The Ten Obligations of the Empath



In order to manipulate you and control you, we rely on certain behaviours which cause you to act out of fear. Fear of injury, isolation, financial ruin, loss of your home or loss of your children. We also rely on your deeply embedded sense of obligation. Owing to your honesty and decency, you feel need to do certain things. Your sense of obligation is greater than normal and we exploit this in the following ways:

  1. You feel responsible for us

So much of what we do is of our own doing. In fact, next to nothing is caused by you when looked at through your worldview. From our perspective you are responsible for everything. It is always your fault and we repeatedly project and blame-shift in order to condition you to feel responsible for us. You already have a sense of responsibility towards us. You feel a sense of responsibly to nearly everybody because of the fact you are caring and compassionate. This increases when it comes to us because we are your intimate partner and you believe that it is the intimate partner who ranks amongst the highest who deserve such responsibility. This increases again when you realise that we have certain flaws and you feel a need to take on responsibility for them. Indeed, combine this natural state with the conditioning that we cause and you become someone who is over-responsible for us.

  1. You feel that you owe us

Once again this is a combination of the natural and the condition. You have been given such a wonderful time during the seduction period, given so much both material and emotional that you feel you do owe us. You are also a person who is polite and well-mannered and you feel a natural desire to return favours, thank people for what they do for you and a sense of paying the debt that has arisen. We also believe you owe us for everything we gave you during the seduction and accordingly you are obliged to repay us for the rest of the relationship and beyond. Combine these two elements and a powerful obligation of owing us is created which we are then able to exploit to our advantage.

  1. You feel sorry for us

That natural sympathy people possess is available in spades with someone as empathic as you. You never regard someone as weak or pathetic but rather feel sorry for them. You would not regard a homeless person as a stain on society but rather feel sorry that they find themselves in such a situation and you consider how they ended up where they are what might be done about it. You realise our behaviours are abhorrent but rather than always feel angry about it, you feel sorry for us that we behave this way. You feel sorry that we cannot explain ourselves, that we lash out and behave in such a destructive fashion. Your exuding sympathy not only fuels us but it creates an obligation on your part towards us.

  1. You feel guilty

Even if you know that a certain course of action is for the best, you are assailed by the guilt that you might be hurting someone, stopping them what they want to do or upsetting them in some way. Tough love is not a concept you want to embrace as the guilt at seeing someone else hurting, as a consequence of something that you have done, is too great. This sense of guilt forces you down different routes, often doing things which are not the best for you but nevertheless you feel obligated to do out of this considerable sense of guilt which looms large which someone empathic like you.

  1. You feel a need to fix us

You are a problem solver. You enjoyed the Sound of Music when you were younger and you always felt that if you had been given the chance you would have solved a problem like Maria. You regard it as your role to heal and to fix. You are of the unshakeable mind-set that everybody can be fixed. Everyone can be made better and when you experience the broken elements of our machinations and manipulations you do not shirk from them. Instead, you remain in situ and work out how you can resolve them. This obligation to make things better and to heal is a central part of who you are and is readily exploited by us since we know you are unlikely to go anywhere despite how bad things are.

  1. You feel it is your duty

You have a strong sense of duty. Duty to be an excellent parent, supportive friend, caring son or daughter, hard-working colleague and all round decent human being. Most of all you regard your duty to your intimate partner as one where no matter how difficult things might be you are not going to walk away. This duty is often compelled from the vows that you have taken and a strong religious undertone to your personality.

Duty is paramount and from that rises the obligation.

  1. You feel a need to abide by your standards

So often the world appears to have lost its moral compass and therefore it falls to a diminishing group of people to right the wrongs, stand up for the vulnerable and defend the weak. You often see that people are ruled by those twin gods of sex and money and this causes people to forget who they are and the standards they once adhered to. This is not for you. You do not do this to be lauded by others but do so because you cannot lie straight in your bed at night if you do not uphold these standards for yourself and in your daily dealings. This translates into treating people with patience, understanding, compassion and empathy, no matter how difficult it becomes. Some might suggest that you are making a rod for your own back.

  1. You feel a need to maintain appearances

This is not done for your own benefit. You are not like us creating an image to show the world. No, you do this to maintain appearances for the sake of others. It is keeping the family together for the sake of your children so they are not upset. It is appearing to get along with your difficult brother for the sake of your fragile elderly parents. It is taking one for the team in order to maintain an appearance so that you deal with the pain and aggravation so others do not. This need creates an obligation in you which we are content to exploit as we know it will keep you around and stop you from speaking out about what we do.

  1. You feel a need to never give up.

You are not a quitter. You do not give up at the first bump in the road or black cloud. You keep going, you are tenacious. You are indefatigable and you persevere. You plough forwards and feel that it is only right to do this because you know that the just reward will come at the end of it. Anything worth doing is worth doing properly. Anything worth having takes effort. We applaud this desire to stick at things.

  1. You feel a need to have done your best

When everything is added up and evaluated, at the end of the day, you want that satisfaction, just for yourself, to know that you did your best and you could have done no more. You always consider whether you could have done something a different way and more effectively. You are self-critical and behave like this in order to fulfil your chosen role as a good person. This obliges you to try and try again.

These empathic obligations result in your remaining with us longer, enduring more of our abusive behaviours and forgiving more of what we do than an ordinary person. We know these obligations exist and we exploit them.

14 thoughts on “The Ten Obligations of the Empath

  1. Empath23 says:

    I’m wiser and stronger than ever before.
    I will NEVER put up with this type of treatment again.
    Take that shit somewhere else. ✌🏻

  2. Empath23 says:

    I agree! There’s always a silver lining! 😊

  3. S. says:

    It’s just so sad to think that what makes us exceptionally decent people is also what targets us for abuse and makes us endure it for so long. That perseverance to fix the relationship and belief that there is good in everyone just destroys us little by little. When words weren’t painful enough my ex would physically beat the crap out of me until I was bruised and limping, yet still I tried to save the marriage. I wish I had gotten out sooner.

    1. I totally agree that it is so sad. Most of us were programmed from our terrifying dysfunctional childhood experiences to be the empath and a magnet for the Narc or Sociopath. We so desperately want to make others happy so that they do not have to suffer like we did. This innate desire within us will lead to our own destruction by our abuser. The good news is that we have learned our lessons, recovered to be a stronger, better person, and can now share our experience with others who are suffering.

  4. Ascending Lotus says:

    This is amazing! I am learning so much about the narcs I know closely and is married to. Me being an empath I see exactly how you can fall for this individual, especially having a parent as a narc as well. Its weird because Ive been through alot of mental, emotional, verbal and psychological abuse but always overcame. Its like i feel fortunate to have experienced them to get a up close view and analysis to help others and Im happy I am that strong to have made it thru both experiences. I am very self aware and I see how my experience with my parent almost led me down a path of narcissism. But, my spirit always pulled me back. Its like it woke me up. The ego is definitely a protector and it can consume until you become a narcissist and maybe graduate to sociopathic behavior. I have battled for awhile and realized i was truly battling becoming a narcissist. Its amazing to see my will power was so strong i did not give in. I totally chose to embrace the source energy instead of the adverse. Its true no gray areas in this. Peace and understanding to you all

  5. Yes, I have lived through every single item you discussed. It’s so obvious now, but I was clueless back then. He did destroy me in the end. You can’t keep a good woman down, and I had to re-build every ounce of me that he stole.

  6. Iollie says:

    So true… To a T…

  7. Jane Hall says:

    I am all of the above.

    My husband changed.

    Maybe he is an old, burnt out narcissist, but he changed.
    He now goes to church with me and finds that God is the only one who can be his answer and salvation.

    I am with him. But I will never go back down the old paths with him.

    Sometimes, I feel lack of trust towards him. Forgiven but not forgotten.

    But, I have told him….if he is playing games…..and goes back to the git he was then I will only kick him out of my life again. I am through with silly games and hovering. I am not going to be abused by him any more.

    He knows that. For the past four years he has endeavoured to be a better man, a different man. Gain back my trust and my daughters trust. He will pray instead of abuse. Is he sincere? Only God knows his heart and mind. But he appears to be sincere and the change appears to be genuine.

    Maybe he is just burnt out. but he has changed for sure.

    Thanks HG for your incredible writings and insights. I really appreciate reading them.
    Maybe you can find peace as my husband has. Through the only power that can truly change…a divine power. God.

    1. entertainment says:

      God is still into miracles. I am sure the changed due to many of prayers. Four years is a long time to keep the mask from slipping. HG has a post about narcs and aging perhaps he’s in Mid Narc Victim. Wishing you continued peace and God’s Blessings.

  8. Empath23 says:

    This is completely accurate.
    Especially 1, 5, 6 and 9.
    After being burned several times,
    I decided playing with fire wasn’t the greatest idea.
    I hate to give up but I also value my sanity.

    Out of curiosity, does anyone know what environmental factors help to create an empath?

    1. For myself, it was growing up with an alcoholic mother. At 8 years old, I made myself in charge of the parents & siblings. This is where I learned all of the above behaviors because I knew that I could fix anything or anyone better than they could take care of themselves. I was all set up for the Narcissist to come into my life – like a magnet.

      1. Empath23 says:

        Hmmm… interesting.
        I never knew or had the ability to fix anything as a child.
        I can’t remember one happy childhood memory while my parents were together, except when we were told they were divorcing.
        My sister and I, ages 6 and 8, cried happy tears, hugging each other tight.
        We would never have to see our father hitting our mom, spiting in her face, shattering dinner plates against the wall because he didn’t like what she made, destroying furniture, breaking mirrors, lamps, chasing after her with a knife, threatening her with a gun or hear the daily verbal abuse.
        We finally moved out of the state with her only to be neglected.
        She was too busy dating and finally being free and for once happy, to be concerned with us.
        Moved back with my father at 15. He was never abusive to me as a younger child but because I was growing up and looked exactly like my mother, he made me pay for it. He was extremely controlling, verbally and physically abusive.
        I vowed I would never allow any man to treat me this way!

        Went back to my mom at 18, shortly after, she went off of her anti-depressants which resulted in her having a mental breakdown and abandoning us.
        One day she just left, leaving all of her belongings behind. We didn’t know if she was dead or alive for months, before she finally reappeared and stabilized.

        A few years later, after the birth of my first child, I forgave both of my parents. My mom became one of my best friends before she took her life four years later.

        I suppose this is why I’m so empathetic. It hurts me to know someone else is hurting. Especially if they are in my presence, I physically feel their pain.
        Yet, I have ended every past relationship I have ever been in, without any guilt or remorse.
        My ex narc was the first one to ever leave me and did so without any closure.

    2. AH OH says:

      HG knows. I do also but this is his place to tell you.

  9. Seduced says:

    classic . But that’s who we are. if we weren’t that way we wouldn’t meet and got together. .. So they say opposites are drawn to eachother. Life…

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