One of the hardest things for empathic people to balance is our need to care for ourselves while also caring for the needs of others.
We worry so much about the happiness of others that we often cause ourselves undue stress and anxiety worrying that we haven’t done the best we can to make our loved ones happy.
While in the relationship with the sociopath, it seemed like we never did the best we should have done. Our biggest fear of failing to make sure our loved ones were happy was manifested every day.
Regardless of our planning and our efforts to please the sociopath, there was always a detail we missed. Missing those minor details (like signing off a text or email with “Love” instead of “I love you”) gave the sociopath fodder to call us all sorts of horrific names and to deem us unworthy of love.
(Seriously! For pity sake!! Do you see the absurdity and stupidity that you were sucked into accepting all because of some immature piece of trash?)
I love to love and help people. I love seeing the underdog win and the champion keep winning. I love to see people succeed, and I love to smile with them at their accomplishments.
Unfortunately, I was made aware, by the sociopath, that smiling at my own accomplishments is selfish and a hateful act.
(How ironic to be told by a sociopath that I’m selfish and hateful if I show or feel pride in myself.)
Sociopaths try and often succeed in convincing us we should be ashamed for being prideful. Sociopaths will tell you you’re tasteless and selfish for being so vain in your actions.
(Again, how damn ironic!!)
How often were you excited about a personal success or breakthrough only to be “brought back to earth” by the sociopath?
And how often were you chastised for not making a bigger deal about something the sociopath accomplished?
(I use the word “accomplished” very lightly in relation to all things sociopathic. Sociopaths succeed in destroying, not building.)
What if I told you that you should never feel ashamed about being proud of yourself? You should also stop feel guilty for failing to praise the sociopath on-demand.
You know what I’m talking about, right? All those instances when the sociopath would excitedly tell you some fantastic tale about something he was proud he did, but you interpreted it as something not at all praise-worthy, and the sociopath chastised you for having such a reaction?
(Raged upon you is more like it.)
Even though the sociopath’s rage was intended to shame you (and you WERE ashamed) for being so inconsiderate to his needs, please know today, in this moment now, that you were justified for not applauding his behavior. You were right not to high-five the asshole when he demanded your high-five.
Being an accomplished asshole is not deserving of a high-five. Let’s be real and stop revering the unworthy. Let’s stop being apathetic. There are too many Emperor’s wearing “new clothes” in need of being forced out of their delusions. If not forced out of their delusions, at least pushed out of our lives.
How do we do that?
I believe we start by valuing ourselves and our skills and abilities.
Sociopaths are attracted to shiny and pretty things. We’re shiny and pretty, but we don’t give ourselves enough credit.
We need to start. Now. This minute.
When we value our skills and talents, we end up naturally valuing the skills and talents of others. Self-defeating behaviors end, and we stop the unhealthy practice of envying others and comparing ourselves to others.
(That’s what sociopaths do: envy and compare. We want nothing to do with any kind of activity in which sociopaths participate, right?!?!)
Instead, if we truly value ourselves, we automatically value others and their skills. Competition ceases to exist.
We naturally begin gravitating more and more toward more and more people with healthy egos who are also interested in bettering their lives and the lives of those surrounding them.
(Just think about the wonderful people you’ve met through pages and blogs like this just because you let go of some of your self-defeating behavior and took a chance that someone would understand you and value what you had to share? It’s really simple to be ourselves once we accept ourselves.)
Once surrounded by other creative and good-hearted individuals, an impenetrable force of trust, honesty and respect manifests. This force is a natural deterrent to sociopaths and sociopathic behaviors and thinking.
Practice valuing yourself and your natural gifts. Be selfish to protect those gifts from overly selfish and greedy people. Share sparingly, building greater and greater trust, understanding and respect.
Nothing happens overnight. There are no quick solutions or fixes. Regardless of what the sociopath might say to try steering you away from your path, practice patience with yourself and those who have proven themselves worthy.
You matter, and the people who matter to you know you matter and will fall in love with your independent spirit sprinkled with just the right balance of selfishness, pride and love of life.
Above all, remain aware of how your decisions and actions affect others. Not everyone is going to be happy and agreeable all of the time. We aren’t always going to make the very best choices.
But if we remember to check ourselves against how we don’t want to be (you know, sociopathic), the chances that we hurt another or ourselves greatly diminish.
We can be selfish and prideful and still be caring, empathic and selfless.
© 2013 Paula Carrasquillo and Paula’s Pontifications