5 Conversational Derailments

FIVECONVERSATIONALDERAILMENTS

 

We don’t do conversations. That suggests that it is an equal process where we listen to you and your opinion is respected and deemed as valid. During seduction our conversations are both information gathering exercises and monologues which are there to showcase our brilliance. Once we devalue you, our conversations with you are tirades, imperious and haughty speeches, vicious diatribes against you where we speak and you had better damn well listen. All conversations must be controlled by us. Our need for control is considerable because if we every allow you to hold centre stage then we are losing out. We risk losing fuel, we are allowing our innate superiority to be undermined and we are ceding control to you. This is why we must never allow you to think or even achieve some kind of dominance, even if slight, during a conversation over us. The conversation is a mechanism for our use, not yours. It is for us to shine, to avoid blame, to lash out at you, to hoover you back in and enable us to achieve what we want. It is our conduit and you just happen to be involved but on the receiving end. Achieving such domination and control of the conversational arena is absolutely necessary and to maintain such a position we engage in numerous manipulations. There are many which are deployed and here are five of the most popular ways we will derail a conversation for the purposes of maintaining or seizing control.

  1. The Blame Shift

If you are trying to accuse us of something or pin the blame on us in the course of a conversation this is against our rules. We will not allow this to happen. We are unaccountable and especially so to somebody like you. If you can hold us to account through a conversation, then this reduces our superiority and allows you control. In order to prevent you from achieving this will engage in a blame shift. Whatever you are accusing us of will be your fault. It does not matter if there is no logical link (in your world) between what you have accused us of and our response. These conversations are not governed by your logic but by ours. Our logic is that we must maintain control and therefore shifting the blame on to you, by any means, is a logical method of achieving this. There is the logic for you. Understand this and you begin to understand why we act as we do. Accordingly, you might accuse us of the following and be met with the response in bold.

“You have been seeing another woman, I can smell her perfume on you.”

“I’m not having an affair but if I was who would blame me? You never show me any attention or affection. You cannot smell perfume; you are just making that up.”

 

“Why haven’t you remembered to switch the oven on?”

“Why do I have to remember to do that? It is your job. If you spent more time getting on with what you are supposed to do, rather than trying to pick fault with me, this wouldn’t happen.”

 

“Why are you always trying to tell me what to do?”

“I don’t do that. You are over-reacting. I just suggest things for you because let’s face it, you aren’t really capable of making the big decisions yourself are you? That’s not me being horrible, that’s a fact, you are poor at decision-making. You should thank me for helping you.”

 

 

 

  1. Projection

This favourite method of derailing the conversation is so effective because it takes your breath away. By accusing you of doing the very thing that we are accused of (and invariably we are doing) you are so astonished at our bare-faced cheek, our audacity and our brass neck, that you lose sight of what you are talking about and end up focusing on the counter-allegation that we have just flung at you. You hate being thought of in an incorrect manner and because we project with such conviction, you are immediately drawn into engaging us on this point. You will fail to press on with your accusation against us and instead be side-tracked into discussing your own behaviour in a fruitless effort to try and persuade us that you have not done any of the things that we accused you of. You let your emotional response to such allegations take hold of you and this is entirely deliberate. Expect to hear comments such as these: –

“If you didn’t drink so much, you might begin to realise just how horrible you can be, but you can never remember because of your drinking.”

 

“You always take the last can of soda without replacing it. It is so selfish.”

 

“Me flirt? Have you seen the way you go on around Harry? Only last week you were all over him like a rash. It just wasn’t me that saw it and commented on it either.”

 

“You never turn up on time. I find it disrespectful.”

 

“You spend too much time thinking about your work and not enough concentrating on our children.”

 

  1. Interruption

You will not be able to finish what you are saying because of our repeated tendency and need to interrupt you. We do not consider anything that you have to say having any value. You are inferior to us therefore anything which comes out of your mouth must be inferior to. We do not recognise or respect boundaries and therefore we regard it as perfectly acceptable to talk over you and interrupt what you are saying. Our sense of entitlement means that we are always to be heard and if this means cutting across you, so be it. This can reach even childish extremes where we will say one word so you stop and then we stop. You try to speak again and we repeat the trick. We keep doing it, halting you from speaking until you continue talking and we speak over you or you storm off in frustration. You can expect to hear phrases such as these: –

“If you would just let me speak.”

“If I can get a word in edgeways.”

“Why don’t you listen for a change?”

“This is important.”

“I want to have my say for once.”

“If you actually listened you might understand.”

“No that’s wrong.”

“No, you are making this up.”

“I have to stop you there.”

  1. Topic Shift

We love to deflect and distract. We also exhibit a considerable capacity for moving the conversation away from what you want to talk about and thus have control, onto something we want to talk about. It might be espousing our virtues of having a go at you instead, but we will hijack the conversation and wrench it over to our preferred topic. You must not protest for if you do you will be accused of trying to monopolise the discussion and failing to listen to us. We are brilliant at talking about ourselves or finding some topic which we can take round and round and round as you feel yourself falling into a stupor. We rely on your innate empathic nature of politeness, good manners and being a good listener so we can abuse this and prevent you talking about something which matters to you. Nobody is interested in what you have to say. Expect shift comments such as these: –

“That’s all very interesting but let me tell you about….”

“That’s not important right now, but this is….”

“That is irrelevant, now let me tell you..”

“Oh I must tell you this, it is hilarious….”

“I have to tell you this before I forget….”

 

  1. Silent Treatment

The old favourite. If we do not like the way, the conversation is going then we will either walk off or sit in silence. This is often done when there is a conversation going on in a group setting as well where we are failing to dominate the discussion. We want to bring it back to us and therefore by sitting silent and sulking we hope to engender some sympathetic reaction that causes someone to comment on our silence or invite us to speak. When done in a one-on-one situation this is designed to ignore what you have to say, treat it as unimportant and make you feel uncomfortable. You will be forced to ask us what is wrong and then chase after us as we remain sullen and silent. Your comments are forgotten as the spotlight returns to us again and the conversation has been successfully derailed.

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8 Comments

  1. Thank you, HG Tudor, for your explanation. The ‘control’-part seems to be crucial, indeed. I realise now, thanks to your analysis, why the narcissist I’m dealing with keeps stalking me, mostly in the dark (I go for an evening walk every night, he follows me in his car) but also during the day, when he likes to walk past my house.

    I thought he had finally dumped me for good. The so called final discard. It was harsh, unbelievable and cruel. But I had a gut feeling that I had to stay calm and unmoved. I didn’t show any emotions and so the big apotheose he had been working on for months (this was a extensive and extremely cunning game-plan) blew up in the air.

    I thought that was the end of it. But no. I still go to the place where he works (I’m working on an escape-plan, but it will take a few weeks) and every time I show up, he is absent. That’s the good news. But of course, the bad new is that he is not absent – he never is, he’s a complete workaholic – but he hides himself in a dressingroom, or behind a pillar, or maybe he sits on the toilet for an hour, who knows, but the thing is that he doesn’t allow ME to decide when I can see him. HE decides. He is the one who controls our confrontations. And that’s why he keeps stalking me: to show me who is in control. And to make me look at him, not the other way around. When he stalks me, he never follows me from behind, he is always right in my eyesight – he wants to be seen, and he wants to control what I see: him.

    He is like a magician; I can’t figure out how he does it, I still think it’s impossible to follow me in a big city with a lot of circulation and chaos in the streets, but he makes it happen. And now that I realise how important control is for him, I also know why he is capable of pulling it off: control is his life-elixer, he would die without it. He gives everything for that: time, energy, money, whole nights in the dark… it’s all worth it, apparently.

  2. This is my first comment on this site; I want to thank HG Tudor for his insightful, sharp and sometimes hilarious analyses – I try to remind myself all the time that I have to keep laughing, and that I shouldn’t take myself (or the whole experience with a narcissist) too seriously. Then again, it’s quite a blow to be manipulated, misled, chased and finally stalked by someone who seemed friendly and normal.

    But it really helps to read a blog written by someone who seems to be the twin brother of the narcissist I was involved with (and still am, I’m afraid). I begin to understand that it all comes down to one thing: you have to see narcissism for what it IS, not for what you want it to be/think it to be/hope it to be.

    What interested me in this particular blogpost, is the fact that narcissists tend to project their own behaviour on their targets. The examples in this post all have a negative undertone (they are projected accusations, in fact), but I think that projection is also used during the seduction-phase (or: golden period). I will explain what the narcissist said to me, so that we can all have a good laugh:

    “You are so brilliant at what you do. Everybody adores you! You are an inspiration to all the clients. Yesterday, one of my clients asked me who you were, she was so impressed with you. Really, you don’t even realise how inspirational you are; all my female clients want to be you, and if they can’t, they want to befriend you.”

    Okay. The narcissist we are talking about here, is a personal trainer who works at my gym. Not too smart, but very handsome. This love bomb-monologue was completely ridiculous. First, because it was in fact a monologue; it was as if he had learned the words by heart and was in a rush to deliver them. And also, because his compliments were totally over the top. I’m quite fit and I like to work out, but brilliant, and an inspiration…??? Ha.

    I think he told me his personal fantasy about himself. This is how he sees himself, and how he wants to be seen. He projected his own fantasy (he is brilliant, inspirational, great, the best, superhuman, important, everybody’s dream-friend) on me.

    Am I correct, and do some narcissists project their personal fantasies on their targets? And how do they handle the realisation – some time later – that they were mistaken, and that this particular target is, in fact, a complete misfit who has to be taught a humiliating and painful lesson?

    1. Welcome Nadege and thank you for your kind compliments. When the narcissist paints somebody white, everything they say and do is deemed to be wonderful. When you are painted black those same things which were once deemed to be wonderful are now viewed as awful. How does the narcissist feel about such a change? The narcissism blinds the narcissist to it, so let’s examine this basic example.

      Victim has a large nose.
      During the golden period, the victim is painted white, thus everything about that person is wonderful.
      Victim “I don’t like my nose, it is too big.”
      Narcissist “Nonsense, it is a regal nose, a noble nose, I love it.”

      During devaluation.
      Narcissist “I don’t know why I am with you. You are ugly. For a start, you have a massive nose. It is huge.”
      Victim “What? You always said you loved it. That is was regal, noble.”
      (This response which is said in a hurt tone is Challenge Fuel. The narcissist receives fuel from the hurt tone BUT is challenged by the suggestion that the narcissist is wrong and contradictory. This makes the narcissist feel a lack of control. Control is key and therefore the narcissism will aim to assert control again as soon as possible. The First Line of the Narcissist’s Twin Lines of Defence is activated.

      Narcissist “What are you talking about? I never said that.” (Denial). The narcissist truly believes (if Lesser or Mid Range) that he never said he liked the nose.
      “Nonsense, I’ve always said it’s big. Makes you look like a witch.”

      Victim. “You liar, how can you say that? You always said it was a lovely nose.” (More challenge fuel)
      Narcissist “No I did not (denial again). You are making things up (projection). I am sick of you telling lies (projection). You need to have a word with yourself, is it any wonder I get fed up of you being so ugly and a liar also. (provocation).

      The narcissism causes the narcissist to rewrite history and this exchange will continue until the narcissist is able to assert superiority and control (for instance the victim gives up arguing and concedes that the narcissist never said anything complimentary about the nose).

      Two days later and the victim is painted white again.

      Narcissist “I love your nose, it is your best feature.” (The narcissism causes him to see the victim and her attributes as wonderful.)

      Victim. “I am glad you do, but…” Victim halts not wishing to raise the contradictory comment and risk upsetting the narcissist and spoiling this respite period. Or if the victim did point out the contradictory comment it is Challenge Fuel which the narcissist would then have to respond to, to assert control again.

      1. Thank you for this explanation, HG. This exact scenario happened between my Narc & I. Not about my nose but other things personal to me. White/black/white/black. Trying to resist the urge to shout BUT WHYYYYYYYYYYYYYY. It is what it is.

  3. “You hate being thought of in an incorrect manner and because we project with such conviction, you are immediately drawn into engaging us on this point.”
    Yeah, he knows what he’s doing. We could be discussing anything he doesn’t want to discuss, and he’ll say something like, “Of course you don’t even care that I have a headache.”

  4. HG with blame Shifting do narcissists let us know in advance that we are the reason they did or will do to what hurt us ie: tell us about a man who cheats on his wife because she doesn’t show him enough intimacy and the wife left him but he still loves her and wants her back as a way of manipulating us to give more attention or is this more likely to happen after the betrayal?

    1. Do you mean will a narcissist tell you before he cheats that you are the reason he is going to cheat? If you do mean that, the answer is that doing so would be very rare indeed. It is more usually the case that the blameshifting occurs after the event.

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