The Errors of the Ignorant


A series based on the comments made by people who fail to understand the true nature of narcissists and the narcissistic dynamic. Whilst these comments may be well-intentioned, they are incorrect, perpetuate misunderstandings and in many cases create false hope, dashed expectations and perilous outcomes.

It is often the case that a victim of our kind finds that the (unidentified) narcissist continues to keep in touch with them. As I have explained on many occasions, we will always look to hoover you whether it is post escape or post discard because there is the prospect of fuel and potentially the opportunity to draw you back into the Formal Relationship. Those hoovers are governed by the Hoover Triggers and also the Hoover Execution Criteria. If you are unaware of the nature of the person that you became entangled with, it is highly likely that you will keep triggering hoovers and the bar will be set low on the criteria, which means you will be regularly hoovered.

This may seem to somebody like we are just keeping in touch, wanting to see you, perhaps explain why things did not work out, organise to address outstanding issues. Those are the most likely views taken where the dynamic has been between narcissist and Intimate Partner Primary Source (“IPPS”). It does not end there however. In this dynamic, you will have been devalued and this will cause you to question certain behaviours that you have experienced and witnessed. If you are an Intimate Partner Secondary Source (Shelf or Dirty Secret) you may well not have experienced any devaluation and instead you are seen only at certain intervals, picked up and put down and we keep coming back to you, seeing you, sending you pleasant messages as we future fake and provide comfort crumbs. There is no ‘traditional’ malevolent behaviour towards you and yet you find yourself not elevated to a position of IPPS, so you find it strange that you are not referred to as the girlfriend or you do not meet our family and friends.

Whether you were the IPPS and you are now being repeatedly hoovered or you are the IPSS who keeps getting picked up and put down, these ongoing interactions can last for years. We have embedded you into our fuel matrix and whilst you may never return to the position of IPPS (or be crowned as such) you remain an appliance that we draw fuel from. This leaves you perplexed. We are intimate with you (or have been), we talk of future plans with you, appear to confide in you, yet there is not the sensation of being in that formal intimate relationship of partner, spouse, boyfriend or girlfriend. This leaves you puzzled as to what you mean to this person and why we keep engaging with you even though there appears to be no end game in sight.

Labouring under this situation you seek advice from a third party who listens to you explain the dynamic. They are likely to gloss over the devaluation (if you were once an IPPS) preferring not to get involved in conflict again and instead focus on what appears to be a more constructive interaction now as you are hoovered. Whether it is being hoovered or being placed on the shelf and removed from it, this advisor will deduce that our continued interest in you and our efforts to keep in touch with you (which may be strenuous at times – for instance tracking you down after you have moved) ) means that we are clearly interested in you and this should be regarded as ‘a good thing’.

No it is not.

The advisor is likely to suggest that because you clearly mean something to us that you should continue this engagement with us, perhaps look to increase it if we remain interested also (invariably you are) and therefore great things are on the horizon.

No they are not.

The only things you mean to us are in accordance with the Prime Aims (fuel, character traits and residual benefits).

This prolonged contact is born out of our need to secure these Prime Aims and keep you within our fuel matrix. We want to keep drawing fuel from you and we do this through the repeated hovering (even though we may never put the Formal Relationship of boyfriend and girlfriend back into place). We do this through taking you off the shelf and engaging with you as an IPSS and then putting you back there when we turn to somebody else. We will continue to do this for as long as we are able. Perhaps we will restore you to the position of IPPS following these hoovers or we might promote you from IPSS to IPPS and of course your continued engagement with us appears to have paid off. In the short terms yes, but ultimately that promotion or restoration is a poisoned one as your devaluation as IPPS will come about.

If there is no restoration or promotion you will be kept in this state of purgatory, never sure precisely what you are to us. You see us sometimes and then not on other occasions. You hear of us doing things with family but you may not be invited to join in. Certain social occasions are excluded from you also. You feel close to us because of the way we make you feel when we are with you but at the same time there feels like a gulf between us because we are not admitting you entirely into our lives. You may feel like the Other Woman or Man, you may feel like the Friend With Benefits, you may feel like the Secret Shag, you may feel like you are Permanently In Waiting and if it is this last one, you are correct. You are permanently in waiting as you are at our whim and pleasure. If we want to engage with you, we will, if we do not, we will not.

By convincing you that this elongated song and dance translates into you meaning something to us, your advisor has made an error of the ignorant. They have given you false hope that you are special to us, that we will make good on all those future fakes, on all those tempting promises and that those comfort crumbs will somehow gather together to make a Relationship Cake. They might, but it will not be to your taste in the end and more likely, they will not and five years later, ten years later, twenty years later you are still the one waiting for us to call and pick you up as you realise that your life has been placed on hold and all because you were made to think that this narcissistic behaviour of hoovering/shelfing denoted that you were special and you meant something to us.

If you recognise this behaviour in your dynamic with someone or that it is happening to someone else you know and care about, do not commit the error of the ignorant and enlighten them to the reality of what they are in and what awaits them.

15 thoughts on “The Errors of the Ignorant

  1. E. B. says:

    An ignorant once told me that narcissists were hoovering me because *they missed me*. When I explained to them that the narcissists had contacted me without wanting to talk about what had happened between us, without apologizing and that they pretend nothing ever happened (gaslighting), the ignorant told me *that was their way of apologizing* for what they had done to me. The more I explain or defend myself, the more excuses the ignorant makes to protect the narcissist.
    A psychologist wrote that acknowledging other people’s abuse at the hands of narcissists would mean that the ignorant would have to admit that there are narcissists in their lives abusing them too. Maybe this could explain why the ignorant does not listen and does not want to know. IMO, ignorants do not want to admit they are victims too.

  2. K says:

    We meant nothing. We are just interchangeable appliances that provide fuel, character traits and residual benefits.

    1. K says:

      The narcissist does not want to resurrect a relationship with us; s(he) only wants to resurrect a relationship with our fuel.

  3. narc affair says:

    This i can relate to on so many levels. I feel for the secondary sources that are in purgatory wondering why things wont progress not realising their position in the fuel matrix.
    Ive known from the get go that the goal wasnt to be together in the formal sense yet i have developed a love for my narc. I also knew i wasnt the only secondary or strongly suspected it. I did feel i was a primary secondary if that makes sense bc we spend most of our time together and are in contact a good deal of our day. This is where the shelving of intimacy threw me for a loop when it started a year or so ago. I honestly think it stems from him knowing im onto what he is and the fact ive stood up for myself in the past. I think it wouldve come to shelving regardless tho and dont waste anymore time figuring it out. It is difficult going from intensely passionate to friendzone bc its confusing. Narcs can work that way but people who connect in a real way cant switch that on and off its unnatural.
    My narcs always been there for me but i know theres no formal future for us nor would i ever want there to be. Hes 61 and single, never married and no kids for a reason. Im lucky in that respect that im not pining over any future faking and know the deal but many waste years and sacrifice happiness not knowing that they are a certain position in someones daily agenda and will never progress to anything more. They are a fuel source only.

  4. Tappan Zee says:

    wrong. super creepy. and evil. mine produced a postcard i sent him from circa 1985. it was 2017. he was married from 2004 to 2016. no (good) reason to have that. and yes, i get that there is a box somewhere with all kinds of trinkets of the appliances. really grotesque.

  5. Gen says:

    Originally IPPS, then IPSS with crumbs, now block and discard with final call that he is wild with anger after I spoke up.

  6. SandraDee says:

    HG I want to apologize in advance for what I am about to say. I am thankful he disengaged from me ! You guys are ruthless. I know my ex told me he was with a lady for 5 yrs. He is also married but he said she left him. And married someone else. But I think they are still seeing each other. But for 5 yrs knowing you will never be the IPPS.

  7. I don’t know which is worse:

    1. Staying years with someone who does this golden period-devaluation cycle, or
    2. seeing someone who gives neither torture nor benefits, but only crumbs of attention and still wastes their time. Perhaps for years.

    The IPSS and the DLS are technically free agents, but they are the Narcs possession in their minds and the narcs mind. All they get is minuscule attention in exchange for fuel. And maybe they might get gifts that cause ever-presence.The Narc has the control in the relationship. Not the IPSS. Not the DLS.

    And yes, The narc owns the IPPS, also.The narc may treat or mistreat their property as they please. The narc has the control in the relationship, not the IPPS.

    Either way, there is someone holding us hostage to love, who simply doesn’t love.

    He Fuels. She Fuels. That’s what we mean to them. That’s why they keep in touch.

    In the future, my choice is “none of the above, thank you”


  8. Ugotit says:

    This was important for me read I just don’t know how to end this cycle yes I know no contact but I’m stuck feeling like what if this time it works out unfortunately the facade he showed me is the man of my dreams so its hard to let go I always feel like somehow I might get through to him and hell stop discarding and hoovering me and we can get on with our life together I know its stupid but this is what keeps me hooked but I’m scared to walk away not knowing for sure that he’s a narc

  9. Katie says:

    I really needed this today.

  10. Salome says:

    “five years later, ten years later, twenty years later you are still the one waiting for us to call and pick you up as you realise that your life has been placed on hold and all because you were made to think that this narcissistic behaviour of hoovering/shelfing denoted that you were special and you meant something to us.”

    Thanks a lot for warning me, dear HG!

  11. Fiona says:

    This sort of “advice” significantly contibutes to my trauma. The adviser doesn’t see the narcs’ manipulation. If I tell them it is intended manipulation on the narcs’ part invokes a reply that I am being ungracious and unreasonable. That they play into the narcs manipulations is very irritating and makes me wish they would just leave me alone too.

  12. Chingona says:

    I may have stated this on one of the other posts in the series, sorry if I’m repeating myself. Not even trained mental healthcare professionals understand the dynamic. Even if you’ve been gaslighted, devalued, tortured, it’s still profoundly difficult to believe/understand that a person doesn’t have feelings. If you’ve never encountered it, it sounds insane and hysterical when you try to explain what it’s like. As an empath, it’s particularly difficult.

  13. MyTrueSelf says:

    My ex gets in touch with me all the time..for over a year, telling me how he misses me and loves me and I tell myself he must love me. Unbelievable!!
    I know. I should know better after all this time and everything I’ve learned.
    HG you have been diagnosed NPD therefore you are a pretty cut and dry case in terms who you are and how I should deal with a person of your circumstance: GOSO

    My ex has no diagnosis, I came to my own conclusion that he’s probably narcissistic and maybe I’m wrong, there’s the shadow of doubt.

    It’s easy for you to flick the switch from white to black when ending a relationship and never look back.
    I don’t think like you. I’m not made that way. It’s my ‘emotional thinking’ that makes me human.
    What if he’s not NPD but just a regular guy who cannot exercise his duty of self control? I believe in redemption for anybody who is redeemable.

    I don’t doubt your word for one minute about anything you say in regards NPD behaviour. I just doubt my myself and my ‘amateur diagnosis ‘.
    I’m so tempted to get in touch and ask him for his explanation. I know I shouldn’t.

    I’m not going to get in touch. At the end of the day, abuse is abuse. If he really wanted me back, he would take responsibility for the hurt he caused, but he isn’t doing.

  14. Bibi says:

    Excellent article, HG.

    I thought these very thoughts when I was involved with the narc, despite having said to myself that I felt like he had one foot on the boat and one foot on the dock when it came to our ‘friendship.’

    Simply put, those who want you in their life make sure you know. They don’t leave you guessing.

    Not only did I convince myself that he cared because he kept coming back, but he used this reasoning as well! When I would confront him on how I was unsure where we stood (he ignores me for weeks at a time, won’t tell me what is wrong, picks fights for no reason, making me question if I am, in fact, ‘demanding too much’ since we were not involved romantically, etc.) he very words were, ‘I don’t see how you can even think I don’t care. I am still here, aren’t I?’

    On another thread I mentioned how he comforted me when my beloved cat died. That was a very personal thing and I was exposing my vulnerability. (Which only made it all the more painful upon my discovery of his double life.) He was nice again for a whole month, sending me emails, checking up on me, etc. So now I am thinking he does care, only for then time to go by and he begins to act weird again.

    Another point I have noticed when women are involved with guys who just want to be the boomerang (drop in and out as you describe), very often there is no verbal devaluation, since these guys do want to keep us around, and so those on the receiving end don’t see this as manipulation/abuse, despite the future fakes and leading on. The victims actually come to believe that they’re the ones getting themselves into it.

    ‘Well, he is the way he is and boys will be boys.’

    That sort of bullshit.

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