Exploitative Narcissists Won’t or Can’t Care

Exploitative Narcissists

Exploitative narcissists come in two varieties. Some choose not to care. Others simply can’t care. In either case the exploiters among us are only concerned with themselves. And in their minds, others exist for the sole purpose of serving their desires.

In my book Essentials for the Journey I make the point that the infantile perspective I describe above is natural and normal at our early stages of development. The whole point of proper socialization – the forging of noble charcter – is outgrowing this tendency. Emotionally mature characters recognize that the world doesn’t revolve around them. Rather, they understand that they’re but a part of a much larger reality. But seeing the bigger picture and one’s place in it is only the beginning. Caring about how one operates within this larger context is foundational for developing character integrity. Our very presence inherently has impact. And everything we do affects everything and everyone else in some way. Wholesome characters care a lot about such things. Narcissists don’t care about such things. And and the most malignant narcissists – those devoid of empathy capacity – simply can’t care.

Expoloitative narcissists almost always have a selfish, hidden agenda when they “love bomb” or otherwise seduce you. They might show great interest in you, which can be highly intoxicating. However, their interest is almost always self-serving. And, sadly, that’s a fact hard for many to appreciate on the front end of a relationship. Too many folks these days mistake interest for regard.

The Narcissism Spectrum

In times such as ours, narcissism of some type and/or degree is a feature of many folks’ character. Moreover, the type and seriousness of a person’s narcissism matters. Professionals at one time believed it was easy to distinguish between someone with troubling personality traits and someone with a personality “disorder.” However, our old definitions are not suited to our times, mainly because some of the most disturbing ways of operating in this world are actually functional, as opposed to dysfunctional, especially in a culture of entitlement, permissiveness, and relativism, even though in the end, people inevitably get hurt.

You can hear me discuss the narcissism spectrum, gaslighting, and several other topics with Timmy Gibson on his podcast on Spotify. And I discuss the nature of exploitative narcissists on the latest installment of Character Matters.


4 thoughts on “Exploitative Narcissists Won’t or Can’t Care

  1. “Caring about how one operates within this larger context is foundational for developing character integrity. Our very presence inherently has impact. And everything we do affects everything and everyone else in some way.”

    While we twist ourselves in knots trying to get it right, not to do harm, they just do what they want.

    As an aside, I read an interesting article describing the different styles of coping after trauma. I see many of them in myself. Maybe this will help others see theirs too.


  2. Dr. Simon,
    How do I know if I’m character-disturbed? I almost obsessively worry and fear over this question. I desperately want to know if I’m this type of person, every time I read examples of manipulation, etc. I feel like my mind illuminates all of the times I’ve done these things.
    It’s starting to take control of my days, trying to figure it out. I’ve been in therapy for 3.5 years now but she and I have been hitting a wall trying to figure out how to redirect these worries,

    Who can I see who can diagnose me?

    1. K, It’s hard to answer your question in this forum. The short answer is that character disturbance exists along several spectra. The major spectrum is, to over-simplify, “mostly neurotic” at one extreme to “mostly character-impaired” at the other extreme. And even if someone is more character disturbed than neurotic, there’s the matter of “type” of character dysfunction and the matter of level of seriousness of the dysfunction. Most folks fall somewher along the neurosis vs. character disturbance spectrum, and therefore exhibit some dysfunctional behaviors from time to time (as opposed to preferring problematic ways of operating as a preferred style of coping and relating, but if you’re having anxiety and obsessing about anything you’re most likely not at the far character disturbed end of the spectrum, inasmuch as the absence of adaptive anxiety is a hallmark feature of seriously disturbed folks. That’s about all I can say here, but if you wish, you can use the Contact feature on the Contact page of the blog to message me directly.

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