Why Are People Evil?

Evelyn Ryan, Yourlifelifter

th-2Now, I am not preaching or discussing my religious beliefs however religion, anecdotes, truth, and evil are are my mind today. And this is why.

I have always been fascinated with what makes people evil. Frankly, I could never relate and still have a hard time understanding the lack of compassion and empathy in evil rotten broken people, specifically pathological narcissists and psychopaths. But since most religions address good and evil, it was natural for me to use them as sources of information.

This is what I found:

  1. Pretty much all religions are founded on reconciliation of good and evil and the search for truth or enlightenment.
  2. They use anecdotes, short accounts of a real incident or person not supported by scientific data, to make a point.
  3. All discuss the consequences of committing evil deeds or violation of moral or ethical codes more commonly referred to as “sins.” Most define what these moral and ethical codes are and list them and provide examples in anecdotes. Sins are graded  by severity from least to most harmful as are good characteristics from least to most beneficial.
  4. Most provide some leeway for those who truly unknowingly commit sins or repent them.
  5. Punishments for breaking the rules are commensurate with their severity and the level of intent in committing the sin. In all religions, evil people pay the ultimate price for the worst “mortal” sins and good virtuous people reap the benefits. For example, the ultimate price, in Christianity, for the truly evil who do not repent is hell and eternal damnation. The benefit for the righteous is enlightenment and eternal life.
  6. Some claim evil is passed down from generation to generation.
  7. All are founded in faith, belief without justification or what I refer to as “internal truth” or “internal beliefs.”

Read more on dysfunctional families and intergenerational abuse.

Let’s examine now in the discussion of evil, the worst of the sins referred to as the seven capital sins, deadly sins or mortal sins and their relation to the seven virtues.

th-1The Roman Catholic Church recognized the Seven Capital Virtues as opposites to the Seven Deadly Sins. According to Dante’s The Divine Comedy, the sins have an order of greatness, and the virtues a respective order of greatness as well.

This order is shown below from the least significant to the most significant. Note that pride or vanity otherwise known as narcissism, then, is listed as the worst of the mortal sins. It is considered the cause of the other six, hence, the “root of all evil.” Note also that the virtues identify what are the most desirable character traits.

Seven Mortal Sins

  1. Lust (excessive sexual appetites)
  2. Gluttony (over-indulgence)
  3. Greed (avarice)
  4. Sloth (laziness/idleness)th-7
  5. Wrath (anger)
  6. Envy (jealousy)
  7. Pride (vanity)

Seven Virtues

  1. Chastity (purity)
  2. Temperance (self-restraint)
  3. Charity (giving)
  4. Diligence (zeal/integrity/Labor)
  5. Forgiveness (composure)
  6. Kindness (admiration)
  7. Humility (humbleness)

So aren’t we, the compassionate loving virtuous ones the targets of narcissistic evil beasts who the scriptures describe as the root of all evil?

Read more here on how narcissists target empaths.

What are we to make of the evil narcissists with deficient characters in our lives who mucked with our belief system, abused us, exploited us, shadowed their brokenness and evilness on us and tried to turn us into them? What are we to make of those who as discussed in the Bible “call evil good and good evil and put darkness for light and light for darkness.”

15542103_1865236083711339_1752394264640839557_nThis is what I profess, that in all religions, at a point in history when the level of man’s thinking was less mature, when psychology did not exist and we relied on the heavens for answers, folks were describing narcissists and psychopaths. Compassionate loving empathic virtuous people from every corner of the world who were being targeted and scapegoated by narcissists and psychopaths (Jesus being the most famous of scapegoats) were desperate for answers in their common searches for truth. And they wrote their answers in their scriptures and described them in anecdotes to educate and warn us of the evil among us and the impending doom. This is what preempted “psychology” before its birth and we could put a name to these disordered humans. And they were pretty much spot on.

Read more on the pandemic of narcissism across the world.

As they all described, when all is said and done, people will remember those kind compassionate people, the enlightened ones who live in truth, and will miss them and share those memories with others. We can learn from our mistakes, course and thought correct, and repent from our “sins.” Our souls can be nourished and we can heal. Our spirits and souls do live forever. This, I profess is eternal life commonly known as “heaven.”

th-4And those evil ones, the narcissists and psychopaths, when they pass, people will rejoice and forget them and no one will share memories of them or miss them. They cannot be cured. They are evil unrepentant sinners who cannot create their own energy and leave no memories to sustain those who remain. Their spirits and insatiable souls are gone forever. This, I profess is eternal damnation commonly known as “hell.”

8 Effective Ways to Outsmart a Narcissist

Evelyn Ryan, Yourlifelifter

If you are or have been in a relationship th-16with a narcissist or were raised by or among one or more, you have been traumatized by and suffered what I believe is the worst psychological and emotional abuse imaginable. The harm is immeasurable and can go on for years.

You will read over and over and over again how “no contact” is critical to your healing from the trauma and for you rebuild your destroyed self-esteem and self-worth and, for some, your broken bank accounts.

And I agree…totally. Fortunately, some of mine (yes, a herd) live far away and make it a bit easier for me.

But what about the one or ones who are not far away? What about those you have to see on a periodic or more frequent basis? What about those we must be around or those we work with and see or speak with daily or every other day or even weekly? What about those we may be in court with, at graduation, a school ceremony, or maybe even a wedding?

How do we manage those interactions? How do we make them tolerable? Should we?

I remembered at the beginning of my healing even after years of study wondering (I analyze all the time), “Can you have a workable relationship with a narcissist?”

The answer is an unequivocal, YES.

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Sam Vaknin, a pathological narcissist amongst other things, and a renowned expert on narcissism, stated that you could if you learned how to manipulate him or her or them. If Sam, a self proclaimed narcissist and expert whom I respect very much said so then it must be so. After all, I have a professional relationship with Sam. Since Sam is brilliant, extremely analytical and detailed, and based on my reading thousands of pages he (and others) have written on pathological narcissism, I can only surmise he does not know exactly how. Sam does provide excellent pointers (with a narcissist’s bias) on how to deal with them but did not provide specific “how” to tips. After all, how often would a narcissist manipulate another narcissist, right? It is possible but not probable.

So I embarked on my own mission to figure out “how do I outsmart a narcissist” and here is what I discovered:

“Use them to your advantage as they use you.”

Let’s break this down a bit further.

If narcissists need adulation and attention and feed off of our energy and we know what makes them tick, why not give them what they need in selective and effective doses if and only if it benefits you or your children.

Give them a dose of their own medicine with a spoonful of sugar!

The key here is only if it benefits you and only if you are comfortable and secure in your sense of personal power.

Small mosquitoAnd if you are, then, use your compassion and emotional intelligence that made you a target of a narcissist now to manipulate them as they did us and to balance out the power, to level the playing field, per se. Use your regained personal power to tip the scales in your favor and to turn the parasite host relationship into a mutually beneficial one and one that will minimize and prevent further harm to you and your children.

th-17Oh, the narcissist will make all attempts to take something from you, no doubt. They need to in order to survive. It is their given purpose like it is a mosquito’s purpose to buzz around and annoy you. So the goal here is to minimize the harm to you and your children using psychological narc repellant.

One thing for sure, you cannot accomplish this goal by seeking revenge on them or trying to ruin him or her or his or her reputation.

I would like to caution everyone that doing this is not advisable and probably not going to be very effective in your early stages of healing when your self-power and self-esteem are diminished and no contact is absolutely necessary to ensure your well-being. This also takes strong self-resolve, focus, and discipline and good “acting” skills. While these are honed over time, you can, nevertheless, start learning and practicing them immediately. At this point strong advocacy by someone experienced in narcissism and
narcissistic abuse recovery may be warranted and can be very useful to take some of the burden off of you, minimize your contact with the narcissist, and allow you to focus on
your healing. Remember, we should never participate in an interaction that will put us or our children in harm’s way. Seek police or legal or professional action for protection immediately.

So here are eight quick and effective strategies you can use to manipulate a narcissist and help minimize the harm they inflict on you. Note, however, that the narcissists benefit as well. These suggestions are mutually beneficially and are designed to balance power and minimize and prevent further harm to you and your children. That is the key objective here.

  1. Be strategic, not revengeful.th-14

Establish clear goals with the strongest emphasis on your long term vision of emotional freedom and health rather than short term material gains, revenge, and ego satisfaction. Money and material possessions are not an indicator of success or healthy self-esteem and can be regained and earned quicker that your emotional health can heal. Money can be a powerful motivator in the interim but may do more harm longer term if it keeps you trapped and emotionally unhealthy and suffering. Be clear that your motives during “required” interactions be based solely on what benefits you and your children and supports your emotional healing into the future.

images-3Narcissists are aggressive but very predictable and you can use this to develop offensive strategies to achieve your goals and minimize harm from them. Your choice of divorce or to stop providing narcissistic supply will instill his or her wrath and they will fight to the death to win and defend their fear of shame from you exposing the truth about who they really are to those who know them and even those who do not in the courtroom. So he or she will not hesitate to destroy you and your reputation and lie about you and recruit his flying monkeys to lie about you in court. Expect this and be prepared. Stay calm and focused on long-term emotional freedom and your children’s well-being, not short term self-satisfaction and retaliation.

Retaliation and benefit are not synonymous. Do not seek revenge or ever “go after” a narcissist, or anyone for that matter. Narcissists are energy vampires and feed off of your negative energies which keeps them on the offensive and in combat mode to defeat you. Going after them can keep you stuck, as well, in reactive victimhood mentality mode that feeds your ego-based need for revenge and retaliation rather than your long-term emotional freedom and health. Revenge, in effect, directs your feeling of powerlessness to your abuser and transfers your power to him or her, power they continue to use against you and your children. The best type of revenge is your and your children’s personal and emotional healing. As you heal, your children will heal through you.

  1. Use your compassion and emotional intelligence to your advantage.

Play off a narcissist’s predictable and (yawn), yes, boring, reactions and moods. Use this knowledge to fuel your strength and develop offensive strategies. You know them better than they know themselves. Gauge their moods and meter your actions accordingly. Be careful not to overdo it. Act commensurate with what you want to achieve. Be creative. Think out of the box.

Rather than trigger their fears and aggressive offensive actions, focus on creating an illusion that the narcissist is winning. If he aggressively goes after you, do not react aggressively. Remain calm and be soothing instead. Choose your battles carefully and be willing to lose a battle to win the war. If he or she wants the furniture, for example, keep a few pieces for yourself and not only give them the rest, tell them they deserve it. No harm done, you have fed their depraved need to win, and increased the chances they will back off and moved closer to the finish line. In the mean time, make a plan to redecorate and buy that awesome furniture you want and deserve.

  1. Only interact with them on days that things are going their way.

This is when they are the most malleable. Otherwise have no contact with them. Remember that you will always be their narcissistic supply and on their off days, they will shadow their wrath on you like they did in the past. The objective is to take actions that benefit you, not cause you further harm and that keep you on the healing track with your eye on the finish line, your emotional freedom.

  1. Avoid a battle including court at all costs.

Don’t do just what your attorney or friend tells you to do to maximize your partner’s losses for your or their personal gain and to get even. Never take punitive actions or actions that “appear” punitive. Narcissists are predictable but complex and hate to lose and to be challenged, ashamed, exposed, or criticized and will fight to the death to avoid any. Never ever ever let them see you sweat or show emotions that they can construe to the court as your emotional imbalance and inability to be an effective parent. Play nice in the sand box to tip the scales in your favor. Remember your goal and keep your eye on the prize. Be creative.

A gutsy friend told her ex that legally having joint custody would be a burden on him that he did not deserve and that he could see his son whenever he wanted. This was true and she ended up with full legal custody which was in her son’s best interest. She never prevented him from seeing him which turned out to be a few visits anyway and he backed off since he perceived he had already won the battle.

  1. th-15Give something up periodically to provide an illusion that the narcissist won rather
    than challenge them to provide a strategic upper hand.

Narcissists have aggressive personalities and have to win at all costs. If they lose, you must lose. If they win, you must lose.

But you can make the situation appear as if only he won when in reality it is a “win-win” by using strategic tactics. I know people who waived hundreds of thousands of dollars of child support since money was the narcissist’s sore spot and would keep them connected to something they needed to move away from. This leveled the playing field and minimized the conflict to them and their children. The narcissists backed off. They took action that supported their goal for emotional freedom rather than revenge or personal gain. Remember to be able to see the forest through the trees you have to keep looking for and seeking the forest. Remember to keep your eye on the finish line.

  1. Pay them compliments or give them a present.

This will feed their need for attention and adulation. Even if you are in divorce or custody proceedings, they will never pass up on a compliment that they were the best at this or that. Tell them they look great, are an expert, are the smartest or whatever pushes their egotistic buttons. Be creative. Perhaps, even cook them their favorite meal or cookies. Remember that while you may believe some of this, you are insincerely paying compliments. Do this sporadically and intermittently only if you need to. Remember the elemental word here is your self-benefit not your self-sacrifice.

  1. Agree with them even if you don’t.

This “appearance” will feed their need to be right and to win. You will know the truth but he or she won’t and it won’t matter. If your conscience makes it hard for you to actively agree, then respond neutrally such as “Geeze, that is interesting. I never heard it put that way before.” Or just nod and say “ohhhh” or “I get it.”

  1. Apologize if you feel you have to in order to get what you want even if you don’t have any remorse.

Even better, tell them you made a mistake and should have listened to them. Again, this  “appearance” will play up on their need to diminish and denigrate and their need for adulation and to win.

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I hope you find these tips useful.

Remember:

You are not powerless to these creeps and can use your compassion and emotional intelligence that made you a target of a narcissist to turn a harmful power imbalanced relationship into a more power-balanced one that minimizes and prevents further harm to you and your children.

Why Self-Forgiveness is Fundamental to Healing and Achieving Justice from Narcissistic Abuse

Evelyn Ryan, Yourlifelifter

th-2“Forgiveness is part of healing. It is not a prerequisite to healing. It is a point we reach when we understand and accept the truth about what happened to us from a position of emotional neutrality without the pain, blame and shame that our abusers shadowed on us.” 


I’d like to share some information on forgiveness, justice and victimization that may not be so obvious to survivors of narcissistic abuse but is critical to their healing.

Survivors of narcissistic or for that matter any abuse were victims, no different than a victim of a crime, a brutal illegal attack or violation of our boundaries, rights, authorities, or freedoms. What is the difference between a brutal attack of one’s body or possessions and one’s psyche and one’s heart and betrayal of intimate trust? Not many. But there are a few fundamental ones.

brokenheart-wallpaperOne attack, you may think, takes place in the conscious physical world – the other, in the metaphysical, the metacognitive world where we feel and think. However, the pain and shame and anger and fear and trauma we experience from a brutal physical or emotional brutal attack are the same. They inflict the same wounds and frequently open old ones. In addition, there are major differences to how we heal from the wounds. This is why.

We can achieve justice and emotional relief when our attackers are found, charged, found guilty, and punished for their evil deeds. Our victimization is then validated, our egos are soothed, and we can achieve some sense of safety, security, and closure. But what happens when a criminal “gets away with murder” and is free to roam and victimize whomever he or she chooses to target?

Isn’t this what serial thieves do?

Isn’t this what serial murderers and rapists do?8cc14d8f-48d2-4d8c-97d9-3e66d991850e-medium

Isn’t this what serial narcissists do?

The answers are an unequivocal YES and pose huge healing challenges to their victims. Let’s explore these challenges closer.

Healing and Achieving Justice

Healing and justice are not acquired through resentment and revenge that serve no other purpose than feeding our egos, keeping us bonded to our abusers, and continuing to give up our power to them. These are reactive defenses that cause us unjustifiably to take on additional pain and blame and continue to suppress our pain and also keep us trapped and hunkered down in shame and inaction that will do nothing more than hamper our healing and recovery.

Equally, healing and justice are not acquired through excusing the evil or pain or betrayal that was inflicted on us by our attackers or by showing compassion for them. Our need to forgive can also be guilt-driven by our moral, ethical or religious 1935078_1109367059096008_7406065166067850262_nbeliefs and convictions. I agree with renowned author and therapist Dr. Alice Miller and others that we do not have to forgive and that forgiving our abusers is a personal choice. We can add a huge amount of emotional burden to an already painful situation by being told if we do not forgive, we punish ourselves twice..blah blah blah. This can leave us conflicted and feeling added guilt and even shame when we really do not want to forgive.

We also while dealing with forgiveness have to deal with other daunting and unique challenges faced while grieving our losses. Effectively grieving after narcissistic abuse requires a reconciliation and a recalibration of our conflicting beliefs as they not only relate to forgiveness but also to loss, unrequited love, our lovability, and our pain and suffering.

Read more here on how to grieve and mourn the loss of a narcissist.

How, then, do innocent victims “get justice” when their attackers get off free of charge? How then do they achieve emotional relief and a sense of security? Victims of emotional abuse do not even have the option of becoming vigilantes because the narcissists like the mutants on X-men and space creatures on Men in Black look normal on the outside, do their dirty deeds, and remain unscathed. In essence, not only are we the victim, but we also become the police, judge and jury.

Healing is All about the Victims, Not the Abusers

th-1Healing, folks, has nothing to do with our abusers. Healing is, however, all about the victims. We are left to heal invisible wounds that were caused by our active but unaware participation in a very harming situation. Abuse survivors must work to turn their compassion and care inward and release the pain, trauma, shame, anger and fear that were projected onto them and inflicted on them by the emotional and conscienceless criminals, vampires, and thieves who also stole their identities. We, to heal, must not only release the pain and anger from the attack but also the shame from betrayal and of our unconscious complicity in the crime and our perceived foolery. This is why self-forgiveness and self-compassion are so important in healing. As Emily R., a community member at Yourlifelifter so eloquently stated, “forgiving a conscienceless person has absolutely zero meaning, thus, the real issue is learning to forgive oneself for not trusting oneself over their manipulative ploys of false promises and fake emoting.”

Forgiveness is part of healing. It is not a prerequisite to healing.

10453112_10150486967674990_1990359670124377576_nIt is a point we reach when we understand and accept the truth about what happened
to us from a position of emotional neutrality without the pain, blame and shame that our abusers shadowed on us. Releasing the pain and anger will allow us to heal emotionally. Accepting our powerlessness to the pain “permits” us to direct our energy to healing. But to fully heal we must forgive ourselves for the part we played. This is why understanding why we were targeted is critical to healing. We are then emotionally free to see things truthfully and accept what happened to us, accept our powerlessness to the pain, incrementally take back our personal power and redirect it to change our faulty thinking, rescue our own selves, and stop being vulnerable to emotional criminals.

Healing is a process of self-discovery, self-analysis into the root causes of why we were victimized, addressing how our beliefs contributed to that, correcting our skewed beliefs, mourning our losses, building our self-worth as well as healing our trauma wounds. I personally believe, it is close to impossible to fully accept what happened to us and forgive ourselves for the part we played unless we first heal and recover from the trauma and then stop our faulty victim thinking. This requires fully understanding why we love people who inflict pain on us and why we are attracted to power imbalanced relationships.

 “Forgiving a conscienceless person has absolutely zero meaning, thus, the real issue is learning to forgive oneself for not trusting oneself over their manipulative ploys of false promises and fake emoting.”  ~ Emily R., a community member at Yourlifelifter

As a survivor, I can say that I do not excuse the despicable acts of the abusers in my life or absolve them of their “sins” (e.g. outside my pay grade) but I can say that I am clear on what happened and why it happened in my childhood, why I was targeted and why I let it happen into my adulthood. I am also very clear that the abuse no longer continues because I do not think like a victim so I am no longer victimized. I am not powerless to pain and I do not deserve to suffer. I choose not to participate in the dysfunction so they are defused and go away. They continue to target me because that is just what abusers do and but I am not emotionally vested. I no longer fear them. I no longer believe I have to suffer or self-sacrifice to be good or lovable. I do, however, accept them and readily identify them as the abusers and broken people they are.

Healing Henry CloudWe cannot expect things from people who are not capable of giving them. I accept that life is not fair and I was born into a herd of narcissists that I had no choice over. But I do have choices now based on my new found personal truth and not others’ lies. I choose a life I know I deserve, a life of peace, harmony, happiness, emotionally healthy love and mutual respect! I also accept that they cannot. I also accept that truly evil people do exist and that I do not possess the divine power, right, and authority to absolve them of their depravity.

I do, however, have the divinely provided right and authority first and foremost to forgive myself, heal, and to live a joy-filled life I am deserving and worthy of. The best revenge is healing, happiness, and success!

And in the process we achieve the justice we seek.

Empathy: Is It a Gift or a Curse?

Evelyn Ryan, Yourlifelifter

imgresHere is a message to empaths referring to their abilities as a curse: “Tsk tsk tsk!” Your abilities truly are gifts but can falsely appear as burdens if you were taught to look at them as oddities or vulnerabilities or weaknesses or reasons to let others use them for their benefit.

Cognitive dissonance causes people to believe and to be emotionally comfortable with only what “makes them right” and with what does not challenge their beliefs or ego or trigger their fears. It also makes people intolerant of people’s differences that, well, make them feel uncomfortable. Cognitive dissonance in others is what makes them uncomfortable with empaths’ differences.  Similarly, empaths can also suffer from cognitive dissonance that can make them uncomfortable with and intolerant of their own unique qualities. While our emotional intelligence and sensitivities cause us naturally to challenge our beliefs and temper our egos which are healthy, we also have to learn to accept, trust, honor and comfortably rely on them and not fear them (as our childhood caretakers should have taught us).

So while being an empath can be demanding, we can learn with self-focused effort and care to manage our natural and divine abilities and acknowledge their value, power, and strength rather than succumb to them. These are gifts and abilities that we need to not only use responsibly but also responsibly honor and protect.

Being an Empath is Rewarding and Challenging

To be born an empath is a gift because you were born with the ability to see truth and beauty in others! However, it can come with many challenges. We are natural energy receivers and have high emotional intelligence so we also can “feel” others’ distresses and insecurities and can have an innate desire to relieve them or expose them (whether we want to or not) and even when it may not be in our best interest to do so. We are born with an overabundance of compassion and energy. We can also become very vulnerable to abusers and have a high tendency towards codependency. Read more here.

14463279_1276822885683757_5551024342412853674_nEmpaths also have a natural ability to see and absorb truth that can be discomforting to them especially when they are around inauthentic and toxic people. Diane Kathrine points out in her enlightening article that empaths can easily see and reveal the sides of people’s personalities they are trying to hide. Empaths can wear other people’s truth like the mask they hide behind; even if they are consciously unaware that they are doing it. They can readily know when others are not being authentic and even when they are lying. Unaware empaths may mistake others’ mirrored insecurities as their own and believe falsely that others’ pain is theirs. They also may have no idea that what they feel, they can then project and reflect back. This ability can bring up intense feelings in others and also cause them to dislike empaths.

Case in point…..even as an adult, my father told me that I was crazy when I told him that the priest at the local Greek Orthodox church I frequented made my skin crawl. I became physically sick in his presence and he would avoid all eye contact with me. Many others told me I “should not feel that way.” This priest made his own rules and, for example, would not allow me to take communion since I was married by a non-orthodox minister. My father told me to ignore him until several years later my father read in the national news that Father Pappas was defrocked for allegedly having sex with men and women (he was Greek Orthodox and married by the way) and claimed in his letter to the bishop (that I read very carefully) that his “zeal for perfection” made him do it.

Empaths Need Focused Self-Care and Self-Compassion

Empaths need to be very mindful of their unique needs and develop and hone their self-care and self-compassion skills lots more than the average person. Empaths can become emotionally fatigued from taking in too much energy and from giving up too much. Some can even become rattled by sleeping in the same bed with another person. We need more down time and alone time to decompress and to recharge our “emotional batteries.”

Help can be a relative term to empaths who typically can have an overabundance of compassion and strong codependent tendencies. Helping others can frequently facilitate exploitation if they are not careful whom and where they focus their help and assess their real motives for doing so. Is it really helping or are you serving a personal need to rescue others and make things that are broken right again? No one can change the ungrateful but empaths can work on their self-esteem and learn to use their compassion more responsibly and focus it on those worthy of and who value your help, compassion, and generosity. When you do, the number of ungrateful people you help goes down immensely and the number of grateful ones increases. So empaths can benefit tremendously with self-esteem work and assertiveness classes that will help them to use their compassion more responsibly, manage personal boundaries, and rely more comfortably on their own selves rather than others for validation of their self-worth and to moderate their compassion.

Sign up here for free self-esteem building tips.

Empaths dealing with codependency issues may also fear being alone that triggers their fear of abandonment. There is a big difference between being single and living alone and being lonely. You can be with someone who invalidates and neglects you and disrespects you and never feel lonelier. So empaths must learn to embrace solitude. Living alone also can support our emotional healing and health.

Learn more how living alone can support emotional healing and health.

We are prone to anxiety from emotional fatigue so we must mindful of our sensitivities, consciously work to minimize toxicity, modulate our need to fix and rescue, and simply rest. Something as simple as hugs or touches or love from animals or the beauty of a painting can help empaths feel safe and assured in their own bodies again. I, for example, have learned to not sit in the middle of movie theaters or restaurants. Doing so brings me angst. I do not defend my position or wants. I just always do so or I will wait for a table or go early to the theatre or book my seats way in advance. I have learned to shut down my energy, sort of like hibernating with my eyes open in the presence of energy vampires and inauthentic people or simply leave the room rather than like in the past, feeling overwhelmed and powerless and defenseless to them. I no longer fear them. They are like annoying mosquitoes to me so I administer psychological insect repellent.

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Learn more here on how to deal with toxic people.

 

images-1We must learn to trust and rely on rather than be reactive to our emotions. We can do this by not rushing to judgment when our emotions are triggered and learn to patiently process them. I, for example, learned to put in extra effort to moderate my overabundance of compassion and empathy. I pay extra attention to my natural drive to fix others and rather than reacting impulsively when I see people or things that are “broken,” I take rational actions by stopping, thinking, and evaluating my options that include “doing nothing.” I focus most of my attention on ensuring I am not making others’ problems my own and help only when someone truly is lost and needs help rather than is not being accountable to his or her own responsibilities or goals.

I learned how to say no and not defend it and own it and follow through when I say yes. Whatever I decide is final and I do not second guess it or criticize myself for my decision or wait for someone to validate it. I simply trained myself not to because I learned to rely and trust on my emotions and my judgment which history has dictated are pretty much spot on.

I have also learned to use simple tools to not be impacted or to feel overwhelmed around toxic and inauthentic people and energy vampires by following the 3 simple steps in the Time – Distance – Shielding rule:

  1. Minimize your time with them.
  2. Maximize the distance between you and them.
  3. And put a shield between you and them.

Learn more here on how to deal with toxic people.

Your Empathy is a Gift – Embrace it!

imagesBeing empaths is who we are and we can’t change it, but we can accept ourselves without judgment and learn how to use our compassion more responsibly as well as tolerance for our own wonderfully unique and beautiful differences and learning how to use them effectively and protect them. There has never been and will never be another person like you in the history of the universe. We have been blessed and need to nourish and respect and honor and embrace our special gifts that not only add to our individual divinity but bring compassion, kindness, and caring to so many others who authentically deserve and need it. They are part of your authenticity and beauty and your unique divine design. So, hang tough in your truth and own, honor, care for, and protect these magnificent gifts you are uniquely worthy to possess!

Self-Compassion and Self-Care Are Fundamental to Emotional Health

Evelyn Ryan, Yourlifelifter

images-3Most victims of childhood abuse (includes neglect and emotional invalidation) suffer into adulthood and become adult victims of adult abuse. Our self-esteem and personal identity and understanding of our self-worth suffer. We may have been punished for even attempting to care for ourselves. Consequently, we can feel shame for even taking care of our basic human needs. This vulnerability can be exaggerated in empaths who are predisposed to caring for and feeling responsible for others’ happiness.

We do not learn how to use our compassion responsibly and overcompensate by giving of ourselves too much and letting others who do not have our best interests at heart violate our personal boundaries and dishonor us. We allow them to control our emotions rather than we regulating our own. We bring this skewed thinking learned in childhood into adulthood and learn to neglect our own needs.

12651288_953089158121439_8456393630455492212_n-1Self-care and self-compassion are needed for healing because they “neutralize” the toxic emotions and empower ourselves to learn how to regulate our emotions again. These are good “habits” that relieve the pain and help us assimilate and reconnect with ourselves again. So, in effect self-care and self-compassion allow us an opportunity to witness our healing. They allow us to actively participate in our own healing and regain trust in ourselves and feel safe and secure in our own bodies. Self-care and self-compassion allow us to nourish our souls and are also critical to building self-worth, self-assurance and self-reliance and feel like “ourselves” again, not the pain addicted wounded versions who rely on abusers and manipulators who do not have our best interests at heart to alleviate our discomfort.

We CAN learn how to replace these old “harmful” habits with those that are self-serving to our emotional health and personal joy. We can learn to use our compassion responsibly and learn to focus our compassion and self-care more on ourselves.

“What?” You may ask. “How am I supposed to learn how to do that? I have trouble even saying no.”

Well…like anything, by learning how to and by practicing.

Here are some helpful tips that can help to get you on the right track. And remember PRACTICE PRACTICE PRACTICE. Use the tips that work for YOU!!!

  1. Pay attention to your own needs and wants. Get out of your head and learn to listen to and heed your bodily cues and emotions that exist to protect you.

Listen to what your body, your mind, and your heart are telling you. For instance, if your body is telling you that you have been sitting down too long, stand up and stretch. If your heart is longing to spend more time with a special friend, do it. If your mind is telling you to clean up your basement, listen to your favorite music, or stop thinking bad thoughts about yourself, take those thoughts seriously.

  1. Take very good care of yourself…..ALWAYS!!!!

images-4As you were growing up you may not have learned how to take good care of yourself. In fact, much of your attention may have been on taking care of others, on just getting by, or on “behaving well.” Perhaps you were even punished for thinking about and caring for yourself.

Begin today to take good care of yourself. Treat yourself as a wonderful parent would treat a small child or as a very best friend might treat another. If you work at taking good care of yourself, you will find that you feel better about yourself and you will learn you are deserving of your own self-care and learn self-reliance that will feed your self-esteem and self-worth.

Here are some suggestions:

  • Eat healthy foods and avoid junk foods (foods containing a lot of sugar, salt, or fat). A healthy daily diet is usually: five or six servings of vegetables and fruit, six servings of whole grain foods like bread, pasta, cereal, and rice, two servings of protein foods like beef, chicken, fish, cheese, cottage cheese, or yogurt.
  • Exercise. Moving your body helps you to feel better and improves your self-esteem. Arrange a time every day or as often as possible when you can get some exercise, preferably outdoors. You can do many different things. Taking a walk is the most common. You could run, ride a bicycle, play a sport, climb up and down stairs several times, put on a tape, or play the radio and dance to the music–anything that feels good to you. If you have a health problem that may restrict your ability to exercise, check with your doctor before beginning or changing your exercise habits.
  • Do special personal hygiene tasks to pamper and make you feel better about yourself such as a bubble bath, special hair conditioning or styling, manicures and pedicures, and teeth whitening.
  • Have a physical examination every year to make sure you are in good health.
  • Plan fun activities for yourself. Learn new things every day.
  • Take time to do things you enjoy. You may be so busy, or feel so badly about yourself, that you spend little or no time doing things you enjoy such as playing a musical instrument, doing a craft project, flying a kite, or going fishing. Make a list of things you enjoy doing. Then do something from that list every day. Add to the list anything new that you discover you enjoy doing.
  • Get something done that you have been putting off. Clean out that drawer. Wash that window. Write that letter. Pay that bill.
  • Do things that make use of your own special talents and abilities. For instance, if you are good with your hands, then make things for yourself, family, and friends. If you like animals, consider having a pet or at least playing with friends’ pets.
  • Dress in clothes that make you feel good about yourself. If you have little money to spend on new clothes, check out thrift stores in your area.
  • Give yourself rewards for being a great person such as listening to your favorite music or reading your favorite books or taking a trip to a museum.
  • Spend time with people who treat you well and make you feel good about yourself. Avoid people who treat you badly.
  • Make your living space a place that honors the person you are. Whether you live in a single room, a small apartment, or a large home, make that space comfortable and attractive for you. If you share your living space with others, have some space that is just for you, your own personal “slice of heaven” where you can keep your things and know that they will not be disturbed and that you can decorate any way you choose.
  • Display items that you find attractive or that remind you of your achievements or of special times or people in your life. If cost is a factor, use your creativity to think of inexpensive or free ways that you can add to the comfort and enjoyment of your space.
  • Make your meals a special time. Turn off the television, radio, and stereo. Set the table, even if you are eating alone. Light a candle or put some flowers or an attractive object in the center of the table. Arrange your food in an attractive way on your plate. If you eat with others, encourage discussion of pleasant topics. Avoid discussing difficult issues at meals.
  • Take advantage of opportunities to learn something new or improve your skills. Take a class or go to a seminar. Many adult education programs are free or very inexpensive. For those that are more costly, ask about a possible scholarship or fee reduction.
  • Begin doing those things that you know will make you feel better about yourself like going on a diet, beginning an exercise program or keeping your living space clean.
  • Do something nice for another person. Smile at someone who looks sad. Say a few kind words to the checkout cashier. Help your spouse with an unpleasant chore. Take a meal to a friend who is sick. Send a card to an acquaintance. Volunteer for a worthy organization.
  • imgres-3Make it a point to treat your self well every day. Before you go to bed each night, write about how you treated yourself well during the day and how you will treat your self tomorrow.
  1.   Learn how to manage boundaries.

Abusers and exploiters and bullies and especially narcissists are masters at pushing pain buttons, making people feel powerless, and getting people to let down their boundaries and getting them to give up their power to them. In fact, they enjoy doing it. They use charm and love as their camouflage. We become unknowingly complicit in our own abuse and exploitation. We innocently expose ourselves to some of the worst abuse and harm imaginable.

12654645_941891752514920_7863427450412629576_nPart of healing for those who were victims and continue to be susceptible to their attacks, then, is learning to maintain and protect your personal boundaries so you are not vulnerable to emotional predators.

Unfortunately, there is no electronic monitor like a home protection system you can purchase to warn you of impending “emotional” predators and attacks. However, you can strengthen your own internal monitors and learn new skills including honing your narcissist radar otherwise known as “NADAR” and honoring and “feeling” for and caring for your own wants and needs with compassion and defending your personal rights and authorities. These include assertively expressing what your rights, authorities, needs, and feelings are and recognizing and regulating your own emotions especially your pain-based ones and learning when they are triggered and who routinely triggers them. Just as important, then, is knowing WHAT makes you happy.

Read more on managing personal boundaries here.

Abuse survivors can also become notorious boundary violators themselves. We in healing must learn not only to manage our boundaries but also to respect other’s as well. People who are heavily dependent on others for self-worth particularly may have a hard time sourcing their own power and learning self-reliance. Codependents have learned to routinely not only let others violate their boundaries but also to violate other’s boundaries to source from them what they need to define their worth.

Learning boundary management by re-learning what personal rights are and where healthy authorities and boundaries start and finish will help you replace maladaptive thoughts, beliefs, and actions with healthy ones and help you make great strides in your healing.

  1.   Learn assertiveness skills including how to say “no.”

Learning assertiveness skills will not only protect your personal rights that support your self-esteem and self-care but will also help you keep your cool and prevent you from being manipulated and abused by those who push your pain and shame buttons. These skills can help immensely in boundary management that support and sustain your emotional health and mutually respectful and loving relationships.

  1.   Learn how to set and achieve goals.

Once you do be sure to develop your personal action and accountability plan, your life’s road map to achieving your goals and getting where you want to go and getting back on course when you “get lost.” Remember that your character, people skills, personal limitations, emotional makeup, and motivation level will impact achievement of goals. Mentors and coaches can help you generate your action plan, monitor your progress, hold you accountable, and develop alternate courses of actions when you hit roadblocks.