In my work with clients and in hearing from readers, I’ve witnessed a pattern of highly sensitive people being in relationships with narcissists or sociopaths — and they’re ready to break free from this type of relationship.
It’s common for those who experience high levels of empathy to find themselves in relationships with narcissists who either take advantage of or prey on what they perceive to be a weaker group. Narcissism is a self-serving condition in which the focus is on image, status, and getting things rather than on giving and serving others. In other words: lack of empathy is at the root of narcissism.
The challenge that empaths can have in relationships is that they often give their power away. Highly sensitive people will help others first, putting their own needs last, partly because they intuitively know what others want from them. They vitally need to set healthy boundaries, which can be a challenge.
One of the most important acts of self-love is walking away from toxic relationships and situations. This means that no matter how competent or evolved we are, no matter how much we focus on the inner work and self-development, we must accept when a situation is unworkable. Again, this can be difficult for highly sensitive people because we earnestly want to help people become their best selves, even if it means hurting ourselves in the process.
That’s why we need to focus our energy on finding the right relationship, one that gives us the opportunity to be even more of who we are. We are not meant to shut down parts of ourselves in a relationship; our authentic self must be discovered and present in order to have deeply meaningful relationships in which we can truly grow.
Here are some steps to take on your path to your true self and more loving relationships.
1. Identify fears and limiting patterns.
Where are you lacking self-love? Are you stuck in codependency, needing another person to feel whole or complete? Identify fears — maybe it’s a fear of not being good enough, or a lack of self-worth; this awareness will begin to dissolve the root of what made you stay in toxic relationships.
2. Find and cultivate a daily spiritual practice.
This could be meditation, prayer, or intentions that help you connect with your spirit, your true self, your intuition, to build your inner core strength.
3. Forgive yourself.
In your daily meditation, use this prayer: I forgive myself for accepting and allowing a lack of personal power. Then forgive others, bringing in self-compassion and compassion for everyone else. This will unhook you from blame, guilt, anger and frustration so that you can move forward in your life.
4. Begin to trust yourself and listen to your intuition.
You know what’s best for you and what is not. Your feelings are your inner GPS. Listen to the signs and messages so you don’t need a painful wake-up call. Self-trust builds self-confidence, giving us the capacity to do all we want to do in the world.
5. Courageously walk away from anything that does not feed your soul and make your heart sing.
It’s not easy, but only you can save yourself, and demand more for yourself because you deserve it and life will begin reflecting that back to you with beautiful new relationships.
Highly sensitive people are game-changers, system-busters, leaders, visionaries, creatives, entrepreneurs and innovative thinkers and doers. They’re leading wellness revolutions, and new thought paradigms that are bringing the planet forward in a new, higher way. They can see what isn’t working, and they have the courage and care to change it.