Crumbs of Conversational Comfort


We are experts at providing crumbs of comfort. This is because it is a necessary form of manipulation which has to be utilised as part of plate-spinning activities. As a consequence of the differing fuel matrices which we create, we have a vested interest in keeping certain of our appliances ‘in the game’. Remember, we like to conserve our energy so we have more available for the carrying out of our manipulations over different appliances and therefore at certain stages in the dynamic, we do not want to be forced to apply much or all of our energies towards one appliance, leaving us deficient in respect of the others. We want to keep several people in our fuel matrix because of the need for fuel and also with one eye on what is ahead of us.

When we first seduce our appliances we invariably treat them to a banquet., a feast, a sumptuous meal at Restaurant Narc. This is no drive-thru quicky, no fizzy water and sandwich grab from a street vendor, but a Bacchanalian indulgence of several courses with no expense spared as we cause you to gorge on our largesse, our charm and our illusion. Of course this feast will vary dependent on the type of appliance that we have invited to dine with us and in order of sumptuous extravagance, the pecking order is as follows:-

  1. Candidate IPSS
  2. Embedded IPSS
  3. Shelf IPSS
  4. Dirty Secret IPSS
  5. NISS (Colleague or Friend)

Familial NISSs are already seduced by reason of familial connection. If they have been pushed out into the cold and they must be brought back into the fold, they are treated as if they are a colleague or friend NSS. Tertiary Sources are given something delicious but quick to consume and it does not matter whether they want more or not, the main thing is that what they are given in the instant works for us.

Of those categories at 1-5, the common thread is that they are all treated to a delicious, enticing and magnificent feast which draws them in. It is all impressive and gets more and impressive as one climbs the rankings. This means that the recipients get used to the extent of this feast, how amazing it tastes, how delicious it feels to be at our table and becoming full on such wonderful treats and delicacies. This is how we cultivate the addiction to us, by feeding you such sensational dishes that you keep wanting more. You become used to the sensation of being almost satiated, your senses brought to life by what we deliver and you want to keep dining with us forever and a day.

Of course these delicacies which we send your way give the appearance of being fulfilling but ultimately are not, but you do not notice and instead you want to keep tasting them and therefore once we decide that we no longer need to keep providing you with these feasts, we instead opt to give you the crumbs of comfort.

These are little reminders of what you once had, to get the tastebuds firing again, to cause the saliva to flow, to stimulate the memory of those amazing sensations so you want them all the more and with each crumb you are conned into thinking that it will lead a trail to the groaning table of scintillating tastes once more. These crumbs of comfort are designed to keep you in the game, maintain your interest, stop you losing hope, ensure that you remain bound and loyal to us. Since they are crumbs, they are low maintenance for us, hardly taking any effort or energy at all, but since you are hooked on the taste from when we seduced you, once you allow one crumb to enter your mouth, the desire returns, the memories of delicious tastes and sensations loom large and you want more. You are given another crumb, then another, just enough to keep you from looking elsewhere and just enough to ensure you remain interested in us.

The rise of technology has really caused the conversational comfort crumbs to come into their own. Whilst they can be offered on the telephone or in person, that tends to result in the narcissist being placed under more pressure and their control is eroded to some extent. Instead, most comfort crumbs will be provided through text message, through e-mail or social media message. This allows the narcissist to retain control, compose an appropriate message and it is easier to sneak out a comfort crumb via text than speak with the relevant appliance in certain scenarios.

How then might these comfort crumbs operate with the five categories of appliance detailed above?

NISS (Colleague/Friend)

The comfort crumbs for this category do not need to be used extensively because the level of expectation is not as high. The colleague or friend will only engage with the narcissist periodically and therefore if the narcissist perceives there is a risk that the relevant NISS is drifting, he can throw out a few conversational crumbs and shortly thereafter deliver the ‘meal’ again. Delivery of this meal – namely time with the narcissist – is not a major expenditure of energy since it may just be an evening every month or so, the NISS does not make extensive demands and therefore all the narcissist needs to do is send a message such as

“Not caught up for a while – let’s have lunch next week.”
“Hey, not heard from you in a while, how do you fancy a game of squash a week on Thursday”

“How are you doing? We need to catch up over drinks. Pretty bombed until the 25th, how does that suit you. 7pm yes?”

“We haven’t talked about your promotion prospects recently. Let’s have a breakfast meeting beginning of next month. Please arrange with my secretary.”

“We should look at new marketing opportunities. How about we do so over lunch in a fortnight?”

Note there is the fixing of the ‘meal’ in the future and this crumb of comfort, letting the appliance know the narcissist still values them. This crumb will draw a fuelled response, keep the appliance interested and the narcissist does not have to expend much energy through the crumb nor the eventual ‘meal’.

Dirty Secret IPSS

The Dirty Secret may be content to hold this position or may be content for the time being with an expectancy of being brought forward in the narcissist’s world, to meet friends, be seen with the narcissist in public, meet family and so forth. The DS IPSS provides frequent bursts of fuel through clandestine meetings with the narcissist and therefore the narcissist will find maintenance of this element of the fuel matrix reasonably easy because it is a short-notice demand to meet at a hotel, in a car park, in a bar and the time involved will not be extensive.

Nevertheless, if the narcissist is occupied with other appliances in his fuel matrix (usually the IPPS but possibly an IPSS and NISSs) and is not able to meet up with the Dirty Secret he does not want them going off the boil and therefore he will ensure that she is kept interested with comfort crumbs.

“Last time was amazing, I don’t know how you do it, cannot wait for the next time.”

“We have to meet soon, I am going crazy without you.”

“When we next meet I am going to treat you to an afternoon at that new hotel we were speaking about.”

“Things are hectic at the moment, but I am trying to get things boxed off so we can have at last an overnight stay together, just as I promised.”

Note how we are enthusiastic about the Dirty Secret, praising them, stating how they deserve to be treated well or given more time, but there is no commitment to when this will happen. This is because the demands of the DS are greater than the NISS and given that infidelity is taking place, the ability to commit is not as clear. The comfort crumbs will be thrown around more liberally to entice the DS but there will not be a commitment.

Shelf IPSS

It is this category of appliance which suffers the most with regards to the provision of these conversational comfort crumbs. This is because the Shelf IPSS is picked up and put down, is regarded largely in a favourable light with an extended golden period, is not often devalued (and if so it is a short lived Corrective Devaluation) and the narcissist has made a significant investment in this person and wants the return on that investment.

The narcissist does not want to lose the IPSS and have to find another but when the narcissist is spending time with a different IPSS or is engaged in spending time with the IPPS (be that devaluation or more likely a Respite Period) the relevant IPSS will be placed on the shelf. Predictably, this person will be wanting to know when they can see the narcissist when they are next getting together. They may know about the IPPS but be concerned that the narcissist is spending time with the IPPS.

Note that these comfort crumbs are not used when the narcissist is first seducing this person to make them an IPSS but they are used when the IPSS is placed on the shelf and is angling to see more of the narcissist. The narcissist will use a vast array of conversational comfort crumbs with the IPSS – some will use charm, some seek sympathy or pity, other seeks understanding and others threaten. Examples will include

“Really busy at work at present, but I will call as soon as I am free.”

“Tied up with the children, so will be in touch tomorrow.”

“Schedule is packed for the next ten days,. I am dying to see you but we will just have to be patient.”

“I will tell her but now is not the right time, her father is ill and this has to be done properly, I know you will agree because you are understanding and I thank you for that.”

“I just need to get these next few weeks out of the way and then we can be together. There is no point in rushing it and causing more trouble than necessary is there?”

“I cannot make it tonight. I have to go to this family dinner. I wish you were coming with me though.”

“Look, there is no point getting worked up about this now, I am in the middle of a huge deal. I cannot talk. I have told you this and why are you risking fucking it all up? I said I will sort it and I will, but you have to give me time.”

“When I get through this period we will have a weekend away. I promise. You know it is you that I want, but I need to know I can count on you at this difficult time.”

“You know I have always delivered and the one time where I am under pressure, you start adding to it. I did not think you were like that. Look, I will check my schedule and make some time for us. Let me do that and we can have a good talk when we see one another.”

“Every night I lie there thinking about you and when we can finally be together.”

“I cannot wait for the time I come home and find you there waiting for me. I know we will make it happen together.”

“If you tell her about us, I will never speak to you again and you and only you will bring down this wonderful thing that you and I have together. Please do not do that, you will destroy me and destroy the best thing that has ever happened to me.”

Once again these comfort crumbs come with no set time for delivery, no firm and definite time periods but they are designed to keep the IPSS hanging on. There are thousands of different ways that they are phrased and it is the IPSS who finds themselves in the role of Permanently In Waiting, kept interested from these crumbs but never finding their way to the table again, either at all or for some time.

Sometimes there might be a pile of crumbs provided whereby the narcissist engages in a telephone call or skype call instead of meeting up. This will be used to maintain interest, gain fuel and exert control.

The comfort crumb is used as a benign method of control because the narcissist does not want to use harsh and malign methods of asserting control for fear of losing a valuable appliance.

The Embedded IPPS

The comfort crumbs operate in a different way with the embedded IPPS. None of course are needed during their seduction or their embedded stage of the golden period. They will see plenty of the narcissist then.

The comfort crumbs will be doled out during the devaluation of the IPPS for the purposes of keeping them in place so that more negative fuel can be extracted whilst the narcissist works on prospective Candidate IPSSs (either finding them or seducing them).

It is likely (although not always the case) that the IPPS will live with the narcissist and therefore the comfort crumbs will be linked to finding a way to sort things out, achieving a resolution and such like.

“I think we need to sit down and talk things through when things are less hectic.”

“We can sort this mess out. I am determined to do so, but it has to be done at the right time.”

“I just want things to be the way they were.”

“I want us to resolve these problems, but there are too many distractions at the moment. Let me know when we can do this.”

“I will talk to you about our problems but now is not a good time. You know how busy I am with work.”

“We have to see what can be done, but you need to make some changes first for me to see before I can consider how me move forward.”

Again these are vague and amorphous and are designed to be. There is no true intent to resolve the issues but instead these comfort crumbs are provided to enable the victim to think that resolution (something an empathic person relies on and hopes for) is achievable and that the golden period can be returned to.

The Candidate IPSS

The Candidate IPSS is not given comfort crumbs because this appliance is in the ascendancy towards being crowned as IPPS and therefore they will be subjected to the bombardment that is love-bombing.

What have been your crumbs of comfort from the narcissist you entangled with?


34 thoughts on “Crumbs of Conversational Comfort

  1. Nora says:

    I see.
    “””””Dear””””” HG Tudor, in my case, I was introduced to all his family as his girlfriend, we lived together, BUT for everyone else I was just a friend (in the better option). I’m sure I was painted as a poor girl deeply in love with him that he couldn’t stand for, but those are just theories that probably I will never confirm, since his “”””friendships””””” are on-line only (he never leave his house, doesn’t work, etc.)

    SO, was I an The Embedded IPPS? Was I a Dark Secret IPPS? Was I both? (is it possible?) can’t find an answer by myself.

  2. pinar says:

    Is there an established pattern that follows the crumbs? My experience worked like this: Extended love bombing-Friend Zoning Attempt-My refusal-Love bombing-Intimacy- Disappearance (Me being shelved). – My deliberate entrance to his sphere of influence and now I am having conversation crumbs. What is now expected, following the crumbs ?

  3. pinar says:

    I was shelved for 4 months. I deliberately entered into his center of sphere. The hoover did not come but the comfort crumbs daily is what I am getting. I think I was candidate a IPPS for a while when he did not respect my boundaries, also my refusal to join his narcistic harem I got shelved. What could be their next move after the crumb feeding. I am curious?

  4. Kim says:

    HG. Is that why the passive Hoover’s have started again to exert more control?

  5. kim says:

    Is it unusual to get 2 or 3 crumbs every day since becoming a shelf IPSS?

    1. HG Tudor says:

      That is relatively unusual as the crumbs would be more likely spread out. The narcissist evidently has a slight concern that his control is not as good as it should be, but he is not minded to exert it further.

      1. kimmom546 says:

        HG… And the passive Hoovers have started again

  6. kim says:

    HG……What if the shelved IPSS does not respond to the crumbs of BS and ignores the messages?

    Your Humble Empath

    1. HG Tudor says:

      That will cause minor wounding.

      1. kim says:

        HI HG. Are Crumbs considered hoovers?

        1. HG Tudor says:


  7. kim says:

    HG, you stated “the relevant IPSS will be placed on the shelf.” Can you please explain the difference between the relevant IPSS and just a “regular” IPSS on the shelf.

    Also, I have been getting crumbs every day for 2 weeks. Is this normal? I thought they are more random…a few here, a few there.

    Your humble empath

    1. HG Tudor says:

      Relevant means the one that was being engaged with at that point – there is no difference in terms of relevant or regular.

  8. Nuit Étoilée says:

    I figured out I’m causing a hoover trigger simply by being ‘active’ on messenger –

    I found it odd that it had been a long time since I’d heard from him, & here recently he’s sent a couple messages. Usually, when I haven’t responded right away, I had my own thought fuel figuring this was a slight injury so even when I eventually responded, it would be some weeks before the next hoover.. but lately, the wait times on his end have been getting shorter… time for me to elongate my own response times..

    Hg, here’s a question – why would he keep asking if I plan to move?
    It had come up as a possibility some months ago, and though this is no longer a real possibility, keeps asking about it periodically, like he keeps thinking about it…
    Afraid he’ll lose his appliance? (we’re local for now)

  9. Kathleen says:

    Another excellent article! HG- do the nice doctors rave about these articles? They are so comforting to me as a survivor. It makes everything make sense that previously was just mind boggling! Cheers 🍻

    1. Kathleen says:

      I just would think these articles could be so valuable to the general population to consume -thise who are trapped and just don’t get it.
      I generally feel at peace -instead of a ball of anger and hurt. And the pictures are great.
      HG- have you thought of chunking out your website into categories to click on rather than the monthly archive? Atricles sorted out where possible by general things like:

      Button for “narc types”
      Button for ‘getting out’
      Button for “ACONS”
      Button for “no contact “
      Button for “surveys”
      And my new fave “errors of the innocents”

      I’m engaged in redesign of our site at work and we all love buttons to click –
      How about an HG app??? Have you talked to google about it

      Excellent work HG – amazingly poignant writing.

      1. HG Tudor says:

        I am working on re-categorisation, it is a matter of having the time to do it. Thank you for the suggestions.

  10. Twilight says:

    The comfort crumbs will be doled out during the devaluation of the IPPS for the purposes of keeping them in place so that more negative fuel can be extracted whilst the narcissist works on prospective Candidate IPSSs (either finding them or seducing them).

    So one can have more then one Candidate IPSS?

  11. MB says:

    This is the article that explained it all for me. After hearing this, everything made so much more sense. I even told him that I hated the days that I only got the crumbs. At the time I didn’t know it was real thing! I knew HG was the real deal when this hit me right between the eyes! Thank you for interpreting the Narc language for us.

    Grateful Shelf IPSS

    1. HG Tudor says:


  12. Nerd Ass says:

    Shelf IPSS…dam. It couldn’t be more clear. If I threaten to be done could that reinstate a brief golden period?

    1. HG Tudor says:

      It might but there’s no guarantee

      1. Insatiable Learner says:

        My experience was that if the narc is pre-occupied with the new IPPS and the shelved appliance threatens to walk, the narc may just say ok.

    2. HG Tudor says:

      Perhaps but there’s never any guarantee

    3. anonymous says:

      Why? What makes him worth giving up yourself? I mean this with respect. I guess I’m wondering why you want to stay with a narc?

      1. Nerd Ass says:

        I actually don’t want to “be with her”…I just want the great sex and entertainment that came with her. I’m married and she at one point had me convinced to leave for her, but now that I know what she is, I just want her around like before for some enjoyment. Have my cake and eat it too? Yea, unrealistic, but here’s to wishful thinking.

    4. W says:

      I doubt it will if you’re on the shelf,
      But it might get you a few extra crumbs , eh HG?

    5. geyserempath says:

      Nerd Ass – I emailed my narc and ended it. His swift reply was that it was not over, but we would be friends. This worked until a newer, shinier IPSS presented herself at work. I then became shelved again. It’s like a pro fisherman reeling in a catch, only to release the line a bit, and then start reeling again. A controlling, self-serving pro sport that narcs are champions at.

  13. Laura says:

    Comfort crumbs….. oh, how I don’t miss you!

  14. S W B says:

    I won’t marry you but I’ll treat you like my wife.
    Its going to be fiery but we have such a special bond..
    Ill buy you a ring that shows your true worth .

    All rubbish. I got Binned off when he became available /single and told I was now a close friend. Apparently the bond was still there. I’d touched his heart like no other.

    1. Vnarcobsessed says:

      I recently told my narc that his online activity may suggest that he’s got a new girl, he did not confirm/deny but told me that I was “unbelievable.” He Ignored several texts, and I in turn, turned off my “active” button on messenger so that I could no longer see his activity, nor he mine. I suspect this may have effected him somehow. I am a sipss, and we are both married screwing around for a year’s time. Would a mmrn view this as being disloyal, or disregard it as I am on the shelf? Thank you to all as this is the only place I can come to for answers.

      1. HG Tudor says:

        You are welcome and you are correct this is the only place you need for the absolute answers.

        1. Vnarcobsessed says:

          Thank you. Do you suppose my actions as mentioned above may have been disregarded by my narc as I am presently on the shelf as his ipss? My messenger settings having been changed si as he cannot mess with my mind?

          1. HG Tudor says:

            I do not see the actions as mentioned above in my moderation pane and therefore I am not in a position to comment. If you require input as to your specific situation, this requires additional information from you so I can provide you with an accurate response and you should organise a consultation.

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