Empaths and narcissists

Empaths and narcissists DEFAULT
Unsplash

Source: Unsplash

They were kind, funny, even loving — when they wanted to be. They had big dreams and seemed to sweep you up in them. But things never, ever turned out the way they wanted them, and they would explode in confusing bouts of anger, blame, or self-loathing (which, of course, required you to soothe them).

Sound familiar? If it does, you have probably had a narcissist in your life. Welcome to the club. And, sadly, for highly sensitive people (HSPs) it seems to be a pretty large club. Considering that less than one percent of people are pathological narcissists, you wouldn’t think HSPs would be any more likely to run into them than anyone else. But what if sensitive people are particularly prone to a narcissist’s needy, controlling behavior?

Let’s explore what makes a narcissist a narcissist, why HSPs might be a natural target for them, and what you can do about it.

Narcissists Are a Highly Sensitive Person’s "Shadow Self"

People who live with NarcissisticPersonality Disorder have an unconscious belief that they are superior to other people. With that comes a craving for attention, respect, and often wealth or fame—and an almost total lack of empathy for the needs of others. The result is an individual who will manipulate or use others in order to get what they want.

Being a highly sensitive person, on the other hand, is perfectly healthy, and has nothing to do with ego. Highly sensitive people have nervous systems that process all input very deeply, from sights and sounds to thoughts and emotions. They tend to be creative, thoughtful, and caring. They can also get overwhelmed easily, because all that processing leads to overstimulation.

And, these two types are almost perfect opposites, in one key way: empathy.

You see, even though high sensitivity is primarily about how you process information, the reality is that most HSPs are extremely empathetic. In fact, the brain regions associated with empathy are much more active in HSPs than in non-HSPs, and HSPs, in general, tend to be giving, altruistic nurturers.

That makes the narcissist, who has almost no empathy, essentially the HSP’s “shadow self.”

Why Do Highly Sensitive People "Attract" Narcissists?

On the surface, there's no reason an HSP would want to spend time with a low-empathy person — but then, narcissists don’t exactly walk around holding a sign that says, “I Want to Use You.”

In fact, they do the opposite: Many narcissists learn to act charming, friendly, and flattering in order to mask their tendencies. Many will even “love bomb” the people they want to get close to, building them up to feel good around the narcissist, like an addictive substance.

And anyone, HSP or not, can get hooked.

What makes HSPs different is that their own high level of empathy means they are drawn to helping and caring for others. And the narcissist has an endless need to be cared for: a need for attention, compliments, special favors, and — above all — constant reassurance. Isn’t there anyone who can treat them the way they "deserve"?

Yes, unfortunately; and all too often it’s an HSP, the person who keenly feels the pain of others and takes a true sense of satisfaction from helping. This can quickly lead to a one-sided relationship in which the narcissist gets all the benefits of an HSP’s patience, compassion, caring, and love — and often, countless hours of their time. The HSP, on the other hand, gets only more and more exhausted. They may face a barrage of freakouts, pity parties, verbal abuse, and anger.

And, no matter how much they do, they will find out it’s not enough.

7 Ways to Protect Yourself from Narcissists

1. Question volatile or troubling relationships.

A telltale feature of narcissists is that all of their relationships are troubled relationships. They will have a shaky time in friendships, romance, and any career or school situation in which they need to work cooperatively with others.

This means it’s a good idea to really examine any relationship in your life that seems volatile. You may not know if someone’s a narcissist, but you know if you have a fight with them every single week, or if you always feel stressed out after seeing them. Make it a habit to simply notice these relationships, label them for what they are, and ask yourself what you get out of them.

2. Ask your friends for perspective.

It can be hard to see through the charm of a narcissist who’s buttering you up, and surprisingly easy to make excuses for their outbursts or bad behavior. However, while you may have a hard time seeing it objectively, to your friends, it’s often plain as day.

Getting an outside opinion (and listening to it, even if it’s hard to hear) can be a good way to check your own instincts about a person.

3. Expect the worst.

One useful mental exercise if you suspect someone is a narcissist is to imagine the worst-case scenario: If this person is a narcissist, they don’t believe they’re doing anything wrong, and they’ll never change. So what if their current behavior continues forever? Would I be okay with that? Would the relationship be worth it?

Framing it this way can make it much, much easier to pull back from a relationship.

4. Pull away from narcissists as early as possible.

Generally speaking, the right time to disconnect from a toxic person is as early as possible. That’s especially true with a narcissist. At the start of a relationship, there’s little at stake, and it’s only a small part of your life. But narcissists demand all the attention you can give them. Within months or a year, they could be the main focus of your life — especially if they’re your partner.

It’s much easier to back away at the start, although it’s never too late.

5. Practice setting clear, firm boundaries.

Narcissists hate boundaries because the world is supposed to be about them, not anyone else. At the same time, firm boundaries allow you the space and emotional clarity to take care of your own needs.

The best way to set a boundary to say it clearly, directly, and as a fact, not a request. For example:

Not clear: “I’m really tired tonight. Is it okay if we do this at a different time?”

Clear: “I’m not going to come over after 8 p.m. anymore, even if you’re stressed out. If you need to talk, we can set up a time on the weekend.”

Just be ready, because narcissists believe that every “no” can become a “yes” if they push hard enough. Don’t treat your boundary as something you’re willing to argue.

6. Get some emotional distance.

Narcissists can be infuriating, and they will bait you to argue with them, feel sorry for them, or try to help them. All of this just pulls you in further — which can be an especially dangerous place for HSPs because they may feel emotions more strongly than others in the first place.

Simply learning about how narcissism works can help create distance, and make it easier to resist engaging. For example:

  • Narcissists don’t actually realize what they’re doing, so there is no point in arguing with them; you will never win.
  • They’re incapable of seeing their own flaws, so there is no way to help them or “fix” them.
  • Narcissistic personality disorder is an illness, and it’s likely been with them since adolescence. They aren’t going to change unless they get professional help.

7. Practice a different kind of compassion.

Something I find oddly comforting is that a narcissist’s behavior is motivated by — wait for it — extremely fragile self-esteem. Yep, all that self-aggrandizing is because they don’t love themselves—and that makes them seem a lot less intimidating.

It’s also a way to feel compassion toward them without engaging. It must be tragically hard to go through life never loving oneself, and it means that nothing will ever truly bring them happiness. Understanding that can soften your heart, even as you pull away. But do pull away; It's better for you, and it may be the only kind of wake-up call that pushes the narcissist to get help.

This post originally appeared on Highly Sensitive Refuge, my community and blog for HSPs.

Sours: https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/highly-sensitive-refuge/201912/do-highly-sensitive-people-attract-narcissists

Empaths and Narcissists: Are You Hooked?

Last week was an absolute whirlwind for me.

Some people left my life; others arrived into it. 
Some doors closed; others opened into new opportunities.  

I’m still adjusting to all the transitions.

In times of great change like this, I also often find myself re-visiting my sense of purpose. What is this all about, really? Where am I investing my time and energy and how is that going?

As I reflect on these questions, I realize that during quite a few of our community calls last week, questions about trauma bonds, narcissism, and codependency kept arising. 

I hear you.  

What happens when a deeply empathic person is drawn into a relationship with a more narcissistically organized person?

It’s a shortcut to hell, as a friend of mine recently put it.  

These dynamics are exceedingly painful and confusing for anyone, but even more so for those of us who are committed to nonviolent living and dropping enemy images. We feel averse to the dehumanizing use of diagnoses and want to operate out of a profound belief in the goodness of human beings. 

The problem is that when we operate out of the naive belief that empathy and compassion can heal anything and everything, we may stay in life-depleting relational dynamics for far too long while believing that we are the problem.  

And, if you are truly trying to connect with someone who has a hefty dose of narcissism, they will be more than happy to affirm your (false) perception that you’re the problem and that you’re to blame for the painful dynamics you’re fielding. 

If you’ve been studying nonviolence and have developed an allergy to diagnoses and labels, then try to view “narcissism” as a deeply ingrained, unconscious trauma response and set of adaptations and strategies that some people developed in an attempt to survive their childhoods and to keep their sense of self intact.

However, these strategies have very deep, unconscious, and entrenched roots in the psyche of the person, and they’re very difficult for a person to either see or change in themselves. 

Empathy will not be enough. 

While empathy is necessary, it is simply not sufficient for the deeper changes needed. 

For every empathic move, you will also need a boundary-setting move. For every moment of connection, you will also field what we call an “attack on linking,” which is an unconscious pushing of you away. They send mixed messages (without realizing it) and then blame you for misunderstanding them.  

It’s like being in relationship with an infant. You begin to orient yourself around their needs at all times. And, the pull for empaths is that empaths actually enjoy nurturing infants and being there for others; it’s intrinsically satisfying for emotionally nurturing people to have someone to nurture.  

But here’s the problem:

Remember that infants grow up. They can take in the nurturing and use it to develop through their next developmental stages.

Narcissistically-organized adults, however, did not get those early needs met and had to disavow their vulnerability and disconnect from deeply painful feelings in order to survive. They learned to live with a profound underlying internal disconnection and shut-down, and now they use their intellect, cognitive empathy, and power and control dynamics in their relationships to try to manage and cope.

They sound good, they look good, but when it comes to intimacy and vulnerability, they just don’t feel good.  

So how do empaths get trapped in these dynamics? What is our work to do? Why does it get so confusing? How do we get out of it? 

Sometimes I tell myself that the narcissists in my life are here to help me know who I really am.  

1. Stop confusing control with love.  

Empaths who were adultified too early in life are particularly susceptible to some of the insidious power and control dynamics that intensify in these relationships. If you had a need to be overly responsible for others’ feelings and needs in your own family of origin, you may actually find it relieving to have someone else make decisions for you, take control of things, be responsible for things – in the early stages of the relationship. Narcissists seek out control and power as they try to find security, significance, and safety in their relationships. Any place where you have your own empowerment work to do, you will have a vulnerability to them. They will hook you in all the places where you may still be feeling disempowered, insecure, or needy yourself.  

2. When you feel “bad,” it may be data about the relationship, not about your personal issues. 

Empathic people often have a high degree of self-awareness and self-responsibility. We are quick to look at our own part in a dynamic, ready to heal ourselves as we go. So when we feel unhappy in a relationship, we tend to ask ourselves what is “ours” and focus on what we can change. However, when you’re in the reality field of someone with narcissism, those feelings are actually data about the relational field, not about you. If you’re in a relationship and feeling increasingly insecure, lonely, anxious, hypervigilant, angry, and distressed, it may be about them, not you.  

3. Pay attention to the function of the communication, not only the content.

Everything that a narcissistic tells you is your fault will have a grain of truth in it. Don’t get confused. For everything they accuse you of, you can probably find an instance or example of it in yourself. Healthy, whole people are made up of both “good” and “bad” parts – that’s normal.  

Do you sometimes get critical? Of course, we all do.  
Do you sometimes speak unskillfully? Yes, we all do.  
Do you sometimes get fed up with things? Yes, of course, we all do. 

And, in a healthy relationship people talk about their “stuff,” love each other through it, and use it to build bridges and increase their sense of shared humanity with each other. These even become points of playful affection and warm humor as we love each other through our imperfections.  

Narcissists however will use instances of you being a normal human against you. They dismiss and devalue anything that isn’t up to their idealized image and standards, and they will try to help you improve yourself. Don’t look at the content of what they tell you about yourself (it will likely be true and based on something). Look instead at when and how they bring it up and how they use it against you in the relationship. Look at the function of the accusation, not the content of it. 

I realize that this is just the tip of the iceberg on the subject.

I haven’t even started talking about trauma bonds, reactive abuse, baiting, narcissistic supply, entitlement, grandiosity, gaslighting, projection, love bombing, being a grey rock, intimacy avoidance, the hall of mirrors, and more.

So let me just say this:
If you’re in a relationship with a narcissist, get help. 
Focus on your own growth, development, and well-being.
Ground yourself in your own goodness.
Remember who you really are. 

You may feel a pull to understand them. That’s part of the dynamic (the focus on them). Pull your energy back and start asking yourself these questions: 

  • Why am I pulled into this and what parts of me need healing? 

  • What parts of me are settling for this? 

  • What parts of me feel like I deserve this?  

  • Where am I feeling afraid to set boundaries and what will support me in doing that more?  

And, I’d love to hear from you. Where do you get hooked or trapped in these patterns? What feels particularly confusing to you? Leave a comment below.

Sours: https://www.yvetteerasmus.com/blog/empaths-and-narcissists
  1. Ate shredded cheese that smells bad
  2. Springs at 2534 apartments
  3. Funny weiner dog costumes
  4. New mens haircut styles
  5. Crit role campaign 1

The Parasitic Relationship Between a Narcissist and an Empath

The dance between the narcissist and the empath resembles a parasitic relationship. Motivated by the desire to seek love and to heal the wounded narcissist, the empath becomes the perfect host to the parasitic narcissist.


Being preoccupied with emotionally feeding off of others to supply his/her egotistical needs, the narcissist uses tactics of manipulation and control in the relationship. Often times, the narcissist remains in power and the empath feels victimized and powerless. Once the parasite has used up all the resources from the host, it moves on to a new host.

Yet, the empath and narcissist dyad exists within a dialectic, each needing the other for the dysfunctional relationship to remain intact. Both partners are equally responsible for the imbalance created. While an empath may feel powerless in the relationship, it is important to keep in mind that a narcissist cannot exist within the relationship without the engagement of the well-intentioned empath. If an empath sets boundaries and walks away, refusing to internalize the projected feelings of the narcissist (i.e., the narcissist projecting their own worthlessness onto the empath), then the abusive dynamic would cease to exist.


What is a narcissist?

The term, “narcissist” is thrown around quite often, and can be misused. One of the defining characteristics of a narcissist is an individual who views others as objects, rather than as people. People are seen as sources that supply the narcissist with attention, admiration, and idealization to maintain a concealed fragile sense of self. Narcissism exists on a continuum, with hallmarks of the disorder including, but not limited to, a lack of empathy, inflated sense of self-importance, sense of entitlement, and a need for admiration. Such characteristics start in early adulthood and occur in a range of situations. Narcissists have difficulty feeling their pain, so they project their feelings onto their partner. For instance, instead of owning their own feelings of worthlessness and shame, they treat their partners in such a way that the partners feel worthless and ashamed.

Due to their inability to relate to others as more than mere objects, narcissists lack the ability to love their partner. When seeing that their partner has withdrawn their love and care, the narcissist will know how to manipulatively regain the love of the empath by providing what feels like authentic love and connection. It can be confusing for an empath, who feels heightened levels of bonding and “love” from the narcissist at times. The narcissist acts like a slot machine. Every once in a while, the slot machine will yield out treasures, but the majority of the time the empath is left deprived of love. Often times, empaths proclaim that their partner can either be “really amazing or just awful.” This stark contrast in character leaves the empath always longing for the amazing part of their partner to shine forth.


What is an empath?

Empaths are individuals who are highly sensitive and are able to feel the emotional needs of others, and often put the needs of others before their own. Their acute sensitivity allows them to truly feel, and even absorb, another’s pain. They are driven by a need to help and heal others. Empaths’ hyper awareness of their partner’s feelings often leads them to hold their partner’s feelings, allowing their narcissistic partner to not have to feel the painful emotions themselves.


Why is there such a strong attraction between a narcissist and an empath?

The empath is hoping to be truly seen and loved by the narcissist. In fact, their sense of worth is tied to being loved by their narcissistic partner. An unconscious thought process is taking place, whereby the empath believes that, if they can overcome the challenge of getting the narcissist to love them, then their worth will be validated. In other words, if they can make the person who is incapable of love, love them, then they are truly worthy of love. They try to heal the wounded narcissist, hoping that once healed, they in turn will provide the empath with the love and validation they so desperately desire.

Underlying their unconscious desire to seek love from the unloving narcissist is an acting out of a childhood relationship dynamic where they have felt unlovable or rejected by a primary caregiver. The empath was unable to receive the unconditional love that every child needs. This could have occurred as a result of having a narcissistic parent(s), or having parent(s) who were unavailable to their emotional needs (i.e., need to be noticed, need to be acknowledged for one’s strengths, need to be accepted and loved). Now in their adulthood, the empath is trying to seek validation and feel the worth they did not feel as a child. But now the stakes are higher. Receiving love from just anyone would not repair their low self-worth. In their mind, it is only by turning the unloving narcissist into the loving and accepting “parent” can their self-worth be restored.

Furthermore, the empath, due to early misattunement and/or emotional unavailability from the primary attachment figure, has learned to associate love with pain. Therefore, they become tolerant of being mistreated by their narcissistic partner. The empath pours all of his/her energy into the relationship with the narcissist, often tolerating high levels of mistreatment, hoping they can receive the love they desperately want and need. The empath is barking up the wrong tree! Trying to remake a narcissist into an emotionally available and loving partner is not possible. The narcissist needs to decide to change. As long as the empath is holding the narcissist’s disavowed feelings, the narcissist will not need to feel their own feelings. Without feeling the depth of their own feelings, they cannot change. Instead of changing, the narcissist will most likely find another empath to use for his/her survival.

Empaths thrive on helping people and giving to others, but problems arise when the empath ignores his/her own needs in the process. Often, empaths can be more aware of the feelings of others and what is going on in their environment, than they are of their own internal state. This pattern leads to the suppression of painful feelings, and a lack of awareness about how to protect themselves from others. The more disconnected the empath is from his/her own feelings, the more likely it is that s/he will pour all of their love and attention into the relationship and try to fix his/her partner. The more love and care the empath provides in the relationship, the more controlling and powerful the narcissist will become, intensifying the abusive dynamic. This leads to a vicious cycle of the demoralization of the empath by the narcissist, furthering the sense of victimhood the empath already feels. In this downward spiral, the empath is not only blamed for the dysfunction of the relationship by the narcissist, but s/he also turns his/her anger inward and blames him/herself.

An empath has a choice-- to maintain the status quo and remain in the abusive dynamic with the narcissist, or to take responsibility for their contribution to the dysfunctional relationship and to focus all the attention and focus they placed on “fixing” the narcissist on healing their own inner wounds.


In order for an empath to no longer be available for invasion by a narcissist, s/he has to fully inhabit him/herself.

As Carl Jung states, “one does not become enlightened by imagining figures of light, but by making the darkness conscious.” The empath must create a relationship with the pain within him/herself that s/he has not embraced. It is only through making the hidden, and previously ignored pain within her conscious that she can process her own wounds and begin the healing process.


Although the empath can clearly see that the narcissist is wounded, they often have difficulty connecting to their own darkness. An empath may even be dismissive of his/her psychic pain, minimizing his/her feelings and wanting to overlook the impact of early traumatic experiences in his/her life. Coming from an abusive dynamic with a narcissist, empaths have probably learned to blame themselves incessantly, thereby misdirecting their anger. The first stages of healing require that the empath understand their role in the relationship with the narcissist, and aim to seek self-awareness. From a place of self-compassion, asking the following questions can help an empath move away from victimhood into a stance of self-exploration and healing:

  • What emotional void was I trying to fill in my relationship?
  • How was I trying to gain love and approval from my emotionally unavailable partner?
  • Which feelings within myself do I push away?
  • Where do the emotions reside in my body?
  • Where do my feelings of rejection/fear of abandonment/unworthiness stem from?
  • How were my emotional needs not met in childhood?

Along with exploring their emotions, the empath can develop their sense of self, or their individuality. Perhaps the abusive relationship with a narcissist preoccupied them and left no space for the empath to explore their desires, their strength, and their abilities. Empaths have the potential to flourish and deeply transform from their dysfunctional relationship with a narcissist. As beautifully stated by Kim Saeed,


“When the empath and narcissist enter into a relationship together, it creates a magnetic, yet dysfunctional union because the empath gives to the point of complete and utter exhaustion. Profoundly disoriented, the empath is often destroyed by the relationship. This experience is painful and overwhelming but ultimately, the empath undergoes a soul awakening. The narcissist remains the same.”

Although breaking away from a narcissist will bring tremendous pain and reveal deep longings; one day the empath will look back and question how s/he ever tolerated being in a relationship with a narcissist. As empath inhabit themselves and strengthen their sense of self, a sense of healthy boundaries will develop. This emerging sense of self will be protective of their old self, placing strong boundaries that will prevent future parasitic relationships with narcissists.


For more information about Rachel Negar Partiali, PhD, please click on her image above.

Understanding the dynamic between a narcissist and an empath and why such a relationship exists is the first step in freeing yourself from this parasitic dynamic.

https://res.cloudinary.com/dywkbcfp5/image/upload/w_1024/c_fill,g_auto,f_auto/v1553468438/irvoa0mxns8rbnbtmjqt.jpg

The Parasitic Relationship Between a Narcissist and an Empath

The Parasitic Relationship Between a Narcissist and an Empath

the-parasitic-relationship-between-a-narcissist-and-an-empath-by-r-partiali


An experienced, empathic, and relatable clinical psychologist working with adults, teenagers, and couples. www.drpartiali.com

Dr Rachel Partiali

Psychologist

Los Angeles, United States

Understanding the dynamic between a narcissist and an empath and why such a relationship exists is the first step in freeing yourself from this parasitic dynamic.


The dance between the narcissist and the empath resembles a parasitic relationship. Motivated by the desire to seek love and to heal the wounded narcissist, the empath becomes the perfect host to the parasitic narcissist.


Being preoccupied with emotionally feeding off of others to supply his/her egotistical needs, the narcissist uses tactics of manipulation and control in the relationship. Often times, the narcissist remains in power and the empath feels victimized and powerless. Once the parasite has used up all the resources from the host, it moves on to a new host.

Yet, the empath and narcissist dyad exists within a dialectic, each needing the other for the dysfunctional relationship to remain intact. Both partners are equally responsible for the imbalance created. While an empath may feel powerless in the relationship, it is important to keep in mind that a narcissist cannot exist within the relationship without the engagement of the well-intentioned empath. If an empath sets boundaries and walks away, refusing to internalize the projected feelings of the narcissist (i.e., the narcissist projecting their own worthlessness onto the empath), then the abusive dynamic would cease to exist.


What is a narcissist?

The term, “narcissist” is thrown around quite often, and can be misused. One of the defining characteristics of a narcissist is an individual who views others as objects, rather than as people. People are seen as sources that supply the narcissist with attention, admiration, and idealization to maintain a concealed fragile sense of self. Narcissism exists on a continuum, with hallmarks of the disorder including, but not limited to, a lack of empathy, inflated sense of self-importance, sense of entitlement, and a need for admiration. Such characteristics start in early adulthood and occur in a range of situations. Narcissists have difficulty feeling their pain, so they project their feelings onto their partner. For instance, instead of owning their own feelings of worthlessness and shame, they treat their partners in such a way that the partners feel worthless and ashamed.

Due to their inability to relate to others as more than mere objects, narcissists lack the ability to love their partner. When seeing that their partner has withdrawn their love and care, the narcissist will know how to manipulatively regain the love of the empath by providing what feels like authentic love and connection. It can be confusing for an empath, who feels heightened levels of bonding and “love” from the narcissist at times. The narcissist acts like a slot machine. Every once in a while, the slot machine will yield out treasures, but the majority of the time the empath is left deprived of love. Often times, empaths proclaim that their partner can either be “really amazing or just awful.” This stark contrast in character leaves the empath always longing for the amazing part of their partner to shine forth.


What is an empath?

Empaths are individuals who are highly sensitive and are able to feel the emotional needs of others, and often put the needs of others before their own. Their acute sensitivity allows them to truly feel, and even absorb, another’s pain. They are driven by a need to help and heal others. Empaths’ hyper awareness of their partner’s feelings often leads them to hold their partner’s feelings, allowing their narcissistic partner to not have to feel the painful emotions themselves.


Why is there such a strong attraction between a narcissist and an empath?

The empath is hoping to be truly seen and loved by the narcissist. In fact, their sense of worth is tied to being loved by their narcissistic partner. An unconscious thought process is taking place, whereby the empath believes that, if they can overcome the challenge of getting the narcissist to love them, then their worth will be validated. In other words, if they can make the person who is incapable of love, love them, then they are truly worthy of love. They try to heal the wounded narcissist, hoping that once healed, they in turn will provide the empath with the love and validation they so desperately desire.

Underlying their unconscious desire to seek love from the unloving narcissist is an acting out of a childhood relationship dynamic where they have felt unlovable or rejected by a primary caregiver. The empath was unable to receive the unconditional love that every child needs. This could have occurred as a result of having a narcissistic parent(s), or having parent(s) who were unavailable to their emotional needs (i.e., need to be noticed, need to be acknowledged for one’s strengths, need to be accepted and loved). Now in their adulthood, the empath is trying to seek validation and feel the worth they did not feel as a child. But now the stakes are higher. Receiving love from just anyone would not repair their low self-worth. In their mind, it is only by turning the unloving narcissist into the loving and accepting “parent” can their self-worth be restored.

Furthermore, the empath, due to early misattunement and/or emotional unavailability from the primary attachment figure, has learned to associate love with pain. Therefore, they become tolerant of being mistreated by their narcissistic partner. The empath pours all of his/her energy into the relationship with the narcissist, often tolerating high levels of mistreatment, hoping they can receive the love they desperately want and need. The empath is barking up the wrong tree! Trying to remake a narcissist into an emotionally available and loving partner is not possible. The narcissist needs to decide to change. As long as the empath is holding the narcissist’s disavowed feelings, the narcissist will not need to feel their own feelings. Without feeling the depth of their own feelings, they cannot change. Instead of changing, the narcissist will most likely find another empath to use for his/her survival.

Empaths thrive on helping people and giving to others, but problems arise when the empath ignores his/her own needs in the process. Often, empaths can be more aware of the feelings of others and what is going on in their environment, than they are of their own internal state. This pattern leads to the suppression of painful feelings, and a lack of awareness about how to protect themselves from others. The more disconnected the empath is from his/her own feelings, the more likely it is that s/he will pour all of their love and attention into the relationship and try to fix his/her partner. The more love and care the empath provides in the relationship, the more controlling and powerful the narcissist will become, intensifying the abusive dynamic. This leads to a vicious cycle of the demoralization of the empath by the narcissist, furthering the sense of victimhood the empath already feels. In this downward spiral, the empath is not only blamed for the dysfunction of the relationship by the narcissist, but s/he also turns his/her anger inward and blames him/herself.

An empath has a choice-- to maintain the status quo and remain in the abusive dynamic with the narcissist, or to take responsibility for their contribution to the dysfunctional relationship and to focus all the attention and focus they placed on “fixing” the narcissist on healing their own inner wounds.


In order for an empath to no longer be available for invasion by a narcissist, s/he has to fully inhabit him/herself.

As Carl Jung states, “one does not become enlightened by imagining figures of light, but by making the darkness conscious.” The empath must create a relationship with the pain within him/herself that s/he has not embraced. It is only through making the hidden, and previously ignored pain within her conscious that she can process her own wounds and begin the healing process.


Although the empath can clearly see that the narcissist is wounded, they often have difficulty connecting to their own darkness. An empath may even be dismissive of his/her psychic pain, minimizing his/her feelings and wanting to overlook the impact of early traumatic experiences in his/her life. Coming from an abusive dynamic with a narcissist, empaths have probably learned to blame themselves incessantly, thereby misdirecting their anger. The first stages of healing require that the empath understand their role in the relationship with the narcissist, and aim to seek self-awareness. From a place of self-compassion, asking the following questions can help an empath move away from victimhood into a stance of self-exploration and healing:

  • What emotional void was I trying to fill in my relationship?
  • How was I trying to gain love and approval from my emotionally unavailable partner?
  • Which feelings within myself do I push away?
  • Where do the emotions reside in my body?
  • Where do my feelings of rejection/fear of abandonment/unworthiness stem from?
  • How were my emotional needs not met in childhood?

Along with exploring their emotions, the empath can develop their sense of self, or their individuality. Perhaps the abusive relationship with a narcissist preoccupied them and left no space for the empath to explore their desires, their strength, and their abilities. Empaths have the potential to flourish and deeply transform from their dysfunctional relationship with a narcissist. As beautifully stated by Kim Saeed,


“When the empath and narcissist enter into a relationship together, it creates a magnetic, yet dysfunctional union because the empath gives to the point of complete and utter exhaustion. Profoundly disoriented, the empath is often destroyed by the relationship. This experience is painful and overwhelming but ultimately, the empath undergoes a soul awakening. The narcissist remains the same.”

Although breaking away from a narcissist will bring tremendous pain and reveal deep longings; one day the empath will look back and question how s/he ever tolerated being in a relationship with a narcissist. As empath inhabit themselves and strengthen their sense of self, a sense of healthy boundaries will develop. This emerging sense of self will be protective of their old self, placing strong boundaries that will prevent future parasitic relationships with narcissists.


For more information about Rachel Negar Partiali, PhD, please click on her image above.





Join the discussion or add your comment below.







We use cookies to improve user experience, help us promote awareness, provide social media features, tailor advertising and to understand our traffic.

AcceptLearn more

Sours: https://www.therapyroute.com/article/the-parasitic-relationship-between-a-narcissist-and-an-empath-by-r-partiali

The Dangerous Relationship Between Empaths & Narcissists

What Is a Narcissist?

A narcissist is someone who views themselves in a higher than thou attitude, where they believe they are more special and deserving of things. They tend to have a diagnosis of narcissistic personality disorder, which is marked by grandiose thinking, inflated sense of ego, lack of empathy and a need to be admired by all. Deep down, they have deep rooted insecurities and fears which are covered up by these narcissist traits.

What Is an Empath?

Empaths are attuned to others emotions and sensitive to feelings of other people. They tend to prioritize the needs of others ahead of their own and give without being asked. They feel deeply and feel good about helping others so much so that they can absorb others’ emotions. Empaths tend to be overflowing with compassion for other people.1

Why Are Empaths & Narcissists Attracted to Each Other?

Given their great amount of compassion, the empath is prone to absorbing the emotions and energy of others., When they meet a narcissist, the energy they sense triggers something in them that ignites their need to comfort the narcissist, beginning the cycle of narcissistic supply.

Usually, the empath believes (often subconsciously) they can heal and help the narcissist, so they pour themselves into showing the narcissist their worth, but the narcissist never will see it. The narcissist in this position will take advantage of the empath and see their compassion as weakness. The attraction between the two is profoundly due to their complementary desires, unhealthy as it may be to seek attention and validation from one another.

We tend to replay scenarios in our adult romantic relationships based on our childhood attachment style and experiences with our caregivers and parents. Empaths tend to desire validation and love from a narcissist, potentially due to their childhood experience of not having their emotional needs met by a caregiver or parent. Likely an empath had a narcissistic parent, or experienced some kind of emotional neglect in which they learned that love is conditional. This has set them up for heartbreak in their adulthood.

Narcissists tend to deflect all their feelings onto others because of their underlying pain and insecurity. They too may have had narcissist caregivers or parents, or experienced some kind of abuse or traumatic event that shaped their upbringing. However, this is not an excuse for the emotional and sometimes physical abuse inflicted on their partners, who become victims.

The narcissist has the opportunity to exploit the empath’s need for love for their own fulfillment. In this sense, the narcissist is unlikely to consider their actions as problems. Until they are able to reflect on their own behaviors and feel their feelings, the narcissist will not change.2

The narcissist is able to keep the empath in a cycle of emotional or physical abuse and continue to demoralize the empath and use them as the scapegoat for their own dysfunctional feelings. Empaths tend to internalize feelings and accept blame. The narcissist then portrays themself as the victim when in fact the empath is the true victim.

The only option an empath has here is to decide whether they want to continue to be in a relationship with a narcissist or take themselves out of the equation so the narcissist has to take ownership of their own feelings. If the former, it’s likely that the empath has formed a trauma bond with the narcissist, which can be hard to break out of or even recognize. If the latter, the narcissists will discard the empath instantaneously—adding insult to injury for the empath. The narcissist will be quick to find another victim so they can continue to get their narcissistic supply.3

How to Protect Yourself From a Narcissist

Trying to deal with a narcissist will be difficult. To manage a situation with a narcissist, setting firm boundaries, getting an outsider’s perspective, and not giving in to their facades are great places to start.

Here are four ways to protect yourself from a narcissist if you’re an empath:

1. Set Clear Boundaries

First, it’s important to set firm boundaries and understand that the narcissist will try to push and test these limits. Setting boundaries from the start may seem unfair to those who have a sense of self and can empathize with others, but remember, the narcissist will take as much as you give, without giving anything back. If they get angry and attack, or threaten to leave you, you will see their true colors from the beginning.

2. Take an Outsider’s Perspective

Don’t be fooled into thinking that your efforts will be appreciated—instead, recognize what the relationship looks like from an outside view. Talking to a therapist who has an unbiased perspective can help ensure you’ve got a clear understanding of the situation and are setting appropriate boundaries.4

3. Remember That They Won’t Reciprocate

Soothing their hurt ego or feelings, especially at the expense of your own emotions, won’t help the narcissist with their struggle with accountability. Furthermore, you will not be appreciated for your valiant efforts. The narcissist will give nothing in return, and it will likely become a cycle where you will feel a pull to help them while they never show up for you.

4. Don’t Give Second Chances

Second chances are the favorite appeal of narcissists. They thrive on starting this cycle of abuse and watching you spiral. If they feel they are going to lose you—and the attention they get from you—the narcissist will do what they need to do to ensure you stick around and fall right back into the same habits. They will put on a show for a while until you are convinced that giving a second chance is worth the risk, and you will fall right back into the same cycle of psychological abuse. This is how a trauma bond forms.5

When & How a Therapist Can Help

The right time to get help with these relationship issues is when it’s identified by one or both partners as an issue in the relationship. It can be challenging to talk about with your partner, so it’s important to consider individual or couples therapy, depending on what your issues are. Given the emotionally volatile and potentially abusive nature of these relationships, it’s important to seek help immediately if you feel you are in danger of any kind.

Any type of mental health clinician is able to facilitate therapy for narcissistic and empathetic relationship dysfunction as long as they have the experience. Seeking therapy is a big challenge for those with narcissistic personality disorder due to the major gaps in self awareness that don’t allow them to recognize areas for self-improvement. It may be likely that the empath in the relationship is the one to initiate therapy.

One great way to find a therapist for these types of relationships is by searching the Choosing Therapy online directory to find a therapist. All licensed therapists can be equipped to help people struggling with mental health issues. Reading reviews and looking at clinician bios to understand the scope of their practice can give you an idea of whether their experience suits your situation. Many therapists offer a free phone consultation to help you know if you’ll be a good fit.

Another way to locate a therapist is by referral, which can come from a trusted loved one or a physician. Healthcare providers often have access to a network of other providers who can be helpful. Going through your physician or specialist is also a great way to keep them in the loop about any treatment options or trauma experienced.

Final Thoughts

If you’re an empath in a relationship with a narcissist, talking to a therapist who specializes in this area of personal growth can make a big difference in how you feel. Together, you and your therapist will develop a plan to help you through this situation and establish a safety plan if you feel that you are in danger.

Sours: https://www.choosingtherapy.com/empaths-and-narcissists/

Narcissists empaths and

Pluto, the mysterious reddish-coloured ‘planet’ (yes!), is the coldest, darkest and most distant celestial body in our system. The farthest from the Sun, Pluto is very secretive and hides itself below a standard orbit.

Pluto, the God of the Underworld in classical mythology, is calm, quiet, calculating, and stays under the radar! Birth, death, transformation, the underworld and rebellion are its strong suits. What many don’t realise is that it is possible to have these traits without being a pushover.

An empath can be assertive too.

Just like Pluto, true empaths hate being in the limelight but possess a potent dose of self-esteem and self-awareness. Therefore, they don’t need your validation – you may think they do… but, they don’t.

You can tell them apart from their calm, collected and introverted nature. They are the ones to sit in the corner and observe people. Analyzing people comes naturally and easily to them, as a result they do not trust people easily.

Empaths generally have a very good and sacrificial nature. Never ones to inconvenience anyone or start any troubles, they inherently know that their good nature, will attract narcissists, psychopaths and toxic people.

Their cold faces that crack a smile once in a while, sometimes combative physiques, and quiet mannerisms do the job of keeping away lower-range narcissists, sociopaths, and bullies away for the most part. However the smarter, more discreet narcissists is who they have trouble with.

These people have as equally low self-esteem as the most toxic of people, but they are smart enough to fly under the radar, by appearing friendly. These narcissists often prefer to verbally abuse or bully the empaths as the main source of their narcissistic supply to mask their inadequacy.

Empaths with their sacrificial, and loving nature, coupled with a capacity of taking a lot of stress and not reacting to every little slight, become easy targets for the coverts.

Covert narcissists know exactly how to push an empath’s buttons, and for a long time they succeed in doing so. But eventually, the empath’s discerning mind recognizes this behaviour for what it is-passive-aggression.

This is when the empath turns into the narcissist’s narcissist. Empaths are rarely, if ever, physically confrontational. They are tactical creatures – they have the ability to soak up a lot of abuse. They laugh and brush it off until things reach a breaking point.

And then everything changes.

Empaths generally have the ability to spin things on their heads. This reaction completely shocks the toxic people and tells them who is in charge. The realization of this toxicity is known to put the empath into a state of resentment for the narcissist, quite unlike their primary characer.

The empath seeks to destroy the narcissists’ entire ego-consciousness, which gives them their delusional power, based on their extreme low self-esteem! Narcissists lack the very same empathy that the empath typifies. They associate with people, with the sole goal of draining their energy, sabotaging them, and bringing them down to their miserable level.

This low vibration state is what the empath fights against. In their plutonic state, an empath thus becomes a narcissist’s narcissist. Mirroring them, the empath becomes devoid of empathy for the narcissist, turning extremely cold and aiming to destroy their fragile egos.

Empaths undergo many traumas and transformations in their lives, a source of their abundant empathy, and possess little ego of their own. The death of the ego, is an empath’s calling card– and from that point onward, they are on a mission to nullify that, in whoever they come across.

Empaths intuitively understand the negativity of the ego. They recognise the human ego, is the cause of every single quarrel, fight, war, oppression, abuse, bullying in our world.

An empath reaction to the inappropriate behaviour or attack of toxic people, is eternal silence. The sooner they can discover who the real abuser is, the wiser they become as a human.

The majority of negativity against empaths are therefore projections of the bad things that the person inflicting the toxic behaviour did to themselves or the way they perceive themselves. Narcissists and people with some degree of narcissistic tendencies tend to, and love to, use projection so that they can play victim as when needed, despite being the aggressor.

So, empaths have already won the game of life, without really wanting to participate in the proceedings. They pave the high road and always walk it.

Not a bad way to live, is it?



Stay updated with all the insights.
Navigate news, 1 email day.
Subscribe to Qrius

Sours: https://qrius.com/how-empaths-become-the-narcissists-narcissists/
Only a Super Empath Can Destroy A Narcissist, Here's How

Empaths and narcissists make a 'toxic' partnership — here's why they're attracted to each other

  • Empaths and narcissists are often drawn to each other.
  • This is because empaths have a lot of compassion and understanding to give, while narcissists thrive on someone worshipping them.
  • But this isn't a good match, because empaths tend to forgive everything the narcissist does.
  • This results in them being completely used and degraded, while the narcissist creates more and more chaos.


Opposites attract — or so we are told. While this rule has potential to broaden your horizons, people who are poles apart might be drawn together for all the wrong reasons.

Narcissists, for example, are attracted to people they will get the greatest use from. Often, this means they pursue and target empaths.

Empaths are the opposite of narcissists. While people with narcissistic personality disorder have no empathy, and thrive on the need for admiration, empaths are highly sensitive and in tune with other people's emotions.

Empaths are "emotional sponges," who can absorb feelings from other people very easily. This makes them them very attractive to narcissists, because they see someone who will fulfill their every need in a selfless way.

A 'toxic' attraction destined for disaster

Judith Orloff, a psychiatrist and author of "The Empath's Survival Guide," told Business Insider that this is a toxic attraction which is destined for disaster.

"What narcissists see in empaths is a giving, loving person who is going to try and be devoted to you and love you and listen to you," she said. "But unfortunately empaths are attracted to narcissists, because at first this is about a false self. Narcissists present a false self, where they can seem charming and intelligent, and even giving, until you don't do things their way, and then they get cold, withholding and punishing."

When a narcissist is trying to hook someone in, they will be loving and attentive, but their mask soon starts to slip. At the beginning they only see the good qualities, and believe the relationship will make them look good. This doesn't last because narcissists are full of contempt, and they see most people as below them. Once they start to notice their partner's flaws, they no longer idealise them, and they start to blame them for not being perfect.

It can sometimes take a while for the true colours to show, Orloff said, so she tells her clients to never fall in love with a narcissist. But this goes against an empath's instincts, as they believe they can fix people and heal anything with compassion.

"If only they just listened more, if only they could give more," said Orloff. "That is just not the case with a narcissist. It's so hard for many empaths to believe that somebody just doesn't have empathy, and that they can't heal the other person with their love."

Narcissists love drama and chaos

Shannon Thomas, a therapist and author of the book "Healing from Hidden Abuse," told Business Insider that empaths work hard for harmony, whereas narcissists are looking to do the opposite. They enjoy chaos, and like to know they can pull people's strings.

Narcissists manipulate empaths by stringing them along with intermittent hope. They will integrate compliments and kindness into their behaviour, making their victim believe that if they behave in the correct manner, they will get the loving person back who they once knew.

"Empathetic people have the tendency to understand that we're all human, we all have defects, and they're willing to be patient with someone else's personal growth," Thomas said. "Empathetic people will be very long suffering if a narcissist says 'I really want to change, I know I'm not perfect.' They have these moments where they sort of admit fault, but they never actually follow through or believe it."

This is simply a tactic narcissists use to reel their partner back in. With empaths, it is very effective, because they want to support their partner and help them grow. Ultimately, they are just being exploited further.

The empath can form a trauma bond

The push and pull nature of the narcissistic relationship can generate a trauma bond between the victim and the abuser, where it can feel almost impossible to leave the relationship, no matter how much damage it is doing.

"With empathy comes the ability and willingness to look at ourselves and look at our own faults, and that gets taken advantage of while the trauma bond is happening," Thomas said. "It becomes a cycle for an empath who has been trauma bonded because they start looking at themselves, and what do they need to do to change, and what do they need to do different, and what their character flaws are. It's the perfect set up, unfortunately."

It can be difficult to comprehend the fact your are in a narcissistic relationship at first, but there are many red flags you can look out for as you get to know each other better. Thomas said to keep yourself safe from narcissistic abuse, you should understand we are responsible for our own personal growth, and other people are responsible for theirs.

"When you meet people or are in relationships with them, you have to be very careful that you're not doing their work, or wanting their growth more than they do," she said. "You have to see what they actually do to get better."

Also, realise that boundaries are healthy for all relationships. For empaths, boundaries can feel harsh, but once they are aware of the strength of saying "no," they can protect themselves from people who are looking to take advantage of them.

"Empaths don't have to become hard or hard-hearted to be able to be healthy," Thomas said. "It's important to recognise that not everybody needs to be in our lives. We're going to come across people who we realise might not be healthy for us, and you have to be okay with letting them go."

Sours: https://www.businessinsider.com/why-empaths-and-narcissists-are-attracted-to-each-other-2018-1

Similar news:

Then we called up. Three months later she came to visit me. Then I just took off my hymen. And then he got married. We were allocated a room next to the master bedroom.



3306 3307 3308 3309 3310