Why are Empaths and Narcissists Attracted to Each Other?

If the phrase “opposites attract” was in the dictionary, empaths and narcissists would be the definition. They are like fire and water, but the two personalities have always been wildly attracted to one another. Unfortunately, empaths usually end up with the short end of the stick, because narcissists have an ulterior motive for dating empaths.

One of the main traits of narcissistic personality disorder is they have a lack of empathy. They need people to worship them, and thrive off the attention, praise, and admiration from others. Narcissists are also driven by control, and to ensure their partners remain submitted to them, they use a variety of highly skilled bullying tactics. 

Empaths, on the other hand, are highly sensitive individuals who feel the emotions of others. Despite the narcissist’s attempts at disguising their true feelings, the empath tunes into the pain of the narcissist and has a strong desire to heal them.

However, the end result is always heartbreak for the empath, because in most cases, the narcissist has no desire to get better. In fact, they don’t think there is anything wrong with them, as far as they are concerned, everyone else is the problem.

Therefore, there is a constant tug of war between the spirits of the empath and the narcissist until one of them decides to break free. More often than not, it is the narcissist who discards the empath and leaves them in an irreparable condition. Additionally, there are a multitude of reasons why empaths and narcissists are attracted to each other, here are some of them. 

4 Reasons Why Empaths and Narcissists are Attracted to Each Other

According to psychiatrist Judith Orloff and author of “The Empath’s Survival Guide,” narcissists target empaths because they are the nature of their personality means they are likely to do anything to make their partner happy.

Because empaths feel so deeply, they also love deeply, this happens very quickly for the empath, and once they get to that point, it’s difficult for them to let go no matter how they are being treated. It is important to mention that the empaths reluctance to leave an abusive relationship with a Narcisist is not because of insecurity or low self-esteem (although this can play a role). Empaths are very complex characters, and the light in them has a strong desire to dispel the darkness in others. 

Because empaths are so selfless, in the narcissists mind, this makes them the perfect candidate for a constant source of narcissistic supply. Orloff states that she often tells her empath clients to refrain from dating narcissists, but it’s not in their nature and they can’t help who they are drawn to.

Additionally, empaths don’t understand how their narcissistic partners don’t have any empathy. As a result, empaths truly believe that it’s their job to impart empathy to the narcissist so they can live the fulfilling life the empath knows they deserve.  

why are empaths and narcissists attracted to each other

1. Empaths Are The Narcissists Mirror Image

Everyone has an ideal sense of self, most of us are never completely satisfied with the image that stares back at us in the mirror. Some people want fuller lips, longer hair, or to lose a bit of weight. Subconsciously, the narcissist has an ideal self, they want to feel the way the empath does.

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People don’t decide to become narcissists, it’s a disorder that develops as a result of childhood emotional trauma. So despite the behavior we see on the surface, deep down, they wish they were normal.

In their eyes, the empath is the ideal image staring back at them in the mirror. Therefore, the narcissist’s attraction to the empath stems from a deep psychological yearning. 

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2. Empaths Are Honest

Despite the fact that you can’t trust a narcissist as far as you can throw them, they value honesty in people. As mentioned above, narcissists admire the qualities in others that they don’t possess. Narcissists are well known for lying, even if they are caught with their hand deep in the cookie jar, they will convince the person witnessing it that they are imagining it.

They tell the most shameless lies and that’s just what they do. Empaths, however, are known for their honesty; one of the main reasons for this is that it kills them to lie because of the guilt they feel.

The empaths world revolves around improving the lives of others, and as far as they are concerned, lying doesn’t add to a person’s life, it takes away from it. 

3. Empaths Are Not Afraid to be Vulnerable

With empaths what you see is what you get; in most cases, they are not going to try and act like someone they are not. Neither are they going to hide how they feel because they don’t know how to. Vulnerability in an empath makes them extremely attractive to narcissists because they know they won’t need to do too much to break them.

When a narcissist gets involved in a relationship, they work very hard at hooking the person. The first stage is love bombing – this involves treating their significant other like royalty. The narcissist will send their partner roses, buy them gifts, take them on vacation and basically worship the ground they walk on.

Once they are confident the person has fallen for their charm, they switch, and the narcissist turns into their worst nightmare.

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The second stage is known as ‘devaluing;’ this is where narcissists get emotionally abusive. It is done in a very discreet way, but it is effective. For example, the narcissist will combine a compliment and an insult in one sentence, and say something like, “That dress looks great on you, but it highlights your fat thighs.” But the week before, the narcissist was telling you how much he loved your thighs!

This causes confusion and conflict in the mind of the victim. At this point, the partner is hooked, they got used to the highs associated with the love bombing stage, and they will do anything and everything to get back there.

This is how the narcissist gains access to a constant source of supply because their partner is always working for the attention they received during the love-bombing stage. But unbeknownst to them, that was the mask, now they are dealing with the true character of the narcissist. 

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4. Empaths Are Intense

There is no denying the fact that empaths are very intense people. Whatever they do is done with extreme passion and enthusiasm. It is not uncommon for empaths to be labelled as, “over the top.” If they tell someone they like their hair, they will provide a selection of reasons as to why.

When an empath decides they are going to work on a project, they give one hundred and fifty percent. A person who operates with such high intensity makes the perfect partner for the narcissist.

The reason being is they know they will fall deeply in love with them which means admiration, praise and everything else the narcissist loves will be available by the bucket load.

How do Empaths Protect Themselves From Narcissists?

In general, it is essential that empaths protect their energy. Because they are highly sensitive, it is easy for them to become overwhelmed, especially when they are in a negative environment.

Protecting their energy and emotional well-being becomes even more important when they are dating a narcissist because narcissists are capable of being really awful. Here are some tips on how empaths can protect themselves against narcissists:

Set Boundaries

Narcissists have always got to be in control, and if that means violating the personal space of others, so be it. Let the narcissist know how far they can go by setting boundaries and enforcing the consequences if they are infringed upon. But be warned, you will need to keep enforcing boundaries because the narcissist will keep breaking them. 

Take a Break

Go on vacation, go on a spa date, or visit a relative. Whatever you choose to do, the aim is to spend time alone so you can get grounded and rid yourself of negative energy. 

Give Them Limited Information

Narcissists like to take what you say and use it against you. The less information you give them, the less ammunition they have. You can achieve this by keeping the focus of the conversation on them; since narcissists love talking about themselves, this works perfectly. 

What Happens When an Empath Leaves a Narcissist?

When a relationship with a Narcissist and Empath breaks down, it is normal for both parties to feel depressed and lonely. There is often a period of time where they discuss whether they are going to get back together.

When an empath leaves a narcissist, it’s a totally different ball game. First, the narcissist hates being rejected, that’s their job.

Anyone who has the audacity to leave a narcissist will experience the full wrath of narcissistic rage which could include:

Spreading Rumours

The narcissists reputation means everything to them. They spend a tremendous amount of time and energy building a wall of deception surrounding their character, and they will be damned if anyone is going to dismantle that.

Therefore, their first line of attack is typically to make the person who left look like the bad guy. The narcissist will do something like, start a hate campaign where they go around telling everyone you know how evil you really are. They will cry and whimper about the abuse they’ve endured during the relationship.

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Basically, the hell they put the empath through, they will twist it and say that’s what the empath did to them. The narcissist will tell everyone that they don’t know the real empath, and that they are master manipulators. 


An empath isn’t going to escape out of the clutches of a narcissist’s hands that easily. The narcissist will turn up at their job, school or home, anywhere they know the empath is going to be, they will show up. If you don’t answer the phone, they will send letters or get people to give you letters. 


The hoovering strategy is typically the first or last in their arsenal of weapons used to get the empath back. It involves reverting back to the love-bombing stage and becoming extremely aggressive in their pursuit of their ex-partner.

The empath can expect the narcissist to do things like sending them flowers at work or home. Send random text messages out of the blue saying things like, “I am just watching our favorite film and now you are on my mind.” Or, “I just walked past our favorite restaurant, I was wondering if you wanted to grab something to eat?” 

They will email, send you messages on social media, they will even go as far as to contact your friends and family members to convince them that you should take them back. In general, they will do whatever it takes to get your attention.  

Final Thoughts

Empaths and narcissists are always going to be attracted to each other, there is no denying this fact. It’s also no secret that the person most likely to get hurt in this union is the empath. Whether you are with a narcissist or not, all relationships are risky and some way or another you are going to get hurt.

But because empaths have such a strong desire to help others, it is a lot easier for them to get stuck in an abusive relationship because they won’t feel as if their mission is complete until their partner is healed.

Are empaths and narcissist a good match? That depends on whether it’s a viable relationship, some can be healthy and others not so healthy. I say this because narcissism is a spectrum disorder and those who are on the extreme end, probably don’t make the best partners. 

Therapist Shannon Thomas states it is important for empaths to understand that it is not their responsibility to help someone heal who has no desire to get better. As mentioned, narcissists don’t think there is anything wrong with them; and unless they get to a point in their lives where they want to change, they won’t.

I am in no way telling you not to date a narcissist, especially if you think you can handle it. But what I am saying is don’t get caught up in trying to make someone a better person when that isn’t what they want. 

empaths and narcissists

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