It is very easy to get swayed by romantic movies and how difficult love stories are conquered with persuasion and love. However, the Narcissistic and Empathic personalities together create a toxic connection that you should watch out for, if you are looking to find any happiness in your relationships. Below you can find some personality traits and relationship dynamics of both and see if you recognize yourself in them.
Narcissism is a personality disorder where one exhibits a lack of ability to empathize with others, characterized by an inflated sense of self-importance. Sometimes they can be very subtle and not easily detectable. A narcissistic person may seem generous and well-meaning on the outside, in his social interactions with friends and colleagues, but usually their meanness shows up in intimate relationships with a romantic partner. Even socially they may be unpopular as they can hide, control and manipulate, however, the extent of their malevolence often comes up in their relationships with a partner/spouse. They are control freaks and assume a larger than life sense of self where the entire relationship revolves around them, their needs, their wants, their desires, their dreams, their everything. They don’t give two hoots about the needs, wants and desires of their partners and will make you feel crazy and even stupid if you try to express your own wants and needs in the connection. They assume a sense of entitlement and disregard others’ feelings easily, being unemotional with a superiority complex. More than anything, they want to be obeyed, respected and admired by their partners and cannot handle criticisms well. They can easily get hurt and feel rejected, so their guards are always up which prevents them from being vulnerable or expressing their real emotions.
The narcissistic personality trait is more prevalent in men than women. It could be due to genetic or environmental factors. I have reasons to believe, their unreasonable sense of entitlement and inflated self-importance may also arise from a belief system that perpetuates the patriarchal male-dominated conceptualization in society.
Narcissists cannot identify with others’ feelings or put themselves in their partners’ shoes. They have no empathy or tolerance and often view their partners as just objects for their own fulfillment. Empaths who don’t have a healthy sense of themselves, fit that role of the partner perfectly. Hence, the Narcissist keeps taking advantage of the Empath to meet his own needs only. It is a form of subtle exploitation which may be vicious, but usually oblivious. Narcissists simply can’t fathom how their behavior affects their partners; they lack that sense altogether. All they can think of is themselves. Since it works for them, they continue this behavior of which often the Empath is the scapegoat.
Narcissists may dominate the relationship in a patronizing or dismissive way so as to belittle, demean intimidate or bully their partners into serving them and them only and may also attack the Empath with insults, name-calling and open threats to compel them to dance to their tunes. This is when we often see the victim-villain role-playing in these relationship dynamics. Naturally with such people, the Empath can never expect her/his own wants and needs to be met. It is often recommended to leave these toxic connections and look for healthier options where the feelings are mutual for both parties in the partnership. But Empaths find it hard to leave as they get entangled emotionally, thus unconsciously perpetuating this unhealthy dynamic with the Narcissist. This is an attachment or codependent relationship.
Narcissists aren’t really looking for a partner or companion; they want an obedient servant who is also a compulsive admirer, who can tell them how great they are and stroke their insatiable egos. It isn’t that they’re unwilling, they truly aren’t capabale of extending themselves to others. They don’t see or hear others. They don’t see the partner as someone who may reside outside of their own needs. Hence, they violate the boundaries of others with a total sense of entitlement. Moreover, they fail to assess their own shortcomings, cruelties, and mistakes, denying any feelings of inferiority or shame, usually projecting their faults and foibles upon the empathic partner.
Suggestions for a Healthier Connection
It is of utmost importance that the Empath learns how to protect his/her sensitivities and even energetically shield from these energy vampires. Some approaches could be setting limits and healthy boundaries with people you are interacting with, time management, grounding and surrounding yourself with white light to protect your energy from being depleted and most of all take care of yourself and fulfill your own needs first before doing so for others. Being an Empath could be a great gift to humanity, but you have to learn to set limits otherwise you will lose yourself in the connection.
Follow your dreams: look up things that please you and pursue them, instead of expecting fulfillment from the narcissistic connection. Any healthy relationship is symbiotic, based on mutual respect, reciprocity, and care for each other. Since Narcissists aren’t capable of that, you have to make a conscious decision whether to stay with them or not. If you leave them, they will find another victim instead of healing their own wounds, but this may make them incapable of connecting with anyone, least of all themselves. As an Empath you will naturally try to make positive efforts to heal but a Narcissist will not. It is a painful awakening as you learn from your mistakes and move on, but over time you will grow stronger and wiser when you let your experiences teach you and become more discerning about who you choose to share your affections with.
Know your needs: if you stand by your own needs and wants, you will easily recognize the narcissistic personality and avoid them in the first place. Hence, it is very important to figure out your wants and desires and communicate them to your partner before getting deeper into the connection. Having a strong sense of self, being aware of your strengths and weaknesses, will help you navigate & negotiate these connections better. A Narcissist will never truly value you, rather they will oblige you to value them instead. If you are in such a connection already and can’t leave for whatever reason, you have to find other means of emotional support and personal fulfillment.
Choose carefully: usually people who come from a narcissistic family or abusive childhood where their boundaries were constantly violated, tend to attract narcissistic partners in adulthood because they don’t have a good sense of what a healthy mutually beneficial relationship even looks like. The narcissistic partner often feels familiar and “home” to them. But as “used to” as you may be to such people, they can never make you feel good about you. So try to find a symbiotic partnership where you will be respected for who you are without being ignored or your needs white-washed, where you will be heard and your desires important to your partner, where you can be free to be yourself.
Make new connections: the Narcissists often tend to isolate their partners so they don’t have a solid support to fall back onto, in order to better control them. Try to find connections and friendships outside of your relationship, take up new hobbies and avoid keeping your mind idle. You may also surround yourself with people who value you for you, without invalidating or negating your thoughts, emotions and feelings; nothing like having a close friend with a listening ear! This will help you to not get lost in those narcissistic delusions.