I’m being guided to continue writing about the Empath-Narcissist dynamic. Welcome to the second installment of this series.
Many of us are intimately involved in the Empath-Narcissistic dynamic as a type of spiritual shadow work. Some are actually married to narcissists without being aware of it. Check this list of types of narcissists to see if this might apply to your spouse:
- Cerebral: Like the word cerebral implies, a cerebral narcissist has a profound belief that they have a superior intellect, that their intelligence far exceeds that of ordinary folk. They have a vast array of knowledge on just about any topic.
- Somatic: Consumed with their physical beauty and prowess. You will often find somatics working hard at the gym or on their appearance in some fashion or another. Somatics derive their Narcissistic supply from the reactions of others to their appearance, or sexual conquests.
- Overt: Must always be in control. They are always right. They don’t hide their expectations that everything must always be all about them and done their way. They have massive egos and they aren’t afraid to show it. This type can verbally or physically slice you into ribbons and feel not an ounce of remorse or guilt.
- Covert: Is a narcissist who, to the outside world, appears to be kind, altruistic, and full of integrity, but they save their rage, extreme selfishness and cruelty for their nearest and dearest. They could be your religious leaders, teachers, counselors, politicians, anyone in a position with some authority or power.
- Parasitic: Exhibits all the traits of narcissism as outlined in the DSM IV, however this type wants to be taken care of. They lead a parasitic lifestyle, feeding off their host, and anyone that provides them the opportunity. They don’t want responsibility. They look for strong, intelligent, successful partners.
- Boomerang: Constantly popping in and out of your life. They offer very little in the way of believable excuses, but their co-dependent partners keep taking them back. They usually have several other partners they are involved with and bounce from one to the other when it suits them or something is expected of them.
If on reading these descriptions you get a gut reaction of “YES! That’s him!” or “OMG!!!! That bitch!”, please do the following exercise:
- Pick one or two types that you feel describe your partner. Here is an example from my personal life: My husband whom I love very much (and so do others who don’t really know him) used to be number 5 but then became number 6. My ex-husband who most people think is an ass was numbers 3 and 1 and now is number 4.
- Now consider which ones they might have picked for you, had they been doing this exercise (Example: my first husband would say definitely all of them, plus I have a personality disorder and I’m crazy, while my second husband would say I used to be 3 but now I’m definitely 5).
- Meditate on this.
- Understand that YOU MIGHT BE AN EMPATH, especially if you are at all worried that you might be a narcissist and/or see some types that apply to you.
CAUTION: If you have been living with narcissism in your life, you may have adopted many of the same behaviors and attitudes described above as a survival skill in order to do your shadow work. This does not mean you are a narcissist, but may be a sign that you are what I would call a narcissistic empath. Your spouse may be as well, especially if you feel they might be your twin flame. I will be addressing this in a subsequent article.
Narcissists often use projection (accusing their partner of behaviors and activities that they themselves are doing) as a form of mind control and way to deflect attention away from their problematic behaviors. As empaths, we sometimes accept these projections as the truth of who we are. I myself have spent years trying to rid myself of the labels that were placed on me by narcissists in my life, so when I read the above list I was especially sensitive to the types of behaviors that might apply to me. One thing that helped was to do the following: if I recognized a true incident in which I had behaved badly, I took responsibility and made amends if I could. Making amends often does not work with the true narcissist, so in that case the best course of action was to maintain no contact.
Next in this series: How An Empath Becomes a Narcissist