Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Guest post: Narcissist good Samaritan

So here's a story of a sociopath being helpful and compassionate. I doubt empaths could pull this off.

I live in an "intentional household" owned by a religions/social organization.  One of the community's values is compassion and making the world a better place.

There's a longtime resident in the house who has a problem with hoarding, cleaning up after himself, etc. His personal mess has regularly spilled out of his room and into the public areas, causing serious problems.

Over the years, many in the community have expressed the desire to help the guy. Some people have even tried for a few hours to help - but to no lasting effect.

A few weeks ago, the house's residents put me in charge of the house. I didn't want the job; the residents picked me because they thought I'd be focused and effective. I didn't want the job (I'm lazy) but they all wanted me to do it, so I felt I should.

One of my first changes was to tell the hoarder that he and I would be working on his room, together, for 30 minutes a day. Of course, in addition helping, I was the boss, deciding what he should do, and keeping him on track. Every day, after working, we'd socialize - that was to reward him for working, and entirely deliberate on my part.

For the first week or so it was a disgusting task. The floor was covered in trash, some of which had been there for 10 years. We found a mummified rodent under a pile of garbage. An empath would have been very sad to be in the mess and realize this guy was living in it for years.

I found myself getting a little sad at times, but when working, my strategy was to stay 100% focused on the job, and try to avoid giving any attention to thoughts or feelings. E.g. if the job was picking up money, I'd focus on just picking up money (and not on the smell or the disgusting sight of the candy melted on to the furniture). I was reminded of this video

While working with the guy, I have attempted to avoid ever saying anything judgmental, despite being disgusted by the room, disgusted with his slovenliness, despising his bad habits, etc. I figured that shaming him would just slow us down.

At first he could barely work 30 minutes a day, but now he goes for more than an hour. His room is better than it has ever been. He's psyched that his living space is finally optimized so that he can do the things he wants to do easily. In a few weeks, he's gone from being depressed and neurotic to happy -  in the dead of winter, when many people around here are depressed due to lack of light.

My own reaction to this may surprise you.

At first, I wanted to fix things because his behavior was irritating me. Him doing things the way he's done them for years was going to cause me to look bad. So that needed to change - immediately. Having observed him, I knew it was going to take hands-on measures to fix things. I was pushy enough to insert myself right into his life, immediately. I didn't think of him as a person. If I did think of him, it was to despise him for being such a misfit.

That's consistent with me being narcissistic, low-empathy and results-focused.

Having worked with the guy for many hours, over a period of weeks, things are different.

Having spent time around him, in the middle of his mess, I've got insight into him. I understand his suffering and want to help him. I don't know where that desire comes from, but it is real. I don't despise him anymore. I'm proud that he's turned things around, and hope he can keep it together.


  1. Replies
    1. npd = selfhate
      is that true?

    2. what is a good an example of an npd? maybe a well known character from a movie...


  2. You know there are people, usually highly empathic people, that choose this job willingly, b/c they do care about helping people... and not just because it was pushed on them.

    Have you ever watched the show Hoarders? Or any of the spin offs? This happens quite a lot and people are specifically trained to help with this, as a choice. For years.

    How do you know you're not doing this guy damage if you don't have the capacity to empathically understand his reactions?

    1. haven i have a problem i'm attracked to damaged ppl
      i know i'm a predator
      i don't do annything wrong (au contraire) but let's say the fat the oppertunety to do something wrong is always there i kinda get off on so sould i say away?

    2. and is the defens machanism of npd's a result of selfhate (i was in duscution with a girle who was psychologicly abused by here npd father there for the 1st question)

    3. @12:55 I know what you mean, but I think everyone has a little damage and everyone looks for someone else who's damage is symmetrical to their own. That goes for NT's, empaths, and S's.

      If I can focus on other people's damage I can keep from hurting them more. Sometimes I need them to tell me about it. It's creepy, yeah, but it works. They end up more bonded to me by sharing their trauma and then I can be appropriate and nurturing, instead of causing more damage.

      Maybe self-control and a few hacks like the above will get you further than trying to avoid temptation. QM

  3. Hello M.Brig, MyMind, Monica and Anon!!!!!!!

    1. i cannot tell i lie
      it is I

    2. aka the slaughterhousemaniac

    3. Hey Rich, Monica and Anon!

      " I understand his suffering and want to help him. I don't know where that desire comes from, but it is real."

      I gotta admit, yesterday, i had the desire to make someone happy, but without thinking about whats in it for me. I think that was the first time ever i felt that.

    4. That is great MyMind!!!!! Do you know why you felt that or what brought those feelings to the surface?

      Iam interested to know.........

    5. (Hi everyone!)

      MyMind, that's interesting. Do you think being here / talking about empathy is affecting you? QM

    6. @QM

      I worked for 5years in a church and as youth director. And even that didn't affect me in any way.


      I think the way our relationship works, and what it's based on, caused this.

      But i don't think i am changing in any way. In my opinion its just the fact, that i never met a person who's like --- before.

    7. Oh, now I get it mymind, you have a girlfriend!!!!! Well I am glad to hear ur in a good relationship that is different than the others! Good for you, and her!!!!!!

    8. Hey Rich and everyone!

      "I gotta admit, yesterday, i had the desire to make someone happy, but without thinking about whats in it for me. I think that was the first time ever i felt that."

      @MyMind, I still can't believe it myself :)

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  6. Is this post telling a story of M.E.?

    And, is the remark 'I doubt empaths could pull this off' coming out of M.E.'s mouth?

    I sure hope there is no yes answer to either of these two questions. Something is below expectations.

  7. ME - It was really nice of you to help make things Different for this Human. I'm sure deep down inside he is deeply appreciative and will be for the rest of his life. Hopefully you can help even more Humans make things work Differently in the future. Thanks again for your blog, you're doing god's work :)

  8. hey y'all, guest post means the posy was written by a guest, not by ME.


    1. what's the deal with the messed up apostrophes? anyone? don't make google.

    2. lol dinner time for zoe

  9. Thank you for that guest post clarification. Why that guest would qualify to post that thing only God and ME know. And, why this guest will not have a successful blog on his/her own we all know.

  10. ME - I really appreciate your very real desire to help Humans. I'm glad you don't despise him anymore, now that he is "Different." Thanks again for all your good works with the Humans on this planet :)

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