The Lack of Empathy Associated with Narcissistic Abuse
by: Todd Doyle, International Author of Healing the Shattered: Surviving Narcissistic Abuse
Lack of empathy is a key characteristic of narcissistic individuals, and it can have serious and long-lasting effects on the victim in the context of narcissistic abuse. Empathy is the ability to understand and share the feelings of others, and it is an important part of healthy relationships. However, narcissistic individuals are often characterized by their lack of empathy, as they are more focused on their own needs and desires and are less able to understand and care about the feelings of others.
In the context of narcissistic abuse, the lack of empathy can be especially harmful, as it allows the abuser to manipulate and exploit the victim without regard for their feelings or well-being. The victim may feel disregarded, unheard, and invisible, and they may struggle to get their needs met or to feel emotionally connected to the abuser.
Some common ways in which a lack of empathy can manifest in the context of narcissistic abuse include:
Lack of emotional connection: The abuser may be emotionally distant and unavailable, or they may show little interest in the victim’s feelings and experiences. The victim may feel like they are not truly seen or understood by the abuser, and they may struggle to feel emotionally connected to them.
Lack of remorse or guilt: The abuser may not feel remorse or guilt for their actions, even when they have hurt or mistreated the victim. The victim may feel like the abuser is incapable of understanding or caring about the impact of their actions on others.
Inability to validate or acknowledge the victim’s feelings: The abuser may dismiss or invalidate the victim’s feelings, suggesting that they are overly sensitive or that their feelings are not valid. The victim may feel like their feelings and experiences are not recognized or respected by the abuser.
Use of emotional manipulation: The abuser may use emotional manipulation to get what they want, without regard for the victim’s feelings or well-being. The victim may feel used and exploited, and they may struggle to feel emotionally connected to the abuser.
The effects of a lack of empathy can be serious and long-lasting, including:
Low self-esteem and self-worth
Difficulty trusting your own perceptions and thoughts
Difficulty setting boundaries or asserting yourself
A constant need for approval and validation
If you’ve experienced a lack of empathy from a narcissist then it’s important that you know and understand it’s not your fault. The narcissist is capable of weaponizing your empathy against you. Know that you are loved and you matter. Know that you have worth and value. It’s important for your own healing.