The Dirty Empath – Marriage Breaker
The Empath. Regarded as a paragon of virtue with those traits of honesty, decency, compassion, love devotee, moral compass and so on. All of which make the empath and their fuel output tempting prey for us. Yet within these virtuous empathic traits sit other traits, narcissistic traits.
There are four schools of empath (Standard, Super, Co-Dependent and Contagion) . Layered on to these schools are the empathic cadres (such as Magnet, Carrier and Geyser).
Each empath within the relevant school has both empathic and narcissistic traits. Some will have a small number of strong empathic traits with few narcissistic traits which are low in strength. Some will have many empathic traits which are moderate in strength and have few or numerous narcissistic traits which are all very low in strength. Some will have many empathic traits which are strong and numerous narcissistic traits which are moderate or even quite strong. The key consideration is that, in effect, the empathic traits keep the narcissistic ones ‘in check’ and thus the empathic individuals behaves in a way which is empathic with other people.
There are however two main instances when the narcissistic traits come to the fore. The first is through The Empathic Supernova which is when the empathic traits become ‘dialled down’ or eroded for a temporary time and thus the narcissistic traits come to the fore. The second instance is a permanent state of affairs and this is the cadre of the Dirty Empath. The individual is empathic, of that there is no doubt, they have those empathic traits, they also have narcissistic traits too, however one of those narcissistic traits remains strong and prominent throughout and sits alongside the fewer, weaker narcissistic traits and the various empathic traits of varying strength. This does not mean this person is a narcissist, not at all. It does not mean that this person is not an empath. What it means is that they are an empath but there is one (sometimes there might be more) narcissistic trait which ‘dirties’ their empathic status. Think of the empath coloured white with a black streak running through them. The DE is the class of empath and there are various Dirty Empath streaks.
One of the dirty streaks which runs through the Dirty Empath is that of Marriage Breaker (or Intimate Relationship Breaker). This streak is based on the narcissistic trait of selfishness.
This situation arises where the DE becomes involved with somebody who is already in another relationship. The DE is single. The other person is not. There are those empaths who would never have a relationship with someone who is already committed to another. The level of refusal varies from those who might engage with someone who is dating other people but would not if they are in a steady relationship and not at all with someone who is living with another person and is/or married, through to those who refuse to countenance any romantic interaction with someone who is engaging with other people, at any level.
The Dirty Empath will not actively seek out a romantic relationship with someone who is already married. If the DE knows somebody is in a relationship, they will not pursue that person as that offends the empathic traits of the empath. The narcissistic trait of selfishness is not so strong as to override the empathic traits and cause the DE to want to pursue and engage in a relationship with someone who is already taken, committed to somebody else and so forth. Such an act is the preserve of someone who is a normal (even then it remains unlikely) and is more likely the response of someone who is narcissistic (not an empath and not empathic) or a narcissist.
Accordingly, a Dirty Empath will not target, pursue and engage with a person who is already in a romantic relationship.
That point made, what are the circumstances which give rise to the Dirty Empath Marriage Breaker? There are three.
The common thread where the Dirty Empath Marriage Breaker (“DEMB”) arises is where the DEMB is targeted by the other person. The person will be highly narcissistic or more usually, this person will be one of our kind.
Addressing the three circumstances :-
The Ivory Response
The DEMB is seduced by the Other Person (“OP”). They do not do the seducing. The OP does not tell the DEMB that they are in a relationship and if the OP is (and most likely will be) a narcissist, the DEMB will be the Candidate IPSS or Shelf IPSS. The DEMB may well be strung along in this fashion, oblivious to the fact that the OP is in a relationship, for some time. They may have suspicions but as ever, the OP will use plausible deniability to assuage those concerns. In the usual style of the seduction of the golden period, the DEMB will be taken in and engage romantically with the OP.
You may be thinking that since the DEMB does not know the OP is in a relationship, was not the pursuer and has been seduced, is it not somewhat harsh to describe them as a DEMB? Possibly, but the fact remains that they are romantically entangled with another person who is in a relationship and thus that comes within the umbrella of DEMB.
However, there comes a point where the DEMB finds out that the OP is already in a relationship. This may happen whilst the seduction is ongoing, it may (more likely) occur when there is devaluation or during a period of being placed on the shelf. The DEMB having learned of this will not immediately walk away from the OP. They will, in accordance with their status as a truth seeker want to gain answers from the OP. The relationship will continue. The DEMB will also make it his or her mission to tell the spouse or partner of the OP what has been happening, thus they earn the epitaph of Marriage (Relationship) Breaker or at the very least, disruptor.
The DEMB will fail to get adequate answers from the OP. The DEMB will not however just retreat, upset and distraught at having ‘been played’ and lied to. This is where the DEMB’s selfish trait flares up. Their moral indignation at their situation must be attended to. They will not withdraw and allow the OP and his or her partner to mend matters and patch things up. No, the DEMB will :-
- Ensure the OP’s partner knows what has happened in detail and will encourage them to walk away from the OP;
- Ensure other people know about the OP’s behaviour;
- Ensure the OP is told precisely what a low-life, cheating bastard he or she is.
Once 1,2 and 3 have been achieved, the DEMB then walks away from the carnage caused and endeavours to remain out of the hoovering clutches of the OP, the OP now desperate to find a new IPPS since in all likelihood the actions of the DEMB have caused the narcissist OP to lose his existing IPPS and be looking at a fuel crisis.
Accordingly, the DEMB is not whiter than white because (unwittingly) they engaged in a relationship with an attached OP. They cause carnage through their response to learning of the cheating behaviour of the OP towards themselves and the OP’s IPPS (and possibly other IPSSs). They are not completely blackened however as their response has sought to achieve some good, albeit for selfish reasons. The DEMB walks away from the OP (and tries to stay away) and accordingly the response arrived is off-white, hence ivory.
The Point of No Return
Similar to the above, the DEMB does not know that the OP Narcissist is attached to someone else. The DEMB is pursued, seduced and falls for the OP. At some juncture, the DEMB later learns that the OP is with somebody else. This could be during seduction, when being placed on the shelf or through devaluation.
The response is not one of ivory however.
Instead, the DEMB has reached The Point of No Return. Such is their addiction to the OP Narcissist, such is their desire to keep that person as their own and ‘beat’ the OP’s partner, the DEMB’s narcissistic trait of selfishness rises to the fore, overriding the empathic traits and causing the DEMB to fight for the OP.
He or she will do whatever they can to maximise their chances of being retained by the OP over the OP’s Partner. The combination of the seductive addiction and their own selfish narcissistic trait means that they will :-
- Tell the OP’s Partner about their existence;
- Focus on winning back/retaining the OP’s interest;
- Possibly even smearing the OP’s Partner themselves in order to achieve their aims.
The DEMB’s usual empathic traits are outshone by this single, strong narcissistic trait of selfishness to the extent that they appear to have taken leave of their senses. They want the OP, they see that they should be the one who ‘wins’ the triangulation and they will keep on trying to secure this outcome again and again, even when placed on the shelf or devalued. Of course the OP may well find their relationship with their IPPS in tatters but will not be unduly concerned as the Narcissist OP will feed on the twin stream of fuel and either remain with the original IPPS and dis-engage from the DEMB IPSS or choose the DEMB IPSS instead and continue with the shelf arrangement with them or make them the new IPPS.
The DEMB in these circumstances has reached the Point of No Return, they want the OP and notwithstanding the carnage caused, the roller coaster ride which awaits them, they earn the title of DEMB justifiably.
The White Knight
In this scenario, the OP tells the DEMB that he or she is with someone else. Nevertheless, the narcissist OP will adopt the tactics of
“We are effectively separated.”
“We are only together for the children and lead separate lives otherwise”
“I am being abused.”
“It is a loveless marriage”
“I have tried to make it work but he/she just isn’t interested any more and I have not left because x, y or z”
“My wife doesn’t understand me.”
The DEMB adopts the role of White Knight riding to the rescue to save this poor OP from their misery, their banal existence or the clutches of the tyrant spouse. It is the familiar story of faked misery and abuse manufactured by the narcissist OP, the cultivation of the DEMB in the role of rescuer, the OP as ‘victim’ and the OP’s Partner as the ‘perpetrator’. The DEMB operates through a hybrid of empathic traits (doing the decent thing in rescuing the poor downtrodden narcissist OP, exhibiting compassion for this person etc) and also the narcissistic trait of selfishness because they want to be with this person, they want to ‘save’ them even though they are attached to someone else. Yes, they have been duped by the OP’s manipulative act and illusory behaviours, but nevertheless, the DEMB knows this person is attached and because they do not walk away, but instead engage in the relationship with the narcissist OP, they earn them mantle of DEMB.
Thereafter, this White Knight DEMB may be the Candidate IPSS and becomes crowned as IPPS, only then to suffer the devaluation and then learn the truth about the nature of the OP and what he or she did to the innocent OP’s partner. They may become the Shelf IPSS and find out the truth when they are on the shelf or possibly (though rarely) have been dis-engaged from. Once the White Knight realises they are not the rescuer, their response changes and they may respond with an Ivory Response or continue to fight for the OP, as per the Point of No Return. The fact remains, they knew this person was with someone else but they engaged with the OP and went along with the seduction despite this state of affairs. Yes, they may well have done so for noble empathic reasons but they also did so for a narcissistic selfish trait also.
Thus the Dirty Empath Marriage Breaker arises in three different ways, all of which either dent, damage or destroy an existing relationship between the narcissist (or narcissistic) OP and their existing partner.
9 thoughts on “The Dirty Empath – Marriage Breaker”
Hi HG, I have found your articles very useful not only to learn about narcissists, but also to learn about ourselves. But this last process might be more difficult… I have read your book about codependency, and I have some insight about how you recognise them.
But a dirty empath seems more difficult to recognise with no fault. How do you do it? (Because you say you pursue them).
I guess it has a lot to do with signaling, body language, etc. AmI right? What else could be?
What do you mean with regard to recognise with no fault?
A question if I may? Are all married men (particularly in the early years of their marriage) who “go after” single women, necessarily narcissists?
No, but they are likely to be narcissists or at least highly narcissistic.
I have just found out that the last Narcissist that used me was not single (which is what he told me). He was not married when we dated (although he has two ex-wives that he told me about). It turns out that he had a serious relationship with someone who lived 3000+ miles away. He not only hid her existence from me and the fact that he was in a relationship, he initially did not tell me that he would be moving 900 miles away in two months time! When he told me about his move, he did not tell me that he was going to be living there and buying a house with her! He told me that he was moving there as a single father with his children so that he could be closer to his mother because of her age.
When he told me about his upcoming move, he invited me to visit him and even said that he wanted to convince me to move there! WHY would he do this? I have not been there or talked to him for months because he is an asshole and I told him so. Lying about that move and using me was part of it. Since I have just discovered this information a few days ago (that he was in a serious relationship while pursuing me), my head is reeling. I found out that there was another woman just now and see her online – and she is quite the catch. Why wouldn’t he be satisfied with her? Why bother me? Why is he risking losing her?
I do not understand this and would appreciate your help, HG. There may be others with a similar (not identical) situation who may find it helpful, too. Thank you!
HG. How would a MMRN respond is a painted white SIPSS told him she knew he was married?
Thank you for all you do for ys
Likely to be Challenge Fuel. He may react with a silent treatment but more likely to play the “My wife doesn’t understand me/ we are more like brother and sister” pity play
H.G. on this subject of DEMB, what if the “de” was told a half truth by the “op” narc initially, example; the op & wife were married while she was in jail, she fled him never consumating his 5 year pursuit of her as she was jailed. The op tells the de he’s not sure if he’s even married or not. … they (the wife and op) have not had any contact in 4 +years (supposed fact). If she still chooses to continue the relationship with the op, does this put her into the demb status? If so, which one? I did try to get him to file divorce papers periodically throughout my relationship with him. Not that any of this matters now, just trying to figure some things out.
I expressed my strong feelings about cheating on this blog yesterday.
I found myself targeted unknowingly by a married man a year ago (dating site connection). I have commented previously on this blog about this situation. In a nutshell , the way that I handled it was the opposite of the last paragraph of this article.
I tried to help them to stay together by anonymously faxing to her printouts of his three dating site ads, no message attached, from a business services store. I first confronted him and his response was to change his phone number and hide. I kept an eye on his ads afterwards and he didn’t take them down. After weeks, I chose to clue her in that her marriage needed some attention. The ads were taken down that day and their home remains off the market a year later. I have stayed away from her and her husband.
I hope that they are doing well.