What is an empath and what is a narcissist?
Empaths put others needs before their own, and are motivated by an intrinsic need to help and heal humanity. Narcissists put their needs first, and are motivated by their own self-interest and ego-driven desires.
Why empaths and narcissists are two sides of the same coin?
What empaths and narcissists have in common is their high emotional intelligence. Narcissists are high in intellectual or cognitive empathy, they recognize and perceive how another person thinks and feels. Empaths are high in emotional or affective empathy, they emotionally respond to how another person thinks and feels.
They both have the unique ability to understand people’s motivations, emotional needs and inner desires. This intuitive attainment gives them the power to know where a person’s vulnerabilities and insecurities lie.
What differentiates empaths from narcissists is that while empaths use this information to try to help other people, narcissists use this knowledge for their personal gains. Empaths sometimes take on other people’s problems to find solutions. Narcissists manipulate and emotionally abuse people to further their own interests.
Why do empaths and narcissists need each other?
Empaths and narcissists are toxically attracted because they mirror each other’s shadow sides. They unconsciously project their deepest fears onto the other. Empaths struggle with fears of rejection, abandonment and loss, while narcissists struggle with fears of commitment, emotional engulfment, and vulnerability.
Immature empaths enter into these relationships, because they do not yet understand how to fully use their gift of empathy. They believe that loving others is the solution, without cultivating any self-love themselves. They lack boundaries, and unconsciously look upon the narcissist to set these boundaries for them. They must learn to become emotionally independent by objectively detaching themselves from their emotions, before they can have healthy relationships.
Similarly, narcissists are actually unaware empaths. They live out the intensity of their deep feelings through empaths, as they do not know how to handle them. Narcissists are not born but are made out of difficult circumstances, such that they lose touch with their true nature, condemning their own empathy as a weak inconvenience, which must be controlled. They must learn to become emotionally responsible by allowing themselves to feel their emotions, before they can have healthy relationships.
How can empaths and narcissists grow from the relationship?
For abusive and co-dependent relationships complexes to work, there needs to be an imbalance in both the abuser and the abused. If the victim were to recognize and set limits, then the abuse would simply cease to exist.
If the empath peacefully walks away and refuses to engage with the narcissist, these projected emotions of rejection are pushed back onto the narcissist. If the narcissist gets more in touch with their feelings, they will begin to deal with the root of the problem, rather than simply moving on to another victim.
The key to healing is to move into a place of self-awareness and self-management, rather than blaming each other. Mindfulness and acceptance of one’s own dark side, is what will transmute these negative emotions into positive ones, transforming both the empath and the narcissist into ‘aware empaths’, who can then productively use their high emotional intelligence to realize their potential and contribute to society.