The Toxic Dance Between Empaths and Narcissists in Friendship and Dating

Mar 24, 2021



Do you identify as an empath? Empaths are exquisitely sensitive to recognizing and understanding the feelings of others, showing deep empathy for other people and humanity in general. Narcissists, on the other hand, display a lack of empathy for others, an inflated sense of their own importance, and a deep need for excessive admiration and attention. Narcissists are the proverbial “bull in the china shop” when it comes to the feelings or needs of others…only the shattering isn’t accidental, it’s part and parcel of how they operate.


If you are an empath who has ever been involved with a narcissist (either in a friendship or romantic relationship), you and the narcissist had one thing in common: You both engaged in a pattern where it was All About Them.


If you identify as an empath, you must be particularly aware, in both friendships and romance, to watch out for narcissists. Narcissists and empaths can be drawn to one another, and end up in a pattern that is very destructive to the empath. Narcissists often find empaths to be ideal (I want to say partners here, but victim seems more fitting) because empaths can be so understanding, so willing to listen, so willing to let the other person take the stage, so willing to defer their own needs. The narcissist loves having an admirer who puts the spotlight on them. Everything is great until the day that you as an empath have a need. Here is where the wheels come off. The moment you express a need, you are likely to be horrified by the response of the narcissist. After all the times you’ve been there for them, surely they can be supportive of or sensitive to you in your time of need. Surprise! Here is where the narcissist gets indignant, angry, or leaves. You find out at this stage that they are only interested in a one-sided interaction where all the benefits flow to them, with none of the inconveniences or need to reciprocate kindness or understanding.


How to avoid them? Don’t fall into the trap of being so “easy-going” that you are always saying yes to the other person’s wants and needs. Make sure you center yourself first, rather than de-prioritizing your own needs in order to “be there for them.”


- Cori McGraw  "Coach Cori" at the Love Academy for Women



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