Narcissists have a ridiculous sense of grandiosity, lack empathy and possess many narcissistic traits. The people they look for are often highly empathetic and have attributes like beauty, wealth or status.

“Narcissists need narcissistic supply, meaning attention, validation, and recognition from other people to fuel their grandiose sense of self. That means narcissists will naturally be drawn to people who are highly agreeable, who go with the flow, want to keep the peace, don’t like conflict,” says Chelsey Cole, psychotherapist and author of “If Only I’d Known: How to Outsmart Narcissists, Set Guilt-Free Boundaries and Create Unshakeable Self-Worth.”

Understanding the Narcissist

Cole says the danger is that nice people who always seem to go with the flow, are highly agreeable, want to keep the peace and don’t like conflict are the biggest targets for this toxic category of people.

They go after people who see the best in others and tend to overthink, are easily guilt-tripped, second guess themselves and have a compassionate heart. This means empaths or empathic people are the biggest targets as they show their vulnerability too quickly.

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Psychotherapist and author of Healing From Toxic Relationships: 10 Essential Steps to Recover from Gaslighting, Narcissism and Emotional Abuse, Stephanie Sarkis, says that narcissists get empaths to open up to them by sharing their own bad experiences, which often makes the empaths establish a kinship with them.

“Humans do social reciprocity. When you’re an empathic person, we tend to respond in kind, because this person just shared this stuff with us, so we are more likely to share our stuff when it’s too early to do that. Keep in mind: People earn our vulnerability,” says Sarkis.

Characteristics of Narcissists

Narcissists crave admiration, seeking people who can feed their ego. According to Chelsey Cole, a psychotherapist, narcissists usually target individuals who:

  • Are agreeable and avoid conflict.
  • See the good in others.
  • Tend to overthink and second guess themselves.
  • Are easily manipulated by guilt.
  • Possess a compassionate nature.

Empaths, or those who are highly sensitive to others’ emotions and feelings, often become prime targets because they show their vulnerable side too quickly.

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Why Empaths Become Targets

Empaths, with their deep sense of compassion, often become the primary targets of narcissists. Chelsey Cole, a psychotherapist, explains that narcissists seek out individuals who go the extra mile to maintain peace and avoid conflict.

Stephanie Sarkis, another expert, adds that empaths often share personal experiences too soon. Narcissists might divulge personal hardships, making empaths feel a connection. Empaths, in return, may share more than they should, thinking they’ve found a kindred spirit.

How to Protect Yourself from Narcissists

If you find that you have the qualities mentioned above, it’s essential to be cautious. While it’s great to be kind and compassionate, remember:

  • Take Your Time: Before sharing personal experiences or feelings, take time to know the person and evaluate if they’ve earned your trust.
  • Listen to Your Gut: If something feels off, it probably is. Don’t ignore your instincts.
  • Set Boundaries: It’s okay to say no. Protecting yourself should be a priority, even if it means not being agreeable all the time.
  • Seek Professional Guidance: If you find yourself repeatedly attracted to or involved with narcissists, consider therapy to explore the reasons and build strategies for healthier relationships.
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Being kind and caring is a strength. But, it’s essential to know how to protect yourself from those who might take advantage of these qualities. Stay informed, trust your instincts, and set boundaries to ensure healthy relationships.

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