What is an Empath? | The Dynamics of an Empath/Narcissistic Relationship

What exactly is an empath? Mirrian Webster defines an empath as one who experiences the emotions of others, and a person who has empathy for others.

Some descriptions of empaths mention paranormal abilities, but an empath is not a mind reader. An empath cannot pick up on what someone else is thinking.

Empaths Feel the Emotions of Others

In my own position (I am an empath), an empath feels the emotions and feelings of others, and they can feel this emotion as if it were part of their own experience. Someone’s pain becomes an empaths pain. Someone’s joy because an empaths joy.

The danger in picking up on the emotions of others is that these feelings can easily be absorbed. Unless an empath has matured, i.e., they have developed an awareness of their ability to sense the emotions of others, and has developed mindfulness to block what they are picking up on, they can end up feeling tossed around due to whatever is going on in other’s feelings and emotions.

This awareness takes work, and what it equates to is feeling the emotions of others only momentarily, without letting it sink in under the skin. In other words, the empath develops the ability and mindset to say, “They own that (feeling/emotion). It is theirs, not mine.”

Empaths Can Appear Sensitive

Empaths can appear to be sensitive people if they allow the feelings of others to change their trajectory in day-to-day life.

The question that I like to present to empaths is, do you use this ability maturely, or do you allow it to wreck your life?

Empaths Have Strong Intuition

Empaths have intense intuition. They have gut feelings about people that others may not have.

An empath can sense danger or a dark side in a person. An empath can sense when someone is not being genuine. Empaths can see right through a fake persona. This can feel frustrating, alarming, and sometimes, depending upon the situation, hurtful to an empath.

Empaths are Often Introverted

Empaths and introversion are personality characteristics that frequently go hand in hand.

This means that most empaths love people. They are huggers. They adore seeing people that they have not seen for a while. Empaths cherish hearing that life is not only okay for others, but excellent, but after a period of small talk, it becomes tiring. The empath feels fatigued and is ready to head home, shut the door, and recharge.

This is quite the opposite of an extrovert—a person that feels drained or feels as if they hit bottom when they are running on a deficit of social interactions.

Empaths are Frequently Targets of Narcissists

Narcissists are drawn to empaths because they seek a person with a big sensitive heart which enables them to initially love bomb/manipulate/groom the target.

The big question is, how in the world can an empath NOT pick up on the narcissist’s dark side? The answer is remarkably simple. A vulnerable empath may feel starved for a trusting connective relationship, which leads them to absorb the narcissist’s early attempts in the relationship. In other words, they are blind-sided due to their vulnerabilities and craving for love.

An empath may not pick up on the intensity of the initial relationship with the narcissist until they are drawn completely in, and then they experience overwhelm. The overwhelm fogs the empaths perception at that point.

Once the empath picks up on the stark cold reality from the emotions and feelings of the narcissist, it can be particularly heartbreaking, shocking, and confusing.

What an Empath Can Do To Heal from, or Navigate, a Narcissistic Relationship

Therapy, Counseling, or Coaching. I always recommend therapy and/or professional counseling when a client needs deep healing. Coaching is also an option, to help the client get back on their feet…but coaching does not involve therapy. We are not therapists or counselors.

Mindset and Mindfulness. The development of mindset and mindfulness is key to healing from a manipulative or emotionally abusive relationship. If the empath chooses to remain in the relationship, both of these areas will help the empath to set boundaries that will help to protect their own emotional and mental well-being.

What do mindset and mindfulness look like in dealing with a relationship with a narcissist?

  • Recognize when the narcissist’s emotions and feelings are invading your space and your thoughts. Recognize when your heart feels as if it is breaking, or when you feel completely drained, that your emotions may be multiplied not because of your own thoughts, but because of the intensity of the narcissist’s feelings and emotions.
  • Remember that YOU must spiritually and mentally take care of yourself. Narcissists believe that their interests hold the most importance in life.
  • Recognize and believe that you are worthy of being loved and respected in a relationship, and learn to call any/all abuse by its name a.b.u.s.e.!
  • Develop an awareness. Look deep into yourself. What feelings of your own are you sweeping under the rug? What are you not allowing in your life that you, as a human, deserve and need?
  • Be honest with yourself. Are you trying to fulfill your need for a loving relationship with a narcissist who may be more interested in controlling you, or in fulfilling his own needs?
  • Are you looking for approval? Are you trying to do ‘everything right’ in the relationship to gain respect and love from your emotionally unavailable partner?

Ask Yourself These Important Questions

Are you honoring your needs today? Are you taking care of yourself? (You may have a big heart, but your needs matter!)

Are you allowing yourself time to think? (Time to be alone, to think and recharge your ‘batteries.’)

If you are in a relationship with a person who displays narcissistic behavior, are you setting limits and boundaries that help protect you from the weight and onslaught of any manipulative attempts?

Have you developed a boundary system that projects, “These are their feelings and emotions, not mine.”?

Action Step: Prayer Time for Women:

Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it. (Proverbs 4:23 NIV)

Heavenly Father,

You have given me this incredible ability to love and to sense the emotions of others. I am so grateful for this ability, but today I ask you to help me guard my heart. I ask you to grow my wisdom and strength so that I do not turn to the left, nor the right, and that I only keep my heart and intentions on you, and not on the thoughts and opinions of people. 

Help me to focus on spiritual things that are of you, and not of this world. 

In Jesus' Name,


Pray for strength. Pray for wisdom. Pray for discernment. Remember that prayer is comprised of 4 parts  — seek, knock, believe, and you will find. 

Disclaimer: This blog provides general information and discussions about coaching, aromatherapy, and related subjects. The information and other content provided in this blog, or any linked materials, are not intended and should not be construed as medical advice, nor is the information a substitute for professional medical expertise or treatment.

If you or any other person has a medical concern, you should consult with your health care provider or seek other professional medical treatment. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something that you have read on this blog or in any linked materials. If you think you may have a medical emergency, call your doctor or emergency services immediately.

The opinions and views expressed on this blog and website have no relation to those of any academic, hospital, health practice, or other institution.

Codependency | Codependent in a Narcissistic Relationship

helping hands (codependent in a narcissistic relationship)

In this blog we are focusing on codependency, or a codependent in a narcissist relationship, but not so much codependent relationships. We will talk about that in a future blog.

What is Codependency (Codependent)?

The definition of codependency (via Oxford Languages): Excessive emotional or psychological reliance on a partner, typically one who requires support on account of an illness or addiction.

In my experience, this ‘illness or addiction’ that a codependent may support in others, includes the bolstering of narcissistic behaviors.

Codependency in a relationship often affects a person’s innate ability to have a healthy relationship. These relationships can look good from the outside looking in, while the codependent typically silently struggles to maintain the relationship that is one-sided (i.e., with a narcissist), manipulative, and frequently is emotionally toxic and/or abusive.

If you are codependent you may feel as if you must keep others happy, and this comes at a price, a risk, and most often a sacrifice to your own needs and peace in life.

Codependents Lack Healthy Boundaries

If you are codependent, you may lack healthy boundaries.

You may fail to recognize that you are not responsible for the happiness of others in your life.

If you are codependent you may have poor self-esteem, and this may lead you to feel that your sole purpose is to please others. Your self-esteem dips if or when you cannot help others. This typically happens when the codependent is rejected (i.e., someone refuses their help), or when the codependent cannot help a person or a situation for whatever reason (life happens). To a codependent, the inability to step in and fix or help is like cutting off a vital air supply.

Codependent Caretaker Role

If you are codependent, your lack of self-esteem may lead you to feel miserable when someone you care for is not happy. This typically initiates feelings of guilt, or a sense of personal responsibility, and it can stir up an overwhelming desire for you to caretake.

Codependency and caretaking is a mentally and emotionally unhealthy mix.

In a narcissistic relationship, codependents feed the narcissist’s need for attention, admiration, and control. The codependent loses out in life as their needs are buried and ignored in this relationship…a relationship that does not contain a healthy and loving dose of give and take. In a codependent/narcissistic relationship, one constantly battles and seeks being fed from the other.

Do you know someone that you resist sharing your life challenges with? You avoid because you do not want them (the codependent) to jump in with unsolicited advice, or to get in their car and be on your doorstep immediately? Or to research your problem (online) and come up with various diagnoses, or multiple ways to ‘fix’ you? It is as if this codependent person doesn’t believe you have a mind of your own. As an adult, you more than likely want to take care of yourself, but as a human, you are social, and you want to share how you feel, however, you avoid sharing your problems with someone with codependent traits.

Unhealthy Emotional Responses

A codependent’s emotional response to everyday situations is often more intense compared to others. This typically results in feelings of hurt, rejection, and defensiveness. This is exasperated as others push away from the codependent in the light that they are ‘not dependent upon his/her help.’

Codependents lose touch with their own wants and needs as they maintain a focus to please others. This is not the normal ‘I have your back, my friend,’ retainage of a relationship, instead, the codependent’s mental well-being takes last place in life with no healthy boundaries.

Woven into a codependent’s lack of healthy boundaries (i.e., ‘I must take care of others, or I do not exist) is a craving for closeness with others, as well as an interesting holding back and hiding of their own emotions and feelings to avoid rejection and conflict, which leaves major holes in the building of healthy relationships.

Dependency vs Codependency

As humans, we all need each other. We are social beings. This is a shared need. We need people, a support system who listens and is here for us.

We are all mentally ‘dependent,’ to a degree. Some of us are introverts (needing a lesser amount of interaction), and some are extroverts (needing a greater amount of interaction), but our mental health is boosted by human involvement despite our personality traits.

Self-worth for a codependent is often dependent upon hearing about other’s needs, which can (consciously or not) deliver a boost to the codependent’s ego, or their sense of mental well-being, as the empty spot (needing to help others) is filled.

Fear of abandonment frequently plays into mental dependency. This particular fear often stems from traumatic childhood events like divorce, death, and abuse. (If this describes you, please seek professional mental health care. There is nothing wrong with seeking help. There is NO shame in taking care of YOU!)

Do you know the difference between dependent and codependent? I love this description (from MedicalNewsToday) – Dependent: Both people can express their emotions and needs and find ways to make the relationship beneficial for both of them. Codependent: One person feels that their desires and needs are unimportant and will not express them. They may have difficulty recognizing their own feelings or needs at all.

A dependent can be one or both partners in a relationship, and both partners can express their emotions and needs. A codependent is one person in a relationship who will not express their emotions and needs, and may not recognize that they have their own feelings or needs at all.

Help for a Codependent

How do you help yourself with traits of codependency?

You can seek counseling or therapy. Bear with me as I repeat myself, there is nothing wrong with seeking help. There is NO shame in taking care of YOU! Know that coaches have wonderful listening ears, and we are trained an experienced at helping you get from point A to point B, but if that involves helping you fix something therapeutically from your past, we stick with our code of ethics and send you to someone licensed to provide treatment.

Beyond counseling or therapy, what can you do for your codependency traits?

Openly talk with others in your support system. Your support system should be people that you can trust. People that listen without judging. People that unconditionally care for you and will be honest with you. People that do not release your confidential personal business.

The biggest gain you will receive through talking with others is that you release your emotions and your needs, desires, and wants. You are not burying your emotions and needs as you might (often do) when you only tend to the needs of others. You take care of yourself when you do this!

Develop a mindset of awareness. Know when you are putting the needs of others in front of your own emotions and needs. Develop an awareness of when you are neglecting your own mental and physical health.

Set boundaries. Set healthy boundaries that will ensure you avoid pleasing others when you are at the point of ignoring and sacrificing yourself.

Set boundaries that ensure you are aware of when you are over-responding emotionally (feeling hurt, rejected, or defensive). Note, you have to develop an awareness of these things before you can set boundaries.

The boundaries sound like this: I can do what I can do for her/him, but if I cannot help, I will not feel (hurt, rejected, defensive), because I know that I do the best that I can do in life! I am worthy of taking care of myself!

Your boundaries (to avoid codependency trails) look like an internal alarm system. When the door opens (I feel hurt, I feel compelled to help, or compelled to run and ‘fix’ someone else’s situation), the internal alarm goes off. The boundary involves shutting the door when your need to help others is greater than taking care of yourself. When the door shuts, you are left to take care of your mental and physical health (and that is more than OKAY).

Take Care of You

Love yourself. Sometimes we experience abuse or toxic relationships, and we don’t understand what is mentally happening to us until much later. So, give yourself grace, patience, and again, love yourself.

One last, but most important thing — abuse is never right, and abuse is never okay.

I would love for you to share your story in the comments. The more we share, the more we can help others. Have you had experiences in life a codependent, or have you personally dealt with traits of codependency? What steps did you take to heal?

Action Step: Prayer Time for Women:

For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast. (Ephesians 2:8-9)

Heavenly Father, 

Please forgive the sinful times I have put others before you. I have been weak in taking care of myself. This vessel and mind that you have given me in life have been neglected. I seek increased wisdom so that I will know when to help others, and when to simply love through listening. I realize my entry into heaven is not dependent upon my 'good works,' but it is dependent upon my faith, my belief and acceptance of you, as well as my sheer obedience. Help me to strengthen as a saint...to be obedient to you, and not to the worldly ways of man. 

In Jesus' Name, 


Pray for healing. Pray for help. Pray for forgiveness of sins. Pray for wisdom. Remember, prayer seek, knock, believe, and you will find. 

Disclaimer: This blog provides general information and discussions about coaching, aromatherapy, and related subjects. The information and other content provided in this blog, or in any linked materials, are not intended and should not be construed as medical advice, nor is the information a substitute for professional medical expertise or treatment.

If you or any other person has a medical concern, you should consult with your health care provider or seek other professional medical treatment. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something that you have read on this blog or in any linked materials. If you think you may have a medical emergency, call your doctor or emergency services immediately.

The opinions and views expressed on this blog and website have no relation to those of any academic, hospital, health practice, or other institution.

How to Keep the Conversation Going as an Introvert

Small talk wears me out. Does this resonate with you?introvert (1)

Contrary to popular belief, most introverts love people. I am an introvert. I adore people. I enjoy meeting new people and I am fascinated with in-depth life stories.

When introverts reach a certain threshold in any conversation, especially small talk, with anyone that isn’t a part of their trust circle (someone they are not in a deep relationship with), most feel a noticeable drop in energy level. Picture a battery-operated smartphone with a fast-diminishing charge. When a heavy load of data processes, the phone drops rapidly from 90% to 50%, and before you know it, the phone is at 10%—IN THE RED!

How do you recharge a cell phone? You plug a charging cable into the phone. What does an introvert do to get recharged? They go home and shut their door. Then they absorb silence in their own space and their energy level rises. For some of us, restoration happens quickly, and for others, depending upon our energy deficit, it might take hours to regain strength. Similarly, when you plug a charger into a totally dead cell phone, the display remains blank for a short while.

Small talk is the WORST type of conversation for an introvert. What exactly is small talk? Google dictionary describes small talk as, “polite conversation about unimportant or uncontroversial matters, especially as engaged in on social occasions.”

Introverts also wear out during conversations when they lose interest, not just from “small talk.” Let’s say an introvert meets a stranger and the person they’ve met talks about their home life, their mother or father, or which church they attend and why, or how they experienced childbirth … and, well, you get the picture. Even though the introvert knows that this person needs someone to talk to, and the introvert loves that this person feels comfortable talking with them, it eventually grinds down to a “battery low” situation. Why? It is due to the randomness of the conversation, and especially when the clock starts ticking. 5 minutes becomes 15, and then it goes into a half hour … and then the introvert shifts from foot to foot with thoughts, “How can I cut this short. I am tired and need to find a good place to break this conversation off!” This is often accompanied by a draining feeling of guilt.

Introverts, what can you do to extend the life of your battery? How can you stay charged during random conversations?

  1. Do not try to put on an awkward “I’m interested” face during a conversation. That involves a lot of work! Instead, be interested.
  2. Put yourself in the shoes of the person you are having a conversation with. Ask insightful and meaningful questions that cannot be answered with a simple yes or no. What do you want to know? What if you were writing an article about this person, what would you need to know?

Consider asking questions about:

  • Friends or family
  • Occupation or business
  • Hobbies or recreation
  • Aspirations or dreams

Remember this, you, the introvert, do love people. Your heart is huge. More than likely, your personality flourishes on you being a God-given encourager!

Finally, when you’re really worn out, have a plan of action in place. If you own a business, hand over your business card. Or, ask for a phone number, or a name to find the person on social media. Find a way to stay in touch.

Most introverts want to make friends, and I know you do too—you simply need to get to the refueling station … and that is OKAY!

Are you a Christian? This is one of my favorite scriptures for strength: 2 Timothy 1:7 ~ For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.

The first time I read this passage, I thought, “Wait a minute, I have a sound mind even though I do fear!” Basically, a sound mind means we do not sway to the left or to the right when we are faced with a challenge. We remain upright and strong. I translate this to there is no fear in love. We love Him. We trust Him. We have faith in Him, and He does not prescribe fear into our lives. So, say goodbye to the enemies’ fear-filled lies!

Introvert or Extrovert? Why Should I Know?

introvert extravert difference www.maryhumphreycoaching.comThe nerd in me loves to consider personality types. I especially love the topic of introverts and extroverts. The most important thing that I have learned when it comes to personality is you cannot change the spots on a leopard. Instead, I now see that we need to understand our differences and embrace them.

Do you know which type you are, an introvert or an extrovert? I am an introvert.

I am not writing this article to pinpoint every personality plus or minus about introverts, just those that are prominent, such as:

Introverts Dislike Small Talk

I used to beat myself up when I felt tired after experiencing a period of lengthy small talk, or after a long social gathering. I didn’t understand that this is the introvert fabric that I am made of! So, I put the self-inflicting ball bat away and I began nurturing who I am.

Introvert Career or Business Paths

Introverts typically love to write and are interested in psychology, especially when it includes self-discovery or introspect. Other independent areas of interest to introverts often include accounting, engineering, computer programming, and counseling. All of these areas either currently interest me, or have been a past career except for engineering and counseling (I chose the role of life coach rather than counseling). Knowing that my interests are common to introversion helped me remove my seeking to be normal out of the equation. I am a normal introvert.

Introverts Dislike Meeting Strangers

Experts also say that introverts feel uncomfortable meeting strangers. This is the only trait I personally disagree with because I love – adore – meeting strangers.

Introverts and Extroverts Love People

Introverts are not shy. They do not dislike people. They are great counselors and coaches because these careers and businesses require excellent listening skills.

Extroverts love people. Introverts love people as well, but extroverts are energized by socializing with people. Extroverts are great in sales, marketing, human resources, pretty much any job where they can stand on their feet and think, literally and verbally, all at the same time.

Introvert and Extrovert Listening Skills

An introvert might need to listen, step back, think about situations or ideas, and then return to them later. An extrovert is eager, ready to make on-the-spot decisions, give their two cents with little or no thinking time required. This reminds me of what the diet experts say, “Everything is okay in moderation.” Everything, such as introversion or extroversion (in moderation) is okay!

Benefits of Being Aware of Personality Types

Pinning personality stereotypes on people is not fair, nor is it smart. But awareness of what our differences are, and how we’re uniquely made, can be uplifting and beneficial to each and every one of us. We learn:

  • To accept other personality types. It teaches us to be patient.
  • To talk less, and listen, or talk more and practice listening at the same time.
  • To walk closer to the middle of life’s road rather than in the safety or emergency breakdown lanes.
  • To make wise decisions. To listen, study (to think first), and then make decisions!

How has your life benefitted from knowing or understanding the personalities of others? Has your personality type (introvert or extrovert) affected how you manage your career, business, or life itself?