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.

59 thoughts on “What am I to Him?

  1. Lori Diane Vista says:

    So confused as to what i was or am. My natc scooped me up and lovebombed me for a month then corrected me by saying he felt pressured and then radio silent. Four months later he reappeared and the cycle started again. Lovebombing for 30 days, then the “he’s not good enough” for me story and then disappearance. Reappeared 30 days later only to vanish after 1 month. This has been going on for 7 months now. Never met his family or friends. Am I an IPSS shelved or a DS IPSS? This is so confusing……

  2. Jenny says:

    I think I was an IPSS to a narcissist who did not have an IPPS. He was a musician and prioritised gigs above all else. It was almost like his gigs were his IPPS. Is that possible? He seemed mostly to live off the applause and adulation of fans (and gigs provided chance for other IPSS encounters). I lived with him but he never called me his girlfriend. He would go on tour and to music festivals as often as possible. I provided the benefit of house sitting and paying rent. I knew it was not great for me but I couldn’t seem to get over him until he slept with another IPSS while I was in the house, in the next room. He seemed shocked that that upset me. I finally moved out and moved on.

  3. Jackie O'CONNOR says:

    I still don’t know for sure if I’m the IPPS. I’m pretty sure I am but upon reading your articles sometimes I think I am and sometimes I don’t. I met my narc about 15 months ago and he was love bombing me right from the start. After three weeks he told me he was in love with me and wanted to marry me in the future. I was a bit concerned that he had been married three times but ignored it. He had heaps of girlfriends and the last one he smears to me and then she made contact with me to warn my about him and I ignored and blocked her. Of course now I wish I hadn’t.
    So every Wednesday night he goes drinking with some of his friends and she is there but I’m not allowed to go because he says she will make trouble for him so I know he sees her every Wednesday night. After six weeks he.moved in with me and then started to do a.mixture of insulting me and being madly in love with me etc etc. He was on dating sites but said he was only you mg on them to try to deactivate his account but couldn’t work out how to do it. Long story short I had reason to believe for the third time that he was screwing around so I kicked him out but we never broke up.
    I was only allowed to meet a four of his friends he had me.in Facebook but had his status single and his contacts hidden. I’ve never been introduced to any of his family and I think they don’t even know about me. We have spent every night except for a few together for the whole relationship bit not the days unless we catch up for.lunch. He went cold on me with sex and I still have to practically beg for it. He uses a health problem as the reason but I think he is lying.
    So I’ve had.months of benign devaluation but no return of golden period.
    I’m really confused as I still think I’m IPPS but can’t be sure.

    1. HG Tudor says:

      Utilise a consultation Jackie and you will gain insight.

  4. autiempath says:

    Thank you for the link to this article!

    After reading why does the Narcissist blow hot and cold-part two, and reading this article.

    I suddenly realize that i was de IPSS in my last relationship with a Narc.

    Number 4 was the situation.
    It al makes sense now!

  5. Melanie says:


    1. Can a IPSS candidate be in this role for 4 months if the narcissist is single (not married, so it’s not an affair)? Or would that mean they are more likely a shelf IPSS?

    2. Does the narcissist hoover a shelf IPSS if he has a IPSS candidate?

    1. HG Tudor says:

      If you wish to understand what your position is use the Fuel Matrix Consultation.

      1. Potentially, but more likely shelf.
      2. Yes, subject to Hoover Trigger and Hoover Execution Criteria. The existence of the IPSS Candidate is not a complete bar to hoovering.

  6. Wildjane says:

    Whenever he gets all hot and cold i just don’t respond. I mean why bother. If he thinks he can find somebody who is better who will put up with his crap? Go for it dude. I mean who really wants to be with somebody when they are acting like a petulant 2 year old trying to manipulate mommy? Really not fun. So for me I just cut off contact myself. I tell him, if you feel like not acting like a jerk , contact me and if Im not busy we can hang out . He has not been with anyone else physically.. I am pretty sure he has had some online jerk off sessions where he loves to see who he can seduce, but I am not gonna get an STD from that, so I don’t care, it is fantasy world. Meanwhile , I am out at the gym, hanging out with friends, doing my artwork, performing, writing, listening to live music, while he sits there being a moron in his little cell of a life. Every time I really leave and don’t respond at all, he is back. And it isn’t a game. I really would just go on without him–not that I don’t love him, I do. We have a lot of trauma bonding and he knows in many ways I am loyal. I caused a ton of drama almost getting us both arrested. He had just gotten out of the court system himself and was terrified. So he said we were toxic together as a couple. That he felt like being with me was too dangerous. I said, well I felt like it was worth the risk, but if he didn’t fine, we should just not hang out anymore. He said yeah . I said fine. But I wasn’t going to be his “friend” for a few years because I wanted a boyfriend and when I got one he would’t want to be hanging around the old boyfriend. He didn’t like that but was scared of the police. I hung up and went out . The next morning , crack of dawn. there was the message. No, really i don’t want to break up . You just have to tone down your shit and your emotional stuff. I said, well sorry , I am who i am and you are the one who caused all of the trouble except the latest batch, and i was having a drug interaction (prescription) . And I am gonna still be who I am. I know he was up all night over this. I guess I am the primary source , intimate, and he is agoraphobic and scared shitless to leave his place for the most part. I don’t get why women get so twisted up over this . If they are fun and you are enjoying their company fine. Do it. If they turn into little jerks, do something else. If you really love them, and you believe you are the best they are going to find? Why worry about it? I used to worry. Its been a long time now. I do what i want. I love him and love being with him. If he starts to blow cold and distant, I call him on it and make him admit it and leave. How Long that lasts is up to him in the beginning but you are wrong HG, in the real end? It is up to me. If i get totally sick of his shit, I do do my shit and find somebody who makes me feel good. Life is short. See I am 68, was married 4 times, and he is early 40s. I am smarter and know more. He is not the only man on the block. Really, no matter how much fun I have with him, it isn’t worth wasting more than a day or two on his stupid manipulative moody behavior. If he needs power and control? Hey he can have all he wants in bed with me. But once my foot, even one foot, hits the floor, I get to decide if I care about his little control games and want to play or not. I can always walk out, get in my car and split. I think age makes you catch on to their crap faster. And to be able to call them on it. Mine has two grown kids who twist him like a pretzel. When they are around things are bad. So I just leave and let him deal with them. Better him than me. When they leave he is so happy so see me he would kiss my ass for hours if I wanted. So take the good part of a narc. I mean I don’t want to get married , buy a house, raise a family. Already did that. I have grandkids. I just want the good fun part, but I will never be one of a few, I will never be a friend with benefits, or a fuck buddy, there are too many other men who want a real companion and a sex partner who is smart, and fun, and engaged in life to worry about the instagram set. So, my advice to women involved in this is take what you want and leave the rest. If they don’t go for it. let them sit in it. They really are big babies.

  7. Stéphanie says:

    I hav read this one several times, but am still unclear about much of it and how it translates to my experience, where I was shelf IPSS. I don’t think he had any IPPS, but most probably other IPSSs. He seemed to know what he wa, or his inclinations anyway, as he proclaimed he was not a good heart carer, that he did not want to hurt me, and that he had lots of women. He spend his life always leaving, isolating himself amd travelling to far away places on adventurous trips where he surely basks in the admiration of those he meets as well as those he leaves behind. I still do not understand how this fits and would be grateful for some clarification.

  8. Meredith says:

    HG Is it possible to be a long distance primary source to a cerebral mid ranger who lives alone? I was a long distance girlfriend he texted nonstop every day and he drove two hours each way every weekend to spend the entire weekend with me for a whole year. He also has a group of about 4 guy friends from college that also live in different towns that he texts all day long every day. Who is/was the primary source then? . So much long distance but there doesn’t seem to be a clear primary.

    1. HG Tudor says:

      If for example you married somebody and thus you are the IPPS and you had to go away for a few weeks but were able to keep in touch every day through technology, you remain the primary source.
      In your example he could not have texted you nonstop because
      1. How would he ever get anything else done; and
      2. How would he text the four friends also
      (unless he is an octopus I suppose).

      You were most likely the primary source if he extensively texted you and saw you every weekend (you could have been an Shelf IPSS).
      One of the friends would not be the primary source because he only appears to text them and not physically see them.

  9. Randi says:

    HG do you think of your ex wife and/or ex fiancees as more yours than your past girlfriends? Does the fact you were engaged and/or married to them hold any significance to you? I know for empaths we are sentimental but I am wondering if narcs care at all about stuff like titles and history.

    1. HG Tudor says:

      1. No, they are all equally mine.
      2. Only in terms of binding and use as a residual benefit.
      3. Titles are important with regard to the facade.

  10. Greg says:

    I’m pretty sure I was an IPSS but we started sleeping together pretty quickly. She did the back and forth and I gave her space which I guess is what led her to leaving me after only 2 months or so. She wanted to remain “friends” yet continue grocery shopping and cooking together like we had done while we were together, but I was not interested. Is that the end of it or will she risk rejection and try to come back at some point. I don’t give her any significant attention or try to engage with her.

    1. Tappan Zee says:

      risk rejection…

      ^ i do not think that is it. nor do they “risk rejection.” they will say they are rejecting you if it were to happen. welcome to narcia. where it is always your fault. or it did not happen.

  11. demoneater says:

    None of these described categories really seem to strictly fit what we had – it’s more like a combination of some of the elements from all of them, and at different times. What could that mean? Could I have shifted back and forth between categories? What if it was a lesser to low mid-ranger narc (I’m thinking definitely lesser, but not sure)? Also, you had mentioned a victim narc somewhere – what is that, please? Thank you.

    1. HG Tudor says:

      You can move between different roles in a fuel matrix.
      A Victim Narcissist is a cadre of narcissist, thus you may have a Lower Lesser (school) Victim (cadre) narcissist. See Sitting Target for more information.

  12. Carolyn says:

    We’ve met after his divorce, there was long intensive seduction (about 6 months) and I became his girlfriend. Daily contact, talking to each other every day for long hours, seeing each other every few days. After a month I had to move out to another city (but only temporary for a few months). He begged me not to do this, telling me it could ruin everything but I had to. Still long hours of every day talks, seeing each other every week, he wanted me to meet his friends and family (I couldnt and refused), he wanted me to go to his friends wedding with him (i refused) but still engaging in the relationship, helping me in my daily stuff, making future plans and so on. 1. Am I an IPPS or IPSS? 2. Can IPPS became IPSS?

    1. HG Tudor says:

      1. IPSS.
      2. Yes.

  13. Iris says:

    I know a very charming narc who has a whole harem of girls pining for him and he juggles them like balls in the air, but I wonder how a plain looking, not very charming narc finds an IPSS. With some of them it’s a miracle they even found an IPPS ;-).

    How do the pain ones do this HG?

    1. HG Tudor says:

      Read Sitting Target.

      1. Iris says:

        Thanks HG, maybe I will buy one of your books one day, but for now, this is what I came up with myself:

        – A plain looking, not very charming, but very smart (cerebral) narc will use his intellect to lure you in.
        – A plain looking, not very charming narc with puppy eyes will use sob stories to lure you in.
        – A plain looking, not very charming, but very funny narc will use humour to lure you in.

        So looks and charms are only some of the tools in a narcs toolbox. There are many more tools, all depending on the specific narc and his specific talents.

  14. bw says:

    Wow, so if i was the friend that communicated with the narc daily for a year… AND he also had this 6-8 week long distance thing.

    Might i have been Primary source?

    1. HG Tudor says:

      You may have been the NIPS.

  15. Olga says:

    HG! I am not completely sure what was I and if I was discarded or devalued. I was a girlfriend, met his parents and friends was often invited to spend time with his parents and family. Was all over his Insta and Facebook he loved to post photos me and him together or just photos of me. All his friends told i am the first women they met in ages since he was single for a long time. We stated to fight a lot in last few month as he blamed me for putting too much pressure on him to delivery everything he promised to me ( move from the house he shared with his friend, get married etc) and one day after another row over text messages he lashed out and told me he wants to be on his own fix his life as I broke him. Still insist the problem is not love as he loves me but the pressure I was putting on him. Then comes silent treatment am getting pissed off as he can’t give straight answer are we together or it’s breack up he replies he needs time and want to be alone but still not saying we over. I texted him that I decided for both of us as tied waiting for his dession and no longer want to be with him. He agreed and sad it’s for the best. 3 month now since we saw each other and month since last communication on a phone by texts. He still got my photos all over his Insta and Facebook and still paying my phone contact he bought me this phone and contract. So what was I and what all that mean? On my Facebook I am single and he still left on his that he in a relanship with me, in am not blocked but we broke up so what happened???

  16. bw says:

    HG – So the primary source is someone you see everyday? So if a Narc has a girlfriend who he sees every 6-8 weeks, his family knows of her… She is NOT the primary source?

    Does there have to be a primary source? Can a Narc exist with all secondary sources and Dirty little secrets?

    Can a friend (non sexual) be a primary source?

    so confusing sometimes

    1. HG Tudor says:

      If you are married for example and you are away from your spouse because of say, work commitments, for a month, the spouse remains the primary source.
      If someone is a girlfriend who is seen every 6-8 weeks, that is an IPSS.
      There is nearly always a primary source – if not intimate then non-intimate, upper echelon narcissists can operate without a primary source for a longer period of time.

      A friend could be a NIPS.

      1. Insatiable Learner says:

        How can someone seen every 6-8 weeks think they are really in a serious relationship unless the narc travels, lives far away, or is in the military. Otherwise, what kind of a girlfriend/ boyfriend relationship is this? I would immediately suspect being a side piece.

        1. HG Tudor says:


      2. bw says:

        Thank you HG

  17. Mandy says:

    My ex and I were engaged and long distance. Since we were engaged and his family and friends all knew about me I am guessing I was a primary source but I am wondering if I wasn’t primary since we only saw each other in person every weekend. Can a primary source be someone you don’t see everyday?

    1. HG Tudor says:


  18. KT says:

    Hi HG
    1.Can a shelf IPSS be promoted to non-shelf IPSS or IPPS?
    2. When you say one source is better than the other, which qualities or criteria makes her better?

  19. HEN says:

    HG I was referred to as his girlfriend for almost a month. Not devalued. Everything seemed fine 1 day and then I was discarded. Never heard from him for almost 4 months now. He has been spotted with his children’s mother recently by others. She was supposedly abusive and a nightmare. She recently had their 3rd child 2 months ago. I had no clue she was even pregnant. My Question is: Was I an IPSS that was discarded?

    1. HG Tudor says:

      You are an IPSS. You have not been discarded but you have been placed on the shelf.

  20. Tiffani says:

    lets try this again :/ .follow.

  21. Tiffani says:


  22. Tiffani says:

    What is the reaction of a mid-range narc when a shelf IPSS escapes? No Grand Initial hoover, and possibly future hoovers if enter the sphere of influencee, but initially how does this feel to the narc?

  23. Tiffani says:

    It’s an odd conflict – to have been an IPSS who wanted nothing more than to be IPPS (without realizing the situation of course.) And now realizing he would have destroyed me beyond recognition if I had been “promoted.” But still catch myself wondering like “Why didn’t he want me as his primary?” Like asking why a serial killer murdered her but not me. LOL. I should be grateful but it still feels like an insult.

    1. HG Tudor says:

      Indeed it will do.

  24. Twilight/Dawn says:

    So being challenging would keep one from becoming an IPPS, it seems some enjoy the challenge.

    1. Hurt says:

      I would like to hear the answer for this one too

  25. Spinout says:

    Hi HG. My narcissist experience was with a friend. He didn’t have a primary source (not after the “clingy” ex) but he seemed to be interested in more with me. We had one brief hookup, then told him I’d rather stay friends at that time as I had just come out of a relationship not long ago. After that he waited til I mentioned I was ready to date people again and then told me he had “just” met someone and thought he might be in a relationship with her soon. I remembered he had tried to make me jealous by mentioning a couple of casual flings before I guess to see if I’d bite and jump back into things with him. I think him telling me when he was almost in a relationship was him testing to see if I’d react to that. Guessing this, I didn’t react and instead calmly told him that this was becoming a pattern, and said for various reasons we’d be better off as friends (so that I could get out quietly). He got angry and flipped a whole lot of things around on me, blaming etc. I think this would be considered an escape? Or was it a discard? I’m hoping that’s the end of it. I’ve decided to learn more about narcissists because of this and am seeing his behaviour so much more clearly from reading your work – thanks HG.

    1. HG Tudor says:

      Hello Spinout, you wounded him by failing to comply with his demands so he devalued you with his ignited fury and engaged in blame-shifting etc. You have not said if he told you that he did not want to be friends with you etc and you also said that you would consider it better off if you remained as friends therefore on the information provided he did not dis-engage and you did not escape, unless more happened following his anger and flipping which you have not conveyed to me.

  26. Hannah says:

    How on earth are we supposed to figure out this maze? I am having an affair with my N (I am the married one), so I would assume that I am an IPSS. We talk every day. Some weeks we see each other often, others only a time or two. Sometimes it’s so wonderful, but other times, he can be horrible. Some days it’s wonderful for two hours, then he starts a fight right as I am leaving and I feel awful for the next few days. It’s a constant push/pull. Shouldn’t this manic behavior be left for his IPPS? He has a girlfriend who he sees more than he sees me. I know she is not in any sort of golden period, so it’s not like I’m just getting the devalue. She’s getting the push/pull just as bad, if not worse, especially because she has no idea about him. It’s so weird. I just wish I could function as only the IPSS and get the good and not the bad!

    1. HG Tudor says:

      Your observations and comments are understandable but what you are experiencing are Corrective Devaluations.

  27. Unicorn says:

    Hi HG,
    Thanks for this spot on analysis of such a common scenario. If the narcissist has selected a new IPPS (unbeknownst to the shelved IPSS), what fuel does he gain by ignoring a contact attempt by the IPSS and soon after publicly flaunting the new relationship with the IPPS? Would this be in any way calculated to get a reaction out of the IPSS or is it merely a function of his preoccupation with securing commitment with the IPPS?

    1. HG Tudor says:

      If he sees a hurt response from the IPSS he gains negative fuel. If he does not he gains Thought Fuel from the perception of their hurt, frustration, jealousy etc.

    2. Hurt says:


  28. Ms brown says:

    Hello, HG…. As an IPPS (spouse), how does one determine if in an extended respite or have been discarded/disentangled? In your opinion, how lengthy could a respite period be?

    1. HG Tudor says:

      Ms Brown, when I use the term Respite Period it is as part of the Devaluation Period. I suppose, on reflection, Respite Phase would be a better description. Thus devaluation occurs, formal relationship continues, respite is granted, formal relationship continues. There is no dis-entanglement when there is a Respite Phase. The relationship is ongoing. Those Respite Phases may be days they may be weeks. Then the devaluation occurs again.

      1. Ms brown says:

        thank you for clarifying, I think 🤔

  29. HG! 🕵
    Well done. Brilliant work. It is most clear and concise. I loved the parts about auditioning, being crowned and jockeying for position. You’ve clearly shown what the thought process is with the narcissist. There cannot possibly be anyone who is unable to understand what position they are in. Showing how a N would juggle different people is spot on. I watched others exude this behavior and participated in this behavior for years. Fortunately for me I got out of the game but, boy oh boy, was it fun while I was in it. Why? Because I loved the thrill of the chase and I loved winning. 💙
    *Standing Ovation* and a wolf whistle from me because your intelligence is hot as hell! 🔥

    1. HG Tudor says:

      Thank you I am pleased you enjoyed it.

  30. Hurt says:

    Also is the IPSS also regarded as belonging to the narcissist forever?

    1. HG Tudor says:


    2. Linda Smith says:

      My ex often told me, including the time I discarded him, that I was always one of his faves plus some disgusting comments meant to demean me no doubt. So he was pretty much outing himself when he said one of his (many) faves . . . there was so much I missed or should have caught . . . anyone know when I’m going to quit ruminating about it, quit kicking my deirriere and move on????

  31. Hurt says:

    Does IPSS get hoovered once discarded? Im dying to be hoovered

    1. HG Tudor says:

      No such thing as a discard. When there is dis-engagement, a hoover may well follow for the IPSS in accordance with the Hoover Trigger and the Hoover Execution Criteria.

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