How to Live Your Best Life After Divorce

 [Official blog of Patti Hoying's Divorce Operating System]

The Empath and the Narcissist: A Guide to Healing and Protection, Part 1

empaths narcissists Feb 19, 2023
The Empath and the Narcissist:  A Guide to Healing and Protection for Sensitive Souls

Too often, women who consider themselves to be sensitive, tender souls (i.e. empaths) can quickly be devoured by a love partner who expresses narcissistic tendencies. Such behaviors can inflict long-term pain on those who are more vulnerable. 

So, what is an Empath? 

Empaths are individuals (high percentages are women but there are some men) who are highly sensitive to the emotions and energy of others. They often feel deeply connected to the people and world around them. 

Here is a quiz to see if you may be an empath:

  1. Do you pick up on the emotions of others? Empaths can easily sense the emotions of others, even if they are not explicitly expressed. You may feel overwhelmed in crowded places or around people with strong emotions.
  2. Are you a good listener? Empaths are often natural listeners and are able to hold space for others to express their emotions.
  3. Are you sensitive to your environment? Empaths can be highly sensitive to their physical environment. This includes noise, volume, sounds, light, temperature, tidiness. You may also be sensitive to the energy of places you visit.
  4. Do you feel deeply? Empaths tend to feel emotions deeply and may be more likely to experience intense feelings of joy, sadness, or empathy.
  5. Do you have a strong intuition or sixth sense? Empaths can have a strong sense of intuition and may be able to sense when something is not right or when someone is not being honest.
  6. Do you have a desire to help others? Empaths often have a strong desire to help others and may be drawn to careers or hobbies that involve helping people or making a positive impact on the world. This is why empaths more often become prey to narcissists and sociopaths in relationships.

If you relate to these characteristics, you could be an empath. Everyone is unique, and being an empath is not a one-size-fits-all label. If you're unsure, you may benefit from exploring this further by reading about empathy and talking with a mental health professional.


Ok, so what is a Narcissist? 

Narcissism is a personality disorder characterized by a pattern of self-centeredness, a lack of empathy for others, and an excessive need for admiration and attention. While there is no definitive way to diagnose someone with narcissism without a formal evaluation by a mental health professional, there are some common signs and symptoms to look out for.

How to spot a Narcissist

Grandiose sense of self-importance: A narcissist may exaggerate their abilities, talents, and achievements, and they often expect special treatment and recognition.

Preoccupation with fantasies of success, power, and attractiveness: A narcissist may have an unrealistic sense of their own abilities and may believe they are destined for greatness.

Need for admiration and attention: A narcissist may seek out attention and praise from others and may become angry or defensive if they don't receive it.

Lack of empathy: A narcissist may struggle to understand or care about the feelings and experiences of others, and may even exploit or manipulate them for their own benefit.

Arrogance and entitlement: A narcissist may believe that they are entitled to special treatment and privileges, and may act as though they are above the rules that apply to others.

Difficulty with relationships: A narcissist may struggle to maintain healthy relationships, as their self-centeredness and lack of empathy can make it difficult to connect with others on a deep level.

It's important to note that not everyone who displays these traits is necessarily a narcissist. A formal diagnosis should only be made by a trained mental health professional. However, if you're concerned that someone you know may be a narcissist, it may be helpful to seek out the advice of a therapist or counselor.

Why do narcissists like empaths?

Narcissists are often attracted to empaths because empaths are highly attuned to the emotions and needs of others, and they may be willing to put the needs of others ahead of their own. This can make them a valuable source of attention, admiration, and validation for narcissists, who crave attention and adoration.

Empaths also tend to be highly empathetic and compassionate, which can be appealing to narcissists who often lack empathy and struggle to connect with others on an emotional level. Narcissists may see empaths as easy targets for manipulation and control, and they may use their empathetic nature to exploit and manipulate them for their own benefit.


Why are empaths attracted to narcissists?

Empaths may be attracted to narcissists for a variety of reasons, including their charismatic personalities, confidence, and ability to make others feel special and important. Narcissists are often skilled at "love bombing" early in the relationship. They're great at charming and seducing others, and they may use their charm and charisma to win over empaths.

In addition, empaths may be drawn to the vulnerability and woundedness that can sometimes be present in narcissists. Empaths have a strong desire to help others, and they may see the narcissist's behavior as a result of past trauma or emotional pain. They may believe that with their love and support, they can help the narcissist heal and grow.

Unfortunately, this is often NOT the case. Narcissists are often resistant to change and may continue to exploit and manipulate those around them, including empaths. Empaths may find themselves trapped in a toxic cycle of abuse and manipulation, as the narcissist uses their empathy and compassion to keep them under their control.

It's important for empaths to be aware of these dynamics and to recognize when a relationship with a narcissist is unhealthy or abusive. Seeking the help of a therapist or counselor can be a valuable resource for empaths who are struggling to break free from a toxic relationship with a narcissist.


If you’re a professional woman struggling to move forward after divorce, be sure to watch our free workshop: “5 Shifts to Rebound Faster After Divorce.” We are here to help. 




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