The narcissist as the empath


I keep reading articles about the attraction between narcissists and empaths. As an empath, I can relate, I’ve dealt and dated my share of narcissists. However, I noticed a different phenomenon in my career as a psychotherapist, a healer, and human services advocate. The narcissist who pretends to be an empath. You have probably met one of these people.



Seems compassionate, not empathic. At first you believe, they are like you. They act like they feel the emotions of others. They are great pretenders. But don’t get confused. They act like they care, but spend some time with them and you start to realize they care for themselves and the idea that they care for others. They might rally for the rights or others, to help someone else, however, the motive is not because they care, it’s because it feeds their ego, makes them look good and helps them to see like they are a good person, which they truly believe that they are.

They are a bullies. They know what they want and how to get it. They will manipulate you to get it. They will do whatever it takes. If know an narcissistic empath, you will feel like you are in an emotionally abusive relationship. They act nice as they push you to meet their demands. They cover the manipulation with gifts and or kind words, all to get you to do what they want. If you give in, you feel like you have been violated and taken advantage of.

They cannot see past their own agenda and try to mask it as caring for your yours. They are constantly working the angles of their agenda and they pretend that they care for yours. They may seem sympathetic for what’s going on in your life, however, really they are working you to help them. They will ask you how you are, and after you answer they will share in some detail how they are, to pull you into their story, to play on your compassion and empathy.

They make you feel bad for being you. When you disagree, set up a boundary, advocate for yourself, a cause, someone else, and they disagree, they make you feel bad. They can be sly and subtle. They are master manipulators, so much so, that they can convince you that you are wrong and they are right.

They suck the energy out of you. Just being around them, you feel drained and tired. You might even feel dirty like you need a shower after spending time with them.

You feel uneasy around them. And often can’t quite put your finger on it. Something is off about them.  It’s because your empath super power knows they are pretending, that they are not who they seem. Your rational mind struggles with this, wanting to believe what it sees. Leaving you feeling uneasy.

You are triggered when you are around them. They know how to activate your insecurities, your shadow side and your issues. Being in their presences can make you angry or sad. You might feel like you are constantly defending and explaining yourself to them.

They are master manipulators. They might buy you a gift, do something nice for you, to blind you to their motives and intentions. They play on your empathic nature, doing their best to convince you they care for you.

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Their purpose:

To help you, the empath create boundaries. They trigger you because they are activating your insecurities, your issues and your shadow. They are drawing attention to the places that need your attention. Here you get to practice creating loving boundaries that support you. Say no. Listen to your gut and follow it.

To learn how to use your empathy as a superpower. You get to lean into being an empath. To trust the feelings you get around the narcissist empath. You don’t have to carry them or hold their emotions: you identify them and let them go.


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What to do:

Treat them with love and compassion. Treat them how you would like to be treated. Which can be hard because they are very triggering people.

Remind yourself, they are only capable of so much and most likely not willing to see the error of their ways. They can’t see where they are wrong because this would crush them. Their identity is often caught up in the idea that they are good and compassionate. They are unable to see who or what they are. This is not your job as an empath. Your job is to treat them with love and respect while creating boundaries that tend to you. In their mind they are doing good, even if they cannot see past themselves. And they do do good. Just not on the empath level. Which is hard for empaths. Because as an empath you feel it all. You feel the disconnect in the narcissistic empath. You feel the unsettledness and unease. You feel the contradiction. It’s not your place to own this or to carry it. You get to treat them, with love and compassion, while not excusing who they are. This is hard to hold the opposites, to sit in the and/or of life. We as people like to be one or the other. Narcissistic empaths help the empath sit in the middle of contradiction and accept it and love it. Part of being an empath is doing just this. Loving and accepting but now owning or fixing.

Go forward and spread your love and light!

Margaret Bell