I want to extrapolate more on #25 because it’s at the core of why Narcissists (the natural bullies of the world) are so attracted to HSPs (the natural empaths) and why they so often wind up in their unholy psychological death dance together.
It’s a Love/Hate dichotomy.
Narcissists have a love/hate relationship with the HSP.
What the narcissist sees in the HSP is a person who wants to trust, is easily manipulated (because they always like to give the benefit of the doubt), easily taken advantage of, and shows their hurt when wronged. They see a person who has insight into why other people tick and are self-aware and introspective. More than other people, they can easily be coerced into blaming themselves if things go wrong because they can be shamed or embarrassed so easily. They are unlikely to attack the narcissist (at least at first) and they crave love and acceptance.
What the HSP sees in the Narcissist is a person who seems strong and in control of things; at first, this may make the HSP feel safe and validated when the Narcissist is love bombing them to woo them into a relationship. Since Narcissists are usually quite aggressive when trying to rope in the HSP into commitment, making all sort of promises to the HSP that sound wonderful at the time. Soon, the HSP falls in love with the Narc and the match from hell is conceived.
The dynamics in a family with an HSP child raised by a narcissistic parent are different because no love-bombing phase is required (except when the child is an adult and threatens to leave or go No Contact with the Narc parent). Shortly after an HSP child is born, the Narc parent quickly realizes this child is vulnerable and can be used as their narcissistic supply to boost themselves up at the expense of that child. Often, the Narc parent will coerce other family members (often siblings of the HSP) to act as “flying monkeys” in the bullying of that child.
Unfortunately, such children are so sensitive they are often bullied at school as well, and the child may feel there is no safe place of their own. As a result, they may turn inward, creating imaginary friends or worlds in which they can escape. My mother hated it when I went inside my head into my imaginary worlds and punished me for acting “spooky.” I couldn’t help it though: it was the only “place” where she could not get to me.
Narcissists live in terror of being exposed.
Narcs hone in on high sensitivity and are both attracted to it and despise it. The vulnerability of an HSP and the Narc’s ability to bully them temporarily makes them feel better about themselves (the only way they can feel good about themselves is by putting others down because they know they have no “true self”–more on this later), but they also hate it and envy it, because it’s this very quality of high sensitivity and empathy they know they do not possess, and worse yet, they know it’s possible the HSP could one day use that quality to expose the narcissist. Narcissists do not feel anxiety the way most people do, but the prospect of being “outed” one day for the monsters they actually are behind their mask of normality and sanity is incredibly terrifying to them.
But why is the psychopathic narcissist living in such terror of being exposed? After all, they think they’re better than everyone else, so why would it bother them?
The answer is horrifying. If they are exposed or “outed,” they are forced to look into the mirror–and what looks back at them in that mirror is not a monster, not an ideal self, not a demon, but something worse: a black, endless void of nothingness. There is nothing there, under the mask they wear. In effect, the masks they wear are what they have become because inside they don’t exist. And yes they are evil. Evil isn’t badness; it isn’t the opposite of good. Evil is the opposite of somethingness; evil is pure black nothingness. In their desperate attempts to fill the void, they take on superficial behaviors and attitudes they think they “should” show the world–but they are fake. There is no real self there. Ergo, everything they think they are and everything they say is a lie. They are the People of the lie.