Real self-love is not egocentric narcissism. It is the ability to live your life in a self-caring manner. It comes from a place of balance and joy that shines light on all of us.
I have had the honor to meet so many wonderful caregivers in this world. However, a lot of them are fatigued, frustrated and confused. They have given much, and they are often feeling depleted. My recommendation to anyone who is experiencing this is ~ distance yourself from the ones who take your loving care for granted, and also let go of those who often manipulate you to keep supplying them with your energy.
I know ~ it is difficult to walk away from someone who seems to be in need. And we truly are here to help one another by utilizing the gifts and abilities we have been blessed with. The caveat is to know the difference between truly helping someone, and, enabling someone to capture you in a cycle of controlling you through narcissistic behavior that leaves you feeling uncared for.
Are the people you are in relationship with stuck in self-destructive behavior patterns? Do they refuse to do the hard work involved to uncover and release unhealthy blocks that keep them emotionally stunted? Do they treat you with underlying hostility instead of consistent thoughtful actions? Do you feel continuously criticized? Do you find yourself diminishing your own beautiful light so as not to upset someone?
If your answer is yes, then it is time to rescue yourself.
Depending on your life circumstance you may feel that physically distancing yourself isn’t the best option. If it is simply the case of it not being the easiest option, then getting your life in order to do so is very wise. The other choice is to see the relationship for what it does provide and accepting what it does not. Setting boundaries around your caregiving may be crucial in this case. Perhaps there are other relationships in your life that can provide the love and support that you need.
Know that if leaving is a viable choice, often the backlash from the person being left behind will bring out various forms of uncomfortable resistance. Take good care of yourself and ensure safety. Be aware that the promise of better times ahead, if you stay, is often what keeps people stuck in the cycle of being drawn in, once again, to take care of the wounds of the relationship that never really heal.
Here is what I advise. Do not engage in any ego drama. It is easy to get pulled into a blame and shame game when our emotions are running high. Let yourself know that you really do love that person and that they really do love you too on a higher level. But, do not deny the unhealthy relationship patterns that are present. Be honest with yourself as to whether the other person really has the willingness or the ability to change. If you think you are in a relationship with a narcissist, as many empathetic people are susceptible to, then know that the statistical likelihood of them changing is very small.
(An excellent resource for understanding narcissistic relationships: https://www.youtube.com/c/DoctorRamani )
Then take the steps to create the best life you can make for yourself based on your own true needs. You may be guided spiritually to change your work, home or life situation. Take those positive self-care steps no matter how big the pull is to get sucked back into relationship dynamics that you know are unhealthy. It might help to know that it is not healthy for the other person to allow you to remain trapped either. After all, what chances do they really have for growth if you don’t set boundaries? It may be unlikely that they will use a change in relationship dynamics as an opportunity for self-awareness, they may even become self-destructive, but that is their free-will choice.
Dear rescuer, know that the person who needs to be saved is you! From there your light will shine so beautiful and bright, that we will all feel loved in your presence.
Thank you! You have my deepest appreciation.
Pen Augustin is author of Waves of Light and The Priestess Tale series. She is also founder of Lady of the Lake Holistic Health. Pen loves to give messages about how we can heal ourselves and bring balance to our beloved planet. Living near the beautiful shores of Lake Michigan, she enjoys spending time in nature and communing with the local wildlife.