Interactions between empaths and people with narcissistic personality disorder (NPD) may lead to certain types of negative relationship patterns. However, there is no current scientific research investigating this form of relationship.

Narcissistic personality disorder (NPD) is a condition that is characterized by a need for admiration, grandiosity, and a lack of empathy.

Empaths are people who feel more empathy than the average person. Empathy is the capacity to understand and share the feelings of others.

This article further discusses NPD, empaths, and relationships between empaths and people with NPD.

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Having NPD can cause issues or distress with interpersonal relationships and conflict. People with NPD may experience difficulty relating to and working with others.

They may find it difficult to recognize that some of the issues in their life are the result of their behaviors. As a result, they may blame others for those issues.

People with NPD may also experience:

  • fantasies of unlimited power, success, love, brilliance, or importance
  • a need for admiration
  • a tendency to exaggerate achievements, possibly without completing them
  • a feeling that they are special or that only other special people or institutions understand them
  • a strong sense of expectation
  • lower levels of empathy
  • a tendency to influence others for their own purposes
  • feelings that others are envious of them, or they may feel envious of others

NPD is a spectrum condition with characteristics from mild to severe.

A lack of empathy and unwillingness to identify with the needs of others is one of the signs of NPD. This is one reason people with NPD may find personal relationships difficult, especially with empaths.

Learn more about narcissistic personality disorder.

Empaths are people with a higher level of empathy than average. Various definitions of empathy exist. Experts often use the term empathy to refer to a collection of psychological effects.

However, experts generally agree that empathy is a person’s ability to recognize feelings in others and understand and share those feelings. Empaths also have the motivation to care for others’ well-being, coupled with their ability to recognize emotions.

People who are highly empathic may unconsciously mirror the actions and facial expressions of others. As empaths mirror or watch the facial expressions of others, they sometimes begin to feel similar emotions.

Learn more about empaths.

There is no current scientific research investigating how empaths and people with NPD interact in relationships.

Anecdotal claims suggest that empaths and people with NPD may often form relationships. This may be because people with NPD tend to need affirmation from others. Empaths are more likely to provide this affirmation and understanding.

However, these relationships can be unstable. Empaths tend to forgive negative behavior, and people with NPD may be unable to act otherwise. In both romantic and platonic relationships, this may create a repeating cycle of increasingly negative behavior.

Currently, there is no standard treatment for NPD. Some therapies can help people manage NPD and change their behavioral patterns.

Long-term psychotherapy is the most established and useful treatment for NPD. Mental health professionals aim to help people develop their self-image and change their relationships with others.

Types of therapies for NPD include:

  • psychodynamic therapy: therapy helps people to relate to others in different ways
  • cognitive behavior therapy (CBT): people identify and replace negative behavior patterns with positive ones
  • family or marital therapy: helps people with NPD in relationships improve communication and problem-solving in family or relationship settings

Doctors can prescribe some medications for symptoms of NPD-related conditions rather than NPD itself. These medications can help with conditions such as depression or anxiety.

Read more about psychotherapy.

People with NPD and empaths may form relationships that have certain characteristics. These relationships may have an unstable cycle of negative behavior and forgiveness due to the personality traits of both empathetic people and those with NPD.

However, therapies can help people with NPD change their behavioral patterns. This may help improve empath and narcissist interactions in relationships.