Being an empath means you have the ability to feel another's energy. Empaths can feel the emotions and feelings of those around them. They can tell when someone is lying, being fake, or has a hidden agenda. They trust in their intuition, and it never fails them.
Some people confuse sympathy with empathy, but they are not the same. When you have sympathy for someone, you have feelings for someone; for example, when you feel sadness and pity for them. An empath, however, can feel a situation from a whole other level. They not only feel for the other person, but they can also actually feel as if they themselves are going through the emotion. Sometimes it can be hard for an empath to separate their feelings and that of the person in their company, as they can feel it so strongly.
This can lead to empaths having a hard time around sociopaths and narcissists because empaths are so emotional. This makes them more vulnerable to being manipulated or influenced by the sociopath or narcissist. And because empaths are full of kindness and compassion, people often mistake these qualities as a weakness and use an empath for their own benefit.
You might be surprised to know that when it comes to sociopaths, narcissists, and empaths in the context of intellect, it is the empath that comes out on top.
Although sociopaths and narcissists are often viewed as having an above-average intellect, they lack so many characteristics that an empath has. Because of this, an empath will always come out on top when it comes to intellectual superiority over a sociopath and a narcissist. An empaths mind is razor-sharp, and they notice the tiniest of details in their surroundings, the energies, and the vibes. They pick up on things not visible to the human eye. They have a firm hold of reality, they are open to exploring abstract ideas, and they are incredibly creative. These are important characteristics that neither the sociopath nor the narcissist has. Empaths have the potential to make an empath a much more dangerous manipulator than either of those.
However, the big difference between an empath, a sociopath, and a narcissist is their values. Empaths are genuinely caring, compassionate, and moral people, and they are guided by values. Hurting people is not part of who empaths are, while the sociopath and narcissist don't think twice about any damage or harm they may cause by their actions. As long as it aides their goal, they don't care who they hurt along the way. Empaths are aware of their impact on others and will go out of their way not to inflict pain or harm on other people. Exploiting sociopaths or narcissists is something that wouldn't enter their heads, but if they decided to, they would be far more powerful with all the "extra" information available to them.
Although I'm not suggesting as an empath you should start counter-manipulation, but the reality is, it could be the best way for you to deal with a sociopath and a narcissist's behavior. You are not the "weaker" one in the situation, but be aware of your emotions, and what's being projected onto you by the sociopath and narcissist, that is where your real power lies. You can, in a sense, give them a taste of their own medicine, i.e., their behavior, and this can be enough to stop the abuse and manipulation from sociopaths or narcissists.
While going from the abused to the abuser is never encouraged, empaths should never hold back their mental power and creative abilities to counter any abuse towards them. See it as more a preventative measure to make sure the abuse doesn't continue and that you are clear you won't allow it to continue long term either.
If you are an empath that takes abuse from either a narcissist's or a sociopath's behavior, you need to know that you are smarter than them. You hold more power than they ever could. You have more "inside" knowledge. You are grounded with enormous intellectual advantages, and you do not need to stay silent when someone treats you with disrespect. You need to learn how to fight back because you deserve love and respect. Empaths can struggle with guilt. When they fight back they feel guilty about it. You should never feel guilty about fighting back. You take on so much of this world's emotions and problems; you deserve to be loved and respected.