The Cold Comfort

the-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.

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81 thoughts on “The Cold Comfort”

  1. Very accurate. Jesus, that was exactly how those conversations with my ex narcissist would go, too.
    “And?” ” What do you expect me to do about it?”…I never understood how he could feel that way. And, he was always successful in getting fuel from me in that manner as I was always frustrated with his frigid response when he gave this type of response (toward the end). He even did this when my old old kitty that was my mothers passed away. “what do you expect me to do about it?”

    Now, later on….when I started to become less energized toward the end before I left him (as he drained me good in the last months) I just exhibited cold fury back. I started showing signs of narcissism. I think this is a possibility too. My sis and I had this convo last night. It is almost like being sucked sooo dry, you HAVE to act selfishly, to preserve your self—like survival. And, being sucked so dry that the caring disappears…yes, fellow empaths, this does happen. Do you relate? I went through it for sure….and eventually, I ended up saying “and?” and gesturing with my hands to hurry up when he gave long speeches and giving the glazed over “I could give two shits” look. I think when it is adult to adult, it is a temporary state. However, when it is an adult with a child, the child is at risk for developing narcissism permanently.

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      1. Thanks for that reminder. He’s been emailing me for days wanting to deposit money in my account to “make sure your kids have a good Christmas” I was having a weak moment and for a moment, thought he was almost human.

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  2. Oh HG!!!!
    I couldn’t resist returning to your blog again for further clarification that I didn’t imagine my torture and that it was perpetrated against me by a personality disordered asshole.!!
    Your blog gives me the answers and keeps me strong, so I’ll continue to read your truths.
    One thing I know for sure now HG is that I don’t love, respect, want or need my ex in my life ever again.
    Peace is returning to my mind and heart and even though I know he won’t wanna open up Pandora’s box again at any point in the future ( by contacting me ), I can honestly say that I am so repulsed by him as a person by what he’s done to me that I would never want him again at any cost.
    Having you educate me is what I need, so I’ll stay here and continue to learn and grow.
    I can relate to so many of your posts that I gasp! It’s as if you’ve been a fly on the wall in my life for 17 years and you’re writing about it on your blog !!
    I owe you HG for waking me up to reality.
    Knowledge is Power. !!!!!
    It’s good to be back!

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      1. Thanks HG xx

        My ex used to say “not everything that comes out of my mouth is a lie”.
        That in itself was a lie because he was notorious for lying to me!
        But then it’d be my “paranoia” (gaslighting).
        Or he’d twist it (gaslighting and blameshifting).
        Why do narcs lie about everything HG?
        Do they like us second guessing ourselves all the time?
        Also I’ve noticed my mind isn’t as sharp as it was…. is that down to constant stress?

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      2. We lie about nearly everything in order to maintain the upper hand and ensure that the situation is twisted to maintain control, keep you confused, keep you emotional and maintain our grip. Our lies are used to reinforce our sense of entitlement, our lack of accountability, our inability to recognise boundaries. Our needs are paramount. Our lack of conscience, guilt and remorse means that lies are merely tools to serve us. You can read more in Your Fault.

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  3. Ive witnessed this personally. I do believe narcs dont feel empathy and that area of their brain didnt develop properly. Thats why the extreme end is psychopaths and serial killers. They thrive on negative fuel and pain.
    I am mystified tho bc with my narc he does feel empathy for animals. Hes donated to animal rescue groups and feels deeply for these situations. I recently got a sweet chihuahua and he just loves her. Hes showed her more compassion and concern than he ever has me.
    This used to upset me and now it just makes me wonder if narcs just dont ever trust other ppl and are afraid to. Animals are more predictable and wont let u down. Idk.

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    1. Interestingly, I asked a similar question about the love/empathy of animals the other day. Your theory sounds plausible to me. My N is even vegetarian. An anomaly I haven’t quite figured out yet. It sows seeds of doubt that he may not be narcissistic after all….. and then I remember all the other stuff I’ve read here that were like lightbulb moments, and I’m convinced he is.

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      1. Same exact way I feel about Count Dickula. That’s what kept me giving him chances, the “what if he’s not a narc and can be cured” thinking. But cured from what? Lying cheating triangulating assholism?

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    2. Dickula loved his dog and when it was discovered “Baby” had a tumor, he spent thousands of dollars trying to save him and was devestated when He died. I was with him throughout the entire ordeal. From the moment Baby collapsed in the street and The Count had to carry the 100lb rotty half a block while powering through a parade to us saying a tearful goodbye to him before they put him down. It was a traumatic event (among many others) which I was sure had bonded us. Not a chance. As soon as I left to go to my home three hours away, he was running hoes left and right. But he did genuinely love that dog.

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    3. I have wondered about that recently. I can see three reasons why a narc loves animals:

      1: A strong bond with an animal might have been the only emotional connection he had growing up in a narcissistic home. A dog would have picked up on the child’s anxiety and fear, and most probably would have offered comfort.

      2: If he ‘loves’ the dog more than you, then you are triangulated with the dog, to punish you. It is a form of silent treatment, and meant to show you that you are less worthy of love and attention than the dog in his eyes.

      3: A dog does not criticise him or talk back!! Though I have seen dogs who do, especially when it is bath time :-D. But generally speaking, all a dog asks of you is food and shelter, and in return, he/she will love you forever, listen to and act on your commands, and please you 24/7.

      And he will glance at his wife, wishing for a simple life where he rules and she obeys. Like the dog. 😀

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  4. Im not sure if im allowed to recommend other books here?
    Hg i really do value your books theyre very helpful and also interesting coming from a individual who has narcisdistic disorder. Very thankful u wrote them!
    Another good one im reading is psychopath free. I find lots of helpful tools in there to cope with narc abuse and understanding it as well

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  5. Dear Hg,

    actually my narc was very happy to hear about bad things happening to me or other close people. If my car broke down, I lost a job or had some serious tax issue, this made his day. He was very friendly and nice on this day, because I delivered such beautiful news. The same, if his sister or mother got bad news – He was happy like a small boy in a candy store.
    Of course only if the bad situation did not concern him – if it did, he became angry and lashed out about our stupidity and told us to solve the situation asap.

    I sometimes feed him bad news on purpose – storing them for the time, when I need some peace from his accusations. Or even making them up – I am guilty for manipulation here.

    He only shrugged, if something happened to someone, who he did not or merely know – for example if the husband of my collegue died suddenly – he shrugged and said: and? all people have to die some time.

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      1. HG, question for your consideration, I remember before, you had said that in death of a person, you would just miss that person’s fuel…so does fuel differ from “appliance to appliance” (person to person) or is all fuel more or less the same?

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  6. Your entire website is a testament to your proficiency of feigning empathy for the victims of a narcissist. Is their gratitude and praise for your pretense, something that feeds your need for admiration? It’s incredibly twisted but clever.

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    1. Interesting that you write that Witheld, I don’t exhibit any false empathy here. Never do I remark about how terrible somebody’s situation is or that they must find it upsetting. I do not bother because I do not care and here I deliver the truth, so I do not bother with that layer. Their gratitude and praise for my work which they find enlightening and useful is naturally welcome and whilst only a low amount of fuel, it is still good to garner it.

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    2. Mr. Tudor’s words are true Withheld. He will not offer a shoulder, tissue, or concern for our sob stories. He dishes it out cold as ice. No sugar coating. We praise him for the truth. He’s the first one to finally give it to us. As for me, I’m just grateful to be in his company.

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  7. Fascinating how you assume that you are invincible and immortal, HG! :-D.

    What if you fell life-threateningly ill and she would leave and never look back after years of abuse at your hands… what if you had an accident and were at death’s door, all alone and scared, alienated from everyone who has ever loved you, and that would be your own fault… what if you died on the operating table, and doctors resuscitated you at the last moment … would that not change your outlook on life, would you not try to make things right if you survived any of these scenarios?

    What the hell does it take to bring this half-dead man back to life?!

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    1. I am unlikely to fall ill as you describe, i am in rude health, but I shall play along.
      One she is unlikely to leave, she is an empath after all and specifically chosen to give me what I need, thus the prospects of treachery are reduced. Two, if she did, another would be recruited. I have contingencies.
      If I had an accident and I was on my own, I would telephone for help, there will always be somebody who would help – from the IPPS, the IPSS, NISS to tertiary sources.
      I would not alienate everybody. I am not stupid.
      If I ‘died’ and was brought back to life by a skilled surgeon (who is probably one of our kind) that would just confirm my sense of invulnerability and omnipotence.
      I am designed to be like this Matilda in order to survive. My perspective is different from yours, hence that is why you think in terms of those scenarios and your questioned and points are fair ones to advance, but they do not apply to me for the explanations given. Thank you for asking.

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      1. Yay! You said you’d phone a tertiary. I hope that’s me! I will be there lickety-split. I would never leave you!
        And you are absolutely right, all surgeons are narcissists. I worked in surgery for 5 years. Wooosh. Talk about epic ego clashes. There are even ranks among the specialties. Neurosurgery is at the top. When a neurosurgeon walks in a room, clouds part, angels sing, light beams on them, and we mere mortals kneel down in reverence and awe.

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    1. Hey Love my Dad was a neurosurgeon how funny, and yes a narc, can’t believe you said that freaking excellent.

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      1. Hi Mrs. Linton. Well at least you know your father was a Greater narc. My understanding is there are not too many Greaters in the world. If we have to have a narc in our life, might as well have the best 😉

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  8. Ah, this is spot on. I didn’t really notice my exN’s reactions to things like this… it was actually my best friend who noticed his lack of ANY empathy when my father was in a coma, extremely ill and my siblings were requesting my presence as they didn’t know his outcome.
    I remember him telling me that life goes on so stop crying and his insistent whining about what the heck is he supposed to do. I already knew he lacked “family closeness” and I didn’t expect him to feel anything for a man he didn’t really know. Really, I expected nothing from him. I didn’t need words and not his emotionless words. I suppose I am so used to self soothing that I dismissed his reaction towards my sadness. It was easier to just lay in bed, watch a movie and let him hold me…

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  9. You are right about showing false empathy in the seduction period. That is the one time where I got it. I was having a bad day and she made a special trip to my house to see me. She was very comforting that day and the only time she held me when I was crying.
    All the other times I cried she watched and I never understood how she could sit there like that when she was the one who made me cry all the time.
    Her fake empathy was a big part of her facade. That was one of the reasons I trusted her. All of the elderly people loved her at the gym and that’s one of the reasons I thought she was a good person. She helped them and was supportive to them. She was only concerned with the fuel she got from them. That also explains how she was able to move to another location and not be concerned about not seeing these people again. She really never cared about them in the first place. This is why it’s so easy for her to dispose of people.
    She also pretends to support some some organizations on her FB but that’s false too. She just posted how her prayers go out to the Ohio State students after the attacks just happened. I know she doesn’t care but it looks good to other people.

    Your explanations on how you are able to mimic empathy are excellent HG! She learned well.

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    1. Very true Snow. Social media makes it ridiculously easy to show fake empathy.
      A tragedy has occurred? Great, let me update my profile pic to pretend I’m compassionate and in solidarity with these people… Whoever they are.
      It doesn’t matter if I have no understanding of what has occurred or where it even is geographically, I will just add the right colors or logo to my profile and viola, I’m empathetic.

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      1. So good Love!!!
        You just painted a picture of her on social media.
        I always knew people could be anybody on the web but had no idea that there was this group of narcissists with their own agenda.
        I’m still telling people about the jump offs that I learned about here. Lol
        I learn so much here. ❤️❤️❤️❤️

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      2. Awwwww, I’m so flattered Snow!
        I have been off social media for years, but my narcs were very active. I would laugh sometimes at their silly antics. One had no grasp on political issues (I know, not my most shining moment, he was somatic eye candy), yet he decided to blackout his profile because he saw others do it. If you were to ask him what cause he was representing, he’d have no clue. Of course being a somatic, the blackout only lasted half a day. My narcs knew I was not on social media, so to keep me in the loop, I would be forwarded all selfies posted on FB and IG. And I didn’t even ask for them. Generous fellas.

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  10. Withheld brutal truth is what is needed HG brings this. You won’t find the coddling here from him due to he isn’t an empath running this forum.
    There is only one way to bring this perspective into light and it needed to be from one that has perfected the craft.
    HG is that man.
    Where does it say we have to hate him for what he represents, that is projecting the anger and hurt on to one that has done nothing to you.
    I for one am thankful to have someone that actually knows and can answer the why’s.

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    1. I agre. DFA,
      I need the brutal truth and that is what I’ve gotten here. My therapist is learning at the speed I am. I respect her for wanting to learn more and trying to understand but she would have never been able to answer all the questions that I have. I continue to have them. Even when I don’t like some of HGs’ answers I need it. It’s the only thing that has kept me from going back to a situation that I don’t need to be anywhere near. He saved my life with his truthful answers. No coddling needed here. But I do enjoy the humor that comes with the seriousness. It does lighten up my tears on some days.

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  11. What about animal cruelty ? If you were to see a puppy in the street starving and had on leg cut off what would you do ?

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  12. I truly hope you’d help the injured puppy HG. I spent this morning helping to return a neighbor’s tiny dog who was lost. It only took a few minutes, didn’t cost a thing, and was no trouble. And helping the dog made me feel better. Plus, when I returned it to the neighbor it made her happy. And my whole day is better now. You get plenty of “fuel” when you help, HG. It makes others happy and thankful.
    Honest!

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      1. HG, there is wisdom with what Hope says…when someone compliments you about your work for helping empaths, do you receive fuel from that? Like when someone looks you eye to eye and says with gratitude with trodden tears, “Your work saved me from a really bad situation” and gives you the biggest non-physical hug (since you don’t like to be touched) – does that not prove you with fuel?

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  13. HG what is your response on your kind following demonic influence, or havings demons? I’m sure you’ve been presented with this before. I think my abuser was totally demonic.

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  14. I still to this day have to work with one of my narc exes on occasion, part of the reason we split was that I wanted a child and he didn’t, well he SAID he didn’t, and then went on to have two children without me.I do think that this was his need to win , anger at me not supplying him, by him not being the complete centre of his world, and to rub my face in his success, and my tragedy.
    I decided to go for a sperm donor partly as I was running out of time in my thirties, but also because I knew I would not pick the right man.Though at that time I did not have anything like the knowledge I have now. I tried and tried it was a terrible time, miscarrying twice, stupidly I thought I would get sympathy “Me” he said “Me” pointing to himself, then I got it, he was trying to turn a conversation about me, into a conversation about him.Poor him, I thought it was his girlfriend not HIM that miscarried. I resisted the triangulation. About my own miscarriage I got ” Live with it.” Several years later I now have had my adorable boy. Anyway, the end of the story, when I was forty five I agreed to be my best friends surrogate as due to health problems she could not carry her pregnancy, of course the embryo was genetically hers, my ex hated me for it, and I am always curious as to why, as we had been long separated, though I have my own theory “Just think how long it took for you to get pregnant last time!” he said when we began the process. He hated the empathy I had for my friend, the altruism. He hated the attention I got, he hated the fact that I was undeterred. I had my friends baby for her, much to her mum and dads joy, on the first attempt, at the ripe old age of 46, and for sure I had the Last Word then!

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  15. So it just isn’t with humans even animals or watching an animal suffer doesn’t make you feel anything ? I wish I knew why you are the way you are and I wish you could feel love and empathy but I suspect if you had the choice to feel all of that and truly live than you would choose not to feel and stay the way you are . Almost like a manipulative robot .

    Ok say you were with someone you were trying to make your main IP and you saw the puppy . What then ? Please tell me how the show would go .

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    1. No I do not feel anything, there is simply nothing there.

      If I saw the opportunity to gain fuel from the IP, I would do so and triangulate her with the puppy. How I dealt with the puppy depended on whether I wanted to draw positive or negative fuel.

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      1. I wonder if you were a child say at the age of 7 or 8 if you would have felt differently and cared about the puppy

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      2. I have to tell you, my mind is in circles over this revelation. I was convinced dickula is an narcissist but I know for a fact he loved his dog and other pets of his. It makes no difference though even if he’s not a certified narcissist hes still much too damaged to ever be a respectful human being.

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  16. Oh wow let’s pray that I don’t get robbed beaten and one of my limbs cut off and the robbers drop me in a ditch or somewhere secluded and HG walks by all alone and keeps on walking and whistling while giving me a wave as I lay dying on the ground .

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      1. That’s why I said to every close person I know that if I ever got seriously ill etc. he can’t find out.

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  17. Exactly. And what do you expect me to do about the homeless people…Bill deBlasio, mayor of New York, hasn’t done a damn thing about them, but you look at me like I’m a monster every time we’re on the subway & I don’t give the homeless guy a dollar. Trust me, my dollar won’t buy him a house.

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  18. ” …you never bothered much with that family member when they were alive so why are you now getting upset when they have passed away?”

    This is so true. Many empaths claim to be empaths yet their parents or grandparents are in nursing homes. I will never leave any family member in a nursing home even if it means moving to find a place suitable for all of us, providing a part time nurse etc. The abuse in nursing homes is apalling. I will never abandon someone that took care of me when i was in need as a child. It should be reciprocal, and it is my duty to care for them, in a loving home. However, if your parents abused you, as HG’s mother has, this does not apply.
    So HG please take empaths off their pedestal.

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  19. Snow White I understand, the tears will soon be a faded memory and you will have a strength you never knew you possessed to go along with that beautiful heart of yours.
    He has played an important role in your journey in healing, (the whys) and sharing HIS knowlesge with others to bring awareness and understanding on this kind of abuse.

    May you be filled with peace and happiness always!

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  20. HG, are you ever scared that one day, during a therapy session, something’s going to click inside you and you are suddenly going to develop, (gasp,shock, holy water and crosses) empathy?

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  21. Just a reply to the wondering about narcissists having attachments to animals… I know several narcissists who are attached to animals. I think it depends on if they had animals they were close to when they were young children. These narcs have learned how to draw fuel from animals reactions to them. They don’t love them like we do, but they mourn the loss of their fuel when they die. Dogs are consistent excellent sources of both positive and negative fuel. They will literally stay devoted even if abused and neglected to death. I’ve always thought that narcissists often identity with cats also.

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  22. Of course I’m talking about dogs they see regularly, who adore them. Don’t think I’ve ever known a narc who’d even notice a strange hurt puppy in the street! 😄 They often ignore the needs of the dogs who provide them with the most fuel -unless it’s life-threatening and no one else will do it.

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  23. HG, I have a question about your reply regarding the ‘puppy’ scenario. You say that your response if you were with someone would depend on whether you saw it as an opportunity to garner fuel, then said that how you deal with it would depend on whether you wanted positive or negative fuel. What would influence that decision? How do you decide on the spur of the moment which way to go, and if you decide that you want negative fuel, what would you do to get that?

    I can guess that if it was still early days and that you were still being Mr Wonderful, that it would be positive fuel for sure, but under what circumstances would you decide that the partner you were with was going to be giving you negative fuel on this occasion. Why not just have some positive fuel, and thus keep the empath wondering if you’re not so callous after all? Knowing that empathic people care about injured puppies, I’d have thought it would be a golden opportunity to ‘look good’.

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  24. Apologies, just read that back to myself, and realised it’s actually several questions. All kind of related though, so I hope you won’t mind. ooooh the nerve of her *smiles sweetly*

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