The Smiling Assassin



We are masters of the back-handed compliment, the flattery which is actually a form of provocation, the kings of seemingly pleasant comments which are really put downs. We appear with that radiant and broad smile as we then slip a stiletto knife between your ribs with deft ease. Nobody else sees us do this. It appears to everyone else, as we stand there with our false smile plastered across our faces, that we are giving you a loving hug. Our outside appearance to the world and the maintenance of our façade remains intact as we slip through your defences and land a blow against you. We revel in seeing you smiling in return, your eyes lighting up with delight at our benign manner towards you only then for you to realise the import of what we have actually said. As the metaphorical dagger pierces your skin, you realise that is actually meant by what we have said to you. It appeared as a compliment but in actual fact we have told you something which will trouble you, upset you or anger you. Your eyes narrow with confusion and we see that look of uncertainty cross your face as you cannot quite believe what is happening. Did you hear what we said correctly? Have you misinterpreted the comment that we made? Did we really just say that? We can see how you are torn between wanting to accept the supposed compliment and then that sinking sensation as you realise that we have just made a barbed comment which appeared to be a pleasant one. The look on your face is akin to the look of bewildered astonishment that one might see on a wildebeest as it is brought to ground by a hungry lion and is eaten alive from behind. It cannot quite comprehend what is happening and neither can you.

What makes it worse is that to everyone else we appear to smiling, hugging you and being pleasant. You want to react. You want to push us away from you. You want to chastise us, lash out and reprimand us for what we have just said, but the way that we framed this back-handed compliment means that you would appear mean, ungrateful and churlish if you did so. Just as we remain close to you, holding you, dagger still lodged between your ribs as we slowly twist it, you can do nothing but remain where you are as everyone else looks on thinking that we are being pleasant to you. We know that because you are a decent and pleasant person you are conditioned to accept the compliment and not rail against it, even when you realise that it is actually hurtful. This allows us to see just how strong our control over you is. If you react to the barbed comment and lash out at us, crying or shouting at us for our remark, then we gain fuel. If you remain silent and confused by it, unable to mask your hurt and disappointment, we still gain fuel but we also derive a significant indication of our power over you. We are able to make a hurtful remark seem like a compliment and have you accept it. This is a useful way for us to put you down whilst appearing to be pleasant. It also allows us to reinforce our perceived superiority over you through the application of this control. This technique also utilises our favoured mechanism of plausible deniability. There is a degree of ambiguity whereby if you attempted to pin the blame on us for precisely what we have intended to say, we would be able to reject that assertion. We are able to accuse you of reading too much into it, twisting our words and over-reacting. All favourite methods of rejecting you intended blame and of stoking the emotional fires further. We can feign hurt by stating we were paying you a compliment and you have taken it the wrong way. Again. We then want you to apologise, soothe us and feel guilty for trying to suggest that we would do anything other than be pleasant to you. Of course, this technique where we come with smiles as we plunge our critical knife into you, is one which we revel in deploying and is just part of our arsenal that is designed to mess with your thinking. Did we say what you thought we said? What did we really mean from that comment? Are you in fact over-analysing it or should you trust your initial judgement here? All of these factors unsettle, confuse and undermine you, eroding your confidence and clouding your judgement. It is all par the course and entirely why we behave as smiling assassins. There are numerous ways this is done and here are seven of the often used back-handed provocations.


  1. Condescend

We will talk to you in a condescending tone for the purposes of belittling you, making you feel inferior and causing us to look far better by comparison. We offer unwanted advice, talk to you from the position of always knowing what is right and what is best. Of course, should you challenge this overly paternalistic approach to the way we deal with you we will point out that we only want what is best for you, that we are only trying to help you and do have your best interests at heart. Is it a crime to do that for you?

  1. Insider Jokes

We will engage in making comments which cause members of our devout coterie to laugh and giggle but you are left in the dark as to what is so funny. We will use terms that amuse us and our followers considerably but seem meaningless to you. This will make you feel uncomfortable and isolated and if you should commence some kind of protest we will point out that we have not involved you because you would be bored by the silliness (thus inferring you have no sense of humour but making it seem as if you are above our schoolboy sniggering and this is a good thing) or that you would not be interested in our style of humour because you are too highbrow for such base comments and observations.


  1. Our Ex

We will repeatedly mention that our ex is still in love with us, indeed he or she still tries to contact us and they leave messages and have telephoned us a few times. Of course we tell you that you have no need to worry because that was in the past and we are with you now, you are the person that matters. This is designed to make it appear like we can brush aside the presence of our ex because we are in love with you. In fact, although it sounds like this, we use it as a means of securing carte blanche for mentioning the ex on many occasions so it unsettles you. Of course you are hamstrung from saying anything because that would make you seem insecure and you do not want to show that this is true. Thus we feel free to keep making mention of our ex and continue to triangulate them with you.


  1. Ignoring You

We ignore you and dole out a silent treatment with all of the fuel providing and control ramification which arise from this particular manipulation. Should you even begin to protest we point out that we are so glad we are with you because you understand our need for space and some time to ourselves. This appears like a compliment and is designed to flatter you into allowing us to keep doling out these silent treatments as and when we want in order to ignore you because we can then focus on gaining fuel from other parties when we are apart from you.


  1. The Ex Again

We talk incessantly about the qualities of the ex, highlighting all of their many wonderful attributes (which of course is a sudden change from when we were calling them demon spawn when we first seduced you but that’s all changed now). We babble on about how marvellous they are, the funny things they said, how beautiful they looked, the achievements they secured and so on before telling you that we are so pleased that you are so understanding that we can talk about past relationships with you. This supposed compliment restricts you from commenting adversely but we know that inside you are fuming and desperate to reprimand us in some way. How we delight in knowing this and seeing your trying to maintain a pleasant smile when inside we know you are dying.

  1. Flirtation

We flirt shamelessly and we know you see us doing this. We also know how it hurts and angers you but we fire a compliment your way by telling you that it is refreshing to be with someone who allows us to be ourselves, someone who is not jealous and someone who is so trusting. These compliments are designed to keep you quiet as we get on with doing what we please. We draw fuel from those we flirt with and all the while we keep casting backward glances to the trusting you seeing the gathering anger in your eyes.


  1. Spending Time with Others

We spend time with other people. It may be chatting someone up in the bar, hanging out with our friends, chasing down new prospects, wowing the crowd at a work function and so on. This blatant fuel-gathering is crucial to us and when we wander in later after our third consecutive night out we head you off at the pass by praising you by saying how lucky we are to have someone who understands that because they get all of our attention most of the time, we need to be able to spend some time with other people. Once again, this comment is designed to back you into a corner and have you standing, arms crossed and fuming, teetering between our control and providing us with even more fuel.

17 thoughts on “The Smiling Assassin

  1. Fuel on the Shelf says:

    If the narc wants the fuel of the emotional responses all the time then why would he unload his “vitriolic bullshit” via text (“you are too clingy and it makes me withdraw and feel uncomfortable blah blah blah”) and end it with something like this?

    “Now, no matter how unfair you think of what I just said, please do NOT give me an emotional encyclopedia of your responses. Because I already KNOW what you are going to say and I could easily write it myself. Okay?”

    WTF? I thought you all WANTED such a response. But now such a response is being shut down in advance?

    Why is this?

    1. HG Tudor says:

      1. To confuse you.
      2. To provoke you into responding further purely because we have denied you the opportunity of doing so.
      3. To assert superiority by telling you to stay quiet.

      1. gabbanzobean says:

        Oh it gets even better from there. After pretty much shutting me down, he then said he needed space from me. So I left him alone. Then a few hours later (yes the span of a few HOURS) he texts me again pouring on the sugar and re-opening the conversation he shut down earlier.

        “I know my prior message was a lot to take in. I am sorry that it has to come to that but I love you very much and we will get through this like we always do” then it went on to how he was hitting the bar (next to his office) in an attempt to calm down.

        Me (sarcastic): “Cool that your frustration with me is making you drink!”

        Him: “No not just you darling, a small part of it yes but I was planning to hit the bottle today anyway”

        Me (sarcastic): “So you’re drunk texting me?”

        Him: “No, darling”

        Me: “I thought you wanted space, why are you reaching out to me?”

        Him: “I am so tired and weary I have no idea what I want…”

        I didn’t reply and it has been silent ever since.

        Fucking contradiction factory.

      2. Santa says:

        I do it all on purpose now! It makes me feel better. In my mind it’s confusing my Narc, give him what he considered fuel and it shuts him up. I’m having a field day with my fiancé because I now know exactly what he thinks love is. It’s just different so I do what it takes for me to heal , therefore shortly he’ll just be someone I used to know. Karma………. it’s fascinating. I also believe that if you show someone who has created this false self because they were never good enough in childhood and not loved and nurtured as a human should be will think twice if you tell them so. Like you HG you will heal! Whether you think so or not you are already by helping us with your knowledge. I’m sorry you weren’t loved and your childhood was emotionally empty. But your helping and that is a good deed. It shows empathy on some level. God bless you! ❤️

  2. Mary says:

    The example this always makes me think of is when my rabbit of 14 years died. He had good food, medical needs attended to, and was loved, but I had not given him as much attention as I should have, and I was feeling awful about it. I was crying and asked my husband “Do you think he was happy?” He said, “Oddly enough, yes. Because he always seemed happier than he should have been.” For two seconds it was comforting, then I felt the knife digging into my guts.

    1. windstorm says:

      I know just what you mean. The comment about your rabbit is exactly the sort of thing Pretzel would have said.

      1. Mary says:

        Windstorm, I’m sorry. It’s messed up that anyone would enjoy seeing the hurt on someone’s face when they say that crap!

        1. windstorm says:

          True. But that gets them fuel to make us doubt ourselves.

  3. J.G says:

    Hello, H.G. Tudor.
    I was thinking here.
    What if with the same flattering way, but without emotional attention, the victim spied criticism of the narcissist in response to his poisoned flattering comments?
    I think that reaction is not expected, and it would have to fold somehow or endure the guy.
    Immediately, I would have to look for another fuel somewhere else. Inevitably…

    “You know M…… I’ve always wondered why in this world there are always people who have too big mouths, and too small and defective brains. That’s why they always think with their microdicks. I’ve always been really disgusted with this kind of people, because they have cow’s buns for brains. If you are unintelligent, please shut up. Now I understand why your head is always surrounded by fucking flies.”

    1. J.G says:

      dung, cow manure.

  4. nunya biz says:

    My mother in law once told me that the bottom of my kitchen sink was beautiful and that she had never seen it before.

    1. windstorm says:

      Nunya biz
      Ha, ha! That sink comment sounds like something my mother would have said. Did your MIL have a little smirky smile when she said it?

      1. nunya biz says:

        Lol, WS, it was of my hallmark narc moments with my husband’s family. They amuse me slightly more than mine. No, she is too good to smirk. She looks innocent at all times, the woman is talented. In a rare moment of lucidity I looked at my husband with coffee in my hand and said “it’s too early in the morning for this shit” and I went back to my room.
        She never helps clean up at anyone’s house and her house is not clean. I have dishes because I like to cook for her (which she does compliment).

    2. S. Grace says:

      Great example Nunya Biz.

      1. nunya biz says:

        Ha, thanks S. Grace.

  5. W says:

    Now it’s useful and entertaining to grasp and witness and act accordingly w my MMR elite
    But oh how I wish I’d known sooner. I could have supernova’d the SHIT outta my LMR somatic narcoholic lol

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