Love is a Taught Construct



How do you know how to love? Did you sit wide-eyed in front of a large screen as colourful costumed characters hugged one another to a saccharine sound-track so this imbued you with the concept of what love was? Did those cartoon characters explain to you what it is to love? Did their exaggerated voices and crazy antics, followed by the moral of the story teach you what love is?

Perhaps you read about it in love, heard it in songs and studied the many ways in which this ultimate emotion appears and affects people. Chances are that you have been affected by those hugely affecting passages from the great works dedicated to love. Chances are you have been captured by haunting lyrics and catchy jingles which also profess to tell you what love is.

They have all played a part. You may have learned about love from the version churned out by the media, of Hollywood romance, dashing heroes, fair maidens, tarts with golden hearts, the good man who rides to the rescue, the wayward soul saved by love. Love may have been explained to you from the pulpit as a higher love, something which transcends all earthly manifestations, a love so powerful and complete that it sacrificed its only son in order to demonstrate its love for humankind.

This godly love is all around you, it touches each and all and is mighty in its effects. Love may have been learned from furtive fumbles down alleyways, sneaking into bedrooms when so young, the exploration of warm and urgent body parts accompanied by those ever so sincere protestations of love.

A haphazard journey through galloping teen years as nothing and everything makes sense all at once. Then again, love might have appeared to you in the form of something small and furry, an unconditional (so long as it was fed) love which was loyal, giving and ever so cute. So many erudite tutors, learned lecturers and wise proponents of what love is.

Love thy neighbour, love yourself, love is all you need, woman in love, it must have been love, crazy little thing called love, to know him is to love him, we found love, how deep is your love? Love is all around us, in us, between us, lifting us up and letting us down. It is everywhere and you may well have been taught by many of the above and more besides as to what love is.

However, love most likely will have been taught to you by those who created you, those two people who came together and through their own pleasure created you. Two people who decided that they would shoulder the responsibility of creating life, nurturing it and bringing a new person into the world.

Those two people accepted many, many responsibilities from such a decision and act. Chief among them was the responsibility of teaching that person what love is. Through their offices they have furnished each and every one of us with the notion of what love is. A deep-seated and visceral understanding of this is how love feels, this is what it looks like, this is what it sounds like.

This is love. From those two people more than anything else we are first grounded in the concept of what love is. This grounding lasts a considerable time and whilst there are other factors to be considered, as I have mentioned above, it is this lesson which is learnt invariably first and the one lesson which resonates beyond all others. So often we are in their hands when it comes to being taught about love. So, what is this taught love? It has so many, many facets.

Love is being told to never trust anybody.

Love is being made to re-write the entire essay because of one spelling mistake.

Love is being sent to stand outside on a cold winter’s day until all three verses of Ode to Autumn are recited correctly.

Love is knowing nothing is ever good enough.

Love is understanding that someone else knows better than you what is best for you.

Love is turning away from the reality.

Love is standing straight against a wall for several hours for speaking out of turn.

Love is for the weak.

Love is being told that when I am gone nobody else will look out for you.

Love is succeeding.

Love is building a wall as high as possible.

Love is trying until it hurts and gaining that final curt nod of approval.

Love is being seen and not heard.

Love is fulfilling your potential and securing that legacy.

Love is hurting you even though it hurts me, but someone in this household has to do it and it won’t be him will it?

Love is reading to yourself than being read to.

Love is living in the shadows and hoping not to be noticed.

Love is being the best.

Love is the preserve of the powerful.

Love is being denied a birthday party because the other children are too stupid.

Love is being undermined in order to prevent conceit.

Love is a begrudged recognition and the injunction to try harder, go further, climb higher, run faster, study longer.

Love is burning your hand but not crying.

Love is don’t tell anybody about our secret.

Love is a righteous beating.

Love is being distant and pretending things never happened.

Love is being sent away.

Love is not being told.

Love is splendid isolation.

Love was taught this way.



Is it Love?

81 thoughts on “Love is a Taught Construct

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  3. Leigh says:

    LET says, “my love is the same, but their needs are different.” Thats exactly how I feel. I say that to them all the time, lol. I don’t think they believe me, lol!

    I want my children to be normal because normal just seems easier and calmer.

  4. Melmel says:

    Father: …Love? I may deign to “love” you if you are (pretty, smart, skilled, popular…) Enough… You will never be Enough though, and your attempts at milking from me this thing you desire more than all else irritates and wounds me. Most of all you must not hold me Accountable for anything, including fulfilling your emotional need for Love. Expectations of responsibility equate to Judgement which I cannot and will not abide. Who are you to judge me? You are nothing. Less than nothing because you are Just.Like.Her, and she is Nothing.

    Mother: Love is sacrifice. Love is pain. Love is long-suffering. Love is submission. If these criteria are not met with utter perfection, then it is not Love. If it is not Love, then it must be something Evil. Therefore I must be Evil; you must be Evil because you are an extension of me, and I cannot achieve Perfection.

  5. BC30 says:

    Here’s a secret. I’m angrier at HG’s dad for allowing him to be singled out and harmed and abused and not protecting him.

    My family has never, ever, ever played favorites among any of us. At this point, our immediate family is over 30 people and everyone gets the same help and treatment.

    1. Leigh says:

      If I may, you should remember that Mr. Tudor’s father was ensnared as well. My guess is that he was Matrinarc’s top lieutenant. The highest member of her Coterie. He probably always had her back and his rose colored glasses were probably never removed.

      You should also remember that this is Mr. Tudor’s perspective. I have two daughters. I do not play favorites. However, if you asked each one of them that question, they both would tell you I favor the other one.

      Now that I know that my husband is a narcissist and what that means, I often wonder and hope that I protected them enough. It scares the hell out of me that I probably didn’t. While I was raising them, I didn’t know they needed protection. I thought he was a good, loving father.

      1. NarcAngel says:

        Great observation Leigh about HG’s father. There have been many comments expressed over the years about HG’s father’s handling of the situation (including mine), where the same comments would not be felt appropriate to express of someone here for example.

        1. Leigh says:

          Its because I’ve walked in his father’s shoes and can understand why his father did what he did.

          I’ve been thinking about this alot today. I remember for 2 or 3 years, my daughter would cry every day. Its not until now that I realize it was the negative energy in our home. I took her to the doctor, I talked to her teachers. Her teachers said she was so happy in school, they saw no cause for concern. I thought she was just high energy and needed a way to focus that energy. So I put her in dance and it worked. Now that I think about it, it worked because it got her out of the house away from the negativity. Whats interesting is I felt that negative energy too. I just didn’t know what it was.

          Had I known what I know now, things would have been very different. I know that if Mr. Tudor’s father had this knowledge, he would be filled with regret as well.

          1. BC30 says:

            You sensed something was off, and you took action. Again, everyone’s experiences are different. No judgement of you here. So, please do not apply my thoughts about HG’s father (based on what he’s shared) to you or anyone else. My feelings with regard to HG, are different because I love him in a special way. A place no one else will ever hold.

          2. Leigh says:

            BC30, I know you don’t judge and I can understand why you’re upset with his father. The choices he made affected his children. I get it. Its OK if you’re angry with him. I know that if Mr. Tucor’s father sat before you and told you his story, you’d have empathy for him, maybe even cry for him.
            That’s the beauty of being an empath, we can put ourselves in someone else’s shoes.

          3. Asp Emp says:

            Leigh, you’re right RE: HG’s father. We do not always know about the background of others and not everyone talks about their past. There are things I do not know about my own grandparents – because mother never really talked about her childhood yet her sisters were / are happy people and not narcissists.

            “That’s the beauty of being an empath, we can put ourselves in someone else’s shoes” – absolutely.

          4. BC30 says:

            We can feel anger and love for someone at the same time. Really, almost any emotion. None of them are mutually exclusive. I think that’s great.

          5. Leigh says:

            Absolutely 100% true!

          6. A Victor says:

            Oh geez, the stomach issues, the migraines, the cutting, the suicide attempts, the getting involved in abusive relationships, all by my beloved children, and I was helpless to understand why and how to stop it, how to help them. Oh geez. Big puzzle pieces today falling into place. Thank you Leigh. You are so right about HG’s dad too. I’m glad he didn’t have to know. How am I going to fix this, or at least make it as right as I can.

          7. Leigh says:

            I know AV. I know.

            I apologize. I ask for forgiveness. I try to explain why. I also tell them to proceed with caution because the same can happen to them.

            I hope it’s enough.

          8. A Victor says:

            My son said to me once as a pre or young teen, when he realized how his dad was living and how it was affecting his grandpa on his dad side, “That must be the worst, to have a child doing that to themselves.” And now he had decided to go that route. I have hoped that I was able to buffer enough but now I need to respond in a different way. I will now need all the logic I can muster to confront this head on, with love and without harshness, for his benefit. I am terrified for him. I hope it is enough too. It is one of those times when being a narcissist would be preferable, the hurt is almost too much.

          9. Leigh says:

            AV, I know. Its so difficult to know whats the right thing to do. At that age, I wouldn’t have listened to my parents. I just hope that what I say resonates with them and I’m able to plant the seed.

          10. A Victor says:

            Same. Exactly the same.

        2. lickemtomorrow says:

          It is an interesting observation and a good point to consider. I think a lot may depend on how overt the abuse is, whether it somehow remains undetected, and what the mindset of the ensnared victim is as well. The childhood abuse HG suffered sounds overt to me. If that is the case, it could not be overlooked, at least unwittingly. Which means his father wittingly overlooked his abuse in favour of his mother. Would an ensnared victim do that? It definitely seems possible. And, in fact, that is what HGs father did. He was as much a victim, but in effect was somehow unable/unwilling to see that and consequently allowed his children to become victims, too. There’s no way around that. If you are the victim of a narcissist, your children will be victims, too. Part of the problem might be in identifying we are victims in the first place. Especially when we have learned to accept such treatment as children ourselves. We don’t necessarily see the abuse for what it is. We feed our own addiction.

          I have very strong feelings on this one and was moved early on to escape from my narcissistic ex-husband. He trapped me again for a short time, but for the most part I did not consider him to be a loving and supportive husband or father in light of his behaviours. Those behaviours prompted me to action and I can’t imagine things any other way in light of the impact I knew they would have on my children. It was for their sake I escaped, where for my sake I no doubt would have been likely to tolerate the abuse for longer. Children cannot protect themselves. That is my go to motto. Likely due to my own experience of abuse as a child, which is the other side of the coin to accepting abuse as it is all we have known.

          HGs father had a choice. He let HG down. His reasons for doing so may never be known, but his actions attest to the fact he allowed his ensnarement to dictate them, and perhaps at some level his awareness was not raised. I find that hard to believe in the context of what HG has described. And maybe the price to be paid for rescuing his children was considered too high. There are all kinds of reasons for staying put, just as there are all kinds of reasons for getting out and staying out.

          I can’t help but think of Prince Harry and the children born to that marriage. His ensnarement is so obvious to so many, yet he can’t see it and it’s a given his children will suffer. Will he continue to choose his wife over his children in the context of his narcissistic ensnarement? As a father will he see the effect of his wife’s narcissism on his children? What will motivate him to rescue them? Or will he forever be beholden to the imposter in his life as she weaves him more tightly into her web of lies and seduction. As a high profile case study in narcissism there will be much that can be learned from the outcome for both Harry and the children.

          1. Leigh says:

            LET, yes I agree that Mr. Tudor’s father has let him down. Just as I have let my children down. In my own situation, I was brought up with both parents being narcissists and the abuse was overt. I was physically abused and neglected. I swore that I would never allow that to happen to my children. My husband’s abuse is much more subtle and covert. I didn’t know that it was abuse. I also have to say that there were times I chose him over my children. Recognizing that makes me feel sick. I wish I could turn back the hands of time but sadly I can’t. I just have to make amends now.

            I think, like me, if Mr. Tudor’s father truly knew what he was dealing with, he may have made different choices.

          2. lickemtomorrow says:

            Leigh, this is a tough one all round, simply because we are ACONs ourselves and will necessarily reflect on our parent’s and the impact their narcissism had on us while also having to contend with the fact it led us into further narcissistic relationships 🙁 It’s a horrible Catch 22 and it can be very hard to break the cycle. I hate that any of us had to go through it, but your circumstances as a child sound particularly horrific. And your husband sounds like a breeze in comparison. The effect of someone being more covert in their behaviours is always going to mean they are more likely to go under the wire. And then we have our own abuse and addiction to contend with which often will keep us blinded. I tried to be inclusive of those thoughts in my comment, and accept for my own sake as well that we are all victims. We can’t change anything until and unless we know. And that can take years.

            I’m still not 100% sure what prompted me to leave my husband in the first instance (since I had no idea about narcissism then), but I knew the situation was abusive and only likely to get worse. I’ve told a couple of stories here already about that, and I made the foolish mistake of responding to a hoover post-escape simply because I’d jumped from the narcissistic ex-husband frying pan into the narcissistic mother frying pan as a means of escape. If possible, don’t do that! Hoovered back in, I discovered within days, perhaps even hours of my return that I was to be placed in devaluation again. I was forced to tolerate that for about a year before a further and final separation. Fuck him! He just wanted me in a situation where he had total control. Fortunately, he didn’t put up a fight for more than minimal access, but even that was too much. My children were still impacted by even that short period of time spent with him. In that sense, my children were still exposed at a very vulnerable age without me being present to help protect them. I have many regrets in relation to my return, access arrangements, and my inability to get further away sooner.

            I can relate to how you feel on so many levels, Leigh, even though I got out long ago. None of it was ideal, and maybe my situation was more ‘in your face’ which left me feeling I had no choice. I took the bull by the horns, but in some ways I’m still making amends also. I can’t counter those situations where I know he hurt our children – like when he called our daughter a “fat fuck” because she accidentally ran into a friend’s glass coffee table. She was only about 8 or 9yrs old. That happened on an access visit. Those are the moments I want to turn back the hands of time, stop the clock, and rescue her. Unable to do that, I could do nothing else but reassure her. We’ll always be picking up pieces after the narcissist and the damage they do.

            I don’t know if HG got any of those reassuring moments. From what I’ve read, and according to HG, it doesn’t seem like his father felt he needed them. HGs demeanour may have told his father that he was already building his defences. Much could have happened out of sight of his father. So many unknowns until HG tells his story. But the ensnared victim will often be blind to the narcissist’s manipulations and I’m sure if HGs father could see now what he couldn’t see then, he would definitely make different choices. It always the same with hindsight. And there’s an element of accepting best intentions on the part of the non-narcissistic parent even though that can be difficult at times. We are blind until we can see. And empaths will normally do their best to protect their children either way. I didn’t mean to take anything away from anyone’s efforts, and regardless of the ability and opportunity to escape I think we all have regrets. The most important thing is we find a starting place for dealing with what we have been through and help our children to manage their experiences as well. They will know when we are sincere.

            I did want to give acknowledgement to the children, but we were children once, too.

            <3 xox

          3. Leigh says:

            LET, for outsiders looking in, my childhood probably does seem horrific. If I saw someone going through the same thing, I would feel horrible for them and would want to save them. For some reason, I don’t see it that way. Maybe its because I make excuses for their behavior toward me. My father was not born in the US. He is from South America and I assumed this is how he was taught to discipline. I didn’t think he didn’t love me or was abusing me. I thought, this is how he disciplines. As for my mother, I thought she was mentally ill. On top of being a narcissist, she’s an agoraphobic. Agoraphobia is a fear of being in situations where escape might be difficult or that help wouldn’t be available if things go wrong. So she rarely would leave the house. I think the whole time I was growing up, I think she left the house maybe 5 times. My brothers and I took care of food shopping and other things that she needed. I would even have to go to the hospital by myself. I was accident prone as a kid and I would go by myself all the time. She would call an ambulance or a taxi for me and send me on my way. I’m sure reading that sounds horrible too. But for me, its what I was used to, it was my normal.

            Its funny, I didn’t think my parents abused me but I knew I didn’t want that life for my children either. My husband is most definitely a walk in the park compared to my parents. I didn’t recognize that his behavior was abusive either.

            For 50 years this has been my normal. Its a hard adjustment to make.

          4. lickemtomorrow says:

            Leigh, thank you for sharing more of your story. It’s remarkable what we go through sometimes and still somehow manage to come out the other side of it, while at the same time accepting that was just how things were or even meant to be. There is often nothing else to compare it to, and as children we are totally dependent on our parent’s so we have no choice but to assume they are doing the best for us.

            And we do make excuses, too, because we have to, otherwise how do we resolve the treatment of ourselves by people who are supposed to love us? I think I internalized to some extent that I was the problem and am still being given that message today. I accepted on some level I was lesser, or needed to be lesser, as that was how things had to be for my mother to feel OK. There was always a fundamental disconnect, but it had to be my fault. I was to blame. So I was shunned for the disconnect. My brother and sister (not being empaths) never experienced that the same way I did. Or as normals they chose ultimately to ignore it. And will side with my mother until this day. It’s a very sad state of affairs when people within your own family can’t acknowledge the abuse that occurred, but there’s also the aspect of it being more ‘covert’ and targeted to the individual. The ‘behind closed doors’ element which enables the facade to remain intact. That can even happen within a nuclear family scenario where other members of the immediate family deny any abuse is occuring. Simply because they are not being affected, or want to ensure they are not affected.

            Anyway, I’ve gotten very sidetracked there, but I think your acceptance of those things growing up, Leigh, is probably quite common, as is the need potentially to escape. I’ve read stories where people ended up in worse or similar situations just to get out of the abusive family situation they were already in. Totally understandable. It’s an escape that needs to happen, but much like me with my escape from my ex-husband the first time round, it was an escape straight back into the arms of the original narcissist. I was pretty punch drunk by the time I went back to him and in both circumstances almost immediately knew I wasn’t better off. But, both times, I felt I had no choice. There was no one coming to the rescue. No one had ever come to the rescue. Life was just a bitch.

            That was until I found out about narcissism. And that there was an explanation for my experiences. And I didn’t need to tolerate them. And that I was OK. I remember reading a book during my early search for answers – “I’m OK, You’re OK” – all the while thinking somehow I needed someone to tell me that. Believing somehow I wasn’t OK. That was the message I got. From my mother, from my ex-husband, from the last narc, too. Because all their faults and failings had to be projected on to me. Looking out for No.1 was also part of my job when it came to them. All part of being an extension. A real lack of reciprocity. And my CoD is an indication of how well I learnt that lesson. The backlash when you refuse act accordingly sometimes has to be seen to be believed.

            And when it has been your normal for most of your life it is a hard adjustment to make. I think we all need to give ourselves a grace period to let it sink in and then tackle the harsh new reality we have been handed. Part of me knew things weren’t right from the beginning, but that didn’t mean I got a handle on what was wrong or had any idea how to fix it. I fought my way out of situations I was in only to end up in worse ones at times. So, having the knowledge we are able to gain here I think helps to ensure we can only end up in a better place, even if that means moving out of what we currently experience as our ‘comfort zone’- as in the things we are familiar with will feel comfortable to us. Even if they aren’t any good for us.

            Massive learning curves to be had when it comes to narcissism and knowledge around that. Even bigger ones when it comes to applying that knowledge. Everyone’s situation is unique and everyone’s journey will be different. I’m just grateful for the opportunity to be here and have a chance to share in other people’s journeys, too. It’s wonderful to see the different milestones people have reached and how that is now impacting on their lives. Even if we all have to travel through the painful moments to get there. All I can say I’m trusting the adjustment will be worth it, Leigh <3

          5. Leigh says:

            LET, I’m sorry that your siblings refuse to see it. That’s how strong the facade can be. Sometimes I’m envious of the normal. Its what I wish for my children. Normal. Not narcissist. Not empath. Just normal.

            I know what you mean about finding a way to escape. That’s how I ended up with my husband, I was trying to escape my mother. My father had left already so taking care of my mother fell on me and my brothers. I met my husband 5 months after my father left. I was 14. I thought he would save me. Boy was I wrong. I did the same with workplace narc. I thought he would save me from my husband. You hit the nail on the head, no one was coming to rescue us. No one.

            I know being here is the best thing that ever happened to me. It finally makes sense and I finally feel validated. Its been one heck of journey. Yes, I’m trusting the adjustment will be worth it as well.

          6. lickemtomorrow says:

            Leigh, wishing normal for your kids is one way of hoping to keep them out of the crosshairs. I could say the same, only I value so much the experience of being an empath. Out of my three children, I would definitely define my middle child (daughter) as an out and out empath. She has always been my biggest concern in that sense, the fear of her being used and abused for her special empathic qualities. All my children have empathic traits, but she’s the pushover. The eldest is higher on narc traits and is pretty clear about her boundaries (maybe bordering on normal?), and the youngest can be Machiavellian (manipulative) at times, but also very loving. I might put him closer to normal, too. The soft, squishy, one is in the middle. Much like me!

            The talk of favourites was interesting, too. I keep telling them “I love you all the same”. But they’re all so different. My love is the same, but their needs are different. So I try to cater to who they are as people, as I can’t treat them all the same when they are very different individuals. What I’ve always tried to make sure of is that they know I am there for them. That they can come to me any time. The door is always open. And I will check in with them, of course, so that I know they are OK. They do the same for me. It seems to work for the most part.

            I’m so glad things are finally beginning to make sense for you, Leigh, as they have for me. The validation is something else. And the support makes a big difference, too. There are a lot of things that add up here to really helping to make a difference in our lives <3

      2. Melmel says:

        Leigh –

        “I often wonder and hope that I protected them enough. It scares the hell out of me that I probably didn’t. While I was raising them, I didn’t know they needed protection. I thought he was a good, loving father.”

        I really want to offer you some comfort and reassurance about this, but I find it very difficult to put what I want to say into the right words. So I apologize if this comes across as anything but what it is. First and foremost know that there is NO JUDGEMENT in any of this. There is a good chance that I will be faced with your same dilemma with my own two children… only time (and a Narc Detector sometime in the future) will tell for me.

        My mother tried to protect me and my sister. I think at first she didn’t know what she was dealing with, and then when she realized it, she did her best to shield us from his abuse. I think this happened around the time I was 14 or so. At that point my father essentially dropped out of my life (even though we all still lived in the same house). That disconnect really helped me go No Contact immediately when I realized what he was, though it likely contributed to the emotional and psychological damage I have sustained in the meantime.

        I think what would have been most beneficial for me would have been for my mother to engage in some kind of discussion about what my father was so that all of the baggage I carried from his abuse could have been validated and dealt with before I started to become enmeshed in adult intimate and professional relationships. But I think she just never knew if/when/how this would be best accomplished. She was ensnared until the very end even though they were separated for several years at that point. She didn’t want to “taint” our view of our father, or to influence us negatively against him. I think she felt that would have been a very selfish move on her part. So she stayed silent and actually tended to avoid any conversations that started to go that way (i.e. when I became angry and tried to work through why my childhood was so toxic).

        Now that I know and she is gone, I miss her more than ever. I wish I could talk to her about all these things. I wish that I could give her some comfort and validation as well that she was abused more than me or my sister and that I recognize that things would be much worse for us if she had just let him have at us. I’m sure at times she felt weak and exhausted and there would have been some temptation to divert his malice and scorn away from her, even for a short time. If she had done so, he would have turned to me first. Maybe this would have made me realize sooner what he was, but it’s doubtful. I would just be more damaged.

        I can’t give you advice because I know there are lots of elements of that dynamic that I don’t know or understand (even with my own situation) because I was a child then and my mother is gone now. But I think you have an opportunity to try to validate their struggles, show them that the way that he behaves towards you is NOT normal, and it is NOT loving, and that they do NOT need to settle for someone who abuses them just because that behaviour was modelled and normalized for them as children. Warn them that they will be more vulnerable to Love Bombing and Ensnarement because of his influence, and let them know that NONE of it is their fault. Ask them what (if anything) they feel they were missing emotionally as children and fill up that cup before they leave the nest. Open a line of communication whereby they know that you will believe them, validate them, and love them no matter what shitty decisions they make as adults.

        1. BC30 says:

          This 💕

        2. Leigh says:

          Melmel, thank you so much for your compassion and understanding. You have no idea how much it means to me.

          My children are young adults now and I’ve had several conversations with them about their father. They knew what he was before I did. I’ve apologized and asked for their forgiveness. I’m still scared out of my mind that the damage is already done.

          1. Melmel says:

            Leigh –

            It sounds like you have done everything you can to shield them and to heal any damage that is already done, as you have said. Bringing it up to the surface is the first step to healing for all of us. There may be some residual damage that they will need to work to heal for themselves as adults, but having your love and support as well as your acknowledgment and apology will make that process far less painful for sure!!!

        3. A Victor says:

          Melmel, thank you for this, particularly the last paragraph. It is never too late, until we are gone. I needed that reminder. And I’ve said that to people, just forgot it for today. Thank you.

      3. BC30 says:

        I have to disagree based on MY personal experience, but we all have different life experiences.

        Upon further reflection, I think my paternal grandfather was a narcissist. My paternal grandmother was likely an empath. She was murdered by a boyfriend when my dad was in his early twenties, probably by a narcissist.

        I was raised by two empath ACONs. They’ve taken children out of those situations. It’s a lot to explain, but I never.

        HG’s allowed HG to be abused.

        Out of curiosity I’m going to ask my siblings that question.

        1. Leigh says:

          BC30, please see my response to LET. I meant to address both of you.

      4. BC30 says:

        One last thing. If an IPPS has littles, should they be told their partner is a N? Maybe it wouldn’t make any difference. HG warns it is often useless. Who knows?

        1. Leigh says:

          I’m not sure what you’re asking here? Are you asking if my children should be told that their father is a narcissist? My children already know. They are the ones who kept saying it to me and I would tell them to stop saying that. Until I figured out that they were right.

          1. BC30 says:

            I mean telling the IPPS with littles that he is a narcissist. Would it make a difference? Would it matter whether some anonymously or directly? If the IPPS is too ensnared to believe immediately, might it plant a seed of doubt?

          2. Leigh says:

            I don’t think it would make a difference at first. When my children said it to me, I told them to stop saying terrible things about their father. But yes, it did plant a seed and the rose colored glasses became clearer and clearer.

          3. BC30 says:

            Thank you for your honesty.

      5. BC30 says:

        The consensus: each of my 5 siblings point to others as “favorites” but nobody agrees! So, we must all be equal. 🥲 None of them point to me, 😭 I’m not favored because I’m, apparently, too “independent” and helped raise them 😂😂😂🥰😉 This is true.

      6. A Victor says:

        Leigh! I hadn’t realized this! We, you and I, were likely our narcs top lieutenants! Oh no. Oh no. Oh, this is a horrible thought. But it makes perfect sense. And I also have been softer on HG’s dad, some kind of understanding and now it makes sense. As I had more forgiveness for my own dad and my siblings forgave my mother. I didn’t protect my children either, I didn’t know they needed it either, until the last year or so. Except, I did stop fighting with him, unless it was over their well-being. How many excuses did I make for him? And when he turned on me and sided with them toward the end, what did that do to them? Especially my son. Oh dear. Thank you for pointing this out. My kid’s tease me about playing favorites but I have always believed it really is just teasing. Now I will ask them in earnest. The favorite thing is a terrible thing in a family, so hurtful. I found drugs in my son’s room again today, it is the second or third time since last Aug when he told me he’d been doing them but promised he’d quit. I am considering how to handle it this time, as it apparently is not going away. His dad is an addict, I am so afraid for my son right now. This piece may be of benefit, thank you so much.

        1. Leigh says:

          AV, I’m so sorry about your son. It’s so difficult trying to figure out whats the right thing to do. I hope he finds peace. Have you tried talking to a drug counselor? Not just for him but for yourself. Maybe they can give you ways of helping.

          I thought my husband was better than my own parents. He wasn’t better though. His abuse was just different.

          1. A Victor says:

            Thanks Leigh, I have been reaching out to counselors but have had no luck as it is the weekend, and a long one to boot. So probably Tues. Anyway, I thought the same about my ex, and the same result. They just should not be parents. Thanks for your comment.

    2. A Victor says:

      You have a special, in a good way, family BC30. Enjoy that fact. I am happy for you.

    3. Anm says:

      I believe that HG’s father knew that HG was the stronger one of the siblings, and that HG had other siblings that needed protected in a different way, or may have had special needs of their own. You also have to remember that empathic men didn’t get to just divorce and leave narcissistic women back then, with the option of taking children with them. They usually either had to stay, deal with a narcissistic family, or leave without the children. I’m sure it was a crappy situation for all members of HG’s family.

  6. BC30 says:

    Eep. I need to get around to pop’s EDC.

  7. Contagious says:

    Abuse is not love. I agree. But what if the person cab be both loving and abusing? Did Jesus not sat “Forgive them for they do not know what they do? My ex said to me about silent treatments, my whole life was that. Someone did not speak to the other.” I realized he did not know that was abuse. It’s all he knows and he got both love and abuse in his childhood. He can be both. He knows no better. When you know better you do better. That is my issue with mid range narcs, they seem to not be able to ever know better. They are stuck. It seems like love and abuse is an air that they breathe with a feeling that without the air they die. Maybe that is the equation, love always includes abuse. It is inseparable to these broken child/half person. It seems that psychology and science could find a way. ???

    1. MP says:

      Hello Contagious,

      We can forgive them without letting them know and without being part of their lives again.

      If you say that love always includes abuse because of the narcissists in your life then you are defining love on the basis of the narcissists. What is love for you personally? Does your love include abuse? I know plenty of people are able to love without being abusive. We all make mistakes and we can all be toxic or abusive in some instances but if we are not narcissists we don’t find our abusive or toxic behaviors acceptable and we try to change. If someone is not a narcissist and a parent and made a mistake with their parenting they always try to do better and will not repeat that behavior again once they realized their mistake.

    2. BC30 says:

      Narcissists cannot love. Full stop.

  8. Contagious says:

    Love is God. However you define it. It is in us all. Love cannot be weak as that is the opposite. I believe love conquers all. If not in this realm, then beyond. With that being said it’s not what you say, it’s what you do. If a child grows up with abuse, that is normal. HG can love ever include abuse? If A=B and A=c does not B=C?

    1. HG Tudor says:


      1. Asp Emp says:

        I agree with you, HG. Abuse is abuse. Love is love. End of.

        1. BC30 says:


    2. Violetta says:

      Have you demonstrated that A = B or C?

  9. BC30 says:

    100% love is unconditional and can be unconditional even when you walk away.

  10. psychologyandworldaffairs says:

    One reason I do not want revenge. One reason I do not like the way society is progressing right now.

    1. Fiddleress says:

      I’m with you there when you say “one reason I do not want revenge”.
      This article used to make me more sad than angry, now it’s the other way round. Angry about the heartlessness of some “carers”.

      I’d be interested to hear you expand on your second sentence: do you not like the way society is progressing right now because you think that more and more parents/adults are behaving in the cruel ways described in the article, towards children? If so, in what areas, or what makes you think so?
      Hope you don’t mind me asking so many questions; just curious, and interested.

    2. MP says:

      I couldn’t agree more. The cancel society and vindictiveness and self righteousness of some woke people is very narcissistic.

  11. Whitney says:

    HG my God, all of your pieces are works of art.

    Another stupid question. If he says “you can make your own money, but I have enough money for both of us”, is that sweet? Is that loving?
    That’s how I interpreted it.

    1. HG Tudor says:

      It depends on who is saying it.

      1. Whitney says:

        Someone who you think is a narc and who I think is not

        1. HG Tudor says:

          I know they are.

          1. Whitney says:

            But my God
            1. All men want power and lack empathy. If a man has “empathy” they have no backbone and their actions allow others to be hurt.
            2. He told me he’s a narc and needs control. I thought a Greater wouldn’t tell, and a Midrange is unaware.
            Therefore, he must be “Narcissistic” but not a Narcissist.
            3. He is happy now because he’s using positive thinking, like me.

          2. Asp Emp says:


            1. not all men want power, nor do they all lack empathy. If a man has empathy, it does not mean they have no backbone, not all men allow their actions to hurt others. It is actually quite an insult – to HG, at least.
            2. A Greater may, not always, just may tell but if they do – it’s a manipulation (assertion of control) and then they would use plausible deniability / re-write history (again, assertion of control) and say they never said anything of the kind and that you mis-heard etc and possibly accuse you of slandering them. A Greater narcissist is very smart & calculating.
            3. It is said that narcissists do not do ‘happiness’ but they can mirror it. Their ‘positive’ thinking will differ from another perspective to the way you see it.

          3. Witch says:


            1. Not true .. all men don’t lack empathy and men with empathy don’t necessarily lack a “backbone”

            2. He only said that to you to gauge your reaction and see if you’re still under control. A narc has said the same thing to me.

            3. He appears happy because he’s fuelled up

          4. MP says:

            I personally think men usually innately want power because of their biology. I don’t see anything wrong with that. Evolution developed them to be the hunters and providers while the women were the nurturers. Empathic men have a lot of nurturing side too but it seems that their need to have some leadership or power is still a dominant part of their makeup. Some empathic men also have unhealed wounds from their past and maybe that is why some of them are also susceptible to people pleasing, putting others before themselves, lacking self esteem, indecisiveness and having fear of standing up for themselves or people they love etc. It is actually very hard for men in a unique way to be subjected to narcissistic abuse as children because of the many expectations society have from them and many other pressures.

          5. Whitney says:

            Asp Emp can you read my point 1 again. I said a man with “empathy” has no backbone and allows others to be hurt. HG is the opposite. He’s a good man. How a man should be.

          6. Asp Emp says:

            I understood. Perfectly. You omitted HG when you wrote the original comment…… HG has empathy in his own way, yes, a very good man.

          7. Whitney says:

            Only the Narcissist Psychopath man acts with morality.

          8. Whitney says:

            2. Asp Emp maybe it’s because I talk about Narcissists a lot. He said “I’m a Narcissist” in a totally certain way and I said “I like Narcissists” and he looked happy.
            He claims to not be a good person and not have empathy. If I go into that line of delusion about him he corrects me.

          9. Asp Emp says:

            I am remembering HG’s articles in relation to ‘narcspeak’ – Decipher and Found In Translation.

          10. Whitney says:

            When he told me he was a Narcissist, I already knew it from HG’s work, and the Narc knew that I knew it and he wanted to see my reaction

          11. Witch says:


            I’m a bit confused on what you mean by men with empathy allow others to be hurt?
            How do they allow others to be hurt?

          12. Whitney says:

            Because men with “empathy” lack the backbone to stand up for what’s right Witch.

            MP thank you, so interesting to read 😊 men kill animals and other men, in groups. They are made either to lead this group, or to follow along. Men with “empathy” (beta males) will follow along with anything.

          13. MP says:

            Hello Whitney. There are alpha males with empathy. My dad was far from being beta and he had real empathy and may have been an empath. My husband is also alpha and he is a normal. Just like there are alpha women with empathy. My MR half sister lacked real empathy but she was not alpha although the friends she chose were the ones she can control, when she was dealing with people she couldn’t control she turned into a victim which alpha people are not.

            I believe that when a person doesn’t have a backbone to stand up for themselves or others, they might have some unhealed wounds from their past. There may have been events in their lives that took that power away from them. And if they are empathic men who do not have backbones then my guess is that they may have been victims of N abuse which took that power away from them.

            From my observations with my 7 yr old son and his 7 yr old best friend, they naturally want power. They admire stuff that seem powerful and/or fast such as trains, monster trucks, tanks, rockets etc. They love to play pretend with storylines of wars and battles between good and evil. They take turns on who the villain is. They love to play with swords and guns. My daughter and her bestfriend on the other hand love to play tea or dress up or dance together. It’s not something that anyone taught them but it just seems like most boys are naturally inclined to seek power or leadership. Sometimes I imagine what if I am a narcissist and in my son’s vulnerable moments where he was doubting himself I gave him a narcissistic remark, it would have devastated his ego dramatically. He totally believes in everything I say and his world revolves around me and his dad and he fully believe how we perceived him. It feels really sad to imagine a boy go through blows on his ego as he was developing into a man and turned out to be an empath with low grandiosity and have an internalized belief that he has no power or has little effect. I think having no backbone has nothing to do with empathy but has more to do with how the person perceives himself.

          14. A Victor says:

            Whitney, the majority of men, of humans, have empathy. Many men and women with empathy will stand up for what’s right. Having empathy doesn’t negate having morals, character, standards or values, and the ability to stand for them.

            Men innately do have power, over women, children, animals, if in no other way, just due to biology, as a general statement. It takes strength to use that power to help rather than hurt those weaker than they. HG does have that ability, clearly, but so do many other men. The motives are different but it is still all good.

            I personally have empathy and I will take a stand for that which I believe in. And have done so on many occasions. It was my pussy ex that didn’t do so, he didn’t even have morals or values or anything which he could stand for. When I met him I thought he was God’s gift right to me, that he would protect me and care for me and love me forever, perfectly. But, because he is a narcissist, that was not able to happen. As it cannot with any narcissist. Except maybe HG. Anyway, I hope you find some peace. You are so sweet to have here, I love reading your thoughts. <3

          15. Whitney says:

            No Asp Emp you either didn’t understand or you misconstrued my statement 1:

            ” If a man has “empathy” they have no backbone and their actions allow others to be hurt.”

            Not men in general. Not HG.
            Men with “empathy” allow others to be hurt.

          16. Asp Emp says:

            Alright, Whitney – that is YOUR opinion. My father had empathy AND a backbone. He was ill for the 10 years married to mother, knowing that he was dying and also leaving ME with HER.

            He worked so hard to earn an income, gained a highly esteemed position in the world of science (35 years AFTER he died), in fact he was a Pioneer – that is what I can boast about – a man whose mind was well before the time. The recognition and story went viral very quickly and reached the highest ranking for the speed it went viral. I am so proud of my empathic & caring & loving father. He died knowing he was leaving me with an abuser……..

            So, I am not misconstruing anything.

            I invite further comment if you would be so obliged…..

        2. Empath007 says:

          I assume you took the narc decector ?

          If HG is saying he’s a narc… why the resistance ?

          I know it’s dissapointing to find out someone is a narc.

          Many men were socialized to conceal their emotion and to put their needs first. That power dynamic between women and men definitely exists. But you can usually tell if someone possess empathy by how they respond in conversation. Mine had red flags in conversation that I ignored.

          Trust HG. He has no reason to lie to you.

  12. Asp Emp says:

    Looking back, my grandmother gave love, my father gave love. Unconditionally. No ifs, not buts, no restrictions, teaching with love, protecting with love, hugged with love. It meant a great deal. When you remove those (father / grandmother) from the ‘equation’ – it was possession, ownership, conditional, selfish, greed from my past narcissists…… I now can plainly see the difference. I write these words with very low ET but not ‘cold’ when it comes to father & grandmother.

    Reading from “Love is being told to never trust anybody…… “ angers me because that is not what genuine ‘love’ is. That list is not acceptable, not fair to the young child who experienced it.

    I am glad that I have emotional empathy and to be able to feel ‘love’ and other positive emotions.

  13. A Victor says:

    This concept was easy to grasp, abuse is not love.

    1. sgawba says:

      Love is the highest vibrational frequency …God is Love… be like Godly & Do no harm

      1. A Victor says:

        Yes, if only my mother would have done that!! A few others as well but her mostly, especially since she was the “religious” one of the bunch.

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