My name is Rebecca and I am new here. I stumbled upon this site through my research in the field of psychology on relationships between co-dependents and those with narcissism/borderline personality disorder (sidenote: there IS a different between narcissistic traits and those with NPD- true NPD sufferers make up less than 7% of the US populations). I am finding there are many similarities between codependents and empaths. The main origin seems to be in the childhood of these individuals- mainly those who have suffered some sort of abuse or neglect. These types of people often end up in fast-burning relationships with emotional manipulators (BPD/NPD/or just those possessing the traits) and can even end up in long-term relationships with these emotional vampires simply because they each fulfill a toxic role in the relationship. Codependents and empaths both gain confidence in feeling needed and an emotional manipulator (EM) loves needing and/or using you. It seems that there are red flags with these EM's and I am still trying to learn those red flags out of necessity. For example, EM's have no boundaries, (and often codependents and empaths have weak boundaries so our emotional bodies are easy to infiltrate) they will often devalue you when they feel cornered or abandoned, everything is about them and what they want to do- your needs are not considered, if you try and discuss emotions/ needs with them/set boundaries/discuss something they did that hurt you, they become very defensive/threatened and belittle you for even bringing it up.
Depending on your own past, being with an EM can instantly feel like home which can cause you to feel an instant connection- due to boundary issues, the relationship often moves way too fast.
I have put so much into this research because a) I work in behavior analysis and am constantly trying to use the field to better my own life and 2) For the past 10 years (since I began dating in college) I have dated the same EM (mostly narcissistic traits/poor impulse control/covert addictions or substance abuse issues) over and over again in different forms. As a result, I have been in some terrible and abusive situations.
Now...for the biggest reason of all- I sit here 33 weeks pregnant with a baby by one of the aforementioned men. When we were in a relationship and I wasn't pregnant and sick all the time, I was a lot more useful to him. Now that I am pregnant, as you can imagine, he is not very involved in the situation at all. It is actually pretty devastating (and almost shameful) for me to be doing this without a partner. This is my first pregnancy so it is pretty terrifying overall, but I am definitely (finally) learning why I do what I do and figuring out my own pattern of behavior regrading relationships. Having a baby (especially in this situation) sort of forces you to look at your life and what you can do to stop the cycle for your child.
So, what do you think? Do you have similar stories of relationships with EMs? Have you gotten through that stage and finally settled into something healthier? Do you have specific signs you look for when determining if someone is an EM or otherwise unhealthy for your empathetic nature?
Any stories or advice would be great. I really CANNOT keep up this cycle.
updated by @rebecca-michelle: 07/21/18 09:22:11PM