What’s the difference between a narcissist and an empath?

In this article, we are going to talk about some differences between a narcissist and an empath.

Narcissists survive by manipulating other people while Empaths are selfless and are often preoccupied with the well-being of others at the expense of their own needs. 

But these two groups have one thing in common: high sensitivity levels. So, what are the differences between a narcissist and an empath?

Let’s have an in-depth look at the differences. 

1. Communication Skills 

Communication skills are the ability to understand and present information. It involves sharing information while respecting other people’s opinions. 

Narcissists Lack Communication Skills. 

Narcissists are notorious for having one-way communication. They do all the talking but rarely listen. A conversation with a narcissist always revolves around “Me, myself, and I.” 

They will talk about their talents, achievements, and physical appearance. 

But more often than not, they exaggerate the truth. These talks do not reflect the reality of the narcissist’s lifestyle. A narcissist can have a long speech but, in the end, say nothing. 

Narcissistic people lack empathy even in their speech. 

You could be talking to a narcissist about how you lost your job. But they will interrupt you to discuss how they got a new automobile. 

For a narcissist, communication is a lethal weapon. They use it to confuse, manipulate and demean others. Moreover, they do not listen or give others a chance to express themselves. 

Narcissists do not talk with people; instead, they speak to people. 

Empaths are Good Communicators.

Empaths are great listeners. They often comfort you with their presence. 

Do you know of that one person whom you think of whenever you are in distress? He has this gift of listening without interrupting. When he speaks, he offers comforting words but never judges.

Empaths rarely talk about themselves when listening to other people. Even though they cannot help out in a situation, they always encourage others. 

Empaths are always interested in your likes and dislikes. Because of their high levels of perception, they always find the right topic of creating mutual interest. 

If you are an empath, striking a balance in communication helps. Empaths often carry too much overload that they end up feeling exhausted. 

2. Empathy

Empathy is the ability to understand, feel and share another person’s or animal’s thoughts. It helps us to understand and connect with other people. 

Narcissists exhibit empathy but are Manipulative.

Studies show that narcissists can feel other people’s suffering. But they often use empathy as a tool for manipulation. 

Narcissists have cognitive empathy and can quickly spot a vulnerable person. They use their empathy antennae to choose their victims. 

Narcissists like picking on people. They may appear to be teasing you at first. But it eventually catches up and becomes a constant. 

When a narcissist picks on you, everything you do becomes an issue. From whom you hang out with, what you eat, and the choice of your clothes. 

Narcissists tend to tell jokes that are harsh-liners and not amusing to other people. Their purpose is to diminish the other person’s self-esteem and boost their own. 

Reacting to the narcissists’ actions encourages them to continue their behavior. Reactions show the narcissist’s ability to influence other people’s emotional states. 

Empaths are Empathic 

Empaths have huge hearts. But sometimes, they give too much of themselves. They are constantly attempting to ease the pain of others. 

If they see a helpless person struggling to cross the street, they will quickly stop and help them.

It’s natural for a human to help another person and ease their suffering. 

But empaths always go a step further. They feel the turmoil that is going through the other person’s mind. 

Suddenly they find themselves feeling disturbed. An empath will think about a person suffering long after it has passed. 

3. Selflessness

Selflessness is the concern for the wishes and needs of others. Selfless people often put other people’s needs before their own. 

Narcissists are selfish 

Narcissists have a strong sense of entitlement. This sense of self-importance is another hallmark of narcissistic personality disorder. 

Sometimes narcissists tend to see others as an extension of themselves. They think that other people only exist to serve their own needs. 

Narcissists exist under the false belief that they are unique and different. 

Empaths are selfless

Empaths are often preoccupied with the well-being of others at the expense of their own needs. 

They are so focused on others that they often disregard their own needs. When engrossed in a humanitarian effort, empaths lose sight of everything else. 

4. Relationships 

Narcissists have superficial and exploitative relationships. 

A narcissist is very sensitive to criticism and is easily offended. They believe they know more, are always right and must be the best. 

When a narcissist is interested in you, they may appear to care about you. They will do anything within their power to ensnare you into their will. 

Their cognitive empathy enables narcissists to identify what other people like. They often project themselves as that person to keep the victim interested.

But entering into a relationship with them can cause you great emotional pain. A narcissist will only enter relationships because they want to gain from them. 

Narcissists are also envious. And they believe that other people are jealous of them. 

The narcissistic disorder is designed to avoid coming into contact with shame. Maintaining an inflated feeling of self-worth is necessary for narcissists to survive. 

This preoccupation with self-worth shields their ability to know their true needs. Narcissists tend to form relationships with people they despise. 

They often enter sexual relationships to please their egos.

For a narcissist, sex is about conquering and controlling a person. They want their partners to admire and idolize them. In essence, sex is a controlling act for a narcissist.

Empaths form Deep Relationships. 

A relationship between two empaths is usually very satisfying. This is because empaths always put their partner’s needs before theirs. 

Empaths tend to know their partner’s needs before they even ask for them. They connect with their partners on an emotional and cognitive level.

Empathic people are more sensitive to the emotions of others than ordinary people. In other words. empaths put themselves in the shoes of others. 

They identify other people’s sentiments and feel and process their emotions. So, empaths have deep and meaningful friendships that can last for years. 

Empaths care about the success of their partners. They recognize that success requires the contribution of others. They believe that helping others has a rebound effect which results in their success. 

An empath may experience envy for other people’s success. But they are not consumed by it. They are genuinely happy when they see other people succeeding. 

For an empath, sex is about intimacy. It is about letting someone in your life and being available and vulnerable to that person. 

Empaths thrive when relationships reflect genuine love and respect. They are also quick to reciprocate the virtues. 

Empaths invest their emotions and energy in a relationship, whether sexual or platonic. 

RelatedHow Super Empaths Destroy Narcissists

5. Contentment with life 

Narcissists are Never Contented with Life 

Narcissists feel empty and unfulfilled. Their mental health suffers when they are not complemented and validated. They often feel empty, restless, bored, and melancholic. 

Narcissists need constant praise from those around them to survive. 

Empaths are Happy with Life

Empaths live happy and fulfilling lives. They are capable of feeling gratitude. When they touch the lives of others, empaths feel joy and motivation.  

Because empaths are not self-serving, they are often unaware of their own needs. Their happiness revolves around the joy of those they love. 

6. Control

narcissists always feel the need to be in control. 

They are constantly unhappy and dissatisfied with the way life develops. So, they try to keep as much control as possible. 

Narcissists are always trying to change situations to their liking. Their self-entitlement leads them to believe they should be in charge of others. 

They have preconceived thoughts about how other people should behave. And they grow irritated when others do not act according to their expectations. 

Empaths are Often Submissive

Empaths do not like to control others. But they have a hard time setting boundaries.

When a loyal friend needs help, they have a hard time saying no. And when they do, they sometimes end up feeling guilty for it. 

Empaths recognize that other people need to contribute to situations. So, they always try to include their suggestions before making decisions. 

They do not have problems when their partners take charge of a relationship. They know what they are good at and will do it. 

Empaths also recognize other people’s strengths and allow them to take control. 

Related How Do I Spot An Empath Guy

7. Self-Reflection 

Self-reflection is meditating on your actions, words, and motives. 

Narcissists do not Reflect on their Actions. 

A lack of empathy and self-absorption characterizes narcissism. They are always looking outside rather than inside themselves. 

But self-reflection requires that a person steps outside themselves and observes their actions. So, can narcissists truly self-reflect? 

Some narcissists are fully aware that they are proud or arrogant. But they have mastered the art of manipulation. So, they constantly hide this awareness through manipulation and gaslighting. 

According to Dr. Claire Jack, a hypnotherapist and life coach, narcissists reflect their wants on others. If a narcissist wants to control you, you will feel that their needs are more important than yours.

In the end, the victim ends up feeling worthless.

Empaths Engage in Self-Reflection

Empaths constantly go into self-examination. They meditate about their general behavior and state of mind. 

Empaths have a constant need to be alone. During this time, they focus on what they have done versus what they should have done. 

This act of self-reflection helps empaths improve their relationship with other people. It also helps them focus on their goals and think of ways to improve them. 

The downside of this trait is that empaths are their own worst critics. They will go hard on themselves when they realize an error in their actions. 

8. Self Confidence 

Self-confidence is the attitude toward your abilities and skills. It is the level at which you have control of your own life and trust yourself. 

Narcissists Appear to be Self-Confident 

Narcissists think that they deserve the best, and they go for it. But they constantly crave affirmation and attention. 

Genuinely confident people do not need to prove their worth to others. 

Narcissists often manipulate other people for their gain. But confident people lift others to their level. They know their worth, so they won’t put others down to get it.

Often, narcissists do not accept their faults. They are egoistic. When on the wrong, they use gaslighting techniques to shift the blame to other people. 

Although narcissists appear self-confident, it is just a cover-up for their insecurities. 

Empaths have Low Self-Confidence.  

Empaths have low self-confidence because they have no emotional boundaries. 

They focus too much on other people. Their feelings and emotions often get interlinked with those of their surroundings. 

An empath who has not learned how to create boundaries often feels emotionally messed up. They do not understand why their emotions keep changing. 

They feel like they are on a constant roller coaster. These open fields make their sense of self blurred and unclear. As a result, empaths end up with low self-confidence levels. 

If you are an empath, learning the art of creating boundaries is essential for survival. 

Final Thought on Narcissists vs empaths

Communication SkillsPoorGood
RelationshipsSuperficial and ExploitativeDeep and Caring
ContentmentEmpty and UnfulfilledHappy and Fulfilled
Self Reflection NoneAlways
ConfidenceEgoisticLow Self Confidence
Differences between a Narcissist and an Empath

The most significant difference between a narcissist and an empath is their intentions. These two groups have different purposes as they perceive other people’s feelings. 

A narcissist studies others to figure out how they can use them. They manipulate your emotions and suck the energy out of you. The most important thing for them is to have their ego satisfied. 

But empaths perceive your emotions for selfless reasons, they want to be your friend. They care about your low vibes and want to create positive energy. 

Empaths want to create peace and harmony without gaining anything for themselves. 

Featured Photo Kamran Sabir

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