Experts Explain How The Toxic Union Between a Narcissist And an Empath is Created, Why It’s So Strong and How To Avoid It

Empaths and narcissists are people at the opposite poles which makes the union between them toxic yet extremely strong and intriguing.

Why is it so?

On one hand, according to Judith Orloff the author of The Empath’s Survival Guide: Life Strategies for Sensitive People.

Empaths are highly sensitive, finely tuned instruments when it comes to emotions. They feel everything, sometimes to an extreme, and are less apt to intellectualize feelings. Intuition is the filter through which they experience the world. Empaths are naturally giving, spiritually attuned, and good listeners. If you want heart, empaths have got it. Through thick and thin, they’re there for you, world-class nurturers.”

On the other hand, narcissists are individuals who are only interested in their significance and need recognition for it from others.

That’s why they expect other people to treat them with extreme attention and admiration while they could only give problematic relationships, and egocentric behavior toward others. They always seem to act with a big dose of confidence, but the truth is that their ego is fragile and they need constant reassurance of their worth.

So, how could people who are so much different be together and even crave for that? Here is the explanation of Dr. Orloff who is also a psychiatrist, an empath and intuitive healer, and is on the UCLA Psychiatric Clinical Faculty.

“What narcissists see in empaths is a giving, loving person who is going to try and be devoted to you and love you and listen to you,” she explains. “But unfortunately empaths are attracted to narcissists because at first, this is about a false self. Narcissists present a false self, where they can seem charming and intelligent and could seem giving people until you don’t do things their way, and then they get cold, withholding and punishing.”

At the beginning of a relationship, narcissists present themselves as loving and caring people, something which they are not at all.

However, as time goes by their true colors start to show. So when an empath becomes involved with a narcissist her or she initially sees only good qualities and believes the relationship has future. This couldn’t last for too long though because of the fact narcissists sooner or later reveal their egocentric character. But the worst is that when this happens empaths blame themselves for the change in the attitude of their partner and refuse to realize (sometimes throughout their whole life) that they have started a relationship with a partner who displays emotionally abusive behavior.

Here is another opinion from Dr. Orloff regarding the relationship between a narcissist and an empath:

“If only they just listened more, if only they could give more,” said Orloff. “That is just not the case with a narcissist. It’s so hard for many empaths to believe that somebody doesn’t have empathy and that they can’t heal the other person with their love.”

That is the other reason why empaths feel attracted by narcissists. The former believe that they can heal emotionally wounded individuals with their strong, unconditional love and would fearlessly become close with a narcissist who they would try to heal and help. But sadly they can never succeed and put themselves at risk of maintaining a painful, emotionally destructive relationship that would never make them happy and could lead to traumatic experiences for the empath.

This idea is also supported by Shannon Thomas, a therapist, and author of the book “Healing from Hidden Abuse,”. Here is what he shared with
Business Insider:

“Empathetic people have the tendency to understand that we’re all human, we all have defects, and they’re willing to be patient with someone else’s personal growth,” Thomas explained. “Empathetic people will be very long-suffering if a narcissist says ‘I want to change, I know I’m not perfect.’ They have these moments where they admit fault, but they never actually follow through or believe it.”

Narcissists act that way because they want to keep their relationship and such behavior turns out effective.

Narcissists give hope to their empathetic partners that there’s a high chance they can change, but they keep hurting their significant others emotionally.

And that is not the worst of all. According to Thomas, it exists a risk that empaths and narcissists create a bond specifically because of the traumatic experiences caused by the latter. Here’s what he told Business Insider:

“With empathy comes to the ability and willingness to look at ourselves and look at our faults, and that gets taken advantage of while the trauma bond is happening,” Thomas explained. “It becomes a cycle for an empath who has been trauma bonded because they start looking at themselves, and what do they need to do to change, and what do they need to do different, and what their character flaws are. It’s the perfect set up, unfortunately.”

So, how could then an empath who has fallen in the trap of a narcissistic relationship get out of it?

According to dr. Orloff, there are a few questions that could help recognize a narcissist. Here is what she shared with Spiritual Library:

“Does the person act as if life revolves around him?

Do I have to compliment him to get his attention or approval?

Does the person constantly steer the conversation back to him or herself?

Does he or she downplay my feelings or interests?

If I disagree, does he or she become cold or withholding?

If you answer “yes” to one or two questions, it’s likely you’re dealing with a narcissist. Responding “yes” to three or more questions suggests that a narcissist is violating your emotional freedom. ”, she writes in her book Emotional Freedom.

Another thing to do, according to Shannon Thomas is to set boundaries regarding the relationships with others. One of the crucial measures to take to avoid becoming too close with a narcissist or establishing a close relationship with one is exactly to know where to stop with them.

“Empaths don’t have to become hard or hard-hearted to be able to be healthy,” Thomas said. “It’s important to recognize that not everybody needs to be in our lives. We’re going to come across people who we realize might not be healthy for us, and you have to be okay with letting them go.”

Have you ever had a relationship with a narcissist?

Please tell us in the comments.

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