Dr Jane and Tim McGregor
Wed, 30 Oct 2013
The empathy trap: therapists and counselors almost by definition are
empathic, to facilitate clients' recovery - but this quality can mean those
carers are targets for sociopaths, aided by what Dr Jane & Tim McGregor
call "apaths". The first UK article on this cruel sport shows how to
identify and thus avoid it.
To deal with sociopaths effectively, you first need to open your eyes. In
The Emperor's New Clothes by Hans Christian Anderson, two weavers promise the
emperor a new suit of clothes that is invisible to those who are stupid and
unfit for their positions.
The empath. Often, the person targeted by the sociopath is an empath. Empaths are
ordinary people who are highly perceptive and insightful and belong to the 40%
of human beings who sense when something's not right, who respond to their gut
instinct. In The Emperor's New Clothes, the empath is the boy who mentions the unmentionable:
that there are no clothes.
Any phase of this story sound familiar?
The syndrome gets its name from the play and films of the same name in
which a murderer strives to make his wife doubt her sanity and get others to
Gaslighting does not happen all at once so, if you suspect in the early
stages of a relationship that you are being gaslighted, you can protect
yourself by walking away.
Comment: DR JANE McGREGOR is a freelance trainer and lecturer at the
Institute of Mental Health, University of Nottingham. She holds a PhD in public
health and worked in the NHS and voluntary sector, mostly in the field of
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