The Missing Link: Why Empaths Often Find Themselves In Bad Relationships…

The Missing Link: Why Empaths Often Find Themselves In Bad Relationships

A lot has been written on the perpetual narcissist/empath conundrum. Navigating this life as an HSP (Highly Sensitive Person) and an often overwhelmed empath, has increased my awareness of some missed dynamics in this ongoing puzzle. You see… being with someone who has little to no ‘real feelings’ is highly comfortable at first for the empath or HSP.

We find (at first) that we can finally relax and be ourselves, free from constantly soaking up emotional energy from our partners. And this feels good! It feels like freedom; it feels like soulmate compatibility; it feels healthy…but it’s not. Not only does it serve to deaden our powerful senses in a manner such as drug abuse — there is no drug quite like a ‘narcissist’ — but it validates poor behavioral and psychological functioning in our deeply, and sometimes intractably injured, partners. So many people are reading this because they identify with these labels (mostly empaths and HSP’s).

SEE ALSO: You’re Ignoring The Most Dangerous Addiction Of All

Spotting instability

It’s doubtful, but not impossible, that some full-on narcissists might stumble across this. Narcs, if you’re out there… be with someone who challenges you, and stay ready to be challenged. You need this to truly be your best self, which deep down you strive to and know you can be/are.

Empaths & HSP’s…if it feels too good, and you know your history, take a step back. Unstable relationships generally start off rather manic; this is because it is an unhealthy, wound-induced connection and our holistic selves are preparing us for the storm on the horizon.

Our holistic physiology is relieved by their ostensible stoicism… but those still, calm, surface waters run deep; and, soon both parties risk getting dragged down by the undertows of those currents. When the narc finally displays emotion, it is usually marked by some sort of unbridled selfishness underneath. They get mad. They get disappointed. They feel deep pity for themselves when bad things happen to people they use or need…

Don’t confuse this with genuine caring…they do not, on the other hand, validate any such feelings in their partners. They may be great at pseudo-validating the feelings of others, but once you’ve seen the mask slip, your feelings will begin to incrementally come last — not the least of which because you are a liability.

Breaking the addiction

You become the enemy because you, once trusted, are now a threat to their reputation; and, also because in their eyes you betrayed them when you didn’t fully accept their wounded inner selves due to the bone-chilling cruelty they manifest from this ‘original wound’.

It’s not your duty to save them. And, it’s not their duty to change for you — unless they decide to open up to that level of healing. Not to be too pessimistic, but this is highly unlikely, especially in the context of a relationship built on a false foundation such as the empath – narc entanglements.

It hurts. You get addicted to their very lack of emotion because you can relax into it… until the inevitable day comes when the one-sided trust falls through.

I don’t believe I need to unpack this ad nauseum. It is indeed such a simple dynamic, which is probably why it has so long been routinely overlooked. As an empath, I can usually tell if someone I’m not invested in is faking ‘emotion’. It will look and sound perfect but the heart energy is missing. However, the times when it can be challenging to detect this is when we have already let our guard down.

We have likely projected our own desires and emotions into the vacuous nature, the space, of the narc’s wounds; and, therefore it *feels real*. It’s not. Find someone who makes you feel relaxed like this because they have strong boundaries and disciplined self-awareness at managing them. This is the person who will compliment your strengths.


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Dr. Courtney Parker


Dr. Parker holds a PhD in Health Promotion and Behavior from the University of Georgia, where she previously earned a…

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