What does a relationship without empathy really look like? If you have ever been in one, you would know that the word ‘painful’ doesn’t even begin to describe it.
So much time, energy, and emotion are spent trying to understand why emotional manipulators do what they do. The answer has never been a secret. It’s always been in plain sight, but perhaps due to its simplicity and our inability to relate, we shrug it off and continue the search for some way where we can blame ourselves.
Why do Narcissists make such terrible partners? Why are they so hurtful? The answer is of course empathy, or rather a lack thereof.
“Empathy is defined as – the action of understanding, being aware of, being sensitive to, and vicariously experiencing the feelings and thoughts of another, of either the past or present, without having the feelings, thoughts, and experience fully communicated in an objectively explicit manner.” – Webster
The DSM tells us that psychopaths lack empathy and that a Narcissist’s ability to feel empathy is impaired. This means that they cannot understand or have concern for the feelings of others.
Why are Narcissist’s so self-centered? – Because your feelings, your needs do not compute. It’s as if they are emotionally color blind, thus, missing colors in their emotional color palette.
Related: Narcissistic Relationships
What does a relationship look like with someone that lacks empathy?
Lack of Empathy Symptoms in a Romantic Relationship
Everything is always about them. Your thoughts, feelings, needs and wants are not considered unless they serve a purpose.
Emotional Manipulators ruin the holidays, birthdays, or any special event that is important to their partners. They do not like to share attention and therefore, do not care to be a part of anything that doesn’t trust them in the spotlight. They have an expectation to receive and feel uncomfortable with the concept of giving.
They will, on occasion give, but the gift will often be off somehow, usually not exactly what you wanted or asked for. They do the absolute minimum in terms of effort when it comes to bestowing something that does not directly benefit them.
When their partners are ill or have some type of pain or injury, the Narcissist will view this as an inconvenience to them and either be bothered by it or ignore it. They are not caregivers. They don’t do nurturing – unless it’s to get praised by others – “Look at how great Tom is being while Anne gets over her appendicitis.”
They are they never wrong, so don’t expect to get an apology. You will always be wrong, and they will always be the wronged party.
No issue is ever resolved. They thrive in ambiguity. When you can’t pin them down for a time or a decision they can never be held accountable when they disappoint. Disappointment is what they do. Don’t expect to be able to count or rely on them for much, unless there is a benefit to them.
They have a real problem discerning cause and effect. They cannot see a link between their behavior and your reaction. They will look at your reaction to what they’ve done as the problem, rather than their behavior.
Because of their fear of abandonment, they will try to control you through emotional, psychological, and sometimes physical abuse. They will not care how this abuse affects you. They will not care if they have traumatized you, hurt you or that they are grounding your self-esteem into dust. The effects of their abuse do not generally even register with them.
Even if a Narcissist targeted you because of your wealth, business, fame, talent or connections, they will quickly start to resent you for these things.