Narcissistic Abuse and Empathic Sensitivity
Excerpt from Randi G. Fine’s Book:
Some empaths are born with their sensitivity, but most are created through childhood trauma such as narcissistic abuse. This heightened sensitivity is a learned response, a mechanism that may be developed to survive the threatening environment they live in.
Children living under the constant threat of narcissistic abuse may become hypersensitive to the danger that exists around them, particularly changes in the emotional states and moods of their abusers. In time they develop a reactionary response to subtle changes in the energy fields around them.
To ward off the danger, emotionally abused children may automatically put their own needs aside, monitor their own behaviors, and focus entirely upon the needs and wants of their abusers. The continual focus on the needs and emotional states of others to protect their selves from abuse prevents their own development of healthy personal limitations.
In time this behavior pattern changes from maladaptive to instinctive and carries over into adulthood. Having developed a higher-than-average level of empathy, they easily empathize (not necessarily sympathize) with the feelings and emotions of everyone they meet.
Adult empaths remain hypersensitive to the subtle changes around them. They easily anticipate the wants and needs of others with no regard for their own. Giving all they have without holding anything in reserve or receiving anything back is a constant drain on their inner resources.
Their lack of ability to filter the energies around them turns them into human emotional sponges. Crowded places such as shopping malls, supermarkets, stadiums or movie theaters can overwhelm empaths’ senses; fill them with uncomfortable emotions, emotions that feel like their own but are not.