Knowing the Narcissist: The Narcissist’s Understanding and Use of Tears – Part One



Tears. One might consider them the ultimate embodiment of emotion. Tears appear when you have experienced some kind of extreme emotion. I know because I have watched on so many occasions as I have sought to understand the circumstances in which somebody cries and why it is that they do so.

I understand that when tears appear, whether it is a welling-up in the eyes, the single full teardrop which slides down a cheek or the cascading waterfall which leaves the eyes red-rimmed and blurry, it is as a consequence of you experiencing emotion in a huge dosage. What I had to learn was which emotions were associated with the emission of water from the eyes.

The first emotion that presented itself for my understanding as to how it caused tears was pain. I remembered as a child that my younger brother was somewhat accident prone. If there was tree branch he would fall off it, if there was a wall, he would fall off it and once he even managed to “fall” off a rug and sprain his ankle. The cuts and bruises would have him howling in pain as he lay there sobbing or limped away tears trickling down his face in search of our father.

I saw how a physical injury such as a scraped leg or bruised forearm would bring forth a flood of tears. My younger brother would await the attendance of my concerned father, usually brought to the scene by my always caring sister and his tears would be wiped away with a large white handkerchief as consolation and soothing words were administered. I was not accident prone and therefore rarely susceptible to physical injury save the deliberate. I do recall once catching my hand on the edge of the grill and instantly a sore red weal appeared. I presented myself to my nearby mother as I felt the tears forming in my eyes.

“No tears HG,” she announced firmly, “tears show fears, be fearless,” she instructed me as she cast a cursory glance over my injury and directed me to the cold water tap. Tears came from physical hurt but it was not to be for me.

Around the same time I also understood that tears were generated by sadness and it was sister who exhibited this the most. I would find her in one of her many hiding places (I knew them well as I used them myself) and she would be quietly crying. I would ask her why she was crying because I wanted to know. Thinking back, I never felt anything other than curiosity when I saw her with puffy eyes and tear-stained cheeks.

“Why are you crying Rachael?” I would ask.

“Mother shouted at me because I hadn’t tidied my room, she said I was a bad and dirty girl and I don’t like her saying that to me, it upsets me.”

I would nod in understanding and walk away, leaving her alone. She was instructive in showing me that sadness caused tears. Her rabbit escaped from its hutch and went missing so she cried because she missed it.

She missed a birthday party because she was ill so she cried because she was sad that she could not play with the other children. If she watched something on television she would often be in tears as she felt bad for the starving children in Africa or the victims of some earthquake. She would cry and ask my father why God did these things and he would do his best to comfort her and explain.

He was always good at finding an explanation, but he was a very bright man, well-read and with a keen hunger for knowledge which he invariably retained. There was at least something that I had inherited from him then. I would watch in fascination as Rachael would cry and he would scoop her up and make gentle noises to try to soothe her. Just as he laid a gentle hand on my sobbing injured brother, I saw how this demonstration of tears, be it through physical or emotional hurt engendered sympathy and caring from him.

He never rejected them, he never barked at them to deal with it or get on with it, but he would always pander to their upset until he had chased it away and made them feel better. It always got them attention from him, more than I ever did. All they had to do was cry and the sympathy would flow with the attendant attention. I learned that quickly enough.

I, by contrast, never recall feeling sad. I have tried and the good doctors have asked me about this on numerous occasions.

“How did you feel when something bad happened to you?” Dr E would ask.

“What do you mean by bad?” I often have to help him provide some context to his questions. I thought he would have learned by now.

“If you did something wrong for example.”

“I was well-behaved as I child. I did as I was told. I saw what happened if I did not.”

“I see, did your parents ever tell you off?”


“How did you feel then?”

“Resentful, angry, determined,” I answered quickly.





“How about after the incident?”

I glared at Dr E as I did not like him springing that on me without adequate warning. At least he had remembered to refer to it by the label I required. I remained silent.

“Did you not feel sad after that?”


“How did you feel?”

I paused. I did not want to revisit this but I knew he would not stop until he had extracted something from me. He would prod and probe in order to fulfil his selfish desire to know how I felt. I felt empty and I felt angry but I had realised by now that if I told him this he would only go on even longer. The truth would not serve me here. I remained still and silent.

“How did you feel?”

I noticed his tone had become gentler, more searching.

I then thought of all the injustices that I had ever suffered, the hurt that had been meted out against me, the denial of my brilliance, the shunning of my achievements, the lack of recognition when I deserved so much more. I focused on the times when I had been ignored by the foolish, the fact that I am consigned to an unending quest for fuel. I brought to the fore the hurt that I keep under control except for moments such as this and I banished the room and Dr E from my mind as I allowed the floodgates to open.

The desired effect eventually came, although it took some time and I eventually felt the welling in my eyes. I blinked theatrically to ensure that Dr E noticed and finally I felt a tear, only a small one though, squeeze out and make it was beneath my eye. I brushed at my other eye, features set in melancholy and still I said nothing. Dr E remained quiet as well as I stared at the floor willing another tear to join the first and thankfully it too finally came and rolled downward, a larger one this time which landed on my left thigh. He will have seen that. I did not look at him but concentrated on the floor still, summoning up all of the hurt I could muster in the hope of maintaining this appearance.

“I can see it is troubling you, perhaps we should move on. We can revisit this at a later time,” he said softly.

I nodded.

Those early observations of how the crying game worked had paid off once again.

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16 thoughts on “Knowing the Narcissist: The Narcissist’s Understanding and Use of Tears – Part One

  1. Ruby says:

    My narcissistic husband cried during our wedding vows, we both did, and quite a lot. It has always puzzled me and now seems an anomaly in years of no empathy or emotion. He also used to brim up when he had set me up to shouting and crying, saying that I drove him over the edge. Were the wedding tears real tears? If not, why and how?

    1. HG Tudor says:

      Yes they were real, you did not imagine he was crying.

      Were they genuine? No.

  2. Susan says:

    I just read the three parts of your story in reverse, and I have to confess I was curious how you managed to muster up those tears in Parts 2 and 3 (which probably explains how my father managed to muster up his when my mother died; it was all about him–I’m more & more sure he’s of the victim cadre the more I learn from you). Does it annoy you to know that you just brought me to tears, or does that give you fuel?

    (Don’t you hate therapists who just sit there and keep repeating, “And how did THAT make you feel?” In between looking at the clock? Oh wait, I know the answer to that already: You hate everyone! But yours wasn’t just looking at the clock though because YOU’RE actually interesting.)

    I don’t remember your having said before (although I usually listen to you on YouTube rather than reading on a backlit, white screen): Is Rachael older or younger than you? I’m curious about the birth-order factor, especially since you mention having observed the reaction she got from your father. My sister was the Golden Child, partly because she watched everything I did that got me in trouble with my parents & made a note always to do the opposite & treat me as her inferior and my parents’ mouthpiece in their absence despite her being two & a half years younger than me. Oh, and of course gave them the full report of everything I did “wrong” in their absence. I was so “giving” by just being obliviously undiagnosed “AuDHD” & unwittingly providing her with the perfect example of everything NOT to do in order to maintain her image of perfection–to everyone but me, the perpetual screw-up. I do remember your once saying you were the Golden Child, which is why I’m curious whether you too learned to please your parents by NOT following her example.

    You mentioned her in your “Doormat Empath” video too. How do you get on with her–and how does she get on with you? Has she figured out that you and “Matrinarc” are narcissists?

    BTW, it doesn’t take much to make me cry, either from joy or sadness or love or other strong feelings I can’t always identify as well, either. I wasn’t like that as a kid so much, but I’ve gotten sappier with age. (Sometimes I think I’m turning into my empath mother, who I think was a combination of codependent and super-empath. But then I feel that it’s a good thing since she passed away in 2020 and it’s a way of keeping her alive.)

    1. HG Tudor says:

      It is called acting.
      No, it provides me with a very small amount of low potency fuel.
      Rachael is younger than me.
      We get on well enough.

      1. lickemtomorrow says:

        I remember being very affected by Rachael’s story in Confessions of a Narcissist.

        I am glad to know you get on well enough now.

      2. Susan says:

        Thank you for replying & being so candid about a painful subject. I struggle to understand why your father didn’t treat you the same way he treated your brother and Rachael. I can imagine a couple of different causes, if he was an empath (?), but don’t want to pour salt on a wound by conjecturing. You’ve said you don’t feel like there’s anything wrong with you that needs to be fixed, and you have no desire not to be a narcissist because you’re effective at what you do. But that memory makes me so sad that I can’t help wanting to go back in time (maybe as a housekeeper or someone in the household with empathy who happened to witness it) & find a way to make that situation right for young HG. Although it sounds like that was part of a PATTERN in which you were ALWAYS treated differently from your siblings?

  3. Dani says:

    Mr. Tudor–

    “Those early observations of how the crying game worked had paid off once again.”
    You’ve frequently stated that you don’t go for pity plays and don’t turn on the tears. But here, you demonstrate that you’re capable of doing so.
    1. Were tears the only way you could end this line of questioning (assert control of Dr. E at that time?)?
    2. Were tears something you utilized multiple times when dealing with Dr. E?
    3. Which of your therapists have witnessed this manipulation?

    Regarding when your hand landed on the grill…
    4. How old were you?
    5. Were you burnt?
    6. Did you ever go to your father with an injury?
    7. If yes to 6, was the fuel provision good from him? (Is that the best phrasing for that question?)

    Thank you for your time. Much appreciated.

    1. HG Tudor says:

      1. It was not a pity play, it was to dupe Dr E into believing I was moved in a particular way. No, I could have chosen other options.
      2. No.
      3. Dr E
      4. Not answering.
      5. Yes.
      6. Yes.
      7. He repeatedly provided fuel.

      1. HG, your answer regarding your father, and how he repeatedly provided fuel, indicates that he was responsive to you. Was he responsive in a negative way – i.e. getting upset with you, telling you off, basically backing Matrinarc, or was he responsive in a positive way – i.e. showing empathy, commiserating with you, defending you?

        How much of that was a manipulation on your part?

        If it was a manipulation, were you aware that you were manipulating him?

        1. HG Tudor says:


          1. Thank you. I appreciate your reply.

          2. Rebecca says:

            I’m sorry your father didn’t do for you, what he did for your siblings. I know it doesn’t change things, but I just needed to express the upset I feel on your behalf. I’m sorry those times happened to you. I struggle to hold back more of what I want to say, but I feel the need to say more. I will say, I’m sorry, no one should go through, what you went through. Xx

      2. Dani says:

        Thank you for the answers, sir. Much appreciated.

        1. Is Dr. E a narcissist?
        2. In what way did duping Dr. E serve your purposes in this instance?
        3. Was it about showing him what he wanted/expected to see from someone who’d described an ‘incident’ to him?
        4. Did he ever bring this up again?

        Thank you so much for your time.

        1. HG Tudor says:

          1. Yes.
          2. Control.
          3. In essence.
          4. Yes.

          1. Dani says:

            Thank you so much, sir.

            Dr. E is repulsive (for repeatedly treating you that way, exponentially more-so for doing so as your therapist).

            1. Were you diagnosed with ASPD or NPD at the time of this conversation?

            Thank you so much for your time. Much appreciated.

  4. Allison says:

    Even though I know this is a game for you, and that you are empty, cold and vast, I can’t read this without getting an ache in my heart. My fantasies of bringing healing–intense are they are–are nothing. Any offering would be swallowed up in the abyss.

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