Black or White But Never Grey



We all like to attach labels to people. People do it instinctively in respect of someone who they have just met, someone they have read about, a person they have known for a long time or someone they have seen on television. It is rare for someone to say that they do not have a view or an opinion about someone. Examples might include: –

“He’s a dependable chap, always there when you need him.”

“He’s a funny looking fellow.”

“She is very catty.”

“She is stunning looking.”

“A complete attention seeker.”

“A genius musician.”

“Really annoys me, I don’t know what it is but he does.”

Those are just classifications based on looks and personality. One can classify somebody by race, religion, birthplace, occupation, gender and so much more. Labels are used all the time as people are placed into boxes and compartments. Our kind do the same, but we differ in a fundamental way. We have an instant classification of people which is very straight forward. We will place people into further categories after this initial categorisation often using labels you would not and then we may well attach additional labels similar to the ones you use. What is this initial categorisation? It is simple. A person is either good or bad. That person is either with us or against us. They either do what we want or they do not. There are no ifs and maybes about these classifications. There is no grey with us when it comes to deciding into which camp someone should be placed. You are either white or black. You cannot be light grey, mid-grey or dark grey. We do not do the middling; it is one or the other. Let me give you some examples of those around me at the current time.

Julia (my boss) – Good

My mother – Bad

Paul (a lieutenant of longstanding) – Good

Andrea (predecessor primary supply) – Bad

Rachael(sister) – Good

Eric (colleague) – Good

Tania (lieutenant) – Good

Lesley (It Girl) – Bad

Elizabeth (litigious former girlfriend) – Bad

Phillip (lieutenant) – Good

Colin (competitor at work) – Bad

Not one of them am I indifferent to. You should be aware that this categorisation is based on my view of them irrespective of their behaviour towards me. Lesley for instance responded to a hoover a little while back and still messages me with pleasant comments from time to time. I play along as I am a far from finished with her but she is a bad person because of what she has done and moreover I know she will be looking for an opportunity to unseat me and seek some form of revenge over me as a consequence of my repeated thwarting of her ambitions. I know her game.

These categorisations are fluid. In fact, they are extremely fluid with some people, usually our intimate partners who are our primary sources of fuel. You may begin as a good person when I wake-up but by breakfast you are a bad person. Sometimes you will be utterly unaware of why your status has altered and it may appear capricious and arbitrary but it is not; you will have done something or failed to do something which has shifted your classification. Most often it is linked to your failure to provide me with fuel and therefore you will be designated a bad person and subjected to treatment in accordance with such a status; devaluation and denigration. Conversely, one can also move from bad to good in the blink of an eye. You won’t necessarily realise why this is, but we do. It is entirely logical to us.

As I mentioned once we have classified you as good or bad, we will classify you further, usually linked to the fuel you provide and how under our control you are. After that we will use similar labels to you – an interesting, handsome person and so on. Thus, take Paul my longstanding side kick. He is naturally a good person but I also regard him as a very good source of fuel, a highly reliable source of fuel and completely under my control, loyal and dedicated. My mother is a bad person. Whilst she is a good source of fuel for her emotional outbursts and temper tantrums, she is only fairly reliable. I have little control over her, she is a traitor and scheming to dethrone me, she has no concept of loyalty and is actively plotting against me. Thus whilst she may provide fuel the other factors cause her to be placed in the bad classification. I do not consider her to be grey just because she provides fuel but cannot really be controlled.

Why do we regard people in this manner? Why is it that we cannot take a holistic view of them? For instance, one might suggest that with the ex-girlfriend Lesley that she at one point was loving, dedicated and did much for me. Yes, she became a broken appliance and let me down, she also caused affront to me for which she must be repeatedly punished. She continues to try to be pleasant to me. Do I not look at this myriad of attributes and factors (plus more besides) and place her on some kind of spectrum between good and bad? No I do not. Why? Because my need of fuel is such I cannot have wishy-washy, amorphous classifications of people. This person is good – I can rely on them to give me positive fuel and do as I say. This person is bad – I can get negative fuel from them but I must be careful as they are plotting against me and seeking to avoid my control. This then enables me to apply my manipulations appropriately. It is also necessary to enable me to maintain my superiority and my self-worth. I need to keep those two aspects alive at all times. If you do not do what I want, you are calling into question my superiority. You are suggesting that I am worthless. Thus you are a bad person and I am the person who is admirable and worthy, you are wicked and evil. If you do as I want, you are confirming my superiority by submitting to my will. I am full of self-worth because you are acknowledging this by acting in accordance with my wishes. Deviate from that and you become a bad person.

You should have learned by now that because we look at the world through a different lens to you, there are many things that you will do (which you will not be aware about) which cause us to oscillate from regarding you as good to bad and then back to good, often in the space of an hour or less. This is all based on how we perceive your compliance to be. During our seduction of you, you are only ever a good person because you represent that wonderful potent source of positive fuel which we desire. You represent the prospect of an undimmed source unlike the bad person we are devaluing and about to discard. You always respond positively to our overtures, our love-bombing and you give us what we want. Hence you remain a good person. Those who are in our coterie, our lieutenants and those who form our façade remain good people. Challenge us, defy us or even worse see through us and you are challenging our need for superiority and self-worth and you must automatically be designated as a bad person, irrespective of what may have come before, that would create a more complex view. You failed to do what we want; you are a bad person. You then change and do what we want, you become a good person. It is a simple and necessary classification that we utilise.

Accordingly, everything is either good or bad with our kind. Admittedly, though it usually turns ugly as well….

14 thoughts on “Black or White But Never Grey

  1. Nuit Étoilée says:

    I noticed this white then black perspective early (without knowing what was happening)

    For instance, my gut instinct told me my mid-range lion had lots of admirers – but whenever I deflected something flirty he said – by responding “you probably say the same thing to a hundred other women”.. He would sometimes fly into a rage & I would get an instant silent treatment (absent).

    Other times, I would wait for him to be upset but perhaps I had couched it in admiring terms that allowed the wound to be lessened, and our conversation would continue..

    Once, I was pouting about how rarely we saw one another and said “I don’t see the point of remaining in contact if we never see each other” – silence..
    I felt bad, so I said “sorry.. I shouldn’t have written that”.. he responded “that is definitely something I would never have written” – not understanding, I asked “why?”

    His response “because this hurts”

    To me, that was a key insight – I think most people would have just said – “oh, we’ve been busy but we’ll make plans soon”… whereas I had caused a major injury…

    Dearest HG, would you say this is the abandonment fear or simply – how dare you try to escape me?

    Have you ever considered revealing your need to your IPPS in the hopes of maintaining a longterm relationship?

    Thank you for explaining these relationship dynamics, I love reading you…

    1. Nuit Étoilée says:

      I found a partial answer to my previous query as to your revealing yourself –

      you’ve said previously that this would reduce your fuel provision as a victim knowing what you are might clarify your behaviour and remove her confusion and bewilderment..

      I also understood similar from my reading of Fuel..

      I’ve noticed you haven’t answered a couple of my questions – I know you are very busy, and I hope I am not seen to be taking advantage, and if my questions offended, I sincerely apologize – I know you are beholden to no one..

      Thank you for being such a lifeline to those of us lost at the emotional sea…

    2. HG Tudor says:

      It is wounding. You wrote it and there was no fuel accompanying it. You suggested the end of the Formal Relationship thus the removal of fuel and also you exerting control over him by making such a suggestion. It also suggests he is not doing what should be done, by not seeing you.


      I am pleased you enjoy reading my work, long should it continue.

      1. Nuit Étoilée says:

        Thank you, HG!! I really was wanting your analysis!!

        That’s the problem w text! Bc if we’d been face to face, there would have been fuel – I was pouting!

        I don’t understand the fuel thing as well as i thought then..

        In this case, I have no idea how i ever became a target then – you see all my questions, just trying to understand, and this example – I mean, I was trying to complain to get some attention and Im causing narc injury.. plus – FFS it’s what was happening – we didn’t see each other – how could there be a relationship.. ugghh so frustrating..

        Yes, I’d seen somewhere when you stated you don’t seek a long term relationship…

        Ooooh yes, as far as I’m concerned, as long as you write, I’ll read you..

        ..ton favori.. x

  2. Just Me says:

    Not So Sad,
    Thank you for responding, this is a very lonely process and a test of wills. Winning me back is not his endgame, keeping his money and his secrets is. Perhaps narcissists apply black and white to themselves as well. Perhaps my flowers were a little white touch up paint on his weathered facade as well as a hoover.

  3. Just Me says:

    I escaped. Over a year of punishment and I get a flowers today. WTF? Is this simply black and white or an uglier game he is playing? And damn my heart as I have not yet thrown them away.

    1. Not So Sad says:

      Hi Just Me.

      The flowers are a” Hoover “. Bin them ! ..

  4. Insatiable Learner says:

    HG, you frequently say that secondary sources are largely seen as white and enjoy elongated golden periods unless they wound, do not provide fuel, or challenge. Why then does the narc still display erratic, unpredictable, and inconsistent behaviors towards secondary sources? Thank you!

    1. HG Tudor says:

      Events in the fuel matrix, the relevant secondary source requiring Corrective Devaluation.

      1. Insatiable Learner says:

        Thank you, HG! So this means these behaviors do not have to be devaluing but may occur just due to the, as you stated, “events in the fuel matrix”?

        1. HG Tudor says:

          The behaviour may not be devaluation, but a response to events in the fuel matrix, but you view it incorrectly as devaluation.

      2. Insatiable Learner says:

        Many thanks, HG! Really appreciate this! Love gaining understanding. You are a fantastic teacher!

        1. HG Tudor says:

          You are welcome.

  5. Overthinker says:

    It’s not wishy washy to see the truth except for a few exceptions people are gray well even Hitler who was my exception is actually still grey but his bad outweighs his good but his good still exists just too drowned out by bad to matter u classify people to protect yourself but it’s u r illness it’s u r disability people are in fact part good part bad

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