Narcissists and Empaths

Narcissists and Empaths

Last week I was reading Lisa E. Scott’s book called, “The Path Forward” in which she discusses a certain type of personality called, “Empaths.”  These people are prime targets for narcissists because they are extremely caring and considerate, sometimes to a fault. I related to a lot of what Ms. Scott described. Ever since I was a child I have been hypersensitive to the feelings of those around me. Not in a wacky “woo woo” sort of way but If someone is uncomfortable in a social setting, I can feel it and I want to fix it. I have always been the one to assist friends who were struggling and at times, I’ve let their problems consume me.  If a friend was dealing with a broken heart than I could almost feel it in my own heart.  In my younger years and without established boundaries, this was an emotionally expensive lesson because I was also the person who could not say, “No”.

Empaths are highly sensitive people.  Narcissists are attracted to their polar opposites – people who register high in empathy and feelings.  I can only speak for myself when I say that I want to believe the best in people. I want to trust that the intentions of others are as genuine as my own intentions. Someone on the blog posed a question this week: If the majority of narcissists are all the same, does that mean that we are all the same? I do believe that many of us (victims) share similar personality types.

I’ve been thinking a lot about the topic of narcissists and empaths and stumbled upon this little video clip which is definitely interesting so I thought that I would share: narcissists and empaths.

Curious to hear your thoughts on the topic!  -Tina

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13 Responses

  1. What you describe as empathy could also be dangerously close to something known as co-dependency.

    The best way to describe it is an addiction to being needed.

    The vast majority of abusive relationships are between narcissists and codependents.

    The difference between narcissists and codependents is that within a relationship a certain amount of co-dependency is actually healthy.

    The book “Codependent no More” by Melanie Beattie may contain a revelation to many men and women who find themselves contantly to “blame” for their partners problems or shortcomings.

  2. This could be my story. One decade dealing with a narcissist, an what’s worse one with $. In addition he is a convicted DV offender, 1 misdemeanor 1 felony and continues to tie me up in court with endless battles. My kids have been through hell. He still has “rights”. I am at my wits end….

  3. Read the book, “People of the Lie” by M. Scott Peck. That will tell you MOST of what you need to know about these Unbeilievable people we have to deal with. They’re not people that should have our love, understanding, consideration, or anything else. I know that sounds so “judgmental, misunderstanding, vengeful, obvuscating,… whatever you can come up with, but it is the truth!!! We want to love them but they’re not capable of love. Just contact me and I can let you know! Blessings on you all who are trying so hard to make your loved one into someone else who just cannot accommodate you. It’s not your fault. Look for someone else before you become the victim of someone else. Blessings to you.

  4. Dear Tina and followers
    Firstly, Tina, I wanted to email you directly but I couldn’t find your email address. May I have the honour of emailing you privately?
    Second, hi everyone, I am in the UK and would love to ‘meet’ any of you who also are. Hey Tina, maybe I can be a UK Face of the week for you 🙂
    Anyway my x is still continuing to disagree with the statement of arrangements for my daughter. She herself has said what she wants and doesn’t want, and I’ve only added in a few things. Well this week he decided he didn’t like it and wants things his way and wants me to go to mediation or even court. It doesn’t sound too bad but…he is a narcissist! There of course is the problem. Anyway, I’m hurting and upset and I just need a friend to be able to talk to who understands. Thanks for listening and I hope I can maybe help you too. Hugs everyone ! 🙂

  5. To Heather (Blue Eyes): Co-dependency applies to those in relationships with alcoholics or drug addicts only. This is a refined definition, based on the explosion in knowledge about pathological narcissism / sociopathy / psychopathy over the past few years.

    Labeling someone as co-dependent because they were duped by the narcissist and because they haven’t yet gone through the time period to unravel the physiological ruts of bondedness in the brain to the narcissists, [created first by believing the narcissist’s mask, and then via traumatic bonding (aka Stockholm Syndrome) which occurs in the cycle of abuse], is a form of victim blaming.

    Again, if the narcissist is also an alcoholic or a drug addict, then co-dependent applies. If not, then it’s narcissistic abuse victim blaming.

    That said, there’s grey areas. An individual case, depending on all the factors, like length of time, or types of enmeshments (maybe the couple is self-employed together, therefore totally financially and work-life enmeshed too – that type of investment dictates someone who stay longer, for reasonable reasons, not because of co-dependency), could creep over to co-dependency, even if there’s no alcoholism or drug addiction.

  6. To Heather (Blue Eyes): Co-dependency applies to those in relationships with alcoholics or drug addicts only. This is a refined definition, based on the explosion in knowledge about pathological narcissism / sociopathy / psychopathy over the past few years.

    Labeling someone as co-dependent because they were duped by the narcissist and because they haven’t yet gone through the time period to unravel the physiological ruts of bondedness in the brain to the narcissist, [created first by believing the narcissist’s mask, and focusing on their good qualities, while minimizing their immature qualities, and then via traumatic bonding (aka Stockholm Syndrome) which occurs in the cycle of abuse], is a form of victim blaming.

    Again, if the narcissist is also an alcoholic or a drug addict, then co-dependent applies. If not, then labeling a victim of narcissistic abuse as co-dependent, is victim blaming.

    That said, there’s grey areas. An individual case, depending on all the factors, like length of time, or types of enmeshments (maybe the couple is self-employed together, therefore totally financially and work-life enmeshed too – that type of investment dictates someone who stay longer, for reasonable reasons, not because of co-dependency), could creep over to co-dependency, even if there’s no alcoholism or drug addiction.

  7. Tina, the video you posted was so true to my life, I shared it on FB. You know, the most frustrating thing about having an N in your life is trying to explain it to those who are clueless about the severity of having a N parent or spouse.

    During my recent mediation, the mediator asked me to describe something good about my ex that could benefit our children. So I sat and thought a bit, and all I could come up with is that he’s good at being an entrepreneur. This women within seconds decided “I must be bitter and not over him and poisoning my kids to not enjoy being with their dad– that’s why they call me in tears to pick them up from his place.” She even added salt to the wound of insults by saying it’s a major red flag when a parent can’t say anything “nice” about the ex. She asked me why I was married to him for 15 years and I said I was co-dependent (mostly for financial reasons), and he wore a mask that he no longer wears because he doesn’t care to put up appearances any more. She looked at me like I was an alien. I could tell my psychological insight went so far over her head none of it registered.

    I’m so glad we have our supporters on your site– it’s been Earth-shattering for me to have a forum where we can join up and share our grievances, frustrations and make sense of all the madness that has changed our lives.

    With that said, I hope we all cure ourselves of being empaths and stop the cycle of allowing users to drain us. Hugs to all my fellow survivors!

  8. Hello Everyone,

    I was wondering, does anyone have advice for dealing with the current woman in N’s life. My NX’s may be an empath, I am not sure, I have never met her-its been several years, but I do not appreciate that she feels that she has “rights” to be my children’s mother or impose her opinions/beliefs on child rearing in her dealing with my children. I thought I might get her a book or two. I plan on getting Tina’s book, but I was wondering-first is it a good or a bad idea to attempt to interact with the new “victim” aka spouse/girlfriend of our NXs, even indirectly? and second-if so, how? and last-would a good book on the subject of the sociopath they are dating a good place to start interacting with the newbie or should I let the chips fall where they may with her and my children? What’s best for my daughters. In raising them it is difficult enough with NX, through someone else in the mix with children of her own, you just don’t know the best way to deal.

  9. Yes, it’s so frustrating, the ignorance of those in power, as custody mediators in the family law court.

    Some of it is the head-scratching ignorance of the markers and manipulation methods of narcs, and the markers of their victims’ ptsd symptoms, which are a result of abuse from the narc. Some of it, is that employee having to toe the company line – they’re trained to tilt towards 50 / 50, and that women are just bitter.

    We need such major reforms. I hope all of us won’t stop spreading awareness and advocating for change, for it may take an entire generation to grow up and become employed in those positions, for lasting change to take place.

  10. I agree. I always find it shocking to hear people say courts are geared to favor mothers and men’s rights are ignored, bla, bla, bla. Well, in my case, I was raked over the coals but my kids are now the biggest losers. They didn’t even want to hear what they had to say. Really sad when they claim to protect “the child’s best interest,” but their actions speak otherwise.

  11. Abigail, I hesitated for a couple of weeks before responding.

    I wanted to think about my purpose in responding before actually doing so.

    I think this logical fallacy is prevalent enough in our society, and even within the online support network, to make it worth clarifying this in order to help others who may be viewing this page and these comments in the future, looking for help.

    Co-Dependency is not about blaming the victim. Recovery from co-dependency is actually about identifying how and when to set boundaries. Many victims of Cluster B PDs learned unhealthy boundaries in homes where co-dependency was the rule of the day. Others learned unhealthy and unrealistic boundaries in religious communities.

    A person who is victimized in one abusive relationship is not automatically co-dependent. A person who has 3 abusive relationships in their past and is looking at getting into a fourth while ignoring the similarities this prospect has to the other three, almost certainly is co-dependent.

    A person who has trouble saying “No” when they need to, a person who has a history of abusive significant others, a person who repeatedly enables dysfunctional behavior in others, these people could reasonably consider themself co-dependent.

    Co-dependency is not limited to romantic relationships, or to substance abuse. You can be co-dependent because you keep rescuing your brother from the consequences of his gambling addiction.

    Recovery from co-dependency is about recognizing what you can and cannot control. It is about recognizing the red-flags that another person does not respect your boundaries. It is about getting a life, and living it, rather than muddling through from one crisis to the next which *you* allow other people to foist onto you.

    If you check my Facebook page, Blue Eyes and Bruises, you will notice a trend that I am rabidly opposed to victim blaming, and have no hesitation to point it out when it appears on other’s FB pages within the online support community.

    The vast majority of abusive relationships are between narcissists and co-dependents. A co-dependent is practically a narcissits’ wet-dream, an ideal victim life has made especially vulnerable to the Cluster B PD-ed.

    I do not label anyone as a co-dependent, as there is no technical definition accepted by mental health professionals. But if someone reading some of this finds that it strikes chords, if they go on to research co-dependency and find that some of the literature out there is helpful to them, they may choose to identify themself as co-dependent, just as I did.

    Naming something isn’t automatically a bad thing. It can define and limit exactly what you are dealing with, making it easier to target your next course of action. I believe calling a spade a spade actually takes power away from it, and makes it a little smaller and more manageable, less threatening and easier to research and begin to understand.

    If someone chooses to examine their boundaries, or lack thereof, an excellent starting point is the book Co-Dependent No More by Melody Beattie.

  12. My personal opinion is to make the decision based on whether they are the newst girlfriend, or if they are actually engaged — or married.

    Until it becomes semi-permanent, I would ignore it, as (in theory) the SO should not be involved in parenting in the first place.

    If you feel you must begin interacting, I would suggest sticking to the facts, just the facts, and leave the rest alone. You already know whatever he told you about his ex’s, he is now saying to the new little woman about you, so anything you say will be interpreted as sour grapes, whether it is actually motivated from sour grapes or not.

    Meanwhile, be grateful there is a new person involved (as long as there’s no obvious subtance abuse issues, etc). Cluster B Pds typically do choose victims of integrity–I think it has to do with the challenge.

    My daughter’s therapist actually told me she was more comfortable with my daughter being at the Exs with the girlfriend/affair parenter living with him, than she would be if the Ex lived alone.