A not so well known, mostly positive personality type, that many people fit, is that of being an Empath. Empaths have what are now identified as super-traits that put them at significantly higher percentage of having a pathological love relationship (PLR). (Identified by Sandra L. Brown – The Institute for Harm Reduction).
What is an Empath?
An Empath is a person who is deeply, to the point of profoundly, capable of “knowing” and feeling the emotions of others, often, interpersonally, those with Narcisstic Personality Disorder (NPD) and/or Anti-Social Personality Disorder – sociopaths and/or psychopaths. (ASPD). Narcissists and/or psychopaths have no empathy and can be referred to as the polar opposite of the Empath they will know, recognize and target.
Empaths deeply and profoundly feel, hold, and prioritize, others’ feelings even though they themselves are not in the same situation, affect dysregulation, altered mood, or going through (themselves) the same situation or emotional experience of another.
Empaths have too much empathy generally. Specifically, they are simultaneously highly vulnerable to what is best described as having way to high a threshold to their own lack of harm-aversion. This is particularly true in the way that narcissist and psychopaths are predators and easily target Empaths. Where others might break away from a Pathological Love Relationship (PLR) – a narcissist, sociopath/psychopath – after becoming more aware of their own hurt, trauma-related, psychological/emotional pain. Focusing on their own pain enacting their sense of needing harm-reduction and seeking help to learn what action to take to end their abuser’s abuse and extremely harmful traumatic manipulative gaslighting and many other forms of having been treated as an object for the purpose of psychologically feeding the Narcisstic and/or psychopathic “loved one”. The Empath remains overly-focused on his/her empathy for the abuser as opposed to being more aware of their own need for reduction in the many ways they are being severely harmed to the point of losing the ‘self” to the believed in unaccepted, denied, dissociated from vapid absence of the loved abuser who is nothing more than an empty dark soul who pretended to be all that his/her targeted Empath could dream of a significant other being.
Empaths have been identified by having what Sandra L. Brown, in her research and years of pioneering experience working with and studying women who love or have loved men (or in patterned ways have had a series of relationships with men) that have NPD or have ASPD – are psychopaths, identified victims of traumatic abuse, as having the following super-traits (positive traits that increase vulnerability to harm) that are 97% higher than average and lead to inevitable harm as identified by Sandra L. Brown include:
- Extraversion and excitement seeking
- Deep Investment in all relationships
- Attachment – Deep bonding capacity
- Competitiveness – stand ground – not codependent
- Low Harm Avoidance – does not expect to be hurt
- Higher Empathy – can be genetic
- Responsibilty and Resourcefulness
An excellent groundbreaking seminal book by the pioneering leading expert who coined the term, “Pathological Love Relationships” (PLR) recognizing through her incredible studies of women who love psychopaths that these specifically identified types of relationships are much further along a spectrum of devastatingly traumatic relationships than those associated with Domestic Violence or other forms of and definitions of toxic relationships.
“We can’t prevent what we don’t identify, we can’t treat what we don’t diagnose. And we can’t teach how to spot them unless we understand pathology ourselves.” – Sandra L. Brown
I highly recommend any woman who loves or has loved and been in a relationship with a Narcisstic and/or psychopathic man to read this brilliant pioneering book.
Narcissists and/or psychopaths separately or co-morbidly both are soul predators who know who to target to victimize. This victimization begins with lovebombing through a mask of the pseudo-persona the narcissist and/or psychopaths designs to hide his lack of self, conscience, and soul, to fool his victims into thinking he is really who he pretends to be. He mirrors you. He is an empty evil vessel who cannot be fixed, changed, or rescued by anyone. He is an expert at fooling those he targets. You could not have seen this predator coming.
Out of the narcissist/and or psychopath’s empty lack of all that is at the core of what makes the rest of us truly human, comes this alien predator. This alien predator who is capable of fooling anyone, according to leading researcher on psychopathology, Dr. Robert Hare, who himself admits that despite his years of work and study with psychopaths and in the field of psychopathology, he can, himself, still be fooled by his patients.
Those working in all areas of the Mental Health Profession need to open up more to what is highly uncomfortable for high numbers of us – that malignant narcissists and/or psychopaths exist among us. They are not all murderers (lowest percentage of them all that are). We all need to realize they are not often so obviously recognizable for who they actually are and are not. We need to be willing to face those we can recognize, try to support when we face our own inner-Empath who, as I have done, will feel profoundly sadly negativily affected by a Narcisstic Psychopathic client that I know I cannot help as I can help others. We need to learn how to manage this most challenging dynamic and its profound effect on us which we need to become skilled to cope with and have support to not have our energy or emotions trapped or held hostage to or by a Narcisstic Psychopath.
We need to awaken to understanding clearly what (not who) they certainly are and how they seek out prey (Empaths) to live through and equally play with and traumatize without conscience or soul though they will present to you and convince (fool you – not your fault at all) that you, their targeted victim – that they are your soulmate.
Nothing could be further from any and all truth. Narcissist and/or the sociopathic/psychopathic live among us, present in beguiling (lack of any real soul/self) self-serving dishonest ways as clients or patients feigning wanting help or treatment toying so often with Mental Health Professionals as a middle manoeuvre manipulation gaslighting effort means to an end to trap their targeted victim into believing they are seeking help, toward “real” change to avoid responsibility and the consequences of their predatory truth. To avoid their victims from finally seeing that behind the many masks they wear the “person” thought to be who you love or loved is not really real at all.
This reality of the psychopathic predator is the very real, difficult, relational equivalent of caveat emptor – “let the buyer beware”. Let the loving person beware.
Let the man (or woman) being lovebombed beware. His “charm” is a verb – not a noun. Charm, the verb, is the psychopath’s cold, calculated hidden agenda in action. The Narcisstic and/or psychopath, who absolutely seems (at some point of initial awareness, before he fools you out of that awareness) too good to be true really is.
All that you continue to give the benefit of the (your) doubt about and the cycles of all forms of abuse that without any remorse or conscience the predator will “apologize” and make false promise after false promise without emotion and without shame – shamelessly in his true empty dark soul way he will merely lie endlessly to win you back over and over again.
He wins you back because though he is an empty vessel – a predator using you and sadistically aroused – and excited when, like a cat, who had captured a mouse a knocked it somewhat senseless before its temporary fear-filled fleeing, he stalks back in to win you back and fool you to play with and victimize you time and time again without a care about the traumatic wounding and re-wounding that he is truly in a calculating way delivering in disguise to you.
This is the sum total of how he feels, oh so fleetingly – some sense of being alive – though it be lacking authentically any actual aliveness at all. Without his calculated sadistic predatory stalking excitement of re-capturing his victim, the psychopath is dead inside. Doomed to a psychologically vacant fully un-ending dark vapidity that is the psychotic delusion of the fullness of total emptiness that threatens to annihilate him because he exists solely on what he can manipulate and take from others.
If if you meet someone who mirrors you so incredibly much, really way too much, that you feel like, this must be my soulmate, he knows me so well – ask yourself what inconsistencies are you experiencing (though you will deny your brief keen awareness of mask-slips) and who is this person? They mirror everything about you, but, what do you really know about him/her?
I know what I describe above (aside from quoted super-traits) and Sandra L. Brown’s brilliantly coined terminology) because I have and do have clients who are Narcisstic/psychopathic predators who do not understand their reality at all. More importantly than this sad and painful witnessing of these clients, I have worked with and continue to work the empaths in their recovery journeys from this deeply wounding abuse/trauma that leaves the victims of these predators with severe cognitive dissonance and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) at the center of many other traumatic effects of this most painful and difficult (as Sandra L. Brown calls it) pathological love relationship.
It is so important if you can relate to being victimized and traumatized as described here that you seek support, help, and guidance. Equally important that you come to the awareness that what has happened and been done to you goes beyond the trauma of domestic abuse and toxic relationships.
Please also know that coming to this awareness is the time – are the initial moments that are so crucial to getting on the road to recovery- but, at the same time this is the beginning of a very painful process because you are courageously leaving the denial and the respite times of not being fully aware of the trap of cognitive dissonance.
Being captured and victimized, traumatized, shamed and blamed by the predator you really loved for who you so thought, wanted, them to be. The heartbreak of coming to terms with the shockingly-stark reality of the non-existence of that “person” you loved and may still feel love for the faked masked predator “soulmate persona” you thought was real is where you need empathy and to learn to direct much more of your own empathy away from the predator to give to yourself.
It is not your fault or responsibility at all that you were targeted, traumatized and caused such deep undeserved pain. Narcissist/psychopathic predators are so skilled at fooling, even experts.
Please begin to forgive yourself without finding fault, blame, or critical self-judgment. This experience of being so fooled and so devastatingly hurt is not your fault or responsibility at all.
Choosing bravely your journey of recovery is now your responsibility – a sacred responsibility to learn, grow, heal and reclaim your wonderful but currently wounded self. There is meaning to be found in recovery from this abuse.
Not that this happened to teach you. Rather that because it has happened to you part of recovery from this abuse is finding meaning and purpose and, in time, paying forward your unique strengths in survival, in recovery and healing and in the steady moving forward with a new appreciation and understanding of your wonderful qualities that have and may continue, to a lesser degree to also present challenges. Challenges that your journey in recovery will help you to navigate in new and more empowering ways.
© A.J. Mahari (except noted copyright of Sandra L. Brown) March 3, 2016.