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.

94 thoughts on “Cold Comfort

  1. mistynolan01 says:

    Ex narc began to let mevsee the thing behind his mask as the years slid by. Once, when his friend had left his apartment after telling us about his cousin of death, I made the comment that it was really sad what his friend was going through. He asked me, “what does that have to do with us?”

    He may have been older and good at what he does, but I have a habit of not showing all of my feelings on my face, and I didn’t give him the fuel he was seeking, only shrugging my shoulders.

    But, inside I was horrified! I had already surmised that there was something wrong with him, but I just didn’t know what it was. In retrospect, thanks to this blog and Tudor books, I recognize he was seeking to see my display of shock and horror in order to feed, like a freaking blood-sucking vampire.

    Gawd, narcs are awful.

  2. Lisa says:

    Their selfishness , self absorbed characters are beyond anything normal or human , it is part of the mental illness . They simply do not do anything that doesn’t benefit them in some way . Mine said to me , he can’t deal with other people’s problems he has enough of his own . To a normal person he actually has no problems apart from the ones he continues to create , but just coping with his mental illness is all he can deal with. Not that he refers to it that way . He actually said to me , that he thinks to himself all the time , that within our relationship “he should be doing this , he should be doing that ” but then said that he then thinks ” I don’t want to why should I have to” he says it’s like an internal battle with himself . He’s talking about doing things to make the relationship work rather than ruin it . They are their own worst enemy all of them and they are all miserable . He’s also an alcoholic , there’s no such thing as a happy alcoholic never mind being mentally ill on top . They don’t want to deal with people being sick because it doesn’t suit them , end of story .

  3. Sues423 says:

    For years I have been trying to understand a certain situation that happened to me with my Dad (there were many!) when I was younger. My parents were divorced when I was three. My sister ,brother and I lived with my Mom. My father quickly remarried and had three more kids. When I was 17 I got pregnant and married . My father refused to go to the wedding , because “I didn’t listen to him when he told me not to get married”. Just wanted to give a brief background .
    When I was 19 I was diagnosed with ovarian cancer. I had surgery and started chemo right away. At the beginning of the chemo , I experienced extreme side effects which required hospitalization . My Dad flew to the hospital to see me. I was very sick, couldn’t hardly stand up. When he got there no sooner did he start in on me.. he was in my face saying “Do you want to know why you’re here? Why you got sick? It’s because your husband isn’t saved. He’s not a Christian !!!” ” that’s why you’re here!” I started crying and didn’t have the strength to fight back. And worst of all I believed him .. my whole childhood With him was that kind of abuse. I had lost a lot of weight because of the treatment and when it was over I started gain weight back and I’ll never forget he said “oh my god you’re not gaining weight are you? You’re going to get fat”.

    HG, what was the hospital interaction all about? Why ? What was his motive? What did he gain from that? Why fly there to do that?

  4. Dr. Harleen Quinzel PsyD says:

    I forgot to mention – I don’t miss him using me financially – making up bullshit like I forgot my wallet or I don’t have money…

    I don’t miss the blame shifting, I don’t miss the lies

    I’d rather be alone thn be in that hell hole ever the fuck again.

  5. Dr. Harleen Quinzel PsyD says:

    Cold comfort or no comfort. He always managed to take the other persons side and found some way to criticize me or tell me how I should feel or think or behave. It was infuriating. I never wanted to talk about anything around him which resulted in me compartmentalizing my life.

    He would always invalidate how I was feeling – it was the craziest shit ever.

    Me: I was really hurt and kinda angry when….
    ASSHOLE: No you’re not.
    Me: What the fuck do you mean no I’m not?

    I actually witnessed him do this to his brother when they had some family gathering. It was over something absurd like the brother was saying he didn’t like some kinda food or something ridiculous and my ex was like “OH YES YOU DO” and the brother was like “NO….” and stormed out of the house and drove away for a few hours.

    Anytime I mentioned anything about anything my dumbass ex managed to attack me and tell me “oh you are such an angry person” “you know you should be more _______” “why do you have to be so _______”

    I literally couldn’t have a fucking conversation without fighting with him. EVERY SINGLE FUCKING THING.

    I wanted a shot of rum instead of a margarita he didn’t make yet….he started yelling at me “WHY ARE YOU ALWAYS ON THE OTHER SIDE” my response “Wow you have both things – you didn’t make the margarita yet – if you want it that’s cool why does it matter what I have? you are getting pretty damn mad over a fucking margarita”

    I folded the sheets sitting down instead of standing up. I got yelled at.

    Everything was a fucking fight. He was miserable to be around.

    I don’t miss a fucking thing.

    I don’t miss someone never seeing my perspective, someone pretending they are innocent and putting NO FUCKING EFFORT INTO ANYTHING, I don’t miss being bitched at every fucking second, I don’t miss not getting any attention, I don’t miss being manipulated and pushed into sexual shit I didn’t want to do, I don’t miss him telling me I’m not angry when I FUCKING AM ANGRY, I don’t miss feeling anxious all the time, I don’t miss him ruining every fucking event, I don’t miss how he couldn’t do a simple mother fucking thing I asked of him, I don’t miss how I always had to do what he wanted which usually resulted in me getting hurt in some fucked up way, I don’t miss him trying to say hurtful low blow things to me (which rarely worked), I don’t miss how he never gave me fucking attention, I don’t miss the way he spoke to me “Close your holes….” “your holes are open” …, I don’t miss that he would refer to me by my body parts and interact with me most of the time in the nastiest like cringeworthy sexual way (We aren’t talking hot shit we are talking like ew you’re gross shit)……

    Fucking useless…


    1. Love says:

      I totally agree with you Doc about not missing the feeling of anxiousness. That used to be my constant. I don’t miss him. I don’t miss them. Life is beautiful on this side.

      1. Dr. Harleen Quinzel PsyD says:

        In the end there is nothing to miss 😁

    2. Windstorm2 says:

      Dr. Q,
      That sounds like a good strategy! Wish I’d thought of writing out all the crap I’d never miss about mine! For those still tempted to go back, it might be really helpful. Make their list and keep it handy to read when needed!

      Sort of like people changing the narcs name in their contact list (mine’s “not good enough”). Or just having a good rant! It’s amazing how much these little things can help out!

      Hope you’re feeling better! 😊

      1. Dr. Harleen Quinzel PsyD says:

        Thank you! Hugs!

        It’s a list I kept in my phone along with all the evidence that he is a closet homosexual. I needed to be reminded lol.

      2. Love says:

        Doc, I have been with 2 narcs where I really questioned their sexuality. One was a long-term relationship, the other only a few short months. I felt the shorter one was 100% homosexual yet denying his true self to preserve his public image. The long-term one seemed to be very curious but not sure how to break free of social norms. My biggest fear was to come home to find him in bed with another man. Perhaps he was clever enough not to be caught.

      3. Dr. Harleen Quinzel PsyD says:


        That is really interesting because clearly I can relate to your experience.

        What made you believe one was gay and the other homosexual?

        Can you explain any strange behaviors or remarks?

        Did they always want to have sex? (Mine did he would never leave me alone)

        Did you find any strange porn?

        1. Love says:

          The short term one was extremely feminine in mannerism and wanted sex in spurts. He took me to the beach and had prepared a romantic picnic as we watched the sunset – yet there was no kissing or sex. However, he pushed for sex while we were just watching the news on tv. Lol
          The long-term one never gave me the ‘hungry eyes’ look. He acted more like a brother. When I would ask if he was gay, he would say no, he ‘liked boobies’ . lol Boobies does not a straight man make 😂 I think he might have had a crush on my friend’s husband.
          Aside from those 2, I had always been with very macho alpha males: The lower lesser Neanderthal type. This was uncharted territory.

      4. Dr. Harleen Quinzel PsyD says:


        Boobies? That’s freakin great lol! Mine used to say the weirdest crap. OMG this is the BEST FUCKING EXAMPLE – in fact I used to tell him this WAS HIM and he used to die laughing because pshhh I’m on point…. get ready to fall over…

      5. Dr. Harleen Quinzel PsyD says:


        I am at work laughing my ass off watching the clip I just posted. Someone just walked by and looked at me like I was nuts LMAO!

      6. Dr. Harleen Quinzel PsyD says:


        I’ve just become re-traumatized watching that clip LMAO!

        Can you blame me for not wanting to be touched? LMAO

      7. Love says:

        OMG! Doc, that clip was horrible! Why couldn’t he just shut the heck up?!?!

      8. Dr. Harleen Quinzel PsyD says:


        Yeahhhh you’re telling me lmao

        It just makes my skin crawl….

  6. Shannon says:

    When my grandfather died, his exact words were, “sorry to hear, but that’s what happens. People die.” When my dad got sick with cancer he was totally flip and ambivalent to the situation. Absolutely no empathy at all. Surprised me then, but it doesn’t now.

  7. Nat says:

    And here’s a list of comments that I hear whenever I had a bad day/felt sad and lonely and needed to talk to him:

    “Here we go again! You’re always depressed, always complaining, always sullen! Can’t you see that?!”

    “You’re overwhelming me with your problems.”

    “Oh come one! People have so much worse life than you do.”

    “Oh is it again? “You’re SORRY again? You’re SAD again? Oh it’s IMPORTANT to you? 🙂 These are your favourite words huh?”

    “I hate you! I hate you! I hate you! You and your grimmy pigface.”

    Everytime, absolutely every single time I tried to talk about my problems and feelings – I regret it…

  8. Nat says:

    So funny how all the puzzles match perfectly now…

    1. He was never there where I was sick. He would not even come to take me to hospital when I broke my arm.

    2. He couldn’t understand that being sick means I’m not capable of taking care of him. He hated the fact that I will not have sex with him because I’m sick. How could I!

    3. Whenenver his fury ignited, he’d say “You’re such a little, pathetic shit! Always sick, always weakened, but brings so much destruction.”

    4. When he discarded me, he said “You need someone to take care of you, not a real man. You’re always sick or tired, and I need a real woman’s touch.”

  9. dickforlong says:

    He just never wanted to do anything for me….. But of course it was much more fuel to abandon me when I needed him the most and drop hints he was cheating during the abandonment.

    His way of encouraging me to ask even more over myself. He said so much without ever saying a word.

  10. dickforlong says:

    I was with narcissistic sociopath for 13 years. My most vivid memory was watching him walk away.

    He was browbeating for being too sensitive and Weak… I told him he depended on those qualities more than anyone else. We would never be together otherwise.

    1. Narc affair says:

      So true dickforlong!!

  11. Dr. Harleen Quinzel PsyD says:

    It is interesting to watch the ups and downs in his relationship from an outside perspective….

    How he applies…trying to do the ‘right’ thing.

    1. windstorm2 says:

      He was wrong in his analogy too. Parasites don’t usually kill their hosts. It would be counterproductive. Viruses on the other hand, often kill their hosts. Once they have replicated there is no reason not to.

  12. Dr. Harleen Quinzel PsyD says:

    So I’m on the phone with my sociopath friend that saved me from that crazy date when I was like 20 – he is very high in cognitive empathy but low in emotional empathy. What is interesting is that sometimes hes actually quite comforting – but its because we are intellectually connecting. He can see my perspective – but that emotional part …still alien lol.

    “You have to compartmentalize – some shit isn’t worth feeling. It’s just the thing you have to do. I spent a good deal of time when I was younger figuring out that if you feel everything about everything it will just overload you…I just feel about the things that matter….I care about what should be cared about.”

    “I feel just for myself. I lived in the moment but people evolve or they die. You could be a virus or a parasite – parasites kills their host – a virus doesn’t die with everything around it – It survives.”

    “I’m trying to build something and do the ‘right thing’. I’ve evolved because I’ve had to.”

    1. Love says:

      Interesting Doc. How are you able to maintain a friendship with a sociopath and not get used? It would be great to have one as a friend- their logic is very useful. But of course, their other not so great traits compromise the friendship.

      1. Dr. Harleen Quinzel PsyD says:

        We have known each other since high school. He was notorious for like fucking people over actually lol – I met him when I was 16 but I heard about him when I was 14 lmao…

        He has come in and out of my life but he came back in aroun late feb.

        He knew I knew what he was I actually helped him understand himself better.

        He has taught me a lot and it’s so interesting to hear his perception …

        He never fucked me over to a crazy extent when we were younger – he hasn’t at this stage …

        When we reconnects this time he made t clear he has been trying to evolve and now tries to do the right thing

        He can’t help the fact he doesn’t feel the way we feel things…

        He has a lot of insight

        1. Love says:

          So there is hope????

        2. Windstorm2 says:

          Dr Q
          That sounds a lot like the relationship I have with my exhusband! His life changing event was dropping dead when his heart stopped. He just happened to be 20feet from a paramedic and 5 mins from a hospital. He’s consciously trying to do the right things now and appreciates those of us that know what he is and still love and care about him. He’ll never have all the emotions or empathy like we do, but he consciously tries to use his cognitive empathy now. He’s very intelligent, and has wicked insight into people and problems.

          I’ve felt odd man out for so long here!! It’s great to finally hear that someone else on this blog maintains a rewarding relationship with one of their narcs!! 🎉 Yay!!!

      2. Dr. Harleen Quinzel PsyD says:


        There is a meeting of the minds.

        He appreciates the fact that I do not judge him and that I understand him.

        We essentially both use each other.

        1. Love says:

          All the more power to you Doc!

      3. Dr. Harleen Quinzel PsyD says:


        If he needs me I help him. If I need him he helps me.

        It also helps the fact that he tries to do the “right thing” now.

        This only happened after he basically isolated himself and he hit a really low point.

        What sparked the change was survival.

        1. Love says:

          Wow. So it is possible for them to change?

      4. Dr. Harleen Quinzel PsyD says:

        He changed a lot of his behaviors because he wanted to – he saw that he would gain shit if he did. He also said that he didn’t want to end up like old and alone and that this was the only way to maintain relationships.

        His behaviors aren’t as self-destructive and reckless.


        He just found a different perspective.

        1. Love says:

          Interesting. Thank you. So he just shifted his behavior for the most benefit for himself.

      5. Dr. Harleen Quinzel PsyD says:

        He told me he would kill anyone for the right price even me. He joked and said shit I would kill myself for the right price.

        As HG says …. everybody has a price. That is their mentality.

        I would not clearly …. I would not kill someone for a price. I simply couldn’t.

      6. Dr. Harleen Quinzel PsyD says:

        And my friend was talking millions and millions lmao not like chump change lmao…

        That is just the way he is.

      7. Dr. Harleen Quinzel PsyD says:


        I didn’t realize that was how your relationship was. If you benefit then why not? lol I say whatever works for you.

        I engage and have psychopathic and sociopathic as well as narcissistic ‘friends’ because it suits me.

        It fulfils an inner need inside of me.

        They serve a purpose to me.

        They understand other sides of me that typical people do not. They often do not judge me when I say certain things. They allow me a certain freedom to be a part of myself that other people do not accept.

        1. Windstorm2 says:

          Dr Q
          I completely agree! They may not agree with all my bizarreness, but they don’t try to change or fix me like other people do! They are much more accepting (probably because they don’t care, ha, ha!) and see the world from a different perspective. I learned long ago to hide most of what I think and believe, to keep people from running away in horror, making the sign of the cross. 😆

          But that gets lonely and is hard for my self esteem. It’s nice to have intelligent people that I can be open with without worrying. I think it’d be nicer if they weren’t narcissists, but I’ll probably never know for sure. Nothing’s ever perfect.

          I am glad to find someone else that this makes sense to!

        2. Love says:

          You also have us now Doc. Some of us think you’re pretty cool 😎 Don’t worry about what the haters think.

      8. Dr. Harleen Quinzel PsyD says:

        oh…Dexter (4:00):

      9. Dr. Harleen Quinzel PsyD says:


        I share your perception 110%.

        My unconventional and darker thoughts are often judged and not understood by most.

        It confuses most people how someone as sensitive and empathetic as myself can have some of these thoughts/ideas/beliefs but what people fail to understand is that we are not one single thing. You can in fact have a different perspective and still be sensitive and extremely empathetic. You can be many things – it’s not always as simple as you are this or you are that.

        There are people who are your “normals” but there are empaths of different schools in my opinion that have different levels of different kinds of empathy.

        I live by a a few simple rules- this is my own moral code: treat people the way you wish to be treated. Help people because if you were in that position you’d want someone to help you.

        I help people because I feel them and I’d want someone to understand and help me if I were in their position.

        I believe most people just want to be understood and accepted for who they are not force fed who they should be and what they should think.

      10. Dr. Harleen Quinzel PsyD says:


        Thank you 😁.

        You are just one big mush – I wanna just like give you biggest hug ever!

        1. Love says:

          Lol right back at ya Doc. 💙💚💜 Btw, I saw a beautiful painting of Poison Ivy and Harleen Quinn last night. Thought of you!

      11. Dr. Harleen Quinzel PsyD says:

        1. Love says:

          Love that show! Funny enough, I actually started to like Isaak a bit after that scene.
          What’s up with Hollywood casting the coldest killers as English? Does that upset you Mr. Tudor?

      12. Dr. Harleen Quinzel PsyD says:


        Aw! Omg I love it!

        I used to think a long time ago I was a poison ivy but I’ve come to find … NOPE…I’m a Harley lol!


        1. Love says:


      13. Dr. Harleen Quinzel PsyD says:


        You will now forever be my poison ivy wahoo!

        Margot Robbie is one of my girl crushes. Number one will always be Elizabeth Hurley she is complete perfection.

        Whenever those narcs wanna act all crazy you officially have a quirky psychologist on your side lol…

        Here’s a page from the Harley playbook when punishing a dipshit lmao – You could always just “wear nothing but short skirts around the house”

        1. Love says:

          God I love that part of the movie! If only it stopped there, she would have won! But you know narcs have to have the last word always. And what kind of narc would he be if he didn’t have the entire place bugged?

          1. HG Tudor says:

            However in the book Belfort keeps referring to her ‘loamy loins’ which is a ridiculous description.

          2. Love says:

            That’s hilarious! I have to read the book now.

      14. Dr. Harleen Quinzel PsyD says:

        Loamy loins? Ew …
        i agree with you lmao.

        Can’t these dudes watch some porn and learn how to talk dirty correctly – so gross lol

      15. Narc affair says:

        Love…your quote”so there is hope” had me laughing lol like Jim Carrey in dumb and dumber…1 in a million…so your what you’re telling me is there’s a chance yes!!!! 😂😝 I do question these kinds of friendships. I’d never trust in that friend be they will eventually do the same thing to you. It’s in their nature to do so.

        1. Love says:

          1 in a million is still a possibility. Right up there with winning the lottery and getting struck by lightening. 😀

      16. Loamy loins…ugh and ew.

        had to look that up…that’s 2 minutes I’ll never get back

    2. Narc affair says:

      In some regards i think compartilization could benefit empaths or hsp. Not to the extent you dont feel but so that you dont stew over things or let it affect your daily functioning.

      1. Love says:

        Narc Affair, I like the idea of emotional compartmentalization for empaths but it seems like an excruciatingly difficult task. I have to release my emotions the moment they come – otherwise I will implode. It would be like plugging the hole of an erupting volcano.
        Once released, then I no longer carry that emotional burden.
        Though you’re absolutely right, we should learn not to stew over emotions. A therapist of mine would say ‘send them back to the sender’ 😀

      2. sarabella says:

        I agree. This idea of compartmentalizing and selectively reserving emotional reactions is something everyone needs as a skill. Especially in this modern world of information overload. It is a life skill that everyone needs to develop in this day and age so as not to be a Sheep. I think that learning about compartmentalizing for empaths is a required learnable skill. Only the difference is to be in control of when to compartmenalize and when not to, and to maintain that balance between being alive verus being the walking dead. In my case, an NPD mother said, “Just ignore” to about everything which caused a dissociative disorder in me and when that broke, I was left with very little ability to regulate what I allowed in and no understanding of how to manage what I felt. It’s taken a long time to get to where I can control it now.

        I judge people more quickly now. I remove my tolerance, I make quicker assessments of who is worth any energy and who is not. I turn off bullshiters (like at work) and open my heart to those who I feel I can trust. Narc told me I needed to control myself so at the end, I went way deep inside and found the place to severe my connection to him. Told him, I did it with him once before, I am doing it again and severing all relationahip and memory of him and I am saying good-bye forever. I wonder how it felt to hear that from me. He thought he was so cool to apologize for what he did to me and did it again and I was supposed to stay in his harem?

        I find, oddly, that now I can do this but not as a reaction as I was conditioned to by my mother and others, but as a choice as part of my self-preservation and to lead a better life. I am learning to stay out of other people’s business which is the same as learning to stop emotionally reading everyone. To stop feeling down into what someone is really about unless I absolutely need to. I don’t need to read everyone. Only those close to me. The rest I read and walk away. I am turning off being able to “hear” people unless they are people who belong in my ‘circle’. I am conserving energy and freeing it up for places where it belongs for my life and family.

      3. Narc affair says:

        Hi love…i have to admit i am a bit envious over narcissists being able to do compartmentalizing. I think oddly enough this is why narcissists dont get ill as much bc they can turn stress off. I have done this to some extent but certain things i find it impossible to shut off. The narcs games i find it hard to let go of altho ive been trying to get better at it.
        It could be therapeutic shutting off emotions sometimes. Empaths are the opposite and make themselves sick with stress over life. Both ends arent healthy. Somewhere in between would be perfect. A normal im thinking ☺

      4. Narc affair says:

        Great post sarabella! It does conserve energy not dwelling so intensely on every little thing in life that upsets us. I think also not caring what people think about us is another bonus.
        Ive cimpartmentalized my marriage. I sealed it up in a pkg and stored it away. I still function in the marriage but ive stored my priblems and feelings where its concerned. It just hurts too much to focus on anymore. Its saved me a lot of heartache altho hooking up with a narcissist didnt help matters lol

      5. Narc affair says:

        Id love to learn more about compartmentalization. I agree it could be beneficial to empaths in particular. Its all about balance and using it correctly.

      6. sarabella says:

        Narc Affair, I am sure there are many ways…. martial arts, meditation…. I found one way to really learn this and oddly, its been my relationship to social media. There is so much out there that can really push my emotions. In the way old days, I used to just jump in and reacto them in myself. Now? I read, I observe how it makes me feel and then I start a checklist… does responding change anything? Am I learning anything? What is the point? Who am I trying to convince? What am I really saying or doing if I reacted in a certain way, positive or negative. This is easier to do around political things or other than really might trigger an emotional response. And then I work on shutting down my response. Detach. Observe, but not participate. Its actually like a muscle I am teaching myself to walk away and not have an emotional reaction direct my behaviors. I sometimes post, then run through my list and end up going back and removing as inevitably, emotion did win out and I reacted.

        Its an exercise that does something else for me. Puts me in the moment. Makes me evaluate many other things before reacting. Using my head more than my emotions or feelings.

        My mother just took a cruise. She has been trying to get to me via my daughter and this is how I know because she sent her a t-shirt and a card describing the cruise. This cruise was very triggering. Cause 6 years ago, she tearfully told me she was getting too old to travel but I have counted about 10 trips to europe and now an Alaska cruise. But that was her way of telling me she was not going to come visit me anymore because she didn’t like my life or my husband. My life meaning my house isn’t much but it would never, ever occur to her to throw money my way to help me. So I find out about the cruise and it was like a punch in the gut. And then I asked myself, using those new skills … what is the point in reacting? What is this going to do for me now? Hurt? Of course. But I have years of being hurt by her, this is not new. This old sucker punched feeling…. its a worn place in my gut. And as I ran through the checklist, found that old deep deep hurt place inside from her I found also the place to turn it off. And as I turn it off, I also turned off any empathy I might have for her for losing 2 people recently as I reminded myself of how deeply I struggled without any help from her even when I was in full blown depression. My empathy would allow me to keep the hurt. It would tell me to. Now, I turn off the hurt and the empathy goes, too. Its odd. Or, I turn off the empathy and I find I don’t hurt so much and can let it move through me.

        I guess some of it is what HG said about the battles inside… mind/heart and we won’t get away until our mind wins. My mind finally won with that narc and its a process I went through which I am hanging on to to escape other pain that has controled me for so long now that I grasp that pain was not me but put there by NPD abuse dynamics with my mother and to some extent, by my father. It was so present my whole life, I thought I was pain. That this was how life felt and who I was. And none of that iis seeming to be true anymore. There is a part of the pain that was my own, my accident. Then a whole other layer that I always thought was a result of my accident and I am finding it was actually because of a likely narc mother. Two different incredibly difficult things I was always coping with.

        Its like a strange muscle I am trying to work in me and not so much putting things in compartments, but turning things off and on as I want and as I decide because I chose to, not because its been chosen for me (often by narcs as I see how many have been in my life!)

      7. Narc affair says:

        Hi sarabella…ty so much for sharing in your post. I feel priveleged when people share their stories bc it comes from a deep place and is their personal experience.
        Much of what you said about your mother is similiar to my mum and i. I used to compare our mother daughter relationship to that of others and it hurt. I beat myself up for years over it and felt life was unfair. I got to a point where i didnt talk to her for 2 yrs and in that time she said shed missed me and we somewhat made up. I guess a mother lovebomb lol it was the first time she ever really acknowledged me as special to her. She gave me these cute pins with poems and it really meant something to me. Ive kept them. Years later she was back to her triangulating and gaslighting etc a blowup happened between my brother and i bc he was smearing me to family. She never backed me. I went nc with him and ever since shes tried pushing me back to him which it wont happen. I love him and wish him the best but i feel at peace this way.
        I got to a point where i could no longer endure the pain and confidance bashing i had from her and distanced myself. I dont call her only text to set up visits. Ive compartmentalized that part of my life in that ive grieved the death of the hope of a nurturing caring relationship with her. Itll never happen. Letting go of that has been freeing. I dont allow her to make me feel awful. When she gaslights i stand my ground but after i let it go. I choose to feel good. Ive felt years of heartache and i choose to detach from her and feel good. Its not easy to let go but like you said its like a muscle and with practice it strengthens.

      8. Narc affair says:

        I do wonder if health wise compartmentalization is healthy. Its a survival coping strategy. In a narcissists case its unhealthy bc of the need to get fuel and create a false persona but the compartmental part i think could reduce stress and illness. Ive come across in my line of work a lot of illness related to stress. Many of these people are very emotional and feel deeply. They have troubles “shutting off” negative feelings. Stress is definitely a contributor to illness. Then you look at successful narcissists and they seem to live a healthy life. It doesnt seem fair but i think hsp and empaths could maybe take from this in a healthy way and learn to let go of harmful thoughts and feelings.

        1. mistynolan01 says:

          Hi narc affair – – I’ve been reading the comments on compartmentalization. It’s what I did from the very beginning.

          X narc was older, still an athlete, and extremely attractive. I Was married and divorced by the time I was 24. Horrible marriage which left me emotionally damaged and very vulnerable.

          I’d been single two years when I met narc. Based on things I’d learned about him, I let him know from the beginning I didn’t think he was husband material and that I was going to protect myself by tucking our relationship into one little compartment in my psyche.

          That’s exactly what I did. I won’t go into the gory details, but the relationship lasted three more years and I was disengaged by narc completely out of the blue. Still, I know that I would’ve been much more emotionally damaged had I pursued that relationship as a lasting, committed one.

          Having developed borderline personality disorder as a means of coping with abusive narcissistic parents, helped me to compartmentalize.

          It’s a great skill to have.

      9. Narc affair says:

        Hi misty…youre right its the minds way to automatically go into survival mode, compartmentalization. How you did it within the relationship from the start i couldnt do. I told myself what you did and knew the relationship wouldnt grow into anything substantial but in a way it has. We will never marry and truthfully id never want to with the narc. I have no desire to divorce hubby. Yet the narc relationship has grown over the 6 yrs. I wish i couldve done what you did but as time went along i became more and more drawn into this world weve created between him and i. Its become, im not entirely sure, yet but it does scare me the dependancy on it. Hes always been there and i do enjoy a lot about him.
        Looking back the sexual abuse i compartmentalized which i refer to as blocking out but i think thats what i did i stored it away. Out of sight out of mind. It did pop up years later.
        When i learned about narcissism i also learned about borderline and ive seen a lot of myself in this disorder. Ive never been diagnosed with it. Again its a spectrum and some have it more severely.

  13. Lisa says:

    HG, Sam Vaknin says that narcissist do feel empathy , as they can look at a situation and know how it would feel from a logical point of view or if it was happening to them however the difference is there is no emotion attached to the empathy . Would you agree with that ? He calls it Cold Empathy

    1. HG Tudor says:

      I call it Cognitive Empathy as described in the Three Strands of Empathy.

      1. lisa says:

        Ah yes makes sense and it’s the same thing really . I will re read that one , I’ve forgotten it . Just remind me what’s the name of the one about psychopaths please ?

      2. Dr. Harleen Quinzel PsyD says:

        That is the correct term.

      3. mistynolan01 says:

        I agree with your term. Though you certainly don’t need to hear it! You are always right!

  14. Horseyak says:

    Brilliant. Thanks.

    1. HG Tudor says:


  15. MLA - Clarece says:

    If your IP or close friend becomes ill and you’re saying your internal reaction is that of disgust with why you would have ever allowed yourself to be with someone so weak and pathetic, is this somehow taken as a wounding or narcissistic injury to yourself? In that you know you are supposed to FEEL something but yet you can’t, therefore your self-worth is diminished. If that happens, your superiority comes into question hurting your hyper-sensitive ego. To avoid the whole scene, you flee for self preservation?

    1. HG Tudor says:

      Interesting analysis MLA, I can see the logic of this. Of course there is also the fact that we do not want to be around to be called on for support and/or we want to find someone who is not weak and so forth, our departure also done to draw fuel from you by “fleeing the scene”.

      1. Sarah says:

        I was never ill. Why didn’t he like that?

        1. HG Tudor says:

          Because that suggested you being superior in some way and it denied him the opportunity to use you being ill against you, so he had to use your being healthy against you instead.

    2. Lisa says:

      Hi Clarece , I think they have a complete inability to deal with anything that involves them having to either put themselves out in anyway anyone hogging the limelight with their sickness . You have to live in their fantasy bubble where you never talk about your problems or anybody else’s , just listen to them droning on endlessly about themselves . How are you Clarece has yours gone for good ? Are you over it now ?

      1. MLA - Clarece says:

        Hi Lisa!! They definitely want to be doted on if they are sick or injured.
        It is waning with JN. I am in a much better place. I don’t know when / if I will ever be completely over it. I’m very resigned to this outcome of no closure and understanding the dynamic between us. It still makes me sad though. So..
        yeah… that’s kind of where I’m at. How about you?

        1. Lisa says:

          Hi Clarece , I got back with mine in September after 4 months silence. It was during that break that I learnt about npd and personality disorders in general . I was pretty sure he was a narcissist but you always wonder if you’ve got it wrong . So I got back with him armed with the knowledge and observed . It lasted 10 months this time , it’s been 2 and half years in total . There is absolutely no doubt in my mind now that he is a narcissist and we’ve talked about it and he admits it now but is still a victim. I’ve ended it again about 6 weeks ago and this time I feel different , I know what he is so there’s no hope and I’m gradually starting to feel better and think I’m starting to get over it . I’m not quite there but I feel disgust and anger now more than any other emotion . I look at him now and see how pathetic he is . I’m not sure if he’ll be back AGAIN but I know I’ll never take him back . It’s certainly been an eye opener learning all of this and it’s still quite shocking to think what I’ve been dealing with but I see it all so clearly now , I no longer see it in any romanticised way, he’s a very horrible individual when you really look at him in the way I do now , but it’s took a long time for me to get there

    3. sarabella says:

      You got it MLA. It is exactly that, I am sure of it. In my case, I wasn’t “ill”, I had an injury. Sort of the equivalent. So while he cared for me, allegedly, I know, I also know that somehow, he took it as a personal injury that I wasn’t perfect. MY body and my injury was a WOUND to him. Even before I was learning here, I had voiced this to him. I know it was true. That he somehow thought I was a failure. And since he needs so badly to show off via his relationships (fuel), I wounded him further by not being someon he could show off with (for superficial reasons). That it reflected on him somehow.

      And to further complicate that, what about a narc that also isn’t “well”? In otherwords, something what physically wrong with him, too, that you wouldn’t know unless you got intimate with him. Then it just screams at you.

      So can you just imagine the depth of Narc injury? I wounded him by my ‘imperfections’ cause I reminded him of himself and his which he was fleeing from his whole life, covering it with his narcissism, ego and vanity. Can you imagine the insane mirroring we had going on there?! I would remind him of his own physical failures and unwellness. Talk about wounds.

      1. MLA - Clarece says:

        Hi Sarabella! OMG! You mean I didn’t sound like a lunatic with this?
        So many times, there will be a word or phrase that HG uses in an article and it’s like the rest of the piece frames around that focal statement for me. His reaction to an IP being “weak and pathetic”, sounded like a raging reaction. It’s actually infuriating to him. What causes a narcissist to rage? Narcissistic injury. How can this unforeseen sickness or injury thru no fault of the victim, affect the Narcissist? It has to trigger an insecurity on his/her part (or something that triggers shame or inadequacy from their own abuse and feeling powerless). In this scenario they know they can’t feel or want to meet an expectation to caretake.
        Yes, I’m beginning to imagine. If HG is teaching us about their hidden lingo with doing word salads, what if one can learn to understand this tier of wounding to learn how to counter their reactions? Would one even want to is another question since you’re dealing with such unpleasant, abrasive behavior? Lol Maybe I’m just being optimistic?

      2. sarabella says:

        MLA – Clarece,

        I would also say, no, you didn’t sound like a lunatic. But can you imagine how I felt, 3 years ago, when I was so sucker punched by him, by what he had done, by my forgetting who he was because he had hurt me so badly as a teen, to being sucked back in by him, by him USING my injury as his gateway with false compassion and empathy into my life to apologize for what he had done to me as a teen, to only repeat what he had done, and to find out that all that time, while he was seducing me while pretending he hadn’t, pretending he was some Cassanova, to find out he has tiny male anatomy and to find out that this is likely one of the core wounds he deals with, that helped to create the monster he is, to find out he was no “better” than me, that he had his own gross imperfections which he was born with, mine was an accident, and he used all of that against me all the while knowing he is a total fraud in bed and more? That he provoked a greater wound in me while his entire life is spent fleeing and proving himself against his own illness/physical imperfections, but he acted so well and so smart and so wise and so hot and so sexy and so cool and so in demand and so good in bed and so everything? It was incredibly obscene to realize he gave himself free rein to attack me, belittle me, denigrate me, shame me again about my wound/illness and there he was, nothing but a total con artist, a lie, a fraud through and through. It all gave me permission in the end to just explode on him. All that fake empathy. All his manipulating women (he calls it a master seducer) and all the lives he has and will continue to damage when he is so utterly full of shit was profoundly wounding to me. I didn’t think I would ever get past the depth of hurt he caused. And if you thought you sounded like a lunatic, imagine how I was by myself, writhing in pain, before I started diging in to NPD abuse, wondering if what I felt to be true about one of our dynamics was true or could be true. That I was the mirror of his broken self and the truth of who he really was. And that he never found compassion for me, cause if he had really felt it, was capable, by his age, he should have found some for himself. He would have known all the women that likely rejected him, the pain of that, would be what I felt not only from his rejection, but by others. And that allegedly knowing this, he should have been so incredibly gentle and kind to me. Never wanting to wound me again like he had. But he thought he was different. And in the end, he wasn’t. He was the same narc who had hurt me, willing to do it again. I was supposed to be as ashamed and unhealed as he was. My life was supposed to be as in shambles as his own. And he found it wasn’t. And he had only one way to break my heart, with the same thing he supposedly was sorry for. It is one of the most fucked up things that has ever happened to me I think. Not the only, but it’s right up there as entirely soul and life changing. The kind of events that slams your life into an entirely new direction.

        He could not love me cause he cannot love himself for his own ‘illness’. And as I figured this out, I would lie there thinking, how incredibly sad this was if this was true, was this what really happened in the end?

    4. windstorm2 says:

      I think this idea is very profound, Clarece. Maybe not even consciously, but on some level their inability to respond to our illness makes them feel weak thus triggering anger. Then they project these feelings of inadequacy onto us with their comments and flee to avoid facing their own weakness.

      1. MLA - Clarece says:

        Thank you so much. Anger may also be getting triggered (or rather buried grief or rage) if they were not treated well or neglected by their primary caregiver when very sick or injured as children. The original blueprint if you will in how to respond. I recall HG’s story of burning his hand badly as a child on a BBQ grill (I think that was it) and of course MatriNarc expected no tears what so ever. That would be weak.

      2. sarabella says:

        I don’t think it makes them feel weak because they can’t respond. After all, they mimic so much else, why not mimic and fake being able to care for someone ill? I think they reject, because that is what it is, because they are totally incapable of making room for someone else in their little orbital world. They are self centered to their core and an illness they cannot respond to really shows them for who they are and this is what they cannot stand to see. That they are in fact weak, cowardly, misery, stingy and small. A complete opposite to the false mask they wear and believe themselves to be until this moment when they see the truth.

      3. sarabella says:

        In line with my other comments… the last night I was with him, he and I were in this bizarre and scary dance of come here/go away. I was trying to talk to him, share my life. And he just starts talking over me. not listening, getting in my face, his eyes wild with hatred and bitterness. I was just shocked. Glued on the spot with this person he was hiding. His mask was gone. And to quote someone who described the same, “I don’t know what he is”. Not who, what. Words that I call up when I have moments of weakness or doubt that this was all a horrific experience. But there he was, spitting such anger. And then, he dredges up ‘our” 35 year old past. And this is when he pulled out all the tricks. He brings up the friends he had and how they made fun of me (triangulation, “friends didn’t like you, you were ugly” tricks) and he just spits at me the name they used to call me. Just spits it at me, and it hit me like I have never been hit before. I walked away and just stared at the sky not even believing I had flown all around the world, for this utter shithead and sick man. Then he pulled his “come back” tricks. But that rage when he spit at me what they said of me, nothing anyone would get if you hadn’t seen it. And much later, weeks later, I asked why he said that. He said, “you misunderstood” but never clarified what I misunderstood or of course, apologized. And this is when I made my second mistake to join in the cycle of abuse. I was clear at first for a few weeks that this was not something that was forgiveable, but then he had laid the ground work well for me to fall into doubt, self-recrimination, and all the things that sent me chasing what had happened (who he was).

        It was all to vent his rage and anger. I never saw a thing like it before. And hope to never again. They really are sick human beings as his psychotic mind is on a far end of the scale, of that I am sure. I really wish something bad would happen to him as my feelings are almost gone. It would have been a healing thing had he been real. But now, I hope something really bad happens to him as the world doesn’t need people like him in it. He is the epitome of a sociopath who knows exactly what he is doing and in my opinion, deserves no compassion but what god has to offer him. I don’t need to understand him anymore, or feel for what made him that way. As I am sure he is somewhere between Mid and Greater and IMO, these are the ones who don’t deserve any compassion. I have no more for them.

    5. Very nice MLA.
      I agree with your assessment. The problem also is that a situation like you describe calls intimacy up. When they have to support or give another a supportive foundation it triggers a red flag for them. This means they have to get close to the person and draws up the fear of intimacy. They would rather avoid intimacy and responsibility for another’s well being. It brings up pain. They disengage by creating a fuelfest or disappear or some other form of protest. Those things exert control and then blame can be shifted to the ipps for getting sick or committing a treasonous act.

      Empaths use protest behaviours too. They are fear driven reactions to push the partner away and allowing a false control on both sides. The empaths will protest by playing a game (i.e. i dont need you anyway or im not going to answer if he calls, etc ) to get the narcissist to prove his love and reassure them of their love. However the narcissist feels trapped by that and then when he pulls away, the empath will question themselves by saying maybe I was too harsh or maybe he won’t come back and then they regret. This puts the empath in a bad position because they did not just say to the N, hey I am sick and I know you don’t like sickness but I need you to support me on this. If the narcissist flees, it’s a red flag that they aren’t supportive and are not someone you want to attach to. If you make the mistake of trying to protest or punish the narcissist you will not find out if it was what you did that pushed him away or if it was just his avoidance of intimacy that was the issue. That’s important to clarify as empaths tend to blame themselves and stew over what they did wrong or what they could have done differently. When it may have just been the narcissists fear of intimacy not anything you did.

      You could also recognize the narcissists avoidance here and tell them that you understand that they don’t like sickness and you understand that it makes them feel trapped and uncomfortable so they don’t have to come see you in the hospital or whatever. This support for their need to not feel smothered or without an exit will pacify them and give you piece of mind that you won’t suffer a protest from them. Both sides get what they need. Space and no drama. Now in HG’S case he may never be open to a solution that’s mutually beneficial. But if you can get a narcissist to understand that you want to support them and their avoidance of intimacy and you expect to be reassured and supported in your anxious states then you may be able to work together and become a team. The more you support one another’s intimacy problems the more you are free from accusations, devaluing, drama. Conflict resolution should be tried and if it continues to be a problem after you state what you need and expect out of the relationship then go no contact. You risk losing them but do you really want to be with someone who will not support you? Who will not recognize your needs after you have clearly told them what you want in a relationship. You should never feel as though your wants, needs, desires are too much to ask for. If that is what you need to make you feel secure then tell them. If they can’t give it, then move on, there are plenty available humans. Saves from getting attached to the wrong person and gives you more time to find a secure person that will work with you, not against you.

      1. MLA - Clarece says:

        Hi ABB,
        Great to keep expanding this topic! The fear of intimacy, in my opinion, goes all the way back to birth and those first few years with mother or primary caretaker establishing proper attachment and being in sync with their baby to develop and nurture that first form of intimacy.
        I agree that it would be outstanding to make that breakthrough with a Narc to get support reciprocated on both sides. I think it would be a long, gradual process to to introduce intimate acts while keeping them engaged and not getting bored or frustrated, or just plain freaked out.

    6. Sues423 says:

      Very true! Excellent point! To go along with what you are saying, maybe because they feel that they own you in a sense and they want to completely dominate and control you, now you’ve done something that they cannot control. And of course we all know that’s it’s not the persons fault they became ill but in their mind here you go , trying to take their control away. Trying to take the spotlight. Their carefully laid out plans are being challenged.

      1. Windstorm2 says:

        Good point, Sues423. And maybe their accusations that we’re not really sick or hurt is tied in to paranoia that we are trying to exert control.

      2. MLA - Clarece says:

        Hi Sues423! Yes, it makes complete sense almost because of how illogical it is, yet narcissistic injury is any perceived threat or betrayal from their perspective. This being something out of their control is something they can’t control.
        I also think how they may have been cared for being sick as a child plays into the blueprint as well.
        I will never forget one time when my daughter was 5, and was home sick over a weekend with a bad cold. My mom came to watch her for a bit so I could run some errands and I ran into her favorite deli to bring her some soup. While checking out, the college aged girl ringing me out was making small talk and I told her the soup was for my sick Kindergartner. She stopped cold counting out my change from the register, looked me dead in the eye and said “I wish I had a mom who brought me soup when I was sick”. I didn’t get the sense her mom had passed away. I just wanted to give her a hug. Don’t tell me that shit doesn’t stick for a lifetime.

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