Narcissists who love animals and their mothers.

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I’ve noticed something strange about some narcissists that I’ve never seen mentioned anywhere else. Some narcissists, though lacking empathy for other people, seem to have it in spades for animals. Even some psychopathic malignant narcissists are actually very good with non-human creatures. My ex is one of these. He cried like a baby when our dog, Daisy, died of a massive stroke in early 2013. He was always very kind to her and the cats. He used to be beside himself with worry when one of them got sick. The animals seemed to trust him and even preferred him to me! In spite of being No Contact (really, very low contact) with him, I completely trusted him when I had to recently rehome two cats and a dog, all whom I cared about very much (the pets are now staying with my daughter).

But that’s the only time you would ever see him be genuinely kind. Any “kindness” he showed other people was meant to be either manipulative or to impress.

A commenter on another post, discussing her psychopathic ex-lover who is still actively gaslighting her and generally being psychologically abusive, had this to say about him:

The guy I know loves cats. Many of the photographs he sent me have him in photos with kittens in his hands. The photos make him look very loving. Because you would think that any man that relates to cats and kittens in photos would be loving, gentle and harmless.
[…] His nickname for me was Kitty Kat.

This phenomenon is actually pretty common. It surprises me it’s almost never discussed.
So here is the conclusion I come to about why some narcissists can genuinely feel empathy for animals. The problem isn’t that the narcissist lacks empathy per se, but that they have shut off their capacity to feel empathy for other humans. They may feel it for an animal (or maybe for some, a lesser or non-mammalian animal because dogs and cats may be seen as “too human.”). Here are two surprisingly touching essays Sam Vaknin wrote about his relationship with a goldfish and a snail. The reason some narcissists have normal or even excessive levels of empathy for animals is because animals are “safer” to feel empathy for than other humans, who they have come to hate and devalue due to abuse they suffered at the hands of their parents.

Of course this doesn’t apply to all narcissists or people with an antisocial personality. We have all read of cases of serial killers and other sadistic criminals who spent their childhoods tormenting all living creatures, even the lowly ants and spiders of the world. But only some are like this. Most are probably indifferent to animals.

Mama’s boys.

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I have also seen a related phenomenon that’s even more strange than the affinity some narcs have with animals. Some psychopaths and malignant narcissists (almost always male) who seem to live to abuse or even torment other people, at the same time seem to genuinely love their own mothers and even feel protective of them. You hear about serial killers who worshipped their mothers (but hate all other women), even though the mothers were almost always abusive to them. The movie “Psycho” illustrates this in Norman Bates’ relationship with his dead mother. Obviously the exceptions these psychopaths make for their mothers are rooted in severe codependency to the point most people see their relationships with them as “sick,” but it’s still an indicator of a more vulnerable, codependent side of themselves they show to no one else.

For both the seriously character disordered who love animals (because they’re safer to love than people) and those who love their mothers (because they have unhealthy codependency with them), it’s as if little piece of their true self somehow remains split off and immune from their otherwise impenetrable wall of narcissism.

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58 thoughts on “Narcissists who love animals and their mothers.

  1. Nice observations. I was sure deceived by this seeming love for animals and mother (at first)…. It slowly exposes itself for what it is-a sick relationship of codependency (mother), or control (animals). I have often referred to the relationship between the ex and his mother as being very much like Norman Bates…shiver——-

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    • Sometimes it is a control issue they have with animals, you can see this in those who either abuse their pets, or those who use their pets for narcissistic supply (a woman who dresses her little dog in frou-frou little outfits or has their nails painted at the dog parlor) . But for some, like my ex, there doesn’t even appear to be a control or narc supply issue. They treat the animals the way they should be treating other people, almost as if they are human-subsitutes. It’s kind of sad.

      As for the mommy attachment issues Norman Bates and other serial killers have had, I agree it’s very creepy….*shudder*

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      • Interesting about the animals. We lived on a farm, but I never saw one nurturing feeling moment. Even when bottle feeding baby animals, it was because “animals are money”. Once I had to leave, he let all my animals die or run off…control…I couldn’t even ask for them because they were gone!

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        • Yeah, probably MOST narcs are indifferent or unfeeling toward animals, even if they aren’t abusive to them. But there are some who are genuinely kind whrere they show no kindness to any other person unless they want something. It’s a really strange thing to see.

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      • I had a Borderline Personality friend who competed with the ASPD guy I knew. Her name was Lisa. She grabbed my laptop once and kept taking him and talked bad about me to him. She did not want me to be with him. She was very envious of my relationship with him. I think it was because the relationship was interesting and exciting. She flipped out when we got back together. Not because she cared about me. It was because she was jealous. He is good looking and she had a boring life.

        She use to dress her poodle dog up and have all these things done to it. She also screamed at her husband all the time and her sons.

        A friend of mine told me that her and her husband were on a date with Lisa and her husband. And she started swearing really loud at him in the middle of a restaurant. My friend and her husband were so humilated they left the restaurant.

        When I got back with my guy, Lisa would call me at 7am screaming at me. One day she left a violent message with bad language on my mothers voicemail.

        I refered Lisa to a therapist and dropped her as a friend. The ASPD guy was so pissed off about her. She was so annoying.

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  2. I agree with your statements here completely. As I’ve said, the person to whom I would entrust my animals is the biggest Narcissist I know. And yes, he’s good to his mother, although I wouldn’t call him a Mama’s boy.
    I’ve recently found his expecting a new child, and I feel so much pity for that child, yet unborn.

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    • Oh, God. How awful for that unborn child and his/her mom. Narcs are usually horrible with children, though sometimes ok with babies (my ex was fine with our children when they were infants–it was when they became toddlers and started showing independence that his relationship with them changed).

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    • In many cases, it’s because the animal or very young child is no threat to them and makes good narcissistic supply. An animal will always remain dependent and therefore malleable so that makes a big difference too.

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        • It’s good when they voluntarily decide they don’t want to have any children, because they make such terrible parents. They’re doing the world a favor by not reproducing and spreading their illness and abuse down to another generation. I don’t think my parents should have had kids but they had plenty of them (I’m the only one from their marriage though). My father isn’t really a narc but just wasn’t a great father and had very little patience with kids.

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    • My dad never liked cats or dogs. He allowed me to have a goldfish and an outdoor cat. He also had a think about fireplaces and staircases. He did not like those too.

      His dad loved his dog, and had a fireplace and a staircase. Hmmmm?

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  3. I don’t think that’s empathy that narcissists feel towards animals. Animals are very reflective in their nature, they learn to read us and reflect back what they think we want to see. They mimic for us. We tend to anthropomorphize our pets and animals, project our own selves onto them.That is kind of a narc’s dream, that’s what they try to make people do for them.

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    • I guess that’s true but because animals will always remain dependent and always worship the narc who feeds them, it doesn’t make much difference for an animal if their caregiver is a narc or not, the way it would for a human child, who grows up and changes.

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  4. I pictured Norman Bates through most of the article. I was hoping that you would find a creepy graphic portraying the movie, Pyscho.

    I wasn’t sure if mine had a guinine love for cats, but he also mentioned that he trained dogs. Thinking back, I do recall getting photos in text messages of flowers, rainbows, cats and panaramic beach views with him in them. He also sent photos of motorcycles and Asian cuisine. I bet the photos were taken by whatever woman he was with at the moment. I often wondered who he was on a date with when he snapped the photo of his meal. The mystery is so crazy, that you stare at the photo hoping you find a clue that will be the gateway to the answer of Mr. mysterious.

    He flew all over the world, and was missing for over 3 months once. Who was he? A secret spy? 007 a modern version of James Bond? A member of the CIA on a top secret mission? A part time polygamist in some 3ird world country?

    I’m glad he can feel for cats. And I’m sure the name Kitty Kat indicates your being valued, because after all, you are being compared to be equivalent to a soft, sweet harmless loving animal.

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    • I looked for a creepy “Psycho” graphic that would be appropriate for this article but couldn’t find one. 😦 Sorry about that.

      What is it with some narcs and their mysterious disappearances and mysterious “projects.” The psychopath my daughter was involved with late last year took her to Florida, wouldn’t let her see her own brother even though he was 5 miles away from where they were, and spent the whole time visiting mysterious people but made my daughter wait in the hot car, and never explained who these people were or what his business was with them. He also left Florida suddenly and bought a house here in cash, even though he knows no one in this state. Seems to me he’s a mid-rung drug dealer or something. My daughter agrees. Oh and he gaslighted her by telling me SHE was the druggie and tried to turn me against her. He almost made a flying monkey out of me against my own kid. Oh, this guy did NOT care about animals BTW. He used my cat as a pawn to “get back” at my daughter, dumping her in the woods and then making it very difficult for us to get her back. The poor cat could have died for all he cared.

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      • Mine kept snapping photos with 4 sales signs in front of them. I’d drive. He’d say, “Stop right here.” Then he’d say I’m taking photos of buildings with 4 sales signs because if have a visual picture it will come to me without searching for it. He kept telling me that he wanted a auto body garage and an apartment on top. I kept telling him they don’t have those in Jersey.

        He made me stop around 8 times and snapped 8 different photos. So you know what I was thinking? He’s telling someone or more than one in Europe that he wants to buy this and is asking some nieve trustworthy individual for a deposit?? Someone in Europe that believes he’s a poor military veteran in need. He kept talking about deposits and military loans.

        Also I remember way back I told him that when he was going to fly to see me I’d need advanced notice because I could request vacation days. I explained that I could not call out sick for over 2 days without a doctors note. He told me, “you can get all cans if fake documents online. Just print up a doctors note.” I still can’t believe he said that to me, and he revealed his true colors when he said that.

        He wouldn’t give me a heads up on when he was flying to see me. He wouldn’t tell me when he was landing until he landed in the connection flight. He was always flying on standby, which means someone was giving him vouchers to see me.

        I have another funny story.

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        • I work in a department store. One day a local politicians husband came in and charged cosmetics for his girlfriend. He charged on his wife’s credit card. He didn’t know that I knew his wife. The girlfriend was just standing there. Now that I think about it…that politician married a somatic Narc. But she was like a Hillary personality. She probably didn’t care.

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          • Did the girlfriend know it was his wife’s credit card? Maybe she didn’t. Or maybe, like you said, she just didn’t care. But yes, they think nothing of doing things like that. The affair is bad enough, and then using his wife’s money to buy cosmetics for another woman is just disgusting.

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            • It’s so disgusting. I think my Narc talked to another woman while I was on Skype. He picked up the phone and said, “are you finished window shopping?,… And I couldn’t hear the rest of the conversation. He told me he was talking to his grandmother and she was window shopping. But I noticed the time on the East coast and thought…its too late. The stores are closed and its dark outside. And who goes window shopping anymore?? What planet is he on??

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        • He sounds like my ex. My ex would always do shady or illegal things and then make some excuse why it was okay. Piddling little things but still shady. The worst thing is he encouraged our daughter to do things like lie on her tax returns or even steal things.

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            • I also strongly suspect mine of emotional affairs. He is too clean and my internal red flags go off about once a month. He’s very narcissistic, and I don’t believe for a second I’m his only source of romantic supply. He claims he has never, ever, ever done anything untoward in the almost 30 years we’ve been together. Bullshit, is all I have to say.

              Like lucky otter says, my N does shady things and makes excuses why they are ok. His knee-jerk reaction to almost any hardship or consequences caused by his lying or selfish behavior is to lie more and blame others.

              What is strange is that in all these years it has become clear that his internal mental stance is, “Nothing is bad if it gets me what I want. What is bad is people daring to tell me I have done something bad”. What never ceases to amaze me is that he will lie straight faced to someone else in front of me when it is advantageous to him, yet he genuinely expects me to believe that he doesn’t lie to me.

              That’s the real slap in the face – that he knows I watch him lie and manipulate others but he still thinks I should believe he is a good guy. Why are narcs so invested in people believing they are good when their behavior is so obviously not good? The gaslighting is the most draining thing for me…always being expected to “trust” when my heart knows he is untrustworthy. I may be financially trapped with him for now, but at least I know what is real and what isn’t.

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            • CR, have you thought about going No Contact with this loser? Gaslighting is horrible, it can literally drive you crazy. It is a slap in the face the way they lie and expect us to believe them as if we’re stupid!

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  5. That’s interesting!

    I think that Brigitte Bardot is a good example for a pet-loving narcissist.

    And Mick Jagger and his mom?

    I used to admire both of them (BB and Mick Jagger), they fascinated me since early chindhood and just until recently (today, I know why;-)). But I stopped liking BB after reading her auto-biography. And Mick Jagger lost his spell on me last year, when L’Wrenn Scott Hung herself (he has immediately replaced her with a 28-year-old girl who wanted to meet him since she was a little girl, btw). I was visiting a church with “my” narc in a little German town called Berndorf when the news of her suicide broke. I felt very disturbed because I had dreamt of her the night before! I know that must sound like a lie, like I invented it- but is is true! I even called my mother and told her over the phone! Well, it is very likely that this was pure coïncidence. But looking back, I take is as a warning sign! Even then, I felt uncomfortable. I told my narc that I feel sympathy for her: “It must’ve been hard to love someone like Jagger, who always thinks of himself first and who has always consumed women. That feeling that no one woman – regardless how smart, talented, beautiful, younger or whatsoever – could never be enough or forever.” My narc responded: “She obviously got something out of it for some time.” Yeah, right.

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    • What a cynical (and typical) reply your narc had to when you talked to him about how that girl’s suicide disturbed you.

      I never liked Mick Jagger. I’ve known for years he was a narc. It’s so obvious. Yes, he is talented and very famous (and I do love old Stones music), but when I found out about what a womanizing, selfish POS he really is, I liked his music less than I had. He has children by God only knows how many women, and he doesn’t support them even though he’s one of the richest people in the world. I remember reading some years ago a woman he had affair with had his child and he denied paternity even though she was able to prove it was his child. The woman was impoverished and living on welfare and had other children to support, but when Mick was asked to cough up to help out? Not a dime. Of course he could afford the best lawyers so he could get out of taking any kind of responsibility. It seems like he just wants to plant his seed everywhere and then forget about all the kids he sired. He’s no better than an animal. Hell, even some male animals and even birds are better parents than he is.

      I didn’t know BB was a narc, but it’s not too surprising. Many celebrities are. Sometimes it’s acquired narcissism though. It’s one of the dangers of great success or celebrity.

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      • Jaggers ex girlfriend Marianne Faithful suffered terribly from the aftermath of her relationship with him. Drug addiction and living on the streets.

        Then their was Bianca Perez Jagger. The daughter of a Nicaraguan Diplomat. I talked to a person who worked on 5th avenue. I cant remember the store she shopped in, but its a major high end department store on 5th. She said that Bianca was a horrible customer, and that she would try dresses on that were thousands of dollars each and just leave them all in a heap on the floor in the dressing room. They said she never buys anything. She also dated a Senator from Jersey. He’s Italian. I can’t remember his name either tonight, but I think it rhyms with macaroni. Lol

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        • I remember reading a biography about Marianne Faithfull. What a sad and tragic person she was.

          I think Bianca was Mick’s mirror. The ultimate narcissistic supply, and every bit as narcissistic as he is. Narcs together usually wind up hating each other though, so no wonder they didn’t stay together.

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          • Yes…I think Bianca is a Narc. I remember being a little Bianca fan when I was a teen. I was trying to mimic her look. She was so sultry and her wedding dress was cool. A floppy hat and a lose fittong white suit. She wore nothing under the suit jacket.

            When you hear my song about the Post Vietnam war veteran you’ll like it. My friend Patti said I sound like Marianne Faithful in it. But the band members think I sound like Courtney Love. I was told I sounded like Joan Jett in the song my brother sent you.

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            • Thank you. I sound different in each song,… Depending on the style music. When you get a chance go Google the band Hole and listen to the song Gold Dust Woman (a remake). And listen to Hole, Doll Parts. I’m going to learn those 2 songs as covers. Courtney Love was a Psychopath for sure.

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            • Yes…they say she was awful to Kurt Cobain. When I brought my ASPD man into the Stone Pony… There were photos of Courtney Love up because she performed in the Stone Pony years back. My ASPD man was fixated on her. He likes her. Maybe he related to her.

              I want to play in the Stone Pony one day. My boyfriend did. Its on my goal list. I think it’s very possible.

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            • LOL at your narc man being enamored with psychopath Courtney Love! I don’t doubt Kurt was abused by her, and look how she rose to fame right after he died. I never did believe he really killed himself, even if he was prone to depressions (probably because he was abused). I think she was pathologically envious of his success and wanted it for herself.

              I think that would make a great topic for a new blog post. “Kurt Cobain: victim of a psychopath” or something like that. I’d have to do more research into their relationship though.

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            • Oh…my…Courtney Love
              Kind of like Sid and Nancy…

              I think you should do an article on Courtney Love for sure…

              And another crazy couple was Dr. Scarsdale and his crazy girlfriend who short him. That was a Malignant Somatic Narc with a Borderline ASPD woman for sure. Lol

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            • I just finished the Love article and published it!
              Actually I’ve always been fascinated by the Betty Broderick murder case. She was a malignant narcissist for sure, but I think her husband, who had been blatantly cheating on her with his young blonde girlfriend and then callously left his wife to marry his new girlfriend, was just as bad if not worse than she was, and I remember reading that book “The 12th of Never” and feeling bad for Betty whose husband treated her like crap.

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          • Definitely! They reflected each other perfectly. Two narcs mirroring each other. Everybody said that she was his female “double”. I read in a Stones book that they fought like crazy, and made up with sex afterwards.

            I too read a Marianne Faithful biography, and also saw her live in concert back in 1996. Her performance was excellent and touching! She paid a high price for dating Mick Jagger, almost died. But she eventually survived and even thrived (she became a good, respected actress playing interesting roles in indie films).

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  6. Sarah Burleton realized her mom had BPD and she was very abusive and would abuse when she didn’t get her way. She loved her farm animals including Buddy, her horse. She had passion for them but she hated this one animal, a donkey that belonged to Sarah, and she hated that donkey because he would destroy her flowers and all and do other damage and instead of keeping him locked in his pasture or keeping him in the barn, she tortured him instead to hurt her daughter she hated. She also killed their neighbor’s cat and hung it in their closet so Sarah could see it. She only abused animals that she didn’t like.

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  7. I just found your blog whilst googling “Narcissistic Father” and I’m glad you’re here 🙂 Lots of insightful posts and theories. As a 40 year old who is still healing the psychological wounds of growing up with an Ndad ( maintaining little to no contact) I’ve been all over the internet looking for relatable stories. Thank you!

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    • Hi, Saracen, I’m glad you found my blog and hope you like it here.
      It turns out I’m already following your blog too, and I just read a couple of your articles. You’re a very good writer.

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  8. I noted this with my ex-narc, as well. However, in the end, it became obvious that his “love” for animals was just part of his self-portrait. He abandoned two of his cats when they became inconvenient for him.

    Good post. 🙂

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