Empathy and Narcissism 

I’ve realized that empathy and narcissism go hand in hand.. I think that’s why there’s such a strong attraction to one another, because they’re the same.. but different. An empath is someone who possesses the ability to literally feel the emotions of others.. Not only that, but they are able to understand them and the motives behind their actions.. and as a result, look for the good in people. Unfortunately, empaths literally feel these emotions and end up absorbing other people’s burdens.. Absorbing and internalizing; so late at night, when we’re our minds are running through trials of anxiety and depression.. It’s hard to understand if these are our feelings or someone else’s. 

A narcissist is someone who lives in a false reality to hide from their current one. Though this is something we all do, the narcissist is a bit more extreme. At the core, the narcissist lacks self-confidence, esteem, and is profoundly insecure. As a result, they are on a constant search for validation and approval – they want someone to tell them that they are as great as they falsely perceive themselves to be. Many narcissists have a false sense of self-worth and are very egotistical and self-absorbed.. on the surface. They will do and say anything to ensure that this grandiose perception they have of themselves is secure… which is why they do so many cruel things – because it’s not. What the narcissist truly fears is vulnerability, at some point in their life – typically childhood, they were burned. They were not given the love they deserved, and as a result, are on an endless search for it. 

Unfortunately, the narcissist typically goes about looking for approval through manipulation and deception – and even cruelty. They can not handle criticism and will tear you apart if you try to say anything to them. They are very good at making you feel worthless and unsure of yourself.. Good at taking advantage. 

The reason the narcissist and the empath are so attracted to each other is because they are each other’s inverses. The narcissists receives love and praise, but doesn’t know how to give. The empath gives limitless love and adoration, but may not always know how to receive it. At the root of an empath may also lie an insecure soul, but instead of manipulating others to receive love and praise, they just love others in hopes that they will love them back. Interestingly enough, I’ve found that the empath and the narcissist can coexist within the same consciousness. Oftentimes, a narcissist may be an empath, but is too focused on their ego.. While an empath may very well be narcissistic and seek attention and approval, but chooses to tend to their spirit.. Their authentic self.

I believe that narcissists and empaths are meant to help each other; to help each other overcome their difficulties. Though it is harder with a narcissist, they show the empath the side of them that they choose to bury.. and vice versa. I believe both the empath and narcissist suffered childhood traumas – they just overcame them differently. The narcissist, hurt, allowed their ego to be bruised, and continued to operate out of fear. The empath, however, decided to operate out of love.. Both experiencing similar circumstances, but choosing different realities. While the narcissist may very well have all the deep, gushy emotions you believe them to, they hide it because they fear vulnerability.. They don’t want to be hurt again. The empath sees this, and wants to help the narcissist, and fix them.. but that is the problem. You can not fix another being – that is not your task or problem. You can help, but you can not fix. That is up to that person and only if they want to, will they change themselves.

However, the ultimate root of the empath wanting to “fix” someone else is because they don’t want to deal with themselves.. They search outside of themselves to serve other people because they don’t want to serve themselves.. It seems easier and feels better. Deep down, the empath may suffer from deep wounds, insecurities, fears, and trauma, but rather than being introspective, they look to help someone else.. As long as we can help, right? We can feel other people’s emotions so easily, why not just help them? The empath needs to understand to put themselves first sometimes, and not always succumb to their empathy.. While it is a beautiful gift, it may also be a curse; and allows us to get walked on, used, and abused.. Which makes it very easy for us to then display, or embody our narcissistic qualities..

I’m not even sure, the actual point of this post.. I’ve just had it on my mind; but the relationship of the empath and the narcissist is typically that of a karmic one… and though we are taught to believe that is bad, toxic, and false love.. We may need each other more than we think, or are taught to… We just have to get to the core. 


3 thoughts on “Empathy and Narcissism 

  1. Excellent piece, so many lightbulb moments for me. I wonder, can the empath heal themselves and move on to seek alternative personality types in future relationships or does the childhood trauma shape the individual in ways that the attraction to narcissists can’t be undone? I don’t know how to heal. Since I had my daughter I’ve grown closer to my mother but that wasn’t my experience as a child. She wasn’t shown love from her mother and her father died young. She was unavailable emotionally to me. My parents split and remarried and had more children. My whole life I have felt responsible for providing happiness to other people, ignoring the ways in which they hurt me. I’ve never broken free of the need to please other people and am forever trying to see ways to end their pain, ignoring mine. I don’t show my family my true self. We are blood and i love them but we are not alike, they don’t ‘feel’ the world like I do. I want to heal, and I want my narcissist partner to heal. However Im beginning to wonder if my true destiny is to heal myself so that I can then truly use my personality trait to heal others.


  2. It’s understandable why narcissists and empaths are drawn to each other, but it seems like part of each one healing, or integrating the shadow sides of their personalities into less destructive expressions, is to stop engaging each other. At least until each has learned how to be who they are without inflicting so much pain (on others or themselves.)

    If an empath cares deeply for others, understands them, feels what they feel, then alongside that nature, they need a healthy dose of boundaries…for survival’s sake. Maybe that boundary is allowing their empathic nature to flow to the narcissist, with no strings or expectation attached, but then to get what they need from others, who are willing and able to give it. The narcissist can be in their life – just not their inner circle. Maybe it’s letting the narcissist know they are causing harm, giving them the opportunity to care enough to change, but then letting them experience the consequence of being a dick if they don’t.

    True narcissism is a personality disorder. So it almost seems cruel to continually expect a person to be who have they have not chosen to be (or cannot be), or give what they do not want to give (or cannot give). A self-aware empath actually has the upper hand because they can see (feel) what the narcissist cannot – the underlying fear, pain, trauma, etc. that is at the core of both parties behavior. Empaths and narcissists can learn from each other and evolve together, but both would have to be self-aware enough to want that…at the same time…within the same relationship.


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