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Empathy for animals, not humans.

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Re: Empathy for animals, not humans.

Postby LifeSong » Tue May 11, 2010 3:20 am

Phoenixrising81704 wrote:The first time I actually got a reaction from my therapist was when I told her I felt closer to my dog than my son. I don't percieve animals to have ulterior motives, most people do.


I've heard this alot, actually. In therapy and outside therapy. I can see why your therapist would react and seize the opportunity with you.

There was a narcissist poster here some time ago who felt very little for his child, except that the child was a demanding, timegrabbing nuisance who impeded on the narcissist's freedom to do what he pleased when he pleased how he pleased.

Mothers of children with narcissist fathers can tell tale after tale of negligent or disinterested parenting by the narcissist.

Lack of empathy is always a factor in NPD; it is harder to fake empathy with a child as children are especially dependent and needful and demanding and the need is constant and seemingly never-ending... just the things that can drive an NPD person up the wall.

As to animals, I think that the fact that some narcissists relate better to animals than humans is due, in part, to similar reasons as others have said: animals are fairly self-sufficient, don't demand much, are readily grateful for even small tokens of attention, can be easily corraled or pinned up when they are a bother, etc. There is little real intimacy with an animal in the same way that a human might request or require intimacy. Intimacy is a thing that scares the hell out of narcissists, and seems outside the range of their abilities. Animals get by fairly well on limited attention; humans not only want and need attention but some healthier humans want and need intimacy and not just occasional bouts of attention.

My mother doted on her 3 Persian cats. All the best things for those cats. They had semi-precious jewel collars, and they even had their own room in the house, with their names on the door. She had little interest in her kids but immense odd interest in her cats. I found it even more interesting that she not only chose cats as the objection of whatever real affection she might have since cats are noted for being aloof – but that she chose Persian cats, not just for their status, I think, but also for the fact that Persian cat personality is known for being even more remote and standoffish than other cat breeds. She called these cats her ‘children’ and although it was partly a joke, I think she felt closer to these cats as her kids than she did to her real-life kids.
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Re: Empathy for animals, not humans.

Postby Normal? » Tue May 11, 2010 9:05 am

LifeSong wrote:As to animals, I think that the fact that some narcissists relate better to animals than humans is due, in part, to similar reasons as others have said: animals are fairly self-sufficient, don't demand much, are readily grateful for even small tokens of attention, can be easily corraled or pinned up when they are a bother, etc. There is little real intimacy with an animal in the same way that a human might request or require intimacy.


There is a flipside too to the relationship with pets. I think there is some comfort for a Narcissist in the knowledge that their dog or cat will never leave them:- that they can 'attach' without fear of abandonment. Although the requirement for intimacy is low the dependency of the animal is reassuring sometimes I think.

For an individual who has grown up believing that all relationships are underpinned by power (particularly the power to abandon or reject) it must be quite comforting to know your dog does not have that power. I
Last edited by Normal? on Sat Jun 26, 2010 9:57 am, edited 1 time in total.
This should have been a noble creature:
A goodly frame of glorious elements,
Had they been wisely mingled; as it is,
It is an awful chaos—light and darkness,
And mind and dust, and passions and pure thoughts,
Mix’d, and contending without end or order,
All dormant or destructive.
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Re: Empathy for animals, not humans.

Postby StupidPig » Wed May 12, 2010 10:36 am

I am a narcissist with NPD, and I used to like to "own" animals as a kid. However, I never liked to "care" for them.

Someone with NPD cares only for his image, or what the books call the "Glorified Self Image". Anything else other than his Glorified Self Image is considered an object to him (be it his mother, his children, his spouce, his boss, his car, his own body, or his pet snake or whatever) , and the value of such object will be defined only on basis of how much narcissistic supply it would give him. I.e. how much it enhances his Glorified Self Image.
So, if owning a dog (or a car or a pretty girlfriend) would make me look better, then I would enjoy it, but I would never do any effort to maintain the car, walk the dog, or be nice to the girlfriend, because, as someone with NPD, I have an exagerrated sense of entitlement. this means that I strongly belive that I "deserve" to have the objects that make me look good, and I do not need to do any effort to "keep" those objects.

A pet is no different from a spouce or a car or a friend or a watch or a parent to a Narc. It is just an object that gains value when it makes him look better or feel superior and loses value immidiatly if it doesn't give him such supply. Based on this, if your car does a 18/20 job in making you look better and feel superior, while your dog does a 10/20 at that job, and your spouce or son does a 5/20, then you would love your care more than your dog and your dog more than your family. But, if on the next day your son wins the world championship in swiming and tells the world on TV that you, his father, is the reason behind this victory, you would shift into loving your son more than your dog and your car, and if three days latter your son makes a fight with you because he wants the car, and the car gets dented in an accident, you will love your dog more than your car and your son, and so on.

In all cases, the narc will never do much to maintain those "objects" and will never really hold any of them dear to his heart because they are all just objects to him.

Only in the light of this should one talk a comparitive view at the different objects in a narc 's life and their different merrits and drawbacks. using myself as an example, the advantages and dissadvantages go as follows:

- Pet-objects: They are submissive ( do not need much effort to do as told) and not judgemental (and so do not pose a threat to the Narc's ego), but they do have several drawbacks, the most important of which is that they need feeding, cleaning, medical care, etc. Narcs hate objects that require lots of maintenance.
Another drawback concerning pet-objects is that they sometimes require "feelings" from you. Not as much as human-objects do of course, but it is still a nagging requirement.

- Human-objects : They can offer much more supply than a pet-object ( e.g. a woman-object who adores you gives more types and quantities of narcissistic supply than a dog) but the drawbacks are that human-objetcs require much more maintenance than other objects and are apt to judge you (and hence are a threat to the ego, or the glorified self image) and they need scary amounts of feelings in order to function properly and, worst of all, they might have "opinions" about your actions and would try to aplly measures that restrict your freedom. They are great objects but they come with a great price..in most cases, this makes them not worth the Narc's effort(in his twisted opinion of course).

-Inanimate objects (like watches, cars, computers, etc) : They do what they are expected to do, they are never judgemental, and they do not require any emotional input to function properly and they hardly limit your freedom in anyway.

Give me robots at work, at home and in bed and I'll be a very happy narcissist! ( oh, but please make them cheap, efficient, self maintaining and guranteed for life.)

But, once again, you are never really attached to any of those "things". You can, as a narc, always kick your dog away for a better looking and more submissive dog, and never regret it. You will never feel any remorse for having sex a billion times outside your marriage, and you will never remember how your old battered car which served you for 10 years looked like after the first week of driving your new BMW around.
A narc may have a preference for one of those posessions over the other for one day (cat over son, girlfriend over dog), but don't let that fool you, because it is only ephemeral and can very easily change on the next day.
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Re: Empathy for animals, not humans.

Postby Vice » Sat Dec 25, 2010 2:21 am

I feel something most like what others describe as empathy when I see a cat suffer. But I have been brought up with cats and have come to identify with them my whole life.

One thing that puzzles me lately is my attachment to my little parrot. My attachment to her is much greater than any other that I have. Maybe because she so obviously adores me. I am always terrified that something might happen to her.

Normal? wrote:There is a flipside too to the relationship with pets. I think there is some comfort for a Narcissist in the knowledge that their dog or cat will never leave them:- that they can 'attach' without fear of abandonment. Although the requirement for intimacy is low the dependency of the animal is reassuring sometimes I think.


I'm thinking this might begin to explain it.
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Re: Empathy for animals, not humans.

Postby Pathogen » Sat Dec 25, 2010 5:24 pm

There is a flipside too to the relationship with pets. I think there is some comfort for a Narcissist in the knowledge that their dog or cat will never leave them:- that they can 'attach' without fear of abandonment. Although the requirement for intimacy is low the dependency of the animal is reassuring sometimes I think


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Re: Empathy for animals, not humans.

Postby unreal » Tue Dec 28, 2010 3:15 am

I can kind of relate. I feel empathy for children (up to puberty) but not for adolescents and adults. No idea why, can anybody explain this to me?

Also pets don't do much for me, their supply somehow doesn't work. Cats are cool, but more like toys, too, not real supply sources.
What we are concerned with is narcissism in a pathological sense, with self-love that serves as a cloak for self-hatred. The polarities of self-hatred and self-love are linked together in the defensive system, but the nuclear problem is the self-hatred.
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Re: Empathy for animals, not humans.

Postby Mary24 » Sat Apr 16, 2011 11:11 pm

I just want to leave a message that narcissists do not feel empathy for animals. It's the typical narcissist trait that they will like/love someone if they're being supplied. However, don't trust a narcissist with animals. I've known narcissists who get companion animals and use them for a while but then they neglect or become abusive with them just as they do with humans. All the narcissists I knew with companion animals could have been charged with animal cruelty. (I was too young at the time to know what to do.) It's not safe to have a vulnerable creature with them because as soon as the companion animal isn't seen as being what the narcissist expected or becomes too much trouble by needing care due to an illness or something, then typical N traits will be exhibited. Now there are a lot of people who truly care about animals and these people are not narcissists. I wouldn't want that to become a stereotype.
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Re: Empathy for animals, not humans.

Postby donniedarko... » Sat Apr 16, 2011 11:52 pm

Idk about that, I've seen her say how much she loved the animal. Then hit it and yell at it, start crying say she was sorry to the dog. Yet she's proud vegan, thinks huntings wrong. Lol try bringing up the fact about population control and how it actually helps them, nope. Scary $#%^.
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Re: Empathy for animals, not humans.

Postby angelina3 » Sun Apr 17, 2011 12:25 am

I'm not sure how these theories fit the OP or this: when it comes to strangers, which has nothing to do with demandingness or intimacy, etc - I feel empathy - or something like it - when I hear of animals suffering, but little or nothing when I hear of humans suffering. I don't know what this means, except that some kind of empathy circuits are actually working in my head, but for whatever reason it only kicks in for animals. Otherwise I'd think I just didn't have the capacity to feel that emotion.
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Re: Empathy for animals, not humans.

Postby donniedarko... » Sun Apr 17, 2011 12:42 am

Don't forget, humans are the worst animals of all.
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