In the last post, I defended my position as a loving, caring person (or HSP) by saying that I believe it is a gift to be able to feel when other people are suffering; and it is a positive character trait to want to help them. Then I gave a few examples of how this strategy backfired when a narcissist was involved; and how I, the empath, was the one who ended up suffering from trying to help a narcissist.
Now I need to talk about BOUNDARIES.
As an empath (loving, caring person)(HSP), I will usually give of myself until I crack. This is not a healthy behavior and probably shows a lack of self-love; but in a relationship with a normal person (i.e. not a narcissist), the other partner usually will step in to protect me from giving too much. If I am worrying too much about a situation that I can’t fix, my partner will take me to the zoo for the day. Any outing that distracts me is helpful. If I am giving too much money to a needy friend, my partner will protect me by telling me when to stop. If I am spending too much time on the phone, listening to someone whine while they take no steps to better their situation, my partner will hang up the phone for me. If I overextend myself at work, my partner will pour me a glass of wine and rub my shoulders.
I didn’t get any of this loving treatment from the narcissist.
So maybe the best boundary to set for myself would be not to get involved with any more narcissists?
And yet, this would still be giving my power over to another human being. If I were married, I would be okay with that. I hope my future husband will be the partner that I just described. But in the meantime, I am looking for opportunities to volunteer in my community, hopefully with a homeless shelter. I sense that I will feel more optimistic if I start sharing my love with the world again, and also, I can learn to set boundaries while I am helping. It seems to me, that a significant part of recovering from the abusive relationship with the narcissist has to be taking that risk to re-expose my heart to the world. I am scared.