I am a Jesus follower. I believe that Jesus is the Son of God, who predicted His death and resurrection on the cross and actually pulled it off. I also believe that Buddha was pretty smart, and he got a lot of things right when it came to rituals, peace, and how to live a compassionate life.
In my article, “Enough about me…Common Traits of Narcissism”, I mentioned that a narcissist tends to lack compassion or empathy and cannot recognize the needs of others. When you are hurting, a narcissist may tell you to just shake it off. They are also known for suddenly disappearing whenever someone is emotionally or physically hurt; however, they will always expect others to be there for them when they are in need and tend to lash out at anyone who isn’t. When something bad happens to someone, Narcissists tend to say things like, “That person deserved what happened to them,” and when something good happens, they will usually say, “That person didn’t deserve that.” This is usually said out of deep jealousy, even though a narcissist will demand that they are not jealous of anyone.
Narcissists have a tendency to overstate their own thoughts and feelings to others, and once they have reached the line of offending you or making you feel bad, they will not recognize your feelings as being valid. In fact, they will discount them altogether; saying things like, “You’re just too sensitive.” “You need to toughen up.” They will also never apologize for something that they have done to hurt you or your feelings; however, they will try to make you think that they are apologizing, by saying things like, “I’m sorry that you can’t take a joke.”; “You know I’m only kidding.” This is their way of getting away with it without actually saying, “I’m sorry.”
Some people are born with a natural sense of compassion, but compassion can also be taught. For someone who has been brought up in a home that is attentive to the needs of others, the chances are pretty good that they will also learn to be compassionate. On the contrary, those who were raised in a narcissistic home where one person may have dominated all the attention may not have learned how to be compassionate for anyone at all. Some may have learned to survive by possibly acquiring a few of those narcissistic behavioral traits for themselves. The good news is, it’s never too late to grow compassion. No matter our age or place of life, we can still learn what compassion is and to be a compassionate person.
Compassion is simply showing genuine concern, love; listening to them. Compassion is not feeling sorry for another person. It is not fixing or rescuing someone from their problems. It is believing in, lifting up, and praying for the person as they walk through a really tough time. Compassion does not involve calling attention to someone’s faults or embarrassing details in front of a crowd. Narcissists tend to do this in a way that elevates themselves; making themselves look good, or to simply take the attention off of themselves when they are feeling vulnerable. A Narcissist may comment about the way someone looks, their hair, what they’re wearing, poke fun at them for something that they did, etc. Usually, a Narcissist will say a few things that are typically considered hurtful, and then come back with, “I was just joking.”; “Ahhh, you know I’m just joking.” During these situations, if you stand up for yourself, the Narcissist will usually make a comment resembling, “Wow! You’re sensitive today.”; “It’s not my fault that you can’t take a joke.”; “What’s with you today? You know I’m just joking around with you.”
Being compassionate can often take a little more effort because we must dig deep into ourselves and allow that emotional button to be pressed ever-so-slightly. We must spend time asking questions in order to seek to understand. This involves effort on our part. We have to actually listen to the other person; their thoughts, and take into account their feelings. For a narcissist, this can be emotionally and even physically exhausting. This also takes precious time, which Narcissists usually aren’t willing to share. Seeking to understand asks us to make time for others and put ourselves second, third, or even last in most situations.
The good news is that if we have been affected or influenced by a Narcissist, there is healing available for us. If we have been raised or influenced by a Narcissist, we can change. We can become a compassionate person. We can learn to lean into other’s emotions and truly begin to care. One way to start is through prayer. Simply praying for others can begin to blossom our seeds of compassion that are planted deep down inside of us. God can begin to penetrate our emotional being and start to help us become more compassionate to others. We can consciously make a decision to listen when someone is sharing their thoughts and feelings. If we begin to pray for others and other’s needs, we will naturally begin to show more compassion and see that our hearts are growing and changing.