The Incredible Sulk

THE INCREDIBLESULK

Who is the Incredible Sulk?

Unsurprisingly, he or she is a Mid-Range Narcissist. Lesser may occasionally sulk but it is rare, they are far more likely to explode with heated fury, either lashing out at your by name-calling or windmilling fists. The Greater may also sulk, but that is a very rare occurrence as the Greater regards such a passive-aggressive behaviour as beneath him and would rather use threat and intimidation as the expressions of his heated fury and escalate them from that point.

The Mid-Range Narcissist utilises passive aggressive behaviours in order to draw fuel. Chief amongst those behaviours are pity plays, cold shoulders, baleful glares and silent treatments. There is however a particular manipulation that some Mid-Rangers will use and this is when they become the Incredible Sulk. What are the main features of the Incredible Sulk?

  1. It is a Present Silent Treatment. The Incredible Sulk is never an Absent Silent Treatment. This is because the Absent Silent Treatment serves two functions. The first is to draw fuel from you as the main victim by making you worry where the narcissist has gone and also to have you trying to effect contact which in turn provides fuel to us. The second function is that it usually (although not always) enables the narcissist to focus on seducing someone else. Accordingly, that two week disappearance or two day vanishing act is being used to upset and anger you, but at the same time this will be used to draw somebody else in. It stands to reason therefore that if the charm et al is being used against someone else there cannot be an Incredible Sulk taking place. Even if (unusually) this absence is not being used to seduce someone else, there is not a sulk in progress. The Absent Silent Treatment is a   Cold Shoulder whereby the Mid-Ranger is being more aggressive in his ignoring of the victim.
  2. The Incredible Sulk occurs when the narcissist remains present to the victim for the whole purpose of enabling the victim (usually the IPPS but will also include family member  Non-Intimate Secondary Sources “NISSs”, family NISSs and sometimes colleague NISSs). When the Incredible Sulk is in progress, it is not just a case of the IPPS being singled out for the silent treatment and the narcissist speaking with everybody else, not at all. The Incredible Sulk is with everybody.
  3. The Incredible Sulk is a manifestation of cold fury. The Mid-Range Narcissist will have been criticised (usually unintentionally) and this has then ignited his or her fury, leading to the silent treatment.
  4. Whilst it is criticism which is the catalyst for the Incredible Sulk, one of the defining features which remains at the heart of its operation is envy. Just as the Incredible Hulk went into Hulk mode by turning green, the Incredible Sulk is also green, but it is with envy. Huge, visceral envy for others and how they are outflanking, outgunning and outperforming him or her. The Mid-Range Narcissist who is prone to engaging in the Incredible Sulk is one who has a huge envy issue. Envy is a common theme for all of our kind, but especially so for some and if they are Mid-Range it manifests as the Incredible Sulk. The Mid-Range Narcissist will be envious of something said and/or done by the victim (usually the IPPS) and whilst this is part of the criticism it is this envy which is perpetuating the Incredible Sulk. The narcissist will be envious of the victims prowess in some regard, for instance if the victim has passed an examination or secured a new and prestigious job, been given a significant pay rise, been complimented by somebody or has achieved an accomplishment. The spotlight (even if not asked for by the victim) is on the victim and the narcissist hates this. It underlines to him how mean and cruel the world is, how unfair his life has become and it is of course all the fault of the person that the narcissist envies.
  5. Whilst engaged in an Incredible Sulk the narcissist is sullen, uncommunicative, self-pitying and doleful. There is no baleful glare directed at anybody. There is no curled lip in readiness for a snarl. There is no blackened look. Instead, the Incredible Sulk will stare at the floor as if willing it to open up and consume him. He will gaze with wistful angst from the window or pick up some personal object and fix his eyes on it as he turns it over and over in his hands, depicting how wrought with dejection he is.
  6. The Incredible Sulk is maintained for a considerable period of time. This is not a fifteen minutes or two hour present silent treatment. This will last for at least a day and most likely longer. Any attempt to communicate with the Incredible Sulk will be met with him or her not responding at all, shrugging or fixing the recipient with a hangdog expression as if every woe in the world is pressing down on and being experienced by the narcissist.
  7. The Incredible Sulk wants everyone to be looking at him, flocking around him, asking what is wrong, suggesting ways to break this state. He wants his IPPS trying to establish whatever is the matter. He will expect his children to be pulling on his sleeve asking “Dad, what’s up?” If the children are young, their uncomprehending tears will only add to the fuel. He does not care for their upset. In the narcissist’s mind, he feels only dejection, rejection and self-pity. He knows the world does not care about him, but it should and this state is a representation of how he knows the world regards him. Even if the IPPS invites friends, family, colleagues around to try and break this almost catatonic state that the narcissist has entered, those trying to inject a smile or at least some kind of positive reaction in the narcissist will only be met with the doleful stare of the narcissist which seems to be saying “There is no hope for me anymore”. It is an instinctive response of the Incredible Sulk and is designed to draw yet more fuel through consternation, bewilderment and redoubled efforts to help.
  8. There are two reasons why the Incredible Sulk operates by involving everybody around him or her, rather than say the IPPS (which is the usual outcome of a Present Silent Treatment). The first is that the more people which are responding to the Incredible Sulk, the more fuel is available The second reason is that if the IPPS becomes fed up of trying to elicit a positive response, there will still be others (children, friends, other family members) who will keep trying and thus the fuel continues to flow.
  9. The Incredible Sulk wants fuel from this behaviour. He wants to be fawned over, mollycoddled, told how much he is loved, apologised to and made to feel special. Even when the wound that arose from the criticism has been healed, the Incredible Sulk will keep this behaviour going because it is so effective at drawing fuel. He also regards it as his right to do this – the world owes him it. It should be lauding him, respecting him and idealising him and its failure to do so means that instead he is entitled to withdraw (yet remain) and drink up all of the consequential fuel from the appliances affected by the Incredible Sulk.
  10. The Incredible Sulk is unlikely to eat (again for effect by making it appear as if there is something seriously wrong), they will miss certain activities they would usually engage in (for instance not going out with friends) in order to draw more fuel appliances into the catchment of the Incredible Sulk and will give the impression that he or she has entered some kind of depressed state. There is no such depression but the Incredible Sulk is content to make it appear so as this will generate more concern and fuel.
  11. He or she will sit for hours on end in a chair, staring at the television, apparently not really taking in what is going on. Mealtimes will be ignored and even food brought to the Incredible Sulk will be ignored or just picked at. He or she will walk slowly, moping about, emitting occasional sighs of dejection and flopping listlessly into bed or onto the settee.
  12. The Incredible Sulk has no difficulty in maintaining this state because he or she is initially wounded and then the huge envy that this particular Mid-Range Narcissist suffers from will perpetuate the behaviour over several days. Work will be missed with a concerned spouse calling in on behalf of the narcissist, doctors will be consulted and the Incredible Sulk will continue as of course this is all fuel.
  13. The only way to break the Incredible Sulk is to ignore it wholesale. This means everybody in the vicinity. Nobody ought to pay the Incredible Sulk any attention At first this will cause the Mid-Ranger to respond by trying to draw more attention through loud sighs, slumping, holding his or her head in her hands, muttering under his or breath. These are just further manipulations and should be ignored. Once the Incredible Sulk realises that this showcase silent treatment is not having any effect any more he will slowly emerge from it. He or she will not just snap out of it, but rather emerge like some kind of hibernating creature. Once this happens, resist the urge to ask “what was all that about” as you will only be fuelling the narcissist. Act as if it never happened. This will be difficult to do and offend your sense of empathy to assist someone and establish what was going on, but once you recognise that an Incredible Sulk is in hand you will know how to address it.
  14. The Incredible Sulk is not just rolled out at home. It might appear in a social setting whereby the Incredible Sulk will suddenly just not speak with anybody and will sit staring at his or her drink, looking through people and appearing as if ‘not there’ in order to garner attention. It might be during a meet gin with colleagues where the narcissist will just look out of the window as if pre-occupied before giving a dejected and puppy dog look at someone as if to say “I am so troubled and you have no idea.” It is all about garnering sympathy and pity. It is not an aggressive sulk that is telling people to stay away, not at all, it is one which is designed to draw people and thus their fuel as they try to work out what is wrong and help.

Thus this is the Incredible Sulk. Just be thankful no shirts or trousers were ripped in the process.

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20 thoughts on “The Incredible Sulk”

  1. Hmmm. I did the sulk frequently when I was 7-12 yrs old. At worst I could be silent for days (usually hours). It was aimed at my mother, who I found at that time unfair, not believing me, setting my sister as the standard, making me feel redundant etc. I remember being very very angry and not able to express it. I felt powerless. She would come up with something that would make the thing I was angry about my own fault. The creation of resentment. Took (takes?!!) me long into my adult life to steer that in a better direction. Damn.

    1. shesaw: It seems your mother stirred up your narcissistic traits. I believe I read HG Tudor saying that codependents were on their way to become narcissists at some point, but did not end up going that far. I wonder what stopped the continuation, if this is your case….It is only since I have been looking into narcissism that I realize how much parents have done to their children. I actually believed largely in the wholesome family, white picket fence, and family values, that I had in my family and from growing up in the Midwest, where we constantly were told how good life was in the United States and how great the family structure was. Now, that I have lived in a few cities, I see that everyone was not taught the same mantra, and definitely did not live it. And, were not constantly told that they were living it. I was neither the Golden Child nor The Scapegoat amongst my siblings. They all were Golden. I was the invisible child. I wonder if any of us got off the hook. I still feel invisible, most of the time.

      1. Hi princesssuperempath, I honestly don’t know. I don’t believe my mother was a narcissist. She loathed her own sensitivity and always made me feel like I was seriously in trouble being sensitive, too. So that was one problematic thing.
        Another problem was that my parents were fundamentalist-like protestants. They loved us – but they loved God more. Its a strange thing. It probably feels somewhat similar to a child of a narcissist: not being seen for who you are, never good enough (always a sinner).

        I don’t think one of our family was a narcissist, or on the route to be one. But I believe that an overly religious education can very well set you up for a future relationship with a narcissist. I am not religious anymore, but I had to deal with its legacy: I had become very good at doubting my own intentions and second-guessing my own motives! (“I love your doubt” – Nex used to say 😈)

  2. HG, Would you say Ted Bundy was a Greater Narcissist, and if so a Lower, Mid-Range or Lesser Greater?

  3. mommypino. This is the 3rd week that I have stayed away from work It is so refreshing to be away. It sort of feels like a Sulk, except I do not in any sense, want to be contacted. I need to give the narc and the monkeys time to enjoy each other without bonding over me. I am pretty sure they think I am playing sick and sulking over something or other. I can not stay away forever though. I am having more good days than bad now, but I am winning only by a nose. But, it feels so good to not feel responsible for what other people do or what other people think about me. It is a new feeling for me. I feel more balanced. I think learning about Narcs on Narcsite, is also good strategy for me to deal with all psychotic people in the future as well as now notice when such behavior rises up in me in response: A new awareness. Right now, I feel narcissistic. I have painted the Narc and the Flying Monkeys, Black. Deep Black. And, right now…that is a good thing. Silent treatment for all of them.

    1. Dearest HG: I just do not believe it. I am here minding my own business, taking a well-deserved breather from Narcville, reading your newest posts and I just got hoovered from the Narc in a text message, about when I am coming back to work. He has never done that before. Plus, I have been going silent on him, for about a month now. I had to answer, next week. Do narcs know when someone is breaking free? Or, like you say, a Hoover execution criteria, I believe it is called, must have happened? Or, the flying monkeys are painted Black right now. Or his facade is looking questionable right now, or someone else is being devalued right now, or good fuel is in a bit of a shortage right now, or a combination of some or all or none of the above? It could be over nothing at all, you said. I have learned so much from you. But, not enough at this time. I did feel my emotional thinking trying to surge up, but I am pleased to say, that I have it in an arm bar. But, it is still struggling and refusing to tap out in utter defeat. But, the emotionally thinking is not running amuck like before. My logic is at least in the ring struggling with the emotional thinking, HG. It is a battle royale. It is all so Unbelievable.

    2. Princesssuperempath, I’m happy that you are breaking free! Staying away from their toxic web is the best way to recover. They will Hoover as they feel that you are breaking free from their grip just like my stepdaughters did. But eventually we will be out of that ET that we don’t even feel anything when they try to hoover, not even hate. We just see them for what they are and we just know that we don’t jive with them. Our sulk when we first keep our distance from them is not really a sulk because it’s more of a self care than a manipulative mind game. We don’t wish for them to cater to us, we just want to be well. I noticed with the narcs in my life, their incredible sulk happens when something good is happening to me or the spotlight is on me: when I was getting married, when we were talking about our honeymoon, when we announced that I’m pregnant, during my baby shower, birthdays of my kids, my graduation, etc. When I was still trying to bring peace to our family, I catered to them. For example during my baby shower when they were sulking in the corner and not interacting with anybody, I told everybody funny and cute anecdotes about their childhood and made jokes that highlight their good qualities and they started laughing and enjoying themselves but after the party they told their dad and other relatives that ny baby shower sucked. They sulk to bring the spotlight back to them. We sulk privately and to cope with something.
      I’m happy that you’re having more good days than bad now. I’m happy that the narcsite has also given you enlightenment as to how they have been treating you. That realization and awareness helps us assert our boundaries because we realize what they really are. More power to you princesssuperempath!

      1. mommypino: It is amazing how you had to soothe them down, when something good happened to you. Incredible. Never fall ill: They would each line up to see you so that they could somehow receive the attention from you, so that you can soothe them down, to make them not feel jealous that you are ill. Incredible. I agree with what you said here: `They sulk to bring the spotlight back to them. We sulk privately and to cope with something.“ But, you know, mommypino. That Hoover tainted this 3rd week away. I will fight off the violated feeling. I did not want a hoover. It is toxic. Thanks for wishing more power to me. I need it, mommypino. It is difficult to be a contender in someone else`s game. But, HG has been correct every step of this: journey to the defeat of the Narcs. Sounds like that old TV series: Voyage to the bottom of the Sea.

  4. I hate being around people who sulk. My stepdaughters call their irritating sulky demeanor as “resting bitch face” and they’re proud of it.

    1. Me, too. Maybe I’m “immune” to it because my father acted like a little boy all the time, going into his room to sulk … my sister and my mother would go after him and try to sooth him, I never did, it was so ridiculous.

      1. ava101. Wow! It is good that you did not fall for the sulk. Did your dad notice? I do not fall for the sulk, but I fell for the Gap, that HG Tudor wrote about. You, know, when the narc`s created worldview fails against reality for a period of time and the narc sort of deteriorates before your very eyes…I sort of forgot how to define the Gap, but I hope you know what I mean.

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