The empath and the narcissist, is a very common toxic relationship dynamic.
Both are on the complete opposite ends of the empathic scale.
The narcissist wants someone who can give them admiration, unconditional tolerance,
and continual forgiveness for their damaging self-absorbed ways.
And the empath most often, is willing to give the narcissist what they are seeking,
because empaths feel a sense of purpose when they believe they are helping and giving to others.
The self-sacrificing empath
Many empaths will sacrifice their own needs for the needs of others.
Their naturally caring nature believes that love and kindness can fix the world.
This strong belief can stem from a lack of love in their childhood,
and the empath wants to give to the world the love and attention they so desperately needed for themselves that they never received.
Narcissists prey on such individuals because this trait works perfectly in the narcissist’s favor.
The empath loves to give, while the narcissist loves to take,
which makes for a strangely balanced but toxically unbalanced relationship at the same time.
Without knowing the narcissist’s true intentions and seeing through their lies,
it can be impossible for the empath to walk away from the narcissist.
Narcissists play being the victim so well, that the empath can only feel sorry for them.
Most often, the empath chooses to stay in the relationship,
with the false belief of thinking that the narcissist can be healed by the empath’s love and support.
Obligated to take what is projected
Empaths are highly sensitive; they can easily take on the guilt and shame that the narcissist projects onto them,
for the reason that they absorb other people’s energy easily, like a sponge.
This is also why they can effortlessly put themselves in other people’s shoes and give great understanding.
Because empaths also want to make people happy, and never want to be intentionally selfish or hurt anyone,
it is easy for them to feel a sense of obligation and submit to the narcissist’s manipulations.
This character trait can make empaths easy to control through their emotions, for the narcissist.
Narcissists love to make empaths feel guilty to create the sense of obligation in the empaths conscience.
And because empaths do absorb other people’s emotions easily,
narcissists will also use empaths as emotional punching bags to dump all their guilt and shame onto.
This is when they use tactics such as projection, deflection and blame shifting, putting all the focus for blame onto the empath.
Empaths are often so focused on doing what’s right and caring about the narcissist’s needs,
that they can unknowingly take on the blame, responsibility or accountability that actually belongs to the narcissist.
Having needs is not selfish
Narcissists don’t care for anyone’s needs but their own.
And they want the empath to always put the narcissist’s needs first.
The narcissist will make empaths feel guilty simply for having needs of their own.
This is because narcissists will never want to tend to someone else’s needs, unless of course they get something out of it.
They feel that others don’t deserve it and that life should be about them.
Narcissists also have such a scarce mentality, they believe that for them to be able to have something, it means that others must go without.
And it makes them feel powerful when they have the control to withhold things from others.
The empath will feel obligated to sacrifice their own needs just to appease the narcissist.
Never realizing in the moment, that having needs themselves is not being selfish at all.
Seeing the good in people
Empaths choose to see the good in people and want to believe that everyone has good intentions.
This belief allows the empath to easily fall for the narcissist’s lies and continuously give them the benefit of the doubt.
All the while, being naïve and unaware that they are only being used and manipulated by the narcissist.
They do not realize that the narcissist only has selfish intentions.
Even when the empath is enduring the narcissist’s abuse,
they are often trying to see only the good in the situation, believing that the narcissist is hurting and only needs help.
Especially if the narcissist is a close family member, friend or lover.
It can feel like an obligation to the empath,
that they must be loyal to their loved ones no matter the pain they endure from them.
Sadly, as children, the empath never stops loving their abusers, they only stop loving themselves.
And many of us carry this practice into adulthood until we are able to accept the truth and truly heal.
Always seeing the good in people, can make us ignore the harsh truth that is actually hidden in plain sight.
And sometimes, the real truth is more damaging than what we want to believe.
Once an empath knows the truth of the narcissist’s manipulative ways, they are most likely to try and walk away from the narcissist.
But without ever knowing the truth about narcissists, especially the covert narcissists,
empaths can remain a victim to their manipulations for years, decades or even a lifetime.
And especially because the trauma bond can feel impossible to escape from.