Genuine empathy is the ability to feel ourselves deeply into another human being’s emotional state. In short, it is the capacity to put ourselves in another person’s shoes. We learn to be empathic as children, based on early loving parental relationships. There are exceptions. Some individuals are highly empathic, despite being treated with neglect and cruelty. These extraordinary people have transformed their psychological suffering and deprivation to get in touch with that part of themselves that is capable of caring deeply about others. To be truly empathic is one of the marvelous traits that makes us complete human beings. A life without empathy is shallow, inert, and lacks meaning.
The narcissist (especially high-level narcissists who are very successful in the world) is very adept
at fake empathy or what can be called pseudo empathy. The socially gifted narcissist is an expert at convincing others that he/she cares deeply about them. “Pseudo empathy is exquisitely designed by the narcissist to manipulate others so they will fulfill his narcissistic needs.”
The narcissist is always mentally circling his world to find ways that he can re-supply his narcissistic needs for money, power, adulation, praise, even veneration. He is looking for others who will fulfill his worldly goals. He seeks bright, motivated people to whom he can delegate most of the work and then turn around and take the credit for himself. In his personal life, the narcissist finds partners who enhance his image of perfection, self-entitlement, and ultimate power. These individuals are emotionally pliable and attracted to him.
The narcissist ensnares others by appealing to their narcissistic needs to be wanted, cared for, to feel valuable, attractive and powerful. When a narcissist is turning on the spigot of his well practiced fake empathy, the unsuspecting victim feels singled out as a very special person who is prized and indispensable (often for the first time in his life).
Many followers of the narcissist never wake up. They continue to be selfless servants, unable to separate themselves psychologically from him. Many of those who do become aware of the price they are paying (giving up their own lives) make the Faustian bargain and decide that the lifestyle and perks connected with being a part of the narcissist’s charmed circle and entourage are worth it.
Those who are ready to free themselves from the narcissist’s pseudo empathy and the powerful pull of his promises can free themselves through these steps:
1. Identify what the narcissist really wants from you (24/7 availability to work non-stop, sexual favors,
the highjacking of your creativity for his own venal purposes.
2. Practice positive self talk. Be kind with yourself. Recognize that your life has its own special meaning without the narcissist.
3. Count your special gifts. Write down how you will use them in this new life cycle.
4. Practice emotional independence, beginning with small steps.
5. Seek solid professional help (if necessary) in severing your relationship with the narcissist in your private or professional life.
6. Verbalize your appreciation to yourself for the courage, strength and action it take to remove yourself from the narcissist’s fake empathy, psychological snares, and tempting empty promises.