By Lori Lines
Are you an Empath?
Pick up on other people’s moods and emotions? Whether you can observe the slightest change in their disposition or get the sense that you absorb their emotional state and take it on as your own.
Lose yourself in your relationship with someone else? This may be by trying to “heal” or take care of them, appease them, or “strengthen” the bond your share.
Experience sudden shifts of emotion or panic when you are in public? Such as window shopping with friends in a mall and suddenly experiencing a dizzying urge to run as far away as possible.
Get told that you really “get” people or have a profoundly comforting energy? You may be the one everyone turns to for advice or the shoulder everyone cries on.
Suffer physical or emotional sympathy pains for loved ones and strangers alike? For example, experiencing painful jabs watching violence on tv or shedding a tear at a loved one’s sadness.
Get strong hunches or vibes about people? You may know immediately if someone is lying, genuine, or afraid. Or have you experienced an instant distaste or affection for someone you just met?
Feel love for people or pets so deeply it hurts? Perhaps you have felt love for someone or something that you think can’t be contained in your heart and experienced the ache of its expansiveness.
Have the urge to help and heal every person and animal in need? Perhaps, you get overwhelmed that you can’t do more or by the healing mission you feel you have received.
While this isn’t an exhaustive list, if you answered yes to most or all these points, you are very likely an empath!
What is an Empath?
Surely, you have heard the term empath before, especially if you are one. However, much like “energy,” “grounding,” or “manifestation,” empath has become a term that is widely used but not always well understood. A derivative of empathy, being an empath is often viewed very favorably, like a superpower. However, when the term was coined, it was synonymous with being an “emotional sponge,” hinting at the many pitfalls of being an empath.
Empathic abilities can result from, and contribute to, a porous energy field. So, while it can be viewed as the gift of emotional intuition, helping empaths navigate and heal, in some cases, the world, it can also create a self-perpetuating cycle of poor energetic and relational boundaries, leaving empaths vulnerable to the people they often so desperately want to comfort and heal.
Empaths have a gift; It is the gift of reading people and their emotions to intuitively understand others’ intentions, strengths, and weaknesses. This enables them to navigate the world with an inner knowing that can be used to their benefit. They can also identify the wounded and vulnerable, providing comfort and love as the empath feels called.
Do you know who else has an intuitive understanding of others’ intentions, emotions, strengths, and weaknesses, enabling them to navigate the world with an inner knowing that can be used to their own benefit? Narcissists! They can also identify the wounded and vulnerable, but with disparate results.
What Is a Narcissist?
We’ve all encountered or perhaps gotten up close and personal with a narcissist by dating, being related to, or possibly working with them. Narcissists can be identified by:
Their over-inflated sense of importance. Such as the aunt who is “exhausted” from doing “everything” for the family during the holidays but wouldn’t have it any other way. Or the friend who monopolizes the conversation every Brunch Sunday.
A sense of entitlement. Like, the co-worker who feels childless people should give them their sick days or the parent who feels you should drop everything because they need you “now.”
The belief that the rules don’t apply to them. For example, the arrogant jerk at the grocery store who thinks he can just cut in the line.
An obsession with envy and admiration. These are the people that think everyone is jealous of them and want to be like them. For instance, the social media addict who obsesses over followers, “stalkers,” likes, “haters,” and “wannabes.”
Their preoccupation with success, influence, youth, beauty, and adoration. These people fight aging tooth and nail, put on airs about their financial success and power, and often act very out of touch with the “everyman.”
Their lack of compassion, empathy, and genuine connections. This is often due to exploiting people and having shallow, self-centered conversations. These people tend to explain their lack of meaningful relationships by emphasizing their high status or distinction because they are only understood by a select and chosen few.
The benefits of moving through the world from the narcissistic perspective are that they always prioritize and meet their own needs, never shrink from the spotlight because they feel lesser than others, and don’t relegate themselves to the masses. They make their own way!
Two Sides of the Same Coin
We may think it is easy to point out and separate narcissists from empaths. However, it is not so clear-cut. Being empathic, like being narcissistic, exists on a spectrum. We can all be somewhat selfish at times and empathetic at others. What’s more, sometimes being an empath is a matter of unhealthy coping, such as a trauma response, and being narcissistic is a matter of healthy coping, such as eschewing social norms for individual freedom and happiness. There is no clear villain and victim, villain and victor, or victim and victor. The unenlightened empath and the unenlightened narcissist form a toxic cycle in which they both exploit and enable. Take this scenario, for example:
In this scenario, who is exploiting whom? The truth is that they are both exploiting each other and harming themselves by feeding into this vicious cycle propelled by triggers and trauma responses.
The Power Lies Within
The solution? Stop giving power away to others! When giving away the power to heal or wound, we immediately feed into a cycle of victim and abuser or used and user. In this context, there is no differentiation between “empath” and “narcissist.” Both individuals have unconsciously voided all boundaries of personhood and accountability.
We all have the potential to abuse or be abused, no matter what end of the spectrum we are on. The only way to eliminate the potential for abuse is to become aware and make conscious personal choices. We cannot force anyone to change; we can only choose to strengthen our integrity and manifest our intentions, no one else’s. Ultimately, when we awaken to find ourselves in the role of either the abuser or abused, the only place to look is within.
Two Sides of the Mirror
Whether the empath or the narcissist seeks to heal and end exploitation, the only reason to look to the other is to see what is being reflected back. What does the empath see in the narcissist that feeds their need to sacrifice and submit? What does the narcissist see in the empath that triggers them to demand and deplete? And, above all, how can they nourish or silence this deep-seated hunger, finding stillness, healing, and wholeness from within?
Asking what inner work remains to be done, shadows remain uncovered, and needs remain un-self-fulfilled should always be the primary focus! To the empath, the narcissist is the mirror, and to the narcissist, the empath is the mirror; The mirror reflects how they need to acknowledge their trauma, accept accountability, and awaken to their power to shape their destiny. Is it time to take a long hard look in the mirror?
In Love and Truth,
Author Lori Lines
Disclaimer: Lori is a high-level channel. The information contained on this site is intended for educational purposes only and is not a substitute for advice, diagnosis or treatment by a licensed physician. You should seek prompt medical care for any health issues and consult your doctor before using alternative medicine or making a change to your regimen.