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.
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
- 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.
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.
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
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
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.