Seeing that Empath challenges himself, adapts, and does everything to avoid conflict, Narcissist rushes into the breach and redoubles his demands on Empath. Empathetic questions herself even more, which feeds her doubts about herself. She is consumed in questioning, wondering why , how , “ what makes” Narcissist be so mean to her. She doesn’t understand that Narcissist is simply taking advantage of the situation.
Narcissist, we have said, never has any scruples or remorse. She feels no guilt in gaining benefits at the expense of Empath. On the contrary, she is proud to dominate. She sees Empathic submission as a sign, not of kindness or generosity, but of weakness . In his mind, Empathic deserves to be exploited .
Empathetic has the opposite reflex. She can’t imagine anyone being indifferent to other people’s pain and injustice, since she herself is so sensitive to it. “ I must have done something to justify Narcissist’s attitude towards me , she thought, because otherwise Narcissist would notice that I’m suffering and help me, that’s for sure! “.
In reality, Narcissist has no intention of helping her. She will continue to exploit it as long as it is in her interest and as long as the other does not react. And that’s easy, because the Empath is likely to refuse any outside help. She has such a devalued image of herself that she thinks the people who seek to intervene to protect her are wrong, that they don’t realize that it’s all her fault .
Chained in a toxic relationship with Narcissistic, she will go so far as to defend her against her family, her friends or colleagues who seek to protect her and who wish her well. This is how Empathic will find herself isolated, at the mercy of Narcissistic!
How to get out of this terrible situation?
This requires that Empath understands the lethal weapon used by Narcissist, and neutralizes it. This weapon is called projective identification .
A projection is a term of psychoanalysis which indicates the fact of allotting to the others unavowable feelings which one tests oneself , but which one does not want to recognize. For example connect with passed loved ones, a brutal person who does not recognize himself as such, but who sees brutal people everywhere. Narcissistic personalities use this defense mechanism constantly. In couples therapy, for example, it is common to encounter narcissistic perverts who “diagnose” their victim partner as being a narcissistic pervert.
Identification is what the victim of the narcissist feels . The victim is capable of empathy. Having an “open heart”, she readily, unconsciously absorbs the narcissist’s projections, and identifies them as her own. Thus, when the narcissist projects his negative emotions onto his victim, the latter instantly experiences shame, guilt, a feeling of illegitimacy, incompetence, devaluation.
The narcissist takes advantage of this to isolate him, exploit him, extort favors from him (sexual, financial or symbolic such as admiration and recognition, etc.). The victim withers and loses even more self-confidence. His self-defense mechanisms, initially weak, are further eroded. She feels increasingly dependent on the narcissist, stuck in the deadly cycle of projective identification .
Two very special personalities: Narcissistic and Empathetic
There are diseases of the body , diseases of the mind , and there are relational diseases . These can be terrible. We are talking about toxic relationships , which poison their victims. The toxic relationship is likely to arise when two very particular personalities meet:
1 – The first, whom we will call Narcissistic , has a high opinion of herself for self-healing. She does not practice introspection. She does not know scruples, regrets, remorse. She is convinced that she will never make a mistake. If she fails, it’s someone else’s fault, never hers. When someone is accused in her place, she avoids denouncing herself. She does not feel compassion for the unjustly accused person but, on the contrary, a feeling of superiority, that of having been “ smarter ”.
2 – The other, whom we will call Empathic , doubts itself. She constantly asks herself questions about her value, her merits. In case of conflict, his reflex is to believe that it is his fault. She apologizes, blames herself, questions herself. She thinks it’s up to her, and only her, to make the effort to change. She takes upon herself the responsibility of restoring peace and harmony, even if it means sacrificing herself.
When Empathetic meets Narcissistic, the relationship can quickly become toxic:
Whenever a conflict arises, Narcissist imposes his point of view and does not hesitate to overwhelm Empath, who does not dare to respond for fear of aggravating the situation. When Narcissistic is wrong, she blames it on Empathic. Empathic assumes there has been a misunderstanding and that Narcissistic sincerely believes it is not their fault. She makes excuses to Narcissist because she hates conflict and forbids herself from having a bad opinion of others. She goes so far as to invent mistakes that would explain Narcissist’s unjust attitude towards her. If I make the necessary concessions, she thinks, Narcissist will become nice to me. Because what matters most to her is to feel appreciated, loved. But Empathic gets the exact opposite of what she was hoping for!