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.

46 thoughts on “Bringing Down The Shutters

  1. Sweetest Perfection says:

    K, I was reading the article you reposted again and I immediately thought of Shylock’s monologue in The Merchant of Venice, but in reverse; instead of pointing out the common features that make us all vulnerable and empathic human beings, it lists the negative features that all narcissists have in common: “Do we not all regard people as objects as appliances? Do we not all lack emotional empathy? Do we not all experience envy, jealousy and hatred? Do we not all utilise black and white thinking? Do we not all have an overwhelming need for control of our environments?” Brilliant. Tudor, the Bard of narcissists.

    1. K says:

      Sweetest Perfection
      That was a great play and if you liked the penultimate paragraph in the article then I think you will enjoy Narc Club.

      1. Sweetest Perfection says:

        I cannot enjoy Narc Club. I find their ways despicable. But I love the fact you use penultimate and we should be friends 😘

        1. K says:

          Sweetest Perfection
          Ha ha ha…penultimate is a good word and we should definitely be friends. Next time, I will send you a better article.

  2. Sweetest Perfection says:

    HG, indeed. “History is written by the victors.”

    1. Sweetest Perfection says:

      This should be in its correct place, but it’s OK. Chaos is more interesting than order. Yay, quantum reply system in WordPress!

      1. Leanne says:

        LOL Sweetest P!

        Tip: if you answer directly from email, they USUALLY end up in the correct order

        But I agree with you… chaos is king 🙃

      2. Sweetest Perfection says:

        Love me as I am, or disengage! 🤣

  3. Jasmine says:

    YES! YES! YES!

    And the last one… bringing down the real shutters (hiding the abuse from; neighbors, friends, family).

    Been there.

  4. freedgypsysoul says:

    I still have all the text messages where I attempted to figure out what was going on because I acutely felt the withdrawal. His response was always, no, you’re doing fine, the relationship is doing fine, there is nothing to worry about (as he triangulated me with either the mother of his child ex, the neighbour downstairs now his current girlfriend or his ex wife who he was texting telling her he still loves her, wants her back, and asking her out for lunch or drinks or inviting her to the same camping weekends we were heading out on). I realize now that those names didn’t just randomly pop in to our conversations, if he brought them in, it meant he was recently with them or planning on being with them. Due to a friendship I now have with the ex wife, a cross comparison of my log history on my cellphone and the log history and contents of conversations on her phone, oh ya….it’s extremely obvious!

    1. lisk says:


      I wish I had someone with whom I could have a cross-comparison of our logging histories. But, frankly, I don’t really need it. I don’t need hard evidence to know that plenty of things happened behind my back, and even in front of my face as you mention: “those names” popped into my conversations with the narc as well.

      I wonder, were the narc’s looking to be found out?

      1. freedgypsysoul says:

        HG….What do you think? Were they looking for us to find out? Or were they really that naive in their quest for fuel that our reaction all they were after, not realizing the info they were giving us

        1. HG Tudor says:

          To find out what FGS (I do not see the earlier comments in my moderation pane hence why I have to ask).

          1. freedgypsysoul says:

            Forgot that the comments do not follow in the thread. Lisk had asked if the narcs were wanting us to find out when they were with others by mentioning the names in triangulation; were they looking to be caught? Perhaps that was to engage us in lashing out to acquire negative fuel when we accused them. You know, I’m not sure if this comment even makes sense now as it’s currently 3am in my world!

          2. HG Tudor says:

            No. It is done to triangulate and then of course avoid accountability if you accuse the narcissist of cheating. A lesser would likely admit it because he has no regard for the façade, would blameshift and carry on. The MR is concerned about façade therefore hides the infidelity, but will still triangulate to prompt a reaction and cause the IPPS to feel unsettled and uncertain. The Greater may admit to it for the sheer enjoyment of the fallout and then move on as ever, keep it hidden or triangulate but deny any wrongdoing but do so in a way to telegraph to the victim that he is seeing someone else but also telling the victim ‘not that you can prove I am’.

      2. Sweetest Perfection says:

        I’m gonna post this here and keep my fingers crossed HG gets it. I quote you on triangulation “The MR is concerned about façade therefore hides the infidelity, but will still triangulate to prompt a reaction and cause the IPPS to feel unsettled and uncertain.” I could keep on reading about the Greater but I don’t give my narc so much credit, I don’t think he’s that special. So, my question: would the statement above apply to triangulation on IPSS vs. other IPSS? What if the N has stated he does not want to break up his marriage, what’s the point of triangulating one mistress vs another?

        1. HG Tudor says:

          Yes it could apply to a situation where the narcissist has two IPSSs.
          Fuel, naturally and the exertion of control.

          1. Sweetest Perfection says:

            Thanks for your reply.

    2. Joanne says:

      FGS, I am also able to see now how much he triangulated me with so many others and how they would just pop into our conversations: an old girlfriend that started texting him again, a waitress in a restaurant that was flirting with him, someone at his gym. Of course he was an innocent bystander in all this. He didn’t do anything to encourage them, they just flirted with him, blah blah. I laughed it off because he had me so convinced he was in love with me and I was head and shoulders above all the rest. And I too, have all the texts. I was so aware of the withdrawal, and as dumb as it sounds the absence of emojis was so telling as well 🙁

      1. freedgypsysoul says:

        Thank you for adding some detail in your comment here; the mother of his child is named Joanne and the cocaine addict who lived downstairs who is now his current girlfriend, is also named Joanne. Made me think for a minute, but then I decided that if you were one of them and had found this site, that I would pat you on the back instead of censor my comments. What happened to me was real; I felt it, I lived it, I lived thru it (behind the closed shutters), it existed in more than just my imagination therefore it deserves to be brought to light, especially if it helps anyone else.

    3. Joanne says:

      Sorry to alarm, FGS! You can rest assured I’m not your narc’s Joanne. My only children are those of my husband (who incidentally, is NOT my narc) and thankfully I’m not a cocaine addict 😉

      1. freedgypsysoul says:

        Mine has not one, but 2 Joanne’s; he even gave them both the same ring tone and and text tone on his cellphone that way I would think it was only his ex who was messaging him when I heard the sound instead of also the new one that he was pursuing as well. He never realized that I knew he had both set up the same way.

    4. Sweetest Perfection says:

      OMG freedgypsysoul, I had the exact same experience, as he triangulated me with the other IPSS whose name I know. “We are fine, it’s just a consequence of our distance at this moment and the strength of my feelings for you, I prefer to keep it low.” Right on moron. This woman showed up in every conversation, he even insinuated we should be friends because we were very similar. I doubt she knows what he is but I won’t tell her because she helped me get out by getting in. Sorry not sorry.

      1. freedgypsysoul says:


        “sorry not sorry”

        You summed that up really well. Thank you very much 🙂

    5. Leanne says:

      It’s enlightening how much you can learn from the exes. One of my best “stabilizers” in my struggle to make sense of all the lies. I owe her a lot

      1. freedgypsysoul says:

        I’m one of 3 exes that speak together now. He tried so hard to triangulate and keep us from talking but in the end, we have a better friendship between us than he’ll ever have the pleasure of knowing or understanding.

  5. Joanne says:

    Wow, for a moment there (rather narcissistically) I thought you took inspiration from my situation we consulted on and used it for this blog. Then I looked back and saw this is a repost from well before this even happened to me. It completely blows my mind that this type of behavior pattern is almost identical across the narc community. The questions of what’s wrong with you, you denying there’s anything wrong, the questions on why the kissy emojis have lessened, you making it seem like we’re imagining things. It’s as if you are all reading from the same overused narc manual :/

    1. K says:

      I am not sure if you are familiar with this article but you might like it.

      1. Joanne says:

        Thanks for the link, K. This is a different way of looking at it, “these behaviors make us narcissists” versus “narcissists must behave a certain way.” And yes, for me, that definitely makes sense at the macro level. But when I see similarities on a super granular level (such as in the conversation within this blog being almost identical to one I’ve had) it really makes me wonder how this can be! Not to mention some of the specific details that HG illustrates will start causing me to believe he’s running some underground narc training course or something.

        Side note: I see that link was from September. Sometimes I’ll catch an older one and think, “how’d I miss this?” Then I have to remind myself that I’ve only been in this web since October even though it feels like half an eternity 😉

        1. K says:

          You are welcome Joanne
          Ha ha ha…it really does seem as if there is an underground network of secret narc training courses operating around the globe and HG has an uncanny ability to articulate our experiences almost as if he has spied on us. It is quite amazing when you think of it.

          Don’t worry about missing any articles, they rotate and you can always catch them the next time around and you can pull them up whenever you want, if you type: playbook, into the search bar on the upper right it will pull up that article for you. October, you are still a newbie! I am happy you found narcsite; it is a great place to be.

      2. Sweetest Perfection says:

        Thanks for reposting this, K.

        1. K says:

          My pleasure Sweetest Perfection
          Ha ha ha…I loved your comment to freedgypsysoul. “Sorry not sorry.” Thanks for the laugh.

      3. Sweetest Perfection says:

        I have a very dark sense of humor. I might be wrong (HG will definitely say I’m wrong) but I’m starting to suspect logical thinking equals acting like a selfish bitch. Most times.

        1. HG Tudor says:

          Self-interest, yes. Selfish – only to the vanquished.

      4. Mercy says:

        K this is one of my favorites. Thanks for reminding me of it. The explanation at the end is genius.

        1. K says:

          My pleasure Mercy
          Ha ha ha….yup, we are not part of the Narc Club!

          1. Mercy says:

            I’m ok with that K!

          2. Sweetest Perfection says:

            I give up, everytime I try to reply to someone I end up leaving random orphan comments that make me sound like a lunatic writing to herself. Apologies, I’ll learn a better way. I’m using email reply, not sure what’s wrong.

          3. NarcAngel says:

            Just put the name of the person youre speaking to before your comment. Saves a lot of time and confusion.

          4. Sweetest Perfection says:

            Oooohhhhhh!!! I’ll do that! Thank you, beautiful!

  6. lisk says:

    Wow, so accurate. Brings back detailed memories of the early devaluation period as if it were only yesterday.

    Now it all makes so much sense. My enlightened self finally gets a chance to soothe the sad, confused self who thought it was something she did or said.

    1. Caroline R says:

      I agree.
      With this PRICELESS insider information that HG lavishes on us, we need time to assimilate it.

      It becomes a period of culture shock.
      We come to the realisation that we have different operating systems installed in our minds, and have made wrong assumptions because there was no cultural translator.

      HG is the only one on the planet.
      HG is our Rosetta Stone.

      I’m in process of reframing and reinterpreting all that has gone before in my life. It’s liberating, and yes, most crucially “my enlightened self finally gets a chance to soothe the sad, confused self who thought it was something she did or said”.
      You said it well.

  7. Leslie says:

    As per HG: Express your concern and availability for listening one single time. Then keep silent and move on.

    Silence is truly golden. Ignoring the provocations is an art form. Use the time inside your head to plan your escape and no contact regime.

  8. kel says:

    HG, I just remembered something from a comment from a story about how silly we are getting upset over our narc cheating on us, whether sexually or flirting or chatting. You said you wouldn’t be jealous or care if your girlfriend cheated on you – if you had done something to cause her to do that.

    But – In our point of view, we didn’t do anything to cause the narcissist to cheat, so by your way of thinking we would have every right to be angry and upset, and it wouldn’t be silly of us. Because if your IPP? (Sorry, I still glaze over all the initials, my bad) cheated on you and you didn’t cause it, then you would be wounded and furious.

    1. HG Tudor says:

      No, because from our perspective it is always your fault and we are justified in whatever we do because of our altered perspective.

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