As you are embarking on your healing journey, you will quickly become aware of certain things. One of the first things you will become aware of is your emotional threshold. Although you are away from your narcissistic ex, it may take a while before the emotional residue of that relationship manifests itself. Your brain only releases what it can when it can.
What do I mean by this?
Your brain will not allow you to feel the entire impact of the relationship that you were in all at once. This can be misleading at first. However, it is for your own safety and protection.
If we could feel all of the trauma that we have ever experienced all at once, it would be a nervous system disaster.
So, you can look at gradual exposure to trauma as a gift rather than a nuisance.
What often happens is that you are tempted to transfer over some of the same toxic behavior patterns that you had with your ex to your children.
One of these such patterns is toxic empathy. You are probably wondering how in the world can empathy becomes toxic.
Empathy becomes toxic when you leave the space of understanding the feelings that a person is going through due to their trials, tribulations, and traumas, and you allow yourself to be completely engulfed by their situation.
When this happens, not only can you not support the individuals who are hurting, you can’t even support yourself because you are in overwhelming pain.
Your children need you to understand their feelings without becoming overwhelmed by their experiences. Otherwise, they have no support system. And this is the tricky dynamic that has to be reckoned with when it comes to empathy.
Prayer, having them to talk it out, and more importantly, setting them up with their own therapist and or coach, will help them to deal with their own pain, allowing you the space to support them, and deal with your own.
As we are reminded in scripture, the blind cannot lead the blind.
Sometimes sympathy and empathy are often confused. Sympathy holds sorrow or pity for. Empathy holds feeling space for. And toxic empathy is on a whole ‘nother level.
Toxic empathy consumes all emotional space for. When we remember the whole concept of boundaries, we also honor the fact that establishing our emotional space is part of it.
Surrendering to God what we are not supposed to carry helps us to release what we cannot control. It is human nature to try to control what we don’t understand.
When you remember these things, you practice self and other care. When you don’t, you sign up for burnout.
You are enough. You don’t have to adopt toxic empathy in order to prove it. Grab your keys and get your inheritance.
Until next time.