The Little Shaman is a spiritual coach & specialist in cluster B personality disorders, with a popular YouTube show and clients worldwide.
People often ask if it's OK to have sympathy for the narcissistic person in their lives, or they say that they have sympathy for the narcissist and they wonder if they should. The truth is, feelings are not right or wrong. They just are. We can't control the feelings that we feel. Some of them make no sense. Some of them are illogical or irrational. Others make sense. Judging feelings is difficult and often pointless. It is better to accept them and deal with them as they are. There's nothing wrong with feeling some type of way. It is what it is.
Now, that doesn't mean that we should always act the way our emotions are directing us. Many times, we probably shouldn't. If your emotions are directing you to kill somebody because they betrayed or hurt you, that is not something you should act on. If your emotions are directing you to reach out to someone who has repeatedly hurt you, you probably should not act on that, either. We have to evaluate our emotions objectively so that we can decide what the best course of action would be. This is not always easy, but it's necessary because decisions that are based off of emotions rather than logic are often ill-advised.
Feelings are best tempered by logic, just as logic is best tempered by emotion. When these two things work together, we usually function better. Logic without emotion is psychopathic. Emotion without logic is hysteria. Neither of these things are healthy states to be in. For instance, psychopaths are usually considered to have antisocial personality disorder. The word "antisocial" in this context doesn't mean that they are not friendly or don't like hanging out with people. It means that their behavior and personality structure are not compatible with living among other people in a society or community. This is because they have no conscience and no empathy, therefore no emotion tempers their decision-making. This makes them potentially dangerous to other human beings.
Even if someone is not a hysteric or a psychopath, they can have trouble balancing logic and emotion. Some people are naturally given to one more than the other and others may have issues that make it difficult for them to express their emotions or to think clearly. When there is trauma involved, abuse or addiction, it can be even more difficult.
Many times when someone has been in a relationship with a narcissistic person, the level of abuse and trauma involved can make it extremely difficult for someone to understand their feelings or be able to think logically. It can result in many confusing emotions. Sometimes people become angry at themselves because they still care. They wonder, "How can I still care about someone who has treated me so terribly? How can I miss them? How can I love them? Why do I feel sorry for them?"
It's not uncommon to feel sympathy, pity or have caring feelings for the narcissistic person in your life, even though they may have been terribly abusive. It's actually hard for any caring person not to feel at least some level of sympathy or pity for somebody who is that miserable and damaged, especially if you've been watching them sabotage themselves or destroy their own lives in a slow-motion train wreck for years. The important thing to remember is that you are not responsible for their choices, their lives, their happiness or anything else. You can feel empathy, sympathy, pity or love for someone without feeling that you need to do something about their problems.
Other people hate the narcissistic person in their lives with a passion and they worry that they should not feel that way, or that hatred is wrong. They may feel bad that they are angry or that they have such dark and hateful feelings toward another person. The truth is, both of these emotional reactions are OK. So is every other one - as long as they don't interfere with your logic. You can have empathy for a toxic person. You can have sympathy, pity, love, hatred and anything else. Just don't let these emotions - or any others - rule your life or your decision-making. Keep logic in the driver's seat!
In the end, your emotions are your business. They are not right or wrong. They just are. Some people are sad when the relationship is over. Some are angry. Some are happy. There is no rule book for how someone is "supposed to feel" after trauma or abuse. Your emotions are likely to be confusing for a while, so rather then agonizing over whether they are "right" or not, it's more helpful to focus on accepting and dealing with them.
Just remember that emotions are not logical. Sometimes they don't make sense. Human emotions can be very complex and complicated. They can be rooted in many things. Try not to get caught up in how you should or shouldn't feel. Just deal with how you actually do feel. Work on processing and dealing with your emotions. You can't change your feelings, but if you accept them, deal with them and process them, they often change on their own. They become less intense, they morph into other things, they fade... Most emotions are temporary reactions to temporary situations. They're not permanent, so don't make permanent decisions based on temporary things. Make them based on logic and reason.
Daughter of a Narcissist on April 28, 2020:
Thank you for sharing. This is very helpful for those who have parents that are narcissists.