When the Narcissist Seems to Be Compassionate ; False Empathy of an Abuser

people with no empathy

One of the things that first misleads us at the beginning of a relationship with a narcissist is their ability to appear compassionate. I was recently asked by one of my readers how we can tell real compassion from false compassion.

This was such a good question that I decided to share with you what I responded to her.

One of the best videos to start with, in order to understand this somewhat complicated subject is this one by Self Care Haven. She explains how and why abusers show you compassion and seem to be caring at the beginning of the relationship.

Click on the video title to watch this video by Self Care Haven   Narcissists: Five Powerful Ways Narcissistic Abusers Get Inside Your Head

People with Malignant Narcissistic Personality Disorder have what is referred to as Cold Empathy. This is the ability to listen to what you say and repeat it back to you. If they have need to use you for their narcissistic supply and the feel that they have to show you compassion in order to get you to trust them, then they will implement this cold empathy ability.

They are able to hear you describe a situation that is bothering you, then repeat back what you said and even offer some logical advice to you. They have no feeling of empathy about your pain, only an academic rational ability to understand what your problem is.

This a very good video for understanding the Cold Empathy technique of an abusive person with Narcissistic Personality Disorder. I recommend watching this one, if you are interested in how abusers can seem to have compassion for you, when they actually are showing you false compassion and empathy.

Click on this video title to watch this video by Sam Vaknin,  Arrested Empathy Instinctual, Emotional Cognitive, and Cold Empathy

My ex actually used to say to me “I have compassion for you.” Then in the same breath he would demand that I stay up until 3 am doing work for him, even though I told him I had to work the next day.

Narcissists can say they have compassion for you. They can describe your situation back to you so that you feel like they heard you and you assume that they care…otherwise why would they listen to you.

It is difficult to tell in the beginning of a new relationship if someone is pretending to care about you, or if they really care about you. You can see a list of red flags in these posts.



Here is a video about being able to identify red flags of an abusive personality.

Click on the title to watch this video by Sam Vaknin called   Warning Signs of an Abuser

They are very good at seeming normal and blending in for a period of time, at the beginning of the relationship. Just long enough to get you hooked . Then the abuse will start to filter in gradually with criticisms, demeaning comments, broken promises, and manipulation and control.
narc abuse red flags

One red flag is if they want to control where you go and who you spend time with, becoming jealous and angry when you do things without asking them first. You will not be allowed to have free will to make your own choices about where you go, what you wear, what you spend your time doing etc.

If you developed People pleaser Syndrome or have C-PTSD from mental or other abuse during childhood, then you are more likely than other people to be targeted by an abusive personality. Here is a link to the post I wrote about People Pleaser Syndrome.


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