of inadequacy, powerlessness,shame, and humiliation, it makes sense that criticism feels so detrimental to their existence, and therefore they cannot look at their behavior, let alone be held responsible. Suppose a person with NPD is incapable of vulnerability and admitting that they live with insecurities. In that case, they can build a defensive wall laden with an arsenal of rage, gaslighting, and any weapon they deem necessary. If their wall is heavily armed, protecting their pain and frailty underneath it, mediation between an empath and a person with NPD is often not an option.

 

An example of defenses in action can be displayed through a common tactic of some people with NPD: character assassinate and demonize an empath to discredit them. For example, an empath may want to talk about ways they feel hurt by the person with NPD. Yet, am empath may receive this type of treatment when attempting to communicate their perspective. The person with NPD sometimes tries to convince an empath and others that the empath is crazy, dark, or both. In addition, the person with NPD can sometimes flip the story and make themselves look like a victim by accusing the empath of their own guilty behavior. This kind of defensive behavior can block resolution.

 

When the defenses of the person with NPD block all possible avenues to resolution, what then? Intentional harm that comes with no apology, where the person with NPD feels justified, comes with a different healing process than when one accidentally harms and follows up with an apology and changed behaviors. Healing from someone's sadistic behavior, especially when it comes with steroidal gaslighting, is a distinct recovery path and can be a powerful one!! There is no leaning on the person with NPD in this arena, no looking to them on how to think and behave because they often won't even show up to be leaned upon. This is on us. If we have been captured by the power dynamics, doing this for ourselves can be the path to returning to sovereignty, independence, autonomy, inner authority, and personal power.

 

Below are a handful of ways my clients, as well as myself, have found an inner resolution, forgiveness, peace, and closure regardless of the person with NPD.


Creating a healing balm: There is an energetic healing balm when someone takes responsibility and apologies, an actual healing energy that is present and is restorative. Conversations with people can be profoundly curative! Yet, the path to healing without the healing balm of an apology from another can be empowering!! If we feel an apology would be restorative but know we will not receive one, we ask ourselves what an apology would bring to us. In asking this question, we can uncover what we seek in our healing journey and then provide that very thing to ourselves.

 

Suppose someone taking responsibility and apologizing helps lessen the pain and helps us let go and move on. In that case, the question then becomes, how do we create the same lessening of pain and be able to let go and move on, regardless of the other person? When we define what the healing balm of an apology would do for us, it can make it more apparent what it is we may need to can create for ourselves.

 

Mirror work: Another technique is mirror work. One way I have found useful in moving on is to look at myself in the mirror and share everything that happened. Everything. Acknowledging every aspect of my truth of what occurred, what I felt, and how much it hurt. Having friends acknowledge my hurt was extremely helpful, but acknowledging my hurt to myself was essential.

 

Forgiveness / for-giving: To me, intentional harm requires a more profound process of forgiveness because the sting of the harm is laden with sadistic energy. As many have said, forgiveness is for us, not the other person, as the rage circulating in us can hurt us. I love how the word forgive combines the words 'for' and 'giving.' To me, the pain I felt was for giving away to Creator / God. Forgiveness was not about forgiving the other person, at least not initially, but for giving away the pain their behavior caused me. After healing the pain, it was easier to find forgiveness for them by understanding more about NPD and their condition. This was not to excuse their behavior but to understand it.

 

Peace: How do we find peace when we can't have a peaceful resolution with the person with NPD? Peace is a feeling, not only an act. The act of MAKING peace is not available if the other person cannot show up to the peace talks. Yet, FEELING at peace is always available, independent of them. I don't have to be at peace with a person with NPD to FEEL peace in me. I have found peace by honoring my truth while acknowledging it's not the person's job (even if they were capable of it) to create a feeling of peace in me. Peace is a feeling that I am responsible for generating in me. Not only do I feel peace in me, but I am at peace with the reality that I might not ever make peace with some people I have been hurt by, that I will most likely never receive an apology, and that they might live out the rest of their lives feeling great satisfaction that they hurt me. May peace be with them.

 

Closure: Not all situations have resolution and closure. Yet, I believe we can create closure for ourselves. For me, closure comes by learning the many lessons from my entanglements. As I process my experiences, one lesson after another presents itself. I can feel closure approaching the more I understand what the relationships revealed about me; not what I learned about any of the people with NPD I had an experience with, but about me, such as where I hand over my power and why.

 

Taking our power back, literally. Some people do this through a meditation process where they call upon the higher self of the person they were impacted by and connect with them on the soul level. In the meditation, they recall any power the other person has taken from them / any power they gave away. One might need to do the meditation a few times to reclaim all their power. The movement of energy in such a practice can be quite extraordinary! This meditation technique can be done with a candle, where the candle can symbolize one's light and ability to recall their power.

 

Reclaiming our minds can be a potent act of personal power and sovereignty. This can take many forms:

 

Using our minds to think about our needs, wants, and dreams instead of thinking only of the needs of another.

 

Thinking FOR ourselves rather than letting the person with NPD think for us and determine what is right and wrong for us to do can be empowering. Deciding for ourselves what is right and wrong might sound easy, but when sharing our perspective with someone with NPD and receiving subsequent consequences might have damped our ability to decide and feel safe in our decisions. Additionally, the person with NPD can be persuasive that what they perceive and think is correct. If we allowed our thoughts to be hijacked by their distorted reality, breaking free can be extraordinary! Reprogramming our thoughts can feel disorienting at first, yet what an act of power!!

 

As stated above, in “taking back our power,” we can take back our minds in a similar meditation if we feel our psyche has been negatively impacted after the person with NPD played mind games to gaslight, manipulate, and control us.

 

Resolving thought loops of repetitive thinking can be liberating! Sometimes processing the emotions that are fueling the thoughts can help with this. It might feel unsafe to stop thinking about them and what they did because we have grown accustomed to being attacked. If we have been attacked, the hypervigilance and repetitive thoughts about the potential next attack can sometimes help us feel safe. However, the thoughts can dysregulate our nervous system, only adding to the feeling of fear.

 

Feeling into the thought can sometimes help. By this, I mean look directly at the repetitive thought, and rather than repeating it, ask yourself, what is the feeling associated with the thoughts? For example, say someone with NPD slandered an empath, and in the empath's mind, they have the lies on repeat. If they ask what the feeling is under the thoughts, they may uncover a fear that has arisen after the slander. They might be afraid that people will believe the lies the person with NPD has spread about them. Going deeper, the person might realize that the fear is related to a fear of abandonment and, ultimately, about being disowned and unloved. Sometimes the act of getting into the heart, and accessing the heart of the matter, diffuses the mind activity. If one works on resolving their fear, the thoughts often have less fuel.

 

Setting energetic boundaries and paying attention to our energy flow, especially as empaths, can be very empowering. Paying attention to our auric fields by sensing and fueling them with our heart energy can help us maintain energetic integrity. Being attentive to our energy flow is empowering because we are taking the responsibility of tuning in and being in charge of our lifeforce. In addition to paying attention and taking responsibility, owning our energy, as it is ours to own, just like our bodies, and being caretakers and keepers of our energy is, in my view, an act of personal power. 

 

Eliminating negative etheric cords, as mentioned earlier, can help prevent our lifeforce energy from draining. If we have created a vacuum in ourselves by filling someone else's void, we can refill ourselves with our lifeforce. If we feel there might be psychic daggers in our fields, extracting them ourselves or receiving help from a qualified practitioner can have a significant positive impact on our overall well-being.


Setting personal boundaries can be an expression of personal power. When we are consistent in the boundaries we establish, that, in turn, can help build our willpower, our voice as well as our sense of self. Defining for ourselves, what our boundaries are, can be useful. When they are clear to us, it can help to articulate our boundaries to others. Also, defining what they do for us can be helpful. For example, boundaries can help us protect our sense of self, stay in the truth of what we need, help us maintain our energy, and much more. When one inwardly inquires, what are my boundaries, and what do they do for me, it can help strengthen one's will in maintaining their boundaries.


Building courage can be done in what feels like small but are very significant moments, such as stating our needs to a dear friend. After swallowing our wants, needs, and desires because it wasn't safe to express them, sometimes getting back in touch with our desires and saying them takes courage. This is where the healing balm of a good friend can feel extra medicinal. Expressing our truth to someone without worrying about negative consequences can help tremendously in reconnecting a sense of safety related to expressing our needs. Friends being present to our needs, without retribution and repercussions, can also strengthen our voices. It might be one stating their preference to eat outside rather than inside while at a restaurant with a friend instead of deferring to them and saying, "whatever you want works for me." Sensing if we have a preference, which can be courageous in itself, and then stating it without apology can be a rebuilding of personal power. A mature friend will let us know, respectfully, if our preference also works for them.

 

Being discerning of what feels right and good to us, verse what doesn't, can be part of our personal power. This might be expressed by discerning what places feel nurturing to our hearts and which ones don't or discerning what the next best self-nurturing thing is to do for ourselves. It might start with remembering favorite foods, places, and experiences. Through discernment, we can relearn to trust ourselves, our decisions, and our capabilities to create healthy lives for ourselves. 

 

Re-establishing one's yeses and no's AND having them associated with being safe to have can be emboldening. As an empath, we can feel in our bodies what a yes and a no feel like. If we have dampened these sensations while in a relationship with someone with NPD, we might need to recalibrate our yeses and no's. This in turn, can help us regain our sense of self.

 

Rebuilding self-esteem might be in order if an empath was in a relationship with a person constantly putting them down and/or if the person with NPD spread lies and slandered the name of the empath. As mentioned earlier, "self-esteem" has the word "SELF" indicating building energy in oneself from oneself. We can do this by deciding for ourselves who we are and not handing that decision over to someone else's perspective. If we have experienced a loss of status because of the person with NPD spreading lies and slandering our names, it can be empowering to anchor into the truth of who we are and stand firm there. Anchoring into our truth, especially amongst those who have heard the lies, can feel impossible. It may be helpful to remember the person with NPD was trying to control the narrative about us, but their constructed narrative does not reflect our truth.


Repurposing and reorienting our lives after we have dedicated our lives and energy to the needs and desires of another can be a way of investing our energy back into our lives. Often, the dreams of an empath are put on the back burner while they are in relationships with someone with NPD. This can unfold if the person with NPD is very controlling, and the empath doesn’t know which of their desires will be supported and which they will get yelled at for even mentioning. To keep the peace, an empath might forsake their dreams. Daring to dream and create our lives via our self-expression is a courageous act as well as an amplification of our personal power and sense of self. Having dreams and setting intentions to manifest our dreams builds will, reconnects us with our inner desires, and orients us to the next chapter of our lives. It is okay if we ask ourselves, “What do I want,” and we have no idea. After rough rodeos with a person with NPD, we might not have any idea. Yet, if we keep asking, I have faith that an answer will come. In rebuilding our lives, we can choose to have autonomy in who we wish to be.

 

Rebuilding Willpower. People with NPD can have a very strong will. They can fulfill their will and desires at the expense of an empath’s will. If we have surrendered our will, there are ways to rebuild it. In fact, from my perspective, so many items on this list are acts of building will: setting boundaries, setting intents, pursuing dreams and inspirations, bringing new experiences into our lives, and much more. To me, by increasing our will, we are amplifying our personal power.

 

Taking care of our nervous system. The level of harm one does when deep in psychosis can be jarring, shuddering, and shocking to our nervous systems. I know a divorced couple where the ex-wife, to get back at her husband for divorcing her, convinced their daughter that her dad molested her. The mother used her daughter as collateral damage in her war against her ex-husband. The sharpest weapon to hurt her ex-husband was turning his daughter, whom he loves very much, against him. There was no line this woman was not willing to cross.

 

Clients have shared that the cruel and sadistic abuse they received from the person with NPD was soul-crushing and that they felt emotionally and psychologically tormented by the traumatizing experiences. Their experiences wreaked havoc on their nervous system, especially when it was chronic torment. Their nervous systems, in a constant state of high alert, were in Code Red.

 

Simply looking at a list of common behaviors of people with NPD highlights the impact they can have on the nervous system of an empath: gaslighting, weaponizing wounds, coercing, pushing past boundaries, taking advantage of others, private shaming, public humiliation, degrading, silent treatment, silencing others, creating false accusations, shifting blame, scapegoating, and more. This list renders the question of what weapon they will pick up next, followed by how they will deny all ever happened.

 

The level of hypervigilance an empath can find themselves living with while in a relationship with someone with NPD can be very taxing on the nervous system, especially when an empath does not know which conversations will turn into debates or what behavior they might get yelled at about. Being anxious to make a move and fear of conflict can be literally nerve-wracking. In addition, if the person with NPD uses past wounds to control, then the empath is not only dealing with someone cruel enough to do that but the pain of the old injury - a double punch.

 

Such relationships can lead us to live in overdrive and flight/fight/freeze because we are constantly trying to survive. The adrenaline to stay and cope, along with negative energy cords and psychic daggers, can be so dysregulating to one's nervous system that basic daily functioning and clear thinking can be challenging. The subsequent impact on our nervous systems can be so severe that it can feel like the wind was knocked out of our sails and our compass (navigations system / nervous system) has been smashed. Utter exhaustion and subsequent loss of functioning may follow. For some clients who have felt like they lost a sense of themselves from being in a relationship with someone with NPD, they stated it felt like an identity crisis on top of a nervous system breakdown.

 

Some empaths sense vibrational information via their nervous systems. Yet, while in a relationship with someone with NPD, the vibrational information they receive can be distorted. By distorted information, I mean: the person with NPD says they love them but puts them down and alienates them; the very problems that they claim the empath has are the very ones they have; they say one thing and do another, so their words and actions don't align; they have very low self-esteem, but make themselves grandiose; they lie while saying they are telling the truth; and so forth. In such cases, the nervous system of an empath might need to be recalibrated to wellness as well as truth.

 

Nervous system repair may be an essential part of an empath’s recovery. Reducing fear and increasing a sense of safety may be paramount. There are many wonderful and calming actions we can take to bring a sense of calm and safety to our nervous systems, such as proper nourishment and drinking water, being in places where we feel safe, spending time in nature, taking Epson salt baths, getting a massage, listening to calming music, and breath work. Part of restoring our nervous system might be physical self-care, such as exercise. Moving our bodies can help us move energy (including emotions) and create endorphins (neurotransmitters that carry signals across our nervous systems). Part of taking care of our nervous system might be resetting the barometer of what is okay after getting used to abusive behavior. Resetting the barometer is a way to anchor in our power and our truth of what is acceptable for us and hold boundaries to what is not.

 

What might be most important is discerning what techniques are helpful for us, especially after any relationship where we looked for approved behavior from the person with NPD. A balanced nervous system is an essential foundation for many people. If our nervous systems are calm, we are less likely to feel destabilized, frazzled, and on high alert. From a balanced nervous system, we can think more clearly, feel more grounded, and feel more in our power.

 

Taking responsibility only for what we are responsible for can be a way to claim our power. If we take responsibility for something we did not do (assuming misplaced blame), we can be depleting our personal power and sense of self because we are trying to process something that does not belong to us.

 

Reconnecting with people might be restorative if we have isolated ourselves from friends and family because of our relationship with someone with NPD. It can refuel our heart energy by being around supportive and kind people, as well as increase our sense of safety in the world. Rebuilding heart energy, especially after giving a lot of our heart energy to a person with NPD, can feel restorative and nurturing. This, in turn, can help support our emotional wellness, such as getting back in touch with our emotions if we shut that part of us down while in a relationship with someone with NPD. Feeling our feelings, and feeling safe in the presence of a dear friend, can help us reconnect to our true emotions, which, in turn, can help us reawaken our sensitivity and intuition - empath superpowers.

 

I acknowledge that this is a short list of possible pathways for regaining our power if we handed it over. Please feel free to add anything that has worked for you in the comments, if you like.

 

If we have let the cruelty of others consume parts of our inner flame, let their behaviors define us, or their words poison our minds, it is in our ability and our right to relight our flame, to trust it and the wisdom and power it contains. Great wisdom and strength, as well as emotion and spiritual maturity, can emerge when we alchemize the pain we have endured and fan our inner flame back into a brilliant light. In doing so, we can expand more than we ever have, blossom into sovereign beings, and regain faith and belief in ourselves. There is hope!!

 

“I can be changed by what happened to me. But I refuse to be reduced by it.”

~ Maya Angelou.

 



 

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