10 Stages Of The Relationship Between A Narcissist And An Empath

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Understanding the dynamics of a relationship involving a narcissist and an empath can be quite challenging. It’s like riding a roller coaster with lots of ups and downs. In this article, we will look at the ten different stages that define these relationships.

It’s essential to keep in mind that a narcissist lacks empathy and is self-centered, while an empath is known for their strong sense of empathy and their desire to help others.

Stage 1: The Charmer and the Empathic Magnet

At the beginning of the relationship, the narcissist is often charming and magnetic, drawing the empath in with their charisma. The empath’s empathic nature makes them highly receptive to the narcissist’s initial facade, which is carefully constructed to mirror the empath’s desires.

Stage 2: Emotional Attachment

As the relationship progresses, the empath forms a deep emotional connection with the narcissist. They genuinely believe they can help the narcissist overcome their insecurities and provide the love and understanding they need.

Stage 3: The Cracks Begin to Show

Over time, the narcissist’s facade begins to crack, revealing their true self. They may exhibit manipulative behavior, selfishness, and a lack of empathy. The empath, however, often makes excuses for the narcissist’s behavior, blaming external factors.

Stage 4: Emotional Drain

The empath starts to feel emotionally drained as they continually give more than they receive. The narcissist exploits the empath’s willingness to care and support, leaving them feeling depleted and unappreciated.

Stage 5: Manipulation and Control

The narcissist becomes even more manipulative, using tactics like making the empath feel guilty, distorting reality, or emotionally blackmailing them to stay in control. The empath, who always seeks to keep things peaceful, becomes more submissive as a result.

Stage 6: The Breaking Point

The empath reaches a breaking point. They begin to recognize the destructive nature of the relationship and question their own worth. This stage can be emotionally painful for the empath, but it’s a turning point.

Stage 7: Struggling to Break Free

Escaping from the narcissist is a tough task. The empath’s wish to assist and make things better conflicts with the understanding that the narcissist may never change. They might try to leave the relationship multiple times but struggle to actually go through with it.

Stage 8: Healing and Self-Discovery

The empath eventually makes the choice to end the harmful relationship. During this stage, they embark on a journey of self-discovery and healing. They discover how to establish boundaries and make their own well-being a top priority.

Stage 9: Recovery and Growth

After the relationship ends, the empath starts to put their life back together. They pay attention to self-care, work on personal growth, and build healthier relationships. This stage is essential for regaining emotional strength.

Stage 10: Empowerment and Resilience

In the last stage, the empath gains a sense of empowerment and resilience. They come out of the experience stronger and wiser. They discover how to shield themselves from harmful people and develop a higher sense of self-worth.

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The relationship between a narcissist and an empath is a complicated journey with several stages. It starts with charm and emotional closeness, but as time passes, the narcissist’s real character is revealed. The empath goes through emotional exhaustion, manipulation, and control before hitting a breaking point. Breaking free from the narcissist is a challenge, but it paves the way for healing, self-discovery, and personal growth. Eventually, the empath comes out of the experience more robust and more resilient.

This journey teaches us important lessons about the dynamics of toxic relationships and the need for empathy toward ourselves. It reminds us that self-care and setting boundaries are essential for our emotional well-being. Whether you are an empath or know someone in a similar situation, understanding these stages can be a crucial step toward healing and personal growth.

Share Your Thoughts:

What are the stages of a relationship between a narcissist and an empath? Share your thoughts with us in the comment section!

  1. You didn’t say anything about the narcissist I think they break harder than the empath because they don’t see the truth until the break up happens

  2. The reality is often a lot more complicated than that unfortunately.
    The couple have a child or children together.
    The empath stays in the relationship as long as possible, despite knowing it is unsatisfactory, because they want the best for the child(ren), for them to grow up in a “normal” family and have stability. And deep down, they still love the narcissist.
    The empath stays longer than is wise, whilst the narcissist makes things worse and worse, breaking down the empath’s mental stability and health. The empath finds the narcissist turning the children against them by indulging the children and triangulating them against him/her.
    By the time they do split up, the empath is deeply traumatised and barely holding on to their sanity.
    After the split, the narcissist tries to get the empath back in their life, whilst trashing them to anybody they can, including their family. If they fail, all hell lets loose.
    if the narcissist is the woman, she does everything possible to prevent her ex from having contact with his beloved children. If it’s a man, then he makes life hell with all sorts of accusations and demands and even lawsuits and tries to wrest the children from her, saying that she is mentally unfit for the task.
    With all the stress and trauma both past and present, the empath struggles to keep going from one day to the next, whilst the narcissist enjoys their next relationship and even gets their new beau/belle to work with them against the empath.
    Eventually life settles down, but the empath’s health is permanently damaged and their life diminished severely.
    Well, that’s my own experience.

    1. Hi Peter – you make some valid points that resonate with me here. The injustice eats away at the empath and clouds future judgement as their entire axis has been challenged as they would expect injustice to be rectified and it has not even been acknowledged in many cases.

    2. Quite well said.

      Hopefully the empath has found a way out before kids etc.
      Nevertheless as a victim myself, this is a wake up call to look inside oneself. Why did you not see the red flags. Why did you not have clear boundaries, or did not keep them. Why did you not confront when you were gaslighted or manipulated. Why did you not take a timeout to see things more clearly. Why you did not trust yourself and your feeling.

      Narcissist is a victim of horrendous childhood trauma. Now you were a victim of that victim. It is good to see the bigger picture.
      Still no one should be treated in these ways. But as an empath it is an opportunity to become a healthy/healthier person yourself. Focus on you, and become more aware of yourself, improve and love yourself as you would love someone else on your place.

      Don’t wait the time to heal the wounds, work, so you will become more whole. Therapy, friends, prayer.
      And remember; This too shall pass…

    3. This is exactly mine too! I was with a male narc. The accusations have been unreal. Nearly finished in court after 3 years. He got married and his new supply has been on his side from the start. Thankfully the professionals have seen through him and his ludicrous behaviour, he refuses to see he’s done anything wrong and is still projecting the blame on to me and everyone else.

  3. That has been my case for the past years now I fell in love with a narcissistic lady who has messed up my life now I realise myself and wish to break up with I found out she’s pregnant for me and she doesn’t want to abort the child but I don’t wish to marry her because we were just in a relationship but she’s insisting I will take care of her to put to birth what can I do pls your advice will help

    1. It’s interesting, even as everyone know’s, women are the biggest narcissistic and self centered beings on this planet. But they are taff to hide it for example with the vulnerable narcissm. That’s not so easy to uncover. Instead to blame some one other they should take full responsibility for their decisions. Than they are able to avoid “toxic” relationships. Further they have to ask the question: “For what suits me this bad relationship?” or “What allows me this relationship NOT to do?”
      Think about that.

  4. Adding to hoomooji comment about the narcissist hitting hard and realising there error (or just cooing the empathetic person back)
    The empathetic feeling stronger and listening and seeing some kind of change in the narcissist considers going back.
    Don’t! ! Don’t be fooled again

    1. Hello,

      I’ve been in relationships where I’ve experienced this narcissistic personality. It can from many things like early trauma or combined with mental health disease. I wonder is it possible to have a narcissist heal & turn themselves into a better human with many hours, days & years of therapy? New support structure? Healthier relationships? I have never gone back to those people or in this case the person I had our daughter with. It’s been 16 years & I have seen minimal change. I’m no Saint myself but do feel more emotionally empathetic towards that situation & other relationships I have been in since. Very interested to know if narcissistic personality can change. Can it? I have yet to see it.

  5. Absolutely spot on. My daughter is an empath and spent 4 years believing she could mend her narcissistic partner. She married him and then the abuse really started and it nearly destroyed her emotionally. She lost all confidence and still felt she had to keep trying. When their baby was being traumatised by all the shouting and crying she left and after 2 and a half years is about back to her old self and son is a happy little boy. His dad virtually never asks to see him but makes a lot of noise to anybody who will listen that she keeps him from his son. These people are totally destructive and always believe that they are the victim.

  6. Well…. That describes my second marriage to the dot. The result – yes, I am stronger. But could not build any relationship after that. Just happy in my own skin and leave my life.

  7. Well right now I am an empath
    I want to break free from my relationship but every time I do I keep going back thinking he would change to be better

  8. Was going to say the same about children but also when you have to have an on-going relationship with a narcissist (in my case because of a child), there’s also the stage where they want to destroy you because you have left. Or was this more of a psychopath behaviour!? 😢

  9. This reads in a manner that the male is the narcissist… And therefore misses some very distinct nuances that are prevelant to a still strong minded male empath.

  10. For me it is the gaslighting. No matter what the issue you raise they leave you feeling like it was all in your mind and your fault some how. Even after leaving I second guessed myself but by the time I got out I was filled with so much relief I was in no doubt it was the right decision and now I am so peaceful and happy 😊

  11. The Narcissist intentions is to destroy your life after the break up. Do not allow the narcissist to have control over your destiny. They had control when you were dating, now they no longer have that control. It will seem near impossible to recover emotionally and spiritually after a break up from a relationship with a narcissistic, however with time and being kind to yourself, acknowledging that you are an empath and cared for someone that cares about nobody but himself / herself, you will eventually make peace with the unfortunate relationship and move on. You are not wrong for having genuine intentions in any friendship or relationship. You are a human being not an object.

  12. On the whole, this is very good generalization, but of course there are more variables that can also vary from case to case.
    In my case, it took 21 years and two children before I gave up, even though I am perceived as a strong and independent woman with a good career as HR director.
    In hindsight, the fact that I didn’t left already after the 2nd week was due to him treating me the same way my mother has always treated me, but I couldn’t see that.
    Lots of elements of physical and mental abuse. Always compared to others who are always better, etc. My mom has broken up with me 4 times since I was an adult and it’s always because of things she makes up that I said or did.
    Since 10 years ago we have no contact.
    My ex often accused me of things that he “felt” and because he believes his intuition is incredibly good, he assumed his paranoia was the truth. I have defended myself, explained myself and apologized for hours, days and months for things that never happened. Both against my mother and my ex.
    Even though it’s been 2.5 years since I left him, he doesn’t let go. He still goes out of his way to control and destroy me psychologically and financially and often uses the children as pawns in the game.
    According to him, however, everything is my fault. I am both a narcissist and a psychopath. It is also my fault that he had to beat me, that he became an alcoholic and that our relationship did not work. Unfortunately we have 2 children together so I have to deal with him as long as he lives.

  13. I believe that I combine some traits of narcissist resulted from my childhood while being a real empath too. This is very painful sometimes because these sub personalities fight each other.
    Why there are so many articles about how to be heal from relationships with narcissists but so little material how for narcissists to heal from narcissism?

    1. That is a very good point. My ex is a narcissist and gaslighting was his favorite activity along with pushing me down, wiping out my credibility, self-esteem and personality.
      I left him officially about 2 years ago. We have a 7 yo son together. I know he yearns for a relationship and still keeps hope to be back with me.
      I will never ever go that road since he has proven me over and over that as soon as he feels safe in the relationship in turns into some sort of psychopath.
      But I want him no harm and he is still the father of my son. Where could he find some help to break the patterns and figure out fixing his childhood traumas? How can a narcissist change? After all, we cannot just eliminate them from the question, they stay around, particularly if there are children involved.

  14. As an empath , that has been in that situation, and now is on the outside looking in at my how my ex narc acts with his current partner .. ( I’m still married to him with 2 children) but separated for 8years )he still checks I’m not with anyone else , but if I am , his attention turns back from her to me.. however if I’m alone and he’s satisfied with knowing hes not missing anything , so I guess, although estranged from the cycle, I’m still somewhat enmeshed in the void somewhere

  15. I have been in this kind of relationship for years and a few times he has almost broken me. Now, after thirty odd years I have realised I am the strong one and called him on all the bullshit. I no longer get drawn into fights I just simply ignore the gripes he has always used to make me stay down. Our relationship has stayed quite good because he – mostly – realised that I don’t care anymore and am looking after myself now. I have freed myself within the marriage and started again. I have rediscovered my strength and confidence. . I won’t walk on eggshells again for anyone. I do what I want and if it doesn’t fit him, too bad. If only I had realised it can be changed a long time ago but it’s happened now and it’s good.

  16. I’ve been through the whole experience . It was a roller coaster ride and after 12 years I finally had to let go . It hurt ..i felt broken .
    I’m going through the healing process now .

  17. If narcism does not come with self esteem but with an extreme lack of conficence, stage 1 can be en extreem appeal for compassion. The rest of the story fits mine, except that I did not end the relationship. I just stopped expecting real partnershipt.

  18. He is a victim of childhood traumas. I am empathic and helping family and strangers too. I have experienced living with psykopath from before. That makes me wiser and stronger.
    But when I am reading this, I see myself in stage 3. He began to emotionally drain me and I am making excuses for him and trying to show him positiveness and believing in us. This behavior came at the same time as remodeling the house we bought together. Is it possible that it’s just because of his stress from work, moving and remodeling with too little sleeping and resting? Or is it just an excuse?
    Best regards

  19. Spot on. This is pretty much exactly what I went through.
    He even told me months later that he tried so hard to get me and that he couldn’t keep “that up”, but I felt sorry for him and he kept tearing me down. I am so thankful my friends didn’t let me loose sight of who i am and would openly say I would be against them doing what I was allowing for myself. Truth. So thankful for a massive blow up due to drinking where I just couldn’t handle it anymore. I don’t drink anymore – now I don’t need to. I felt like I needed to to justify him and us. I’ve since repaired myself but it wasn’t and isn’t easy. But we can!

  20. There should be a number 11 and 12 for after the relationship ends. Because from what I’ve witnessed there really Is never an end to a relationship with a true narcissist, just an alteration to the carnage they create in the empaths life. And that is an understatement… a narcissist won’t let go until your destroyed!

  21. I ended my relationship with my narcissist ex partner in July and have managed to stay strong so far, I feel I’m currently in-between stages 8 and 9. He’s backed off and given me space since I made it clear however because he has some boxes of my things, I had to recently make contact to arrange to collect them. I have thoughts of missing him, the parts where he treated me so nice, but have to keep reminding myself of all the horrible ways he treated me and how the 6 year relationship has been such an emotional roller coaster for me, I was so drained and suffer from low energy as a result of everything. How do I stop myself from being drawn back to him when I meet him to collect my things as he’s made it clear he still has feelings for me.

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