Love, Family

The Real Reason Why Your Narcissist Husband Has Zero Compassion For You Or Your Kids

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Relationship With A Narcissist With Negative Personality Traits Like No Compassion

Many spouses say that their narcissist partner struggles with having compassion or empathy towards them and cannot take into consideration their emotional needs.

According to James Masterson in his book, A Therapist’s Guide to Personality Disorders: The Masterson Approach, those with a narcissistic personality and traits have a false grandiose self that acts perfectly to cover up the real-self that feels flawed for not being perfect. The defensive false-self attempts to win others over to obtain supplies in order to inflate the grandiosity

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Narcissism is the lack of emotional understanding of what others go through and instead feel criticized if someone brings attention to their behavior.

Any attempt to bring attention to their behavior causes the narcissist to turn it around and blame others for causing the problem. It is often easier to try to please them in order to avoid being attacked, which worsens the problem for the spouse.

Narcissists can avoid listening to their spouse when they feel injured or feel criticized, in order to protect their vulnerability and avoid getting hurt.

They cut off their feelings or become vindictive instead of taking responsibility for their problems. They cannot handle criticism or be called out on their behavior when they feel judged for not being perfect, so they devalue those who expose them.

When others confront the narcissist’s mistakes, he often attempts to prove that the other person is wrong in order to defeat them and win the argument. The partner often doubts themselves, often backing down by giving up on their thoughts, feelings, and opinions.

If you are married to a narcissist, or in a relationship with a narcissist, you need to know the real reason why they struggle with showing compassion and empathy — it's because they feel inadequate when they’re exposed as not perfect.

In order to protect themselves from feeling inadequate, they devalue others, leading to narcissistic abuse, even if they don't realize it.

This can occur when they’re not the priority and when others do not mirror their grandiosity. They feel critical towards themselves and are hard on themselves deep down and believe that others are being critical towards them.

So, they criticize and devalue the threat of narcissistic injury to protect themselves from feeling these harsh feelings within themselves. They project their feelings of inadequacy onto others and try to find things wrong with them.

Here are some examples of signs of a narcissist and how they struggle with compassion by the way they react to people around them.

  • His spouse wants compassion when her parent dies, but he sees her as a whiner.
  • His child hurts himself while playing sports, but the narcissist reprimands him because he didn’t win, instead of being attuned to the child’s feelings and expressing empathy for him.
  • He tells his child who is being bullied at school to toughen up and not be weak.
  • His wife raises issues in their marriage and he tells her to get over things and that she’s the problem, instead of discussing their issues as a couple and resolving them.
  • His wife has trust issues over his infidelity, so he tells her that she is the problem because she brought it up and that she was at fault. He has no empathy nor does he take responsibility for his part in the betrayal. He blames her for not having sex with him after the children were born.
  • To avoid being at fault, he will prove he is right, enforce his own views and pressure others to agree with him in order to feel important. Often, he expects others to do things his way without considering how others feel or seeing things from their perspective.

The remarkable thing is that the narcissist lacks insight into understanding the other person’s point of view and lacks empathy for how that person feels.

According to Margaret Mahler in her book, The Psychological Birth of the Human Infant: Symbiosis and Individuation, the narcissist is developmentally stuck in the practicing subphase in infantile dependency. Therefore, they suffer from a state of psychological one-mindedness, by thinking that others share the same mind has them, not seeing others as separate individuals.

Narcissists lack a separate sense of self, and therefore cannot understand other points of view. They expect others to be at one with them and on the same page as them. Therefore, trying to express your own point of view goes nowhere, until you come on the same page as them and hear their point of view.

It becomes all about how the narcissist feels because they feel immense pain when others do not share the same view.

Any time the narcissist is triggered to feeling inadequate, he reacts in a way to make himself feel better in order to avoid these vulnerable feelings underlying his real self. Hence, he avoids dealing with the problem.

To avoid feeling inadequate they quickly discharge these feelings and project them onto others so that they are blamed. He believes his partner is selfish for not meeting all of his needs and agreeing with his views, despite the fact that he cannot listen to her point of view.

Due to the injury of not being perfect, narcissists cannot tolerate hits to their self-esteem and will not be able to tolerate mild feedback or criticism because they feel it so harshly.

A narcissist lacks empathy and compassion for others because he is busy protecting himself from feeling inadequate and getting hurt.

The narcissist defends himself against feelings of inadequacy and vulnerability by proving that he’s always right, and he finds fault in others who expose him.

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If you confront their narcissistic behavior or expose them directly, they will have no empathy for what you’re saying. Instead, they will project their feelings onto you and insist that you’re wrong by gaslighting, devaluing and stonewalling.

Many are fearful to say anything that might wound the narcissist, to avoid dealing with the fragility. Narcissists avoid facing the up to the things they do wrong in order to avoid judgment, shame or humiliation.

Narcissists hide their hurt. Their partner will want an emotional connection, and the narcissist will feel criticized for not being able to be perfect for her, or not being able to tune into her emotional needs.

As a relationship therapist, the biggest complaint I hear is that the narcissistic partner has no empathy for her. When I observe these couples, I see how the wife of the narcissist tries to get through by pointing out what he is doing wrong, so that he can learn.

This tactic might work for others, but for narcissists, confronting their behavior will only cause them to not understand you at all. So they will have no compassion towards you until you respond differently.

How do you get a narcissist to listen and have compassion towards you?

The only way to learn how to deal with a narcissist partner is to break down their defensive walls so that they can actually hear you. You do this by acknowledging the pain of how he’s feeling and not reacting to their outbursts, by feeling what is actually behind it.

When you understand his hurt and vulnerability, by having compassion towards him, he can start to accept his real self, who feels flawed for being imperfect. When they feel that you can accept their real self, they do not need to defend against you but begin to hear you.

By attuning to the real vulnerable self underneath, and understanding the pain of not feeling perfect, he can feel less defensive and can open up to his spouse rather than being reactive.

When this is achieved, he can gradually have moments of compassion towards his spouse, as long as he does not feel judged or shamed for the problem. This does not mean the behavior is not addressed.

The only way to reach a narcissist is to acknowledge their pain, by understanding their underlying feelings. So, that he feels accepted for who he really is (a real self that is not perfect but is human and makes mistakes).

Once you communicate, by understanding their sensitivity, they can start to hear how you feel. However, this depends on the severity of the narcissism. When you gently unveil the mask, they are extremely fragile and vulnerable underneath and have no safe way to express this part of themselves.

RELATED: The Heartbreaking Reality Of Being Married To A Narcissist

Nancy Carbone is a relationship therapist who treats those with narcissistic personality traits. She works with couples when a partner is a narcissist and assists survivors of narcissistic abuse.