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Last updated on August 25th, 2023.

The relationship is a volatile and toxic one when a narcissist and an empath connect. No matter what kind of disguise the narcissist uses to mask their true selves, the empath will typically fall in love with them very quickly. 

The cycle of the empath and narcissist is that the narcissist starts by love-bombing the empath and making them feel special. Once the spell is cast, the empath is in deep. The narcissist breaks down the empath’s self-esteem and makes them believe they do not deserve to be treated with respect.  

It frequently takes a fair amount of time for the empath to finally see the truth. Look no further than this article if you want to know more about the narcissist and empath relationship cycle.

Article Topics

Narcissist and Empath Relationship

There is a cycle in the empath and narcissistic relationship, which is dangerous. The relationship is parasitic, and the narcissist will suck the empath dry. It can be exhausting, constantly apologizing and doing all the “heavy lifting,” trying to please your partner, and never succeeding.

The narcissist empath relationship is an unhealthy connection in which the narcissist takes everything from the empath, and the empath is more than willing to give everything up for the narcissist. The relationship between the two is often volatile and can sometimes even put the empath in danger.

What Does the Cycle of a Narcissist and Empath Relationship Look Like?

In a relationship between a narcissist and an empath, the narcissist will hold all the cards. The narcissist likes to maintain control over the empath. Unfortunately, given the selfish nature of the narcissist and the unselfishness of the empath, the narcissist will suck up all the love and attention from the empath while barely giving in return.

The narcissist could have had a bad childhood, a complicated history, or even a drug or alcohol problem. Whatever the case, the empath believes that they can change the narcissist and heal their suffering. Narcissists will take advantage of the empath’s kindheartedness and use it to get what they want from the empath, which is typically excessive praise or adoration.

The narcissist will typically begin the relationship by showering the empath with gifts and showing the empath their good side so that the empath falls in love with them. The empath believes that the narcissist’s “good side” is who they are. While it looks like the narcissist wants a loving relationship with the empath, all they want is to control them.  

Once the empath falls under the narcissist’s spell, the cycle begins. The narcissist will break down the empath’s self-esteem and make the empath believe that they are fortunate to have the narcissist in their life. The result is that the empath feels helpless in the relationship, as they believe they cannot live without the narcissist. 

The empath becomes consumed by the relationship, as their needs are being ignored, but the empath has fallen hard. They believe they can change the narcissist and heal them with their love. The narcissist, unable to change, does not reciprocate in the relationship, and the empath begins to feel alone.

When the Empath Begins to See the Truth

If the empath calls out the behavior, the narcissist will gaslight the empath, calling them crazy and telling them they overreact. The narcissist will make themselves out to be the victim. The empath may fall for the lies at first, but slowly, they begin to see the truth. If the empath attempts to leave the relationship, the narcissist may react in one of two ways:

  • Threaten
  • Lovebomb

The narcissist may threaten the empath or blackmail them into staying. They will do anything to control the relationship and keep the empath down. It could also go the other way, where the narcissist’s love bombs the empath until the empath gives in and decides to stay. Love bombing is when the narcissist lavishes attention, gifts, and praise onto the empath to manipulate them.

The tactic works until the next time. The relationship cycle of the narcissist and empath is complicated, but it can be summed up:

  • Narcissists and empaths meet and are typically instantly attracted to each other
  • Narcissist love bombs empath to make them fall in love with them
  • Empaths and narcissists come to depend on each other
  • Narcissist emotionally abuses empath
  • Empath decides to leave
  • Narcissist love bombs to make empath stay

As mentioned, the narcissist may go in the direction of threats or blackmail to keep the empath in their grasp. It often results in the empath feeling like they are trapped in the relationship but do not want to leave because somewhere inside the narcissist is the caring person they fell in love with. The empath has not yet entirely accepted that the caring person does not exist.

What Does a Narcissist Do to an Empath?

Narcissistic abuse is challenging to get away from, especially when the narcissist initially presents themselves as loving and caring. When the abuse starts, the empath believes that if they can only heal or change the narcissist, they can get back “that loving feeling,” and the relationship can be like it once was. There are many things that the narcissist does to the empath during their relationship:

  • They create a co-dependent relationship
  • They isolate them from others
  • They gaslight them and make them feel like they are crazy
  • They make themselves out to be the victim in the relationship
  • They demean the empath and lower their self-esteem
  • They manipulate the empath into staying in the relationship
  • When the empath leaves, the poor treatment they received can affect future relationships

Ultimately, the narcissist breaks down the empath to the point where the empath has to fight to get out of the relationship. The narcissist and the empath depend on each other for survival, and making a run for it is incredibly frightening to the empath.

Can an Empath and a Narcissist Be Together?

A relationship between a narcissist and an empath will often fail to work. If the empath sees the truth and can convince the narcissist to get therapy, maybe there is a chance for the relationship to succeed. Even though it is a good idea for empaths to stay away from narcissists, the empath can learn a significant lesson from the experience. 

They will realize that not everyone is trustworthy and to be more selective about who they give their heart. When a handsome and charming suitor with a great smile comes into their life and showers them with gifts and attention, the empath will be more cautious. If that same handsome suitor shows any signs that they could be abusive, the empath will quickly realize that they were too good to be true. 

Are Narcissists Afraid of Empaths?

Narcissists are not afraid of empaths. Narcissists know that they have it made with the empath, as the empath will typically do anything for the narcissist. There are, nevertheless, a few things that the narcissist is afraid of:

Lack of Attention

A lack of attention is a blow to their ego, which the narcissist cannot handle. If the narcissist feels that they are not getting enough attention from their partner, they may cheat. If they do not get attention, it can even make them angry.

Being Confronted

Narcissists never like when they are caught by someone, especially when it comes to their lies, and they will lie excessively. They do not like being seen as anything but perfect. If someone calls them out, they fear being found out that they are a fraud.

Not "Winning"

The narcissist has to “win” in every area of life. They must outshine everyone else and get recognition, even if they did not accomplish anything. They may even take credit for what someone else accomplished. They lose their mind if someone is better at something than they are.


Remorse means that the narcissist has made a mistake. They may know that, but they will do anything but admit to it. Remorse is a sign of weakness to the narcissist. If they feel remorse, they must also feel empathy, and the classic narcissist is not comfortable with or capable of genuine empathy.

Opposite Attractions: Boundaries Are Needed

Narcissists and empaths may be opposites, but that does not stop the instant attraction they typically feel toward one another. Empaths need to be aware that setting boundaries with the narcissist and generally setting boundaries is healthy. When an empath and a narcissist mix it up, the empath may need to set limits to keep their sense of self.

Who Are Narcissists Attracted to?

Narcissists tend to attract those who give them the attention they crave. They require constant validation to feel good about themselves. Narcissists are attracted to empaths for this reason. They know that the empath is kind enough to put up with the narcissist’s need for adulation. Research has shown that empaths are highly emotionally empathic, while narcissists are highly cognitively empathic.

The empath embodies many character traits that a narcissist is attracted to, as they are loving, kind, and generous. The other aspect of this is that the narcissist is most attracted to the empath’s most palpable quality: empathy. It is a quality that does not exist within the narcissist. Narcissists always know that they can get sympathy from the empath in every situation.

Narcissists will typically seek out vulnerable people to take advantage of. It is how they target their victims. Empaths fit the bill because they are genuinely caring people. The narcissist senses that the empath will do anything for them and always sacrifice themselves to save the narcissist.

Who Are Empaths Attracted to?

Empaths are nurturers. They like to help people, and sometimes the narcissist has problems that the empath believes they can help with. It is part of the attraction to the narcissist. However, when they first meet, the narcissist presents themselves with certain qualities that draw the empath in:

  • Confidence
  • Charming
  • Driven
  • Successful

Empaths like the qualities that the narcissist shows them at first. It appears that the narcissist is a great catch, but they are typically masking who they really are and how their ego rules them. The empath will often see a vulnerability in the narcissist, and they will often want to fix whatever is wrong. The empath makes it their mission to change the narcissist, and they believe that if they give them enough love, the narcissist will reciprocate.

The narcissist is typically unwilling to change, making the situation more appealing to the empath hooked on the narcissist like a drug, and the toxic relationship is their addiction. The empath is more determined than ever to change, heal, and fix the narcissist. Determine the difference between addiction and dependency in this article explained.

How Can You Recover from Narcissistic Abuse?

When the relationship between the empath and the narcissist ends, the empath may feel emotionally drained, depressed, and angry about the love that was wasted. Empaths tend to keep their anger bottled up, as it is shameful to them to feel this anger. On the other hand, Narcissists express their rage by deflecting the blame onto the other person.

Most empaths will suppress their anger until it becomes depression. They try to replace their valid emotions by attempting to put themselves in the narcissist’s shoes. They think that they can heal if they could just understand the narcissist. The empath typically believes that the narcissist’s actions can be explained. However, there is no good excuse for treating the empath like their personal property.

If you want to recover from narcissistic abuse, you need to allow yourself to feel the pain and work through it. You need to take your power back in healthy ways, including:

  • A good cardio workout like running, kickboxing, or some other form of exercise
  • Creating art like painting, sculpting, or drawing
  • Writing in a journal daily or writing poems
  • Volunteering for a cause you believe in, like helping animals or the homeless
  • Daily affirmations that are positive and helpful
  • Reading empowering self-help books
  • Listening to music that makes you feel free
  • Spending time with loved ones you were isolated from during the relationship

A great way to take your power back and find your sense of self again is through therapy. A good therapist can support you in working through your feelings and offer advice concerning ways to move forward and how to approach the next relationship. Through healing, you need to be patient and loving with yourself. It may take time to recover fully. Yoga is known to be one of the best practices to connect with yourself. Find the 3 key differences between yin and restorative yoga here.

There are also websites you can check out that may be helpful for your recovery. One site, in particular, has different narcissistic abuse recovery programs you can participate in. They each have different approaches to healing.

Some of the classes come with workbooks, video series, and exercises. There are many ways to heal from narcissistic abuse and various tools to take you on that journey. Whatever the case, the most important thing you must do is forgive yourself. The narcissistic abuse was not your fault. Find the 7 most influential self-help books of all time here to help you recover.

Final Thoughts

The relationship cycle of the empath and narcissist is like being on a roller coaster. The empath is in the relationship for love, but the narcissist craves control. Once the narcissist has a hold over the empath, it is challenging for the empath to end the relationship. Once the empath breaks free, they will need to do whatever it takes to make themselves whole again.

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