What Am I To Him?


For those who have become ensnared with our kind, it is a frequent question to wonder what you are to the narcissist. Of course, the short answer is that you are an appliance that is there to provide fuel first and foremost and there may also be the acquisition of traits from you and residual benefits. However, those that have begun to understand the narcissistic dynamic to some extent want to know how they have been regarded by the narcissist in terms of that dynamic. Of those questions, these are the ones which appear most often:-

Was I a primary source?

I don’t think I was devalued, why was that?

Have I been discarded?

Why did he not commit to me?

How has he moved on to somebody else so quickly?

Why did I have such a short golden period?

I feel like I am always hanging on for him, why is that?

It is typically the case that those questions are usually asked by someone who is an Intimate Partner Secondary Source (“IPSS”) although that person may not actually realise that this is the case. This article will discuss the IPSS and some of the peculiarities which arise with being an appliance placed in this role.

By way of brief re-cap, someone who is a primary source may be an intimate partner or a non-intimate partner. In the vast majority of cases the primary source is an intimate partner, thus a spouse, partner, boyfriend/girlfriend. You spend most of your time together and this arrangement occurs so that we are able to draw fuel from you each and every day, that fuel is of a high calibre (because of the greater emotional connection you have to us by reason of being a primary source and also because of your empathic traits). Occasionally the primary source is not an intimate partner and is usually then a family member.

A secondary source is a colleague, a friend or a family member. The secondary source will be seduced so that their loyalty and fuel is secured. Of course this is not done in a romantic fashion but through charm, pleasantry, doing favours and handing out benefits so that the appliance is drawn to the narcissist and is then installed in the position of secondary source.

A secondary source has an elongated golden period. This is because of the following factors:-

  1. The narcissist only draws on the secondary source’s fuel intermittently (compared to drawing on the fuel of the primary source);
  2. The secondary source is usually more compliant and does what the narcissist wants because the demands made of him or her are not as extensive as those made on the primary source;
  3. The fuel provided by the secondary source stays fresher and more potent for longer because it is only drawn on intermittently;
  4. The secondary source is less likely to challenge,wound or defy the narcissist

Accordingly, a secondary source will  enjoy a lengthy golden period. They may not be ever be devalued. If they fail to provide fuel, become disloyal and fail to do what the narcissist wants, they may be devalued but usually they will be immediately discarded. This is because it serves the narcissist better to remove the ‘rotten apple’ from hanging around and polluting the minds of other members of the coterie. It is also easy enough to seduce a new secondary source or turn to other existing ones. Thus, where a secondary source becomes unreliable they are usually discarded. Devaluation may only occur where an example needs to be made of the secondary source (this is usually more of the case for colleagues and family members as there is a connection beyond friendship) or the narcissist feels a need for the negative fuel and does not regard the devaluation as likely to damage the façade.

All secondary sources commence their relationship with the narcissist from a non-intimate position and there they may stay for a very long time. Some however are promoted to the position of IPSS.

This happens when the narcissist is devaluing their primary source and is looking to replace them. The promotion of a secondary source to that of IPSS means that we are considering whether you are worthy of then being promoted to a IP primary source and the existing one is discarded.

When this happens there is also the likelihood of somebody else occupying the role of IPSS. We often have more than one as in effect we are holding auditions for those who may be promoted to the position of primary source. This results in several scenarios arising.

  1. The existing primary source, let us say this is a wife, is being devalued. The narcissist embarks on affair with another woman who is the IPSS. She may have been someone he has known as secondary source friend for some time and has recently promoted, or he may have approached her and become a secondary source friend who is very quickly promoted to IPSS. In this dynamic you, as the IPSS, may know about the wife and she is smeared to you, she is abusive, unloving and so on. You are seduced and your responses convince the narcissist that you will make an effective primary source so the existing primary source is discarded and you are then installed as the replacement primary source.
  2. The scenario is the same as above however there are periods during your seduction as IPSS when the narcissist goes quiet. You may think that you are being devalued. You are not. As explained above, the narcissist regards a secondary source as an intermittent provider of fuel and therefore when this happens it is likely that a Respite Period has been granted to the existing primary source, thus the narcissist allows a golden period again, he is preoccupied with the existing primary source and you are kept on ice until the Respite Period ends. The devaluation of the existing primary source continues and your seduction continues once again. Eventually, the narcissist deems you worth of promotion, you are embedded and the existing primary source is discarded and you are installed as her replacement. This may take months or even years. During this period, if you accept the periods of quiet without complaint, there will be no comeback from the narcissist. If however you question what is going on, you will most likely be subjected to future-faking from the narcissist in order to maintain your interest. He will talk about needing to sort divorce arrangements out, or how the house is taking too long to sell, the children need to be sorted out, he hasn’t told his parents yet, it is not a good time for the soon to be ex-spouse as her father has died, it is her birthday next month, it is nearly Christmas and so on. This future faking is done because the narcissist regards you as too valuable to drop and wants to keep you in place as you are earmarked for promotion, but he has not yet decided that you are worthy of such promotion and thus has allowed the existing primary source Respite Periods until he is convinced you are a worthwhile replacement.
  3. The same scenario as two above but there is another IPSS. In order to better our chances of securing an excellent replacement primary source, we are devaluing the existing primary source and we are cultivating leads with at least two IPSS. Thus, we spend the occasional wonderful weekend with you but make various excuses as to how we can only see you once a month. This is being done for two reasons. The first is because we must make time for the ongoing devaluation of the primary source and also to spend time with the other IPSS who is being cultivated. The second reason is to test your resolve. If you reject such an arrangement then we will conclude that you lack certain traits that would make you a good primary source, such as you challenge us too readily, you lack ‘stickability’ and you are not responding to our charm and seduction as deeply as we had hoped or planned. In such an instance our attention will switch to the other IPSS but you are unlikely to be discarded. This is because you have shown potential, provided fuel and therefore we may as well keep you on ice to call on for fuel or to triangulate with the existing primary source and/or the other IPSS in order to satisfy our fuel needs.

If you do not challenge this arrangement then it is a straight fight between you and the other IPSS as to who will eventually be crowned as primary source. You may know about the devalued primary source but you probably will not know about the other IPSS. You will both be tested, so you can expect cancelled arrangements, occasional bouts of odd acts and distant behaviours. These are not acts of devaluation but are rather tests during your seduction to ensure that you are made of the right stuff to be promoted to primary source and also that you are better than your competing IPSS. The nature of this competition is such that you may be in front one month and thus things will seem to be going well with us and then you will be behind your competitor the next month so things will be less pleasant. You are jockeying for position and all the while we are obtaining fuel as we ascertain who will be the best person to be promoted. This could go on for years as you are strung along.

If you then learn that the primary source has finally been discarded but somebody else is being paraded around as our girlfriend and you cannot understand how that has happened, because there is still (albeit minimal) contact with you, then you have lost the race to become primary source. This other person seems to have come out of nowhere but they have not. They have been cultivated behind the scenes and we have decided that they would make the best primary source. The existing one has been discarded, the competitor IPSS who you knew nothing about (or might just have been referred to as a ‘friend’) is installed as primary source.

Even when this happens, you are still unlikely to be discarded because we still see value as keeping you as a secondary source. There has been some investment in you and if you do not cause a problem for us, you will be retained and at some future point there will be a resumption of the relationship to draw fuel, to use you to triangulate with the now being discarded primary source and even to consider installing you as primary source. This latter consideration arises where you would be a good primary source, but the competitor was deemed even better. However, once that competitor is devalued, your status as a good potential primary source is revisited. Unless of course another competitor IPSS is sought and this one is deemed better than you.

If you rail against this treatment as you find yourself side-lined when you expected to become the primary source, but some usurper has appeared instead, this may be tolerated for the negative fuel and the purposes of triangulation. If however you become problematic whereby you may expose us, causes problems with the façade and interfere with the newly installed primary source, you can expect to be devalued, smeared and discarded.

4. You may find that there is no primary source. You are referred to as partner or girlfriend but your engagement with us is intermittent, excuses are made as to why we cannot see more of you, there are occasional periods of silence and you are strung along in this position for some time, unsure of what you actually are. Are you our girlfriend or just a friend with benefits? When this happens it is the case that we will have several IPSS on our books. The combination of all these interests and the attendant fuel means that there is no pressing need for a primary source and we are content to alternate between the various IPSS until we establish one which is installed as primary source.

The IPSS does not experience the standard template of seduction-devaluation-discard and this is why many commentators fail to explain our behaviours effectively to someone who is an IPSS. The narcissistic dynamic is different. The reason for this is that you are effectively placed in limbo. You may not be good enough to be promoted to the position of primary source but you are too valuable to be cast to one side and thus the dance continues for as long as you will allow it without wounding or challenging us.

Those who do not understand our kind tend to fall into the trap of thinking that we are some kind of commitment-phobe and will dole out erroneous advice to you in terms of making you try to bring about that commitment. All this will do is cause you further consternation as the decision is ours, not yours.

If you find yourself in the position of engaging with somebody who treats you well, but only does so intermittently, who occasionally seems to test you (and it is often difficult to spot this) and issues lots of promises about what will happen in the future but there is never any delivery, there is every chance that you are an IPSS entangled with one of our kind.


91 thoughts on “What Am I To Him?

  1. Cherish says:

    Well I guess per 4 he labels me as his “ wifey” “ gf “ “ wife “ lives with his parents. We haven’t seen each other 7 weeks we both live in different countries so it’s very long distance, he did visit me out of the blew to meet his cousin in the middle off the night. We text everyday. But my failure to do what he wants made us not see each other for 7 weeks , a girl came to me on IG claiming he was her man she called me several times and her friends did the same it felt like bullying eventually because I told him about it and make it stop, he didn’t claim her as anything at all not gf nor ex just nobody that was so strange. He agreed and promised to take care of it. They started bullying even more and send the screenshot of him telling them to stop and leave me alone the girl asked why ? Wich he replied how sweet I’am and we don’t have any problems and now I’m texting him asking about why they calling me. It was a weird event felt like narc on narc action. He keeps trying to get money from which I wouldn’t give he has such a chaotic life no money lending from everyone and driver’s license taken away. So he was upset with me letting my “husband” down , the texting goes with delays now still everyday but few hours will definitely pass,So I guess I’m his shelf ipss by now. There are plenty women on his social media accounts hyping him up lol! Because he’s a model entertainer. But he Just won’t let me break up with him and is consistent with me being his “wife “ we spoke about marrying and live together.

    But I guess it still will be 4 ? HG

  2. Why me? says:


    I learned and realized that a narcissist who has a job would still lovebomb a victim to potentially be IPPS for what they can take (money, shelter, career status, etc.), especially when the narcissist and victim are adults… you know late 20s and even in their 30s.

    So, would working narcissists bother to lovebomb an IPSS as a candidate who has no job and lives with relatives for the time being? (I wouldn’t see the point of lovebombing…. No money, shelter, or career status and maybe I won’t be a good candidate and therefore no intense ensnarement and in the clear!)

  3. Not so empathetic says:

    Hi HG

    So the scenario where he has excuses for divorce, e.g. selling the house, kids etc is pretty much what I was told. I was love bombed, future faked but kept grounded in reality questioned how he could love me when he didn’t know me said I had no intention to move in with him so soon! He’d only been intimate at this stage for 2 months!

    I also work with him! I constantly call him out on his b.s. tell him we’ll just be friends yet rather then get pissed he’s still walking around with a sunny disposition even though my emails are designed to reflect back what I know he is! He also ogles another woman regularly in front of me so hardly the discrete actions nor would this keep me interested so why do it?

    Question why does he not suffer injury, get mad and call it quits? Why is he in denial and still trying to maintain the act?

    I don’t pander to him and throw him in cycles of silent treatment, disrespect and I can be as cold and cruel as him (I have insinuated I’ll also expose this affair if he smears me at work) so what is keeping him being all nicey nicey and still trying to fake it? Thanks

    1. HG Tudor says:

      You are not wounding him, you are giving him Challenge Fuel (see the 3 Interactions With the Narcissist) and he continues because you keep entering his spheres of influence, you keep threatening his need to control you and thus he responds in the ways he does. You need to impose a no contact regime because you are doing nothing of the sort at present. Since you work with him see “How to Handle a Narcissist At Work´.

  4. Sarah says:


    Are there instances where a IPSS could be considered/labeled as girlfriend to the narcissist without her being the IPPS?

    1. HG Tudor says:

      Yes. The label used is merely an indicator. By analogy, just because you call something which is white, feathered, has a long neck, a black and orange beak and swims gracefully around on a lake, a duck, does not mean it is a duck.

      1. Why? says:

        lol. But then why would a narcissist call a girlfriend his girlfriend if she is just the IPSS? (If that situation occurs, Idk if that is the case with this narc but still I am curious if this situation does happen). For a panic pick or just to not be alone?

        1. HG Tudor says:

          To make her feel special, i.e. to control her.

          1. Why? says:

            Wow, that is a whole other level of confusion. I was a IPSS a few times and they never called me their girlfriend. But it’s better than being lied to and made as a pseudo girlfriend.

  5. Why? says:


    1. How can the narcissist possibly say to her and regard the shelf IPSS has “just friends” when clearly they are more than friends because of the intimate element?

    2. From the non-narcissistic perspective, the narcissist and shelf IPSS are dating, correct?

    1. HG Tudor says:

      1. This depends when this is being stated, in the narcissistic dynamic, in terms of the reason why.

      2. Not necessarily. It could be an affair, booty call, being the mistress, NSA hook-up and possibly dating. Depends on the context.

      I can help you understand your situation, Why, but I need more information from you and therefore recommend that you organise a consultation.

  6. L says:

    I wonder if any of you IPSSs feel this way … but I feel left out and hate that most of these videos on youtube focus more on the IPPS and the narcissist. What about us IPSSs? We also suffer. We are treated like we aren’t good enough to even be loved at the start, we don’t even know what we are to the narcissist – we have no title, and we have to watch the narcissist give the golden period/love to other people – which hurts us so much and greatly lowers our self worth. I would say that we get the most confusing treatment with the worst feeling of not being good enough and worthless.

  7. L says:

    Hi HG,

    For over 2 years, the victim midrange narcissist says he and the IPSS LDE are just “friends or friends with benefits” but they have been talking regularly (a couple of times a week when the interaction started but now a couple of times a month), flirting, engaging in sexual acts, sharing details of each other’s lives, helping each other out at times (it’s more of the IPSS who helps the v narcissist, of course), sharing concerns and problems in life with each other etc., He says that we have a intimate kind of friendship but denies dating.

    1. I just simply want to know: isn’t this dating or a long distance relationship? Usually, this would be considered a long distance relationship and/or dating not just friends with benefits.

    2. So, isn’t the narcissist gaslighting the status/context of what we are with friends with benefits? He says he doesn’t want to date and denies that we are dating (if it is dating, I thought it was from what I described to you).

    3. So, sometimes it feels like he is gaslighting this so that he can come and go as he pleases while searching for a IPPS without being held accountable by me, is this correct?

    1. HG Tudor says:

      Hello L, these are matters which are best addressed through consultation so I can provide you with the detail it merits. I invite you to organise a consultation.

      1. L says:

        ok, thank you for replying.

        1. LV says:

          I can assure you, as someone who has had many sessions with HG, it is well worth it. The understanding and validation you will gain from having him interpret your personal situation directly is immeasurable

          1. HG Tudor says:

            Thank you LV, I appreciate you dropping by to confirm this and trust you are doing well.

  8. Lauren says:

    Hi HG!

    What happens to the position of the IPSS shelf when the narcissist installs a primary source? Does she become demoted to SS or remains on the shelf?

    1. HG Tudor says:

      She will be placed on the shelf whilst the narcissist enjoys the golden period with the newly installed IPPS.

      1. Lauren says:


        1. Then will she be taken off the shelf at times?

        2. And will she be on the shelf for longer than usual?

        1. HG Tudor says:

          Possibly, if there is a Hoover trigger and the Hoover Execution Criteria are met.
          Yes, because the new golden period with the new IPPS acts as a criterion to push the hoover bar very high, it is highly unusual for a shelf IPSS to be hovered when the new IPPS is in play in the golden period.

      2. Lauren says:

        Ok. Thank you, HG!

  9. Ismael says:

    HG, you said –

    “we spend the occasional wonderful weekend with you but make various excuses as to how we can only see you once a month.”

    What if I saw her every weekend? I am away at university in another town. Every weekend I came home we would hang out with her family or mine and we talked or texted on the phone every day. Would I have been her primary source or IPSS?

    1. HG Tudor says:

      Most likely IPSS, although I would need to know more about the relevant narcissist and their fuel matrix to be more exacting.

  10. Aliveandkicking says:

    “If you find yourself in the position of engaging with somebody who treats you well, but only does so intermittently, who occasionally seems to test you (and it is often difficult to spot this) and issues lots of promises about what will happen in the future but there is never any delivery, there is every chance that you are an IPSS entangled with one of our kind.”

    It seems pretty much the situation I’ve lived, but in my case I escape before the relationship started. Unfortunately we work together so we have to see each other every day.
    When he noticed that I was escaping tried to hoover, I escaped without remorse, I’m empathic but he was my second narc and I do not want this kind of relationships in my life, he seems to be a lower mid range, I could read him very well when he was trying to seduce me, he showed all the traits the mid range use to: passive-agressive, silent treatment (cause I did not respond what he expected… etc.).

    Actually he still try to show me he hates me, almost one year and a half after escaping…!!! including turn his back when I pass by his side.
    Sometimes, if he “thinks” I’m looking at him, try to hoover, this seems never ends…

    H.G. for him, what I really was?
    The relationship never occured…
    It’s absurd…

  11. Brian says:

    “If you find yourself in the position of engaging with somebody who treats you well, but only does so intermittently, who occasionally seems to test you (and it is often difficult to spot this) and issues lots of promises about what will happen in the future but there is never any delivery, there is every chance that you are an IPSS entangled with one of our kind.”

    It seems pretty much the situation I’ve lived, but in my case I escape before the relationship started. Unfortunately we work together so we have to see each other every day.
    When he noticed that I was escaping tried to hoover, I escaped without remorse, I’m empathic but he was my second narc and I do not want this kind of relationships in my life, he seems to be a lower mid range, I could read him very well when he was trying to seduce me, he showed all the traits the mid range use to: passive-agressive, silent treatment (cause I did not respond what he expected… etc.).

    Actually he still try to show me he hates me, almost one year and a half after escaping…!!! including turn his back when I pass by his side.
    Sometimes, if he “thinks” I’m looking at him, try to hoover, this seems never ends…

    H.G. for him, what I really was?
    The relationship never occured…
    It’s absurd…

  12. Brian says:

    “If you find yourself in the position of engaging with somebody who treats you well, but only does so intermittently, who occasionally seems to test you (and it is often difficult to spot this) and issues lots of promises about what will happen in the future but there is never any delivery, there is every chance that you are an IPSS entangled with one of our kind.”

    It seems pretty much the situation I’ve lived, but in my case I escape before the relationship started. Unfortunately we work together so we have to see each other every day.
    When he noticed that I was escaping tried to hoover, I escaped without remorse, I’m empathic but he was my second narc and I do not want this kind of relationships in my life, he seems to be a lower mid range, I could read him very well when he was trying to seduce me, he showed all the traits the mid range use to: passive-agressive, silent treatment (cause I did not respond what he expected… etc.).

    Actually he still try to show me he hates me, almost one year and a half after escaping…!!! including turn his back when I pass by his side.
    Sometimes, if he “thinks” I’m looking at him, try to hoover, this seems never ends…

    H.G. for him, what I really was?
    The relationship never occured…
    It’s absurd…

  13. Elena says:

    Creo que voy a vomitar…

  14. Darkness Falls Again says:

    She this is where he turned you into a weapon against yourself.
    The lies you tell yourself becomes beliefs.
    The tongue is a double edge sword and has the power to build up or tear down, it’s the choice one makes in how it’s used with others and oneself.

  15. Lisa says:

    HG. So this analogy is the same for all the different types of narcs? Not just Elite or Greater e.g. ?

    1. HG Tudor says:

      Indeed Lisa, albeit the Greater will state this more finesse.

  16. Natalie says:

    I am not sure what I am to him.. I am the mother of his children and we still live together but he has a “partner” on the side. He spends a lot of his time with her and they go on lots of holidays together but he always comes home. I know I wasn’t supposed to find out about her but I did and he now triangulates me. I wish he’d just discard me and the kids so this could be over. He’s had ample opportunity to leave us. He knows I’m done. I just feel he wants to use us as a family facade. The rock in his life. She is too unpredictable and they break up often. Me.. I’m miss dependable. I’m a fool.

    1. HG Tudor says:

      Hello Natalie, may I ask what is stopping you from escaping him?

  17. she says:

    I know what I am. I’m a piece of shit to him. I’m the shit that he steps in with disgust and tries to scrape off, but can’t. I cling to him because I have no other choices and he knows it. He’d rather step in it just for the enjoyment of having to scrape it off again. Same disgust. Same disapprove. Same him. Same me.

    1. Love says:

      She, that was very powerful. Every human being deserves respect and dignity. May I ask why you have no other choice?

      1. she says:

        I’ve also gone for assistance at Women’s domestic violence centers who have directed me straight to women’s shelters which are very unsafe because I went there after I left my narcissist the first time. I’ve done everything that everyone has suggested of me to do from saving money, from planning, from trying to get a job, from losing friends who also deserted me, from being turned down for legal aid twice from being unqualified from transitional housing from being disqualified for Section 8 and when I was qualified there was a list as long as years, from not having any family to go to, from not being willing to leave my child behind and when I did I was accused of abandoning him, from not having any money or having a vehicle to leave him. I am left with no choices because I’ve tried everything everyone has given me and yet I am always accused of not trying hard enough. I am a rat stuck in a box with no way out. Monarch literally makes me kiss his ass he holds me practically hostage with no vehicle no money no nothing with silent treatments for not giving him sex when he does treat me like a piece of shit. He’s just a cruel man. And the thing is he knows that I don’t have help from these womens resources therefore he knows that he can continue to keep treating me this way. I have stayed for 17 years with this man for my child and when my year is up when he turns 18 I’m still stuck here because I still will have nowhere else to go

      2. she says:


        1. HG Tudor says:

          Come now She, you don’t expect me to care do you?

          1. she says:

            You’re a narcissist, so no I don’t “expect” you to care. Sorry. I’d hope so though, but all hope is gone…

          2. HG Tudor says:

            Indeed She, yes you would hope for that to be the case since you are an empathic person.

          3. she says:


  18. BraveHeart says:

    HG, each time I read your blog posts, I learn something new. Even if they’re posts I’ve already read, I still gain more knowledge and clarity each time. You have helped clear the path for me to move forward in my life and you have lifted the blind-fold from my eyes. You have fed my soul little by little, over the last few months, which has helped to heal me along the way. While reading this post, I felt an entire layer of fog being lifted from me and now I can see and feel with even more clarity what I was to him.

    Thanks again for another amazing piece of work and for all of the help you have given to me!

    1. HG Tudor says:

      You are welcome BH.

  19. Insatiable Learner says:

    Thank you very much for answering my question, HG! Your insight is invaluable!

  20. MLA - Clarece says:

    I meant to add above, that in reading this with the difference in mindsets, sometimes it can be hard to decipher the difference between being put on “pause” and getting an actual silent treatment as part of being devalued. Although would you really pause someone during the seduction phase?

    1. HG Tudor says:

      Yes because it is a test and you are in competition with other sources. The need to embed you is not so pressing so as to merit a full steam ahead seduction. We can test you out, determine that you fit the bill and it may also coincide with a Respite Period for the primary source. You are not thrown away, but rather we pause things with you whilst enjoying the Respite Period and the positive fuel. We are confident that we have you sufficiently hooked that you will not wander off (indeed the absences hopefully make you try harder) and it is also to determine that you have what it takes, compared to the competitors, to be the primary source. Remember, a silent treatment is a manifestation of cold fury following the ignition of fury through criticism.

      1. MLA - Clarece says:

        Yes, I’m learning that. But silence is silence and completely confusing if you’ve never dealt with someone who would go silent for days or weeks ignoring attempts by someone trying to check that they are ok. Following up with reappearing and ready to pick up like nothing transpired. Definitely tricky trying to differentiate maybe when JN only hit the Pause button but I felt I was getting this Mr. Jekyll / Mr. Hyde cold silent treatment early on. No doubt after I got braver and would go off on him and we fought and the silence would extend for a month or so, that is clearly a silent treatment. But earlier on when it would last a week or two and he would reappear very affectionate, it’s hard to say now. One seriously needs a Narc Translator during all waking hours in dealing with them.

        1. HG Tudor says:

          I agree Clarece it certainly is confusing although you have been able to differentiate as you describe above, save for an earlier period.

          1. MLA - Clarece says:

            Thank you HG!

          2. HG Tudor says:

            You are welcome.

  21. Brazilians says:

    Thanks to this article, I finally understand the man I’ve been ‘involved’ with for the past 3 years. Thank you for revealing such secrets. You’ve helped me immensely, HG x

    1. HG Tudor says:

      Hello Brazilians, thank you for letting me know.

  22. Insatiable Learner says:

    Thank you very much, HG! Wish I had a narc thinking hat I could put on but then I have access to your mind you so graciously allowed us. Forever grateful! By the way, I heard on your interview with Jamie you may be looking for a new primary source? Where can I apply? I may be “the One” you know. 🙂

    1. HG Tudor says:

      E-mail your credentials IL and bring your fuel A game!

  23. Insatiable Learner says:

    Dear HG, in the hypothetical you presented in your response to Marcella, it indeed would look like the relationship is moving forward. What about if under scenario 3 in your article, the IPSS is “put down” (the narc went quiet)? It feels like devaluation (certainly does not feel like you are stuck in the seduction). However, you are saying this is still not devaluation but rather the narc putting the IPSS down for a time until some point in the future. Is that correct?

    1. HG Tudor says:

      That is correct. Remember this is from the narcissist’s perspective, not yours, so it may feel like you are being devalued but from our stance you are not.

      1. MLA - Clarece says:

        Didn’t you give an analogy a long time ago of it being like a shoe closet with how you are able to compartmentalize people? If there was a huge closet with all pairs of shoes organized in their boxes on their own shelf by color and style and you pull out which one you’re in the mood for that day. I think in the beginning now looking back, JN was merely “putting me down” while he picked up with another pair of shoes, so to speak and then would just rotate back. I may not have always been getting a silent treatment that I thought I was with his hot and cold behavior. Then he would feel it was in his right to lash out that I was being crazy.
        I have also just realized in reading this article that post divorce, while dealing wtih JN, I had two girlfriends that I experienced a sudden ghosting with. One I had not been friends with very long, about 2 years. She was the one I gave you the reference she would refer to having “Jodie” moments channeling her narcissistic mother whenever she felt threatened in a situation or by people and would become very abrasive and caustic. I know why she felt I wounded her now and why she turned her back with no explanation despite me trying for a year to reach out.
        The other friendship had a profound, negative affect on me because it was one of my best friends of 10 years. We talked daily and she was a vital support person prior to my divorce.
        We had worked together for many years with two different employers but then I left and returned to work for a family that I knew for 20 years and had worked for in my early 20’s that offered me a great opportunity. My friend went on to embezzle money from the employer we worked for together at. She is now currently waiting for her trial to begin in Federal Court in February 2017 for allegedly embezzling over a million dollars over an 8 year period. According to the wife of that company owner, I was put under a complete smear campaign that I knew nothing about while she devalued and cut me out of her life. When I tried to reach out a few times, my friend blamed me and told me I had become “too selfish after my divorce”. It was mind-blowing because for 10 years she always told me I was the most unselfish person she ever knew. I don’t want to say too much about the case. Because of the dollar value, it was investigated by the FBI. I plan to go the day she has to take the stand and sit in the court room. I already know to expect not an ounce of remorse. But I will enjoy feeling superior to her caught like a rat in a cage and having to defend herself. I’m glad that I did not know about the smear campaign while it was happening. Ignorance was bliss because when the employer’s wife came to me last summer to ask me questions from when i worked there to help connect the dots on my ex-friend’s behavior she said she realized how wrong my ex-friend was because nothing added up with how I was living my life and taking care of daughter in such an upstanding way. And now I’ve become closer friends with her.
        I cannot believe how many Narcs I’ve been associated with in all phases of my life in a cluster of years so close together.
        No wonder I was a prime, hot mess for JN when he finally met me.

  24. Got it! Thanks HG!!

    1. HG Tudor says:

      You are welcome.

  25. HG, do you spend the same effortt/time hoovering a IPSS?

    1. HG Tudor says:

      Hello Marcella, no we do not because the IPSS is usually stuck in the seduction period where they are picked up and put down, so it easier to engage them again. Take for instance the IPSS who only gets to see me for one weekend in a month. If I then send a message and suggest meeting sooner than usual, the IPSS is likely to leap at the chance as they (a) want to spend time together; and (b) it will suggest to them that the relationship is moving forward and thus they will be easily responsive to it.

  26. Another Cara says:

    Thank you, thank you, thank you, HG! You put into words what my instinct was telling me was happening. I’m not crazy!

    You’ve helped me so much with the tools you’ve provided to deal with the BS. And add an empath I’m learning how to trust my instinct, my gut, when something feels off or not quite right.

    1. HG Tudor says:

      You are most welcome AC.

  27. Insatiable Learner says:

    Sorry, HG. My question got overlooked. I know you are constantly bombarded with questions. So do you think me not reaching out would be viewed as a criticism or should I wait for him to reach out? I was an IPSS. He now has a new primary after the old one was discarded. Thank you so much!

    1. HG Tudor says:

      If he is pre-occupied with his primary, then you not reaching out is of little effect.

  28. Matilda says:

    Does this game not get old after years and years? Endless hours spent hunting for morsels of information in a heap of nothingness on social media, pretending to like what she likes even if your stomach turns inside, the same platitudes whispered, the same gestures of seduction performed. None of this is authentic, none of this has any meaning!!

    1. HG Tudor says:

      Not when your survival depends on it, it doesn’t, Matilda.

      1. Matilda says:

        I understand what you are saying, HG: you need fuel to exist in the same manner as we need air to breathe. Perhaps, as you progress in your awareness, and possibly healing, you might be able to create most of the fuel yourself… it is a very peaceful place to be.

        In this loud, hectic, egomaniac world, not having to see or speak with anyone for an entire weekend, for example, is pure bliss. Luxury. To shut out all the white noise, all the drama people needlessly create, and just be. Pure serenity to be one with your thoughts and feelings.

  29. LV says:

    I’ve been studying all these stages for a few months now from all kinds of sources ever since discovering NPD, and I’ve never come across this distinct differentiation before. For empaths trying to heal by way of intellectual understanding, it may be the reason there are a few last pieces to the puzzle that haven’t fit yet. Thank you for bringing this to light. If you take blog post requests for the future, I think it would be helpful to hear about this in the narrative form that you do like in Fuel, or a scenario about what is going on in the narcissists’ mind, and what they consider about each person as they are testing, weighing options of supply, and promoting.

    1. HG Tudor says:

      Hello LV, thank you very much for your kind comment and I have made a note of your suggestion.

    2. BraveHeart says:

      Great idea, LV 🙂

  30. wompus says:

    Wow thank you for this one. You’ve just described the last 2 &1/2 years of my life. I knew I would never be a primary because of the physical distance between us & that was ok with me. But he would always put me on ice (love that term) for weeks immediately after we’d been together. Not sure if I was #2 or #3. Probably will never know now but this will definitely help me to maintain no contact. Everything seems so much clearer now. Thank you!!

    1. HG Tudor says:

      You are welcome.

    2. Hallo wompus, what you describe resembles my experience! I’ve been 2 1/2 years with a narcissistic lover, kept as secret, accepted to live in the shadows of his life. But experienced devaluation, triangulation, future faking, false promises … nonetheless…
      Good luck….

  31. My_Arcanum says:

    This clears out so much of the existing fog for me. Although this rollercoaster ride is unopposed I still become overwhelmed with anxiety. I now have more understanding of why the anxiety formulates, and with each word just read much of it has dissipated, that is until my demons start to awaken and claw after me shortly after I hit ‘Post Comment’.

    But for now…

    Thank you HG for all the tools you have shared with us. I cannot speak for others, but these tools have help me considerably in understanding and enduring what I have chosen to deal with and why. They have also assisted in revelations (of the why) of who I AM on a deeper level and why I yearn for this beautifully well-designed facade of a man…THANKS MOM!!… sorry I digress for a moment.

    HG… you are my #1 today not him.

    1. HG Tudor says:

      Hello My Arcanum, thank you for your observations and you are most welcome.

  32. The Punisher says:

    Thanks H, now I’m positive I was primary.

    1. HG Tudor says:


  33. C says:

    Oh my, I will have to read this many times to make sense. I had a Narcissist coworker who kept me in his life 15 years.
    Ive been ghosted with zero warning or reason, Ive been upgraded to primary, love bombed, hated, a hundred golden periods, a hundred discards, I was discarded again now and no word for 8 months.
    Until now I had no idea he was a narcissist.
    This has hurt me gravely, still consider suicide, still confused, began antidepressants and will likely never heal.
    I can feel it I will never hear from him again, I moved 10 hours away so I’m valuless as far as proximity and in the past he never had to hoover, Id give him a few weeks or months and hoover him.
    Im broken.

    1. MLA - Clarece says:

      C, you may feel broken right now. Many if us have been or still are in that place. Keep reading and learning here each day. H.G. is right that you have to process the emotion out of your attachment to him and grieving the illusion you thought was real. It doesn’t happen in a week or a month or two. But along the way as the fog lifts, your perspective will change. The awakening will happen when you least expect it. Find your voice here while you get your strength back.

  34. Insatiable Learner says:

    Thank you so much for addressing the IPSS role and the applicable dynamic. You are so right that most writings out there do not address this, so I could never get a good grip on the topic until now. So all the moves I viewed as devaluation turn out to have been tests. I have been a very patient, compliant, and most adoring IPSS. I did briefly rail against the treatment when I found out about the new IP primary source that replaced the discarded one and threatened to walk. However, my attachment and feelings were too strong and I quickly backpedaled and returned to being adoring and understanding. I used to reach out a lot but have not done so in several weeks. He has been quiet obviously preoccupied with the recently installed primary source. HG, will he regard me not reaching out as a criticism or should I just continue waiting for him to initiate contact? It’s hard not to think that you are completely forgotten when several weeks go by with no word. Thanks again for taking up this topic. Your writing is so amazingly insightful and enlightening!

    1. HG Tudor says:

      You are welcome IL, I am pleased that you have found this explanation helpful.

  35. Kelly says:

    I’ve been wondering why I never fully fit into one of your categories. This is it.
    Too challenging. I’m not as good as a doormat as he needs me to be, I’ve always seen through him and caught him at every turn and he hates it. So he will never ‘promote’ me, but still, will never discard me. I think I finally fit.

    1. Lauren says:

      You described my situation exactly too Kelly.

      Very informative article. It helped me better understand this shit storm I’m in.

      1. L says:

        Yeah, it really is ridiculous for us IPSSs because it is total waste of time. We don’t even get the lovebombing like the IPPS. So, we don’t even know what we are to them and what the hell is going on. I say we get the more crazier and confusing treatment and the worst to our own egos.

        1. Kim e says:

          I have the solution to your frustration. It is called. NO CONTACT!!!!!

    2. CB says:

      Our problems will be at bay when we find a new man to love.

      Hopefully not a narcissist.
      Life has taught me that there is a definite way to get over a narc/sociopath ex. It is to happen upon a new narcissist (the addiction to lovebombing is already set in our brains, from earlier experience in life). Sadly the strongest method.
      I only have the latest narc on my mind.
      Not the three ones before him.

      I Wish you and me loving men for the future. Guys with consistency, backbone and integrity.

    3. Mistress says:

      and it hurts everytime he does it…

  36. Seduced says:

    my dear G. here is a simple answer and one of my fav songs by Damien Rice. It’s worth listening if You haven’t had a chance…


  37. Wish I could take that last paragraph seriously and remember this…..


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