When An Empath Loves A Narcissist: The Lure Of The Broken Soul

empath loves a narcissistGuest post by Steve Waller

When An Empath Loves A Narcissist: The Lure Of The Broken Soul

They occupy opposite ends of the love spectrum, but empaths and narcissists often find themselves coupled up in unlikely relationships. But why? What is it that attracts one to the other?

This article will focus mainly on why empaths find themselves pulled towards narcissists, how they get trapped, and what they have to do to escape.

What The Empath Sees

Gifted with the ability to sense the underlying emotions and feelings of others, an empath is uniquely placed to see into the depths of a narcissist’s being to the wounded, unhappy soul that resides there.

Upon discovering this pained creature, the instinctual response of the empath is to try to help, heal, and love them.

Before they know it, they become entangled with this narcissist and the toxic relationship begins.

How They Get Sucked In

Narcissists can, when required, display copious amounts of charm and charisma. You might think that empaths would be less susceptible to this artificial persona, but it is precisely because they are beings of love that they wish to see the best in everyone.

They can sense the pain that is hidden behind the smile and the wit, while, at the same time, believing that this act is some sort of suppressed character trying to assert control. They think that they can help free it through their care and affection.

They envisage a time in the future when this narcissistic individual can become a changed person, cured of all their bad traits and free from pain. Once they believe in this possibility, they feel compelled to try to make it a reality.

What Stops Them Leaving

It won’t be too long before an empath begins to regret their decision to get involved with the narcissist. The person they initially fall for will quickly disappear, revealing the true nature of the beast.

The empath will shower love and kindness on the narcissist – to the point where it turns into adoration – in an attempt to purge the pain from them and soothe their damaged spirit.

But to the narcissist, this sort of attention is like a drug; they simply can’t get enough of it. And unfortunately for the empath, it only serves to reinforce the egoistic self-adulation.

Then comes the game playing and manipulation. To maintain their air of superiority, a narcissist will seek to control every situation involving their empath partner. They will use destructive and demeaning language to tear them apart, piece by piece, until they can exert their utter dominance.

In spite of all their good intentions, the empath will find themselves in a trap; one of loving a person who is incapable of caring for them, let alone showing love back.

But they aren’t yet aware of this trap; they continue to seek the narcissist’s affection in a vain attempt to mend the broken heart they see before them. They struggle to understand what is happening to them because, from their position, the behavior of their partner is utterly incomprehensible.

What happens next is quite possibly the most damaging aspect of the whole process: the empath looks at all of the pain and trauma now filling their life and pins the blame squarely on themselves.

Rather than accept that the narcissist is the cause of all their misery like they should, they insist that it is they who have failed. They wrongly believe that all the conflict and resentment in the relationship is their fault; that they somehow didn’t try hard enough to rid their lover of the pain they endure.

From this self-blame grows an unwillingness to do what is required; to break up with their narcissist partner. They proceed to lock themselves in their own prison by forfeiting their right to be happy. They insist that to do so would only heap more misery on the already tormented soul they have such affection for.

How They Finally Break Free

There is only one method of escape for the empath and that is to fully open their eyes to the situation they are in. In order to make a break for freedom, they must first understand that the original lure of the narcissist was misguided.

They must realize that it is nobody’s duty to fix another; that they have no responsibility to stay with their partner any longer. They must accept that whether the narcissist will ever change is not something they have any say in; they can only captain their own ship and it’s time to choose a different course.

This will not, by any means, be the last they hear from the narcissist. In an all-out bid to regain what they see as a possession, they will declare their undying love for the empath, swear they have changed, and make many promises that they know they cannot keep.

They will turn the charm back on and, for a while, the empath may see some of what they initially found so appealing. But if the empath can hold their nerve during this period, the narcissist will eventually unleash a barrage of malicious words and actions in a desperate attempt to pull their victim back in. This can be extremely difficult to endure and it can seem like the whole world is crashing down around you, but you must hold firm.

Leaving a narcissist isn’t the end of the story for the empath; it will take a long time for them to put the pieces of their life back together and even longer to regain their faith in the goodness of other people. But they will have broken the bond that so often draws empaths and narcissists together.

Are you an empath who has been through such a trial? Leave a comment below and share you thoughts and experiences.

Want more help as an Empath?  >> Workbook for your Soul <<

Just for fun, take this quick quiz.

Steve WallerSteve Waller is the founder of A Conscious Rethink – a growing voice in the world of mind, body and spirit. He has benefitted greatly from self-help books and other aspects of the personal development movement, and now wants to share some of his knowledge and wisdom with those who need it. His Facebook page reaches millions of people each week with its mix of inspirational quotes, motivational videos, and helpful articles.



Patriot Day Thoughts…

It started last night.  The posts about where you were when “IT” happened.  Of course I remember just like anyone my age remembers, but what I remember most during that time period, was first shock, then anger, then pride.  Yes pride.  I remember the flags, stickers, and shirts.  I remember the firemen and police officers from all over our country going to help.  I remember the volunteers.  I remember the sense of urgency as people asked what could WE do?  What could we all do to help?  I remember people from other countries offering support.  I remember all races, religions, and political parties offering to do whatever they could to lend a hand.  I remember feeling a sense of awe.  I remember feeling like this:


Okay.  I just cried again, but it was worth it just to watch that clip.  Yes.  I am a patriot.


“When an American says that he loves his country, he means not only that he loves the New England hills, the prairies glistening in the sun, the wide and rising plains, the great mountains, and the sea.  He means that he loves an inner air, an inner light in which freedom lives and in which a man can draw the breath of self-respect.”  ~Adlai Stevenson

Motivational Monday…

I’m going to be honest, there are times these posts are difficult to write.  I look around, and I see poverty.  I see hate.  I see failure.  I see mankind struggling.  However, I am reminded of a book I used to read as a child.  It can be heard here:

I also listened to the lyrics by John Denver as can be read here.  My daughter said “Who is John Denver?” and I let out a sigh.  I like the part in his song that said “Just think you can, just think you can.  Just have that UNDERSTOOD.  And very soon, you’ll start to say I always knew I could.”  It occurred to me that the part I am struggling with is the understanding.  If I take that out of the equation and move to acceptance, this is the way it is going to be, so I might as well have that UNDERSTOOD, I can achieve the end result faster.  I am the only one who can change my thoughts.  Are you waiting for someone else to come along and push you up that hill?  If so, you might be waiting a long time.  Most people are so bogged down by their own problems that they fail to see when you need a push even if you have told them, are holding a sign, or have it engraved on a plaque.  Don’t wait for them to help you.  Change your thoughts now.  I think I can.

“Someone was hurt before you, wronged before you, hungry before you, frightened before you, beaten before you, humiliated before you, raped before you… yet, someone survived… You can do anything you choose to do.”  ~Maya Angelou


Something about this word almost makes me think someone made it up.  However, I am reading this book called Aha! 10 ways to free your creative spirit and find your great ideas.  The author is Jordan Ayan, and as I was reading it, several thoughts stuck me as powerful quotes that needed to be written down.  The first one was this: New ideas are like bad dreams: They can be difficult to understand and they may go against the grain of our belief systems and thus frighten us.  Wow.  It occurred to me that I knew some truly frightened people out there.  Don’t read into it.  If this fits you, you know who you are.

The next thought I wanted to explore was this: Openness also pertains to being aware of and “tuned in” to the coincidences of life.  A closed mind shuts out the chance meetings and events that often become opportunities for discovery and invention.  How open am I to new experiences?  Food?  People?  Most of my friends would rate me pretty high on this scale I think.  Want to go to a new restaurant?  Of course!  So and so wants to come along.  Sure, why not?  I have an idea.  Want to try this?  Count me in.  I have two tickets to a band you don’t listen to on a regular basis, but they sound cool.  Who wants to go?  Me, me!  Yup.  It was bluegrass.  Don’t laugh.  You know who you are.  I wanted to play the banjo for a while after that.  Anyway, in researching the word “openness”, I came across this personality test based on the Big Five.  It really was free, and did not require any personal information before showing me my results.  I wanted to take it before I told you about it.

Lastly, I wanted to share this thought: Risk taking is tied to your comfort zone.  If you are tolerant of risks, you give yourself permission to leave your comfort zone to encounter new ideas, people, and information that can enhance your creativity.  Paraphrasing here, but likewise if you are risk averse you will stay within your comfort zone, forsaking the potential challenges that might inspire you to new ideas and new experiences.  I loved the use of the word forsaking here.  Abandoning or to turn one’s back on new ideas for fear of the “potential challenges”.  If this is you, please get out a notebook right now, journal every idea you have ever wanted to try, and write down why you didn’t do it.  What is your fear?  Then cross off that fear and look at it in a whole new way.  What if that obstacle was removed?  Would you be able to do it then?  Okay, for me, that obstacle is money.  My number one dream is travel.  I am working on it.  I really am, but I also know I am procrastinating, and perhaps even “forsaking” my dream if I wait much longer.  So, I am working on a plan.  That’s where I will you today.  Make your plan.  Change your life.  Take control of your fears.

“By all means let’s be open-minded, but not so open-minded that our brains drop out.” 

~Richard Dawkins

The melting pot…

I am fascinated with the rich history that makes up my country.  More specifically, my family.  I started a genealogy project a few years ago and haven’t quite gotten around to it again this summer.  I usually find one name and begin to pick away at their story.  Two years ago, I found an interesting name I didn’t even have in my notes, and with the help of a distant cousin I have never met, I learned about a whole new side of my family out west.  I am made up of English, French, German, and Native American ancestors (as far as I can tell), but I am not ruling out a wee bit of Irish somewhere in there.

I think it would be wonderful to visit all the places of my ancestry.  Not saying it’s going to happen, but I feel like it would be a wonderful experience.  The story of the 5 brothers from France setting out to make their way in America is an old one in my family.  I am still trying to get back to their names and where they set out from.  In Germany, I had at least two sets of great-grandparents coming over from there (that might be why I love German food).  I have traced my father’s side to mostly all English as far as I can tell.  Sigh.  We had some manor over there, okay the thing is huge, but the family had so many children that some “lesser” son decided to make his way over to America to make a fortune for himself since it was obvious he wasn’t getting anything over there. Okay, so it doesn’t say that specifically, but I found 18 children on one branch, so I put it together.  I’m not going to say the name of the manor as it is still in use today, but I laugh when I go to the website and they list their English lineage back to the 1300’s.  Then they have this tiny paragraph on the “American” black sheep of the family who left.  It makes me laugh.  I wouldn’t have wanted your manor anyway…sigh.

That brings me to the mystery of my Native American great-grandfather.  I do not know his story, and I would really like to.  I need to dig deeper.  I have a photo of him, and he looks quite proud.  My grandmother used to say I had Cherokee blood in me and maybe that explains my wild nature (see Young and Reckless post).  That brings me to the point of my ramblings.  I am a very patriotic person and I have a great love for my country.  I know that my ancestors gave up a great deal just to get here, and worked hard to make something of themselves.  I cry when I read e-mail forwards about our soldiers coming home and I feel a great sense of pride every single time I stand up to say the Pledge of Allegiance, which in my job, is every single day.  We might not always get along as a people, and some might say unspeakable things, but we are all in this together and each time I stand up to salute the flag, I am supporting the decision my ancestors made to come here.

Posterity: you will never know how much it has cost my generation to preserve your freedom. I hope you will make good use of it. ~John Quincy Adams