What is it that worries you? Is it loss of life and/or material? Is it the fear of being disliked and unpopular? Why does my heart reach out to someone else, related/unrelated, loved/unloved/disliked or who hurt me? I ask myself this question everyday. What raises my empathy levels, what are my triggers and what gas lights my soul? I came to the following conclusions.

As an empathic, the pain of the other will always be a trigger to your own pains in any remote form. Your parents’divorce may be your trigger, or the person in front just yelling at their child may make you connect your pain of loneliness, or fear of a parent abandonment, and rejection of love. This will make you either want to stop the yelling or overcompensate the child with love, material and time to ensure they don’t associate or internalize that incident as a trigger.

Empathy will also melt your heart to strangers falling on the street. I have many a times seen people fall, I break my route while driving regardless of delay to ensure they have medical aid to assist them even for the smallest of falls. Something which I see no one else do for me. Sometimes the empathy makes me reach out to my younger days and the promise that 8 year old made to ensure no one ever feels pain like that.

Empathy will sometimes make you do things which make you seem either like a doormat or a people pleaser. And internally, you know you don’t connect with either of those identities. You will repeatedly wonder why you are in that continuous rut. But only you can take yourself out of that situation. Remember that the narcissist by the understanding of that word will always be focused on self-interest and self-achievement. Regardless of the bounties that togetherness, unity, love, sharing and positivity bring, their triggers have taught them to think narrow. Their defense will always chose the self. So here are the magical solutions I use to break my own behavior.

I will execute ‘personal- behavior- altering’ goals each day. I read this really nice quote which talked about codependency and how more often it is with humans having narcissistic tendencies. I set my first few goals around the fact that I need to create distance and maintain my boundaries with people. As simple as it sounds, it was one of the hardest things I have ever had to do. Whether it was to not talk to the person just out of the blue. No reason, no incident, no ugly faces, no swearing. In a general conversation where I would have loved to chat on for hours I curb myself to get up in 30 minutes. And in the next conversation, in 15. What that does it, it limits the space for you to warm up enough to empathize, or the other person to take undue advantage of you. It will limit the time that you have to offer your services, time and love. The only way to win with a toxic person – is to not play at first instance.

I will review every interaction. Respond intelligently even to an unintelligent treatment says, Lao Tzu. A narcissist has no conscience. They will take and take and take. You are the one that has got to learn to stop giving. Take each incident as a gauge and review your decision and what you would do to improve it. You will be surprised how naturally this decision making will come to you over a period of time. There is one sure shot lesson I have learned about people, if they do it once, they do it repeatedly. So protect yourself from the repeated exploitation. Protect yourself from your own patterns of repeated doing for the narcissist.

I will not take things personally. Even after altering your own behavior, limiting your access and reviewing your interaction, you will still be the bad one. Does that affect you? It does not affect me. I initiate out of my empathy. I expect a decent response – a thank you, maybe? I don’t want to be made God for my empathy that is innately me. That is a behavior I have chosen repeatedly over a period of time. I have made the mistake of denying my own feelings to make everyone else comfortable, and I, till date, haven’t deciphered where that has come from. Maybe, I have been taught to be kind to unkind people. Maybe, they need it the most. Maybe, they need to learn from unconditional love and care.

I will speak my mind without being rude when I will mildly confront the other for what they did wrong. They might bring up my imperfections as a way to avoid taking responsibility for their own action. My imperfections give them ammunition to hold something over my head. I will not allow them to flip that coin. I am trying each day to put words as humble as they come, as straight forward and take my time to respond rather than commit my initial over-compassionate self.

These are the four mantras that I have been working on for over a month. I am still figuring out if there is more to it. Positive quotes didn’t help me. Talking my problems didn’t help me. Everyone said I was a softie. That wasn’t a compliment. So for a few days, I tried to be absent. I cut time, I interacted less, andI actively did less even when I wanted to do more. I do see a 1% difference and for now, that’s all I need. It works!

The author's views are personal only.

Author Information
Zoya Qureshi
Author: Zoya Qureshi
Business woman & Passionate in her efforts to spread happiness

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