The Grief, The Whole Grief and Nothing But The Grief



Grief. You may think that this is an alien concept to our kind. It is and it is not. On the one hand we do not feel grief but we do understand what it is and what it engenders in other people especially those who are empathic in nature and who have been entangled with us. We have watched with an almost child-like curiosity when you have received news about the passing away of a relative. If this happened during the golden period, you at least received some false empathy in the shape of some fabricated support and understanding to make it look as if we at least cared in some way. If your pet died during the devaluation, a long-loved pet, then we will have watched your display of sadness, longing and grief with contempt and jealousy. We would not have supported you but instead said something to provoke you such as,

“I don’t know why you are so upset, it’s just a dog.”

So that you focused on us again rather than wallow in your own grief. We have witnessed grief in others, observed and learnt how it is displayed. We have listened (when it served a purpose for us) during the golden period as to how it makes you feel and stored all of this information away. We do not feel grief. We may exhibit is for the sake of appearances if this will garner fuel for us and to preserve the façade, but it is never felt. You however experience grief in an intense fashion, given your capacity to feel and to empathise. We have seen your grief over a deceased relative, a friend taken suddenly and violently in a car crash, the celebrity who you adored who has passed away after a long battle against illness. We know just how capable you are of grief and we know that not only does it have the potential to be a potent source of fuel but we recognise its paralytic effect on you. Grief takes a hold and has the capacity to prevent you from functioning effectively. Not only that, its paralysis is such that it can prevent you from escaping this state of grief, keeping you locked-in a grieving mode, unable to move forward. Grief is an intense emotion. We have seen this. From the wailing cries of a parent being told that their child’s body has been found after they have disappeared to the dignified grief of a war veteran stood in silence with a single tear trickling down his or her cheek as they pay tribute to their fallen comrades. Whether noise or silence accompanies this grief it remains a powerful emotion and naturally one that our kind is keen to draw on for the purposes of extracting fuel. We see grief as serving two functions. Keeping you in a state of paralysis and therefore it follows that you will keep pumping out potent negative fuel for us to extract.

Now, I am not suggesting that I will embark on some kind of killing spree slaughtering your pets, taking down your favourite celebrities and murdering your friends and family, in order to create this repeated state of grief. Whilst one might see certain attractions in doing so, the effort involved and moreover the considerable downsides to such a course of action mean that it is not one that we would embark on. No, instead there is an alternative way of looking to create an enduring state of grief on your part. We want you to grieve for us.

This does not involve us taking our own lives. We rarely commit such an act. We will threaten it, certainly, as part of a hoover, but we regard the world as needing us and therefore we will extremely rarely commit suicide. We will however cause you to grieve for us and we do this when we eventually discard you after a harsh devaluation. When this discard takes place we will leave you with three losses over which you will grieve. Your grief will be prolonged because there are three losses and thus this maximises not only the prospect of paralysis but also a longer period of the provision of potent fuel.

The first loss is the loss of who you thought we were. You were seduced and swept off your feet by this charming individual who mirrored everything you liked and disliked. We ticked all the boxes, we professed to be your soulmate, we gave you a perfect love, made every day special and had you excited to see us and hear from us. We created such a wonderful start to the relationship, unlike anything that you had experienced before. We understood you, we cared, we showed you such passion, we listened and engaged in those things which you always wanted to share with someone else. We wrapped ourselves around you, permeated your very core and entwined our lives so that you were never happier and you could never comprehend a time when such delicious rapture would end. But it did and how.

The loss of something so brilliant and splendid hurts you and feels like you have suffered a bereavement so intense and painful is the experience. Even though you hear the words that it was an illusion, that none of it was real and that you need to let go, it is still so hard to accept all of that and you miss us. Oh how you miss us. You miss that wonderful person we were at the beginning and you want that person back. No matter how many times you are told that he or she was just a creation, that it was an illusion designed to fool you and that we never loved you and never meant or felt anything we said to you, it is still incredibly hard to accept. Just like someone who cannot accept that someone who has died will not walk through the door at any minute, you cannot accept for a considerable time that the person you thought we were has gone. We know what you will be thinking (because we have caused you to think and feel this way) and although we may not always see your grief-ridden response to our absence we know what you will be thinking and feeling and this fuels us. Even greater is the fuel from your messages telling us you miss us, that you want the “old me” back and begging for another chance. Your grief for loss of the person that you thought we were, is both huge and prolonged.

The second loss that you sustain and grieve for is the loss of the potential that we showed to you. There was no doubting that we were brilliant at our job. You saw the plaudits and you felt the benefit, for a time, of the accompanying pay cheque. You saw the trophies amassed for our various achievements in different fields and you heard other people speak so highly of our accomplishments. The compassion, kindness and love that we showed to you and to others (although false) still causes you to think that somewhere we are truly capable of this goodness, if only we would harness it and let it be free. You have witnessed two things. The reality of our drive to be the best and the accompanying good that such drive and ambition brings – a surgeon saving lives, a scientist inventing cures, an entrepreneur creating wealth and jobs, a policeman making the neighbourhood safer, a teacher educating so many people to a high degree – means that our rampant desire to be the best has the considerable potential to actually do good for others. You also saw something in terms of the way that we treated you and as an empathic individual you still believe that this goodness can be freed and used to both our benefits so that we are both happy together. You came to regard us as a wounded and hurt person and in conjunction with your innate desire to heal and fix, you felt that if you could heal us then the mutual benefits would be amazing. There was so much potential waiting to be unlocked and utilised and now with our departure and your discard, that potential has been lost. You grieve this loss of opportunity and how things might have turned out oh so different. You want to turn back the clock, do things differently and the inability to do so causes you considerable grief and pain.

The third area of grief which you sustain from coupling with us is not grieving over us, but it stems from being with us and that is grieving the loss of your identity. Before we came along you were happy, independent, strong, bright, well-liked by family, friends and colleagues. You had many interests and you enjoyed life. Yes, there were flaws and vulnerabilities but you handled them as best you could as you forged a path through life knowing who you were. Then we came along.

We subsumed you into us. We eradicated your characteristics as we either stole them for our own construct to show the world or we eroded them through the steady application of our vicious manipulations. Your confidence evaporated, your self-esteem disappeared and your self-worth plummeted. You became steadily isolated, losing friends, neglecting your interests and even become distant with family. You allowed yourself to be fully consumed by us. It was entirely understandable how this happened because we wanted it to happen and we acted in a manner to cause it to happen, but nevertheless your loss of identity was a steady and insidious consequence of the grip we held over you. Now, as you sit alone, ruminating on what once was, grieving the loss of who you thought we were, the loss of the potential, you are also hit by the loss of who you were. You no longer recognise that face which stares emptily at you in the mirror each morning. The world is grey and drab, music sounds harsh and grating, conversations irritate and make you fearful, even your favourite foods taste like ash in your mouth. You have lost yourself and the sense of foolishness from allowing this to happen and the grief arising from such a loss is substantial.

This triumvirate of grief arising from entangling with us provides us with substantial fuel and we know that burdened by not just one or two, but three forms of grief, it will take you a long time, if ever, to escape the effects.

34 thoughts on “The Grief, The Whole Grief and Nothing But The Grief

  1. MB says:

    So a narcissist would not feel anything at the loss of a longtime faithful friend or family member or pet? Moving forward without another thought? I have so much trouble wrapping my mind/heart around this disorder. I’m mired in the grief since I realized it was all an illusion. Hopelessly stuck and nobody even died!

    1. HG Tudor says:

      Correct, although they may milk the occasion for fuel.

  2. Mona says:

    I had a very interesting conversation today with some young men. We talked about Christmas and that my grandfather tried to hide that he killed the rabbits for Christmas dinner. I always knew it and I was only interested to see what was inside of the rabbits. I did not feel very much empathy for the rabbits. I did not want to see the killing but I wanted to see the “inlet” of the rabbits. They did not let me see it. I told that the young men and one of some was astonished and highly interested. He suddenly said that he does not feel empathy at all and seemed to be happy that there are other people too, who do not feel so much of that “emotion?”. He said, that he does not feel grief, even when a family member dies. He was so glad, that he found someone who seems to be similar. He said, maybe he would feel something, if his sister would die. All the other people do not cause any emotion in him. This young man is no narcissist as far as I can see. He is an intelligent , friendly young man, who misses an emotion!!! He seems to have a normal family background. He is not aggressive, he is not grandiose or selfish or shows anything else which could be a red flag. He seems to have a high/tender conscience. But he knows that he is different. He was a little bit scared about the “fact” that he does not feel empathy. One other young man was shocked about that deeply. The third one said that he feels empathy only for people who are close to him. So, there are many, many different levels of empathy. And some people do not feel it. The lack of empathy is only one ! criterion for psychopathy or narcissism. It was so interesting!!!

  3. Mary says:

    I have been voraciously reading all of the articles on this site, but this one really got to me. I, too, saw within two weeks of him moving in with me that something was very amiss. Although I knew very little about NPD. The “straw” for me was when I asked if he missed his children, and he simply responded, “No!” Six months later (after a lot of silent treatments, stonewalling, and gaslighting and growing to really dislike him), I kindly stated that we were not going to work. Then came the rage. I remained level-headed and calm, helped him find a place to live – all the while experiencing the greatest fear and anxiety of my life. Then came the grief. Oh, the grief!!!

  4. Just Me says:

    I find myself holding onto the grief because it is all I have left.

    1. Tappan Zee says:

      JM—I find myself holding onto the grief because it is all I have left.

      ^ totally get that 😭✔️❗️

      1. Catherine says:

        Me too. I totally get that!

      2. blackunicorn123 says:

        And me.

      3. Caroline says:

        I totally get this too… but does it help at all to know that grief is what your narc WANTS for you? It’s unfortunate, what it’s what drives him. Mine too, sister!

        I can so relate to you because “my” narcissist has always wanted me back and had the desire in that regard — but I still say NO on that because it is 100% selfish on what he wants… and I really do feel your pain, on being wanted and desired, in this narcissistic tangle — but I’m aware of my and your narcissist not being able to stop inflicting pain on us. PAIN. REAL PAIN.

        I have learned SO much about what my narcissist wants from me, in his latest Hoover… and it has been such a scary wake-up call. Let me know if I can help ease your pain, with my sharing anything… because my intimate relationship with him was from years ago… so I can maybe look at it less emotionally now… though he still holds the “magic” to hurt my heart. That is a real struggle for me. It is such a hard thing, that only those “infected” can understand.

      4. 69revolver says:

        *sigh*, me as well.

  5. PureRage says:


  6. Hope says:

    Wondering if at times the Narcissist doesn’t sink their own ship by going too far…

    If I had my cat die, and the man I was dating said “I don’t know why you are so upset, it’s just a cat.”

    I’d go quiet for a moment, digest the words he just said … then would say, “get the hell out of my life.” And that’d be the end of the relationship. And, I wouldn’t look back or have any regrets about it.

    Curious if others would do the same?

    1. HG Tudor says:

      There are occasions where our kind will push too hard and it results in an appliance seeking to escape. Whether that happens of course is a different matter.

      1. Iris says:

        My ex-narc made a mistake: he didn’t take my pride into consideration when he suggested that from now on I could be his fling next to his new girlfriend.

        I declined his generous offer in an email and went no contact.

        He didn’t see that one coming.

        I wonder how he could have made such a big mistake, because I thought that he’d know me well enough to know that my ego was too big to accept that kind of humiliation.

      2. Sophia says:

        At that point do you know you (or the lessers and mids) went too far? Do you pull some preventative maneuvers or disengage?

      3. Nina says:

        I escaped and haven’t looked back. Eleven months and counting…

      4. anonimous55 says:

        That’s what ‘she’ did to me, pushed it too hard over the borders, so I told her 1 month after the Golden Period that if there’s nothing I could do right anymore I just quit. And that’s what I did: I went no contact. As a HSP I felt it coming in the air from miles away, had to protect myself and my ego (you’re right Iris)…

        I am wondering HG whether your kind sometimes feels a need to get in therapy to stop continuous conflicts with others, or not? Are some aware of the fact they can be different or be prepared, even it will take a lot of effort? Are there some of your kind succeeding to make their life easier in a way?

        1. HG Tudor says:

          Therapy may be used as part of our manipulation of you. See the article ‘But I Can Change’.

          1. anonimous55 says:

            HG: ‘Therapy may be used as part of our manipulation of you’ So there is absolutely no other reason your kind might consider therapy? For themselves realizing wanting a change or is that just non existent?

          2. HG Tudor says:

            If there is an advantage to be obtained in attending.

    2. Bibi says:

      When my cat died, my narc comforted me and was very sweet. He was wonderful, actually. But throughout that time he was still lying to me about his identity. His kindness was the hardest part to accept…and to release. In the end it only made it all the harder to purge him from my life.

      1. Bibi says:

        HG it is SO hard when your kind it nice! Were it not for the niceness, I would have discarded him long ago!

      2. Bibi says:

        *is* nice. Damn typos.

    3. Iris says:

      The door would hit his bony ass on the way out. Hard.

    4. deifilia says:

      I don’t own a cat. But he knew I was extremely sensitive, which means even little things worked on me and fed him fuel or whatever the hell it is. But he of course worked on pushing my limits and succeeded at some level, but there are things people share in their stories, I know I would have not put up with, I just wouldn’t be able to because of my emotional levels. Now, not because I didn’t want him enough, or I’m just better than anybody else but I would get scared away easier. Which is what happened in the end. But he knew this, that’s why he was always clever about his ways.This sensitive side of me was what attracted him, what made it possible for him to toy with me and yet it was exactly what helped me escape him. People always think sensitivity is weakness, and they are right, but I turned it into strength and got the hell out.

      But if I had a cat, he would not lose me with that comment alone.

    5. Windstorm2 says:

      If the cat comment happened today, with someone I know, I’d mark them “narc” in my mind and distance myself from them quietly. The trap many of us have been in, though, is if we were raised by narcs, we heard that kind of comment all the time. We were told that we were defective for not feeling the same way. So we may have spent a large part of our lives doubting our own judgement. Or that we were already embedded in a romantic narc relationship that we felt we didn’t want to lose, for whatever reasoning.

      I think the key is to very closely scrutinize new people before we get attached to them. Sometimes i’ll throw out the odd comment about dead pets, earthquake victims or other people’s problems and then closely watch their reactions. It’s much easier to not form an attachment than to break one you’re already in.

      1. Jenna says:


        “It’s much easier to not form an attachment than to break one you’re already in.”

        I completely agree. Being on this site, saved me frm being entangled with narc #2. Thank god! I was able to run for the hills pretty fast!

        I have to admit, i don’t understand the pple who are on this site who become entangled with NEW narcs, knowing they are narcs, and choose it becoz they find it ‘exciting’. Yet they are complaining abt their past narc. So they know it is difficult.

        If i could reverse time, i would choose to have never met my nex. It is becoz i have such trouble not thinking abt him, not reaching out to him etc. To avoid that, i wud never voluntarily become involved with another narc again.

      2. Narc Angel says:


        Agreed. Better to test than clean up the mess.

      3. Hope says:

        When I was little, many long years ago – my Dad was angry at me for some reason. He took my pregnant cat away in the car and drove her to a park and dumped her to die. I stopped loving him that day. And felt nothing but relief when he passed away 30+ years later. As a little girl – I was pushed too far. He lost my love forever.

    6. Narc Angel says:


      Your name says it all.

      Most people here would like to think they would do that, but that is logical thinking and not usually the case. How many here before they became entangled with a narc would have advised a friend to leave a man if he was treating the friend as badly as they would eventually allow themselves to be treated?

  7. Catherine says:

    This article speaks volumes to me. I still can’t quite understand how someone so bereft of empathy and love as you are HG can understand my feelings so well.

    I’m going through this grief right now, wading through it, drowning in it; and as you state I mourn the actual person I thought he was, I mourn his disorder and I can’t grasp at times how all could be an illusion. And yes, I mourn the potential of us, the inevitable hurt he inflicted on me and most of all right now I mourn my innocence; falling so easily prey to him, I don’t know if my outlook on the world will ever be the same again; I also mourn my identity which he managed to erase so painstakingly, the fact that I’m left with all the shards that need to be put together again for me to escape this complete emptiness I feel I’m engulfed in right now.

    The thing about grief though is that listening to all your defense mechanisms of avoiding it, walking around it, taking the easy path, will never do. You have to walk right through it. That’s what I’m trying to do; putting in this enormous effort at confronting my own issues and hoping grief will strengthen me. It’s exhausting and painful. But something good will surely come of it. If it amounts to enormous amounts of fuel to him, well I couldn’t care less in a way. That’s his journey and it will not take him anyplace true, honest and real ever; my journey will be different.

    1. Tappan Zee says:

      the fact that I’m left with all the shards that need to be put together again for me to escape this complete emptiness I feel I’m engulfed in right now.

      ^ i get that 100% catherine and agree that the fact HG understands, even “just” cerebrally, it feels validating. i find comfort in that. even though it is not by his definition, empathy. when a human gets me, they get me. when they say so it feels real. it is not feigned. he says he does not care. i guess i do not care if he does not care if it feels genuine. perhaps that is part of my plight. or it is enough. here. now.

      1. Catherine says:

        You’re right TZ, it doesn’t really matter in the long run because HG sure knows how to describe it in a meaningful manner. That’s what so helpful and creates a merging of two worlds here.

  8. angela says:

    But most of us will win.
    We have something that N dosnt have
    We are real
    We dont need other one to be real..happy..and feel love.
    N dosnt have what we have.
    N want what we are.
    We dont want what N are.
    So…give time..and see

Vent Your Spleen! (Please see the Rules in Formal Info)

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Previous article

The Errors of the Ignorant – No. 3