Why Does The Narcissist Seem So Odd?

WHY DOES THENARCISSISTSEEM SO ODD?

 

It is accurate to state that we operate in three essential states. There are varying degrees within those states, differing levels of intensity which are affected by factors such as the type of narcissist that we are, what we require from you, the level of empathic individual you are as well as several others. Nevertheless, there are three basic states. The first, as you would expect, is the golden setting. We are at our most wonderful, most brilliant and most loving when in this state. This always appears during our seduction of you and we will reinstate it from time to time and often when we hoover you in order to suck you back in and keep you hanging on to us. The second is the dark setting when we instigate our devaluation of you. This dark setting allows us to deploy our various machinations against you, a variety of different  manipulations as the abuse begins and we make your life particularly unpleasant. This requires effort and energy on our part and whilst we will be rewarded with fuel, a certain degree of application is required to use these manipulations against you. When we unveil our dark setting it is upsetting and confusing but often you will find some reason to explain our behaviour. It is usually the wrong reason but you will find one nevertheless as you like to understand and have a reason to explain why someone is behaving in a certain way towards you – you decide we are stressed, tired, hungover, in need of affection or perhaps you are unduly harsh on yourselves so that you, in that usual empathic manner, blame yourself for the behaviour we have meted out against you. Perhaps you did not listen when you ought to have done, perhaps you should have realised that we wanted to go out tonight, or that we would not want chicken for a second time this week.

There is a third setting and this often proves more confusing than our unpleasant dark setting. This setting might be regarded as a neutral setting, somewhere between the golden and the dark, but it is not. This setting is on the road to the dark setting and is closer to that than the golden. This particular setting is the stranger setting.

There will be times when we do not wish to apply considerable energy to our continued devaluation of you, but the devaluation must continue. It may not be as harsh, since there is no shouting, no violence, no insults and such like. It is not the golden period because we show no affection, we do not do things for you and we do not exhibit any of the charm that once flowed so readily from us. During this stranger setting we are neither wonderful nor awful but we behave like someone who doesn’t really know you and you are certainly left feeling like you are dealing with somebody else.

If you telephone us we will not dole out a silent treatment and ignore your repeated calls. We will not answer in less than a ring and speak to you with affection and enthusiasm, instead we answer and engage in a monosyllabic conversation. It is like drawing teeth. We confirm that nothing is wrong and you may think there is but we have not responded angrily or harshly. We have not accused you of anything, we have not labelled you in some way but the conversation is flat. It is as if our personality, whether golden or dark has vanished and left almost an automaton in its place. We function, we talk about our day but with little detail and certainly no enthusiasm. We ask questions of you but they are polite and perfunctory as if we are just going through the motions. There is no nastiness, no backbiting or sneering. It is difficult to process because it is not nothing, that cannot be the case because we are talking to you, but it feels like nothing.

We may call around to see you but it feels like an inspector has called around. We sit, we decline a drink that you offer us and we answer your questions without offering you anything much in return. Where has the charmer gone? Where has the monster gone? Who is this stranger that looks like us, sounds like us but is not behaving like us? You cannot accuse us of being unpleasant but it feels unpleasant because you are dealing with someone you do not recognise. Any questions about what is wrong with us are politely answered and you are assured there is not a problem, but we seem lifeless. You flatter us, compliment us and whilst we accept them there is no spark of interest, there is no response.

Why are we like this? Why is this being done? Why do we seem like someone else? It is as if we have been abducted by aliens in the night and replaced with a robot which is neither wonderful nor savage but is frustratingly something else. This third setting occurs during the devaluation period. It is not a respite from devaluation as that is the golden setting once more. It is clearly not the dark setting as that is the rolling out of nastiness and abuse. This third setting is an indicator of the calm before the storm. Whilst there are occasions where we might switch from golden to dark setting in the blink of an eye, this third setting is used when we wish to conserve energy in readiness for unleashing a particular savage next stage in the devaluation as we will move to the dark setting and crank it up to eleven. You are not cruising along being driven by fair winds, nor are you being thrown up and down buffeted by a storm, instead you are becalmed or moved along by a weak breeze. This is the time we are girding our loins, gathering information and plotting. The switch of functions to the organisation and scheming of what is to come, along with the intense outpouring of energy required to sustain the vicious intensifying of this devaluation means we adopt this near automatic state. You may not ever see this happen dependent on the nature of the narcissist you have become entangled with, but when you do, you should be aware that a storm is brewing and not just any old storm but a supercell storm of savage and damaging proportions. This is a warning.

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26 thoughts on “Why Does The Narcissist Seem So Odd?”

  1. (Commented previously, but didn’t go through.) Oh, HG, how I have longed for a chance to ask about this VERY thing! If a N was in a very vulnerable position (Ex. In an unfamiliar country/culture, shamed from loss of career and status, more difficulty acquiring fuel due to lack of eNergy and increased withdrawal or distancing of primary and secondary sources), could this Stranger (energy conserving) Period last for years (with short, intermittent Golden and Black periods)? What would be the effect of such a long Stranger Period? Would more classic signs of mental illness start to show through (paranoia, odd gestures, speech disruptions)? Any insight would be most appreciated.

  2. “It is difficult to process because it is not nothing, that cannot be the case because we are talking to you, but it feels like nothing.”

    OMG this!!!!!!! Word for word!!!!
    Although now the phone calls just ring and ring and go to voice mail.
    Except for one time I got a text saying “I did not block you but I cannot talk today”.
    This was a week after I was threatened with the aforementioned blocking.

  3. This stage is disturbing. Indifference. It’s clear that they are engaged in thought/planning something sinister. It’s clear that you were mislead regarding their feelings for you at this point. You can feel it coming and this is when you should escape. No need to see the horror that awaits.
    Indifference is repulsive enough to an empath when compared to the golden period.
    Is the narcissist irritated by an escape before the devaluation gets into full swing? Do they feel they missed out? I hope so…

    1. Jess, yes – highly disturbing. Even more so because, as an empath we can -FEEL- something is “not right”.. yet the narc insists “all is fine” How then do we reconcile this with our hearts and minds? We feel something is wrong. We KNOW something is wrong (our body tells us so) — yet our love, our soulmate, the one who would do us no harm, tells us everything is alright. This is a huge inconsistency.

      ~ Major red flag ~ Definitely something we ought to pay attention to: mixed signals.

    1. I did, it’s certainly one of the better movies. But unfortunately in part illogical.
      There are very few movies which nail it, but most slip towards the end, still, and add some unrealistic sentimental element, tears, etc.

      There is a recent movie about a young boy, “Dismissed”, – that one was very good. Especially the part about how he learned to mimic emotions. The Coen movies are the best in regard to psychopaths.

  4. Oh, HG, how I have longed for a chance to ask about this VERY thing! If a N was in a very vulnerable position (Ex. In an unfamiliar country/culture, shamed from loss of career and status, more difficulty acquiring fuel due to lack of eNergy and increased withdrawal or distancing of primary and secondary sources), could this Stranger (energy conserving) Period last for years (with short, intermittent Golden and Black periods)? What would be the effect of such a long Stranger Period? Would more classic signs of mental illness start to show through (paranoia, odd gestures, speech disruptions)? Any insight would be most appreciated.

  5. Hi HG
    What causes the third setting? Been there exactly as you stated above. After he would respond just as you said, I would say to him “what happened to that guy I know. I don’t know who you are.” That would piss him off. It would be followed by excuses of varied kinds, (the cover up) which of course you know always seems plausible to us. Final answer wold be sometimes “I get complacent” “I’m in a funk or depressed”. And there I got always being positive feeding the fuel. Sometimes it would change in an instant for the “good” other times the absent silent treatment, sometimes short tempered rage. The next phone call within an hour or so he’d be charming again. I’d back off confused and call it a bad day.
    Thanks
    AMV

  6. HG what is the best way to handle this period? Do we engage contact or no contact? How do we prepare for the storm?

    1. If you are fortunate enough to realise you are with a narcissist and this is what is happening (most people do not realise until afterwards) then escape and implement no contact.

      1. HG does this “neutral period” or calm before the storm occur as a narsisstic injury or why does it occur. When implementing noncontact will e come back to Hoover?

      2. No, it is the shift as you move into the devaluation phase.

        Will he hoover? It depends on whether there is a Hoover Trigger and whether the Hoover Execution Criteria has been met.

    2. Brandy,

      Unfortunately I think this stage is too early to jump the gun and assume someone has a personality disorder. This is a grey area (assuming no devaluation has occurred yet). This period might actually seem like they really do have something on their minds, and they just need some time away.

      With my narc experience, we went from having a great connection, wherein I then came to learn he gave me a fake name, which, while I found strange, I justified and gave him a pass, due to how great things initially were between us. We were not dating, but merely friends.

      Then, he began pulling away, ‘feeling unemotive’ like something was wrong. I asked him and he wouldn’t talk about it. So I gave him his time and space but when we reconnected, it only got worse.

      After a time, I found myself doing things to get an emotional reaction out of him. I just wanted him to care again. But the emotional reaction was all negative.

      As time went on, our relationship consisted of a lot of devaluing/bad periods and quite a bit of this weird phase, where he didn’t want to talk to me or gave really brief responses. The only positive was the occasional comfort crumb, which kept me hoping the Golden Period might return, but the crumb would then be followed by this weird phase.

      HG I am so glad you addressed this. While I remember this period very clearly, in my mind I overlooked it.

      1. Bibi no mine is a narc to a tee. I have just went through this the last few weeks and he’s been a narc for 23 years that I know of

      2. this is an area i find very difficult to decipher. As you stated Bibi, it can be easily rationalized away, mistaken for normal reaction, or even missed.

      3. HG, I thought the “stranger” zone mainly applied to the IPPS. Bibi here seems to have been friends with the narc but yet referring to the same “stranger zone” she experienced. Would the narc really do this with a secondary source and why? Thank you!

      4. It can apply to any appliance, but it is usually the IPPS as you rightly identify. With regard to a secondary source a person being shelved could be mistaken for the stranger zone. If it is not mistaken shelving, it will be part of a Corrective devaluation.

  7. Yes! This is what my narc experience called, ‘feeling unemotive.’ I used this word in my letter to him. He was a lifeless robot.

    And then soon after, his nastiness emerged. Coincidentally, his ‘feeling unemotive’ began to occur once I prodded him and uncovered his real name.

    Ding, ding, ding! Another piece in the puzzle solved.

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