The Fading Narcissist




I have explained how we draw fuel from primary, secondary and tertiary sources. These sources vary in potency and are affected of course by the method of delivery of the fuel. The primary source remains our most important source of fuel since it is this person, usually the intimate partner, who we are with more than anybody else but also who has the greatest emotional reaction to what we say and do. Therefore, this person provides us with the most fuel and of the most potent kind. The primary source is naturally the most important fuel provider which is why we seduce this person with such dedication, unleash such a terrible devaluation and keep on hoovering following escape or discard. We make such an investment in you as the primary source that we regard it as our right to keep drawing fuel from you, whether that is positive or negative, whether it is now, next week or in ten years’ time.

The secondary sources are those which contribute good fuel and are invariably those who are part of our façade. Our lieutenants and the coterie are drawn from the secondary sources – friends, family and colleagues – who we interact with frequently but not to the same extent as we do with the primary source. Nor do the secondary sources give out the same heightened fuel as the primary source. The secondary sources serve an excellent function as part of the façade and the maintenance of this façade is important, therefore we prefer to keep the same people in at and keep adding to it. Secondary sources enjoy lengthy golden periods with us. This is because our call on them is intermittent and therefore we are far less likely to regard their fuel as stale. Moreover, we can have many secondary sources but we only ever have one primary source. Thus if a certain secondary source is perhaps not admiring us as much (but they are not criticising us and are still providing some fuel) it does not merit a devaluation. They remain loyal, they remain part of the façade and we will just switch to another secondary source to increase the fuel. There is no need to devalue or ditch the initial secondary source. Thus you may see our kind have a friend who is “flavour of the month” because their fuel is better than other secondary sources and then the fuel dips in quality but it is not a concern as we can add another secondary source or switch to another who perhaps we have not seen for a couple of months. This is advantageous as it means our energy can be saved for devaluing the primary source whilst keeping a range of functioning secondary sources on hand and the façade intact.

The secondary sources very rarely stop providing fuel. They have no need to. A primary source may do so owing to the descent into ill health caused by the devaluation or learning how to tackle our kind as a response to the abuse. The secondary source, always treated to the golden period, has no need to adopt a stance of not providing fuel.

A secondary source may however criticise us and if that is the case they may be subjected to devaluation but usually they are excluded from the coterie and replaced easily enough. They will be smeared and made to feel like an outsider, with the narcissist using the façade and other secondary sources to achieve this aim. We like to create our cliques and if anybody threatens our supremacy of delivers a criticism who is a secondary source they will be ejected from the group.

The occasion for devaluation of the secondary source is rare. It only happens in two instances. Firstly, the source has criticised the narcissist and thus fury is ignited and the narcissist decides this person must be made an example of, before being discarded, in order to show the rest of the coterie who is in charge.

Secondly, in an even rarer instance it may happen when the narcissist has no primary source. If there is an absence of the primary source for a period of time, say a number of weeks, the narcissist’s fuel levels will have been tested. He will have sought to seduce and embed a new replacement primary source and most times the narcissist in such a situation is able to do so with success. However, let us assume this has not happened. The narcissist turns to his secondary and tertiary sources (more on tertiary in a moment) and relies more than usual on them to provide him with fuel during the absence of the primary source. At first there is no problem, the secondary sources provide positive fuel which is sustaining the narcissist, but if he has only a few secondary sources, then it will not be long before his fuel demands outstrip the positive fuel they can give. The lesser quality of their fuel (compared to the primary source) is being exposed by the absence of the primary source. It is also because greater demand is being placed on them. Ultimately, the primary source will always go further for the narcissist than anybody else and they are also far more proximate. No matter how seductive if the secondary source has to deal with his own family, his work and so on, he may not be available to provide fuel. If this keeps happening, combined with the increased demand and the lack of a primary source the strain on positive secondary sources will start to tell. This means the narcissist will either have to add new secondary sources and/or devalue the secondary sources to shift to negative fuel so he is sustained. This will work for a period of time with the confused inner circle friend who is a secondary source trying to work out why their supposed best friend is ignoring them and then trying to patch up the relationship. A secondary source however will not sustain devaluation as long as a primary source and may even infect other secondary sources by pointing out how they are being treated. The narcissist is already suffering reduced fuel levels and the supremacy of his façade is being challenged. This increases the demands on him.

The tertiary sources provide the least fuel and generally they are also treated to lengthy golden periods – for example the lady who works in the petrol station or the postman – since they are only extracted from on an intermittent basis. Tertiary sources can also be used straight away for negative fuel, for example, upbraiding a waiter or shouting down a shop assistant. We do not regard them as necessary to the maintenance of the façade, their negative fuel provides a useful boost and such high-handed behaviour may impress a primary (or secondary source) and draw positive fuel from them where appropriate.

If there is no primary source for a period of time, the reliance on tertiary sources increases. There will be increased activity to use technology to draw these people to the narcissist – such as on dating sites, chat rooms or through social media, but if the reliance is frequent and sustained the quality of the fuel will diminish quickly and those who have been attached to the narcissist in this way will be discarded and replaced with new remote tertiary sources promptly. There will be a high turnover. At the same time, the narcissist is likely to lash out at physically proximate sources more and more as the fuel level dips. This happens for two reasons. Firstly, he needs the fuel more than ever from tertiary sources and negative fuel is better than positive. Secondly, he will be furious at being placed in this position (through having no primary source but he has not got one to lash out at) so tertiary sources bear the brunt of this rage.

A narcissist without a primary source will eventually alienate secondary sources and in certain environments – say a small town – will struggle to replace them as people become wise to what he is. He may lack the energy to keep up the turnover of remote tertiary sources and spends his time lashing out at those which are physically proximate. At this point the narcissist faces losing the façade (since so many people know about his behaviour) in order to keep drawing fuel. It is now that he has three choices: –

  1. Secure a new primary source immediately;
  2. Move his environment so he can seek our fresh secondary sources and tertiary sources and rebuild his façade; or
  3. Sink into depression and inactivity as his fuel levels plummet.

The narcissist becomes a fading star. Once brilliant, magnificent and illuminating, his loss of the primary source and inability to find another means that the alluring shine is fading as a black hole awaits. Thus you can see just how paramount the primary source is to the existence of our kind and why we make such an effort to secure them, replace them and hoover them back again.

23 thoughts on “The Fading Narcissist

  1. lucycarrozza says:

    Is there a catalyst event in a narcissist’s life where their narcissism can be reversed? I’ve noticed a lot of narcissistic tendencies in younger people (attention seeking, validation seeking, temper tantrums etc.) which later turn out to be immaturities they grow out of as they learn different coping skills or through life experiences (being shunned or ostracized).

    I became interested in narcissism when my grandmother died and it became obvious (to me at least) that she was the puppet master behind the dysfunction all along. Afterward, her children tried to act out their scripted roles to no avail (nobody to validate them and their negative fuel was now a worthless currency). It was a secondary source eating frenzy amongst each other I couldn’t understand at the time.

  2. BraveHeart says:

    Following comments …

  3. Jen says:

    can the own child be the primary source?

    1. HG Tudor says:


    2. Rob says:

      under what circumstance does a narcissist rely their child to be primary source and not an intimate partner?

  4. Hen says:

    I believe I may have been a secondary. I believe the resurfacing baby momma was the primary. We dated 2 months. He told me we had an eternal connection and he could not imagine life without me, etc. After spending 4 entire days together I informed him he was a chameleon and extremely manipulative. He tried to talk down to me and I called him out on it. He kept being touchy feely all evening, confessing his love for me, and asking, “What was wrong/” I replied, “I’m just tired.” I went to bed first. Apparently he stole money and gift cards from my wallet that night and disappeared in the a.m. while I was at a doctor’s appointment. Haven’t heard from him since and it has been 2 months. Please tell me the odds of his resurfacing are slim. I cannot imagine dealing with this POS ever again, after he broke my heart.

    1. HG Tudor says:

      Two months is not long. The chances of him surfacing depend on whether the Hoover Trigger is activated and whether the Hoover Execution Criteria are met.

  5. amsodone says:

    NO ONE explains narcissist, like HG.

    1. HG Tudor says:

      Thank you amsodone, I may use that for my promotional material!

  6. k says:

    Ahh – perhaps I was a secondary source, saw him 4-5 nights a week for a year. He asked me to live with him, but I could not.

    Do you think that secondary sources are “better able” to go no-contact than primary sources? (Which is not to say that going no-contact was easy).

    1. HG Tudor says:

      It depends on the individual but there do tend to be more factors which make no contact harder to implement (and to maintain) for the primary source – shared accommodation, shared finances, history, children and such like. Some IPSS may not have these entanglements but the emotional impact and addiction on them may be just as strong.

  7. giulia says:

    4. let the sucker die, aknowledge all the distruction all around and start a new life on real things, truly everlasting.

    Have a drink afterwords.

  8. E. B. says:

    “…spends his time lashing out at those which are physically proximate. At this point the narcissist faces losing the façade (since so many people know about his behaviour) in order to keep drawing fuel…. ”

    Yes, you are right that they spend their time lashing out at those who are (physically) near them. However, some narcissists do not lose their façade when other people see their behaviour.

    Speaking from my own experience, it depends on the cultural values of a particular country or region. While a group of people (including at least one Lesser and two or more Mid-Rangers) lashing out at someone in a lower power position in public may be viewed with scorn and contempt in most sociocultural groups, the same behaviour may be approved in other ones. In the latter case, the narcissist’s public façade is kept intact.

    As for female narcissists with a steady primary source giving them plenty of (negative) fuel over the years, their need for at least one secondary source to draw even more negative fuel from and to destroy has no limits. Female narcissists are more devious and cunning than male narcissists. It seems to me that they are insatiable, no matter if they have a primary source or not.

    This is my own experience with your kind and it is not my intention to be rude to you, HG.

    1. Entertainment says:

      You are on point regarding the female narcissist being more conning. It’s so hard to detect because men see us as moody and needy along with other stereotypes.

      When a woman can go out and spend all the family money on shopping it’s excused. Some men feel that they must continue providing and will take on additional hours or second job to compensate. (A woman thing). Then they flirt and sleep with close friends or family members excusing their behavior by saying you work too many hours, I have needs. Some men feel they are responsible for their behavior. Also, they tend to be more sexual open to anything and once they hook them they cut them off. Definitely more conning and manipulative.

      1. E. B. says:

        Hi Entertainment,
        Yes, I totally agree. One of my siblings is married to one of those. He believes he has to put up with it if he wants to have a wife and a family. He is just a ‘provider’. Her emotional and financial abuse is so subtle and refined that he does not notice it at all. His hair has gone completely grey. She has successfully turned him against me several years ago.

        1. Entertainment says:

          There’s a sick one near me in San Diego that preys on men in the military she have married 3 times in 3 years and defrauded all of them. The guy that exposed her only stayed with her for 3 months she told him if he married her that she could collect a larger inheritance. Every time he asked about the money she made a excuse. He went through her purse and found several id’s with different last names. He had to leave for a few months and asked her to leave by the time he came back. He also found out about the other 2 marriages. He contacted her mother and the mother advised him to run fast that she’s a sociopath. She sat in court with a blank stare and continued to lie.

          1. E. B. says:

            Entertainment, I used to think that those cases of female sociopaths were only to be found in Hollywood films. Real life is sometimes more dangerous than fiction.

          2. Entertainment says:

            Exactly, she’s originally from Washington her mother still reside there and cares for her daughter. She took her to court and obtained custody.

  9. Jen says:

    My ex wants to move his environment. Right now, he’s in depression. (He doesn’t want a new primary source due to reasons i explained in other posts.)

  10. nanajacqui says:

    How about this situation?
    The male Narcissist is into BDSM… which is ALL about dominance submission and control. He also claims to be polyamorous.
    So, he has several, usually 3, official submissive females and 2 or 3 others for “entertainment” …
    He allows those 3 official women to think that they are his primary.
    He decides to gather all his women in one place (for his amusement probably) and because of the lies he told each, things dont go well for him or the women.
    The women all call him out on his lies and editing of the truth and leave him.
    He attaches himself to the youngest and newest of them all and makes her his primary.
    The rest escape and grey rock him.
    he is not a happy man.

  11. Brian says:

    This is interesting, seeing things from such a different perspective

  12. sarabella says:

    “A narcissist without a primary source will eventually alienate secondary sources and in certain environments – say a small town – will struggle to replace them as people become wise to what he is. ”

    My narc’s true dilemma. He has gone through anyone who would socially have him in his town. So he posts photos of himself that represent TBacks to some of his golden years. It seems that is when he is remembering his life when he was on top. What if a narc can’t ever replace his original primary source? He is still connected to his ex but they have kids. Just don’t live together. He once said the ultimate of friends. But 2 months later, was calling her names. So hard to tell there….

    1. betty says:

      Exactly what the man I was dating did! Most of his girlfriends lived 2 hours away or in another state. I actually thought that this was so
      because he had been through all the women in his small town. I wish I could say where he was from so readers could be aware. He moves swiftly and typically has 2-3 sources at once. Aside from me, his women have fake breasts, fake hair, teeth, nails and tons of botox.
      I wish there was a website that listed all the narc players so we know who to steer clear of!

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