The Three Letter Love Trap


It was your devotion and belief in a four letter word that led to you being targeted by us and thereafter ensnared. That was not your fault. We look for those who want love, who believe in love and dedicate themselves to the pursuit of the provision and receipt of love. Love is what caused you to appear on my radar. Love caused my antennae to twitch. Love made me lock my sights on you and commence the bombardment. Yes, love brought you to me but it is an even smaller word which prevents you from escaping. This tiny word packs plenty of bang behind its three letters. It is a word which punches above its weight. This word is one of qualification, hesitation and reservation. It causes hearts to sink and hearts to hammer in anxiety. It dashes hopes and puts in place obstacles and hurdles. This little word is one which prevents you from breaking free from our grip. It allows excuses to be made for our behaviour. It puts the brakes on, it weighs the anchor and digs in the heels. Just when you thought that you might be making some progress and getting away from our vile influence, this word appears and brings everything to a screeching halt. We often deploy this word in order to halt you when you are trying to speak. We add it to our conversations in order to protest or to create a condition precedent in order to irritate, upset and annoy you. It conveys indignation, annoyance and surprise. So much flows from such a small word. Whilst we have multiple uses for it, its primary purpose in keeping you where we want you, in our grip, confused and bewildered arises from your use of this word. You say it many times by reference to us and its effect is to cause you to question yourself. It nullifies the progress you may have made in moving away from our polluting influence. It hinders, distracts and ensures you remain bogged down. This word is repeatedly used by you, with reference to us and if you consider how many times you have used this word yourself, you will agree that its effect is considerable.

What is this word?


There it is. Look at that word. Three letters. That is all it comprises of. No grand, long word. No multiple syllables. To the point. Blunt. Effective. Small, unassuming and common. But it carries with it so much power and especially so in respect of the dynamic between your kind and our kind. This is the word which paralyses, hinders and traps. You use it all the time. We know you do. We rely on you doing so to make these traps for yourself. There are many of these traps.

“But he can be so lovely at other times.”

“But I am sure he didn’t mean it.”

“But sometimes I upset him.”

“But we have been so happy together.”

“But he said he wanted to marry me.”

“But it just doesn’t make sense.”

“But if I perhaps try a little harder then everything will work out okay won’t it?”

“But I didn’t do anything wrong.”

“But why does he do that?”

“But what causes him to say those things after everything I do for him.”

“But all I need is to understand what makes him do that.”

“But if I give him another chance, I am sure it will succeed this time.”

“But if I don’t try, how will I know?”

“But we are soulmates, that is what he said.”

“But what I don’t understand is why he does that when he tells me loves me?”

“But this is what I want. Him and me.”

“But there are times when we are happy.”

“But he is just misunderstood.”

“But we always do things as a family.”

“But he is my son.”

“But she is my mother.”

“But he is my husband.”

“But I don’t want to upset her.”

“But I don’t want to lose him.”

“But I cannot stand it without him.”

“But I don’t know what to do next.”

“But whatever I do, it is never good enough.”

“But if only he would listen to me and then we could sort it out.”

“But if he could change, then everything would be brilliant.”

“But what if she makes him happy instead.”

“But if I stop now, everything else that I have done will go to waste.”

“But doesn’t everybody have a rough patch?”

“But who will believe me?”

“But where would I go?”

“But what would I do for money?”

“But if you would just try for us.”

“But if I don’t give him another chance, I will always regret it.”

“But you don’t know him like I do.”

“But this is what is meant to be, her and me together forever.”

“But sometimes I am so happy because of him.”

“But if you would just let me speak.”

“But why do you do this to me?”

“But I love him.”

How many of those have you said to yourself or to a friend? How many times have you started a sentence with those three words? How often have you sat crying and in between sobs muttered phrases like those? How many times have you pleaded with us using that word as part of your desperate begging? Many, many times.

Whether it appears as part of an excuse, part of bewildered disbelief, the beginning of an explanation, it serves to do one thing. It stops you escaping us. This qualification to what you are saying acts as a buffer preventing you from moving forward and making progress. It causes you to offer excuses for our behaviour rather than you knowing what such behaviour signifies. It is used as a means of avoiding confronting the harsh reality of our treatment of you. It is a method of circumventing the unpleasantness of having to deal with what we are. It is a device for continuing to keep you in a position where you cannot and will not let go. Whether it is because you want to help us, whether to gain answers about what we do, whether it is because you think that the golden period can be recovered or one of a dozen or more explanations which involve the use of this word, the ultimate effect is that it keeps you connected, tied and bound to us in some way. This word is your prison guard that prevents you from escaping the cell that we have created for you. It is you who uses this word, not us. It is you that in effect curtails your own liberation by the repeated spraying around of this tiny word by reference to us and our behaviours.

It is highly effective at trapping you.

It is highly effective at stopping you moving forward.

It is highly effective at allowing our manipulations to continue.

But we know this don’t we?


22 thoughts on “The Three Letter Love Trap

  1. Nika says:

    But, I will do much better so that he will treat me like he treats his friends …

    But, I will not make him angry ever again…

    But, it’s just that I know I can make him truly happy… (it is, of course, no matter whether I am happy, or not).

    But, he has not yet seen all I can do for him, yet…

    But, he was hurt as a child…

    But, it’s just that… ya, but… I know, but…

  2. Michelle says:

    But he’s a hot guy and he’s actually talking to me . . .

  3. Kathy Mor says:

    But I also know the feeling….

  4. nunya biz says:

    “It is used as a means of avoiding confronting the harsh reality of our treatment of you. It is a method of circumventing the unpleasantness of having to deal with what we are. It is a device for continuing to keep you in a position where you cannot and will not let go. ”

    I’ve been thinking about how it’s a way of avoiding the pain of loss, but also in some ways controlling… a way of trying to convince someone to be someone else. To convince someone to change because it is worse than inconvenient to find out you are attached to someone who isn’t who they “should” be.

    I don’t think it’s quite that simple because the narcissist is essentially encouraging that and presenting themselves as someone different than who they are in order to ensnare. They do it by lying until the other person is fully attached and then they do it by tricks of logic like saying one thing and doing another to be confusing. But underneath is always that consistent lack of empathy.

    Ultimately, what I think is that there is no good in reducing your needs and expectations for someone else repeatedly and thinking you can handle it, that you can give eternally, that your best intentions will always be understood– because of what it says about the person you are doing it for. It says that you will eventually be drained, taken for granted, bled and never championed, appreciated and thoroughly thoroughly loved. I think there is always a time limit on how much you can take until you break or even worse just become a drained, patient shell.
    Stop it in the beginning.

    1. nunya biz says:

      “because of what it says about the person you are doing it for”

      And also to add- what it says about yourself.

  5. Lori says:

    But but but I only looked once

  6. shesaw says:

    N-ex pointed ‘but’ out to me.
    From that moment on but became ‘butt’ in our written communication.

  7. veronicajones1969 says:

    Everything happens for a reason it’s not a But in my case
    However look even at ancient philosophy like say Plato believed in what we call soul mates or twin flames that we were once one whole person and we were split in half and separated to the ends of the universe and our souls are making their way back to each other The narcissistic , empathic dynamic actually makes quite a bit of sense It is written about in so many things look at classics like wuthering heights , we are lacking narcissism you’re lacking empathy but we both crave passion if there is such a thing as soulmates it would be why we can’t get away from each other I don’t mean you and me I mean your empaths and my narcissist But just like you have this website here actually helping empaths whether it’s your intent or not there’s a reason for that And at the same time you must be getting something out of it to be able to understand yourself more I think when it comes to our own personal narcissists There is definitely something that we need to learn from them otherwise we wouldn’t keep repeating it
    I don’t use the but as an excuse for their behaviour the only but with me is that I love them And I don’t know how to stop
    You say control your emotional thinking and so easy to say for someone who is not deeply affected by that empaths have no control over their love I can Honestly tell you if it was a choice I would never choose a narcissist again

  8. Mercy says:

    But it’s been a really bad day and I just want to talk to him…

    1. Em says:

      Omg yes

    2. NarcAngel says:

      Why specifically him after a bad day?

      1. Mercy says:


        That’s a question I ask myself. It’s not that he has ever offered comfort. I guess it’s distraction. Over the years the constant phone calls, FB mesaages, text messages has tricked me into thinking he’s the one that’s always there for me. In reality it’s never been about me and my problems though. It’s always about him. I guess without his notifications constantly on my phone I feel lonely. 

        I’m not sad because I can’t talk to him, I can. I could pick up the phone and say the right words to get him to respond. I’m sad because I want to pick up the phone and ask him to listen to my problems. That just isn’t possible. I want him to be the person he promised to be, not the person he is.

        So why him specifically? Because even though it’s unhealthy for me to seek support from someone who isn’t capable, he still dominates my thoughts. He’s my “go-to” by default. 

        1. NarcAngel says:

          Thank you for your honesty. I often wonder why women who now see what they are still want to turn to them. I would think of turning to a trusted family member or friend (for those who have that), so I wondered if it was compassion or the urge to help them now that you understand, for sex as a distraction and to feel that highly connected to someone, etc. I believe the default setting is where you’ve hit the nail on the head. You have been over a long period, manipulated to accept that false emotional setting over a more logical one. Time for a reboot. You’re in control now.

          1. Mercy says:

            NarcAngel, I have great friends and family that I can turn to. It’s just that they see me as the strong one. It’s not comfortable for me to be seen as vulnerable but I’m getting better. Interactions with the readers here have made me realize that it’s ok to lean on others. When I wrote that original response to this article I was in a bad state of mind. It turns out that your response to me was more support than I’ve ever gotten from him so thank you.

            Reboot is very fitting. My IT department always says “when in doubt restart”. It works almost every time.

          2. Anm says:

            Mercy, I was in that situation for a while. I had a lot of triggers pop up daily that made me want to reach out to my ex narc. We used to have long philosophical discussions and had inside jokes. It was all fake though, and he didnt respect me. When I am having a really hard time, I do not reach out to some friends or family. Some people will not get narcissistic abuse even if the exposure is obvious. I have a few friends, usually women older than me, that know exactly what I am going through when things happen. If I vent to the wrong people, or to everyone, I tend to place myself in victim mode, which is not my style

          3. Mercy says:

            Anm, thanks for your response. Yes I have my moments when I just want to pick up the phone and text but they don’t last long. At this point it’s just a habit after so many years. You are right about others not understanding. That’s why I’m so grateful to this site. It’s not only educational but the support from the readers is very genuine. They all understand.

            How did it go with picking up your daughter this holiday? I hope things worked out and you were able to spend some momma daughter time with her.

          4. Anm says:

            The narcissist ex did no return her untill really late last night. Despite the narcissist being a jerk, and pulling one on me, I had to do my best to remain calm, we have pending court hearings coming up, and do not want to look crazy and unstable. One of my best friends, who’s ex is a narcissist, also had a child who didnt return forChristmas, so I know I am not alone. I have fun things planned for the kids today

          5. Mercy says:

            Anm, sorry to hear that. I read your comment about him being difficult on another thread and felt bad because I know a lot of mother’s (and father’s in some cases) have to stress about kids in the middle. It’s very sad how they use the kids to gain control. I’m lucky my kid’s dad had no ambition to fight me when I left.

            I’m glad you have fun plans today. Hope you enjoy your holidays!

          6. Anm says:

            Thank you Mercy!

          7. Anm says:

            Happy Holidays to you, as well!

      2. nunya biz says:

        I love the honesty in your answer, Mercy.

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