Opposites attract — or so we are told. While this rule has potential to broaden your horizons, people who are poles apart might be drawn together for all the wrong reasons.
Narcissists, for example, are attracted to people they will get the greatest use from. Often, this means they pursue and target empaths.
Empaths are the opposite of narcissists. While people with narcissistic personality disorder have no empathy, and thrive on the need for admiration, empaths are highly sensitive and in tune with other people’s emotions.
Empaths are “emotional sponges,” who can absorb feelings from other people very easily. This makes them them very attractive to narcissists, because they see someone who will fulfill their every need in a selfless way.
A ‘toxic’ attraction destined for disaster
Judith Orloff, a psychiatrist and author of “The Empath’s Survival Guide,” told Business Insider that this is a toxic attraction which is destined for disaster.
“What narcissists see in empaths is a giving, loving person who is going to try and be devoted to you and love you and listen to you,” she said. “But unfortunately empaths are attracted to narcissists, because at first this is about a false self. Narcissists present a false self, where they can seem charming and intelligent, and even giving, until you don’t do things their way, and then they get cold, withholding and punishing.”
When a narcissist is trying to hook someone in, they will be loving and attentive, but their mask soon starts to slip. At the beginning they only see the good qualities, and believe the relationship will make them look good. This doesn’t last because narcissists are full of contempt, and they see most people as below them. Once they start to notice their partner’s flaws, they no longer idealise them, and they start to blame them for not being perfect.
It can sometimes take a while for the true colours to show, Orloff said, so she tells her clients to never fall in love with a narcissist. But this goes against an empath’s instincts, as they believe they can fix people and heal anything with compassion.
“If only they just listened more, if only they could give more,” said Orloff. “That is just not the case with a narcissist. It’s so hard for many empaths to believe that somebody just doesn’t have empathy, and that they can’t heal the other person with their love.”