Lesbianne Musings

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Anne and Rusty

Relationship Bewilderment – Empath vs Narcissist?

Article from Elephant Journal – The Toxic Attraction Between and Empath and a Narcissist by Alex Myles:


I am an Empath. I’m beginning to think I might be a Narcissist, too, or at least have some of those traits. Recent past I’ve been attracted to reading all I can find about the relationships between Empaths and Narcissists. There seem to be a lot of those articles as it seems Empaths and Narcissists naturally attract each other.
I’ve recently been through a brief, intense and rapid relationship that was disastrous and I was left feeling bewildered, traumatized and numb with shock.
Both of us were deeply wounded as children, both have done a lot of healing work. Both are highly intelligent women who are well educated and have well developed personal spiritual practices. We have similar interests and life experiences, we were both looking for a long term relationships and we seemed most compatible. It started “going bad” with a small incident that lead to my being triggered and her being reactive, and vice versa. Crazy-making.
She seems to fit the description of a Narcissist with traits of an empath. One of the things about me she was most attracted to – my compassion for others. She told me early on that she was not a very sensitive or compassionate person and could not ever take care of me in any way. I didn’t see that as truth about her, or perhaps I ignored it. She said she wanted to learn compassion. I do think perhaps in therapy she learned she was a Narcissist and is trying to change to become a more compassionate person. (she said both of her parents were Narcissists).

I think I read that people who are suicidal are seriously narcissistic. Thinking about that I wonder if that was the subjective opinion of the writer, or if that is part of a profile. I’ve had suicide ideation all of my life during my bad depressions – does that make me narcissistic? (she said both of her parents committed suicide)
I’m beginning to believe that I will never solve or completely understand the dynamics of what happened between us. It is very confusing and I cannot see the forest for the trees, at this moment anyway. She said she didn’t want to hear what I had to say and that she wouldn’t understand it. I find myself longing for understanding, and that is something that is a character trait of mine – understanding other people. In trying to understand myself better I’ve learned that some of my qualities of INFP, Empath, and Gemini all have defining characteristics of communication is important and needing to understand others. The need to take care of, even sometimes “fix” others probably is about my being the eldest of 5, and being a natural born caretaker of others.
I think I’d be best off to let it all go and focus on Maitri, building my relationship of love for myself and taking good/better care of myself. I wanted to process and have closure of the relationship but she doesn’t want to, so I’m trying to find closure for myself, and trying to take responsibility for my part in the whole dysfunction that happened. People say Let Go, Move On. Yes my goals but not at all easy.

If anyone has knowledge of this subject please feel invited to shine your light here.

Elephant Always be Yourself Unless You Can Be an Elephant


  1. Christinadina

    hi, i just posted a reply to your comments under the article you linked. not sure if or when they might be approved, but i wanted to be sure you saw what i wrote. also, the fact that you are doing some soul-searching proves you are not a narcissist. they are not capable of true introspection, at least not for the purpose of trying to figure out where they might need to change. (they’re good at SAYING they are doing this, but not at putting those words into action.)

    i would recommend a book that changed my life called Psychopath Free by Peace. peace is a gay man who made it out of a destructive relationship with a narcissist. i have a few criticisms of the book, but for the most part, he is DEAD on with his descriptions, and also really good at describing the subtle things you felt but couldn’t put your finger on.

    best wishes to you…here are the comments i put on the other page…
    i think what’s missing from this article is a description of how a true narcissist “grooms” their target by zoning in on their vulnerabilities. they are chameleons who change to match their surroundings – i.e. they “become” the person you are looking for and convince you that you are soulmates in order to get you to let down your defenses (and toss aside your critical thinking skills.) they also play the wounded bird role in order to play on your sympathies, to distract you from how shallow & destructive they really are, and to get you to share your weaknesses – which they will put in their back pocket to use against you later. and they will also sprinkle in a little bit of truth – “i bet you wouldn’t like me if you really got to know me” but it’s a ploy to get you invested into proving them wrong. sounds like your gf was doing all of this to you: “i’m not a good person (hook) and i’ve never met anyone like you (line) – you can help me because you can teach me to be a good person like yourself (sinker).”

    • Christinadina – Thank you so very much for your most thoughtful comments. I am going to go to amazon dot com right after I finish this comment, looking for the book you mentioned. Your feedback re the behavior you saw in my description is great – I’ve not been able to yet get that kind of clarity.

      • I just ordered the book from Amazon. There is a new updated version coming out on Sept. 1, 2015 – quite expensive – I’m thinking that says a lot for how good this book really is. Thank you again, sanity here I come (I hope). It’s been rough, but then I am sure you know all about that. Best,

      • Christinadina

        oh, shoot – did you mean to say you pre-ordered the upcoming edition? or that you bought one for $50+ ?? i had no idea it was currently unavailable.

        the author does have a facebook page, as well as a website/forum. much of what was in the original book came from articles posted to the website. you can read a lot of the material on there: https://www.psychopathfree.com/content.php

        i messaged someone on amazon who posted a review in the last week to ask where they got their copy, and i asked on the fb page if they were available anywhere else. i’ll let you know if i learn anything.

        in the meantime, i’m glad you found my comments helpful (and sorry you are in this situation!)

  2. Christinadina

    p.s. here’s the fb page 🙂

  3. I meant to say I ordered the first book for a nominal price. I only mentioned the new one coming out in Sept. for the sake of sharing info –

  4. Christinadina

    oh, good! when i looked, i couldn’t see where the original was available other than through other sellers, and those were $50+ !! i thought you meant you bought one of those! (so weird, today i’m getting totally different results!) glad it worked out, in any event 🙂

  5. RachelAB

    Thank you SO much for this post, Anne, as it captures so much of what I am struggling with! I, too, found narcissistic traits in me as I was reading the Elephant Journal and found that rather disturbing. I know I have work to do and I am doing it, slowly and steady with detours, of course, and yet moving forward.

    Thank you, Christinadina, that this is actually one of the things that differentiates an empath from the narcissist: We actually do the work, not just talk about doing it!

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