Bringing Down The Shutters
Once we commence our devaluation of one of our victims there is a vast array of manipulative techniques that can be used to fulfil our aim of extracting negative fuel from you. Some of these methods are subtle and may not be noticed by the subject, such as triangulation with an object. Others are brutal involving the smashing of property and the flailing fists and stomping boots. It is often the case that you do not realise that devaluation has commenced because you have yet to have any familiarity with this word or even with what it signifies. You will notice however a change in our behaviour. One of those changes is akin to us bringing down the shutters whenever we deal with you.
Once upon a time we exited our car and cantered across to where you stood waiting in the doorway as we wrapped our arms around you and embraced you passionately. Our face had lit up and our delight in seeing you appeared genuine enough. This happened each time we came to see you, as if we had not seen you for months on end, even though it was only the day before when we last held you. Now when we meet you there is no joyful skip towards you, the smile seems forced and there is no light in our eyes anymore. Whereas they once lit up a brilliant blue and sparkled, now they just seem lacklustre and dull, darker than usual. You try to lift our spirits in that indefatigable way of yours. You ask what is wrong and you are always met with an answer of “nothing”.
“Are you sure?” you ask, “you seem unhappy.”
“No there is nothing the matter.”
“You can tell me.”
We realise we must say something but we are pleased by your concern and the fuel that it provides.
“It’s okay. There is nothing wrong.”
“It does not seem like it. Please, tell me what is on your mind.”
Time to step it up a little and extract some further fuel.
“I said there’s nothing wrong,” I snap and pull my hand away from yours. Your face turns from concern to upset and the fuel flows.
This continues as once we used to talk for hours on the ‘phone about all manner of things and laughed and planned, now we still talk for a long time (or rather you seem to do more of the talking this time) as we draw the negative fuel from you. You try to find new topics to keep the conversation going but our responses are limited, our tone flat and then irritable as you try to remain chirpy and upbeat but the sadness and confusion is all too evident in your voice. It needs to be. We need that.
“I just don’t understand, “you protest pleasantly, “you seem so different these days.”
“Really? In what way?”
“It’s like, it is like I am dealing with someone else.”
“Well that’s nonsensical, it is me.”
“Yes I know that but you are not the same.”
“Of course I am the same, you are imagining things.”
“No I am not. You don’t seem to be into me as much as you once were.”
“I am, it is just, you know, I have a lot going on at present.”
“I understand that but it is more than that. It is like I am talking to a different person. You don’t seem to connect with me the way you used to.”
“I don’t understand what you mean.”
“How can I put it? It’s like you have made a conscious decision to distance yourself from me and you do not say the things you used to. You always used to sign off your texts with three kisses and now it is only one.”
“You are concerned about how many kisses I put on my texts?” I ask in disbelief.
“No, well yes, well it is not that. That is just a symptom of something else. It concerns me because I love you so much. It is like you have brought down the shutters and put up barriers when we are together. There is a distance between us that wasn’t once there.”
“I haven’t noticed it.” (Of course I have. I know precisely what you are talking about.)
You then spend many minutes trying to convey this sense of distance and alienation as I listen. I am not hearing the words that you say, nor do I pay attention to the explanation, I am too engaged focussing on the hurt in your voice, the frustration and the exasperation as I suck the fuel from your sentences. This technique is subtle. It is easy to implement and enables us to draw negative fuel from you without you realising what we are doing. It is often the beginning of the devaluation period when the simple cessation of the golden behaviour produces in itself a reaction which provides fuel. We do not need to shock you, we do not need to shout or yell, there is no need to lead you on a confusing and merry dance with our denials and deflections. The simple act of pulling up the drawbridge and no longer allowing you access to the wonderful part of us, illusion that it is, remains highly effective.
“I just feel like you bring the shutters down and I am dealing with somebody different. You are not the HG I know and love. You are someone else.”
Time to throw you a little lifeline to give you hope.
“I’m sorry, I think sometimes when I am under pressure I withdraw into myself. My friends have commented on it previously. It is just something that happens. I think that is what you are referring to. It doesn’t mean that I love you any less. Just last night I was staring at the chair where you usually sit wishing you were there opposite me talking to me.”
That should do it.
“There you see, that is the HG I know, back in an instant. I wish I had been sat in that chair too, I missed you so much last night.”
It really is so easy.
17 thoughts on “Bringing Down The Shutters”
Yep sounds all too familiar. Very obvious signs of withdrawing and shutting down yet when confronted denial was met with and it was all in my imagination. Then I got the I am not hiding, but need to spend time alone as I have so much going on speech. When I pushed for answers, the block and discard was put in place and have not heard from him since. Is a hoover inevitable here HG?
Depends on the nature of your relationship, how his fuel matrix is constituted, whether there is a Hoover Trigger and whether the Hoover Execution Criteria is met.
Treated like a spoiled brat bored with the new toy they wanted. Then again the one I had is a spoiled brat even though she is now in her forties. I digress. Once the shine gets dulled by their using and abusing, in the trash they all go. Being from a small town its hard not to know/see the result of the 20 plus year cycle. It recently trashed the latest victim. God bless the next victim. Hopefully they can see through it all. But then again some people fall for the quick Love Bomb. I treat it like it doesn’t exist whenever our paths cross.
sadly, I got the same treatment during the discard and yes, to keep the candle lit a little longer, did put on an act to show he was concerned about my broken ribs. The next day, he was seeing someone new. Until he disappeared w/o a word and not answering my calls. He was busy with triangulation; after the discard, he destroyed our co owned property making me feel shattered with disbelief.
cruelty, heartless bastard!
I would have left you alone, after “It’s okay. There is nothing wrong.”
It would really annoy me if someone would go on and on asking me what’s wrong and how and why. If you don’t wanna talk, you don’t wanna talk. I would never force anyone to continue to explain, because there might be sonething ‘wrong’ in the way you feel, but maybe you’re not capable to translate the feeling into words.
Are u kidding or what? We’re describing and replying to the narcisst ‘s conduct and detachment: one day you’re taking your narc for screening at the hospital and preparing lunch for his family; next day your narcissist partner gives U the silent treatment!
The least I expect is some explanation, yet I got as an answer: ‘I”m confused”!!!!!!!!!!!
Patrizia, I am sorry about your silent treatment, that sucks. Of course, it would be nice if he would explain to you why he is confused.
But I am not kidding here. I studied communication science -as a minor- and I know how important good communication is, but I would not go on asking, because either I could be wrong or the other person obviously doesn’t want to talk (after 3 times asking). I would keep an eye on this person to see if they soon behave ‘normal’ again. If not, and someone continues to act weird or nasty everytime again and again and still does not wanna talk, I would end the relationship. I will never again be in a relationship where there is no talking, no intimacy and no trust.
The reason I was in a marriage with a narc for so long, is because I did not know anything substancial about narcissism and (due to the gaslighting) I always thought it was me who might have a disorder (which my therapist denied). Also we have kids together and we would live seperate lives. My husband gets his fuel from his business associates, who he will try to impress with his knowledge and his (premarital) adventurous lifestyle. I was ‘a stepford wife’ only.
I don’t know your personal situation Patrizia, but if you are with a narcissist, end the relationship and be happy.
HG, I was curious: is one narcissist ever able to successfully gaslight another? Or does their narcissism rush to the defense?
Good question. Yes, but the “victim” is likely to realise after a while that they are being manipulated and therefore it would become ineffective far sooner than if it was being used against a non-narcissist victim.
Yes. 7 years of this and worse. Then back again. The sick yo-yo of hot cold tepid every possible way. An empth contorts around the foreign behavior seeking understanding , chipping away at her sanity. God such a strange surreal feeling to waste ones life energy love on a total fabrication of a person. I used to ask him what his ‘core’ was. Never an answer only cycles of abuse & setting me up to knock me down. Makes one numb. Broke my heart hundreds of times till it manifested physically. Such tragedy , pain , damage. THANK YOU HG for the perfectly stated ( as always) validation and warning.
HG, this is just what I was telling you! He hasn’t called me in two months, doesn’t interact with me on FB, the email sign offs have changed…so as a shelved IPSS I am undergoing devaluation? (which is rare for an IPSS) He has done things before that I have confronted him on and he scoffed and got mad so I figured he was done with me. Each time he has come back to me as though nothing happened. This time I haven’t brought anything up to him because I figure it will drive him over the edge and it really will be the end. You are telling me he WANTS me to confront him on these small things for the negative fuel?
It really isn’t worth it. Time to go NC like you told me to do.
See the IPSS Shelved or Disengaged article.
This is how and when my devaluation started I bought him an orange and white striped polo shirt.he said he hates polo shirts , showed him pictures of him wearing polo shirts, he said he hates the color orange, showed him pictures of him wearing an orange polo shirt. He said he hates stripes, I sent him screenshots of articles stating the proper way to behave when u get a gift u don’t like.I was in schock he had the nerve to critisize my gift.didn’t know he was a narc.but after that first critisizm the criticism starting coming fast and furious it went from me giving him a shirt he claimed even a homeless person wouldn’t wear to him telling me I dress like I’m homeless and on and on and on
Me: “How come you never talk to me anymore?”
Him: “I hate talking on the phone”
Me: “We used to talk on the phone for hours!”
Him: “I’m getting antisocial the older I get”
Me: “that’s the stupidest thing I’ve ever heard”
Gabrielle, that’s perfect! I had similar conversations with mine and thought “stop the merry-go-round, I wan’t to get off”….I swear every time I pointed out things he did but now didn’t do, it was like trying to giftwrap jello!
Yes! Gift wrapping jello!!! That really is a great way to put it.
It really boggles my mind how they can do all of these things so consistently and continually, and then out of nowhere flick a switch and insist that they hate it and never liked it. I struggle with this so much because mine is incredibly intelligent. So surely, I think, he must know he’s full of shit!!! Even if he would never admit to so. 🙄 Ugh mind boggling! 🤯
ugotit—funny not funny