Empath and Co-dependent

The Freedom Agenda – What Every Empath and Co-Dependent Needs to Know

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You are not responsible for the pain, dysfunction, and poor decisions of others…

What was that you said?  You feel burdened by all that is wrong in the world?

You feel an overwhelming pressure to make things better?

Did I hear you correctly?  You even feel guilty or responsible for what’s wrong in other people’s lives?

What a heavy weight we carry when we decide to take on the burden of another person’s choices or life.

Empaths and Codependents feel it’s their obligation to save the world.  And when they’re being manipulated by a Narcissist, this sense of obligation becomes their whole identity as the Narc plays the victim to the nth degree.

It’s crucial to acknowledge that a Narcissist is disordered.  When we support them, we are either knowingly or unknowingly supporting a lie, as the person we think we’re helping doesn’t really exist.  Living a balanced and happy life means accepting this reality, even though the Narcissist cannot.  They can’t be healed because in order for that to happen, they’d first need to acknowledge they are wounded. 

Instead, Narcissists use fear, obligation, and guilt (FOG) to keep their targets perpetually catering to their every whim…and overlooking lies and broken promises.

Empaths and Codependents – What’s the Difference?

Empaths – Empaths are usually very caring and giving of themselves, often to their own detriment. Being particularly perceptive and hypersensitive to the wants and needs of others; going without to bring happiness and nurturing to their partners, hoping to avoid conflict at all costs.

Often, those who exhibit these kinds of behaviors also carry with them a very low self- worth. Because of this, they are prone to periods of depression, isolation, anxiety, and codependency on others.

The problem arises in where codependency can often be expressed through the relationships they develop with other people because they are hypersensitive to hostility and prefer to avoid conflict. Their natural ability to want to keep the peace and make their partners pleased can easily be manipulated by those who are prone toward anger and aggression.

Codependents – Co-dependency involves a pattern of thinking, feeling and/or behavior where one cannot tell where they begin and others end. It is toxic for relationships. Codependency can even be deemed an attempt to control others.

Codependents think and feel responsible for other people’s feelings, actions, wants, needs, and well-being (or lack thereof).  They feel compelled, almost forced, to help others solve their problems through offering unwanted advice or trying to fix feelings.

Empaths are born with a sensitive emotional nature.  Codependency is learned behavior and a coping mechanism.  Not all codependents are Empaths, but most Empaths struggle with codependency.  Both typically lose sight of their own lives in the commotion of tending to someone else’s, which makes them prime targets for Narcissists.  In abusive relationships, the one thing that they have in common is this: they love someone who is unrestrained, and they find themselves taking more accountability for the actions of that person than the person is taking for themselves.

For these issues, Empathy and Codependency, there is only one solution to becoming balanced. And that is the development of one’s self:  esteem, worth, and confidence….through acts of self-empathy, self- compassion, and self- love.

How do I show compassion and care without falling into codependent behaviors?

The fastest way to clarify if you are helping versus being codependent is to do an intention check.  Are you helping this person so you can rescue them?  Are you helping them because it seems like your identity rests upon your ability to help others?  Are you covering up dysfunctional behaviors?  Are you helping this person because you don’t feel strong enough to help yourself – so their problem becomes a distraction from your own challenges?  If you answer yes to any of these questions, then chances are co-dependency is the root.

Helping vs. Enabling

When we try to fix another individual, their problems, or influence their path, we are basically allowing them to avoid facing the consequences of their decisions and actions.   What’s more, we’re not even helping ourselves out; we’re just taking on extra baggage.

Everyone needs to work out their own journey through life.  It is our responsibility to love and respect them enough to give them space to take responsibility for their behavior.

We are disempowering another human being when we try to fix, solve, or make the consequences go away.

We are not responsible for any other human being but ourselves (with the exception of minor children).  Focus on yourself and be your own personal best so that you can be a shining example to others.  It’s the only way you will make a positive change in someone’s life.

It’s okay to be you and it’s okay to let other people be themselves.  If you can support people along their journey without getting entangled in “fixing” or “solving” their problems for them, or covering up for them, then you will have acted with true compassion without enabling.

“Could you really love somebody who was absolutely nobody without you? You really want somebody like that? Somebody who falls apart when you walk out the door? You don’t, do you? And neither does he. You’re turning over your whole life to him. Your whole life, girl. And if it means so little to you that you can just give it away, hand it to him, then why should it mean any more to him? He can’t value you more than you value yourself.”  ~  Toni MorrisonSong of Solomon

Recommended Reading:

10 Lies We Mistake for Love – Part 1

10 Lies We Mistake for Love – Part 2

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Should I Enlighten the New Girl about the Narcissist? - Let Me Reach with Kim Saeed says November 26, 2017

[…] targets of narcissistic abuse are empaths and have a strong inclination to rescue the world.  However, as Empaths, we should also understand that sometimes, we must let things happen […]

Ret says February 23, 2015

Another good post. Came here today because after very limited contact (we have 3 kids together), I was on the receiving end of a rage last night. Today, after thinking about what I was being blamed for…I found myself falling into the guilt trap. I started thinking maybe I’m not doing enough? Reading about this reminds me that I can no longer take responsibility for the things my ex does or doesn’t do. What was said….it’s all my fault, I’m not doing enough, and I’m a horrible person. Thank you for this post Kim.

    Kim Saeed says February 23, 2015

    I’m so glad to know my article helped you, Ret. I hope to publish more related to Empaths and Codependency. Best wishes for you and your children <3

Sunshine says August 23, 2014

Always amazing posts! Thank you for writing this!

CarolinevanKimmenade (@IDSensitivity) says August 20, 2014

“We are disempowering another human being when we try to fix, solve, or make the consequences go away.” – This is so true, and so crucial for empaths to deeply integrate into their being. When absorbing other people’s pain has become an automatic habit, no matter how loving the intention, or how much you personally suffer as a result, you are ultimately, disempowering the other person. Because you’re breaking the feed-back loop.

Our emotions give us feedback about our life and purpose. Removing other people’s direct painful emotional feedback may be what they want and like in the short-run, but it disempowers them in the long run (you make them feel better after talking to them, but you feel worse yourself, because you took on the emotional burden). Nevertheless, narcissists love this kind of short-term solution, because it absolves them of their responsibility for their own well-being. In this way, co-depedent empaths are a “perfect painful match” for narcissists.

The way out of this dynamic is not for the narcissists of the world to change, but for the empaths to break the automatic habit of taking responsibility for other people’s pain (I’m not saying not to have compassion, I’m saying not to take responsibility – big difference! But for an untrained empath, compassion tends to be equated with taking responsibility – and not doing so tends to feel as “unloving”). That said, I have yet to meet someone who broke this dynamic while staying in a relationship with a narcissist, so first things first…

    Kim Saeed says August 21, 2014

    Such excellent insight! Thank you for your very educated input. I hope others will see it and benefit from it <3

theinfiniterally says August 20, 2014

I really appreciate the points you’ve made here. I think I will be able to apply them right away to several relationships. Thanks!

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