There is a special relationship that happens between empaths and narcissists. They are often attracted to one another. The empath is sensitive to the true inner turmoil they sense in the narcissist, and the narcissist is looking for someone to focus solely on their needs.
Because the empath does focus on what the narcissist needs, that toxic personality finds them attractive. But narcissists are ever manipulative, so can the empath outsmart the narcissist?
Empaths who understand their talent can see into the heart of the narcissist and the inner turmoil inside them. That insight can help them to outsmart the narcissist’s manipulation, but it’s not without its dangers. If they’re not careful, an empath can take on the toxicity a narcissist puts out.
Empaths are very sensitive, caring individuals who usually want to help heal a narcissist. I know because I am one. Empaths see the pain other people suffer, and they are drawn to them to help.
But precisely because of their ability to deeply sense the emotions of other people and their good-natured desire to help others, they have to moderate their interactions with a narcissist. If they can do that while practicing good self-care techniques, they can not only outsmart a narcissist but destroy their narcissistic tendencies as well.
What is an Empath?
An empath is someone who is extremely sensitive to the emotions of those people around them. Sometimes, they don’t just sense those emotions; they actually absorb them. A super empath can even feel other people’s emotions as if they were their own.
Empaths tend to be highly sensitive individuals who can easily be overwhelmed by the nature and type of emotions a particular individual is experiencing. This is particularly true of toxic individuals.
Empaths see the true nature of the inner turmoil that a narcissist suffers from, and they are drawn to them to help. They begin by trying to feed the narcissist the adoration they crave – so-called narcissistic supply – and that plays right into the narcissist’s cycle of abuse.
The narcissist loves that the empath can sense their needs and wants to supply them with just what they need, as explained in the following video. If the empath doesn’t put limits in place to protect themselves, this is what can create a dangerous situation for them.
If you’re wondering if you’re an empath, here are several telltale signs you are:
- You’re sensitive to your environment
- You can feel other people’s emotions
- You’re introverted
- You’re intuitive
- You prefer to spend time alone
- You don’t like large groups
- You often feel overwhelmed by emotional people
- You like being in nature
- You are very generous
- You have good problem-solving skills
- People tend to tell you their problems
If these signs are true for you, it’s likely you’re an empath. What’s more, you might notice that you tend to attract toxic people. They are drawn to your kind-hearted nature and desire to help others.
How Can an Empath Outsmart a Narcissist?
When empaths are aware of their abilities and their own limits, they are able to destroy the narcissist’s manipulation tactics. They can see through what the narcissist is trying to do, and they have an uncanny ability to call them out on their bad behavior.
“When we meet and fall into the gravitational pull of a narcissist, we are entering a significant life lesson that involves learning how to create boundaries, self-respect, and resilience. Through trial and error (and a lot of pain), our connection with narcissists teaches us the necessary lessons we need to become mature empaths.”
― Mateo Sol, Author and Empath
Repeatedly doing just that can train the narcissist to at least reduce their narcissistic manipulation tactics with the empath. But the empath can do more if the narcissist is open to it.
Because the empath can see into the heart of the problem, they can help the narcissist to realize their own inherent value. As they call out their manipulation and force the narcissist to stop using those tactics, they can also reassure the narcissist that their true self is not damaged like they think it is.
This can motivate the narcissist to seek real change, and if the empath continues to support them through that process, they can make great strides toward healing their narcissism.
There are several ways an empath can call out a narcissist’s behavior. It’s often their honesty that the narcissist fears. Some of the most frightening phrases for a narcissist to hear include the following:
- I see you
- I see right through you
- I know you’re lying
- I know the truth
- That’s not acceptable
- I won’t allow you to treat me that way
- You don’t need to prove your worth to me
Do Narcissists Leave Empaths Because of Their Talent?
Narcissists fear intimacy for the very reason that someone close to them might see the truth about them. Well, an empath can do that, and they can do it without even needing to be that intimate with the narcissist.
When that ability becomes apparent to the narcissist, they often get very frightened. They have spent their life avoiding intimacy for the very reason that someone might discover their true self.
The empath has discovered them, but the empath sees the wounded child who has become a narcissist. They want to help that damaged soul regain a sense of self-worth and self-esteem. However, before the narcissist can see the empath’s true intention, they often become too frightened and end the relationship.
They run away to prevent the empath from revealing their true nature. It’s unfortunate because empaths can help, but only if they’re self-aware.
What are the Dangers of a Relationship with a Narcissist for the Empath?
One of the biggest dangers the empath faces in a relationship with a narcissist is that they will be overwhelmed by the narcissist’s emotional needs and succumb to codependency. Narcissists don’t like to respect boundaries, and if the empath doesn’t realize what they are and take steps to protect themselves from overstimulation, they can be overrun by the narcissist.
That usually ends in a situation of codependency for the empath. As neurological research has shown, codependents, like empaths, derive physical pleasure from helping others. The difference is that the empath, if self-aware, takes steps to set boundaries and prevent abuse. The codependent does not and will often neglect their own needs.
If an empath is not self-aware, however, they can easily become codependent; they’re already halfway there. In fact, many experts, as noted in the linked article, already describe codependence as a ‘dysfunctional empathic response.’
The brains of empaths derive their capacity to sense the needs of others through their mirror neurons. These are the type of neurons that help people modulate their activity when they observe something being done by another person.
The self-aware empath is able to see their own limitations and realize that sometimes they can’t help other people. This allows them to tolerate the negative emotions and affect (facial expression) of other people. They don’t have to mirror those behaviors and emotions.
Dysfunctional empaths, however, are not able to tolerate negative emotions or affects, and they will do almost anything to stop that from happening. If they don’t, they will take on those negative feelings and behaviors as if they are their own. This is how they fall into codependency.
How Can an Empath Protect Themselves?
There are several things an empath can do to be aware of their own needs and prioritize them, as you can see in this video.
This is imperative in a relationship with a narcissist or any other toxic person. Here are several things empaths should do:
- Set Strong Boundaries – this is essential; know your boundaries and protect them
- Prioritize Self-Care – this is critical since it’s easy for empaths to overlook this step
- Get Away – this may mean taking a break or getting away permanently
- Meditate – this is helpful for reflecting on the toxicity and its effect on you
- Realize Everyone Has Their Path – the narcissist has their own path, and it’s not up to you to fix them
Self-aware empaths can easily outsmart a narcissist by calling out their toxic behavior and refusing to be manipulated. If an empath is not self-aware, however, it becomes easier for a narcissist to manipulate them using their own emotions. But you don’t have to fall for that.
I have developed this 5-Step Roadmap to Heal Emotional Triggers that can help prevent that very scenario. It helps you identify emotional triggers and the old wounds that created them. Then it teaches you how to defuse those triggers and heal the old wounds. It is a handy tool for any empath. I know it helped me. If you would like a free copy of this guide, just click on the link here, and I’ll send it directly to your inbox.
If you want more tips for dealing with narcissists, setting boundaries, and managing emotional triggers, make sure you subscribe to my youtube channel