Author Topic: Self-declared "empaths" and narcissism  (Read 845 times)

Mesozoic Mister Nigel

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Self-declared "empaths" and narcissism
« on: October 30, 2016, 03:34:51 pm »
Years ago, I stumbled across an article I've never been able to find again, about research in which people who declare themselves "empaths" tend to score low on the ability to correctly asses other people's emotional states and high on measures for self-interest; in other words, they tend to be less empathetic and more narcissistic than people who do not consider themselves "empaths", or able to read and feel other people's emotions. This jives well with my own observation that self-declared "empaths" are almost always malignant narcissists who seek attention and recognition. Unfortunately, it has taken me forever to find that article since, as the internet is so flooded by self-aggrandizing little articles and blog posts by "empaths" talking about what a terrible drain narcissists are on them.

However, in my searches I found this:

http://www.ipearlab.org/media/publications/Konrath_Corneille_Bushman_Luminet_2013.pdf

The tl;dr is that, unsurprisingly, most research shows that narcissists typically score low in empathy, but there is one exception; they tend to score high in empathy when it is linked to self-interest; if they are in an exploitative mindset or overall score high in the exploitative dimension of narcissism, they also tend to excel at correctly reading other people's emotional states.

To my delight, in the references of this paper I found the older one I was looking for:

http://www.columbia.edu/~da358/publications/ames_kammrath_mindreading.pdf

Along with the Konrath paper, it definitely lends support for the idea that people who consider themselves "empaths" are more likely to be malignant, exploitative narcissists who tune in to other people's emotions when they might be able to take advantage of them, but are otherwise very disconnected from other people's emotional realities.

« Last Edit: October 30, 2016, 03:41:09 pm by Mesozoic Mister Nigel »
“I’m guessing it was January 2007, a meeting in Bethesda, we got a bag of bees and just started smashing them on the desk,” Charles Wick said. “It was very complicated.”


The Wizard Joseph

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Re: Self-declared "empaths" and narcissism
« Reply #1 on: October 30, 2016, 04:14:59 pm »
I got to go to work soon, but I'm going to read the articles as soon as I can. I suspect that the difference is in how a person reacts to such input as it stands before reading what you've found. The labels "empath" vs "narcissist" may represent a false dichotomy; one being a capacity or talent and the other a malicious nature common to humans. Certainly not all narcissistic minds are also talented at reading emotions(thank God!), but the ones that can certainly WILL exploit them as they see fit in order to support their ego.
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Pergamos

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Re: Self-declared "empaths" and narcissism
« Reply #2 on: October 30, 2016, 05:31:16 pm »
Prety sure what Nigel is saying is not that narcissists are all empaths, but that senf described empaths are all narcissists.

Faust

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Re: Self-declared "empaths" and narcissism
« Reply #3 on: October 30, 2016, 05:59:18 pm »
I'm not sure if it is healthy but I get a smug sense of satisfaction when stuff like this that I assume, turns out to be verifiable.

The Wizard Joseph

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Re: Self-declared "empaths" and narcissism
« Reply #4 on: October 30, 2016, 09:51:13 pm »
I've seen articles declaring narcissistic behavior to be a "leadership attribute" that made me want to vomit almost as much as "pickup artists" do.

That said time to read the things here.
You can't get out backward.  You have to go forward to go back.. better press on! - Willie Wonka, PBUH

Life can be seen as a game with no reset button, no extra lives, and if the power goes out there is no restarting.  If that's all you see life as you are not long for this world, and never will get it.

"Ayn Rand never swung a hammer in her life and had serious dominance issues" - The Fountainhead

"World domination is such an ugly phrase. I prefer to call it world optimisation."
 - Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality :lulz:

Mesozoic Mister Nigel

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Re: Self-declared "empaths" and narcissism
« Reply #5 on: October 31, 2016, 12:14:54 am »
I'm not sure if it is healthy but I get a smug sense of satisfaction when stuff like this that I assume, turns out to be verifiable.

Well, if it's not healthy at least now I know I'm in good company, because I do as well. It feels like internally rubbing my hands in glee.
“I’m guessing it was January 2007, a meeting in Bethesda, we got a bag of bees and just started smashing them on the desk,” Charles Wick said. “It was very complicated.”


Mesozoic Mister Nigel

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Re: Self-declared "empaths" and narcissism
« Reply #6 on: October 31, 2016, 12:16:23 am »
Prety sure what Nigel is saying is not that narcissists are all empaths, but that senf described empaths are all narcissists.

Yes, this, although the research so far also supports the probability that narcissists often have situationally heightened skills of empathy, when it assists them in taking advantage of someone.
“I’m guessing it was January 2007, a meeting in Bethesda, we got a bag of bees and just started smashing them on the desk,” Charles Wick said. “It was very complicated.”


Mesozoic Mister Nigel

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Re: Self-declared "empaths" and narcissism
« Reply #7 on: October 31, 2016, 12:22:54 am »
I got to go to work soon, but I'm going to read the articles as soon as I can. I suspect that the difference is in how a person reacts to such input as it stands before reading what you've found. The labels "empath" vs "narcissist" may represent a false dichotomy; one being a capacity or talent and the other a malicious nature common to humans. Certainly not all narcissistic minds are also talented at reading emotions(thank God!), but the ones that can certainly WILL exploit them as they see fit in order to support their ego.

What you say about false dichotomy is also true. It's not that there are "Empaths" and "Narcissists", but that empathy is a normal human trait and that narcissists -- ie, people with Narcissistic Personality Disorder -- may experience it situationally, when it is advantageous to them. People who claim to be "empaths" typically also score high in traits typical of NPD, but low in overall actual empathy. If I were to hazard a guess, I would expect people who actually experience heightened empathy to be LESS likely to publicly claim that they are "empaths" or otherwise "special", because they are more outwardly-focused, and tuned into other people, so they won't be particularly concerned about what people are thinking about them.
“I’m guessing it was January 2007, a meeting in Bethesda, we got a bag of bees and just started smashing them on the desk,” Charles Wick said. “It was very complicated.”


The Wizard Joseph

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Re: Self-declared "empaths" and narcissism
« Reply #8 on: October 31, 2016, 02:33:10 am »
Prety sure what Nigel is saying is not that narcissists are all empaths, but that senf described empaths are all narcissists.

Yes, this, although the research so far also supports the probability that narcissists often have situationally heightened skills of empathy, when it assists them in taking advantage of someone.

I'm about halfway through the. "... Luminet 2013" study. It's not over my head, but i lack certain symbol and term understanding. This one seems to be earnest so far, but I have no basis to juge and a long way to go reading and referencing what i can't understand as well as I'm able.

The association is legit where the strong talent exists or has been acquired. I strongly suspect that the condition of NPD is inducible by trauma, being not the only means of developing the condition sadly. Some folks seem to just "break bad" without being traumatized at all. In these induced cases the self-fixation has a deep root in the damage to the ego as far as I can tell.  They can't feel good about themselves and need the outside reinforcement SO badly in order to delude themselves that they're just fine, perfect and uninjured. Anything that's a threat to this perception is subconsciously treated as dangerous and usually subject to a childlike outburst in this sort of narcissistic psychosis and anything that reinforces it is accepted with childlike glee. The whole Trump campaign epitomizes this so thoroughly that I would venture to say that Trump is likely a victim of violent abuse, likely suppressed beyond belief by now and unapproachable for him consciously without traumatic intervention.

The other kind remain an enigma to me. I think of them as "Nihilistic" narcissists as it would seem that the ideology appeals to them consistently in my personal experience, though no sure indicator. They just don't FEEL the same way that we do and I can "smell" it on a person sometimes in how they respond to the environment while I engage in conversation. This is where the emotional "skill" and empathic talent come into play. When you learn that there are tigers in the trees keeping your head down and grabbing arms is only prudent.

And yeah the over-aggrandized ego trip makes them self identify as "empathic" but SOME know better and they can be terrifying to deal with. This before considering other kinds of crazy compounding the confusion.

I'm going to be a while finishing the reading, but this is very interesting to me and totally worth it to hear what's to be said here on the subject!
You can't get out backward.  You have to go forward to go back.. better press on! - Willie Wonka, PBUH

Life can be seen as a game with no reset button, no extra lives, and if the power goes out there is no restarting.  If that's all you see life as you are not long for this world, and never will get it.

"Ayn Rand never swung a hammer in her life and had serious dominance issues" - The Fountainhead

"World domination is such an ugly phrase. I prefer to call it world optimisation."
 - Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality :lulz: