Weird title huh? How can an empath be a narcissist? … It just doesn’t sound possible.
But it is.
Empaths by definition are supposed to be so finely “tuned in” to others and their feelings and thoughts that they can literally experience firsthand (or secondhand) what it’s like to be another person. Narcissists, on the other hand, seem to only care about themselves and their own needs and interests, appearing to be devoid of concern for others.
But here’s the thing: being an empath doesn’t necessarily mean that you actively feel empathy towards others. And being a narcissist doesn’t mean that you don’t have the capacity to feel what others feel on a mental and psychological level.
When most of us think of narcissists we tend to picture obnoxious, extroverted and self-obsessed people, on par with many Hollywood celebrities. But did you know that there are actually two types of narcissism: the overt and covert? Overt narcissists are typically thick-skinned and openly conceited. Covert narcissists, on the other hand, are generally shy, sensitive and introverted. However, both share similar traits of a lack of concern for others, obsessive self-interest, blaming and criticizing, dishonesty and manipulation.
Finally, this article was written in the interests of self-exploration and self-growth, not as an actual medical diagnosis. Fortunately most empaths are empathetic, but if you suspect that you may harbor any borderline or obvious traits, you’re free to keep reading.
10 Signs You’re an Empathic Narcissist
For most of my life I strongly believed that I was a kind, patient, caring and empathetic person. This idealized self-image I had created for myself only served to mask the real truth of who I was: that of a self-centered wounded egomaniac who couldn’t truly empathize with others. Don’t worry, I’m not “dissing” myself – it’s the truth! And you know, sometimes I still can be self-centered, but I have improved a great deal since then. By the way, this breakthrough from unempathetic empath to empathetic empath was greatly assisted by Sol who shook me up and put the mirror of Clarity right in front of me.
Since then, I’ve come across a great deal of (what I would consider) empathic narcissists. And yet, at the time of writing this article I’ve never read or actively found information on the topic. So I guess this article is a first!
The greatest danger of identifying as a straight-out empath is that it can blind us to our darker underlying traits. Unfortunately we tend to assume that just because we’re sensitive and can “feel” what other people feel, we automatically become empathetic people who can truly understand and feel compassion/concern towards others.
This is absolutely not the case at all. And in fact, I believe empathic narcissism is more pervasive than we think.
Now, I’m not here to demonize narcissism. In fact, as one lovely wolf commented beneath my last article, narcissists can be like angels in disguise. Narcissists are catalysts of change in people’s lives: they stir up all the old wounds, scars and shadow elements in a person and force growth. Many awakened narcissists (i.e. those who have become self-aware) are also sincere about changing their patterns of behavior. So if you think you may be a narcissist, or have been “diagnosed” as one, just know that this is a “safe” place for you to come out and express your perspectives.