Narcissists and Empaths (7 Reasons Empaths and Narcissists Attract Each Other)

Are you interested in narcissists and empaths? Then this guide is for you!

Opposites attract. We hear this all the time.

So it’s no surprise that narcissists and empaths end up together.

However, though some opposite traits complement each other well, the relationship between a narcissist and an empath gets very toxic, especially for the empath.

Empaths are highly intuitive, sensitive people in tune with other people’s emotions.

They absorb the happiness and pain of others like a sponge and experience those feelings like their own.

They have a hard time setting emotional boundaries to protect themselves.

Furthermore, their perceptiveness and empathy give them a strong desire to help others. Sometimes at the expense of helping themselves.

So right on cue, the narcissist enters, craving attention and admiration and looking for someone who gives it freely without judgment.

To the narcissist, empaths are so appealing they often deliberately seek that personality type out.

A relationship with an empath is an ideal set-up for them. They want to pair up with people who validate and secure their inflated image.

The two form a perfect but dangerous dance together, the empath motivated by the desire to create love and heal the wounded, the narcissist taking advantage of the empath to satisfy their own needs.

Why Empaths Love Narcissists and Why Narcissists Approve

1. Narcissists thrive on loving attention and praise

An empath supplies warmth, caring, and love that feeds the narcissist’s ego.

The narcissist craves center stage and the adoration that comes with it, and their empath partner sees them as beautiful human beings full of potential.

Even better, the empath believes in the narcissist’s worth and lovability despite their awful behavior.

They listen attentively and love magnanimously. Meanwhile, the narcissist basks in the compassion and understanding empaths give.

The empath’s captivated acceptance lets the narcissist go on and on about their lives, issues, and what they have to deal with daily.

Empaths make a great audience.

Underneath, the narcissist has a fragile self-image, and any criticism becomes intolerable.

The empath senses these deeper emotions even though the narcissist can’t and wants to help them feel good about themselves.

They create the perfect condition for the narcissist who gets built up by the empath’s emotional generosity.

2. Narcissists need to project their deep feelings onto someone else

Since empaths take on the emotions of others, they become the perfect receptacle for the narcissist.

Narcissists can’t handle conflicting emotions about themselves, so they project them onto their partners.

Often, a narcissist puts their empath partner on a pedestal at the beginning of the relationship, believing they are perfect, but it won’t last long because nobody is.

They can’t tolerate imperfection in themselves or anyone else, so they begin criticizing their partner about everything.

For example, they project their feelings of unworthiness onto their partner by treating them as if they are worthless. That way, the empath begins to feel unworthy instead of them.

Anything perceived as a threat to a narcissist’s psyche becomes the problem of their partner.

This dynamic frequently plays out for an empath as a child and teen. They feel like the black sheep in the family.

Any dysfunction presents itself through them.

So, they are the ones with the problem, and many empaths grow up believing something is wrong with them.

Narcissists do not hesitate to tell their partner they are selfish, shameful, and hateful, and they treat the empath in ways that cause them to start believing it.

It happens more readily with an empath because it triggers false beliefs about themselves they may already carry around.

3. Empaths have a deep desire to grow and improve

Empaths soak in narcissists’ projections like no other because they know they’re human and have flaws that need work.

They always explore how they can become a better person and improve their relationships.

As a result, the empath takes criticism and asks themselves what they need to change, and what they can do differently to appease the narcissist and gain back his love.

That’s why it’s easy for empaths to not only listen to what the narcissist tells them but to internalize it, something they often did with their parents.

4. Narcissists need a forgiving soul

Narcissists take advantage of the empath’s caring nature. The empath forgives the narcissist and believes they can change, so the narcissist gets away with their horrible actions.

Empaths know how hard personal growth is and have the patience to see it through with their partner.

Their desire to help reflects a powerful part of their essence and satisfies their need to make a difference.

The narcissist is famous for toxic behavior, and the empath’s desire to help the narcissist causes them to tolerate the toxicity.

They can sense the narcissist’s issues deep down and want to help them break through and mend.

They believe in their partner’s lovable and valuable qualities, further feeding the narcissist’s need to be thought of and regarded highly.

5. Narcissists want someone they can manipulate easily

According to narcissists, they have no problems. Their mind believes this by convincing the empath that the problems are theirs.

It’s a defense mechanism that protects their fragile self-esteem.

The more insecure and flawed the empath feels, the more likely they will stay in the relationship.

Reassuring, because, for the narcissist, the thought of losing this loving person in their corner is too unbearable.

But what if the empath declares they’ve had enough? The narcissist will pour on their most loving behavior and give the empath a feeling of deep connection with them for a while.

They’re masters at sporadic offerings of kindness.

Narcissists even talks about their flaws and how they want to get better and change.

This small confession reels the empath in again because they genuinely care and believe in anybody’s ability to grow and heal as a person.

Empaths love to be a part of growth and change, even the possibility of it.

They hate imposing limits. Putting the line down on unacceptable behavior and attaching an ultimatum often feels cruel and against who they are.

What could be better for a narcissist?

6. Empaths like the challenge of winning a narcissist’s love

Often empaths do not receive the emotional support and validation they need as children. They may not have experienced unconditional love from their parents.

The narcissist in their life becomes the imperfect, emotionally unavailable person to win over.

In the beginning, the narcissist is very attentive and loving. Their bait draws the empath to them. When the narcissist’s behavior changes, which is inevitable, it triggers the need for the empath to win over the narcissist’s affection again.

For an empath, it’s more compelling to win the love of a narcissist rather than an emotionally healthy person. The empath has a deep need to succeed at this challenge. Then they can fix what is wrong and what has been wrong in past significant relationships.

The possibility of healing past and present wounds is irresistible.

Because they may have experienced emotional neglect and a lack of understanding growing up, empaths often associate pain with love.

Empaths tell themselves that if they listen more and give more, the narcissist’s behavior will improve again.

They can’t understand how their partner can have no empathy or concern.

Unable to accept it, they keep trying to help.

Any small indication that the narcissist wants this help is all it takes to keep an empath there. Empaths believe that love can heal anyone.

This admirable quality perpetuates their exploitation by the narcissist and creates their never-to-be realized goal.

7. Empaths thrive on empathetic, caring behavior

Empath’s very nature is called upon to care and understand, to feel a narcissist’s pain, frustration, and insecurity.

They want to help the narcissist because it brings out their most intrinsic qualities.

They sense the struggles of someone they love and want to impact their life positively.

In this symbiotic relationship, the empath gets rewards, too. They feel best about themselves when their empathy and nurturing are engaged.

How You Can Begin Breaking Away From a Narcissist

The narcissist and empath form a dysfunctional relationship that can’t continue without the consent of both people. Both are equally responsible for the relationship dynamic.

Once an empath sets boundaries and walks away, refusing to internalize the narcissist’s feelings, the relationship falls apart and ends.

As an empath, connecting with your feelings and giving them the same compassion you would give to others is essential.

When you neglect your pain, hurt, and wounds, it becomes easier for you to pour all of your attention on someone else and their problems.

The narcissist becomes your project, and it can feel compelling, even obsessive.

The more you give, the more the narcissist abuses. You end up blaming the relationship problems and often make all of its failures a reflection of yourself.

In the meantime, your narcissist partner gets to preserve their overblown image of self-importance and perfection.

Ask yourself these questions when trying to break free from a toxic relationship:

  • Do I fear abandonment and rejection, and where does it originate?
  • What feelings within me do I push away when they come up?
  • Were my emotional needs met when I was a child?
  • Is there an emptiness inside that I avoid by focusing all my energy on this person?
  • What have I been willing to put up with to gain their love?

Don’t minimize your feelings. Treat yourself like you would your partner, close friend, or child.

When you occupy yourself with another person’s growth rather than your own, you miss opportunities to discover your interests, strengths, and talents.

The good news is that as an empath, you have the skills to blossom and stop negative behaviors and tendencies that impact your life.

You can learn to use your amazing qualities in ways that sincerely help others who are receptive and want to change.

You no longer need to waste your time on someone who won’t receive or appreciate your awesome gifts.

Can a gifted therapist help you too?

If you struggle with anxiety, depression, high-stress levels, relationship issues, or other specific challenges, one-on-one support from a therapist can help a lot.

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