Are You an Empath in a Relationship with a Narcissist?

This post was written by Rhonda Wasserman

Original content by Ashley Berges

Many of us have found ourselves in relationships with someone who has narcissistic tendencies. 

These relationships can seem overwhelming. One major reason they feel like this is that we often do not receive back what we give them. We give more and more and get very little in return. We tend to see all the good times and gloss over the not-so-great situations with the memories of the good times. 

Let’s take a deeper dive into the empath’s role with the narcissist. They are paying particular attention to their tendency to feel like they are coming up short or exhausted by them because they give so much more.

Many of us are empathic, we feel and care for other people. We build other people up, think about them, and go the extra mile to check-in. Being an empath can be extremely rewarding except when dealing with certain types of people. Being an empath can be amazing but when we are using it with certain people it is exhausting.  We seem to keep giving out our energy and get very little in return. 

As empaths, we tend to give the other person that extra mile. We hold out hope that they will come around. We wait around for them to come around. Often when dealing with certain types of people there may be a moment of lucidity. The person says a profound statement or they get real about their feelings. This causes us to believe them and give them some leeway. As a result, this causes us to believe we must be doing things right and that we are on the correct path to helping them. Unfortunately, we are only let down again the next day. 

As an empath we character boost the other person a lot. We build them up and tell them how great they are, how happy we are about what they are doing, and we are their cheerleader. On the other hand, they are not doing the same thing for us. They are inside of their own lives, not thinking about anyone else. Consequently, they do not see what we are doing for them. 

Empaths tend to convey that they care. We go out of our way to show others that we care. Empaths listen to the stories repeatedly without saying that we have heard them before. We go as far as asking questions to get the other person to talk and understand themselves. Therefore, this is not very therapeutic to the empath.

What happens is that when we are dealing with someone who has NPD or BPD, they cannot flip the script and help us. If they are dealing with BPD they are stuck in their mind and are not able to process someone else’s. If it is NPD they do not think about what the other person is going through, it is all about them. 

Empaths also tend to clarify. We try to make things clear and hear what the other person is saying. We try to clarify the relationship and ourselves. Empaths want the other person to feel good and happy. This is great, but again the other person is not doing this for us. When we clarify things, it means we care, and are interested in things. When we deal with someone with NPD, they may not be interested in what we are saying, because it does not matter to them. 

As an empath, we tend to check in and be there for the other person. We call them and text them to check on them and see how they are doing. This is something that does not seem to work both ways. We may ask them questions about how they are feeling and how their day went and the other individual does not ask us the same type of questions in return.

They answer your questions, and talk about themselves but never ask about you. This can cause us to feel very empty inside. It seems that the empath feels this way in many relationships, whether it’s a spouse or a friend who does not have empathic tendencies. This can result in feeling very isolated and lonely. 

When someone is very empathic and they are with someone with NPD tendencies, it is like they are giving so much and not getting anything in return. This can cause the empath to feel very hurt and burned over some time. It causes them to feel upset, angry, and resentful in these situations. The last thing we want is to be resentful with a superpower of empathy. We want to find people who can be empathetic and communicate on the level we are looking for.

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