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The Empath and the Narcissist

by Jocelyn Joy Thomas 9 months ago in dating
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What a narcissist is exactly and why empaths attract them

Photo by MART PRODUCTION from Pexels

It’s possible too many people are being called narcissists, let’s get that out in the open right away. A genuine narcissist will leave no doubt. For the sake of clarity, I will define what a narcissist is and why empaths seem to attract them.

Defining narcissism

Narcissism falls on a spectrum, everyone has at least some narcissistic tendencies. Someone who tends to be self-focused, or critical may be mildly narcissistic. That doesn't mean they are a full-blown narcissist.

According to the American Psychiatric Association’s Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fifth Edition (DSM-5) Narcissistic Personality Disorder is:

“NPD is defined as comprising a pervasive pattern of grandiosity (in fantasy or behavior), a constant need for admiration, and a lack of empathy, beginning by early adulthood.”

NPD seems to be more prevalent in males, and it is underdiagnosed.

Narcissistic Symptoms

A grandiose sense of self

A rigid belief in idealistic thinking

A sense of entitlement

A drive for admiration, acceptance

Little to no empathy

Difficult interpersonal relationships

Resents others and feels others resent them

Trouble with self-direction

Trouble with being available emotionally

An important thing to know about narcissists is that while they may display a charming, confident, and seemingly solid exterior, they actually have a very entrenched interior where deeply rooted themes of insecurity and self-hatred run rampant.

Why Empaths Attract Narcissists

Empaths are individuals that take on emotions, physical symptoms, and/or information about others. They tend to feel a lot more and are generally more tuned in spiritually. An empath is sensitive but a sensitive person is not necessarily an empath.

Empaths want to help, heal, nurture and love. This is their nature. So when they meet a narcissist they don't so much fall for all of the charm and charisma as much as they sense the pain the person is trying to hide.

It is more this pain and wanting to heal it that an empath is attracted to than their superficial charm. Most empaths see right through that.

The narcissist is attracted to the empath because they sense this is a person that can heal them. That will accept them. Deep down the narcissist is badly wounded, they are searching for love, acceptance, and healing. They hide it, but this is what drives them. Unfortunately, some hide it too well and the healing never happens. It often can’t, they are too entrenched in their ways to really want change.

It is a sticky situation for an empath, they know the person they love is hurt, but they are forever out of reach.

Recognize patterns that need healing in you

If you are an empath there may be some patterns in yourself to work on instead of trying to help others. I know it’s in your nature to help and heal, but lets’ spread some of that sunshine on yourself for once.

Poor boundaries

Bad boundaries don’t happen overnight they are a pattern and often they are linked to codependent or at least over-giving type of behavior.


If most of your days are filled giving to others it is time to reevaluate your priorities and work on self-care.

Low self-esteem

This occurs from experiences where someone we trusted broke that trust and caused us to perceive ourselves as unworthy. Negative childhood experiences, bad relationships, being bullied, all of these things can damage self-esteem.

Feel as if you have to take care of someone to feel whole

If you always have to search out there for your own worth you will never find it where it truly is, within. You will find that the old pain is willing and ready to be released but it needs your attention to do so.

You have been giving to others for likely as long as you can remember. Now it’s time to focus on you. Let go of destructive people in your life and take the time to focus on yourself. Self-care is not a luxury, it’s mandatory.

Empaths and Narcissists are two ends of a spectrum, being opposite they attract. This doesn't mean they are supposed to be together, in fact, narcissists just like empaths, should take some time and develop themselves. Work on their own problematic core issues and self-care.

If you are an empath the next time you feel for someone who is clearly hurt and needs healing, offer them a compassionate ear, but then tell them you wish them well and move on.

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About the author

Jocelyn Joy Thomas

Writer, spiritual teacher, and travel enthusiast. Enjoying the journey! Join my mailing list and receive a free guide on How to Meet Your Guides in Three Steps!

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