NPD's unable to have someone else's perspective

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Writingthepain

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NPD's unable to have someone else's perspective
« on: November 22, 2019, 06:57:11 AM »
Is it a feature of npd that they are unable to put themselves into someone else's shoes, to view things from another perspective?

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TwentyTwenty

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Re: NPD's unable to have someone else's perspective
« Reply #1 on: November 22, 2019, 09:45:53 AM »
Just my $.02:
To your point, anything that would lead to a chink in the narcissist’s armor, or that may even put their foot on the path that ‘they may be wrong’ is not tolerated and must be destroyed by them.

Asking them to consider a point of view that would weaken their authority and possibly usurp their own ‘right’ opinion is folly.

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Hazy111

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Re: NPD's unable to have someone else's perspective
« Reply #2 on: November 22, 2019, 12:45:58 PM »
 That question is the entire reason for this site. One of NPD core traits is a lack of real "empathy" for others. Its self obsession. If they had empathy they wouldnt inflict pain on others.

They may fake it, but this is generally to engineer an outcome that is favorable to them. Sometimes they can show a form of empathy if it doesnt impact on them negatively, or it shows them to be "good people". NPD people can be in the health profession  or in religious organisations. But here they are not really empathising but projecting. "Im in pain, youre in pain too, let me help you, it makes me feel better about myself"

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gettingstronger1

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Re: NPD's unable to have someone else's perspective
« Reply #3 on: November 22, 2019, 12:53:20 PM »
Yes, NPD's lack empathy or the ability to see things from other people's perspective. The only perspective that matters to them is their own.  When I tried to talk to my mother about problems, she was unwilling to see things from my perspective even though I listed concrete events that really happened.  She was unable to see my perspective that the things she did were hurtful.  I also believe that she didn't care that they were hurtful.

Besides personal experience, I went to the personality disorders section of our website and looked up the diagnostic criteria for NPD, and sure enough this is one of the diagnostic criteria for NPD.  It is criteria #7.  So yes you are absolutely correct in your observations that people with NPD are unable to have empathy or see things from another persons perspective.  So it is probably a good idea to keep that in mind the next time you see your family member who has NPD.  I have attached a link below with the diagnostic criteria for NPD.

https://outofthefog.website/personality-disorders-1/2015/12/6/narcissistic-personality-disorder-npd


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theonetoblame

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Re: NPD's unable to have someone else's perspective
« Reply #4 on: November 22, 2019, 05:00:48 PM »
This is an interesting topic for me.

What are peoples thoughts on the difference between empathy and 'mind reading' i.e. inferring an understanding of what a person is thinking?

Being able to form an understanding of the mental states of others seems central to even the most basic social functioning. With the NPD, would it be safe to conclude that they, for the most part, are capable of understanding what a person is thinking but that it stops there without going that extra step to identifying with what they are feeling?

Then there is this idea.... if an NPD can in fact interpret what a person is feeling is it possible that they maintain this awareness on a cognitive level without connecting to it emotionally? In this way an NPD could still be very high functioning in that they could navigate and manipulate people by understanding what they are thinking AND feeling without the burden of connecting emotionally. Honestly, the idea is bit terrifying, especially if they have a even a very small amount of psychopathy.
« Last Edit: November 22, 2019, 05:02:43 PM by theonetoblame »

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NumbLotus

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Re: NPD's unable to have someone else's perspective
« Reply #5 on: November 22, 2019, 08:39:18 PM »
I think what NPDs do (and psychopaths) is not empathy, but something else.

It's a "weakness radar."

It's not empathy because empathy would be a way of feeling someone's pain (or joy or whatever). That's different from seeing opportunities to exploit.

For example, a narc isn't going to think, "When I say that, it hurts his feelings." She'll think, "When I say that, he goes quiet." 

They don't think, "she is exasperated because I just broke my promise - again." It's "she's a b."

They read stuff but it's not empathy and it's not accurate - just useful to them.
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Poison Ivy

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Re: NPD's unable to have someone else's perspective
« Reply #6 on: November 23, 2019, 12:10:43 AM »
"if an NPD can in fact interpret what a person is feeling is it possible that they maintain this awareness on a cognitive level without connecting to it emotionally? "

I'm sure that many people with NPD do this. 

There also are people like my ex-husband. He can empathize in some situations (he cries like a baby when watching sad movies) but is really unskilled at reading and understanding people's emotions, so he comes off as lacking empathy, because he often doesn't realize how other people are feeling.

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11JB68

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Re: NPD's unable to have someone else's perspective
« Reply #7 on: November 23, 2019, 01:32:19 AM »
My h is closer to ocpd than npd, but I think he can see someone's feeling/opinion but truly does not care. He cannot see gray areas, everything is black and white, right or wrong. Hisway is right, anyone who disagrees with him or questions him is wrong

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Adrianna

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Re: NPD's unable to have someone else's perspective
« Reply #8 on: November 23, 2019, 08:49:03 AM »
This is an interesting topic for me.

What are peoples thoughts on the difference between empathy and 'mind reading' i.e. inferring an understanding of what a person is thinking?

Being able to form an understanding of the mental states of others seems central to even the most basic social functioning. With the NPD, would it be safe to conclude that they, for the most part, are capable of understanding what a person is thinking but that it stops there without going that extra step to identifying with what they are feeling?

Then there is this idea.... if an NPD can in fact interpret what a person is feeling is it possible that they maintain this awareness on a cognitive level without connecting to it emotionally? In this way an NPD could still be very high functioning in that they could navigate and manipulate people by understanding what they are thinking AND feeling without the burden of connecting emotionally. Honestly, the idea is bit terrifying, especially if they have a even a very small amount of psychopathy.

Yes I believe they can recognize how someone is feeling and use that to their advantage. I had a narc friend and I’m telling you he could read me like no one else, but he could NOT connect to my feelings. At all. It was bizarre.  I’ve seen this with other narcs too.

What’s happening is the narc has “cognitive” empathy but not emotional empathy. Psychopaths can have high levels of cognitive empathy too. There are no emotions involved, only a cognitive understanding of what the other person is experiencing. A detached observation.

They can see you’re upset, or sad, or on edge, but they don’t care why and will not be able to have compassion for you because they lack emotional empathy and can’t feel what you’re feeling.
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Seven

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Re: NPD's unable to have someone else's perspective
« Reply #9 on: November 23, 2019, 09:10:41 AM »
I think the mind reading can also be interpreted as having been trained to read passive-aggressiveness.

Example: uNPDm tells a Bro she’d like her desk back.  I have said desk.  So instead of Bro saying “well, you should call Seven and ask her to bring it” he reads this as a cue for him to take it on himself to call me and tell me when I have to bring it over (this is the actual incident that led her to say my DH “yelled” at her).

This is only a minor example, but we’ve been trained our whole life to interpret her “actual” meaning through her PA. Being able to do this doesn’t necessarily mean we are empathetic (which I am)

There were times when I thought my mother was an empath because all she wanted to do is for other people.  Come to find out, she only does it for attention and praise.  She needs to be validated (by everyone EXCEPT those she doesn’t like, ie her daughters)

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Hazy111

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Re: NPD's unable to have someone else's perspective
« Reply #10 on: November 23, 2019, 12:25:15 PM »
What’s happening is the narc has “cognitive” empathy but not emotional empathy. Psychopaths can have high levels of cognitive empathy too. There are no emotions involved, only a cognitive understanding of what the other person is experiencing. A detached observation.

They can see you’re upset, or sad, or on edge, but they don’t care why and will not be able to have compassion for you because they lack emotional empathy and can’t feel what you’re feeling.


 :yeahthat: Its a primitive response like a very young child or an animal like a cat. I always think if you  have a cat you can observe a narcissist. My mother would always complain that our cat only shows "cupboard love" , just prior to being fed she  would rub up against you, showing affection. They mind read as to what is good for them. Then soon as its fed its off out or finds somewhere to sleep.. It will show you affection cos it wants something from you, not because it loves you or even likes you . If our cat wasnt fed what it wanted it would play up leave the food and skulk off with a hiss . My Dad did the same (without a hiss). My mother never rarely experimented with our food, "he wont eat it" came the reply.

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11JB68

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Re: NPD's unable to have someone else's perspective
« Reply #11 on: November 24, 2019, 11:59:11 PM »
UOCPDH loved to read about communication and body language. He felt he had become a bit of a body language expert. But would use this against me in arguments, rather than using it for empathy or improved communication.

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hibiscus

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Re: NPD's unable to have someone else's perspective
« Reply #12 on: November 25, 2019, 05:12:50 PM »
Is it a feature of npd that they are unable to put themselves into someone else's shoes, to view things from another perspective?

There is an amazing book about this, titled "The Wizard of Oz and Other Narcissists".  It explains that a person with NPD is incapable of understanding that other people are the same as s/he is.  NPDs see other people the way they see their own arms and legs: as things to manipulate.  People are harder to control than their arms and legs, but they learn through experience that there are ways of getting them to obey their wishes.

I'm not a psychologist, and I don't have children, but I have read that everyone is narcissistic until the age of 8 (if I remember correctly).  Until that age, children don't understand that they are not the center of the universe and that other people have inner worlds just as they do.  People with NPD never outgrow this stage of emotional development.  This is why a person who has NPD is literally incapable of empathy, or of seeing things from another person's perspective.  As far as they're concerned, their perspective is literally the only perspective that exists.

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JustKathy

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Re: NPD's unable to have someone else's perspective
« Reply #13 on: November 25, 2019, 07:19:55 PM »
Interesting topic. Speaking from my own experiences, my Nmother was definitely aware of other peoples' suffering, but unlike a normal person who would empathize with the suffering, she would laugh at it. When she would see images on the news of homeless people, car accidents, starving children, she would crack jokes about it. To her, those people weren't real. Those news stories were entertainment, no different than a favorite sitcom.

Now, when it came to her, she was acutely aware of what emotional pain felt like and would do anything to avoid feeling it herself. If someone said something hurtful to her she would become enraged. She saw herself as being superior to other people and felt she didn't deserve it, but all those other people did, including me. When it came to me, she not only knew I was in emotional pain but went out of her way to keep me in that condition as a punishment for not being the child she wanted me to be. She continued to inflict pain on me as a way of manipulating me into being what she wanted. Not who she wanted but what she wanted. I was an object, not a real person.

So to the point Hibiscus was making, I think an N understands emotions, but only as they relate to themselves. Other people just aren't the same as they are.