The Anti-thesis of an Empath

Copyrighted by Lorna Tedder. Originally published in Third Degree Below.

Something AngelSu pointed out to me a while back…. Not all people who are engaged in Devil’s Play do it be- cause they’re  intentionally  manipulative  or  intentionally malevolent.

Attract Him Back

Sometimes it’s just who they are. You can forgive that or you can keep your distance. In most cases, it’s just not going to change and it’s easier when you realize that it’ll always be that way.

I’ve been thinking for the past few days about narcissists  I’ve  known.  Real,  honest-to-Gods,  clinically  diagnosed narcissists.  Not  merely people we think are conceited and we want to call them names. No, I mean people who exhibit all or most of the symptoms of Narcissistic Personality Disorder.

That’s not  the  same  as having  good  self-esteem  or dealing with your own issues. Most of the people I meet have huge self-worth problems that are buried in depression,  isolation,  inability  to  get  themselves  unstuck  and claim their lives. That seems to be pretty  normal in to- day’s world where no one ever “measures up.” Or if not overtly dealing with low self-worth, they mask it behind a cold or confident facade, convincing but they themselves don’t really believe it. I saw this  today with a big-name writer who spends her life in the muck of unworthiness and yet, to her fans, she’s smugly the queen of the world. But her  self-loathing  is  deadly.  She’s  one  of  the  most negative people I know.

Yeah,  these  people  with   self-esteem issues  are “normal.” Or at least, I think, they’re the “average per-son.”

Narcissists are anything but average. I’ve been around a few in the past and they are some of the most fun people I’ve ever met…at least  early on. Every narcissist I’ve met has been extremely charismatic (though most charismatic people  I  know  are not  narcissists).  When  you’re with them,  you feel like you’re  the only person  in the room. But that doesn’t last. They tend to flit  from relationship to relationship,  looking to maintain the thrill of “new relationship energy” or “first love” and always looking for  something—someone—better than the last. One actually told me that every new woman he dated was better than the last…and  since I went  out with him many, many years ago and he’s just described his newest  psychotic girlfriend, I can’t begin to know how to take that statement and he doesn’t realize he might have offended me.

There are several traits that the American  Psychiatric Association  describes, including their grandiose sense of self-importance;  preoccupation with fantasies  of unlimited success, power, beauty, etc; believing they are special and can only be understood by other high-status people; the need for excessive admiration; a sense of entitlement and  unreasonable  expectations  of compliance;  takes ad- vantage  of  others;  lacks  empathy;  jealous  of  others  or thinks they’re  all jealous  of  him/her;  arrogant/haughty behaviors and attitudes.

A healthy person will have some of those to some degree. They’ll  expect to be treated fairly. They’ll envision future success.  They’ll  recognize  their own worth.  This goes far beyond a normal person with a healthy sense of self-worth.

Given that I’m an empath and a Highly Sensitive Per- son (HSP), the trait that bothers me the most is the lack of empathy. Narcissists have no heart. They cannot walk a mile in your shoes because they absolutely don’t under- stand your shoes…unless  they’re  very classy,  costly, de- signer shoes that only people as special as they are would wear.   Whereas  empaths  are  too connected  with  every- thing around them,  there’s a sort of disconnection  that narcissists have with the rest of the Universe.  They can- not understand  what you’re going through or how badly their cruelty hurts or how their demands  that you look/ act/dress like them and be their perfect little reflection of them can make you absolutely  insane. And if you try to reason with them, they won’t understand.  If you try to show them the effects of their actions, they won’t under- stand. Their behavior,  their lack of boundaries will only get  worse  and  they’ll  overstep  those  boundaries  in  as much of a blazing flourish as they can.

A diagnosed narcissist  who was once a colleague of mine told me  that he was at least 7 years old before he understood  that  there  were  other  people  in  the  world with feelings, too. Until then, he’d honestly  thought he was the center of the world. In true narcissistic fashion, he would deny now that he ever said that, but it startled me at the time and I couldn’t understand it, though I didn’t know why then. I know him better now, and he still thinks he’s the center of the world and still puts  people on a shelf until he needs them, and is angry if they’re not thrilled to be back in his glorious presence. We get along quite well at a distance but we cannot work together. He says too many things that are utterly cruel that he doesn’t even realize are cruel because he just has no concept of how other people feel or of how to empathize with other human beings.

From an empath’s viewpoint, feeling the emotions of a narcissist is…un-grounding  in a big way. Their disconnectedness seems to be the polar opposite of everything an empath knows.