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.

16 thoughts on “Bringing Down The Shutters

  1. Sharon Marinucci says:


  2. Quasi says:

    Hi Narc angel, I have just read through this article. I understand why you directed me here, but this may have been the wrong use of terminology on my part.

    When I was speaking of the shutter coming down for the narcissist I interacted with, I meant the shutter came down over the brief moment of something that appeared to be and felt emotively like a glimpse of the inner / true self. Something actually real! When the shutter came down in this instance he went back to being his cool calm, collected self. No emotion again. It was like a momentary slip of the mask, at a time of vulnerability for him,( alcohol was apart of this both times, major coping tool for him)

    In this article it appears to be used as a strategy in devaluation of the IPPS. I have been advised that as I was just a shelf IPSS, what I thought may have been times of devaluation or punishment, were actually just me being put back on the shelf for a bit.
    It was not felt that I was devalued in the narcissists perspective just on and off the shelf and then disengaged from when I was no longer reacting to bait or actively making contact with him. ( I was choosing not to).
    But I thank you for highlighting this article to me, I found it very enlightening anyway.

    1. NarcAngel says:

      I mentioned it because I remembered at the end of it he shows how they can give you what appears to be a glimpse of the ‘true self’ and then bring the shutters down. You hang on to that glimpse and feel bad for them that they cannot let it out. It makes you want to care for them and reach out to them, and you mentioned having to hold yourself back from that and considered checking on him (for his birthday if I recall correctly). This can be a manipulation and not a look at his real self as evidenced by the end of the article:
      Time to throw you a lifeline…
      That should do it…
      It really is so easy…
      It is effective to give you what you think is a glimpse and then bring down the shutters but it is a manipulation.

      If you feel this is not applicable I may have misunderstood. Apologies.

      1. Quasi says:

        Hi narc angel, thank you for this.
        When I read the article, I viewed the ending as a greater narcissist’s malevolent continued manipulation of his IPPS. I understood from this that the ending was a “throwing a bone” to her, after having the shutters down and having her question what was wrong, not knowing this person as she knew the facade, the sweet charming mask. So at the end the shutter came back up purposefully on the narcissists part to expose the false self mask again so she could say “ or there he is, the one who is charming and the one I love” “ everything is ok now he is back”. So definitely a manipulation but from how I read it not one utilising the true / core / vulnerable self.

        You are absolutely correct in that in the moments when the mask or the facade slipped and I could view what we could call the vulnerable wounded child that was abused and in pain, living in anger and uncertainty- I did very much feel bad for him, it strengthened my care for him certainly. As I mentioned in my comment on the letter post, it was these moments of “real” that I held onto when I was balancing in my mind the prospect of making contact to see if he was ok because i genuinely cared enough to want to know he was ok. It was my rational mind, my evidence of experiences with him only leading to unwise and costly decisions, hurt and insignificance of the self that stoped me from acting from that position of care for him; more so in the later part of my interaction with him leading to and following disengagement.

        My musings around unblocking him and making contact on his birthday are just musings/ my emotional mind having little what if statements of suggestion. But again within my comment on that post I also ended my musings with the reality check that I can’t afford the costs of re-engaging with this person, even if it means we can be civil when we meet in person. I am also fully aware that even though I am at peace with it and could be civil, that would be my perspective and his is always going to be different, even if there is a professed agreeableness to being “cool” between us, he is likely to have a differing intent under the surface, he always did. I also know that I am more susceptible to him in direct contact, my resilience would be greater now, but the risk is still there.

        Apologies are not required at all, I am reading the blog to learn from everyone on here. Your direction to this article was helpful and furthermore educational for me. So in that regard misunderstanding what is written matters not, and in any case I believe that is why it isn’t helpful for everyone to engage in the blog, to ask questions to give advise, to help them understand the writers comments.
        I appreciate you taking the time to read my comments and ask questions, direct me to articles, and give advise. I very much value your opinion so thank you.

      2. Quasi says:

        Sorry I forgot to say that with the mid range narcissist I was interacting with these moments did not present as intentional, I don’t believe he intended me to see that part of him, it was a slip of the mask. He did use pity plays in manipulations which drew from his childhood abuse, but they were clearly just that, I didn’t feel the emotion from him, they were a script. That’s the only way I can describe it really.
        Thank you again, and apologies for the long explanations, this is exchange has been really helpful and has supported my self reflection and understanding, so very helpful indeed.

      3. Quasi says:

        In the last paragraph of the first comment it should read “ is helpful for for everyone to engage on the blog” not as it reads currently- auto correct was clearly bored of me, and wanted to cause controversy !

  3. Julie says:

    Holy. Shit.

  4. Gracie Mc says:

    Ooohhhh! Now I get it!!! Soooo it wasn’t my imagination that my Narc really was pulling away from me on purpose to upset me. I wish I’d of known that when it was happening.Too bad. I really could have worked that for all it was worth.Since he’s gone now, I’ll never know. Damn It!!!

  5. sarabella says:

    I am still trying to understand some of my own strange behavior. I started to force his dis-engagement from me. One day, I told him to just unfriend me, block me from social media. He was like, “That the fuck kind of game is this…?” I said, “Just do it. Unfriend me, leave, go away, block me…” He was like, no, you do it… and I was like NO, YOU go away. YOU take yourself away.” It was an intense near 2 hour battle. He did eventually. By the next day, he had unblocked me, said it was mean.

    I am still curious, was I in some way taking control of the dynamic that I sense he was playing? Beating him to the punch so to speak? You don’t get to do that to me, I can do it to you, too? I am not some nobody waiting around for you and your games, I can play it too?

    HG, has a victim of yours done something like that before, beat you to your game even if they maybe didn’t know the game you were playing?

    He did sort of win in the end in that he did get a hold of my emotions (in that regard), but he never had the last word and he did lose control of me.

    I just remember this raging feeling in me, and suddenly, I was just attacking him, yelling at him to go away and he didn’t and wouldn’t. It was sort of out of the blue. He played that game with me for quite some time, telling me to do it, asking me what the fuck I was doing. It was incredibly intense. I never fully understood why I was doing it, other than reading this post, I have read it before maybe it makes sense that I sensed his game and was playing it ahead of him.

    1. HG Tudor says:

      No they haven’t.

  6. shawn says:

    Cat and Mouse game…All the time, and not just with your kind. So, you (narcs) alone don’t own that game. People play it all the time. I call it, “Trying to get a rise out of someone.”

    1. Sharon Marinucci says:


  7. All out of Fuel says:

    Your version:

    “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.”

    The version I heard:

    “I am sorry I have been so distant. I am just very depressed and when I get depressed I become very withdrawn. My feelings have not changed for you. I am just having one of my “blue” days. Hey, how about a phone call later?”

    So. Fucking. Eerily. Similar.


  8. Victoria says:

    I just copied and pasted this article to a friend to explain what had happened to me the last 5 weeks. It’s hard for others to understand who have never experienced this behavior it is worse than just saying goodbye and ending the relationship abruptly. We are made to feel small and insignificant and nothing we do works-then a respite period for 1-2 days and back at it.
    You’re spot on when you say they are looking at our facial expressions. I started to realize this and it made me squirm-why I didn’t react then is because I was convinced I was not with a narcissist. The power of emotional thinking is our worse enemy and what we have to work on daily. That and following the Golden Rules of the Master!
    Thank again HG for another great one!

  9. Nina says:

    Please help me understand, HG. Is it done deliberately to extract negative fuel? Or is it really how you feel as you become bored? Do you know the effect it will have on us, and how we will keep begging to know what is wrong?

  10. Jess says:

    Yuck. Memories. Stranger mode. Time to run.

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