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Highly sensitive people and empaths are people with a genuine need to care for others. As a consequence, this attracts people such as narcissists. In this article, we explain the danger of this bond and how to deal with a narcissist.

Estimated reading time: 8 minutes

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Estimated reading time: 8 minutes

We All Know One, Right?

Well, who doesn’t know a narcissist? Most likely, every highly sensitive person or empath will encounter one sooner or later in their lives. Perhaps you have a narcissist in your family or maybe your partner or one of your friends is one? 

Due to the fact that narcissists are attracted to people who fulfill their needs, HSP’s and empaths seem to be the perfect bait for them! Like magnets, they attract each other. Why is that the case?

In this article, we explain how you can identify a narcissist, why the connection between HSP’s/Empaths and Narcissists might be dangerous and how you can deal with a narcissist in your life.

What Is A Narcissist?

So, before diving further in, let’s define what a narcissist is. According to Merriam-Webster, a narcissist is an extremely self-centered person who has an exaggerated sense of self-importance. Moreover, they think grand of themselves, generally lack empathy for others and feel a desperate need for admiration.

In addition, they feel that they deserve special treatment. To elaborate, PsychologyToday states that these characteristics are developed in early adulthood and must be visible in multiple contexts in order for someone to be diagnosed with narcissism.

For example, if you know somebody who feels this entitled and is egoistic both at work, in relationships and with family and friends, chances are that this is a narcissist.

Traits Of A Narcissist

According to MindBodyGreen, these are the common traits of a narcissist.

  • A sense of superiority and entitlement
  • An extreme need for validation and attention
  • Perfectionistic
  • A strong need to have control
  • Lack of responsibility
  • Lack of boundaries
  • Absence of empathy
  • Unable to understand the emotions of others
  • Take credits for the good things and blame the bad things on others
  • Have a strong fear for being ridiculed or not being respected
  • Unable to be vulnerable with people around them
  • Unable to work in a team, it is all about the narcissist

Moreover, the video below perfectly explains what narcissism is and what traits come along with it:

How To Identify A Narcissist?

While nobody except for health professionals can truly diagnose a narcissist, you might have some suspicions that somebody in your environment is one. Actually, it is good to be aware of that somebody possibly might be a narcissist, because you then can protect yourself from their behavior. 

How Do They Make You Feel?

For example, you can identify a narcissist by analyzing your own feelings and emotions after interacting with that person.

Therefore, ask yourself; how did that person make you feel? How did this person influence your self-esteem? What was the conversation flow like? Did the person show genuine interest in you, too? Was it all about them? Do they put you down and drain you of your energy?

Moreover, answering these questions will give you some insights into whether this person has some narcissistic traits.

How Do They Behave?

In addition, reflect upon how this person behaves. For example, ask yourself the following questions: What job does he/she have? A high power function where he/she receives a feeling of having a high status? What does this person do to you or other people around you?

Have you caught them in lying for their own benefits? Do they blame others for their own mistakes? Are they able to apologize when wrong? Do they love competition and winning to a point where it seems obsessive? All of these things might indicate traits of a narcissist.

Identified A Narcissist In Your Surroundings? What Now?

After answering the questions above, you might realize that you know a narcissist in your surroundings. As a result, it may cause you to feel panic and a need to push that person away.

In some cases, this is the only right thing to do, because some narcissists will rarely acknowledge that something is wrong with their behavior. In fact, they might even try to put the blame on you!

When To Ban A Narcissist From Your Life?

It is important to note that even narcissists have the ability to change. In fact, this article explains how a narcissist can change and is very resourceful. However, if you have a strong feeling that the person you know will be unwilling to work on himself/herself, it is time to say goodbye.

Nevertheless, they will not change without the help from an expert and they will most likely end up hurting you and the people around you. However, we know that this can be a tricky one for highly sensitive people and empaths.

On the image there is a closeup of a person standing near a window. That person is holding it's hand against the window, like it is lonely. It is raining outside. This image demonstrates the presence of a narcissist in someone's life.
Photo credits: Kristina Tripkovic

The Dangerous Connection Between Highly Sensitive People/Empaths and Narcissists

Highly sensitive people and empaths have a strong sense for helping others. In fact, helping the wounded souls and bringing them ‘back into the light’ is an unconscious purpose many highly sensitive people and empaths have.

While this is a compassionate and admirable undertaking, it sometimes is impossible to achieve this. Especially with narcissists! You can’t. fix. a. narcissist (on your own)!

Narcissists Love Your Help!

So while you are doing your best to help the narcissist by caring for them and almost smothering them with your love, a narcissists returns the favor with…*crickets chirping*… absolutely nothing. In fact, most of them use you to feed their ego.

Maybe you have recognized it already in a narcissist around you, but they often are unable to give. Consequently, they only take, take, take until there is nothing to take left.

Therefore, if you think that you can fix a narcissist on your own, please reconsider that thought. As mentioned, some narcissists are capable of changing, but this is nearly impossible without professional help and the narcissist being aware of their trait and willing to change.

What To Do When Pushing A Narcissist Away Isn’t An Option?

Sometimes it is not an option to push a narcissist (who doesn’t want help) away. For instance, this could be the case when they are family, spouses of your friends or co-workers that you can’t avoid.

Good news! It is possible to interact with a narcissist without giving in to their needs. To demonstrate, you being aware of their narcissism gives you an advantage that they (most likely) aren’t aware of! Moreover, there are different ways in which you can guard yourself from their toxic behavior!

Protect Yourself From A Narcissist

There are different ways to protect yourself from a narcissist and their energy:

  1. Ignore their behaviour: you can compare it to ignoring bullying – at some point, they will give in and pick on someone else.
  2. Don’t take their words personally: whatever they say, don’t take it personally! What they say is a reflection of them, not you!
  3. Set clear boundaries: communicate your boundaries clearly and if they are overstepped, show the narcissist the consequences of it.
  4. Protect your energy field: protect your aura through meditation and positivity. This will make it harder for negative energy to enter.
  5. Don’t fight with them: they will try to get you into fight mode and you should avoid at all costs to go there.
  6. Build up your self-esteem: having a strong self-esteem and constantly providing yourself with self-love will make it harder for the narcissist to get to you with their behavior and words.
  7. Write down what they say to you and how they treat you: narcissists will manipulate you and make you doubt yourself and your own actions. Therefore, it is good to have a record of what actually happened for you to not go insane.
  8. Don’t let yourself be guilt-tripped: a narcissist will try to guilt-trip you, because they know you’re sensitive. Be aware of this and don’t let it happen!
  9. Be aware of your own vulnerabilities: a narcissist will try to figure out how to manipulate you through them. First, they will build you up by complimenting you on your insecurities. In this way, you will feel that you need their recognition to have good self-esteem. That’s when the narcissist has you where they want you to be – in their control. Don’t let that happen. You don’t need their validation to overcome your insecurities.
  10. Ground yourself: by grounding your energy properly, you will not be swept away by everything that’s entering (or trying to enter) your energy field. A good foundation will protect you from narcissists.
  11. Stay educated: in order to be able to deal with a narcissist, it is important to read up on their trait and know how they tick. In this way, you are always aware of their behavior and why they act the way they do.

Trust Your Intuition

After reading up on this topic, you might perhaps have a strong feeling that someone is a narcissist. Therefore, trust your intuition, don’t give into their mind games and read up further on the topic.

Moreover, if you have encountered a narcissist and are suffering, here are some useful tips to heal from narcissistic abuse as an empath.

Also, we want you to remember to never lose faith in yourself and never. ever. allow anyone to destroy your self-esteem. You are worthy, you are good enough and you deserve only the best things in the world. Remember that!

If you’d like to learn more about this topic, you may want to read ‘The Highly Sensitive Person’s Guide to Dealing with Toxic People: How to Reclaim Your Power from Narcissists and Other Manipulators’.

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