The Three Strands of Empathy


The concept of empathy can be divided into three types. There are three identifiable strands.

First of all there is the idea of cognitive empathy whereby one can understand the point of view of another person, recognise and understand what the emotions of another person mean and what the accepted response should be. I am able to understand another person’s point of view but I will rarely accede to it, unless I see some ulterior gain to be obtained from expressing that I understand their point of view. Even where I explain I understand, I am still unlikely to accept it.

Of course, empathic individuals are experts at understanding another person’s point of view but they will go further than this. They will exhibit patience to allow that point of view to be articulated, they will ask questions to draw out this view and they will apply it to their own situation and experiences. Empathic individuals want to understand the other person’s point of view. They not only give it a platform to begin with, but they also allow it to be aired, expanded and applied. It is little wonder therefore that this cognitive empathy bleeds into the empathic traits of patience, needing to understand and needing to know the truth. Furthermore, having such cognitive empathy means that the empathic individual is far more susceptible to the word salad, circular conversations, lies and half-answers that our kind provide. The empathic individual endures these manipulations as he or she tries to wade through the quagmire in order to flex their cognitive empathy so that they understand the narcissist’s point of view. Of course, since our point of view operates from a completely distorted and different perspective, you have little hope of achieving it.

Greater Narcissists have substantial cognitive empathy. We understand the other person’s point of view and emotions. We also know how to respond so we can mimic the external indicators of those emotions which we do not possess (such as joy, happiness, sadness or concern) and thus we fit in with those around us with considerable ease. There is the slightest discernible delay as we rapidly recall what the appropriate response is and then ensure we arrange our features, language, tone and body language to match the emotion we wish to convey. We do not feel it.

Mid Range Narcissists has good cognitive empathy and therefore follow a similar path to that of the Greater Narcissist, however there may be more of a delay before the mimicked emotion is displayed. Sometimes the MRN will get it wrong and provide a response which is somewhat out of sync to what is required, or may come across as stiff and robotic, since they do not have the practised ease of the Greater in mimicking the acceptable response.

As for the Lesser Narcissist, they either have no cognitive empathy at all (Lower Lesser and Middle Lesser) or very limited cognitive empathy (Upper Lesser) accordingly you will be faced with someone staring at you as they are unable to comprehend what they should be doing. This coupled with their lack of awareness means they often have no idea that there is something wrong and similarly have no idea of what the appropriate response ought to be.

Secondly, there is also empathy concern or emotional empathy whereby one is able to instinctively feel the emotional state of another person, feel a need to address that emotional state and therefore show the appropriate concern for the individual usually through actions, as opposed to solely through words.

In all three schools of narcissism, our capacity with regard to emotional empathy is absent. We feel nothing for anybody else. Our cognitive empathy (where applicable) 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. There is no emotional response from us to your situation. We do not share your joy, we do not feel the need to comfort you because of your pain, we do not feel concern in our chests for your misfortune. We merely observe and intellectualise the response (where appropriate).

We feel nothing.

Unsurprisingly, the empathic individual has all three elements of this particular strand of empathy intact and in intense quantities. The empathic individual is able to recognise the emotional state of another with considerable ease, even if they are trying to mask it. They absolutely feel and recognise the need to do something when they see somebody else’s emotional reaction. This compulsion is almost irresistible for the empathic individual and they are also fully-acquainted with what they should do by way of response. They will share in the joy, congratulate when someone is happy through good news, console when someone is miserable and hold them when they are heart-broken. The empathic individual is no different with our kind and see our emotional response – albeit from a limited selection – feels the need to address it and also knows how to address it. Thus when we discharge our fury, our hatred, our envy and our antipathy, the empathic individual owing to this concern empathy is always galvanised into action, will rarely shirk the challenge and addresses the issue even at considerable cost to themselves.

Finally there comes the idea of the emotional contagion. This is a deep-seated and one may even regard it as a spiritual element of the empathic individual. This is not just about understanding a point of view or recognising an emotional need and response, this is about feeling the emotion just as somebody else does. Thus if a friend is upset over the death of a parent, the empathic individual is contaminated by this grief and experiences the same emotions as if they were grieving themselves. This not only means that they fountain with fuel which of course our kind will exploit but that they are powered into recognising the need and doing something about even more than would be afforded by the cognitive empathy and concern empathy. The emotional contagion exists in all empathic individuals but is more intense in certain people. Indeed, its intensity may even go beyond being proximate to the person experiencing the emotion. An element of the emotional contagion will watch a television programme and where the main character is frightened, they will feel that fear also. They will read a moving newspaper article about the plight of an orphan and they will feel that despair as well. It is an immensely powerful part of empathy and causes the empathic individual to have to respond to it. Those with a majority element of the emotional contagion (the Contagion Empath) experiences the positive and negative feelings or energy of others, even when distant and this feels uplifting possibly overpowering, or draining and indeed burdensome. Those with the majority element of the emotional contagion feel a deep-seated connection, they experience the ‘presence of others’ and find it necessary at times to remain away from people in order to divest themselves of the deleterious effects of being able to ‘feel’ so much.

We have no such emotional contagion. It is completely absent and therefore we have nothing which might cause us to feel something so we act upon it. There is nothing there. The plight of the orphan is not felt by us and we are utterly unmoved. The fear of the heroine on television is regarded with annoyance since our primary source seems more concerned about that person than us. The only time that we regard this emotional contagion as any use is when it serves our purposes when the empathic individual fountains with fuel because of it and directs their empathic traits towards us. We do not have this contagion and we do not feel anything in the way that you would do.

64 thoughts on “The Three Strands of Empathy

  1. Joa says:

    Pfff, I was at my sister’s on Saturday. Her two sons and husband were watching a football match. At one point, Cristiano Ronaldo was shown wiping tears.
    My God, for 20 minutes I had to listen to my sister’s inner thoughts about how much she sympathizes with him, how she understands him, how his career is ending, how sport is the essence of his life, how he lives it, how unhappy he is at the moment, and finally she came to the conclusion that sport is cruel.

    At that time her husband deserted, said goodbye to me and left for his “cave”.

    My words that such is life were of no avail; that everyone goes through these moments; that she would feel sorry for the orphans, the mistreated and killed; that he’s a grown man and he can handle it; that she would be an excellent coach and would pass on her fighting spirit to cool young guys like her sons; that she’s complaining and Ronaldo will be partying hard in Ibiza in a few hours, blah blah blah.

    Not. No and no! He cried! And she couldn’t get over it. A bubble of sympathy tore her heart apart.


    You could say she’s crazy (we’re both a little weird 🙂 ). But it isn’t. My sister is pure as crystal. My sister is like a child.

    Wherever she goes, birds and people surround her.

    I understand it very well. She’s like me, but less predatory than I am.
    Even so, you wouldn’t want to see her in a moment of anger. Storm, tornado and electric discharges are safer 🙂


    Ever since I was a child, my family used to laugh at me that when I watch a film, a feature film or a documentary that absorbs me, read or write, I disappear to the world. I’m not here. I’m completely somewhere else.
    “Joa, Joa, can you hear me? Joaaaa!!!”. You must stand in front of me or shake me, I to be born again to the world. Transitions from world to world sometimes cause unpleasant feelings, anxiety.

    It was the same, when I went from the world of N1 and back to mine, millions of times, millions of dissonances.

    Even more painful as I jumped from the N2 world to mine, back and forth. They were too different. And when we tried to put them together, the grinding cut our ears and broke our bones.


    One night, many years ago, I started looking at the faces of people killed in concentration camps by the Nazis. There is a page of memory… Left profile, en face, right profile. Thousands of photos. Men, women, children. They were still alive. Brutally uprooted from their lives, degraded, treated like butchers’ meat, or as play cats for a sadist, but some still had hope… Each face different, with a different shade of pain, educated, primitive, rich, poor, good, bad and everything in between. Every grimace and every eye told me something different. Pain. Suffering. Astonishment. Hopeless. Helplessness. Surrender. Fight. Caring for others. Longing. Mom… Indifference. Bestiality. Objectification. Cold. Dirt. Hunger. Resignation. A sliver of hope. Hope. Hope!

    For several days I was mentally recovering so that I could stand firmly on my feet again, be able to work properly and take good care of my child. I died there a thousand times. And I have resurrected so many times.

    They were JUST pictures…
    I remember you Dears. I remember! I remember! I will not forget.


    Sometimes I have to go into the dark. Lots of different darkness. I want to feel, I want to touch, I want to know and I want to remember.


    I miss the world of HG a bit.
    While there are so many other things…
    Somebody spin the ladle.


    N2. I’m not black anymore. The transitional status of white on the shelf. Gentle gusts of warmth warm me. Wonderful. Calm, cheerful voice. Wonderful. I know, I could bump it up, I am encouraged to do so, but I can’t right now. It’s not the time yet. Yes, someday I will go there. Perhaps I will stay. Maybe not.
    All without words.

    1. Contagious says:

      Joa: I look for your posts. The beautiful poet. And when you looked at the pictures so did I and tears came to my eyes. I was just in Amsterdam. Saw the home of Anne Frank, I had no idea it was in such a central posh place and to hear those bells, knowing she did. She had hope despite the horrors in a place that would “ seem immune.” . I want to believe all universal suffering has hope. Do narcs? Do psychopaths? I wonder what your response would be. I don’t know. Thank you for your posts! Wishing you the best in 2023!

      1. Joa says:

        Contagious, thank you, I felt like when I was a little girl, when my grandfather saw me and saying: “Joa, our little philosopher.” 😊
        In fact, I’m just throw words outside. Sometimes I feel like I’m spitting them all over the place. I can not help it. I have to. It’s like removing the constantly growing foam on agitated beer 😊

        Oh… Anne Frank… She would be a wonderful, smart woman, if she were allowed to grow up…

        Hope – it is not important to me whether in a given situation it has a common sense justification or is just an irrational fantasy, a dream (if so, mind – like light penetrating the darkness – will find a way to be realized).

        Hope brings life and great strength. It’s like a tiny, quivering wave, that circulates, waiting to become a mighty tsunami.

        Hope is like a pale sketch of the future. Over time, you thicken individual lines, correct, mix, draw more and more confidently, change the tool to a more durable one, apply colors, act with panache.

        No hope = you’re the walking dead, a mechanical robot.


        I believe, that a human is able to arrive at such precision, that Empaths and Narcissists can function side by side, mix and coexist – as long as they maintain a relative balance of mutual benefits. If you’re going down or the friction is causing too many sparks, you’re walking away or retreating for a while. It is also mutually beneficial.

        Psychopaths who, without affect, physically kill people’s lives = ruthless elimination from society. Keeping balance. Also death. It makes no sense to keep such individuals alive or let them reproduce.
        Whether it’s your husband or your child…


        Thank you and I wish you and everyone here a successful 2023. Let it be filled with hope 😊

        1. Asp Emp says:

          Joa, we would not have known Anne Frank had she not written her diary. All the best for a successful year in 2023 to you too 🙂

  2. Heidi says:

    HG you say ” The only time that we regard this emotional contagion as any use is when it serves our purposes when the empathic individual fountains with fuel because of it and directs their empathic traits towards us.”

    I don’t understand how a contagion can feel what you feel if you don’t feel, so here it sounds more like cognitive empathy, doesn’t it? A contagion – if per definition- should be able to detect you are a narcissist , at least after some interaction.
    Or do you mean the fuel is available for you to be absorbed when the contagion is charged up by someone else?

    1. HG Tudor says:

      You have misunderstood. The contagion empath responds with a fuelled reaction because of what they feel either from us (we do feel, we do have emotions, we are not emotionless, but our range is much smaller) or from somebody affected by our behaviour, e.g. the reaction of a child.

      1. Contagious says:

        Agreed. And the feeling you get from all narcs or psychopaths is different and I can easily “ read” normals or Empaths. Empaths are lovely like a warm hug. But…. I spoke of opposing counsel, a psychopath Russian repressing a criminal public contractor facing FBI charges, and he disturbed me to no ends. He looked at me and I felt naked. Coldest state ever. I wanted to take a shower after each hearing. He was a bully. I stood up to him and he didn’t like it. Sent people to my home to show me. I felt cold. Fury. And oddly he sexually wanted me. I think that’s why the feeling of a shower. Predator. My feeling was run. Stay far away. But you can feel them too.

    2. Leigh says:

      HI Heidi,
      If I may add my two cents about the Contagion empath. I only have a small percent of Contagion, but I’ll explain how it feels to me. I can’t read there mind. Oh boy, I wish I could. I feel the emotion they are feeling, but not always because I only have a small percentage. I really can only feel it when someone’s emotion is heightened. When an unaware narcissist sets his sites on us, he believes that he’s attracted to us. He feels infatuation and lust. He may even at some point think he’s in love. A Contagion empath would feel those emotions. They can’t feel that the narcissism is under the surface guiding the narcissist on what emotions to use to ensnare the victim. I can only feel the emotion they are feeling, not the reason they are feeling it.

      1. Heidi says:

        Hello Leigh,
        thank you for your two cents. I am majority contagion but my perception of feelings of others is more through a rational filter than in feeling what they feel. I think my experience (I am 44) brought me fast intuitive first guessing as an essence of what I’ve learned. But when I got time to consider my reactions, I put my perception under rational filters. I cannot read minds, I cannot look inside others, but I can guess based upon experience.
        Narcissism can be detected by being self-aware I suppose. With self-consciousness you can see when someone is playing games. The question is how long to endure that before losing nerves or sanity. Most stress for me is when someone doesn’t know his/her own motive and wants to sell me one that I can clearly see as not accurate.
        I cannot feel other’s feelings, it’s more about earned experience n distance to own emotions that enables me to switch perspectives.
        Maybe I am different from other contagion, as I am in addition schizophrenic.

        1. Leigh says:

          Hi Heidi, thank you for explaining how the Contagion element works in you. Your ability to perceive someone’s feeling in a rational way is fascinating to me. I think its probably a combination of experience and the Contagion element. I only have 8% Contagion and before I found Mr. Tudor, only sometimes, could I rationalize that their behaviors didn’t match the feelings they were projecting. Most of the time, because I’m an empath and addicted to narcissists, I would often con myself into giving them an excuse for their erratic behavior. Now that I’ve found Mr. Tudor and have awareness, I can see the manipulative behavior much more clearly and I won’t give the narcissist an excuse any longer.

          Thank you for sharing. I appreciate it.

    3. Leigh says:

      HI Heidi,
      After thinking about it a little bit more, I think there may be a chance we can sense it but we may not know why or what we’re sensing. If you don’t mind, I’d like to share what I mean. A few years ago, I was involved with a former coworker. I didn’t know at the time I was dealing with a narcissist. I also didn’t have the knowledge that I now have about narcissism, thanks to Mr. Tudor and this blog. The very first time I met this coworker, I felt a twinge in my gut. It shook me. It felt like I needed to stand up and take notice of this man. I became intrigued with him. Now knowing what I know about narcissism and the addition to them, I know that was my contagion element warning me. I often talk about my spidey sense or my guardian angel who sits on my shoulder and has guided me through my life. That’s what that twinge was, my guardian angel or spidey sense trying to warn me. I didn’t heed that warning. But all’s well that end’s well because I found Mr. Tudor and narcsite because of that experience. So to add my two cents again, the more I thought about what you and Contagion wrote, the more I realized its quite possible that we can sense narcissists. We just have to learn to listen to those signals and how to decipher them.

      1. Heidi says:

        Hello @Leigh,
        thank you for your thoughts, exchange is precious for me and HG’s blog is a good place for collecting or spending cents 😉
        I am also very grateful for having HG’s work available and appreciate talking about it.
        I wouldn’t say behaviour is encrypted, although of course motives are. In my eyes: if you know what you want, are aware of your own motives, are honest to yourself, it’s easier to decipher.

        1. Leigh says:

          Hi Heidi, the reason I think Mr. Tudor’s blog is so import is because I wasn’t always aware of my own motives. Before finding Mr. Tudor I hadn’t realized that it was my addiction to narcissists that was driving me. So because I allowed my addiction to drive me, I wasn’t honest with myself and so I couldn’t decipher the narcissist’s behavior. I would always just take the path of least resistance. This way I could feed my addiction and try to calm the chaos around me as well.

          I would agree that behavior is not encrypted. We can change our behaviors. Even the narcissist can. I would agree that the narcissist’s motives are encrypted. There motive is always the Prime Aims. However, I do think a normal or an empath can change their motives once they’re been given clarity.

          Yes, Mr. Tudor’s blog is a great place for collecting and spending cents.

          1. Heidi says:

            Hello Leigh,
            I personally don’t see why I should not allow my addiction to get what it wants if it is a conscious decision. Evil arises from unconsciousness on both sides. If kind of a contract is made, i.e. if I know what I want and can see what I get, where is the problem?
            Getting to analyze your own motives is best choice to make.
            The problem with the addiction is, that it increases emotional thinking (HG’s thesis) and emotional thinking leads to self-deception concerning motives (my thesis).

          2. Leigh says:

            Hi Heidi, the problem with feeding the addiction is the aftermath. I suppose if one is OK with sustained abuse, then that’s on them. The other problem is that we often don’t know we are being sold something different then what we intended to purchase.

            I’ve been ensnared since birth. Both my parents are narcissists. I’m in my 50s now and no longer want to feed my addiction. It’s not all its cracked up to be.

      2. Contagious says:

        We know. BUT we often want to take that pain or darkness and fix it. We like balance. Bringing light to darkness. Making life stable positive or better. And the problem is per HG some things can’t be fixed. And it’s perplexing as our response is almost self protecting, this need to take that feeling and heal it. So we know but our nature is adverse to run. At least with HG ‘s education we are more aware and more aware that love, nurture, and kindness won’t work on someone who can’t be fixed. Is there a middle ground? I think to distance with kindness if possible. Cause no harm. Don’t engage. Don’t get ensnared but for yourself take the high road. Look from the top of the hill. The high road has a better view.

    4. Joa says:


      when I met N2, I sensed its darkness very quickly. Much darker, than anyone I’ve ever known.

      When we agreed on our first date, I drove up in the car and he was waiting. My first reaction was: “Keep going, don’t stop here.” I stopped. We looked at each other through the glass. “Run. Go home.” I got out of the car.

      The first time we slept together, his translucent aggression, his lack of real contact with me, his reaching for me as a thing – turned me on and put me off at the same time.

      When he fell asleep, I wrote him a very short letter, summarizing my impressions after sex and said goodbye to him. I thought, I still had one last chance to escape… I quietly left his house.

      He chased me like a helpless little child, who woke up in a freezing house and couldn’t find his mother. He didn’t let go me. He didn’t let go me at all. One of the few moments in our relationship, where he almost begged and whimpered (there were only three such moments). I felt a strange satisfaction, that he needed me so much and warmth spread inside me… It’s over, I’m lost…

      I was fascinated by this duality. Damn curious. Enchanted with the task that lay ahead of me (at that time I was very confident in myself and my “healing” powers). Maximum stimulated desire to take care of this man, to show him the fire of love.

      I fell in love with his dark abyss, which was abundantly watered with sauce of childish sensitivity and naivety. He is like death. But he is also like life. All in one person.

      I entered this abyss, knowing it, with great self-confidence and an unshakeable conviction, that I would be able to illuminate this darkness.


      This abyss turned out to be much deeper and darker than I had once thought. Bottomless abyss.

      I think my contagious traits made me go much lower than most people in his life. As if he enjoyed torturing me, as he opened another door leading lower and lower. Everything was covered with fog and heavy vapors, that made it impossible for me to breathe.

      Two years ago I came very deep, it was very cold, it was very empty, it was very sad, it was very disgusting. Like in a dark cabinet of crooked mirrors. A huge bubble of grief, despair, helplessness, his loneliness (among people), his indifference and surrender long ago, tore my lungs apart for two months. Death.

      I had to leave this place, I had gone too far. I realized I couldn’t help him 🙁 It’s too late. I had to turn around and go back.


      I can’t give up. It’s not in my nature. I got used to its darkness. A new concept of “cooperation” appears in my head… The plot of the third volume of our reationship is tempting, although I know, that the ending will be either boring and mundane or criminal.


      I wrote here about my feelings, not about the specific facts of his life and his guilts.

      I fell in love with his darkness. Because it resembles my darkness. I thought, I would lighten it up the same way.

      Of course, in addition to this deep level, there was also a cascade of colorful and beautiful feelings. No one has ever made me laugh so well and comforted me so quickly 🙂 And life went on with an ordinary/extraordinary rhythm.

      1. A Victor says:

        Hi Joa, this line that you wrote caught me “…his lack of real contact with me…”. I didn’t recognize this for what it was. Was it me? Was it him? Was it the two of us together? I think in some sense it was that last one, I wasn’t ready for true intimacy either, scared to death of it. And also, as always, accepting what was given without demanding more. Requesting more but being rejected, being in training then, and so accepting the rejection also. And learning not to ask. I am only consoled in this by the thought that I have the capacity to experience true intimacy, he does not. So now, if it happens, I am ready.

        1. lickemtomorrow says:

          AV, just wanted to say, this is an extraordinarly insightful, and to me beautiful, comment on the reality of what it is to be ‘us’ – empaths and ACONS’s – and the way we experience life with the narcissist. The way we were taught, and the way we accepted.

          We do have the capacity for true intimacy, whether is be in friendship or relationship. Good to know once we discover the truth of things.

      2. Truthseeker6157 says:

        Hello Joa x

        It’s incredibly hard to give up on someone. Incredibly hard, I agree it isn’t in our nature. We are driven by a need to heal and fix and the Truthseeker in us ensures that we keep trying to find a way, find an answer, that will make the difference and save them from the emptiness they are trapped in. You see your narcs very like children, lost, abandoned with no one to care for them. It’s inhumane to walk away. You wouldn’t be you if you just left them. You take the parent role, they take the role of the petulant child.

        I think the problem for us as empaths is that we can’t escape our own perspective. We view the narcissist as someone who needs to be saved. We see how they were created and we feel compassion for them. It isn’t their fault that they are the way they are. We can do something, we can change things, make them happy, we can save them.

        We want to save, they are more than happy to let us try. This isn’t romantic. It’s emotional blackmail. The narcissist mirrors our perspective back at us.“I can’t help the way I am, I’m better with you, I’m lost without you, come closer ….. then I can drag you down with me.”

        We can’t win. Their narcissism is stronger than we are. Their emptiness and darkness was there before us and it will remain there after us. Essentially, we are irrelevant. Try to save, don’t try to save, the end result will always be the same. If this is the case, then we can’t possibly be responsible for them. They are responsible for them.

        The narcissist’s narcissism does a great job of protecting him. Whatever you do or don’t do, the narcissist will always subconsciously choose his narcissism, no matter how much he claims to need you.

        The narcissist needs his narcissism more than he needs the empath, he doesn’t want to be saved.


        1. Joa says:

          AV, the close-ups were mixed. Sometimes he was away from me, mechanical sex, ripping bra and panties, cheap porn games. Caricature of true sex. Good fun from time to time, for a change.
          Other times, he was like a shy, helpless boy, who gives himself up completely to what will happen and what I will do with him. As if trustingly he put himself in my hands. Then, I felt a great closeness between us. If he pretended, he did it masterfully…

          As for taking what they give – thanks to staying here, on the HG blog, I’ve learned… to say NO more effectively. I recently resigned from a prestigious promotion, because I know in what modes and on what strings this move would keep me. They tried to encourage me with money (poor compared to men in these positions), shame me with my lack of ambition, and scared me that I would lose all my strength. Bullshit. I still have my strength – it’s even more visible 🙂


          TS, yes, I mother all the men around me. I can’t change it. I’ve tried many times. In any type of relationship. I mother my men, their colleagues and acquaintances, my friends, my co-workers. Sometimes I get tired of it. Myself 🙂

          N2 was able to make me become a child, if only for a moment. This brought me great relief. I gave in to it with delight and handed over the reins with great pleasure – although it never lasted long.

          Interchangeable roles.

          I don’t want to save anyone. I don’t want to fix anyone anymore (I used to have such attempts). I just want people around me to fulfill their desires (even if I am 100% sure, that these desires will not make them happy, they have to see for themselves) and at least be satisfied with their lives.

          And of course I like to help 🙂 I need very little myself. Just smile to me 🙂

          Except N2 – I want more from him. And even, the other way round. His smile to me, can lose me.


          You can “hit” me, insult me, cheat me, hate me and abuse me… but please, don’t ever smile at me again.

          1. Truthseeker6157 says:


            “I just want everyone around me to fulfil their desires.” I’m similar but would say, “I just want people I care about to fulfil their potential.” I want them to be the best they can be. There’s a mothering element to that I think.

            I did try to save the online narc until I knew what he was. Then I was able to let go. I find my Saviour element tiring at times. Whilst it is my ‘go to’ cadre, I am learning to be more selective in where I place my time and energy. I also like to win. I’m competitive, so fighting a losing battle no longer really holds my attention. I prefer to help those who are willing to help themselves. Then, when you see change, you see that light return into someone’s eyes, you know you really have made a difference.

            A smile can mean so much. From them it’s just another manipulation. Xx

          2. A Victor says:

            Hi Joa, just saw this comment, so sorry. Yes, you do still have your strength. And I would guess it is growing from being here.

        2. lickemtomorrow says:

          TS, your words here reminded me of the drowning man who drags you down with him. Obviously, the drowning man is seeking to be saved, but in his panic cannot help but take you down in his desperate desire to be saved. It’s a good impression of what occurs because without argument the narcissist will drag you down into the depths. Joa, your description of how deep those depths can be is tangible. Thank you for sharing how you became ensnared and how it impacted you.

          I tend more to think of narcissists as sirens of a sort. Not clinging to us in order to survive, but calling to us in a manner we find hard to resist so that we crash on the rock of their narcissism, unlikely to survive the endeavour to reach them. Sailors became shipwrecked in tales of long ago as they were drawn to the siren’s song, only to find the siren’s call was a false one leading them to their doom.

          Images of water, desperation, drowning, depths, darkness and disaster all coincide to remind us about the dangers of becoming entangled with a narcissist. Don’t answer their call, no matter their level of desperation nor your desire to save them.

          1. Truthseeker6157 says:

            Hi LET,

            They really do drag you down and by quite a way. I think many of us view ourselves as strong, capable, able to deal with what life throws at us. They grab a hold and we gladly head towards the surface. They kick their legs for a while but then they stop and we don’t realise how long we have been swimming and why we don’t seem to be getting anywhere. The arseholes were taking a free ride, sapping our energy, not caring that we are still trapped and barely moving. Pull your weight or eff off haha!

            I realised that Love of My Life Guy was a narc too. The clue was in the name really wasn’t it ? Funny how you don’t see it at first. That makes two IPPS positions and one secondary source position plus an ACON position. Bloody narcs, can’t shift for them. Arseholes.


          2. TS, replying to your further comment … please don’t tell me ‘gym guy’ was ‘love of your life guy’ who turned out to be a narc as well??

            If so, I’m terribly disappointed for you and there’s something that attracts both ways, which HG has coined as “the addiction” … it’s unavoidable, but we can still eventually recognise it when we become ensnared. That is probably one of the saving graces of being here – even though we might not catch an ensnarement right away, sooner or later our learning on this site will lead us to an earlier awareness. I think that’s what I’m counting on these days. I may not recognise the narc right away, but I will recognise him sooner in our interactions. At that point, it’s possible to make a decision to either walk away or play with fire. Sometimes, the fire wins. We just have to remind ourselves how it burns!

            If I’ve got the right guy – I remember the situation leading to a solid friendship initially, which is what I rely on, too – I’m really sorry the narc was able to get past your defences, but the ACON element helps to lend greater understanding to our addiction, and the fact is you’ve been able to walk away.

            We can all be glad we’ve got this space to vent and recover <3 xox

          3. Truthseeker6157 says:


            Haha, worry not! Love of My Life Guy was the one I dated before Best Sex Ever Guy. So two narcs back to back.

            I was prompted by someone going through a difficult time. They were talking about the sadness they felt about the end of their relationship, empathy kicked in and took me back to a day were I was sitting on an armchair, numb just looking at the leaded windows in my parents lounge, counting the diamonds, left to right, then right to left, over and over. I remember laughing with NA about my counting the diamonds haha! This time, I recognised the ache was the same as with the online narc. Lower ET I suppose. I began looking at the relationship again but this time through a narcissist’s lense and I spotted him clearly. Definitely a narc, ridiculous number of behaviours over the four years we were together. Likely UMR, no pity plays with this one, no victim mentality at all, but a definite facade of ‘unassuming nice guy’. Generous, successful, charitable, intelligent, extensive network. I have him as UMR. He was the one that sent flowers every month for a year when I finally ended it. I seem to remember HG’s ears pricking up at that comment, he made a joke about it, probably a hint that I missed at the time.

            I don’t feel particularly aggrieved now that I’ve realised. I see it more as ‘ just a fact of life’ similar to the way I view my mum. Is what it is, it has shaped the person I’ve become but it isn’t my defining factor by any stretch.

            Thank you for your concern and for holding out a hand just in case xx. Gym guy is an empath. He did an EDC with HG and showed me the results so I would know I’m safe haha! We have grown close, only as friends, nothing more but it’s a friendship I feel extremely fortunate to have. I’m learning to confide a little, not a lot, enough for me at least. He is probably my greatest support, doesn’t try to get me to talk, just stands quietly beside me some days, letting me know he’s there if needed. It’s comforting, I think.


          4. Leigh says:

            Hi TS, I’m jumping in here. This is such wonderful news! I’m so happy to hear that you have someone even if its only as a friend. Since we naturally attract narcs, its so incredibly hard to even find friends who aren’t narcs. You just gave me hope. Thank you!

            One other thing, I’m going to keep my fingers and toes crossed that maybe Gym Guy will blossom into something more. You deserve it!

          5. lickemtomorrow says:

            TS, I am more than relieved you haven’t been recently let down <3

            I sensed you were building a solid friendship with Gym Guy, and wondered if romance had blossomed. In the meantime, I must have missed the detector and good news around that. I'm glad you've got someone in your corner who you feel you can rely on. Those baby steps are very important in building our trust and confidence again.

            I don't think I ever quite took into account the repertoire of narcs in your past … and I mean that in the best possible way. They have sought you out, and without any awareness you have been ensnared, which we know can be soul destroying. It's very positive to hear how you can now look back with more objectivity, as can I, without the sense of emotion threatening to take you over. I understand you were reflecting to help support another, and sometimes our reflections lead us to realise how far we have come. We're no longer gulping fresh air after shaking off the narcissist who has sunk to the depths where they belong.

            Anyway, thanks for clarifying and glad there was nothing to be concerned about xox

          6. Truthseeker6157 says:

            Hello Leigh,

            I could almost feel your smile there.

            It is lovely, I must admit. Even my maid of honour years ago was likely a narc so this feels very different. It feels solid, there’s an unspoken understanding that runs behind each conversation. I’m used to understanding people but I’m not used to being understood, it surprises me, almost wrong foots me at times.

            We have our own lives and responsibilities but it’s a friendship that will endure. He’s a far nicer empath than I am, he stands out, one of those empaths that ‘glows with empathy’ as HG would say. I believe I could pass unnoticed to an extent, but he is impossible to miss.

            Laughing at you with your secret matchmaking hat on! My path is set, I know how my story ends, but, I’m very glad that he is around to keep an eye on me.

            My first empath friendship, so yes, they are out there, we do find each other. The gym is obviously a hunting ground, we have identified several narcs, but where there are narcs there are usually empaths too. He has a client who he has trained for years, she told him he was an empath but it was at a time where that meant little to him. He recognises her now as one of our kind so I’m excited to meet her too. A little empath bubble in a narc’s hunting ground, imagine that haha!

            There’s plenty of hope in your future Leigh. People just sometimes show up, are almost placed in front of us. If we weed out the narcs, those who are left are usually worth getting to know 🙂 xx

          7. Leigh says:

            Hi TS, you definitely felt my smile! I couldn’t help but smile after I read your comment!

            I, too have an empathic friend right now. Its not my first empathic friendship but its by the far the deepest and most profound friendship I’ve ever had. She has helped me in immeasurable ways. Her friendship means the world to me.

            My friend is a much nicer empath than I am too. Although, the kind soul that she is, she’d never admit that. I’m like a bull in a china shop, lol. Its funny, yesterday after I read the comment from Anna about empaths not being angels, I realized I had no business having angel wings as my avatar so I decided to change it. Who the heck do I think I am using angel wings. I’m no angel, lol.

            I agree that people just show up sometimes and are placed in front of us when we need them. That’s what happened with this friend and I’m beyond grateful that it did.

            Even if it doesn’t blossom into a romance, its still wonderful that you have a friend that you can truly count on. I’m so happy for you!


          8. Truthseeker6157 says:

            Hi LET,

            Haha! Yes it is starting to become a bit of a repertoire isn’t it? I think I was very focussed on the online narc when I first arrived here, it took a while for my ET to fall (likely cross pollution from my mum) so I didn’t seriously consider other possible narcs influences until far more recently.

            I’ve moved around a lot, so in many ways that will have helped with my ET though I wouldn’t have known that at the time. I moved location after Love of My Life Guy, I moved again after Best Sex Ever Guy so I’ve had clean breaks, fresh starts, I’ve just landed lucky around the time of key narc relationships I think.

            My mum is the only one that has remained. As you know, I cut off from her emotionally a long time ago, so she’s there but doesn’t affect me, so long as I’m sensible.

            I suppose I can look back with some objectivity now yes. I get the “Oh for goodness sake TS that was another one.” feeling, then I mutter “arsehole” to myself and kind of just move on. I do think I’ve taken something from each relationship I’ve had. I’ve learned along the way and am quite sanguine about it all now. Maybe I’m just getting older, viewing it as a smudge on the grand tapestry of life.

            I am content. Let them put that in their little narc pipes and smoke it haha!


          9. TS, your comments always make me 🙂 and I appreciate your gentle, as well as witty, sense of humour. I can concur with many of your thoughts and glad you took my comment in the manner it was intended … we can be very surprised to realise how many narcissists we’ve actually been entangled with once we start to reach back into our relationship history. Of course, we are fortunate to know about narcissism now, helping to add clarity to what went on in the past. We know we were done with them, but we didn’t know how done with them we were until now. There’s no real nostalgia looking back, but I have to agree we’ve taken something away with us from those relationships and more likely than not it’s an element of wisdom. We’re maturing like good wine <3

            The narcs can indeed put it in their pipes and smoke it, but they'll never get a taste of what we have to offer again xox

          10. Truthseeker6157 says:


            Haha oh yes, totally understood what was meant 🙂 xx

            I agree, those relationships were over, but now that HG has furnished us with greater understanding, they’re totally dead in the water. It’s quite liberating in a way.

            “Maturing like fine wine.” Do we have to do the maturing bit? What about free as birds and lined up for cider and black? Gawd, cider and black, how did I ever drink that stuff?


          11. Truthseeker6157 says:

            Hi Leigh,

            You too? Oh that’s great news 🙂 I can’t believe that it’s taken me all this time to find another empath other than my dad.

            It could be that my expectations as to what an empath is, are unrealistic, I don’t think so. It feels very different than previous friendships I’ve had. It feels most similar to the conversations I have here on the blog, just in person rather than on screen.

            It’s funny how you see your friend as a ‘nicer’ empath than you. I wonder if that is a difference in traits. Your bull in a china shop resonates. I don’t do calm either, serene is never a word that anyone would associate with me, so maybe it’s that part that we perceive as ‘nicer’. A calm / gentleness that we don’t see in ourselves.


          12. Leigh says:

            TS, you hit the nail on the head. She has a calm/gentleness that I don’t see in myself.
            I’m much more abrupt and blunt. No one would ever describe me as serene either. LOL! That made me laugh, lol.

            I definitely think its a difference in traits but I think some of it stems from upbringing and location as well. I’m a New Yorker and we’re notoriously blunt. Bluntness can often come over as not nice. I often feel unheard so my go to is to make a raucous or have a temper tantrum in order to feel heard. Those are inappropriate reactions. Lastly, its that same feeling that I’m inherently bad. I know that’s ET and what keeps me ensnared but its hard to break that conditioning. Its innate. I’ve always been the problem. I know that’s not true and its just the way I’ve been conditioned, but its hard to break that cycle. It comes out in ways that I don’t even realize sometimes.

            That’s one of the great things about my empath friendship. We help each other work through these issues.

          13. Truthseeker6157 says:


            People do sometimes have an issue with blunt don’t they? I’m not sure if I’m blunt exactly, but I’m definitely a straight talker. I will soften my words if I feel someone is vulnerable, upset etc, but I’m still straight with them. I agree, location feeds in as well. Funnily enough I notice that most in terms of humour. The UK is tiny comparatively but regional differences here are huge, humour, helpfulness, warmth definitely vary by region. There are always exceptions but there is definitely a trend in my experience.

            I see what you mean with your response to feeling unheard. Part of that I think is your Geyser element. Love the Geysers haha! I don’t have a single drop of Geyser in me, but I have huge respect for their emotional honesty. I’m very guarded comparatively.

            That feeling of being bad, or not good enough, somehow deserving of your lot I think is a bit of an empath thing. It makes me sad for the empath and angry at the perpetrator. I think though it’s often due to not one perpetrator, but several. We know you have been utterly surrounded by narcs your whole life so it stands to reason that those feelings will be part of your very fibre.

            I think protection will drive them out in the end, at least partially. I think you’ll move to support and protect your daughter. Your motivation will be for her, not for you to begin with. She will be the catalyst and once out, you’ll see your own true value far more clearly.

            I’m so so pleased you have found an empath friend. Listen to her, the more she gets to know you, the more she’ll learn how best to support you. You deserve to be supported.

            I don’t have that side to deal with. I don’t see myself as one of the nice empaths but I don’t see myself as a bad person either. I know my worth. But, we all get left with something thanks to the narcs. Mine is confiding. To me, confiding shows my hand, it leaves me exposed. There’s a streak of pride in it too. ‘No point confiding, they won’t get it anyway.’ Pride right there. That’s probably the influence of my mum. To confide is to reveal information they can use against you later. So that’s part of my fibre too. None of us get away unscathed, there’s always something.

            I am tentatively learning to confide. I’m hellish hard work in this area, but I am trying, little steps. My friend won’t push, he’ll just create the best conditions for me to feel I could confide, if I wanted to haha! Clever, I see you empath!! I confide a bit in HG too. Part of that is that I know I can’t shock him I think, and, even if I did, he’s not arsed haha! There’s something quite reassuring in that for me.

            I don’t think I’ll ever be great at the confiding thing. I can be better at it though, in the right circumstances. Small shifts, I think that’s what we go for. An attempt to do or see things slightly differently. I’m prepared to do that. That’ll have to be good enough 😉😜


          14. Leigh says:

            TS, I have trouble confiding in people too. I have serious trust issues. The wall is almost always up. I don’t like to show my hand at all. I keep my cards very close. For me, I don’t like to confide in people because I don’t like to give them that kind of power over me. That’s another good thing about my friend. She makes me feel safe to confide in her. Its a nice feeling.

            LOL! I would imagine Mr. Tudor doesn’t get shocked very easily at all.

            Its interesting that you mention that I may be forced to leave to protect my daughter. My daughter and I have discussed it. She wants her own place and wants to move closer to the city. She works in NYC and the commute is a bear. If we could both get out of the house at the same time, that would be ideal. I don’t want to leave her in that situation. She’s always had me as a buffer. If I leave before her, she won’t have that buffer anymore.

            Most of the time I’m very blunt. But as I’ve gotten older, I’ve learned to soften my words as well. You get more bees with honey than you do with vinegar. I can be a bit of a bully sometimes. But I’m getting better. I’ve come to realize that people are generally more receptive when you’re kinder.

            I love my Geyser too but boy, has it gotten me in trouble sometimes, lol!

          15. Truthseeker6157 says:

            Hey Leigh,

            I actually don’t read you as blunt you know. I read you as what I would call ‘straight’.

            I think for me, the failure to confide has a few different strands. Trust comes into it definitely but there are people I trust that I still wouldn’t confide in.

            I think there’s a sense of obligation that I reject. If I confide and they advise, suggest a course of action, then I either follow it or ignore it and go my own way. If I go my own way then I am then kind of required to explain my decision. Justify my actions, which I’m not prepared to do.

            Confiding feels like a show of weakness to me. “I can’t fix my own problem, you do it.” I’m in control of me, no one else.

            A sense of owing. If I confide, they advise, I take the advice and they are right, then I owe them. I don’t like being in debt.

            The irony here, is that people confide in me. A lot. I don’t require justification or explanation, take the advice, don’t take it, agree or disagree with me I don’t mind one way or the other and I certainly wouldn’t want anyone to feel as if they owed me for getting something right.

            So clearly my own view of confiding is warped, and defensive.

            I went back a few steps with it this week, I’m struggling a bit with weekends at the moment. I told my friend why and he made a suggestion which I know is likely true but I’m not prepared to accept.

            I did my usual routine. Agree with his point so he doesn’t suspect I’m about to close the conversation down. Redirect so he talks about himself and we concentrate on him instead of me. Essentially, close the conversation down. Avoid him so the conversation can’t be reopened over the following days. Look entirely normal, light, chatty, happy. Send out much joyousness and frivolity!

            I think this is probably why I don’t see myself as a ‘nice’ empath because I do recognise that that’s not nice behaviour. It’s not bad behaviour but it’s evasive and he would be hurt if he knew. So now I get to feel guilty on top! Well hurrah for that as well.

            Yeah, so the confiding thing didn’t go too well this week. I raised the shield instead, despite knowing that he really was trying his very best to help. Maybe I’ll do better next week.


          16. Leigh says:

            Hi TS,
            Its ok if you think I’m blunt because I am, lol. Believe me, I’ve been called worse, lol.

            I have to chuckle because since you confided, I have to make some suggestions. LOL! I can’t help myself. But, you don’t have to do anything with the suggestions and I hope it doesn’t stop you from confiding further.

            My first thought is that if your friend knew why you were evading, he wouldn’t be hurt. Not for himself, at least. If I was in his shoes, I’d be upset for you that you find it troubling to share. I have found when I explain my thought process to my friend, she’s very understanding. I think if you did the same with your friend, he would be understanding as well. I know this is new territory for you so you’re just dipping your toe. The more you become comfortable with him, the more you’ll let down your guard.

            I’ve evaded in the past as well. If its a subject I don’t want to talk about, I shut it down immediately. But I’ve found that when you are having a hard conversation with the right person, its actually an easy conversation. When I have conversations about hard subjects with my empath friend, I always walk feeling better than I did in the beginning.

            Another thought was instead of thinking confiding is a sign of weakness and you don’t need help, maybe say, I know I can fix it myself but it can’t hurt to get someone else’s opinion. I can be very obstinate. Its my way or the highway, lol. I recognize this about myself though, so sometimes I’ll ask others for their opinion and then make a decision from there.

            Now, these are just suggestions and feel free to evade, lol. I’m just happy that I get to make a suggestion for once, lol. You’re usually the one helping me.

            As for my daughter, yes it would be lovely if we both could get out at the same time. Freedom for both of us sounds wonderful. I do have my savings and I do have somewhat of a plan. I’m getting there slowly but surely.

          17. Leigh says:

            Hi TS, I just reread my comment and I need to clarify something.

            When I said the below paragraph, I should have separated my two thoughts.

            “Another thought was instead of thinking confiding is a sign of weakness and you don’t need help, maybe say, I know I can fix it myself but it can’t hurt to get someone else’s opinion. I can be very obstinate. Its my way or the highway, lol. I recognize this about myself though, so sometimes I’ll ask others for their opinion and then make a decision from there.”

            The first sentence was my thought of how you could try to change your thinking towards confiding in people. Then it stops there.

            The second part of the paragraph was me saying that I’m obstinate and how I’m starting to recognize that in myself. I wasn’t suggesting that you say to yourself that your obstinate.

            Sorry about that!

          18. Truthseeker6157 says:


            I forgot to say, your point about your daughter and moving, yes, I see it being something like that that will be the catalyst. Supporting her, will nudge you just enough to make your move 🙂 It would be lovely for you both too wouldn’t it?

            Keep saving, keep planning, and maybe even have a little clear out so you could move quickly, because when that nudge comes, you need to be ready 🙂 xx

          19. Truthseeker6157 says:

            Hi Leigh,

            You don’t need to filter yourself or second guess with me 😉. I read your message as you intended. If I’m uncertain of a meaning, I’ll just ask up front, so you don’t need to think about your comment afterwards 🙂

            Obstinate, haha! Great word. I would say that I was stubborn, pig headed, but I quite like obstinate too! I know you were referring to yourself at that point but I would describe myself similarly. I’m bloody hard work at times. I know I am, and it’s often not intentional, but once I get an idea in my head, very difficult to move me on it. I think you’re right, it plays in to the attitude of the ‘weakness’ I feel as regards confiding and it also plays in to my self image.

            My daughter is similar, but when I see that stubborn streak light up in her, you know what I feel? Relief. That stubbornness will keep her safe, she won’t be easily influenced and I’m confident enough to say that she’ll stick to the right path and march to her own drum. Like most traits, stubbornness is both good and bad depending on context, but if I had a choice, I’d definitely have it in my backpack and would place it in hers.

            When I try to guide my daughter, I know never to lock horns. It won’t work, she’ll entrench and close me down, just as I would. Instead, I’ll offer an opinion, just once, then leave her with the information. Usually, not always, she’ll take it on board and apply it or, at least try it. Other times she’ll quiz me the following day, ask for my thoughts on it again. Dig a bit deeper. It works for us. The most important thing for me is that she continues to involve me in her daily adventures, because I can’t help if I don’t know what’s going on with her.

            So, turning to myself, maybe that’s what I communicate. I do listen and consider, I just might not always show it. The good thing about my friend is that he will hold to his opinion, he won’t pander to me, so part of it might just be I need to be left with the opinion or information to process in my own time a bit like my daughter.

            My mum is a lot to do with this I think. She would force her opinion, I would dig in and hold my ground. So the easiest thing was not to confide anything at all. I confided a bit in my dad, but then my mum would interrogate my dad and my dad is rubbish at lying or avoiding questions haha! So again, not really fair to confide in him on that basis. My dad was in tune with me at least so there was an unspoken support, a look, a hug, an “I love you” said just at the right time on the right day. But the dislike of confiding is very much down to the risk of backlash if I reject the advice. If it didn’t arrive straight away, it would arrive later. I’m not scared of the backlash, more, I can’t be bothered with the backlash if that makes sense?

            Little by little I think is the best approach here, like most things, inch a bit closer and hope for the momentum to kick in!

            Speaking of my daughter, she was ensnared online a while ago. She blocked across all platforms, closed him down once she understood exactly what he was. He is hoovering her again currently. He makes new accounts and then friend requests. It takes her a day or two to spot him, but, she does and as soon as she does she blocks again. I’m so proud of her strength and resilience. She told me she knows it’s him because of how she feels. She gets that rush (ET) and then she’ll look more closely and realise, it’s him again.

            She’s tough, she made her decision and she won’t deviate from it. Obstinate, stubborn, pig headed. Bring it on!


          20. Leigh says:

            Hi TS,
            Thank you for the update on your daughter. I do remember that she was ensnared and how it affected her and I had wondered if she was ok now. I’m so glad to hear that she’s holding her ground. I agree that obstinance can be a positive as well. In this case its definitely a positive and yes it will keep her safe. These narcs are like roaches. They find any little crevice and they sneak in. Its good she’s talking to you about it also. You can pull her from the fog that the ET creates and help her see things logically and clearly. We often can’t see it ourselves when we’re in the fog.

            I try to guide my daughters as well. Even the narc one. The hope is that she can acquire enough traits from me in order to have some cognitive empathy. That’s the best I can do for her. With my empath daughter, I will inform and guide but sometimes I dig my heels in too. I expect more from her and she knows it. She knows her sister is a narcissist. She knew before me. When she got back the empath detector results, I decided to confirm that her sister was a narcissist. It actually helped because it finally made sense. It doesn’t bother her that I expect more from her because she understands what that means. Although her justice trait is high and she will often want them to pay for their transgressions.

            Ugh, I’m sorry. I seemed to have gone down a rabbit hole. LOL!

            Thank you for understanding what I meant and its good to know that I don’t have to filter with you. Although, I don’t filter with you anyway. I don’t see a need to.

            I’m very similar in that sometimes it takes some time for me to mull it over. My first reaction might be, “No, that’s not right”. But then as I think about it, I may come to a different conclusion. Often when I have a different opinion than someone else, I’ll say to them, “I just wanted to share my thoughts on it”. If there’s no pressure to take the advice, its easier for them to receive the advice.

            I know. I don’t confide in my mother either. I never did. She didn’t hold the things I said against me but her thoughts on things were so bizarre, I just couldn’t go to her for advice. Plus, I just don’t have respect for her.

            Yes, inch by inch, little by little, the more you confide in your friend, the easier it will be.

  3. Dolores Haze says:

    HG, would you say that a relationship with a Narc makes the Empath’s empathic traits flare up? Say, a person doesn’t walk around with a bubbling Codependent or Super Empathic cocktail bursting out of him, and it only manifests when interacting with a Narcissist?

  4. zielum says:


    I can really only feel empathy for “ideas” of things. So stories, movies, etc. I can–if they’re written well enough–be pretty moved. Or like, the “idea” of homelessness, the “idea” of minorities facing discrimination, etc–they get me. But when I’m faced with any of these things in person/real life: zero empathy, zero feelings.

    Also, sorta kinda with animals, I think? It would be cognitive, I guess. Although when I was younger, I used to be intensely empathetic to them in an emotional way. I grew out of that once I hit adulthood. Still love cats though <3

    I can't even imagine having contagion empathy. I've seen it happen with other people and in movies, like where best friends get super stoked for each other. My best friend in HS used to try it on me…I always sat there smiling nervously, having no clue what to do lol

    Good thing we do have empaths in the world though; you guys are probably the group that is most involved in activism, and we need that.

    1. Contagious says:

      I think contagion empathy has greater mirroring abilities (science) and intuition abilities. Also I write a lot in the contagian empath blog about dreams. I feel we have a link to dreams. There is not a lot scientifically published about dreams but you use 30% more of your brain when you sleep. Also only a small percent has lucid dreams and there are those like myself who guide lucid dreams. In history I read dreams made prophets and they had dreams. I think that contagian Empaths are those with those dreams. I have searched my whole life for answers but contagians “ know” consciously and subconsciously. We need to examine both to face reality. Like I love a narc. Our ET does not save us at first but we ignore it often consciously and subconsciously. I had dreams that were more on point than my conscious self .

  5. Mercy says:

    Thank you HG. I don’t think I could pull off talking about a hypothetical friend. My luck, she would keep asking me how my friend is doing and I’d die of shame for lying. I did tell her about the problems my daughter is having hoping it would give her an opening to talk but it didn’t. I will give her her privacy for now.

    If I am right (I feel very strongly that I am), would this be considered emotional empathy, or contagion? Im not sure if I’m sensing her emotions or feeling them.

    1. HG Tudor says:

      From the brief description provided it presents as emotional empathy.

  6. Mercy says:

    I have a co-worker who has been “off” lately. It’s been about 2 weeks. She talks and laughs with us still, but I know something is wrong. The best way for me to explain it is that the air feels thick with worry and sadness when I’m around her. Nobody else in the office has indicated that they’ve noticed. It’s driving me nuts not to ask, but I don’t want to intrude.

    1. HG Tudor says:

      You might try to talk about the hypothetical friend of yours who is experiencing problems, with her, to see if it resonates and creates an opening for her to speak to you about her own issues. If she does not do so then either you have misjudged the situation (I suspect that is unlikely) or she is not willing to engage and that is a matter for her, not you.

    2. Notme! says:

      Hi Mercy
      You’re not mistaken, if something seems off it’s because it is. Don’t ask her, just tell her. ‘You can talk to me if you’d like’, ‘you seem ‘off’, ‘you look tired/sad/different’, ‘I’m worried about you’, ‘I care about you’ etc. just one sentence so she knows you’ve noticed, if she denies it, she doesn’t want to talk. More likely she’ll start to cry and either talk or not.

      1. Notme! says:

        Mercy, I agree that it sounds like emotional empathy. If YOU felt anxious, sad, frightened, hurt etc when you were with her and knew those weren’t related to what is going on in your life, that would be contagion. Contagion empathy usually takes me a little while to recognise. So it might take a few times of feeling something from the person that I realise ‘oh wait, that’s not mine, it hers/his’

    3. Contagious says:

      Trust. If contagian, you know. Ask her.

  7. Liza says:

    is it possible to be incompetent in congnitif empathy, and have emotional empathy?

    1. HG Tudor says:


      1. Violetta says:

        Sounds like me.

      2. Violetta says:

        Oh dear, just took an online empathy test. 20-something out of 80. Apparently, I’m in Aspie territory.

    2. Liza says:

      so i’m not misreading my case.
      i can feel the emotions of others and see when there is a change in the mood, but i’m always clueless when it come to the “why”.

      1. Notme! says:

        I don’t think cognitive empathy necessarily tells us why a person is feeling something (although it might be obvious). Cognitive empathy is more about recognising signs and symptoms of emotions (like noticing her brow is knit and her hand goes to her mouth), rather than understanding and identifying with them – like ‘oh god, she must be worried sick whilst putting your hand to your mouth’

        1. Notme! says:

          If being in the worried persons vicinity causes your stomach to turn over, her heart rate to rise and you to feel prickles on your skin whether you know what is going for them or not – contagion. I think anyway

  8. ThePolicyOfTruth says:

    Do normals have much of these traits?

    1. HG Tudor says:

      Please see The Empathy Cake.

      1. ThePolicyOfTruth says:

        Noted, thank you.

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