Empathy and Irony


Many people state that my kind and me lack empathy. I don’t like that attitude. First of all it amounts to a criticism and I am not to be criticised. Secondly, empathy is regarded by some as the ability of blurring the line between self and other. The handy dose of empathy pictured above underlines this. In fact I am amongst the best at blurring the line between self and other. I am a champion at it. One of my killer lines of seduction is to declare

“I don’t where you end and where I begin we are merged into one.”

If that is not a blurring of the line between self and other I do not know what is. I repeatedly explain that I see people as extensions of myself, they are objects that become subsumed within what I am as I swallow up their identity and use their traits as my own. Blurring of lines? I would argue that that is an obliteration. By that definition I am absolutely oozing empathy aren’t I?

The third reason that I do not like the suggestion that I lack empathy is that empathy is the ability to understand the feelings of others. Again, I understand the feelings of others to a high degree. How can I manipulate those feelings if I do not understand them? Some of our kind instinctively behave in a manner which causes manipulation. They do not have much thought behind the process but they act in this fashion because it is all they know. It is all they have been conditioned and programmed to do. They do not need to consider what they are doing because it just happens and then the manipulation unfolds. Those of us at the greater end of the scale of narcissists do consider what to do in terms of our manipulation. We are always plotting and scheming as we reflect on the best way of manipulating you to do what we want and provide us with our precious fuel. I sit and consider the most effective ways of wielding my devilish toolkit in order to provoke and engender the most rewarding emotional reactions from you.  I work through the schemes and machinations as I dream up new ways of provoking you. I analyse your life, what you do and what you say and then work out how I can then use that material to make you react.If I did not understand how certain things would make you feel, how can I know how best to manipulate you? I understand all about your feelings because I watch you and I observe and I remember. I have done this many times to your type and therefore I have built up an acquired knowledge of the ways that people such as you will react. I sit and consider what I can do to make you hurt, make you cry and make you frustrated. I know you so well I know exactly which buttons to press. I know which emotions to coax from you and because I understand this I know precisely what to do to achieve this. For some of you a cold front of silent treatment will make you pour forth that fuel as you frantically call and cry, worried as to why we have stopped speaking to you. With others a prolonged period of triangulation brings out the emotional response required because you always compete with someone or something that you perceive as a threat.

The fact you show your feelings so readily is joyously received by us. You provide us with a manual from which we can learn. We can mimic your emotions so our fakery continues to draw you in, make you feel sorry for us and have you focussed on us. Your exhibitionism in this regard allows us to understand which emotions run deepest in you and also the ways in which these emotions can be brought to the surface. We have to know how you feel so we can then influence how you will feel. I understand your emotions. That is demonstrating empathy is it not? Would you now say that we lack empathy?

You cannot say that we do not care about your feelings either. We care about them because we need those feelings because they provide us with fuel. We need to know that you will feel and show those feelings to us. We care very much about your feelings as without them we would be denied our fuel and that is fatal to us. We care about your manifestation of those feelings and that they are directed towards us. What we do not care about is their effect on you. That is of no interest to us because it serves no purpose to us. If you are left anxious, unable to eat or sleep then all we care about is that your anxiety is shown to us. The impact on your health and well being is of no concern to us because that does not provide us with fuel. It is not our role because of the way we are to make you feel better (unless of course that is required in order to obtain further fuel) but it is our role to make you feel so you give us fuel. We have no interest in the day-to-day or long-term effects of how you are feeling just so long as you can keep showing your emotions to us and giving us fuel. We have nothing to gain in alleviating your sadness. We have no interest in offering solutions to make your pain and misery go away. That is the brutal truth.

Don’t say however we do not understand how you feel. We most certainly do because we have to know this in order to exploit your feelings further. Indeed we often make you feel that way on purpose so we know exactly how you feel. We need to know the best way to pull on your strings and this means understanding how you will feel and react. So that is empathy for you indeed. Who would have thought it? Empathy from the devil. How ironic.

60 thoughts on “Empathy and Irony

  1. Mona says:

    Hi Dragonfly,
    today it is pretty easy to explain for me. Compassion is in my eyes what HG describes as the second strand of empathy. Many people understand under “empathy” automatically the second strand. It is pretty amazing that there are no special expressions for the three strands in English or in my language. That means people are not aware, that there is a huge difference. Even in psychology (as far as I know) I see no-one who differentiates exactly between different forms of empathy. That causes a lot of misunderstandings. They should find special terms for it.

  2. Pheonix says:

    This was where my narc with her massive IQ of 150 finally fell down. When manipulating me back from my husband who I never intended to leave…(classic dirty empath situation) she had her dog destroyed and feigned devastation.. I went to her, she totally predicted how my empathic traits would work against me. However, after my divorce and inevitable disengagement, she totally over played the cruelty, humiliation and trashing of me to such an extent she made hoovering me impossible.
    As a healthy empath who was truly and deeply loved in childhood, it became transparent how she had no clue what love felt like and had no understanding of any part of what she put me through.
    When the hoovers came it was just totally ridiculous.
    Yes I was trauma bonded and still desperately in love.. but I had worked out she was an avatar… she showed me her abject incapacity to be the she that she had feigned.
    And she’d missed the point of no return on my pity and wish to heal her also.
    The empathy gap was her undoing in an otherwise impeccable charade.

  3. Kel says:

    I agree that a narcissist’s perception of another persons feelings is highly accurate and that it’s instinctual, educated and as psychic as an empath. My narc always somehow knows to kick me when I’m down without knowing I am. We’re cut from the same cloth. But a narcissists viewpoint becomes distorted by his self-centeredness. People are drawn to empaths because we make them feel good about themselves. They’re drawn to narc’s for the same reason, unaware they’ve landed on a Venus flytrap.

  4. Kel says:

    The devil is twisting the truth, as usual.

  5. Heather says:

    No, empathy is a shared feeling. You have to be vulnerable enough to experience it. It’s passive.

    1. saskia says:

      I like your notion of a ‘shared feeling’ and agree very much with you that affective empathy requires vulnerability, the ability to be open and flexible to other people’s emotions and to let them ‘flow in’.

      Cognitive empathy is, in my understanding, a stance of neutral, more clinical observation, of putting oneself into the shoes of another and understanding their perspective and their emotional state on the basis of mere logic and cognition – many high-functioning narcissists are experts and accurate at that.

      1. saskia says:

        In addition:

        I believe that empathy as a whole, encompassing both the mental and the emotional part, can be both – taking up a passive, absorbing and an active, reciprocating stance.

  6. Lynda Matus says:

    Touche`, HG!

  7. TruthseekerXYZ says:

    HG, thanks for clarifying your views on empathy – it‘s just what I was hoping for! So yes, it makes a lot of sense – narcissists are actually „empaths“ where the blurring of emotional boundaries is concerned, and they „care“ about their appliances’ feelings so as to better syphon them off. Whether the whole thing is ironic, I don’t know. Perhaps if empathy was an exact synonym for compassion but clearly it’s not. I would agree with Mona above that there is a key difference between the two. Do you actually have the ability to feel compassion towards your IPPS? On the flipside I have certainly read comments by „empaths“ which do not seem very compassionate. „Empaths“ clearly lack compassion for their own selves. And then: I can‘t remember where exactly I read it but did your doctors not assess you to feel some compassion towards your disabled brother? My question would be: what stops you personally from wanting to change (as in: develop your ability to feel compassion fully) if you CAN feel some, have insight into your disposition as well as the ability to reflect on it more than anyone? Fear of the beast within? If so: would you not want to be the grandest narc ever to have tamed it? (Am not being ironic…)

    1. HG Tudor says:

      I am effective as I am, therefore there is no need to change.

  8. Kathy Mor says:

    And I am in my phone so forgive my English mistakes.

  9. Kathy Mor says:

    Narcissists have an instinctive understanding of emotions and feelings. Because they can dissociate and not feel them, they use of cold, hard logic to understand how we operate. They can see through people’s lies, false appearances, fakery, which is why they can find good prey and avoid wasting time with idiots. It is like cold empathy, voided of compassion, but still empathy. My ex could sense my moods by the way I typed my answers to him. Two lines was enough. He already knew. The only problem was his paranoia. Because he knew people would eventually find out what he is, many times he translated things in a threatening manner, which was not necessarily true. Now, he did say we were One. We blend in as @One”, I belong to him forever because I am his. As he said the same thing to the woman he was/is/whatever having an affair with. I saw what she wrote to him. So, I agree with HG. They can make us look like kindergartens in terms of empathy and I am quite the empath, if you ask me. I can read/feel people like books but heck, I was totally dumb regarding my ex. Isn’t that “funny?” So much for stupid empathy.
    They totally empathize with us! Except they don’t give a f… about us… or anyone else, including themselves. It is quite bizarre their conquest for fuel so much that fuel enslaves them. Now to think that the almighty narc is a slave to his own deficiencies and that he is a co-dependent on us to get it, is a quite twisted irony. But what do I know? I am an empath co-dependent and not given the knowledge I have because of HG, I would be hunting down for another, better, smarter, greater, stronger, preferably more lethal narcissist to enslave me. And I would be doing that with the excitement of a 5 year old let loose in a candy store, with the treat of that special ice cream waiting for me at the exit.

    1. Caroline R says:

      Kathy Mor
      You’ve given this a lot of thought, and it’s been interesting to read. I’ve had some similar thoughts: some N’s can empathise (only to choose what manipulation tactic to pull out of their arsenal) but “don’t give a f*** about us”. There’s no compassion, no love.

      1. Kathy Mor says:

        I can’t say that everytime they choose to “empathize” is for personal gain. I don’t know about that.
        Moreover, I think don’t think that they can feel what we feel and how we feel it. It is almost like… knowing how to cook a recipe, knowing the ingredients, knowing how to put it together but then when it comes time to taste it, they can’t taste. They can eat it but they can’t taste. They can smell it but they can’t experience the taste. However the smell gives them information enough. Also, their own emotions and the expression of them gives them clues by how people react to them. Be for fuel or not, there is a wealth of information to a narc simply my watching out facial expressions.

  10. Sanda says:

    lol i woke up and suddenly got it…ebony and ivory.

    1. HG Tudor says:


  11. Morning sun says:

    Empathy is a skill that has facilitated human survival. It makes little sense to glorify it and make it something it’s not. Empathy is neither good nor evil (nothing is, really), it is the ability to comprehend/retrace someone else’s feelings and thought processes.

    Empathy is much ‘purer’ than compassion – compassion involves your own feelings, or rather, a simulation of what you would feel if you were in someone else’s situation. Due to that, it’s rather hit-and-miss… the way another person feels/thinks can be vastly different from our own.

    Therapists must sometimes use both, depending on the type of therapy they are doing, but confusing the two would render the therapy itself rather less efficient and potentially even harmful to both – the last thing the client needs is to have someone else’s emotions projected onto them.

    1. Caroline R says:

      Interesting post Morning sun, thank you. It’s given me food for thought.

      My understanding of empathy is that it’s an ability to see another’s perspective, and to understand how they feel, why that would be so, and how I would feel under the same circumstances.
      Having empathy allows us a respectful difference of opinion: “I can understand why you did XYZ, even though I wouldn’t have made that choice”.
      Empathy can be considered a cognitive function. It’s not making a value judgement about a situation. It’s making a comparative connection between two people or groups.”this is your experience, this is my experience, and here’s where those two things overlap, or don’t”
      It’s our mind making Venn diagrams from our interactions with others.

      I understand compassion to be an attitude that motivates behaviour, so that we act in ways to comfort, to soothe, to protect (because the other is vulnerable), to show love, to forgive and overlook failings, to think mercifully towards, not harshly or critically, while still acknowledging the truth and the reality of a situation.

      Compassion causes us to act to support, to deal gently and kindly with another. It motivates us to cut them some slack, to give them another chance, to release the debt, to cover over their shortcomings, to spare them embarrassment, to maintain their dignity. To support them and make up the shortfall until they can do what’s needed to be done.
      It allows us to be tolerant of another and less irritated by their ‘otherness’ and idiosyncrasies.
      It allows love to grow.
      We can see, and focus on, the things that we like about the other person, and the irritations barely register on the radar.

      We can only act with compassion towards someone when we have first had empathy for them. Compassion could be considered a judging faculty.. It’s how we make a value judgement; it says in a way “this situation is bad, and it needs to change”. It’s not assigning blame however. Neither empathy or compassion are about morality, but ethics.

      If a person has empathy, acts in a compassionate way towards another, and operates from a position of healthy self-esteem, that’s magic! That’s self-actualization, the pinnacle of Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs.

      Interesting article HG. I’ve been thinking about it a good deal, and read it three times. I am of the opinion that you (as a greater N) do have empathy, because you do understand what others feel as you say, but the compassion is missing. Compassion is tied to a couple of aspects of behaviour —acting with love, a desire to have the other’s wellbeing as the primary goal, and that goal being independent of any corollary benefit to you, the N.
      Compassion isn’t driven by self-interest, and N-behaviour is all about self-interest (“fuel is the rule”, as you say), and any benefit to others is sheer coincidence, or has financial or facade benefits for the N.
      Perhaps it’s the greater and some mid-ranger Ns that have empathy, but many Ns don’t, and thereby seem obnoxious, obtuse, incredibly insensitive and callous; callous to the point of being invalidating of another’s feelings; and then are threatened, leading to lashing out at the person they don’t understand.
      (My mum was an upper Lesser, and her dad was a victim lesser. My sister is a victim mid-ranger. I’ve only dated somatic mid-rangers and greaters. My female N friends were all midrangers. I’ve worked with cerebral Ns — all repulsive toads, and somatic mid-rangers).
      What do you think?

      1. Caroline R says:

        HG, I just read your article ‘The Three Strands of Empathy’, and it’s answered my question. Thank you.

      2. HG Tudor says:

        I have cognitive empathy as explained previously, but no emotional empathy of which compassion is a constituent part.

      3. Caroline R says:

        Thanks for replying HG

        1. HG Tudor says:

          You are welcome.

  12. J says:

    I’ve heard your annoyance at this idea of not having empathy come up before, HG. It makes sense to be annoyed by it, but that doesn’t mean you understand it the same way we do. (Much the same way we do not understand Fuel or Narcissism as acutely as you do… try as we might.) An empathetic person could not manipulate and treat as useful object another person because they so strongly see themselves in the other. “I could never do that to X because I would hate to have that done to me.” It is quite clear you are very skilled at cognitive empathy and understand it at a very deep level, but that’s not all there is to it. Empaths and Ns may have be two sides of the same coin, but we are not the same in this regard.

    1. HG Tudor says:

      Thank you for your observation.

      1. Lori says:

        This is what projection is all about. They need you as a place to deposit all of the negative feelings that they have about themselves but cannot acknowledge. Many times I have had to figure out what were my actual feelinga and which were his. You become somewhat of a surrogate for them to place their negative feelings and you experience them for them.

    2. Kathy Mor says:

      I told PC long ago that true love perhaps is when you have the opportunity to hurt the one who hurt with equal power and extension and yet you don’t do it because you can’t bear the pain they would feel.

  13. mollyb5 says:

    When I see true sorrow or real emotional pain ….I can FEEL another persons pain ……not just see it …..it washes over me in a rush making every fiber in my soul feel the sorrow or emotional pain …when it is pure and real , like a childs or a mother’s or a man who is truely feeling deep loneliness …..I don’t just see it or get off on it (like a narc) or simply sympathize with him ……this real pain rushes thru me like heat and fills my cells with loneliness and despair so overwhelming that I tear up and can feel my heart beat faster such that the heat of my blood will overwhelm my being and I can shake and have a strong need to help or comfort the person or walk away sobbing with a head full of snot or mucus . I cannot stop this when it’s real , I know it’s a message for me to wake up .

  14. Jess says:

    It’s all perspective and I can’t argue with a word of this. Cognitive empathy is a reality no doubt. You can ask a narcissist to logically place themselves in another’s position and consider what it would be like… Real empathy means that when they cry you cry. Most often you can’t tell which are even your own feelings. Probably why projection works so well on us… bc we are feeling all of their inner workings. It’s as natural to us as breathing.

    1. HG Tudor says:

      Valid observation.

    2. nunya biz says:

      Jess, I like what you say about projections, it’s the thing that has gotten me the most turned around.

    3. nunya biz says:

      And also in that vein, to feel accurately seen feels completely, stunningly different to me than cognitive empathy. I have realized that being actually seen is what I seek out, but that convincing toward that end is futile. Pivotal concept.

      1. Jess says:

        It comes to for all of us as a needyo be seen. All of our core survival based fears stem from this. It’s why the narcissist feels like they are going to die when ignored and why the empath feels that when discarded. Back in the day not being chosen, being rejected and left out in the cold meant that you didn’t survive. It runs deep. It’s mostly instinct.

      2. nunya biz says:

        I was thinking, for example, about my genuine love for someone based on who they are rather than projection, and the beauty and peace of that. I think it can be an innate skill/gift to share.

  15. Twilight says:

    No different then one being empathetic/empathic vs being an empath. Technically both are on empath scale the difference is empathetic/ empathic person needs a visual cue of another’s emotional state where the empath doesn’t and can be miles apart or in the next room and feel the emotional state of another living being. IMO that is a blurred line.

    Cognitive empathy is understanding another’s emotional state, you do not have emotional contagion that is the dividing line that seperates us. Emotional contagion can be faked and why I believe so many empaths are ensnared due to visual cues. Your kind mimic these cues which trigger the sensitive mirror neurons then emotional thinking jumps on board and hijacks the logical thinking of the empath.

  16. tigerchelle78 says:

    OK, not meaning any criticism here, but simply a difference in opinion….
    ….according to most dictionary definitions, it would seem that this kind understand empathy perhaps. But they do not!

    Empathy is not mimicry, manipulation, or just understanding how another person is feeling.
    True empathy is actually FEELING those feelings yourself, and a narcissist will not do this, because they feel it is beneath them. They would rather feel the fuel. The fuel will always come first – they have no interest in true empathy be cause they do not want to feel what another person is feeling, they simply wish to influence it to their advantage.

  17. Veronique Jones says:

    Oh please having a understanding of how to manipulate others emotions and feeling for them are two very different things your kind only feel for your selves on a self indulging way it’s why it’s so easy for you to disregard our emotional pain at your hand
    I am an authentic empath and suffer along with others physically and emotionally but also have the upside of enjoying their happiness
    I know how much pain your kind go through hence the attraction we need to heal that
    True empathy are incredibly strong and uncontrollable we also love with our mind body and soul unconditionally so our need for the acceptance of others is not needed

  18. Sandra says:

    Is this a new piece?
    This is something I knew about that I have been wanting addressed.
    Narcs are very astute and perceptive; they have impeccable cognitive empathy and use it as a weapon for exploitation.
    They lack “compassionate empathy” because it does not serve their core values of superiority and entitlement.
    They choose competition over cooperation.
    Fuck the Greater Good…so long as their agenda is covered.
    Thanks, HG.

  19. Sweetest Perfection says:

    Beautiful pun by omission; it’s indeed SYMPATHY for the devil, not empathy. Likewise, empathy is not sympathy. I love your writing, HG. I’m new commenting but I’ve been a habitual reader. I came here looking for information and I got hooked to aesthetic pleasure. Oh well, such is my life.

    1. HG Tudor says:

      Thank you. Great name, track two of Violator.

  20. windstorm says:

    “Empathy is the ability to share another person’s feelings and emotions as if they were your own.” — Collins English dictionary

    You can not do this, HG. You can figure our feelings and emotions out to an extent using intelligence and observation. You can ape and mimic them. But you can never actually feel and share them as if they are your own.

    1. Caroline says:

      TRUTH… and an important point to highlight, WS.

      I’ve felt uncomfortable when I’ve referred to it a few times as “cognitive empathy”… because, for me, that seems like one heck of an oxymoron!

      1. windstorm says:

        I have no problem with the term “cognitive empathy.” But it will always be an intellectual empathy. Which really could be argued to not be empathy at all.

        It makes me think of how before I ever left the state of Kentucky (which is about 5-600 miles inland), I thought I knew what it was like to live by the ocean. I’d seen pictures, watched ocean specials, movies set by the sea. I felt I knew the ocean. Then I actually went to the Atlantic and was blown away! The immensity of it! The smells, the taste of salt in the air, the constant sounds of the surf, the way the houses are built differently, even painted differently, the constant effect of the weather. I could go on and on. I realized that I’d never really known what the ocean was like, and even after this trip, I’d have no idea what it would be really like to live there.

        That’s how I think cognitive empathy narcs can develop is like. It’s like learning about things from television, but never actually experiencing them.

        Elephants! That’s another one. I would have sworn I knew about elephants. Then when I actually was next to one at the circus it blew me away! The dry, wrinkled skin with coarse, sparse hair, the size towering over me and OMG the unbearable stench!

        No matter how much you learn about anything, it is never the same as experiencing it!

        1. Caroline says:

          100%, WS… and your ocean example made me reflect in a few different ways.

          Part of my childhood was spent by the ocean, and when one of my second cousins came to visit one summer, she had her ideas of what the ocean would be like. She was so excited to experience it. However, she was completely overwhelmed by the strong pull of the waves – the salt water she kept swallowing – the heat of the sand – pretty much, not at all what she had envisioned. I remember feeling sad that it wasn’t all that she had dreamed up in her mind. Before she ever arrived, her mind had filled in the gaps of what she had never experienced — in the way that most suited her. The reality was no match for her imagination.

          I’ve always had a very active imagination, and I think it “filled in the gaps” during my relationship with the narcissist. I reinterpreted aspects — attributed positives to him simply not there — in a romanticized way. Thank God I’ve also got a strong logical side, or it may have taken longer to realize I wasn’t in “Relationship Fairyland”; instead, I was in “Relationship Unfair-EEK!-Land.” 😉

          It makes me feel sad that my ex-BF cannot experience all we can, with the range and depth of all emotions that serves to connect… including experiencing real empathy. I can see this more and more with him now, in our unconventional friendship. I see and feel what’s missing in him… but I no longer fill those gaps in with my imagination. I fill them in with cold, hard facts.

          In a way, it’s taken some of my innocence away, as many aspects of learning can do.

          It’s a hard thing to know… but my heart is still as soft. I hope it always will be.

          Thanks, as always, for replying back, WS.

  21. nunya biz says:

    Reminds me of the movie “Misery”. Jealousy and covetousness.

  22. Lou says:

    HG, do you feel tenderness for the IPPS when you are in the enfatuation phase?
    I think I know the answer but I am asking anyway.

    1. HG Tudor says:

      Not felt, but it is exhibited.

  23. Mercy says:

    To be able to identify empthy is not the same as having empathy. You may be able to label it but can not feel it. When someone says they care about another person’s feelings they are saying that they understand their feelings. An empath goes beyond and feels these feelings. When an empath says they care, it is to comfort another. When a narcissist says they care about a person’s feelings he is saying “I care about your feelings because your feelings benefit me”. Very different.

    Side question, why does the narcissist push too far until they break their appliances? Why not give them the ups they need in order to keep them working? If you can identify emotions, why not keep the fuel source from breaking? Is it easier to just get a new one rather that fix the one you have?

    1. HG Tudor says:

      They are not always broken and if they are, yes it easy enough to find another. We do not fix – that is your trait, not ours.

      1. Mercy says:

        HG, “We do not fix – that is your trait, not ours.” I see I was looking at it from my prospective. What is logical to me would never be a thought to him. Toxic Logic?

  24. Mona says:

    Yes, that is because a lot of psychologists and other people mix empathy with compassion. It is a great difference and a failure of psychological theory. Maybe, it is because a lot of psychologists feel a great empathy a n d compassion with their clients and think it is naturally combined. It is not.
    At that point I agree with you.
    There is a lot of work to be done to change errors of psychology.

    1. Michelle says:

      Mona, you make some excellent points. The DSM is so focused on outward behavior that I think it contributes to people being unable to identify disordered people in their lives. The assumption is that if you have empathy, you will act on it appropriately, i.e. with compassion. Most human beings suspend compassion for certain ends. For example, we have deep compassion for our own pets but we compartmentalize the animals that we eat and do not extend compassion to them. Too much compassion for food animals would prevent us from eating them, just like too much compassion for appliances would prevent narcissists from getting fuel from them. Narcissists may be capable of incredible cognitive empathy, but their other priorities demand that they do not extend compassion to us. Compassion is only for those who help them prop up their delusions of grandeur, power, and admiration. I have seen well-fueled narcissists who act with compassion because it does not conflict with their ends in that moment. The thing that terrifies me most about my Narc Ex is that he was hyper-aware of my emotional state, as much if not more so than an empath I dated for years, but he was also capable of great sadism when someone crossed him. It wasn’t that he didn’t understand that he was causing people to suffer, it was that he thought they deserved it and called it “justice.” Most empaths would vicariously experience this suffering and realize that the punishment was disproportionately harsh, but a narcissist needs to inflict pain in order to externalize it and disown it. By the time I got a silent treatment from Narc Friend I fully realized that the hatred directed at me was actually how he felt about himself in that moment. Compassion from a narcissist is always conditional on being part of their grand delusion. Empathy might be there, but compassion is a low priority.

      1. HG Tudor says:

        Interesting observations, thank you.

      2. MB says:

        Michelle, you are correct. I have great compassion for all animals, all the way down to ants! I am not a vegetarian, however. I am the worst hypocrite where that is concerned. I consider the meat in the grocery store as food. It is compartmentalization. If I think of it as an animal, I would not be able to eat it. If I had to kill animals in order to eat meat, I would be a vegetarian.

      3. Mona says:

        Michelle, your words hit the point. “Compassion from a narcissist is always conditional…” It always serves a special reason. Mostly it is recognition or to cover some evil deeds (maintaining the facade).
        I could repeat nearly each word that you wrote and subscribe.
        Narcs have a very distorted perception/idea of justice.
        The only thing I do not fully agree is that the hatred directed at the other one is what they feel about themselves. I do not think so. It is more their distorted perception of justice, which lets them feel the hate towards another individual.
        Of course they project a lot of feelings onto the other one, but at this point I do not see the projection.
        They do not hate themselves, they hate other people. Maybe they fill up the hole that exists through missing feelings like joy…etc, through hate to feel as a “whole person.” There is enough place.

    2. Dragonfly says:

      Hi Mona. How would you describe/differentiate empathy vs compassion? Tx

      1. Mona says:

        Hi Michelle, Hi Dragonfly, I will answer you tomorrow. I am sorry, that I have not enough time now. Michelle, you made some excellent points too, which are a new thoughts for me. I will tell you. Mona

      2. Jess says:

        I got some free time. This thread of comments is amazing.

    3. Michelle says:

      If you have never heard of Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs, check that out. It is not in the nature of human beings to have empathy for anything that stands between us and basic survival. Survival trumps everything, even interpersonal connection. We don’t like to see this in ourselves, but it is more true than we like to admit. Read about human beings in survival situations. Often their behavior is very frightening.

      For the narcissist, coming into contact with what HG calls “the creature” is an existential threat. It is viewed as being like death. So of course if you come between a narcissist and his fuel, you threaten his very existence, and will be regarded without empathy. Imagine also coming between an addict and his drug, and how that addict would then treat you. The narcissist “kills” you with the silent treatment because you are an existential threat. Empathy is a luxury, really, for those who are not in survival mode. Narcissists enter survival mode in childhood when they are abused.

      Of course the fear of “the creature” is irrational because it does not really threaten a person’s existence the way the narcissist imagines, but it probably felt that way to a young child. We as empaths see that, but the narcissist doesn’t. And that is the real tragedy of the narcissist — spending life in terror of a shadow.

      1. Kathy Mor says:

        It is like someone standing between me and Swiss dark chocolate. Do at your own risk! 🙂
        I have thought about Maslow’s and the narcissist because what you said it is very true… to most.
        Most people will get rid of the obstacle that stands between them and the meeting of their needs, especially if it is regarded as an immediate threat that threatens their existence, be it a real threat or a perceived one. I didn’t know about the fuel until I met HG. However, when I was with PC, I noticed him reacting strongly to certain situations that made no sense to me back then. But he reacted to anything that kept him from receiving the fuel he needed, be it from me or someone else. He could go without food, water, and sleep but he wouldn’t go without fuel. There were many small fractions of moments that I could sense the insecurity behind the mask and in those moments, images of him being abused would pop in my head. I saw him crawling under tables trying to escape his father’s belt and kicks. I saw him locked in a cabinet. These things he never told me. But I felt such pain that was debilitating. But the time he began mentioning certain parts of his childhood, I already knew and it was difficult for me to actually hear him talking. I would get sick, lightheaded… I could feel the pain in my own body. I couldn’t stand his descriptions of the abuse. He was the first born. His mother spent his life telling him that he would never succeed, that he was a failure. Wtf? I could punch a whole in her fucking face…. like I almost did to my grandnarc. My grandmother was a malignant narc to the 10th power…. a royal bitch… and I was at war with her my whole life. Id I were to describe the stuff that happened, no one would believe me…. it became to where I had a morbid pleasure wounding her on purpose just to see the poison boiling in her veins and seeking in the environment. I enjoyed it. If I was bored around the house, I knew what to do to bring Hell alive. Her energy was such that the house was haunted with events happening in front of everyone. We could be on Discovery channel. Little I knew back then that I highly contributed to the manifestations with my own psychic abilities. But as soon as I moved out, the events reduced considerably. Then after she died, it all stopped.
        But I got sidetracked… there was one specific situation, that I won’t mention now because it is a bit long, that I saw the terror in his eyes. Primal, raw, and completely defenseless terror. It was like having this child standing in front of me. Yes, a child. That’s when I realized that emotionally he was stuck in the abuse of his childhood. He was fully invested in protecting himself to avoid it from happening. The constant abuse made him think that people would always leave him. He has a particular hate for women. He sees us as superior, someone who he has to conquer, use, and then discard to assert his superiority. But it doesn’t last. He has to do it again. And again to sustain that feeling of superiority. If it was not putting me down, then it was someone else, anyone. I had many conversations with him and it became obvious that he didn’t have the skills necessary to grow, to develop from that point of injury. I could understand that because I was injured too and became instead a co-dependent. So, how do you go back and rescue that self-image? You can do that mentally, but how do you do that emotionally? Because those wounds are connected to someone who should absolutely love you… but didn’t. How do you change that most important relationship with someone who gave you life? You can’t. You would have to change a lot. Take risks. Face the creature… let it escape, let it go and fill that space with yourself… But how if you don’t know yourself and can’t figure it out?
        It is hard… not impossible… but hard. It requires courage. Strength. Willingness to let go of all projections and just be.

        The illusion for the narcissist is to believe that there is nothing wrong with what they do…. particularly wrong against themselves. There is no loss in their mind when in reality there is a waste of everything, including the potential in themselves …. everywhere. It is a waste of life living in an emotional cage thinking of himself to be so well- protected, so well by making this far… while the world seems to be free and plotting against them. I guess any caged animal would feel extra scared if faced with a crowd of people moving around and about in life while the animal is endlessly stuck in this cage experiencing the vicious cycle of loss…. deception… living unconsciously that wound over and over again.
        That’s why I said once that the narcs who wounded us continue to win until we truly heal. Until then, believe in what you want… they still hold power over you… via the unhealed wound that guides your decisions.

        For us co-dependents, we want the narcissist ‘s validation, love. We want to open the cage. We want to break them free of the wound. We want to fix, cure, help, love so we can be loved back. We want to rescue that relationship from our childhood. We think that we understand the wound too well so we stick around giving to the narcissist what the narcissist fears the most: love.
        They can’t trust love because the primordial relationship failed them in that end… as it did us.

        Love is a basic need. That’s what we try to rescue in our sick ways hoping to find the light by the end of the tunnel. Black and white. Meanwhile survival triumphs… apparently. But as HG says… the key to us remember is that it is just an appearance…

        I am convinced (out of nothing really because I have never seen) that if a narcissist could break out of his illusions and imaginary fears and come out from his shells using that mental capacity of discernment… we would see a true wonder. Not the lessers or mid rangers but the greaters… but we can only wonder about it… who really knows.

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