Lack of Empathy…it’s a joking matter!

Pa Man and I were in the car today with our second oldest son and I’m not sure how it came about but something was said about having empathy for others…and PA Man piped up and said “I have empathy!”

And this was the conversation that followed…

ME: Oh, you do? What does that mean, what’s having empathy mean to you?”

PA MAN: “It means feeling what others are feeling, feeling bad when they feel bad.”

ME: “And you are saying that you do that?”

PA MAN: “Yes, but if I don’t, that just who I am. So you have to accept it.”
(He said this in a joking manner, like it’s no big deal)

ME: Even when a lack of empathy hurts those that you’re supposed to love?”

Silence. End of conversation.

A side note…In May 2012 PA Man went to see a therapist, after I threatened him with separation if he did not…he went 3 times then quit.
On his 3rd session, the therapist told PA Man that he has a severe lack of empathy for others…and PA Man obviously never let that bother him, since he’s done nothing to try to correct that.
I thought today’s “talk” was a great insight into what PA Mans thinking really is….this is how I am. Deal with it.


18 thoughts on “Lack of Empathy…it’s a joking matter!

  1. My abuser had this breakthrough without therapy! πŸ˜€ About two years ago we were having one of our crazy-making talks and he said “this is how I am, I am not going to change, accept me as I am.” I didn’t accept that load of…ahem…malarkey. King Abuser was not amused. πŸ˜€

    • Mine also said I was trying to change him. One of his favourite says was “If you don’t like it, leave”. That was my choice. What these men don’t realise is – if they were really like this when we met them, we never would have married them. We want the man who we met back, not the man who came to actually stay. If mine had been anything like how we was after the wedding, before I married him we never would’ve got married. I wasn’t trying to change him – I was trying to set boundaries, not be disrespected etc. I should’ve said, ”so you really are just a disrespectful jerk then, and nothing will change that?” The things they want us to accept are just preposterous because they aren’t actually like that with anybody else. Why should we accept behaviour that they only reserve for us?

      • “What these men don’t realise is – if they were really like this when we met them, we never would have married them. We want the man who we met back, not the man who came to actually stay.”

        Yes….well, no…not anymore. He’s gone and I don’t want him back! πŸ™‚

      • lol, well to be certain, I don’t want mine back now either. I wouldn’t have him back even if his arse was studded with diamonds…. Too late. I guess I took the route he told me to – I didn’t like it – so I left… He got what he wanted.

  2. Years ago, our therapy only lasted 3 sessions as well before Norman quit. I kept going of course. Norman has his own therapist now but she trains him to be more ‘ assertive’ which essentially translates into becoming an even more arrogant narcissist. All I hear now is ‘ This is who I am, this is what I want, this is how I feel”….it’s all about him ( as always but now magnified). There’s no character development taking place at all- just more intensified self-centered behavior. Norman even plays the calm cool and collected wise guru character when I’m upset in an attempt to bully me with a whisper..” Look at yourself, you are so full of anger and so aggressive”.

    One morning last week, I woke up with a horrible sinus headache- the kind that feels like a C-clamp is squeezing your head. I could barely walk/move but had to run up to the store to get some medicine. Norman knew I was sick and he knew what was wrong but I wasn’t about to ask him to go the store and as always, I knew he wouldn’t offer. Two days later he came home from work and told me that he had a horrible headache that day and bought some medicine from the drugstore. I got excited and thanked him and he blew up at me with the most evil look from hell and said, ‘ What? I bought it for me! It’s MINE!” like an angry toddler. I’m not surprised by his selfish behavior. He’s always been a very selfish person who never considers anyone else’s needs.

  3. Ladies, The more I read and hear from other women, the more I’m beginning to believe that menopause was referring to men. Seriously. I don’t know how old everyone’s husband is but I’m not exaggerating when I say that Norman turned into a psychotic monster once he hit the big 5-0. He was always PA and nuts but nothing like he is now. Women are always blamed for marriage problems due to hormones, menopause, periods, etc.. and actually it’s the men a lot of the time. They have fluctuating hormones just like we do!! They are even worse because they have testosterone which makes them more aggressive and mean. I’ve never been as moody and unstable as Norman is- even when I going through puberty. Hey, maybe puberty is Norman’s problem. Maybe he’s finally maturing and deserves a ‘ coming of age’ party πŸ˜€

    • I agree. Mine was a moody, temper tantrum throwing, depressed, angry, whining baby. His moodiness was the worst I’ve ever put up with. I’ve got two teenage girls and he beats them hands down for being a moody, nasty, mean person. There is no way he has stopped that just by getting a new woman. Especially now that he is 50. I think it’s a myth that women are the moody ones. Sure, we cry but that’s a drop in the bucket to the magnitude of their moodiness. They can make the atmosphere so thick you could cut it with a knife. It’s diabolical living in that kind of atmosphere. It was like our house had a black cloud over it. Mine hasn’t hit puberty yet. I’m convinced he’s still dealing with the terrible two’s – another stage my kids were more mature during then their father. It’s pretty embarrassing when you can take 3 kids under 4 out for a day and it all goes well, until the adult male shows up to throw the tantrum. He behaved worse than all 3 children.. Maybe he has reached 3.5 now he is with this new woman but I doubt he’s older than that. His psychologist told me he had the emotional maturity of a 2 year old and as soon as he said it – my whole marriage made sense. I married an overgrown two year old and he wasn’t even cute!! πŸ™‚

    • Yes, I’ve seen this before. So eerie how Vaknin can describe them so well, but he is a narcissist, so again I guess it takes one to know one. I doubt if you had asked mine where I worked, while we were married, that he would have been able to tell you. He didn’t know what I was interested in, he didn’t know my friends, I didn’t know his. He was completely uninterested in me and his children. He had absolutely no interest in who I am. In fact he would say “Why should I be interested in anything just because you are”. When he would yell at me and ascribe thoughts and feelings to me, it was almost as if he had made a person up inside his head and decided that’s who I was because the things he said about me bore little to resemblance to who I really am. He now feigns interest in the children (since he got a girlfriend). If I tried to get him involved in our lives or to show interest, he would rage like a 2 year old. If I asked him to step outside of his own self interest, he raged like a 2 year old. He could go days without noticing or talking to us and as long he was left alone to do what he wanted he would be fine. HOwever, he needed praise for everything he did, while completely disregarding the monumental effort I put into the marriage, house and family. If he showed up he expected to be praised and admired. If he didn’t it was expected that what he did instead was, of course, far more important. I sneaked around the internet last night and came across him waxing lyrical about his spiritual heritage. He says things like ”my soul is in my Australian born children” and to an outsider that would make it seem he is a great father. However, a man who has shown up to no more than 5 school performances over 20 years is not a great father. A man who goes weeks without contacting his children is not a great father. A man who screams he sees them too much, when he has them 3 nights out of fourteen is not a great father. A man who threatens to leave them alone because he has them too much, is not a great father. Even on his weekends when he has an opportunity to see them perform, he drops them off and leaves and when I realised this I started showing up on HIS weekends so my kids weren’t the only ones without a parent who could be bothered showing up. He leaves them alone and drives four hours away in a state wide weather emergency without telling anyone he has 3 children alone in a unit, that could lose power and mobile phone coverage. I could go on and on. Suffice to say, if he had a soul – it certainly is not concerned with his children but he makes it seem on the internet that he lives for them!! He has also told me that he doesn’t have a soul, he can’t feel one. He has told me when his relatives talk about spirituality and heritage he feels NOTHING and yet on the internet he constantly makes it seem like he is directly connected to his ancestors and actually believes something. He gets praise and admiration for portraying himself as a completely different person than what he is. His whole persona is a facade – he is a fraud, a fake and unbelievably good at pulling the wool over other peoples eyes. Now he is reborn as the great Maori, spiritual carver while in reality he sits watching his porn and ignoring his children and as someone who would hate anybody to know he spent 20 yrs screaming abuse and giving the silent treatment on an alternating basis.

      • The negligence in itself is so abusive. These self absorbed passive/aggressive whimps constantly take their neglect out of context when talking to others and paint themselves as over-nurturing men who spoil us. Unfortunately, we also have a tendency to perceive their negligence as ‘freedom’ and believe that it’s a perk in our marriage. I can’t tell you the number of times in a day that I would weigh the pros and cons of staying and leaving and most always come up with ‘ well, I do have freedom when he’s not home and he doesn’t pester me all day, there’s always give and take right?, etc..”

        The other day a neighbor stopped by to drop off some money and she noticed my moving boxes and was shocked. She asked why I was moving and contrary to what I had planned to tell everyone I just told her the truth about Norman and his negligence, destructive behavior and how he sees me as nothing more than a disposable object. She was shocked and said, ‘ My gosh, I would have never ever imagined him being that way’ Well, of course she wouldn’t. Why would he treat her or anyone else that way? I told her that as well. Then she said, ‘ isn’t there some pill he can take? Americans are pill junkies- always looking for solutions in a magic bullet. I laughed and said, ‘ I don’t think there is a such a thing as a ‘ good character’ pill.

        Yesterday Norman told his yoga instructor that the reason he takes yoga is because it’s part of his spiritual practice. I thought I was going to vomit. I imagined him looking at all the hot babes in class and fantasizing about having sex with them. That’s spiritual alright! Norman’s practice of mindfulness is ‘ I look good, I’m the greatest, I’m the best, I’m handsome, I’m smart’.hahahha

      • Exodus, I agree wholeheartedly that negligence is abusive. Marriage is inherently a limitation on other relationships. To marry someone, and by doing so, to limit their freedom to carry on relationships with others with the same freedom they had before, and to then ignore them, is the height of cruelty.

        No, there is no pill for this. I get so tired of the American mindset of an easy fix for everything in the form of medication.

      • Seeing the light “”To marry someone, and by doing so, to limit their freedom to carry on relationships with others with the same freedom they had before, and to then ignore them, is the height of cruelty.””
        Yes!! perfectly said. I once told my husband if I knew he was going to marry me and then do none of the actions or things that it takes to build a healthy and happy marriage, I never would have walked down the aisle. I also asked him why he got married to me if he was so uninterested in putting in effort or even doing the cursory things that marriages require to thrive. His silence and shrug summed up his whole attitude to our marriage. His rage manifested in those times I expected, required or asked for more than nothing or questioned his hurtful, disrespectful, abusive or neglectful actions.

  4. Daniel has said those same words to me. “That’s how I am. I can’t change it. You will have to decide for yourself what you want to do if you can’t live with that.”

    He was that way during his affair and for a while afterwards. He is now trying to see different perspectives. And yes, he was 49 when he started his affair.

    Last night, we had a stupid fight over how to make tea. He bowled right over me and would not listen, and subsequently ruined the whole batch of tea that I asked him to make while I made dinner. Afterwards, he called me “clueless” and yelled at me for griping at him. Talk about projection. I did nothing of the sort. A vestige of the past… I told him how I had everything set up before he came home, and indeed, all the things were still sitting on the kitchen counter. In his anger that it was not already done, he just didn’t see them. He went off to sulk for a while. When we went to bed, he apologized. “I had a really bad day at work, and I wasn’t thinking straight. I shouldn’t have said what I said, and I should have listened to you.”

    I accepted his apology but I was not warm. “When you have a bad day, just tell me. I wouldn’t have asked you to do anything since I was home today. You would have had a cup of tea and a massage and some really good dessert in this bed.” I turned and went to sleep on my side of the bed – no cuddling or anything. This morning we were back to normal.

    Three years ago, I would have been afraid that if I didn’t give in, he would go running back to his “dream girl.” Three years ago, he would never have apologized. He would have continued to blame me for the entire thing. I don’t know how to explain the change. Was he never PA? Was he temporarily PA? Is he borderline PA? I have no idea. Or maybe he’s just past puberty now? LOL!

    • DJ good for you! You did the right thing! Leslie Vernick says that when your husband starts ranting and raging or arguing or being verbally abusive, you’re to tell him,”I don’t need to hear this, it’s disrespectful to me!” And then leave the room or the house…I’ve done this with PA Man…he doesn’t like it nor does he apologize…EVER…But I feel like I’m standing up for myself because like you said, I also was afraid he’d go running back to the Cow, but not anymore…I’m at the point where she can darn well have him…they deserve each other! πŸ˜€

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