Empaths and Narcissists

Understanding energy dynamics in relationships is so vital to living a fulfilling and happy life.

Over the years of supporting lightworkers and empaths on their soul journeys, I have witnessed one specific relationship dynamic that operates as a block to activating one’s soul mission and enjoying the growth and expansion that is possible in life. This dynamic is the relationship between empaths and narcissists. Every soul mission journey includes addressing this relationship dynamic, noticing where this might be present in your life, and developing tools to protect your energy.


What are Empaths and Narcissists?

Most people that are attracted to this space and who find themselves here are definitely intuitive, sensitive, and empathic. So let’s define the energetics of being an empath.

An empath is somebody who doesn’t have a very large energetic boundary around them, meaning they are feeling their environment in a way that many people are not. They are sensing people, they are sensing things in their environment, things in nature, things in relationships that many people filter out. And sometimes they’re confusing the energy that they’re sensing around them within their own energy. For example, when someone in your life is having a bad day and suddenly you are aligning to that energy and your day takes a turn for the worse. So this boundary gets blurred between what’s mine and what’s somebody else’s. When we’re empathic, it can be challenging sometimes to figure out what is actually yours.

A narcissistic personality is a person who is very focused on getting their needs met.

Now what I want to avoid here is labeling these two people as “good” and “bad” because it isn’t always that cut and dry. I want to really stay away from labels and just look at this energetically. So a narcissist is a person who is self-focused, who is unaware of how their self-focus is affecting other people. From an energetic standpoint, they are usually somebody who does not have access to their own light and energy. Therefore, usually unbeknownst to them, they are taking energy from other people. 

I like to use the analogy of empaths being a gas station that has lots of gas pumps and lots of gas to give (gas meaning energy) and a narcissist being the car that comes to fill up their tank. The narcissist is often so used to pulling up to that gas station and being able to fill their tank, then they go off in life, they do their job and then they come back to the gas station to fill up their tank again. This often leaves the empath feeling like there’s no more gas there for them. 


The relationship dynamic

When someone doesn’t source their own light, and their own energy or they don’t know how to source that they look for other ways of sourcing that energy. Many times the narcissist is taking the light energy from the empath and the empath many times in this situation is also relying on the narcissist.

Empaths often feel as if the narcissist creates the foundation for the relationship.

So many times empaths can struggle a little bit with creating their own foundation, be it financially or just otherwise, so at the beginning of the dynamic it feels like, “oh wow, this person really seems like a solid foundation like something that I can stand upon with them and build a relationship”. However, further down the relationship, they are left feeling exhausted and drained. Which is, in reality, what’s going on, that person is draining their energy and the empath, because they have such permeable energy boundaries, is not aware of it because they believe it’s just the nature of the relationship. They often believe they are simply supposed to just supply energy all the time. That supplying energy equals love.  But what ends up happening over time is the empath feels depleted, and the narcissist needs more and more energy to go out and do everything they need to do. Eventually, the empath wakes up and says, “enough is enough, I am ready to take my power back”. When that happens the narcissist is faced with somebody trying to take away their gas. The narcissist then gets very nervous because the one thing the narcissist operates on is the fact that you don’t think as the empath that they need you.

I’m gonna say that again, the narcissist operates on the fact that you, as the empath, don’t know that the narcissist needs you. 


Reclaiming your energy

So when you call back your energy from the ways that you may be tethered into narcissistic relationships or really any relationship and you bring your energy back into yourself then you can utilize that energy in many different ways. This is the point on the energetic level where people start really seeing the greater possibilities for themselves and begin experiencing glimpses of their soul path. When you have truthful conversations about what might not be working, it’s going to reveal things to you. Some of those things may be painful or challenging to face, but be courageous!


Tips for reclaiming your energy

      • Start by letting those around you know, “hey I’m feeling drained” or “I feel like you are taking some of my energy”, and be the witness, watch how that person connects or doesn’t connect with you. 
      • Simply call your energy back to yourself, you can literally just start asking spirit or yourself to have your energy restored. 
      • Identify times when you feel your energy is being depleted and write them down so you can either avoid the situation or communicate your needs to those around you.
      • Do what you can to stay away from those who don’t respect your boundaries and who consistently drain energy from you. This may not always be possible but if you can minimize your interactions with a particular energy “leach”, do so.
      • Know that your life force energy is precious and beautiful, and you get to choose how you walk your life path.

Was this article valuable for you? I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments below.



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  1. Lorilynne powell

    Yes that is exactly how my last relationship was .it was very draining. So your saying i have to let him go. I dont know if i can. I have never felt such a strong connection before.. I dont want to .. ,but i know i have to..i dont want to feel that kind of pain.again. Here we go again.

    • Shanna

      I definitely understand and am sending you a lot of love. This dynamic between the empath and narcissist is a really strong hold. You have to listen to your heart and intuition for what is the right choice. It is hard sometimes to stand up for yourself and trust yourself to move out of a relationship that doesn’t feel good. You will always experience growth and new kinds of relationships if you listen to what your heart tells you. Surrounding yourself with people who are helpful and understanding can be beneficial during this time. Sending you lots of love!

  2. Marie Brady

    This is very interesting !!! I would definitely like to know More!!!

    • Shanna

      Thank you so much for your comment, lovely! I find this topic fascinating as well. Please let me know if you have any specific questions that I may answer for you.

  3. Marci

    This was so helpful! Can a person be both? A narcissist with one relationship and an empath in another (or earlier in their life?)

    • Shanna

      This is a fantastic question! The answer is no, an empath is never a narcissist. But an empathic person can take on traits from those around them, especially if it seems like those traits are going to ensure survival (in life or in the relationship). A narcissist has no awareness about their behavior. If an empath were to treat someone poorly, they will be very aware of it. They will think about it and feel guilt or remorse. A narcissist doesn’t consider any of these things. By virtue of an empath, just being able to be self-aware means they are not a narcissist. It doesn’t mean an empath doesn’t hurt other people or do things that are mean but they usually have a lot of thought processes around it.

  4. Ela

    It’s about my marriage, I feel like I can totally relate to that. Probably I’m the emphath who woke up and my husband (solid foundation at the beginning) narcissist. I want my energy back and on other side is resistance. What to do when you cannot avoid difficult confrontation?

    • Shanna

      Thank you so much for your comment. When you find yourself in the empath/narcissist relationship you want to strengthen yourself first, incorporating things into your life that you like to do. Things that build your energy. It can also be helpful to take some time away from your partner every once in a while – taking a breath, going out into nature, taking a class. Doing things that bring you joy will help to build yourself back up and restore your energy. Sending you love and light!

  5. Kate

    Very helpful information there…..

    I am an empath and have attracted many narcissists into my life

    Thank you

    • Shanna

      Thank you for sharing. It is a tricky dynamic and our energy is so precious. It is important for us to spend time doing things that bring us joy to restore our energy. Sending you love!


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