Are empaths narcissists? (A complete guide)

In this article, we will answer the question ‘Are empaths narcissists?’. We will start by defining an empath and a narcissist. We will then describe types of narcissists and link how they can be narcissistic empaths. We will further discuss the difference between empathetic and narcissistic empaths. Finally, we will tell how to identify narcissistic empaths. 

Are empaths narcissists?

No. Empaths are usually opposite to narcissists. This is because narcissists lack empathy and do not care about others. In contrast, empaths have empathy and care a lot about others. So, it is unlikely that an empath is a complete narcissist. However, it is possible that empaths may have some traits of narcissism. Although it’s rare, narcissistic empaths may exist. These people think they are empaths but in reality they are covert narcissists and are not really able to connect with others at an emotional level.

Empath

An empath refers to sensitive people who can feel the emotions and pain of other people.  They understand their perspectives. They also make an effort to help and heal them.  Usually,  they try to carry other people’s feelings and help them process it. With narcissists, this becomes difficult because empaths are pushed into holding the burden of their emotions all alone by narcissists and they think of its their right.  

Narcissist

Narcissists are people who are insecure but try to hide it by overcompensation. They use their talents and skills to get favors and compliments from other people in order to boost their self-esteem. They require admiration and recognition to survive in the world. Furthermore, they find it difficult to empathise with people. They project their insecurities onto other people and manipulate them to feel good about themself.

Types of Narcissism

Thinking of narcissists brings to mind people who are self-obsessed and extroverted. However, there are two types of narcissists i.e.  Overt narcissist and covert narcissist. Overt narcissists are like an open book. They are conceited and brag about themself to others in a direct and apparent manner. In contrast, covert narcissists are usually introverts, shy and sensitive people. In addition to that, they share rates of narcissism including being over critical of others, dishonest, manipulative, disregard for others, obsessive self-interest, and blaming attitude towards others.

Narcissistic Empaths

 Although most empaths are empathetic, there is a possibility of them having other traits as well that are not so positive.  Being an empath can often make us unable to see our negative traits.  Just like covert narcissists are sensitive but hide their feelings of self hatred through overcompensation by creating an ideal self-image. Empathic narcissus are similar because they believe that they are victims since they can detect other people’s feelings and thoughts and feel them strongly. However, in reality, they lack compassion and care for others. They have little or no understanding of other people.

Difference between empathetic and narcissistic empaths

There is a difference between empathetic empaths and narcissistic empaths. Empathetic empaths allow themselves to be vulnerable and are open to caring about other people. Whereas, narcissistic imparts deny their vulnerability and do not truly care about other people but pretend to do so.

Signs of a narcissistic empath

 There are a few signs that can help identify  a narcissistic empath. These include the following:

  •  They feel like they are unique, special and distinct from other people
  •  They have a tendency to alternate between feeling hurt and acting as if they are superior to other people. 
  •  Whenever they are criticised by someone, they get over-upset and offended.
  •  They do not take responsibility for their own actions. In other words, they frequently resort to externalising blame when anything goes wrong in their life.
  •  They often get too absorbed in their personal life and forget other people.
  •  They proclaim themself as martyrs who have sacrificed themselves for others in order to control and emotionally manipulate people.
  •  They frequently state that no one can understand them and their problems.
  •  They often feel like people are against them and are out to attack them. In a way, they adopt the victim role to feel sorry for themselves.
  •  They think about people in extremes. This means that they idealize someone and in the next instant they would devalue them and think of them as Evil.
  •  They have no interest or completely disregard alternative perspectives. In other words they do not try to see the world from another person’s view. 
  • They think of themselves as important but in a less subtle manner than an overt narcissist. They can give compliments that turn back to them and reflect them in a positive light. Similarly, They share their achievements in order to feel good about themselves. While doing this, they think they are connecting with other people but in reality, they are seeking reassurance from others for their identity and self-worth. Conversations with them usually return back to them.
  •  They avoid taking on tasks that are challenging or put them in a vulnerable position. In other words, they do not take risks for the fear of failure. This is because doing so would harm their own self-perception as an expert of things. They talk about big ideas and visions but never follow through with them with action. They miss out on important details but blame others for it. On many occasions, they blame their shyness for not being able to express or communicate their ideas
  • They struggle with patience and have difficulty delaying gratification. This means that they have difficulty waiting for what they want. In the process, they ignore other people’s needs. They lead others along by  making them wait for their turn but it reality they neither fulfill their needs or give them the due attention. In other words, they do not offer a balanced give and take ratio in their relationship.
  •  Usually, they  think they are emotionally aware and able to connect with others. However, they are disconnected from their feelings and are unable to empathise with others emotionally. They try to tell people what they want to hear but there is always a disconnection present. This leads to an over giving pattern established by the other partner and fails to create a real connection. 

FAQs: Are empaths narcissists?

What happens when an empath meets a narcissist?

When an empath meets a narcissist, it is usually too late to help them. This is because narcissists know how to hide themself. They are aware of the right things to say and do to manipulate the feelings of others into the way they want them to feel.

Do empaths attract narcissists?

Yes. Empaths attract narcissists because these personalities are opposite to each other. A narcissist sees an empath as a tool to fulfill their needs. They love the compassion and emotional absorption ability of empaths. In contrast, an empath is attracted to a narcissist because they present a false and attractive image of themself that is different from their real manipulative self. They shift to their real self i.e. someone cold and punishing after they catch their prey. Empaths also get attracted to them due to their need to fix them and get validation from them.

Can an empath destroy a narcissist?

Yes. An empath can destroy a narcissist. However, it is challenging and takes active effort on part of an empath to break the vicious and dysfunctional cycle of the abuser (narcissist) and abusee (empath) relationship. Their relationship is imbalanced especially since a narcissist is driven to feed off compliments and love from an empath to feel good about themselves. Along with destroying them emotionally using their manipulation skills. It takes a while for an empath to come to this realization and even harder to step up and break this cycle. However, it is possible that an empath destroys a narcissist with a few self-awareness and interaction tricks in their dealing with a narcissist.  

Do narcissists love empaths?

No. Narcissists adore empaths because they can feed off them but they do not love them in the true sense of the word since their love is driven by selfish reasons.

Conclusion

In this article, we answered the question ‘Are empaths narcissists?’. We found that  empaths are usually opposite to narcissists. This is because narcissists lack empathy and do not care about others. In contrast, empaths have empathy and care a lot about others. So, it is unlikely that an empath is a complete narcissist. However, it is possible that empaths may have some traits of narcissism. Although it’s rare, narcissistic empaths may exist. These people think they are empaths but in reality they are covert narcissists and are not really able to connect with others at an emotional level.

I hope you found this article interesting. If you have any queries or comments, please state them in the comment section 🙂

Citations

https://lonerwolf.com/are-you-an-empathic-narcissist/

https://lolapickett.com/how-to-recognize-a-covert-narcissist/

Divya is currently a Clinical Psychology Trainee in a Master of Philosophy program and holds a Master’s in clinical psychology. She has a special interest in Personality studies and disorders, having researched the subject before, and Neuropsychology; with an additional interest being Mood disorders. She likes to write about Psychiatric issues, having worked in multiple specialty setups during her time as a clinical psychology student, and in her free time she likes to cook and read.

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