You might find this surprising because narcissists lack empathy, but empaths and narcissists are frequently attracted to one another. Moreover, each has a distinct influence over the other. It makes for an interesting match, and one that is often plagued with conflict. It can have some very dire consequences for both parties.
A narcissist can destroy an empath with their manipulation, but an empath can also destroy a narcissist. Because an empath has a healthy self-esteem and self-awareness, they can destroy the narcissist by taking charge of the relationship. They can then turn cold and crush the narcissist’s ego.
Both the narcissist and the empath have a strange power over one another. It’s their distinct focus that causes them to be attracted to one another. It’s critical to understand why that is and how each of them can affect the other.
How Can an Empath Destroy a Narcissist?
Empaths are highly sensitive people who often shun the spotlight. This is very different from the attention-seeking narcissist. What the empath has that the narcissist doesn’t is right in their name – empathy.
This is actually what attracts them to the narcissist in the first place. They can sense the narcissist’s pain, and they always want to help people they feel are in pain. The very fact that they can see through the narcissist’s arrogant facade, however, is their superpower.
It’s precisely how they can destroy a narcissist. Empaths usually have good self-esteem and self-awareness. Moreover, they are excellent at observing and analyzing other people, and they have a good heart. They truly want to help others to get rid of their pain.
The narcissist is almost exactly the opposite. They have low self-esteem even if they do hide it well. They will often try to bully an empath, and they will typically use passive-aggressive behavior to do so. If the empath doesn’t recognize this is happening, it can destroy them.
If they are able to recognize this is happening, however, they can use that knowledge to destroy the narcissist. They can do that by dominating the narcissist and confronting their bullying behavior. While that might result in a display of the narcissist’s characteristic rage, the empath can respond by turning icy cold and destroying the narcissist’s ego with snappy comebacks.
When the narcissist sees this is happening, they will know they are in danger of being exposed for what they are, and they will frequently change tactics. The empath has the advantage because they have people skills, and they can see what is happening. If the empath then sets strong boundaries and uses their self-awareness and emotional control, the narcissist will have no way to get to them.
Why are Narcissists Attracted to Empaths and Vice Versa?
It seems like a surprising match – the empath and the narcissist. In reality, it’s not at all uncommon. The narcissist sees someone with a caring nature, someone who likes to focus on others, and that’s a good fit for them.
The empath sees someone who is suffering, and they desire to help that person end their suffering. They see through the facade of the narcissist and want to help them heal. This is what often forms the basis for the attraction between the two.
It’s a relationship that’s bound to have tension, however, as the narcissist soon realizes the ability of the empath to see what they are really like. They soon fear that their long-buried true self will be exposed for the whole world to see.
That’s when they begin to try and manipulate the empath and bully them into codependence. If the empath is blinded by their desire to help the narcissist heal, this can have devastating consequences for them.
If they do see what is happening and turn the tables, however, they will be able to stop the narcissist dead in their tracks. They may even ultimately be able to help them reduce their narcissistic tendencies with their strong insistence on respect for their boundaries.
Despite the unlikely nature of such a pairing, the relationship between the narcissist and the empath can have good results as long as the empath sees what is going on and stays strong.
Are Narcissists Ever Afraid of Empaths?
Because the empath is able to see through the narcissist’s facade, it can frighten the narcissist. In fact, the narcissist lives in an almost constant state of fear that they will be exposed to the world. That’s why they go overboard with displays of confidence.
The empath, however, can see through that to the shame and self-loathing that lie beneath that mask. That makes them dangerous to the narcissist, but it’s the empath’s compassion that often attracts them.
The narcissist wants someone who will focus solely on them and their needs. The empath seems like someone who genuinely cares, and they really do. Most empaths are very kind, compassionate people who desire to help others who are suffering.
That can cause the narcissist to ignore the fear they might have that the empath can see through their mask. They also are able to convince themselves that they can manipulate and control the empath. Sometimes that’s true with devastating consequences for the empath. Sometimes, however, the empath takes charge.
When they do, they are the ones who can destroy the narcissist. They can use their unique insight into human nature to force the narcissist into retreat or even completely quash their narcissistic behavior, at least when they’re in the company of the empath.
How Can Narcissists Affect Empaths?
There is a risk to the empath in this relationship. Because they care so deeply about others, they can often neglect their own needs. This is particularly true if they are not fully aware and in control of their empathic abilities.
If the narcissist is able to bully the empath, they can manipulate them into a state of codependency. Codependency is when people put the needs of others above their own. It usually also results from an abusive childhood, one in which the codependent was not allowed to acknowledge their own needs.
In the case of an empath who is not fully aware of their own abilities, they are often unable to control the stimuli that comes from being able to sense the emotions of other people. If they don’t have a way to protect themselves, that can be used to manipulate them.
Narcissists are experts at spotting the weaknesses of other people and using them to their own advantage. If they are able to see that the empath can’t control the bombardment of stimuli, they will definitely use that to manipulate and control them.
The narcissist will often play the victim to play on the sympathies of the empath. If the empath is unaware of what they’re doing, they will succumb to codependency and focus solely on the needs of the narcissist. The problem is that in that codependent state, nothing the empath does will ever be enough for the narcissist who will continue to drain the empath’s energy until they are a shadow of their former self.
How Exactly Can an Empath Deal with a Narcissist?
There are several ways to deal with a narcissist. As psychologist Silvi Saxena writes, “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.”
For example, when the narcissist makes fun of the empath, the best response is to stay casual and light, and make a strong comeback. When the narcissist doesn’t get the rise they expected out of the empath, they will eventually stop that kind of attack.
They may then employ passive-aggressive attacks. The best response to this is to call it out and ask the narcissist exactly what’s behind that kind of behavior. That puts them squarely in the uncomfortable position of fearing the exposure of their true self.
If the narcissist tries to point out a flaw in the empath, the best defense is a strong offense. The empath should point out the same or a similar flaw in the narcissist. Given that narcissists project their own faults onto others, they will undoubtedly have the same flaw.
Finally, the empath can use their empath to care for themselves while putting up strong boundaries to deter the narcissist’s attempts at manipulation and control. They can best help the narcissist by calling out their narcissistic tendencies, giving them time to reflect on that, and giving them space to think about their behavior.
While a relationship between an empath and a narcissist seems like a classic case of opposites attracting, the reality is that both types have something to offer the other. They are frequently attracted to each other as a result, but they can also destroy each other. Empaths are in danger of being turned into a codependent, but they also have the unique ability to see through the narcissist’s mask. If they play their cards right, they can destroy the narcissist.
If you’re an empath and fear you might be in a relationship with a narcissist, it’s critical to understand how such a relationship works. This post has some critical information that will help you understand the dynamics involved in such a seemingly contradictory relationship.
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