2. Lack Of Empathy
Its my personal opinion that empathy is the one quality that makes all of us true human beings. The ability to have a compassion for our fellow man that causes us to behave in ways that do no harm to them is a powerfully connecting emotion. Empathy is having the ability to step into another’s experience, set yourself aside & allows you to honor another’s feelings and needs in a way that enriches and edifies them. We need each other to respond in empathetic ways to our pain, journey, and joys through life; it connects us.
One of the key presenting traits of narcissists is their utter incapability to empathize. When you see a pattern of human cruelty that the narcissist commits on their loved ones or affiliates, you will see the lack of empathy present in various ways:
Ignoring requests to cease behavior (like cheating , stealing, lying, etc.)
Name calling, criticizing, belittling, mean “jokes”, jabs and put downs (verbal abuse)
Arguments surrounding the same issues over and over
Turning around the partners concerns to blame them and block the conversation
A frustrated partner who doesn’t feel “heard”, listened to, understood
No closure – no apologies, no accountability, no consequences, no change
A partner who suffers the consequences of the narcissist’s repetitive pattern of poor / destructive choices
The bottom line to all these behaviors?
They Just Don’t Care.
This bears repeating.
They Just Don’t Care.
Narcissists are capable of inflicting physical and psychological harm on others and are unmoved by the plight of those they hurt.
If you are trying to analyze a narcissist’s behavior and hear yourself saying, “But they SHOULD…” STOP RIGHT THERE. Whether or not a narcissist “should” care, is irrelevant because it was built into them a very very long time ago, that they CAN’T CARE. They don’t have the built in capacity to care: they lack EMPATHY.
When we’re discussing the insidious subtext to a narcissist’s dangerous behavior, let’s remember that on the SURFACE, the narcissist is still pretending, charming, conning, manipulating, giving you some bones, – whatever behaviors work to get you to continue to stick around even though the narcissist doesn’t care and KNOWS THEY DON’T truly “care” will be the tools they use again and again to keep you around.
This is what narcissistic survivors go through. At every moment, there are two relationships occurring that is just out of the conscious awareness of targets:
The “pretend” relationship where the narcissist uses words not actions to convince you that what you have is a loving relationship, you’re on the same page, your future is looking bright….
IF you could stop being imperfect, and doing the things the narcissist is actually doing to prevent the relationship from working. (Translation: if you can just be the constant receptacle of the negative traits the narcissist discharges on you and never ask for anything for yourself and don’t question the twisted reality you live in, then things will work out and you’ll get a version of what you want: “their love” – however conditional it is; and it is) This smoke and mirrors relationship is the one where the “talk” is that the narcissist cares about you. It’s the reality we try to live in, because the other is just too painful to bear.
The other relationship is the REAL ONE:
the constant barrage of twisted head games, the layers and levels of abuse, the syphoning off of your soul and life force, the betrayals going on behind your back, the manipulation, the control, the shaming and blame, the threats, the word salads, the lies. This is the relationship that is evident in BEHAVIOR that the narcissist truly does not care. While we’re in it, we keep this reality at arm’s length.