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Narcissist: The Evil Empath? The Difference Between Narcissists & Empaths
There are many similarities between these two and it cannot be denied that narcissists have some type of emotional empathy, otherwise they would not be able to zero in on the weakness of their victims so easily and with such deadly accuracy. So what's the difference?
The biggest difference seems to be that whereas empaths use their empathy and the resulting knowledge to help others in altruistic (meaning unselfish) endeavors, narcissists use this information for personal gain or specifically to hurt other people.
No one really knows how empaths and narcissists are created, if indeed they are. There is some evidence showing a correlation between childhood trauma and both things, but there is no definitive evidence either way and of course, correlation is not causation. That means that just because there's a link, it doesn't prove anything. Lots of people experience childhood trauma. (It's very important not to confuse empaths with codependents here, by the way. They are not the same.) It would not be remiss to suggest that it is a possibly contributing factor to the development of the empath though, and we already know it is one for the narcissist.
It is generally believed that empaths are born, not created and it may be that narcissists are the same. I personally am of the mind that it is nature and nurture in both cases. That is to say, I believe a person has a predisposition either way when they are born and their environment and personal makeup contribute to whether or not the "condition" develops. This is why you will have families where two children receive the same treatment by the parents, yet one is a narcissist and the other is an empath. One was predisposed to being a narcissist and the other was predisposed to becoming an empath. There are narcissists and empaths who faced no childhood trauma, and of course, there are some people who are neither empath nor narcissist despite facing a lot of childhood trauma.
As to why this predisposition is present in some people and not others or why some people are predisposed to one and not the other, that's an interesting question. It may be like any other trait. It may run in families, it may be the result of some type of mutation or any number of things. It may even be that it's the same predisposition or talent in both the narcissist and the empath but somewhere along the way it gets corrupted.
Both spiritually and psychologically speaking, empaths are generally very mature. They are what you sometimes hear people call old souls. The narcissist in contrast is generally very immature and underdeveloped, both spiritually and psychologically. It may be that empathy for healing is a gift that can only be realized with maturity. The immature human is very selfish and so is the narcissist. If it were the same talent in both people, this theory could explain why one person develops into an empath while the other does not.
Strictly spiritually speaking, we could perhaps say that the empath was touched by God and the narcissist touched by something quite a bit darker. There is a question about whether narcissists could be under a negative spiritual influence. It would certainly explain many things about their behavior and the feeling people often get from them. In fact, the underdeveloped spirituality of the narcissist, the emptiness and the absence of identity coupled with low impulse control, low insight and inability to control or even face their emotions makes them a perfect Target. They are also generally obsessed with power and this leaves them very open to temptation of many kinds. Of course, this doesn't mean all narcissists are "possessed by demons," but it does mean that they are generally susceptible to negative influences of all types, whether spiritual or psychological. The empath has learned restraint and caution through maturity; restraint that the narcissist in their immaturity does not have.