Empath and Codependent Are Not Synonyms

Empath and Codependent Are Not Synonyms

I’ve got two questions for you. Are all empaths codependent? Are all codependents empaths? I think it’s time we clear up some confusion for our community. You often hear people in the narcissistic abuse community talking about empaths and codependents as though the terms were interchangeable. The thing is, they aren’t. What I mean is that while some codependents are empaths, not all empaths are codependents. In other words, they are two separate concepts that some people have mistaken for synonyms. Let me explain.

(Watch this video or keep reading) To understand the difference between empaths and codependents, first, we need to define empathy and codependency.

What is Empathy?

There are three types of empathy – cognitive, emotional, and compassionate. Emotional and compassionate empathy seems to be intrinsic for most people, and cognitive empathy can be learned. So, an adult empath would be able to logically understand what a person would feel, be emotionally affected by what they feel, and also be moved to take action to help them deal with what they feel. For example, an empath might, at the age of 3, notice when someone is hurting and try to comfort them, even if that person doesn’t say anything about it or indicate directly that something is wrong. The child might not understand logically or have the vocabulary to describe what they do understand, but when they instinctively comfort someone, there’s no question that they understand. At the same time, an adult narcissist, who would not be considered an empath, would be able to logically understand what you feel, but they wouldn’t be emotionally affected by it for the most part, at least not in a normal way, and they would not be moved to help you deal with it unless it benefited them to do so in some way.

What is Codependency?

Codependency is when you are dependent on another person in unhealthy ways. It seems to be, in most cases, affected by some form of trauma that often occurred in childhood. It is also considered a behavioral condition as it inhibits your ability to have a healthy and mutually satisfying relationship. A good synonym for codependency might be “relationship addiction” because codependents tend to be perpetually involved in relationships that are one-sided, emotionally destructive, and/or abusive.

The Differences Between Codependents and Empaths

Now that we’ve got that out of the way, let’s discuss empaths and codependents. We understand that empathy and codependency are different. So, why do people in the narcissistic abuse recovery community so often confuse the term “empath” with the term “codependent,” if they’re two distinct terms that aren’t synonymous? The answer is as simple as it is complicated. It’s because there are many codependents who do happen to be empaths. But then, there are many who are not.

And, of course, just consider the definition of codependency. As it turns out, toxic narcissists can also be considered codependents, given their excessive need for attention, adoration, and narcissistic supply. They clearly need to be dependent on others for their emotional validation and all of that tasty, tasty supply. But even though they require so much of your emotional energy, they do not have emotional or compassionate energy, so they do often emotionally neglect and abuse their so-called loved ones. Therefore, by definition, they are codependent, but they can’t be considered empaths.

What is an empath?

If you are an empath, you’re highly sensitive to the emotions and energy of the people around you. Empaths tend to be very intuitive and may also be spiritually inclined. In other words, if you’re an empath, you’re someone who naturally “feels” the emotions of other people and acts in accordance. Empaths, however, seem to have a more natural inclination toward naturally understanding the psychology of both humans and animals.

Are Empaths Rare?

Most humans above the age of two or three have some ability to show empathy, which is, on its most basic level just the ability to perceive what other people feel on some level. And many animals seem to have some level of empathy, even for humans, as evidenced by pets who appear to show concern when their owners are feeling blue. But there are different levels of sensitivity when it comes to empathy, and those who are at the highest end of that spectrum might be rare. Still, even the most basic understanding of and concern for others’ feelings makes life easier for everyone.

Are Empaths Real?

Some people seem to think that empathy is a supernatural ability. But while on some level, there are things we don’t understand about empathy, there is a lot of scientific research that explains how it works. In fact, a study focused on a specific type of empathy called mirror-touch synaesthesia offers some very interesting insight that supports the idea that empaths exist. Mirror-touch synaesthesia is the ability to feel a sensation of touch when you see someone else being touched. Study authors Dr. Michael Banissy at the Goldsmiths University of London, along with researcher Dr. Natalie Bowling, the research found that up to 2 percent of the population could be considered empaths.

Why Do Some People Have More Empathy Than Others?

Clearly, there are some people who seem to be more personally affected by empathy than others. For example, someone who might be considered a natural empath would have a clearer and more comprehensive intrinsic understanding of how people feel. Using this natural ability, empaths can quickly interpret a person’s thoughts and feelings.

“The scientific studies that are often used to demonstrate that empaths exist, however, provide indirect evidence,” said Kristen Milstead in a 2018 PsychCentral article.”This includes research showing the existence of mirror neurons in the brain, which are said to enable us to read and understand each other’s emotions by filtering them through our own. Other studies used to explain empaths include the concept of emotional contagion, which is the idea that when people synchronize their attitudes, behaviors, and speech, they also synchronize their emotions both consciously and unconsciously.”

Milstead noted that while the studies explained the existence of empathy as a concept, they didn’t make it clear why some people seem to have a higher sensitivity to it than others. So for now, the idea that there is a supernatural element to being an empath isn’t completely disproven, but that doesn’t mean that scientists won’t decode it in the future. After all, there were once people who worshipped the Sun. Science has a way of explaining things we don’t understand.

Signs of Being Codependent

If you really want to understand the differences between codependents and empaths, it can help to see the signs of each. While you may be both, you may also just be one or the other. People who are codependent typically have the following behaviors.

  1. Codependents struggle to make decisions alone, especially where their decisions would affect their partner in any way.
  2. Codependents may find themselves having a hard time identifying their own feelings.
  3. Codependents might have a hard time communicating in their relationships – even if they’re really good at communicating in other ways and with other people.
  4. Codependents are more concerned with getting the approval of people outside of themselves.
  5. Codependents have low self-esteem.
  6. Codependents may not trust their own instincts and intuition.
  7. Codependents may have an unhealthy level of fear of abandonment.
  8. Codependents may need approval to the point that they’ll even go against their own ethics in order to get it.
  9. Codependents might feel overly responsible for the actions and behaviors of other people.
  10. Codependents are inevitably miserable if they’re not in a relationship, and they’ll stay in a relationship that is harmful to them because they might feel as if it’s better than being alone.

Any of that sound familiar to you? Now, let’s talk about the signs you’re an empath.

Signs You’re an Empath

How do you know if you are an empath? While there are no easily available scientific tests that would prove your empath abilities, there are empath self-assessments, such as the one here, that will help you to recognize yourself as someone who might be an empath. There are, of course, both positive and negative sides of being an empath – and some of them overlap.

1. Empaths Can Be Targeted by Toxic People

Empaths often deal with overwhelming feelings as it is, so when a relationship is toxic, they will feel like they are in agony. They often end up going numb because they feel like they might not survive otherwise. Narcissists and other toxic people seem to be drawn to empaths. Most likely, that’s because empaths are generally moved into action by the emotions of other people. So, when the empath knows you are sad or upset, they do what they can to comfort you. When someone screams and yells at an empath, they will do whatever they can to resolve whatever the person is screaming about.

It doesn’t occur to an empath to feel angry at someone who is so clearly distressed. THAT is what attracts toxic people – the fact that the empath is so focused on making sure they are comfortable and happy in any given moment. It makes for an ideal source of narcissistic supply. And, since an empath is completely focused on them, they won’t have to do much to keep them happy.

See, if an empath is feeling needy and reaches out for validation, they will quickly forget their feelings if the other person expresses strong feelings of their own in the moment. This nature leads empaths who aren’t aware of these types of manipulations to miss the fact that they’re actually not being nourished in the relationship.

They end up starving for validation – giving and giving until they sort of burn out (literally in some cases through adrenal fatigue associated with C-PTSD). The empath ends up drained of their so-called light: they have little energy – they literally are almost “not even there” in some ways. They have grown so emotionally broken that they have literally stopped experiencing these emotions.

2. Empaths Find Large Crowds Are Draining

You will not find a happy empath at a Black Friday sale. In general, empaths can only take crowds in small doses, if at all. That’s why a lot of them don’t like large parties or concerts. And when an empath does spend too much time in crowds, most of them really need to take some time alone before and afterward in order to recharge. If they don’t, they will feel exhausted and tired for days or weeks afterward. In some cases, they may even physical effects, which brings me to my next point.

3. Empaths Need Plenty Of Time Alone

Most empaths require time alone to recharge, especially when they’ve dealt with emotionally difficult situations such as crowds, but also through various interpersonal interactions with people in their lives. An empath who is also an introvert may prefer to be alone more often than not. But even empaths who appear to be more outgoing will still need that alone time – or become unbalanced without it. However, an introvert that is not an empath would need, in general, less alone time for winding down. And in the case of codependents, whether they’re empaths or not, they may feel that they don’t want time alone at all, for any reason. This is one way that an empath can manifest emotional and/or psychological damage caused by their toxic relationships.

4. Empaths Feel Their Way Around New Places

Empaths seem to feel the energy of any location in which they happen to be. In a calm, clean, and organized place that is lit with candles and has soft colors, for example, an empath might feel calm. They might sense relaxing and positive energy. On the flip side, if an empath walked into a room where a crime was committed (sometimes even if they were unaware that a crime was committed there), or if they walked into a room directly after a confrontation as small as a marital spat – they would FEEL the energy buzzing without question, They’d even ask something like, “you guys okay? or “should I come back later?” They might feel uncomfortable or be physically affected, but not be able to put their finger on WHY they know something is wrong. They just know. Ya know?

This video offers 10 more signs that you might be an empath.

Still not sure?

Narcissistic Abuse Recovery Guided Meditation for Self-Acceptance and Self-Love

Narcissistic Abuse Recovery Guided Meditation for Self-Acceptance and Self-Love

If you’re like most survivors of narcissistic abuse, you might still be struggling to feel good about yourself. You might also not be very self-accepting, and most of us don’t end up actually feeling like we have any self-love to speak of – not to mention self-confidence. For that reason, I wrote this self-acceptance and self-love inducing guided meditation for you.

I worked with a professional voice artist to create a simple, relaxing, and motivational meditation for self-acceptance that leads to unconditional self-love. You can listen in the morning to get you going or play it while you go to sleep at night. I suggest you use it for at least 30 days for maximum effect.

If you like the idea of healing while you sleep, you might also want to add in my four-hour guided sleep meditation for narcissistic abuse recovery and healing, right here. 

Narcissistic Abuse Recovery Meditation for Self-Acceptance That Leads to Unconditional Self-Love

See guided meditation on YouTube

Narcissistic Abuse Recovery Affirmations for Self-Acceptance that Leads to Self-Love

I accept myself as I am.

I deserve to be loved and I am worth loving.

I have many positive qualities and traits.

I am not perfect, but I accept myself as I am.

Everyone has positive and negative characteristics.

I am comfortable with who I am.

I am becoming more accepting of myself as I age and mature.

I have learned a lot about myself over the years.

I accept the good and the not-so-good easily and comfortably.

I know that perfection is unattainable, and I am okay with being imperfect.

Life can be challenging and dynamic.

As I strive to strengthen my skills and abilities, I do the best I can with what I have.

My imperfections make me unique and interesting.

I embrace my imperfections and invite the world to experience them.

I accept myself without condition.

I avoid trying to live up to the narcissist’s image of the ideal person.

I can be a perfect me, as myself in any given moment, and that is enough. To try to do anything else is an exercise in futility.

I am honest with myself regarding my personality, physical characteristics, and view of the world.

A high level of self-acceptance allows me to experience the joy of life.

Life can only be fully experienced from a perspective of self-acceptance.

Today, I accept myself, just as I am.

I am also willing to accept others as they are.

I am practicing acceptance on every level.

Self-acceptance is a key part of enjoying life.

I love and respect myself without condition.

Despite what I may have believed before, I now know that the love I have for myself is the most important love of all.

When I love myself, I am better able to love and care for others.

I am better to myself and the world when I am able to love myself.

I have great respect for myself and my many accomplishments, even the small ones.

Self-respect is a big part of finding my own happiness and fulfillment on my own.

I don’t need anyone else to be happy.

I treat myself with the respect I deserve.

I am worthy of self-respect and enjoy feeling good about myself.

I am learning to maintain high standards for my behavior and face the world in a way that allows me to sleep peacefully at night.

My good friends and those I consider my family are proud to be part of my life.

It is easy for me to show them love and respect because I maintain these qualities for myself as well.

I attract more healthy, like-minded people into my life.

Self-love and self-respect make it possible to have authentic relationships with others.

By accepting and loving myself, I am able to give the same gift to others.

Much of my self-respect comes from the willingness to accept responsibility for my own life.

The respect I feel for myself springs from this place.

I am able to avoid worrying about the negative opinions of others because I am in control of my life and emotions.

Today, I appreciate my unique qualities. I remind myself how wonderful I am and that I deserve love and respect from the world, but most of all from myself.

Every day, my self-esteem is growing by leaps and bounds.

I am learning to be independent and I know that I am enough, just as I am, in any given moment.

I am fortunate to be overflowing with self-esteem.

My self-esteem is limitless. It continues to grow and blossom.

As my self-esteem increases, I feel more powerful and peaceful.

As I grow in my healing, I realize that having a high level of self-esteem makes my life simple and light.

Knowing that I can handle any challenge that comes my way frees me from worry and concern.

I avoid making mountains out of molehills.

Temporary setbacks are barely noticeable.

I focus on what I can control, what I can affect, and I don’t worry about things that are beyond my control.

My capabilities are tremendous.

I can feel myself growing stronger each day in my mind, body, soul, and abilities.

As I heal, I feel myself growing on a spiritual level. I am getting closer and closer to being my true self.

I love myself just as I am.

I know with certainty that I am lovable and capable.

I know without a doubt that I deserve good things, and I take inspired action as needed to manifest my best and highest self.

I am comfortable revealing myself to the world.

I am free from worrying about the approval or rejection of others.

I am totally at peace with who I am, and I do not make apologies for it.

My certainty in my abilities is rock-solid.

Even in the face of adversity, I am confident in my ability to be successful.

I know that I will make it.

I know I can do what I want as long as I am willing to put in the effort.

My happiness and success are certain as long as I persist in moving toward my goal.

I already have everything I need to win.

My self-esteem serves me well.

My professional and personal life are positively influenced by my self-esteem.

I am strong, confident and full of love and light.

Today, I enjoy many benefits of strong self-esteem as my self-esteem increases.

Each day I grow more capable and confident. Life becomes easier. The world is my oyster.

Next: Try this guided, four-hour sleep healing meditation.

Taking Action Towards Self-Care Group Coaching

Taking Action Towards Self-Care Group Coaching

Taking Action Towards Self-Care

Regaining Self Series

Sign up at Life Makeover Academy or email Lise at [email protected]

Date, time and info:

  • Coaching with Lise Colucci, certified life coach and  certified narcissistic abuse recovery coach
  • Begins November 13 ( 5 weeks of weekly coaching)
  • Tuesdays at 9am, 11 am or 6 pm Pacific for one hour weekly video coaching meetings
  • Additionally there is a messenger chat which begins as soon as you sign up and offers both peer support as well as daily check-in from Lise to offer continued coaching support.
  • Printable journal and additional support
  • cosy is 75.00 (non-refundable) for all 5 weeks plus the messenger chat and the journal.

 

This group has been part of a foundation of healing for many people so far. This group might help you gain new focus in your life by helping you to create a positive outlook towards your future and a much calmer present moment. I will share a few quotes from other survivors who have used this coaching group to help them heal.

I’m in more than one group because talking amongst like minded people keeps me sane during the hard times. We’ve laughed and cried. We gotten angry and we’ve made breakthroughs together. This is one of the hardest lessons I have ever had to learn. The most important thing I’ve learned through all groups is self-care. I honestly wouldn’t know what to do if I hadn’t found Lise and these groups. I’ve made some solid connections and feel completely safe with my feelings here. Thank you and looking towards many more groups!  -Nicole

Joining the Self-Care Group Coaching seemed a logical next step in the healing journey. Had no idea how much it would impact my life in such a brief time. It’s more than a simple how-to and list of what to do. Lise Colucci is a beautiful soul who teaches and guides you to your path of self-care. She’s right there to encourage and gently nudge you as you move forward and face even difficult issues. The group is also filled with incredible souls, and it’s an honor to share this part of the journey with them. My loved ones have already noticed a difference and commented on the changes. If you have been dealing with your trauma bonds and are ready to move into the next step of healing, self-care coaching is an amazing resource to help you move forward! -Tam

Lise’s Self Care class has been an eye opener for me. She has a natural way of guiding her clients towards self discovery; allowing them to analyze their own personal situations and then create a path towards self healing that is individualized just for them. Lise is always available to respond to comments and questions from the group; even outside of “business hours” and often posts very thought provoking conversation starters. Her approach is non-judgmental and her candor is personable resulting in a forum where one feels “safe” to discuss their very personal feelings and experiences. Overtime it’s no longer a “class” but rather a loving, supportive extended family. I would recommend to anyone looking to move forward in their healing that they sign up for her classes. I look forward to the next course. -Diane

Personal Power Group Coaching Series-BOUNDARIES

Personal Power Group Coaching Series-BOUNDARIES

Personal Power Series Group Coaching

with Lise Colucci, Certified Life Coach

Join Lise for a weekly coaching group over the next 4 weeks to understand and start making changes in your life as you begin to place boundaries.

Boundaries Group Coaching

Do you struggle with setting boundaries or even not know what your boundaries are? Maybe you feel guilty if you say no or like someone may not like you if you place a boundary. Has a narcissist altered the way you feel about boundaries or made it so you now feel like you are somehow wrong for having them? If so, you are like so many survivors of narcissistic abuse who struggle to find ways to place boundaries in their lives but also know they might need to learn to do so in order to heal and thrive. This group coaching series is to help you create and live in your own Personal Power and we begin the series with BOUNDARIES. Having the support of a group as you work with setting and maintaining boundaries in your life can help to make this topic go from feeling impossible to totally within reach. As you listen to  others and get the coaching help to go along with the growth you are trying to achieve, the feeling of personal power may increase as well as feeling validated and supported.

Details:
One hour weekly video meetings on Monday or Friday 6pm Pacific
Sessions begin October 22 or 26
Cost: $60 (non refundable at this reduced group rate) for all 4 weeks

This also includes a private messenger chat group to help keep connection and continuity through the week as well as get daily coaching check-ins from Lise.

You will be contacted by Lise once you sign-up about the time you choose to meet as well as to be added to the messenger chat.

For information about Lise or to sign up for personal one on one coaching  you can follow the link here.

 

 

 

Self-Worth Plus Tips for PTSD Coping

Self-Worth Plus Tips for PTSD Coping

How do you get over the feelings of low self-worth after narcissistic abuse? Do you have coping tips for the feelings of overwhelm from PTSD? Leave a comment to share what works for you, it may help someone else!

For information about Lise Colucci and how to schedhttps://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tCucy… coaching, group coaching or to call in as a survivor on a future you can find her here https://queenbeeing.com/lise/

Let’s connect: Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/lise.colucci… Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/lisecolucci… Twitter: https://twitter.com/lise_coach

For group peer support, join SPAN (Support for People Affected by Narcissistic abuse in toxic relationships) – AKA “The SPANily” – at https://queenbeeing.com/span

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