The Ties That Bind



One of our central aims when we have targeted you is to bind you to us. During our seduction we create this magical place and invite you and only you to inhabit it with us. We build a fantastic place and place you on a pedestal in the centre of this artifice. It is very difficult for you to realise this is a fallacy and even harder to do something about it. Every day, every hour that you remain close to our influence allows us to create more ties, more connections and increase the extent that you are bound to us. We make you feel fabulous, worshipped and loved. The dizzying, whirlwind nature of our passion is unlike anything else you have known and you readily accept it. It is of course not informed consent. You have no idea what we are, but nevertheless you accept all of this wonderful treatment. You allow us to permeate every aspect of your life. We draw you into ours and make you feel special and privileged for being allowed to do so. Consider how we penetrated your every network so everywhere you turned we were there.

We knew all your friends, we ingratiated ourselves with your family and got to meet your colleagues. We knew all the places you liked to go to and introduced you to some additional ones. We made sure we knew every favourite thing of yours, from books to plays to food. Your wine rack became stocked with the types of wine you preferred, your wear the jewellery that was bought for you after careful solicitation of what you deem pretty and I occasionally arrive bearing a new book from the stable of authors that you enjoy to read. Bit by bit I invade your life and as our relationship progresses at light speed, the gradual, creeping advance of my influence has actually gained more than a toehold. It has spread across your territory like some formidable weed that cannot be held back, covering and smothering. My clothes hang in the wardrobe, I have my favourite chair at your house, you now buy the cereal that I prefer to eat in the morning even though you think it is just a mouthful of sugar. You now wash my socks, my songs populate the iTunes playlist and the bathroom is testament to my occupation with the bottles, razors and accoutrements mingled amongst yours. You cannot fail to see my influence all around you, but you welcome this and from it you gain a great happiness. From dating, to staying over, to co-habiting and on to marriage, this inexorable march of sudden and frantic seduction, although this is only ever apparent with hindsight as at the time it was the right thing to do, results in our lives entwining as I wrap my tendrils around your life and drag you tight against me. So many links, connections, lines and ties between you and I.

These ties keep you in place despite the abuse that is to come. It is sudden and bewildering but you will not give up easily. Not only did you say those vows, you meant every word and we know this. You will not let what we have built up crumble to dust. Admirable as your fortitude may be, you may as well stand on a beach and command the tide to halt its own unceasing advance for all the good you will do. This will not stop you trying though. We know this. The ties are many and they are tight so you will not run for cover at the first administration of a silent treatment. You will not down tools and walk away when the shouting continues long into the night. You do not pack a bag and leave it in the hallway, sitting on the stairs as you wait for us to return, late at night, from whatever tryst we have been engaged in. You keep going, bound to the hope that everything will be good once more, that the golden period will return. You hang in there, you battle, you demonstrate misguided resolve as we lash out time and time again, drawing the negative fuel from your distress, dismay and disarray. You will not let go. The connections are too many. Our behaviour is reprehensible as we open up front after front after front against you, leaving you confused and crushed. We twist, blame, push and pull yet you will not waiver. No matter how many times we knock you to the floor you keep coming back for more, dragged back onto your feet by the ties that bind you to us.

Then one day you remove yourself from our toxic influence or in some instances you are removed. Those ties remain but there is an elasticity which allows you to escape us. To be taken away from the acidic words and viscious schemes. The insults, the violent rages, the isolation and the denigration may have been halted. You may no longer be subjected to being spat at, your hair pulled, your money withheld, your social interactions curtailed and your self-esteem trampled underfoot. You may have escaped the daily devaluations which came at you in so many different and unedifying ways but your ordeal is far from over.

You may not have our furious face shouting into yours anymore. You may not be sat cowering behind a locked bathroom door as we pound on it demanding you come out. You may not lie crying in a bed made to feel empty by our absence. You may not stand outside the study seeing the glow of the monitor within, under the door and wonder who we are engaging with online, that knotted sensation in your stomach inducing sickness. You may have escaped many of these manipulations but the ties that bind remain.

The bond we have created with you is so strong, so deep and so far-reaching that every day you will feel a vast void at being parted from us. You will excuse the abuse as you hanker for those golden days. You will feel like something has been ripped from you by our absence. Even though you know how terrible we have acted towards you, you will still suffer that sense of illogical loss. Every day feels empty. You wonder what we are doing, who we are with and whether we are thinking about you. You see our presence all around you still, people still ask about us, you collapse on to your bed burying your face in that t-shirt we kept under our pillow and you still smell us on it. You drink deep of the scent, hoping the nagging pain will recede, that somehow you will be magically restored to where we once both were, when we were happy. Your run your fingers over the tub of hair wax which we left and you remember watching us as we carefully applied it. You cannot bring yourself to discard it, clinging on to these reminders of the joy that once abounded in these walls. You pass the bookcase, touching the spines of the volumes we bought for you, the words and letters all further reminders of our presence here in this house. You miss us you miss us so much, you shouldn’t do, not after what we have done. Not after the vile treatments you have suffered. It makes no sense that you should feel this way but you do. You ache for us, the ties that remain are still being pulled and yanked, even though we are not there with you. The searing pain rises as another reminder appears, the tie still strong. Unlike an umbilical cord which provides life, your cord to us continues to pain you. When will this end? When will this agony recede and be replaced by something else? Would it now not even be better to feel nothing? To be numbed and anaesthetised so you do not have to endure this ongoing pain.

The bond we create with you is so powerful, so deep and so long lasting that it is often the aftermath of the ties that bind that hurts more than the abuse itself. That is how dangerous we are.

22 thoughts on “The Ties That Bind

  1. On My Journey says:

    Sorry about the typos above 🙁 I would like to add that I have been on this site for more than a month and it is only today that I really connected the dots about Narc number 1 coming back after 23 years.

    I did not realized he was a Narc too before that article – it was there somewhere in my head but not as vividly as now . A lesser , a dirty , broke, ugly fat lesser.

    He watched my LinkedIn profile a month ago and I puke when I saw his picture. I know HG says we are never immune – but this one – this one I am.

    So … I am a bit in shock now – I have spent so many years of my life with Narcs or highly controlling men.

    What do I want ? Who I am ? What do I like ?

    I will be 50 this year. Never too late/ might have 50 in front of me !

  2. On My Journey says:

    My first Narc ( after my father) came back 23 years later !
    He met my mom in a store ( the trigger ) found me and hoovered me back in.
    I was with him when I was 14 he was 21. Of course we were denied a relation by our parents but he pursued me for 2 years – promising marriage etc then he married someone else- my heart was broken – I attempted suicide and went into a severe depression. I had a book of poem I had written for him that I had kept.
    So I was with A man for 17 years – not a Narc but a controlling and manipulative man and left him to be with my first love – who was still married. The day I met him the first time in a hotel – I was 14 again and do in love – all my familly was desperate and really annoyed at me reaching this relation.
    Believe it or not … my second depression in life – he took my money – he lied – cheated etc etc etc I went crazy again.
    I ended up not being able to work and function.
    I left him and replaced him with Narc number 2 – who ghosted on me 4 years later ( that is another novel in itself) – he Is still hoovering me but doe this one I know I have destroyed the ties.
    So f… yes the ties, the fever, the bonding … still fresh after 23 years of not ever hearing about him.

    Just his voice on the phone after 23 years and I was already his again.


  3. Alessa says:

    I guess it’s easier when we did not live with you, but used to work for you (and not any more). Even if there is some kind of emptyness I guess that the toughest part is for you, as you would need to find a way to restore the bond, isn’t it? Should I say I escaped?

  4. H. says:

    It has been 8 weeks no contact and then he turned up at my home this weekend. I was worried about this possibility.

    But I survived it, by not fall for his bullshit again.

    Thanks to HG, and reading the blogs every day, my logical thinking has become dominant over my emotional thinking.

    In other words, although I felt a bit wistful (my emotional devil), my logical thinking would not allow me to fall for all the old tricks. I didn’t see him the same way, I felt nothing, and I could hear every word that HG has written, as he pleaded with me to give him an ounce of a chance.

    Although still damaged from happened to me during the past 6 years, I can honestly say, I am on my way to moving on.

    HG, I think I have learned your lessons. You have no idea how you changed the course of where my life was going. Thank you.

    1. HG Tudor says:

      A good start H, 8 weeks however is not long and whilst your logic is building, it remains susceptible to a surge of ET, so do not think it is dominant, as it is not yet, it takes a longer period of no contact to establish that.

      1. H. says:

        Thanks HG, , I will keep reading, stay no-contact, and awoke.

    2. NarcAngel says:


      Veering out of my lane temporarily just to say: good job.


      1. H. says:

        Thanks….it feels really good to know that i have made the real adjustments…..and I do read your posts…:)

    3. K says:

      That was very nice to read, H. Excellent work!

  5. Victoria says:

    HG this is one of my favorite because every word is 100% true!
    I have now been through this twice and this time is the worse-the emptiness is so much worse than the silent treatments or distance that comes right before the discard. As many of your articles that I have read I still wonder why the bond with a narcissist is so much stronger than with a normal? I know that the intensity and charm and love making is all incredible but I think there is an extra potion they give us in the beginning-What is that extra potion that narcissist have that others do not? Is it the control? I don’t know but your article spells it out-that’s why your kind is so dangerous.

  6. Reba says:

    Yeah, not so much, at least in my experience. The thing is that at some point we realize the “golden period” isn’t coming back and we are left with someone who we cannot connect with no matter how much we tie ourselves in knots. The golden period would have to be pretty spectacular for it to resonate for so long–maybe it is if you have been with a greater elite, but for any narc less than that, I doubt it. For me, I stayed because of the kids, but I would think most victims would leave at that point, with a hearty “Smell ya later.” I need to still deal with my narc because of those living breathing ties that bind and need to understand how to best deal with him but the overwhelming sensation on being able to end my relationship is “I am free”. And the golden period cannot compare to how wonderful that feels.

  7. Carolyn says:

    HG, my ex narcissist who disengaged with me a few months ago and in the last month tried to contact me 4 times (I ignored it) today sent me a text that we need to talk via phone (during our whole relationship he talked to me maybe 5 times, because he preferred online communication!) because he has a problem and I am the only person who can help him. I ignored this text so after an hour he sent another telling me it’s about some health problems (and I have doctors in family) and he needs an advice for somebody else (it’s not him who needs a doctor). I don’t know what to do – is it a next dramatic hoover fabricated because the previous have failed?

    1. HG Tudor says:

      You should block his number and change yours to stop these hoovers getting through.

  8. blackunicorn123 says:

    The last paragraph….so true.

  9. Flighty says:

    Very true HG. These ties here seem to speak of forming the trauma bond, but what about a soul tie? – I believe they are different things. And I’m curious…. if the victim is feeling the pull of the soul tie, does the narcissist feel it too?

  10. Hypatia says:

    The ties that bind indeed… I was ghosted brutally and suddenly 13 years ago by “my” narc, never to be heard from again until this past year when he hoovered me. I was caught off guard, a golden period commenced…disengagement, yada yada yada. It sent my life reeling in all directions and none of them good. The ties that bind is not an exaggeration — I’m living proof of the literal chaos that they can wreak more than a decade later. I thought I had left it all behind, but I hadn’t healed. I had run and hidden, but he found me anyway. I didn’t know what he was. Now my marriage to an actual good person is in tatters and I only hope I didn’t mess up the lives of my children. I shudder to think about how far into the future this person’s destruction could go. i am determined to beat this and come out shining on the other side. These people are pure evil masquerading as regular people. He was the covert and very tricky to spot variety. Cut and run, people. I wish I’d known long ago what he really was. Therapists have never seemed to get it. Thanks HG for the most helpful daily reminders. And thank you everyone for writing your own stories and making it known that we’re not alone or crazy. It’s those two things that help me understand and heal.

    Wish me luck as I try to piece my life and my family back together in the wake of this fucking monster.

    1. HG Tudor says:

      You are welcome.

    2. Victoria says:

      I totally understand, thanks to HG and this blog. It is awful and we just feel like dying inside! More than ever that’s why I keep up with this site and stay vigilant. All the best to you. Keep coming back to this safe place it’s the only place others understand and it works!

      1. H. says:

        Your right Victoria, the logical thinking needs reinforcing every singe damn day.

    3. K says:

      Good luck, Hypatia!

      You are not alone or crazy and, you are right, many therapist just don’t get it.

  11. Mary says:

    This is where I am stuck. I know it was an abusive relationship. I know I am “better off.” But, I can’t stop ruminating. I feel loss, and longing, and sadness, and betrayal. The ONLY thing that keeps me from begging is a tiny scrap of self-respect that I have left. How long will this healing take?

    1. HG Tudor says:

      That very much depends on you.

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