I have been thinking about the empath’s contract with the narcissist: it come from one’s early experiences with other people’s minds–usually your parents’ minds. There are two parts to this: the narcissist’s mind and the way the empath understands the narcissist.
I don’t have a handle on this fully, but I do think the narcissist’s experiences are simply very loud. Other people can’t really compete and the narcissist is also very impulsive, very vindictive.
There are these different attachment styles, and if you don’t have a secure attachment, you work out how best to have your attachment needs met in lieu of that. If your parent is preoccupied–busy, sick, depressed or lacking in warmth, you find the best way to get your parents’ attention is to occupy yourself and wait for the parent to need you, so you become avoidant or detached. If your parent responds to your sense of vulnerability and need, it’s best to go with an anxious style and continually cling.
I think with a narcissistic parent, the most effective way for the child to manage that relationship is to be loud. Meet the parents’ unmet attachment needs by appealing to their own need for warmth or affection or specialness. Satiate their desire for safety by offering control. Or even play on their fears of abandonment or social exile by placing yourself at risk.
Pretzel yourself, and you might get lucky enough to penetrate their self-absorption. But step wrong, and their wrath comes down on you.
I think these are C’s assumptions about relationships.
I am starting to realize I am not that familiar with them. My mother, in my inexpert assessment, was a narcissist or had lots of narcissistic traits with a histrionic streak either from borderline issues or actually being histrionic. But my dad was a sociopath, and that is quite different. Yuri was a sociopath, and I think he functioned as an attachment figure too–since he controlled my life.
Or maybe I am and don’t realize it, but there is this other element that comes with the malevolence: don’t notice me. If you notice me, you can do nothing else other than hurt me.