This is an interesting question. At the end of our relationship the narcissist amongst many other accusations accused me of lacking empathy. To accuse an empath of lacking empathy is a bit of an ask, but on one level I can see he felt left alone at a time when I was really doing something to take care of myself. I was not then allowed to ask if he missed me as that showed a lack of empathy for the fact he had chosen to remain on the other side of the country alone when I offered him money to fly back to be where I chose and needed to be with a cousin out from Holland for Christmas for the first time in her life!
If you asked the narcissist why our relationship ended he would have said it was all my fault. I lacked the capacity to love due to the wounds of my childhood. I was caught up in a lot of grief due to old pain. In that way my feeling sad made him feel as if he was all alone. Why didn’t I just ‘get over it”. How dare I cry when his Dad was ill because it triggered memories of my own father’s painful lonely death years before? Why did I have to express pain over dental surgery when he was trying to get to sleep and my trauma was affecting him? Why wasn’t my phone fully charged when he tried to call me? Why didn’t I take him to pick up his car because I had had an acupuncture appointment and needed to rest? Why? Why? Why? was I so goddam unsupportive!
I truly got to feeling bad after all of these so called failures. Looking back I can see how it triggered a lunar/mother wound of the absent Mum who left due his Dad’s ferocious abuse and alcoholism when he was very young but that wound was not my fault. I could not heal it for him. And in focusing on my flaws he didn’t see all the things I gave. Caring for his dog when he worked. Making him dinners. Doing the best I could to be there after the ending of a marriage and the PTSD of a bad accident just two years before.
I am not sure why I am posting this today but sometimes when I post about how much the narcissist hurt me I start to feeling some kind of guilt. I love what Love’s Illusion blog commented though recently on my last post. She wrote that although she has empathy for the narcissist she no longer has sympathy for the painful way he acts. This was akin to a thought I was having earlier that I needed to hate the narcs behaviour but not the narcissist. For the narcissist is just a struggling human being in the end like me and we are all on the narcissism spectrum somewhere. There but for the grace of God go I. In the end its probably best not to hurl around accusations but to work for understanding and empathy for it is really only this gift which has the power to soften the harsh edges of what hurts and bites us large. That has the capacity to soothe us in the painful, raw, tender wounded places.