Opposites attract. So, naturally, empaths and narcissists attract each other like magnets.
Before categorizing yourself as an empath or labeling others as narcissists, though, please keep the following in mind:
We are all empaths to some extent because we are energetic beings who absorb energy from others. However, those of us with a higher sensitivity level might be affected by energy more, even when we are not near a negative person or situation.
All of us can also behave in narcissistic ways sometimes. And some narcissists are more extreme than others. There is a spectrum for both empathy and narcissism.
Over many years of working with empaths, I have come to recognize that many empaths repeatedly develop relationships with narcissists. While these empaths might have been born into a situation with a family member who has an overpowering personality, they often continue a pattern into adulthood of attracting friends, partners, and even bosses with narcissistic tendencies.
Dealing with narcissists is a popular topic in my Thriving Empath Facebook Group for Women. Many women in the group have shared about their experiences of being magnets for narcissists or other types of energy vampires.
As people pleasers and natural givers, most empaths get into the vicious cycle of over-giving when in relationships with takers.
If it has become your default to surrender your will to narcissists’ desires, you have probably grown used to compromising your needs and feelings.
By the time you realize that you no longer want to give away your power, you are usually stuck in a rut of putting up with narcissistic behavior.
The solution is not easy and requires deep inner work. Working with a professional is recommended. But there are a few things you can start doing by yourself.
Here are some ideas for how to start protecting your heart from a narcissist when you are an empath
Have self- compassion, no matter what
You have a rich inner world within you. You have a history of being misunderstood by people. The fear of being misunderstood, unappreciated, and unheard leads to unhealthy habits and behaviors. Many empaths escape to addictive behaviors so they don’t have to face their emotions. When you finally stand up for yourself (or leave the relationship), you will still carry trauma, pain, and a deep sense of unworthiness. You may judge, blame, and criticize yourself for not dealing better with the situation.
The only way you can start healing the past and moving your life forward is by finding compassion for yourself. Tell yourself that, considering the circumstances, you did the best you could. You did not have the knowledge you have today. Even if you were aware that you kept attracting people who needed you, you probably didn’t realize that your sensitivity had a name.
Self-blame doesn’t help. Stop it. Forgive yourself. You cannot heal your heart without giving yourself compassion. My Guided Compassion Meditation is an excellent place to start.
Identify your unhealthy habits and behaviors
While empaths can be over empathetic, narcissists lack the ability to feel and show empathy.
The empath often feels manipulated and hurt. If you grew up learning to suppress or numb your emotions, you probably developed unhealthy ways of escaping pain.
Growing up, I turned to food every time I got overwhelmed with emotions. This tendency to eat over my feelings has always been my default. It wasn’t until my 40s that I discovered certain foods trigger my addiction. So I stopped eating sugar, flour, and wheat. I lost a lot of weight and became healthier. I have been making healthier food choices since then. But my tendency to eat over my emotions still requires daily work. Another unhealthy tendency I have is to overwork.
Identifying and changing your unhealthy habits and behaviors can help you move your life forward.
What unhealthy habits and behaviors prevent you from feeling the pain?
What unhealthy habits and behaviors prevent you from protecting your heart when you hurt?
Strengthen your boundaries
Boundaries define what is you and what is not you, and they lead to a sense of ownership. When you know where you end and someone else begins, you can take responsibility for your actions, feelings, and behaviors and release responsibility for their actions, feelings, and behaviors.
Whether you let your mother-in-law push your buttons, your boss scare you, your smart phone abuse you, or your kid’s school take advantage of you, you can develop stronger boundaries and feel more in alignment with your personal power and who you really are. If you are looking for practical ways to strengthen your boundaries, read my blog “5 Simple Actions You Can Take NOW to Create Stronger Boundaries.
Don’t confuse kindness with boundaries—be with your heart first!
Many empaths who continue to please others and try to keep the peace convince themselves that they should be kinder and more compassionate toward the narcissist because that’s what spiritual (or positive) people do. The truth is that when you set boundaries, you usually disappoint the other person. The narcissist will rub it in your face and remind you that you are “supposed” to be a kind, positive, and spiritual person. Don’t confuse kindness with boundaries. Be kind enough to yourself to say no when needed and to protect your heart, even if it means disappointing someone else.
It is part of your spiritual journey to be kind to yourself and practice self-care and self-love first.
This 15-minute vlog, “The Best Way to Offer Compassion Without Self-Neglect, is entirely dedicated to sharing a practice (actually a short movement that you do with your hands) to help you embody the idea of helping others while taking care of yourself first.
Seek divine love and align with the universal energy
I was very young when I got my degree in social work. I knew that it was my passion to help others. Within a few years of working with very difficult situations, I burned out and got depressed. I was trying to change the world. By myself. That was a lot of responsibility for a young professional “giver.” The process was harder and more draining than I expected.
I ended up leaving my job, and it took me years to recover from all the pain and suffering I had absorbed. My turning point was finding Reiki. Treating myself with Reiki daily helped me heal my heart and elevate energetically. Today, I still seek and receive divine love and guidance daily. I get centered and grounded with Reiki every day. I am vibrating from a higher level. I help women heal past trauma and pain without taking on their emotions (most of the time), while feeling satisfied and fulfilled. Serving as a beacon feels like a privilege.
Giving Reiki to yourself for 15 minutes a day protects your heart and helps you create emotional boundaries. Join my next Reiki class for beginners, and I’ll teach you how.
If you carry old trauma or pain from previous relationships with a narcissist, or if you suffer from a repeated pattern of attracting narcissists to your life, consider getting my professional support so you can release the trauma, heal the pain, and move forward with your life. Send me a message and tell me that you need help. It will be my honor to help you heal.
What’s your favorite tip from this article? Share in the comments area.