What the Narcissist Really Thinks When Help Is Needed





It is a well-recognised trait of ours that we do not feel empathy. We know how to showempathy. 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.

19 thoughts on “What the Narcissist Really Thinks When Help Is Needed

  1. Kelly B says:

    The greater narc in my family. Telling him of a dying family member. I can see the irratation in his face bringing it up. Another day the greater father tells me he told my narc brother. About the dying family member. And the greater told me my narc brother said ” don’t look at me I am not paying for it”. My family complete lack of empathy.

  2. 2SF says:

    Sure, I’ll deal with it myself. Oh wait.. there hasn’t been any ‘upset’ to deal with since our divorce.

    1. Caroline says:

      Not dealing with the daily (mind-numbing) stress will probably add years to your life, 2SF…

      Now you’ve got time to take up Taekwondo – learn the art of French cuisine – or redecorate your house.

      Or (equally nifty), you can just sit around and think: “Damn – glad that’s over.”


      1. 2SF says:

        Thank you Caroline, I hope to live to be a hundred years old now at least 😄.
        Taekwondo is a very good idea, I’ll think about it. French cuisine (and Mediterranean in general) has always been my standard. Lately I’m more into Asian and North African cuisine (delicious Vegan food).
        And yes, I do sit down -on my new sofa 😊- thinking “damn -glad that’s over” xxx 🤗

        1. Caroline says:

          Love it, 2SF.:-)

  3. wissh says:

    I learned this one easily enough, although way too late. My eldest is a paralyzed veteran, my youngest died a couple of years ago. No one has ever had less of a reaction than narcex. He very literally could not possibly have cared less. Even though I understand that empathy is missing, it’s still difficult to fully grasp how that happened, how it’s even possible. The good news for me, I guess, is that his lack of empathy helped cement for me what he is.

    1. Caroline says:


      This is my third attempt at replying to your comment, but I keep deleting my words. No words can adequately convey how sorry I am that you were faced with such a cold, harsh reality with your ex’s lack of care with the painful loss of one son and the challenges another brave son faces.

      I’m just so sorry. I’m glad that your eldest son has you. I’m glad for you that you know the truth about your ex – but sure wish you didn’t have to know such a thing.

      I feel for you. May very special, kind people show up in your/your son’s life… thinking of you and wishing peace (narcissist-free), healing, and more joy, in time.

      1. wissh says:

        Thank you very much. Your kindness is much appreciated.

        1. Caroline says:

          You are welcome… really wish I could swing by with a bag of Christmas goodies for you (which would be understandably startling, as you don’t even know me, lol!).

          I saw the support you/your son have (that you mentioned to Clarece), and that is wonderful. 🙂

        2. NarcAngel says:

          I’m sorry you had to come to the realization in that cruel way, but glad you did and have decided you all deserve more. Wheelchair tennis is awesome btw.

    2. BurntKrispyKeen says:

      Hello Wissh. That was the biggest help for me, too.. just accepting who he was. I was flabbergasted at how he could be sooo seemingly sweet to a stranger (when he was displaying his smooth charm) to being cold and empty whenever the mood hit. But to not have support for what you’ve suffered as a mother, is incredibly sad… for you and for him (for lacking this ability).

      I can’t imagine what you went through losing a child. But to not have the love and support of him during your tragedy… let’s just say that I’m glad that he is now your ex. I’m not sure for which country your son served, but veterans have a special place in my heart. God bless you for what you’ve endured and best wishes as you move forward.

      1. wissh says:

        Thank you very much. Luckily narcex is not the father of my sons. Luckier still, my time with him was only a year. It was a deliriously happy year of new found love and fun and sex, a year I was finally able to focus on me a bit. And then I found out that it was all a fantasy. That he wasn’t real. I suffered no physical nor even verbal abuse, but the lying and head games were pretty intense. Still, I believe I got off easy. Now I’m extremely gun shy and am 60 years old so I’ll probably be alone forever. Thanks to HG I’m healing and also have no regrets. I went out with a bang. So to speak. 😉
        Oh, and we’re in the US. DOLT45 is our narc-in-chief.

    3. Clarece says:

      I am so, so sorry for the pain and loss you experienced with what happened with 2 of your children. That is truly one heartbreak that doesn’t mend.

      1. wissh says:

        Thank you very much. We’re doing the best we can. Luckily I have the support of a strong circle of female friends and my son has us, his family, and his friends in the wounded warrior and wheel chair tennis communities.

  4. Veronique Jones says:

    This I learned from my mother
    When ever I confided in her If I needed help or support she found a way of turning it into something to punish me with every time
    HG How would you cope if it was you have to do with this Type of treatment That you so Readily hand out ?

    1. nunya biz says:

      Yes, VJ, my mother was never able to help me with emotional hurt. This reminds me of that fact, I forget it as a detail sometimes.

  5. Mona says:

    It does not matter, if your kind feels empathy or not. Often it is enough to fake it. It still helps then. Even empathic people fake a lot of empathy.
    But they do not abuse the trust of others to have a sadistic pleasure to leave them alone, when their help is needed.
    It is only sadistic pleasure, nothing else.
    Deal with it.

    1. mommypino says:

      “Even empathic people fake a lot of empathy.” So true! There are times when someone confides in me with problems that I honestly feel are insignificant or created by their poor choices repeatedly and sometimes my empathy is lessened because I find myself starting to judge. But I still steer my mind into thinking that just because I am stronger than this person in this area doesn’t mean that this person is weak. I’m pretty sure that there would be areas where his person is stronger than me and I might need this friend’s nonjudgmental empathy when that time comes that it is my weakness that is overcoming me. We don’t always automatically have the empathy but we still try for the sake of the other person.

      1. NarcAngel says:

        Very true. When I dont feel invested I just listen to let them get it out.

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