No Good Advice

no-good-advice

Relationship advice. The internet is awash with it. Sites, blogs, question and answer sessions, videos on YouTube there is a plethora of advice about how to deal with the problems which arise in intimate relationships.

I decided recently to have a good look through many of these sites and gather together the common complaints which people raise when they submit their issues. There are plenty of submissions, thousands upon thousands of people complaining about the issues in their relationships. Oddly enough, I noticed a common thread with many of these complaints where people had written in to seek advice or explained their circumstances. Time and time again I saw the following:-

“Everything was wonderful to begin with, he swept me off my feet.”

“She made me feel like a king and it was just what I needed after how horrible my marriage had been.”

“I was taken aback by how loving he was, but it felt so good to be treated that way after everything that I had been through.”

“He told me how he had been hurt before and didn’t want to go through that again.”

“His ex-wife was horrible to him and he had been hurt but wanted to ensure everything was right between us.”

“Everything was marvellous for a few months and then he changed.”

“I didn’t know him anymore.”

“He started controlling me.”

“She told me who I could see.”

“He started to isolate me from family and friends.”

“He would flirt with other women.”

“She spent all of her time on the internet doing Lord knows what.”

“He never listens to me.”

“He became abusive.”

“The sex was amazing at first but then it just stopped.”

“He was so loving and attentive in bed but then he started suggesting threesomes and kinky stuff which I didn’t like.”

“He started to make decisions for me.”

“She would lose her temper over the smallest thing.”

“He would disappear for days on end and I was sick with worry.”

“He would not speak to me for several days even though I had done nothing wrong.”

“He started hitting me. He said sorry afterwards and seemed remorseful for what he had done, blaming it on seeing his dad beat him mum when he was young.”

“He doesn’t like anything I do any more, he puts me down.”

“Its like living with Jekyll and Hyde.”

“He just never contacted me again. I still don’t know what has happened.”

“He told me he couldn’t be with me anymore as he needed time to himself and then two days later I see him post about a new girlfriend on social media.”

“He was unfaithful to me repeatedly.”

“I still miss her after everything she has done.”

“I am financially ruined, stressed but I still love him.”

“Why can’t it be like it was in the beginning?”

“I want him back.”

I should imagine that all of you will be nodding at these comments for two reasons. First of all, you remember saying them yourself or something similar. Secondly, you now realise what was actually behind these behaviours. People like me.

Over and over again I saw questions and tales which all had the common theme of ‘Brilliant start, he became someone else, dumped me, I was heartbroken.’ Hundreds upon hundreds of these stories, these tales of misery and woe. A litany of despondency and confusion that has been piled up in the inboxes of the relationship advisors and gurus. I scrolled through them all, reading the replies, the advice and the suggestions. I read the analysis, I digested the observations and spent some considerable time doing so. What did I see?

Not one person raised the possibility that the person seeking advice had become involved with a narcissist. Not one.

Many of these blogs and relationship advice sites were clearly popular. Some were established names, linked to lifestyle magazines and newspapers. Many directed you to their services for counselling and relationship tool kits. Many of them trotted out similar comments and platitudes. Too often they read like the first world tribulations of a scene from Sex and the City rather than the abusive, destructive and harmful actions of dangerous narcissists.

Yet not one of them raised the suggestion that a narcissist was involved.

Now, naturally it is not the case that behind every relationship woe there is a narcissist but I know that those of you reading this, with the benefit of the enlightenment you have achieved knows that there is a good chance that problems of this nature as described repeatedly in the problem pages of these sites are something to do with people like my kind. Yet nobody was offering this as a possibility. That shows the scale of how easy it is for us to do what we do and pass undetected. It shows the staggering lack of knowledge about what we do say, think and do and the naivety of so many people, including those who apparently understand relationship dynamics.

Instead, I saw standard and repeated responses such as:-

“He is clearly a commitment phobe.”

No, he doesn’t want to spend time with you because he is devaluing you and is actually seducing someone else at the current time.

“You have outgrown each other.”

No, you never grew together to begin with because it was all predicated on an illusion and his lack of interest now is symptomatic of his interest being elsewhere.

“He may just be tired or stressed from working hard to support you and your children.”

Yes or he might be a narcissist who uses his rage to intimidate and control you.

You may have unrealistic expectations about the relationship.”

Damn right you do and we all know why that has happened don’t we?

You need him to take responsibility for his actions. He cannot keep blaming you for everything.”

Good luck with that one.

“He just might not be into you.”

Half-right I suppose, he just isn’t in to your fuel anymore, he is in to somebody else’s.

“He might be bored with life and not you. Try harder to interest him.”

Again, good luck with that one.

“Relationships require hard work. Don’t give up. Keep working at it and you can overcome the problems together.”

You have just been told to sign your own death warrant there.

“Some people have anger issues but that can be managed with understanding and therapy.”

Or they have fury which ignites at the slightest provocation and always will.

“Being hurt is an inevitable part of a relationship.”

It is if you get ensnared by my kind.

I am not suggesting that every problem in a relationship is as a consequence of the other party being a narcissist, that is unrealistic. However, the number of times I read about what was clearly the narcissistic dynamic of seduction, devaluation and discard was significant. The monumental amount of times that I recognised narcissistic manipulations – rage attacks, silent treatments, triangulation, intimidation, bullying, gas lighting and so forth – in so many posts did not surprise me but they were not picked up on. Many times these manipulations were not isolated events. There were repeated occasions and also differing types of the manipulations which when combined and repeated point in one direction.

The advice and platitudes that were provided to people who were clearly, not just possibly, but clearly entangled with a narcissist, were way off the mark. The descriptions and answers I have listed above were the ones which were provided to people and at best this would mean the person would remain clueless and stuck with no appropriate solution and at worst they were providing advice which would harm the individual who had sought the advice.

I was not surprised by this erroneous advice. I was not amazed by this omission of our kind from the explanations. I was not taken aback by the scale of people complaining about what was clearly narcissistic abuse but not being told as such.

This is why we are able to do what we do.

This is why we are able to move amongst people, ensnare fresh victims and maintain our veneer of respectability.

This is why what we do is passed off as something else. Euphemised, diluted, lessened and made to seem like a standard relationship hiccup.

This is why ignorance is so harmful.

This is why we remain so effective.

This is why we remain so dangerous.

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68 thoughts on “No Good Advice”

  1. “Not one person raised the possibility that the person seeking advice had become involved with a narcissist. Not one.”

    Thank you very much for this article, HG.
    Very validating.
    4 % or more are in the cluster B spectrum. (narcissism/sociopathy, psychopathy etc) That’s every 25th person.

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      1. I left the church for reasons like this.
        The hazardous ignorance of some family/marriage advice deacons.
        After long cries and narratives I asked about the much adored ex husband of mine “What if he is a narcissist/sociopath?”
        He said:
        “Look, nobody is anything. Come on. A constructive conversation where everybody feels love always helps. Always.”

        To be fair, the vicar was not like that at all. The vicar has been a prison catholic priest and a psychiatric hospital priest. He seemed to understand me immediately.

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  2. What’s more dangerous than an untreated narcissist?
    A narcissist who’s in treatment.

    After I started reading your blog and came to the cold hard conclusion that Dickula was indeed suffering (or should I say, making everyone else suffer) from NPD, my life came crashing down around me as I realized I had wasted almost a decade of my life devoting myself, at the expense of my own future, to someone who saw me as nothing more than a warm, comfy snuggie. I suffered horrific emotional abuse at his hands and was diagnosed with PTSD and developed health issues from the constant stress of the “relationship”. When I realized I meant nothing at all to him, I left him…for good. His therapist, upon learning that I had “abandoned” him, told him “No wonder you have trust issues with women! Just like your mother, every woman you reach out to and try to trust, abandons you just like she did!”

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  3. I can honestly say that I’ve never entertained the idea of visiting a relationship site in search of answers to what I experiencing. I did Google topics such as pychosis, anger eruption, explosive temper, paranoid disorder, and finally, narcissist. the articles I found to be redundant– only covering the traits which tick the nine boxes laid out in DSM. So, I decided to search narcissism on YouTube and that is where it all started to make sense. (Sam Vaknin and Understanding Narcissists channel) that’s how I came upon you, H.G., your interview on Out of the Box radio was enlightening. It cemented any lingering doubts I had regarding the narcissist that ensnared me. Thank you for taking the time to empower empaths like myself– as it appeals to your preverse sense of humor. 🙃☺️

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    1. Indeed it does Traci and thank you for adding your perspective. So, from what you have written, did you have an idea as to what a narcissist was as you looked for answers to the problem you faced?

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      1. I apologize for eavesdropping and adding my 2 cents to the conversation. I never took narcissism seriously. I just assumed they were selfish conceited people. All my self education had been about psychopathy. After reading your work, I realize NPD is by far more dangerous. With psychopathy, you realize early on that something is very wrong with the person. The hair on the back of your neck will rise and your intuitive alarm will go off like crazy. Psychopaths truly have reptilian eyes. They are completely void of humanity.
        Yet people with NPD blend in well in society. They do not trigger any alarms or warnings. I would have never been able to identify all my past relationships as narcissists until reading your books.

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      1. Thanks. Have you been in a relationship with a female that has had parents that were normal? I have never seen that in the narc/empath dynamic. I think that if female or male for that matter has a normal parenting situation they wouldn’t need the control or approval the narcissist gives. Your thoughts please.

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      2. Yes I have, normal as one could establish though of course as I have written previously the better functioning appliances are those that have the special traits which arise from instances such as having “daddy issues”.

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      3. HG,
        I was involved with a narcissist that had parents that seemed normal, but by the end of that relationship I knew what was really going on with his parents. He was the one that was very weathy and expected me to marry him and he could openly cheat and I couldn’t. His Mother allowed this for over 50 years of marriage because she wanted the name. Do you think given the fact that you don’t stay with your IP very long that you may not see her parents true relationship and it wasn’t really as normal as it seemed?

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  4. I loved this article HG. It shows where the awareness needs to start.
    Your kind really must be everywhere and I just read your comments about Princess Diana and was crushed to find out that another person fooled me. I loved her and thought she was a good person. I remember going to get the paper and finding out that she passed away. I was heartbroken. I suck at picking out the good ones.

    I grew up in a normal house with normal parents. I have another sibling and he is close to my personality but the difference is that he is logical in his thinking and doesn’t have the special traits that you seek out. I have discussed this in therapy and have found nothing in my childhood that would have sent me on the path that I took.

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    1. Thank you SW. Indeed, as with many situations there will be instances whereby someone will not fit the “models” and explanations. It is what makes it all so very interesting.

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  5. If these sites tell the truth, they lose readers, maybe sponsors, because then people will become wiser and make changes which means they might need less advise. It’s a business, yah; a business of victim blaming and illusionary changing to insure that the circle of madness never ends.

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  6. Oh H.G., how I truly love your Narc Translator pieces. They cut right to the chase and it is when I can grasp the differences of the conflicting “world views” at play.
    As you know, I have become more aloof and learning to be less emotional when JN hoovers. This may or may not be causing him to message me more about what I need to change to meet his “simple” needs. I’m trying not to be predictable and “overanalyze” and “overthink” every word or action as accused. I’m guessing he maybe does not fancy me pulling away and regaining some control back.
    Would you care to translate this gem of a text I received from him today. It is cut and paste verbatim as follows:
    “I’m trying, and hoping, to figure out if the old ML is back to stay. So far, new ML reigns supreme. And I don’t want her. There inlays the problem. It’s not asking the moon to not be berated and made to feel like a monstrous piece of shit every time something doesn’t go your way. If anything it’s between a rock and a memory foam pillow. Just be nice. Accept that shit doesn’t go your way sometimes, and have fun. I’ve been here the whole time, all you’ve gotta do is swallow your pride and realize I don’t do anything I do to hurt anyone, no matter how many front flips you do to make it seem like I do.
    I’m human. Not a monster.”

    My uncharacteristic, one word reply to this was “Understood”.

    My initial reaction was to forward your column “Impregnated’.

    Is it really gnawing at him that he thinks I’ve viewed him as a “monster”? He seems to be projecting me as one. Some interesting choices in his wording this time. Would this also be a great example of gaslighting? Because he’s making me look like the crazy one…. AGAIN. lol

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  7. Just another note that a lot of relationship article editors and psychologists who answer these and publish them would be narcissists too.
    They protect their kind by publishing the wrong advice and harming the victim more.
    I had a response about all guys being players and not to worry! I had a sociopath in my home. The person responding ended up being a narcissist and I could tell because compassion and insight were missing.
    This is a dark world and many of the worst get into positions of controlling information flow so that this exact process HG has arranged doesn’t happen.
    The question is, what damage do you think exposure will do? Are their enough of us empaths to fight back and topple the worldwide pathological regimes?
    I’m doubtful.

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    1. There are plenty of empaths. The question is are those empaths aware enough of our kind, how to spot us and what we do, to do anything about it. At present the answer is a firm no.

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  8. I didn’t realise my husband was a narc. I thought it was a personality disorder of some kind, but I didn’t consider Narc. I thought they were vain and conceited. I am so glad that you are exposing the truth. The truth sets us free as the good book says. I used to tell my narc that I would take him down before He took me down. I was careful not to let him see the weak sides of me because I knew he would use it against me.

    His parents are very kind. Giving people. But they are all for their son. They don’t give two hoots if their grand daughter has been depressed by her father or if I was abused by him and had to move house and jobs and start again because of his behaviour.

    Today, My husband had a falling out with his Daughter. I lay in bed listening…..I was slowly waking up after working a long day the day before…..Daughter was berated by husband told “I cant stand stupidity” Daughter told him “Well, how can you look at yourself then”? Husband said “Don’t talk to me, just go away”. Daughter…”I wish you weren’t my father ” He retorted “I wish you weren’t my daughter”.

    I was crushed. D was upset. She said she hated him.

    Then he apologised. And everything settled down.

    Is my husband now treating his daughter the way he treated me? Or has he really changed? You see…that is the issue. Husband has been pretty good all round. Then something like this happens and you don’t know what is normal and what is not. What I should be wary of and what I can relax and be safe with.

    Scrambled head. Numb emotions.

    Battle scars of a life time of living with a narc.

    How can I sell my house and move back to his town? With his parents near by? Maybe he has changed…..but what if he hasn’t? I don’t know how much more I can take. Daughter will move out soon and I don’t blame her. Her dad made her past difficult and she doesn’t want him to spoil her future.

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    1. Hello Jane, I know you believe that he has changed and since I am not there amongst your dynamic I cannot say you are completely wrong, but based on my own behaviours and those that I have witnessed I am sceptical as to whether he has. What you explain here supports my view that he has not. What he has changed is who he is devaluing and he is devaluing your daughter rather than you in order to gain negative fuel and he will triangulate the pair of you.

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  9. This is why I post your website every time I read the others that won’t even mention your kind as a possibility for dysfunctional relationships. The word needs to get out and I’ll post your site every chance I get.

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  10. Funny. The Fourth day I said to myself & roommate “Somethings Wrong with this m*****f*****. Hes Completely wacked in a disturbing way.” And 3+ yrs later the lowliest life form scum bag still holds the wand over my hypnotised, dazed head.

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  11. Thank you! I spent so much time and money on relationship dating material, trying to understand how it was my fault and how to navigate the bizarre push pull behaviors. All it ever did was wipe out my finances because i was in desperation to fix something i was told was my fault and i was needy. The gurus cater to this idea and market their material by saying “find the secret reason why he witdraws and the magic words to win him back”. My inbox is flooded everyday from people i subscribed to and paid for, all telling me that basically his bizarre behavior was my fault and i can get him back with magic words. I was kept in a never ending cycle, and more importantly, i believed it was my fault and the narc and them, were right. I was in my best interest after all, to fix myself. What wasn’t talked about, if at all, was that i might be involved with a narc if this or that happens…
    The no contact strategies are all over the web and it is marketed as the go to perfect solution for relationship break ups, ive read so much from so many about hiw this will fix anything, it makes my head spin to think of it all, and oddly, its the only solution for dealing with a narc, IF i could only for once realize down to my soul this isnt healthy and its not normal and want to truly be done. But the idea of being done is tainted by others saying this ir that can be fixed by ignoring him. So i think to myself, what if its really me, i ignore him, he comes back professes all his love and we are ok again ( like last time and the time before, and hundreds of other times). What if i truly ignore him and go no contact this time, what if…
    You see the results of reltionship guru’s and why they wont tell you, you just might be dating a narc if you hear/see this stuff. With so many narcs around doing the push pull game, its great for their business and the answer to any problem is girl is needy ( or worse) and needs to go n.c . Its a win for the relationship markets to not expose whats really happening and i am so releived that you have called it like it is and caught it too. I thought i was the only person seeing this, and maybe its my spirit that said enough already how much blame and fixing am i suppose to do when im seeing i really was not the problem, that caught on too.

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    1. Hello Red, I am pleased you found this article useful. I agree with your sentiments. These supposed relationship gurus rarely know or understand about our kind, hence they provide well-intentioned but erroneous advice when we manifest so often in relationship problems. The fact is, any form of abuse in a relationship is not normal and the perpetrator is disordered in some way. It may be mild it may be a serious disorder, but disorder it is and often it involves our kind, not always, but often. Some of these gurus do know about our kind (they are in the minority though) and cynically do not provide the required answer in order to continue their business as you explain. Time to turn the tide and point them in the direction of where the real answers lie.

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      1. They are a business trying to make money after all.
        HG, should it eventually be common knowledge the narcissists and sociopaths dominate the police, government, institutions, schools, business, arts, sports, clubs and associations, etc. What do you propose may happen?
        Ideally I’d like to see everybody educated from the ground up and though it might seem a way off, it is inevitable in my opinion. However whenever I have unknowingly begun talking about this topic with others who turned out to be narcissists, they minimise or dismiss this, or try to sidestep by raising some analogy about diabetes or other disorders that do not get recognition.
        This disorder is however, life and death, and I found it astounding that it’s hidden. It’s simply ridiculous.
        However, perhaps those in high places may lose their status?

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      2. Indeed AVS, I think that the likelihood of widespread exposure will ever occur. This is because of our abilities to muddy the water and because people operate through trust and as you identify, would rather blame an third party factor or themselves for the behaviour of our kind. Thus we continue.

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      3. And that courts are also dominated by them and have the power to decide their punishment.
        I do think it is coming, the behaviours are so very specific and identifiable that I don’t feel tolerance is going to continue to the degree it has.
        Could civilisation of 500 years ago imagine this life? I doubt it.
        I predict an empath war against you!!! Hahaha. At least you lot don’t be able to work as a team.

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      4. What might it feel like to a somatic cerebral who had a lesser as his IPS, to have targeted a super empath as a replacement IPS, seduced her and worked hard on triangulation, until he was sure the empath would sign on, and then asked her and she refused?

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      5. The loss of fuel weakens. Criticism wounds us and causes the ignition of fury. In the scenario you advance, the criticism occurs (unusually) during seduction which means that the narcissist will lash out and be nasty in order to draw fuel. If it is gained he will continue until the wound has healed. If no fuel is forthcoming he will seek it elsewhere. I think the prospect for revenge and stalking would be low because this happened during seduction and the narcissist would focus on the targeting and embedding of a new primary source instead.

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      6. Well that makes a lot of sense. He was so nasty that I didn’t feel like getting out of bed for a long time and he insisted I apologise in person to his IPS as if I had destroyed their marriage.

        He stayed with the IPS and I was so offended I discussed the situation with their friends who are my friends too. THEN all of them turned on me, he called the police to stop my contact and they all said I caused them a marriage rift with my infatuation of him. I had been nice to him because I liked his friendship and suspected he had some feelings towards me so I was quite gentle and said he was attractive but I’m not interested in more.

        Afterwards he was hot and cold, and cold when I needed any collaboration. I’ve now gone no contact and get the odd unknown call. I believe he will stay with his IPS who is a lesser narc. I was confused by this stupid thing for two years. Now HG thanks to you I know what the hell happened. Gosh, I never would have understood at the time what he was doing. It seems as though his harsh words held no truth, but helped him heal the wound.

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      1. The superNarc that wiped out his entire race of narcs. How do we ensure that you are the one that remains standing in the end?

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      2. I shall cock my chin to the left and ignore you, causing you to fall to the ground writhing in excruciating injury.
        And then I will make it always Christmas and never winter.

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      3. Mr. Tudor, I love love love your confidence. However, know that we (empaths/codepedents) are instrumental in you being the last narc standing.
        Keep your friends close but your enemies closer 😘

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  12. HG, what would be your estimate as to percentage of people who are narcs? The kind of toxic people who manipulate and emotionally abuse others, not just self centred people who are capable of decency and empathy. I’d be interested to know your opinions on this. thank you.

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  13. WOW. That’s depressing. Good job I feel better equipped with my new shiny narcdar!! The old narcdar (which I used to think was pretty good at spotting, and binning manipulative types) let me down good and proper this time around.

    Appreciate your response. Thanks. 🙂

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  14. “You have just been told to sign your own death warrant”
    No one is forcing me.
    But addiction it is stronger than wrong suggestions, and the stench of death is breathing on my neck.
    But i want to reverse that.
    Will I be able?
    I thought so.
    When I thought growing stronger, it was just a leap towards the unavoidable distruction.
    I am still on that track.
    One way track.
    It’ s scary.

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