5 Reasons Why Empaths Attract Narcissists

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When you think of an empath, you probably think of someone who is almost the polar opposite of a narcissist. An empath cares about how people feel and is able to put themselves in others’ place, and a narcissist is focused solely on themselves. So, why are empaths and narcissists attracted to each other? Read on to learn why the two appeal to each other. 


Before we get too far into this subject, it’s helpful to understand the definition of both the narcissist and the empath. 

What is a Narcissist?

A narcissist is a person who needs almost constant attention and validation from external sources. They lack empathy for other people and have a tendency to manipulate the people and situations in their lives to make themselves appear superior. All of this bravado typically masks a deep-seated sense of inferiority. 

What is an Empath? 

An empath is someone who is deeply attuned to the emotions and energy they sense from people and other environmental sources around them. They have a profound desire to help people in their life because they take on their energy and have compassion for their pain. In many ways, they seem to be the opposite of the narcissist. 

Why Are They Attracted to One Another? 

It might be easy to see why a narcissist would be attracted to an empath. They are looking for someone to focus on them, but why would an empath be attracted to a narcissist? Believe it or not, most empaths have been attracted to at least one narcissist in their life. Here are five reasons why. 

  • Narcissists are Wounded

While narcissists don’t present themselves as wounded, their arrogance and bravado is typically masking some childhood trauma. Empaths are able to see past that facade to the deeper vulnerability within, and this is what often sparks that initial attraction. 

Empaths are natural healers and want to ease suffering they perceive in other people. They are uniquely gifted to be able to look past the outer shell the narcissist typically displays and see the wounded child inside.

  • Empaths Are Healers

The narcissist is, on some level, also able to perceive the natural healing ability the empath possesses. Though they won’t admit their vulnerability, the narcissist is seeking someone who will focus on them and help them heal. 

Because the empath has a strong desire to absorb the pain they see in the narcissist and help them grow, the two can be powerfully attracted and bonded to one another. Initially, this can provide emotional satisfaction to both parties, but it usually doesn’t turn out well for the empath. 

  • Trauma Bonding

Because of the nature of a relationship with a narcissist, it’s possible for an empath to form a trauma bond where it will feel impossible to leave the relationship despite the considerable damage that’s occurring. 

Empaths are by nature willing to examine their own flaws, and that is something the narcissist can easily exploit. Narcissists tend to blame their victims for everything anyway, and the empath examines that honestly. 

The narcissist uses the empath’s natural introspection to their advantage which creates a cycle for the empath. They are almost constantly looking at their own flaws and role in any incident that occurs with the narcissist who is all too happy to lay the blame on them. 

  • Empaths are Easy Targets for Narcissistic Manipulation

Narcissists will manipulate anyone in their life, and the empath may be well-suited for manipulation. Because empaths are introspective and their agenda is to help others heal, empaths are all too ready to forgive the negative behaviors narcissists frequently display. 

The empath’s willingness to forgive only fuels the sense of power and control the narcissist feels when manipulating their emotions. That often leads empaths to believe that their relationship with the narcissist is healthy at its core, but the reality is that it is unlikely to last. 

  • Empaths Make Others a Priority

The empath’s desire to help others causes them to disconnect from their own emotional energies so that they can make the narcissist a priority. They are doing this out of their genuine desire to help others heal and grow. 

Empaths Make Others a Priority

While the narcissist feels that their needs are being met when the empath prioritizes them, the further desire of the empath to have honest, deep, and intimate communication triggers the narcissist and fuels their rage. 

What’s An Empath To Do? 

Because the empath is drawn to the narcissist by their vulnerability, it can be difficult for them to recognize the typical traits of narcissism. To care for themselves, the empath should employ several self-care measures: 

  • Question volatile relationships: The narcissist won’t stay undercover for long, so when his or her true colors shine through, don’t ignore that red flag. If you’re fighting regularly or feel stressed after seeing them, you could be dealing with a narcissist. 
  • Ask your friends: Because the empath is so drawn in by the emotional energy of the narcissist, they often can’t see what’s right in front of them. Your friends can, so ask for their perspective and listen when they tell you what they think. 
  • Set firm boundaries: If you’re going to remain in a relationship with a narcissist, you’ll need to understand how to set and maintain firm boundaries to protect yourself from the manipulative tendencies of the narcissist. 
  • Get out as soon as possible: Narcissists are toxic people, and unless they’re genuinely interested in healing — which most are not — the best thing you can do for yourself is get out as quickly as you can. 

Final Thoughts

While they seem like polar opposites, there are actually a lot of reasons why empaths and narcissists are attracted to each other. For the narcissist, the empath is someone who is willing to focus on them — something they love — and the nature of the empath is ripe for narcissistic manipulation. 

For the empath, the attraction lies in the opportunity to help someone heal some deep wounds. For them, that is emotionally satisfying, and they are often willing to disconnect from their own emotional state to help with healing. 

Unfortunately, the relationship between the narcissist and the empath will likely not be healthy, particularly for the empath. It’s one that’s generally better avoided by the empath if they can see the narcissist’s true nature. If you’re an empath, remember that you don’t have to sacrifice your own happiness to help someone who’s not willing to help themselves. 

Understanding why empaths and narcissists attract each other is helpful, and you might also want to learn more about the kinds of people who seem to magically attract narcissists in the post, “These Types Of People Magically Attract Narcissists.”


If you want more tips for dealing with narcissists, setting boundaries, and managing emotional triggers, make sure you subscribe to my youtube channel


Narcissistic abuse takes a terrible toll on your life. I’m Patricia, and my mother is a narcissist, so I know what you’re going through. These blog posts will help you understand narcissism better and give you tips for dealing with the narcissists in your life. Healing starts here!

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