The Toxic Attraction Between An Empath And A Narcissist

The Toxic Attraction Between An Empath And A Narcissist

All is fine in love and war unless it’s a toxic attraction leading to destruction. The toxic attraction between an empath and a narcissist.

We know that “narcissist” has become a bit of a buzzword recently, and some folks are quick to apply it to an ex-lover or family member or friend. While awareness of this concept is healthy, so is remembering that it is, in a mental health context, a serious condition that shouldn’t be applied to someone you’re mad at because they stole your mirror. – Eds. 

Often times empaths realize that they have that sensitive, highly intuitive aspect of their personality after they have survived a broken relationship with an energy vampire or a narcissist.

This article is written from the perspective of an empath, however, the narcissistic personality might have a different perspective on the relationship too.

The Toxic Attraction Between An Empath And A Narcissist
The Toxic Attraction Between An Empath And A Narcissist

Studies on the narcissist personality type reveal one truth:  A narcissist is wounded.

This wound traces back to their childhood when they either might have been neglected care and concern by the primary caregivers, dejected by close people or have felt the pangs of rejection over persistent situations. Our past experiences have a significant influence on the development of our adult personality.

A child who has been ‘conditioned to be loved’ when they have achieved something and left devalued on occasions they failed to achieve something will help them form a personality that is based on fragile and fluctuating attention. This leads to a very vulnerable sense of identity and low self-esteem.

Praising children’s intelligence, far from boosting their self-esteem, encourages them to embrace self-defeating behaviours such as worrying about failure and avoiding risks. – Dr. Dweck 

Often times, the energy-sucking, cruel monster we see in a narcissist is just a superficial cover to the extremely destroyed, insecure, shattered person inside that we fail to see.

An empath on the other side is sensitive, considerate, empathetic on the inside and is extremely transparent on the outside. An empath has an incredible power to fathom the exact depth of another individual’s emotions; they can literally absorb the physical, emotional and mental agony of another person and feel it as if it’s their own.

An empath rarely has a conscious sense of their personal boundary. This vague definition of their boundaries gets them to be highly attracted to the melancholic, heartbroken, enigmatic charm of the narcissists, rushing to fix and repair any damage and attempt to eradicate all their pain.

The empaths fail to see the truth in the eyes of the narcissist. Just as an empath is a giver, healer, the narcissist, on the other hand, is a taker. What can be a better mutual attraction point than this?

A narcissist is utterly empty on the inside, covered up by the mountainous grandiose self-image. The lack of validation and nurturance during childhood requires a substantial amount of compensation when they grow up. To defend against their impoverished self-image, these individuals feign an attitude and demeanor to convince themselves that they deserve everything best in this universe. This mindset compels them to get intimately involved with individuals they feel could be the “best source of their narcissistic supply” to their exaggerated need to be constantly validated.

 
This complex dynamic is beyond the understanding of the simple-minded empath who views the world and its inmates just as compassionate and giving as themselves, being oblivious of the narcissists’ deep-rooted agenda.

The narcissist’s agenda is one of manipulation, of acquiring power and control over other individuals. The empath’s agenda, in contrast, is to love and heal selflessly. This creates a suitable circumstance for the narcissist to take advantage of the empath’s submissive and sensitive nature to the fullest degree possible.

The more dominating the narcissist becomes, the more likely the empath will retreat into a victim status. And soon enough, this domination and power play will be projected on the empath, while the empath imbibes in this poisonous projection into themselves. Before long, an extremely vicious circle has begun to swirl.

203 thoughts on “The Toxic Attraction Between An Empath And A Narcissist”

  1. Avatar of Tricia

    You just described my 25 year marriage! My husband, narcissist. I’m the empath. Strangely, I’ve had ppl my entire life tell me I’m too sensitive and I need to toughen up. Now I understand why I feel things so deeply.

  2. Avatar of Angie Williamson

    I to am an empath and have had several narcissistic relationships and thanks to your article I now realize that your right about not being able to fix anyone. I use to get into relationships so that i could fix people and I have learned this simply isn’t possible. Just wanted to say thank you very much for your insight.

  3. Avatar of Jamie Brown

    An empath myself, and a counselor, I’ve had to let go of a couple of narcissistic friends. Ian made some good points, above, re: the defining characteristics of a narcissist, and I would tend to agree with his observations, although not having met your narcissist, I will give you the benefit of the doubt. It does seem possible that your initial perception of that person as “loving and attentive” could have been projection on your part and/or he was very good at faking it to get what he wanted; otherwise, NOT a narcissist. Be that as it may –

    With narcissists, the key feature is that EVERYTHING IS ABOUT THEM – always! In good times, they are the star of the show and the life of the party. In bad times, they are the poor defenseless victim desperately in need of your help. And God forbid YOU should ever be a star and/or need help, because how dare you take the spotlight away from them?!

    I had a friend who, in public, was the life of the party and fun to be with at karaoke, laughing, dancing, having a ball. She was always the center of attention (good or bad) and often accused of being “a drama queen.” As her friend, I stood up for her against these accusations. But in private, she would call me all hours of the day or night supposedly seeking my “advice,” including medical, which was my field at the time, about the latest drama affecting her and her family. She and her kids were in the ER so often that I said her family ought to get Frequent Flyer Miles or something. But, although she allegedly wanted my “advice,” she always ignored my recommendations, preferring the advice of high school dropout Billy Bob or whomever she happened to be sucking up to at that moment.

    Another friend, who presented as the sweetest, kindest, gentlest lady you would ever want to meet, came to me for counseling and spiritual help. Her estranged husband was a monster who had abused her physically, mentally, emotionally, sexually in all kinds of horrible ways and nobody believed her. The law had sided with him, saying she was crazy. But for some reason she couldn’t let go of him emotionally. I had never met him and couldn’t verify her story but regardless, worked with her on letting go, getting herself free, healing, and following through on the legal process. I even smudged her condo and banished demons which she was sure he’d left there to curse her. Like my other friend, she called at all hours and stayed on the line for hours, suicidal, when I told her I had to work or sleep.

    Then it happened – I had the worst year of my life. My mom had died and my new stepmom was diagnosed w/ terminal cancer. Meanwhile, the trailer I was living in had roof and floor leaks, black mold, a very lively rat infestation, a flood and a fire. It was the rainiest summer on record for our area and my entire property was underwater, and sinkholes were opening up, one just 20 feet from the trailer. I have a preexisting immune dysfunction and my health deteriorated horribly due to the black mold. Also I lost my job. I posted my experience on Facebook and here’s how my narcissistic “friends” responded:

    Friend A, the Life of the Party, said “Quit whining! All this bad stuff is happening to you because God is punishing you for being such a negative person and not having enough faith!” Friend B, the kind, gentle victim, said, “You have brought this on yourself by being negative. I CHOOSE to be happy! and I LOVE the rain!” I prayed for both of them and let them go.

    That’s the thing about relationships with narcissists: You can be there for that person for years, through thick and thin, but when your life takes a turn for the worse and now YOU need support – forget it! Not only will they NOT help you, they will stab you in the back for having the audacity to have any drama in YOUR life that may detract from all the attention being on them.

  4. Avatar of Ian Hanson

    To the author:

    You have some value to what you have to say about relationships and it’s inner workings but you obviously don’t have a clue what a narcissist is….

    “Emotionally exhausted, lost, depleted and debilitated an empath will struggle to understand what has happened to the once loving, attentive and charismatic person they were attracted to.”

    Loving, attentive and charismatic is not and are never qualities of a narcissist. They are not wounded! They are generally very pig headed and rarely act the victim. They go blindly into life with little to no true care for others. They play life like a game and all the “love” they give is really only to benefit themselves in some way.

    If an empath goes into a relationship with a narcissist. It tends to be seen more as; the empath struggling to get the narcissist’s attention, while the narcissist blindly goes on in life never really being able to understand why the empath feels so clingy.

    I think the type of people you are talking about are empaths just like yourself. But as you said they were hurt in some way and they have stopped reaching out and feeling the emotions of the people around them. People who are looking to fill a void are not shallow! They are running on instinct and anxiety lots and lots of anxiety or depression. It may be so bad that they destroy everyone and everything around them but THEY ARE NOT A F***KING NARCISSIST!! If you were one of these people you would know there was a time before everything went so sour. You would know what the need to take from people in the way you are talking about is because you feel way too much empathy and feelings that you just shut down your inner core until you feel as hollow as whatever destroyed your happiness in the first place.

    I’d really like to hear a reply

  5. Avatar of Martina

    So you’re saying that empath could blame everyone who is not as sensitive as him to be a narcissist or sociopath?Because just maybe you’re overreacting and let’s blame everyone who doesn’t answer to your love the way you want to be a bad person…that’s stupid!

    1. Avatar of Beth Lunday

      Martina – you might be a narcissist if . . .
      1) you think someone is overreacting to manipulative behavior
      2) you are projecting your bad behavior onto someone else, as if they are the problem
      3) call the other person names and insist they are wrong in calling out your bad behavior

      I can clearly see why you think this is “stupid”.

  6. Avatar of Maribel Gonzalez
    Maribel Gonzalez

    Mu question would be, why am I attracting this kind of person?
    It takes two to tango, right?

    1. Avatar of Beth Lunday

      Because you’re a good person who would like to see miserable people be happy. You can’t. It’s impossible to transfer your good nature. Think of yourself first, not in a selfish way, but train your radar.

  7. Avatar of Joann Ear

    Well done, at least now everyone has fully understand this sort of toxic relationship, and not been buried in the dark anymore. Admire to the founder of this truth. We have to stay strong

  8. Avatar of Faith Rodarte

    I completely understand this, and it was completely true. I really have been working on strengthening myself as an empath without losing my giving heart and hope in humanity. But I have to be honest, I married my Narcasist. I completely understood that my entire life would be a balancing act and a test of true mental attention and strength in order to do so, but it happened after several years of fighting for him to feel my pain, feel my thoughts, and emotions,… Authenticly. It took so much loss and frustration, but we can say that we now meet in the middle, and he’s always trying to be compassionate and honest, at all times. I have to choose my battles, and he has to try every single day and night to be what “WE” need in order to be a unit together and not individually, which is easy to fall into pattern. Its a real ongoing balance, but he is showing proof and actions of “EFFORT” and “CHANGE”, and that’s the ONLY ONE WAY A NARCASIST AND AN EMPATH CAN WORK, it is possible, but its tricky to find the authentic motives of the person, and we have to be capable and willing to work “WITH” them, and try to help them see the unseen empath world, and fortunately it was possible. Have faith and stay strong, but also KNOW WHEN TO SAY GOOD BYE WHEN YOUR EFFORTS ARE TAKING YOU DOWN to a unbearable level and get away.

    1. Avatar of KarenCat213

      Thanks so much for posting. You give me hope that an empath and narcissist can be married successfully. I disagree that it is impossible for an empath and narcissist to be together. Yes, it will be difficult, but if anyone can even begin to help a narcissist heal and weather the storm with them, it’s going to be an empath. Narcissists are still human beings. For my specific situation though, we are twin flames and we have a child who is a one year old. We are not there YET, and both of us need to heal (I am healing from his wrath), but we will get through this eventually. I feel bad for him for whatever happened to him growing up as a child because it wasn’t his fault, so he too was a victim at some point. Of course, me being an empath, would only could think up such a thing as that. We will make it somehow, I firmly believe that we can and will. Reading your story gives me true hope.

  9. Avatar of Lea

    As I was reading your article I have tears in my eyes. I understand completely about this type of relationship since I was in one. I know I am an empath and no there are times I don’t know my boundries. I met someone when I was 21 that completely fell in love with me and I can say yes I was too but he was only 16 at the time and my parents would have freaked. He wanted to have a relationship then but because I knew how my parents would fell I said no. When this person was 16 he was the sweetest, very loving and very generous. When he was 19 he was in a very bad car accident and then when he was 20 he fell 40 feet off of staging. He almost didn’t make it but he did. That is what changed this very loving person into a narcicist. The TBI that he suffered changed is personality. We connected again 20 years and I knew I was sittl attracted to him. I had origanally gone to his place just for a one night thing cause I already knew that he was good in that aspect and thing went from there. I mioved in with him and for 3 months it was heaven. Then my son moved in with us and all hell broke loose. My son doesn’t respect me and there was a day that he was yelling at me. Now I will give my bf credit, he is one of the few that had ever stuck up for me in that aspect. He started in on my son telling he he should respect me ect. But for me it was the handled the situation that got me. Yelling, screaming, throwing things. threatening to throw my son out the window. Sorry but my son may not treat me the best but he is till my son, for me family above all else. So when things started to get violent I stepped in and that is when the relationship got bad. I was standing up for something and using my strength and I already know at narcisist has a probelm with that. I stayed cause I wanted the person I fell in love with when I was 21 and I was so sure that I could get him there. There were days when I saw the old personality and I wanted more of it. I realized that I would never get what I really wanted so I did get out of the relationship but this person is obsessed with me, he would contact me after a time and I fall for the charm, he still doing it to this day and has a gf. Sometimes when the obsession is on both ends it hard to resist.

  10. Avatar of Stephen

    Well I apologize ahead of time if I offended anyone. For core traits of humanity dating back to the spawn of our basic instinct. Survival vs non survival, I personally have discovered with in myself that I have several Narcissistic trait which this blog with no founding factual evidence other then opinion and no insight or true study was conducted. This is a matter of mental stability and coping skills which are developed at a very young age almost subconsciously due to the environment a child is in. (Thus would be your very wide view of a narcissistic person having some form of trauma that makes them feel low.) All humans develope there coping skills as children thus would be the formulation of Narssictic trait. A person doesn’t just simply wake up one day and say I’m going to have a mental condition that makes me a blood sucking vampire. Yes your theory someone needing to build themselves up such as a bully versus a victim is true in several different types of personalities built around antisocial individuals. Which is a hard thing for anyone to face about themselves. You speak as though an Empath vs a Narcissistic Person is good vs evil. So the healer vs the vampire sounds like a good horror movie to me. You want to help someone with a mental condition let’s start with factual information such as definitions. Definition of an Empath: em·path
    ˈempaTH/
    noun
    (chiefly in science fiction) a person with the paranormal ability to apprehend the mental or emotional state of another individua.
    Definitions of Narcissist: a person who is overly self-involved, and often vain and selfish.
    Now do you see the lack of science fiction involved in the definition of Narcissist. All I’m asking is do research and base your blog off of facts. Yes as a person with narcissistic traits I deal with feeling low about myself who doesn’t. Yes I beat myself up. Yes the blood sucking vampire feels pain and emotion. I also feel regret, sadness, and face myself in the mirror knowing I have done wrong to my fellow human based of of core facts of coping mechanics established as a child. I don’t recall developing these traits and coping skills but they are in me. Reprogramming these skills is like reprogramming and highly evolved computer (aka the human brain). Yes a narcissistic person can only change once they realize the traits and find humility within themselves. But do you think a bashing blog calling names and having no factual evidence of your own personality other then science fiction is going to help someone with a mental issue based around factual evidence. You won’t to help own yourself and don’t bash those who struggle with mental problems. Calling someone a blood sucking vampire does nothing but cause a defense and wall to go straight up. We are all humans and face many hardship in life. Yes you have predator and prey that nature. (Discovery Channel) Now I know that my post will be deleted more than likely. Which is fine but you ask for the other side view. Life, relationships, work, and even a person’s mental wellbeing is all hard work. Life is all trial and error. As crazy as it sounds in the words of batman, “Why do we fall, so we can pick ourselves back up.” Everyday of life is about growth. My growth and burden is the loss I have due to my own selfishness which I own. I live with it. I hope this brings a little more insight.

  11. Avatar of Amy Frost

    This is a wonderful dialog… As an empath, “in the past” I dove right in and didn’t consider the cost on myself on all levels. My last work partnership was with a narcissist who is going great work in the world but not her own. I was aware of what happening and fooled into thinking that the good work made it all ok and I unceasingly prayed she would step up and do her personal healing work. After many episodes that felt really wrong to me, me doing my healing as I went, and her explaining how I didn’t understand what was really happening was for highest good, I finally got the game and if I didn’t leave I would be enabling. So I walked away, I have been in intense healing, and I am stepping into helping others to see the game from both sides of play.

  12. Avatar of Amokura

    Sounds like the Governments towards humanity. .more like it..A relationship no matter how you label it will either workout or it wont..
    Government – Narcisse
    Everyone else – Empathy

  13. Avatar of Hollie

    I deeply appreciate your work. And yet I would urge you to please read ‘the empathy trap’ and ‘in Sheeps clothing’. People wit personality disorders are not wounded. They really believe that they are in some
    Superior to others and feel completely entitled to that superiority and any privilege it carries. Seeing them as wounded keeps empaths in relationship with them because we are healers. Of course it is much more complex than that- but these two text do a much better job at exploring the landscape than I could here…
    Thanks again for all your insights.

  14. Avatar of Cindy

    For me, I didn’t notice the narcissism until years in when I, for the first time, made a decision about my life he didn’t agree with. Up until then, we’d always agreed or I happily followed his lead. Once I made a decision for myself (quitting my job), I saw a whole new side of him. And from there, it got really ugly. I was stunned. Shocked. And it took me 2 more years of abuse to smarten up and leave. :/

    1. Avatar of Elinor

      This. This this this. I have recently had to reevaluate my relationship with a friend I’ve known for 16 years, because I stopped going along with her, and started making decisions she disagreed with. The shock of her reaction is profound. She insists that she regards me as her peer, but behaves as if she has the right to set the terms of our relationship from beginning to end.

  15. Avatar of Adam

    As an empath with around 20 years of sporadic ‘friendship’ with a narcissist girl I can see some reasons for this immense attraction.

    An empath also have been wounded early in life, but he or she reacted to it in different way due to genetic/spirit traits. This reaction is unbalanced set of subconscious decisions that drive parts of your emotional life and the ways you allow yourself to interact with people. Since it is so early in origin it is also strongly affecting your sexuality.

    Let’s say that as a child you had a father that reacted with aggression and contempt on any signs of vulnerability because of his own upbringing and his inability to heal it.

    If you believed him on intuitive emotional level that something is WRONG with what’s inside of YOU, you’d become an empath. You will take people’s emotions and treat it like yours. If you cause someone to feel an emotion that they don’t accept, you will blame yourself. And it will resonate with your wound.

    If you didn’t accept the implicit message that something is wrong with you, you’d still repress the vulnerability but the blame is on HIM and you remain INNOCENT. In this early stage it’s probably not blame – just an obstacle that you need to bypass in order to get the love you need. The more emotions you have to hide and the more indirect you have to be to get that love, the more emotions you’ll project on other people and the more manipulative you’ll be later.

    I think that part of narcissistic charm is this innocence. They SEEM to be deeply free from shame, guilt, self doubt, self contempt and self restraint. Their conviction is congruent and expansive. It permeates through the way they move, the way they speak, the words they use, the voice tonality, eye contact, etc. It’s very attractive for empath who is not free of those difficult emotions and who hasn’t learnt to USE and appreciate those repressed emotions as guides.

    This attraction force is your nature’s way to bring you to a BALANCE point in which you are able to exhibit both narcissistic and empathic qualities without falling too deeply into them.

  16. Avatar of Darlene

    Thank you for your article. I did not see it and I do not think that I would have ever seen it if I did not see your article. I could write a book with you but instead I want to thank you for your posting. You have just answered my life experience and now I know what is happening and the next step I need to do. I was already going the way your article said but know I get to go forward with a clear conscience and save myself the next 3 steps. You are an angel and I would like to thank you for that.

  17. Avatar of Brad

    I believe top performers in life are Narc. Many woman are interested in a man that has a successful track record. With that being said, Empaths can either learn how to adapt or learn how to become successful on their own, which probably would result to embracing Narc traits. From a Narcs perspective Empaths need help and need to be fix. Everyone has the ability to learn and adapt. I highly suggest listing out the pros and cons based off Empath and Narc’s life style. I believe the results will clearly illustrate the advantages of being a Narc. There is a reason we only read about empaths unfortunate stories…

    I have listed research below that support my point of view.

    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2677236/Bosses-really-narcissists-Research-finds-managers-recruited-jobs-suffer-personality-disorder.html

    https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/fulfillment-any-age/201201/the-healthy-side-narcissism

    http://www.forbes.com/sites/victorlipman/2014/06/17/hr-take-notice-study-shows-narcissists-do-best-in-job-interviews/#74e16abf2d78

  18. Avatar of Brenda

    Seems most do not understand what a true Empath is and in so doing do not understand the dynamic that is being played in this toxic relationship with a Narcissist. Until you have truly walked in these shoes then all these accusations and blaming are meaningless pieces of dribble.
    Yes Empaths are drawn to Narcissists and Narcissists cannot ignore the scent of a new meal . A Narcissist will suck the ever living life out of an Empath and through Gaslighting will keep that Empath prisoner . The relationship starts out as the best thing since sliced bread, and the Narcissist will do everything in their power to paint a lovely picture, showering the Empath with great amounts of attention and albeit false love, just in order to feast on the bones at which time they move onto another unsuspecting Empath victim. The Narcissist is cunning, conniving, and will stop at nothing to get their way, but all this is hidden away when they first approach their prey. The Empath is so overwhelmed by the immense attention that they actually deny their own gifts by thinking that they must be mistaken, how could this fabulous person be anything but fabulous. Then the Narcissist has them in his grips, totally brainwashing the Empath . This takes sometimes years, but the Narcissist is relentless . Finally the Empath no longer believes in themselves and trusts only the word of the pursuer … Then the Narcissist, becomes abusive, ever so slightly seeing how much he can get away with … The Empath then starts to doubt themselves thinking, oh he could not have meant that, after all he is such a great person, something that the Narcissist will tell the Empath constantly, all part of the brainwashing. It is insidious so although it is happening the Empath dismisses the abuse … Then the constant abuse starts and the Empath ends up doubting themselves and actually blaming themselves as this God like figure could not possibly be to blame so it must be something that the Empath has done to provoke such rath . And so the dance goes on till the Empath becomes a shell of a person, the living life sucked out of them systematically . No this is not the fault of the Empath … This is the fault of the Predator , the Narcissist. It is nothing short of premeditated murder … Once the Narcissist has thoroughly used the Empath then he no longer enjoys the submissive hovel of a person he moves onto the next unsuspecting Empath for a fresh tasty meal leaving the Empath with serious trust issues and a bruised and battered psychi to deal with.

  19. Avatar of pamela

    A true empath realizes no answer can come from an outside source. The narcissist is not the cause of our destruction. A true healer and person of great compassion is a hero, and must face each individual and challenge with courage and most of all wisdom. You are empathetic for a reason your purpose is to connect and discover, and then be powerful enough to spread genuine happiness to others lives. Live your life and go through love, with mutual respect and encouragement. Allowing yourself to be the victim is not the fault of anyone but your own. And if you fall into this cycle you are solely to blame. You can only change your behaviour. Not that of anyone else but through discovering your OWN genuine not relative happiness you will inherently spread happiness to others. Realizing your true healing abilities

  20. Avatar of Dave4445

    Narcissistic character disorder is a very serious problem and very rare. I believe that most people have narcissistic traits at times, there’s a big difference. A so called ’empath’ who is always trying to fix others so that they might feel whole might be just as self centered and unaware as someone perceived as a narcissist or a very selfish person who lacks self awareness. This type of empath is not necessarily motivated by good intentions, always a victim of ‘bad people’. They can be abusive in their own way, especially as a parent or anyone in control of another person’s life. They might benefit from spending a few years in codependents anonymous.

  21. Avatar of Sahara

    I used to be a beautiful person and a complete empath, however being with several narsasistic men has turned me into a complete narsasist. I hurt sweet empathetic men, control, break down, and manipulate them as it was previously done to me. It’s a nasty cycle and I am aware of what I do to these sweet trusting people. Even with the comments or untrue statements that I make towards them, I catch myself and say stop, but never do. I feel like crap and a terrible person after hurting innocent people and it makes me look for further validation from the next one. Nasty cycle and impossible to break. Stay above it!

  22. Avatar of Vimalkumar Sharma

    By looking at comments on the post, my aasumption is that it looks like maximum empaths are females where as maximum narcissists are males or otherwise U can say that males don’t have much time to read n participate on this type of Platforms than my assumptions might be wrong …

  23. Avatar of Mia

    I’m not sure I agree with everything the author said. Saying that only narcissist have been wounded and implying empaths have never been wounded is a bit obtuse. I quote: “Something, somewhere along the line, usually stemming from childhood causes a person to feel worthless and unvalued and, due to this, they will constantly and very desperately seek validation.”

    Being an empath doesn’t mean you don’t have boundaries. Empaths learn at an early age why boundaries are important. I have know narcissistic empaths. They are very intuitive and very dangerous from the stand point that they justify to themselves why they manipulate others.

    While I find the premise of the article interesting, and it scraps the surface of a psychological issue worthy of pondering and researching, for me the article seems to be slanted in a direction that fails to really explain the relationship dynamics between narcissism and empaths.

  24. Avatar of KC

    I am the narcissist. I didn’t know that that was what was happening in my relationship. I now see my actions and the pain and hurt that I caused. I am looking for help, but everything I read points to there being no hope of changing my behaviours. I want to try to change as I don’t want to be in another relationship were I hurt anyone. I know that I can never repair what I have done, but I beat myself up over it everyday and with no contact with my wife, there is nothing I can do. If someone can share some information that would be appreciated

    1. Avatar of Marie

      i used to be a very manipulating narcissist, but i am working on it, and i am moving in the right direction! dont give up on your self, it is never too late. for me it helped the most by 2 tricks

      1 – every night before i go to sleep, i think about what i had done/said through out the day, and if i then realised that something i had said/done wasnt true and was my narcissist talking, then i would call my girl friend and say sorry for all the thing me narcissist had said and eksplained why the bad me had taken over.

      2 – realising and sharing why the bad me had taken over, and often it was because i felt forgotten.

      now my girlfriend is learning to distinguish between the real me and the narcissist, and i am learning to be more honest about my true thoughts and feeling.
      ofcause all relations are different, and

  25. Avatar of Lisa

    This article was eye opening and affirming. I am finally feeling like ‘myself’ again, with the help of a terrific therapist, who has been trying to get me to understand exactly what it written here.

  26. Avatar of Carol

    I can relate to this I have been in three relationships and they have gone bad to worse my last being the worse and only got him out off my life he just would not let go he kept wanting more from me or for me to go back he had a hold on me sweet talked his way but I am away for that for good and in future relationships will be very careful of who it will be.
    I also have family members like this and I just feel so drained when I’m around them.

  27. Avatar of Tal Moshe

    yeah… all of this is true. sadly i was a victim to this… but i will do everything to heal and find my power, and reclaim my empathy that i’ve lost…

  28. Avatar of Lisa Patron

    I am an empath and I recognize a narcissistic, and passive aggressive person anywhere. Unfortunately, I had relationships with two, hence my knowledge of red flags.

  29. Avatar of Rita

    My dad’s a narcissist. So not only have w dealt with this growing up but most of my relationships have mirrored that toxic dynamic. At 25 I’m just now learning on my own and through counseling that relationships like that are not normal and I don’t have to tolerate them.

  30. Avatar of Marilyn Olowe

    I’m confused about who I am dealing with. I have spent years in a slow emotional death with what I believe is, at least, a borderline narcissist. He displays so many of the traits and behaviors, but I am sure he’s not a “pure” narcissist. I see so much of our relationship described in this article.

    About a year ago, I was preparing to leave him. I made some mistakes on the way put of the relationship and (now realize)I felt so guilty that I did an about face and stayed with him to “try to work things out”. Since that time we have been through therapy (something he refused for years – until he realized I was really leaving, this time) and he seems to be really working to change. SEEMS. I don’t know if I can trust that he has really changed this time (he has flip flopped so many times over the years – after an apology, weeks or months would go by without explosive /violent episodes – then, BAM) or if I’m just playing the waiting game, again. He is saying and doing all the right things, but my spirit is just not settled. Is it intuition or am I just so afraid of revisiting the past that it’s controlling me? My marriage has had a profoundly damaging effect on my self esteem and confidence as well as other relationships. He is behaving very differently, but I just don’t know if I can stay in a relationship that has left me as dysfunctional as I now feel. Is it possible for me to heal here? I’m hurt and confused.

    1. Avatar of Adam

      You’re dealing with fundamental emotional traits of love, fear and survival mechanisms. Fundaments never move fast. If it’s changing fast, it’s not fundamental. Unless it’s a very intense negative experience (trauma) or positive experience (ayahuasca).

  31. Avatar of Ana

    This article just explained the dynamic between myself and and an old best friend and my life after them of trying not to turn into them after becoming so god damn damaged.
    Lots of self realization this morning, wow.

  32. Avatar of Amy

    This is a really severe situation when it’s your adult daughter who lives, with you. I am am empath, but my daughter suffers from NPD. At times, I want to just run away, but my concern for her keeps me from fleeing for my own sanity. Wishing for an answer and relief….

  33. Avatar of old hand

    There is another angle that may have not been considered. Energetic nuances are translated and interpreted by empaths and with maturity they can both detect what is ‘not theirs’ and still respect boundaries, but they might overcompensate for their sense that they have an ‘advantage’ in understanding the perspectives of others, and so they cut others a little slack.

    If they are mature enough they can accept that others have views and behaviours different to their own.

    Because they can ‘dual experience’ perspectives they see things less black and white / right and wrong.

    With maturity in interpreting / translating energies they also realise that people tell untruths which are felt as ‘not quite right’ where the words and the energy are at odds. (usually based on fears and especially fear of rejection).

    They may unconsciously learn to detect the tiny signs, feelings, that indicate when a person is not being truthful or of good intention. These little tell-tale signs are the sort of ones that get picked up by a lie detector because they are indicators of stress in the other person.

    This balancing self/other and truth/untruth – becomes second nature to the empath and becomes instinctive.

    This tool does not work with narcissists and sociopaths (all sociopaths are narcissistic, not all narcissists are sociopaths) because they do not ‘react’ physiologically the same way when they lie or when their intentions are less than healthy for others, it’s all about them and their interests, not the other.

    So along comes a narcissist, and even more so with a sociopath, who does not set off the Empath’s lie / intention detector that they’ve become used to being their compass navigating among people and translating/interpreting energetic resonances.

    By reverse logic narcissists recognise those that don’t pick up on their BS or intentions’ as being ‘off’ because their alarms don’t go off. Perfect target!!!

    Non-empaths deal far better with narcissists and sociopaths because they don’t rely so much on their instincts to guide them, they hear what is said without cutting slack, and they see what is happening without assuming that an alarm would have gone off somewhere if it was not healthy for them.

    Test it yourself – slow the process down and recognise what the non-verbal cues are telling you.
    Accept that you cannot always rely on your naturally highly tuned sense interpreter.

    It’s an absolute shock for most empaths to realise that someone telling the truth and having healthy intentions registers the same energy output as a narcissist does when they have unhealthy intentions or are lying.

    So then you need to go back to checking externally if the facts stay straight – if the words and behaviours don’t match, or the actions and intentions are at odds, and you don’t notice it naturally, chances are you are dealing with a narcissist.

    And, narcissists don’t always lie, they can be devastatingly honest in ways that we generally would find hard to accept and so deny that it is really ‘their truth’, (cos surely our ‘alarm’ would have warned us).

    We make excuses for them saying their truth when it is nasty. (giving them some slack – they don’t really mean that). Sorry people, they do mean that, and that’s why it feels even weirder inside it rings as true, but surely, it couldn’t possibly be ‘really true’.

    They do not do anything that is not in their best interests, so their intentions and the energy in them stays consistent.

    1. Avatar of Mia

      @Old Hand: I think you are on to something about energy. Like a tuning fork, we pull to us who we are not always what we want. Narcissists and empaths alike are drawn to each other based upon what they are vibrating. An empath may be struggling with certain insecurities which draws a narcissistic person into their life. I really like your statement and your thought process seems on point.

  34. Avatar of Ceci

    The narcissists goal could be one overlooked: not control, STABILITY! The tragedies in childhood that lead most often to narcissism is neglect or abandonment in one way or another. Wouldn’t you want to ensure stability after being so vulnerable at one time? This leads to distrust in others and trust in yourself and your own capabilities. So, sure, you seize control bc that’s the only way to ensure you’re not left wounded in despair.

    1. Avatar of Elinor

      That is a very good point. But it doesn’t make dealing with people displaying strong narcissistic traits any easier, and it doesn’t offer any hope of change for the narcissist either.

  35. Avatar of Ceci

    I wish personality disorders, like narcissism and borderline, had less negative stigma around them. It makes it difficult to seek help bc of the shame. A psyches reaction to trauma isn’t something a person can help. Taking note of problem behaviors once life has made room for growth, that’s something a person can do. Seeking help for manipulative patterns and choosing behavior therapy is also something they can do. Feeling so ashamed of a diagnosis bc everyone will think you’re evil that you don’t get help is too often the case for personality disorders. One in ten people with BPD commits suicide compared to the national rate of one in ten-thousand. All bc they’re embarrassed to death.

  36. Avatar of k

    the empath is the one who sacrifices,they give until their body refuses,,the empath is toxic to themselves as in they are the ones who ultimately allow themselves to be taken advantage of,but lets play this out,if the empath cant be an empath/loving then the world is doomed,with society,..what should be seen is the narcissist is the manipulator and the liar..they will spin a situation created wholly by them and pretend they have no real blame when thats what a manipulator does,whatever necessary until they achieve their goals,at the expense and pain of anybody…a narcissist will use their mother until they run them into deep stress and act oblivious to their part,these are the types of people that use,take advantage of and destroy the meaning of ideals of value,morals etc…they will all too happily put the ‘were meant to be family/friends’ with added tears..a narcissist will tell you to ‘get stuffed’ with the f letter,yet cry when you call them heartless after they tear yours to pieces,meanwhile manipulate everything they can to make it look like you are the opposite of what you are,for instance making an atmosphere they exaggerate and allow to be misconstrued as it benefits them,..i.e allow their family to be uninformed about their real crimes,even downplaying atrocities like vengefully spending obscene amounts of money and wording it as ‘change/a little bit/(fractions of the real amount),thus allowing you to seem crazy and an over reactor.when the real truth allows better relationships across families,the real victims to say ‘well you deserve all you get/get lost'(therefore relieving the stress and worries they cause)easier diagnosis as these manipulators are mentally ill in that these actions are neglectful and teach infants if any the totally warped views and behaviours we dont need in society..these are not two sides of the same coin,how could they be??one has a heart the other doesn’t ???they are opposites and the match most likely happens to serve to teach both after that what they dont see or become around the wrong sort of people….a narcissist threatens and calls authorities when they mostly commit crimes,but reduce the confidence levels of the empath and moods to blind them to the fact they can get up and also take the head proverbially off narcissist and stop their rot..they manipulate so far that the empath is now given all they have and are unstable,the narcissit will then threaten and bully the empath as the empath knows they have not much,even look silly how they got robbed so bad.so for instance go to their help and instruct them they are not helping by being naive or ignorant to these methods, most likely their help and family haven’t a clue and it just looks like they know or have the full grasp,without doubt the empath has good eyes for details,so what they feel and are told is paranoia or not the case is totally the case..a narcissist acts like a baby,sulking as an adult,claiming illnesses when they wudnt look after a sick puppy,they would just sAY ‘its not their puppy,they would buy a puppy,you help it,or just pretend they never saw it,or quite plainly they dont give a damn its not guna affect them’…if we look at the properties or mental illness’ linked to manipulation and there is not many,bipolar or multiple personality,??hmm..all sounds the same,another side to take the bitter ability to be callous and blame it on an imaginary friend…more manipulation.a manipulator has a clear eye of what they do,so there is no mental illnesses/impairments heavily linked to it, they full well know what their doing and like to get away with acting stupid…how is a fraudster/hacker,manipulator,liar dumb??they use their body and brain only for gain and bad things,,they could need validating,but the point they go to is extreme i.e they will let the electric cut off to pretend and paint the image they have no money,or walk out when an empath wouldn’t do it,yet if the one time you do exactly what they do and there stuck,they will cry blue murder and act like they have feelings,,end of the day narcissist like their life no matter how stupid it sounds,they will leave you at the drop of a pin,no matter what you think they will leave you with children and just swan off…they are that seriously ill…they play like they have love and anybody who’s dealt with one will know what lies and webs they spin at the start ,fast forward and it was a web and for any idiot/empath in their eyes,but in the the grand scheme an empath is the breaking of the narcissist,they slide into silly habits they cant kick,so when their heart starts to work a tiny bit it will consume them,they will then realise what they have lost and sink into their meager existence or change properly.a narcissist all to easily claim emotional abuse which is a lie,they commit financial d.v,child endangerment and neglect acts,and are the root of problems and will all too easily just say you call them names when anybody else would do more,(any other personality type)..the narcissist will record manipulated arguments ,but anybody with a brain would be able to see past manipulation.why is their device hidden,mind sidetracked on obtaining evidence and adding fuel into the fire of the enraged damaged empath…rather than solving and listening,narcissists dont listen,they regurgitate well but never put into practice the principles,so they will pick up your holy books and fake interests only to gain..

  37. Avatar of Jeremy Baker

    I think it may also be necessary to say that the empath and the narcissist are two sides of the same coin and that entails the attraction… Both are born of the same traumas but given different perspective. The empath chose to release the pain and vowed to help others not be subjected to it, the narcissist chose hold the pain and vowed to inflict it on any who gets close enough to cause it. And both can be toxic in thier own rights… As empaths are often unwittingly condescending and patronizong despite thier endless selfless acts. Even more so than others empaths fall prey to the self fulfilling prophecy.

    1. Avatar of Elinor

      Too true. And as someone else pointed out above, being a narcissist and being an empath are not mutually exclusive.

  38. Avatar of Noemi

    Thanks so much for this article. I can relate so much- as a narcissist. I'm sad to read this article, thinking about a few relationships from the past I destroyed because of this way of behaviour in relationships. I'm trying very hard to sulfill my needs without my partner- not an easy task. I feel so much for my partner and I want this relationship to work- finally. Please correct me, but I think it's okay to receive some shelter at your partner when you're upset. My partner does so much for me. Sometimes I tell him how much means that to me, but on the other hand this might only worsen the vicious cycle. (what do you think?). The main point is that I want to give more. Giving means for me doing things for others, like cooking, making self-made presents. I feel very insecure in "emotional" giving. I read a lot about Non-violent communication. I'm trying very hard to say the right things, understand what is going on with my empath-partner, and not be so focused my my own problems. My job as a healer (physiotherapist) helps me a lot to focus on other peoples need and opend my mind so many times. And it's a great feeling for me to help, so proud of very achievement still. Please let me know more specifically what you would wish from a narcissist and I will ask my partner too. 🙂 So looking forward to that!!

  39. Avatar of Jay

    thanks for the reminder.

    Its a very difficult road to manage as empaths who are natural healers wish to help their lovers/friends/family heal from the wounds that cause narc behaviour.And empaths are not use to rejecting others though empaths regularly reject themselves to help/heal others.

    There are some dynamics that I have noticed when in relationship with a narc and the subsequent separation.

    1, no one will believe the empaths narrative.

    2, the narc loves and needs the attention. Constantly.

    3 the narc accepts very little responsibility.

    4 the Narcs life is chaotic and the empaths life becomes chaotic.

    5 the empath becomes drained and extremely vulnerable edging towards suicidal ideation.

    6 the Narc needs help and support…but not from the empath/lover.

    7 that we all have some of these traits at times in varying degrees.

    8 Love does not heal the narc. Love does heal the empath …self-love is the only way.

    9 Empaths blame themselves and cannot admit their powerlessness at the madness that is happening.

    10 we are all reading this to learn, to heal, to ensure that it will not happen again…Its your choice whether to find new friends/new lovers…a new life or stay in the same cycle x

  40. Avatar of Dave

    Kudos to you, it is a very noble that you are trying to change and I wish you only the best in your pursuit! If you ever feel strong enough maybe you can make others see their destructive behavior and they too can try reform themselves. Having somewhere to go for solidarity in change would make a difference I am sure, just as all the sites for victims of NPD enjoy! Thanks for sharing your efforts!

  41. Avatar of Tekaai Kaewaniti

    I fear that stereotyping personalities into just two types and sees them as fixed instead of changing can actually encourage people into believing and accept them as complete truth. I on the other hand do not believe we are either this or that instead we are combination of both. I also do not believe that we are fixed in personality instead we can change when we are educated the correct way.

  42. Avatar of Julie

    Wow. As a confirmed empath, I've encountered a great many narcissist into my life. But in my long (55+ years) life, I've never EVER encountered a narcissist with the balls to actually look at him/her self critically, and especially to be willing to acknowledge that their actions are hurtful. Thank you for that. And good luck to you.

  43. Avatar of Pieter

    Yes, fully recogniced. No point of return. The 4th time I decided to care only for myself. Tks for your very clear message. Confirming my disattachment from a big illusion.

  44. Avatar of Monie Cuevas

    I am an empath and Mario was a narcissist every word here was me and our relationship….and what I saw becoming of you and your relationship with victor.
    You are an empath. Read this. Please. I love you.
    Bianca Roches

  45. Avatar of Susan Koerling

    Narcissist do not want help, they don't see anything wrong in their behavior. Hurting others is acceptable if they get what they want. If you have to be unhappy so they can be happy that is fine by them and as it should be. You can't "fix" a narcissist and you won't stop being a empath so save yourself because they won't. Lessons learned the hard way.

  46. Avatar of Sarah

    Wow thank you for this piece. I didn't even realize fully that's the relationship cycle I had been stuck in for so long. It's extremely challenging to know your own self any more when suck into a person such as that. I was lucky the circumstances shifted where my narcissist had to leave for a spell, which began to lift the emotional cloud that had so enveloped and controlled me for years. I just wish I stumbled across this article then, and maybe I would have seen the light sooner.

    Thank you for taking the time to share this with us.

  47. Avatar of Katie

    Hi, sorry to butt in here, I am really interested in understanding the empath with bounderies is scary to a narcissist comment, please can you expand as I think it may apply to my relationship. Thanks 🙂

  48. Avatar of peabody3000

    i dated a girl who was ravishingly beautiful, extremely magnetic, and effortlessly charming.. when she wanted to be. unfortunately, after i fell hard for her, major cracks showed up. she had been abused in various ways in her youth, and perhaps somewhat because of that had a terrible condition which i couldnt identify at the time but later learned was Narcissistic Personality Disorder (NPD). it takes clinical narcissism to a whole new level. with such people, if you threaten their feelings of supremacy, they can collapse in bad breakdowns that can last for days. as a result, they are particularly tyrannical and heartless when things arent going exactly their way, and they will avenge themselves in the lowest, most hurtful ways possible to the closest people in their lives. often NPD is accompanied by other complexes, making them all the more vulnerable, unpredictable, and irrational. i was so incredibly glad to finally find out what the F her malfunction was, and therefore what it was i had suffered through along with her, so im passing the info along here

  49. Avatar of peabody3000

    yep this all sounds about right. im an empath who is very drawn to narcissists, and not especially because of wishing to heal them, but just that they are so damned interesting to empathize with. having sweated out a lot from prior experiences, i dont feel the need to avoid them today. i basically assume theyll disappoint me, and i seek to use them as much as theyll use me until the friendship burns out in its inevitable fashion. its still tricky because they have to of course claim some kind of total victory over me when that burnout happens, which i must summon my inner zen master to properly shrug off. so i feel fairly invulnerable to them but it took a helluva lot of punishing experience to get me to that point though

  50. Avatar of Tina Marie Thomas-Ke

    While i try to shy from using labels, i don't think I've ever seen such clearer, more accurate description of my relationship with my husband of 37 years! I can easily see how roles would reverse, or outwardly appear reversed as in trying to get out, looking very much like a narcissist… I have to constantly repeat that life IS about me in order to find the self esteem and courage to leave.

  51. Avatar of Jeremy Baker

    I live it daily as an empath….. Its exhausting…. And in the end when the narcissist is healed they walk away viewing the empath as the enemy… Its a rough life but i cannot deny my nature.

  52. Avatar of elizabeth

    Great article sums things up nicely. I do get confused w co-dep, empaths and inverted narcissists. I relate to all 3. I am away from the N only because he's in jail. He destroyed me and my life yet I still gravitate to these types and find the "normal" types really boring!!! I'm so fucked up…..

  53. Avatar of Daniela A Vagana

    A wise empath learns to be a healer after the weight of the world almost kills them, it's a lesson that must be learned in order to help the narcissist heal, healers are attracted to broken people because they are healers and they shouldn't be doing it if they haven't learned how to heal them selves first, it's a long bloody road but it's worth it . Love and light

    1. Avatar of Dan Gray

      The key is to be a wise empath And only time and tribulation will teach that .. If you don't learn and balance you fall and bruise. A lot ..

    2. Avatar of Gail Lehmann

      . As we are healing others, we move into awareness–and what we extend to others comes back to us(good healing-good karma). Each wound we experience is a step-stone of understanding for the disorders/diseases/suffering of others. I am a Reiki Master. I have heard the 'you have to be fully healed ' to be a good healer/teacher; and intuitively sensed competition-fear, and seen aura-changes which this presents. My wise teachers showed me this–Are you totally healed? Then they reached for my left wrist, and began searching for a pulse to see if my heart was beating. It was, and Sensei said, Gail-San; it seems you are alive; therefore remember to do self-healing as you were taught to do each day, as Usui taught and you can continue to serve with humility as Usui did. I teach my students to commit to daily self-healing and see their wounds as guides to healing others who may carry the same suffering. Do not judge others who are in pain and suffering, for their wounds are precious gifts that show us the way to peace.

    3. Avatar of Daniela A Vagana

      I totally agree if we were fully healed we would not be here, the key being like you said also learning to heal your self, reiki has also been the icing on the cake for me too, and that's exactly what I'm talking about, lots of natural born healers try to heal others before they have gone down the self heal road, and yes deffinalty the beautiful people suffer because they share their experiences with others

    4. Avatar of Aris

      I’m there! He did horrible things, and in turn ended up in prison for those things. People wonder why I haven’t wanted to seek revenge or throw hatred at him. It’s just not who I am.

    1. Avatar of Carin Vlasveld

      The only true words in this article…"We are not here to fix anyone. We cannot fix anyone. Everyone is responsible for and capable of fixing themselves, but only if they so choose".
      No one is singularly a narcissist or empath. All have varying degrees of all traits. Any relationship can be a struggle. Food should be labeled, not narcissists. Ha ha!

    2. Avatar of Carin Vlasveld

      The only true words in this article…”We are not here to fix anyone. We cannot fix anyone. Everyone is responsible for and capable of fixing themselves, but only if they so choose”.
      No one is singularly a narcissist or empath. All have varying degrees of all traits. Any relationship can be a struggle. Food should be labeled, not narcissists. Ha ha!

  54. Avatar of Lyn Sullivan

    This is possible the most accurate description of the interplay between the Empath and the Narcissist.

    Thank you Alex Myles.

  55. Avatar of Aissatou

    Me too and confirmation for my having ended two relationships held for years with narcissistic personalities. I wondered why I would have to tune them out and not deal with them on a constant basis. I had to deprogram from them and kind of emotionally cleanse myself of their junk. Finally, after 12/14 years of coming to the reality they had not intentions of changing, their mess was what they enjoyed and simply wanted to continue to share with routinely and repeatedly, I decided I was tired. Tired of hearing the same story, the same behavior, the same boring dialogue. Best thing ever done to end a year. Of course both are still wallowing in their mess, but hopefully they won't meet up with another Empath who thinks they can be saved, repaired, persuaded to be more than simply narcissistic.

  56. Avatar of Sara Apps-Haigh

    This is the imperative to balance nature. We don't have control over attraction – only how we choose to respond to it. True empaths recognise their traits. Most choose to go with them.

    1. Avatar of Brandon Tobin

      hey bug off I feel other peoples emotions very strongly, this girl I didnt know was talking about how her guy cheated on her even though they have kids and I ended up crying it pretty much felt like i was the one that got hurt.

  57. Avatar of Cherilyn Cole

    One of the greatest desires of a true empath is the intense attraction to help others. My experience has taught me that in order to keep my sanity in tact, I (we) must continue to search out those who accept this gift without causing harm in return.

  58. Avatar of Jamie Brown

    Great article! I do find it a little open-ended though… while this leaves no doubt these 2 personality traits do not make the best companions; what is the btr companion 4 an empath? I do love how the author is honest about his 'one-sidedness' on this argument, yet asks 4 feedback. My fave line- 'An empath has a choice, to remain the victim, a pawn in the narcissists game or to garner all strength they can muster and find a way out.'

    I believe we r freed & held captive by our choices!!! Wuld love 2 see a follow-up 2 this article.

  59. Avatar of drood

    This article is so relatable for me! I have been told for sometime that I should look into what it means to be an empath and I have definitely see how others can affect me – for better or worse. I've recently ended a close friendship because I was tired of feeling like and being told that everything was my fault or my problem and that I needed to work on myself. I found that when this person wasn't around I felt like I couldn't breathe and I knew she knew that, after being yelled at for making a joke at her expense or for pulling away I finally said I'm done! I totally agree with the other person needing to tear others down to make themselves feel better – such a true statement! I can also add that, at least the person I know, would become obsessed with something so she wouldn't have to deal with what was going on in her life and she is really good at taking that pain and struggle out on other people. I know I am a strong person and a caring person not a victim. Thank you so much for your words!

  60. Avatar of Kelleen

    I value your words and respect your being. Thank you for sharing a piece of you. I hope you continue the path of freedom with ease and acceptance.

  61. Avatar of Jon K

    So – I'm a sociopath. And a narcissist. I've been fortunate though in that I've been surrounded by empaths for most of my life. There is both good and bad to that. For a long time, it led to exactly what you're describing – taking, manipulating and injuring the people who surrounded me and loved me. When I got to college, I started studying ethics, business, and communications. It brought a lot of pieces together, and started a road on the way to getting to be less of a terrible person.

    I'll be the first to admit, I'm not there yet. It's a constant fight to be better than my nature, and I catch myself slipping into old habits and creating trouble. Once you've entered a narcissistic behavior pattern, it's really hard to break. I really appreciate posts like this, because they help me see the impact that my behavior can cause, and brings more to my attention that I need to work on.

    Thanks for sharing this.

  62. Avatar of Lenore

    Great article! I, too, am an empath in a relationship with a narcissist and I can absolutely relate and agree!

  63. Avatar of Lora

    I am going through this as we speak. I am drained and living a life of pretence. I cant have an opinion or say anything remotely negative otherwise he punishes me by not speaking to me for days. Even when im talking to him he will act as though im not in the room. Ive cried, had a panic attack in his presence but because ive mentioned something to him he doesnt like he will not be there for me. Only when im quiet and say nothing. He says he loves me and cant understand why i feel unloved as he does so much for us and he does but as soon as i say the wrong thing im punished. He dont hit me hes just becomes heartless. I treat him with so much respect and love, even when needing to talk and he gets angry and sulks everytime. Im drained mentally and physically. I was such a strong person before i met him. I have never encoutered such a broken human being and one who is willing to inflict so much silent pain on someone they must know loves them. I do believe what you say, that they are conciously unaware of their behavior and the effect its having. They show no remorse or ounce of kindness but on a so called normal day they are the nicest person you could ever wish to meet. Everyone outside thinks they're a lovely human being, not knowing how tormenting they can he so i completly understand the figure of speech, SOUL DESTROYING as it was ince the best thing ever then they switch and you wonder what the hell has happened as you've done nothing.

    1. Avatar of Maggie Cenar

      It was a figure of speech. The feeling is as if you have nothing left. You're a shell of a person after this kind of a relationship is very destructive. If you are trying to be helpful you're not…. The feelings are very very intense and most ppl don't even believe the Narcisist is doing anything so for you to tell me .. Whatever you just did is what's been going on 20 years. So no thank you I can say whatever I need to to express my own experience of this horrific never ending relationship.

    2. Avatar of Sherry

      Maggie, you are so spot on. I never realized the death of your soul could actually happen, but it can and the pain it causes is Almost unbearable, But the hate that comes with it IS unbearable. I never knew I was capable of actual hate (there are people I really don’t like) and it feels like emotional cancer. I’m trying, and hoping I can make it back from this emptiness I am in right now. I have kids, so I have to make it back for them…and for myself because I AM lovable (no matter what he says) and Very loving as well ❤️
      I hope your soul heals as well Maggie ?

  64. Avatar of Erin Lees Winfrey

    Great article. My only issue with this is that I struggle with the concrete designations of "narcissist" and "empath." I think the words in the final paragraph are more telling; one person's heart is closed, while the others' is open. The "empath" may be wounded, and may have narcissistic traits, but is willing to change because his/her primary goal is love. The "narcissist," whether aware of it or not, is only interested in his/her own agenda. They are continuing in the cycle of pain, and it is not the open hearted person's responsibility to fix them, no matter what the damage is and where it came from. You can not love a person better if they don't want to change.

  65. Avatar of Sarah R Conkle

    Thankyou. Very well done.
    Almost exactly what the relationship with my ex husband was like.
    So glad I got divorced.
    My ex husband apparently is on to his next victim already.

    1. Avatar of Megan File

      … wouldn't that imply we only know the wounded if we have had the wound? Love does not wound..wouldn't that be impossible. The empathy must beware of its own love or it would be creating something other than love…the opposite would make it never ending …never ending.. wouldnt without make a better ending…a happy ending?

    2. Avatar of Jessenia Marie Fiall

      There is a reason to their existence. It's not to imply we must be with someone like that but rest assure there is many you'll meet in life. Empath attracts more then you know and people like that will struggle to not help or share themselves to another it's impulsive if anything.. Wounds can be helpful or harmful depending what you're earn from it or your self aware of personal growth for what I know everyone you meet serves a purpose towards your growth.

    1. Avatar of Paula Rosado

      An empath with clear boundaries can be a very scary thing to encounter for a narcissist. Best to label the behaviours and respond appropriately. Early identification leads to quick change

    2. Avatar of Robin

      Is “scary” the right word? I was married to a narcissist for 21 years and went through all that heartache because I married too young and didn’t have the self-confidence, self-image, and maturity to get realize what I was getting into. When I got to the point that his treatment of me sent me into a deep depression, I finally broke free of him and got the counseling I needed to find my inner strength, self-love and self-worth. I became a strong person – strong enough to set my boundaries, find a new healthy relationship, and use my gifts as an empath to help others. And would my ex or another narcissist find me “scary”? Perhaps not. I’d like to think that I wouldn’t be attractive to that type of person anymore. I’m too strong to become a victim again.

  66. Avatar of Kitty Shakra

    ᵀʰᶦˢ ᶦˢ ˢᵒ ˢᵐᵃᶫᶫ ᵗᵒ ʳᵉᵃᵈ ᵉᵛᵉᶰ ᶠᵒʳ ʸᵒᵘ ᵇʳᵒ⋅ ᴰᵒᶰᵗ ᵗʳʸ ᵗᵒ ᶜᵒᶰᵗᶦᶰᵘᵉ ʳᵉᵃᵈᶦᶰᵍ ᵗʰᶦˢ ᵇᵉᶜᵃᵘˢᵉ ʸᵒᵘʳ ᵉʸᵉˢ ʷᶦᶫᶫ ˢᵗᵃʳᵗ ᵗᵒ ʰᵘʳᵗ ˢᵒᵒᶰ ᶦᶠ ʸᵒᵘ ᵈᵒᶰᵗ ˢᵗᵒᵖ⋅ ᵂʰʸ ᵈᵒᶰᵗ ʸᵒᵘ ˢᵗᵒᵖ﹖⋅⋅⋅⋅ᵍᵒ ᵃʷᵃʸ ᵇʳᵒ ᵃᶰᵈ ʳᵉᵃᵈ ᵗʰᵉ ᶰᵉˣᵗ ᶜᵒᵐᵐᵉᶰᵗ⋅ ˢᵗᵒᵖ ʳᵉᵃᵈᶦᶰᵍ ᵃᶫʳᵉᵃᵈʸ﹗ ᴵ ˢᵉᵉ ᵗʰᵃᵗ ʸᵒᵘ ᵈᵒᶰᵗ ʷᵃᶰᶰᵃ ᵍᶦᵛᵉ ᵘᵖ ʳᵉᵃᵈᶦᶰᵍ﹖⋅⋅⋅ʷᵉᶫᶫ ᵒᵏ, ʸᵒᵘ ʷᵒᶰ ᵗʰᶦˢ ᵗᶦᵐᵉ, ᵇᵘᵗ ʸᵒᵘ ˢʰᵒᵘᶫᵈ ᵍᶦᵛᵉ ᵐᵉ ᵃ ᶫᶦᵏᵉ ᶠᵒʳ ʷᵃˢᵗᶦᶰᵍ ʸᵒᵘʳ ᵗᶦᵐᵉ ᵃᶰᵈ ˢᵗʳᵉˢˢᶦᶰᵍ ʸᵒᵘʳ ᵉʸᵉˢ ᵗʰᵒ

    1. Avatar of Mirror Head

      I amm near-sided. It was actually quite easy to read :p… No “like” 4 you! On the contrary, infinte “likes” to the infinitieth power and beyond to me 4 thwarting your evil “time wasting scheme” and also may you feel in return the pain of this lost time as you read this reply and humbly bow with regret, shame hoping for forgiveness. And behalf of myself and any others who deem this response fit, “We forgive you”…. you got off easy this time buddy!

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