Message Hook





The message – whether in text form or through some other electronic medium – is a tempting and ultimately manipulative tool of ours. During our seduction of you we use it to brilliant effect, peppering your day with these short form billets-doux in order to draw you close to us. The glowing compliments sent through letters glowing on your screen. The tingle, the excitement and the smile to oneself on receipt of this message. They are like so many little gifts, each one waiting to be opened by you and the delight spreading across you face as you read the latest missive that contains our rapturous love for you. Each time one arrives you wonder what it might read and you are never disappointed as we sprinkle our fairy dust over you from afar through the electronic devices we are both connected to. You feel wonderful, savouring that rush of appreciation. It is fantastic and memorable and you never delete them, storing up all these heartfelt tributes and declarations. We know you will keep them and most of all when the misery descends you will sit scrolling back through these text exchanges, evidence of a happier time, remnants of the golden period.

As time advances you begin to expect these messages. It is entirely understandable. You get used to waking and seeing a message waiting for you, more welcome than a cup of tea or coffee being brought to your bed. You anticipate the rush and we do not let you down. The content of the message feeding your desire for love, affection and passion.

This repeated sending of messages is designed to condition you. We want you to equate the arrival of the message with pleasure, with affection and with love. We ingrain it into your routine. The first thing you do on awakening is to reach for your phone on your nightstand and look for our message. This is done to make you frequently check your ‘phone during the day to see if there is a message from you. You experience phantom vibrations when you ‘phone is on silent and in your bag or pocket. You pluck it out and check and feel dismayed as there is no message. Perhaps there is but it is not from us and you being to feel anxious as you await your daily hit. Eventually it arrives and you feel the surge of delight coursing through you as we deliver. Little by little, in accordance with our methodology of salami-slicing you start to focus on the relevant device, waiting for the ping, the buzz and/or the flash of light. You keep glancing at your ‘phone, mind unable to focus on the task in hand. Once that message arrives, you open it, devouring it like a starving man given food after two weeks adrift at sea. You spend more time responding to the messages, checking the ‘phone and cultivating ways to keep the flow of messages going so that it becomes the matter which you focus on the most during the course of your day. You wait, watch, check and keep back and forth beginning to will the ‘phone to buzz and provide that message.

Soon you start to prompt them, messaging us first when you have not heard from us. Once you waited a morning, then an hour and now it has become the first thing you do when you wake up. You see no message from us so you message us. We reply at once and the relief washes over you in an awesome way. But then the reply times elongate and that short space becomes a longer pause, a growing hiatus and this prompts you to message again. Oh we know the messages you will send to try to pretend you are not anxious because you have not heard from us.

“I’m not sure if my message reached you, my ‘phone has been playing up.”

“I am struggling for signal here. Did you get my message?”

“Just wanted to check my message reached you.”

“Don’t worry about responding straight away, I know you are busy.”

“Just wanted to make sure everything is alright, no rush, answer when you can.”

The desperation seeps through the ‘phone, the increasing anguish and anxiety tangible and then we release you from your worries and reply which prompts a flurry or replies, your gratitude evident even though you may not write as such. How the fuel flows and it is all deliberate. We have actively structured our approach so that you become conditioned to act this way. The ‘phone becomes the barometer of your day. Early message received? You can relax and enjoy the next two hours until you start wondering where the next one is. Such power is wielded by us through the simple act of sending you a message and we haven’t even started on using it to devalue you yet.

So often you rely on receiving the message but the irony is, you rarely actually get the message.

47 thoughts on “Message Hook

  1. A Victor says:

    Well, now I understand all the emails. Never a text but thousands of emails, in 9 weeks! And hundreds of hours on the phone once he started calling. I never initiated either, except the emails as a test 3 different days. Yes, I did test him. He failed. Lol. And I never initiated again. I also didn’t call him unless we agreed ahead, and then only because of a bad connection. He once expressed annoyance that I did not initiate. That is when I ran my test. It didn’t bother me not to initiate, he always did and I figured if he didn’t, he was busy, just like me. Also, how in the world does a narc get anything done?! Doing all of that, especially with multiple people, there is no more time in the day! I must say though, the instant cessation of all that contact was the biggest thing I’ve had withdrawal from! I still miss them even though now I would not even know of them. This article is very helpful.

  2. Still spinning says:

    Wow. Only knew this guy 2 months and you knew him forever- im still wondering if im crazy-

  3. Christine says:

    What is the best way to manage this behaviour without the games they play for instance do I ignore when he is testing the situation or not contact when he does not return phone or text ? I noticed once when my phone was not working he was expecting a return call and I never called the next day phone call asking why I had not got back to him .. ?

  4. Insatiable Learner says:

    Dear, HG, just wanted to thank you for answering my question on Nov. 25. Have just seen it. I appreciate it and wanted to make sure you know it did not go unnoticed. You are the best!

    1. HG Tudor says:

      Thank you IL, most kind of you to do so.

  5. Smarter then before says:

    Question. If you have known the person as an acquaintance for years through family..then if you start to get to know the guy and he seems to get you interested just through messaging and you seem talk forever and get pretty along very well but then don hear back at all after that..that is part the game because I was pretty busy and and didn’t speak to him but he never seems wonder why until one evening when we had spoken in months and my sibling tried to have him take me home because I had too much to drink. No contact for months and then he wonders why I won’t let him take me home and then casually mentions that I had not messaged him in a while. I thought it was strange and it did mess with my head but I refused let him know. HG better insight please?

  6. Confused says:

    Thanks for the helpful information wished I had access and knew about this two years ago when the narcissistic guy was trying to seduce me away from my husband and he did a great job of getting me hooked to him emotionally but my will of morality took over to the right thing?when he tried to progress into the next step of getting me to let him take me home with help of my siblings help? I still wonder how he got their help? Up until then we just spoke thru messaging and he had been family friend of my brothers for years. He was very subtle and sneaky that I still second guess myself to wonder if my suspicions were husband is convinced he was trying to patiently to move in and ruin our marriage..will never know but it went on for a year and half of subtle cat and mouse games through fb your phrase of “hovering” is perfect but still second guessing as he never bothered me by not bugging me and no contact once I broke off the contac first..but my siblings would always bring him up in conversations is it one day he saw me running and I took a different running route the next day but he must have saw me again and must have took that as a sign for a good reason to message me..again I rejected him again and he did not respond by made the mistake of telling him that I was attracted to him and I didn’t want guilt on my mind and would block him..and him being mutual friends with family members and friends ..woondered if he was hovering thru them??once blocked and now I am very careful not have him alert to my presence..HG do you think my suspicions are correct about this guy? Kinda of scared he is a cop that happens to live on my side of town..

  7. LyNHaYn says:

    I was so obsessed checking my phone that the office manager had to take everyone’s phones away. Hahah! That was the first of 4 jobs I lost while with my parasite.

  8. J says:

    I agree with Violet that narcissists react to silence, lack of communication encouragement and delaying to respond in the same way as we react after become addicted to their messaging. Or I assume they react in a similar way just because they feel unappreciated enough. What can be more important than responding to your message? Of course there can something more important than that… NOT! Dear Tudor, what is your reaction when you get delayed responce? The narcissistist that I communicate with (still, unfortunately) often doesn’t grasp my game and that is upsetting because my messages are quite ambiguous. Though I assume it’s complicated to see the true meaning when you have time to think what to message and the emotions are invisible…

    1. HG Tudor says:

      If you are delayed in responding to me then I find that infuriating and a criticism because you are insinuating that I am not important. I would most likely keep control of the situation and channel my efforts into drawing a response, the lesser would erupt and lash out, the mid-range would unleash a pity play in order to get a response.

  9. Violet says:

    I can honestly say narcs get addicted in the same way. Consider my case; in my family I had no variable to use in this analysis. I only had three narcs around me. I was a very independent child (changed my own nappies while narc mother forgot me on the phone) and tended not to get addicted to things, but my narc brother needed his hits. He was a slave to pleasure, winning and reactions.
    My mother too was addicted to TV and phone calls.
    Both of them, and later narc friends, depended on the messages they receive for how they feel. Before I had diagnosed them as narcs, I just thought to myself “how sad, they are so needy and dependent”.

    Isn’t this whole article a huge projection? You want us to feel how you do. You’re creating yourself in someone else.

    The only reason it works is not for our weakness but the association of so many things we need and feel in bonding (which you devalue because you don’t understand).

  10. Angel says:

    He finally text back and said he hopes to see me cuz he’s been so busy. I’m like well you better try because I’m in need of you. Now I’ve been waiting a couple hours.

  11. Angel says:

    My last text to him was apologizing for something I didn’t do wrong. No answer. Then today he text me, wanting to see me. I intentionally ignored him for an hour. Then text him saying I was going to work but another night. No answer. He shows up at my work… walks by smiles at .e and goes to another person for assistance. He comes in again later not even actually needing anything. I text him again when I get out of work. Nothing yet, I’m still waiting. I’m assuming because I didn’t go to him when he wanted.

    1. HG Tudor says:


  12. Darkness Falls Again says:

    Clarece like you I have no idea how they do it. Yet words like energizer bunny and timex run through my mind.
    The way you said it great description.

  13. Insatiable Learner says:

    TheDevilLovesLola, you are so right. That’s how I feel. Used to regular communication, sharing, keeping up with what’s going on in each other’s lives, providing support, encouragement, laughing, joking, flirting. Got so attached. It meant so much. Felt special, close, intimate. And then it wanes and stops. You are agonizing over why it does not look like it meant anything to him. Doesn’t he miss it? You feel a huge void and emptiness. There’s this huge hole left. It’s like this person died. only he didn’t. You get tired of being the one who seeks contact and connection and decide to let him be. But you still hope he will reach back out in his time. I hate it that I am still so vulnerable and weak.

    1. Insatiable Learner – Yes that’s how they hook you. They will create expectations – very predictable. If you look back
      There were patterns. The questions were robotic at times – sometimes not. They were conversationally intimate but oftentimes were more to obtain information from you to later use to devalue you. The deval starts quickly without you noticing it. You miss it because you have a normal range of emotions. The void is real because you felt real emotions. You need to hope he will never contact you again and that he never returns. It will be more months or possibly years you will waste. You have lost nothing other than a pathological liar and a human devoid of any emotion. You would be emotionally destroyed.

  14. Forgotten says:

    once they stop coming I stop asking for them… no expectations equal no disappointment

  15. MLA - Clarece says:

    Everyone for the most part can set their clocks by what activity they’re doing everyday. Must be 9:00 a.m., I’m opening up the office and making coffee for everyone. Must be Friday at 10:00 a.m., with sales meeting to discuss task forces to lead to more boring meetings. Must be Thursday at 5:30, picking daughter up from one dance class for a quick dinner break and then race her to her next class at 7:00. So when someone sweeps in and entices you affectionately with texts sprinkled throughout the day, especially when it’s flirtatious and exciting, My God does that build sexual tension and craving. You can be working on an Excel spreadsheet for quarterly salesman commissions and having foreplay at the same time never leaving your chair. Annoying people…become endearing…people driving with road rage, let them cut in front of you. Everything is rosy. You can handle everything.
    So when it’s withdrawn all of a sudden, it’s like all the same places throughout your day that you still are in the same time now feel like one big echo chamber. That’s the toxic, addicting dance that really gets going then. When it picks back up, it’s like you were watching television on an old tv with antenna ears and then all of a sudden have a new shiny, flat screen in hi-def again. Everything snaps into crystal clear clarity.
    It was hard to read through this one again than when you had it the first time. Every word affected me the way Watermelon, Angel, DFA described above. Now over the last 7-8 months since I’ve had much longer periods of time with silent treatments and able to counter with your expertise, whenever I’ve been hoovered, I’m literally amazed how much my phone goes off throughout the day when he rears his head. It’s nothing to have 200 text exchange in 2 days. And what floors me, he’s still maintaining this with someone else when I’m getting the silent treatment. I truly don’t know how he gets anything done at his job because I know when he’s blowing my phone up all day, those are not my most productive days at work. lol

    1. HG Tudor says:

      Well put Clarece.

  16. bloody_elemental says:

    I’d say it’s crystal clear.

  17. GG says:

    Ouch. This one hurt. Even now, a year after I escaped.

  18. Angel says:

    Ah oh, it is hard. I used to get those text messages every morning at 8. And the I will have a great day because I’m thinking of you. If he was late he’d say he was sorry n explain. Eventually I didn’t get them as often. Now it’s me who starts most. I never suspected a narc cuz I didn’t know much about it. My mom would tell me my dad was but brushed it off because I didn’t understand it. Then one day this blog popped up on my Facebook news feed so I read it. It hit home in both cases. I know what he is but feel the urge to stick with him. So many ppl told me how good he was. But when more ppl knew they told me to run away, not walk but to run. They told me how bad he is. I’m not strong enough. It feels comforting even though sometimes it’s hell.

  19. AH OH says:

    The first day is always the hardest, after 24 hours the anticipation wears down, by hour 48 I know.
    I look back now to when I let myself feel so bad over this man. I realized that half of the reason was I did not understand what I was dealing with. I will always be grateful to the blog and books by Mr. Tudor.
    I have said this before, I have traded one narc for another. I like this Narc better.

    1. The first day is always the hardest. You are used to having that person, even it if is a friend, constantly keeping up with you and then the massive devaluation starts. The silence. Then the silence becomes golden. We definitely need to thank HG for his work.

  20. Angel says:

    I am going through the waiting forever in between texts thing now. I’ve gone 3 days without texting him. He didn’t message me so I’d cave. I always wondered if I went longer if he finally would have text me. Haven’t made it long enough to see.

    1. Oh Angel just keep that strong power you now have! Don’t let him win. Remember you are a pawn in his game and he has other pawns and they will always suffer the same fate. Be the one that got away 🙂

  21. Block the telephone number. Block the email address (if you are available). No contact. They are puppet masters. Do not allow them to tug at your strings. Cut them by cutting them out of your life.

  22. Watermelon says:

    This is exactly how he operates and exactly how I responded (with some snark from time to time too).

    He sounded positively gleeful when I sent one of those “are you still there or are you swamped under a pile of work” or “did I say something to piss you off”. The response was almost immediate and he always sounded happy.

    When I didn’t play and chase him up he’d do drive bys and turn away as we passed each other, he knew that would get me going.

    Both actions were very hurtful.

  23. Insatiable Learner says:

    What I don’t understand is why would a narc who gets generous fuel from you would not continue contact once you stop contacting him? I mean come and get your abundant fuel. Why would he run the risk of you completely disengaging and moving on and thus him losing a great source of fuel he spent 2 years cultivating? He has new primary source but I have never been a primary source anyway. I have been an intimate friend. Is he just that busy with the primary source right now? I know he must be thinking I am not going anywhere. This really annoys me. Any insight, HG?

    1. HG Tudor says:

      Since you are not a primary source and you are an IPSS, when he stops contacting you, he is doing two things.
      1. Testing you to see if you can make the grade for becoming a primary source; and
      2. He is preoccupied with the fuel from the primary source (or another IPSS).

      He is confident you will not go anywhere and thus is able to pick you up and put you down as described in the article ‘What Am I To Him?’

      1. Korova says:

        So the best way to “become an IPPS” is doing what? Bombarding him with messages “oh I haven’t heard from you for some time I miss you and hope you are ok and will meet me soon”? 🙂

  24. Hope says:

    Great post. Looking forward to the devalue via message upcoming post, also.
    I also would text him “Don’t worry about responding straight away, I know you are busy.” and he would respond with “I will always answer you Hope, but it may take a few days.”

    And then he’d be all over facebook liking other people’s things, posting and also tweeting away on Twitter, posting things on Instagram… Guess that was a devalue. I never took it as such, because I didn’t realize what he was yet. But, I always would wonder why he couldn’t take a moment to text me, too. Sometimes I feel so dumb.

    1. wompus says:

      Hope I feel your pain. I’d send him a text or email which he’d completely ignore, but then he’d be all over Facebook posting, commenting, liking….. I’m only now realizing that it was deliberate, a part of devaluation & it started way earlier than I realized. I feel like an idiot.

  25. Mary says:

    Yes, mine pulled that shit but I was not a fool and I was good at staying silent and not prompting him after I started to see the pattern. He always broke first in the end months as I was plotting my escape. He became the desperate one. I was so tired of always feeling unsettled.

  26. Darkness Fall Again says:

    Addiction is a bear, cant breath, cant function, cant anything till that first glorious hit, then ahhh you ride the wave of pleasure yet when the wave finally starts to subsidize the cycle starts again.
    We all are addicts to something, food, drugs, cigarettes, adrenaline, etc
    Very insightful HG.

  27. The Punisher says:

    Thank you, HG. I had interpreted the gaps as a devalue. I am interested to know how this escalates into devaluation as well.

  28. Reblogged this on NarcMagNet69x96.

  29. Insatiable Learner says:

    I hear you, Snow White. Pain of withdrawal is horrible. Getting a message was like a hit of a potent drug. Relief, peace, happiness. Man, I hate this addiction. It’s insane to give away so much power to someone just by means of a message.

    1. Snow White says:

      Hi Insatiable Leaner,
      It was a very powerful drug. I gave away all my power to her and I didn’t even know she had it. She controlled my every move. It is sad, but I have some of the power back. Some days are still painful.
      People outside of here find it hard to believe how we feel. Xx🍎

    2. Never give them your power. That is the one thing you can know for certain you can control – yourself. They feed off knowing or thinking there insignificant text messages mean something to their victims. Master manipulators. They will punish you every which way they can – this seems to be one of their favorite methods.

  30. Ouch… one tends to give up after awhile.

  31. Snow White says:

    I admit It was a fabulous feeling! I did think I had something so special because someone wanted to and could talk to me all day long. I thought it was a unique friendship. HA!!! Boy was I wrong. When some people told me it wasn’t normal I didn’t believe them.
    It was HELL when it stopped. I did go through withdrawals from not hearing my phone go off in the morning and all the way through bedtime. I was addicted to that feeling.

    1. It really can be like this though Snow White. Of course there are those (Ns) who completely do this to create an addiction. But in a real loving relationship it is like this too I promise. My husband and I (I’m so lucky he stood by me, I told him everything and I didn’t have to as he would nver have found out) message each other continuously throughout the day and phone each other regularly each day too. If I’m working away, he’ll drive miles just to see me even though I’ll be home in a few days. We’ve been together for many years too. It’s not something new.

      So believe me, you are, can, will be genuinely that special to someone who is also that special to you.

      1. Snow White says:

        Hi Alexis,
        Awwww… I’m glad you pointed that out. It’s funny because I used to think when my husband was calling me all the time that he was controlling and always wondered what I was doing. It drove me crazy.
        Then, I walked right into an affair and I found her incessant messaging endearing and addictive.
        I am very lucky like you, my husband (20 years) recognized that was I was in was toxic and stood by me also. He’s having a hard time understanding it all but he is still with me. We are now working on normal, healthy boundaries and communication. I’m glad you mentioned that and it’s nice to hear that you and your husband are still together. That gives me hope and I love hope.

  32. Insatiable Learner says:

    Wow! This is so insightful and accurate! Exactly what I experienced. Never thought of it as some manipulation. Would you write about your use of messages to devalue? Thank you, HG!

    1. HG Tudor says:

      by all means and thank you

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