The Second Emotional Battle



The first battle that takes places post disengagement is the Emotional Battle. That is a battle that you are always destined to lose. You will always fight at least one Emotional Battle because you do not know any other way. In all likelihood, you will face several of these post disengagement battles because you will keep being hoovered back into our grasp until such time as you learn to recognise what you are dealing with and understand what you must do. Eventually and this may take several Emotional Battles before you realise this and are capable of achieving the appropriate response, you either evade the Emotional Battle by escaping as opposed to being disengaged, or you prepare yourself for the eventual disengagement in a manner which means you no longer have to ensure the Emotional Battle. Instead, you move on to the next post disengagement battle, that of Head versus Heart (“the HvH Battle”).

The HvH Battle (also known as the Logic v Emotion Battle) is a battleground where you stand some chance of victory. This battleground is one where you have gained understanding. It might be through your repeated exposure to our kind so that eventually something has “clicked” into place or more often than not it is as a consequence of an external agent who has explained matters to you. It might by a therapist, a friend, the content of a book, something you saw on YouTube or even something that I have written. Whatever has caused this understanding to increase, it is this which provides you with the fighting chance to win this HvH Battle.

You have been disengaged from and run the gamut of emotional fall-out thereafter. You may understand what we are. You may understand some of the things that we have done. You may be familiar with the fact that we will try to hoover you back into our grip. You may even be starting to comprehend that what has happened was all predicated on an illusion. The degree of understanding will vary but what is important for you is that you are allowing logical thought to be heard above the raw heat of your emotions. You once again will not just be battling against us but also yourself. We will be looking to hoover you in order to draw you back into our grip or perhaps we will be unleashing a malign hoover since we are unable to draw you back into our false reality and therefore we opt to keep extracting negative fuel by way of punishment for your treachery. You have us as an opponent, but you will also be fighting yourself as your emerging logic grapples with the still churning emotion. You have learned many things and you know you should apply what you have learned but still there is the emotional pull that you experience. You are not removed or detached from your emotions, they have not dimmed either, they are still there, raging away. The hurt, the love, the longing, the passion, the fear and the upset. An ocean of emotion which you once tried to cross but that was the First Emotional Battle and you had barely taken four strokes as you began to swim before you were engulfed by the emotion and sank to the bottom of this sea, drowned by your own emotion. Now you have built a vessel. It is made from cool, hard logic. Critical thinking, once a stranger to you during your savage devaluation, has re-appeared. You can analyse and assess. It is unlikely you are able to do so at the level you once enjoyed before we came along but it is there. Whether this vessel is a tiny raft, a dinghy, a boat or a hulking great liner depends very much on the extent of your understanding. The choppy emotional seas will smash against your vessel of logic. A wave of sorrow will buffet you, a tsunami of longing will threaten to swamp you once again. Wave after wave of emotion will try and capsize your vessel as you try to navigate this emotional ocean. Chances are your life raft will be smashed to match wood and you will be tipped into the sea to drown once again as emotion subsumes you and you find yourself back in our hold. Your clipper may be holed beneath the waterline and you start to take on board more and more emotion as steadily you sink beneath the emotional waves once again. It is during this HvH Battle as you try to cross the emotional ocean, because what you must do is reach the dry land beyond and in effect put an ocean but you and us, you will be subjected to the push and pull of your emotions trying to guide you, to control your decision-making, your head will tell you one thing as your heart screams something else at you. This is probably the harder battle for you to fight. In the Emotional Battle, you do not stand a chance and your defeat is swift and total. During the HvH Battle you will make gains, suffer losses, seem to making a breakthrough and then out of nowhere a tidal wave will flip you from your boat and into the churning ocean and you drown once again. All the while we will be whipping up the waves, firing our torpedoes at you as we endeavour to cause you to sink into this emotional ocean yet again and you fail to cross it and win this battle. How might this HvH Battle manifest in the real world?

  1. You will know you ought not to contact us but you need to send a message to see if we respond.
  2. You will keep checking our social media profiles to ascertain if you are mentioned, if we are with somebody else and/or to find out what we are doing.
  3. You will ask about us to our coterie and lieutenants, often unwittingly doing so, so this is fed back to us.
  4. You will go on dates but find you are always comparing this new person to us and they are always found to be wanting.
  5. You know what the outcome will be but you just want one more night with us.
  6. You realise that we are unlikely to change but if you do not try you will ever know, so it is worth one more attempt to talk isn’t it?
  7. You understand much of what we did and said was a lie, but surely it could not all have been an illusion? There must have been times where we really did love you and you need to ask us about this.
  8. You know we are bad for you, but you cannot help what you feel. Surely it would be better to stop this pain from being there all the time and just have it occasionally?
  9. You know you should not reply to our messages but it feels so good to have a conversation with us again. It has been too long.
  10. You know we are using you, but it feels so damn good.
  11. One kiss cannot hurt can it?
  12. You know better now, so going back will be different because you know what to expect. Armed with this new knowledge you can enter the lion’s den again but be better prepared.
  13. You know we are bad for you but you cannot bear the thought of someone else being with us and perhaps being the one to work.
  14. What if this time the apology is sincere and the desire to change is real? If you walked away from that, you would only be denying yourself happiness wouldn’t you?
  15. You understand engaging with us is dangerous but there are things you really need to tell us.

These and others besides are all examples of the inherent tension that arises in this tug-of-war between your cool intellect and your burning emotions.

Can you win this battle that rages post discard? Unlike the First Emotional Battle which you can never win, you can be victorious. You may have to fight this HvH Battle many times before securing the win. In the beginning you may be clinging to little more than a log as you desperately try to sail the emotional ocean and you are swept from it. However, by reading and understanding, by disciplining yourself to apply logic, to prevent your emotions from engulfing you, by reading more and increasing your knowledge you will begin to increase your logic vessel. From log to raft to dinghy. Still you may be swamped and drowned again. But then it becomes a small boat, a yacht, a clipper, a steamer, a passenger liner, a frigate, a destroyer and a super tanker. Each time you rebuild, better, bigger and stronger as you learn more, making the vessel more seaworthy. You begin to chart routes so you avoid the most tumultuous emotional areas, finally beginning to steer through calmer waters until there it is, on the horizon, the sight of land and the final battle that occurs with our kind post disengagement.

The HvH Battle is not an easy battle. You will fight it several times, but each time you should be better prepared to cross the emotional ocean and improve your prospects of success. Sometimes you are taken unawares by some of our provocative tactics and dumped unceremoniously into the water once again, but it is a battle you can win through the dedicated application of knowledge and understanding.

47 thoughts on “The Second Emotional Battle

  1. Sandra says:

    Today I think I experienced a Spectral Hoover Attempt.

    I left the property ASAP (inaccessible) so have 3 failed hoovers under my belt in 9 weeks. High bar for the win.

    An newish alternate IPSS was present so obviously not an entire waste of his time.

    It burned.

    I got thru it by telling myself “I need her to keep him busy. I need her to keep him busy”

    I don’t wish to flatter myself that he was there only to hoover me. I only know I flipped out emotionally from the Head V Heart battle.

    I’m knackered but I think I’m ahead.

    1. Fiona says:

      You are definitely ahead, well done! I’m here getting anxiety nonstop about him chatting and sleeping with the other girl and jealous that she’s experiencing the golden period when I’m going through one of the multiple discards 🙁

      Why can’t I get over him??? 🙁

      1. sandra says:

        Hi Fiona. Thank you for your kind words in my bad time.

        I wholly understand your misery.

        You asked “Why can’t I get over him???”

        Because of his effective seduction of you and his Everpresence in your life. Because you don’t give up on love or cut bait and run in the face of adversity.

        You were set up for this so he can behave as he likes and be ensured of an outcome he can live with no matter what transpires.

        You’re experiencing the agony of rejection and confusion that is normal in any relationship but if you are dealing with a narcissist, the agony is exponential. He will never give you closure.

        My own situation has me devastated even though I escaped. I have read that psychological healing can take up to a year.

        You are fighting the 1st Emotional Battle (it’s here in this blog if you search it). Loss is expected.

        I assure you, you aren’t crazy. *hugs*

  2. Jenna says:

    The last time u posted this, i was checking many more than i check off today. Thank u.

  3. Lisa says:

    Just when you think its safe to get back into the water……nope. Its not.
    At least my Tanker is ‘in the mail…’

  4. Sandra says:

    Bona fide narcissists are experts at making victims feel crazy. It’s a hallmark of the disorder and frankly another red flag.

    I got my concrete evidence. Even that was dismissed. How’s that for crazy-making?

  5. Fiona says:

    5 and 13 🙁

    HG, help please! I have been suspecting he is having an affair with a co-worker and have brought up multiple times. He denies it over and over again and I have lots of circumstantial evidence but nothing concrete. When I bring this up, I always feel he is trying to find out what I have. He said I am obsessed and he has never done anything with this girl and has threatened to stop talking to me for good if I don’t “cut the crap”. What kind of test could I try to get more clues from him (e.g. what would make him slip up and let smth out by accident)? Thanks thanks thanks!

    1. HG Tudor says:

      Hello Fiona, I understand your need for concrete evidence since you are no doubt a turthseeker.

      1. He is not going to admit it, assuming he is a narcissist. See ‘The Narcissist’s Twin Lines of Defence”.
      2. Thus either
      a. Find the evidence elsewhere and then end the relationship and go no contact;
      b. Rely on your circumstantial evidence and the fact he is a narcissist, end the relationship and go no contact; or
      c. Do as he tells you and cut the crap and get on with the relationship and in due course you will realise more (assuming he is a narcissist) and decide to leave then.

      If you have serious concerns now, don’t waste your energy trying to get someone to ‘fess up. He will not do so and your attempts to get him to do so are just fuel.

      1. Sandra says:

        Agree. In the end you must decide if your own boundaries have been crossed, if the behaviors exhibited are “deal breakers” and find seize control on your own.

        Only you can properly assess your gut instincts in accordance with your treatment and observations.

        You feel like shit now…concrete proof might validate your suspicions but you will still feel like shit after, too.

        1. Fiona says:

          But then I will know that I’m not crazy….I need to know, I’m losing sleep over this bullshit 🙁

      2. Fiona says:

        Thank you so much HG! I’m at my wits end with this one and can’t seem to catch him. I was monitoring their use of whatsapp and they’d be online at the same time a lot, e.g. he’d msg me at 1:56am, then another msg at 2am. When I checked hers, she had been online at 1:59am. Same happened at other times. Coincidence? I think not. Then I brought it up (stupid, gave my game away) and now they are never online. I think they chat somewhere else/ other numbers.

        I also think from time to time that he’s not a narcissist and I might be overreaching but the games, the need to win, always blaming me, silent treatments, idolization and devaluation etc all point to the conclusion he is. I also hate him and want to go no contact but then get sucked back in every time 🙁

        How can I REALLY piss him off HG? Help pls??? I need revenge and to see him suffer as much as I do! Thanks xxx

  6. Khaleesi says:

    I fought this battle for years until logic finally won. I know that I’ve said this many times but I really can’t thank you enough, HG. It was my consults with you that gave me the confirmation that I needed to break free from the fake relationship with the Nex. I believed he was the love of my life for so long and put up with so much in order to save what I thought we had. Reading this post now reminds me of the person I became when I was with him. I hardly recognize that person now and I’m so grateful for that.

  7. Lisa says:

    It’s been about 2 months of no contact except I am cheating. He disappeared off Social media entirely and I keep checking for him as well as checking the trash folder in my mail. I still check his His EX’s Instagram, and I see she is following a Narc abuse account. I measure the days by when she “liked” a Narc Victim post and start spending too much time on trying to figure out if they had a bad day and got back together since… ( maybe they are together again??) or if she wised up and moved on. Poor thing was 30 years younger than him and he triangulated us like crazy. I hate her and feel sorry for her. He finally stopped hoovering me and the disappearance and silence is unnerving even though its what I logically want. i miss the rush I would get when I saw an email from him, and the confidence in knowing he’s nuts after reading it. i deleted every photo- even the ones of them together that he sent me time and time again. I deleted every email that I ever sent or received from him — and the ones that i sent to her when i was insanely losing it–but I still get flashbacks. I still have so many questions. I still have so much anger. Even though I must admit that all of the reading is curing something inside of me. I “see” what he did. I am keeping the jewelry, except for the amazing body chain that I sent back to him 9 months ago, after I took a hammer to it and mailed its crushed soul back to him. Of course, he replaced it with one for her and ensured that she posted a photo of herself wearing it.— knowing that i would be stalking and looking. Even THEN, I later took him back, though each subsequent reunion was briefer and less fulfilling each time. No matter what I did, or how much I tried to punish him, he would come back at me 1000 times harder and win at being more hurtful every time. I don’t want to be hurtful. I can barely remember who I was before I met him. I am getting through this slowly, one day at a time and am in a much better place than I was which i am so grateful for. I wouldn’t dare make a sweeping proclamation but I am very secure in knowing that I want nothing to do with him. One day he will reach out and I will have to ignore it, as I have done all summer, rather than tell him what a fucking piece of shit he is, knowing that will get me nowhere, except to be called a trashy whore or be met with a condescending tone feigning compassion. Both alternatives are not attractive and those are the only two options.

  8. Maria says:

    This explains my state of mind right now..
    I’m quite sure he’s not a narcissist, but he is a manipulative ass with traits.
    I cut him of about 1 month ago and before that he withdraw because he “can’t handle attachment”
    He’s married and we “dated” for a year and a half.- wrong, I know…
    For about 4 months he withdraw and Got in touch every other week or so, .until I finally cut him off.
    I need to remain strong, because I know I am.
    It’s these fucking illusions that just won’t leave my mind… never putting myself in his power again.ever.

  9. jojometoo says:

    No 1-15 is no. I have not will not ever! My vessel is unsinkable now thanks to you HG and I’ll continue to learn thru your guiadance thank you thank you thank you…

    1. HG Tudor says:

      You are welcome.

  10. MyTrueSelf says:

    Oh yes! This is the biggest, toughest battle because it is not with you, it is with ourselves.
    You know how I am – tenacious, understanding, forgiving etc. I fight against the very core of who I am in an attempt to rid myself of you.
    I have to keep reading, listening to your interview, looking at the pics of the smashed furniture (he sends pics of us lovingly together) and pulling myself out of my emotions and into the logic that-
    You are an abuser.
    But maybe I’m wrong, you’re not, it’s me and things can be better between us.
    No. You’re an abuser….
    Maybe, I’m wrong….

    1. Fiona says:

      I go through the same. Maybe it is all coincidences and he’s nice and I am paranoid. Nope, definitely a cheating liar. No, maybe nothing is going on, he tells me how much I’ve hurt him with my comments and accusations, maybe it is my overactive imagination. Nope, disgusting cheating liar and I never want to speak to him again….and it goes on and on. I am going crazy with this cognitive dissonance.

  11. thepianist20 says:

    Dear Narcissist,

    You are such a cheater!!!

  12. twinkletoes2017 says:

    If I didn’t know better, I would say that you had read my blogs and then written an article just for me. God this applies to me and my fight to disengage from my narc mother so well. I recently lost the head vs heart battle and am now trying to pull myself back up from the pain it has caused me – AGAIN. Thank you for writing this, I have re-blogged.

  13. Sandra says:

    I’m barely winning this battle after eight weeks of N/C despite having followed all the directives here. Some days, the addiction and The Mixture pull at me so hard, even that is debatable.

    I do not want to return, no matter the promise of sweet relief.

    I have got to stop picking at this wound and let it heal.

  14. Lisa says:

    This is so perfectly described by you. I’m not on the super tanker yet but the knowledge and clarity is empowering and works!!! It’s hard to undo 6 years of what I’ve been through but I’m so aware now, thanks to you. Xo

  15. RS says:

    it is a battle you can win through the dedicated application of knowledge and understanding.

    There is hope after all! Thank you for this, HG!

    With all this talk about boats and water, I want to go on a cruise. . . anyone want to go with me?! 😉

    1. Dr. Harleen Quinzel PsyD. says:

      I’m down 😜

      1. RS says:

        YEAH! I’ll bring my daughter, Amy, along too! 😉

      2. RS says:

        Some people don’t deserve to be remembered.

        My ex boyfriend’s face become less clear as time goes on…

        That is how I feel also. Now, if I think really hard, the facial features that I remember about him the most are the ones that were the least attractive to me.

  16. Nicole says:

    HG – in the article you said “We will be looking to hoover you in order to draw you back into our grip or perhaps we will be unleashing a malign hoover since we are unable to draw you back into our false reality and therefore we opt to keep extracting negative fuel by way of punishment for your treachery.” My ex is a mid ranger, I am no contact, I have already not responded to a hoover attempt, moved to a new house, and he has a new appliance. Is he likely to unleash a malign hoover or just move on? I am thinking he might just move on (hopefully) but now since reading this article I am wondering if he might try a malignant hoover once he starts to devalue his new appliance. Do you think a mid ranger ever gives up on an old appliance?

    1. HG Tudor says:

      No. The interaction will be governed by the Hoover Trigger and the Hoover Execution Criteria.

  17. Dr. Harleen Quinzel PsyD. says:

    Cut and run.

    That’s what I do…

    When I break… I break…and I don’t look back.

    No…checking anything…I delete them from my life and I pretend they have died.

    What you don’t know can’t hurt you.

    1. Dr. Harleen Quinzel PsyD. says:

      This means delete every trace of them.

      Anything they have ever given me goes in the trash or is burned.

      I always Unfriend on social media and every single person who could be a connection between an ex and myself. This wasn’t a difficult task for me because I made sure he didn’t meet many of my friends and I kept my other life separate. I let him keep the two mutual friends we had because he turned them against me and quite honestly he is such an idiot anyone who would believe what he says over me should be trashed and cut.

      Change all passwords.

      Block all numbers or change numbers- I wasn’t concerned about this so I didn’t have to but I am always prepared to do so lol.

      I never check what the person is doing – again what you don’t know can’t hurt you.

      I notify all important people about the break up and inform them of the situation. I also instruct them how to handle certain situations if they happen to pop up…

      This is death and a rebirth.

      The first step is always their funeral and I get ready to bury or burn the dead.

      1. RS says:

        Anything they have ever given me goes in the trash or is burned.

        That is exactly what I did! It is freeing. I have a little “happy dance” going on here now. 😉

      2. Well, I guess you’re my hero.

        I finally got rid of everything, all the pretty dresses and shoes. I had been staring at them for weeks. I couldn’t wear them. They looked toxic in my closet.

        Finally, finally I toughened up and packed them away to take to the local charity shop. Guess who pulled up behind me as I handed the items over to the shopgirl? Yes, him.

        My PTSD exploded, I shook and cried in the middle of the road. It was awful. I clung to him begging for him to leave me alone. So strange.

        I think my emotional state may have put him off me a little while, maybe forever? (I know that’s doesn’t happen HG <3) But maybe long enough to get better for good.

        My Narcissist does not like malfunctioning appliances.

        I erased all of his voicemails. This was practically a bloodletting. I certainly do cry a lot.

        I haven't deleted the pictures yet, and I probably never will, but I can put them all on a folder in one of my drives. That I'm capable of doing. And I'm pretty sure I won't look at them.

        I don't have social media and I'll blame this on him. He made the whole experience unpleasant. I don't often look at his, I'm pretty good about that. Miracles everywhere.

        We don't have any friends in common.

        Numbers blocked. Erased and reinstalled all software.

        I don't want to know what he's doing because this information will make me cry. Did I mention I cry all the time? I'm terrified of him, but at the same time, I love him (I'm sure most of you are familiar with this particular form of cognitive dissonance).

        I do know I'll never be with him again. There's peace in that.

        Thanks everybody for all of your comments. The commiseration has been almost as helpful as HG.

        Peace onto all of us.

    2. RS says:

      Dr. HQ – that is exactly what I did this last time. I deleted every physical bit of evidence of him from my life! I can’t wait until next month as it will be one year of no contact!! Woohoo!!

      1. Dr. Harleen Quinzel PsyD. says:

        Some people don’t deserve to be remembered.

        My ex boyfriend’s face become less clear as time goes on…

      2. Dr. Harleen Quinzel PsyD. says:

        So happy for you 😎

  18. Patricia J says:

    This is me at this moment..I am 12 weeks out ”
    No Contact” with a GN. I can still hear his stinging words in my ears after a Super Nova with him. He has another fuel source in place, an made no contact with me. I am questioning every critical thought I have had.

  19. K says:

    Since I am enrolled in HG’s Accelerated Course of Healing from Narc Abuse Program, I will go for the Super Tanker Model, however, I love the idea of a Destroyer; it sounds so aggressive! The HvH battle is very difficult and the emotional ocean is a challenge to navigate but logic is the only thing that has truly worked for me. Being an empath is a pain-in-the-ass sometimes.

    1. Paula Sarno says:

      I agree , we think with the heart and the emotions , always remembering the good moments . It’ s impossible for us to belive that love can’t be part of any other person alive

      1. RS says:

        That is the hardest part to wrap my mind around also, Paula.

    2. Amen to that!

    3. Twilight says:


      I agree being an empath is a pain at times yet beautiful to….

      1. K says:

        It most certainly is beautiful. (awe)

  20. Paula Sarno says:

    Thank you . It’ s so wonderfully explained.
    I got all the way down the road , it was the worst journey of my life , I won , me head now know . You were my last step and the best one . I needed one of your kind to really let any minimun of illusion out of my soul . I had to relationships in a row ( 4 and
    2 years and a half) the last one was devastating . I don’ t date and I still angry , but free at last . He live in another country , he blocked me , I blocked him in everything.At the end, is best , he was my first love ( when I was just a 14 years old child ) I hope he never come back ( he look for me 36 years after his first descard ) Iknow is till one of us die ( thank’ s to you)
    I would like , next time , a boring empatic love

  21. PhoenixRising says:

    Oh HG, this is so spot on!! You have completely nailed the heart vs head battle I am fighting right now. It is a constant tug of war, but so far I have fought the urge to contact him.

  22. gabbanzobean says:

    Currently mired in #12. Sigh.

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