I’m grateful that I happened upon this article. Last year, I recognized a lifelong pattern of relationship attempts with people who employed gaslighting to control me, and ever since, I’ve been working to understand when my empathy is being used to invalidate me, and how I can deal with it in a healthy way. I still struggle with feelings of shame and anger concerning these situations, and your thoughts helped me to remember that shame has no place in emotional and mental healing. The anger’s fading, and I expect that when I’m no longer ashamed of my past and my personality, I won’t be angry any longer.
I agree that empathy is a tremendous gift: it has helped me immeasurably in my career. Now I’m learning how / when not to use it, and to identify the people and situations that are unhealthy for me. Thanks for this well-written and comforting article.