Dynamics and Patterns Between Empaths and Narcissists

Tamara Low

Energetic Freedom Coach, Author

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It is impossible to explore all of the many facets, intricacies, and impacts of Pathological Narcissism in one article. This I know. Those with High Narcissistic traits, Narcissistic Personality Disorder/Pathological Narcissism (and other Cluster B personalities) impact all of us on such a deep level, personally, as a society, globally, including the health of the planet that we inhabit. They are especially drawn to Empaths and Highly Sensitive People due to their kind, caring, empathic and compassionate nature. Those mentioned above all share core Narcissistic personality, thinking, and emotional and interpersonal characteristics.

Dr. Christiane Northrup has written a book called “Dodging Energy Vampires, “shedding lots of light on this phenomenon. She says, “It is interesting to note that the ratio of male to female vampires is about 4:1, but fully 20 percent of all people (male and female) have vampire characteristics or are full-blown Cluster Bs. That’s one in five people, and each one of those directly and adversely affects five people.” That is a lot of people impacted and harmed!

It is only in the past 25 years or so that energy vampires have been clearly identified by the mental health profession, says Dr. Christiane Northrup. That is why so many of them have successfully continued to manipulate their families and society in general. Awareness is the key!

How does Narcissism develop?

During the first three years of life, we need to feel safe and secure with our parents or caregivers. Arielle Swartz says, “this allows us to develop a healthy sense of self that forms the foundation for our ability to develop meaningful, healthy relationships with others.” If we experience fear, unpredictability, uncertainty, neglect, rage, indifference, abuse, emotional unavailability, etc., the natural attachment process can be disrupted, causing trauma, resulting in deep and lasting challenges for those that have experienced it (until it’s dealt with).

Stacy Hoch says attachment issues halted the development in the Codependent and the Narcissist. She refers to them as, “the flip side of the coin” and says, due to their inner wounding a Codependent gives to feel worthy. The narcissist takes to feel worthy and, Narcissists escape the void that they feel on the inside by consumption to fill it. Codependents escape the void that they feel via self-abandonment and self-rejection, but the escape is an escape just the same. Both are deficient in self-love. Ross Rosenburg wrote a book called “The Human Magnet Syndrome,” which describes the unconscious, energetic pull toward each other that stems from the inner wounding of a Codependent and a Narcissist.

Dr Christiane Northrup offers a different perspective, and that is, modern brain scans suggest that many of those with Cluster B Personalities (including Pathological Narcissists) are born this way. She says, though they might have experienced childhood trauma, this does not explain their lack of compassion and lack of conscience- most people from traumatic backgrounds know right from wrong. The conscience is supposed to develop around the age of 3 or so, and in this case, it does not. She says it is not caused by a biochemical imbalance; it is a character problem.

The Characteristics of a Pathological Narcissist:

Narcissism is not a diagnosis; it’s a pattern, explains Dr. Ramani Durvasula. Further, the diagnosis of a narcissistic personality disorder requires that the person have pathological personality traits, including antagonism, which is characterized by grandiosity, entitlement, self-centeredness, firmly holding to the belief that one is better than others, being condescending towards others as well as attention-seeking, excessive attempts to attract and be the focus of attention of others, including admiration, and validation seeking. Further, these personality patterns need to be stable across time and consistent across situations, such as at work, home, public, and family.

Narcissism is broadly characterized by a lack of interpersonal awareness, interpersonal antagonism, dysregulated moods, and the core pillars of narcissism: lack of empathy, entitlement, grandiosity, validation seeking, and dysregulation. There are eight typical patterns within a narcissist’s interpersonal features; lack of empathy, manipulation, projection, lying, poor boundaries, jealousy, gaslighting and controlling.

Lack of empathy is the lack of interest in or capacity to understand others’ feelings and experiences. Narcissists may be cognitively capable of empathy, but they do not shape their behaviour in accordance with empathy, says Dr. Ramani Durvasula. Ross Rosenburg says, “Pathological Narcissists are only empathetic or sensitive to others when doing so results in a tangible reward for themselves and/or when it makes them feel valued, important, and appreciated.” They will watch us, study us, observe us, and gather data to assess our vulnerabilities. Once they understand these vulnerabilities, they will exploit them/us and use them to their advantage. All the while, we think that in sharing our vulnerabilities with them that they are being honoured and protected. Nope. They know what to say to figure out how to draw someone in and get them to trust them to gain control in the relationship. Finding this out is very damaging and confusing on so many levels.

There are 30 traits and patterns of Narcissists and other toxic people that fall under five categories (interpersonal, behavioural, dysregulation, antagonistic, cognitive), and there are subtypes of Narcissists; Grandiose, Malignant, Covert/Vulnerable, Communal, and Benign).

Overt narcissists’ grandiosity is apparent and easy to recognize. With Covert narcissists, grandiosity is hidden. Debbie Mirza says that “the covert type is one of the most destructive to your heart, psyche, and physical body because it is so hidden, unrecognizable, and you are usually the only one that sees it.”

Core Traits:

  • Lack of empathy. They mirror others’ emotions and learn to act empathetically. 
  • They take advantage of others to achieve their own personal gain. 
  • They have a grandiose sense of self-importance and are self-centred. 
  • They feel superior to others, feel that they are “special,” act entitled (as if the world owes them), and can be arrogant.
  • They lack true compassion and true remorse. 
  • They think they are perfect. 
  • They often exhibit vengeful behaviour, are frequently angry, lack remorse, and are incapable of intimate relationships. they often exploit others through deceit; Debbie Mirza says, “They will look you in the eyes, making you feel special and heard, make sounds and give looks that tell you they care, but they really don’t.”
  • They are master manipulators- masters at using specific interpersonal manoeuvres or tactics to gain an advantage over you (more on that soon).
  • They know exactly what they are doing. 
  • They do not have a strong sense of self. 
  • They have fantasies of power, success and attractiveness. 
  • They require and crave excessive admiration, fame, and recognition. 
  • “Looking good’ to others is one of their most cherished values. 
  • They thrive off the attention of others. 
  • They can be pathological liars. 

Covert narcissists:

Debbie Mirza wrote a book on Covert Narcissists, describing them as often being well-liked, charming, charismatic, kind, appearing humble and empathetic, being good listeners and appearing to really care. “You can feel incredibly loved by them, and they simultaneously make you feel terrible about yourself. They use cloaked tactics that you don’t see for years.

Coverts hide all these attributes so people will like and trust them. They know if they are obvious about their self-absorbed traits, people won’t like them. They know they must appear humble to be liked and revered. They know how to play people and how to charm them.”

This is why they are so tricky because their true selves and true intentions are deeply hidden behind a shiny exterior. Dr. Ramani says charm, charisma, confidence, attractiveness, success, intelligence, and articulateness in human beings are equivalent to colourful feathers and camouflage in animals. They draw people into “their web”, and unless we are aware, we can get drawn in. This is not a place that we want or need to be.

Other Traits and Characteristics to be Aware of

  • Blaming others for their own hurtful actions and refusing to take responsibility for their behaviour. 
  • Trying to protect our inner wounding by projecting and being defensive.
  • Minimizing, telling half-truths, and outright lying. 
  • Creating drama, chaos and confusion (to knock us off centre), while saying how much they hate drama. “In fact, they flourish under conditions of insecurity and chaos.” (Dr. Ramani).
  • You are never allowed to disagree with them. So confronting any weakness in them or suggesting an area of improvement is often met with stonewalling or rage (Christiane Northrup).
  • They rage, lie, intimidate, control, manipulate, criticize, belittle, hoover, project onto you (their issues), use people, confuse them, are demanding and entitled, and likely jealous and envious. 
  • What they say does not match their actions. 
  • They might use “future faking” to help create the illusion of a future together, to keep you hooked.  

They use others for their “narcissistic supply” as they cannot get it on their own. Dr. Ramani Durvasula writes, “people that think or act as if they are amazing are their energy supply. They have people around them that adore them, respect them, revere them, see them as special and almost perfect, and in some cases seem to worship them”, but what is actually behind it is deep insecurity. They prey on insecurity on others, and as a result, they also create more insecurity in the world.

-They hurt and do a lot of harm to those around them and society at large. They make others feel uncomfortable, confuse them, cause deep self-doubt in others, emotionally and often financially abuse them, fool them, knock them off centre, tank their self-esteem, incite fear, sadness, anxiety, depression, social withdrawal, helplessness and other emotions.

Whatever it takes to get what they need, it’s at the expense of others. Those who have developed Codependency’s coping strategy are often insecure (due to their inner wounds), kind, trusting, giving, and forgiving, which makes them perfect targets for these people until they wake up, that is!  

End Summary 

Empaths have a natural propensity to trust people and see the good in them (especially “Old Soul” empaths, according to Dr. Christiane Northrup). “Trust others until they give you a reason not to trust” is how I used to live my life. Now, I go by “show me you are trustworthy, and if so, I will trust you.” Narcissists want to create havoc and confusion (cognitive dissonance) in people, and self-doubt is their strategy. I now really pay close attention to people’s actions and energy and do not rely solely on their words (as I did before), as words can easily be manipulated and twisted. The more deeply we know and understand Pathological Narcissists’ traits, characteristics, and tactics and how they operate, the more aware and empowered we will all be.

My goal and mission:

I have found Emotional Freedom Techniques and Pranic Healing to be absolutely invaluable tools in assisting in resolving the energetic damage and resonance of such people and interactions, as well as the conflicting beliefs (cognitive dissonance) that accompany it. These modalities also assist in processing and dissolving the disbelief, shock, confusion, hurt, pain, etc. Reach out and schedule a free 15-minute call or email tamara@sensitivesoulpath.com

We ALL deserve to be treated kindly, respectfully, lovingly and to be involved with, and spend time with, people who are honest, authentic, genuine, and speak and embody the truth. I wholeheartedly wish this for you on your healing and wholeness journey!! 

Tamara

Also see: Healing From Narcissistic Abuse and How to Understand and Identify Narcissistic Abuse

Disclaimer:

*Energy Therapies, such as EFT and Pranic Healing, are not substitutes for professional medical, psychological or psychiatric care.

Related Articles:

References: 

  • Durvasula, Ramani S. “Don’t you know who I am?” How to Stay Sane in an Era of Narcissism, Entitlement, and Incivility. Post Hill Press. 2019. 
  • Forward, Susan. Mothers Who Can’t Love (pp. 33-34). Harper. Kindle Edition. 
  • Hoch, Stacy. The Empath, the Codependent and the Narcissist: Who’s What? YouTube.
  • Makenzie, Jackson. Psychopath Free. Berkley Books, New York. 2015. 
  • Mirza, Debbie. The Covert Passive Aggressive Narcissist: Recognizing the Traits and Finding Healing After Hidden Emotional and Psychological Abuse (p. 10, 14-18). Safe Place Publishing. Kindle Edition. 
  • Northrup, Christiane. Dodging Energy Vampires (p., 69, 81). Hay House. Kindle Edition
  • Romano, Lisa. The Breakthrough Life Coach. YouTube. 
  • Rosenberg, M.Ed., LCPC, CADC, CSAT, Ross. The Human Magnet Syndrome: The Codependent Narcissist Trap. Morgan James Publishing. Kindle Edition. 
  • Schwartz, Arielle Dr Complex PTSD and Attachment Trauma (article). Oct 2019.

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Soulful Purpose in Business

Wouldn’t it be incredible if we were all encouraged to find our soulful purpose from a young age?

Imagine how your life and work would be different as a free-spirited HSP/Empath. It’s never too late to reclaim those buried or dormant parts. You CAN live and work with more meaning, authenticity, and enjoyment. It’s a matter of clearing the blocks that are getting in your way. Using EFT, I can help you with that.

The challenge for free-spirited, creative HSP/Empaths:

I have always felt the profound significance of living authentically with soul purpose. To live free of conditioned paradigms (that do not work for us). And to experience creativity, joy, and wonder.

Still, like most of us, I was trained to follow, ‘fit in,’ and got swept up in conditioned paradigms and expectations. 

When we are young, we learn by observing and adapting to our worldly surroundings. We are often told or shown by our parent(s), caregivers, and society at large who THEY THINK we are and should be. It’s about WHO they want us to be, WHAT they want us to do, say, or behave like, and what they think we should DO. This can create an immense amount of confusion.

Unconsciously, we can become controlled and led by beliefs that were learned and taught. Often, they do not even have origins in who we are and how we desire to live. It is so incredibly easy to become lost and deviated.

The trouble is, we are beautiful spirits designed to create, express, learn, grow, share, and explore. To live a life that is from us. Meant for us. And to BE FREE of conditioning. Free from the layers of pain, hurt, trauma, shoulds, and have to’s that direct us away from our true nature, uniqueness, and soulful purpose.

It’s painful to be a free-spirited, creative HSP/Empath trying to navigate and fit in where we do not belong. This can result in depression, anxiety, deep discontentment, and frustration, etc. 

The good news is that there are things we can do to retrieve and reclaim those buried or dormant parts of us. The parts and expectations that are not a fit for us. And to heal the parts of us that do not believe it’s possible to be ourselves. So we can do what we love OR take the risk to do something else that is more in line with us!

How do we make the needed changes to align with our purpose/soulful path?

I have had many unfulfilling jobs in my life and a two-decade business that was not soulfully fulfilling for me. I felt deeply bored, stuck, and trapped. My discontentment kept getting louder, and my spirit would no longer let me look away. Making a leap into the unknown felt terrifying. I did not know what my financial future was going to hold. But I knew that I HAD to do whatever it took to find where my soul was longing to be.

I did A LOT of EFT sessions on all the fear, paralysis, terror, guilt, etc. lying under making the change. It took a deep desire, diligence, openness (and a bit of courage) to remove the fears and conditioning so I could realign with my path. But it is so worth it!

And in the end, it ALL turned out even better than I could have imagined!

You know the expression ‘the universe has your back’? Well, once I cleared all the energetic blocks and fears, things started falling into place. I felt utterly ‘taken care of’ in the broader sense. And I believe everyone can access it if that is in their heart and soul’s desires!

The power of alignment:

I was listening to an interview with EFT Master Carol Look, and she sums this up extremely well by saying, “…appreciation is the energy of alignment. Manifestations follow emotions, and when you are in the emotion of appreciation, that is when things start to shift on that vibrational (or energy) level.”

When we are in the alignment or frequency of flow, life can bring us all kinds of miraculous things with ease. Ideas, solutions, inspirations, seeing things differently, opportunities.

Look goes on to say that, “when we are in alignment, we are open to all possibilities and can appreciate them when they arise.” 

Yes!! I have seen this over and over in my own life! So, to get into alignment, we need to remove the incongruencies (aka negative limiting beliefs, fears, etc.). Then life energy is free to flow in us, and we can create joy and beauty through our alignment! 

How EFT Helps us to Get Into Alignment With Our Uniqueness and Soulful Purpose:  

Shoulds, have to’s, guilt, shame, fear, mistrust, etc., are NOT in the energy of alignment. What is? Authenticity, passion, purpose, curiosity, meaning, trust, faith, expressing our uniqueness and true selves.

Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT) helps us learn about, observe, hear, and accept how we FEEL. With honesty and compassion, we can honour what’s happening (unconsciously) in our inner worlds! It helps us to gain clarity, insight, and inner knowing. When we are open, we can better understand ourselves and the parts and places that need care and healing.

It has helped me gain insight and understanding in a profound way. I have developed compassion for myself. Freed myself from layers upon layers of conditioned thoughts and beliefs. Released deep emotional pains and burdens. BE me. Live and create a life in line with me.

EFT also helps us to regulate our nervous system so that we experience more balanced calm. Then, with openness and curiosity, we can hear our inner knowing, wisdom, and what our spirits reveal to us!

We Are Not Meant to Fit Into or Conform to Societal Norms and Structures!

We are here to find, reveal, and cultivate the path that is unique to only us!

I am in awe of how beautifully unique everyone is. Unique gifts, talents, abilities, goals, passions, desires, energetic vibration, and soulful purpose(s). Each of us is an essential piece of the bigger puzzle of existence here on Earth.

From my perspective, free Spirited HSPs and Empaths are here to assist in breaking free of old, toxic, harmful, and worn-out institutions and paradigms. We can see/feel/know things that are not aligned with truth and love. So we have essential elements to offer and contribute to healing in the world/planet.

The world needs the energy, skills, compassion, love, care, heart, creativity, kindness, peace, wisdom, etc. of HSP/Empaths…

Getting Support to re-emerge with Soulful Purpose in your Business (as an HSP/Empath):

I am here to support you in celebrating your uniqueness. To help you re-emerge as who you were (before being caught up in cultural and societal conditioned and false beliefs about yourself). If you don’t feel like you fit or belong – you are not meant to!

Book a 15 min discovery link call and we can begin to honour and discover your unique soul’s path!! What you dream of, lights you up, gives you goosebumps, and fills you with joy, freedom, and aliveness!! 

What if you could authentically do what you love AND experience the universe’s support via financial security?

Would you be doing something different in your business right now? Elsewhere?

Let’s explore and see!

Tamara

 

Welcome to Sensitive Soul Path

I am passionate about Highly Sensitive People (HSP) and Empaths living beautifully authentic and inspired lives!

 

 I delight in assisting people to gently uncover the parts and places (in us) that are longing and need to be heard. Our feelings and body sensations hold MUCH wisdom! Often, we try to push away feelings we have labelled as uncomfortable, scary, wrong, or shameful. In locking them in, we cannot hear and understand their deeper meaning, what they are really trying to communicate to us. It also affects our energy and interest levels, and health. 

 

When we gently give voice to locked-in emotions and sensations, we can discover the gifts and wisdom they offer and become energetically free to BE ourselves completely! 

 

  1. Where is your inner voice and soul’s purpose guiding and directing you (to which people, situations, service, passions, gifts, etc.)?

          2. What is wanting to be heard, said, released or done?

 I love to work with HSPs and Empaths that love to do safe, deep inner exploring work to release the layers that do not serve them and their purpose, such as

 

  • clearing and unravelling the energetic blocks along their soul path. These could be unconscious beliefs we took in as a child. 
  • to break free from harmful conditioning in all its forms that do not fit our soul’s purpose and embrace all of themselves and a life fulfilling and authentic to them! 
  • energetically removing yourself from being bogged down by other people’s negative energy or expectations, e.g. do you stay in a situation because of guilt and shame? 
  • clearing the energetic residue of what is keeping you stuck and paralyzed in places and situations that do not resonate in harmony with your souls. 
  • external drains and pressures that do not come from our true desires 
  • clearing the blocks and barriers to accepting and caring for ourselves at the deepest levels.
  • balance our sensitive nervous systems

 If you answered ‘Yes!’ to any of the following questions, Emotional Freedom Techniques (EFT or ‘Tapping’) and/or Pranic Healing could assist you. Please ask me how! 

 

Do you?

  • want and need to make a significant change, but fear, guilt or shame is leaving you paralyzed, preventing you from taking that leap?
  • feel bogged down by other people’s expectations, societal pressures, and early conditioning? 
  • are you aware of how many expectations you have of yourself that don’t actually belong to you?
  •  feel like you do not fit into society and the existing paradigms and institutions?
  • is the pace of society too busy and rushed for you and your nervous system?
  • struggle with SHOULDS? And as a result, feel like you are not living a life in alignment with your TRUE self?

 Does any of this leave you feeling frustrated, bored, disillusioned, anxious, angry, depressed, unfulfilled, stuck, etc.? 

 

While avoiding external pressures can feel challenging on many levels, ultimately, this is what I believe:

 

 We (HSP Empaths) are not meant to try and “fit in”; we are meant to SEE and FEEL and BE in the world from OUR unique perspective and soul’s purpose!! 

Emotional Freedom Techniques are especially helpful in supporting HSP Empath healing and empowerment:

Emotional Freedom Techniques (also called EFT, or “Tapping”) is a masterful way to gain clarity and insight. EFT helps remove the energetic and emotional blocks, fears, beliefs, and emotions (such as shame) from the body.

Struggle and/or emotional pain is a block or disruption in our body’s energy system. Our body gives us clues through feelings and sensations about what is happening within us (e.g. a sore stomach, tight chest). Similarly, it tells us how we feel around others and in certain environments. 

In other words, our body tells us when something is not in alignment. With that awareness, we have the power to shift it.

Benefit of an EFT practitioner and Energetic Freedom Coach for HSP/ Empaths:

My goal is to provide a SAFE, compassionate, secure, and non-judgemental space for you to peel back the layers to release what no longer serves you (aka all those SHOULDs).

SHOULDs, HAVE TOs, and other people’s expectations don’t have to hold you back from your passions and stop you from embracing your brilliant, sensitive, and empathic nature.

You CAN live a life in a way that feels TRUE to you….

If you are curious about how EFT can help you care for your HSP Empath nature, I’d love to have a no-pressure chat.

Reach out and schedule your free 15-minute call today or email tamara@sensitivesoulpath.com

Warmly, Tamara