The Three Letter Love Trap


It was your devotion and belief in a four letter word that led to you being targeted by us and thereafter ensnared. That was not your fault. We look for those who want love, who believe in love and dedicate themselves to the pursuit of the provision and receipt of love. Love is what caused you to appear on my radar. Love caused my antennae to twitch. Love made me lock my sights on you and commence the bombardment. Yes, love brought you to me but it is an even smaller word which prevents you from escaping. This tiny word packs plenty of bang behind its three letters. It is a word which punches above its weight. This word is one of qualification, hesitation and reservation. It causes hearts to sink and hearts to hammer in anxiety. It dashes hopes and puts in place obstacles and hurdles. This little word is one which prevents you from breaking free from our grip. It allows excuses to be made for our behaviour. It puts the brakes on, it weighs the anchor and digs in the heels. Just when you thought that you might be making some progress and getting away from our vile influence, this word appears and brings everything to a screeching halt. We often deploy this word in order to halt you when you are trying to speak. We add it to our conversations in order to protest or to create a condition precedent in order to irritate, upset and annoy you. It conveys indignation, annoyance and surprise. So much flows from such a small word. Whilst we have multiple uses for it, its primary purpose in keeping you where we want you, in our grip, confused and bewildered arises from your use of this word. You say it many times by reference to us and its effect is to cause you to question yourself. It nullifies the progress you may have made in moving away from our polluting influence. It hinders, distracts and ensures you remain bogged down. This word is repeatedly used by you, with reference to us and if you consider how many times you have used this word yourself, you will agree that its effect is considerable.

What is this word?


There it is. Look at that word. Three letters. That is all it comprises of. No grand, long word. No multiple syllables. To the point. Blunt. Effective. Small, unassuming and common. But it carries with it so much power and especially so in respect of the dynamic between your kind and our kind. This is the word which paralyses, hinders and traps. You use it all the time. We know you do. We rely on you doing so to make these traps for yourself. There are many of these traps.

“But he can be so lovely at other times.”

“But I am sure he didn’t mean it.”

“But sometimes I upset him.”

“But we have been so happy together.”

“But he said he wanted to marry me.”

“But it just doesn’t make sense.”

“But if I perhaps try a little harder then everything will work out okay won’t it?”

“But I didn’t do anything wrong.”

“But why does he do that?”

“But what causes him to say those things after everything I do for him.”

“But all I need is to understand what makes him do that.”

“But if I give him another chance, I am sure it will succeed this time.”

“But if I don’t try, how will I know?”

“But we are soulmates, that is what he said.”

“But what I don’t understand is why he does that when he tells me loves me?”

“But this is what I want. Him and me.”

“But there are times when we are happy.”

“But he is just misunderstood.”

“But we always do things as a family.”

“But he is my son.”

“But she is my mother.”

“But he is my husband.”

“But I don’t want to upset her.”

“But I don’t want to lose him.”

“But I cannot stand it without him.”

“But I don’t know what to do next.”

“But whatever I do, it is never good enough.”

“But if only he would listen to me and then we could sort it out.”

“But if he could change, then everything would be brilliant.”

“But what if she makes him happy instead.”

“But if I stop now, everything else that I have done will go to waste.”

“But doesn’t everybody have a rough patch?”

“But who will believe me?”

“But where would I go?”

“But what would I do for money?”

“But if you would just try for us.”

“But if I don’t give him another chance, I will always regret it.”

“But you don’t know him like I do.”

“But this is what is meant to be, her and me together forever.”

“But sometimes I am so happy because of him.”

“But if you would just let me speak.”

“But why do you do this to me?”

“But I love him.”

How many of those have you said to yourself or to a friend? How many times have you started a sentence with those three words? How often have you sat crying and in between sobs muttered phrases like those? How many times have you pleaded with us using that word as part of your desperate begging? Many, many times.

Whether it appears as part of an excuse, part of bewildered disbelief, the beginning of an explanation, it serves to do one thing. It stops you escaping us. This qualification to what you are saying acts as a buffer preventing you from moving forward and making progress. It causes you to offer excuses for our behaviour rather than you knowing what such behaviour signifies. It is used as a means of avoiding confronting the harsh reality of our treatment of you. It is a method of circumventing the unpleasantness of having to deal with what we are. It is a device for continuing to keep you in a position where you cannot and will not let go. Whether it is because you want to help us, whether to gain answers about what we do, whether it is because you think that the golden period can be recovered or one of a dozen or more explanations which involve the use of this word, the ultimate effect is that it keeps you connected, tied and bound to us in some way. This word is your prison guard that prevents you from escaping the cell that we have created for you. It is you who uses this word, not us. It is you that in effect curtails your own liberation by the repeated spraying around of this tiny word by reference to us and our behaviours.

It is highly effective at trapping you.

It is highly effective at stopping you moving forward.

It is highly effective at allowing our manipulations to continue.

But we know this don’t we?


12 thoughts on “The Three Letter Love Trap

  1. RJ says:

    Use the other but in an authoritive way. Yeah they can kiss my Butt before I go.

    1. Noname says:


  2. MyTrueSelf says:

    “…but maybe he has emotional issues, he told me he’s been in therapy”

    “….but maybe he’s bipolar/borderline personality and he’s really struggling and I can be there for him.. “

    A domestic violence councillor told me, “….but he’s abusive to you“

    I realised that nothing else mattered.
    He’s abusive, that’s enough. No more “if” or “but” to excuse his behaviour.

  3. Lou says:

    But I am ok really. He is not that bad. I do enjoy life and he does not affect me much.

    But first I need to find out what I want to do next.

    But first I need to finish ………..

    But I do not want to go through another separation drama.

    But he is going to cry and tell me he is going to die. And I won’t have the strength to leave him like that.

    But I’d hate that my narc relatives use this to hurt me once more.

    But I have always had a distorted idea of what a romantic relationship should be anyway.

    But all this can wait.

    You are right, I do use BUT a lot.

  4. Gabrielle says:

    Okay, I’m a huge Simpsons nerd so I’m just going to drop a Homer quote here…

    “If ifs and buts were candy and nuts…how’s the rest of that go?” 🤔😊

    Thank you, thank you I’m here all week!

  5. Dr. Harleen Quinzel PsyD. says:

    Buts and maybes getcha every single time.

  6. Nina says:

    Oh my!! How many times have I used “but” over the years. All of those to justify the behaviors of the narcissists around me.

  7. Noname says:

    How I like the word “but”! We have a Russian equivalent of “but” with the same meaning – “но” (“no”).

    “But” is a double-edged sword and it is always conditional. We always use it as an excuse and it is wise to learn the “right” excuses:

    “You are a good man, but we aren’t compatible”.

    “I love you, but it doesn’t mean I have to live with you no matter what”.

    “You are a father of my children, but it doesn’t mean we have to live together because of it”.

    Etc, etc, etc. The right approach to “but” is a crucial moment.

    My Grandpatrinarc once said to me “When someone talks to you, don’t trust to the first part of sentence before “but”, and always listen attentively to the second part, because the truth hides there”.

  8. 12345 says:

    I tried really hard to guess what the word was before scrolling down but failed. You got me again. Just when I start to feel like I’m getting my footing you shine a light in a part of the cave I haven’t seen.

    I’ve used “but” to justify staying so many times. Seems the word “but” can cover a multitude of sins in order for us to return to them just like a dog returning to its own vomit.

  9. Windstorm2 says:

    This is certainly very true, but…. Lol!!!
    I often think you narcissists don’t get trapped by “but” because you don’t worry about making mistakes. If you screw something up, you just think “Eh” and go on like nothing happened. You see yourselves as above any consequences.

    We, on the other hand, worry all the time about making mistakes and being wrong and consequently waffle back and forth in indecision. We don’t want to hurt ourselves or anyone else by making a wrong decision. The ones not stopped by “but” are the ones who don’t care about anything other than themselves. And they have the supreme confidence that they will always come out on top. No “buts!”

  10. Deneene says:

    but you know us so well….

    1. HG Tudor says:

      Indeed, I have to.

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