There are few worse matches than a narcissist and empath. These two opposites certainly don’t complement each other, and it often leads toward dark roads.
You’ve no doubt heard the line, opposites attract. But there is one instance which that description will never fit—when a narcissist and empath cross paths.
If you want fireworks, declarations of lasting love, and a relationship that stands the test of time, you’re going to be sorely disappointed here. The only destination this relationship has is heartbreak… not for the narcissist.
To understand why this relationship is doomed from the start, first learn what a narcissist and empath are. From those two descriptions you’ll quickly be able to do the math! [Read: Do opposites attract or push each other away?]
What is a narcissist?
A narcissist is a person who has very little, if any, empathy for other people. They are a professional manipulator and can be spotted easily by the following traits:
– They are never in the wrong, and everything is always someone else’s fault
– Their opinion is fact, and yours is categorical rubbish in their eyes
– Struggle to show emotion
– An overinflated sense of self-importance
– Often need validation and reassurance that they are the best/the most handsome or most beautiful/incredibly talented, etc.
– Extremely jealous
– Have a huge problem maintaining relationships and friendships
– Often uses emotional manipulation to get their own way
– Always needs to be the center of attention
– Can’t handle criticism, and respond with shame or anger
These are just a few traits of someone who is a narcissist. None of that sounds good, right? That’s because it’s not. Being in a relationship with someone with narcissistic tendencies isn’t a fun experience.
Narcissism isn’t just something that people choose to be, and it actually falls under a personality disorder called Narcissistic Personality Disorder. A person with this disorder often fails to get treatment because they simply don’t believe they have a problem. They think everyone else has the problem.
It’s unlikely that you will ever be able to convince a narcissistic partner that you’re right and they’re wrong. In this case, many narcissists simply carry on acting in emotionally destructive ways to not only others, but themselves too. [Read: What it really means to love a narcissist]
Something closely linked to narcissism is gas lighting.
The issue of gas lighting
Gas lighting is the reason why a narcissist and empath are never going to be a good match. A gas lighter convinces someone that they’re the one in the wrong *when it’s clearly you*, turning everything around on them and making them doubt their own sanity.
It is a severe form of emotional abuse, and a narcissist truly believes that their way is the right way. It’s a tactic they often use.
On the other hand, an empath is the complete opposite of a narcissist. If you picture a narcissist to be harsh, with sharp edges, and a serious expression, an empath would be kind, with rounded sides, and a constant smile. An empath is sometimes referred to as an earth angel.
An empath picks up on the feelings and emotions of other people, and they absorb them as their own. For example, if a friend is feeling extremely sad and down, spending a short amount of time with that person, the empath would start to also feel the same way. Similarly, if an empath stands next to someone in the bus queue who feels angry, they would start to feel anger too, for no reason at all. [Read: 12 signs you’re an empath and feel deeper than others]
Empaths can easily become overwhelmed by all these feelings coming at them on a daily basis. They’re extremely sensitive people and life’s helpers. An empath is likely to be drawn to a narcissist because they are charming at first, but they can sense an upset or sadness about them. While an empath has a strong sense of intuition, this often isn’t the case around a narcissist.
A good example here is in the book/film Twilight. Edward Cullen *a vampire, in case you’ve been sleeping under a rock* is drawn inexplicably toward Bella Swan, a human. For some reason, unbeknownst to Cullen, he cannot read her mind. But he can read everyone else’s. He is powerless against her.
Yes, and a rather cataclysmic one at that. As empaths are very sensitive people with a born desire to help others, they’re likely to be easily manipulated by the charming-at-first narcissist. It isn’t until the narcissist starts to show their true colors that the empath is hooked and so emotionally invested that they start to question whether it is them imagining it all.
It’s not unusual for former partners of narcissists to need counseling after they finally find the strength to walk away. While a narcissist may not mean to intentionally hurt anyone, it does boil down to emotional abuse, and gas lighting in particular is one method which can cause severe stress and emotional trauma to someone who is sensitive in general. [Read: How to set boundaries with a narcissist and weaken their hold over you]
When you add in the extra sensitivity and desire to do good, as with an empath, you’re really looking at a poor outcome.
The narcissist will also genuinely feel that they have done nothing wrong, and wonder why everyone seems to leave them in the end. This adds to the frustration they feel, which then turns into a snowball effect of negativity. There really isn’t much win-win on either side, and it comes down to a serious case of lose-lose. [Read: How to teach a narcissist to change for the better]
Can a relationship between a narcissist and empath ever work?
Can a relationship between a narcissist and an empath really work? The odds aren’t great, but it doesn’t mean it’s an impossibility. There are different levels of narcissism, just as there are different levels of empathy.
If a narcissist is toward the mild end of the scale, and an empath is aware of what is going on, e.g. that their partner has this type of personality disorder, then there may be a future. The only real way to be sure of a positive outcome is for the narcissist to admit a problem and to seek behavioral counseling to rid them of the traits which have become so ingrained. [Read: How to beat a narcissist and win over their manipulation]
Narcissists in general find it very hard to maintain healthy relationships, and they often don’t have long-lasting friendships either. You will usually find with narcissists that they have a lot of friends who come and go. They don’t tend to have life-long friends.
A point usually comes in any friendship or relationship with a narcissist, where the other person simply has enough. They find the strength to walk away, and while it’s incredibly hard *extremely, in fact*, it is often the only way to be free of the difficulties that have come their way.