No Good Advice

no good advice

Relationship advice. The internet is awash with it. Sites, blogs, question and answer sessions, videos on YouTube there is a plethora of advice about how to deal with the problems which arise in intimate relationships.

I decided recently to have a good look through many of these sites and gather together the common complaints which people raise when they submit their issues. There are plenty of submissions, thousands upon thousands of people complaining about the issues in their relationships. Oddly enough, I noticed a common thread with many of these complaints where people had written in to seek advice or explained their circumstances. Time and time again I the following:-

“Everything was wonderful to begin with, he swept me off my feet.”

“She made me feel like a king and it was just what I needed after how horrible my marriage had been.”

“I was taken aback by how loving he was, but it felt so good to be treated that way after everything that I had been through.”

“He told me how he had been hurt before and didn’t want to go through that again.”

“His ex-wife was horrible to him and he had been hurt but wanted to ensure everything was right between us.”

“Everything was marvellous for a few months and then he changed.”

“I didn’t know him anymore.”

“He started controlling me.”

“She told me who I could see.”

“He started to isolate me from family and friends.”

“He would flirt with other women.”

“She spent all of her time on the internet doing Lord knows what.”

“He never listens to me.”

“He became abusive.”

“The sex was amazing at first but then it just stopped.”

“He was so loving and attentive in bed but then he started suggesting threesomes and kinky stuff which I didn’t like.”

“He started to make decisions for me.”

“She would lose her temper over the smallest thing.”

“He would disappear for days on end and I was sick with worry.”

“He would not speak to me for several days even though I had done nothing wrong.”

“He started hitting me. He said sorry afterwards and seemed remorseful for what he had done, blaming it on seeing his dad beat him mum when he was young.”

“He doesn’t like anything I do any more, he puts me down.”

“Its like living with Jekyll and Hyde.”

“He just never contacted me again. I still don’t know what has happened.”

“He told me he couldn’t be with me anymore as he needed time to himself and then two days later I see him post about a new girlfriend on social media.”

“He was unfaithful to me repeatedly.”

“I still miss her after everything she has done.”

“I am financially ruined, stressed but I still love him.”

“Why can’t it be like it was in the beginning?”

“I want him back.”

I should imagine that all of you will be nodding at these comments for two reasons. First of all, you remember saying them yourself or something similar. Secondly, you now realise what was actually behind these behaviours. People like me.

Over and over again I saw questions and tales which all had the common theme of ‘Brilliant start, he became someone else, dumped me, I was heartbroken.’ Hundreds upon hundreds of these stories, these tales of misery and woe. A litany of despondency and confusion that has been piled up in the inboxes of the relationship advisors and gurus. I scrolled through them all, reading the replies, the advice and the suggestions. I read the analysis, I digested the observations and spent some considerable time doing so. What did I see?

Not one person raised the possibility that the person seeking advice had become involved with a narcissist. Not one.

Many of these blogs and relationship advice sites were clearly popular. Some were established names, linked to lifestyle magazines and newspapers. Many directed you to their services for counselling and relationship tool kits. Many of them trotted out similar comments and platitudes. Too often they read like the first world tribulations of a scene from Sex and the City rather than the abusive, destructive and harmful actions of dangerous narcissists.

Yet not one of them raised the suggestion that a narcissist was involved.

Now, naturally it is not the case that behind every relationship woe there is a narcissist but I know that those of you reading this, with the benefit of the enlightenment you have achieved knows that there is a good chance that problems of this nature as described repeatedly in the problems pages of these sites are something to do with people like my kind. Yet nobody was offering this as a possibility. That shows the scale of how easy it is for us to do what we do and pass undetected. It shows the staggering lack of knowledge about what we do say, think and do and the naivety of so many people, including those who apparently understand relationship dynamics.

Instead, I saw standard and repeated responses such as:-

“He is clearly a commitment phobe.”

No, he doesn’t want to spend time with you because he is devaluing you and is actually seducing someone else at the current time.

“You have outgrown each other.”

No, you never grew together to begin with because it was all predicated on an illusion and his lack of interest now is symptomatic of his interest being elsewhere.

“He may just be tired or stressed from working hard to support you and your children.”

Yes or he might be a narcissist who uses his rage to intimidate and control you.

You may have unrealistic expectations about the relationship.”

Damn right you do and we all know why that has happened don’t we?

You need him to take responsibility for his actions. He cannot keep blaming you for everything.”

Good luck with that one.

“He just might not be into you.”

Half-right I suppose, he just isn’t in to you fuel anymore, he is in to somebody else’s.

“He might be bored with life and not you. Try harder to interest him.”

Again, good luck with that one.

“Relationships require hard work. Don’t give up. Keep working at it and you can overcome the problems together.”

You have just been told to sign your own death warrant there.

“Some people have anger issues but that can managed with understanding and therapy.”

Or they have fury which ignites at the slightest provocation and always will.

“Being hurt is an inevitable part of a relationship.”

It is if you get ensnared by my kind.

I am not suggesting that every problem in a relationship is as a consequence of the other party being a narcissist, that is unrealistic. However, the number of times I read about what was clearly the narcissistic dynamic of seduction, devaluation and discard was significant. The monumental amount of times that I recognised narcissistic manipulations – rage attacks, silent treatments, triangulation, intimidation, bullying, gas lighting and so forth – in so many posts did not surprised me but they were not picked up on. Many times these manipulations were not isolated events. There were repeated occasions and also differing types of the manipulations which when combined and repeated point in one direction.

The advice and platitudes that were provided to people who were clearly, not just possibly, but clearly entangled with a narcissist, were way off the mark. The descriptions and answers I have listed above were the ones which were provided to people and at best this would mean the person would remain clueless and stuck with no appropriate solution and at worst they were providing advice which would harm the individual who had sought the advice.

I was not surprised by this erroneous advice. I was not amazed by this omission of our kind from the explanations. I was not taken aback by the scale of people complaining about what was clearly narcissistic abuse but not being told as such.

This is why we are able to do what we do.

This is why we are able to move amongst people, ensnare fresh victims and maintain our veneer of respectability.

This is why what we do is passed off as something else. Euphemised, diluted, lessened and made to seem like a standard relationship hiccup.

This is why ignorance is so harmful.

This is why we remain so effective.

This is why we remain so dangerous.

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29 thoughts on “No Good Advice”

  1. How are any of these statements relationship “hiccups”? They are all red flags, regardless if the person saying them has full blown NPD or not.
    Anyone with a high degree of self worth would not tolerate this treatment and would get out.

  2. HG,
    Magnificent article and evaluation on the advice other’s try to give. After 3 narcs in a row I realize that unless someone has been with a narcissist and experience the cycle of golden, devaluation, discard and hoover-they chalk it up to what you so beautiful explained in your article. Without your work and consultations I don’t know where I would be today! I am going to be free of this one day, thanks to you and to me staying humble and not thinking that just because I have read your work and consulted with you several times that I am armed against all narcissist-this last experience has humbled me enough to know that I must always be vigilant and if in doubt ask YOU!
    Thanks again!!

  3. Maybe you can help us HG! Get the word out.! . I entirely realize this now. I think probably just about all toxic relationships involve some sort of a personality disordered individual. Especially if they’re over the age of like 25.
    I heard there was a narc awareness day coming in june?
    and Donald Trump is sure giving the entire world a close-up view of a disordered grandiose? He Obviously has no empathy and cannot even fake it or doesn’t even bother to because he’s been so coddled and protected with money and lies his entire life.
    However ….if word gets out and the narcissists have no more victims to suck the life out of— will narcs become extinct??

      1. Where will you speak? I’m hoping you’ll find a microphone that will reach around the entire world and will enter every home and basement. Any clues for us as to what your message will be and how long of a talk? Thank you in advance

      2. It is pre-recorded and will be released in June. There will be announcements. Thank you for you kind comment. The length will be around an hour but I will look to extend it a touch further. As to subject matter, I have not finalised what it will be. I can tell you that it will NOT be about cookery, James Corden or hugging.

  4. Awareness is very low but I Trump has done a lot to raise awareness. Also if you read relationship columns in newspapers such as The Guardian you will see some awareness in the commentaries. But I think the biggest development in outing narcissism is the internet.

    1. You are correct Freddy, he has done a lot through his behaviour to provide a clear example of a particular type of narcissist, but many commentators still miss it.

  5. This is an interesting post. It has crossed my mind a few times when reading or watching anything that provides “advice” about relationships etc. I have never heard any advice providers mention narcissism or narcissistic abuse.

    Also, President Trump and his strange behaviours have now been widely publicised for more than a year. I’ve often watched or read “expert” analysis on his tweets, or his speeches, or his policies etc in the mainstream media. I’ve never heard any of these experts publicly mention NPD. It seems quite strange.

    I’ve seen Trump being described as a narc plenty of times on social media, however, the subject of narcissism still seems taboo in the more professional media.

  6. Hg it took me 23 years in a disordered relationship to realize he was a NARC.
    He was also addicted to alcohol.
    I saw him drinking heavily for ten years but my mind was so gaslighted that i couldn’t understand he was an alcoholic.
    He stopped drinking three years ago telling every body that i was wrong about him. Saying that it was my interpretation of what happened and nothing more.
    I finally discovered his NARCISSISM.

    I think the problem is that the addiction to narcissistic supply is not something visibile. You cannot figure it out like for any other addiction.
    Furthermore thanks to abundant manipulations and gaslighting
    the same victims are unabled to recognise the reality of the abuse.

    It is difficult to detect because of a general ignorance about the matter.
    Even medicins and psychologists quite often don’t gave an adequate preparation about the subject.

    There’s also a social attitude in not denouncing the abuse because of shame, religious rules, a general tollerance for abusing behaviours being considered as “normal”.
    I think NARCISSISM as a personality disorder should be tought at school like any other addiction!

    Anyway i wonder myself: if i had known NARCISSISM very well before living the experience personally, would i really be able to recognise it in my life?

    A last consideration is that you NARC are terribly intelligent.
    If i consider my husband manipulations i have to admit his machinations are perfectly plausibile and socially acceptable.
    He always respect the equilibrium so that he can mantain his reputation showing everybody he is a correct, honest, generous and friendly man.

    Concluding, you NARCS ARE lucky.
    You will always find supply everywhere.
    ‘Cause supply can’t SEE YOU COMING..
    ( here is a very interesting Meredith Miller’s video that talks about supply as invisibile addiction and where you HG are mentioned as an expert!😊

    https://youtu.be/K1tDObda-cA

  7. I gave some of these pieces of advice to the narc’s co dependent prior to my involvement with him. He was triangulating us, devaluing her and seducing me. All under the guise of friendship no less. It wasn’t until, in the aftermath of my escape, that his reaction to me signing off and blocking him on Facebook and then a few things he said about me that I realized something was horrifically wrong. I started doing research and stumbled on this gem of a site. Almost every article made sense. I thought I was going crazy for awhile, but no, it was the narc.

  8. I do not usually seek other people’s opinions on what I should do. There are only four people who I trust to talk to for various reasons – my sister (because she is my sister, but she has shared my personal problems with others so buyer beware), a sweet and sympathetic friend of twenty years (when she can) and two friends who have been friends since freshman year college. One of them shared a secret of mine, so can’t get too personal with her. My other friend lives about two hours away and we haven’t been able to see much of each other for awhile because of our lives, but she is awesome! She is always quick, direct, sums things up nicely and wakes me up!

    I have discussed narcissism with two out of these four and they had limited knowledge on it. Hopefully, I can plan a weekend trip to see my college friends and discuss this with them!

  9. Indeed. It is shocking. I feel very fortunate to have found the information I needed to understand what happened and move forward.

    Part of me is still grieving but I would much rather grieve as a result of coming to grips with the truth than to continue deceiving myself and harming myself by hanging on to toxic hope.

    It’s tragic that these “experts” are exacerbating the problem and are in fact setting people up for further pain and heartbreak. Just terrible.

  10. I have thought this very thing so many times!

    I have a question and didn’t know what post to ask it on. How do narcs react when someone else is competing for their supply? I know they don’t feel jealousy quite like we do. If you are IPPS or shelf IPSS are they more apt to disengage or are they more inclined to hoover ?

    1. Do you mean if I want fuel from Person A, but someone else is wanting that “fuel” (it may not be that for them) from person A (whether the competitor is a narcissist or not).

      1. Yes. It’s my understanding you do not feel jealousy like we do but ownership and annoyed that someone is wanting to play with your toy. How might you react to that ?

      2. So say if another narc was competeing for one of your supply sources, you wouldn’t be de incentivized to pursue them?

  11. HG a text like being hit in the face. And 2 thoughts come to my mind:
    Good lord how many of your kind pound the streets?
    And gosh I seem to not have the urge to ever be really loved again in a non narcisstic way, is that sort of a disorder as a result

      1. 1 in 6?? Oohhh what was I thinking when, in the beginning, he seemed to be one in a million. SIGH!!

      2. Cori

        Yes, when you look at it that way in the aftermath they are quite common and not special at all. Why bother trying to hang onto common? Oh look!………theres another one over there!……

  12. Ugghh.. I have come to realize that there are far more narcissists living among us than most people realize. I’d love to know your thoughts on the percentages of narcs, sociopaths and psychopaths. I believe it is very underestimated and we would be shocked to know the truth.

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