Despite what many articles may tell you, I am going to make the very radical claim that empaths don’t attract narcissists. People with poor personal boundaries do.
I know, I know. There are a ton of articles that explain all the reasons why empaths and highly sensitive people (HSPs) are magnets for those with Narcissistic Personality Disorder, and many of their points make a great deal of sense. Those who have been subject to narcissistic abuse find great comfort in them, seeing their life spoken by another and finally feeling validated in their experiences. I love that many empaths and HSPs have come across these articles and used them to empower themselves out of the abusive cycle.
But the flip side is that these articles are only giving a portion of the truth, leading us to believe that by being an empath or HSP that we are destined to attract toxic people for the remainder of our days, which simply isn’t true. These articles continue to perpetuate the deeply held belief that puts us at the mercy of toxic relationships which is that we have no control.
Narcissists prey on people with poor boundaries. They prey on those who give and give without questioning. They prey on people who they can control through guilt and emotional manipulation.
And while many of these people may be empaths, it is not their empathy that makes them the target.
A friend of mine went through the cycle of attracting narcissists into her life. Over and over again they would appear as though she was summoning them in her sleep. She is still coming out of this and making slow strides. But she is not an empath nor a HSP. She simply had never learned to create boundaries.
My sister is the least empathetic person I know. She couldn’t tell another person was upset if they had tears running down their cheeks. And yet, she attracts narcissists left, right, and backwards and always has. They see her across the room and can smell her like a shark to blood. She’s not an empath, but we were raised by an abusive narcissist who stripped us of any boundaries we had.
I have another person in my life who is near and dear to me, and he is an empath and an INFJ. He was raised in a loving, healthy environment and has a strong sense of who he is. He experiences the energies of others and it causes him to have high levels of sensitivity, but he knows who he is. His level of personal boundaries has me in awe every time we speak. He is an empath and has never attracted narcissists. They have popped up in his life momentarily just as they do with everyone, and he is kind to them yet firm in his boundaries, and they never stick around.
An empath can have strong boundaries. They can stand up for themselves, know what their limits are, know when they are being manipulated and taken advantage of, and they can say stop without guilt. They can take full responsibility for their emotions and require others to take responsibility for theirs.
These empaths do not attract narcissists, and even if they do, those narcissists never stick around.
So, yes, empaths can attract narcissists, but it is not because they are empaths, but because they need to strengthen their boundaries.
Think of how amazing that is!
Consider these two statements:
Empaths attract narcissists. This statement implies that one of the best parts of yourself is destined forever to attract toxicity, regardless of what you do. You cannot get rid of your abilities and so you are forever a pawn in the narcissist’s game.
People with poor boundaries attract narcissists. This statement makes you realize that you are in complete control and there is nothing wrong with you. It is no different than recognizing that you have no clue how to play checkers but that it is well within your control to learn how.
If you are an empath and you struggle with poor boundaries, don’t attack yourself. You have spent a lifetime of being conditioned out of having and holding boundaries, but now, as an independent adult, you can create boundaries. And once you do, narcissists won’t even appear on your radar, because they just won’t matter anymore.
Boundaries are attainable at any point in your life. They are a set of skills that you can acquire and practice. Be patient with yourself as you build them and enjoy every moment of your growth as you take back control over your life from the fear of perceived uncontrollable circumstances. Any time you read an article that tells you that empaths attract narcissists, re-frame it and plug in these extra words to read: empaths “without boundaries” attract narcissists, then see how the whole meaning changes.
Where do you begin establishing boundaries?
In the Take Back Your Emotions program, I walk you through the steps to begin taking back your life amidst the energies of those around you, especially toxic individuals.
These steps have helped my clients free themselves from the overwhelm of emotions, establish and hold their boundaries without guilt, and begin to see the light in their gifts.
Don’t wait to offer yourself the same compassion you give to those around you. Head over and get started today.