Taking your power back after the trauma of being in any kind of a relationship with a toxic abuser is an arduous journey. There are strong voices out there, however, offering the guidance and hope we all need in order to heal. Evelyn Ryan is one of the people leading the charge empowering victims of abuse to own their power, understand the pain that keeps them involved in abusive relationships, and break free for good.
With a special focus on how people with extraordinary gifts of empathy are, in fact, targeted by people with narcissistic personality disorder (sociopathology, psychopathy), we delve into why many have walked through their lives with what feels like a target on their back.
Please join us for a frank discussion with Evelyn about her book, her advocacy work, coaching with survivors, and how she came to be one of the authorities on working with the pain addiction of abuse survivors in order for true healing to begin.
You started out in a total different industry. How and why did you branch out to helping others heal from narcissistic abuse?
•Abuse victim and survivor. Studied for decades and applied skills from 35 year career in solving problems in high risk industry to root causes of narcissistic abuse into adulthood
•Became certified life coach in 2012 and started website and Facebook page
•Started writing to spread truth about root causes of Narcissistic abuse
•Reach expanded to 52,000 worldwide in 6 weeks
•Had written over a 100 articles in a few months. Book, Take Your Power Back: Healing Lessons, Tips and tools for Abuse Survivors was written in 4 months
What is theme of the book?
•Share truth into root causes of pain addiction that cause us to be attracted to power imbalanced relationships in adulthood
•We all have the power to heal and the answers and need to tap into that strength. As we rescue ourselves from despair we heal
•Provide practical tips, tools and solutions that address the root causes and allow abuse victims to free themselves from pain addictions and become their authentic joy-based selves
So you discuss empaths and how narcissists target them in the book? How did you discover this?
• Yes. I always knew I was different and I put a label to it when studying Judith Orloff’s writings however I did not relate it to being targeted by narcissists until I read the studies by Dr. Jane and Tim McGregor and pulled the thread more and realized that others had opened the door to the research such as Kim Saeed and Dr. Ross Rosenberg who focused more on codependents and narcissists….but it was all the same thing packaged differently however. Message is if you are vulnerable, heal and learn to protect yourself from predators who bank on your weaknesses and use love and manipulation to groom you and trap you and use you for self-serving ways.
What did you discover?
•That being a nice person can put you in danger and that we are preyed upon by human predators. That this was a predator/prey, parasite/ host relationship. That there were humans who preyed on other humans for sustenance. I was overjoyed and beyond sad at the same time as my own history and truth unraveled before me. I felt more vulnerable than ever before. Realized that I had never been safe and that the evil were walking among us.
I also realized that to heal, I would have to take action and that healing was NOT about the abusers who in actuality were very, very weak and character disturbed and could not heal. But I could.
What is an empath?
•Well, there are many definitions however in short we are energy receivers with high emotional intelligence and who are overly compassionate to the needs of others. We comprise 40% of the population. We are attracted to truth and exposing the truth and exposing like the McGregors describe that the Emperor really has no clothes.
Empaths, the McGregors explained, are ordinary people who are highly perceptive and insightful and who sense when something’s not right, who respond to their gut instinct, and who take action and speak up. Like the child in “The Emperor’s New Clothes,” they will tell the truth and expose lies and wrong doing—which is exactly what makes them a target for scapegoaters, bullies, narcissists, and sociopaths who are driven by exaggerated envy and fear of shame, lack of compassion, and an inability to self-soothe.
And what did the McGregor studies show?
•Being an empath is a double edged sword. Many view it in a negative light because the empaths make them uncomfortable by exposing the truth. They are more comfortable providing a false image to the world. That narcissists and psychopaths who are a subset of the remaining 60% of the populations target empaths and apaths who witness the abuse but avoid being shunned, do nothing when they could help prevent the attacks.
This makes empaths very, very vulnerable.
“Empaths can be brought down, distressed and forced into the position of the lone fighter by the inaction of more apathetic types round them.”
•They are weak but aggressive. Narcissists cannot generate their own energy and power. Empaths provide them what they lack and cannot provide themselves. Empaths are vulnerable, conscientious and are easily manipulated. We are typically overly compassionate and have not learned how to use our compassion responsibly. We want justice and balance and so they prey on our vulnerabilities and in fact, bank on them. If we are empaths and were also abused as children, we have been conditioned to believe falsely we are powerless to those who trigger our pain. Narcissists know this and prey on these vulnerabilities. They target only the best longest lasting supply who can provide the highest benefits to them without them having to do any of the work. We suffer for them, cope for them, and make their lives easier and help them provide an illusion to the world of normalcy. At the same time, we are dependent on others to define our self worth, a consequence of childhood abuse, neglect, invalidation.
This seems so depraved and evil. Where do the narcissists develop these skills?
• In childhood, the same place where we learned how to be their targets. Genetic predisposition. We can be exposed to the same environmental factors and one becomes the abused and one becomes the abuser. One learns to give up their power to others an the other learns to manipulate power from others. Experts believe arrested development caused by neglect or coddling that interferes with normal brain and ego development, self worth and emotional regulation. They relate to the family member who manipulates from others and in the process never learn to supply themselves with what they need to live and sustain themselves. They become energy and emotional vampires.
The good news is the empaths can heal, use their gifts and thrive and the narcissists cannot.
What can empaths do?
•Learn how to use their compassion responsibly and to maximize use of their extraordinary gifts they have been provided. Number one on the list is self-compassion and self-care and self-acceptance that we were all most likely punished for for even trying to address even our basic needs in childhood.
We can then heal the repressed childhood wounds, learn our vulnerabilities, learn about the covert aggressive tactics of the character disturbed, build our self-worth, learn assertiveness and how to monitor, trust and regulate our emotions. We can take our power back and thrive – become the authentic joy based and not the wounded versions of ourselves who are susceptible to attacks from character disturbed people.
I cover these issues in much more detail in my book, Take Your Power Back: Healing Lessons, Tips, and Tools for Abuse Survivors. You can read an excerpt and book review at https://yourlifelifter.wordpress.com.
Evelyn Ryan is the founder of Yourlifelifter and a certified professional life coach, author, abuse recovery researcher, career coach, healer, businesswoman, and mother.
She applies her knowledge gained from over 20 years of study on health and nutrition, abuse, trauma, and personality disorders and 35 years of experience as an authority in solving problems in high risk industries to identify quick effective solutions that address the specific root causes of our chronic emotional pain and unhealthiness and help us improve and sustain our lives.
Evelyn holds advanced degrees in science and management as well as multiple professional certifications in life coaching, organizational excellence, and process improvement. She is a recognized expert and published author in quality management and has worked nationally and internationally for several world-class research institutions and agencies supporting high risk operations and national and international security.