A narcissistic personality disorder is an actual mental illness. It isn’t just a fancy word to describe those with enormous egos who can’t get enough of themselves. The clinical definition is as follows:
Narcissistic personality disorder — one of several types of personality disorders — is a mental condition in which people have an inflated sense of their own importance, a deep need for excessive attention and admiration, troubled relationships, and a lack of empathy for others. – Mayo Clinic
There is a lot to unpack regarding narcissists, and many great books are doing just that. But for our purposes, we will focus on the energetic battle between a narcissist and an empath and how to stop it from happening to you.
Empaths are people who feel things at an intense and somewhat invasive level. And to be clear, those who have empathy are not necessarily empaths. An empath doesn’t just sympathize with another’s pain; they take it on as their own. In doing this, they often get sick, depressed, or anxious until they understand the energy they are absorbing is not theirs.
Empaths are bright beacons of light for narcissists who need the adoration and compassion an empath will willingly give.
Nothing is ever straightforward when dealing with narcissists. It is not a balanced relationship of give and take. It is a battleground, a war against your emotional well-being that can have disastrous consequences for the unprepared empath.
Narcissists are charmers and very good at stroking the egos of those they wish to suck into their web. They will tell you everything you want to hear and more. They will be your very best friend, the one who comes to your aid when needed, rushes to bring you food you didn’t ask for, and speaks highly of you to anyone who will listen (at first). They are so enchanting; you will be floating on cloud nine, wondering how you got so lucky to attract this incredible human who seems to “get” you.
But that’s the rub. They don’t actually get you, far from it. Empaths and narcissists are opposed, so they could never get you.
They don’t think like you and certainly do not feel things like you do. They talk a good game regarding righteousness, but they rarely, if ever, abide by the rules they set out for others. “Do as I say, not as I do” is the hallmark of a narcissist.
A narcissist doesn’t truly like an empath; they perceive empaths as weak, which is why they target you. But regardless of that fact, they will try to get close to you, eventually taking you down.
This is why no matter how hard you might try to have a sincere connection with a narcissist, it almost always ends in disaster.
So how does an empath prepare themselves to navigate a world of narcissistic personalities?
First, you need to know what to look for:
- lack of empathy
- angry and rageful
- lack of guilt
- everything is a show
- over competitive
- revels in other’s misery
The list could go on and does, but these are just some more obvious traits to pay attention to.
Narcissists are the ones who love to gossip. They will make shit up about you that isn’t true to get people to hate you, so be prepared for it. What’s frightening is that they actually believe their lies, so they can be compelling to someone who doesn’t know otherwise.
They look down upon all those who are not, well, them. Their superiority has them believing the world began and ended with their birth and truly come with their own set of lights, so to speak.
When they can no longer control you, they are also the ones that seek to control how others see you.
When you try to confront them, you end up in a knockdown, drag-out fight, or they’ll gaslight the shit out of you, leaving you running in circles, wondering if you’ve lost your mind.
GASLIGHTING: a form of psychological manipulation in which the abuser attempts to sow self-doubt and confusion in their victim’s mind.
Narcissists will not address the issue at hand. Instead, they tend to launch into a personal attack because that’s what they’ve been preparing for. As long as you play their little game, they’re fine. But when you stand your ground, they snipe you from the left, lying, refusing to apologize, and standing firm on their podium of delusional self-righteousness.
All of these behaviors will drain you of your precious life force energy. And worse, if you spend too much time with them, you can actually take on their energetic vibration, leaving you at odds with yourself. I go into depth about the toxic effects of narcissists on empaths here: Energy Vampires: Why They Suck
WHY DO NARCISSISTS LOVE EMPATHS?
In a nutshell, they are attracted to your light. The kindness and beauty you radiate through your selfless love and compassion for others is very attractive to them. A self-inflated ego will always want those kinds of people in their circle, to a point. And when that point breaks, a flip switches, and you are no longer the bright and shiny object they wish to admire; you are now an irritating light they want to snuff out.
Empaths: What attracts a narcissist to you is the very thing they envy.
Please read that again, and commit it to memory because it’s essential to understanding why you were targeted in the first place.
WHAT TO DO
Once you realize you are in the clutches of a narcissist, you might want to figure out an exit strategy.
Removing them from your lives can be challenging, but it is possible.
- DISTANCE YOURSELF. You don’t have to be unkind; you can merely be unavailable. The more distance you put between you, the easier it is to recharge your energy and think clearly when dealing with them.
2. PRAY FOR THEM. Praying for another’s healing is essential. Prayer works. We’ve been conditioned to think that when we are hurt, we must hurt another to “win.” It’s actually the opposite. So send your positive thoughts their way.
3. IGNORE THEM. Narcissist love attention, whether positive or negative, but they HATE to be ignored. They will attack you harder at first, but when they realize they cannot penetrate your wall, they will end the fight.
4. WALK AWAY. Suppose you find yourself in an actual fight with a narcissist. Walk away. Do not engage. It is not worth losing your precious energy.
For empaths, dealing with narcissists can feel like an impossible task. Resist the urge to blow up bridges. Remain vigilant. There is a whole world of humans that need your compassion including those who suffer from narcissism. But please don’t waste it on those who can’t appreciate it. Do your best to stay grounded, protect your energy and go in peace.