Why do narcissists and empaths attract each other? This is one of the top questions I receive in many of my talks and classes. Empaths naturally have a giving nature and empathy, and narcissists thrive on the need to feel important.
Yet, what is happening underneath that has made the bond between narcissists and empaths so attractable… and common?
What is a Narcissist?
A narcissist is someone who lacks having empathy for others and thrives on the need for admiration. Narcissism is a disorder existing on a spectrum. Some people have clinical narcissism, while others have narcissistic tendencies. To be fair, many people go through stages of their own development where they present narcissistic tendencies. For example, some stages of adolescence, such as when the world revolves around the adolescent or teenager. This can carry on into people’s 20’s. Many people mature out of these stages, and yet some do not.
Narcissists inflate importance and project how they want to be seen, but these actions mask the sense of worthlessness, desperate need of validation, and lack of sense of self. Deep down, narcissists live with the wound of shame and a deep fear of being abandoned and vulnerable. It is so frightening to a narcissist that protection mechanisms are in place to fend off anyone who is a threat. They can be charismatic enough to hook people in, but then dominate, project on, or blame those who are closest to them.
People who have a narcissistic profile may have been raised in an environment where their emotions and sense of self were not supported. It is also possible they had a traumatic experience at a young age, and they were never able to recover from that experience. Due to this trauma, they have developed ways to disconnect from true feelings, and they may see feelings as a threatening experience.
What is an Empath?
An Empath is someone who is intuned with energy and the emotional environment around them. This includes energy in the air and within other people. Although Empaths have the ability to know their power, hold their center, and actualize their gift or art in the world, the empath is often known to take on the energy of others. This has to do with how much unhealed energy they are carrying in their 1st, 2nd, and 3rd chakras. Instead of the empath feeling his/her own power in this area, empaths learn experiences in life are to be hyper-vigilant and intune with others, more so than with themselves. This has to do with early childhood programming and the teaching of “putting others’ needs first.”
Herein lies the attraction of Empaths and Narcissists.
Why do empaths attract narcissists?
Empaths are natural healers, and they can be sensitive to others’ needs. When an empath can empower the growth, ease the suffering, or absorb the pain of a narcissist, it can create emotional satisfaction for both parties. Although this bond fuels the attraction, it can be very destructive and toxic for the empath.
The narcissist will override people close to them, and when an empath disconnects from themselves to make the narcissist a priority, there is a very unconscious dynamic playing out. The empath prioritizes the needs of the narcissists in order to feel ok, because that it howt the child within learned how to survive. The narcissist’s needs are being met, but is also triggered by the empath because of the desire to have intimate, real, honest communication, which is a threat to the narcissist. They can get scared and they get scary.
How can empaths stand in their power when dealing with a narcissist?
When empaths learn to become empowered and sit in their second chakra (which is the seat of their emotional self located in the pelvis), they will start to notice narcissists will push back. The narcissist will feel threatened because the power dynamic is shifting. Yet, the empath needs to learn to let people have their own emotions and not make it about them, and they need to learn how to feel themselves and hold their center. It can take a while for the dynamic to shift and for the narcissist to start hearing your voice and understand you too have needs and wants. It is important an empath connects to him/herself and holds truth.
Be aware there is a difference from standing in your power and shifting a dynamic versus trying to force someone to change or expect that they will. Empaths need to be aware that codependency in this way can play out. People have to choose to change on their own. The question to ask yourself when deciding to continue your relationship with a narcissist is: Is this person willing to heal? Ask yourself if the person you are dealing with is willing to see themselves and willing to take responsibility on any level.
If the narcissist is open to this, and it is a spouse, I recommend you continue to work on yourself and seek out couples therapy. You will need support during the shift, and no one is beneath outside help, especially for dynamics in a crisis. There are also many books about the characteristics of narcissists and how to have a relationship with them. If it is a family member, friend, or co-worker, your practice of connecting to yourself will inform your boundaries and next steps.
In the video below, I further discuss the narcissist and empath dynamic and offer more tips on how to manage this type of relationship. If you feel you are an empath and would like to develop your intuition in a life-changing program, you may be ready for the Intuitive Healer Training Program. Learn more and apply here!