The Attraction Between An Empath And A Narcissist Is Truly A Toxic One

Just like moths to a flame, narcissists are naturally drawn to empaths. The attraction is not one-sided, because empaths are just as attracted to narcissists, albeit for entirely different reasons. Nonetheless, this is one bond that should not be formed as it is more “parasitic” than mutually beneficial.


Empaths are people who are high on the empathic spectrum. They tend to put themselves in other people’s shoes and would always go above and beyond for others. They are the true definition of selflessness. Empaths take on the pain and emotions of others at their own expense. They see it as their sacred duty, and despite how draining it can be, they never want to give up on others. [1]


Narcissism is in the very essence of these people’s existence, and it comes with a general lack of empathy toward others. Narcissists are never just as they appear to be. They appear to love only themselves but the truth is they dislike themselves. The apparent self-love is simply an exaggerated cover-up for how much they truly despise themselves. They also appear to have strong personalities. Unfortunately, this is also false since all they actually have is a loud mouth and an empty core. They are incredibly selfish with an elevated sense of self-importance. [2]

Empaths and narcissists always seek each other out 

For empaths, this might have to do with their need to help people. Their hearts are in the right place, which is why they are always taken advantage of and drained by narcissists. Narcissists are attention seekers and most people around them become aware of this and isolate them. This is why narcissists deliberately search for the kind and accommodating empaths to dig their claws into. 

Granted, empaths recognize these narcissistic tendencies but they are willing to stick around to “save” the perpetrator. This is why the relationship is deeply toxic and should never be fostered. [3] 

The reason empaths are sought after by narcissists 

Narcissists are emotionally damaged individuals on a never-ending mission to bring down the people around them. Those people usually turn out to be empaths, because they are the easiest targets available to unleash the inherent selfishness upon. 

Several people — authors, psychologists, and therapists — have given their professional opinions on why these two diametrically opposite sets of people always find a way to be together. 

Lindsay Dodgson of Business Insider said, “Empaths are ‘emotional sponges,’ who can absorb feelings from other people very easily. This makes them very attractive to narcissists, because they see someone who will fulfill their every need in a selfless way.” 

Judith Orloff, psychiatrist and author of The Empaths Survival Guide, said, “What narcissists see in empaths is a giving, loving person who is going to try and be devoted to you and love you and listen to you. But unfortunately, empaths are attracted to narcissists, because at first, this is about a false self. Narcissists present a false self, where they can seem charming and intelligent, and even giving until you don’t do things their way, and then they get cold, withholding and punishing.” She also described the relationship as a toxic attraction that is “destined for disaster.” 

According to Shannon Thomas, therapist and author of Healing from Hidden Abuse, narcissists crave conflict and chaos, and while empaths strive to create harmony, narcissists are looking to do the opposite. [4]

Why do empaths stick around? 

The question on everybody’s mind has to be “why do empaths stick around if it’s glaringly clear they’re in a toxic space?” The short answer is that empaths are too good to abandon people who need them. 

Author Deborah Ward said, “Narcissists create relationships with [empaths] that essentially allows them to feed off the kindness of the empath, to satisfy their insatiable appetite for praise, attention, admiration, power, and material things until the [empath] is left emotionally drained, exhausted and powerless.” This powerlessness is part of the reason why they find it so difficult to leave a relationship clearly straining their giving hearts. [5]

Also, empaths are genuine and kind-hearted people, which is why they expect others to be the same way. Unfortunately, narcissists are aware of this trait and use it to their advantage. One hallmark of narcissists is that they believe that any self-respecting person should be able to feign empathy. They do not regard empathy as a virtue, but they believe they can do a satisfactory job of faking their empathic side. 

To an extent, they usually succeed and once empaths catch a glimpse of this false empathy within narcissists, they are hooked. They prepare for an intervention and honestly believe they can make a difference. They’re not the type to give up easily and they continue to try and fix these people until they’ve invested way too much energy. They end up creating rays of false hope within themselves that the narcissists will change. They see a light at the end of the tunnel that is not truly there, and they cannot find it in themselves to leave the relationship. 

Empaths need to break the chain and walk away 

Empaths need to understand that narcissists aren’t tortured souls who can only be saved by their unconditional love. No, they’re human beings just like everyone else. They are responsible for themselves and it’s not anyone’s duty to take care of them. Despite how seemingly impossible it may be, empaths should try to put themselves first. [6]

Empaths need to start by setting boundaries to protect themselves. If the narcissists refuse to respect those boundaries (as they are bound to do), then it’s time to take a deep breath and sever all ties with them before they (the empaths) are torn apart at the seams.


  1. The Toxic Attraction Between An Empathy And A Narcissist Is A True Match Made In Hades.Awareness Act.
  2. Empaths and narcissists make a ‘toxic’ partnership – here’s why they’re attracted to each other.” Business Insider.
  3. The Science Behind Empathy And Empaths“. Psychology Today.
  4. Understanding the Mind of a Narcissist.” Psychology Today.
  5. The Real Reason Why Empaths And Narcissists Are A Toxic Combination.” I Heart Intelligence.
  6. It is high time you stopped playing an empathy to a narcissist.” Economic Times.
Penelope Wilson
Health enthusiast
Penelope is a writer and health enthusiast with a B.Arts in Language Studies. She is a deeply spiritual person, a relationship expert, a nutrition freak, and a skin-care maverick.