Every relationship is complex and varied, but when it comes to the relationship between an empath and a narcissist, it takes on a particularly intense dynamic. Representatives of these two personality types are like two sides of a coin – they are magnetically attracted to each other, but at the same time, they are destined to clash. 

Narcissist vs. Empath

To get to the stages of this relationship, it is necessary to understand what a narcissist is and what an empath is. A narcissist is the possessor of an inflated sense of self-importance, a need for attention and admiration, and a lack of empathy. Such people can be manipulative and controlling in relationships, as well as aggressive.

Empaths are often drawn to narcissists because of their ability to empathize with them. That said, narcissists often use this against the empath, pretending to care about them and then treating them poorly. It can also be difficult for empaths to set boundaries with narcissists because of their need for attention.

The seven stages of the relationship between an empath and a narcissist are as follows.

Stage 1: First Meeting

At this stage, the empath and narcissist are often unconsciously attracted to each other. The compassionate and caring empath is intrigued by the charismatic qualities of the narcissist. The narcissist, on the other hand, sees an opportunity to fulfill his need for admiration and control. From the outset, a powerful bond is formed that lays the groundwork for further action.

Stage 2: Taking Control

As the relationship progresses, the narcissist begins to assert his dominance. Manipulating the empath, he discreetly takes control of various aspects of his life – making decisions on his behalf, isolating him from loved ones, and creating a sense of dependency. 

Stage 3: deception/confusion

This is where the true face of the narcissist shows itself. He resorts to tactics such as “gaslighting,” where he distorts reality, causing the empath to question his perception and sanity. The empath, with their inherent trust and desire to see the good in others, begins to doubt their own experience. They become trapped in a maze of confusion and self-doubt.

Stage 4: The First Breakdown

Eventually, the empath begins to realize the toxicity of the relationship. The person may confront the narcissist about their behavior or try to set boundaries. This will cause the narcissist to become angry, manipulative, or ignore their concerns. This first breakup marks a turning point for the empath as they begin to recognize the need for change and introspection.

Stage 5: Begging and Reunion

In this phase, the narcissist may attempt to regain control over the empath by resorting to desperate tactics, such as begging for forgiveness or promising change. Even the hopeful and second-chance-prone empath can be lured back into the relationship despite their common sense. 

Stage 6: The Final Breakup

Having gained clarity and strength, the empath reaches a point where they can no longer tolerate the toxic relationship. People realize the damage it has done to their well-being and emotional health. At this stage, the empath must summon the courage to break the relationship with the narcissist once and for all, freeing themselves from the chains that have held them back for so long.

Stage 7: Liberation

The final stage represents the journey to liberation for the empath. It is a period of healing, self-discovery, and restoration. It begins to rebuild the empath’s identity, identifying its strengths and establishing healthy boundaries. Over time, the empath learns to distance themselves from toxic relationships and surround themselves with positive influences and sincere connections. After a while, the empath becomes more robust, wiser, and more resilient.

How to recognize a narcissist

They are susceptible to criticism and take it as a personal attack.

A sense of their importance characterizes them and exaggerates their achievements and talents. At the same time, they may claim to be experts in many fields, although this is not true.

Narcissists are preoccupied with fantasies of success, power, intelligence, beauty, or romance. They are convinced that they possess some exceptional qualities that set them apart from other people.

They are utterly devoid of empathy or sympathy for the feelings of others.