The Empathy Cake
The Empathy Cake is a Logic Bulletin which enables you to understand the difference between
1. Instinctive Emotional Empathy
2. Safeguarding Emotional Empathy
3. Activated Emotional Empathy
4. Minimal Emotional Empathy
5. No Emotional Empathy
Being able to understand these differences will increase your defence against narcissists. It will also enable you to make sense of the behaviour of the narcissist and also non-narcissists.
Detailed scenarios for each layer of The Empathy Cake provide a clear and simple explanation to boost your understanding.
Simple, effect relief from the effects of narcissists for just US $ 5
220 thoughts on “The Empathy Cake”
Thank you for this. My question is, are alcoholics who behave in the way that your last scenario described while drunk, is that an indication of a narcissist personality individual? Or is it the influence of alcohol? Also, are alcoholics narcissists? Thank you again.
Read Cheers! Alcohol and the Narcissist
I find it difficult to choose which layer of this lovely LGBT 🏳️🌈 cake I belong to. I must be the cherry 🍒 on the cake I guess.
Dear Mr Tudor,
Your cake has many well structured coloured layers with subtle differing flavours yet all complimenting each other
It was absolutely delicious
“Please sir, I want some more”
Thank you for sharing your secret recipe and finishing it off with all your 100’s n 1000’s
Luv Bubbles xx 😘
Lorelei: I am not brand specific, but ingredient specific. I prefer 1) all natural and 2) Hickory. The ingredients in the back should only say: Water, Hickory Smoke Concentrate. Or whatever style you prefer. I personally prefer hickory from my childhood and I have not tested any other. I currently have All Natural Wright`s liquid Smoke: Hickory.
I totally get it… I’m the same way. I’d end up feeling guilty later for flipping someone off too, no matter if the person was at fault or not. Actually, I’d also be scared the guy might follow me, so I just don’t do those types of things. Anyway, stay true to yourself.
What I’m going to break down is nothing new under the sun — not sexy, just simple. It’s logic, like HG preaches…and I find it really helps when it comes to the false blame/shame game. Logic (and then later, if you want, you can work on positive affirmations you deliberately give yourself daily, which is separate from this). Both have helped my sense of false guilt, when I’m taking way too much responsibility for other people/things they have done that are wrong and out of my control, yet I feel like I can’t “give up on them” — to my own detriment.
So go back to what you wrote about the semi incident, and maybe read your account again… the key thing you wrote was about the driver/what he did: “screams up on my ass/flashes his lights” <<< THAT.
1) LOGIC (accountability) STATEMENT: This driver did something rude/unnecessary/potentially dangerous.
2) STATEMENT OF TRUTH ABOUT YOURSELF: You did nothing wrong! (Which, you'll notice, you said) <good! You're not accountable for his behavior.
Now, with just those two things, you've held the right person accountable. Calm, cool logic. It will become much more natural for you not to shame yourself later, when you describe it/think it out like that, shortly after an incident happens.
Also, as an empath, I may (not always, but it helps me stay calm) go to #3: tell myself a reason why someone might behave like that to me. In this case, logic tells me he's an impatient guy, rather impulsive, who isn't TRYING to scare the crap out of me… he's just clueless/thoughtless. He probably does it quite regularly, unfortunately.
I then won't feel like it was personal against me (he doesn't even know me) — it would be anyone he would do that to — it's about HIM, not me…and also, the need to get all mad at him, which does me no good anyway, goes way down. Poor clueless dude! I may exit off the road for awhile to collect myself, as it would tend to rattle me too.
I hope that simple example helps. It's just pausing to be a bit more deliberate about the facts of the situation, and using your sensible logic.:-)
Pure gold Caroline-is-fine! Thank you. The recurring theme in my life is “it’s not all about me.” If somebody mistreats me, it’s about them! I keep forgetting that and think I deserve mistreatment because I am bad. When situations like this happen, it only reinforces my belief that I’m bad. It’s a self fulfilling prophecy.
We ALL need reminders of this, MB, as it’s hard not to take things personally… but another phrase that has helped me regarding this is: “I’m not in it.” 🙂 It’s a good way to psychologically draw that line, which gives me clarity when my emotions rev up.
I’m not in it. Got it. My new motto.
It’s the same as GOSO, but GOSO is better.
It doesn’t feel the same as GOSO when I say it to myself. It’s used in a different context in my mind. GOSO is good! I agree. I need to think on this a bit.
Yes, yours is always better. (See? I can resist the urge to counter a Greater).
P.S. Even though, to be fair, I actually wasn’t referring to getting out/staying out of narcissistic entanglements with the “I’m not in it” phrase. I was referring to feelings that empaths have when anyone behaves in a way that’s wrong — yet we take the shame/blame for it.
P.P.S. Yeah, I know…I see it what I just did there — more work for me to do. It’s the “watch how you go” thing you told me.
Caroline-is-fine, GOSO and “I’m not in it” have different applications.
GOSO removes me from a bad situation.
I’m not in it reminds me that I was never in the situation to begin with and shouldn’t trouble myself with it.
Nice, MB! Make that into a poster & slap it on your wall. 😉
[Here’s irony: I hurt my middle finger pretty badly last night – a guy tried to catch a door for me, but instead, it slammed hard on my finger – and now everything I do seems to involve that middle finger…& all I can think of is the “MB trucker story,” lol]
Caroline-is-hurt, I’m sorry you hurt your finger, but I’m glad it helps to think of my trucker story! Feel better ❤️
Thanks, MB… the funny part of it was what I was thinking when it happened…you know when you’re in so much pain you can’t even speak? I was like that, squeezing that finger really hard with my other hand, kind of half-bent over, while still seeing the guy’s face — he was upset/kept profusely apologizing and, clearly, felt like crap — and the Empath in me was thinking: “Gawd, this bitch-slap pain has to stop soon, so I can make this guy feel better.” lol. I’m just glad it’s not broken.
Can you do me a big favor? Can you give me a reply link to the “Come On, Come All” thread? I’m having a tech issue, flipping back to it.
I know what you mean Caroline-is-fine, I’m always so embarrassed if I get hurt and other people see. Like you, I’d be more concerned about his feelings and discomfort.
I’ll head over there.
Caroline-is-fine, I can’t find the latest post on that one. I never have much luck with the search function. I know it’s been posted since 2017!
Thanks much, MB. Please don’t spend too much time on it… I’m sure I’ll get a ping from there soon. Just checking on an empath. 🙂
I’m so sorry about your finger
Couldn t help facepalming at myself though. So very recognized your reaction “Gawd this pain has to stop soon, so I can make this guy feel better.”
Thanks, cb~that’s sweet of you. It looks pretty awful (I’ve got clear nail polish on — maybe time to redo, in a really dark purple, lol).
Yep, you feel me…I did end up trying to reassure that guy. I think he was an empath – he started gently touching the side of my head, which would tend to creep me out if he was a normal. 😉 Of course, if he was a narcissist, I’d have probably ended up dining by candlelight with him afterward…kidding — just a little empath humor!
Would a man not respecting his girlfriends feelings about going on a vacation with female (and some male) friends without her by defending his actions saying the problem is her not trusting him… be a level 4?
More context required to provide an accurate analysis
Thank you for this post, HG. It is very helpful.
HG, I just love you! Thank you so much for all you do to help weaponize empaths!
Always good to read.
I love this example!
It reminded me of one of my sisters.
I used to work at a job in finance. I did very well I my position there, because i was able to establish relationships with clients, and build rapport. Soon after, my sister asked me to get her a job with me. I did. I always thought all of my sisters were empaths. Long story short, there was multiple red flags that indicated she could be a narcissist. I don’t work there anymore, but I found out recently that she was bullying one of my friends. At first I excused it, as she was bullying my friend, because she was MY friend. Then I realized, that she was probably bullying my friend, because she could get away with it.
I think my sister could actually be a piggy back narcissist.
The more I am becoming aware of narcissism, the more I cant stand midrangers. They are cowards
Great article HG!
It’s very informative about the different levels of empathy. It’s also interesting to think about how so-called ‘banter’ can be interpreted by different people depending on what level of the ’empathy cake’ they sit on. Also, the word ‘banter’ can cover up a minefield of what is and what isn’t considered to be insulting.
Personally, I can relate to both the IEE and SEE levels of empathy. Calling someone a disparaging nickname because of their looks or something they have no control over feels very rude and insensitive to me and I wouldn’t go there, or even think about going there.
Sometimes though, I have teased people I care about in a loving or affectionate way, but only because I can see something funny or endearing about a so-called ‘fault’ they may have and it’s a way to have a little joke with them about it. If I thought it was going to offend or insult them, I definitely wouldn’t do it.
Thank you for providing a clear and organised explanation of the ways different people communicate and also react to communication based on their level of empathy.
On further thought about the empathy cake, it got me thinking about people with borderline personalities. What level of the cake would you describe them as being on?
Where do you think they belong WN?
I won’t answer that question, since it’s not for me… but I feel like I’m seeing a fair amount of borderlines come & go on this blog… for me, they can seem like Mid-Rangers at first, but then there are more dramatic discrepancies in their personality/stability. They get “over-the-top” in several directions, like a mish-mash of chaos, and they seem less pulled-in… seems like they have less shame than Mid-rangers, in that you can drive a truck through their lies, but they keep “reinventing” themselves.
I’d say their level of empathy was not stable on one or two levels, but moved between different levels depending on their state of mind. Depending on the situation or the level of stress they’re under, they may swing back and forth from having very little empathy (say Level 4) to having a higher level of emotional or innate empathy (Levels 1 or 2).
That’s a guess though, because my knowledge about borderline personalities is fairly basic. What are your thoughts HG?
Levels 4 and 5.
Ok, I thought they had more emotional empathy than that and tended to have unstable levels as well. Thanks for your insight HG.
You are welcome WN. It is cognitive empathy.
I see. Does that mean they have a similar underlying psychological makeup as narcissists, but are better able to ‘act’ like they have empathy without actually feeling emotional empathy?
Think about this WN, who has no emotional empathy but has differing ranges of cognitive empathy?
If your question relates to the empath/narcissist spectrum, I would say those with cognitive empathy but no emotional empathy would fall on the spectrum ranging from say, the halfway point (mid-way through ‘normals’) to those narcissists who aren’t at the very end of the spectrum (say mid-way through narcissists). I hope that makes sense.
To be honest HG, I don’t fully understand ‘cognitive empathy’ and how it can be recognised when expressed by someone. It would be great if you wrote an article to explain it, if you haven’t already done so, that is.
See The Three Strands of Empathy.
Does that article answer whether borderliners have emotional empathy?
(I thought only NPDers lacked emotional empathy)
Only narcissists lack emotional empathy.
Thank you. Nice to hear.
Thank you HG. I have now re-read The Three Strands of Empathy. This line in the article stands out to me…
“Our cognitive empathy (where applicable) ..[i.e. ‘our’ here means Greater or Mid-Range narcissists].. enables us to recognise something is wrong, what the response of the individual means (anger, hurt, upset, frustration etc) and therefore we can (should we deem it in our interests (calculated where Greater or instinct for the Mid Range Narcissist) to respond in a particular way, but we do not feel anything.”
…and this… “We merely observe and intellectualise the response (where appropriate). We feel nothing.” ..[again, ‘we’ here means Greater or Mid-Range narcissists].
[Note: the words in square brackets ..[ ].. are my own.]
Ok… I understand ‘cognitive empathy’ a little better now. I liken it to learning a skill rather than having a natural talent for it. For instance, someone with a natural talent for singing or being able to read maps or knowing how to hit a billiard ball accurately just seems to ‘have’ that ability. The ability can be ‘learned’ through many hours of practice, but the natural talent is either there or it isn’t. Anyway, that’s sort of how I see it.
The interesting (and very telling) aspect you mention HG, in the quote above is “should we deem it in our interests”. I think this is the major difference. Emotional empathy just happens whether an empath ‘thinks’ about it or not or whether they want it to happen or not. Indeed, sometimes it is a nuisance because it gets in the way of self-interest and logical thinking.
Narcissists ‘use’ cognitive empathy if they deem it to be useful for them. Therefore it is another tool of manipulation, because they can either decide to use it or not depending on their own interests rather than feeling it as an emotion. Very interesting.
Yes, you are grasping the concept effectively WN. Emotional empathy is an instinctive ‘feel’ which causes you to act in a certain way, express yourself in a certain way, show certain facial expressions, do certain things etc.
We do not feel this. Instead we learn to evaluate, respond (where we deem in appropriate) and then emulate the appropriate action, expression, words, tone etc. Of course some of our kind are not that good at it and this shows as inappropriate comments, flat tones, strange mismatched facial expressions and so forth.
HG, thank you.
So, cognitive empathy is not real ’empathy’ when you think about it, because it’s expressed when/if it is ‘deemed appropriate’. Therefore, it’s based on whether the person expressing it believes it’s the right thing to do, which is ultimately in their own cognitively assessed self-interest.
True emotional empathy arises out of an instinctive motivation to help, or support, or relieve another person, not due to self-interest as such, but because doing so helps the person in need, which in turn gives the empathic person a benefit by fulfilling their instinctive urge or motivation and thereby providing a sense of intrinsic self-worth or self-purpose.
They are two quite different things.
Thanks HG, for your insight.
So interesting re the words not matching the facial expressions.
I was at a conference recently and observed a CEO talking about a very sensitive subject and required alot of compassion. It was the most insincere delivery I’ve ever witnessed.
Everyone was saying what a caring person he must be and therefore would lead well on this project. He completely struggled with conveying any emotion. It is baffling to observe how disingenuous he was and yet no-one else seemed to pick up on this.
They evidently are not Tudorites, AS2016.
I do try and convert where ever I go! I’m not quite at the stage of knocking and leafleting door to door yet. But I have a couple of ideas to spread the word
Hi Alexis, It is most probable the CEO did not write his own speech. Some do, but most have one or more people that write their messages for them. Clearly, the words did not match his own feelings. You are wise to pick up on the nonverbal cues. Many people don’t.
PS: I agree HG.
That’s an interesting example Alexissmith2016.
When thinking about the ‘context’ of what you have described, it makes me see some stark contradictions in your example.
Firstly, the CEO was a male. Generally speaking, males have a biologically higher level of testosterone, which makes them naturally more prone to being aggressive, action-oriented, prideful and ego-driven. Social conditioning also means that men, in general, also need to ‘show’ less emotion, show less emotional vulnerability, less outward compassion and more ‘machismo’ etc. (Not all men are like this, and that’s why I said ‘in general’.)
Secondly, this man is a CEO, which means that his social environment makes him a ‘leader’. As such, he is constantly being treated with either admiration and respect, or with fear and submission, and he is probably very conscious of his place in the ‘hierarchy’ of the group he leads. He probably has a lot of narcissistic traits, which he would have to have in order to rise to the level of CEO in the first place.
Thirdly, he was speaking to a group at a conference (from what I gather from your comment). This means he is on display and is probably wearing a ‘mask’ that is appropriate for his public image and his position as CEO in that group.
Thinking about all these aspects, it doesn’t greatly surprise me that he had difficulty showing emotion and compassion when delivering a speech. As a male CEO speaking to a group, any display of emotion would probably make him uncomfortable because he’d believe it made him look weak or vulnerable, and that would instinctively feel ‘wrong’ to him.
But, considering the subject-matter, he probably thought that he needed to be ‘influential’ and therefore, needed to adopt a compassionate ‘mask’.
I don’t think your example in isolation necessarily makes him a ‘narcissist’. I think the example can be interpreted in a number of ways. This CEO would have to be known by someone in both his private and public moments over a longer period of time to really get a better understanding, I think.
That could explain why the audience seemed oblivious to the mis-match of his words and emotional expression too. It may not have been because the audience members were stupid or confused. It could have been because their own various levels of empathy or narcissistic traits could have made them interpret the speech in very different ways.
When in a social setting, most people adopt a ‘positive’ mindset too, because being outwardly critical or negative is not generally a ‘good look’, so who knows what those same audience members were truly thinking in their private thoughts.
Thank you for an interesting example. It really made me think and evaluate the context of certain things and how ‘society’ thinks in general.
I would put the borderline I knew in the fruitcake section. Very little sweet with a lot of nuts. Little goes a long way, and once a year was enough.
Lol NarcAngel 😂 I think your analysis is on point. Plus, your description has everything .. accuracy, brevity, humour and storytelling to engage the reader. Nicely done! 😂😂
Good question WiserNow – I’m also wondering where those who demonstrate false contrition fall, as in an over the top response like “I am SO sorry – if only I’d known it would hurt your feelings; I would NEVER have done that.” (Said strictly for facade management – especially with observers on hand – only to file that little bit of info for later or to use behind the person’s back.)
I like this cake example HG but it confuses me when I think about narcs who absolutely *believe* they have real, affective, empathy, when they only possess cognitive empathy.
Yes, the facade management can cloud the issue. The fake empathy and exaggerated responses can be confusing … it can potentially make the cake look more like a marble cake lol.
The way I see it is that the person’s ‘authentic’ level of empathy will determine their level on the cake. This would mean that any fake empathy would have to be ignored until the person’s real intentions were known.
“This would mean that any fake empathy would have to be ignored until the person’s real intentions were known.”
Thank-you WiserNow; I agree – the person’s authentic empathy will determine their level on the cake. It is definitely the cognitive empathy piece that is hard to separate out from real empathy. I think it is easier to differentiate if you’ve been entangled with a mid-ranger and put their real empathy to the test. Admittedly, I did this with my mother before going no contact. It was a sad realization that she lacked affective empathy but the experience helped to recognize similar others in my life and environment. But of course, this was only possible with having the benefit of HG’s insightful work.
Liken it to being colourblind. They don’t know that they don’t have true empathy because they’ve never known what it’s like or have forgotten. So they’re unaware that this particular shade of blue exists. A Greater with his higher cognitive function is able to differentiate between what he experiences and what other people are like, but it does not concern him because from where he stands, there is no reason to be any different.
Thank-you Desiree, that is a really good way of explaining how narcissists understand/recognize their own empathy – or rather, a way of explaining their lack of recognition of the fact that they don’t know they don’t have real empathy (outside of Greaters). I can grasp that and I’ve had many hands-on opportunities (especially lately) of recognizing how this looks and plays out in real life (i.e. affective empathy vs. cognitive empathy in mid-rangers) – with particular attention paid to how these types have most people around them fooled.
My question to HG was where on the cake these ones land because in his example the narcissist response (not narcissistic) exhibits a complete lack of empathy. And I think that certain mid-rangers would exhibit a different response.
I’ve seen narcs behave like level 4 – in the interest of the facade, while behaving like level 5 with their IPPS in a similar situation
I gotta say HG this post is incredibly helpful. Thanks
I know. You are welcome.
HG, I love cake and you made a delicious one here. Thank you for this clear explanation.
Oki doke, I’m layer one.
Or layer zero.
Never mentioned anyone’s weight or face shape, neither to them nor to others. Ever in my life. Not even when I was in kindergarten.
I understand that I’m a bit unusual.
But this doesn t mean I don t like to joke around with friends.
My banter just happens to avoid their looks or skincolor. It’s a skill I have.
I fluctuate between layer one and two it depends on how much I like the person or not.
This does make me wonder about my Ex though, I was certain he is a Middle Mid Range Narcissist but he has many times displayed layer five. When confronted with something like the scenario described that is exactly how he reacted. However, he has said ” After all, I have done for you” Name-calling, blame shifted. Is it because he is getting older (over 50) he does say he feels his age and has slowed down. I am a little bit at a loss here.
I meant my Ex reacts as lever 4 not 5
Same . I still waffle on it.
Some times level 5 can be mistaken for level 4.
You think you made him ponder his behaviour and he apologizes, but what actually happened was that you fuelled him with your tears or emotions and therefore he gives a little Respite.
This can be seen by him repeating the behaviour a week later etc etc.
But if he quits the behaviour, then you have a level 4, you made an impact.
Changed behaviour. Good pointer.
First time we complain at a person with NPD, if we show that his bullying words had great power over us, we cry and plead, he/she might apologize and change for a few days. Then it’s over. He is weaponized.
A little bit of a warning: midrange narcs are often the main HR representative of a workplace.
I’d do a calm grey rock approach just in case, when talking to HR. It helps.
A bit off topic, but the title reminded me of the film Layer Cake, which starred Daniel Craig. Brilliant film. It got him the Bond job, allegedly. The film keeps you guessing like a narc too!
Great film. It’s like me, you never know the protagonist’s name.
Dearest HG: I think the most difficult thing to believe, when it is happening, is how an intelligent person like many mid rangers, ( at least 2 of the 5 workplace narcs are mid rangers I think), totally get lost in the NOW, at times. Then the narcs wonder, when the dust settles, why no one trusts them any longer, because the narcs seem to even have a touch of amnesia about the NOW event. And the parties involved are just flabbergasted. And, I guess the Narcissist`s magical thinking rushes in to convince the Narcissist that everything happened just like he said, during the NOW event. To try to change their minds otherwise is fruitless and their other lines of defense jump into the lead, just in case someone tries. THANKFULLY< i was already on here, when I saw it happen for the first time. I did not blink. I SAID NOTHING< and never did. The odd part was the Narcissist kept looking at me expectantly, each day for a while, like I would challenge what he said. And I believe he had replies ready. So it seems that instinctively they are aware that something happened that was going to be challenged, during the NOW event. He looked confused, I could tell, that I never challenged the one future fake and the one gaslight event that I was exposed to. But, like I said, I was already on Narcite when I first encountered such odd behaviour. And I knew not to bother: One Point For Me.
cont.) I love that photo that use on one of your articles titled: Why Does The Narcissist Seem So Odd. That photo, with those odd masks on those men, shows what I felt how he looked to me during the 2 NOW events he exposed me too. Photo: https://narcsite.com/2019/04/24/why-does-the-narcissist-seem-so-odd-7/
Indeed! Hidden in plain sight!
I’d venture to say that there is another level of hurt for empaths as well, the projection pain, when people insult us. Like most humans, empaths project our empathy on to other people. We assume they are wired like us. I’m approaching middle age and still often shocked at how many/most people actually think and feel. Therefore, if someone insulted me as per the examples in this article, I would assume that they were deeply aware of my feelings and were knowingly and intentionally causing that level of pain, as I would be if I insulted them. That’s just another way we’re vulnerable.
That is a valid observation Michelle caused by the empaths worldview and as the article explains those individuals (unless a Greater Narcissist) would not knowingly and intentionally cause that level of pain.
I agree entirely and this was a major hurdle for me when I first discovered HG and NPD. I assumed (wrongly) that everything MRN did and said was intensely malicious.
Time (and calming of ET) leads to us realizing it’s just about the same old boring control and fuel. **yawn**
Absolutely. Once you get your ET under control, it really does demystify the dynamic and you see Lesser and Mid-Rangers as far less than you once thought they were.
So true! “The thrill is gone.” HG sure knows how to take the wind out of the sails of other narcs! Do you get thought fuel from that HG? Foiling the MO of your own kind.
Not as a general principle no. I do gain a dollop of Thought Fuel when I see off a narcissist here who fails to respond because they have to withdraw in an attempt to assert a sense of superiority. Cue dum dum dum another one bites the dust….
I love this HG, you just reminded me how lame my MRN was. Vanishing was his main manipulation technique. Get some new tricks man!!! Ha
Hahaha HG, you’re the best!
Dealing with greedy children who pull hair. Not in touch with the reality of other people even slightly.
HG this is helpful to me for two reasons:
1. I often have a hard time differentiating normals from narcissistic people. I am so hyper aware now and anyone who doesn’t act as an empath makes the hair stand up on my neck haha
2. I appreciate all reminders that it is about control IN THE NOW (especially for mid rangers). I often was confused about how MRN couldn’t think one or two steps ahead to see how his actions would damage my fuel line. You’ve educated me and now I know that that aspect didn’t matter, at least not until later, and then I was a treacherous bitch who wouldn’t give fuel…not his fault at all!!
You are welcome SDE. When you grasp that narcissism for narcissists is ALL about the control in the NOW you take a giant step forward in your understanding. Greaters are adept at controlling now without adverse consequence later because we have an eye on both (and the resource and ability to do so) . Lesser and Mid Range do not, so their resources are all focused on CONTROL NOW.
It took me awhile as well to catch on to the “in the now” component but now that understand it, so many other things make better sense.
HG, An absolutely brilliant post! I will share this post with many people. I live in the land of IEE, but I have also learned to reframe communication (post HGTU) for those with AEE and MEE in terms of how they might experience something and it has been working quite well. Thank you so much. I wonder sometimes if you realize the enormity of the possitive affect you bring to our lives.
Thank you FYC.
Excellent article, HG. I will be rereading this one later. Another deflection might be the narcissist claiming the reason he says Babs is for some other obscure reason–curly hair, likes to sing or whatever.
Once when I addressed an issue with a narcissist, he took my pad of paper and said to me that my claim was invalid. Then he physically wrote the word ‘invalid’ on the paper.
Funny though you use a cake as an example and baking is off limits!
The cake is the finished product, it is the baking process which is off limits.
Maybe I’ll be a passive aggressive mid ranger and make my new avatar unbaked cake mix that is all stirred up in a bowl!
That was an LMR who I mentioned hated the UMR and vice versa. While it was interesting to see 2 narcs in retrospect interact, (literally ignoring each other but talking about each other behind their backs), it made work unpleasant.
The UMR was much more sophisticated in his charm than the LMR and both could easily identify each other’s flaws but both were oblivious to his own.
It was like one was either expected to be on UMR’s side or LMR’s side. I don’t like choosing ‘sides’ and it made it difficult when the UMR trained me, so I got to know him 1st and the LMR was on my shift, so had to work with him directly.
The UMR would never be dumb enough to write ‘invalid’ as the LMR did. UMR is more a slimy snake and the LMR is a whiny bitch.
I enjoy telling narcs THEIR claims are invalid. Whoo boy they hate it
I once , quite firmly, told my kid’s dad “I don’t believe your reality” when he was trying to gaslight me…he turned IMMEDIATELY and stormed off , telling me to get lost as he went.
Hey HG two questions ;
Do “narcissistic but not a narcissist” ppl ever gaslight?
And , you’ve said The genetic component combined with childhood abuse/trauma causes narcissism.
Do you feel that there’s a genetic component for empaths that also needs to be combined with sat, being raised by empaths or an empath? Or…do a family of normals produce an empath or super empath? Thoughts? Thx
Hey Woke AF, two answers,
2. There is a genetic element, yes.
A cake ugh WHY. It’s summertime and I’m trying to be fit 😪😪
This is a great article. Love the example and wow does that hit home! Reminds me so much of my stepfather AND my narc with that “joking” nickname bullshit.
The layering really helps to classify though. Even myself. Sometimes I question whether or not I really am an empath or just ‘HSP’ normal. These layers would suggest that I am an empath although I know there’s more to it than just that one piece.
Love this breakdown with examples format. You are an excellent teacher. I especially had a lightbulb moment when you explained about the N walking away when faced with possible HR intervention later. They need control in the NOW. I had wondered about that reaction previously. I thoroughly enjoyed and understood this. Thank you.
Thank you NA.
Wow HG! Correct—I wouldn’t even think to call someone this name. I would acknowledge it as humorous only if it was said by another person and I didn’t like the person with the big nose anyway because I felt they are an ass in their own right. If it was said and I liked the individual I’d be turned off by the perpetrator of the comment. Either way—I would never say it. My husband is too facade driven to engage in this behavior in public but this scenario modified for “at home” is him to a tee. Many narcissists I believe are too smart instinctively to do this at work. (Is that correct?) I can also see some fairly sophisticated narcissists backing off instinctively and exhibiting a false empathic response so it goes back to assessing the “aggregate” of behavior as you discuss.. Yet, the scene played out would be a dead ringer for a narcissist because of all the descriptors off blame shifting, denial etc.
The example is very tangible though. Extremely useful and work worth passing on! Well done as usual.
Great article and very helpful! I was wondering about this point too : “Many narcissists I believe are too smart instinctively to do this at work. (Is that correct?)”
My narc-ex-husband who had uncomfortable names for whomever he chose deflected by saying things along the lines of “you don’t get it, I didn’t mean it like that, you don’t have a sense of humour, and your reaction proves the point, I am just teasing”. He did this at work and did so at home.
My n-ext however would never engage in behaviour such as derogatory name calling, he would know (cognitively I suppose) that this is wrong. He would, if he read this article, regard himself as an empath. I figured out in the end that he did not have any emotional empathy – and since I didn’t know at the time that there was no point confronting him with his narcissism I did. He was most affronted by my saying he lacked empathy (he is a GP). I believe him that he believes that he doesn’t.
My question would be: is there a way of distinguishing real and fake emotional empathy at an early stage?
It is difficult but one method is to see if actions match words.
Thank you! And thinking about it, I suppose that is how I / resp. my therapist figured out the MRN… Glad the empathy cake model provides further guidance.
The problem with actions matching words is realizing the crumbs they drop on the floor for you
are not actually the Michelin Meal they claim them to be. A skewed and tainted perception is the perfect illusion of their reality.
This is my favourite litmus test.
It’s validity is only strengthened over time.
It would be another great design for your workout wear tops…..
My comment about it being my favourite litmus test references HG’s “actions match words” comment, just in case WP places my reply in a completely irrelevant spot in the thread.
It’s been doing that a lot lately.
Words are easy to use as HG says. They set expectation. Non-narcs expect people to do what they say. When they don’t, we are confused. I can’t make myself get used to having no expectations. How do you do that?
LC—I wouldn’t think so but I do recall my dad paying attention to me as a young kid one day. (Irrelevant story) and even at age 5-6 it felt weird and forced. It was not polished.
Lorelei. It’s interesting that you can remember the forced feeling! Means your empathic traits must have been fully developed by then, but possibly also your “tolerance” for fake empathy? I am wondering why we put up with fake empathy when we KNOW and can FEEL the difference. Why we doubt our perception.
I was what 5 or 6? It felt off. Too nice, uncharacteristic of his generally stale demeanor. He was fawning over me. I was his favorite but he wasn’t affectionate. The reality is that my dad was extremely smart, did some really beneficial things, it’s just a reflective thing.
Lorelei. Sure, I didn’t mean to suggest you should have known when you were 5! I am sorry if it came over that way. I was just wondering generally how we – as empathic adults or empaths – can’t or don’t act on the knowledge that we have that things feel “off”. I know we don’t act on it or we would not have gotten ourselves into that narcy mess. So we feel “offness” and have tolerance for “offness” I guess. At least this is how I think I managed to survive a sadistic mother – the realisation that she was a sadist came late, but I also knew that things were not right with her – even if I blamed myself for her behaviour. She was consciously sadistic, it was not an instinctive Thing with her, even though she also acted on instinct. On a different note: I am very sorry to hear that your father treated you in such a sick way. I think you explained somewhere that he didn’t get “physical” or that you do not remember. But memory is physical all the same. And fawning is abuse.
I think our brain gets addicted to the narcissist, so we don’t want to notice the red flags.
We feel stresshormon without N
and dopamine rush when we are with him/in contact.
Plus he is surrounded by ppl who tell us how lovely he is.
It is emotional thinking.
Lorelei: I agree about the public facade at work, etc. This would depend on the level of narc.
I could see a Lesser doing this but the Mid Ranger, if it did happen, could also play victim. ‘All I’m doing is trying to tell a joke and now she’s trying to get me fired! Really, I meant it as a compliment, as I believe Barbara to be a fabulous singer and The Way We Were was so great, etc.’
It is hard sometimes to differentiate narcs from normals with narc traits because in the above example, I could also see a narc backing down in the moment out of fear of perhaps getting fired, but then that narc would be sure to retaliate behind Linda’s back.
A good indicator in the work place, I have found, is that those who are narcs will have supporters/worshipers but there will also be groups of people who avoid or greatly dislike this person.
A recent coworker of mine quit and so I said goodbye to him and we hugged, etc. He informed me that he would miss me and the people here, etc. “All except for UMR.”
It’s funny how he had little interaction with UMR yet could see enough to know that he never liked how UMR treated people. This coworker was a normal with high empathic traits.
There was once a time when at work the management wanted our shift to perform a test, but I was in opposition to this because we worked a later time and if anything went wrong, the test should be performed earlier in the day when there are more people here to observe it/ resolve issues.
I left the room and then returned, to where the UMR said to me in a very belittling tone, ‘Your complaining paid off. You don’t have to perform the test.’ This meant his shift would have to perform it.
I said, ‘Oh, good,’ and completely did not react as result to his condescending remark. Afterwards, the coworker who quit (the normal with high empathic traits) got frustrated with me and said, ‘Why did you let UMR speak to you like that? You need to defend yourself!’
He was about to say something to UMR but I told him not to bother. ‘Alright, but if he says it again, I’m saying something.’
I avoided the issue b/c it was clear that UMR was trying to get an emotional response from me, which he did not get. But this can also pose a problem down the line t where he might think that speaking to me that way is ok. This is why I just avoid him.
I have other examples, but he does not like being stood up to or being told no.
My work is crawling with them, they are like cockroaches but they can be dangerous. I referenced one female physician in fact just last night? She’s such a total bitch that not even the other band of narcs like her. As a result she has no support and she is new. She’s an easy dump and sucks overall. I wouldn’t want to have her in a critical situation. (Being objective from my observations) If she keeps it up she will be out the door and I may be a source of the nudge. The others have supporters so I tend to act dumb and be nice so they aren’t challenged as easily. One followed me around like a puppy the other night and I was sweet as candy. Inside I was seething because of things I know she has done. My boss said she was a sociopath! (Long story)
It’s always a long story with coworkers, isn’t it? I am fortunate that I have a number of empaths and empathic people where I work, but like the cockroach every so often there is one of those narcs that appear. I was saying to someone that I thought the UMR missed his calling as a lawyer because my God he would be great at it. That guy is such a grand bullshitter.
I’d be a terrible lawyer. I’d end up engaging in some cross examination and I’d be forced to say, ‘Alright, I see what you’re saying, but I know that isn’t right. Just can you give me 24 hrs to come up with a rebuttal? Thanks.’
A case over a speeding ticket would end up a longer trial than OJ.
Ha ha very honest.
Haha Bibi—I would like law but probably something like contracts or taxes/real estate. I considered a part-time program where I live, although it’s very expensive and at this point I can’t put everyone (kids) out for 4-5 years and wrack up huge debt to do it. See, the problem I’ve had during my marriage has been hopping from one thing to the next to try and cope with his (formerly) bizarre behavior/abuse. I have had various outlets and all have taken a toll on my mental wellness and kept me from being a decent parent. Distraction became survival until exhaustion won and I could not move from a couch. I’ve not really shared the level of decompensation I experienced but it included a huge weight gain in like a year or two. Constant sleep, complete evacuation of critical thinking capacity which actually was longer term but quite substantial for a long time. (I can generally do impressive math in my head quickly and could hardly perform a series of steps due the executive function required) Affairs, mood issues, bewilderment, baffling relationships, no exercise/no energy, loss of interest in self care or care of my house.. Shall I go on! Much of this is better or mostly better. The problem with work is that I need to focus on the good things but because I’m hyper sensitive to toxic people it impacts me more than a normal people.
That actually just happened to me . I have been in and out of court with my ex narc for 3 years. We are about to go to trial, and will need to reserve my resources for that. On Monday, we will be going into our third hearing over one motion I filed. People can not believe how long it takes for us to get to a ruling. The last hearing, my ex lied the whole time while his attorney had him on the stand. I did exactly that. I verbally motioned for another hearing, to make sure I had the right documents to prove his lies. There was no way I was going to let a ruling be made on a he said she said basis. I would lose everytime if I allowed that.
“Moist” excellent. This level of detail will help a lot of people.
Excellent and informative article – thank you.
Just wanted to say that the new design of the blog is lovely and clean to navigate – it’s simple so your traffic should find everything they need easily. The changes are really noticeable on the desktop and it’s a much nicer design. Flows nice.
Dear HG 🌷 When you told me about this I was surprised! I assumed everyone had layers 1 and 2 on the Empathy Cake. Thanks for empowering Empaths with knowledge.
Whitney, thanks for pointing that out! I spent all my life so far assuming that everyone is just kind of an empath Any horrible behaviour people portray must be situational and I am not seeing the full picture. This might add to why when narcs give you a short moment of respite after they abused you for forever, you take that as evidence of their “true” nature and are more inclined to stay.
Yes Desiree! All you naturally know is your Empath brain. It skews how you interpret everyone’s motives and behaviour.
I had zero idea I was an Empath before the Narc experience!
Yeah I didn’t know about being an empath before HG. I also had no idea honestly about normals .It’s hard to picture being a normal
That’s not “normal” at all is it? Meaning the majority of the population is like that ?!
I should think “empathic but not an empath” layer is the norm
It’s easier to imagine being a narc lol
I thought HG made the word empath up. I inwardly snicker at anyone thinking it’s an absolute positive—it has not gotten me very far whatever it is. If I had a magic wand I’d make myself normal because I’d be less vulnerable. I can still be an arrogant asshole too but it’s generally when I need to be to achieve an outcome much like a narcissist. I genuinely thought I was in some weird land of oz with all this empath crap when I was initially reading. I thought everyone was a saint rubbing everyone’s feet on the streets and it was really strange but the information kept hitting home. I was pretty desperate to talk to someone self describing as HG does but despondent enough that I actually cared not one ounce. The empath stuff does heavily resonate with me—I do have to admit this. I’m highly anticipating (eagerly) the day I’m not a flaming flaky whack job.
You are not a flaming flaky whack job! You are amazing and have come so far in such a short time, you should be very proud of what you have accomplished. Besides that, you are my friend! 😘💞
Haha—maybe I should tell HG you are worried I’m too high maintenance to camp! 🙂
Hahaha I’m sure by now he has figured that out on his own! 🤣🤣😘
Uh just so you know.. I am totally wanting to do a portion of the Appalachian Trail. (I’m not doing the entire thing) Alone. I have back packed some rugged rough horrible excursions. Like back aching, bug bites, putting tablets in nasty water. I’ve swam in caves to get through spots.. I am good to go!
How old were you when you did those things? Lol
Omg younger pre-current spouse-but I’m not incapable! My kids are actually more prima donna by far but I am working to temper it. Admittedly, the spelunking was as a teenager.
Fool me & Lorelie y’all should come camp where I live. You’ll nvr wanna leave and if you don’t, you can just live in a tent as many do. (Or a treehouse, a school bus, a float home….anything goes here)
I love camping, all that you mentioned sounds wonderful. I believe however if I am with Lorelei, I will need to pack a lifetime supply of earplugs! Hahaha! 🙃😘
I never said you were to high maintenance, you said that! 🤣🤣🤣😘
I did no such thing!
Lorelei you’re my kind of empath.
Yeah I used to think saying one was an empath was like psychic ppl who called themselves such. I was always like – get real , we ALL are. Apparently not 😂
I still feel stupid using the word in a discussion IRL. But as I’ve said, I love somewhere literally infested with empaths and psychics and ever other thing one could imagine. I’m starting to feel less ridiculous saying “empath” but will only do so in a discussion regarding narcs.
Someone in the discovery phase added
me to an empath group on Facebook. I thought I was going to vomit. I’m like, “What the F is this weird shit?!” Left the group. Some really unusual stuff. I felt like band camp would have been better.
Lorelei – I’m lost in all these threads and sub threads , did you say what type of empath u are?
A f#**%€* dumb one. I have the ability to completely be taken advantage of, ignore all red flags by making excuses by means of attributing my attributes to another’s thought process, no boundaries to a fault, guilt similar to a well-raised catholic, can’t lie worth a damn, etc!
This is a rich and satisfying article.
It requires time to consider and assimilate the information.
Thank you for all the time that you’ve taken to explain the responses and make clearer the perspectives of each person dependant on their hardwiring.
The title header is very pleasing to the eye, and connects the reader instantly with the subject matter, using the gradations in colour to conceptualise the gradations in empathy.
The black layer, one can assume, is empathy-free, and wherein resides the N.
It’s the layer of cake with the sugar only on the outside.
Thank you so much for revealing and sharing this outstanding information with all of us!
This is extremely helpful to recognize narcissists. You have published lots of new interesting articles lately.
I appreciate your insights and your hard work a lot.
Yeah. I’m going to have to do a consult on the kid’s dad. It’s been 23 years (15 separated) and I honestly thought he was just narcissistic until I read this. He sometimes reacts as layer 4 but he also reacts as layer 5. Depends on the situation.
But there’s enough of layer 5 that I feel a bit anti-gravity right now as perhaps the last of the fog lifts.
WELL BIG SURPRISE THERE EH!!
Anyhow. I want that cake . Looks delish
PS HG – we’ve had consultations. There’s 23 years and too much info to sort into 1000 words or whatever. Do you have a simpler questionnaire now to narrow down certain reactions or circumstances?
Ps – FAB ARTICLE
You can organise Additional Word Bundles.
‘EEE’ – Excellent Empathy Evidence!
Ask and you shall receive. You baked that article up quick and even put sprinkles on top! Nice!
This helped me understand the “normals” in a new way. Also, it seems there are a lot of people with “minimal emotional empathy” walking around… seems rather important (especially for women) to be able to identify the “jerky guys” (minimal emotional empathy) from the actual narcissists… though neither should qualify to date/partner with an Empath! 🙂
Caroline-is-fine, I’m married to a normal, have one normal son, and work with a bunch of normal men. I get the normals. Here is an example from the life and times of MB from last week: I was working late, husband had been off that day. Watching television and doing laundry. I got drive thru dinner on my way home. (went three different places!) When I came through the door after my long day, he and my son descended upon their respective food, grabbed it, and disappeared into their respective bedrooms to eat in front of their respective tvs leaving me at the kitchen table eating alone. I felt used and unappreciated that nobody even had the courtesy to even say thank you, much less sit down and eat with me. It had been a bad day and it made me feel even worse that my husband, who had already been watching tv all day would rather go back to the tv than to sit and eat with me. I sat there eating for a bit, feeling sad but didn’t say anything about it. I decided that if nobody wanted to visit with me, I’d just take my dinner out to the patio. My husband heard me open the door and came running in there. Where are you going? I said, since nobody wanted to eat with me anyway, I thought I’d enjoy my dinner outside. Then the tears came. He said come here. He hugged me and told me he was sorry that he didn’t know I was in there eating alone. He thought I had eaten mine on the way home and he didn’t mean to hurt my feelings. He went and got his food from the bedroom and asked me to join him at the table. Perfect example of me not expressing my needs and him not anticipating them. He said, don’t let it ruin your evening. I didn’t mean to hurt your feelings. He really had no idea. Clueless! But when he realized that it did, he was loving, attentive, and genuinely apologetic.
Aww, I have much empathy for both of you in that scenario, MB. He seems like a good guy, and you got it, girl — it’s about you expressing your needs (educating him) and his good heart then responding with thoughtfulness. The more you are able to express yourself in this way, the more he can apply it more broadly (in other scenarios)…though as you know well, he’ll not always “get it” and miss the mark at times… because he’s normal, after all, so we must cut him some slack.;-) But seems like this can be a very healthy learning experience (both ways), and it’s got to feel good that he’s so willing to make an effort to please you/show care. 🙂
Caoline-is-fine, he has loved me to pieces since I was 13 for some strange reason. One would think he knows me very well after all those years. Goes to show you that anticipating another’s needs is instinctive. Either that, or he’s an extremely slow learner! The truth is, I don’t communicate my needs, because I see them as unimportant. It was that way when we met and it continues to be so. I have nobody to blame but myself.
Lucky for you I’m no longer challenging a Greater (NC, baby!), so I’ve got a bit of leftover “challenge” in me (ha)… hence, I say unto you:
1) It’s not for “some strange reason” he loves you. I challenge you to write a list of all your positive qualities!
2) I will also gently suggest that you reconsider your stance on minimal communication of your needs. It’s good/healthy for both you AND him that you consistently do so (you’ll also be helping him to be more broadly aware of how to thoughtfully respond to others, in non-romantic relationships)… AND it can only improve your relationship overall, yes?
Great advice Caroline!
Thank you, FM1T~so sweet.
You’re welcome Caroline. It was great advice.
That’s actually quite beautiful MB.😪
FM1T, thank you for reading the unexciting life and times of MB! I’m glad I didn’t bore you 😂
I honestly thought it was quite beautiful MB. To honestly have someone who cared enough to ask you what was wrong and then to care enough to stay with you for dinner, is something I’ve never had before. There was nothing boring about it sweetie. 😘
FM1T~ know, right? I actually got teary reading that too! It’s damn sweet.
It was sweet and I did get testy eyed. Granted him and his son should have both thought about it before they took off for TV land! But bless his little man heart, he finally got it right. 🙃
Ladies, $1000 per night and he can be your Sheep Boy too! 😂 I’m sensing a new income stream for us.
Now now — no no. I’m not that kind of empath, MB. 😉
Miscellaneous: Is this site going from black to white, or is it me?
Caroline-is fine, it does go back and forth. I noticed that my WP app updated or something because the colors changed on my header and my stars. Either WP is effing with us or HG is with the black and white thing.
Thanks, MB. Good to know. 🙂
I think I prefer the dark setting, which is probably a bit telling…
I am that kind of empath MB. Kidding! I’m not anymore. Keep him and train him ( tell him your wants and needs ) I am sure this one can be trained. Lol. 😘
MB: I grew up with brothers and male cousins and my dad mostly, and my mom. They were hungry . They are men. When they are hungry their testosterone is up, they have to fight or flight. They took that food and flew to eat it. When men are hungry for food, they are not in touch with their feminine side. They adore you, I bet.
They do adore me PSE. Both of my boys are mama’s boys too. I was extra sensitive that day, but it was a good example of the behavior of a normal to reinforce HGs lesson for today.
MB, in my opinion, you weren’t ‘extra-sensitive’. You were justified in how you felt and you were worthy of being treated in a more empathic and considerate way.
The thing is, ‘normals’ and non-narcissists are given more justification in being who they are because they ‘can’t help’ not having empathy and sensitivity and they ‘can’t change’.
So, instead, the empathic, sensitive person needs to not only feel more and sense more, but also tolerate more and understand more. It’s not fair, but unfortunately, that’s the way it goes.
WiserNow, you are correct. As an empath, I have to tolerate and understand that he doesn’t know any better. He gets a pass for having to understand me though. As I said in a post a moment ago, resentment builds every time there is tolerance. This is how the “perfect” relationship can go wrong and nobody ever notices or can even point to any ONE reason why. The little hardened chunks of hurt build up a wall of resentment between us over time.
I was thinking the same, PSE. Men and food. They are beasts.
I recently watched the PBS doc. called To The Moon and one of the episodes addressed how on Apollo 8 one of the astronauts managed to go that entire time in space without having to take a crap.
When they returned to earth, he said that reporters kept asking him questions and all he could think about was needing a toilet.
Men are primal beasts. In that moment, food and crapping can override every other desire in life.
Oh come on, dude hasn’t had a poo for some time and he’s primal for wanting to experience a copious evacuation over answering questions! You’d be no different Bibi!
“Copious evacuation”. That made me laugh! It also reminded of a saying I once heard from a good ‘ol redneck country boy. “A good shit is way underrated and sex is way overrated.”
That is a man in need of a copious evacuation indeed!
Bahaha HG. You do have some empathy when it comes to the need to poo.
Actually, I would very much likely have gone in my pants. That was another thing he said, ‘Oh God, it is going to happen here with all these reporters around me.’
It was funny how human and humbling he was. Another guy on the same mission actually vomited and had diarrhea while on the flight and imagine that in zero gravity. Just sitting in a small cramped space with globs of puke and turd floating around.
See all these details I learned? Now, who wants to go to Mars?
I am looking at the sights of the universe beyond the space station’s window and storing them in my memory to use to gain fuel.
You are floating around marvelling at flecks of faeces and vomit.
I’m pretty sure Joanne doesn’t want cake anymore!
Your comment and this entire thread is quite interesting and it has made me see things from both your side and also your husband’s side.
I feel for you in this example MB, I really do. I can relate to your feelings. If I had been working late and then stopped at three different places to get food on my way home after a long day, I would want at least a kiss and a thank you from the man who I shared my life with and had loved me from the age of 13 and the son I had raised who had spent the whole day watching TV.
Like you, I would feel sad and lonely and neglected too. I would also feel annoyed that I had done that for them and then after doing it, I was also expected to educate them about my needs as though they were neanderthals with no emotional intelligence who had been living under a rock up until that time. It would be a further point of sadness to me to feel that I needed to do that with grown adults who should really have had a meal ready for me once I arrived home from work after a long day while they were home all day essentially doing nothing.
But, I realise that’s just me. I can rail and get annoyed and feel disrespected, but I realise that won’t magically put empathy and sensitivity in the brains of those I am annoyed at.
I’m glad your husband was loving, attentive and genuinely apologetic after you expressed your feelings. He’s a normal, so he needs a bit of prodding, but at least he got there in the end 🙂
Caroline-is-fine, actually my son that lives at home is empathic. I haven’t determined if he’s full on empath yet. He’s just a teenager, so he gets a pass. He exhibits much more empathy than his dad or his older brother though.
You explained my feelings precisely. After 33 years together, one would think their partner would know them inside and out and not have to be told. Hell, a narc figures it out within days/months. (Admittedly for the wrong reasons, but still VERY observant.)
These types of things happen often. Most of the time, they don’t affect me to the degree of saying anything. In fact, if he hadn’t heard me going outside, he still would be oblivious as I would have said nothing about it. It would just be another hardened chunk of unexpressed emotion to add to my mountain of resentment towards him. I’m not a crier normally. It was just a long, tough day and probably some hormones thrown in the mix too. And the moon. It’s always at least partly to blame!
It’s probably unfair to hold my unexpressed needs against him, but I am not going to make a “thing” out of every situation. After all, it’s just that I’m “too sensitive”. At least that’s what I’ve been told my whole life.
I wonder how many Empaths have been told/how often that they are “too sensitive” — and by whom?
There’s no such thing as being “too sensitive”…which I calmly replied back to the one highly narcissist parent one day… and guess what? It’s never been said again.
I’m pretty suspicious of people who say that — seems to me it’s a ready excuse to be careless/thoughtless.
Caroline-is-fine, I don’t think it’s an excuse really. I chalk it up to a lack of empathy. Things bother me that wouldn’t bother them at all. So that makes me “too sensitive”. (ie more sensitive than them – since they are just the right amount of sensitive you see)
Yeah, that’s partially my point… “sensitivity” is rather subjective, so maybe people shouldn’t be “judgy” about those who are sensitive, in that the sensitive have emotional intelligence to be able to handle a lot of people well/not unknowingly hurt people too often. It’s not like we have a free ride, in being sensitive. It can be a very tough thing, as you know. I’m very carefree in so many ways, and I only have a few areas where I am sensitive *about* myself, but I have several areas where I am very intensely sensitive *for* others, even if they are not for themselves. That’s a struggle for me.
I do give a pass to anyone who unknowingly causes someone hurt (like in the example with your husband), if — like he does — they put forth an effort to try to understand more how someone else feels — even if it doesn’t come naturally to them. That’s commendable.
The people who irk me are those who are so unbelievably sensitive about themselves, yet don’t give a flying fig about others (and I guess we know who those types are). Yes, I agree that some of it really comes down to innate/instinctive empathy, as HG’s article highlights, but then some of it (to continue to be careless/thoughtless when someone expresses pain to the person) is a choice.
Anyway, I say “thank God” for sensitive people in this world, for countless reasons, including aspects such as the most sensitive spirits who make amazing musicians, poets, artists, innovators, caregivers, etc.
So I say embrace your sensitivity, MB, remembering what good it truly does. It’s ONE of the things that makes you special, in a beautiful way. 🙂
Thank you Caroline-is-fine. I agree with you and wouldn’t want to be any other way. (Except I would like to have a little more kick assedness about me.)
Well, I’d say release your kick ass if it’s part of you & it works for you, sister… but there’s no need to be kick ass if it’s not you, or if there’s no good reason for it. My “intensely feisty side” (<notice how I make that sound good) is part of my nature & has served a good purpose at times; but I've recently seen (i.e., re: the narcissist) how it can also make it harder for me.
So I'm working on that… I've seen minimal to NO improvement in myself, but I'm still working on it…at least in my mind.;-)
Caroline-is-fine, I don’t have much bad ass in me. I just get my feelings hurt and do nothing. You want to hear a story from today’s life and times of MB? If not, scroll on!
So I’m driving on the interstate on my way back to work from lunch. Speed limit goes from 60 to 55. I drive 5 over (never had a ticket-I’d die on the spot!) So I slowed down from going 65 to going 60. A tractor trailer (some call them semis) screams up on the ass end of my car and flashes his lights at me repeatedly. I am already speeding and I can’t change lanes because I’m almost at my exit. It felt so unfair that I wasn’t doing anything wrong yet I was being chastised. Why is it that the incident made me feel ashamed for inconveniencing him? Why couldn’t I be a badass and flip him off for being a dick? Instead I am the one that ends up feeling bad and wishing I didnt have the need to be there at that time and in his way, and that I could just disappear on command. If I’d had a magic wand, I’d have poofed myself AND my car. Yep, I always find a way to make it my fault. Always!
MB, know what you know. You did nothing wrong. That trucker was rude, a bully and a jerk. Next time, just remember HG’s phrase, “Fuck that shit sky high!” It will bring a smile to your face when things like this come up. No need to flip the bird, just the thought of FTSSH will be good enough.
FYC, I’ve never flipped anybody the bird. Ever. It’s not my style. What I would have done if I wasn’t such a damn law abiding citizen is floored it and took off and left him. I love to drive fast, but life is much easier when you follow the rules. That’s why I was envious of Desireé getting to drive the Autobahn. Anyway, in the future, I’ll think FTSSH and maybe that will be almost as good as a magic wand! Thank you for the advice.
No, this just won’t do, MB! I think I can help you with this, if you’re game. This is an area of strength for me.
Sometimes this can get personal, and I don’t want you to feel pressured to reveal anything here that you don’t want to… and, actually, you don’t even really need to, as if this “blaming yourself” thing is a usual thing for you, it’s your inner voice, being quite unfair and unrealistic…so whether it’s someone’s critical (past voice) of you, condemning you still — or it’s now you, who have taken over in this, it doesn’t matter… in that this is very much something you can change… it really is, MB.
It takes a little awareness (which you definitely have) and some practice… but even with this one example you gave, it’s quite clear to me that your inner voice is beating up on you, at least part of the time. That’s not okay, as it’s not fair, and truth goes out the window. So man times, it’s not even objective/logical — that harsh, merciless, negative voice… no, it’s not okay.
So let me know~I’m happy to share more. My “guilty” side gets challenged by my positive inner voice, thank goodness, which helps…I’ve had my own childhood stuff to contend with, in this~I do understand.
Caroline-is-fine, yes! I would love help with this. My inner voice tells me I am not worthy. That anyone/everyone is more important than me and their needs come first. I’m glad you got the point of my story and I feel validated. It wasn’t that I wish I’d retaliated. It was that I wish I didn’t feel so unnecessary.
I wrote you back on this, but it’s on the lengthy side, so I’m hoping it’s just in moderation (& that I didn’t lose it in cyber space!) *_*
I saw it Caroline-is-fine. I skimmed it but want to read it more carefully tonight. Thank you so much for your kindness toward me. I treasure your friendship.
Aww… you have a knack for making me teary, girl. You know why? I feel ya. I sense your heart – I would never fib about that. And I’m just NOT okay with you beating up on that heart — and all the real *magic* that you (yes, you) have got inside you.
So kisses… to you, MB, *not* you, HG, no worries…I shun any & all signs of affection toward you, HG…LOL! [SECRET: I email HG, once in awhile, to apologize to him when I get feisty & a bit, well, *snitty* toward him, on threads occasionally… it’s the right thing to do (I’m passionate, but I go into “Viking mode” at times, when I do not always need to)… HG is always beyond gracious, understanding why it is I do that, so I really should say this tidbit in the open, just once. I do appreciate what HG is doing, for so many.] Oh, look, MB! A tear is now rolling down HG’s cheek, as he reads this… oh, no, oops, sorry — false alarm — he’s just at a fancy restaurant, eating the spicy, grilled tuna. Figures.
I also wanted to mention to you, MB, that when I talk about “positive affirmations,” it won’t be some lame/ weirdo 1970s exercise, like looking in the mirror 20 times a day and saying, “I’m so pretty! Look how pretty I am!” (Which, I’m sure you are, but still, that would be lame). It’ll be practical, I promise.
I’m humbled that you’d even listen to my thoughts on this, MB. We’re all Empath sisters, trying to help each other — that’s how I look at all of this…Oh, and a few empathic dudes occasionally on here too. 🙂
Caroline-is-fine, your bubbly personality comes through in your comments. I look forward to your thoughts on positive affirmations.
Thanks, and you got it, MB! I’ll find a thread that applies more to the topic this upcoming week & ping you on it. 🙂
Ha MB I likely would flip him off and then feel equally guilty for a few hours, and also stupid because he could be a gun toting narc.
I feel like the guilt part is inevitable.
Ha Ha NB, guilt is my middle name!
Inconvenience him? Get in his way? I was thinking: Jackass is in a hurry to kill someone, but I will not assist him. Fuck him. Get mad girl! (no road rage though). Did I tell you the car wash story?
My husband pulled up to the car wash and put money in but change/ticket didn’t come out. He tried again to extract it but something was broke. Then he hears a beep from behind. He doesn’t react but his horns come out. Guy says over loudspeaker ticket machine is broke and to pull up. He does. Jackass that beeped his horn has same problem and then pulls into bay beside my husband. Husband finishes and then waits for beeper to finish. Just as beeper goes to pull away husband stands in front of his car. Beeper waits a few minutes and then asks whats up? Husband says quietly (he never yells): you beeped at me. Thats rude. Who the fk are you to be beeping at me? Beeper is not sure of this quiet weirdo standing in front of his car and offers: Sorry man, I was in a hurry. Husband says: so how you making out with that now? (being in a hurry). Now you’re later than you would have been. Next time have some fkg manners – we’re all in a hurry. Beeper apologizes. Husband moves.
Get mad girl! Just don’t be a weirdo lol.
NA, I may have a crush on your husband. Just sayin’! Ha ha
The only time that we are ever told that we are “too sensitive” is when another person is avoiding seeing our point of view, and trying to invalidate us, and control us.
I can’t think of a single incident when this hasn’t been the case.
It’s always been used to shut us down in the conversation.
Don’t own their opinions of you.
Being sensitive doesn’t need a qualifier.
It’s a wonderful character trait that serves you well and is appreciated by healthy people who know you in your life.
It only becomes “too” in the eyes of the N who uses it as a tool to beat you with.
Your interesting comments have sparked some thoughts….(& none of this is advice, just my thoughts)….
It’s good for us to remember that there are differences between the male and female brains.
Even when we’ve been together for 20+ years.
They are hardwired differently, and prioritise, notice and respond to different things.
The male brain awash with testosterone is a different entity to ours awash with oestrogen.
Author and speaker Mark Gungor (“Laugh Your Way To A Better Marriage”) has some hilariously delivered insights into our differences, in his YouTube videos.
Our hardwired personalities are also in play, as is our familial conditioning and our personal growth/mentoring/nurturing subsequent to this, in every interaction that we have.
For yourself sweetheart, you have a solid foundation of trust and love to work through things on, and that’s a great thing. It’s a precious thing.
None of us has mind-reading abilities, so let yourself and your loved ones off the hook. I know that you are, but I feel it’s an important part of the process, and worth mentioning.
I was taught that our psyche is made up of four quadrants: the part I know, the part I think I know, the part I know that I don’t know, and the part that is completely unknown and is effectively a blindspot.
This is how we all are.
Your hardwiring for empathy, sensitivity, tolerance, patience, forgiveness, kindness, love, cooperation, problem solving, etc, means that you are supertraited to be able to succeed in a healthy relationship.
You have the tools to make love work with a healthy partner (doesn’t have to be perfect). (‘Big Five Factor Markers’ Personality Test, and as per Sandra L Brown)
When I learned this I felt encouraged. I’m not going to be dissuaded from working towards what I want in life: real love.
As ‘Authentic Altruists’, we do what we feel is right, and say what we need to, but we aren’t outcome dependant. Our self-worth isn’t hanging on the outcome.
We express our preferences, and what we need. This isn’t being ‘needy’, this is being normal. This is healthy assertiveness.
We practise it until we feel natural doing it, and as we do, we are deconstructing the gaslighting and conditioning we were subjected to growing up.
The other person is free to respond to what we say, and where there is proven emotional safety (as you have with your husband MB), a discussion can respectfully occur with the outcome of greater understanding, intimacy and happiness being achieved.
He’s not going to use your vulnerabilities against you.
He will want to NOT keep doing what upsets you.
This is really positive.
That’s the end of my train of thought for now.
MB: Re: That road rage guy in that truck. What are you talking about? So many people are dead going up against those ravening psychos. It is one thing to ponder why you did not shout, back, or why you feel guilty, but it is another thing altogether to be safely home to ponder it all. And it is a good outcome. Do not go up against those psychos on the road. Too many bad stories to even begin to give an account. Patience is a virtue. You are not a Narc that lives in the NOW. Some of those people in those automobiles are disasters just waiting for an opportunity as they drive around in the NOW. I take a lot in NYC. I am always saying, pardon me, even sometimes if the person actually bumps me first. Some of these people are absolutely crazy and violent. And New York, is not a Stand Your Ground State. It is a Walk Away State. If an altercation happens, the police are not interested in who started it. Everyone involved has to go to processing in the court, and they sort it all out later, and investigate to see if the victim, yes the victim, could have walked away. Now, in Texas, it is a Stand Your Ground State. You will not be in a negative legal circumstance for not walking away. In fact, if you feel threatened, you can stand your ground, and you also can even strike first in Texas, if you feel threatened. It is a Stand Your Ground State. Not in NYC.
I have to make chicken wings for work tonight MB. I’m perplexed due to a need for culinary perfection. One hot platter and one honey sweet.
Lorelei what?!? You’re not supposed to talk about cooking on here! Ha ha. I’d just buy some wings to take. They’re too big of a pain in the ass to make and it leaves a mess of epic proportions!
Yes you are correct—I’ve decided to order them!
You’re my kind of people Lorelei! Don’t forget the blue cheese! 😋
Oh—HG doesn’t care about wings. If he likes that football thing he has to eat wings to fit in. It’s synonymous with men who like sports. 🤷🏼♀️
Their football (soccer) may not be as synonymous with eating wings as our American football is. Obviously there is beer, but what about buffalo wings? Educate this ignorant American. Surely if we can talk about the gnats in Britain, we can talk about sports bar foods there too!
Football does nothing for me—ugh! I just know wings and beer are a thing! I have a famous NFL cousin two hours away and haven’t been to a game. I probably should use cognitive empathy to appear interested and go this fall!
Lorelei: Do you ever use hickory smoke liquid. It brings the outside in, flavor wise, with that hint of summer grilling. I am no foody. Just one of my very few secrets.
What brand do you like?