Keeping Me in Mind

“He is always in my mind.”

“Try as I might I just cannot get him out of my head.”

“I can’t stop thinking about him.”

I am sure such comments or similar have been made by you at some point about the narcissist in your life. We have this formidable capability to get into your head and remain there for a long time which evokes bittersweet reactions from you at best and utter miserable frustration at worst. I have written about ever presence previously, namely that ability we have to ensure that you keep thinking about us, even when you have been pushed to one side or if you have sought to go no contact. This insidious form of manipulation is pervasive and very difficult to deal with, but how is it so effective?

Like much of our effectiveness it actually comes down to you. As an empathic individual you are much more susceptible to our method of remaining in your mind which is achieved by encoding. Since you care about others and take an interest in the thoughts, actions and well-being of other people, you have been wired to take on board stimuli from other people in a far more effective manner than others. Take my kind for example. We are so focussed on ourselves and what we need that we are not wired to be especially encoded by what others do. Our minds are nearly impervious to the actions of others. It is as if they are so full of what we do and what we want that there is no room for anything or anyone else. You on the other hand are like a sponge and you soak up the words and actions of others. Combine your susceptibility with our determined application of suggestion through what we say to you and what we do for you then the outcome is a devastating form of encoding which creates powerful and near indelible memories in your mind.

Through our visual encoding of your mind, you create a vivid mental picture and this will be recalled in pin-sharp crikey vision time after time. Every detail of a particular scene will be recalled by you and it is ingrained in your mind deeply through this encoding. The more you recall it, the more it becomes ingrained as if you are wearing a groove in a piece of wood. We make particular use of music (think how often your narcissist used certain tunes to woo you and/or create  special moment) to achieve acoustic encoding. Our voice is used in this way as well by the careful selection of key phrases which will resonate with you. You always remember the things that we say because we have encoded them into your mind. Similar encoding occurs in respect of taste and scents as well as tactile encoding. Accordingly this quintet of senses is assailed by all the things that we say and do in order to achieve this encoding. We create powerful memories so that you have no option other than to recall them and with that comes the emotional attachment. You will remember so much of what you have done with us compared to say what you have done with family, friends and colleagues. You will recall more memories, in greater detail and more often when they involved us because of this deliberate encoding.

You might think this was enough in terms of the efficacy of this method of affecting you, but it does not end there. Most narcissists are male and thus it follows that the majority of victims are female. In general terms, women remember events better than men (men have better spatial memories) and therefore you are genetically pre-disposed to remember all those occasions and dates you spent with us in such detail. Females remember pleasant memories in better detail than men, thus this is a further reinforcement of why you can summon up such powerful memories of the golden period and why it hurts you so much. Conversely, in general terms, men remember unpleasant events better than women who tend to recall them in a ‘blurred’ manner. This is why despite the abuse you have suffered the golden period memories tend to triumph. It is not the case with everyone, admittedly, but generally this holds good. Add to this the fact that women’s memories retain more of their potency through the advancement of age than men and you will see why your memories of us are so difficult to shake. Not only do we specifically encode your minds, which are primed to accept this more than other people, your gender also makes you more susceptible to retaining these detailed and vivid memories of the when everything felt wonderful.

These memories are deeply ingrained and very hard to dismiss and remove, even with professional help. Combine this efficacy with the fact we leave you exhausted and broken, it is little wonder you cannot shift us from your minds. Everyone knows how difficult it is to think straight when you are tired. Little wonder then that we always loom large in your mind when you have been exhausted and shattered by our behaviour.

These memories of the golden period are massively powerful and all of the above means that for someone like you, you will often think of them and suffer the emotion that is linked to them .It is a devastating weapon in our armour. Pretty memorable eh?

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42 thoughts on “Keeping Me in Mind”

  1. My mother (the narcissist in my life) as well as a borderline personality, doesn’t use music, but I tend to think of her voice as playing “like a broken record” in my mind.

    My maternal grandfather, who may have been the genuine article , a sociopath (as well as a narcissist), raped me the summer I was ten, and things he said during those encounters play in my mind like a tape on a loop WHEN GROWN UP ME IS WITH A LOVER I’VE CHOSEN AND CONSENTED TO BE WITH, ruining the experience. I first got into
    S & M by asking my sex partners to spank (whip, flog, choke) me, SOMETHING to get my grandfather’s voice to vacate my head. He is dead more than ten years & his voice can still be heard inside my head.

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  2. HG, you are right again, it was when I was most tired that the pain and memories were at there worst! And being able to remember things do vividly in my mind doesn’t help matters any!

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  3. Excellent post, HG. (As they all are.) Yes, even after staying No Contact for months, he’s still on my mind. Quite often. And the thoughts are of happy times during the amazing idealization phase. It’d be so tempting to contact him, but thanks to the knowledge obtained from your books on Kindle – I won’t contact him & will remain N/C.

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    1. I fully agree. Intermittent reinforcement – what an incredibly powerful tool! I sometimes use it myself to achieve certain results or trigger certain behaviours in people. It is effective. But I do not enjoy doing that. It is something I adopted from the narc I guess. I try to get rid of that again. I strive at being trustful, candid and open-hearted again. That’s what is at my core. The heart of the matter is the ability to genuinly give and receive love. Nothing else really matters (and I don’t mind if this sounds cheesy;-)).

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  4. I’ll add another layer- if you remember, I still see his kids through his ex wife. While she and I have still never discussed our relationship with N, the girls ask if I’m coming over to Daddy’s, or can daddy come to the river house… Etc. I’ll admit for a few days prior and a few days after he is in my head. I know they go back to his house and tell him that ” miss Lisa ” came over and Miss Lisa met M- ( the ex’s boyfriend who N has never met) and I do wonder what he’s thinking about all of that….I CAN say I’m in a much better place than I was eight months ago, and will throw you some fuel HG, Zari wasn’t cutting it and this blog did.
    Again. I DID survive.

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    1. Hello GG, yes I remember the set-up. First of all thank you for the fuel, much appreciated and also for a further reason you won’t be aware of, do tell everyone you know! What will he be thinking when the children tell him you have had interaction with them, his ex and the new boyfriend? His initial reaction will be one of wanting to be there to disrupt this cosy love-in. His paranoia but also his self-centredness will have him think that you are all talking about him because he was involved with you, his ex and the children. He will be torn between delighting in the fact that you are (in his mind) discussing him because what else would you be talking about and the concern that you will be telling lies/the truth about him when you get together. He will want to learn what is being said and most likely will be quizzing his children. He won’t like the fact of a new boyfriend because this will distract his ex and also suggests that he(the N) isn’t good enough and this criticism will ignite his fury. I should imagine when the children return he is rather restless torn between the ignition of his fury and the need to strike out, the gnawing paranoia and the fuel he will receive from thinking he is the focus of discussions. He will be up and down and will need to draw deep on his other fuel sources when the fury and paranoia are prevalent.

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      1. Yes its true my ex also got infuriated for the same reason described above, although he moved on and also had a new partner and does lots of things with her and the kids… He was always furious on those weekends they were with me.
        again the difference between our world and the Ns. No reason to be infuriated. I am even happy when the children have a good time there.

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      2. How awful to be a N- all those twisted conflicting emotions…. What about being genuinely happy that a kind, stable adult loves your kids and is a positive influence in their lives? ( rhetorical question )
        BTW- the new boyfriend-isn’t. They’ve been together for two years, he lives with the ex. N has never met the guy and M ( boyfriend) said he does it for control…. Guess he has N figured out?

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  5. This is very well explained, from the biophysical point of view and from the narcissist Scheming point of view. Both together to understand the result it had on me and I think every reader will identify him or herself with the above posting as one of the most painful experiences. Because either when you leave or the other person leaves, those memories hurt day and night and that gives place to fall to the hoover etc.
    But thanks to this blog and the SLDD theory I could overcome that and To be honest no, not anymore. The memories dont come around, or I learned to manage them.,, I guess I understood it was a programming because there are always beautiful memories and of course there are melancholic times when you remember them but this abnormal unbearable pain was a programming.
    I countered that programming by looking forward to many beautiful plans and people i have in my life, I look so much forward to July and August ❤️, also with selflove, being thankful for what I have in my life, by helping others around me who could be at the moment not in such a good shape or in fact in need of help.., by looking back at the painful memories ( this also helped me 😖😖). I think there are beautiful things to look forward to in life than getting stuck in the pain of someone that brought so much sufferment.
    I wish everybody that reads this posting and eventually my comment lots of strength to overcome the pain of the ” golden period” by understanding what happened and forgiving and letting go.
    It is hard and difficult but possible.
    Sourround yourself with positive people, be positive and think really hard about the good things that there are in your life right now and expand from there. Friends and family, new experiences, eventually join a cause to help others.
    Wishing and sending everybody lots of light on this one. ☀️🙏🏻🎈.
    Thanks HG for posting. ❤️. I repeat again what I have mentioned before. Your blog was a blessing for me. 🙏🏻 and as I have read in y our site on facebook and here, also for other readers. Some express it in a more positive way than others but the fact that it supports is evident.
    Sending you lots of kisses 😘💋😘💋😘😘

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  6. So the N is an expert at creating triggers, anchors and hooks – similar to the way some people “place a spell” on their lovers-to-be, so that every time one of these pops into view or hearing, a memory is released? Setting up mood, context, situation so that it stays with you? Mine did exactly as you described – I couldn’t play certain music or visit certain places for months, until a shrink suggested I indeed do so, to “layer” new memories and associations over the few (luckily for me, they were few) memories associated with my female N. It was effective. It generally worked well.

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      1. You feel nothing so it feels good to you. So I say to you “it feels so good to listen to music and feel each note, each lyric, my cells dance when I hear music. I like my ability better.

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      2. Hi Stephanie
        Welcome here 😃
        You misunderstood me. Music is my life and I feel it in my veins, heart and soul. I meant listening to the music he programmed and in my mind and not breaking into tears.
        There way quiet a job done with the music exactly because of that. I feel it inside me.

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      3. I think I understand what you are saying. You are referring to the N that was in your life? If so then my apologies and thank you for the welcome.

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  7. I’m new to this site and your books HG and I have to say it has been an epiphany. My son’s father was my first ever encounter of a narc but I had no idea at the time. When I finally got free and went “no contact”, although I did know it as that, I was plagued by the memories and to make it worse I had a new baby without a father as a daily reminder. Even ten years later I was still suffering from PTSD symptoms and my son’s psychiatrist offered me EMDR (eye movement desensitisation and reprocessing) therapy. It was revolutionary. And yes my son was and still is seeing a psychiatrist as he was diagnosed with ADHD, Oppositional Defiance Disorder and Atypical autism with anxiety. However his behaviour is identical in many ways to that of his father and yet he has never even known him. For me the question of nuture or nature is massive love to hear other people’s thoughts on this.

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    1. Hello Centauride, thank you for posting and your kind observations. I am interested in the EMDR and wonder might you share more about it. I suspect an outer circle friend of mine has engaged in this as well. He is a train driver and he has killed three people who purposefully ventured onto the tracks in front of his train (three separate occasions) and I understand he was offered and undertook EMDR as well. He spoke highly off it so I would be interested in you expanding on the same.

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    2. Hi Centauride
      welcome here. Would you be able to explain what are those disorders in the context of how your son behaves… Just to get an idea if it could be genetical..

      PS. ADHD is well knon no need to explain that one. Its highly believed not to be genetical.

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    3. Welcome to the club you never wanted to join. 🙂
      Come join us in one of the newer discussions. Easier to get responses when posting in a thread started the same day or possibly a day or two before. HG is pretty prolific, though, and often posts four times a day!

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    4. I have just recently stumbled on this site due to a relatively recent desire to live and regenerate my love and light. I find it uncomfortable at some level to be learning from a NP but at the same time growing from this experience. So thank you. I am extremely interested if there is a correlation between NPD and genetics. I find it fascinating how NP’ s have adapted to survive, although not to Skippy being a victim of one…. there must be some link to brain chemistry behind this adaptation since not every child that suffers trauma becomes NP.

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  8. Hi HG and thanks for your response. EMDR therapy as you are doubtless aware is primarily used to treat PTSD and works on the premise that highly traumatic events are often not fully processed by the brain causing the memory to become neurologically frozen.This causes great distress to the sufferer as the memory is frequently and vividly replayed as the brain attempts to deal with it. Being from the world of IT I like to think of it as a software glitch stuck in an infinite loop. This therapy induces a state similar to REM sleep while you are conscious where the therapist guides you back through the trauma. As you recall the memory the therapist creates alternating left and right eye movement using various techniques. In my case it was a combination of auditory clicks played through headphones and the therapist tapping me on the shoulder. I often found the recall very intense and distressing and would always feel a pressure at the base of my throat where my ex had tried to strangle me. As the therapy continued the recall and the physical sensations dissipated and as every session finished with a relaxing guided visualisation I always felt calm and reassured afterward. The most unusual thing I found with this technique was that during every session I would experience a tingling sensation right through my scalp and down to the base of my neck, which would continue up to a couple of days later. It wasn’t unpleasant and my therapist said that it was my brain rewiring itself. I also experienced very vivid dreams whilst this was happening and these were always of being looked over by a very comforting presence that I could not see but I believe was my guardian angel. For me the therapy took three months and was highly effective as I have not been troubled by the memories since and I believe it was integral to my healing and has ultimately led to a heightening of my empathic abilities as well as increasing my resilience. This must be why I keep getting targeted but I.m pleased to say that with my new found knowledge from this blog I’m much more aware of why I’m targeted and how to keep my distance. You can find more info about EMDR therapy at http://www.emdrassociation.org.uk I hope you found that useful!

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  9. Hi Nikita & Cody thanks for the welcome. I’d prefer not to talk about my son’s diagnosis as with the exception of the ADHD I do not believe the professionals have it correct. And just for reference ADHD is believed to have several causative factors some of which are genetic for example low levels of dopamine in the brain. It has also been suggested to me by one of my son’s psychiatrists that the stress I experienced during pregnancy could have caused high levels of cortisol to cross the placental barrier causing my son to be born at 36 weeks and this has also been linked to ADHD and developmental delay. I am compiling a list of the traits and examples of how these manifest in my son’s behaviour as I am seeking psychotherapy for him and I’m happy to share this but as Cody suggested I will do it on more recent blogs. I’d be really interested to know more about your adolescence HG are there any blogs that I might find helpful?

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    1. My adolescence is mentioned from time to time in blog articles but a more expansive work is in the pipeline and you will find much of my adolescence in Little Boy Lost : The Creation of a Narcissist.

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      1. Certainly will by this one – the one I am sure most of your readers are waiting for!

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  10. HG, I love to hate the truth you share.and hate to love it simultaneously. But it is so dead on accurate. When I first was tipped off to who and what I was involved with as her intimate primary source, your truth into the mind of a Narcissist gave me chills… And still does. My experience has fit squarely into your description. This truly is the most emotionally exhausting, trying experience of my life. And true to your description of me as an empathetic male, who never laid clear boundaries, I am the perfect receptacle for the lies, manipulation and prolonged abuse. I had allowed it to continue, and so it does.

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