Shutting Up


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.

16 thoughts on “Shutting Up

  1. Khaleesi says:

    This is precisely why I thought you were my ex-narc before I heard your voice. The detail in which you describe my interactions with him still amazes me (even though I understand why now). Reading your blog is like I’m reading my own personal conversations and experiences. At least I can laugh at the absurdity of it all now.

  2. Victoria says:

    Verbatim! It’s as if I were right there listening to the exact conversation-identical. I am still amazed how the MRN and above say almost the same things. I recall you stating that it is not a phenomenon that all of you say the same things but that it was part of the disorder. But it’s just uncanny how the same words, phrases can be said almost identically from 2 strangers. This is always at the end of the golden period right HG?
    Thanks to you it’s one more day I am in the No Contact Zone. 🙂

  3. Why exert so much effort with a victim? It seems tedious. Is it for the sense of power and control through the use of confusion?

    1. Sarah says:

      Akin to getting ahold of a piece of food when you’re starving. You need it, so you’ll do anything to get it. You’d spend a day convincing someone who already has bread that they should share it with you. If it then made you full once shared, you’d feel better. Time is of no essence.

      1. Pamela says:

        That is a great analogy, Sarah, thank you for explaining it that way. Makes more sense to me.

        1. Sarah says:

          It was from one of HG’s articles about basic instincts for survival, and how we would all act in the absense of food.

    2. K says:

      Pamela Dinmore

      In our world it is very tedious but not in theirs. In this situation they don’t have to exert much effort because words are fuel efficient for the narcissist. Confusion can cause frustration, anger or tears and it is all about power, control and fuel.

      1. Pamela says:

        Yes, K, thank you, the problem is I often see it from my perspective and that causes me to misunderstand or create flawed logic to the narcissists. Yes, words to them are an easy route to fuel.

  4. Jenna says:

    He was never that talkative to begin with. He is an introvert. But he did make more of an effort to be talkative and engaging in the beginning (golden period). So this phase wasn’t that much of a deval for me.

  5. Ms brown says:

    as Indy stated above, this is what I have been contemplating as well, the fine line between normal and NPD series of events, and ppl not using NPD for every excuse for issues with intimate and non intimate relationships. For now, I will stay safely in my protective bubble, self isolation…I have no desire to interact personally with humans except the ones I can count on one hand, that have earned my trust. I am ok with that because I can be… because I AM

  6. gabbanzobean says:

    Ditto the others in the echoing of “wow”.

    I’m starting to think there’s a Narc handbook that these people recite shit from.

    I lost track of the number of times he told me “I just get so depressed and I withdraw myself, but once I become conscious of it I can try to fix it. ” holy damn freaking hell. And here I was thinking that that was a legitimate excuse, not realizing what he was. Depressed and withdrawn my big fat ass!!! Any excuse to not talk to me. Any excuse at all.

    1. Judi says:

      I say the same thing. They know exactly what they are doing. Playing us like a violin.

  7. Sniglet says:

    Ha ha. The needy narc, pitching a temper tantrum, and their partner/friends accepting this repeated behavior – like a captive; like a chattel.

    Moody comportment from narcs is unacceptable in public and in my presence. I will quietly walk away. If I am the driver, I will drive off and leave that person, even while holidaying in another country I will continue my planned trip alone. The freedom is magnificent. Instant discard.

  8. Indy says:

    Ok so this one describes episodes I had with a couple of exes(yes both narcissists). Is this distinguished from normal ebbs and flows in relationships by some key element? Would it be length this phase lasts?

    I think one of the difficult things about a very skilled narcissist is that many of the tools mimic events that could plausibly occur in typical relationships. Thus there are certain key qualities that distinguish it from typical relationships that we need from you to tease it from normal, dopey men being sweet or irritable. Like you said to Jenna, it’s intensity, timing and rushing things. This is helpful for me. I find it helpful when you add those extra details that makes it different from normal. Those of us raised in typical fucked up families, (you know, the norm), it is sometimes hard to know what healthy is. Those details count. Otherwise, without those distinguishing details from normal, I’m going to be scared of every event in every relationship that resembles anything you have covered here or I will let a few flags slide out of frustration and a desire to have fun. Or I will stay in my tower as I have quite a pattern of drawing narcissists. Orrr I consult you when I start dating lol

  9. Narc affair says:

    Wow this is unnerving. I get this as a routine devaluement but moreso in covert triangulation. Ill eventually disengage and say things have changed you arent the same way with me. I always get the same love letter back stating nothings changed and i mean the same to him, even more. After these devalues its like hes happy again and is attentive. It like he needs to know i still care and worry about the relationship and him in particular. Its a validation he matters and also he has control. If i completely didnt react maybe hed discard eventually.
    Its terrible the rollercoaster ride and cyclic devaluement. Its like a broken record. The constant guessing game too wonderi g whats going thru their mind.

  10. lansealan says:

    The similarities never cease to amaze me. Unreal.

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