We know empaths as oversensitive, caring persons, who tend to neglect themselves for the sake of others. In contrast, narcissists are self-focused individuals with a constant need to victimize others. Yet, did you know that empathic narcissists exist? Well, this is one of the dark sides of empathy.
Let me explain how this works.
Empaths vs. Narcissists: The Empathic Narcissist
Narcissists fall into two main categories; overt narcissists and covert narcissists. An overt narcissist is an extrovert; expressing their self-obsession openly. On the other hand, a covert narcissist is an introvert, maintaining a shy nature while still manipulating others to get what they want.
Now, most empaths are empathetic. However, the majority of narcissists lack any empathy. Still, there exists a type of covert narcissist called the empathic narcissist. These are persons who present false empathy traits. They may look shy, humble, and sensitive to others. But in reality, they use these empathic qualities to play the victim and manage others to their benefit. If you feel that your friend or loved one is an empathic narcissist, these are the 10 common signs to cross-check: –
#1: Playing the Victim
As a manipulative person, the empathic narcissist will twist any story and appear the victim. For sure, this person grapples with an idea that is counter to what they believe is true. In turn, when quarreling, they may go silent. But as you think they are admitting their wrongs, they can resort to gossiping, belittling, or smearing, to get others to slay your character.
#2: Demonizing Others
Empathic narcissists want you to think that they are kind, caring, and of good aims. To do so, they will go to great strides to make others appear the bad guys. Indeed, any gain to them means another’s loss.
#3: Feeling Special and Superior
An empathic narcissist presumes a superior and special status that allows them to get their way. Consequently, they may sabotage friendships, procrastinate, shift blame, or give the silent treatment to get back at others.
#4: Passive Aggression
As a vulnerable narcissist, the empathic narcissist plays the victim in most situations. Yet, they use this chance to get hostile toward their target victims. For example, they will exploit others’ kindness in a queue to get served first. Or, tease others and make it look like a joke.
Here, the narcissist feels a superior and special status that allows them to get their way. As a result, they may sabotage friendships, procrastinate, shift blame, or give silent treatment to get back at others.
#5: Oversensitive to Criticism
Most empathic narcissists know that they are oversensitive to others and the environment. In turn, they are always defensive, trying to guard what they hold as true. Hence, any correction about their behavior offends them. They view any type of critique as an attack on their character; getting upset in the process.
#6: Shifting Blame
Empathic narcissists use projection to shift blame to their spouses, children, friends, or workmates because owning up to their mistakes makes them feel shameful. For example, when an accident occurs in the workplace, where a team was involved, the empathetic narcissist will play the victim card and let the rest of the team take the blame for the mishap. Like, they may say that they were unwell on that day and that their co-workers should be in charge.
Now, a confident person will be objective, focus on their affairs, while still caring for those around them. This person uses their freedom to uplift others. In contrast, an empathic narcissist is self-absorbed, to the point of overlooking the needs of others. Yet, they rely on those they neglect to affirm them. To this narcissist, the bigger picture is all about them.
Self-martyrdom refers to how persons twist the truth; create falsehoods, to get away with hurting or abusing others. For example, as a leader, an empathic narcissist will create the image of a noble and dependable guide. In turn, the subjects will trust this leader with their power, contacts, or money. However, the head abuses these rights and injures the subjects in the process. More so, when they get caught, they argue that their actions were for the good of all. Only, that bad luck interfered with the narcissist’s “noble” aims.
#9: Complaints of Misunderstandings
We all go through challenges. Hence, we share our experiences as we seek solace from friends and family. Yet, when it comes to empathic narcissists, they tend to complain that no one seems to understand their problems. Again, they want to make others believe that they are special and should have superior treatment.
#10: Skewed Reality
Most empathic narcissists are delusional and in denial of any alternative thoughts, beliefs, or social conditioning. That is, they find normalcy by creating a fictitious reality that suits their abusive behavior. For example, they will deny a needy child access to food, and reason that they were sticking to a strict budget. Yet, when you call out this act, they will lie, shift blame, or frame a different story to replace the truthful account.
Tips to Cope with an Empathic Narcissist
If you are in a relationship with an empathic narcissist, here are some tips to help you cope: –
#1: Practice objective communication
You need to get rid of any emotional manipulations that your partner may use against you.
#2: Know what battles to pick
Avoid responding to all provocations from the abusive partner.
#3: Allocate your “me-time” every day
An empathic narcissist can make you neglect your needs to the point of getting into depression. Therefore, taking your “me-time” every day is essential for your mental health. Use this time for introspection, meditation, relaxing bath, breathwork, or yoga.
#4: Seek professional help
Guided therapy will help you understand your partner, and how to deal with their behavior.
Empathic narcissists believe that they are empaths. In turn, they will want you to pay for their false compassion, kindness, and generosity. However, they are out to abuse this bond and leave you drained. If you suspect that you are dealing with an empathic narcissist, be ready for the emotional roller coasters. Set clear boundaries on what is acceptable behavior. Then, get help to build a healthy relationship.