Here’s a question; why are narcissists and empaths attracted to each other? They are, after all, polar opposites. You would think their paths would never cross.

Narcissists are driven by their grandiose sense of entitlement and put their needs above all others. On the other hand, empaths are driven to help and support others and often put their needs last.

So, what is the attraction? The reasons for this are both complicated and intriguing.

12 reasons why narcissists and empaths are attracted to each other

1. Narcissists crave attention

One thing that defines narcissism is the desire for attention.

Narcissists might be grandiose and think highly of themselves, but they need others to notice this. Narcissists need an audience; whether it is one person or a crowd, it doesn’t matter. But they feed off attention and praise from others.

2. Narcissists rely on others for their self-worth

Just as narcissists need others for attention, they also rely on other people for their sense of self-worth. Narcissists need validation from others to reinforce their twisted sense of reality.

Perhaps their narcissism grew from special treatment as a child. Now that they are adults, they need the same attention from others, rather than rely on themselves.

3. Narcissists use empathy as a tool for manipulation

Narcissists and empaths have one thing in common; empathy. However, studies show that narcissists score highly in cognitive empathy, whereas empaths are high in emotional empathy.

“Our findings are promising in suggesting that even relatively anti-social members of society can be empathic.” – Dr Erica Hepper, School of Psychology, University of Surrey

The difference is that narcissists will know what and how you are feeling, but they won’t care. They will wonder how they can use your weakness to benefit themselves. Empaths feel your pain and instinctively want to help you, not manipulate you.

4. Narcissists look for vulnerable people

Because narcissists are cognitive empaths, they can easily spot a vulnerable person. They can observe someone in a cold and detached way without getting emotionally involved. However, they use this knowledge to target victims.

Empaths are particularly desirable to narcissists because of their caring and attentive nature. This is perfect for a narcissist. They have found someone that puts their needs before their own.

Narcissists want someone who will be dedicated to them and show their utmost devotion. They see these traits in empaths.

5. Narcissists portray kind and caring people – at first

You may wonder, if narcissists are so bad, why do they attract anyone, let alone empaths?

Well, in the beginning, narcissists have studied you and logged your weaknesses. Once they have banked what makes you tick, they use manipulative tactics such as love-bombing and turn on the charm. You will feel overwhelmed at first, and this is exactly where the narcissist wants you – off-balance and vulnerable.

6. Empaths have a strong desire to help others

Empaths are highly sensitive people that feel another person’s pain as if it were their own. Because they can relate on a deeper level, they instinctively want to help others.

Empaths are also more likely to put their needs aside and can sometimes end up severely neglected. They will put every ounce of their being into a relationship and do whatever is needed to help their loved ones.

When empaths and narcissists meet, the empath will sense that something is off, so they are immediately attracted to them.

7. Empaths fall in love quickly

Empaths are emotional beings who can tune into other people’s feelings. This means they are more likely to pick up on subtle signals that someone likes them. As emotions are front and centre for empaths, they tend to fall in love quickly and deeply.

The problem is empaths believe everyone is like them; kind-hearted and caring. Narcissists pretend to be these things to hook the empath. Then, once hooked, narcissists begin to show their real selves. By then, it is too late for the empath. They are already in love.

8. Empaths are easily love-bombed

Empaths are prone to manipulation tactics such as love-bombing. Their hearts rule, not their heads. So, unlike someone more streetwise or not easily taken in, empaths fall for the cheesy lines and put-on charm. They feel special, wanted, and loved like never before.

Whenever a narcissist love-bombs an empath, they feel a hit of dopamine, much like a high from drugs. Then the narcissist withdraws this love, and the empath wants more. Now, they are addicted to this love and go out of their way to please the narcissist.

9. Empaths are more likely to blame themselves for a relationship failure

Because empaths understand the frailties of human nature, they are more likely to forgive than non-empaths. They are also more likely to blame themselves when things go wrong in a relationship.

Empaths are harder on themselves than on their partners. After all, they are the fixers, the ones that everyone turns to in times of distress.

10. Empaths find it difficult to leave abusive relationships

Empaths believe it is their responsibility to stay and help fix the problem. Their compassionate side comes out. Unfortunately, this is when narcissists up their game.

The empath won’t leave because they think it is their fault things are going wrong, and they feel a duty to stay and fix it.

11. Empaths are long-suffering

Empaths are forgiving types, and narcissists are attracted to them because they know:

  • a) they will get what is needed from an empath.
  • b) they are easily manipulated.

For example, if the narcissist admits they have faults and wants to change, the empath will feel compelled to stay. Empaths are aware that no one is perfect. To string them along, narcissists will give them hope now and then to ensure they stick around.

12. Empaths need to be needed

Narcissists and empaths can become co-dependent on each other. Narcissists need love and attention, and empaths love to be needed.

So, in a way, they fulfil each others’ needs. Narcissists typically have short relationships, as partners tend to leave once the narcissist reveals their true self.

Empaths feel this longing for security and the fear of rejection from narcissists. It attracts them like a magnet. Narcissists are cognitively empathic, and as a result, they can spot a giving type of person immediately.

So, why are narcissists and empaths attracted to each other?

narcissists and empaths attraction

In every relationship, each partner provides something that the other person needs. Therefore, if we want to know what attracts narcissists and empaths, we should ask; ‘What do they need from the other person?

What does a narcissist need from a relationship?

  • Narcissists need people to idolise them and tell them they are amazing.
  • They need admiration, attention, and praise from their partner.
  • Narcissists thrive on attention and require constant validation from others.
  • Narcissists take more from a relationship than they put in.

What do empaths need from a relationship?

  • Empaths are sensitive and feel another persons’ pain and distress.
  • As a result, they want to help that person and relieve their anguish.
  • Empaths don’t think about themselves, they have an innate desire to help others.
  • Empaths are givers and put more into a relationship than they take out.

Final thoughts

Narcissists and empaths are attracted to each for different reasons, but they can become co-dependent within the relationship.

The difference is that narcissists use empaths for personal gain, whereas empaths try and fix the narcissist with love and understanding. Either way, this is a toxic relationship where no one gains.



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This Post Has 2 Comments

  1. Eddie

    Wonderful article Janey! Thank you
    I can think of a few more reasons which are really sub categories of the ones you wrote:
    *Empaths often suffer from a “Messiah Complex”. Knowing full well what they are getting themselves into, still trying to save a soul!
    *Empaths see full well the enormous task of dealing with a Narcissists, and are tempted to accept the challenge, instead of cutting and running! (Others ae blind to the challenge!)
    *Empath are attracted to narcissits the same way everyone is attracted to “Mafia Movies”. (They unconsciously wish problems could have been solved the mob way!)
    Right now MY problem is how to stop myself from confronting and fighting with every narcissists that I come across. My conclusion is to avoid them as much as I can! Once you start the game it is very hard to end it peacefully!
    Thanks again

  2. Julie

    Yes. Agree. Thank you Janey.

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