In the world of psychology, the terms “narcissist” and “empath” often come up in discussions about relationships and personal dynamics. There are so many books on Amazon now call Empath and the Narcissist, including mine!
Narcissists, are characterized by their self-centered and manipulative behaviors, and can leave a trail of emotional wreckage in their wake. On the other hand, Empaths, known for their deep sensitivity and compassion, may find themselves constantly drawn into toxic relationships.
In this blog, we’ll explore how to heal from narcissistic abuse while preserving your empathic traits and establishing crucial boundaries to avoid falling into the trap of the Peter Pan Syndrome, where you become the ultimate fixer, just like Wendy in J.M. Barrie’s classic tale.
Listen to the Podcast Episode
and read on…
Understanding Narcissistic Abuse
Before we dive into healing, it’s essential to understand the dynamics of narcissistic abuse. Narcissists thrive on power and control, often preying on empathic individuals who are more likely to provide the emotional supply they crave. This toxic relationship dynamic can lead to emotional, psychological, and even physical abuse, leaving the empath drained, discarded, despaired and scarred. So…
What is Peter Pan syndrome?
Listen to this episode with our guest Lauren LPC link to her blog site and instagram
“Peter Pan Syndrome was first coined in the 1980s by Dr. Dan Kylie. He wrote a book about this and essentially, in a nutshell, it’s about a man who never grows up.
But with that, comes specific issues. And some of these issues are as follows, people who have this tend to have narcissistic traits because as we know, narcissism is a spectrum. Sometimes they are not necessarily full on abusers. But it’s a spectrum. So people with Peter Pan Syndrome, they have these traits: they have difficulty with responsibilities, and often have a fear of commitment to anything or anyone.
Issues with work and career interest. Being self-centered. Difficulty controlling impulsive behavior, reliance on others. Avoidance of criticism, that’s a big one. Avoidance of responsibility. They will often not take accountability for their mistakes and they’ll blame others.
And also female relationships. According to Dr. Dan Kylie. People with this syndrome have difficulty with maternal relationships and treat future romantic partners as mother figures. Hence here is where the Wendy Syndrome comes in.
So the traits of Wendy Syndrome, (as you probably guessed it) are, a codependent relationship pattern with an anxious attachment. And some of these characteristics include things like feeling essential for others, and desiring to be indispensable. They see love as sacrifice and resignation.
They assume a motherly figure with their partner. They try to control others in order to avoid upsetting them. And the biggest trait of Wendy Syndrome is they feel the need to care for and protect others at the expense of their own wellbeing.
Recognize Your Empathic Traits
Being an empath is a beautiful gift. It means you have the capacity to deeply understand and connect with others on an emotional level. However, this gift can be a double-edged sword when you encounter narcissists. Empathy healing must be guarded with boundaries. And the other person must want to heal. So many time we feel they need to heal, but they are not willing to heal. There in lies the danger of pushing your own boundaries to fix the other person to make the dreams of the relationship come true.
The narcissist sees you give so much and needs you as that mother figure and takes, but gives nothing in return. Leaving you broke, burnt out, changed, and depressed.
To heal from narcissistic abuse, start by recognizing and embracing your empathic traits. Acknowledge that your ability to empathize and care for others is a strength, not a weakness. And guard yourself up from vampires with the Empath Aura Protection meditation.
Setting and maintaining boundaries is crucial for empaths recovering from narcissistic abuse. Boundaries protect your emotional well-being and prevent you from being manipulated or drained by narcissists. Be clear about your limits and communicate them assertively.
Remember, it’s not selfish to prioritize your own needs and well-being.
Creating and maintaining boundaries with a narcissist can be challenging, but it’s a vital step in protecting your emotional well-being. Here’s a more detailed guide on how to establish and hold boundaries when dealing with a narcissist:
Understand What Boundaries Are: Start by understanding the concept of boundaries. Boundaries are not about building walls but about defining what behavior you find acceptable and communicating it clearly.
Recognize that setting boundaries is a sign of self-respect and self-care.
Self-Reflection: Reflect on your own needs and limits. Understand what behaviors or actions by the narcissist are causing you discomfort, stress, or emotional harm. This self-awareness will be crucial in setting effective boundaries.
I find when I feel I am making choices based off of someone else’s reaction, then I need to ask myself “What do I want to do?” “Does this bring me joy?” “Is this choice I desire negatively affecting anyone?” (besides the Narcissist no liking it – that doesn’t count. All that does is limit myself into their agenda and mold.)
Be Clear and Specific: When communicating your boundaries to the narcissist, be clear and specific about what you will and will not tolerate. Use “I” statements to express your feelings and needs. For example, “I feel hurt when you raise your voice at me. I need us to communicate calmly.”
Then I also state a consequence I can follow through. For instance “If you raise your voice at me I will need to walk away from you and let you cool down before we can continue the discussion.”
Set Consequences: Clearly define consequences for violating your boundaries. This gives your boundaries teeth and shows that you’re serious about maintaining them. For instance, “If you continue to insult me, I will leave the conversation or the room.”
Stay Calm and Assertive: Narcissists may not react well to boundaries, often trying to push past them or manipulate you into changing your mind. Stay calm and assertive during these interactions. Don’t engage in emotional arguments or power struggles.
Just stop responding and saying anything to their provoking.
Stay Consistent: Narcissists may test your boundaries repeatedly, especially if they’ve been able to disregard them in the past. Consistency is key. Follow through with the consequences you’ve set, even if it’s uncomfortable or difficult.
Staying consistent is the hardest part. Not gonna lie
Limit Your Exposure: In some cases, it may be necessary to limit your exposure to the narcissist. This could involve reducing the amount of time you spend with them or even considering cutting ties if the relationship is overwhelmingly toxic.
Imagine 3 circles around you. Move the Narcissist out into the outer circle so the interaction is less frequent.
Seek Support: Share your experiences and boundaries with trusted friends, family members, or a therapist. Having a support system can provide emotional validation and help you stay strong in holding your boundaries.
I cannot count how many times I doubted myself and would’ve failed to make my own authentic choices if it were not for my support group encouraging me to ignore the lies and manipulation of my ex.
Practice Self-Care: Self-care is essential when dealing with a narcissist. Prioritize activities and practices that nurture your emotional well-being, such as eating healthy, exercise, journaling, gardening, walking, meditation and spending time with supportive people.
My favorite self care activity is to walk my dog out in my neighborhood that is lined with tall trees. I make my way down to the lake and pause and connect with my spirit tree on the shore.
Know When to Walk Away: In extreme cases, when the narcissist continues to disrespect your boundaries and poses a threat to your mental and emotional health, it may be necessary to consider ending the relationship or distancing yourself significantly.
Do not feel shame if it takes more than one time to leave the Narcissist. The average time it takes is seven times. That is how many it took me. It is the trauma bond and seeds of doubt that will compel you to reach out to them. RESIST! It will not end well.
Remember that setting boundaries with a narcissist can be a long and challenging process. Narcissists often resist boundaries, and their behavior may escalate initially when they realize they are losing control. Stay committed to your well-being, seek professional help if needed, and remember that you have the right to protect yourself from emotional harm.
Seek Professional Help
Healing from narcissistic abuse is a complex process that often requires professional guidance. Therapists who specialize in trauma and narcissistic abuse can provide invaluable support and strategies tailored to your specific situation. Therapy can help you understand the root causes of your patterns and empower you to break free from them.
Avoid the Peter Pan Syndrome
In J.M. Barrie’s story, Wendy takes on the role of the ultimate fixer, caring for Peter Pan and his Lost Boys. While helping others is admirable, it can become detrimental when it perpetuates a cycle of enabling narcissistic behavior. To avoid falling into the Wendy Syndrome, recognize that you cannot fix or change a narcissist. Focus on your healing journey instead.
In some cases your personal healing will bleed over and influence them about 10% haha maybe. But don’t hold your breathe. More than likely you will grow apart and realize that chapter of people pleasing and the relationship is over.
This may be redundant in this blog, but I cannot stress enough about how important self-care is. Self-care is not a luxury; it’s a necessity, especially for empaths healing from narcissistic abuse. Prioritize self-care practices that nourish your mind, body, and spirit. This includes mindfulness, joy filled activities, essential oil and salt bath, a good book, meditation, exercise, spending time in nature, and connecting with a supportive community.
Reconnect with Your Identity
Narcissistic abuse can erode your sense of self. To heal, invest time in rediscovering who you are outside of the toxic relationship. Reconnect with your passions, hobbies, and goals. Rebuilding your self-esteem and self-worth is a fundamental step in the healing process.
My new found hobbies are blogging, podcasting, gardening, pilates, yoga, walking with friends, cooking vegan and gluten free, and crocheting!
Surround Yourself with Support
Healing is not a solitary journey. Surround yourself with a supportive network of friends and loved ones who understand your experience and can offer empathy and encouragement. Sharing your feelings and progress with trusted individuals can provide a sense of validation and empowerment.
Make sure the friends have empathy and understand the pain you are going through. If they rationalize or bypass your emotional trauma do to their lack of understanding, then they are not the right people to share this healing and great for moving forward with instead. Trauma informed community will help you, yet if they are stuck in their trauma then they will keep you in your victim cycle. Balance your energy and use your intuition with your friends.
Practice Forgiveness and Letting Go
Finally, healing from narcissistic abuse also involves forgiving yourself. Understand that falling victim to a narcissist’s manipulation is not a reflection of your worth. Let go of any guilt or self-blame, and focus on the path ahead. Forgiving the narcissist is not necessary for your healing; instead, focus on detaching from their influence.
My favorite self healing prayer is the Ho o’ pono pono prayer.
In conclusion, healing from narcissistic abuse while holding onto your empathic traits is possible. By recognizing your strengths, setting boundaries, seeking professional help, and practicing self-care, you can break free from toxic patterns and emerge from the shadow of the Peter Pan Syndrome. Embrace your empathic nature as a gift, and let it guide you towards healthier, more fulfilling relationships.
Thank you so much for investing in yourself today to become more empowered and listening and tuning into your own inner voice. Join our Empath Healing community for free and receive your free 10 day live narc free audio workshop. Grab your copy of the empath and the Narcissist book, either on paperback, a hardcover, or audible.
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