The Emptiness Within the Narcissist

60 thoughts on “The Emptiness Within the Narcissist

  1. leelasfuelstinks says:

    Asp Emp has made a really great point: We should be thankful for our emotions! WE can love, feel joy, happiness, we can be in love, we can be passionate, we can be empathic, we can desire and enjoy sex 😉 They cannot.

    The narc is a walking empty shell. No personality. Behind the construct there´s nobody – just a hall of mirrors.

    1. A Victor says:

      LFS, thank you, between you and Asp Emp this is becoming clearer. There was a time when shutting off from emotions was a safety feature for me but now, yes, be glad we have them and can feel them.

      1. Asp Emp says:

        High Fives to your comment, AV. Thank you….. yes, shut the door on your emotions when the need arises (keeping ET down) – it won’t always be easy, you need eyes at the back of your head and your intuition / instincts switched on when it comes to narcissists (especially ones that directly affect you, ie ‘mother’). Even though my ET levels are at an absolute low, the ‘door’ can be opened from time to time…… cos it’s in an empath’s nature.

        1. A Victor says:

          I just have to be careful not to keep the door shut when I’m in safe places. That’s how I used to be and it wasn’t very pleasant.

          1. leelasfuelstinks says:

            I don´t know exactly what you mean, I do not shut off my emotions. Oh no! The right emotions at the right places 😉 As a very sensitive and emotional person I cannot shut everything down. As Empaths, we cannot. The important thing, though, is that we don´t fall for the narcs manipulations. It´s important to apply logic. A narc is a human being but one who is not capable of emotional empathy, of certain emotions, not capable to love, to fall in love, to desire, to take care of you. For the narc it´s just “all about ME ME ME ME”. It´s ALL about them, 24/7. They must keep up the construct for their own self-defense!

            They are not evil or demons or whatever. They are – from the medical perspective – mentally ill people. We can accept them, respect them as people, but nobody says that we should interact with them and take the collateral damage from their self-defense mechanism.

          2. Asp Emp says:

            I understand and have read your view – one reason why I say that the ‘DSM system’ is wrong. Yes, according to the ‘DSM’ lists as now “medically ill people”. Yet, it is wrong. Very wrong. Narcissists, in my view, are not “medically ill” – their brains became ‘wired’ differently (“conditioning” if you will).

            For me, I need to learn and understand narcissism – so when I work again in the future, I can ‘guard’ myself from the narcissists ‘manipulations’ and use HG’s ‘How To Deal With A Narcissist At Work’ package as a reference / reminder on how to deal with them at work. It is nearly always impossible to avoid narcissists at work, depending on what work it is and where, etc.

            Having said that, it is completely different when it comes to friendships – I can choose to be friends with whoever I know I get on with. Any sign of ‘use & abuse’, then I can ‘review’ (on my own) this ‘interaction’ and decide whether to continue it or not. I am a lot ‘wiser’ now to narcissism, so I am confident within myself, have decided on my relationships and my future path.

          3. leelasfuelstinks says:

            I get your point! I still have a little contact with PatriNarc. I´m on ANC (almost no contact) and like this it indeed works well. PatriNarc switched to drawing positive fuel from me and that´s okay with me. But anyway, I would want to see PatriNarc every week. I see him a couple of times a year.

            A narcissist at work is a pain in the ass! I had two of them! One ex-co-worker and one boss! Oh dear! VERY VERY VERY difficult and VERY painful. They both completely destroy any team-spirit, ANY good work ambiance. My former narc-boss love to sack employees just before Christmas or right before holidays. 🙁 He loved the instrument of warning-letters to assert control. He lashed out at work, he yelled at employees and I think everybody got at least one warning-letter 😀 even two. Even those employees who really did great jobs! And oh! how they love triangulations and hurray for the smear! Working with narcissists is a danger for your own sanity.

            Even though, yes, they are people, but people who are not good for you.

          4. leelasfuelstinks says:

            oops, should mean: I would NOT want to see PatriNarc every week 😀 Excuse me 😀

          5. Asp Emp says:

            I thought you meant that (laughing)

          6. wildviolet22 says:

            About keeping the door shut even when safe- I get this. Pete Walker, who has great info on a complex PTSD, talks about it in his article on the 4Fs (fight, flight, freeze, fawn responses in adulthood, after having survived abuse in childhood).

            My narc had this sort of fight/ freeze combo, as described in the article. Although I knew him (from our youth, then distantly) for years and had no idea about the “fight” side until relatively recently. But knowing what I know about him and his upbringing, it does make sense to me why he is the way he is. I have zero desire to ever put myself in harm’s way ever again, though. Best to do the understanding from afar. Get out, stay out, and learning all I can get my hands on here, so I never put myself in harm’s way again.

            Here’s the article. The part where he talks about fight types “capturing” a fawn type stood out for me, that seems to be a dynamic that plays out a lot in abusive relationships:


          7. A Victor says:

            Hi leelasfuelstinks, when I was a child, because allowing feelings to happen hurt so terribly much, I learned to shut them down, put them in a box, as much as was possible. It is the reason for the drinking when I was a young adult also, I believe. Allowing those feelings out of the box has been a very long and difficult process. I for years thought I had no real feelings, they were hidden so thoroughly. But, as they have come back, one at a time as I can handle them, I am reminded of them from my childhood, those times then when I still felt them.

            I know there are people who have suffered more than I who have not had this experience, I don’t know why I did it, it wasn’t a conscious decision. At least I don’t think it was. But it did protect me and it continues to at times when I am not able to avoid painful situations.

            I said early on here that I also compartmentalize, another learned thing I think and not nearly at the level of the narcissist. It’s self protection. This is less necessary as I allow the feelings back.

            I didn’t even know for the longest time that I had been abused but upon learning that that was what “normal” people would call the treatment I received as a child, I have been able to sort through it and get things that were long gone back.

            My mother was a genius at her facade, at making us believe things were as they should be, I had nothing to compare it to as a child so didn’t know how evil she was. My brother and sister simply left. They blamed our father for not protecting us, I viewed it that our mother was the problem. She is a confirmed narcissist, LMV. I don’t know if my father was also, I may do a NDC on him at some point, just out of curiosity. He was the kinder of the two, generally.

            HG has done a EDC and a TDC for me, I am an empath, learning this here has been unbelievably invaluable to my progress. It removed questions I had concerning the lack of feeling, as you can imagine. It has also allowed me to decipher between learned behaviors or reactions and how I actually feel it’s best to act or respond to a situation. Even though I am not a narcissist, I did learn a lot from one and have at times used those lessons, for lack of knowing a better way, a way more true to who I actually am.

            I hope this helps you understand what my comment meant. I am now happy for emotions, happy to feel them, usually, and even happy for tears.

          8. Asp Emp says:

            Really good of you to share. It is good that you are here now 🙂

          9. leelasfuelstinks says:

            So, sorry what happened to you, AV! 🙁 🙁

            Almost same situation here, only with the difference that it´s my father who´s the narc. My mother I don´t know, I suspect co-dependent. I had to learn too how a normal family should work and what I experienced was simply abuse! Period.

            I became a Super Empath. We are a little bit different from other Empaths, but I hear you. I understand what you mean. This is you coping mechanism! Mine is to fight (not physically of course)! I became an extreme fighter, no matter what happens. Throw me into the dirt and I get up, wipe the dust from my body and fight back! What doesn´t kill me makes me stronger!! 😉

          10. Leigh says:

            A Victor,, So many of us turned out the same way. I built a wall too and learned to turn those emotions off.

          11. A Victor says:

            Leigh, I think it is not uncommon for abuse victims to do this, it’s survival mode for many of us. And the fear of being hurt again can be so deep that I believe some never recover fully, my siblings as cases in point. Have you experienced trouble turning the emotions back on ever? Or taking the wall down?

          12. Leigh says:

            A Victor asks, “Have you experienced trouble turning the emotions back on ever? Or taking the wall down?”

            That’s a great question! Truthfully, I have no idea!

            My wall was up and my emotions were off for so freaking long. Then workplace narc came along and I brought that wall down and let myself experience those emotions. I experienced emotions in me that I didn’t even know existed anymore. It really was wonderful. He brought out the best me. The problem is he also brought out the worst in me. Then of course, he shoved me off the cliff.

            Truthfully, now I’m scared out of mind that the next time I let my wall down, it will be a narcissist again and I’ll be hurt yet again.

          13. HG Tudor says:

            1. Use Red Flag and Black Flag to recognise indicators.
            2. Reduce ET to the minimum before dating again. I can show you how.
            3. You will spot narcissists and evade before you are ensnared.

          14. A Victor says:

            It’s ok, LFS, I didn’t have it as bad as many. I have a very strong Super minority which did and does allow for a certain amount of fight, especially as an adult, but even so, eventually that fight went out of me, being mainly a Standard. That was the point at which my ex commented that I had changed, he left not too long after, I was of no use to him anymore, in many ways. As a child, I had no way to fight back, I just grew up and she couldn’t hurt me physically any more. She never controlled my spirit or my mind though, never, she only dampened the spirit at times. She still can if I’m around her too much, practicing ANC now. My ex crushed my spirit, it took a long time for that to come back.

          15. leelasfuelstinks says:

            I´m ANC with PatriNarc too. Interestingly, since I have moved far away from my old home, PatriNarc switched to only benign manipulations! Benign hoovers and benign assertion of control and drawing positive fuel. As I wrote once in my “letter to the narcissist”, I forgive him! It´s not their fault, that they are narcs. They became narcs due to their environment and their genetics. They developed NPD at the age of 7-9. They were innocent children who were not treated the way it should have been. 🙁

            All we can do is stay away from them as good as we can.

            As a child and adolescent I started to lie to my parents, fool and trick them. 😉 I lashed out on them, destroyed property and I went my own way! I stopped listening to them and when PatriNarc came along with another put-down about my appearance (he´s somatic), I just thought “kiss my ass”. I just didn´t care anymore!

            While you put your emotions into a box, I let them out!! I LASHED OUT!!!!!!

          16. leelasfuelstinks says:

            Meh! Correction: at the age of 7-9 their fate is already sealed. The development of NPD starts way earlier. Sorry, shame on me.

          17. BC30 says:

            AV, thank you for sharing, I am sorry to hear about your childhood, but I am happy to hear you are tapping into your emotional potential. It brings me such joy to hear! I do, however, wish I was better at compartmentalizing. I am envious. I am more apt to hide my feelings with drama.

          18. A Victor says:

            Leigh, I remember the precise moment I decided to let the summer narc in, that moment when I decided to go full steam and let the chips fall where they might. I am ever so thankful that he put the brakes on, due to his liver, his dad, covid, the distance between us etc. Had he not, I’d probably be there right now and my goose would be cooked. Or I’d be alligator food, haha. Anyway, up to that point, I had been reserved, holding back. I am afraid now also but I don’t believe I will allow that to happen again, that decision, certainly not so soon. And, being here is helping a lot toward that end. You have already come a long way in understanding, I believe you will be fine too, HG’s suggestions are excellent, of course, and please, keep talking to us, we help each other too.

          19. Leigh says:

            Mr. Tudor says

            1. Use Red Flag and Black Flag to recognise indicators.
            2. Reduce ET to the minimum before dating again. I can show you how.
            3. You will spot narcissists and evade before you are ensnared.

            I’ve read Red Flag and Black Flag.

            When I finally levee my husband, I won’t be dating for a long time. When im ready to date, I’ll definitely reach out to you first to make sure I’m ready and to help me get my ET down.

            I think I’m pretty good at spotting new narcs. Thank goodness. I have enough in my life already.

          20. Leigh says:

            A Victor, I remember that moment I let down my guard too. It had to happen because that relationship is what brought me here.

          21. A Victor says:

            BC30, you’re welcome. Yes, being here has really sped my emotional journey up! I used to “feel” an emotion but not understand it but being here I have really been figuring things out! The whole Emotional Thinking idea has been very helpful since I’ve been understanding it more.

            The compartmentalizing is helpful but can have a bad side to it also resulting in practicing too much escapism etc. I used to need drama in my life so that I didn’t have to face things I didn’t want to face, it was a distraction for me. But once I realized that, not all that long ago really, I have let that go and life for me is so much more peaceful. The summer narc made it more fun but I knew I didn’t want drama again so it made ending it with him (a tiny bit) easier, he was very moody. Thank you for your sweet comment, very encouraging!

          22. A Victor says:

            Leigh, I’ve been wondering if it’s common to remember that moment. I wonder if that happens in relationships they don’t involve narcissists. I suppose you’re right, it had to for me to be here as well.

      2. alexissmith2016 says:

        AV I agree shutting off emotions is a safety feature. Im not entirely sure when I started doing this. I can feel huge emotions for many people but once my emotions are cut off for someone (e.g. someone who has hurt me) I can never switch them back on. It simply just will not happen. Even pre knowledge I have zero empathy for them and feel zero hurt from them either (post initial hurt caused by them) and nothing at all can reawaken it. Which is great in most cases, I value this hugely. It upsets me alot when I see other Es who continue to hurt from their N.

        1. A Victor says:

          AS2016, same, once my feeling toward an individual go, there’s no bringing those back. I can intellectually wish them well, haha, but not “feel” anything toward them again. 2 of these people have died over the years and my first reaction was “Good.” The world is better without them.

          I have had a hard time bringing back any feelings, it has been a process, so out of touch that sometimes I think they’re there but I don’t recognize them. Other times, as they’ve come back, they hit me hard and I cry a lot. But, now it’s okay, I understand this is part of that process and I am glad for it. And now, here, I am also sad, truly as a feeling sad, for people who are hurting. I am glad to feel this, not for them, but for me.

          1. It’s awful when your emotions disappear completely but then as you say they come back with a wham bam! Awww I’m sorry you’re feeling sad for others, would it be helpful to avoid reading or listening to anything sad others have to say until you’re in a place where you can deal with it okay?

          2. A Victor says:

            It’s not overwhelming, it’s just the usual sad, that people have to have negative things happen to us. I have considered taking a break from this site on a couple of occasions but then either HG does for a while, so there’s nothing new, or I start to and then I find it’s too hard because my feelings about the summer narc come back, there have been a few triggers. So here I am. I do avoid the sad stories though unless there is something that draws me to them. It is a matter of balance, like many things. Thank you for your thoughts and suggestions, I appreciate them! 🙂

    2. Asp Emp says:

      Thank you LET 🙂

      Can I add my view on what you have said above?

      You are correct the other ‘good’ emotions.

      But, I would like to suggest that even though a narcissist is a narcissist – they are human and they have ‘basic human needs’ – ok, not all narcissists enjoy sex, but quite a number of them do.

      Maybe the unconscious narcissists may (or may not) describe the ’empty shell’ (because they cannot explain what they ‘sense’ – the ‘creature’). Narcissists do have a personality, they have traits that we do possess ourselves but on a lot less ‘scale’.

      Every human has personality traits, some ‘higher level’ than other people – hence HG’s 4 ‘main’ classifications (brilliant explanation on Ultra Channel ‘The Ultra – The Framework’ – a must view, gives so much insight).

      Even then, science and medical professions are still too far behind with the ‘times’ – they keep adding to the “DSM lists” instead of narrowing it down – K.I.S.S is sometimes better (Keep It Short & Simple).

      I am still ‘sitting on the fence’ RE: narcissists / empaths – only because I have my Aspergers and my own ‘life’ experiences…… I support the educating of vulnerable empaths.

      1. leelasfuelstinks says:

        Narcissists have the Creature and around that Creature there´s a construct. This is no personality. This is no self. Listen to H.G.!

        Yes, they are human beings, I don´t disagree with that one. They are humans but they have according to DSM-V and ICD-10 a serious mental illness. No doubt that we should respect all human being, live and let live but from people with Cluster B personality disorders we should stay away.

        The somatic and some elite narcissists (those who have enough somatic components) DO NOT enjoy sex – they do it for the FUEL. Not for pleasure! Read “Sex and the Narcissist”. EVERY narcissist prefers masturbation to real sex. Some just do it because they gain FUEL from the sex.

        Everything else is Emotional Thinking!

        1. Asp Emp says:

          Thank you for sharing your view. I have read the book you mention. We had a conversation about it on another thread.

  2. BC30 says:

    I want to know what this feels like. What does it feel like in the body?

    1. Leigh says:

      Me too! What does it feel like to them? What does the conscious think it is?

  3. Sweetest Perfection says:

    This is very sad. Very very sad. I know I shouldn’t feel sorry for them but I can’t help it. HG, I am very divided. One of my students has been showing a very suspicious personality. This student -not wanting to reveal gender or any other details- has a lot of counselors and mentors working around for help that often contact me for review of the student’s progress. The couple of times I met with the student online this person had an empty stare and tried to be manipulative. I simply stuck to my routine and explained what was needed. One of the assignments that was overdue was to write a self-portrait. They have to be creative and use their imagination. I received the self-portrait this person wrote last night. I was scared. It is a clear description of the creature or something similar from the student’s perspective. I cannot tell anyone what I think. I also don’t want the student to paint me black and retaliate if I say anything. In my opinion, there’s psychopathic behavior involved but I’m not a professional so I definitely cannot and should not try to diagnose it. HG, as a narcissistic psychopath, if you were the student, what would you expect the professor to do? I am not sure if s/he is looking for help, challenging me, or simply enjoying the provocation. From an educational point of view and from my role I know what my duty is and where my limits are. I am asking from a personal perspective. Thanks.

    1. HG Tudor says:

      This is an expansive matter SP and one best addressed through consultation where I will be pleased to provide you with the required insight and assistance.

      1. Sweetest Perfection says:

        I agree. Unfortunately, due to the current situation, I don’t have much privacy to talk. At least I won’t see the student any longer after this year (or so I hope). But I worry about this person’s future progress and about the parents’ suffering. The counselors have no clue and just say “s/he is such a bright student, we want to help.” They are not helping. The student knows how to manipulate. Thank you HG, maybe we could talk when things are back to semi normal.

        1. HG Tudor says:

          Go outside or drive your car somewhere and sit and talk from your car.

          1. Asp Emp says:

            Great advice, HG. There is always a solution to a problem, nothing’s impossible.

          2. Sweetest Perfection says:

            Asp Emp, don’t quote Depeche Mode to convince me!

          3. Asp Emp says:

            In fact – I am more or less quoting what that Supermarket Boss said to me – see my comment in narcissism and humour…… that Boss did so much for me….. he said some very wise things to me – it’s fk all to do with some band that sang songs…..

          4. Sweetest Perfection says:

            I’ll look at it, Asp Emp. I was joking, there’s a DM song titled “Nothing’s Impossible.” I don’t think this situation is really that important, if I really needed to really talk to HG, though, I would find a way.

          5. Sweetest Perfection says:

            Did I say “really”? Haha.

          6. Asp Emp says:

            Laughing…… your car may be a good place to start (laughing)…… headless teddies – brilliant 🙂

          7. Sweetest Perfection says:

            This situation doesn’t merit so much effort. Unless I start receiving anonymous threats with the student’s handwriting in them, or decapitated teddy bears with the note: “give me an A, bitch.”

          8. Asp Emp says:

            Fk that – give them whatever grade they earned (as per work they produce). Do not give in to threats. Headless teddy or not.

            I can share – that I cut a Sindy doll’s hair short and then I cut my sister’s long & beautiful blond hair – she sat there quite happily & I didn’t hurt her at all……. (laughing – can’t believe I forgot that until now! – why did it take “headless teddies”… laughing) – she was around 2 or 3 and I was around 5 or 6….. parents went absolutely BALLISTIC….. her hair grew back….. it was not a narcissist thing to do…… my sister & I were very close….. fks sake…. maybe it was pure & utter boredom for my lateral and analytic mind……

          9. A Victor says:

            SP, lol, really!

            The decapitated teddy bears were funny too!!

  4. leelasfuelstinks says:

    H.G., this is wonderful and comforting. Indeed I saw that horrible restlessness, that agony in two of “my” narcs, one upper lesser, one middle mid ranger. They really DO suffer! And one should remember that those people have from the medical perspective an incurable serous mental illness.

    1. lindseymarie says:

      Absolutely leela. With the exception of the higher level ones, and those with sociopathy/psychopathy, I think they do indeed suffer and they truly are mentally ill. Many lower levels are, in my opinion, emotionally unstable.

      1. leelasfuelstinks says:

        Yes, they are extremely unstable. But I think the psychopaths/sociopaths are aggressive and impulsive too. I don´t get this exactly, because the symptoms of NPD and ASPD overlap. The sociopath and psychopath are behaving goal-oriented, something like this. Meh. Don´t know, gotta do more reading.

        1. lindseymarie says:

          It is an interesting topic for sure. I usually think of the sociopaths as less controlled and more impulsive (more likely to end up in jail etc.) and the psychopaths as more controlled and slick (businessmen, etc.) Of course that’s a broad generalization.

          1. leelasfuelstinks says:

            I think the psychopaths are goal-oriented. H.G. wrote in “Danger” how he made career. I think it´s the goal-oriented aspect like career, benefits, whatsoever. If you are willing to step over people, to hurt people and to betray people for your own benefit (not for fuel?) then it´s psychopathy. If you inflict pain because you need negative fuel it´s NPD….. or so?

          2. A Victor says:

            Lindseymarie, your assessment would correlate with my assessment of my ex, in and out of jail but with a 24 year period in between, during our relationship, when he wasn’t at all. I believe he is a sociopath. I am now also thinking he is a narcissist. His siblings and a counselor he had believed him to be a psychopath. But it’s all different sides of the same coin in some ways and the effect is the same, no real relationship can develop. I am very interested to learn more about all of this, out of curiosity now, since he’s gone.

  5. Asp Emp says:

    This was good to view. It reminded me of your ‘The Creature – An Introduction’ (obtainable via Knowledge Vault) – similar but not quite the same.

    With those who have been away from their narcissists (via escape or the narcissist is no longer around, for whatever reason) – empaths should make a note of this particular article and remind themselves of what they are NOT missing. Empaths are not missing ‘out’ on anything as the narcissist does not have the ‘positive’ emotions (joy, happiness, etc) – only ‘negative’ emotions.

    And, I did not even think of the narcissists of my past when I viewed this video – only when it came to commenting on it – I didn’t feel anything either.

    1. A Victor says:

      Asp Emp, your comment makes a lot of sense to me. I have a hard time “feeling” sad for my mother’s suffering or agitation. It does help with the part of not envying them though. Thank you for pointing that out. I need to rewatch it as it didn’t set well with me but I can see from comments here I may have misunderstood the point.

      1. Asp Emp says:

        Yeah, sometimes it takes a comment or two can help one to view things from a different direction. This video refers more on the intimate relationships (ie seeing your ex narcissist with a new person). You are still doing good despite the short time you have been on the ‘road’ of learning about narcissism. 🙂

        1. A Victor says:

          Thanks Asp Emp. That aspect hasn’t been an issue for me. By the time my ex left I was numb to anything he was doing with another. The summer narc I assume is and I keep thinking better she than me, even as I feel sad for whoever it is. My first ex was in a bar once where I was, years after we parted ways and he must have told a female friend who I was. She came over and laid one on him right in front of me. I laughed. I had dumped him but he must’ve forgotten to tell her that part.

          I will watch again with your thoughts in mind. Thanks!

          1. Asp Emp says:

            No worries, AV 🙂

  6. Angie says:

    Wow! I never thought I’d receive comfort by the means of a narcissist. This is one of my favorite of your publications.

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