Empath: From ‘empathy’. Someone who can sense the emotional state of another individual and more than often can feel the others’ pain as well.
Narcissist: From the Greek ‘Narcissus’. An individual obsessed with himself/herself to a bad degree.
These are, as you might have guessed, two opposing ends of the personality spectrum; where empaths are selfless to a spiritual level, feeling the same pain and discomfort watching someone else suffer (unlike sympathy which brings its fair share of patronising with it), narcissists fail to see anything besides themselves; which in most cases is because of certain past experiences which left them with a sense of being under-appreciated and turned them to be seekers of validation and admiration from others.
Now as you can see there is a very simple demand-supply duality here; Empaths want to save people from their demons, it’s just the way they are, and Narcissists want more and more validation. The former is a natural giver while the latter a natural taker. Hence there can be enormous amounts of attraction between the two.
But in laymen’s terms this form of attraction is plain T.O.X.I.C
For one, the empath can seldom know the narcissist’s true and dark side. It is innate to them to try and see the best in everyone.
The narcissist on the other hand survives by putting others down; by reminding them of their weaknesses and patronising them.
Secondly, there is obviously an innate naiveté in empaths; that of using themselves as a yardstick to measure others against. Like they say, when you see things with rose-tinted glasses, red flags just look like flags and it is no different in this case.
They see everyone as themselves; nice and empathetic.
But on the other end, narcissists see everyone as people who are supposed to recognise them and them alone; palanquin bearers on their joyride.
Sucks the soul right out of the people they surround themselves with.
Hence, where one treats others as meagre validation tools to feel better about their emotionally damaged selves, the other finds purpose in loving, caring and nurturing. These two positions are more often irreconcilable and polar opposites of each other.
If these individuals start off on a romantic relationship it would end up being a vicious cycle, one from which the empath has little or no respite/escape.
Now it is important to understand one thing very clearly: the narcissist is to blame equally as the empath. Both are just the way they are and the relationship would look like clockwork, but it would drain one individual because what comes natural to them – nurturing and validating – is actually soul-crushingly tiring after a while.
This constant victimisation of the empath would in turn nourish the narcissist’s wounded ego, because that’s what they live for: putting others down.
Ironically this constant stress wounds the empath at one point to a degree that they too become vulnerable enough to become the monster that did this to them: the narcissist. Because let’s face it, you don’t become self-obsessed unless you are neglected and injured to a criminally insane level.
Now, how to relieve, asked the empath?
Well this is one thing conversations can’t solve, because manipulation and achieving their ends is what narcissists learn to achieve early. So trying to “talk things out” might not up your game in this.
And narcissists can’t change because the damage done to them may be irreversible.
The solution lies in the fact that empaths must realise that “fixing others” isn’t their job. You have this one life and you should enjoy it rather than fuell the emotionally damaged black hole you got yourself attached to.
There will always be people who might need you the way you want, sans the obsession with themselves and the toxicity.