Heartless Characters Think Differently

Heartless Thinking Makes Heartless Characters

Heartless Characters can be largely born the way they are. That is, the most disturbed among us have an innately impaired capacity to care. But folks lacking in empathy also tend to think in certain ways. And those ways of thinking lead them to form problematic attitudes and patterns of behavior. Moreover, engaging in those patterns both engenders and reinforces heartlessness.

You can find many articles on the blog about the thinking errors of disturbed characters. Some ways of thinking particularly contribute to increased heartlessness. So, if you want to nurture empathy in a young person, you have to be mindful of how they’re tending to think.

Heartless Characters Think Egocentrically, Grandiosely, and Possessively

I talk a lot about problematic ways of thinking in Character Disturbance and In Sheep’s Clothing. And as I mentioned above, you can also learn more about them in many articles on this blog. (See, for example:  Egocentric Thinking and The Possessive Thinking of The Disturbed Character.)

Egocentric thinking involves focusing so much on yourself and what you want that you just don’t think much about others. Egocentric thinkers never stop to consider someone else’s wants or needs. They have tunnel vision. They concern themselves only with pursuing their own agendas.

What some call egomaniacal thinking involves thinking so highly of yourself that you get to feeling unhealthily special, important, even superior. Such thinking can easily lead to a sense of entitlement. You can get to feeling above the rules. That is, you can come to believe you have the right to do whatever you please without concern for how it impacts others.

Possessive thinking is thinking generally involves two components. Possessive thinkers firstly tend to objectify others. That is, they see people in terms as either being desirable objects to possess or undesirable objects they can dispense with easily. Possessive thinkers are also, therefore, heartless thinkers. They concern themselves with only what the other person can do for them. There might be a lot of desire in the relationship, but not much genuine caring.

Heartless Characters in Relationships

Many see the capacity to care as the essence of what makes us human. But folks who think too egocentrically, egomaniacally, and possessively have a hard time developing that quality.

Relationships with heartless characters follow a typical course. First, the impaired character finds something in you that they really desire. Maybe your physical beauty intrigues them. Maybe they find your talents an asset. Whatever the reason, they like what they see and want to possess it. Whether or not they might actually be good for you doesn’t factor into things. They care only about what you might bring to them. Your purpose is to feed their ego. But you don’t know this at the time. You get seduced by the tremendous interest they show in you.  And most importantly, you mistake the interest for caring.

Over time, you come to know where you really stand with folks who can’t really care. And you eventually come to realize how utterly expendable you are, especially if you’ve outlived your usefulness. From the beginning, heartless types use and abuse. But most good-natured folks can’t see it until it’s too late. In the coming weeks I’ll have more to say about this. (For more on this topic read: How Did We End Up Here?)

Tidbits

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31 thoughts on “Heartless Characters Think Differently

  1. It seems everyone picks up on the moral wrongness of being so self minded that you only think about yourself and what is good for you without consideration for any others. Especially in closer relationships. We are all self focused to a point, but then we see the value of relationships and we desire to feel closeness with another. The CD seems to wall themselves off and are incapable of relating to others on a level where there is true intimacy and honesty. Like they have no moral compass or they perceive that to be weakness. No wonder they objectify people, they cannot relate.

  2. My H and I and his son ended up at the same Halloween gathering last weekend.

    H’s son came up to us and immediately started talking about himself and what he’d been up to. I have not laid eyes on him in months. No “how are you two” , “what have you two been up to”, nothing.

    I have observed this in myself. If I don’t show interest and ask how someone is doing or take interest in their children or family in general then I’m simply not interested, I do not care, it’s most certainly with people I’ve had a negative experience with. My stepson has proven he is not interested, and I had over looked his self-centered and narcissistic traits for years, this said, I have disconnected from him and have practiced gray rock for a long time now and it has been a great coping skill. I think he misses the old me who was an avid listener and a reliable supportive arm, never again.

    I witness so many self-centered people nowadays and it’s disheartening. I also think the older we get the more invisible we become. I easily nurture the relationships I most enjoy, with friends who don’t make it hard work to stay connected, who don’t have a hidden agenda, who simply like spending time together, weirdly those relationships are not with “family” outside of the relationship with my H and our daughter.
    I catch myself humming or singing ♪♫ You are my sunshine♪♫ to our little dog, especially when my mind has been away from my “heartless characters”, and then I smile.

    1. I think Dr. Simon has a good point about the narcissism our culture feeds. It really can be isolating if you don’t have meaningful relationships.

  3. Sydney,

    One of the very few N’s left in my life, recently called me. She only does this when she wants something and it is mercifully rare. Lately, I’ve been unable to comply to what seemed like a genuine request for my company. I found out later, because she usually slips up, that there was an ulterior motive. Typical, not surprised.

    She is a vulnerable N, and not too extreme but certainly bad enough to warrant caution and have zero expectations. She is super sunny in attitude and will ask how I am doing, but it is perfunctory. She gives me 5 seconds to answer and then it’s all about her. I think she is trying to improve as a person but she is so slippery, it is kind of hard to tell.

    She has been extremely heartless in the past. And now, would like me to reassure her that she is a good person.

    She said to me, years ago, “I felt so bad about what I said to you, I cried myself to sleep!” And coming from from most people, you would take that this is an apology.

    But for her it is, “Even though I said that, I want you to know I am still a wonderful person…but this ISN’T an apology. I just want you to know it hurt me more than it hurt you!”

    It is blistering bull****. And you are correct. They become more transparent over time. Grey rock all the way.

  4. I won’t deal with them anymore period. I’ve had enough of their toxic b/s and their infantile strategies, constant blaming of others and their other assorted nonsense period. I have zero tolerance and won’t be nice about it either. I’ll definitely gray rock them if I need to but if I don’t and I encounter one out and about during normal day to day activities and I strike one who even just hints at covert manipulation or character assasination then I’ll expose their strategy pure and simple or they will end up with egg on their own face.

    I will expose their b/s for what it is, their moot arguments will be pointed right out to them, and they will be seen to be the malicious recalcitrant 5 years olds they present as and have never grown out of. If they want to be treated as adults and if they wish to get into discussions with adults, then they best start behaving like such and we all know that’s impossible.

    Time for the precious lying assholes to be fully exposed for what they are and I’ll be more than happy to step up to the plate here.

    Nanoo Nanoo!

  5. Oh Eudoxia,

    Nanoo, nanoo! Funny. You make me laugh out loud sometimes. Feels good!
    There is nothing worse than a little Mary Sunshine CD. They care very little and have to disguise that fact….from themselves.

    I have not gone No Contact with this individual because I hear from her so seldom, it doesn’t matter that much. And I feel she might be trying to improve, so I am just going to let things lie.

    Last time I talked to her, I felt a bit of pity. I think she is in for a terrible fall. She’s done a lot of deferring of reality and it’s going to bite at some point!

  6. Hi Lisa

    Fragile narcs are really quite easy to handle compared to the others. Just don’t let them get away with anything. If they want to go off and sulk they can then just laugh at them. The old guy I take care off does’t get away with a dam thing and slowly is becoming a lot more manageable. They are actually excellent practice! Seriously :-

    In all honesty I think fragile narcs just have unhealthy levels of narcissistic traits but at the end of the day they are all the same strategies. I think there is a definite way forward with them depending on the level of energy you are inclined to invest. If they aren’t worth it then don’t invest. It’s best to stay well clear of all of them really, but if one has to then the vulnerables are most certainly the lesser risk.

    Hone up your strategies and just hold them to account for what they say, their behavior absolutely everything. If they go into swings and roundabouts with word salad I just say “when you want to start talking English and not jibberish and nonsense I’ll talk to you”. If they object I’ll just say “if you want to behave like a 5 year old by avoiding a direct question with nonsense then expect to be treated like one I don’t do nonsense”

    If old mate really wants to keep going he’ll get wounded simple. I’ll put them into wounding if they wish to continue without losing one wink of sleep over it. It is our right to not have our energy taxed by another who refuses to be accountable for their own behavior. It will no longer be tolerated. I am now exercising zero tolerance.

    We must learn how to deflect poison arrows until it becomes second nature then we become known as NSUs – Narsissit Starvation Units -wink-

      1. Sydney,

        It reminds me of a scene from The Matrix.

        Neo: Morpheus are you telling me I can doge bullets?
        Morpheus: What I’m saying Neo is, when you are ready you won’t have to.

        Meaning he will naturally deflect bullets and they won’t pierce his flesh -grin-

        That’s the aim of the game here :-

    1. Eudox
      I think you could write a book of how to manage life living with a narc. You’ve certainly got the skills honed to perfection.

      1. Lucy,

        I am writing 2 books actually. One is about healing from narc abuse which is currently on hold until I finish hoovering myself. The second book is a children’s book which is along the same lines but using fictitious animal characters.

        Before I continue writing, I need to do more than just understand what they are and how to deal with them. I need to be whole and healed before I can finish. I am closing all blind spots and all gaps that exist within me that will allow future narcs access to hook into.

        Recognising them and dealing with them is pretty easy when we have had extensive interactions with them in the past and they’ve kicked us to the curb and left us for dead. It’s important to understand what they are first and foremost. Secondly we need to understand why we allowed it? (non applicable to parent/child relationships unless later)

        I can now sense them though when they are around, they operate in a certain way so I am getting very good at cutting them off before they can get a hold so to speak – NOW obviously I wasn’t in that position prior. There are ways to deal with them effectively and in order to do so it is imperative to fully understand and comprehend narcissistic supply and injury and how it works. But you have to be able to identify them early and not dealing with them at all is preferable at any time.

        If anybody demonstrates to you total lack of self responsibility and disrespect and disregard for others then just take it at face value, you don’t need them in your life narc or otherwise. Watch for people who are perennial victims – the world can do with them they are just a burden to others and have no desire to heal themselves, they just want attention which goes hand in hand with drama and conflict half the time.

        The damage narcs they do to us is severe and serious. It requires a lot of healing post abuse and that’s not so easy. I am really getting there though because I am 150% committed to it. I want to get myself to the point where I am not triggered by any of them, not just the frozen adult child I look after, I’m immune to him LOL.

        The upside to narc abuse and there is one is this. Having them turn our lives upside down is actually a blessing in disguise if we deal with the carnage and wreckage of us properly. You could say narcs are like mirrors that reflect back to us that which is unhealed within ourselves. In adult narc relationships why is it they seem to instantly hone in on our deep hidden fears and unconscious false beliefs we have about ourselves? Most of the time we are completely unaware that we are holding them?

        They make us aware of them because they shine a big bright spotlight on all our unresolved childhood wounding, deeply hidden fears and other insecurities and it’s the ONLY reason they can trigger us. If we identify our gaps and blind spots and resolve them then we can’t be triggered anymore by narcs and their kind nor will we attract them to us like moths to a flame because we will no longer carry any points of attraction.

        We have to deal with narcissistic abuse holistically, meaning we can’t fix them we can only deal with and concentrate on what we can fix – US.

    2. EU – what are the red flags to determine whether you are dealing with just a self-focused person who is too wrapped up in their heads and when you are dealing with a narc? In truth I don’t run into many people that I identify as real narcissists. My ex was a full blown psychopath but the ones further away from that would be harder to detect.

      1. kat,

        The truth of the matter is you don’t want to deal with either. The hallmark of emotional maturity is behaving in a manner that is productive to the communication at the time and biophilic in nature. Which means – I talk, you talk, I talk, you talk and on it goes. I give, you receive, you give back, I receive and so on.

        A narcissist or another low functioning being is simply unable to maintain a topic about any generality for too long. Anything from a light discussion about the rain to any other more indepth topic. You will find the conversation always reverts back to them.

        If someone is self centric they will be easily bored by any topic that has nothing to do with them. They will speak over the top of you, they will abruptly change the subject or if you are speaking they will look disinterested and bored and again provided they haven’t already interrupted you – they will ALWAYS bring the topic back to them.

        If you are talking about a subject that is outside of their comprehension you can expect to be attacked. They will either dismiss the information as bullshit without giving any valid reason for dismissing it in lieu of having none or they will attack you as in your character. They will go ad hominem by trying to discredit YOU and not the information.

        They will all be completely non productive as in having the ability to participate in the conversation without being disruptive or causing a general disturbance to “the flow”. They are really like children being unable to sit still and start to be annoying by constant fidgiting. If you notice one of them in the group – Red Flag. Energy vampire!

        Narcissists are not that easy to immediately detect as they are out to impress but there are subtle nuances that are detectable as in the above. A narcissists primary aim is fuel. They need us to validate the false construct they have created. They need that construct to have full attention and flattered and admired. It is the only thing they live for.

        Knowing how to recognise them becomes somewhat of an art. I’ve spent thousands of hours researching by reading books, listening to others, and audios about them from many different authors, life coaches, psychologists etc. Not to mention CD themselves and my own experiences.

        It still boils down to this. Why tolerate a frozen adult child in your midst. This is anybody who is simply necrophlic in nature. When the energy exchange becomes a one way street as in you give, you give, you give, they take, they take, they take. Just walk away and don’t waste your time.

        1. Thank you EU, that is really helpful from a practical viewpoint. Like the example that they don’t give back and lose interest if its not about them. And not being able to maintain a conversation about any generality for long. Its good to know some traits to look for, not that I would automatically think they are a narc but just to be alerted to and watchful. I know I had to have run into a few at work. Thank you for taking the time out to respond, that’s very kind of you.

          1. Kat you’re most welcome :- At the end of the day it comes down to this. Trust your own inner guidance and let nobody tell you otherwise.

            Shine On!

          2. Yes, Eudoxia, what a great response, it’s an uncomplicated way to explain what we are dealing with.

            This is a very simple and fair way to communicate isn’t it?
            “I talk, you talk, I talk, you talk and on it goes. I give, you receive, you give back, I receive and so on.”

  7. Such great advice and wonderful questions!

    I have had only one experience with a full blown psychopath. After you figure out how they operate, even the covert ones are pretty easy to spot.

    Now other lesser cd’s can be trickier. The type that automatically gets my back up is the overly effusive, super gushy type. Some people are just very affectionate and that’s okay

    . But with this type, I make sure that their actions line up with their words. If there is a huge discrepancy between word and deed and it happens more than a couple of times…run.

    And the other sure sign, (occurs in best friend or close family relationships) is close friends or family vanishing when they should be helping, if you are very ill or going through a very tough time.

    You want to give people the benefit of the doubt, of course…but for me now, if it happens more than once, I will shut down to that party. If it’s family, I will mirror them by keeping my distance and just limit my involvement.

    More than anything, with the gushy effusive vulnerable N, I don’t take them personally and I won’t connect. I don’t believe the fake affection anymore than the bs offensive remarks. I make sure I never ask them for anything…ever.

  8. Lisa et all

    The super gushy effusive ones are generally women I find. It’s histrionics, the super nice smiling assassins :- who, as soon as your back is turned stick the knife in and twist it liberally. Always going overboard with the false flattery and the batting eyelashes – they make me want to put my fingers down my throat and bring it all up LOL. I can’t stand being anywhere near those types, I can sense the falseness in them from the get go and their total lack of authenticity reeks and all fronts. I’d rather by by myself than have to suffer through them for so much as 2mins.

    This type has no depth, they talk about everything and nothing, jumping from topic to topic without one shred of intelligence in there. It is always and absolutely about them. I run a million miles when I see them I simply can’t stand them. It’s not even like I can try to show I’m interested in anything they have to say because I am not remotely interested at all. It’s like I am allergic to them. There are two of them who live locally and I have nothing to do with either of them aside a very basic hello and that’s it and it’s all there ever will be.

    Some of them are vulnerable, but the ones I find are the worst are the histrionic narcs and they fall squarely into the covert manipulators. The ones I think you are talking about Lisa are more like the co-dependents if I’m on your wavelength properly.

    As for the disappearing friends and family members well that’s a no brainer isn’t it? Well now it is, it most certainly isn’t when someone is on the receiving end of it and does not know their family member or friend is a Cluster B soul sucking Chupacarbra disguised as a human being.

    We live and learn eh?

    There is a vast and very distinct difference between authentically lovely people, who are also very nice but it’s not a false goodness it is a genuineness about them that radiates outwardly.

  9. I watched a really good movie last night The Girl on the Train with Emily Blunt. It’s an impressively done movie and graphically exposes the damage done by Spath and the horrific effects of gaslighting. It leaves the 1939 movie Gaslight for dead and has a great ending.

    It is brilliant.

    1. I read The Girl on the Train and I couldn’t put it down. Anyone watch Mind Hunter?
      It takes place in the 70s when the FBI formed a Behavorial Science team to collect one on one interviews with psychopaths and sociopaths with the end goal to become proficient at profiling and stopping crimes before they happen. This is a Netflix original series with 10 episodes and I’m hoping there is more in the works. It features true crimes of real people who have committed heinous crimes, they are interviewed after incarceration. Warning: it’s not for everyone, more verbally graphic than visually graphic, the casting is fantastic, a bonus was going down memory lane with the 70s era backdrop of cars, clothing and hairdos.

  10. From reading the comments, I feel like I live a sheltered life. But I did recognize something very wrong in a recent encounter – it was in a church group no less. There was a game being played where we all had to line up according to different criteria they announced. The first group to line up won. There was a woman who wanted to win so bad, I was trying to figure out where my place in line was and she literally pushed me, into where she thought I would go. I don’t mean a tap, I mean a push. It shocked me and I was taken off guard and didn’t say anything to her. I am one to avoid confrontation and later I was mad at myself that I didn’t say anything to her – but I know what table to avoid next time – wherever she is at.

    1. kat,
      Of course it caught you off guard and you didn’t know how to react. That’s bizarre. She actually laid her hands on you and pushed – oh boy.
      Myself, after going through what I’ve been through the past almost three years, I would not let that one go. I call her on it. Say what you need to say. It’s unacceptable. You still have time to react to it. Probably better you didn’t react at the time. But now that you’ve thought about it, you can have some words. Don’t be bullied. Ever.

      1. I don’t even attend that church, I went with a friend to their meeting they have each week so I never saw or met this person before. I asked my sister if there is something about me that someone would think that is OK and she said I may look like someone who doesn’t fight back, also I am small. I am a shy person. I have always had social anxiety so she was probably sensing that – people are pretty quick to pick up on some stuff. I wouldn’t know how to bring this up and I will probably not ever run into her except if I go to this group periodically. I just know if it ever happens again I will be ready. Thanks Lucy, I don’t want to let anyone get away with bullying me – I tend to hold back because I am always thinking about how God wants me to be, but I know it is totally inappropriate to be pushed around and also not right for me not to confront her and make her accountable for her actions.

        1. kat
          You’ve got to do what you’re comfortable with. And you didn’t ask for it. No one asks to be abused or violated. I think you have run into a real piece of work there. And at church, of all places.
          If you do speak up to this person, expect a reaction, a twisted contorted conversation and who knows what else this person will do. She already went so far beyond a boundary.
          If you’re not up for a confrontation, it’s okay to walk away from it. But once she’s bullied you I would imagine that’s not the end of it with her.
          I’m sorry.
          People suck!

          1. Lol Lucy,
            Yep, I sat at the same table with her and from what I observed, she seemed like a person with a very quick temper. Don’t get me wrong, I am not afraid of her, I am quiet but I am a fighter too when I think I need to be, but that is not my nature. She reminded me of a “friend” I had that I cut contact with who was quick tempered and who attacked me once – believe me I fought back but only enough to get her off me and then I cut contact. She was bi-polar and I got a similar feeling about this person. I could be totally wrong but that was my impression.

  11. Funny what happens when you tell a narc(challenge that your life isn’t all about them) that they aren’t the center of your universe.

    Their ego is shattered. Talk about fragine!!

  12. I’ve experienced a marriage to a narc/psychopath and currently in the process of divorcing. Church and my Christian Faith has been a big part of my life with him. I’ve been with him over a decade and we became “career counselees” to supposedly help restore and reconcile our “marital” issues. I didn’t get a hold of resources that shed light on what was really going on until the tail end of our marriage. I do have some childhood wounding that I’m sure has an influence on my responses to narcs and psychopaths, but also to people in general. But what I’ve experienced and have also read from the experts is that they can fool even the most healthy and whole person, including the experts themselves. They not only use our vulnerabilities but also the healthy and good qualities. He fooled all the counselors, pastors, congregation, and friends and was successful in villianizing me.

    I think it would be beneficial and wise for everyone to get educated about CD. The “healthy” are just as vulnerable as the unhealthy. We are designed to love
    and receive love, these are healthy desires. And to desire to be with someone who cares for us as well as others in general is a very good thing to desire. Like Dr. Simon has written about, a wolf in sheep’s clothing doesn’t look like a wolf. And way too often, by the time you understand what has happened, you are left devasted in the rubble…wounded or healthy background.

    1. Sparrow,

      Perfectly stated, from one who has experienced it.
      I’m finally divorced from the CD but still have not wrapped it all up legally. I do hope your divorce goes smoothly.
      Please keep in touch here. We’ve got load of experience to help and to learn from you as well.

      1. Thanks Lucy.

        Yes I’m so thankful for others that have shared, and for people like Dr. Simon educating us. Having the support and a place where there is an appropriate response and how to respond to the actions of CD’s is a great comfort. No matter how ugly the truth can be, it’s what set me free.

        The gaslighter manipulates the truth. There is a lot of victim blaming on making poor choices, but it’s impossible to make a real decision when what is being presented as the truth is not even reality.

        I’m grateful for the resources I needed that exposed him, so I could make a healthy decision based on the truth.

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