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The Narcissist's Fake Empathy

Posted Dec 07 2009 10:57pm

The seeds of empathy are planted and come to flower throughout a child's life. They begin with a parent's deep love for his child and a consistent demonstration of this profound attachment. Empathy is the capacity to be fully attuned to the feelings of another human being, to put ourselves in someone else's place.  When we are empathic, we leave the "I" part of ourselves and move into the "you" psychological space with them. We understand and have deep concern for the other person's feelings and experience. Being empathic is one of the essential qualities that makes us fully human.

The narcissist is incapable of empathy. His/her focus is always on himself. He is completely self-absorbed. He has no idea of what another human being is experiencing inside, nor does he care. He is motivated solely by having his ego needs and desires fulfilled, obtaining power and exercising control over others to attain his goals at any cost. Some narcissists who are successful business and social high flyers can appear to be very empathic. They know just how to act and what to say at the right time. This is a well rehearsed act on the part of the narcissist. He employs a skillful fake empathy to persuade and impress those whom he needs to manipulate and exploit. He or she is likely to demonstrate convincing "empathy" with those who will provide him with assistance on his upward climb to power, wealth and influence. Once the narcissist has gotten what he came for, the curtain comes down, the scenery is pulled and the thin veneer of his fake empathy has evaporated into thin air. Learn more about the narcissist's psychological makeup and how to successfully deal with these individuals. Visit my website:

Linda Martinez-Lewi, Ph.D.

Telephone Consultation


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