How Do Empaths Protect Themselves From Narcissists

In this article, we examine some survival tactics on how empaths protect themselves from narcissists. We also provide the Do’s and Don’ts when dealing with a narcissist. 

Empaths and narcissists have opposite personality traits but often attract each other.

A narcissist sees an empath as someone who can satisfy their greedy desires. The kind and compassionate nature of empaths irk narcissists, who can’t wait to destroy them.

On the contrary, empaths get attracted to narcissists to heal their wounded pasts. They can see past their aggression into their insecure selves.

But when these two come together, they get into a fatal relationship. The narcissists prey on the empath, leaving them drained and wounded. 

If you are an empath, your survival may depend on learning how to deal with a narcissist. Ideally, you should spot a narcissist and avoid them. But it’s easier said than done. 

They know how to get into your good books and wrap you around their finger. By the time you realize they are already in your life and creating havoc. 

The only way to stay safe around a narcissist is by learning how to shield your sensitive self. 

Who is a Narcissist? 

The Mayo Clinic defines narcissistic personality disorder (NPD) as a mental health condition that gives people high self-importance. As a result, narcissists want people to admire and validate them and seek too much attention. 

Narcissistic people often portray high self-worth and confidence. But behind this mask, they suffer much insecurity and are often unsure of their capabilities.

So, they get easily upset whenever someone criticizes them. Most people develop narcissistic personality disorders due to extremes in parenthood.

A parent could have been extremely protective towards a child. As a result, the child grows up unsure of themselves. So, they put an aggressive mask around them so that they can continue getting what they want. 

Also, a neglected child could adopt the behaviors to shield them from further abuse. Narcissists have low empathy and will reach any length to achieve their desires. They have inflated egos and feel disappointed when they don’t achieve their aim. 

How Do Empaths Protect Themselves from Narcissists

If you are an empath, you can protect yourself from narcissists by employing the tips below. These tips will keep you safe from the preying claws of a narcissist.

1. Identify the Type of Narcissist You are Dealing With 

All narcissists use manipulative tactics to meet their excessive and selfish desires. But you need to understand the kind of narcissist you are dealing with to handle them.

  • The Grandiose Narcissist

These are the proud, boisterous narcissists who often seek the limelight. They are shameless, authoritative, and aggressive. Sometimes, they use physical abuse to get what they want.

Grandiose narcissists are extroverts who seem to have high esteem in their lives. But they tramp on others to get into their position without sympathy or regret.

These people seek power in all areas of their lives, including romantic relationships. But others often swarm around them as their charisma and self-confidence attract them. 

  • The Vulnerable Narcissist 

Vulnerable narcissists are sensitive and emotional and often shy from the limelight. They have high expectations from others and fear rejection. 

Vulnerable narcissists often think they are perfect. So, when someone points out otherwise, they take it personally. 

Unlike grandiose narcissists, the vulnerable narcissist may not act superior. But they always listen to judge and undermine other people’s opinions.

 It’s challenging for a vulnerable narcissist to get along with people physically. Instead, they have good social media profiles and often boast of their following. 

  • The Communal Narcissists

These are the most difficult narcissists to spot. They hide their true colors behind warm personalities and appear easy to relate with.

Communal narcissists often relate themselves to kindness, trustworthiness, and friendliness. They are the kind of narcissists that you see as your ideal friend and easily confide in.

Communal narcissists thrive from positive feedback, admiration, and attention. So, they are very helpful but yearn for praise and recognition. 

Most empaths have no boundaries, resulting in low self-esteem. Communal narcissists prey on such empaths by pretending to be the hero who stands up for them. 

Communal narcissists like being the center of attraction. They easily feel jealous when someone else receives more praise than they do. 

  • Malignant narcissists 

Malignant narcissism consists of narcissistic personality disorder (NPD) and antisocial personality disorder. According to experts, malignant narcissism is the most severe subtype. 

They are the bad guys who don’t try to hide it. They are cruel, sadistic, and aggressive. Malignant narcissists find pleasure in bringing people down and creating chaos. 

They have fantasies such as success, sex appeal, and attractiveness. They are arrogant, envy others, and tend to think people envy them. 

2. See Them For Who They Are

Empaths think they can heal narcissists. They know the reason behind their selfish attitude. So, they often make excuses for them. 

But when dealing with narcissists, you need to learn to handle the issue objectively. Acting with emotions will only put you on their bait. 

It would be best if you accepted that narcissists lack empathy, and that’s how they are. 

Your intuition has already warned that they are faking a kind and compassionate front. You know that angelic behavior is just bait. But you are too courteous to uncover them.

Do not fall into the trap. Do not try to fix a narcissist. Instead, let them know that you are aware of who they are.

According to the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, narcissists have self-awareness and know their reputation. But they believe they are too intelligent and their victims will not recognize them. 

Once a narcissist knows you are aware of their actions, they feel frustrated. You’ve cut them off track and can’t continue with their narcissistic behavior. Instead, they will behave carefully around you or avoid you altogether. 

3. Create Boundaries 

If you are an empath, you are the person who puts other people’s needs before yours. That personality makes you the perfect target for a narcissist. 

So, it’s crucial to learn to put your needs first when dealing with a narcissist. Set clear boundaries as soon as you spot one. Make it clear that there are some things you can’t do, even if it means other people are taking offense. 

It is also important for you to honor the boundaries that you set. Narcissists are experts in gaslighting and can make you feel guilty for your choices. Let them know that you choose who you are and how you show up. 

4. Speak Up

Narcissists won’t notice the subtle signs you send when you are unhappy. They are so absorbed with themselves that they only care about their feelings and wants. 

So, if you are dealing with a narcissistic person, you need to speak to be heard. Most probably, the narcissist will dismiss you when you speak. 

Be expressive. Walk up to them and politely tell them things the way they are. Do not sugarcoat. Tell them you are unhappy with how they express themselves in the relationship.

When you are speaking with a narcissist, take charge of your emotions. Crying or expressing self-pity will only make them feel as if they are larger than life. 

Instead, be firm and express your expectations in the relationship. Let them know of the consequences if they don’t meet the expectations. 

Finally, prepare to take action if they don’t change. Empaths are forgiving people, and narcissists know that. They try to test your resolution by apologizing and reverting to their behavior. Please do not give them this leeway.  

5. Be Careful How Much You Reveal. 

A narcissist will always use your words against you. So, being careful about letting out your vulnerabilities would be best. In the beginning, a narcissist makes you feel like you are the most important person in their life.

Narcissists appear as gentle, charismatic people and decent. And it becomes easier to open up to them about yourself. You may find yourself discussing your greatest fears and private thoughts.

Fortunately, empaths are intuitive and can tell when someone is not genuine. Always engage your intuition before revealing your inner self to anyone else.

A narcissist will only use this information against you later in the day. So, by talking about your vulnerabilities, you are giving them a weapon to destroy you. 

As a rule of thumb, always use your instinct before opening up yourself to someone else. 

6. Build Your Self Esteem 

When dealing with a narcissist, you should never let them determine your self-worth. If you give them the power to determine who you are, you will lose because a narcissist has to put you down to feel better. 

A narcissist always tries to level other people. They will shoot you down, so they don’t think you have anything over them. Or, they will exalt themselves so that they feel superior to you. 

Either way, they will always try to do something to devalue your worth. Narcissists feel threatened by empaths who have a good sense of self-worth.

High self-esteem gives you a sense of power that narcissists can’t endure. So, they will always try to find a way to tear that apart. They will try to assert what they feel are their rights by tramping all over yours.

Narcissists use gaslighting techniques to lower your self-confidence. They will make it look like anything wrong is your fault, and everything they do is right.

You will always hear phrases that end with “What’s wrong with you?” If you are not careful, you will start questioning yourself and wonder if the problem is really with you. Please do not allow it. 

It would be best if you respected your reality and who you are. Otherwise, you get vulnerable to what others say about you. When a person keeps dismissing you, you can start questioning yourself.

But before you do that, always pause and reflect on their words. Do other people see you in the same light? If not, there’s no problem with you. 

When narcissists accuse you of doing something, and you know you didn’t do it, don’t defend it. In so doing, you will only end up engaging in an argument that will take you down the trap you are avoiding. 

You realize you are always walking on eggshells when talking to a narcissist. Everything that you say is wrong. Since he derives his strength from engagements, don’t engage him.

7. Get a Support System 

Dealing with narcissists can be hard when you’ve heard negative comments since childhood. Growing up, you probably had comments such as “ You are too soft” or ” Get thick skin .” Sometimes it may feel that the narcissist is only confirming these assertions. 

Get people who understand and support you. Try hooking up with old friends with whom you have great understanding. 

Or you could engage yourself in social activities and local charities. The idea is to surround yourself with people who appreciate and respect you. 

8. Take Charge of the Relationship

Empaths always see the good in others. But they need to understand that narcissists may never work to improve a relationship. Instead, they always play the blame game, making you feel physically and emotionally drained.

The wisest thing you can do is to let it go. After all, you don’t want to spend the rest of your life looking behind your back. 

If you leave them, ensure that you end all contact with them. Otherwise, they will end up looking for ways to frustrate you. In the end, it might feel as if you never left. 

But sometimes, leaving may not be the most realistic solution. The narcissist in your life could be a parent or a sibling. Or it could be a spouse with children involved. In this case, you need to take charge of your life. 

In such a situation, you can decide to cope by detaching from the relationship. Do not let their negativities get into your heart. 

Remember that narcissists will get riled up if you perform better than them. Please avoid discussing your achievement in their presence. Just act normal.

But always remember that the person will always look for a chance to act up. Refrain from personalizing your interactions.

In addition, take some time to recharge. You must take time off people who abuse you if you want to keep your sanity. 

Related – How Super Empaths Destroy Narcissists (9 Ways)

Final Thoughts 

Dealing with a narcissist is draining. The sad part is that not everyone understands how damaging verbal abuse can be. So, empaths need to learn how to protect themselves from narcissists. 

If you are an empath, you can liberate yourself from the spell of a narcissist. All you need to do is get past your insecurities and see yourself for what you are.

Remember that narcissists feed from your reactions. If you want to take charge, keep your cool.

Photo by Liza Summer on Pexels

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