Cold Comfort



It is a well-recognised trait of ours that we do not feel empathy. We know how to show empathy. You and others have exhibited this on many occasions so we understand the facial expression to adopt, the tilt of the head, the appropriate body language such as a hand on the arm or an arm around the shoulders. We have listened most carefully so we understand the phrases to trot out,

“I’m sorry to hear that.”

“Is there anything I can do to help; it must feel terrible.”

“I understand where you are coming from, believe me and just tell me how I can help you.”

“I know how you feel.”

“I would feel upset too if this had happened to me.”

I have watched people like you in action as they exhibit their empathic nature and I have scoured the internet as well to gather a few choice phrases there also. Put all of this together and our kind is able to exhibit a convincing display of empathy which will fool almost everyone. You will see this false empathy exhibited during seduction when we want to show you how we are a kind, caring and sympathetic person so you will feel drawn to us even more. We know the correct recipients of this false empathy as well, the sick, the elderly, the stray cat, the homeless, the earthquake victim, the child with the distended stomach because he has not eaten for days, the earnest looking villagers crowded around a newly sunk well and so on. Yes, I know all of those who need some empathic reactions and I will provide them in front of you so you are all the more attracted to me. So that I fit in.

It is, of course, all for show. I do not feel it. Not at all. Not one iota, speck or scintilla of empathy. Show me a report of some tragedy and my eyes will glide across the text as I register what has happened. Inside I feel nothing. There is no response. I do not feel sorry for the people involved in the aftermath of the hurricane. I do not imagine what it must be like for them and how they must feel. Certainly I am intelligent enough to know how they must feel but I do not put myself in their shoes. I do not imagine what it must be like for them. There is no pulling at my heart strings, a feeling of upset, despondency or even anger at the injustice they may have suffered. Of course as you seek my response from alerting me to this latest disaster I will form a furrowed brow, shake my head and issue some suitable words to make you think that I care. That is of course if I want your positive reaction whereby you look on approvingly at my supposed compassion. If I no longer seek positive fuel from you then I will use it as an opportunity to provoke you.

“And?” is usually a good starting point for drawing a reaction from an empathic individual to something terrible.

“What do you mean and? These people are homeless and injured. They live on a small island and have no power and no clean water.”

“What do you expect me to do about it? They shouldn’t live there then.”

“What? Do you really mean that?”

“Yes. Their choice. They have to deal with it.”

This will invariably provoke a stunned silence or protestations. You may follow me as I walk away asking me how can I not feel for these people. You may express anger or outrage and naturally this is what I want you to do. The fact is I feel nothing. If I see a charity appeal on television I am unmoved. I have nothing in common with the people who are requesting help. I cannot identify with how they must feel in any way. It is a total disconnection.

The situation is different with those who I interact with and especially those who are an intimate partner when I am devaluing you. If you are ill and wanting some support and those three dreaded words “tender loving care” I do not feel nothing. I feel an overwhelming sense of disgust and revulsion. How have I come to couple with someone so pathetic and weak? Why did I agree to live with someone who is sneezing, coughing and rasping? They are trying to infect me aren’t they? Trying to bring me down to their level. I know what their plan is and I will not be duped. I see no reason why I should waste my time and energy dealing with somebody like this. It is a drain on my resources and there is little or no fuel to be had. Moreover, the sense of disgust drives me to get away from you. I cannot stand to see such weakness, such illness and such infirmity. I must escape it and thus I will disappear, sometimes with an excuse and often without in order to avoid this horrific scene.

When you are upset, perhaps over a bad day at work or an argument with a friend and you tearfully explain what is troubling you, expect to be met with a shrug. What do you expect me to do about it? It is your problem, not mine. Sort it out yourself. If you persist pleading with me to listen and to help you then I become irritated at your commandeering my time in this manner. Do you not realise I have much to do myself? I cannot forgo my own machinations and fuel gathering to play agony aunt to your whinging and whining. Your pathetic concerns annoy me and you will can expect me to berate you in order to further your misery so I at least draw some negative fuel from your upset. That way the situation is not one which will be completely written off. If your upset is even greater following the loss of your job or a bereavement, we will show no regard for your feelings and indeed exploit your misery during our devaluation. We will take this opportunity when you are vulnerable to extract further fuel. That is what matters to us. We feel the need for fuel. We do not feel any compassion or warmth towards you and indeed your selfishness in concentrating on yourself when you should be attending to us infuriates us. We will suggest that you never bothered much with that family member when they were alive so why are you now getting upset when they have passed away? You cry about your sacking and we suggest that you deserved it because you were not working hard enough. We will extract that negative fuel from your tears, your hurt, your frustration and your anger and once that has been obtained we will leave you to it. We have got what we want and there are other things, notably other people we can better spend our time with, rather than remaining with you and being subjected to your self-centred pity. We know you find such an approach heartless and abhorrent but there is no hope for anything else. We do not feel compassion or sympathy. There is no need for us to fake it because we can draw negative fuel, we do not need to make you like us or admire us and provide positive fuel. This is how we have been created. This is the cold comfort that you will always receive from us whenever you have a moment of need, upset or anguish. Deal with it.

52 thoughts on “Cold Comfort

  1. Maddie says:

    did You ever as a child or teenager feel any empathy at all, dear G? x

    1. HG Tudor says:

      I don’t recall doing so. I did not as a teenager, I know that much. If I did when I was younger, I do not recall it.

      1. SR says:

        HG did you ever ask for help or insight from others as to why you were not feeling empathy or not like others? What percentage of your kind do you think are honest with themselves about what they are, and seeks treatment and help?

        1. HG Tudor says:

          Hello SR, no I did not do so. There is no empirical evidence available but I would venture to suggest the percentage is extremely low.

  2. Leilani says:

    Thank you HG for the deep info on empathy. I never read about it nor practiced it (my older sister rambles to educate me about it but it is so draining and I really don’t care for it although I guess I can sympathize- whatever that means- I’d rather be detached and be indifferent- me) unless I have to in certain situations and if you can even call it as that of our illusion because that is what I believe that it is, illusion at best.

  3. SBelle says:

    My current N often posts on fb about movie scenes at which he cries. Thus creating the impression of being a big ol teddy bear, a man on all counts yet deeply sensitive. Puke.

  4. Angered says:

    Yes, they believe they are the victim and they are always right in their “reality”.

    1. malignnarc says:

      Absolutely Angered.

  5. Hurtinforcertain says:

    They gotta be right about evthing all the time and they really believe they are the victim?!!

  6. susan anderson says:

    May I ask HG, how do you think – or rather, do you believe that you will ‘feel’ once your Mother or Father pass away?

    My XN said he is prepared for his parents death, though I believe he will change when his Mother passes. I have a strong feeling about this…

    And PS my XN told me to stop looking for attention when my Father Figure (G-Fther) passed alittle over a week before Christmas

    Guess who spent holidays alone and in complete devastation?

    One other thing – I noticed my Father would NEVER attend funerals. Not for anyone….He would say that he hates death and will have a shot in their honor…Do you not attend funerals, either – since you dont care about things like death of people ‘close’ to you?

    1. malignnarc says:

      My father has already passed away – you can read about that in the Confessions books. I attended his funeral since appearances had to be maintained. As for my mother, I have not thought about what I might feel, it won’t be sadness though, I don’t do sadness.

  7. bethany7337 says:

    I feel that rattled feeling as you describe perfectly the abrasive cold that the N blows so callously and without shame!

    My N did not let his true lack of empathy show until the relationship had ended and he was devaluing me. Oh, there had been signs but he was quick to cover them up with feigned emotions blaming his responses on a bad day or hang Over or or or.

    The first time something seemed off was when I opened up to him and shared a very tragic and heartbreaking story about something that had happened to my son many years before. We were lying in bed and I rolled over and began telling the story. I recall a certain look in his eyes that told of irritation and boredom and I felt so confused but finished telling it. He had to leave shortly after and later that evening I got a voicemail from him saying he was sorry…that sometimes he could be an “insensitive asshole” .

    That message made me fall for him even more…oh look how self aware he is!

    1. malignnarc says:

      It is all structured. If you had told that tale during the seduction he would have feigned a mask of interest and sympathy.

  8. T says:

    ……S had a huge problem with her fury… would come out of nowhere…and she would become verbally abusive as well as physically abusive….she was the worst!!! It was like she stepped outside of her body…..

  9. entertainment says:


    I feel awful for C and his family. I have a friend that did the same thing however here in California she received 4 years and did around 2 years. She never felt remorse all she could think about was self. Her bail was set at 500,000 all she could think about was raising money for her bail not compensating the girl that died in her car because she was drunk driving. She has an PD I don’t think narc but spath.

    1. T says:


      We have the worst penalties in California for vehicular manslaughter….. Thank you for your kind words….this post triggered me…your words helped…:)

      It’s amazing how these N’s only feel pity for themselves…that is how they fool us….because you just “know” they’ll have your back when it comes down to it…and then they don’t….

      1. entertainment says:

        Yes, I thought the minimum here was 5 years. Unlike you her 2nd passenger was a witness for the DA and testified against her. My initial feelings were they are all adults still with empathy:) and they knew she was drunk and made the choice to hop on the car with her. It wasn’t until reading your post it triggered my memory to her response and owning her part in this horrible accident. I see it as you committed second degree murder and she thinks people should get over it because some guys were following them (a invisible car) I think she was racing. For me we all make mistakes f*** up really bad but to not take ownership. Moreover, she continues to drive drunk, she’s in the south bay area. She’s in constant feuds with her family, a compulsive liar, and desperately seeks attention. Just got a butt enhancement and is almost 50. Extremely vindictive, but I would still classify her as more of sociopath /bipolar. Because her main goal is what can she get out of the relationship, she seeks attention but not at the level of a narc. Funny, in Psychology 1 my instructor said we would start looking at people different and start to diagnose people. Not true that was over 20 years ago, the classes that proceeded didn’t prepare me for these type of people. Sadly, my past relationships has resulted in me picking up some of the traits of the narcs/ spaths. The silent treatments, hoovering, and triangulation. However, I do it and cry for weeks and suffer from depression. There’s a saying you can’t tap dance with the devil. If I suspect the person is a narc I play it out, but in the end I am the only hurt.

        1. T says:

          They changed the sentence to 5 years the in 2007 I think…S was able to get the 3 year maximum because it happened in 2006. I was willing to testify against her…..but she took a deal.
          I couldn’t testify to seeing the speedometer…I was in the car and in the backseat and the speedometer was right visible to me….but I couldn’t swear under oath to seeing it at that time. I had a sports car at that time (Nissan 350 Z)…and I could “feel” how fast a car was going…but that wasn’t “proof” of speed….therefore they took Gross vehicular manslaughter off the table…and charged her with just vehicular manslaughter….that saved her butt!

          Don’t feel bad…I never spot narcs until the bitter end…thanks again for sharing and your kind words! *hugs*

          1. Freedom says:

            Bug hugs T
            Such a sad and tragic loss of life. X

          2. T says:


  10. T says:

    HG…do you remember the female narcissistic sociopath friend I told you about that went to her bf’s mom’s funeral dressed like a hooker?
    That wasn’t her LAST act of callous disregard in our circle…I wished we had all got off that easy….

    May of 2006 (I will call her S) S left her beach house in Laguna to come home to get some cash from her parents. She wanted to take her good friends out for the night on their dime…She picked up C and I and we went to a party and had a great time…well our friend C wanted to go downtown and continue the party. S was driving….and C was insisting we go….we all had been drinking.

    We were in a terrible car accident. It was in a safe car (BMW 5 Series), but it rolled several times…S and I were wearing our seat belts. C…was not. He never wore his belt…..when the car stopped he wasn’t in the car…I was in the back and in shock. Some people stopped to help and finally got me out. S wasn’t hurt at all….I got out and saw my best friend C lying on the ground….he had been ejected from the car…I lost it….the ambulance and cops arrived in minutes….S remained calm, cool, and collected…I was taken to the hospital…C was taken to the trauma hospital….S was taken to the hospital by the cops…not via ambulance like C and I. The cops told her she was in lots of trouble because C wasn’t going to survive this….that is when the calm mask on S came off!!!

    She threw a tantrum in handcuffs at the hospital…she cussed the cops out, accused C and I of coming out richer because of this because now we could just sue her?!! She told the cops none of this was her fault….she wasn’t speeding or drunk….she was both..

    C was dying…..I was critically injured…and she was only concerned with herself…. she made such an impression on the cops that they wrote every word down….they knew C wouldn’t make it…and he didn’t..he died that night….he was the best friend I ever had….the church was standing room only for his funeral….he was beloved…he died at age 31…because S was speeding….(they say drunk, too…but she didn’t seem that way to me).

    She was going 90mph in a 25mph zone. There was a hair pin turn and she didn’t clear it…..she tried to convince me it was due to a faulty tire she had on the car….but I remembered her speed that night…when the prosecutor called and got my story…I just told the truth…no more…no less….she then discarded me.

    I wrote the judge and told him I didn’t want her to spend one day in jail for my injuries….but she had to answer for C….she had to pay for his death. He had every word the police took down during her tantrum post accident…he gave her the maximum…which isn’t much in the state of California for involuntary vehicular manslaughter….3 years….
    C’s family accepted that as long as she learned from her mistakes in prison. She served 18 months because the state was broke.

    Her first week out of prison she attended a concert of a band C was fond of…his twin sister was there in his honor. S followed C’s twin around that concert and just smiled the whole time

    NEVER give an N the B of the D!

    1. malignnarc says:

      Thanks for posting that T. It is never our fault, it was the tyre’s fault, it was the lighting on the road, it was your fault for grassing her up, it was the prosecutor’s fault as he had it in for her and so did the judge, it was C’s fault for not wearing a seat belt and that was why S could follow the twin around with a smile on her face because she knew it was not her fault.

      1. T says:

        HG, she even managed to turn a few mutual friends against me during all of this. She became the victim…and I was a “bad” friend to her for not lying about the tire….after all….we’d lost C….why was I being mean by telling the truth? I did all I could…I wrote the judge and asked that she not do any time for my injuries……*smh*.

        Her parents were rich. Before she got to prison; they had put money on the books of all of her fellow inmates….and they did so every month that she was there….all prison did for her was get her lots of supply and lots of power….*smh*

        1. malignnarc says:

          Enabling parents. Do you know them personally?

      2. T says:

        I met the parents….and they were enablers. They had got her out of other charges…like spousal abuse (she beat an exbf with a cast iron skillet, various fights, growing pot). The prosecutor said if he could charge the parents he would have….they enabled her behavior….

        However, they were strange anyways….her mother would feed the family take out and fast food…yet she would cook the dogs high end steaks 3 time a day?! lol…they loved the power they had over those dogs…..

        The mother was an N I think….the dad was a brilliant rocket scientist….that hid in his work….. they had one normal daughter that married young and left home…but S and her younger brother were spoiled rotten and doted on…….

        1. malignnarc says:

          Interesting comment from the prosecutor, just as I thought, he had it in for the family ! Do you think that the mother and father had exchanges like this,
          Narc Mother “Oh for the love of God man, you have got it wrong again, it is all you fault, can you not do anything right? It is not rocket science.”
          Hiding Father ” Well, er, actually it is.”

      3. T says:

        lol!!! I could so see that, HG!

    2. mlaclarece says:

      That is a horrific story. I am so sorry you lost a dear friend so tragically.

      1. T says:

        Thank you, MLA! There wasn’t a day that went by for 8 years that I didn’t think about losing, C…..I guess I am healing…talking about it today took me back…*hugs*

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  12. mlaclarece says:

    Deal. With. It.
    Sounds like you can devote a book on that and instruct us on all the other things you find pathetic and weak about us. Sprinkle in some annoyances and grievances that infuriate you.

    1. malignnarc says:

      You have just given me an idea, well I mean I thought of it obviously but you have just reminded me, vaguely, about it.

      1. mlaclarece says:

        You can thank me with a VIP ticket to #Teamtudor in Vegas! You’re welcome.

  13. notquiteanarc says:

    This resonates with me, not because it reminds me of my N but because I relate to the lack of empathy. When I read or see anything on TV about disasters or deaths I skim right over it as if it’s an article on weather. I may having a passing thought of “oh, that must be awful or glad that didn’t happen to me” but no more thought is given. If something terrible happens to someone I’m close to then I do feel bad for them and will remind myself to inquire how they are doing. When my husband gets sick I almost become angry because it puts more of a burden on me. He will always point out how my demeanor changes whenever he doesn’t feel well and I act as if I’m being “put out” by having to pick up his slack around the house. I have no desire to cater to him and have to make a conscience effort to ask if he needs anything. I try to be a more caring individual but the fact that it doesn’t come naturally has always baffled me.

  14. Freedom says:

    Never a truer word said. My ex narc faked it so well in the early days but not so later in the relationship.
    It was the 10th anniversary of my dads sudden death I need some support and all I got was yes I’ve had a bad day to.
    No cam passion not even faked compassion.

    1. malignnarc says:

      Indeed Freedom. All that matters is how it suits us.

    2. Wow freedom ! That has to top the list of bad things a narc has ever Said !

    3. T says:

      I am so sorry, Freedom….my dad died the same way…suddenly…
      Our parents are truly our first loves and when they die…our heart breaks so completely it’s indescribable…it really is the worst pain a person will ever feel…..

      1. Freedom says:

        Thanks T, you’re so right on the pain and heartbreak at the loss of a parent. At the time I said to him one day you’ll know this pain. Now I know different all he’ll be sad about is the loss of fuel and the fact he’ll have to get someone else to run round after him. 😔

    4. TIsha says:

      Freedom, I get this also from my husband. My son passed away 5 months ago and at first when he saw me crying, he hugged me (very rare). Now when I cry there is no reaction…he MIGHT ask me what is wrong, and if I say that I’m sad thinking about my son, he has no response. I’ve become numb to his indifference.

      1. Freedom says:

        Hi Tisha

        I’m so sorry to hear of your sons death. No parent should have to endure the loss of their child. Narcs are so predictable and incapable of empathy or emotion. Unless it benefits their causes sending hugs 🤗

  15. Cara says:

    Yup. A narcissist learns the appropriate response to give in each situation so as to convince you they feel something (but they don’t). They’re very good at mimicking human emotions when they have none (well, other than the selfishness & rage that are at their core).

    1. nikitalondon says:

      Only selfishness and rage???
      Narrowminded a bit???

      1. Cara says:

        My mother (a narcissistic borderline personality) has proven time and again that it’s selfishness (everything, including her children, exists to he her property) and rage at her core. I’m not narrow minded but rather honest.

        1. nikitalondon says:

          Cara yes I agree. Borderlines can be very destructive and are completely egoistic and rage like i have never seen in the world rage… I had s friend like that…she is destroying everything around her. Kids, husband, friends…. Everything, no distinction.
          But this is different for narcissists with no comorbid BPD.

          1. Cara says:

            Fair enough

      2. Leigh Costain says:

        I’d say that rage was the only honest emotion my N displayed.

  16. nikitalondon says:

    Wow this could have not been better explained. Although I would say all of us who have had intimate relationships with an N somewhen notice this cold confort, you describe it in a way that finally I can ” feel” what the N ” feels” . My exhusband almost never faked empathy and I was speechless at the beginning how this could be. Like you say no feelings at all. He would come with a rational approach. N3 could fake it perfectly, but once in a while he would forget…. And it was so evident.
    I have somehow learned to deal with this because as its brain wiring some people have learned to live very well with this trait.
    I have a collegue who is autistic, beautiful woman, perfectionist, controlling of her work, and she was once chief of a a group and she was telling stories like she could not feel when her employees had problems, there is a work to be done and thats it. Your child is sick, lets find a solution. She had to announce that the wife of one of the colleagues had died of long term cancer, she announced it like normal bad news. ” its life, death happens”.,.,
    And although she is so cold inside, she is a great person to be around. Funny, intelligent. Everybody liked her.
    Just when you work with her, be aware of having lots of structure and organization and more or less follow how she says.
    We are all different and we have to adapt to each other. If you are born without empathy then you are born without empathy. Does not mean you cant hav a normal life.
    For an intimate partner becoming sick and facing the cold wall its hard though, one should look for solutions then 😃😃.
    Have a nice day HG. thanks for the good reading and explanation.

    1. malignnarc says:

      Thank you Nikita.

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