We all know at least one person who seems to have an over-inflated sense of self-importance.
They’re always talking about themselves, and they seem to lack empathy for others.
But what happens when they meet someone who’s the complete opposite – someone who’s genuinely kind and caring?
Do narcissists feel threatened by empaths? And if so, why?
We asked six experts to weigh in on this topic, and their answers may surprise you.
You may also like: Can an Empath Be a Narcissist?
Are narcissists afraid of empaths? – Our thoughts
I am not a licensed professional, but I wanted to share my thoughts on this question.
In my opinion, no, narcissists are not afraid of empaths.
In fact, they actually view empaths as easy prey because they can so easily manipulate them emotionally.
Narcissists see empaths as people who are always willing to give and never expect anything in return, which is exactly the sort of person they want to be in a relationship with.
So while empaths may think they are doing something good by being compassionate and caring toward a narcissist, the reality is that they are actually playing right into the narcissist’s hands.
What do the experts think?
1. Dr. Holly Schiff, Psy.d, Licensed Clinical Psychologist
Empaths seem to attract narcissistic personalities because they absorb feelings from others very easily, almost like an emotional sponge.
This quality is attractive to a narcissist because, to them, this is someone who will fulfill their every need and be completely selfless.
Highly sensitive people have a high level of empathy and therefore are drawn to helping and caring for others.
Narcissists are the empath’s shadow self.
I think narcissists are afraid of empaths even though they feel like they can manipulate them.
The scariest thing to a narcissist is someone actually showing them who they really are, and an empath can do just that.
They can break that false, inflated self-image a narcissist maintains and show them that they are nowhere close to what they think of themselves.
A narcissist should be scared of an empath because they are extremely intelligent and can see through the narcissist’s façade and break their ego.
Narcissists also fear someone being able to sense their inner-most feelings, which is exactly what an empath excels at.
They can see through to the narcissist’s true self, which makes them a danger because they can actually expose this to the world.
The narcissist has worked so hard to maintain this picture-perfect image and persona to the outside world, and the empath can expose that – which the narcissist wants to avoid at all costs.
Dr. Holly Schiff, Psy.d, Licensed Clinical Psychologist.
2. Amy Saltzman, M.D & CEO of StillQuietPlace
Actually, narcissists prey on empaths.
Narcissists are only afraid of empaths who recognize their narcissism and call out their abuse.
Usually, narcissists will go to great lengths to gaslight and discredit empaths, spreading rumors about the empath and denying their own narcissistic behaviors.
In spiritual groups, this often means that the narcissist lies about the empath and convinces other group members to shun the empath.
Convincing other group members to shun the empath protects the narcissist from being exposed for some time.
What the narcissist spiritual leader fears most is group multiple empathic group members discussing legitimate concerns and collectively realizing that the leader they revered is indeed a narcissist.
Amy Saltzman M.D, Board Certified in Integrative Medicine, Director of the Association for Mindfulness in Education, and Author of Still Quiet Place
3. Liz Jane, Practicing M.D
A narcissist is only afraid of the empath when they realize that they can not control them anymore.
An empath is the one who is always taking the blame and guilt of the narcissist.
Up until there, he/she is a victim to the narcissist, but when they say enough is enough and choose to walk away, the narcissist then feels like he/she has lost control and will now be afraid of the narcissist.
Liz Jane, Practicing Medical Doctor Specialized in Embryology, Pharmacology, Physical Therapy, Immunology, Nutrition, Internal Medicine, and Surgery.
4. Dana Colthart, Psychotherapist
Narcissists are absolutely not afraid of empaths; they tend to seek them out. Empaths often attract narcissists.
Narcissists love the attention empaths provide them with.
Empaths are attentive and loving, and narcissists feed off this type of devotion towards them.
Unfortunately, empaths can see narcissists suffering and feel a lot of compassion for them.
Usually, the narcissists will not feel compassion toward the empath.
This leaves the empath feeling alone and isolated.
Empaths tend not to give up on people; they are usually hopeful and see the best in others.
This is perfect for a narcissist to get away with any abusive behaviors.
Dana Colthart, Psychotherapist
5. E.L. Forestal, Founder of FindBlackTherapist
There is no simple answer to this question, as there is much variance among narcissists and empaths.
However, it is safe to say that some narcissists may indeed be afraid of empaths, particularly those who are highly attuned to the emotions and energies of others.
This is because empaths can see through the facade that many narcissists put up, and they may also be able to point out the areas where the narcissist is being self-destructive or harmful.
In short, empaths can potentially disrupt the narcissistic supply chain, which can ultimately lead to the demise of the narcissist’s ego.
While this may not be an intentional outcome, it is something that narcissists may fear.
E.L. Forestal, Founder of FindBlackTherapist.com
6. Fraya Mortensen, Transformational Mindset Coach
In my 20 years of experience working with people clinically diagnosed with NPD (Narcissistic Personality Disorder) as a probation officer in my previous career, I’ve learned that narcissists are fearless.
People who have NPD have a sense of entitlement and an attitude that the world owes them something.
While the empath is someone who, without healthy boundaries in their life, will fall prey to the “narcissist” and tend to their every need.
Since leaving my career as a probation officer and now specializing in work with empaths, it is often the other way around!
The empath is afraid of the narcissist.
Many empaths seek out my coaching because they fear being abused emotionally/physically/financially/sexually/spiritually by a narcissist again.
The empaths who lack healthy boundaries will do anything for anyone.
They will sacrifice their own needs for others because of their big hearts.
This is perfect for the narcissist who doesn’t care about the needs of others.
Their primary goal is to have their needs met by others and make other people responsible for their behavior, attitude, and feelings.
Once the empath learns how to set healthy boundaries, which means no longer being responsible for the narcissist and later deciding to go “no contact” with the narcissistic person, that is when the narcissist ups the ante!
This is usually when the narcissist goes into what is called a “smear campaign” to degrade, demoralize and discount the empath to their work, friends, and family as a terrible, selfish person.
Would I say that the narcissist does this because they are “afraid”?
No, I would say they do this because they are about to lose the energy supply that the empath was giving them.
This feeds their need for power and control.
Much of the way the narcissist operates is from this need for power and control because underneath it all lies a very fragile ego.
What they are afraid of is having to face themselves.
They are afraid of real emotional connection.
They are afraid of giving up the control they have over others.
This control over others leaves them with a false sense of self-worth; without being able to control people and have power over them deprives them of their purpose.
Fraya Mortensen, Transformational Mindset Coach at Free To Be You Coaching.
So there you have it; 6 experts weigh in on the topic of narcissists and empaths.
It’s clear that there is no one-size-fits-all answer to the question of whether or not narcissists are afraid of empaths.
Each individual narcissist is different and will react to an empath in their own unique way.
What is important to remember, however, is that empaths are not responsible for the behavior of narcissists.
If you are in a relationship with a narcissist, it is important to set healthy boundaries and take care of yourself first and foremost.