What Do Narcissists Feel?
It is often said about our kind that we are effectively dead. This refers to an emotional demise. This emotional demise is linked to the perception that we do not feel. This state of emotional deadness is also connected to the concept that our kind feel empty, that there is a vast chasm inside of us, a howling wilderness where there is nothing. If we are emotionally dead, what caused that? Who or what might the slayer be? Is there any prospect of resurrection? Do we feel nothing? Is there this all-pervading sense of nothingness inside of us?
I am not emotionally dead.
Why do I write this? It is because I do feel things. I feel the burning harshness that flows from criticism of me. I feel jealousy when people are listening to somebody else in the group and not me. I feel envy when I see a car that is superior to mine. I feel frustration when I am not causing someone to do as I want. I feel hatred for those who have turned against me and through their perfidious treachery they seek to do me harm. I feel the fury when I respond to the criticism. Those feelings are strong, visceral and real. I also feel power. I feel that familiar surge as the first flames of power spark into life, brought into being by the application of fuel and then they grow. The surging sensation increases and courses through me, invigorating me and edifying me. It drives me forward, causes me to feel like I am bursting as it enables me to shine, to dazzle and to perform. The intensity of this feeling is substantial and not only is it necessary for me to feel like this, it is addictive.
What then of those other emotions, sadness, joy, happiness, fear, concern, compassion and so forth? Where are those emotions? They are absent. I do not feel them. I have seen in those around me certain responses and listened to people describe them so that I know what happiness looks like and I know what it feels like to you, but I do not feel it. It is clear to me that when you feel happy, I feel powerful. When you feel joy, I feel a greater sense of power. Accordingly, it is correct to state that in respect of those emotions I am dead, or is that entirely accurate. For something to die it must first have once lived. Something must have been there to begin with and then have vanished, been obliterated or removed. Was I once happy and then the capacity to be happy was taken away from me? Who removed it? Was it the act of someone else or did I decide to strip happiness from myself and arm myself with power instead? Then again, is it the case that certain elements of my emotional spectrum are not dead at all but instead I have experienced some kind of emotional paralysis. Are those emotions somewhere but they have been halted, capped, muted? I know from my reading and observation that, for example, compassion appears to be learned from others. Was I once learning to be compassionate and then for some reason it stopped and has never been allowed to develop again? Was I once able to experience joy but then that was stunted and halted and kept from me?
Alternatively, it might be that with regard to certain emotions I am neither emotionally dead or emotionally paralysed. In both those instances it must follow that the emotion was once there but has either been removed (death) or halted (paralysis). What if the emotion was never there to begin with? What if I was created without the capacity for joy, for sadness of for compassion? What if I was created in a different way? What if my creation and development meant that it was necessary to forgo such emotions in order to facilitate a certain way of being which allowed me to achieve and accomplish more effectively without being hampered or hindered by such emotions. I have no concern for who I might tread on, on the way up, so I climb that much quicker and that much higher than other people. Might it be the case that in order to have those who excel in so many fields it was necessary for us to be denied certain emotions to ensure we were effective? I readily admit that not everyone who is a leader in their field, an achiever and a winner is necessarily one of us, but we are over-represented. Even if someone might not be regarded as one of our kind, I know that they will possess more of our traits and to a greater degree than they do not. Perhaps this was a necessary trade-off so that the pioneers, conquerors and leaders would advance but at a personal cost in terms of the provision of certain emotions. Perhaps we were never granted those emotions to begin with? Through my increasing awareness with the good doctors I am forming a view.
Do I laugh? Am I amused? Do I have a sense of humour? Yes, I do and I know I have an excellent sense of humour (aside from when you do not do what I want or criticise me). I have been asked what do I feel when I laugh? If I am laughing along with others at something I have said, then I feel power because I am being fuelled. What do I feel if I laugh when I am watching a comedian on stage or on television? I laugh because I know it is expected of me in such a scenario. I laugh because I can work out that what was said was witty or amusing, but I do not feel any power. I do not feel any uplifting sensation in the way that you have described to me. Often I feel a sense of unrest and the clamour of jealousy because people are laughing at someone else’s wit and not mine.
What do I feel when I see one of my country’s athletes securing gold at the Olympics? Am I proud of them? I know to say the correct things to provide recognition for their achievement but again I feel a sense of envy that it is not me on that podium receiving the accolade of the crowd in the stadium. I can see you sat next to me clapping and smiling and I am jealous that you are clapping this person on the television and not me. I can feel the first prick of the wound because your applause for them and not me suggests they are better than me and thus you are criticising me. I feel the need to tell you about my sporting achievements so you give me praise and thus the criticism is abated before it has caused too much damage and before my fury is ignited. I may instead allow the fury to ignite and find some way of lashing out at you so you react and provide me with your attention through being hurt and upset. This is why on so many occasions you will be doing something with us that is pleasant and enjoyable and then in the blink of an eye an argument has come out of nowhere or a brag or boast appears linked to what we are doing. I cannot feel happy for that athlete. I can acknowledge the achievement because he is a winner and I love to win. I will acknowledge the achievement and apply what I have learned in order to show the correct feelings if I am in a situation where it would not be appropriate to unleash some heated fury, for instance if it would crack my façade, but I will be desperate to bring the conversation or attention onto me by remarking how I won gold in the country championships as a teenager or start talking about my latest achievement at work.
What do I feel when I see an advert for a charity on the television? Am I moved by the images and the mournful accompanying soundtrack. Do I feel pity, sympathy and compassion? No, I do not. I feel nothing. If I hear you making sympathetic noises then just as in the example above I want your attention on me, not on the orphan on the screen. I may comment about my charitable work so your praise me. I may pass a scathing remark about how it is a waste of money because very little of the money donated actually reaches the person who needs it, the bulk of the money being swallowed up by administrative and advertising costs in order to make you react. I may go further and blame the subject of the charitable activities as culpable for their own predicament in order to bring a heightened emotional reaction from you at my callous remarks.
I do feel. I feel many emotions and many emotions I do not feel at all. I also do feel a sense of emptiness which I seek to fill through the sensation of power. I need to fill up with this power to remove this sense of emptiness. This emptiness makes me feel uneasy and unsettled. I feel like I am disappearing and that by gathering fuel to make me feel powerful I am asserting my existence again. I am recognised, venerated and lauded.
I know what I feel. I also know what I do not feel. I have an awareness and growing understanding of why I feel as I do. I have an awareness as to why I must act as I do with regard to those feelings. I am ascertaining and working out why I feel in a different fashion to you. I understand my need for power and what it does for me. I understand the effects of this power and the consequences of its generation.
I am not the walking dead. I am walking towards something.
23 thoughts on “What Do Narcissists Feel?”
HG – you write: “When you feel joy, I feel a greater sense of power.” I have sensed the sick pleasure that narcs get when I am enjoying myself, but why is this the case?
Has happiness been associated with stupidity? If so, why would that be? Or is it something else?
It’s so ironic – the narcissist is apparently watching me smile and thinking they’re superior; yet I catch their creepy preying glance and think ‘Ok, they’re messed up. But I’m going to keep on dancing.’ Is the superiority not totally delusional?
I feel the emotions that Mr.H feels as with all my other emotions. But being with 3 long term relationships with my narcissists has left me with emotions that are now gone. It’s traumatic to be in these relationships. I can understand especially if one of my parents were a narcissist, I could of lost the good feelings way back in my childhood. I also developed many coping mechanisms going forward in my life. Truth be written, I am damaged as well now. Can I heal like I often suggest to Me.H. I don’t know and sometimes I don’t care… In that sense the narc never goes away. I’m not even sure if I’m making any sense. I’m just venting my spleen! ✌️
I don’t believe you don’t know what you are missing. I believe that you do not remember. It is not conscious to you. I don’t think you were born without the capability to feel those things, you just killed those feelings off as a coping mechanism but they were once likely there. Like muscles on your body, you blocked and refused to exercis those emotions as a child to cope with the deep your awful mother bestowed upon you. So what happens when you’ve fail to practice or exercise something? It atrophies or dies it doesn’t mean you never had them. You just never did anything to develop it and you let them die. Jusr my opinion
I believe there is a biosocial theory behind this just as there is for BPD. There is a genetic predisposition and then there is an environment which is lacking warmth and empathy.
In the 3rd paragraph you ask “where are these emotions?” They are in the emptiness. The same emptiness in which you feel like you are disappearing. This emptiness perhaps was assumed to have been merely a void. It is not. For within it is the place where ”you” exist. The you before the facade, or false self; which has been in play for perhaps 2 decades or more, was created. In this place contains all your emotions. The place where the seeds to being healthy lay.
However, a powerful integrated maladaptive defense mechanism prevents the you now from returning to that void even if you wanted to, for good reason. The good doctors will help you if, you ever want to traverse there. The question is do you ever want to feel a full range of feelings? Or just show up to therapy to understand the why of things.
Through your increasing awareness with the good doctors, have you formed a view with regard to emotions or are you still working on this? If you have awareness as to why you must act as you do with regard to your feelings, how do you explain why siblings who have been subjected to the same abuse within the family, develop differently? I remember reading somewhere about the purposeful attempts of narcissists to psychologically destroy the lives of others, and this being especially true with regard to the lives of siblings. Why is this the case? I understand the need for power and what it does for you, but is there never any genuine positive regard for family members (who have not been abusive) or are they given the same regard as everyone else, treated as mere appliances and thought of with the same hatred and contempt?
Thank you for taking the time to read this.
1. I have expressed views with regard to emotions in a number of articles.
2. Siblings may develop differently because there is a difference in their genetic make-up or the level of exposure to the lack of control of environment which whilst similar to the narcissist is not the same and thus there is a different outcome. Think of it like there being several ingredients for a cake, change just one, and you get a completely different cake.
3. The comment regard to siblings is incorrect because
a. A destroyed appliance is of no use to us
b. Only Greaters aim for destruction (and not always) and Greaters are very rare
c. The lack of knowledge and obscuring effect of emotional thinking causes a victim to think the narcissist is trying to destroy them, when actually they are not
d. The lack of knowledge and obscuring effect of emotional thinking ALSO causes a victim to think the narcissist is acting in a fully conscious and purposeful way towards the victim, when actually it is instinct.
This is a detailed aspect of the narcissistic dynamic and the above are just bullet points to give an outline to your question. There is much more and if you wish to understand it further, I advocate that you organise a consultation with me.
This is all very interesting, every comment. I see possibly why you use the word “something “. My brain understands with still some confusion but my intellect is not as to explain it. At least not until I know more of your childhood which you keep to yourself some may say buried. Also, I’m not ready as an different emotional thinker or feeler to write it down. Keep on doing what your doing! Possibly the switch as used is compared to a person who is born with a “defect”. Whose to say now that I’ve been on your blog what is “normal “. If this makes any sense. I took a piece of my emotional thinking when I wrote that!
What if the emotions are paralysed in that they have been switched off rather than halted in development and all it would take is for something or someone to flick the switch? Would you do it? Or do you fear those emotions because you have been taught that they make you weak?
1. They have not existed, therefore they cannot be “switched back on”. They cannot be “injected”. Therefore it is not a question of “would I do it” since it cannot be done.
2. I do not fear those emotions. I hold them in contempt as explained elsewhere.
Nice read. It seems about as genuine as can be.
I was going to ask how do you know that you do not feel happiness, or how is “power” different from “happy”, but then you talked about emptyness and I understood, as I do not know how “empty” feels. Also, you made me laugh, you entertained me and I felt touched by your last sentence. I hope you get there.
Tragic to me. Normal for your kind.
Narcs feel only the negative. ☹️
Negative feelings are strong feelings, true.
But positive feelings are so much more! They are immaculate! They are everything! They are the reason to get up everyday and embrace the world!
I can’t even imagine not having joy and compassion and LOVE! I could read about it until the end of my time here and I could still never grasp the concept of living without it all.
To abandon love and happiness…? I’d rather be dead.
This is beyond sad. It is unimaginable to know that people have to live without, what I take for granted, every single day.
Sorry narcs. It’s not fair to any of you!
But on the bright side, (and there is always a bright side!) at least you can’t feel what you’re missing.
MrH where are my comments? No ones comments are here
Yes they are.
Where did my comments go?
I hope you find peace to fill the emptiness you describe and you certainly deserve it, baring your soul to an unquantified audience.
I find what you wrote above to be very emotive and indeed, although you never will, and will also despise me for doing so, you’ve brought a literal tear to my eye because you don’t feel joy in its purest sense .. I think it’s so very sad, and the only saving grace is that you know not what you miss😢
I hope you find peace to fill the emptiness you describe and you certainly deserve it, baring your soul to an unquantified audience.
I find what you wrote above to be very emotive and indeed, although you never will and will despise me for doing so, you’ve brought a literal tear to my eye because you don’t feel joy in its purest sense .. I think it’s so very sad, and the only saving grace is that you know not what you miss 😢
Written like the empath that you are.
I’ve think narcs already have peace, in that they’ve made peace with themselves. But since they are at war with everyone else, and since their emptiness can never be filled, it’s really just a fiction that only they can enjoy
You are walking towards something!
Mr.H , this truth has moved me tremendously. You are so aware and are awakening Me towards much relief. When I was young with my first love, I confused his jealousy with love! I realize now that he was my first encounter with a narcissist. I really don’t know what else to say. You have left me speechless 😶. ❤️.