Why Does The Narcissist Blow Hot and Cold – Part Two


The hot and cold behaviour of an individual towards someone else is perplexing. Why is that person warm and friendly one moment and then cold and distant on another occasion when there has been no (at least to the recipient) change in circumstance? Why does this person engage with the recipient and then give a curt hello and move away? Why might they be in touch and then appear to lose interest? Such unexplained and distinct shifts in behaviour are invariably a manifestation of our behaviour. Many times people cannot work out why a romantic partner, a potential lover, a friend or family member behaves like this and it is because they have not worked outfirstly that this person is one of our kind and secondly they do not understand how our kind operate so as to make sense of this seemingly illogical and puzzling behaviour. As usual, it is built on the differing outlooks of the Victim Perspective and the Narcissistic Perspective (see Toxic Logic )

I explained previously why this hot and cold behaviour manifests between the narcissist and the Intimate Partner Primary Source (“the IPPS”) in Why Does He Blow Hot and Cold? This article looks at this manifestation of the dynamic in the relationship between narcissist and Intimate Partner Secondary Source (“IPSS”), Dirty Secret IPSS (“DSIPSS”) and the Non-Intimate Secondary Source (“NISS”).

The Intimate Partner Secondary Source

This is someone that the narcissist engages with romantically. It might be a friend with benefits arrangement, it might be an affair which is leading nowhere, it might be the commencement of a romantic relationship which is heading towards this person being crowned as IPPS. The IPSS comes in many guises as many people do not realise that they are actually an IPSS. Indeed, most commentators of the narcissistic dynamic only focus on the romantic relationship between our kind and the IPPS, failing to identify, recognise and understand that the romantic dynamic covers IPSS, DSIPSS and IPTS also, each with significant alterations in the usual narcissistic cycle that applies to the narcissist and the IPPS. For more about establishing where you might fit in do see What am I to Him? or consult with me. It is often quite difficult for people to establish where they fit into the relationship with us and often they are surprised to learnt they are an IPSS but it then all makes better sense to them in terms of their understanding.

What then of how blowing hot and cold applies to the IPSS?

During Seduction

The IPSS enjoys a golden period from the moment of being targeted and this will continue. The seduction might be to cause the IPSS to become an IPPS (Candidate IPSS) or to remain as an IPSS throughout (Shelf IPSS).

The Candidate IPSS during seduction will only experience ‘cold’ behaviour as a consequence of the narcissist testing that person to see how they will respond as part of the instinctive testing which goes on to ensure they will make an IPPS. Thus, the narcissist may not return a call for an hour. This is not devaluing behaviour and gives the appearance of appearing cold, but is purely a short measure to test. The narcissist is not going to do anything which risks losing this precious potential resource.

If the Candidate IPSS passes muster, she becomes the IPPS. If not, they become a Shelf IPSS.

Some targets very quickly become Shelf IPSSs, others follow the trajectory as a Candidate IPSS either succeeding and becoming the IPPS or not and thus remaining a Shelf IPSS.

The Shelf IPSS may experience what appears to be ‘cold’ behaviour from the narcissist but it is not devaluing behaviour. It is purely as a consequence of being placed on the shelf and because the narcissist is either engaging with an IPPS in a Respite Period or engaging with a different IPSS. This cold behaviour is not hearing from the narcissist, not having messages returned, or being politely rebuffed with promises of future meetings with the narcissist. It is essentially “I still want you but I am busy elsewhere at the moment but I will be back so do not go anywhere.”

Thus, if you have established that you are an IPSS, if the cold behaviour is short-lived, it is not devaluation but a test and you are a Candidate IPSS. If the cold behaviour is longer and is of the nature as described above then you are a Shelf IPSS and you have been placed on the shelf.

Remember, IPSSs enjoy long golden periods (so long as there is compliance) and therefore any cold behaviour detailed above is not devaluation but either a test or being placed on the shelf.


Devaluation is unusual for IPSSs. We have invested in the individual, we do not rely as heavily on their fuel as we do with the IPPS so there is less of a reason to commence devaluation. Indeed, with the IPSS devaluation arises more because the IPSS is not complying with what we want as opposed to their fuel becoming stale.

There are two types of devaluation with an IPSS. The Corrective Devaluation and the Dis – Engagement Devaluation. The former is where the IPSS is perhaps pressing to be seen by the narcissist more often, or might threaten to tell the narcissist’s IPPS about the relationship. This is challenging the narcissist’s authority. He sees no need to ditch the IPSS but the IPSS must know her place. Thus the narcissist will devalue you the IPSS in some way and also point out the error of the IPSS’s ways. This is an important distinction between the test or placing on the shelf behaviour which occurs during the seduction golden period. In those instances there is no injunction as to what the IPSS should do, they are not told. They just tend not to hear from the narcissist.

In the Corrective Devaluation where the narcissist blows cold, the IPSS may be told

“You are putting me under pressure when I do not need it, I have to have this weekend alone. I will be in touch in due course.” There then follows a Silent Treatment.

“You are making me look stupid. You need to get off my case. I won’t be in touch until you explain yourself and apologise.” There then follows a Silent Treatment.

“How dare you do that to me. After everything I am doing for you, you should show me more respect.” Row continues until IPSS apologises.

The narcissist may tear a strip off the IPSS, say something nasty, tell the IPSS they cannot come round and so forth. It is more proactive, more aggressive and likely to contain some kind of prescriptive injunction on the part of the narcissist,  than the Test or Placing on the Shelf.

The aim is not to drive the IPSS away but rather draw fuel and cause them to get back into line. Once they do, the golden period for the IPSS carries on.

In the Dis -Enagement Devaluation the unpleasant behaviour, the blowing cold will be more proactive and for longer. Therefore whereas with the Corrective it will be a short sharp burst with some direction – “I am sick and tired of you making demands on me, I do not know why I bother with you actually. Do not call me again today.” With the Dis -Engagement Devaluation this will go on for longer (although nowhere near the devaluation of the IPPS) and then dis-engagement will follow which will include blocking the IPSS rather than leaving any channels open.

In summary instances of what appears to be cold behaviour with an IPSS means as follows

  1. Short, lacking in venom, usually passive in nature – Test of the Candidate IPSS during golden period. Done to draw fuel but chiefly to test whether the IPSS should become the IPPS;
  2. Longer, lacking in venom, usually passive in nature, receive responses but non-committal or referring to future contact – Placing on Shelf during golden period. Done to allow narcissist to focus on other sources whilst keeping IPSS in place for future use;
  3. Short, may be passive or aggressive, with prescriptive behaviour – Corrective Devaluation. Done to draw fuel and get the IPSS back in line and under control
  4. Longer but not extensive, may be passive or aggressive, no prescriptive behaviour, cutting of communication lines follows – Dis – Engagement. Done to draw fuel, to punish the IPSS for non-compliance and then remove them as they are regarded as disloyal.

The Dirty Secret IPSS

For a reminder about the key points of this IPSS please see Dirty Little Secret .

How does the narcissist blowing hot and cold manifest in the dynamic with the DS IPSS?


During the golden period the narcissist will not blow cold for a short period of time with the DS IPSS. The nature of the dynamic is short frequent liaisons and therefore if there is a chance to snatch a drink together for half and hour or a knee-trembler in the woods it will be taken. If the narcissist is unable to meet, he will explain so and then be in touch very soon thereafter to arrange an alternative time to meet.

Accordingly, when there is a blowing cold from the narcissist during the golden period, it will be for sustained period and this means that the DS IPSS has been placed on the shelf. This will manifest with a clear explanation that the narcissist cannot meet – for example, if he is going on holiday with the IPPS and he will tell the DS IPSS that this is the case.

It is unusual for a DS IPSS to be placed on the shelf, they tend to be drawn on regularly but for short periods of time.


Again, the devaluation of a DS IPSS is unusual and it will usually be because the DS IPSS is failing to comply and do what the narcissist wants.

Similar to the IPSS, the DS IPSS will face both Corrective and Dis -Engagement Devaluation in the manner described above.

If the DS IPSS experiences blowing cold from the narcissist then this is far more likely to mean that it is devaluation and then dis- engagement. The Test does not happen with the DS IPSS and Placing on the Shelf is much rarer. The Corrective Devaluation will be obvious because the narcissist will issue some prescriptive injunction telling the DS IPSS how they should ‘shape up’. Accordingly, if you find that the narcissist is not responding to your calls, is ignoring you, is not making arrangements to meet, is failing to turn up and is not offering any explanation and you recognise you are a DS IPSS then it means you are experiencing the dis- engagement devaluation and dis- engagement is not far away.

If the DS IPSS does not hear from the narcissist for some time, with no explanation then they have been dis-engaged from by the narcissist.

In summary for the DS IPSS:-

  1. No Test takes place akin to the IPSS;
  2. Placing on the Shelf is rare – the cold behaviour will have an explanation attached and assurances of future contact showing it is placing on the shelf;
  3. Corrective Devaluation occurs – the narcissist will blow cold, more likely to be aggressive in behaviour and will stipulate a desired outcome;
  4. Dis-engagement Devaluation – the most likely occurrence of a narcissist blowing cold with the DS IPSS.

Non-Intimate Secondary Source (“NISS”)

This category of secondary source covers friends, colleagues and family.

Golden Period Seduction

There is no seduction of a familial NISS. They are already embedded by reason of familial connection but they will enjoy a golden period thereafter. A familial NISS, from this embedded position, may be tested by the narcissist from the perspective of appointing that person as a Lieutenant, but it is rare. The familial connection is deemed to be sufficiently strong in most cases to generate reliance on that source as a Lieutenant.

It is also rare for there to be a Test of the colleague or friend NISS because this is not seen as necessary given their lesser importance in the fuel matrix. If it does occur it might be because that person is being earmarked for being made a Lieutenant and in such instances any blowing cold will be short in nature to see if the social or colleague NISS approaches the narcissist to find out what is wrong etc in order to test their loyalty.


Any blowing cold which does occur and is associated with some kind of prescriptive injunction will be Corrective Devaluation which is applied to familial, social and colleague NISSs. The blowing cold will be brief however because one who does not accord with the desires of the narcissist can readily be dis- engaged from and replaced. Indeed, colleague, familial and social NISSs are largely expendable compared to the IPSS.

If the NISS does not respond to the corrective devaluation then there may not even be a dis -engagement devaluation and the dis – engagement follow swiftly after. In a sense, the Corrective and Dis- Engagement Devaluations are the same thing when dealing with NISSs. Unless the NISS has been especially treacherous and therefore they are to be punished through a longer devaluation, it is usually the case that a failed Corrective Devaluation will result in the NISS being dis-engaged from and replaced.

Accordingly, when the narcissist blows hot and cold with secondary sources, it is effectively the case that the blowing hot is to be regarded as the default position because these sources are easier to seduce and enjoy longer golden periods. When the blowing cold occurs it will be for fuel (utilising the contrasting techniques mentioned in part one of this series) but also to either Test, Shelf, Correctively Devalue or for the purposes of a Dis-Engagement Devaluation.




45 thoughts on “Why Does The Narcissist Blow Hot and Cold – Part Two

  1. Pbw says:

    So HG what would it mean if you ignored the narcassist for two days and suddenly after disengagement which has been month now he used your pet name and jokes?

    1. HG Tudor says:

      The order of events is unclear. Do you mean you were disengaged a month ago and then you have been hoovered using your pet name but you have ignored him for two days?

      1. Pbw says:

        As you say I was put on shelf .
        .back in July… doing the dance for several months… and then I started to ignore him recently for 2 days he then didn’t see me for 5days … upon return he used my pet name and brought up his birthday and how I didn’t say happy birthday …but I did prior…

  2. geyserempath says:

    Wow…shelved IPSS given comfort crumbs. Well, everyone, I asked him about the benefits being through as he kissed me goodnight and his reply was “not entirely” (meaning if he wants them, that’s okay, but forget my needs) telling me that it had become routine!!! and so I pressed the issue and asked about him not interacting on FB and his reply was “well, it was expected”. So by withholding things he used to give me, he is in control!!! That was the final straw. He is messing with my head.

  3. SadSteffi says:

    Dear HG,

    I’m a DS IPSS and on the shelf (l called a halt to the relationship when I found out he had a girlfriend and told him so, he of course
    denied her existence) I don’t know if this constitutes a wounding and I’m not sure if I’ve been devalued. We agreed to remain just friends. Our paths have crossed since & pleasantries exchanged but he has not attempted to contact me or make arrangements to meet in the last few months. I know he is very busy elsewhere.

    In your opinion

    1) Am I “dumped” or still on the shelf with an intention to rekindle our intimate relationship at some point when he’s not so busy? or
    2) Commence a non intimate relationship with a view to accessing my excellent traits & benefits (including financial assets) or
    3)Rekindle an intimate relationship with a view to 2) above

    Thanks, forewarned is forearmed!

  4. MW says:

    Hi HG, I have been an IPSS/ DLS for the last three years, now he wants to do the right thing by his girlfriend and he has proposed to her. He wants me as a ‘friend ‘ who he sees every day at work. Since I am married with children, he says this is the only way we can be in each other’s life, he does have feelings for me, he still finds the situation difficult (even tho he appears happier than ever) and this is better than nothing at all. I am dealing with a narc aren’t I?!

    1. HG Tudor says:

      Possibly, you would need to organise a consultation so you can provide me with much more information to analyse.

  5. Adrianna says:

    Thank you HG. I commenced my revenge campaign and have repeatedly subscribed him to hair loss treatment, Viagra , funeral services, and few other things. I made sure these companies gave him follow up calls.

    1. HG Tudor says:

      Hair raising, member raising and raising the dead! Triple whammy.

      1. Iris says:


      2. NinaFL3 says:

        Your sense of humour is wonderful!!

  6. Adrianna says:

    HG does the narc block ISS on social media to cause emotional reaction Fuel or to say his done or all? As after discard he blocked me because I wounded him. However when he saw me at the gym, he sarcastically yelled my name to say hello. I had no response and he was horrified . I now get glares and cold shoulder. Is blocking finality?

    1. HG Tudor says:

      No, there is no finality. The blocking means that there is disengagement and he wants nothing to do with you. The reaction at the gym was because he bumped into you and you received a malign response. The glares and cold shoulder are part of that malign behaviour as he would rather you disappeared. This situation of course will change eventually owing to the alterations within the fuel matrix.

      1. Adrianna says:

        HG you’re always correct and within a week, my narc smiled instead with a evil grin at the end at the gym. After 8 months of evil, could be Hoover time.. I promise myself I will be booking a consultation with you in the New Year. Merry Christmas HG . 🎄

        1. HG Tudor says:

          Yes I am. I look forward to it. A Merry Christmas to you also.

  7. Anm says:

    I briefly dated a Lesser Narcissist at the lowest point of my life, for 4 month. He was a complete embarrassment. When we broke up, we completly went our seperate ways. I saw him once at a store, and we completely ignored eachother like we never met. Then suddenly, years later, I was bombarded with him trying to reestablish contact in every which way possible. Its all or nothing with them.

  8. H. says:

    I was unlucky enough to have been all of them…

    I was promoted to the IPPS after a couple of years of the DS and IPSS.

    This added to my confusion because the landscape would continually change.

    And me, needing to obsessively to know WHY this was happening, would keep going back to the well of pain so as to try and figure it all out.

    It drove my crazy not understanding the dynamics . I had never had any experience with a Narc.

    Now I know., I learned I had to go; 4 days No-Contact….Hanging strong.

  9. Pbw says:

    Of course I should know this… it all amounts to fuel it seems…. frustrating

  10. Insatiable Learner says:

    HG, would the narcissist asking the Shelf DLS for space for him and his IPPS to work out their personal issues with a promise of future contact by the narc fall under the following?
    “The Shelf IPSS may experience what appears to be ‘cold’ behaviour from the narcissist but it is not devaluing behaviour. It is purely as a consequence of being placed on the shelf and because the narcissist is either engaging with an IPPS in a Respite Period or engaging with a different IPSS. This cold behaviour is not hearing from the narcissist, not having messages returned, or being politely rebuffed with promises of future meetings with the narcissist. It is essentially “I still want you but I am busy elsewhere at the moment but I will be back so do not go anywhere.”

    1. HG Tudor says:


      1. Insatiable Learner says:

        Thank you, HG! Your assistance in gaining understanding is second to none!

  11. Bekah B says:

    Hi, HG.. Quick question.. Can a former IPPS who has endured everything from the seduction to devaluation, and even dis-engagement become an IPSS through a hoover? This hoover wouldn’t be to resume the Formal Relationship, but rather to have the former IPPS in the narcissist’s life, resulting in the former IPPS periodically being placed on the shelf?

    1. HG Tudor says:


      1. Bekah B says:

        Thank you 😉

      2. Pbw says:

        What is the purpose of That? Just to be in their life?

        1. HG Tudor says:

          Fuel obviously.

  12. SandraDee says:

    Thank you HG been waiting for this when the IPSS is placed on the shelf. It is normal not to hear from the narcissist? For a long period of time? Is spying on the IPSS shelf also normal?

    1. HG Tudor says:

      You will usually receive some comfort crumbs from the narcissist.
      There might be some spying to ascertain if you are being disloyal but that would be unusual if you are on the shelf as attention would be elsewhere. You may have been disengaged and these steps are either hoovers (if you notice the narc doing this and he knows you know) or the gathering of intelligence for the purpose of a hoover (where the narc does not realise you know he is spying).

      1. Insatiable Learner says:

        HG, you wrote in response to SandraDee’s question whether it was normal for the shelved IPSS not to hear from the narc for a long time, “You will usually receive some comfort crumbs from the narcissist.” What if you don’t hear from the narc for many months and the only comfort crumb was given during the last conversation months ago and no periodic comfort crumbs are provided (there is just no contact), is this still being on the shelf or would the shelved IPSS be receiving periodic and more regular comfort crumbs if she was indeed on the shelf?

        1. HG Tudor says:

          You may still be on the shelf and you have not entered the mind of the narcissist so no comfort crumb has been provided since. If you have stayed away from contacting the narcissist and he is engaging with someone else he may feel no compulsion to provide a comfort crumb. There is a risk however that the narcissist has a new IPPS and is in a golden period, hence the silence.

      2. Insatiable Learner says:

        Thanks so much, HG! I really appreciate your response and clarification!

  13. geyserempath says:

    Wow, HG! Excellent article. This explains so much. I am alarmed that devaluations for an IPSS are rare which means I am probably more trouble than I am worth to my Narc. I pressed for commitment after a year and received a Corrective Devaluation. Further I complained when an old IPTS wanted to come stay with him, as he was seeing me. He told the IPTS that I was obsessive about him (smeared), but it made him feel back in control again and I apologized and fell back into line, therefore I was granted the Golden Period again.

    1. Am I correct that a victim never sees a dis-engagement coming? We never know until actually blocked?
    2. His old high school, college friends, and whores on FB are all NIPSSs. He freely interacts with them but is withholding that from me since he knows it hurts. Is this because he has more invested in me as IPSS?
    3. He will answer emails (albeit without my pet name) and texts, he just doesn’t call me anymore and ignores me on FB. How do I know if I am being corrected for a wrongdoing or shelved?

    Thank you so much!

    1. HG Tudor says:

      1. Most of the time you do not. Sometimes a victim fears it is going to happen ahead of when it does.
      2. Not necessarily.
      3. Sounds like you are shelved and are being given comfort crumbs.

      1. geyserempath says:

        HG I am not sure if you realize just how much help and direction you give us all. Therapists don’t know how to deal with your kind and they give us no direction. You made me realize I wasn’t going mad. Thank you so much!

        1. HG Tudor says:

          My information is the best so it follows it will be of huge assistance. You are most welcome.

  14. CR says:

    HG regarding any of your kind from the lesser to the greater, can any of you know,sense, or feel that one of my kind will not tolerate the nonsense from your kind. If so what do we exhibit that tells you to back off or that we can be trouble for you ?

    1. HG Tudor says:

      We can although this invariably proves an aggravating or attracting factor.

  15. Peekay says:

    Is dis engagement with a secondary source forever?

    1. HG Tudor says:

      In terms of the Narcissistic Relationship, yes. In terms of the Formal Relationship, no.

      1. geyserempath says:

        I am confused regarding the reply to Peekay, HG? what’s the difference?

        1. HG Tudor says:

          The NR lasts until you die or the narcissist dies. You may not be ‘with’ the narcissist but you still belong to the narcissist.
          The FR is being boyfriend and girlfriend, husband and wife and sits ‘within’ the NR.

          Thus, narcissist and victim are bf/gf. They are in a Formal R/ship and also the Narcissistic R/Ship.
          Narcissist disengages and dumps victim. They are no longer bf/gf. Formal R/Ship is over. Narcissistic R/Ship continues.

      2. geyserempath says:

        Not to put too fine a point on it, HG, but then wouldn’t dis-engagement with a SS never really be forever? The N/Relationship lives on until one of you dies and the F/Relationship still runs the risk of a hoover. Perhaps I am overthinking the reply….

        1. HG Tudor says:

          Hence why I use disengagement rather than discard.

      3. geyserempath says:

        Got it. Never forever! Yikes…
        Thank you so much, HG.

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