Super Heroes and Narcissists

What do a Super Hero and a Narcissist have in common? 

They both hide their identity behind a mask and lead a double life,

They usually have a loyal side kick

They are both make believe

They both have super powers (well the narcissist likes to think he has super powers)

In any story involving a super hero; there is an equally evil villain and they both have super powers; the only difference between them is the super hero uses his `powers to do good and the villain uses his to do evil.

When you met the narcissist he was your super hero, and true to form for a super hero, he didn’t really exist. I used to follow a blog written by a young woman who called the new man in her life her superman. I remember seeing red flags throughout her posts and thought to myself, just wait; your superman is going to turn into the villain soon enough; and he did, as soon as she got pregnant. Guess who is a single mom, again, with teenagers and a baby, Superman is no where to be seen now.

So why is it so hard to tell the hero from the villain? How can good be so close to evil? Like they say, most genius’s are bordering on insanity, love is the closest thing to hate, a person can be so happy they cry, the most powerful emotions are so intense they can almost become their exact opposite. (This is just me trying to connect the dots, try to follow along, I am trying to make a point here, I may just be taking the scenic route getting there)

This is where it is going to get confusing because I am going to challenge your definition of empathy. Keep in mind this is just me throwing thoughts around.

First here is the Full Definition of empathy from Merriam/Webster Dictionary

  1. 1 :  the imaginative projection of a subjective state into an object so that the object appears to be infused with it

  2. 2 :  the action of understanding, being aware of, being sensitive to, and vicariously experiencing the feelings, thoughts, and experience of another of either the past or present without having the feelings, thoughts, and experience fully communicated in an objectively explicit manner

I think everyone here has at some point been told they are an “Empath” as if it is a bad thing, and the reason they were targeted by the Narc. What we all gather from the information we consume is;

Victim = Empathy ………. Narcissist = Lack of Empathy and the combination of the two equates to, empathy/feelings are bad, it is the victims fault and the victim is flawed.

But this creates a quandary for the victim because they have witnessed the narc exhibit empathy, when they first started dating the victim felt as if the narc was able to pick up on her every emotion, he knew her better than she knew herself. Even once his true colored showed he was still able to do something so totally sensitive and romantic there is no way he “guessed” at it.

For example; nearing the end of the relationship when the good times were extremely rare and short lived I was stranded yet again (you guess it, my truck was broken down) no money for the bus, no cell phone and called my ex from a phone booth in tears. He was amazingly compassionate and said he had to take a run out of town to fix a semi that was broken down and he would pick me up so I could ride along. I was relieved and hopeful we might actually enjoy a long drive together but then I thought of Kato at home alone without supper until God knows when. I had to put the thought out of my head, he would survive, I had no options for getting home. My ex told me where to meet him and I went to wait. As per usual he was taking a long time and I was getting frustrated, when I heard a semi honk behind me. When I turned around, there was my ex crouching down with a big smile on his face and he was holding Kato between his legs. Kato’s tail was going a million miles an hour. I doubt I ever loved my ex more. He knew how important Kato was to me. The situation provided him with a golden opportunity to ruin my night worrying about Kato. If he was a true narcissist why would he do something so thoughtful? If he was lacking in empathy how would he even know how I felt?

There were a handful of times my ex came through with something so thoughtful, so insightful, so totally me, it was impossible to believe he didn’t love me. I had never known anyone who knew me so completely and never known anyone who had the power to destroy me so completely.

I think one requires the other in order to destroy someone, you have to know them intimately, every like, dislike, insecurity, what makes them happy, what makes them angry, every skeleton in their closet and every dream, hope, desire and you have to make them trust you so they will share their most embarrassing secrets and secret fears that they barely admit to themselves, let alone anyone else. People are not going to bare their soul to someone who doesn’t care and empathy is not something a person can fake, can they?

I have heard it called “cold empathy”, calling someone empathetic doesn’t necessarily guarantee they are a caring, good person with honorable intentions, so don’t be fooled by someone who seems to be able to pick up on your every emotion and know how to sooth your troubled soul because they just might use their power to bring you down.

I think we are all born with the super power to pick up on other people’s feelings, what separates us from the evil narcissist is how we use our super power.

We do exactly what the narcissist does when we meet someone, only we are not as focused as the narcissist because our life does not depend on it like it does for the narc. But when we meet a new romantic interest we want to learn everything about them and we make mental notes of his likes and dislikes, we compile all the information he feeds us in order to form a picture of this person we just met, we all, after all, are the sum total of our life experiences, right? We assume the person is telling us the truth about themselves and the narcissist is especially believable because he is smart enough to pepper his past with some unflattering details, we think he is so honest he can’t even lie about the errors he has made. We know that we tell stories of our past in such a way as to make ourselves sound better, no one meets a new person and relieves all their flaws right from the get go, that doesn’t even make sense, so the narcissist must be telling the truth; and he looks and sounds so sorry, we totally miss the fact that the way he put it, it really wasn’t his fault; if the other woman hadn’t done this or that he would not have been forced to act so against his true character and he always adds he is sure it would never happen with us because after all we are nothing like his ex’s, we are special.

Later we will use the information we collect during those romantic all night discussions with the narcissist; we will remember his favorite drink so we can have it waiting for him after work, we will remember his size so when we see that blue shirt that matches his eyes perfectly, we buy it, we remember the hurts of his past so as to not inadvertently cause him pain, and so we know how to bring him joy and make him feel special. (like he makes us feel) This is normal! We will even change our interests, if he is into something we have never done we are willing to give it a try for him, right? I had never liked watching hockey on TV but I dated a guy who was nuts about hockey and for a period of time I really enjoyed hockey and never missed a game. After we split I never watched hockey again. I have never changed my whole personality in order to hook a man because I see no point in that, eventually your true self comes out and you are with a guy you have nothing in common with and I learned decades ago to never think you can change a man and what you see is what you get, so if you don’t like what you see keep right on walking.

The narcissist is collecting information on you also, in the beginning, in order to hook you and later to use as a weapon against you. YOU are being totally honest and he has been totally lying to you, so most of the info you have is bogus and you shared the most intimate details of your life with him. You are instantly at a disadvantage.

With the narc is, what you see is NOT what you get, but I digress.

Back to the empathy thing.

I believe the narcissist has a “type” of empathy, in fact he might be more empathetic or intuitive than you or I; it is what he DOES with his empathy super power. This takes us back to the question; what is imperative if you want to destroy someone? The ability to know them better than they know themselves and get them to let their guard down. The fastest way to do that is through…….empathy.

So if the narcissist has empathy how can he go around hurting people all the time? Because what he is lacking is a conscience/guilt, in other words, he knows he is hurting you, he just doesn’t give a fuck. No I lie, he does give a fuck because he wants you to hurt, it makes him feel powerful and superior. He has the super power to bring you to your knees using the exact same skill you use to do good.

He abuses you, and your empathy makes up all kinds of possible scenarios for his behavior. When he doesn’t give a shit, you just substitute what you would be feeling if it was you. A narcissist has no idea how guilt feels, he never loses sleep over hurting someone, he losing sleep trying to devise a plot TO hurt someone.  The narcissist operates from his ego, he may get extremely jealous and suspicious when you are totally loyal and faithful, all the while be screwing around with half a dozen women himself. I tried to relate to my ex by saying things like, “How would you feel if you found out I had a personal ad?” I related back to him how he had told me how much it hurt to find out his ex had been cheating on him. (but now I believe it was probably a lie) He was always obsessed about whether his women were screwing around on him, all the while he was seeing 3-4 of us and telling us all that he loved us ad we were the only woman in his life. He knew how it felt to be jealous, he just didn’t care, it was more important to him to satisfy his needs and without a conscience there is nothing to stop him.

Why bother? Why go to all that work? Because a common criminal will just walk into a bank with a gun and demand the teller hand over the cash. It doesn’t make him a narcissist, it makes him a criminal. When a narcissist commits a crime he isn’t doing it for the money as much as he is doing it for the ego boost of sucking the victim in. There is a much bigger ego payout when you can suck the victim into playing a part in their own demise. Now THAT is powerful and provides visual proof of the narcissist’s superiority to the mere humans he must co-exist with. The whole time he is playing you like a concert violinist he is congratulating himself on how intelligent he is. And how stupid you are. Haven’t you ever noticed that this seemingly highly intelligent man can be so stupid as to leave his laptop open with his email account on the screen, or leave a phone number where you can find it, a hotel receipt in his pants pocket when he never does the laundry and knows you will find it.

He is getting frustrated because you are not picking up the clues fast enough, you aren’t playing the game of cat and mouse so he has to drop some clues to get you playing the game.

For a narcissist it is all about the game, manipulating people to do his dirty work, it is a complicated plot where a dozen different moves made by a handful of people results in him getting what he wants. He will take advantage of an easy target but he feeds off of the manipulation, the gas lighting, the total destruction of his target and ……….. getting them to help in their destruction. Oh glorious narcissistic supply!!

I have read that narcissists actually hate sex, they only use it to hook the victim. To take it a step further I believe that in the beginning the narcissist is aroused by the simple fact that they are sucking in the victim, knowing what they have in store for the victim and the victim innocently mistaking his ardor for love.

The longer the relationship goes on the narcissist is building up an immunity to the supply he gets from the victim and he must ramp up the abuse. The closer he gets to the final discard, the end goal of this whole performance, the curtain is about to drop, all his plotting, conniving and scheming is about to pay off. He gets excited about how devastated the victim is going to be, he can visualize it, he has it all planned, how he will reveal the fact that he doesn’t love her, how he has found the “love of his life”, it’s building to a crescendo, just like that moment just before you orgasm. He holds himself back, wanting to let his load go but he knows if he can wait the orgasm will be so much better. He doesn’t need sex, he is getting something better.

The thing with empathy is, no one can know exactly how another person feels because they only know what they have experienced; something that brings them to their knees might not have the same effect on someone else. We, as empathetic people assume other people are feeling what we would be feeling. Personally I can not tolerate anyone or thing suffering, get almost ill to my stomach and it seems to be getting worse the older I get. I was at the vets today to get Stella’s stitches out (for those of you who don’t follow my FaceBook, Stella was spayed last week, that in itself was more traumatic for me than her I am sure) they brought out a female lab X, co-incidentally named Stella; she was struggling to walk and could barely keep her head up, then I noticed one of her front legs was missing. I fought back the tears and almost had to leave, or go to the owner and hug her, I kept thinking how I would feel if I had to decide whether to have Stella’s leg removed in order to save her life and I felt I should be doing something to comfort the dog, the owner, myself. In an attempt to figure how I would handle it I asked how old the dog was and the receptionist tod me 9 yrs old. Not that I could afford to have the surgery done but if I could I doubt I would go for it, I think I would choose to have her made as comfortable as possible and put her to sleep instead of making her last few years painful and make her have to adjust to For one thing I could never afford the surgery but I also knew it would kill me to watch her suffer. Then I asked myself, “would it be more selfish to keep her alive or to let her die peacefully? Who would I be deciding for? Her or me? The owner of the other Stella was totally stoic, I imagined she was breaking down deep inside, maybe she wasn’t, she obviously loved her dog but I have no right to assume I know how she feels.

Empathetic people have to ask themselves; are they assigning emotions they would be feeling to other people who quite possibly aren’t feeling anything close to that. That is the only draw back of being an Empath, having compassion for others is a good thing, the world needs empaths, having empathy is a powerful skill; imagine the world without empaths; they are the activists, the one’s who change laws, save children, run dog rescue shelters, care for the elderly, risk life and limb fighting fires, they run food banks, they are the voice of reason, the peace keepers. Don’t let anyone tell you that having empathy is a bad thing, unless you use the super power for evil and not good.

9 thoughts on “Super Heroes and Narcissists

  1. K Barnett

    I love your blog and it has helped me so much. I am finally divorcing my narcissist Ayer 29 yrs of marriage 31 yrs together. James was an asshole. I cannot believe what he put your through. My soo. To be ex was never mean. He was not right out mean to me. Maybe cause he was a preachers kid and raised in the church and continues to go to church. I’m glad to be without him. Again James was and is an asshole.
    I wish you the best! Keep writing it helps us all!


  2. Ellebelle2015

    After all that time I knew he was gathering information about me and was using it against me. At that time there were bells ringing in my head put I couldn’t point it out what it was.
    Three years ago I left my ex after a relationship of 30 years. I am on No Contact for two years.
    My kids are not his, and they have no contact with him for the last years. He wrote them a letter, saying how disappointed he was and all kinds of accusations. A couple of days ago,my son met him and my ex was telling him, how much he was missing my son and daughter. He almost cried. I don’t believe in a crying narc. I saw him crying while watching movies, but never when I was in pain or hurt by him. He was ice cold. I still can see his eyes without any emotion.
    He lives with a new wife and her kids in my house and then he is telling my son, he misses them.
    I told my son and daughter that if they would ever let him in their lives again I will break all contact with them. I don’t want that kind of evil person in what kind of way in my live. There is no other way.


  3. Dawn

    I am in 36 year marriage. Not long at I googled my husbands traits, yes he’s a narcissist. I had a plan & I was leaving 20th of May. I haven’t left. I’m stupid. About 2 months ago he thought I had a plan, I said I didn’t. He started being nice & I wondered how long it would take before he’d be normal, it wasn’t long. I had to buy some winter clothes (I hadn’t bought any in years) & sure enough, well I’m sure you know what happened but I’m still here. What’s wrong with me? One day he’ll kill me, I know it. One thing he doesn’t do is fuck around on me, I’ve always said if he did I would leave & I would leave. I’m positive he hasn’t, does that mean he’s not a narcissist? He has nearly all the traits except that 1 thing? He doesn’t fuck around.
    I have tried to leave so many times & I just can’t.
    I have a question, why won’t he leave, life with me is so bad but he doesn’t leave he doesn’t even talk about leaving.
    I have 1 friend & im pretty sure he’s a narcissist too, he’s nice to me but horrible to the women he goes out with.


    1. Carrie Reimer Post author

      Dawn, I too questioned whether James was a narcissist because I was positive he never cheated, and he didn’t for many years. It does not mean he is not a narcissist but does it matter what name you put on an abuser? Is it ok for him to be abusive as long as he doesn’t cheat?
      I used to also wonder why James didn’t leave if he was so unhappy. Because he is getting off on making your life hell, he can’t be happy and he knows it. Narcissists don’t “do” happy, they love conflict and drama as much as they will deny that and say you cause all the conflict.
      Narcissists can’t be happy, they can’t love, they are disabled, they are emotionally empty, except for their insatiable need to feel powerful they are empty. They get their need to feel powerful filled by feeding off of your soul, every time they can make you cry, get angry, hurt you, cause you any grief whatsoever, they get a shot of supply, they feel in control and powerful. He has the power to ruin your day, your week, your birthday, xmas, whenever he wants; he can give you joy and he can take it away in a few words, he has you living your life for him, every second of every day you are consumed with thoughts of him. That is having power!! for a narcissist that is all he needs. You must be a very strong woman to have lasted this long and still have something for him to feed off of. I only lasted 10 years and was a shell, I had no emotions left for him to feed off of, no anger, joy or sadness, just monotone, grey, dead….. a zombie. He needed to find someone with life in them and left me.
      The fact that you are still with him tells me you have the strength to leave him, you just have to take the leap of faith. It is hard after all these years but I know you can do it, you must believe there is life after the narcissist, it is a jump of faith but the clock is ticking, do you want this to be your life for the rest of your life?
      He will not ever leave you completely, even if he did leave and find another woman he will always pop back into your life just to make sure he still has control to pull you back in if he wants. Once you have been with a narcissist they feel you are theirs to use and abuse forever. |You are their possession.
      I suggest you contact a support group for abused women, your local shelter, they can direct you to counseling services that specialize in domestic abuse and help you formulate a plan you can stick to and the support you need to leave. In the meantime please download the safety plan at the top of the blog. It gives tips and pointers on staying safe while in, leaving and after you have left an abusive relationship.
      Leaving was the hardest thing I have ever done and I almost turned around so many times but I knew, like you know; he was going to kill me one day if I didn’t, either that or I would kill myself to end the pain and torture of living my life with him.
      We are here for you.


      1. Ellebelle2015

        Dawn, Carrie is right. You have to leave. I did it after 30 years. She is right to believe, you will manage it, because you stayed for such a long time, you are a very strong woman.
        Of course is leaving like hell. You will be devastated after you did it. I was for sure.
        And still having bad times, but the good times are longer and better. Because deep down I knew, that if I would have stayed, I would be dead. In one way or the other.
        The other day a good friend of mine said to me, that I deserved a medaille for leaving the basterd. It is better to leave yourself than waiting until he is leaving you. That’s too late.


  4. Angela

    Thankyou Carrie, your insights are spot on for me. I’m working through but it’s the toughest experience I’ve ever had to deal with. Bless you for your time and support xx


  5. sleeping tiger

    I love your thought process on empathy. I’ve been guilty of thinking I know how someone else feels/felt only to be informed or find out that I was wrong. I do wonder if there are people who can actually feel what another person is feeling, like the emotion is actually the other person’s feelings being infused to the empath, or if it’s just that we are able to know what it feels like for us and then just put what we’d feel on the other. I tend to think it’s the latter.

    Seeing a dog who just had a leg amputated would’ve gotten to me too. At the very least, my eyes would’ve probably welled up to see that. I would probably do it though…but then it would depend on the whole situation. Why did it need to be done, etc. That dog would be the most spoiled dog on the planet though too, after that…lol.


  6. Nick

    My mother’s narcissism is so extreme, I can’t tell if it an act or she is trying to show me (in a dramatic way) who self-centered people can be. I’ve recently started to directly challenge her actions and it has only made things worse. I am not without fault. I am blunt and to the point. I am empathic to many people, but I have lost my empathy towards her. She’s making it extremely difficult with refusing to communicate or meeting me in person. I’m fighting fire with fire and we are both getting burned. I hope she seeks medical help as I have (the drinking and yelling at me I’m sure is not the help she needs). I’ve since block all communication with her, to prevent myself from retaliating mainly, but also to shield myself. Thanks for listening.



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