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Are Relationships Between Empaths and Narcissists Doomed for Disaster?

By Michal Spiegelman

Many of us seem to have become obsessed with what personality styles or what type of person (or not) we’re compatible with. Imagine a very unusual romance that could have been worse between two people who have the same personality type—a sympathist and a narcissist. The pair creates a tempting situation: an empath’s draw to try and “fix” the narcissist, as well as the narcissist’s yearning to ignore all of their advantages.

Empath and Narcissist

Who is the Empath?

An empath is someone who has the ability to deeply sense and understand the feelings, emotions, and thoughts of others. They have an enhanced ability to read people’s energy fields, as well as their nonverbal communication such as facial expressions and body language. Empaths tend to be naturally compassionate and caring individuals who can often put themselves in someone else’s shoes and understand their perspective. They can often act as a good listener and provide comfort and support to those who need it.

An empath typically has a strong intuition about people and things that are going on around them. They can sense feelings and emotions from others, even those that the other person isn’t consciously aware of. Empaths tend to be passionate, creative, and intuitive people who are highly sensitive to their environment. They also often experience a deep connection to the natural world and can be easily overwhelmed by loud noises and overwhelming situations.

Who is the Narcissist?

Narcissism, on the other hand, is defined as an excessive preoccupation with one’s own self-importance and a need for admiration. People with narcissistic traits tend to be selfish, manipulative, and entitled. They often have grandiose fantasies of success and power, and they may take advantage of other people to get what they want.

Mental health issues can be a difficult and complex subject to navigate. While empaths may be able to sense the emotional needs of those around them, narcissists often struggle with recognizing their own mental health needs. This lack of emotional intelligence and self-awareness can lead to difficulties in relationships as well as an inability to cope with stress or challenging situations.

Narcissists often possess an inflated ego and sense of self-importance, qualities which can lead them to manipulate and take advantage of other people. This behavior usually stems from feelings of insecurity and a need for attention, causing them to make exaggerated claims about their abilities and accomplishments.

Narcissistic Personality Disorder

(NPD) is a mental health condition that affects approximately 6.2% of the population. People with NPD display an intense need for excessive attention, validation, and admiration from others without considering the feelings of those around them. They are also often preoccupied with their own success, beauty, and power and can become easily jealous or envious of others.

Not all narcissists have Narcissistic Personality Disorder (NPD). NPD is a more severe form of narcissism, which is characterized by an intense preoccupation with one’s own self-importance and a need for admiration from others. People with NPD often display a number of traits including grandiose fantasies of success and power, a very inflated sense of entitlement, manipulation towards others, and extreme jealousy or envy.

Narcissistic Abuse

Narcissistic abuse occurs when a narcissist uses verbal and emotional manipulation to control another person. It is a form of psychological and emotional abuse that can have devastating effects on the victim, often leading to depression, anxiety, low self-esteem, and even suicidal thoughts. Narcissists tend to lack empathy and often manipulate or exploit those around them for their own benefit. They may also use lies and intimidation to make the victim feel powerless or inferior.

If you or someone you know is in an abusive relationship It may be helpful to seek professional help from a mental health professional who can provide advice on how to manage the situation. A mental health professional will have specialized knowledge about relationships, as well as other dynamics that may arise in this type of partnership. They can also provide insight into what strategies might work best for managing conflict and communication issues within the relationship.

What Is Narcissistic Supply?

Narcissistic supply is attention that fuels a narcissist’s sense of self-importance and helps them to feel powerful. Narcissists will often seek out people who they can manipulate and control in order to get the attention and admiration that they crave. This need for a narcissistic supply is what can make relationships with narcissists so toxic.

The empath may be drawn to the narcissist’s seemingly confident attitude, while the narcissist may take advantage of the empath’s compassionate and caring nature. Ultimately, this creates an unhealthy power dynamic in which the empath is constantly trying to “fix” or “save” the narcissist, while the narcissist is taking advantage of their vulnerabilities.

The False Self of The Narcissist

The most important thing to understand when dealing with narcissists is that they create a False Self to protect themselves from being hurt.

This False Self is an idealized version of themselves that they present to the world and it helps them feel safe because they are never vulnerable. It also allows them to manipulate people into giving them what they want by pretending to be something they’re not.

Empaths need to recognize when someone is creating a False Self and not take them seriously. Empaths should strive to stay true to themselves and practice self-care so that they don’t become entangled in the narcissist’s web of manipulation.

Setting Clear Boundaries & Communicating Needs

To protect themselves from a narcissist, empaths must set boundaries and communicate their own needs clearly.

Empaths need to be assertive when it comes to their boundaries as narcissists will often try to push them to get what they want. Empaths should also make sure to communicate their own feelings and needs in a clear and direct way so that the narcissist understands them.

Finally, empaths should recognize when they are getting too involved with a narcissist’s False Self and step back before it is too late. Empaths need to remember their own worth and value, no matter what a narcissist may say.

Relationships between empaths and narcissists can be complex, but with the right communication and understanding, they can have a healthy one. Ultimately, it is up to each individual to decide how much effort they are willing to put into making the relationship successful. By setting clear and firm boundaries and communicating their needs, empaths can protect themselves from the manipulation of narcissists. With these strategies in place, an empath-narcissist relationship could become a rewarding one for both parties.

Why Empaths Attract Narcissistic People

Empaths and narcissists don’t always mix well. Empaths are naturally empathic, compassionate individuals who are often taken advantage of by the narcissistic people they attract. Narcissists feed off of the attention and admiration they receive from empaths, which can leave the empath feeling drained, unappreciated, and taken advantage of.

On the other hand, empaths are drawn to the narcissist’s seemingly confident attitude and can find themselves trying to “fix” or “save” the relationship with a narcissist. This creates an unhealthy power dynamic in which the empath is constantly having to put in more effort than the narcissist to make the relationship work.

Although empaths and narcissists are often attracted to each other, empaths need to recognize the warning signs of toxic relationships. Empaths should learn how to set firm boundaries and communicate their needs to protect themselves from being taken advantage of. By understanding the dynamics between empaths and narcissists, they can better prepare themselves for future relationships. With the right combination of self-awareness and assertiveness, empaths can protect themselves from narcissistic people and build healthier relationships that are built on mutual respect.

Can Empaths and Narcissists Have Healthy Relationships?

The answer is yes. As with any relationship, the key to making it work is communication and understanding. Both parties in committed relationship need to be willing to compromise and make an effort to understand each other’s needs and emotions.

Empaths should be careful not to let narcissists take advantage of their willingness to help, while narcissists should make an effort to recognize the empath’s need for compassion and understanding. With a little patience, empathy, and respect for one another, relationships between empaths and narcissists can be healthy and successful.

While it is certainly possible for an empath and a narcissist to have a toxic romantic relationship, it is also possible for them to have a healthy one. With the right communication, understanding, and respect for each other’s needs and emotions, these relationships can thrive. Nevertheless, if both parties are not willing to work on the relationship, it is likely to be doomed from the start. Ultimately, it comes down to the individual personalities involved and how much effort each of them is willing to put into making the relationship successful.

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 pathological 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.

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.

If you’re an empath and want to give yourself the best protection from a narcissist, here are some ideas on how to start:

1. 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 own emotions. When you finally stand up for yourself (or leave the toxic relationship behind), 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. 

2. 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 personal growth and 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?

3. 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 scares you, your smartphone 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. 

4. 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 set clear boundaries 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.

5. 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.

Final Thoughts

Personality traits such as empathy, understanding, respect, and the willingness to compromise are essential for relationships between empaths and narcissists to be successful. Additionally, both parties must recognize the need for healthy boundaries within the relationship and make an effort to communicate openly and honestly about their feelings.

It can be difficult to establish boundaries with narcissists, but you need to do so to protect yourself. Fortunately, there are several strategies that you can use to create stronger emotional and physical boundaries between yourself and a narcissist.

By understanding how the human brain works during sales processes or lead funnels, leveraging neuroscience principles in your digital marketing strategy, being kinder towards yourself first rather than trying to please others, aligning with divine love and universal energy through Reiki practices, and seeking professional help when needed – these tips will help guide you on your journey of setting healthier boundaries with those around you.

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 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.

Meet Michal
Michal Spiegelman

Michal Spiegelman is Medical Intuitive who helps women get to the root source behind disease, disharmony, imbalance, stress, and trauma-related conditions.

Having studied in Israel, Germany, England, and the U.S., Michal is a Certified Professional Coach, a Reiki Master, and a former social worker who brings years of experience working with a variety of modalities into her intuitive teachings, coaching and mentoring.

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1 Comment

  1. Rachel

    Are you seriously suggesting that an empath and narcissist can have a relationship that does not completely destroy the empath in every way? I hope not.


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