Why Does The Narcissist Compartmentalise Appliances?



As narcissists we often engage in compartmentalisation. This articles concerns how and why we compartmentalise various appliances in our fuel matrices.

We view our lives as a series of compartments. The compartments are linked and there is an archway from one compartment to another but this archway has been bricked up by us and only we know the secret word that will open up the archway and admit us to the next compartment. You will try and search for an opening so that you may move from one compartment to another but your search will be fruitless. You will rhyme off all the passwords you can think of from ‘open sesame’ through to ‘abracadabra’ but none of them will work. There is a simple reason for that. We want you to stay in your compartment until we come back to it. We do not want you interacting with any of our other compartments because then it makes each area harder for us to control. A greater need for control mean more energy expenditure which will mean that there is less available for me to use to gather fuel and that is not something I can allow to happen.

A blissful domestic set-up will be in one compartment where I play the role of doting husband and caring father. To the external observer who looks in on the scene through the Perspex it appears to be a picture of harmony and good relations. Yet the observer cannot hear the shouting nor listen to your sobs as you are on the receiving end of another tirade. The fearful cries and the scathing admonishments fail to air beyond this compartment. You are not able to escape to another place and reveal what is really going on in this compartment. As soon as I depart to the next one then the brickwork closes behind me with lightning quick speed, trapping you where I want you. Of course I will tell you all about what is happening in the other compartments when I return, so that you will be subjected to tales of my magnificence in the work place and anecdotes about the new ‘friend’ I have in order to create some triangulated jealousy from you.

My work compartment show me as all conquering and masterful yet those that have been subjected to my brutal put downs and suffered from my repeated dumping of work on them as I breeze around town are forbidden from escaping this compartment to pollute the carefully constructed image that I have made for myself.

The members at the golf club who find my boasting odious and have seen me mark down a lower score than that which I had achieved on my score card are unable to blacken my name to my admirers beyond this particular place. Instead I depart the golf club and scurry to the bar where I regale my hangers-on with another story of my five under par round which won the competition. They coo over my success oblivious to what has actually gone on.

Home life, work life, mistress, friends, club, family and more are allotted these compartments. In each one I am a god. I rule supreme able to do as I please so that I can carry forth my stories of heroism into another compartment and there drink deep of their admiring fuel.

I spend much of my time ensuring that the inhabitants of each compartment know about one another, to multiply my fuel of course, but rarely shall I ever allow them to cross paths. This might lead to someone squaring the circle and working out what is behind my carefully orchestrated campaigns of divide and conquer. A must never speak to B who must not be allowed to tell C what really happened. I must maintain my constructed world where these people are little more than dolls in a huge segregated dolls’ house. I put them in poses and play with them so that I can create a scenario by which I can brag to others in the next room about. If they ever escaped and managed to follow me through these archways so they could compare what I have said with what has actually happened I would be truly finished. Sometimes this happens and then the compartment must be set ablaze, scorched from the record and denied an existence. Next time this compartment will be refurbished, repainted and with new dolls put in place. I must control everything around me. Everyone in their place and a place for everyone.


28 thoughts on “Why Does The Narcissist Compartmentalise Appliances?”

  2. The extreme compartmentalization helped clue me in to his mental illness because it simply is not normal to function this way. It was another reason I told IPPS – breaking down those walls was part of the final battle. That said, I didn’t even know what compartmentalization was (or hot/cold behavior or intermittent reinforcement) before my epic struggle with him. I hope it has all been for nought and I will never need to know these things again…

  3. Quite stunning how much this makes sense and how well it works. It also explains why I didn’t see it coming…the usual rumor mill broke down and most people who had worked with him for years didn’t make mention of his tendency to sleep around or dump work on subordinates. The people that did know probably weren’t in much of a position to say anything. I thought for awhile he was reckless in such open triangulation. But he wasn’t at all. He was calculated and knew what cards to play.

    Very interesting.

  4. Hmm. I had an ex once who when discussing various childhood ‘traumas’ would state, quite happily when asked how he emotionally dealt with said traumas, that he puts them all in a shoe box and back on the shelf.

    This was years ago and I remember being so confused. Repression is the worst thing you can do in response to traumatic events. Of course, I didn’t know then what I know now. I would say to him ‘But that’s not how I deal with it’. He suggested that is precisely how I should deal with it and it worked for him.

  5. Research has shown that social media creates a context collapse, i.e., you suddenly have all your friends, coworkers, the mistress, in one same space. How would you guys say that narcs compartmentalize on social media?

    Great writing HG. I think I need to practice compatmentalizing. I liked what u said about better controlling your power this way

    1. Hey Amanda. I do this to a certain degree and it is helpful. To have one person even knowing too much about your movements is sometimes not good. As a result of ‘weaponisation’ I’ve got a much greater awareness of information and how I give it. Not one person knows everything whereas before I was an open book.

      I don’t agree with compartmentalising emotions though as the howlback when they are finally releasied can be extremely traumatic.

      1. very true. thanks for sharing. You are right, it is a weapon we can use for ourselves. You are right that u don;t want to do it for everything.
        thanks for sharing

    2. I wanted to comment on the compartmentalization via Facebook and social media. I have come to the realization that my MMRN does this. Literally as he makes filters or “groups” of people who see certain stuff.

      He has not unfriended or “blocked” me from seeing his entire page. Because that would damage his “nice guy” facade and be rude. He is never ever rude. He has over 1600 “friends”. Never unfriends anyone and the number usually grows not declines. He will make filters so that certain people see things and others don’t. It explains why there will be months with no activity at all and then all of a sudden posts will show up.

      I have suspected that he has been doing this for awhile and I never really figured it all out until now. I figured he just took a break from posting. Nope. After his son was born and I did not see any posts about it, one of our mutual friends reached out to me to ask me if I “saw” the news on Facebook. When I told her I had not and expressed my displeasure at being left out she said “oh that is weird” and then prompted me to reach out to him to “see what he says”.

      Well I fell for this little trick and I reached out to him. “Hey there….X told me about your news…why did you leave me out?” And he played it off like he had no idea why that happened. Then he assured me it was not personal and not just me “Oh a few others had the same issue where they could not see certain posts…” Yeah, whatever. Sure…

      What made me realize what he was doing was when he prompted me further to tell him more about the conversation I had with our friend. “So tell me what is going on with X? What else did she say when she reached out?”

      Also, he has asked me a few times since then if I can see his posts yet. He will text me that he fixed the issue and to “check his page” because I should now be able to see his posts. I shrugged him off and said “Oh I am not sure, I have not checked since X reached out and that was when I did not see anything”. He says “Okay well let me know if you still cannot see anything, you should be able to see it now”.

      Again, I said nothing about it but he asked again a few days later if I was able to see his posts. Again I said that I had not checked but I would let check and let him know.

      I still cannot see anything but I never followed up with him to tell him. He knows damn well who can see things and who cannot.

      It is all a game and he obviously knows what he is doing otherwise he would not keep asking me if I can see stuff (when he knows I can’t) and he would not reach out to our mutual friend and bait her into being the go-between to share his news.

      Oh and I also suppose it is a good way to keep all his “lives” separate too.

      1. Ah, FOTS, that is super twisted but of course it all makes perfect sense (to a narc of course).

        In breaking down those walls I discovered that there was no reason for my MRN to hide anything, since I already knew about IPPS. The only thing that makes sense to me is that their control issues are in part about keeping ‘the mystery’ going to make themselves seem much more intriguing than they really are.

        If Piano Man were to come to you in ‘real life’ – I mean really show up, think about if you would even want him. I knew I would not want MRN because our value systems and lifestyles were way too different – we simply did not care about the same sorts of things out there in the world.

      2. this was super interesting to read!! thanks for sharing. it was amazing learning that some narcs use filters on social media. I mean think about it, its so complicated and time consuming to keep up with filters. It is amazing they invest the time in that.

        I think your narc used your friend as a proxy hoover. What do you think? he might be ma nipulating her to keep in touch with you? She is a flying monkey /minion to him.

        keep strong. you can do it!

  6. Hi all

    I’m curious as to what to do here.
    I failed with a grand Hoover , I know I don’t feel great after this.
    The Hoover was quite unexpected , honestly I was not expecting it as I have been out of the formal relationship for some time.
    I was wrong , I was sent gifts , phone calls , and I gave in out of shock and curiosity.
    Lo and behold the moment After the call ,he vanished again.
    That was three weeks ago.I am used to this silent treatment and I’m not really bothered .Should I just let it lie , no reaction or return the card and gifts .
    I don’t want to add fuel , but part of me wants to show him I don’t care .
    Well returning would show I care wouldn’t it .

    Any suggestions

    1. Kiki
      Ignore the Silent Treatment (ST) and reestablish no contact (NC). Give away the gifts and throw out the cards (they are ever presence).

      Returning the items may give him fuel and cause another hoover. Walk away and starve him.

    2. ignore him Act like the gifts never arrived and keep them. Gaslight him about the gifts. Keep them or give them to a male friend and post pictures about it on social media.
      Good luck

  7. Back in 2012 – even before I knew about narcissism and had heard of you HG – I had a clear picture one day in my mind. Up flashed an image, My husband as a boy of about 8 years old. And I was a big doll. He shouted at the doll, then stroked the dolls hair, then he would yell again, make the doll cry, the boy would cry, yell , then laugh at the doll, with the doll. Looking back at that time – I see my sub conscious was trying to tell me, even then, that I was just a THING.

    However, HG, I don’t see my husband as comparting a lot of DOLLS, – he didn’t seem to have this up and running to the extent you have.

  8. Pingback: Why Does The Narcissist Compartmentalise Appliances? ⋆ NarcTopia
  9. Well HG over the 12 million mark you go! Congratulations!! You work so very hard and deserve this! Congratulations again! 🍻🌺😘

    1. Em,
      My MMRN used to always say “we can never be intimate again, I have too much guilt and shame and it is destroying me”. Then a few months later it would be “I cannot wait to see you and be intimate with you”.

      Me: “But you said that you could not do that anymore…”

      Him: “I was finally able to successfully compartmentalize my guilt from the last time….”

  10. The doll house…how funny how apt

    Please be so kind as to sit inside the next compartment you set ablaze. I will refurbish it afterward.

  11. Pingback: Why Does The Narcissist Compartmentalise Appliances? — Knowing the Narcissist – Maritza S. Rivera
  12. This is how Narc Friend messed up and gave himself away — he let two compartments intersect. I was in one, blissfully unaware of the IPPS and chasing him, while the IPPS was probably blissfully unaware of me. At least one other secondary source was very surprised to find out about me, and probably doesn’t know about the IPPS. In a sort of cinematic twist, he made the mistake of telling me where he was going with the IPPS (without mentioning her) but underestimated how cheaply and easily I could get there. Chaos ensued. Upon discovery, he tried to act like he wasn’t hiding anything, that this was just how he normally behaved and it was no big deal. When I was with him, he maintained the fiction that these other compartments didn’t exist, but I now suspect that several blank Facebook accounts in his name are actually him, used to maintain these different arenas of fuel. His friends and relationships can’t be traced, his online times can’t be consistently traced by any one person, and there is no way to tell his physical location at any given moment. The planning put into this compartmentalization is astounding, but I can see how it is necessary for someone like him to function. The real question is, does my knowing this preclude my being considered as a future source of fuel? Probably not . . .

  13. HG, can you write a story on empaths putting their heads together and fighting against narcissism, it would be an ultimate revenge too.

  14. “A blissful domestic set-up will be in one compartment where I play the role of doting husband and caring father. To the external observer who looks in on the scene through the Perspex it appears to be a picture of harmony and good relations.”

    And the above paragraph accurately describes my struggle.

    And the A, B and C example? That pretty much describes the week I had.

    Piano Boy is A.
    B is our mutual friend.
    I am C.

    B shared some news with C. But C was fairly certain A wanted B to tell C. Because no way would A want C out of her compartment, but B still told C. And when C had the audacity to question A to ask why it was like that, A briefly shared the news but then went silent and said nothing in response to C’s question. And the brick wall has closed up around C again.

    Most relatable article I have ever read on here.

    This is the best article I have read on here, HG. Thank you for re-sharing it.

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