The Fading Narcissist


Everybody who is part of our Fuel Matrix plays a part in maintaining our existence. Our construct, that which imprisons the creature and that which we want the world to see, must be maintained in order to preserve our existence. If not, we begin to fade away as the construct crumbles and collapses. The maintenance of this construct is entirely reliant on the provision of fuel and you play an integral part in that. How do the various types of appliance mesh together then in order to prevent us from fading away? 

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. They are also someone who satisfies the  The Prime Aims (which includes fuel) more than anyone else. 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 dis-engagement. 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. You belong to us, in our minds.

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 invariably 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, nearly always treated to an elongated  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 or 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 (this criticism might come through something said to the narcissist or something done, for example through exposing the narcissist’s behaviour to others)  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 out 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. He begins to fade as he enters a fuel crisis. 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.

Listen to ‘The Fading Narcissist’

20 thoughts on “The Fading Narcissist

  1. June says:

    I saw this before firsthand with my father after my mother left him and, at the same time, due to circumstances I really don’t want to get into right now, all his friends were turning their backs on him as well. I was depressed too, but he was virtually immobile on the basement couch. It was honestly terrifying. He was always the most energetic, engaging, (perhaps seemingly) happy person-I’d never seen him suffer a moment’s depression in my LIFE before this. I did wonder, for a slightly irrational moment, if my father was going to die. I nervously laughed it off a minute later-of course he wasn’t. There was nothing wrong with him…physically.

    I managed to perk him back up, and I’ve never seen anything like…that since. I did it…in the long run it cost me my integrity and destroyed my relationship with my mother beyond repair…but I did it.

    Would I do it again, knowing what I know now and knowing the consequences? …yeah. Yeah, I would.

    And looking at the other commentators here WISHING that the narcissist in their life would just sink into oblivion and die…that probably makes me a fool, to most of you. My mother would certainly agree. It is what it is, I guess. 🙂

    1. Jane Hall says:

      June you helped your dad? You felt you couldn’t allow him to stay in his depressive state? That is understandable. You are a decent human being. My narc would sink into depression sometimes – its hard to know if it is stress or anxiety or now as we understand – Narcissism,

  2. Tappan Zee says:

    1 & 3 would be fine.
    But 2? I pray for two.
    Flanked by either/neither.

  3. narc affair says:

    Its a codependancy the narc has for fuel and the victim has for the narcs facade. Both crave that something they think they need and remain in dysfunction.
    The narcissist wont disappear without fuel and the victim wont die without the narcissist. Its all in the mind and we lie to ourselves and fear itll happen but it wont. It means a different way of life and thats what scares people into staying in dysfunctional patterns.
    One day i hope to step off that edge and let the creature i fear transform me into a healthier person.

  4. Mallory says:

    RS that is what I would guess and you are a very lucky woman to have been the mistress in this case even though it may seem like the worst thing ever… could have been worse!

  5. numb says:

    If only I could have been a fly on the wall to watch this unfold. 10 months now and he has yet to ensnare a new primary source. (difficult with a gps ankle monitor) His adult children have been his only fuel that I am aware of.

    Could he die from this lack of sustenance? Wishful thinking I suppose.

  6. RS says:

    Hopefully then, I am the secondary source that criticized and was ejected, as he was married and she is the primary source, am I correct?

  7. K says:

    Last time I saw my narc, he looked like a bag of bones. Snicker, snicker! My new gravatar is a picture of me and my twin narc brother when we were 21. He hates my guts now and the feeling is mutual.

  8. Scout says:

    Your kind make an effort to secure us only to put us through absolute hell. Having read this, I hope with all my heart he does sink into depression and inactivity. It will give him a taste of the mess he put me in. (Though in reality his daughter will ensure that never happens).

  9. Star says:

    Hmmm very interesting article. I always wondered what would happen once they lose a primary source and too many people have been burned by their antics. Thank u HG

  10. gabbanzobean says:

    Generally speaking, if narcissists fuel level goes down, does he always slip into inactivity and depression? Or is it as a last resort? I am just trying to gauge the disappearing acts, hence the reason for my question.

    1. HG Tudor says:

      Not necessarily. A reduction in fuel first creates restlessness, irritation and the emptiness can be felt more keenly. Inactivity and depression, self-neglect, withdrawal etc come when the fuel level has dropped much lower.

      1. gabbanzobean says:

        Interesting. Especially of the mid range when you say he doesn’t know what he is. And self-care? Really interesting. This probably explains how he tends to yo-yo with his weight. I’ll see pictures of him skinny and fit, followed by pictures of him fat and out of shape. Long scraggly unkempt hair vs short neat hair. And so on. Looks like a totally different person. But it also makes sense now, all the times he would say “I’ve been so depressed lately and I can’t figure out why. I tend to withdraw when I become depressed”….makes sense!

        1. HG Tudor says:

          Indeed it does

          1. gabbanzobean says:

            You know what you are though and what you require. If a midrange doesn’t know what he is I’m sure that this sort of thing feels frustrating? Feeling a certain way and not knowing why. And then eventually they’ll feel better when they get some fuel? But continue on never knowing why they feel irritated restless or unsettled to begin with? Is there ever a time when a middle range would realize something isn’t right? Especially the intelligent cerebral narc. Do you know what I mean?

      2. narc affair says:

        This sounds exactly like no contact from a narcissist.

      3. Jane Hall says:

        And if the narc becomes inactive and loses his power – say through impotence, poor health, loss of status or job – will he then just behave himself? Will he allow himself to just flow with it?

        1. HG Tudor says:


  11. p says:

    monsterboy is fading. after the pregnancy threats and ‘symbolic’ artwork made for me, i got silence, then a minimal information-update, then more silence.

  12. Miss Teri says:

    Bye Bye…

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