The Toxic Attraction Between an Empath and a Narcissist, and the Stages That Follow
How odd that we’ve all been so focused on narcissism as of late. Perhaps politics is to blame? Maybe we’re all noticing that people just are sucking more? Or have we become more aware of the trauma and damage that we’ve been causing each other?
Whatever it may be, there’s been a lot tossed around about being in a relationship with one. Especially if you’re the opposite—which has been labeled as an empath. While this may or may not be true, it is pretty impressive to watch the changing of states when opposites attract.
If you think you’re in a relationship with someone who is self-centered, self-absorbed, and causing you trauma, then it’s time to let them go. If you need help seeing what the stages of a relationship with someone like this is, below is an outline for you. This is borrowed from the great minds over at, well, The Minds Journal. Good luck and take care of yourself!
1. The beginning:
The empath, or other person, gets attracted to a narcissist and a relationship starts. Empaths love deeply and unconditionally. They feel emotionally fulfilled even though the narcissist doesn’t actually care either way what they think. The empath feels satisfied and thinks their love is reciprocated just by being around the narcissist.
This is when the empath gets the false notion that they have finally met the one they’ve always been looking for. The Narc affirms this by creating an illusion that leads the empath to believe that what they have is special. The empath feels a deep bond and thus begins the laying of the trap.
Sometimes it appears that the narcissist wants this relationship as much as the empath. Actually, what they want is the opposite: they want to have someone invest their time in them and no one else. It’s a power trip and ego boost thing, you see….
2. The Middle
As the time will pass, the Narc will make the Empath, or other, change. The Empath will feel weak, unconfident, and bereft of the abilities to do even the simple things. The Narc will never launch an open attack, but use statements like “don’t want to hurt you but…” to point out some shortcoming (it’s that “but” that is the worse.) They will try to take over anything which symbolizes control such as handling bills or making decisions about purchases. The other will be looked down upon for anything that they like to do or are interested in…their identity will basically be called into question. Gradually, the other starts to believe that they are less capable and they “need” someone like the Narc in their life.
Unfortunately, for an empathetic person, this relationship will be everything as they are the ones who are actually feeling true love. This will lead them to always being in a subjective position…they will do whatever it takes to make the Narc feel good. The Empath has a good and a clear heart and cannot see how far the wounds in a Narc are. Healing those wounds is nothing that the other can do…it’s up to the Narc, but someone who cares deeply will keep trying to do so.
The relationship will eventually become all about the narcissist. This will be realized slowly, and a time comes when the other feels afraid to talk or fight for their needs and desires. In their attempt to please they don’t want to voice their true needs. They would rather be likable than give any reason to be disliked. But, secretly they are not too happy.
This continues to put the power into the Narc’s hands. The Empath literally dances to the tune of the narcissist. As long as the Empath continues to appease the Narc, it’s impossible to detect any problem in the relationship. The problem occurs when the empath finally reaches the breaking point.
3. The Beginning of the End
Finally, the other person needs to be heard. They speak up for themselves because they can no longer do it. Day after day their emotional needs remain unfulfilled. This happens because from the beginning of the relationship they have believed their partner’s emotional needs are all that matters. When they finally understand their well-being also matters, and speak out, they feel selfish. Again, this defeatist attitude plays right into the Narc’s plan.
Why? Because the Narc is an attention seeker. They get satisfaction when people fuss around them. Their needs can never be met, and they can never be satisfied. They may move to other partners, open a new business, travel around the world, get involved in new creative pursuits, and so on and so forth, but they will never be happy. And that’s something the Empath never will understand because they aren’t that way.
When the empath finally bursts out something like “My feelings also matter,” the narcissist is quick to call the empath “crazy”. They call them over-dramatic and their concerns unfounded. This kind of dismissive behavior is called “gaslighting”, and it’s used to keep things in the control of the Narc.
The Empath gets confused. They start blaming themselves and wonder if they are at all worthy of being loved by anyone at all, which is exactly what the Narc wanted. This is a form of abuse, and should not be tolerated, even though it seemingly has been by thousands.
At this point, the Empath is not able to understand that they are just being manipulated. Their partner has bent everything around them to create a twisted view of the circumstances. The Empath will try to break out of this by communicating with the Narc in all truthfulness, but they will continue to pass the blame.
4. The End
It is normal to feel lost, confused and hurt. But despite all the heart-break, the Empath will need to be calm and do some self-evaluation to figure out how they became so defenseless. There will be a lot of realizing the bitter truth that not everyone deserves their love, care, and affection. Not everyone who seems distressed and unhappy is revealing their true self. There are some people who have sinister motives and have a very different outlook towards relationships and people than they do. Not everyone they fall in love with can be trusted so quickly.
This will be the way that Empaths and others begin to heal. It will be a painful awakening, but they will break it off and begin to move through the pain. The Empath will be stronger, wiser and be more cautious about who they time, affection and love.
And the Narc? They will continue as if nothing happened and they are completely innocent. The will move on. In time, they may find another victim, or if really lucky, find some help from within or without and change.
If you feel like you’re in an unsafe situation, remember there is help. Reach out to your friends and family, or call Emergency Services. There’s nothing worth giving your life over for.
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