Tuesday, December 05, 2006

No Empathy

"A hurtful act is the transference to others of the degradation which we bear in ourselves." - Simone Weil

You are not a person to a narcissist. Therefore you will never experience empathy from them. Your pain is invisible or, if pointed out, is of no consequence. If you cry, "You don't understand" that is true. Relating to, support of, caring what you experience and understanding what you are going through is not available in a relationship with a narcissist. You walk alone.

Watching a narcissist ingratiate himself to those he wants to please and from whom he wants admiration, you becomes an observer of the morphing from one persona to another. When I see the calm demeanor, the charming pleaser, the one who "could not possibly ever rage", I am reminded of why dealing with a narcissist has been called living a war that never ends.

Finding out that someone you love has no understanding of others feelings and pain can hit like a ton of bricks. Every awakening experienced seems like the worst. "I never felt your pain." is how my husband showed me his narcissism. I had just finished telling him how I had always felt his pain and used that as an excuse for his behavior ("oh, he suffered so much, I'll let that go, I won't challenge him, he's had enough").

People wonder what is wrong with those that marry, live and stay with a narcissist. There is nothing wrong, except their fear of the Pandora Box Effect. If you challenge the status quo, find your voice, and let people know what living with this person is really like, you unleash enormous rage .

Disengaging from a narcissist is having a strength that wasn't there before. It is the strength to look at those who can not see your pain and not despair of their less than normal reaction. During a marriage you may not be fully cognizant of the situation. Emotional distancing and lack of questions about you or desire to know how you feel or to discuss problems is not normal. Living with a narcissist means never having to say, "I exist." It means acting as if you are sorry all the air isn't available for them. It's a rotten way to live. But we don't have to stay there once we know what we are dealing with.

Words have power. Name the illness and it loses some of its power. With a narcissist that isn't as easy as with other situations. He will not care that you have been hurt or damaged by him, he will not care that you are in pain or even dying. He will stop at nothing to hurt you if you go against him.

A man who cares will not scream: "I'd rather pay the IRS than child support." But this same man will NEVER let anyone else see this side of him. he must keep the public face in a public place, at any cost.

A narcissists lawyer! Now there's a nightmare if he picks a narcissist. My husband's lawyer asked him: "Do you want me to hit her over the head with a 2x4?" When he was told my husband would rather pay the IRS than child support, he laughed in my face and said: "Well, there's your answer, Ann." I'm not sure what the question was, but does it matter?

They too do not care - certainly not about the damage they create in the family. Mothers try and hold the family together, lawyers pull them apart. The pain of mother and child is collateral damage. This mother will not let this go unsaid: if lawyer's were held accountable for what damage they create, the courts would be overflowing. If mothers and children could sue - and who ever hears of the disenfranchised and disempowered and disrespected suing - then they would be in court all the time to receive justice. But justice doesn't exist with a narcissist and his narcissistic lawyer. Annihilation, winning at any cost, damage control, but never justice.

Ann Bradley