When a narcissist sees you cry you won’t get any sympathy from them.
Who Is The Narcissist?
A narcissist is someone who didn’t develop a healthy sense of self-esteem at a critical age.
Whether the fault of their caregivers who didn’t provide “empathetic attunement” to their child or the result of traumatic stress later in life, the narcissist has developed a False Self as a coping mechanism.
The narcissist would do anything to hide their True Self and maintain their False Self, including constantly seeking validation and admiration, putting others down so they could feel better about themselves, and so on.
How To Spot A Narcissist Early?
It is important to be aware of potential red flags when it comes to identifying a narcissist early on. Here are a few signs that may indicate someone is a narcissist:
1. They constantly talk about themselves and their achievements, but show little interest in others.
2. They lack empathy and are unable to recognize or understand the feelings of others.
3. They have an exaggerated sense of entitlement and believe they deserve special treatment or privileges.
4. They often manipulate and exploit others for their own gain.
5. They have a need for constant admiration and attention.
6. They may have a grandiose sense of self-importance.
7. They have difficulty handling criticism or feedback and may become defensive or hostile.
If you observe these traits consistently within an individual, it may be an indication of narcissistic behavior.
However, it’s important to remember that not everyone who displays these traits is necessarily a narcissist, and a professional diagnosis should always be sought from a mental health expert.
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When A Narcissist Sees You Cry: Top 13 Reactions
Because of their lack of empathy, the narcissist is unlikely to feel or show kindness and compassion.
1. False Empathy
Although the narcissist lacks empathy, they can still offer a false one, especially at the beginning of the relationship where they’re trying to seduce you.
If the narcissist is the one who caused your tears, they may offer false empathy to manipulate you into thinking that they can rescue you and end your pain, which further strengthens the trauma bond.
2. Fake Apology
A genuine apology requires facing one’s actions and feeling remorseful.
This is unlikely to happen with a narcissist. They wound do everything they can to avoid facing their actions or emotions, including blaming the world for their own mistakes.
The narcissist may offer a fake apology to appease you, but they’re never remorseful and no real change is likely to happen.
3. Asking You To Stop
Some narcissists may calmly respond to your tears and simply ask you not to cry.
They may say that to try to act compassionate and make you believe that they’re comforting you.
But truth is, it’s about how your tears are making them uncomfortable.
They may feel anxious, slightly guilty, angry, disgusted – whatever emotion they’re experiencing, they’re uncomfortable and want it to stop.
Your emotions are an inconvenience for narcissists.
You can expect the narcissist to feel anger because you put them in such a situation where they have to face their emotions (or lack thereof).
Your tears also put the spotlight on you, which is unacceptable for a narcissist.
Another reason your tears may anger the narcissist is the fact that they may feel controlled by your tears. After all, they often use their own tears to manipulate and control others.
Feeling uncomfortable around displaying genuine emotions, the narcissist may view it as “wrong” and criticize you when you do it.
They may say something like, “Are you crying over THIS!” or, “This is embarrassing!”
This is especially the case when they’re the source of your tears.
Narcissists seek control and power and making you cry is a validation of how much power they have over you.
This makes them feel incredibly significant and important.
Some narcissists can get aroused from causing you pain and seeing you cry.
You may be familiar with this if you’ve had a huge argument with the narcissist in the past that led to having passionate makeup sex with them.
It’s a punishing and rewarding behavior that further strengthens the trauma bond with the narcissist, keeping you stuck in the relationship.
8. Laughing At You
This is one of the most triggering reactions.
Narcissists, especially those who like to put people down by making fun of them, will laugh at the sight of your tears.
They don’t how else to respond to emotions.
9. Pretending Nothing Happened
Not knowing how to comfort someone who is crying, the narcissist may pretend nothing happened and carry the conversation.
Although they can notice the obvious shift in emotion, they don’t acknowledge or address it. It’s as if you didn’t cry or didn’t exist at all.
Narcissism is a coping mechanism. It’s a mask that hides the narcissist’s true Self, even from them.
The narcissist won’t allow themselves to be vulnerable and experience deep emotional pain.
That is, even when they make a mistake, they won’t admit to it and they’ll try to find excuses or people to blame.
It’s only natural that when you confront the narcissist about something they did or said that caused you to cry, they’re unlikely to admit to it or show remorse.
Instead, they’ll shift the blame onto you and come up with excuses to rationalize their behavior.
Lacking empathy and the ability to put themselves in your shoes, your tears won’t make sense to the narcissist and they’re likely to downplay your experience.
This makes you drop whatever is upsetting you and believe that your experience is not important.
They may say something like, “You’re too sensitive,” or, “Here we go again, cry over nothing.”
Gaslighting is when someone makes you doubt your reality and question your own judgment.
The narcissist is likely to use gaslighting to change your storyline and make you believe that there’s nothing to be upset about. That it’s all in your head.
They may deny things they did or sad, they may counter your memory of what happened, and they may also change the subject entirely.
13. Silent Treatment
The narcissist often uses silent treatment as a form of punishment.
Although you may be the victim here, they’ll find something to blame you and punish you for, if only the inconvenience your tears have caused them.
Do Narcissists Feel Remorse?
Narcissists often struggle to feel genuine remorse or empathy for others because their primary focus is on their own needs and desires.
They may be able to acknowledge that their actions have hurt others, but they are often more concerned with how this affects their own image or reputation.
Narcissists may also justify their behavior as being necessary or justified in some way, further inhibiting their ability to feel true remorse.
However, it’s important to note that not all individuals with narcissistic traits or a diagnosis of Narcissistic Personality Disorder will exhibit the same behaviors or characteristics.
How to Deal with a Narcissist’s Lack of Empathy?
Dealing with a narcissist’s lack of empathy can be challenging and emotionally draining. Here are some strategies that may help you navigate this difficult situation:
1. Manage expectations
Recognize that expecting empathy from a narcissist is often unrealistic.
Understand that their lack of empathy is a core characteristic of their personality disorder, and it is unlikely to change.
2. Avoid engaging in emotional debates
Narcissists may thrive on argumentative and manipulative interactions.
Refrain from getting drawn into emotional debates or trying to make them understand or empathize with your perspective.
Instead, choose to disengage or redirect conversations to more neutral topics.
3. Practice empathy towards yourself
Instead of seeking empathy from the narcissist, learn to be kind and compassionate toward yourself.
Practice self-compassion and remind yourself that their lack of empathy is not a reflection of your worth or value as a person.
4. Focus on self-care
Prioritize your own emotional well-being by engaging in self-care activities.
This can include practicing relaxation techniques, participating in hobbies you enjoy, seeking therapy or counseling, or connecting with supportive friends and family members who can provide validation and understanding.
5. Set boundaries
Clearly establish and communicate your boundaries with the narcissist.
Be assertive in expressing what behaviors are unacceptable to you and follow through with consequences if those boundaries are violated.
It is important to protect yourself and your emotional health.
6. Seek support
Reach out to trusted friends, family, or support groups who can offer guidance and understanding. Sharing your experiences and feelings with others who have dealt with similar situations can provide validation and help alleviate feelings of isolation.
Remember, it is crucial to prioritize your well-being and safety in any interaction with a narcissist.
If you find yourself in an abusive or unsafe situation, reach out to local authorities or professionals for assistance.
- Narcissism study sheds new light on the relationship between grandiose and vulnerable subtypes (psypost.org)
- Study shows Narcissistic Personality Disorder may have a biological component – UChicago Medicine
- Narcissistic personality disorder – Symptoms and causes – Mayo Clinic
- Frontiers | The Higher the Score, the Darker the Core: The Nonlinear Association Between Grandiose and Vulnerable Narcissism | Psychology (frontiersin.org)
- (PDF) Narcissistic Personality Disorder: Impact on Relationships (researchgate.net)
- Mediation effect of narcissism on the relationship between empathy and the quality of interpersonal relationships – ScienceDirect
- Narcissism: 5 Signs to Help You Spot Narcissistic Behavior (webmd.com)
Hadiah is a counselor who is passionate about supporting individuals on their journey towards mental well-being. Hadiah not only writes insightful articles on various mental health topics but also creates engaging and practical mental health worksheets.
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