Why Does The Narcissist Seem So Odd?
It is accurate to state that we operate in three essential states. There are varying degrees within those states, differing levels of intensity which are affected by factors such as the type of narcissist that we are, what we require from you, the level of empathic individual you are as well as several others. Nevertheless, there are three basic states. The first, as you would expect, is the golden setting. We are at our most wonderful, most brilliant and most loving when in this state. This always appears during our seduction of you and we will reinstate it from time to time and often when we hoover you in order to suck you back in and keep you hanging on to us. The second is the dark setting when we instigate our devaluation of you. This dark setting allows us to deploy our various machinations against you, a variety of different manipulations as the abuse begins and we make your life particularly unpleasant. This requires effort and energy on our part and whilst we will be rewarded with fuel, a certain degree of application is required to use these manipulations against you. When we unveil our dark setting it is upsetting and confusing but often you will find some reason to explain our behaviour. It is usually the wrong reason but you will find one nevertheless as you like to understand and have a reason to explain why someone is behaving in a certain way towards you – you decide we are stressed, tired, hungover, in need of affection or perhaps you are unduly harsh on yourselves so that you, in that usual empathic manner, blame yourself for the behaviour we have meted out against you. Perhaps you did not listen when you ought to have done, perhaps you should have realised that we wanted to go out tonight, or that we would not want chicken for a second time this week.
There is a third setting and this often proves more confusing than our unpleasant dark setting. This setting might be regarded as a neutral setting, somewhere between the golden and the dark, but it is not. This setting is on the road to the dark setting and is closer to that than the golden. This particular setting is the stranger setting.
There will be times when we do not wish to apply considerable energy to our continued devaluation of you, but the devaluation must continue. It may not be as harsh, since there is no shouting, no violence, no insults and such like. It is not the golden period because we show no affection, we do not do things for you and we do not exhibit any of the charm that once flowed so readily from us. During this stranger setting we are neither wonderful nor awful but we behave like someone who doesn’t really know you and you are certainly left feeling like you are dealing with somebody else.
If you telephone us we will not dole out a silent treatment and ignore your repeated calls. We will not answer in less than a ring and speak to you with affection and enthusiasm, instead we answer and engage in a monosyllabic conversation. It is like drawing teeth. We confirm that nothing is wrong and you may think there is but we have not responded angrily or harshly. We have not accused you of anything, we have not labelled you in some way but the conversation is flat. It is as if our personality, whether golden or dark has vanished and left almost an automaton in its place. We function, we talk about our day but with little detail and certainly no enthusiasm. We ask questions of you but they are polite and perfunctory as if we are just going through the motions. There is no nastiness, no backbiting or sneering. It is difficult to process because it is not nothing, that cannot be the case because we are talking to you, but it feels like nothing.
We may call around to see you but it feels like an inspector has called around. We sit, we decline a drink that you offer us and we answer your questions without offering you anything much in return. Where has the charmer gone? Where has the monster gone? Who is this stranger that looks like us, sounds like us but is not behaving like us? You cannot accuse us of being unpleasant but it feels unpleasant because you are dealing with someone you do not recognise. Any questions about what is wrong with us are politely answered and you are assured there is not a problem, but we seem lifeless. You flatter us, compliment us and whilst we accept them there is no spark of interest, there is no response.
Why are we like this? Why is this being done? Why do we seem like someone else? It is as if we have been abducted by aliens in the night and replaced with a robot which is neither wonderful nor savage but is frustratingly something else. This third setting occurs during the devaluation period. It is not a respite from devaluation as that is the golden setting once more. It is clearly not the dark setting as that is the rolling out of nastiness and abuse. This third setting is an indicator of the calm before the storm. Whilst there are occasions where we might switch from golden to dark setting in the blink of an eye, this third setting is used when we wish to conserve energy in readiness for unleashing a particular savage next stage in the devaluation as we will move to the dark setting and crank it up to eleven. You are not cruising along being driven by fair winds, nor are you being thrown up and down buffeted by a storm, instead you are becalmed or moved along by a weak breeze. This is the time we are girding our loins, gathering information and plotting. The switch of functions to the organisation and scheming of what is to come, along with the intense outpouring of energy required to sustain the vicious intensifying of this devaluation means we adopt this near automatic state. You may not ever see this happen dependent on the nature of the narcissist you have become entangled with, but when you do, you should be aware that a storm is brewing and not just any old storm but a supercell storm of savage and damaging proportions. This is a warning.
29 thoughts on “Why Does The Narcissist Seem So Odd?”
This was my Midrange Victim Narcissist’s most used form of devaluation. The contrast with the golden period made it torturous. Most of the malice that I experienced from her dark setting was passive aggressive: pictures on Facebook of herself with other men, not acknowledging gifts, not showing up when we had plans, etc.. This post was very helpful. Thank you!
Dear Mr Tudor,
This one has me worried, but scarey ! He gave me the silent treatment, then the hoover, then the robot. Over a text msg he told me I was not allowed to visit him but “gave me permission” to text him every second day, maximum of two texts. I then said ..” I do not want to be your friend anymore” , he did not reply! He then ghosted me once in April, (saw I was having a fabulous time with friends) …. nothing since! I’m pretty sure he’s a mid ranger, cerebral!
Are you able to give me your thoughts on this please?
Thanking you kindly
Likely to be a Mid Range narcissist with this behaviour, a consult would enable me to give you greater accuracy.
Uh oh. A storm might be brewing. He has been not quite giving a silent treatment, but kind of automatic like a robot. Just sharing the odd meme through PM or comments with very few words.
It has been like this since the week of that clash we had that I mentioned to you before.
Hoping it’s just because I’ve been mostly keeping to myself, and he’s distracted by a different source
My narc did this to me, and HG is spot on that it’s like a storm brewing. I could feel something awful and dark coming…and even though I didn’t know he was a narc at the time, I totally away like a little girl, lol. I have been NC ever since.
Mine did really dumb “hey” one-word replies to my text or emails… more and more. Then sometimes when I called, he would get this chillingly cold voice for a second, and I remember thinking, “This is so weird… he just emailed me such a kind, warm message, and now he’s acting like I AM A STRANGER.” Yes, that is exactly what I thought!
There is no doubt in my mind that he had big plans for hurting my sensitive little heart. I feel like I dodge a major bullet in getting the heck OUT.
AND although he had been doing intermittent silent treatments for quite awhile, it wasn’t until I “insulted him” (his words) one evening (over the phone) that he started getting all oddly detached like HG describes.
So… I’d pay close attention to HG’s storm warning –a word to the wise!:-)
P.S. Echo: my device is driving me batty… my other post to you was supposed to say I RAN away (from my narc) like a little girl. I want to emphasize that because it was a very “you are in danger” type of feeling. If you feel it, or this creepy kind of unnerving, trust your gut! Book it.
Thank you for sharing, it’s good to not be completely blindsided
This stage was such a headfuck. I could feel something bad brewing, it was all just so foreign to me, not being fawned over or screamed at. So I escaped.
But I remember finally just asking if he was medicated. “No I’m not, why?” Was the response. I explained because he’s not being a lunatic anymore and seems like a different person. No response to that.
I know that in some ways I,too, might be considered odd by some! But there has definitely been some in congruent behaviour from my ex.
I feel he knows this somehow and I could sense him checking me out for my reaction to the things he’d say or do.
Sometimes there’d be disinhibited, socially awkward behaviour eg jealous temper tantrums on the street, or he could be a bit clingy but I didn’t mind, or the opposite he’d be repelled by me all of a sudden.
Recently, after a year of him asking why I didn’t write, I emailed him.
He’d finished our relationship, behaved violently and abusively towards me, he’s not going to change, that’s his choice. I wish I could change the situation but I can’t and this is what I wrote in my email.
No reply, until he email that he remembers my ‘beautiful energy’ walking together in the park and he’s missing me.
That he doesn’t acknowledge the things I wrote seems odd to me (although unsurprising). Maybe he is in denial?
I emailed because I thought he would address what happened. But he didn’t and I was wrong, again.
Please go no contact and leave him alone. He wants no contact with you. If you bother him and want answers about your relationship that is considered living in the past and the choice to not move forward in your life. If you attempt to contact him that is hoovering and mimics stalking behavior.
“If you telephone us we will not dole out a silent treatment and ignore your repeated calls. We will not answer in less than a ring and speak to you with affection and enthusiasm, instead we answer and engage in a monosyllabic conversation. It is like drawing teeth. We confirm that nothing is wrong and you may think there is but we have not responded angrily or harshly. We have not accused you of anything, we have not labelled you in some way but the conversation is flat. It is as if our personality, whether golden or dark has vanished and left almost an automaton in its place. We function, we talk about our day but with little detail and certainly no enthusiasm. We ask questions of you but they are polite and perfunctory as if we are just going through the motions. There is no nastiness, no backbiting or sneering. It is difficult to process because it is not nothing, that cannot be the case because we are talking to you, but it feels like nothing.”
HOLY HELL WORD FOR WORD!!!! This is exactly how my mid-range would act on a phone call! And he would also say he “hates talking on the phone”. When I called him out and said “we used to talk on the phone for hours” he then said he was getting antisocial the older he got. LOL!!!!!!! HG is it possible to be stuck in this period without getting a nasty devaluation? I kind of feel like what you described above has been my purgatory.
It is a form of devaluation and you may find this is the extent of it and there is no escalation of unpleasant and vicious behaviour.
I guess that makes sense. He probably saves that horrible behavior for his wife.
Omg this is where my ex is stuck too. No real devalue, except he got angry a few times when i challenged him.
Mine “hated” talking on phone too. Except when he didn’t. Schizoid. I TRULY wonder how many mental diagnoses are wrong and simply a result of living or have lived with narcissism.
Narcissists can also have a secondary and tertiary diagnoses of mental health conditions, substance abuse, and other addictions. Just because they are narcissistic/sociopathic does not immune them from other disorders.
Yeah that’s why I was constantly talking to other guys while I was away or he was away or sleeping or when he was in the room not giving me attention……
No phone calls, no texts, no attention, no real affection, no help, no consideration equals you don’t turn me on and you’re not getting sex.
When he would call or I would call it would be like 5-30 min maxxxxxx. That is unacceptable and not enough to hold my interest – one of the many reasons why he was useless.
This is why I like narcissists……..I like odd……because when I am in their company it makes me feel more normal………and I love a good storm!!!!!…….Diva
Spot on, Diva! The pounding of the rain on the roof is both unnerving and deeply settling. A beautiful contrast that rides itself out until the clouds have cleared and all is at peace once more.
Hi NL02…….you so understand me……however, I wish I was as eloquent as you obviously are…….I could learn a lot from you! I will keep an eye out for your posts……..Diva
Yuck!!!!! Being attracted to a narcissist is insane, but i assume you are part of the narcissistic spectrum.
This sounds eerily like what I have been reading that I should do by employing the grey rock technique. So what gives, HG? Am I thereby as awful as the narcissist himself? Or is that the kind of thinking that only someone with years of gasligting behind her engages in? Is grey rocking a healthy way to create boundaries and preserve one’s sanity, or is it just a pathetic absorption and reflection of the narcissist’s own energy-preserving devaluation tactics? Either way it feels kind of gross to be playing the narcissist’s own game. Are there other alternatives if no contact isn’t yet in the stars?
This is spot on for my N. I always referred to it as “Mr. Bullshit.” He would talk but nobody was there. I could always tell when Mr. B was town from the lack of punctuation in his texts. A text that would have under other conditions warranted a period or an exclamation point would have no punctuation whatsoever… Devaluation would lack capitalization as well.
Is a mid range or victim narc more likely to use this. My narc was like this 90% of the time
Remember Mid Range is a school. Victim Narcissist is a cadre. They go together (but not in all cases). A Mid Range is highly likely to behave this way.
I’ve just come out of a 2 day silent treatment (corrective action) from my Narc (LMR) and he is acting indifferent with the occasional jab at me. This seems like the stranger period you describe. If I were to go no contact, would he likely attempt to initiate a malign or benign or no Hoover? I believe I’ve been the IPSS, candidate for IPPS twice now.
If it is a Corrective Devaluation you will most likely be an IPSS as you state. If you go no contact he will try a benign hoover.
HG is right.
To think he was unique.