Narcissists Are Actually Empaths — That's How They Get Exactly What They Want

There's a reason empaths fall prey to narcissists.

woman looking down, man looking away, in front of grey wall alena ozerova /

I’ve heard it said before that it is impossible for a narcissist to be an empath because they have no empathy for people. But I think that's wrong.

In fact, I think narcissists are very likely to be empaths.

Hear me out — just because a person can feel what another person feels does not mean they have empathy for that person's feelings.

Oxford Language Dictionary defines empathy as, “the ability to understand and share the feelings of another”. As an empath, I may feel what another person is feeling, but that does not mean I understand or share those feelings.


For example, I may feel my BFF’s heartbreak over her boyfriend dumping her after cheating on her but because I knew he was a cheater and treated her badly. I might feel she should be rejoicing, or get annoyed over her wanting someone who treated her badly. However, I won’t understand why she is so upset about it. 

In my practice, I have met empaths who have come to me asking how they can get rid of what they feel is a curse. They resent feeling what others feel and have no desire to help others.

Not all empaths are the same and should not be lumped into one category of being angelic-like creatures who will sacrifice themselves for others.


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

Three ways empaths and narcissists are often the same

Understanding the similarities between the empath and a narcissist can help to understand how they are opposite people who are cut from the same cloth. 

1. Both may suffer from childhood neglect.

Narcissists are considered to be wounded people that may not have received enough love and attention as a child or who may have suffered through abuse or neglect.  


Empaths also often suffered from childhood neglect, be it emotional and/or physical. They are also prone to have been raised by or heavily influenced by a narcissist, substance abuser, or someone emotionally unavailable.

RELATED: What It Means When A Narcissist Says 'I Love You'

2. Both the empath and the narcissist crave love, validation, and respect.

The empath is willing to give and give in order to get it while the narcissist figures out how to just take it.

3. Both empaths and narcissists share a lack of boundaries.

The empath will have little boundaries when it comes to helping others. Some people they want to help may refuse that help and choose to stay on a destructive path. The empath may continue pursuing someone down that path despite the rejection of their help.


The narcissist also lacks boundaries and will pursue the person they feel will grant them the unconditional love they so crave. It won’t matter if the person is married or has expressed disinterest. They will continue to try to break down that person’s barriers and win them over, strictly for their own sense of gain.

Of course, most empaths are not narcissists. In fact, there are a number of different types of empaths, and knowing the types can help you determine who you may be dealing with, or even who you are. 

RELATED: How To Help Others — Without Sinking Your Own Lifeboat

Here are a few different types of empaths you may encounter

1. The 'Extremely Involved' service empath.

They love to help others, even to their own detriment. They may often find that after assisting someone, that person’s life will get better, but their own gets worse. I believe this is caused by the empath’s soul feeling so sorry for the person they are helping that they actually take that person’s karma.


Now what was supposed to happen to that person will happen to the empath instead. They offer to help strangers, animals, and anyone that they deem needs assistance. They are also unable to get on their own priority lists because they feel everyone else is more important than they are.

RELATED: The Downside of Emapthy — 3 Ways People That 'Care Too Much' Actually Hurt Themselves

2. The 'Regular Service' empath.

This is a person who loves to heal and help others, but not to their own detriment. They will help out as best they can — with boundaries. Most of their attention is on their own friends and family.

3. The 'Selective' empath.

This is someone who focuses on one person or species. Some care for, love, and dedicate their lives to animals, but feel little need to help people. They feel the animal’s pain and suffering and want to save it. However, they interpret human emotions as toxic, draining, and would rather focus on innocent animals.


Others use their empathy to focus on the feelings and healing of a parent, grandparent, or child to the exclusion of others, depending on that person’s needs. They are compelled to help that person as they believe that person is in most need of their help.

Thus, they help them almost exclusively, even if it means giving them everything they have even if they receive little in return.

RELATED: How To Protect Yourself As An Empath

4. The 'Resentful' empath.

This is the empath that is aware of what others feel and resent it. They don’t want to feel what others feel and consider being an empath a curse. They may become reclusive, staying away from others to avoid having to feel their energy. They may also resort to drugs or alcohol to numb those feelings.


5. The Narcissist.

Located on the opposite end of the spectrum, the narcissist is also able to feel what others feel. The difference is that they use that knowledge to control and manipulate. It is their ability to feel what others feel that enables them to get away with so much. It is also how they target their victims.

They will walk into a room and pay attention to the feelings that people are projecting. They can recognize the feelings of those who love to heal and help, namely service empaths.

Then, they use those feelings to know exactly what to say and do to rope that person in. Service empaths recognize the pain in a narcissist’s soul and want to heal it.

Narcissist empaths recognize the pain in an empath’s soul and want to capitalize on it.


For the rest of this article, the term empath will refer to extreme service empaths.

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How the narcissists use their empath abilities to catch and hang onto their victims, (usually empaths).

Narcissists use their empath abilities to become emotional shapeshifters and masters of illusion. They consciously feel what their intended target's emotional needs are and then will “shapeshift” into the illusion of a provider of those emotional needs.


Since their targets usually include service empaths, they sense the empath’s inner craving for love, kindness, and appreciation. They take it even further and probe more deeply into the energy of their target to figure out what their personal definition of love, kindness, and appreciation means.

Narcissists use “love bombing” at the beginning of a relationship to help cement the connection. The Google Oxford Language Dictionary definition of love bombing is, "the action or practice of lavishing someone with attention or affection, especially in order to influence or manipulate them."

By targeting their victim’s custom needs, the love bombing is specialized in such a way that their target may think they have found the person of their dreams.

As the relationship progresses, they empath their victim’s inner reactions to what they do. 


If they know how their victim will respond to their various actions, it makes it easier for them to be manipulative in order to get the responses they want. By the time their victim realizes something is very wrong, they are already wrapped up and secured by the narcissist’s webs of illusion and find it almost impossible to escape.

It is so important for empaths to turn the tables on narcissists and use their abilities to feel what is going on in a person’s soul before engaging with them.

The narcissist may be able to cast an outward illusion. But, by doing their own energy probing, an empath will be able to see beyond the outward behavior. Instead, they will feel the chaos inside a narcissist's soul and can escape before being dragged into their webs of deception. 

RELATED: Narcissistic Abuse Is Easily Mistaken For Love (But Here's How To Tell The Difference)


Rhonda Harris-Choudhry is a professional psychic/empath, Reiki Master, spiritual counselor, and teacher of energy. She specializes in helping others tap into the power it takes to manifest their dreams.