Why Does He Seem So Odd?
It is accurate to state that we operate in three essential states. There are varying degrees within those states, differing levels of intensity which are affected by factors such as the type of narcissist that we are, what we require from you, the level of empathic individual you are as well as several others. Nevertheless, there are three basic states. The first, as you would expect, is the golden setting. We are at our most wonderful, most brilliant and most loving when in this state. This always appears during our seduction of you and we will reinstate it from time to time and often when we hoover you in order to suck you back in and keep you hanging on to us. The second is the dark setting when we instigate our devaluation of you. This dark setting allows us to deploy our various machinations against you, a variety of different manipulations as the abuse begins and we make your life particularly unpleasant. This requires effort and energy on our part and whilst we will be rewarded with fuel, a certain degree of application is required to use these manipulations against you. When we unveil our dark setting it is upsetting and confusing but often you will find some reason to explain our behaviour. It is usually the wrong reason but you will find one nevertheless as you like to understand and have a reason to explain why someone is behaving in a certain way towards you – you decide we are stressed, tired, hungover, in need of affection or perhaps you are unduly harsh on yourselves so that you, in that usual empathic manner, blame yourself for the behaviour we have meted out against you. Perhaps you did not listen when you ought to have done, perhaps you should have realised that we wanted to go out tonight, or that we would not want chicken for a second time this week.
There is a third setting and this often proves more confusing than our unpleasant dark setting. This setting might be regarded as a neutral setting, somewhere between the golden and the dark, but it is not. This setting is on the road to the dark setting and is closer to that than the golden. This particular setting is the stranger setting.
There will be times when we do not wish to apply considerable energy to our continued devaluation of you, but the devaluation must continue. It may not be as harsh, since there is no shouting, no violence, no insults and such like. It is not the golden period because we show no affection, we do not do things for you and we do not exhibit any of the charm that once flowed so readily from us. During this stranger setting we are neither wonderful nor awful but we behave like someone who doesn’t really know you and you are certainly left feeling like you are dealing with somebody else.
If you telephone us we will not dole out a silent treatment and ignore your repeated calls. We will not answer in less than a ring and speak to you with affection and enthusiasm, instead we answer and engage in a monosyllabic conversation. It is like drawing teeth. We confirm that nothing is wrong and you may think there is but we have not responded angrily or harshly. We have not accused you of anything, we have not labelled you in some way but the conversation is flat. It is as if our personality, whether golden or dark has vanished and left almost an automaton in its place. We function, we talk about our day but with little detail and certainly no enthusiasm. We ask questions of you but they are polite and perfunctory as if we are just going through the motions. There is no nastiness, no backbiting or sneering. It is difficult to process because it is not nothing, that cannot be the case because we are talking to you, but it feels like nothing.
We may call around to see you but it feels like an inspector has called around. We sit, we decline a drink that you offer us and we answer your questions without offering you anything much in return. Where has the charmer gone? Where has the monster gone? Who is this stranger that looks like us, sounds like us but is not behaving like us? You cannot accuse us of being unpleasant but it feels unpleasant because you are dealing with someone you do not recognise. Any questions about what is wrong with us are politely answered and you are assured there is not a problem, but we seem lifeless. You flatter us, compliment us and whilst we accept them there is no spark of interest, there is no response.
Why are we like this? Why is this being done? Why do we seem like someone else? It is as if we have been abducted by aliens in the night and replaced with a robot which is neither wonderful nor savage but is frustratingly something else. This third setting occurs during the devaluation period. It is not a respite from devaluation as that is the golden setting once more. It is clearly not the dark setting as that is the rolling out of nastiness and abuse. This third setting is an indicator of the calm before the storm. Whilst there are occasions where we might switch from golden to dark setting in the blink of an eye, this third setting is used when we wish to conserve energy in readiness for unleashing a particular savage next stage in the devaluation as we will move to the dark setting and crank it up to eleven. You are not cruising along being driven by fair winds, nor are you being thrown up and down buffeted by a storm, instead you are becalmed or moved along by a weak breeze. This is the time we are girding our loins, gathering information and plotting. The switch of functions to the organisation and scheming of what is to come, along with the intense outpouring of energy required to sustain the vicious intensifying of this devaluation means we adopt this near automatic state. You may not ever see this happen dependent on the nature of the narcissist you have become entangled with, but when you do, you should be aware that a storm is brewing and not just any old storm but a supercell storm of savage and damaging proportions. This is a warning.
35 thoughts on “Why Does He Seem So Odd?”
As an outsider looking in, this describes more specifically what I, and so many others, witnessed between the ex-MN and his spouse. It never appeared as though they were the type to argue in an abusive way (unless, of course, behind closed doors), but man did they ever walk around in public like two of the most robotic people I’ve ever seen. After reading this, I can now understand that he was, more than likely, applying the third setting. Their relationship seemed so damn businesslike, as if they weren’t even married or ever in love. I asked him once why it seemed that way and he said they had decided early on in their relationship to keep it professional at work (we all worked together). I never really understood that seeing how everyone knew they were married, but since I really didn’t know her, I just accepted it as it being a possibility. Nonetheless, many of us never once thought their relationship was normal, nor did many others even know they were married (for 18 years).
Thanks, HG, for the eye opener.
oh illustrious HG…..can you tell when a former IP has inflated her deflated and defeated self? and is on a better more confident path in life again..?
if so, what does that do to you?
Yes. It signals the games can begin once more because fuel is in play.
but what if she is good at no contact?
I will either try to break that no contact or if I regard it as too much effort and my fuel needs are critical I will look elsewhere.
free or nofuc that’s my goal. ty
what he does to do constantly is to break the no contact through the kids…. wanting to be a part of every dr appt (And w 4 kids it can be exhausting) ….and their activities or controlling them so they don’t have any activities to do.. (though he can’t ….but he still tries)… he tries to get his dose of control and contact through the kids…..
i would like to think he will eventually tire…and move on….. it feels so good to be free of him this much…..
but u never know what evil, diabolical plan he’s hatching for my demise….. i hate the part…but u can’t let it control u….u Just have to live
Whoop whoop! Game on!
Ugh whenever I separated from exN the First thing he wanted to know was when is her next doctors appointment 😡 I thought I was overthinking like dude, go away! Stop trying to have a set date to Hoover so he can trollop freely and not worry about her in the meantime! I always say I haven’t made one yet gosh he was annoying.
These blog posts would make a great printed book of short stories. A sweet little pocket book of grim tales come narc encyclopedia. An essential guide that everyone needs but nobody wants.
Prob best not to post this suggestion online. Beware the moochers!
Just to add, there’s a good antidote video on YouTube called ‘don’t take it personal’ by Eckhart Tolle. I may have mentioned him before 🙂
Thanks SBJ, I have already done this and added extra in as well.
my dear G. am I getting thumis right that the third setting is used for You as a respite period where You recharge all Your powers and we take a breather not knowing what’s coming so the thunder would hit and hurt even stronger?
How would you differentiate an abusive, self-absorbed asshole from a narcissist? Thanks HG!
Some may argue there is no difference Rebecca.
A difference would be that the self-absorbed behaviour may only manifest at certain times as a consequence of the application of an external agent.
If this was not the case, one would witness some form of empathic behaviour which would be the litmus test for distinguishing this person from being a narcissist. Of course they will have strong narcissistic traits and it would be difficult to often distinguish.
My question is: why does it seem like my ex husband doesn’t seem to have these narc characteristics with his new wife? My kids live with them and they say he and she basically get along, as well as she seems to boss him around.
Most likely still in the golden period or they do not see everything that goes on and/or they have been conditioned as well.
Hmm … For a good month I got this “dry” character lol (that’s what I called it) nothing was “wrong” but he was not who I fell in love with. We weren’t going at it like cats and dogs anymore at least, it felt like autopilot. When I brought up something that would usually cause an argument he would try his best to avoid it. He’d take me out and come over everyday or invite me to his house but it was “dry” … it was confusing. I was happy not to fight but if I couldn’t get a genuine hug it was just as bad. I told him I couldn’t do that anymore and then he ran to my house first thing the next morning saying “I’d always be his problem” and he was gonna start from ground zero “and show me how much he respects and cares about me” I said nahh .. It’s time for this to end. And the next week was when he stole my baby and put on no trespassing… It felt like things were making a way towards the couple we were in the beginning, but I knew it would never happen.. I just thought he was saving his “energy” for whomever he was trying to “romance” in the brief moments he wasn’t with me. Maybe I got out just in time .
Drawing teeth is a fabulous way to describe this period.
My ex was neither nice now mean during these hours. This was another time I was always asking “is everything ok” and saying
“You don’t seem like yourself”.
She was short in our conversations and seemed numb.
By the end of a 12 hour period I was ready to pull my hair out. It was aggravating and difficult at times because I didn’t understand why it was all happening.
I just thought it was a mood swing.
I just experienced this exact behavior today… I feel numb… I am glad I found this and read it, but… after all the crying I’ve done today, I just feel numb… and so sad
get used to the feeling of numb…….
or just get out and find a normal person…. and say hello to your emotions again.
Thank you for the warning ⚠️
Might it be that he is lovebombing or in the dark setting with someone else and now is conserving energy with me. I recognize this stranger setting but it never errupted in something big before it just lasted very long like 2months.
Hurt, that was what I took it as .. If we factor in HG’s advice maybe a big devaluation was soon on the horizon once the new target was in their mind, hooked.
And then what? I called him on this last stage a few times. I knew he was ‘depersonalizing me’ and it was some other game to control me. So I called him on it. Said, you don’t get to act all impersonal like we don’t know each other. That’s bs. Second time he did this, I said, if you don’t want to answer, just say so. These one syllable words are boring, I am not going to drag it out of you. In both cases, they did sort of erupt into a fight but I was well primed to fight back. So I then erupted on him as much as he did on me.
What is the typical reaction you get from this before the explosion? Does it buy more begging, submission and groveling? Does it buy more fuel for how long a period? How long would you keep this up? I always went the opposite way, started to fight back the moment I sensed this. The major eruption still happened, but we went neck to neck. Only, it hurt me emotionally more than him, he didn’t care. So he somewhat got what he wanted. Huge fuel. It just hurt me. So in a sense, it still worked. What do you usually get from this behavior in others?
I had a question in regards to a blog you just posted – the blog ‘why does he seem so odd’ – my ex and I parted ways almost a year and a half ago yet we share a toddler daughter so we still have contact . What you described in this blog fits him to a complete T – even now that we are not together . This has been a pattern for the entire year and a half which I have picked up on . It’s strange – the way you described it is dead on . He will display this behavior for a few days on end then switch to being verbally abusive then somewhat nice then back to robot mode – it has just been going on and on for over a year now . My question is this – he moved out but I do not think he had yet discarded me – I believe he fluctuates between a mild golden period and devaluation with me . I am in therapy and my therapist has told me this is what is happening – is this true !? Does someone of your kind set it up to seem like it’s a discard only to keep you entangled in the back and forth forever or years and years ?!
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Yes, it’s happened to me in an almost identical pattern.
Is there likely to be a new primary source in place during this time?
Wow! This was exactly his demeanor for a few weeks before he erupted and I had to get a PFA.
Reblogged this on Speak Out 4 Others and commented:
He was like dating several different ppl.
Multiple personalities ! One included child like behaviour swinging to intelligent and more ?
I know all about that.
Wouldn’t it be hovering if you go silent and the empath is reaching out with texts and calls? Seems the same by trying to get a response .
Yes that would be a Reverse Hoover Lynn.