Why empaths are attracted to narcissists (and what an empath needs to know before they get hurt)

In Mind & Body
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Are you an empath or a narcissist? Do you long to help people or do you take from others to fuel your own needs?

Many people don’t give this paradox much thought, but the two are often drawn to one another like moths to a flame.

The empath is a person who wants to help heal others, to help them find their way in life: they are healers.

The narcissist is someone who is wounded in some way and takes from those who are willing to give, in order to make themselves feel better.

As an empath, I found myself wanting to help those people who were lost and hurting in some ways, and I only ended up hurting myself in the process.

Why empaths are attracted to narcissists

I found that narcissists and empathic people are drawn to one another because the narcissist can feed off of the needs of the empath to help them.

This is the classic “good girl can fix bad boy” scenario most people are familiar with. It also leaves many women, who mostly identify as empaths, feeling like something is wrong with them because of the kind of men they date.

Narcissistic people often feel worthless or undervalued in their own lives and seek outside validation to make themselves feel better.

The problem for most empathic people is that the narcissist needs constant attention; it’s like a newborn puppy always wanting to be nursed.

As with all newborns, the exhaustion kicks in the for the mother (or the empathic person in this case) and the constant demand starts to weigh on them.

This impacts relationships in numerous ways and can cause a relationship to break down when the empathic person discovers they are constantly giving and never receiving.

What an empath needs to know

Being in a relationship with a narcissist can be daunting, yet I find myself drawn to these kinds of people over and over again.

I am sure you can relate, especially if you self-identify as an empathic person.

What’s tricky about being an empath is that you also need to wrestle with your own demons: why do you feel the need to help others so deeply? Is it a way of escaping your own troubles? Do you project your shortcomings on others and try to help them fix their issues so you don’t have to fix your own?

It’s a slippery slope, and one that can cause a lot of discomfort for people when they realize that their own need to helps others is wrapped in a mess of their own issues.  

As I began to investigate my own shortcomings, I realized that being empathic doesn’t mean that I have to “save” everyone.

In fact, it helped me realize that I need to spend more time working on myself so that I can give from a place of authenticity and genuine interest.

Feeling obligated to help people is something I have always felt, but when I started putting an effort in to work on myself first, I was better able to help those around me because I could speak from a place of having healed, rather than projecting healing on someone from a place of not knowing what that is like.

It still makes it difficult to be in a relationship with a narcissist, but at least I am looking out for myself as I continue to look out for those around me as well.