Do you find yourself experiencing deep attunement to the people in your life? Have you been labeled as too sensitive? Do you take on overwhelming emotions and feel like you care too much about how others feel?
Empathy allows us to interpret the emotions that other people experience. But empaths actually sense and feel the emotions themselves. In other words, someone else’s pain becomes your pain. Similarly, someone else’s joy, fear, or sadness becomes your joy, fear, or sadness.
There are pros and cons to the empath personality. That said, these two types of empaths are not necessarily fixed states. You can change how you relate to and understand other people. Let’s get into what you need to know.
How Do You Know If You’re An Empath?
All empaths tend to feel emotions very deeply and profoundly. Others may describe them as “extra sensitive” or even “needy.” That’s because empaths feel both their feelings and the feelings of others.
Many empaths struggle with intimate relationships. They want to feel connected and supported by their partners. However, they often read into every little emotional cue. They doubt themselves and their partner. They constantly second-guess the security of the relationship. Similarly, they often experience sensory overload from all the thinking, talking, and interpreting the other person’s emotions.
Empaths also tend to have strong intuitions for people. They can sense if others are having a bad day before they say a word. They get gut feelings about someone’s personality based on a single interaction.
Finally, empaths tend to be extremely patient and good at listening. Others often come to them to confide in their secrets. Empaths are usually compassionate and generous with their time and resources. While many people appreciate this kindness, some choose to take advantage of it.
What Causes Someone To Be An Empath?
There isn’t a single factor contributing to the empath personality. Instead, it appears that a combination of different variables contributes to this phenomenon.
Like with all personalities, individual temperament seems to play a role. We’re all born with different levels of sensitivities. You can observe these basic differences just by watching how babies interact with the world. While some babies are fairly mellow and calm, others are far more reactive to different lights or sounds.
Genetics can also be a determining factor. Highly sensitive people often have mothers or fathers with the same traits. The modeling of this sensitivity may pass down from generation to generation.
Finally, trauma also plays a significant factor in one’s sensitivity. Almost all empaths have a history of emotional or physical abuse. Trauma impacts how safe people feel in their relationships. It also affects one’s self-esteem and mental well-being.
Why Is The Empath-Narcissist Relationship So Common?
On the one hand, empaths are often loving, patient, and kind. On the other hand, they can have a seemingly insatiable need to rescue and love. That’s because empaths tend to feel validated when they connect with others.
Narcissists often seek out empaths because the empath tends to be cooperative, compassionate, and low-key. The level of cooperativeness is critical. Narcissists seek out this trait in their partners because they recognize they don’t possess it themselves. They know that overly cooperative partners will sacrifice their happiness and needs to maintain the relationship’s homeostasis.
Empaths find themselves pulled towards narcissists because they initially present as strong, confident, and charming. They may shower you with compliments and affection. Moreover, they may be quick to profess their love and happiness in being with you. All of these actions are carefully crafted to lure you in.
The narcissist may paint stories of trauma or low self-esteem. They often complain of feeling misunderstood. Empaths can usually empathize with the narcissist in ways nobody else can. They often play into the victim stories their narcissistic partners tell them.
Similarly, empaths also tend to believe they can change the narcissist. They assume their love and kindness can negate the narcissist’s need for power and control. They also assume that the narcissist doesn’t mean to hurt them.
Unfortunately, this line of thinking is incorrect. Narcissists value power and control above anything else in a relationship. They lack empathy and regard for others. As a result, they will continue testing their empathic partners to ensure their utmost compliance.
What Are Exhausted Empaths?
At its core, exhausted empaths are tired of their own empathy! They give and they give, but they receive so little in return. They don’t set boundaries with others. If they do, they fail to implement them.
Exhausted empaths often try to please everyone. These pleasing tendencies extend beyond the relationship with the narcissist. They often act submissively in all relationships, including ones with family members and coworkers.
The exhausted empath’s motives can feel both desperate and erratic. They’re good listeners, but it seems like nobody listens to them. They may want to fix other people, but they don’t recognize that some people can’t or don’t want to be fixed.
It’s no surprise that exhausted empaths tend to have low self-esteem. As a result, they tend to stay in toxic relationships. They might subscribe to the false belief that love conquers all. They might also hold onto the magical thinking that their partner will change if only they do X, Y, or Z.
Exhausted empaths aren’t just exhausted. They’re often resentful, bored, or completely apathetic about their lives. They may struggle with profound depression or anxiety.
What Are Empowered Empaths?
Empowered empaths recognize their people-pleasing tendencies, and they aim to do something about it. They aren’t victims of their circumstances. They choose to rise above their discouraged empath status.
Empowered empaths understand the need for setting and identifying healthy boundaries. They recognize their feelings matter. They don’t tolerate people who can’t respect their basic needs.
Empowered empaths protect their hearts and minds. They value their integrity, and they have learned to harness their sensitivity only for people who deserve it. They still listen and give love, but they don’t give it endlessly. They also make sure to practice self-care and self-love.
For these reasons, empowered empaths tend to live serene, fulfilling lives. They recognize they can control their actions. They also identify the importance of surrounding themselves with healthy and positive people.
Finally, empowered empaths learn from their mistakes. They recognize that slip-ups can and do occur. Rather than backslide into old ways of thinking, they know how to move themselves back on track.
How Do You Move From Exhaustion To Empowerment?
It is possible to transform from an exhausted empath to an empowered empath. This transformation requires both time and effort, and it may feel uncomfortable.
First, it’s essential to recognize where you lie on the continuum. If you’re still in a narcissistic relationship, there’s a good chance you’re an exhausted empath. Chances are, you’ve sacrificed your needs, desires, and even your identity for the other person.
Do you identify with feeling exhausted by yourself and others? Do you feel a sense of emptiness or numbness in your relationships? Do you experience tremendous regret over your past choices?
If you answered yes to any of those questions, you’re probably an exhausted empath! At first, this self-awareness is painful. After all, you want to be a kind and loving person. It’s challenging to know that people may be taking advantage of your personality. It’s even harder to realize that you are responsible for your healing and recovery.
Of course, detecting narcissism isn’t always straightforward. Many empaths believe they have found their twin flame in the narcissist. You thought they were your soulmate, but you quickly discover they’re just extremely manipulative and toxic. Unfortunately, they know how to also trick you back into believing you really are soulmates!
Empowerment comes from a place of acceptance and self-love. Eventually, you must accept the narcissist for who they are. Most likely, they’re not going to change. Likewise, they definitely won’t change just because that’s what you want.
Self-love means respecting yourself. It means knowing your worth and not settling for anything less. Self-love can take time to cultivate, but it’s worth dedicating as much time and energy as it takes. The more self-love you have, the fuller your life will feel.
Final Thoughts On Types of Empaths
While you can’t help your core personality, you can change your actions. You do have control over your happiness.
To truly break free from the narcissistic spell, a total no contact approach is necessary (or extreme modified contact if you share children with the narcissist). No-contact is the most effective way to ensure your recovery. It’s guaranteed to help you move forward in healing.
Keep in mind that both types of empaths often feel tempted by other “less-intense” methods. You will want to give the narcissist a second chance. You will feel guilty and cruel for pulling away. To compound the stress, the narcissist will try to convince you to come back.
Whereas the exhausted empath often gives in to the narcissist’s hoovering, the empowered empath knows how to keep their healing information to themselves, and not heal everyone around them in a completely out-of-control fashion. They’ve come to accept that they cannot heal or transform the narcissist and have chosen to preserve their gifts and energies for people who can benefit.
Freedom requires eliminating that toxicity from your life. You are compassionate, generous, and loving. You deserve to share these gifts with people who actually deserve them!
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