The golden period has ended. That exciting, dizzying and wonderful time which can range from months to maybe even years in some rarer instances, has concluded and your course along the narcissistic path continues as we enter the Devaluation Period.
- Devaluation Period – The Stranger Zone
This is your first clue that things are not as they once seemed. This is when we are not out and out abusive towards you but instead there is a distance, a coldness and a detachment which leaves you puzzled, mildly concerned but not overly worried. You may ask if we are alright, if anything is the matter and you will be fobbed off with denials that there is anything to be concerned about. You may be told that we are tired, have too much on at work or are pre-occupied with something else.
In truth we are dealing with the fact that your fuel has lost its lustre and in this early part of the devaluation period we are exhibiting the calm before the storm. This is when the mask is beginning to slip. We can no longer find the energy to maintain the illusion of our wonderful self in respect of our dealings with you but we have not yet felt the compulsion of the need to commence the abuse proper. Instead, this is a period of transition as we move from the rapidly reducing potency of the positive fuel you have provided (it now having felt stale and dull to us) before we commence the devaluation proper. It is as if we have turned into a stranger as we demonstrate little or no interest in you, our behaviours seem muted and reduced because we are conserving our energy in readiness for unleashing the darkness of the devaluation against you. We are plotting, considering and scheming, as we ready ourselves for the next stage.
The Stranger Zone is most evident with the Mid-Range. The Lesser Narcissist rarely engages in any plotting and therefore he or she will just barrel into the darkness of the second part of the devaluation period more or less straight away. The Greater is able to formulate his plots with greater ease and speed and with increased energy levels he has less need for a lengthy Stranger Zone. Accordingly, this is something which the Mid-Range Narcissist will engage in the most.
The Stranger Zone is expanded on in the article Why Does He Seem So Odd and is mostly evidenced in the interaction between our kind and the primary source. Occasionally it may be used with a secondary source, usually a family member or a friend, but that is much rarer. It is not seen with tertiary sources.
2. The Devaluation Period – The Dark Zone
The second part of the devaluation period is the one that you will be most familiar with. This is when the silent treatments, the triangulation, the name-calling, the infidelity, the violence, the financial manipulation and the contents of The Devil’s Toolkit are used against you.
This is done to draw negative fuel from you which is harder to obtain from empathic individuals (compared to positive fuel) and therefore is of an increased potency. Furthermore, its complete contrast to the golden period means that it has added potency. The Dark Zone is where the abuse is meted out and its extent and severity depends mainly on the nature of the narcissist. The victim invariably evidences a considerable capacity for absorbing the impact of the Dark Zone as a consequence of their confusion, their empathic ability to endure and their desire to put matters right. Few walk away from the Dark Zone but instead remain mired in it, hoping to recover the golden period once again and too confused as to what is going on to understand that it is a protracted and deliberate offensive against them.
The Dark Zone can last for years. This is because of its interaction with the Respite Period (see below) and the victim’s inability to either escape, as a consequence of their lack of desire to do so or their lack of capability to do so.
The Dark Zone is the most vicious element of the interaction between our kind and our victims and is most often seen between us and the intimate partner primary source. The Dark Zone is infrequently applied against secondary sources for two reasons:-
a. The secondary sources (family, friends and colleagues) form part of the façade and therefore the importance of the façade means that these people enjoy lengthy golden periods in order to ensure the existence of the façade and the many benefits that it provides;
b. It is generally more efficient just to jettison the secondary source if we regard them as having failed us in some way by not providing fuel, challenging us or being disloyal. This is preferable than to keep an agitator who could generate cracks in the façade by their presence.
That is not to say that secondary sources will not experience the Dark Zone of the Devaluation Period, they do, but it is rarer than that experienced by the primary source. If they do, the Dark Zone tends to be shorter because either the narcissist will devalue in a short and sharp manner before removing the secondary source or the secondary source opts to escape, since they have not been as infected as a primary source.
The Tertiary source also experiences the Dark Zone and can often do so straight from being targeted in order to provide a blast of negative fuel for our kind and to act as a form of triangulation to gain positive fuel from a higher ranked source, such as onlooking secondary source inner circle friends or a primary source dinner companion. The Dark Zone for the tertiary source is very short because they feel little or no connection to us and therefore will break off rather than suffer the devaluation any further.
3. The Respite Period
Interwoven into the Dark Zone of the Devaluation Period are Respite Periods. These are periods when the abuse is halted and may even include the reinstatement of the golden period. Sometimes it is just the halting of the abuse so that the victim can recover some strength (in order to provide fuel) or to provide some other benefit to us but the difference with the abuse having been halted feels intense to the victim.
In other instances the golden period is reinstated which draws positive fuel once again from the victim and cons them into thinking everything is fine once again. The victim is given false hope and is led to believe that it is their efforts which have brought about this change. This is not the case at all. The decision is made by us and is based on the need for fuel and additional benefits.
A Respite Period could be a couple of days, a week or even months, dependent on the type of narcissist and the fuel being provided by the victim. It will reduce the risk of escape and often coincides with the narcissist shuttling between two main sources of fuel.
Where there is a Ping Pong Class of narcissist (see article The Four Classes), the primary source suffers the Dark Zone whilst the prospective replacement enjoys their seduction as they are installed as an intimate partner secondary source. If this secondary source does not embed causing a discard of the incumbent primary source, the secondary source may suffer a discard or their own Dark Zone whilst the primary source enjoys a Respite Period of the reinstated golden period. The roles will then swap again. Note that there is not at this juncture a shifting in the roles of primary and secondary source – that happens post discard. In this instance the Ping Pong Narcissist keeps the same person as a primary source but applies the Dark Zone and Respite Period and the same person as a secondary source and applies the Seducing Stage and then may discard or move to a Dark Zone, depending on fuel needs.
The Respite Period will be used repeatedly so that an intimate partner primary source will be subjected to an elongated period of Dark Zones and Respite Period which create a confusing and dizzying effect.
The Respite Period is rarely seen outside of the primary source dynamic.
4. The Preventative Period
This is usually the preserve of the interaction between our kind and the primary source intimate partner and this is when we perceive that there is a risk that the primary source will escape us and we have not embedded their replacement to a sufficient degree. IN such circumstances, there will be the deployment of a Preventative Hoover to stop the person leaving us. This may happen if we sense their departure is imminent, or if they tip us off that they are about to end the Formal Relationship and escape.
The Preventative Period involves the reinstatement of the golden period once the escape has been foiled. At the very outset of the Preventative period, one is likely to witness differing approaches dependent on the nature of the narcissist. The Lesser will use violence and intimidation to prevent departure and once secured will kiss and make up by applying the golden period. The Mid-Range will utilise, in the main, pity plays in order to prevent departure and should this work, then the golden period follows once again. The Greater will utilise considerable charm and seduction in order to bring about the halting of the departure and then the provision of the golden period once again.
The Preventative Period will not last long since the Dark Zone will soon follow as punishment for the victim’s attempt to defy us and escape. This will invariably occur when the embedding of the primary source’s replacement is at an advanced stage.
The next part of this series addresses the periods concerning escape and discard.