Can A Narcissist Be An Empath?

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They seemed so loving in the beginning

If you’ve ever been in a toxic relationship with a narcissist, at some point you probably wondered if they could be an empath.  A narcissist is a person that falls on a spectrum of behavior where they are unable to care about the feelings of others.  A person can have full-on narcissistic personality disorder or just be a person with narcissistic traits.  Narcissism is characterized by personality traits that cause the narcissist to use other people to get self-gratification.  They need to be admired and to feel superior to everyone around them.  Deep down, the narcissist feels a huge sense of insecurity.  

Empaths are often attracted to narcissists because the narcissist is really good at reading other people.  The narcissist will recognize the loving, giving empath as a source of “supply” for their constant need for adoration.  Then the narcissist pours on the charm, pulling out of the empath stories that they never tell anyone else.  The narcissist makes the empath feel loved and understood.  As soon as the empath is hooked by this “love-bombing” phase, the narcissist will get bored and begin to discard the empath or antagonize them in order to get a reaction, which feeds their need for “supply.”  

Then the narcissist begins a tactic called “hoovering”, where they apologize and love bomb again.  This will get the empath to think, “Oh well, he just had a bad day.” or “Maybe I was being rude, (snippy, critical, etc. whatever the narcissist decides to call them)”.

Now the narcissist has you where he wants you

The empath starts to become confused.  They think, “Maybe the stress from work is causing him to act like this.”, or often they ignore the bad behavior because the good times seem so good.  

We’re often told to give people another chance.  It’s really easy for an empath to feel sympathy for the narcissist because empaths are excellent at putting themselves in another person’s shoes and imagining how they feel.  This works out great for the narcissist, because he can get a reaction out of you, and then just act nice again and all will be forgiven.  Now he has a constant source of supply for his fragile ego.  

So can a narcissist be an empath?

Sadly, the answer is no.  A narcissist does not have the capacity to put himself in the shoes of others.  He actually doesn’t really care how you feel, unless it causes a problem for him.  

Narcissists are manipulators that will do or say what they need to in order to get other people to do what they want.  They are great actors who know just what to say or do to get empaths to empathize with them again.  Also, at times when the empath felt safe, they might have spilled some secrets and insecurities.  Now, the narcissist will use those insecurities and secrets to push the empath’s buttons and create a reaction out of them, which again, feeds the narcissist’s supply.

However, a person can have narcissistic traits, where they can feel empathy sometimes, but much of the time they only care about themselves and how they look to the world.

Have you been in a relationship with a narcissist?

Have you wondered if the person you were with is a narcissist or an empath?  Here are a few questions you can ask.

  • Does your partner have a problem when you say no to them?
  • Does your partner bring up embarrassing stories about you when you are around other people?
  • Does your partner ask how your day was and genuinely listen to your answer?
  • Does your partner like your friends and family members or does he criticize them?
  • When you make plans that don’t include your partner, does he get angry?
  • If you’re upset, does your partner sit with you and listen to your worries?  Are they good at comforting you?
 An empath will genuinely care about the way other people feel.  They will read your emotions and change their behavior accordingly.  If you’re sad, they feel bad for you and comfort you.  If you are angry with them, they will listen and try to make things better.

A narcissist, on the other hand, will not pay much attention to emotions, unless they can benefit in some way.  For example, if you are upset, and they can use that to get something they want, like sex, they might show compassion.  If you are happy, and they know you will agree to let them buy that new car they’ve been wanting, they will take advantage of your good cheer.  
Narcissists are not like you and me.  They don’t care if they are hurting your feelings or making you upset.  Narcissists only know how to show emotion by imitating what they’ve seen others do and what they know society will be looking for as a proper response to an emotional event.  Ask yourself, “Does this person have something to gain by showing empathy or understanding?”.  If the answer is yes, then just be aware of that fact and remember to listen to your own intuition.  What is it that you really want, and how do you want to be treated?

Comment to this post or join the free, private Facebook group Rebooting Health For Empaths.  You can book a Connection Call here to see if my coaching is a fit for you, or check out my programs here.

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