Fading Star



I have explained how we draw fuel from primary, secondary and tertiary sources. These sources vary in potency and are affected of course by the method of delivery of the fuel. The primary source remains our most important source of fuel since it is this person, usually the intimate partner, who we are with more than anybody else but also who has the greatest emotional reaction to what we say and do. Therefore, this person provides us with the most fuel and of the most potent kind. The primary source is naturally the most important fuel provider which is why we seduce this person with such dedication, unleash such a terrible devaluation and keep on hoovering following escape or discard. We make such an investment in you as the primary source that we regard it as our right to keep drawing fuel from you, whether that is positive or negative, whether it is now, next week or in ten years’ time.

The secondary sources are those which contribute good fuel and are invariably those who are part of our façade. Our lieutenants and the coterie are drawn from the secondary sources – friends, family and colleagues – who we interact with frequently but not to the same extent as we do with the primary source. Nor do the secondary sources give out the same heightened fuel as the primary source. The secondary sources serve an excellent function as part of the façade and the maintenance of this façade is important, therefore we prefer to keep the same people in at and keep adding to it. Secondary sources enjoy lengthy golden periods with us. This is because our call on them is intermittent and therefore we are far less likely to regard their fuel as stale. Moreover, we can have many secondary sources but we only ever have one primary source. Thus if a certain secondary source is perhaps not admiring us as much (but they are not criticising us and are still providing some fuel) it does not merit a devaluation. They remain loyal, they remain part of the façade and we will just switch to another secondary source to increase the fuel. There is no need to devalue or ditch the initial secondary source. Thus you may see our kind have a friend who is “flavour of the month” because their fuel is better than other secondary sources and then the fuel dips in quality but it is not a concern as we can add another secondary source or switch to another who perhaps we have not seen for a couple of months. This is advantageous as it means our energy can be saved for devaluing the primary source whilst keeping a range of functioning secondary sources on hand and the façade intact.

The secondary sources very rarely stop providing fuel. They have no need to. A primary source may do so owing to the descent into ill health caused by the devaluation or learning how to tackle our kind as a response to the abuse. The secondary source, always treated to the golden period, has no need to adopt a stance of not providing fuel.

A secondary source may however criticise us and if that is the case they may be subjected to devaluation but usually they are excluded from the coterie and replaced easily enough. They will be smeared and made to feel like an outsider, with the narcissist using the façade and other secondary sources to achieve this aim. We like to create our cliques and if anybody threatens our supremacy of delivers a criticism who is a secondary source they will be ejected from the group.

The occasion for devaluation of the secondary source is rare. It only happens in two instances. Firstly, the source has criticised the narcissist and thus fury is ignited and the narcissist decides this person must be made an example of, before being discarded, in order to show the rest of the coterie who is in charge.

Secondly, in an even rarer instance it may happen when the narcissist has no primary source. If there is an absence of the primary source for a period of time, say a number of weeks, the narcissist’s fuel levels will have been tested. He will have sought to seduce and embed a new replacement primary source and most times the narcissist in such a situation is able to do so with success. However, let us assume this has not happened. The narcissist turns to his secondary and tertiary sources (more on tertiary in a moment) and relies more than usual on them to provide him with fuel during the absence of the primary source. At first there is no problem, the secondary sources provide positive fuel which is sustaining the narcissist, but if he has only a few secondary sources, then it will not be long before his fuel demands outstrip the positive fuel they can give. The lesser quality of their fuel (compared to the primary source) is being exposed by the absence of the primary source. It is also because greater demand is being placed on them. Ultimately, the primary source will always go further for the narcissist than anybody else and they are also far more proximate. No matter how seductive if the secondary source has to deal with his own family, his work and so on, he may not be available to provide fuel. If this keeps happening, combined with the increased demand and the lack of a primary source the strain on positive secondary sources will start to tell. This means the narcissist will either have to add new secondary sources and/or devalue the secondary sources to shift to negative fuel so he is sustained. This will work for a period of time with the confused inner circle friend who is a secondary source trying to work out why their supposed best friend is ignoring them and then trying to patch up the relationship. A secondary source however will not sustain devaluation as long as a primary source and may even infect other secondary sources by pointing out how they are being treated. The narcissist is already suffering reduced fuel levels and the supremacy of his façade is being challenged. This increases the demands on him.

The tertiary sources provide the least fuel and generally they are also treated to lengthy golden periods – for example the lady who works in the petrol station or the postman – since they are only extracted from on an intermittent basis. Tertiary sources can also be used straight away for negative fuel, for example, upbraiding a waiter or shouting down a shop assistant. We do not regard them as necessary to the maintenance of the façade, their negative fuel provides a useful boost and such high-handed behaviour may impress a primary (or secondary source) and draw positive fuel from them where appropriate.

If there is no primary source for a period of time, the reliance on tertiary sources increases. There will be increased activity to use technology to draw these people to the narcissist – such as on dating sites, chat rooms or through social media, but if the reliance is frequent and sustained the quality of the fuel will diminish quickly and those who have been attached to the narcissist in this way will be discarded and replaced with new remote tertiary sources promptly. There will be a high turnover. At the same time, the narcissist is likely to lash out at physically proximate sources more and more as the fuel level dips. This happens for two reasons. Firstly, he needs the fuel more than ever from tertiary sources and negative fuel is better than positive. Secondly, he will be furious at being placed in this position (through having no primary source but he has not got one to lash out at) so tertiary sources bear the brunt of this rage.

A narcissist without a primary source will eventually alienate secondary sources and in certain environments – say a small town – will struggle to replace them as people become wise to what he is. He may lack the energy to keep up the turnover of remote tertiary sources and spends his time lashing out at those which are physically proximate. At this point the narcissist faces losing the façade (since so many people know about his behaviour) in order to keep drawing fuel. It is now that he has three choices: –


  1. Secure a new primary source immediately;
  2. Move his environment so he can seek our fresh secondary sources and tertiary sources and rebuild his façade; or
  3. Sink into depression and inactivity as his fuel levels plummet.


The narcissist becomes a fading star. Once brilliant, magnificent and illuminating, his loss of the primary source and inability to find another means that the alluring shine is fading as a black hole awaits. Thus you can see just how paramount the primary source is to the existence of our kind and why we make such an effort to secure them, replace them and hoover them back again.

61 thoughts on “Fading Star

  1. Rob says:

    Very interesting, HG. In the face of death, eg late stage cancer or something, and hence the narc is not likely to find a new IPPS, given the physical constrains. Would they choose to discard their IPPS at this time and if they do, do they come back and hoover?

    1. HG Tudor says:

      This would make disengagement less likely.

      1. Rob says:

        Umm…but my sick and dying narc was mad at me and scolded me and said the sight of me gave her headaches and that she never wanted to see me again last week and discarded me. I know if i just show up she will be so mad. Do you think she will contact me again? It been a week and the clock is ticking…

      2. Getting There says:

        What about disengagement of a IPSS? Or if the IPSS escapes, would there be a hoover if the narcissist is terminally ill?

        1. HG Tudor says:

          There would be subject to the hoover trigger and whether the hoover execution criteria are met – the issue of illness forms part of the criteria. It is not judged in isolation.

      3. Getting There says:

        Thank you!

        1. HG Tudor says:


  2. Cyd says:

    Am I a secondary source if I’ve been love bombed, triangulated, told I had a “split personality” and repeatedly given the silent treatment? The passive aggressive victim narcissists primary source of 25 years walked out and asked for a divorce. He’s repeatedly tried to Hoover her back in. After many tears, devaluation, silent treatments, and much heartache I walked away but have not been hoovered this time, although after two months flowers and a bottle of wine were left on my doorstep with a generic Easter greeting.

    1. HG Tudor says:

      One cannot determine your position in the fuel matrix from that description. it requires more information which means it is best addressed through consultation.

  3. Steven says:

    HG- do IPSS get hoovered? It seems like they wouldn’t get hoovered much because they are only secondary sources.

    1. HG Tudor says:

      They do Steven, yes.

  4. This post invokes the emotions I feel when I listen to ♫ “Starlight” by Muse ♫

  5. Jennifer says:

    HG do your friends know they are merely sources of fuel? Have you confided in any of them?

    1. HG Tudor says:

      Absolutely not Jennifer.

  6. twinkletoes says:

    From secondary…to primary …to…rubbish? That, sadly, is why I fight the urge to contact….I know he thinks nothing of me. Any attempt I make would only be ignored or met with contempt and scorn.

  7. twinkletoes says:

    Wow, this happened at least once a month. Sometimes more…I think that’s what threw me off, how I missed an NPD diagnosis. Wow. So could I have been the secondary source that invigorated him? He seemed to rely on me quite a bit during this time.

    There is no way he could have learned social skills and somehow morphed into a mid/greater is there? Something changed im not sure what. Still a bit surprised, its been so long.

    1. HG Tudor says:

      Hello TT, yes you may well have been the secondary source. He would not have morphed. It probably was the shift in your categorisation as a source.

  8. twinkletoes says:

    So THIS is why Tubby spent weeks on end “depressed” and withdrawn in his bedroom? No way?

    1. HG Tudor says:

      Either that or he found the Krispy Kreme hoard.

  9. These posts of yours are brilliant and it helps me to understand their circus routine in its entire act.. So amazing!

    1. HG Tudor says:

      Glad you think so.

  10. nikitalondon says:

    Not yet seem a fading N star..
    very interesting descriptiom. I suppose that happens very often, because of the inability to keep stable relationships.. this is why many want absolutely yo cure like Lauren says

  11. 1jaded1 says:

    This sounds exhausting, you keeping track. I hope you someday have peace. You are primary fwiw. From comments, my condolences.

    1. 1Jaded!,
      If your comment was for me, yes I am so exhausted and my kids have been through so much. This all was before I knew what he is and was trying so hard to fix him, thinking it was all my fault, and still had hope that someone decent was inside and I could save him. He had me convinced New Wife was controlling and crazy. When he left last year I was begging him to not let her control his emotions. When he left this time he convinced me that she was crazy enough to kill him or myself. I believed all of this (silly me) until recently when I found a letter she wrote him begging him to come back and all of the things she was going to change about herself for him and how she knew he loved me but one day they would get back those original feelings and he would learn to love her as much as me if he just gave her a chance (barf…but I was like that too…double barf). Ironically, her letter opened my eyes and is actually what got my brain spinning and the ball rolling on figuring out it was HIM not me or her that had the issues.

      1. 1jaded1 says:

        Hi. You aren’t silly. You see what is happening and have made it to this blog, where HGs posts will outline what is going on and what you need to do. We are here to support you too bc been through it I hope you and your children are able to rest.

  12. Primary, secondary, primary, secondary…ping pong, ping pong! Ready to be out of this game now that I realize I’m the ball being bounced around. Hopefully my wounding him and calling him out has caused him to get a new ball…this one is deflated

  13. T says:

    lol! Timely as always, HG! I’m sure N3 is going through the same thing! His brother serves as primary when he is without a girlfriend….brother is such a sweet man…he takes the abuses from the N family members…not sure why. He doesn’t date and has bought a farm next door to the family farm and they use him as a whipping boy….he’s a pharmacist and a real estate genius–not sure why he puts up w N3 or his mother’s abuses? I wonder why he doesn’t move away from that small farming town and move to my city…at least he’d be 45 minutes away from them…and he could have his own life…

    I hear N3 is on dating sites 24/7…..lol!
    I know he regrets burning his bridge with me….he isn’t capable of getting along w many people outside his family…. I was one of the few until he acted a fool….so I’m sure his brother (out of familial obligation); is taking the brunt of his fury…

    N3 has no one to blame but himself…. I am glad he gets a taste of his own medicine!

  14. How long will an N stay in depression and inactivity if he is extremely low on fuel supply, and has not been able to reach his primary and can’t quickly reinstall a new one?

    1. HG Tudor says:

      Until such time as he can obtain fuel from supplementary sources to fire him up once again.

  15. MDR says:

    Hi HG. How long will an N stay in depression if he can’t line up enough supply? Is this only a temporary state of being?

  16. chirose says:

    Very eye-opening HG.! I saw this with my N. when I first broke away from him all those many moons ago, I took many ping pong sources with me. He hated me.!! He was left scrounging around for a primary source because none of us would go back to him after meeting each other. I didn’t know then what I know now, but I’ll never forget his words to me – “I will never be left alone again without a lover. I will never get rid of my mates with benefits for any woman”. Smh….

    And I now recognize the secondary source relationship tactics from some female friends I mentioned previously. Thank you for illuminating my path HG 🙂

    1. HG Tudor says:

      You are welcome Chirose.

  17. Persephone says:

    Dear Mr. Baker,
    I am pleased to find that you’re secure in your primary and secondary sources. As a tertiary source I of course am wondering if I am an apple or cherry turnover. I hope you maintain your facade as I would hate to be thrown out as day old bread. Free sample anyone? Go ahead HG, take some. I realize that you will grow tired of my flavor and hey, that’s okay because I’m 32 flavors and then some. Someone will always be willing to have a taste. But being you are The Baker you already know there are wide varieties of flavor and you get to sample them all. Reminds me of a story about a Old and Young Bull standing in a pasture, I digress.
    Thank you for serving up your tasty baked goods and just so you know I am especially fond of the black and white cookie.
    Patty Cake.

  18. Rosemarie says:

    astute as well! Well done.

    1. Tappan Zee says:

      HG– as the codependent empath (me) living with my mother i often feel i am replacing my father. but i am learning not to. and will GOSO from that ordeal too. first things first getting my nex out of the picture legally. then, removing myself farm m-narc. she will triangulate anyone. i hopscotch around whenever possible:)

  19. mlaclarece says:

    Now that your father has passed on, are you witnessing this happening with your mother? How is ol’ Uncle Pete faring in his twilight years as well?

    1. HG Tudor says:

      MatriNarc has promoted my sister to primary source (as stated previously, PS is usually an intimate partner, but if not a family member is usually the replacement). MatriNarc has strong secondary sources through her vice-like grip on her social life. She isn’t fading, but she will be snuffed out.
      Uncle Peter is not in his twilight years yet, he still rampages around the world of confectionary like a furious bull.

      1. Maddie says:

        Dearest G. So You sister isn’t married anymore to her narc husband? You’ve mentioned in a book she became more independent in her thinking and more assertive xxx and why do You think Your dad was able to handle Your mum? See Your dad is an example of a true loving person…strong Man. I believe, I know that if He could satisfy Your mum …then so can I fulfill someones (narc’s) needs fully…

        1. HG Tudor says:

          He couldn’t handle her he submitted to her.

      2. mlaclarece says:

        How does Sis handle this? I know you’ve written she definitely has empathy and you would be fascinated with her being emotional or crying about something as children when she would confide to you. Does she realize what your mother is? Or does she take on the role of dutiful daughter and thinks her and her mom are just close? If she is the replacement IP for your mom now, is your sister treated like the golden child who could do no wrong?

        1. HG Tudor says:

          She is under my mother’s spell still and falls prey to the deflection that MatriNarc deploys to suggest that I am the problem. She seems oblivious to the game playing because Rachael, despite the progress she has apparently made overcoming the narcissist she was married to, continues to jump whenever MatriNarc demands. Is she the golden child? No. She is the equivalent of the dog the drunk kicks when he comes in from the pub but never learns and keeps coming back for more. Rachael seems able to deal with her co-dependency better with regards to her intimate relationships but has a total blindspot concerning MatriNarc.

          1. 1jaded1 says:

            So interesting. Why do you think your sister has that blind spot? Because it’s your mom?

          2. HG Tudor says:

            She has replaced my father

  20. Rosemarie says:

    H G you’re writing is impeccable. This coming from a college level English prof. You get a gold star.

    1. HG Tudor says:

      Thank you Rosemarie, I see what you did there!

      1. Steeviann says:

        H G

    2. How is it that a college writing professor would write “you’re” instead of “your”? Just sayin.

  21. Jules says:

    Sometimes i find it hard to keep up and understand who is who in the zoo. Its one big jigsaw puzzle. Im a visual person so i wish u wud hurry up and make a movie 😂 So if the narc only has one primary source at a time, can he be having sex on a regular basis with one of his secondary? Or can he be having sex with a secondary and withholding sex from his primary but still spends more time in terms of consistently calling and texting primary and gaining fuel from his primary because the primary is more empathic than secondary and gives much better attention? Because altho sex is fuel its not the most important type of feul to a narc right? I quess what im trying to ask is: is the sexual partner always the primary. What of the ping pong narc. I think mine flitted between two of us for awhile and cudnt decide who was his primary source. If things got bad with me he flitted to her and visa versa

    1. HG Tudor says:

      No, the sexual partner is not always the primary source.
      Example – married N. Wife is the primary source and is being devalued. N has affair with third party who is an outer circle friend. N may be having sex with both. N may decide to withdraw sex from the wife, thus gaining negative fuel from this primary source. N has sex with third party, gains positive fuel from the emotional reaction (not the sex itself).
      Same N may decide to withdraw sex from wife, thus gaining negative fuel from primary source, and does not engage in sex with third party but is still seducing her, gains positive fuel, N also sees prostitute for sex, gains low level fuel but has this as potential triangulation material to use against primary source or outer circle friend secondary source in due course.
      Later the same N leaves wife and shacks up with outer circle friend. She is promoted to intimate partner primary source. Wife is persona non grate. Later still, N has contact with wife through hoovers, treats her as ex intimate partner secondary source. Fuel from her and also from new primary source.
      The primary source can repeatedly change between two people, like the Ping Pong Narc.

      1. Maddie says:

        And triangulate them back an forth …and behind that have sex in a brothel for instance. ..

      2. Persephone says:

        Kinda like playing volleyball…..everybody rotate! What do you find the most exhilarating, the switching of players or switching of game?

        1. HG Tudor says:


      3. Snow White says:

        Your explanations are excellent HG!!!! I totally saw my relationship with my ex in your example. Her primary source was her finance and I was her best friend promoted to IP source when the primary was demoted. When she proposed to me she intended to ping pong back and forth between the two wives. And there was always an outside source that she had to make us jealous with in case they needed to be put out into another position. Wow! I think I’m finally getting it. Soooo much fuel for her… She would have had two co-dependent, empathetic wives that she seduded away from their husbands.

      4. Steeviann says:

        Is this how you operate now or in the past? Is this just one way a narc operates? Do all do this?

        1. HG Tudor says:

          I’m not ping ponging, I prefer badminton.

      5. Jules says:

        Thanks for clearing that up. I think im starting to get it. So in a nut shell there is absolutely no loyalty to a person/appliance itself. Fuel is the ONLY thing ur loyal to regardless of who is giving it.

        1. HG Tudor says:


  22. Lisa says:

    This is what confuses me mine had no primary source that anyone knew about for about 3 years . Who on earth was this primary source that out up with this (a married woman maybe) mine has his habits his drinking buddies his same membership club his football and the primary source is fitted round this or at least I was . He is OCPD and follows the same routine . I have told you about the holidays HG but this is 3 weeks once a year . I can only presume it is coming from Internet , hook ups , chat rooms . It isn’t the way you describe how you ate with your primary source . I was the only one anyone had heard of for 3 years . He’s a loner apart from the same childhood habit drinking mates and football and all the primary sources have had to fit round that . That probably worked as a teenager with a girlfriend but now he’s 49 it no longer works , but he continues the same way . He does not make them public because he gets too much grief from his family they have a had enough of him . I read something today called Peter Pan syndrome and the narcissist , this states they can have NPD, BPD, ADD, OCPD and are usually stuck around the age of 12 . It also says as they get older being with women of their own age becomes harder and harder so they really want to date young girls , due to their adolescent mind set .

  23. Poetic_Me says:

    Rocket man burning out his fuse up here alone

    Rule the World…..Take That..

    You light the skies, up above me
    A star, so bright, you blind me, yeah
    Don’t close your eyes
    Don’t fade away.

  24. Maddie says:

    No star that strong and bright shall ever fade….♡♡♡ wished You knew that x

  25. Fool me 1 time says:


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