Sins of the Empath : The Listener


Many people are poor listeners. It takes concentration and effort to listen for a sustained period of time. Many people lack the discipline and rigour that is required to be such a person, their minds wander, they are busy thinking about what they want to say, the point which they wish to make or even wondering what they are going to have for dinner. Staying on point with regard to what somebody is saying takes focus and effort.
Being a good listener is one of the traits which belongs to the empathic group of people. You are blessed with the ability to sit and exhibit considerable patience as you allow somebody to talk to you. At its simplest, you allow a person to tell you all about their plans for decorating their house. Such a topic might be regarded as mundane but not to those from the empathic group. You take an interest in what you are told and this combines with your preparedness to allow others to have their say. Your stance is that if the subject matter is important to that person, then it is important to you as well. You will not trivialise the commentary, regard the conversation as banal or consign the observations from the speaker into the file in your mind marked ‘Trivial’.
It is not the case that you will necessarily sit like some wall flower as this person talks, but you are able to regulate your responses so you do not interrupt them. Instead, you coax people to share, not so you can elicit information to use against them, but rather to aid your own understanding with a view to being able to respond in a more effective and helpful manner.
Your capacity to listen is not confined to allowing somebody to tell you what they think of the latest Tom Cruise film or how their Greek Island hopping holiday panned out. Your listening skill finds its forte when you engage in listening to people talk about their hopes, their concerns, their problems and what is causing them anguish and anxiety. You are skilled in adopting a pose which allows that person to offload about anything and everything to you. You deploy silent visual cues which demonstrate that you are paying attention and that you are processing what you are being told in order, at the appropriate time, to provide valuable feedback, observation and insight.
This segues into the fact that not only are you a brilliant listener but you also know when to speak and when to remain silent. You will not interject unnecessarily, but instead you will be able to gauge when you should speak. You can hold on to information, flag a point and store it, assimilating the steam of facts and opinions that are being spewed in your direction until there is an apt moment for you to respond.
You empathic nature as a whole combines with this ability to listen to create a safe environment wherein the speaker feels able to trust you. He or she almost has a compulsion in your presence to want to confess, spill their guts, confide and explain. You generate an environment whereby the speaker knows they can tell you what is on their mind and that you will not be judgemental. They feel assured in your presence, confidence that not only are they being listened to but they are being heard.
Indeed, the skill of being a good listener, as an empathic person, is the anti-thesis of our kind. We are generally poor listeners, save when we identify the need and only then it is because we have seen that there is a benefit which can be accrued from listening intently. More usually, the Lesser will find that his chaotic thoughts appear in a haphazard fashion and he has to release his comments as if he does not do so he might be poisoned by keeping the toxic words inside. This means that his thoughts are all about what he is saying, about to say and he is not listening to you. The Mid-Ranger appears to be listening, he can at least create the image, but he is not. He is too concerned to ensure that what he has to say will be listened to and responded to. When you are speaking he is not listening to what you have to say, he finds your words are getting in the way and, like all of our kind, all he hears is the fuel element of what is being said. If you are shouting about how annoyed you are with him, he is not hearing the content but rather enjoying the fuel being provided and thinking about what might be said next to keep this flow glowing. As for the Greater, he is contemptible of what you have to say, how can anything you say be of interest to him unless it is about him and it is providing fuel.
You may find with our kind that you realise you are repeating yourself as you see that we appear to be somewhere else. Furthermore, there will be instances where we will deny the you have told us something and our denial is adamant. You know that you told us and at the time we responded confirming what you had told us. Yet, here we are now denying that you told us what time to meet up or where to go to in order to collect a parcel. Of course there will be times where we have heard you and we then deny what you say in order to maintain control and frustrate you (usually the preserve of the Greaters) but on many occasions the Lesser or Mid-Ranger will actually not remember what was said and the denial is based on their genuine belief you have not told us something, because they were not listening and absorbing what was being said, because they had no interest in what you were saying at that time. They may have been considering what they wanted to say, who else they wanted to speak to, what they were going to do next and many other factors, which all result in a complete failure to absorb what you have said. Accordingly, the denial and a strenuous one at that, arises at a later time.
Your ability to be a great listener means that you also expect others to listen return the same courtesy to you. That is not to state that you are demanding and haughty about being listened to, far from it, you are content to allow others to speak for longer and more often than you. You do however expect that when you speak you will be listened to and our repeated failure to do this becomes a repeated source of frustration and upset for you.
The fact of being an excellent listener becomes your sin because we treat you like the sounding board, save we are not interested in hearing anything back from you. The Mid-Range of our kind and especially the Greater revel in the imposition of lengthy monologues where we espouse our views (often stolen from listening to others) for the purposes of ensuring you bask in our brilliant rhetoric. Speeches will be made from our armchairs as if we were delivering the Gettysburg Address. You will listen because that is what you do and we seize on your capacity to listen and then listen some more as a captive and appreciative audience. Your smile, your occasional nods and wide-eyed appreciation (when we deign to look at you) are confirmation of our standing and our effective grandstanding.
You are expected to listen to us dominate the table at a dinner party and nod with enthusiasm, make appreciative noises and be supportive and you will do so because as the excellent listener you feel that it is only right.
You are expected to laugh at the anecdote which we have told a hundred times before and you will dutifully do so. You believe that it is fair and right to allow us our stage and we exploit that willingness on your part to the full. Your sins manifest through allowing us to rant at you. You believe we are entitled to say our piece, no matter how vociferously and you will not interrupt, even though we can see the fear and hurt in your eyes. Your capacity for listening means that you will be regularly exposed to our vitriolic words and compelled to hear them, listen them out and respond, even though all we want is your fuel by way of response. You will become frustrated, even though your try to hide it, at our failure to listen to you, our lack of interest in your opinion and the way we interrupt you and talk over you.
We want you listening, attentive and admiring. We want you listing, hanging on our words even as we berate you. You have a deep sense of obligation to do so, feeling that we may finally make some valid point, tell you something that provides a breakthrough and gives a moment of clarity through this long-winded spiel.It never comes. It is a waterfall of words as we talk about ourselves, talk about our brilliance (greater), woes (mid-ranger) or anger (lesser). This cascading oratory and your obligation to listen begins to take its toll as you worn down by our selfishness, our narrow-mindedness and the savageness of our comments when they are directed at you.
Some suggest that to speak is to sin.
In the world of the empath, listening is worse.

23 thoughts on “Sins of the Empath : The Listener

  1. Whitney says:

    I’ve thought more and it’s deranged that they need control so badly they twitch. I’m scared of them now HG.

    1. HG Tudor says:

      Understandable but by imposing no contact Whitney you will have nothing to fear. Fear is what your ET will latch onto in order to compel you to engage further with the narcissist.

      1. Whitney says:

        Thank you HG, my God.
        My worst problem is confusion so at least fear is a negative feeling.

  2. Kel says:

    There’s so much violence going on even in the local news, granted I’m in a metropolitan area, but at the same time it’s suburban. Are there more narcissists in the world now? Are narcissists just more comfortable about coming out or removing their nice mask, and just letting the fury flow? Or is the world just more narcissistic, to include murder? Have narcissists screwed up enough of us to rub their traits onto others- empaths and normals? I really don’t get it. Society has changed so much in my lifetime. We used to have manners, people apologized if they said a four letter word, people dressed to go anywhere. I mean it’s not all bad, there are certainly nice polite people, it’s just that shootings and cussing and not saying thank you and dressing sloppy are normal now. It spreads frowns not smiles. It makes it easy for narcissists to just be themselves, or for others to become narcissistic.

    1. fox says:

      It certainly feels that way sometimes, Kel. I think the rise of the internet helped to spur this change. People can be anonymous, find like-minded folk no matter your viewpoint, and spread misinformation. Social media changed the way we interact and now everyone has a public platform to spew whatever they deem fit, and there will always be someone to agree, like, share. That kind of encouragement can embolden some who may have felt safer in the shadows before. It is both a blessing and a curse.

      1. HG Tudor says:

        Indeed it is.

  3. Renarde says:

    “You deploy silent visual cues which demonstrate that you are paying attention and that you are processing what you are being told in order, at the appropriate time, to provide valuable feedback, observation and insight.”

    Can you provide evidence as to how we do this? What do we look like to you when we are listening? I’d appreciate that.

    As to your other points.

    Lesser – Yup. Projection at it’s finest. I used to listen to one Jackanape. He would throw back at me that I wasn’t really listening, I was just thinking of the retort I would give. Etcs

    Honey. I don’t NEED to think of a retort like I’m trying to solve Laplacian equation with respect to Special Relativity. The words naturally present themselves. I have never needed to bother those neurons. You do though, don’t you?

    Middle – Ahh you can always tell these fuckers. They present as nervous, anxious, on edge. And indeed they should be. Their entire life is based on a lie. A lie which someday, and it happens, they will be caught out on. Then curtains for you laddy. At some point, someone with a far greater cognitive awareness than you will drag you into their net and cast you out. How terrible to live with that threat hanging over you? No wonder they have eczema and psoriasis and various assorted nervous ticks.

    Greaters – Oh my gerrddd. They will sit with you and mourn your grief. In a M-F dynamic, you will believe they understand you so completely. This is of course absolutely correct. They do. Then they will use this against you. At a point of their choosing. When you have ‘failed’.

    Fascinating article as always, HG.

    1. Whitney says:

      Renarde I’m fascinated by what you said:

      “Middle – Ahh you can always tell these fuckers. They present as nervous, anxious, on edge. And indeed they should be. Their entire life is based on a lie…No wonder they have eczema and psoriasis and various assorted nervous ticks.”

      Yes, I’ve dealt with 3 (LMR, MMR, UMR). All had jitters or nervous ticks. The LMR scratched scabs on himself!

      The MMR had eyes that darted everywhere (anxiety). I told my friend he is CRAZY and she said: “You can tell that from across the room”.

      The UMR had facial ticks!

      I am FASCINATED by the commonalities. What experience have you had Renarde?
      This is mind blowing. A world that was oblivious to me. I would have never known, if not for HG 🙌

      So, they are anxious, because they are fake?

      1. HG Tudor says:

        No, they are anxious because of their need for control and fuel and with some it is more pronounced.

        1. Whitney says:

          Thank you, HG, the Behavioural Genius 🙌

          The MMR (who I’ve been striking from my brain) was anxious because two things interfered with his control: his lack of ability and his facade.

          I am fascinated that they jitter and twitch because of their need for control and fuel!
          It’s hard to naturally understand.

          1. HG Tudor says:

            You are welcome.

      2. Kim e says:

        Hello all,
        Going to highjack this link and see if someone can direct me to information on upper midrange please and thank you

      3. Renarde says:

        Hey Whitney. Just seen HGs comment and I agree. They become anxious for their need for fuel. Looking back on what I’ve written, it makes it sounds as if the middles are aware. That was clumsy of me they aren’t aware how awful their behaviour is however I firmly believe it does manifest in the body itself.

        I’m just tangentially reminded of a female lower middle somatic who I had the great misfortune to know. She used to gouge her hands. It is singularly bizarre then this came JUST before a point where she was exposed. Shed been spreading lies about je to another friend (and vice versa). It all came spectacularly out when I accidentally broke my wrist whilst visiting her. Bad break too. My first and only break. When it did all come out, she escaped her town altogether. Fucked back up north. Precisely as HG describes

        There is another aspect. All humans have ‘tells’ ive seen it in all cases and schools. No one is immune.

        1. Whitney says:

          Renarde can you please tell me more about the “tells”. That sounds fascinating.

          I’m trying to cement in my brain the MMR is a Narcissist not an Empath. I suffer from confusion (Cognitive Dissonance).
          I liked pairing his anxiety with Narcissism as evidence (to help my Cognitive Dissonance).

          1. Renarde says:


            Tells vary from person to person. Usually there will be more than one. (BTW, have no idea what mine are!).


            Exhibit it more in the actual body. So…

            Sitting with one leg over another. They will swing the free leg.

            Sudden movements in a conversation, such as ‘cricking’ body parts. You know, to make the joints pop? So rude.

            My no 1 though, and when you get this, its serious. Their jaw will clench repeatedly. You see this on the side of the face. Dangerous.


            Tend to do it with their eyes. They will flicker away from the person they are talking to. Diane Abbot is a fucking master at this.

            A ‘lovely’ narc friend of mine would be talking to me and cleaning the kitchen.

            Or, they will get up and start general tidying. Like yer nanna. Fussing.

            Tells are woven into the fibre of our being, Es and Ns alike. Another HUGE tell is someone who keeps eye contact up for a preternaturally long time. Blinking is another.

            Narcs rarely blink. When you’ve got a Steely-eyed missile man in front of you, rapt in your conversation, well you have one. Avoid.

            Or rapid blinking. Gail from Corrie could not control her blinking. Such a tick.

            I’m sure now I’ve prompted you, you can think of more.

            Hope this helps.

          2. Whitney says:

            Thank you Renarde!
            For me the most common is jittering the leg!

            The facial agitation! I will watch for it.

            Empath tells are things like smiling, emotive face in general, eye contact and nodding, listening for a long time. General concern and care. Giving attention to others.

          3. HG Tudor says:

            These are not to be used as determinative at all.

          4. Whitney says:

            Oh yes. I think everyone’s an Empath. Especially Midrange Narcs.

          5. Desirée says:

            …twitching? Jittering in the leg? Can we get storys about narcs with tourette as well?

      4. PrincessSuperEmpath says:

        Whitney. The Narc I was infatuated with was so smooth that his feet barely touched the ground when he walked (he tried to be a professional dancer once, I heard, but I never asked him about it). and he was around six feet 2 inches tall without shoes, and yet he could still disappear in a crowd when he wanted. Many times at work we asked where was he or when did he arrive, because you would not see him coming or going, if he did not wish you to o so. I wrote about him this way many times on this site. He was not a Narcissist that could not not control his body language/facial expressions. He was around 60 percent cerebral and 40 percent somatic. HG said he sounded like an elite. Yet, he could stop a truck with one glare when he wanted. So, be careful of the mellowed and honeyed ones, Whitney. The only `tell` you will have from that type is the tale that you will have to `tell` on how you were ensnared.

        1. Whitney says:

          Dearest PSE, sounds like an attractive man. Once you found out he was a Narc did you notice he was unsettled under the surface?

          I’m a bad judge of character and grateful for HG- the behavioral genius and logical thinker. I’m collecting narcissists from the Narc detectors (LMR, UMR, and MMR). What would I do without HG? I’d be so confused

          1. Whitney: He is very attractive, but in the way of a Narcississt, in that you would not notice all that right away. No, he did not seem unsettled underneath. However, the first indication that I had that something was wrong was when he started trying to make me jealous. At first I did not know what he was doing. And I would shrug it off, but then he would be more deliberate until I finally had to ask myself, what is he up to? After a year of being around him as a NIPSS in the workplace, I finally had to admit to myself that he tried to make me jealous for some mysterious reason. But, I was not his girlfriend nor any type of intimate partner, so I did not know what his goal was. I found it puzzling. I admired him a lot already. And such behaviour made me like him less, not more. Because it was unnecessary. But, I did not know about NPD and triangulation. And the cycle of behaviors, Whitney, until I came to Narcsite around the 3 year point, and then all his behaviour that at times puzzled me, along with the behaviours of his 4 malign lieutenants, and along with my own feeling of emotional illness, fell into place and I decided to Get out and Stay out. It has been about six months that I removed myself from that environment. Triangulation: And so I use to often think of the lyrics of a song by Carly Simon, Whitney, whenever he tried to make me jealous: [ `Why’d you tell me this?
            Were you looking for my reaction?
            What do you need to know?
            Don’t you know I’ll always be your girl
            You don’t have to prove to me you’re beautiful to strangers
            I’ve got lovin’ eyes of my own.` ] ~~Carly Simon

          2. Whitney says:

            That’s a nice song PSE and makes me think of how I wanted to reassure the LMR. I wished he would trust me. I wished he knew it was safe to love me. That I could love him forever, like a bird!
            I started painting to express my love. I showed HG my paintings.
            I don’t love him anymore, it took 3 years.

            The triangulation was all about your reaction. Good and impressive you removed yourself from the environment PSE.

            In a group, the MMR and UMR loved to speak to women in my line of sight. They did it rampantly.
            They wanted me to see they were popular and sometimes wanted to punish me for talking to a man. This behaviour showed they had interest in me. They were confusing and inconsistent.

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

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