Never allow someone to use you as a flotation device in a friendship or a relationship. People will try to use you to keep them from drowning in their own pain, misery, loneliness, and insecurity. These people deal with a lot of inner negativity and will make you a victim of it. They often lash out or become angry when you express boundaries and limits to their treatment of you and don’t allow them to drown you further. They aren’t willing to negotiate or make changes to please you. They will shove the top of your head and your shoulders to keep themselves up, while sinking you lower and lower into their pain. It is your love, your empathy, and your care that is keeping them afloat, but it will never be enough because they haven’t learned to swim yet. Or in other words, they haven’t healed from their inner turmoil.
They make you feel like you’re not good enough to save them when the reality is that they can’t swim on their own. You can’t save them. Ironically, people who try to act as life jackets (empaths) constantly try to prove themselves to be useful. The narc will pretend that the empath is holding them back and keeping them from swimming forward. The reality is that the drowner (the user, narcissist, or jerk) is the one who needs the empath desperately. This will become apparent if the empath finally swims away and hears the drowner demanding that they come back. It’s tempting to come to their rescue but the empath who stays too long, stays long enough for the drowner to swim on their own, only to be left in the same spot they were held in. The narc always moves on quicker than the empath.
We’re not here to rescue anybody anymore. If they can’t swim, they better learn on their own.