The 3 Strands of Empathy


The concept of empathy can be divided into three types. There are three identifiable strands.

First of all there is the idea of cognitive empathy whereby one can understand the point of view of another person. I am able to understand another person’s point of view but I will rarely accede to it, unless I see some ulterior gain to be obtained from expressing that I understand their point of view. Even where I explain I understand, I am still unlikely to accept it. The Lesser and the Mid-Range are unable to understand that person’s point of view because it will oppose their own, stand in the way of what they want to achieve and frustrate their aims owing to their differing perspective. They lack the cognitive function to address this. Of course, empathic individuals are experts at understanding another person’s point of view but they will go further than this. They will exhibit patience to allow that point of view to be articulated, they will ask questions to draw out this view and they will apply it to their own situation and experiences. Empathic individuals want to understand the other person’s point of view. They not only give it a platform to begin with, but they also allow it to be aired, expanded and applied. It is little wonder therefore that this cognitive empathy bleeds into the empathic traits of patience, needing to understand and needing to know the truth. Furthermore, having such cognitive empathy means that the empathic individual is far more susceptible to the word salad, circular conversations, lies and half-answers that our kind provide. The empathic individual endures these manipulations as he or she tries to wade through the quagmire in order to flex their cognitive empathy so that they understand the narcissist’s point of view. Of course, since our point of view operates from a completely distorted and different perspective, you have little hope of achieving it.

Secondly, there is also empathy concern whereby one is able to recognise the emotional state of another person, feel a need to address that emotional state and therefore exhibit the appropriate concern for the individual. In all three schools of narcissism, our capacity with regard to empathy concern is skewed. The Greater is always able to perform the recognition part of this but has never been created with the sense of needing to address it even though our increased cognitive function means we can work out, through observation and experience, what the appropriate concerned response should be. This means that we can recognise somebody is in distress, understand that they need help but feel no compulsion whatsoever to provide it. We will however, because we have two of the three parts of empathy concern, feign a concern based on our understanding, but only if we see it as serving our interests. This is why, during seduction especially or for the benefit of the façade during devaluation, we can appear that we are concerned that somebody is worried or upset. We do not feel any need to assist them, but we recognise our own need can be served by doing so.

The Lesser is able to recognise the emotional state of another person, feels no need to address it and is unable to exhibit the appropriate concern for the individual. As a consequence, even during seduction, the Lesser will present as blank-faced when dealing with certain emotional episodes and will often vacate him or herself from the situation. During devaluation, he will only see the fuel advantage from this emotional state and indeed rather than be supportive, since he feels no need to, he will just exploit it further.

The Mid-Ranger also recognises the emotional state, feels no need to address it and has a limited repertoire by way of fake concern. Thus in some instances he can pretend that he is concerned and in others he has no answer and will leave the victim to their woe and distress and has enough calculation to state he has somewhere urgent he must be and thus he escapes the demand for assistance and help made by the victim.

Unsurprisingly, the empathic individual has all three elements of this particular strand of empathy intact and in intense quantities. The empathic individual is able to recognise the emotional state of another with considerable ease, even if they are trying to mask it. They absolutely feel and recognise the need to do something when they see somebody else’s emotional reaction. This compulsion is almost irresistible for the empathic individual and they are also fully-acquainted with what they should do by way of response. They will share in the joy, congratulate when someone is happy through good news, console when someone is miserable and hold them when they are heart-broken. The empathic individual is no different with our kind and see our emotional response – albeit from a limited selection – feels the need to address it and also knows how to address it. Thus when we discharge our fury, our hatred, our envy and our antipathy, the empathic individual owing to this concern empathy is always galvanised into action, will rarely shirk the challenge and addresses the issue even at considerable cost to themselves.

Finally there comes the idea of the emotional contagion. This is a deep-seated and one may even regard it as a spiritual element of the empathic individual. This is not just about understanding a point of view or recognising an emotional need and response, this is about feeling the emotion just as somebody else does. Thus if a friend is upset over the death of a parent, the empathic individual is contaminated by this grief and experiences the same emotions as if they were grieving themselves. This not only means that they fountain with fuel which of course our kind will exploit but that they are powered into recognising the need and doing something about even more than would be afforded by the cognitive empathy and concern empathy. The emotional contagion exists in all empathic individuals but is more intense in certain people. Indeed, its intensity may even go beyond being proximate to the person experiencing the emotion. A highly-attuned individual with the emotional contagion will watch a television programme and where the main character is frightened,they will feel that fear also. They will read a moving newspaper article about the plight of an orphan and they will feel that despair as well. It is an immensely powerful part of empathy and causes the empathic individual to have to respond to it.

We have no such emotional contagion. It is completely absent and therefore we have nothing which might cause us to feel something so we act upon it. There is nothing there. The plight of the orphan is not felt by us and we are utterly unmoved. The fear of the heroine on television is regarded with annoyance since our primary source seems more concerned about that person than us. The only time that we regard this emotional contagion as any use is when it serves our purposes when the empathic individual fountains with fuel because of it and directs their empathic traits towards us. We do not have this contagion and we do not feel anything in the way that you would do.

72 thoughts on “The 3 Strands of Empathy

  1. superxena says:

    Now I think I understand what you meant about the three stances of empathy. These three stances refer to empathy concern as follows:( please correct me if I am wrong)

    1.To be able to recognise the emotional state of another person,
    2.To feel a need to address that emotional state
    3.To exhibit the appropriate concern for the individual.
    Quoting one paragraph:
    “The Greater is always able to perform the recognition part of this but has never been created with the sense of needing to address it even though our increased cognitive function means we can work out, through observation and experience, what the appropriate concerned response should be.”
    This is what I meant when I asked you if :
    A) this “trained skill” could compensate for the lack of emotional contagion?
    B) is it possible to “train” it even further? How?

    1. HG Tudor says:

      It can in that I can appear to be concerned (and thus satisfy the need of the recipient) even though I do not care (thus they receive the effect of the illusion that was advanced curing the seduction).
      It can be trained further by ensuring that all potential ‘credible’ empathic responses are recognised and manufactured and this is done with less delay so that the Mask Carousel is not as evident.

      1. SuperXena says:

        Thank you for your answer HG.

  2. Yolo says:

    We differ in our description/perception of normals. My friends and family members that I call normals tend to exhibit both narc amd empath traits. They dont escape reality or over exaggerate their reality. Its more like it is what is. They the ability to accept things at face value and move on.

    They are experts at compartmentalization.

    1. Idiot
    2. Smart
    3. Trustworthy
    4. Unfair
    5. Friend or foe
    6. Selfish
    7. Very low tolerance
    8. Black and white ( little gray area)

    HG, did a post of how they perceive empaths.and what they hear and say when we try to explain what we are going through or went through.

    Its not that they do not care but give revelance to thing’s that matter to them.

    1. K says:

      Thank you! I am starting to really understand the different perspectives and world views among normal/empath/narcissist. It is really interesting to watch the behavior of those around me. When I notice a falling-out I am sometimes surprised by the catty behavior that I see some normals engaging in. The fall out can be nasty. Another person remarked that it was like high school and I agreed.

  3. Ali says:

    maybe that explains why i was comfortable around him… nothing to interfere with my own feelings… except when he was angry.. or when he felt superior… no input from him to my senses or rather severely reduced… most of the time… there was nothing but void…

    and yah, I no loner listen to the news…it hits too hard so i limit my exposure. never did do well in large crowds either.

    oh no… contamination…empaths have cooties 😀

    run HG you wouldn’t wanna catch any feelings…ick ick ack gross! 😛

  4. P says:

    you *are* contaminated though, power compensates for repressed fear, and shame that leads to envy.

  5. E. B. says:

    I appreciate that you write about this subject.

    “The Mid-Ranger … has a limited repertoire by way of fake concern. Thus in some instances he can pretend that he is concern and in others he has no answer and will leave the victim to their woe and distress and has enough calculation to state he has somewhere urgent he must be and thus he escapes the demand for assistance and help…”

    This is how Mid-Rangers and also people who can fake empathy and are supposedly Normals (?) behaved the couple of times I asked for help.

    They told me several times: “If you ever need anything, please do not hesitate to let me/us(*) know. Please call me/us(*)”.
    They are insincere. They did not help me and behaved just as described above.
    (*)I also noticed that if someone uses a plural pronoun, he/she will not help at all.

    1. windstorm2 says:

      Don’t know where you are from, but you just described a type of pleasantry in southern American culture. Whenever someone makes a promise using “we” or “us”, it is just a politeness and implies no real promise. The same is true when referring to the plural of you, as in “y’all come back!” Or “y’all take care!”
      Wonder if others cultures all do the same thing?

      1. E. B. says:

        Hi windstorm2,

        Sorry for the delay in replying. I understand what you mean but this is not in the context of small talk. They are people who ask several questions as if they were sincerely interested in other people’s situation and then they offer help. You asked where they are from. They are Germans.

        It is possible that these are people who usually compare themselves to others. They do it because a) they take pleasure in someone else’s pain and b) by using the plural pronoun they avoid taking responsibility for what they said in case they are asked to help sometime in the future. “We” means to them “someone else but certainly not me”.

        There are also those who say they offered someone their help and this individual supposedly “rejected it” when this is not true. Maybe he/she did not make use of it (yet) or did not take advantage of their offer. They will also exaggerate as to what kind of help they offered. They will state half-truths and fabricate the rest of the story to make someone look bad.

        If I cannot help someone for any reason or I cannot keep my promise, I do not offer my assistance. There are also considerate people who do not take what they do not need or they just do not want to bother other people with their problems.

        1. Windstorm2 says:

          I have a narc friend in Munich who is like this. He will say things that seem empathic and caring in many different situations, but never mean them. When I would point this out to him, he said that these things are just how society expects you to respond, they have no real meaning.

          I just assumed he felt this way because he was a narcissist and had no empathy himself and didn’t realize other people really did care and weren’t “faking it” like he was. Could these people you describe be narcs? Could there be a part of normal German society that teaches their children that faking compassion and a desire to help is just expected but meaningless? Here where I live you sometimes see someone like you described, but I always suspected them to be narcs.

    2. K says:

      I hate normals worse than narcissists. We know narcs are sociopaths and expect their behavior, normals have no excuse. Many of the ones I know are bystanders and some even take the side of the narcissist. Some normals are as stupid as a box of rocks. Rocks are, in some cases, more intelligent than normals and more useful.

      1. Yolo says:

        Have you ever thought that maybe you are normal?

        Just asking, I think alot a norms have decided to stick the peg where it fit. Not really giving it a second thought.

        As a normal as long as they can make sense oe justify in their mind there’s no need to waste time chasing waterfalls. The norm just move the f… on. Wait..are they normal, narcissist, or empath? Take away the general traits and human expectations.

        Are we better than the narc as it applies to fulfilling our needs? Do we use manipulations to lure them in? (Ignoring our gut feelings).

        Are we really filled with all of this love freely willing to give? If so, who did we mimic it from? If mom didn’t give it and dad didnt know how…who taught us this unconditional love?

        Lest say we ascribe to control our emotions and thoughts. We choose to allow our emotions and thoughts to focus on our future.

        I am so grateful for HG work, the knowledge is priceless but I can say that i am using this blog as a clutch. The knowledge i have gained is far more than i expected or need to move forward.
        The narcissistic traits causes me to be less tolerant to others weakness. While, i may make the same mistake but will justify it because of the outcome.

        My goal may not be to resurrect the golden period but to test HG theory. Breaking no contact for any reason only set us back and hinder our healing.

        While, i question my empathetic traits one thing I am sure of He thats greater than me is greater than the world.

      2. Matilda says:

        I can relate to this.

        Offers of help, or meeting up… that’s just future faking. It’s only stated when others are around to hear it, it’s always kept vague, as well as in the plural form as E.B. and windstorm rightly point out. An accepted form of lying which I resent very much as it makes me feel used, just a tool to further their facade of benevolence.

        The same goes for other Small Talk! “How are you?”, for example.

        Most people (apart from a few friends) are not interested in getting to know how you are. And I absolutely hate being dragged into the nonsensical conversation that follows. “Fine, thank you. How are you?”, I reply, no matter how I feel. That’s what is expected, and, doing your best to be a decent person, you play along. Sometimes, I am toying with the idea of saying “Well, since you asked, my dear,…” and give that fake person a snapshot of my current emotional state. That should teach them! 😀

        If you don’t want to know how we are DO NOT ASK! If you don’t want to help DO NOT OFFER! Use the corresponding words for the corresponding intentions!!

      3. MLA - Clarece says:

        Hi K,
        Yes, some, not all, but some Normals just float along taking the path of least resistance and seem to lack any depth of character.

        1. Windstorm2 says:

          But seriously, don’t you all think that’s true of any classification of people? There’s always a subset that drift along taking the path of least resistance. That’s probably just a characteristic of being human.

          And we can never truly know someone else’s character. People are like icebergs. We can see what floats above the surface but 90% is hidden below water. I’m uncomfortable with the whole labeling thing. People seem to be referring to “normals” as if thats somehow inferior. Don’t you think a lot of people would think of many of us as delusional, whacked out nutjobs? I’ve lived my entire life in a glass house. Whenever anyone starts lobbing stones about, I get very uneasy…

          1. MLA - Clarece says:

            Oh yes, that can apply to any class of humans. My answer was directed specifically to K’s comment though and “normals” seems to be the only way to refer to individuals being in a healthy spot on the narcissistic and empathetic spectrum.
            People comment here all the time that they can’t discuss this type of abuse with trusted friends and family because they can’t grasp the concept of how damaging narcissistic abuse is. I’ve been called too sensitive, hostile, delusional, too inquisitive, etc. … oh and the best “intimidating”. Two different men have called me “intimidating” because I “have my shit together” and I’m the “whole package”. Both were male friends. That’s the one that cracks me up. I’m still single 6 years post divorce because I’m too good of a package. lol
            Please don’t feel uneasy though. I was just trying to keep my statements concise.

          2. Windstorm2 says:

            I wasn’t referring to you specifically Clarece -or anyone specifically. Just a general vibe I seemed to be picking up on. And you’re certainly right that we most of us have some intense feelings and pain that those in our lives have not understood that will help us if we share here. And we are all of so many different personalities (not withstanding our common narc-attracting character traits). It is a wonderful thing that we have HG’s blog here to share and discuss our experiences.

      4. K says:

        Hello Yolo,
        I could be a normal. I hang out with some and most seem nice, but I have noticed that when someone has a problem they can be judgmental, unkind or indifferent. If a person in the group is dealing with an unfaithful partner, I might say to the normals who are unkind, “How would you feel if your husband fucked the 20 year-old secretary at the office?” The normals give me what I call the “Dumb Look” then a few respond with, “I guess I wouldn’t like it.” To which I reply, “Duh. really!” Many normals are bystanders, as well. I break up the school yard fights while the normals stand there like idiots and I call the school nurse to come out to the playground to tend to the children who are victims of bullies; the normals don’t.

        “The darkest places in hell are reserved for those who maintain their neutrality in times of moral crisis.” Dante Alighieri

        Irrespective of what I am, I observe behavior and call people on it and I always have. Narcissists are repugnant but have an excuse; normals and empaths don’t.

      5. K says:

        Yeah, I hear ya! DON’T ask and DON’T offer because those words are nothing but big fat LIES! I loved your last line; watch this on youTube it is only 7 seconds long. It is from French Kiss.

      6. K says:

        MLA – Clarece
        I couldn’t agree with you more. Some float along and think Facebook is all that matters. Many are boring couch potatoes, too. Also, some don’t have opinions or a decent thought to share and that is why I like rocks better than many normals.

      7. K says:

        I don’t like to classify or label people either but the only two people who have listened to me without doubt or judgment are empaths. And they have never accused me of being crazy, overly sensitive or suggested I need meds. They listen and ask questions. Everyone on this forum understands what each of us is going through. I do not judge anyone here (I hope). I have been called delusional, a whacked-out-nut-job and a whole lot worse. You wanna know why a box of rocks is so useful? You can lob them at other people’s glass houses!

      8. Mercy says:


        You say you do not judge those on this site that are in this situation. Do you really think that this forum is exclusively for empeths? I feel like I am normal with empath traits and I feel judged by you.

      9. Matilda says:

        “watch this on youTube it is only 7 seconds long. It is from French Kiss.”

        K, I know this movie!! Watched it in my teen years. It must have burned itself into my subconscious mind! 😀 Great clip!

      10. E. B. says:

        Hi K, strongerwendy, superxena, windstorm,

        Just wanted to say Hi and thank you for your comments. My apologies I have not replied yet. I hope I will be able to write again next week. Among other problems, my internet connection has not been working properly. It got lost in the last three days and my provider was not able to fix the problem until today. I hope I will be able to watch HG’s livestream on Sunday. Best wishes to everybody!

        1. superxena says:

          Hello to you too! I hope you have your internet connection back soon and that everything is fine with you.

          1. E. B. says:


            Thank you! I hope you are fine too. My internet connection is still quite unstable but I bought a mobile broadband dongle last week as I did not want to miss the live stream last Sunday. I was able to listen to Part One although I was busy doing other things. Later that evening when I received the second YT notification I had more time for myself to listen to Part Two. Both streams were very informative and entertaining as well. Were you there too?

          2. superxena says:

            Hello E.B.
            Good that your internet connection is working now…everything gets kind of “messy” when it does not work..Yes I was there but unfortunately not all the time.I am catching up with both part one and two now …very interesting streams..

      11. K says:

        I try not to be judgmental on this forum or when I deal with people I interact with on a daily basis. However, in my comment to E.B I am referring to the normals that I associate with and know very well who have displayed very unkind behavior towards other normals; I am not referring to any normals here.

      12. E. B. says:

        Hello K,

        My apologies for the delay in replying to your comment. I can understand what you said about Normals because personally I find them worse than narcissists. This is why I do not call such people Normals. In my opinion, they have a Cluster B disorder.

        People who lack empathy and consideration for others, who participate passively in aggression or do nothing to stop it, who instead of dealing with conflict become passive-aggressive, who engage in triangulation, who use information to control others, who spend time planning how to take something away from others because they are envious and want it for themselves, who are invalidating, who mock others, who feel superior to others, then they are not healthy Normals at all. I think they are dysfunctional and disordered people.

        Healthy functional people do not take part in aggression, they respect other people and their opinions, they behave assertively, they do not take advantage of others, they do not look for information to use against you or to pass onto others, they can deal with conflict and disagreements but will not hurt other people.

  6. Patricia says:

    This has been me since my earliest memories.One of my children has also been this way since he was a little kid, It can make life really difficult to be this deeply empathetic. I try to avoid the news and sad movies etc but at my job (nurse) it is especially challenging to contain my professional boundaries and not be overwhelmed with compassion. It is partly why many nurses, including myself develop twisted senses of humor as a coping mechanism.

  7. It’s only kind to show some type of empathy toward people but often it’s just words. Sometimes I can relate but there are times I can only listen. I’m a good listener and it seems to help people. However if I hear of a baby or animal being mistreated or a beautiful tree being cut down for nothing, my emotions get involved. I can’t tolerate too well when someone continues to not help himself when he is able and says I don’t understand because I’m stronger.

  8. Gman says:

    “The empathic individual endures these manipulations as he or she tries to wade through the quagmire in order to flex their cognitive empathy so that they understand the narcissist’s point of view. Of course, since our point of view operates from a completely distorted and different perspective, you have little hope of achieving it.”

    That isn’t quite true, that we can’t understand you. I was often aware of her thinking, and aware too that it was hypocritical, contradictory, self-defeating etc. She tried to manipulate me via a Hoover and this I saw through and cut ties with her, before I discovered this website. What i read here is satisfyingly explicit and silences that part of my mind that doubts my own perceptions. I realise now that certain manipulations ive read about here she used on me, that I was oblivious to simply because they had no effect on me. For instance trying to make me jealous; it didn’t work. I was merely interested to hear about her past relationships.

    1. Gman says:

      I also learned to withhold emotional reactions and used criticism as a weapon before I read this site. But there were lapses in this resolve, and I would always end up treating her kindly again. Thus why I read this material.

      1. Gman says:

        You are giving me permission to be unkind

  9. C★ says:

    can you tele why an identified midranger would get teary eyed during a sports drama film where the under dog kid “wins”

    1. HG Tudor says:

      Facade, drawing fuel from you, desire to be seen as the good guy who is on the side of the underdog.

      1. C★ says:

        Thank you for explaining… I never saw it that way… I get it now…

        1. HG Tudor says:

          You are welcome.

  10. C★ says:

    likewise… just because we understand YOU (now) doesn’t mean we accept it!

  11. Narc affair says:

    This emotional contagion i can identify with. So many times ive read about someones situation and what theyre going thru and itll affect my day and thoughts. Strangers ive reached out to bc ive felt so deelly for their situations. This isnt to boast at all but i have felt this way and been affected by others emotions and circumstances. Its in a way a burdon tho and consuming to the point ive had to learn to let go.
    There are perks to being empathetic but too much so without boundaries and self regard is just as dysfunctional. My daughter has a narc friend and ive had a hard time telling her to cut her off as a friend. I have to keep reminding myself my daughters being treated badly and her friends situation is her own. Its ok to feel badly for her home life but i cant do anything about it and my daughter comes first which means she needs to detach from her and her abusive ways. The guilt i need to let go of bc its not mine to feel. Empathy is ok but be empathetic to yourself first and foremost! Dont let empathy cloud your self respect.

    1. K says:

      Ditto, Narc affair! “Be empathic to yourself first.”

  12. Yolo says:

    Last time i spoke with the lesser i asked if his grandma death affected him ” not yet “. Its kinda sad, weird I didn’t feel for him, I wonder if its because he didn’t display any emotions or if its because I know what he is.

  13. jenna says:

    My ex mid-ranger has cognitive empathy. He also has empathy concern, at times. The remainder of the time, i have to explain how i’m feeling in great detail and why. After he hears it, he proposes a compromise that is effective occasionally. When the compromise is not adequate, i have to propose a different solution, but he usually agrees to it, and follows it very well. But in order to get to that point, alot of discussion, explanations, and sometimes arguments occur. It can get frustrating because i have to maintain my cool and make sure i don’t wound him in the process, or he’ll withdraw for a hrs up to a few days. Or he may just say ‘i’m too sensitive.’ So i have to choose my words with much consideration. Sometimes, i break, and i start arguing though. I have my limits too. And then we start all over again, usually the next day. But we never leave the matter without a resolution that we both agree with.

    1. jenna says:

      *a few hrs

  14. Mona says:

    And sometimes I feel a sadistic joy, that you have to bear all my grammatical errors, misspelling and wrong use of words.

    1. Mona says:

      Windstorm2, thank you very much for your answer. Normally it is a big taboo to talk about it. It was not easy to write about it. And you are right, it is much easier, when other people`s feelings do not overflow/ overwhelm your own soul. If you can, build a certain boundary and do not identify yourself with the feelings of other people. I believe, it can be learned to a certain degree.
      I just read your answer to E.B. It is very interesting how culture influences a certain behaviour. In the south of America it is only a polite phrase, but probably in the cold north of America or Kanada, such a promise will be held in every case. It is logical, in the north people needed other people to survive. They learnt, that they had a higher chance to survive when they helped each other. So, if such a promise is broken, the “traitor” will be excluded by society. It is only logical thinking of myself, I have never been there. Is there someone out here from Kanada or North America , who could agree or disagree?
      On the other hand I noticed such a kind of behaviour in Ireland (over 20 years ago) When one truck driver broke his promise to help in a special case, he was excluded from help by the other ones. It was a “No go” to do it. He had a lot of problems to be trusted again. All the truck drivers talked about his behaviour. Probably nowadays it is different, but in the past the truck drivers were a big family.

      1. K says:

        I live in New England and if you are a union member and break a promise or break a union rule/code you can be black-balled, however, where I live, you are on your own; there is no help here.

  15. Mona says:

    Maybe, I am the only one on this blog, but you do not know how many times I fake empathy. Often it is expected and I show it, although it does not interest me at all. No doctor could do his job well, if he feels too much empathy. He would feel the pain of his patients and could not do the necessary things to help. There is a lot of cognitive empathy needed. This cognitive empathy is used to help others. Sorry, but you do the same right now with your consultations. So, where is the difference there?
    You can say that your motives are different, but is that true? We all long for some kind of appreciation and recognition.
    Sometimes it is only a question of good manners to show empathy, when you feel, that someone needs it so much. It is a question of give and take and not a real feeling. If – for a example – a good friend of mine – looses her pet- I try to comfort her. I do not feel it. I like that pet, yes – but I do not have an emotional bond towards that pet. It is not my pet. She expects that I try to understand her feelings and comfort her and I expect that she will comfort me the next time, when it is necessary. I think, we both do not feel the other ones sorrow. It is a non written covenant of humanity. Nothing else.
    There is the big difference. You avoid to accept or to fulfill human needs. The advantage has to be on your side. Everything is about your profit (whatever the profit is) You do not accept the idea of give and take. I debt, that your feelings are so different from my feelings. It is the concept behind. There is a new research result of Israeli scientists, who found out that we feel more empathy for people of our own social group or to the one we have a strong bond. Empathy has something to do with the group to which we want to belong to and it is not only a “natural” feeling.We do not feel much empathy for an enemy. We cut our empathy and the enemy becomes some kind of an object even for us so called empath or normals. You have no emotional bond to anyone. Every one is your enemy.
    Very seldom I feel the third strand of empathy. That is only then possible,
    when I identify myself with the other human being.
    But maybe I am only “normal” and or even a light narcissist I do not know. The only thing I know I like people, I commit myself to other people and I want that they feel good and I believe that humanity is a good thing. That is a cognitive decision. I do not believe in the goodness of all people anymore.

    1. Mona says:

      To avoid misunderstanding, I feel compassion with people, but I do not feel the same feelings. I feel with them, not like them.

      1. Windstorm2 says:

        Mona, thank you so much for sharing so well how you feel towards others. So often people do pretend they feel things when they do not. Your honesty is very refreshing!

      2. P says:

        exactly – this whole ’empath’ idea has led some people to make empathy out to be some kind of a superpower, or like in New Age cults, to be quite narcissistic about putting their emotions at the center of everything and calling it empathy.

    2. Mercy says:

      Thank you Mona for your post! I was feeling a little defective because I don’t have these deep empathetic feelings that are always being talked about. Yes I have compassion toward other people but no desire to help unless it is directly related to myself or my children. If I can help I will, but I don’t have a strong need to.

      I honestly don’t even have empathy for my narc. This is my biggest confusion. Why do I stay?

      1. Yolo says:

        Why do you stay? To serve self your human desires. I applaud all that are flying out the closet. Not as empaths but as others. HG😉 add that to your list.
        I think HG is a therapist and a very good one at that. Who else would have the gumption to place a mirror in an empath face. 😊
        I dealt with this piece of shit, i must be an empath. Do you have that same patience or tolerance with your kid or family members?

        Me, me, me,me, he did this to me. He told me he was marrried and not to expect much…me, me, me. I see very few posts that are concerned about children or other victims.

        HG, I am sorry if i offended anyone. Maybe I am more concerned about me and the information i want to see. Maybe, my see in others what i hate in myself.

        1. HG Tudor says:

          No, I am not a therapist.

  16. June says:

    And I guess this means I owe my mother an apology. When she said she knew how I felt about an experience that was painful for me (but not for her), I got offended that she was giving me what I thought was a fake social platitude because people don’t know what else to say. Basically, I wanted her to show me enough respect to not treat me like an idiot, and shut up.

    But I guess, according to this, she actually COULD feel my emotions and understand my pain. Umm…oops? 🙂

    1. jenna says:

      Unless your mother abused you, why would you want her to ‘shut up’? Parents are to be respected and not talked down upon in that manner. It is my opinion.

  17. June says:

    Thanks for explaining that in such detail. 😀

    Owing to Asperger’s Syndrome, it’s extremely difficult for me to recognize someone’s in distress without them explaining slowly and clearly what the problem is and why. I’ll care and want to do something once I understand though. For my father and brother the exact reverse is true.

    An incident that demonstrated our varying difficulties was when some guy smashed into my mother’s car. Our car was only a bit dented, but his was wrecked. My mother wanted to invite this man into our car with us (as she explained, because it was freezing outside and she didn’t want him to get frostbite). I was confused and asking “Umm…why?” I didn’t even consider that might be in distress for a moment; my mind was preoccupied by what the car accident meant for my evening plans. But when my mother explained, I saw her point. My father understood that the man was freezing his fingers off perfectly well…but as far as he was concerned, the man wrecked the car and ruined the night. He could freeze solid and die out there before he was coming in our car.

  18. Windstorm2 says:

    Made me laugh, HG, when you said “contaminated by grief”. We consider it sharing grief, like you would share any burden. And it helps us when someone shares our grief.

    And you have explained a problem I’ve suffered from all my life. I don’t just share emotions like happiness and grief. I’m one of those with extreme emotional contagion. And that can create a lot of needless misery. Even as a small child I felt everyone’s emotions strongly. Like you said, even if they were hiding them. And people try to hide their emotions and pretend they feel different than they really do all the time!

    I’ve never been able to watch scary movies or read scary books, but I often can’t even watch ordinary things. All reality tv is anathema to me. I literally feel everybody’s pain, and it never made any difference to know that tv wasn’t real or it was just pretend! I couldn’t help but think that maybe it was happening to somebody somewhere. And I would get all upset and worry about these hypothetical people suffering!

    I know this sounds insane if you are not afflicted by it. It probably is. But it’s nice to know I’m not alone in my insanity – that there is a whole category of us out there.

    Thank you, HG.

    1. Mrs. Linton says:

      Windstorm2 I find it unbelievably hard feeling all that emotion, everyone else’s plus yours yet I opt for it every time . I like to make people happy because then I can also feel happy. Ride whatever the waves are, I give money so people feel relief, I hug so they feel comfort, but then I can also feel that. Such a wonderful thing empathy, to share with another person. It’s what I mostly live for. Then again sometimes it is an illusion, we feel something that is not real, what is that? We think we are feeling empathy but it is a manipulation. We percieve the auffering and wounds of the narc but we may not perceive the malevolance, we can’t see in others what is not in ourselves. (Famouse quote from someone…..)

      1. Windstorm2 says:

        Me too, Mrs Linton. I derive tremendous personal happiness from helping others and especially if I make them feel better. It’s mostly what I live for when I am around others, also. That’s not what I wished I didn’t feel. I wish I didn’t feel all these parallel emotions and empathy for people who don’t even exist! Characters in books and on tv. I wish I didn’t feel all this pain just thinking about what if real people somewhere are suffering like the people in this made up story.

        And when you feel the feelings always for everyone it can often be overwhelming. A lot of people’s feelings are ugly and unpleasant. Even more just don’t care, they’re apathetic. Even that is often hurtful to me, just to see that others don’t have empathy for someone else. I can’t block those feelings out.

        I think this is one reason I have all my life had such a difficult time being in public. So many times I can not stand it and end up hiding out somewhere or never speaking. To be so overwhelmed feels very pathetic and abnormal. It is a tremendous struggle for me to even go to my family holiday celebrations. Emotions run so high and often negative when families get together. I often just stay home alone on all the holidays to avoid feeling all the conflict and callousness. I don’t like being so very different from normal. It is painful and embarrassing.

      2. Mona says:

        Mrs Linton, your last sentence is very interesting for me. When I was a little child, I “smelled” the malevolence in other people, it was a good guardian. I was told and taught that there is no malevolence in them, so I lost that natural “empathy” over time and became an easy prey for my narc. Does that mean, that I have the same malevolence inside of me? Or does that mean, that I have the same aggressive traits in me, felt them in others and decided not to use them? I believe, my last assumption fits better.
        HG talks about emotional contagion and that does not relate only to “good” feelings, it belongs to bad feelings / traits also. Sometime I observe (not now) an aggressiveness on this blog towards people, which is not acceptable from my point of view. Maybe it is a result of emotional contagion too. So interesting, but now I have to go to work …

  19. superxena says:

    Very interesting article…makes me wonder if th idea of ” emotional contagion” is related to the “True Empath” you once mentioned?

    1. HG Tudor says:

      I can see how it might be viewed in that way yes, albeit that is not how I intended it and I suspect it would only be a part of what the True Empath feels.

      1. superxena says:

        Now to the narcissist’s side:So you are stating that just the Greaters
        have the ability of:
        1. Understanding ( cognitive empathy)that I have another point of view in an argument but he accepts it JUST in the case that he gains something from it? Otherwise his perspective/point of view is always the right one for him although he knows it is not the case?
        2. He sees/recognises ( empathy concern)that I am sad and that he can actually comfort me ( or fake that he does it) but JUST because he has his own agenda. Otherwise he wouldn’t even care?
        3. Even though he understands, and sees that I am sad he ACTUALLY doesn’t feel ANYTHING at all?( completely lack of emotional contagion)

      2. Twilight says:

        Suspect tsk tsk HG, just poking you a little. I believe you actually know.

        Yet this trait I see more with the Geyser empath, they just can not control it. Not saying the others don’t have it just they have more control over it. This trait doesn’t make one a “true” empath, yet part of their foundation is built with this, if you can get one to speak you will see many similarities and differences.

        An empath, and this doesn’t just mean the true empath, is born with this, it is not learned. If it is learned IMO they are just an HSP. Empathy and sympathy are like lust and love.

        Sorry HG I kinda ran with my thoughts for a second

      3. Twilight says:

        HG I believe you know but never experience one in real life. You interact with many people here, I wouldn’t be surprised if there was more then one “true” empath here. That and your writings prove you understand empaths. We are all basically the same, some are vanilla, some chocolate, some strawberry, then you have the ones that have all three flavors with sparkles and such.

      4. Carla Baron says:

        You would be correct. It is merely the tip of the iceberg.

  20. K says:

    You win again! I cried when I read Oliver Twist and when dead Syrian toddlers and children washed up on Turkish beaches…I am beginning to think that I am the one with the malevolent malady. There are days when I can only read the business section of the newspaper because the other stories are so heartbreaking and I certainly don’t want anyone to think I am a crybaby. After all, I do have a facade to maintain.

    1. Matilda says:

      “I certainly don’t want anyone to think I am a crybaby. After all, I do have a facade to maintain.”

      Made me laugh out loud, K! 😀

      I try not to cry, certainly not in front of others, but my eyes often well up with tears. Sometimes, it all gets too much to bear, and my empathy is dimmed for a while.

      1. K says:

        Thank you! laughter is the best medicine! It can be too much to bear so I have to dim my empathy like you. The only people that are safe to cry around are other empaths. They understand.

      2. Matilda says:

        Yes, they’d understand, K.

        It feels good to laugh about it from time to time. Crazy as they are, and most of them will never know. 🙂

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