Why Empaths & Narcissists Are Attracted To Each Other (And The Toxic Relationship Between Them)

The Toxic Relationship Between An Empath And A Narcissist, why narcissists and empaths are attracted
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Why are empaths and narcissists attracted to each other? The pairing of these two personality traits can be a dangerous and toxic relationship, and here's why.

A narcissist is a person who is self-absorbed and lacks the ability to empathize with others.

Especially in today's day and age with the rise of social media and materialism, everyone can be a little narcissistic to a degree. It is a personality trait that exists on a continuum. However, on the full-blown clinical level, you can have a Narcissistic Personality Disorder, which is a mental illness that severely impairs healthy functioning. A narcissist tends to use other people as a means to end to fulfill their own needs without caring how the other person is affected and to secure their place on center stage. 

An empath, on the other hand, has quite the opposite problem. They find it very easy to relate to other's feelings, so much so in fact, that they truly feel what others feel.

They often will care for others at the expense of taking care of themselves. "For empaths ...  we actually feel others’ emotions, energy, and physical symptoms in our own bodies, without the usual defenses that most people have,” says Dr. Judith Orloff, author of The Empath’s Survival Guide.



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Disclaimer: is important to note that while Narcissistic Personality Disorder —  commonly known as NPD — is a psychiatric illness that can only be diagnosed by a qualified and highly experienced mental health professional, many people have dominant narcissistic personality traits. In this article, we use the pronouns "he" to indicate the person with narcissistic personality traits and "she" for the empath and those with empathatic traits  however, keep in mind this is for simplicities sake and females can be narcissists just as males can be empaths. 

Now you might be asking: Why in the world would two such dissimilar individuals even find each other attracted in the first place? 

This is a case of opposites attract. Both have what the other person wants a when they come together, it makes for a toxic attraction. 

The empath needs someone that they can care for and the narcissist is able to sense this and use the empath by manipulating her for his own purposes. Narcissists can be very charismatic and can even feign love and care when it will get them what they want. In essence, a narcissist is a very wounded individual. Sometimes the disorder stems from early childhood experiences if they had not received enough love and attention. They will thus begin to crave the attention and validation from others but will be unable to give genuine love in return. 

The empath, being the caretakers that they are, can sense this underlying wound and will want to do everything they can help their partner. What they may not see is that the narcissist is a taker that will feed on the empath like an energy vampire.

The more attention the narcissist gets, the more drained and victimized the empath will become.


RELATED: If You Have These 30 Traits, Consider Yourself An Empath


An empath of all people, being so intuitive, can often sense that their partner is a narcissist but it's not that simple.

Usually an empath can sense on some level that their partner is not really capable of loving them genuinely. However, just like any abusive relationship, it can be very hard to get out of the cycle of attraction and destruction. Anytime she gets hurt, she will find herself isolated because the narcissist is clearly not one that will have the ability to comfort her.

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Furthermore, he will be very good at shifting blame for misdoings away from himself, further victimizing his partner.

No matter how bad it gets, the empath will hold on because she thinks that she can heal him. She does not want to leave him alone, a man with no social skills like her, because what will come of him?

It's crucial for the empath to realize that the narcissist is wounded to the point of no return. They simply do not have the innate ability to empathize. She must get out of the relationship before the further abuse wears her self-esteem and energy down further. It will not get better, it will only get worse. 

And the narcissist, being incapable of empathy, will not be the one with the sense to put an end to the abusive relationship.

It is the responsibility of the empath to break out of the isolation, seek outside support, and leave the relationship behind.  


RELATED: How To Break Up With A Narcissist


Brianna Androff is a journalist living in Minneapolis, Minnesota. She has a special interest in science writing, particularly within the field of Psychology. When not busy with work or research, she spends time in the garden with her two cats, attending concerts, or traveling.

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