Can narcissists feel empathy for fictional characters?


There is a question I have wondered about for a long time that was brought up on another post.

Narcissists are exquisitely sensitive. They are very easily hurt. But their hypersensitivity is limited to themselves (this is called narcissistic injury). Any insult, no matter how minor, will send them flying into a narcissistic rage or cause the “needy” type to break down like the babies they are.

But as we all know, when it comes to others, they have no empathy. They cannot feel your pain, share your sadness, or rejoice with you. On this level, they are incredibly insensitive.

But there’s something I wonder about. Because narcissists are “fictional people” themselves (what you see is not their true self but a mask), can they feel empathy for fictional people, such as characters in a sad or touching movie? Can they cry when reading a sad book or when they hear a sad song?

I’m leaning toward yes, because my MN mother never could feel pain for anyone but herself (and never expressed even her own narcissistic injury in any manner other than rage), yet I remember she could cry a river of tears when we went to a sad movie or watched a touching love story on TV. Hell, she could even turn on the eye-faucets when a maudlin commercial came on. My N ex used to get all weepy when he watched sad movies too.

For a narcissist, it’s “safe” for them to feel empathy for fictional characters on a movie screen or in a book, because those are not real people. There’s an interesting article written on the blog Let Me Reach by Kim Saeed about this subject, in which the author concludes that narcissists definitely do cry at movies, and it has to do with cognitive dissonance. Read Kim’s article for a more in-depth look at how this works for narcissists, because she explains it much better than I do.


7 thoughts on “Can narcissists feel empathy for fictional characters?

  1. I do seem to remember a time an old MN friend did cry over the movie, “Slumdog Millionaire” and she loved Ever After with Drew Barrymore. All tear jerkers. So maybe

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Reblogged this on galesmind and commented:
    Perhaps the narcissist can feel empathy for fictions characters as people tend to reflect themselves on those characters. They feel because they feel it is happening to themselves not to another person. Very thought provoking.


  3. My “best friend” got all sympathy-laden for an Edward Norton movie character who got busted for selling drugs (just like him) and kept bleating bout how it “wasn’t his fault that his friends and girlfriend were going through hell during his prison sentence” because he didn’t MEAN to get caught.

    Liked by 2 people

  4. Pingback: Empaths and narcissists « Mirrorgirl

Comments are closed.