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Empathic Narcissist: How to Recognize the Traits of a Special Breed

We’re told that a narcissist is incapable of showing empathy. In that case, what is an empathic narcissist? And does this strange creature exist?

Empathic Narcissist

Empaths are good people and narcissists are bad people. Is that something you agree with? Enter the empathic narcissist.

Total contradiction, I’m aware, but it’s something which actually does exist.

Simply a good versus bad situation?

The black and white statement above is something I used to subscribe to. Then, I delved a little deeper. Surely not every narcissist on the planet is bad. I mean, it’s actually a personality disorder. You can’t label someone bad when they have a condition they can’t control, after all.

Similarly, just because someone has the ability to feel the emotions of someone else, it doesn’t automatically make them an earth angel, someone capable of healing and the like.

We’ve been hardwired into believing a good versus bad argument when it comes to empaths and narcissists. While I’m certainly not going to sit here and say that being around a narcissist is a picnic *I know, I used to date one*, there is a grey area that I feel we all need to learn more about. [Read: How to set boundaries with a narcissist and weaken their hold over you]

The personality point

You see, personalities are never cut and dried and can rarely be put into strict categories. Just because someone is empathic, i.e. they are quite sensitive and take on the emotions of other people as their own, it doesn’t mean that they aren’t capable of narcissistic behavior on occasion.

On the flip-side, there are several different types of narcissists. We’re led to believe that narcissists are loud, proud, and strong. But there are many introverted and even shy narcissists out there. As you can see, personalities are difficult things to put into boxes.

So, what is an empathic narcissist?

An empathic narcissist identifies with both sides of the argument. They mostly believe that they’re a victim. They’re a victim of feeling the emotions of other people. And they view it as a very negative thing in their lives. But they don’t show much in the way of sympathy or caring for the people around them. They are centered on themselves and the pain they feel.

This isn’t all empaths at all. A genuine empath, an empathic empath is someone with a great sense of empathy and really cares. This type of empath is open to feeling emotion. They’ve learnt how to deal with it and manage it for themselves. [Read: How to handle a relationship as an empath]

A empathic narcissist is therefore someone who doesn’t appreciate their empathic skills. Someone who actually resents them and doesn’t want to be open to emotions. This type of empath refuses to feel vulnerable emotionally and puts up a wall. As a result, they show very little in the way of caring for others and certainly no empathy towards others.

Confusing, right?

It’s best if I highlight a few traits you might notice in someone who is actually an empathic narcissist.

8 common traits of an empathic narcissist

It’s important to point out that every single person is different. Don’t take the points below as a tick list and use them to diagnose whether someone is indeed an empathic narcissist or not. What you should do is use these signs as a guide and to inform your judgment.

We all display certain personality traits on occasion which aren’t really in-keeping with our character. It doesn’t mean we have suddenly shifted to another type. Personality traits are fluid!

A empathic narcissist will usually show the following signs on a regular basis.

#1 A generally negative outlook. A narcisstic empath believes the world owes them a favor because of all this feeling they have to do. This means their outlook is quite negative in general.

They’re more likely to err on the side of darkness in their thoughts than light. For instance, you might say “the weather is so nice today,” but they would turn that thought into “I’m so sick of it being hot.” [Read: How to deal with the Negative Nancy in your life]

#2 Jumping from emotional lows to acting above others. Narcissistic empaths really don’t have their empathy in check and that means they can easily jump between feeling upset and hurt, acting the victim, to playing the role of above everyone else. This victim and superior figure routine can be extremely exhausting for those around them.

#3 An inability to handle criticism. A narcissist isn’t able to handle criticism, whether real or imagined, and neither is an empathic narcissist. They will quickly become down, upset, or annoyed.

#4 The blame game. In the mind of an empathic narcissist, they are the victim. They have been handed an unfair deal by having to feel the emotions of others. As a result, they find it difficult to take responsibility for anything they say and do. Instead, always blaming the unfairness of life for whatever they do or don’t do.

#5 Becoming engrossed in their own feelings. An empathic narcissist can become so bogged down with their own problems and emotions that they cannot see anyone else’s. That’s quite ironic when you consider they feel the emotions of others. The lack of empathy towards other people *caring* is what makes them stand apart. [Read: How to spot manipulative people and stop playing the victim]

#6 Playing the victim to control others. That victim mindset can be used to the advantage of an empathic narcissist, They use it to control other people, and manipulate them into doing things they may not want to or to stay in a situation they’re unhappy with.

#7 “No one understands me.” The empathic narcissist genuinely believes that their problems are more important and special than anyone else’s. Theirs should be dealt with first. They also believe that nobody could possibly understand their empathic problems, because they are so unique.

#8 Feeling under attack. An empathic narcissist doesn’t view their empathic gift as something special, they see it as a curse. They feel constantly under attack from the emotions of other people, the energies around them, even nature. This leads to more of playing the victim.

These are some of the most common traits you will see from an empathic narcissist. Perhaps the most important is the fact that they simply don’t exhibit the same empathy towards other people that an empathic empath does. This type of empath cares about others. They might not appreciate being bombarded with overloading emotions, but they care regardless.

A narcisstic empath on the other hand feels burdened and doesn’t care about what they’re noticing about another person. In fact, they don’t really notice it, they simply see it as a distraction they’d rather brush off. [Read: How to start a new life and move on from the toxicity for good]

Are narcissists bad?

We demonize narcissists in this day and age. Simply because we hear so much about them in a negative voice. It’s vital to point out that a real narcissist, one who actually has Narcissistic Personality Disorder is someone with an actual condition. Something they are unable to avoid without help.

However, those suffering from genuine NPD are few and far between. The other narcissists are just, well, cold and uncaring.

That might be unfair. If you’ve ever been in a relationship with a narcissist or been close to one, you’ll understand why most people agree that narcissists aren’t the greatest people to have in your life.

[Read: How to stop being a doormat and gain control of your life again]

A lack of empathy isn’t something you would normally associate with the empath phrase, but an empathic narcissist is quite the special breed.

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Nicky Curtis
Nicky Curtis
Having stumbled from one relationship drama to another throughout her 20s, Nicky is now somewhat of a guru in the crazy world of life and love. Telling it how i...
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