Down Come The Shutters



Once we commence our devaluation of one of our victims there is a vast array of manipulative techniques that can be used to fulfil our aim of extracting negative fuel from you. Some of these methods are subtle and may not be noticed by the subject, such as triangulation with an object. Others are brutal involving the smashing of property and the flailing fists and stomping boots. It is often the case that you do not realise that devaluation has commenced because you have yet to have any familiarity with this word or even with what it signifies. You will notice however a change in our behaviour. One of those changes is akin to us bringing down the shutters whenever we deal with you.

Once upon a time we exited our car and cantered across to where you stood waiting in the doorway as we wrapped our arms around you and embraced you passionately. Our face had lit up and our delight in seeing you appeared genuine enough. This happened each time we came to see you, as if we had not seen you for months on end, even though it was only the day before when we last held you. Now when we meet you there is no joyful skip towards you, the smile seems forced and there is no light in our eyes anymore. Whereas they once lit up a brilliant blue and sparkled, now they just seem lacklustre and dull, darker than usual. You try to lift our spirits in that indefatigable way of yours. You ask what is wrong and you are always met with an answer of “nothing”.

“Are you sure?” you ask, “you seem unhappy.”

“No there is nothing the matter.”

“You can tell me.”

We realise we must say something but we are pleased by your concern and the fuel that it provides.

“It’s okay. There is nothing wrong.”

“It does not seem like it. Please, tell me what is on your mind.”

Time to step it up a little and extract some further fuel.

“I said there’s nothing wrong,” I snap and pull my hand away from yours. Your face turns from concern to upset and the fuel flows.

This continues as once we used to talk for hours on the ‘phone about all manner of things and laughed and planned, now we still talk for a long time (or rather you seem to do more of the talking this time) as we draw the negative fuel from you. You try to find new topics to keep the conversation going but our responses are limited, our tone flat and then irritable as you try to remain chirpy and upbeat but the sadness and confusion is all too evident in your voice. It needs to be. We need that.

“I just don’t understand, “you protest pleasantly, “you seem so different these days.”

“Really? In what way?”

“It’s like, it is like I am dealing with someone else.”

“Well that’s nonsensical, it is me.”

“Yes I know that but you are not the same.”

“Of course I am the same, you are imagining things.”

“No I am not. You don’t seem to be into me as much as you once were.”

“I am, it is just, you know, I have a lot going on at present.”

“I understand that but it is more than that. It is like I am talking to a different person. You don’t seem to connect with me the way you used to.”

“I don’t understand what you mean.”

“How can I put it? It’s like you have made a conscious decision to distance yourself from me and you do not say the things you used to. You always used to sign off your texts with three kisses and now it is only one.”

“You are concerned about how many kisses I put on my texts?” I ask in disbelief.

“No, well yes, well it is not that. That is just a symptom of something else. It concerns me because I love you so much. It is like you have brought down the shutters and put up barriers when we are together. There is a distance between us that wasn’t once there.”

“I haven’t noticed it.” (Of course I have. I know precisely what you are talking about.)

You then spend many minutes trying to convey this sense of distance and alienation as I listen. I am not hearing the words that you say, nor do I pay attention to the explanation, I am too engaged focussing on the hurt in your voice, the frustration and the exasperation as I suck the fuel from your sentences. This technique is subtle. It is easy to implement and enables us to draw negative fuel from you without you realising what we are doing. It is often the beginning of the devaluation period when the simple cessation of the golden behaviour produces in itself a reaction which provides fuel. We do not need to shock you, we do not need to shout or yell, there is no need to lead you on a confusing and merry dance with our denials and deflections. The simple act of pulling up the drawbridge and no longer allowing you access to the wonderful part of us, illusion that it is, remains highly effective.

“I just feel like you bring the shutters down and I am dealing with somebody different. You are not the HG I know and love. You are someone else.”

Time to throw you a little lifeline to give you hope.

“I’m sorry, I think sometimes when I am under pressure I withdraw into myself. My friends have commented on it previously. It is just something that happens. I think that is what you are referring to. It doesn’t mean that I love you any less. Just last night I was staring at the chair where you usually sit wishing you were there opposite me talking to me.”

That should do it.

“There you see, that is the HG I know, back in an instant. I wish I had been sat in that chair too, I missed you so much last night.”

It really is so easy.

26 thoughts on “Down Come The Shutters

  1. Insatiable Learner says:

    Thank you very much, HG! Much appreciated!

  2. Insatiable Learner says:

    Sure! Thank you, HG! My question was could a narc be exhibiting distancing behaviors with IPSS or DS as a way to test or as a manifestation of cooling things off/ putting them on the back burner while the narc is focusing on seducing a more promising IPSS he is looking to promote to primary? I appreciate it!

    1. HG Tudor says:

      Yes indeed he could.

  3. Insatiable Learner says:

    Dear HG, it looks like my question above got overlooked. Would appreciate your feedback when you get a chance. Thank you ever so much!

    1. HG Tudor says:

      Can you repeat it IL and I shall answer?

  4. DFA says:

    Jamie how does one become this hybred? I find this interesting, and would like to hear how this comes to be if you wouldnt mind explaining please

    1. Jamie M says:

      @DFA My narcissist mother raised my sister and I for most of our lives. She’s the reason for my many narc traits (I never “split”, so I luckily didn’t become a full blown narcissists.)

      My grandparents…my sweet, unconditional loving grandparents. I owe them everything. They showed me what love is. What respect is (without abuse). What happiness was. What caring for animals was like. They raised me off and on (when my mom didn’t feel like parenting for years at a time & dropped my sister & I off there often). They are the sole reason for my empathic side.

      My sociopath of a father was barely around but when he god what power he had. The rage. It was even more impressive than my mothers. He’s the reason for my sociopathic rage. (My sister is a full blown sociopath, while I just have the rage part of it.) Sociopath can be environmentally influenced or genetics.

      So that’s it in a nutshell.
      Empathic Narcissist w/ Sociopathic rage.
      A hybrid.

  5. I wonder, the duration of each stage – golden, devalue and discard; is it contingent on the source and their quality of fuel OR do you notice as you get older (sorry but it’s true) that the trade-in happens more quickly, more frequently? Is there a growing urgency to the hunt for the perfect supply as you get older? Thanks.

    1. HG Tudor says:

      Hello SBO, it is the fuel which governs the stages.

  6. Matilda says:

    Empaths need to remember two lessons here:

    1: focus on someone else’s ACTIONS, do not get distracted by words!

    2: do not judge the truth and sincerity of someone else’s words BY YOUR OWN STANDARDS!!

    To narcs, words come so easily, and they mean something completely different from what we assume. Of course, we are only wise with hindsight!

  7. Snow White says:

    I heard this conversation all the time. Almost word for word.

    HG, does a devaluation happen everytime that you decide that you want negative fuel from us?

    Something like this happened every month. Mine would last usually 24 hours and then I got the lifeline.

    1. HG Tudor says:

      The devaluation happens when your positive fuel is not enough not that we decide we want the negative fuel. It is triggered by omission rather than commission because of course, it is your fault.

  8. Adele says:

    The gaslighting is awful and insidious. They love to bring up and insecurities youve told them about and use that to blame.
    One thing i noticed is this need for negative fuel usually happened after a jealous episode on his part. Like when id talk to a guy i know or im dressed up for an outing hed pull this type of thing to devalue me. Its a way to control. Always about controlling ppl

  9. Jamie M says:

    The more I read your posts, the more I’m learning about myself as a narc/empath hybrid. You explained something I do, but was not aware of…the withdrawl tactics. Gotta love the power of push/pull. I was aware subconsciously, but you brought it to the forefront of my brain. When I’m not pleased, I play little games (like the kisses going from 3 to 1 in a text message, as per your example) and then start an argument over it.

    You also brought up a memory from the ex-narc I had in June (aka my stalker); he worked for the railroad and would go away for days at a time, so when he came home, it was a grand entrance. one of my favorite things he used to do was he’d tell me when he’s on his way but I’d have no idea how many hours it’d take for him to reach me. so he’d text me constantly, teasing me…saying “You have no idea how close I am, do you..” …the anticipation flooded me.

    On this particular memory, it was early morning and I was still in bed, texting him back and forth, anxiously awaiting his presence. The dawn of morning hadn’t begun yet, so my apartment was still dark. Only light in my bedroom was that of my cell phones glare. As I texted him back, he slowly…in a primal, dominant, calculated way..turned the corner to my bedroom. His 6’3″ fit frame created a dark silhouette that made me tremble with fear and extremely turned on at the same time, as he slowly approached the bed, as if I’m an injured prey lying helplessly on the ground, just waiting for him to devour me as I knew he would. Without a word being said, he slowly climbed onto the bed, climbed on top of me, kissed me passionately, and smiled. Then he pinned my wrists down with a quick and violent force and told me not to move as he sat up & took off his shirt, while never once removing his stare from my eyes…I was about to be devoured in a way that I (still to this day) have never been.

    On the flip-side of that, comes the withdraw memory. A few weeks later, I’m outside under an awning, rain beating down, awaiting his return (he now told me he was just a minute away, no more anticipating, which I didn’t like and he knew it). When he walked up to me, it seemed like he was going to kiss me passionately as we’ve always done..only to be met with a weak kiss, his lips barely acknowledging mine. I never said anything to him about that, but I remember that feeling of “what’s going on?! where’s the passion??”

    Funny how I can and do the same narc tactics to partners, but when it’s done to me, I have a problem with it. I’m a hypocrite. The narc in me.

    I’m starting to admit to myself that I like being hunted by him (which he’s still doing, 6 months later post-escape) because it’s exhilarating to be hunted, when normally I’m the hunter. It breaths life into me. I relish the feeling of going to war, wolf VS wolf, rather than to roam the lonely forest by myself always hunting after prey. I wonder what will happen when the day comes and I realize the war is over and he’s no longer hunting me. I think I’ll miss it dearly and have to go back to being a lone wolf again. Tragic.

    1. Jamie, you’re a narc/empath hybrid? I didn’t know such a category could exist. Which traits are stronger? Empathic or narcissistic? Does it depend on who you’re with?

      Also, him being so loving and passionate one night, then barely kissing you another time- it’s so difficult. I know just how that feels. My narc was similar. My heart was shred into pieces. I used to cry so much. 😢

      ‘Did i do something to upset you?’

      ‘Please tell me if that’s the case. Unless i know my mistake how can i correct myself?’

      ‘Whatever is upsetting you i can try to cheer you up’

      ‘I know lots of funny jokes. Do you want me to tell you some?’

      ‘If you don’t want me to talk, i won’t, but is it ok if i just sit quietly next to you? Don’t mind if i put my head on your shoulder. I need to be close to you’

      ‘You’re the boss. Let me know what you want’


      1. Jamie M says:

        Yes, I’m a Narc/Empath hybrid. My mom was a narc (primary caregiver), but my grandparents raised me off and on throughout my life (where my empathy was embedded), and my father was a sociopath (limited exposure). So I’m part narc, part empath, with sociopathic rage.

        HG explained the other day about a category called Super Empaths. While I’m similar to a Super Empath, I am a notch or two above that and lean more towards the Narc side on the scale. I’m not sure what that category is called, if one even exists?

        My partner does in fact play a role into what they bring out in me. My current boyfriend is a very loving and caring empath. So he brings out the empathy in me. My ex narc in June, however, brought out the narc side in me. We were like 2 caged dogs always foaming at the mouth waiting to battle each other. We were both hypocrites. Both selfish. Both loved to ‘hunt for prey’, which then would cause jealousy in both of us. We both had the same insecurities and used them against each other like weapons. It’s why I feel a connection to him still..because for the 1st time in my life, I found the male version of me. I loved the intensity and as sick & twisted as it is, I do miss the shit out of it. I felt alive. While I love my boyfriend dearly, and plan on marrying him someday, he’s boring. We’re boring. Because we’re in a healthy relationship. lol It’s boringly healthy.

        Some girls fantasize about a knight in shining armor to calm their fears. Me? I often wonder if today is the day the ex narc rings my doorbell and I get another round in the boxing ring with him and then I light up like a Christmas tree at the thought of it. 🙂 I wouldn’t go back to him for all the money in the world, but..fuck..I miss the intensity. I just want one more round.

        1. Thanks for sharing that with us jamie. And I know what you mean about the intensity!

      2. Jamie M says:

        You’re welcome @ptsdafter. Thanks for asking. Xx

  10. Sues says:

    I am sitting here laughing my ass off because this is so true, this has been my whole life and I was so stupid to have been entrapped time after time after time always blaming myself for choosing the wrong people . I always knew something was wrong I always had the explanations in my head that you have been honest enough to tell us but I would dismiss them because I thought it was always me . I was brainwashed by my narcissistic father who told me time and time again that I was an emotional misfit. Never good enough in everything he did and said in my childhood. The lucky part for me was that I didn’t live with him so I didn’t get the full on abuse that my three 1/2 siblings have endured.
    But it was enough to take over part of me. But I am extremely strong ..and I always get back on my feet. Without knowing about “no contact ” I decided about 12 years ago that I wouldn’t spend another dime to go and see him (he lives in Colorado and me on the east coast) and I haven’t . I do talk to him and he has actually been much nicer to me the last few years, he’s 80. sad it’s taken so long ..
    Thank you so much HG and I am very greatful that I have come across your work.
    Thank you

    1. HG Tudor says:

      You are welcome.

  11. Yin&Yang says:

    tut tut tut keep preaching me my dear G….

  12. Penny says:

    “I’m sorry, I think sometimes when I am under pressure I withdraw into myself.”
    I heard that from my ex almost verbatim, except his was followed by, “I need you to know that when I need alone time, it’s not about you.”
    Of course that was complete BS.
    Thanks for the enlightenment.

    1. Cherrylin says:

      Actually that was the truth, just not in the way you thought it was. There’s a couple layers of mind fuckery going on but at the core, it is his problem.. One that sadly he can’t, or won’t, see and address.

  13. Insatiable Learner says:

    Another insightful article! Thank you, dear HG, for another look into the mind and machinations of a narc. Do your kind exhibit these behaviors of distancing with an IPSS or DSIPSS as, perhaps, a way of testing or as a way of cooling off/ putting them on the back burner as you are focusing on seducing a more promising IPSS you are looking to promote to a IPPS? I was never a primary source but experienced this distancing. However, the narc always responded with understanding stating that he can see why I would feel this way and that because he was going through a divorce, he could come across distant at times. Then I would end up apologizing for bringing it up. Very clever. Anyway, would appreciate your response to my question. Thank you very much!

  14. Ah, I remember these days so very well….

    In fact my exN used to play this song for me every time he wanted to make me believe it was all in my head! 🙂 He would never apologize or recognize that he was acting any differently and for awhile he had me believing I was the problem… I tried so hard to fix my insecurities, but it was not mine, he just projected his on to me. An awakening is golden!

  15. Gosh! It’s true! I had this sort of conversation with my ex some many times… Thanks HG for sharing this.

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