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What Happens When an Empath Leaves a Narcissist?

A friend of mine asked me, “Ryan—What happens when an empath leaves a narcissist? What are they going to do in their future?” Well, that’s a great question!

Opposites are a good pair for one another, but how much can they attract one another before it all falls through? Ever since horoscopes became mainstream knowledge, personality types have been the new obsession of the times lately. So, as you would know, an empath coupled with a narcissist is a recipe for disaster, and yet these two individuals can be as firmly stuck together until the honeymoon phase ends. 

Psychological studies conclude that the feeling of empathy gradually decreases once the circumstances outstretch its spike of inflection, leading to the people-pleasing individual having zero energy left. Although narcissists can get some help and start their journey toward change, it is not the job of an empath to repair them. When they finally realize they’re not a match, what happens when an empath leaves a narcissist?

See also: Female narcissist traits

What happens when an empath leaves a narcissist: The narcissist will guilt-trip them

Narcissists are known for their manipulative ways and guilt-tripping tendencies. Naturally, the first level of separating from a narcissist will make the empath feel a tremendous amount of guilt. Once they decide to part ways, pack their things, and move, they will automatically feel bad about the relationship, themselves, and the fact that they left. 

Even if they try to cut off communication, narcissists will somehow contact them and beg them to come back. Owing to the sensitivity to others’ emotions, the empath will likely contemplate their decision because of guilt. 

Expert advice: Being in a narcissistic relationship can be very damaging. You may start to lose respect for others. Or certain behaviors of others that the narcissistic personality doesn’t value. Typically, the narcissistic personality will only appreciate those who serve them, not a mutually beneficial relationship.

The narcissist will receive apologetic and remorseful treatment from the empath

After all that guilt trip, it’s hard not to feel sorry for the partner whom they’ve known and loved for quite some time. Even if their personality was manifested later on in the relationship, the empath would fail to see the true nature of the narcissist. 

Consequently, they will think that they’re the ones unfairly treating them and leave, prompting them to feel sorry for the narcissist. Even if it’s alright to feel sorry, it should not impact the decision to leave because the longer they stay together, the worse it will get. 

Related: Signs a narcissist is done with you

What happens when an empath leaves a narcissist: The narcissist will attempt to get back together 

Knowing how the empath feels, the narcissist will put their magical powers to use and try to win them back. They can be very adamant and persistent when it comes to getting what they desire and will employ any emotional tool in the blend to get to their goal, whether it’s lies or love bombing. 

Narcissist enjoys the praise and validation they receive from someone who is sensitive to these aspects, so they will try their best to make them come back, even if it is through unethical choices. In some cases, the narcissist will even threaten the poor empath with harm, so it is good to stay away and avoid them after the separation.

The empath will recognize the consequences of the relationship 

The inescapable nature of this relationship is why these types of people shouldn’t date in the first place. However, there comes the point where the empath cannot handle any more abuse from the narcissistic partner’s end. 

They will realize how poorly they’re treated due to narcissists perceiving it as a transactional relationship, and empaths will desire someone with more caring intentions instead. Studies have shown that having a narcissist in their lives will lead their feelings to fade and become exhausted with the situation. 

Expert advice: According to a study by Nicholas J.S. Day, Michelle L. Townsend, and Brin F. S. Grenyer—screened participants described those with narcissistic personalities as having “grandiosity.” Or “having a requirement for admiration, showing arrogance, entitlement, envy, exploitativeness, grandiose fantasy, a lack of empathy, and self-importance.”

The narcissist will eventually move forward

Despite not getting what they want, they will be forced to find other ways to quench their validation requirements and perhaps move on to a new relationship. Their target is usually one that’s quite similar to their last, but someone less assertive and who they can dominate and portray their toxic traits altogether. 

They will leave their previous relationship alone and live in the moment with their current partner. This is an excellent opportunity for the empath to move on as well because there will be no obstruction. 

The empath will meet with difficulties but eventually move on

Although the empath acknowledges the good choices they made, the future is still uncertain to them, and this will leave them with a lot of doubt. After being with a narcissistic partner for a long time, they will find it hard to adjust to the normality of life without toxicity.

It may take some time for them to overcome this issue, but they will get used to not being bossed around. Once this ends and they’re in a better place, they might start anew with someone completely different from the narcissist.

Fact checked:
Board reviewed by Marianne Tomlinson, LCSW (Couples and Family Therapy). Content is rigorously reviewed by a team of qualified and experienced fact checkers. Learn more.

About the author

Ryan Sanderson (LCSW) Ryan is a game and relationship enthusiast who enjoys all things quizzes, games, fun, love, relationships, and family. He's a licensed social worker and helps families, couples, and children in need. He's spoken about love and relationships on Salon.com, Forbes, and Mirror, to name a few.

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