The Online Empathic Target

youtube-online-empathicYou are an obvious target when you engage in on-line dating. Your profile acts as a beacon to us. We see certain phrases and descriptions which have us making a bee line for you. You may as well strap a neon sign to your head stating “Empath” because you are sending a clear and distinct signal to us and we will move in for the kill.

On-line dating websites are popular and growing. They have millions of members and billions of page views each day. There are plenty of people looking for love on the internet. Given the ease through which one can browse, select and interact with a prospective date, it is little wonder that online dating sites are extensively used. The ability to avoid having to plunge into a gene pool of who knows what in bars and clubs and other predictable pick-up joints means that firing up the laptop and tablet and settling back to see who is out there has become a major way of finding that other half. I have mentioned before that cyberspace is a major hunting ground for our kind. From apps to social media, through messaging to the dating websites, the speed and reach of technology is a huge boon to the narcissist in his search for victims. Dating websites are no exception. It is there that we can sift through the prospective victims, assessing the target and gauging whether an approach ought to be made to begin the additional fact finding about this individual and commence the seduction. Dating websites attract a good proportion of cranks, wind-up merchants, no-shows, time wasters, married people searching for some sexting and potentially more and these individuals often stand out a mile. The opening gambit of the pervert who is looking for some topless pictures of you is likely to be

“U r gawjuss, do you have nudes?”

Easy to pick that jerk out isn’t it? He won’t be one of us though. He is just an arsehole. The philanderer may well belong to our brethren but when he starts with,

“I am married but my wife and I haven’t had sex for 2 years so I am not really being unfaithful in looking for some action elsewhere.”

You know that he is looking for some extra-marital fun and being so upfront about it means he is unlikely to be one of ours. You never charm somebody by playing your B.L.U.F. – bottom line up front. Rather, in order to bluff, a far more subtle and insidious approach is required. These individuals may have narcissistic traits but they are not in our gang. They operate on a percentage basis. Keep asking for nude pictures often enough and someone is bound to agree. Keep plugging away for someone who fancies a quick bunk up and somebody will eventually respond. That is all they are interested in. They are not after your fuel. We are.

So, what do we look for when we are scouring the digital directory of potential appliances? Naturally, the cadre of narcissist affects the class traits that the relevant narcissist looks for, therefore the Somatic Narcissist will be concentrating on those who look stunning, are gym bunnies, love travel and shopping and such like. The Cerebral Narc will be looking for those who enjoy literature, the arts, demonstrate a higher education and so forth. Those class traits are highly relevant and we do look for them in the profiles of those who place themselves on an online dating site.

We also look for the empathic traits which signify to us that this person has the potential to be an excellent appliance for us and eventually maybe even be a primary source. We scour for those who have the special traits as well, which amount to a bonus. Finally, we look for indicators which tell us that you are unlikely to put up much resistance. Combine all of these indicators – the class, empathic and special traits, add in the knowledge that you are not going to be difficult to approach and engage with and it all points towards a viable target for our attentions. Not all of the empathic or special traits will be present in your profile, this requires additional investigative work on our part which we will engage in, but we will have seen enough which tells us that you are more likely than not an empath and well worth targeting.

So what are these phrases and descriptions that stand out a mile to our kind and have us converging on you? There are numerous that exist, but here is a selection of ones which are used most often.

  1. Been Hurt Before

Our klaxon goes off to tell us that you are damaged goods and therefore ripe for the taking. Somebody has tenderized you already and thus our insidious charm will meet with little resistance. You will be delighted to find someone so caring, so compassionate, so considerate and so into you. Such a contrast to the predecessor. You will not be warier for the experience but actually more vulnerable because you clearly do not recognise our kind when we come hunting.

  1. Loves animals

If you are prepared to care for a lower life form, feed it, groom it, exercise it, play with it, buy it things, pay vet’s bills and so forth, you are clearly a caring person. Nine times out of ten an animal lover is also someone who is very caring towards their own species too, there is the odd exception of course, but it is more often a reliable indicator of empathic traits than not.

  1. I’m new to this/ I cannot believe I am doing on-line dating

You have not been able to meet anybody through a traditional method and you are telling us this because you feel somewhat awkward and silly that you are doing this. Don’t worry, we will put you at your ease because guess what? We will tell you we are new to this (of course we are not) and let’s handhold on this new adventure. This also tells us that there is a degree of desperation to find somebody because you are trying to suggest you do not use this ordinarily. Well you are here now aren’t you because nothing else has worked?

  1. I like to stay in with a glass of wine and a DVD/cosy up in front the fire/ walk in the park on Sunday and go to the pub for a roast/ have Sunday brunch and read the papers together

You are a love devotee. How so? These standard phrases originate because you have watched the fabricated happy Hollywood couples in film, or read about them in glossy magazines and novels which advocate that this is the way that couples spend every evening or Sunday together. You are susceptible to being sold the ideal of how love is, the romantic and wonderful view of love and by using phrases such as these you are indicating that to us loud and clear. You want an ideal form of love? Guess who can manufacture that in an instant?

  1. Church/God/Spirituality

If you make mention of this on your profile you are exhibiting, you operate by a moral code and therefore you will have empathic traits. If you demonstrate some form of spirituality this tells us that you have a belief system and therefore you are susceptible to suggestion. This ranges from being a good and decent person through to someone who believes that love will solve every issue and problem. That mind set is appealing to us.

  1. Charity involvement

If you make mention of your work at the local homeless shelter, you volunteer with a medical charity or are engaged in fund-raising we know you are a giver and not a taker. We also know that you have significant levels of empathy and that you will go the extra mile to secure the happiness of somebody. We want that attitude directed towards us.

  1. I am a middle child/ I come from a large family

There is a good chance you have not been afforded the attention you might otherwise have wanted and thus we know that we can secure an easy win by lavishing on you plenty of the aforementioned attention. We also regard this as demonstrating that you are quite stoic individual who has been used to just getting on with things, so that having someone come along and help you and put you at the centre of things will really gain your approval and appreciation.

  1. I just got out of a committed relationship

So you have and by writing this you are telling us two things. The first is you want another one pretty quickly because you do not like being alone. The second is that you have evidently been the one who has been dumped or cheated on as you are saying you were the one who was committed and you want other people to know that you were committed. This tells us that you are keen on getting to the truth of the matter, an empathic trait and that you will stick around.

  1. I am looking for a knight in shining armour

So many bases are ticked with this one. You are a love devotee as you are sold on the idea of romantic love. You want someone to save you and therefore you will respond well to such overtures. You have evidently suffered previously and therefore you have been softened up in that regard as detailed above. You are also expecting somebody else to be chivalrous and bear the burden, which translates into you wanting that person to buy you things, take you places and spoil you. No problem, that all comes as part of the Love Bombing package.

  1. I am seeking someone who is financially secure

You have financial problems which we can exploit and/or you were with somebody who had financial problems so you want to avoid that happening again. You are attracted to success (or the appearance of success) and this is a motivating factor for you. We will be happy to factor that in for you.

  1. I am ready for a long-term relationship

You have not been able to find anybody so far, so desperation is starting to creep in. You are also a giver and believe in relationships, you want to be bound to somebody and make it work. You have just tilted your head and exposed your throat to us.

  1. I want to be swept off my feet

Another indication of being a love devotee who believes in excessive romanticism and also a key indicator that our whirlwind approach to seduction will reap significant rewards and find favour with you. You will be swept off your feet alright, you just may have trouble getting up again.

  1. I am tired of games

Again another signal that you have suffered in the past and therefore you are susceptible to manipulation. This offers us the chance to exhibit that we are honest, straightforward and reliable to draw you in and then we can commence our manipulations of you with impunity.

  1. Looking for The One

More evidence of the love devotee, someone who is ready to pour their heart and soul into the relationship and therefore you will be overflowing with empathic traits. Not only that, you will fall prey to our various ways of telling you that you are The One, Our Soulmate and The Person We Have Waited Our Whole Life For.

  1. Mention of the caring professions

If you happen to explain you work in nursing, look after the elderly, you sign for the local deaf community and so forth, this lights up that you have empathic traits and this especially appeals to the Victim Narcissist who will be looking for his own personal carer.

There are many more and we look for a selection of these in somebody’s written dating profile to confirm to us that you will have the various traits we desire and that your resistance to being seduced will be low.

Time for a re-think on what you have written?

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85 Comments

  1. Hi HG,

    In looking at the profiles of men I’m connected to on social media, I’ve been practicing my narc knowledge trying to guess whether they’re narcs. So here’s a stumper: Is there a type of narc that would pretend to be an empath? Or use terms like intuitive healer, etc.? I’m connected to a man who calls himself something similar and works as a consultant for businesses who hire an empath to help them. Would he have the ability to make a living as someone with these abilities if he were a narc? Seems like a lot of work to maintain the empathic facial expressions.

  2. In what ways can one tone down the empathic flags on a profile while still giving enough information to catch interest from a non-narc?

      1. Thanks for the prompt response, HG. I will consider a consultation, however I haven’t been and don’t plan on utilizing online dating sites for quite some time. I thought the topic would be interesting for others to know about as well. Perhaps you could consider it the focus of a future article.

  3. Olderandwisernow and Emma,

    I see your predicament as many years ago it was also mine.
    I am married to a normal man who is without a doubt my soul mate. I was a narc magnet in my teens and for much of my 20’s and had a very significant long term relationship with a man who had NPD and psychopathic traits. We had an intense relationship with a blow-your-mind sexual chemistry and strong sexual relationship throughout the duration of my time as IPPS. He was a highly intelligent, charming and manipulative person and I was his muse for many, many years. We met in primary school and he was a gifted student, talented at everything he turned his hand to. I was the only person who ever turned him down and he pursued me consistently. By the time we started our formal relationship I was in my 20s and I had closed that chapter of my life. He was my world and I thought I had it all, I was deeply, deeply in love.
    Our relationship ended due to his covert infidelities (multiple – he even conceived a child with another woman of which I had no idea). I never thought I would find that spark and electrifying chemistry again or that instantaneous connection. I had to leave but I didn’t want to – the situation was toxic and pride and self respect supported my decision to escape.
    After I left him I wrote a list. I sat down and detailed all of the things that drew me to him and examined whether they were surface or substance. I then wrote a second list of the things I really wanted in a relationship without the compromise. This was a turning point for me. When I started to go out and meet new people I found myself drawn to a different type of person. The night I met my husband, the connection was instant, I told my girlfriend I had just met the man I was going to marry and I did. Being married to a normal has had its ups and downs because you need to establish different boundaries in the relationship and you notice that when you set limits and respect yourself, a normal person responds favourably to this. My husband doesn’t have the hyper-masculinity of a narc but I feel so connected to him because I have great boundaries now and I have the energy and compassion I need to maintain a healthy relationship. My husband is stable, hard working, consistent and enduring – it also helps that he is bloody handsome and as well!! We have been married almost 12 years – I wouldn’t have it any other way.
    There is hope for you, so work on yourself and the reasons why you seek the chaos and carry this awareness with you into new relationships. Your attraction can change as you move through life – kind of like your taste in food does also (he he). HG’s work around emotional vs logical thinking is the key. If you are new here just keep reading and reading and you will reach that turning point where the games, the chaos and the about turns are enough of a turn off and you realise you were searching for peace all along.

    1. Sarah, Thank you for sharing your story. It is so beautiful, I actually cried.
      I am going to save your post and reread it from time to time. And I think I am going to make a list of my own.

      At the moment my life is a new beginning on many levels. In the past couple of years I have worked through my familial past and have been able to find closure and left behind a lot of dead weight. Last year new work perspectives have opened up for me and a couple of months ago I moved to a new place, a beautiful home I was able to get, something I thought I could never afford and yet things came together in such a way to make it possible. I have been and I am still literally going through my past with every box I pack and unpack. It feels like standing atop a mountain and looking out in all direction to the totality of the landscape that has been my life so far. As I go through various objects, letters, photographs, memorabilia, I see where each piece of the past fits in the bigger picture and how it is connected to all the rest. Having been seen and understood, there is no need to hold on to any of it anymore.

      Of course there are still challenges but I can honestly say that I am in a very happy stage in my life right now, if fact the happiest I have ever been so far. The recent incident with the narc was a little reminder that in the romance department there is still work to do, as well as a confirmation of how far I have come as I see how swiftly I recognized the situation and removed myself efficiently from it at the earliest juncture.

      It is indeed the love of truth and the longing for peace that is the driving force behind everything I do. It is very encouraging what you write Sarah about the change in attraction and taste that you experienced. And also that, when you met your husband, you just knew he was the right person, and that there was still the electrifying chemistry. That is truly something to look forward to. Right now I associate that intense sexual chemistry and being deeply in love with a narcissist and it is literally turning my stomach. But it makes sense that these things can be separated from out the narcissist since they are a capacity in us, they are part of our own being and without the mix of narcissistic toxicity, they are pure and an expressions of love and peace. I am looking forward to the change in attraction and I trust that like you, I will somehow know when it is the real deal.

      Thanks again Sarah,
      Much love,
      Emma

      1. Wow Emma – so beautiful. Your words created a very poignant imagery in my mind of you standing in your truth, confronting your fears (so bravely) and giving yourself the time and space to heal. It sounds like you have endured a lot and I am so sorry for these circumstances and yet so very thankful that I have been given a window to share a part of this with you.

        Unpacking your memories and realising your photos and memorabilia of a life you no longer want to live are holding you back and no longer needed is such a significant step in your recovery. Well done – you are transversing a truly pivotal moment in your life, this is really significant.

        If you have not already done so, consider HG’s book Exorcism, it is very relevant to where you are at right now. I think ‘Sex and the Narcissist’ is also a really important one for you as once you find out what underpins the electrifying sexual energy from a narcissist it will very quickly help you to reframe it and feel the repulsion it deserves. I have read nearly all of HG’s books and this is a very affordable and satisfying way to access his expertise to help you on your road to recovery.

        Emma, I have been on the blog for 2 years now and your post is one of the most deeply touching things I have read. I am thinking of you every step of this journey and can’t wait to hear about the day your heart leads you to someone truly special.

        Sarah

        1. Sarah, thank you for your warm wishes and encouragement, your compassion is received with much gratitude. It is true that the start of my life has been challenging to say the least. I worked hard to be where I am now, recently a friend said to me: it is your time to harvest now the fruits of your labor. It does feel that way.

          As to the book recommendations, I am certainly going to look into that, especially sex and the narcissist, although I hope it is not too triggering.

          If it is not too personal a question, how would you describe the difference between the chemistry with your husband and the chemistry with the former narcissist? Being now in a healthy relationship, I am also curious about the reason for your current interest in narcissism and HG`s work. Please feel free to ignore the questions if you don’t feel like answering.

          Emma

          1. Hi Emma,

            I love your curiosity and I am so glad you asked – I am very happy to answer your questions.

            1. The chemistry with both my husband and the narcissist was instantaneous. I felt the same level of primal connection when I first met them both. The difference is in the way we responded to each other physically, in that my husband would not engage in anything that he felt was at all demeaning to me (even if I wanted to). This has not changed in all the years we have been together. He set boundaries around what he felt comfortable with and I did the same. My husband and I never had sex as prolifically as the N and I because we enjoyed a connection on more than just a physical level. We don’t use sex to solve disagreements and we prefer intimacy when we feel close to each other. With the N, his sexual appetite was insatiable. The crazy thing is it turns out he was getting plenty of sex outside the relationship but his sexual appetite never waned. I developed norms in this relationship that I thought were based on intimacy and trust, but I was way off the mark. He manipulated me in so many ways sexually and I think he was definitely a voyeur and a pervert, I just didn’t see it at the time.

            2. I left the narcissist because our gardener told me about his affairs. I had no idea and I was devastated. In many ways I relate to the Stepford dynamic that HG talks about only, I had no awareness of his indiscretions. When I left I found out many of my ‘friends’ knew what was going on. I felt so humiliated and it was really hard for me to accept I had been conned. I left quickly, ran away, moved house, job, car, left friendships and started all over again. I was untraceable and it was the bravest and hardest thing I have ever done. I had to go swiftly as I knew just how much of a con man N was and that he would try and draw me back in. There were Hoover attempts through my family but they protected me as I told them I didn’t want to know. I eventually heard N had lost everything after I left (most of all his golden fascade). I also found out that he had been diagnosed with NPD with psychopathic traits.
            In December 2017 (13 years no contact) my worst fear became a reality when the narcissist turned up at my work. I was gob-smacked and my underlying connection was fear based – he had haunted my dreams over a number of years as our relationship had been life long. I was in a state of shock and my emotions were very heightened. I had run away from him without the knowledge of what he was and I had dealt with the behaviours and the situation well but there was a lot of emotion still trapped inside. He came back with the intention of reeling me back in with grand gestures and a lot of pre-work having been completed. All of a sudden this diagnosis I heard about became more real and instead of ignoring it I decided to understand it. It was instinctive and unplanned but I frantically googled narcissism and landed on narcsite. I didn’t understand why even though I detested him, I still felt a connection with him, even a sexual connection. I felt destabilised and unsure of everything. As a young adult I ran away from my fears but as a more mature person I wanted to face them, understand them and consider the real impact of this on my life. I read HGs books and explored all of these feelings and the toxicity of them here. It was a phase and it passed but at least I understood why it occurred and I didn’t blame myself for the thoughts I had on seeing him again.

          2. Wow, what an incredible story Sarah.

            The audacity of the narcissist to show up after the infidelity, after 13 years of no contact, and actually believe that he could simply pick up and continue the relationship. Just mind blowing. I can only imagine the devastation at the time when you discovered the infidelity, it was an act of great courage of your younger self to just run for it, to escape and build yourself a new life based on the totally different paradigm of integrity.
            I am so happy for you that you were well established in a healthy and stable relationship when the narcissist came knocking again. Still, all the old wounds being rip open must have been quite painful. It sounds like you were able to deal with everything that was triggered on a root level. I hope you have been able to re-establish the no contact with the narcissist.

            The differences you describe between the relationship with your husband and the relationship with the narcissist make a lot of sense. In the relationship with a narcissist nothing ever gets resolved, there is always some sort of radio interference going on which prevents you ever arriving at clarity, at peaceful intimacy with each other like you describe in the relationship with your husband.

            What you describe about your husband being aware and mindful of your boundaries, even if you yourself sometimes overlook them, I know that experience through friendships. I think that is one of the most important hallmarks of a healthy relationship. It allows you to be totally authentic, to be vulnerable and yet perfectly save because the interaction is based on mutual respect. Your side by side comparison is very helpful. As I read it, I feel your words connecting with what I know intuitively. This is yet another post I am going to save to read again from time to time.

            Thank you so much for sharing.

            Emma

          3. So beautifully written and shared, thank you Emma.

            Yes, no contact is in place. Unfortunately, work gave N my work mobile number and there were further Hoover attempts, however I have now left the organisation after 10 years working there. I didn’t leave because of my ex-N but the benefit of knowing he cannot use that avenue to contact me has been well served.
            HG has repeatedly reiterated there is always a risk of a Hoover. I have no social media and if you google my name the only associations there are through my previous work place. I am starting my own business and therefore will need to build a website, this will increase the risk, however I would not expect to be ‘triggered’ anymore because I have ‘done the work’, so to speak.
            I am glad you can relate to my experience of a healthy relationship. It is nice to feel good about ourselves and to make choices which align with our values instead of somebody else’s chaos. Thank you for sharing my story and I can’t wait to read more about you and your insights/experiences on the blog as well.
            Sarah

  4. @Emma I have the same fears. I seem to be a ‘Narc Magnet’… and a Magnet Empath. Lol. I believe the key is to set and keep my boundaries while not losing my empathy. I want to continue to be able to feel the caring emotions but not so much so that I sacrifice my well being. And like you, I would rather not be in a relationship if means to be in a bad one. I also would like to hear from others who have healed and found healthy relationships with normals and understand if they felt stability rather than a ‘lackluster’ letdown by comparison. Similar to a Narcissist, I crave the fuel/excitement from the Golden Period. Maybe it is similar to detoxing from sugar, that I need time away from the drama to stop the ‘sweet’ cravings.

    1. @ olderandwisernow it is not so much that I crave the roller coaster type of excitement so indicative of a narc relationship. In fact with the recent incident, I even noticed that I was having kind of allergic reactions to the narcissist`s high energy overtures like starting to hyperventilate or wanting to through up. The physical reactions to narcissistic machinations are so strong, I don’t think I could be in a relationship with a narc ever again despite the apparently still active attraction due to past conditioning. Writing this I am realizing I have now actually developed a narc allergy LOL. I think I may have overdosed on nards, in fact I know I have.

      1. Emma. Be careful. That is the love bombing and Golden Period. Beware also of Workplace and Familial and being introduced, and such cozier meetings where they have proximity to you, and you are therefore not subjected to the initial frenzy they use to bind you to them. Then your guard is down. They can sneak up on you in other low key environments where they are around you a lot, and then as you slowly get to know them a bit, BAM!!! They got you.

        1. Thank you PSE, luckily I have not been romantically involve with this guy, he was assigned to the project I was working on, all contact was project related but he has been trying hard to move things to the personal realm which I resisted. It took some careful planning and I had some luck too but since I was the lead I was able to carefully manoeuvre him out of the project. I have noticed he tried to get back in again but it is as good as finished so that is not going to happen. As you say however, I cannot let my guard down and do need to stay vigilant for the future, it is a large organisation but I am bound to pump into him occasionally.

          1. Emma. Very good. And if possible, note his acquaintances. They will give him feedback on you, often unaware that he is collecting reconnaissance on you. You do not know whom he knows. And being careful and aware is a very good habit to employ going forward, anyway. Remember, Narcissists are an amazing combination of being natural and instinctive and practiced detectives, I have learned on Narcsite. If you have not done so: I invite you to please consider reading HG Tudor`s book: Sitting Target. I am amazed by how they seek out their sources for fuel. It is very serious business for them, even in situations where we may think that they have forgotten about us, Emma.

  5. I once created a profile on a dating site and then quickly deleted it when in the first few days close to a hundred men responded, it really freaked me out. I cannot remember the exact profile text but believing in love was certainly in there.

    Looking back I have come to the conclusion that all of my past romantic relationships involved narcissists. I think this makes me a most effective narc detector. Few months ago I met this lovely guy, charming, intelligent, most helpful and gallant. There was this strong electrifying kind of attraction between us which had my narc radar buzzing and flashing since this kind of attraction seems to be the hallmark for me in the interaction with a particular type of narc. After the second meeting I had detected enough red flags to plaster the Great Wall of China, hat tip to HG. It took me quite a bit of effort to remove myself from the (work related) contact since he was very persisting, which only confirmed my suspicion.

    The experience left me wondering if I am bound to stay single. I have a fulfilling life and I am happy as it is but the idea of writing off romantic relationships all together is kind of drastic. Even though I will do it without hesitation if the only other option was a relationship with a narc. I am wondering if indeed my past conditioning makes it so that I can only feel attracted to a certain type of narc. I guess time will tell.

    Anyway, are there people here who have manage to find a healthy relationship after multiple narcissistic entanglements? Would sure be encouraging to read about it.

    PS: still learning how to use the site, please delete duplicate if this post appears twice.

  6. I was lucky enough to see Brené Brown live in Melbourne last week. Years of social research has evidenced it is the people with the best boundaries who are the most compassionate. This makes sense to me as they can offer genuine compassion, knowing that their self worth will enable them to disengage first from toxic relationships. They will never give too much. I think this is something we should all aspire to be.

    All of the statements above indicate over-sharing; this is a sign of dangerous levels of vulnerability rather than healthy levels. I saw a research study on-line where they identified the language and approach of psychopaths targeting victims through dating sites. It was the online dating companies funding the research. Apparently they trawl the profiles looking for red flags and suspicious activities to shut the profiles down. It is heartening to know this issue is on the radar albeit a time consuming task and no doubt a drop in the ocean.

    This was a very interesting new-read for me, I was never an internet dater but I have heard others speak of the pit-falls. I will certainly be educating my kids about the N predators as soon as they show an interest in meeting people online. Great article HG.

    1. Hello Sarah,

      Thank you.
      The point on boundaries is an interesting one.
      1. The most compassionate people do not have the best boundaries (I know you stated it the other way around) but I wanted to make this point and this will be expanded on in article.
      2. Narcissists have the best boundaries but are not compassionate at all.
      3. Normals have good boundaries and are of limited compassion.
      4. If you can find someone empathic and who has very good boundaries they can provide compassion and disengage, I agree with that, but finding that is very hard, why is that? Empathic people are poor with boundary recognition because of the fact they are driven often by emotional thinking and they attract the ultimate boundary transgressors – us.

      1. Agree—I’ve had terrible boundaries which equates to nearly none. Always applying my currency to what others must be operating with etc.

        1. Lorlei – I think for many of us this has been our lived experience. Thank goodness for all the lessons learned!

          1. Hi Sarah—I’m amazed at the ridiculousness. I’d rather come down with rabies than get super close to another scenario like I was in for so long.

        1. Actually, WAF, you only need boundaries with narcissists. Steer clear of narcissists and problem solved, but I understand your point, thank you.

          1. Dearest HG: From my experience, Normal people and Empaths continually help each other maintain our boundaries! We constantly check: Are you sure it is not a bother to come over? Are you sure that is the best date to get together? Are you sure you want to pay the entire bill? Are you sure it is okay that I take your umbrella, over and over and over. When I first started dealing with the main Narcissist that I was infatuated with and his 4 lieutenants (2 of which may also have NPD), I noticed after a while that they never ever verified boundaries. At first it did not bother me, but after awhile I became upset, because I had to constantly carry the burden of setting boundaries with them over small things as well as more important things. I was turning into the bad guy, when I needed something different than what they suggested, regarding my time, or my energy, or what day was best for me for a project, or anything else. When I took a day off, they were also wounded. Their boundaries included other people: If I were friendly to someone they did not like, even if I did not know that they did not like the person, they were wounded. If someone else praised me, they were wounded. Who can keep up with it all? They had weird boundaries, as well. If they wanted me to do something that I didn’t want to do, such as check with them using my hands the body fat of the Narcissist underneath his shirt along with them, and I did not, they were wounded. Once someone spilled something on the Narcissist`s shirt and he wanted to change on the spot and he asked all of us to turn our backs to him. I did, and the 4 Lieutenants were upset that I honored his request, and kept saying look, PSE, look! And they said, we all our looking, hurry! And they were looking. It was crazy. Not a big deal, but they were actually upset later that I would not look. They are upset when you do not breach a boundary for them. I would say more, but it is too unbelievable.

      2. It seems incredibly naive thinking now, but I would not previously have recognised boundaries and when people did have strong boundaries, I didn’t see it as such and instead I considered them selfish, but still liked them? Well some of them. There was always ‘the ones’ I did not like at all albeit very few in number.

        1. Alexissmith – I relate to this whole-heartedly. I was very quick to feel others selfish when they exercised their boundaries in my younger years. Thankfully I realised they just had a better understanding of their healthy limits than I did of mine.

          1. Sarah it’s so true, well for the normals it’s a good thing. But for the Ns not so great as they then bulldoze their way through our unlocked gates.

      3. Thanks HG for your insights and providing further information for all of us.
        I found the research very interesting and it has given me a lot of food for thought.
        1. I see the sense in both perspectives – the key point being empathic people who learn strong value based boundaries will be the most compassionate albeit low in numbers.
        2. I take your point, however this is a tricky one for me in that I am defining boundaries as healthy ones; arguably narcissists have no boundaries – it depends which way you look at it.
        3. I agree, normals have solid boundaries but generally display cognitive empathy which is similar to narcissists without the need to derive fuel/control and manipulate.
        4. This is the key point of the research I think, in that empaths who learn good boundaries and make decisions from a position of strength and self worth e.g., disengage from toxic relationships are the most compassionate people. These people may be rare, however the research focused on most compassionate rather than most prevalent in the population.

        1. 1. Agreed.
          2. We have considerable barriers (so that is the enforcement of a boundary) but we do not respect the boundary of others (and thus in that sense we have no boundaries).
          3. See The Empathy Cake.
          4. Noted.

      4. Ps. I only apply the term ‘boundaries’ to a situation where someone is sitting within their integrity. In this way, for me the term does not align with a narcissistic personality profile but I respect alternate views of course.

      5. This is interesting. My truly competent analyst teaches it the way Sarah writes: that the most empathic people have the best boundaries. I am convinced she’s right, except she might be using concepts differently to the way HG does. According to my analyst you must have boundaries to separate the YOU from the I. She used a garden / building analogy. If you have good boundaries you are in charge whom you let into your house when someone rings at the door. If you leave your doors wide open anyone can walk in anytime. If you don’t have a door bell and keep your house permanently locked nobody will bother trying to visit you any longer. This analogy works for emotions too. Poor boundaries: “your emotions are mine” (you’re already inside even though I didn’t ask you to). Good boundaries: I see you: I see myself – I decide if I want to share or emote. I can walk away from anything that is not healthy for my own emotional health.

        My analyst said there is a misunderstanding between self-preserving compassion and self-serving empathy. You need the best of boundaries (flexible, not rigid boundaries) for the former.

        She confirmed that those people who repeatedly hook up with narcissists tend to have very poor boundaries and indeed engage in self serving empathy. And she said that the most empathic people recognize the fakery narcissists produce and make you a part of. If and only if your boundaries are intact can you resist fakery and truly feel the fake. It is possible to recognise the red flags cognitively but this is not enough to resist them.

        I’ve come to think of HG’s LT as the equivalent of my analyst’s view of what a healthy emotional boundary is.

        Another thing she said: people with poor boundaries are not good at respecting other people’s – it goes hand in hand. It was a hard nut to swallow but I did and it raised self awareness….

        1. LC – your analyst and I would get along well. I relate to your perspective on every level.
          Compassion without boundaries is not genuine. Empathy without boundaries is not empathy. Boundaries are not separation or division, they are about respect.

          1. That’s very well put, Sarah. I am convinced this is true. I think that the term “empath” is somewhat misleading because of this (I prefer ‘giver’) I know empath is a conventional term that not only HG uses. Empathy without boundaries is the empathy of narcissistic entanglements. True empathy needs boundaries and can therefore not be achieved when involved with a narcissist. Empaths – according to such a view – are capable of compassion and true empathy – but in a romantic relationship only once they have acquired boundaries. I used to think I’m struggling with watching empaths celebrating empathy that is the self-serving kind, but thanks to your post I know now that I’m struggling with empaths not seeing the difference between the two kinds of empathy (these are not explained in the empathy cake article HG – although the examples are about boundaries being violated of course).

        2. Yes, everything you write resonates with me LC. Boundaries articulate what is okay and what is not. When we run ourselves ragged for others and say it is because we feel empathy for them, this is not necessarily the case. Boundaries have to be enforced, they can’t be fake walls which we tear down to derive positive attention from another because we choose to self sacrifice. Much of this I see as self serving.
          This conversation has been very helpful and enlightening- thanks so much for the chat and I am glad you enjoyed it also.

          1. HG has all this info but it’s not in one place. From what I’ve seen (I may be wrong) he has become more vocal over time about the fact that ET is caused by addiction, and addiction results in ET. Empathy when deployed under ET serves the addiction. Empathy when deployed under LT does not. This is why I have come to think of LT as linked to the concept of healthy boundaries the way they can be gradually acquired in therapeutic settings (and also outside of them, but it’s a lot harder to do especially for people with LOC backgrounds).

            HG, empaths can also mutilate boundaries badly when under ET. You have various articles in which you describe how the empath sends one text message after the other – colluding in the love bombing phase for example or when devaluation sets in. There seems to be a switch from no boundaries to rigid boundaries on the part of the narcissist, whereas the empath has weak boundaries to start with and has those boundaries eroded even more in the narcisstic entanglement.

          2. You are correct that I have become more vocal about this aspect of the dynamic.

          3. LC and Sarah, very interesting discussion about empathy.

            Speaking from my own experience the empathic ability to feel and intuit the pain of another as if it is your own, if this ability is not coupled with insight and wisdom, it often leads to great confusion and to actions that are less then helpful both to oneself and to others.

            If you have not done your homework regarding your own emotional state, trying to help the other person because you can feel their suffering, can quickly become a vehicle for trying to get your own needs met, by that turning empathy into selfishness. This is very close to how someone with NPD uses the needs of others to fulfill their own needs. It is the same principal, the differences are only gradational. As I described in my introduction post, the narcissist and the confused empath / empath with poor boundaries are In many ways quite identical.

            Indeed, true compassion can only come about when you are able to recognize and deal with your own needs and refrain from projection them onto others, that is the best way to guard your house and garden so to speak. You can then be compassionate without leaving room for being manipulated, for the narcissist can only reflect back to you the needs you project onto others (= leaving your door wide open) and use it to manipulate you.

          4. Yes, very true Emma – a narcissist is a great way of holding up a mirror to the parts of ourselves that desire attention and seek gratification. A lot of the pain we suffer at their hands is our own choosing even though that is not a conscious process for us at all. Ideal love with the N is a fantasy we create as their actions rarely align with the story we tell ourselves. It is a fascinating and deeply self destructive cycle to observe when we take a step back and examine it through HG’s lens.

      6. This is so true

        My boundaries are so blurred and I seem to just get trapped into situations that benefit the narcs in my world .
        I always end up angry , drained and feeling used and played
        I notice normals seem to move unperturbed amongst them , narcs stay away from them like they are carrying some kind of kryptonite .
        This year I’m going to completely AVOID the workplace bitch narc .
        How I have no idea ?She will SMear me

        Kiki

        1. Hi Kiki,
          I agree, without boundaries in a situation where others have boundaries of steel we always end up feeling resentful. Your example rings true. Given it is so difficult to enforce boundaries with an N, no contact is such a lifeline. I hope your avoidance of the narc at work is successful!
          Sarah

  7. Thank you again, HG. I considered a dating site…but I think I’ll go brush my instead…

  8. “My life is fabulous and I’m happy single and you’d have to be amazing to change that” 🙄

    “I’m not like other girls / I’m so unique/ I’m such a goth/badass/weirdo” 🙄🙄

  9. this is me. all of them.
    when i miss him, i come here. not because still want to read about the narcissist. for to remember the truths.

    i feel like i am Alice -in the Narcland.

  10. Church/God/Spirituality

    I consider myself to be agnostic. But there are people who say that all agnostics are atheists. I wouldn’t agree with that. To be honest, i didn’t even know that i was spiritual before the discard. I had zero interest in spirituality. I started to take interest in it to find answers to my questions.

    1. Do you mean if you wrote that on a profile? Yes, the narcissists who think they are empaths would be all over that one “Me too, we are soulmates.”

      1. Can you explain this to me anyway? How does a narcissist think they are an empath?
        They understand the meaning of the word empathy cognitively in order to be able to use it right? Do they think the cognitive empathy IS empathy ?!

        1. And also is it only the mid rangers that claim this “empath” title? I don’t think I’ve seen a lesser do it, and I think a greater wouldnt need to do that right

          1. One of the Angel’s with a dirty face I know (I can’t stand her!), I recall on one occasion that we were at a church ‘open/fun day’ there was a group of us. I’m not religious but nor am I opposed to it so happy to go along. Everything was free – food/drinks and everyone was invited and welcome whether they were church goers or not.

            Anyway, she, The Angel – an avid churchgoer who always bragged about how good she was because she goes to church etc etc etc made a simple comment, “Look at all these people here, they don’t ever set foot in a church ever, and yet here they are taking the free food and free drinks. And they’ll probably never set foot in a church again. Oooh it really annoys me”. How very Christian of you, I thought.

            Always bitching and can’t stand it if she is not recognised and praised profusely for all of her good work. Agggh I have fun with her!

          2. Alexis—did you see where we are unfortunate looking if something other than ourselves is our social media profile photo? I thought of you.

          3. Hahahaha, yes Lorelei, I’ve read that.

            HG seems to think I’m not. He doesn’t realise I’m double bluffing!

          4. If we don’t get enough “likes” we are also lonely and need attention. This is a sad sad state of affairs.

          5. Hahaha for sure. Simple solution though Lorelei you could make sure any posts will appeal to lots of people or simply don’t post anything, if they don’t appeal, just don’t worry about it. Most people are far too wrapped up in their own posts anyway.

          6. Alexis—it’s funny how this stuff just never occurs to me, but my daughter was talking to a friend today about getting a lot of likes on something and I guess it’s a thing.

          7. Ah yes it’s so true! I don’t use any social media really. I have LinkedIn but only to keep in touch with ex work colleagues. Fb I have one about one year after the N, as I deleted it so I wouldn’t look at what he was up to. But I’ve probably only made four posts in my life lol. I never go on anymore. I got fed up of Seeing what people were eating for breakfast. HG’s site is far more interesting than Facebook. I’ve never had IG or twitter or snapchat.

            I do feel sorry for the kids on social media. The incidents of self harm have gone up massively and I’m sure that’s as a direct result. For them, there is no getting away from it, if they’re being bullied at school they’re being bullied at home. It’s unimaginable.

          8. WokeAF,
            Since “Empathy” has become a marketing buzzword I have seen MRN women using it quite often (e.g. “He/she is not empathic”, “They do not have any empathy”) to make themselves look empathetic in comparison to other people. Or they say about themselves “I do such and such because I have empathy and compassion.” Their behaviour shows the opposite.

          9. Yes. My MMR acts the part, but my narcoholic would just whip out the word Empath when he wanted positive fuel and did nothing at all for anyone really

          10. My husband lately walks around calling himself a “cognitive empath”, so totally skirts the issue altogether.

      2. This concept really blows me away. I get that mid-rangers truly believe themselves to be decent people, but those MRs who actually believe and proclaim to be empaths!? Really!? I have one of these in my life (familial, non-romantic).

        1. Is it only the empires that believe themselves to be truly good and decent people HG? Or do some lessers also feel that way?
          I’ve noted that the lesser just don’t seem to be terribly self aware at all

        2. Hi Joanne,

          re “I get that mid-rangers truly believe themselves to be decent people, but those MRs who actually believe and proclaim to be empaths!? Really!?”

          Yes, they do. MRNs copy what other people do to fit in, especially if this benefits their fake façade.

          Before social media, not everyone had a personal page or web site and those who had one were mostly MRNs and their possessions: my house, my car, my pets, my children. I remember a narcissist dedicating a whole page to: my bed. Then came FB.

          Since users started posting Inspirational Quotes and other texts on FB, MRNs came across words like empath, empathic, narcissist, sociopath, projection and such they were not familiar with. If an user writes “I am an Empath”, this is useful for the MRN’s façade. They steal character traits.

          There is a MRN woman who is clever hiding behind her façade in a public forum (politics). She claims to be an ‘Empath’ and other things she is not. People accept everything she says without checking the facts.

          There is only one individual who realized who she really is. It took him a while to see through her façade but he finally did it.
          Since he exposed her, ‘The Empath’ has successfully turned almost all people against him. She tells lies about him and also about me and the handful who do not obey her and side with him.
          Although he has always been considerate and respectful of others, an user said he is ‘despicable’. These ‘Empaths’ know how to smear their victims.
          By observing her behaviour online, I am able to see what women do when smearing their victims in order to isolate them from a group.

          I have mentioned HG to him and hope he has found his way to this blog.

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