An empath is someone who is highly sensitive to other people’s feelings, including negative energy. A narcissist is someone who seeks to manipulate other people in order to get the narcissistic supply they need to support their inflated sense of self.
Believe it or not, there is often an attraction between narcissists and empaths since sensitive people like empaths want to help toxic people like narcissists, and of course, narcissists want people to tend to their needs.
Empaths may have an intuitive sense when someone is thinking of them; this is not specific to narcissists. But narcissists do try to manipulate the empath’s emotions to create a sense of dependency, which makes empaths more likely to feel a connection even if the narcissist is not thinking of them.
As an empath myself, I understand there are different types of empaths, and I also understand how an energy vampire like a narcissist can damage each. I also know that empaths can harm a person with narcissism by calling out their abusive nature. Read on to learn more about empaths and their relationship with narcissists.
Why Can an Empath Feel When a Narcissist is Thinking of Them?
The character traits of someone who is an empath include high levels of empathy, as you might expect, but they are also highly sensitive individuals. Some empaths have such a strong sense of emotional connection that they literally feel other people’s emotions in their own body as if they were their own emotions. That’s why they need to take good care of themselves, as this video explains.
This high level of emotional intelligence is combined with a strong desire to help other people overcome their emotional pain. Their extraordinary perceptions can even allow them to sense other people when they’re thinking about the empath. This includes narcissists.
It can almost seem like they have a psychic ability, band for many empaths, that is the case. The danger for the empath who gets involved in a toxic relationship, however, is that they may experience a sensory overload.
This is particularly true if they are unaware of their abilities and if they don’t have healthy boundaries. That’s why it’s vital for empaths to take steps to protect themselves from energy-draining environments and people.
What are the Different Types of Empaths?
According to David Jeffrey, a researcher in the medical school at the University of Edinburgh, empathy is also combined with other elements of what is known as pro-social behavior. This includes generosity and kindness, among other positive behaviors.
There are, however, different kinds of empaths. Dr. Judith Orloff identifies three types of empaths.
Physical empaths are those that feel other people’s physical symptoms in their own bodies. They can even take on the illness of another person.
Emotional empaths are those empathic individuals who feel other people’s emotions. They can even pick up on the emotions of people not present.
Intuitive empaths are those individuals who have an extraordinary ability to perceive other people’s physical and emotional sensations. These individuals often possess psychic abilities, are able to receive messages in their dreams, can sense and communicate with animals and even plants, and are able to perceive gut feelings and signals from other people’s bodies. This latter category is a kind combination of physical and emotional empaths.
But there’s another type of empath as well. While most empaths are good people who want to help others, there is such a thing as a dark empath. These individuals possess cognitive empathy, which means they can intellectually understand other people’s emotions.
They lack emotional empathy, however, and they often possess the characteristics identified as part of the dark triad: narcissism, Machiavellianism, and psychopathy. This type of empath uses their abilities to manipulate other people rather than help them.
What are the Different Types of Narcissists?
Just like there are different types of empaths, there are also different types of narcissists. The two widely recognized categories of narcissism include overt and covert narcissists.
These are individuals who are the typical type of person when you think about a narcissist. They are loud, brash, and always seeking the spotlight. Like any narcissist, they want people to see them as superior and perfect. They can’t admit wrongdoing in any way.
They have created a false sense of self, and they have infused that self-image with grandiose ideas of perfection and superiority. They need other people to validate that self-assessment.
These individuals are similar to overt narcissists in that their goals are the same. They differ, however, in how they achieve those goals. Rather than openly boasting about themselves, they do things to draw attention to themselves to receive positive feedback in a more subtle way.
They may, for example, volunteer for charitable organizations and do other good works. They often even do this at the expense of their own family. Their hope is that other people will compliment them profusely on their good works, and they can be self-deprecating to get people to disagree with them and compliment them. This following video explains some of their other behaviors in marriage.
In addition to overt and covert narcissists, there are other types that have been identified by experts in psychology even though they have not been officially described in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, the psychological ‘Bible’ of mental conditions.
Here are a few other types identified by people who have experience with narcissists:
- Malignant narcissism – these are people who love to hurt others
- Sexual narcissism – these narcissists focus on their sexual prowess
- Somatic narcissism – these narcissists obsess over their physical appearance
- Cerebral narcissism – this type focuses on their intelligence
- Spiritual narcissism – these narcissists use their spirituality as justification for bad behavior
How Can an Empathetic Person Protect Themselves?
When an empath becomes involved with a narcissist, they must protect themselves from the toxic behavior and energy-draining personality of the narcissist. If they don’t, they can quickly become overwhelmed by their sensory input.
There are a number of things an empath can do to protect themselves. Here is a list of some helpful tactics:
- Get plenty of time to yourself to rejuvenate and process
- Spend time with positive people in your life
- Take a walk in nature to replenish your energy
- Meditate to process your emotions
- Get plenty of exercise to work out toxicity in your body
- Work with a therapist
- Set and maintain healthy boundaries
If an empath does not take the necessary steps to protect themselves from the narcissist’s toxicity, they can be hopelessly overwhelmed by this type of energy vampire. This can cause them to fall into codependency in an attempt to gain some peace.
Narcissists and empaths are often attracted to one another for very different reasons. The empath is a highly sensitive individual who cares deeply about other people and they want to help them. The narcissist is a wounded child, and they want someone to focus on their needs and help them support their inflated sense of self.
The needs of the narcissist can be overwhelming, but when an empath is aware of their abilities, they can actually destroy the narcissist. But being an empath is both a blessing and a curse. An empath who is not self-aware is in danger of falling into codependency. To protect themselves, they must set healthy boundaries and get away from the toxicity.
To help you do that, I have created a 5-Step Roadmap to Heal Emotional Triggers. Discover how to identify, explore, and defuse triggers, while healing the wounds that created them. Whether it’s dealing with a narcissist or a dark empath, our handy guide will help you break free from manipulation. Click here to get your free copy sent straight to your inbox! Empower yourself with the tools you need to thrive emotionally.
If you want more tips for dealing with narcissists, setting boundaries, and managing emotional triggers, make sure you subscribe to my youtube channel