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.

63 thoughts on “The Ten Obligations of the Empath

  1. Love says:

    She is not me. Hello Jenna and Narc Angel 😘

    1. NarcAngel says:

      Haha. Well I’ve been gaslighted. That little scamp replied to me elsewhere and said she was, and I would have sworn that was your eye. In any case, its nice to see the real you. Sorry Jenna. I didn’t know what you meant because when I clicked on the avatar I got nothing. I was wrong.

      1. Love says:

        I miss your naughty self Narc Angel. And I miss you sweet softhearted Jenna.
        Thank you for remembering me ❤

        1. windstorm says:

          I’ve missed you, too. I think about you whenever I do my Sufi spinning. Hope all is well with you.

          1. NarcAngel says:

            I’ll add Whirling Dervish to your profile.

          2. windstorm says:

            Ha, ha! Surprised you’d missed it previously. Rumi is my muse. Fits right in with Tibetan Buddhism, Catholicism, Spiritualism and Shamanism and Druidism. I’m an equal opportunity heretic!

          3. Twilight says:


            Equal opportunity heretic…that made me laugh, and agree

        2. jenna says:


          You are welcome and thank you. I was looking forward to some sensuous poetry on your blog but there is none. Do post one here if you wish. Merry christmas Love!

          1. Love says:

            Hi Jenna!
            If you see my message, I just wanted to say hello. Hope you are safe and sound ❤️

      2. Love says:

        Hi Windstorm. So good to hear from you, lovely lady! I meditate to Sufi music. Do you actually do the spinning? How beautiful is that! Did you know the dance represents the planet revolving around itself and the sun? Have you achieved a trance like state from it?

        1. windstorm says:

          Hey, Love,
          I have achieved a trance in the past, but I’ve not done it lately. I will use this reconnection with you to try a meditation tomorrow, though. 😊

          1. Love says:

            Dear Windstorm,

            I haven’t seen you on the blog recently to say hello. I hope you are doing well. Sending you lots of love ❤️

          2. windstorm says:

            Thank you, Love. I am well. I am very rarely on the blog anymore. I have been focusing my time and energy on a personal project for over a year and still am no where near finished. I greatly appreciate your thoughts and love! ❤️

          3. NarcAngel says:

            You are missed here, but I am glad to read that you are enjoying a different focus in working on your project. I wish you much happiness and think of you often.

          4. windstorm says:

            Thank you, NarcAngel. I miss you and many others, too. Stay well.

          5. Love says:

            That’s wonderful Windstorm! I’ve tasked myself with so many projects during this quarantine and completely understand about limited reservoir of energy. I have a sense of accomplishment if I’ve showered that day 😆. Best of luck and keep in touch 💕❤️💕

          6. windstorm says:

            Ha, ha, Love! I’ve actually found it much easier to focus so far n my quarantine. I live alone with my three dogs in an isolated area n actually went 5 weeks without interacting n person with anyone. While at times it’s been a little too much aloneness even for an antisocial hermit like me, it has allowed me to focus much more on my personal objectives.

            I do dread Mother’s Day this Sunday, though. I am very hug-deprived and FaceTime can’t do hugs. But I am in the most at risk group by many ways n I am determined to not die before my daughter has her 6th n final baby this August – n hopefully not before I finish my projects! 💞💖

          7. Love says:

            Bless you Windstorm! I’m sending you my prayers in keeping you safe and strong for many many many years to come. ❤️ Congrats on the upcoming birth of your grandchild ❤️
            Your remote oasis sounds quite nice!

          8. windstorm says:

            Bless you too Love! Thank you n you stay safe! ❤️

          9. Hi Windstorm 😊

          10. windstorm says:

            Hi StrongerWendy! Hope all is well with you.

          11. Bubbles 🍾 says:

            Dearest Windstorm,
            Hugs n kisses beautiful Mother Earth
            We dearly miss you
            Happy Mothers Day lovely lady
            Stay forever safe
            You are always here with us, never forget that
            Luv Bubbles xx 😘

          12. windstorm says:

            Thank you so much, Bubbles!

      3. jenna says:

        Narc Angel,

        Gaslighted on the blog?! Sad🙁
        No problem NA.

        Merry Christmas to you! Hope you have a great holiday!

  2. ifonlymommy says:

    We may need to know we have done all that we can but we also do this for ourselves. We have to live with decisions we have made, even when it means subjecting ourselves to more abusive tactics from you. We have to “get it” but make no mistake, after we do, we solve the hell out of a problem like Maria. Our own problem…walking away from you. So pull up your floral drapery play shorts and ease on down the road. Maria out 🎤😆!

  3. Mercy says:

    # 5 you feel the need to fix us

    I hear this so often and I struggle with it because I’ve never felt this need. I have hoped things would change but never actively tried to fix him. I wonder if I’m in denial because of my anger. I admit that by nature I want to fix problems. This is with anyone I interact with. If I can help someone I will and I want to but it’s not something that consumes me.

    I always see it as wanting to fix myself. If I tried to change him or his actions it was for my benefit, not his. Even when I knew there was no hope for a future with him I wanted to fix how it ended so I could walk away on my terms, not broken like he wants me to be. 

    I see wanting to fix them as a selfish act. Not necessarily selfish in a bad way but trying to take care of myself. Almost like a self defense. If I could fix him I wouldn’t have to face the truth of what he is.

    1. windstorm says:

      I never wanted to fix mine either. I think some of us just don’t think that way

      1. Mercy says:

        Windstorm, thank you. I see other empaths talk about wanting to fix the N and is causes me doubt about who I am. It’s good to know I’m not alone. I think the BS was such a larger than life type person that I never thought he needed help. He didn’t want to change. He’s happy being the person he is and no one is going to change that.

        1. windstorm says:

          “He’s happy being the person he is”

          There you go. We all of us have the right to run our own lives and be what we want to be. I have always hated when people who don’t understand my reality or desires want to step in and fix me.

          People here in Kentucky are very patriotic and I typically tell those who want to meddle in my life that “Every American has the God-given right to be wrong!” This tongue-in-cheek declaration is usually met with confused silence. No one has ever argued it with me. 😄

          1. Mercy says:

            Windstorm, I’m sorry I must not have gotten a notification on this comment.

            That’s actually brilliant. How could any Patriot argue with that?

            You are right, we have the right to run our own lives. Who am I to try to change someone or fix someone that doesn’t feel he needs to be fixed?

            Things start to get mucked up when they try to take away our rights to be who we want

    2. Supernova DE says:

      “I always see it as wanting to fix myself. If I tried to change him or his actions it was for my benefit, not his. Even when I knew there was no hope for a future with him I wanted to fix how it ended so I could walk away on my terms, not broken like he wants me to be. ”

      I feel the same way! I think the last time I went back it was partly to prove to myself I couldn’t make it work with all my newfound knowledge (so I wouldn’t have to wonder) and also so I could end it on my own terms (rather than a total hot mess from him walking away without warning).

      I always felt I wanted to “heal” him, I could sense he was so restless and that, under it all, he was not a confident sure person as he tried to show the world. Unsure if that came through because he is a mid ranger or because I knew him as a tween/teenager before all the NPD was I place.

      1. Mercy says:

        Supernova, it never worked going back trying to change the outcome did it? It didn’t with me. “In the end it has to hurt” and it did not matter what I did.

        1. Supernova DE says:

          No it never did. I tried three times.
          1. He had rejected me severely, I balked when he hoovered I had strict boundaries and actually did a decent job sticking to them. Called him out a lot. He shelved me for three months as a result
          2. Again he let me down in a very real tangible way. I was done. He left me alone for 5 weeks then hoovered. Again I had strict expectations about how the relationship should go, and instead of being passive I was actually aggressive in trying to achieve those goals. He tries to control but I pushed back a lot. He “ended” (shelved) the whole thing.

          -I discover he has NPD, and find this blog-

          3. I Hoover myself after knowing some (but not all, as when you first read HG’s teaching in the throes of the ET it is very different than at this stage). Thought I could manage to get the high and not get hurt. EPIC. FAIL. He’s only an MMRN but after so much time he knows where to aim and where the weak spots are.

          Now a new number – 4. I Escape. While I’m on the shelf. He may still not realize I’m gone 7 weeks later. And I am thankful as it has surely given me more time. And peace.

          I don’t know exactly how all this “should” go, but I described what I feel now in another post as feeling through a veil of cotton cloth. It’s less potent than it used to be. Right now the cloth is sheer, and I can get myself worked up if I try and pull the cloth aside. I hope this veil becomes thicker with time and allows me to think of him with less and less emotion over time.

          1. Mercy says:

            Supernova DE,

            I completely lost this thread on my notifications. Sorry for the late response.

            I understand what you are saying. The no contact, the hoover, boundaries set, boundaries broke, painted black and put on the shelf. Over and over. I’m in the same boat and I feel less emotion each time. I recognize that this really has nothing to do with him anymore. Every time I let the hoover work (now that I’m aware) it says something about me. I think this is where we realize we are no longer victims we are now volunteers.

          2. Supernova DE says:

            Oh yes, I stopped being a victim a very long time ago. I’ve volunteered repeatedly.
            “In the end it has to hurt” is exactly what we need to remember in those weak moments, I read it here often.

  4. Christopher Jackson says:

    3,4,5,8,10 so yea hit it right on the head again hg keep the material coming just blows my mind everytime…I just began to remember how I have cut off so many people because of you and your material… and to no surprise none of them have even said anything I went absolutely no contact and shocking but true none of them called,texted or said shit…I wonder why??? Lol

  5. WiserNow says:

    All of these “obligations” are true. You describe them very well HG.

    What I find difficult to do is to change these innate beliefs or behaviours. How do you get rid of the way you think or the way you are? It’s a bit like amputating a limb, only it’s even more complex than that because it affects every thought and action.

    Even though you can go no contact, or low contact, with narcissistic people close to you, how do you change your way of relating to people in general? You can’t go no contact with everyone. Sooner or later, you will need to deal with someone whose prime aim is to take advantage.

    1. Christopher Jackson says:

      Good I was thinking this but couldn’t have formulated it like you just did I would love for him to answer this…but he probably won’t it would exert too much energy….too lengthy probably….but good question tho

      1. WiserNow says:

        Thank you for your comment Christopher Jackson. I don’t think there’s an ‘easy’ answer. There’s no quick fix. It’s a case of increasing knowledge and awareness over time and reducing emotional thinking in the process, as K points out below. So, while we can’t change how our brains are wired, we can learn to reduce some behaviours and become aware of the behaviours of others.

        In the interests of awareness and self-protection, its important to recognise the ‘red flags’, and to avoid ignoring or minimising them when you detect them.

        It helps to know yourself well too, I believe. Self-awareness is important because it increases your own logical thinking. It helps to know how your own needs (or ‘wounds’) and responses are affecting your emotions and reactions to the narcissist.

        Also, there’s a quote I once read that comes to mind:
        “You can discover what your enemy fears most by observing the means he uses to frighten you.” – Eric Hoffer.
        Some of the manipulations the narcissist uses are also what frightens or repels them, i.e. silent treatment, being ignored, being devalued etc.

    2. K says:

      WiserNow and Christopher Jackson
      You may find this comment very helpful.

      HG Tudor
      DECEMBER 17, 2018 AT 11:32
      You cannot alter your own traits, you must reduce emotional thinking, keep it low and thus you will respond with logic having learned to see the red flag of our kind, so that you will act on those red flags.

      1. WiserNow says:

        Thank you K, this comment from HG is very helpful. Emotional thinking is the culprit. Compassion and “doing the right thing” can be deceptive traps at times. While they’re wonderful qualities to have when directed towards those with genuine needs, it can be difficult at times to hold back these qualities from those that seek to abuse them.

        The funny thing is that narcissists see the empathic person’s qualities as weaknesses to exploit, so holding back these “obligations” from narcissistic people doesn’t affect them in the ’emotional’ way an empathic person believes it would.

        1. WhoCares says:

          Thank-you, WiserNow, for laying that out there in that way…I haven’t internalized it yet but definitely had an ‘aha’ moment when reading your words:

          “…holding back these ‘obligations’ from narcissistic people doesn’t affect them in the ’emotional’ way an empathic person believes it would.”

          1. WiserNow says:

            You’re welcome WhoCares. Lately I’ve tried to better understand how a narcissist would think, react or how they’d ‘see’ certain behaviours (like no contact, emotionless replies, more distance etc). They think very differently, so their reactions would be very different too. Instead of feeling sad, or sympathetic, or guilty when treated badly, they feel a lack of fuel, or insulted, or angered, or a lack of impotence etc.

            I find that thinking in this way helps to reduce my own emotional thinking and guilt when not responding in the same ways I felt ‘obliged’ to beforehand.

          2. WhoCares says:


            “I find that thinking in this way helps to reduce my own emotional thinking and guilt when not responding in the same ways I felt ‘obliged’ to beforehand.”

            Yes. I have to keep reminding myself of this at this time of the year. It is the first Christmas that I’ve gone full no contact with my mother and it’s challenging because of the lack of interaction with her, over time, makes me still start to question if she is a narc or somehow minimize the idea of how damaging contact would be with her…plus, the feelings of guilt due to being in full no contact with at Christmas. So I appreciate your words; they help me keep this in check because I know that own health and well-being depend on keeping my distance from her.

          3. WhoCares says:

            *my own health…

          4. WiserNow says:


            I know what you mean about Christmas and I understand how no contact (or low contact) is particularly difficult at this time. Good luck with your no contact decision with your mother. You are right in thinking of your own health and well-being. You have every right to protect your own self.

            I think that your guilt is completely normal and a healthy response too. It’s continually drummed into us that Christmas is “supposed” to be a time for families to enjoy together. This is an illusion with a narcissistic mother though. The reality is that they don’t have the same feelings about Christmas and “togetherness”.

            Just remember that if you were to give in to your guilt and try to contact your mother and try to create some kind of Christmas spirit with her, it would be like one hand clapping. The true Christmas spirit will be from your side only.

            I find that if I do have contact at Christmas, I prepare myself so that I have an internal understanding of not believing or expecting the “illusion”. It helps to not be disappointed or feel that it should be different. It is what it is. That may be a cold way to look at it, but it’s the truth.

        2. K says:

          You are welcome WiserNow
          I couldn’t agree with you more. They readily exploit those qualities and if we don’t fall for their skulduggery they will disengage and look for easier prey elsewhere. They cannot make attachments or feel guilt so it is no skin off their nose.

          Emotional thinking (ET) is definitely the culprit and the logic on narcsite is the remedy for that conundrum.

          1. WiserNow says:

            That’s very true K. The narc doesn’t ‘feel’ in the same ways an empath does, so the empath’s emotional thinking can wrongly ‘project’ empathic emotions and underlying motives on the narc.

  6. Michelle says:

    I think the irony of the empath’s attitude toward the narcissist is that we do not see weakness or vulnerability as a problem at all. What you call “oblivion,” i.e. fully integrating all human frailties and vulnerabilities within ourselves, is part of our daily experience. I am perpetually aware of my own vulnerability and shortcomings and yet I am still here and a functioning adult. The fear of those things in the narcissist is a childhood fear left over from when vulnerability and weakness were equated with abuse and pain and even annihilation. A grown person does not have to fear that, because he or she will never be so powerless. This “creature” thing has lost its fangs. Sometimes I think we are attracted to narcissists precisely because we are attracted to the idea of helping integrate the narcissist with the vulnerability they deny in themselves. In my opinion, anyway, there are few things as sexy as a strong man showing vulnerability. The idea of being on the cusp of attaining that can keep me in a relationship for a long time. Ironically, the narcissist always bails on the relationship at the moment he would have the most power over me — the moment he would face down this darkness.

    1. Supernova DE says:

      You articulate this idea very well and I agree with you. Especially as an empath, the ability for a strong man to show vulnerability is appealing, as it would mirror us even more!

      BUT, probably this is instinctive on the narc’s part to stop just short of this, because it keeps us hanging on with much less effort for them.

      My MMRN would seem sometimes on the verge of such vulnerability, then he would vanish….he chose that option instead of being “real” with me.

      1. Michelle says:

        I think this is less the narc’s manipulation of us than just their own limitation. For the narc, vulnerability = annihilation. They literally cannot do it. For us it is the climactic moment of the relationship. It is convenient that we are left perpetually waiting for it; I texted my Narc Friend for literally a year hoping that moment would finally come. When finally confronted with his weakness, he painted me black instantly. They cannot look into the abyss. An adult narcissist can’t fully ascertain that it is safe to be vulnerable when being vulnerable as a child led to such terrible pain. — the association is simply too deep. In fact, for a healthy adult, vulnerability is the path to safety and acceptance, not annihilation . . . but good luck getting a narcissist to see this.

        The irony is, had Narc Friend let me see him vulnerable and remained speaking to me, we might have a deep friendship and I would be truly bonded to him. Now the most we can ever hope for is manipulating each other in a false bond. That’s where the narcissist loses.

      2. shesaw says:

        ‘That’s where the narcissist loses.’

        …and where, in his mindset, the narcissist wins.

  7. Nika says:

    HG Tudor, that’s a pretty dress she’s wearing.

    Anyway, I’m suppose to tell you that I nominated you for The Versatile Blog Award.

    I know you do not wish to accept an award that is so beneath you, but I still nominated you (in hopes that you will not kill me).

    Thank you

  8. .💜. says:

    It’s amazing how you know exactly how we feel and why, in spite of the fact that you feel none of this yourself. Once again, you are spot on with your analysis. HG, your brilliance never ceases to amaze me!

    1. HG Tudor says:

      Thank you.

      1. Besame - Mucho says:

        What a collection indeed

      2. .💜. says:

        Oh, you are most welcome, HG! Thank you for sharing your knowledge with us!

        1. NarcAngel says:

          I want to ask how you are and what you’ve been up to, but I respect if you are in read only mode and choose not to interact (save for HG) at this time. If that is the case, thenI will just say that I have missed you and hope you have a wonderful holiday.

      3. jenna says:


        I don’t think it’s the same ‘Love’ we know. That Love, when I clicked on her gravatar, led me to her own blog, where she writes poetry about men in her life, including narcs. She quite likes narcs and being dominated by them. So I don’t think this is the same Love but I could be wrong.
        .💜. can tell us.

        1. NarcAngel says:

          It’s her.

          1. jenna says:

            NA (and Love),

            Really it’s her? In that case, how exciting!

            If you read this, hello and nice to see you!

      4. Nika says:

        I cannot deny this to be true… what “💜” said. And, it’s addicting for someone like me to feel so understood… to be “known”, even though I know it doesn’t mean I’m important, but it still feels good.

    2. Christopher Jackson says:

      Ain’t that the damn truth I’m like reading myself on my phone completely blown away.

Vent Your Spleen! (Please see the Rules in Formal Info)

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Previous article

You v Her

Next article

Something That Rings True