False Generosity: The Trap Of The Narcissist

False generosity is unfortunately very common. It is about people helping others for selfish reasons. It may be to look good, gain more power or blackmail.
False Generosity: The Narcissist's Trap

False generosity is one of the most common and harmful forms of hypocrisy. It is the people who do good deeds for selfish reasons instead of kindness or compassion. It is the classic narcissistic trap: to do a good deed for someone, as a way to manipulate them.

Some psychologists will tell you that pure, selfless generosity is not always natural for us. We are not all connected by true empathy. This is true even though most of us also know that collaboration has contributed tremendously to the survival of our race.

False generosity is evident in the world. Some people are so kind and attentive just because they want something back. Politicians do it, some of your family members do it, and bosses do it with their employees too, because they know that kindness can increase work performance. Except, for example, when an employee becomes ill or experiences an emergency in the family and their boss’s generosity disappears.

As you can see, there are multiple hidden interests hidden behind some of our seemingly empathetic, compassionate actions. Be alert! In fact , you may even be subconsciously doing some of these things yourself.

False generosity and a narcissistic society

Just think of a parent who gives all his attention to his children. But the kids are older and out of the house more often now, and they are doing everything they can to get some space from this intrusion. The parent knows very well that the child can manage well on his own. But they give them constant attention, just to make themselves feel better and validated.

This is so normal that you have probably seen it through a friend or experienced it yourself. But the reality is much more complicated if we look a little beyond our own family. A large part of our society practices false generosity.

And beyond that, sociology tells us that the world is becoming more and more narcissistic. They believe that the  “me and only me”  generation is growing. This may be discouraging to hear, but it is social media that is feeding this trend. It fosters our need to shout,  “here I am. Look at me, follow me, like me, give me positive confirmation. ”

Facebook likes that are poured into a bowl that says 'ego'

Think of the celebrities who use social media to showcase their generosity. They support social causes, they work with charities… But most of the time it is just them who sell their “image”. They use false generosity to convince us that they are good people.

Bill Gates

Let’s look at Bill Gates, and the difference between false generosity and genuine empathy. There was a time when one saw many reports that some of the richest, most famous people on earth were not very charitable. Microsoft earned the money, but did not donate any of their wealth to charity.

But after Bill Gates married Melinda Gates, they founded the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. Nowadays, the organization provides more money for social affairs, health and education than almost anyone else.

He must have thought about how important it is to help with such problems and do something good for society. This is an example that looks like real empathy. But it could also be that his advisers from Microsoft thought it would be good for Microsoft’s “image”.

Maybe Bill Gates got to a point where he felt like he had to donate that money so he could feel good about himself. The social recognition he received as a result of donating this money was certainly satisfactory. That is false generosity.

Crow with half a woman's face symbolizes false generosity

The 4 Keys to False Generosity

Our world needs genuine empathy. Amin Maalouf is a well-known French-Lebanese author and an expert on social issues, discrimination and ethical conflicts. He says that if we teach people to be empathetic as children, then it will make humanity more supportive and generous. But the dynamics at play right now only push us further towards a chaotic, harmful narcissism.

False generosity is part of all this. It’s just another part of a narcissistic personality type, so it’s important that you form the ability to recognize it. Here are some of the main features of fake generosity:

  • False or selfish charity or kindness from a powerful position. “I am superior to you. Whether you like it or not, my generosity makes you dependent on me. ”
  • Charity to look good.
  • A feeling of,  “if you did not have me, you would not be able to survive or solve your own problems.”
  • Manipulation, extortion and emotional traps.

Finally, we want to mention that we are all essential, unique and wonderful people, but never forget that you have obligations to other people. Never forget how to collaborate. And always remember how valuable it is to practice true, selfless empathy.

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