Why Does He Seem Like A Different Person?
It is accurate to state that we operate in three essential states. There are varying degrees within those states, differing levels of intensity which are affected by factors such as the type of narcissist that we are, what we require from you, the level of empathic individual you are as well as several others. Nevertheless, there are three basic states. The first, as you would expect, is the golden setting. We are at our most wonderful, most brilliant and most loving when in this state. This always appears during our seduction of you and we will reinstate it from time to time and often when we hoover you in order to suck you back in and keep you hanging on to us. The second is the dark setting when we instigate our devaluation of you. This dark setting allows us to deploy our various machinations against you, a variety of different of manipulations as the abuse begins and we make your life particularly unpleasant. This requires effort and energy on our part and whilst we will be rewarded with fuel, a certain degree of application is required to use these manipulations against you. When we unveil our dark setting it is upsetting and confusing but often you will find some reason to explain our behaviour. It is usually the wrong reason but you will find one nevertheless as you like to understand and have a reason to explain why someone is behaving in a certain way towards you – you decide we are stressed, tired, hungover, in need of affection or perhaps you are unduly harsh on yourselves so that you, in that usual empathic manner, blame yourself for the behaviour we have meted out against you. Perhaps you did not listen when you ought to have done, perhaps you should have realised that we wanted to go out tonight, or that we would not want chicken for a second time this week.
There is a third setting and this often proves more confusing that our unpleasant dark setting. This setting might be regarded as a neutral setting, somewhere between the golden and the dark, but it is not. This setting is on the road to the dark setting and is closer to that than the golden. This particular setting is The Stranger Zone.
There will be times when we do not wish to apply considerable energy to our continued devaluation of you, but the devaluation must continue. It may not be as harsh, since there is no shouting, no violence, no insults and such like. It is not the golden period because we show no affection, we do not do things for you and we do not exhibit any of the charm that once flowed so readily from us. During this stranger setting we are neither wonderful nor awful but we behave like someone who doesn’t really know you and you are certainly left feeling like you are dealing with somebody else.
If you telephone us we will not dole out a silent treatment and ignore your repeated calls. We will not answer in less than a ring and speak to you with affection and enthusiasm, instead we answer and engage in a monosyllabic conversation. It is like drawing teeth. We confirm that nothing is wrong and you may think there is but we have not responded angrily or harshly. We have not accused you of anything, we have not labelled you in some way but the conversation is flat. It is as if our personality, whether golden or dark has vanished and left almost an automaton in its place. We function, we talk about our day but with little detail and certainly no enthusiasm. We ask questions of you but they are polite and perfunctory as if we are just going through the motions. There is no nastiness, no backbiting or sneering. It is difficult to process because it is not nothing, that cannot be the case because we are talking to you, but it feels like nothing.
We may call around to see you but it feels like an inspector has called around. We sit, we decline a drink that you offer us and we answer your questions without offering you anything much in return. Where has the charmer gone? Where has the monster gone? Who is this stranger that looks like us, sounds like us but is not behaving like us? You cannot accuse us of being unpleasant but it feels unpleasant because you are dealing with someone you do not recognise. Any questions about what is wrong with us are politely answered and you are assured there is not a problem, but we seem lifeless. You flatter us, compliment us and whilst we accept them there is no spark of interest, there is no response.
Why are we like this? Why is this being done? Why do we seem like someone else? It is as if we have been abducted by aliens in the night and replaced with a robot which is neither wonderful nor savage but is frustratingly something else. This third setting occurs during the devaluation period. It is not a respite from devaluation as that is the golden setting once more. It is clearly not the dark setting as that is the rolling out of nastiness and abuse. This third setting is an indicator of the calm before the storm. Whilst there are occasions where we might switch from golden to dark setting in the blink of an eye, this third setting is used when we wish to conserve energy in readiness for unleashing a particular savage next stage in the devaluation as we will move to the dark setting and crank it up to eleven. You are not cruising along being driven by fair winds, nor are you being thrown up and down buffeted by a storm, instead you are becalmed or moved along by a weak breeze. This is the time we are girding our loins, gathering information and plotting. The switch of functions to the organisation and scheming of what is to come, along with the intense outpouring of energy required to sustain the vicious intensifying of this devaluation means we adopt this near automatic state. You may not ever see this happen dependent on the nature of the narcissist you have become entangled with, but when you do, you should be aware that a storm is brewing and not just any old storm but a supercell storm of savage and damaging proportions. This is a warning.
16 thoughts on “Why Does He Seem Like A Different Person?”
For a shelf, how would we tell the difference between this and crumbs?
The third setting started when we were in a long distance. He never initiated contact himself. The more i read, the clearer the situation that i had with narc becomes. I will never forget his last text message: Who R U?.
All my family members are narcissists and he was the one whom i opened up about my childhood. He knew that they hated me and the way i was treated by them. I needed emotional support so much. I remember him saying to me: Be afraid of men like me who will take notes not the ones who yell. But i didn’t take it seriously that time as i trusted him and was in love.
HG you are life saver indeed.
Indeed I am and thank you for recognising that.
Did you respond to his Who R U text?! OMG.
Yes i did. I told him that i knew that he was a narcissist. But he didn’t reply. Game is over with 😉 was my last message to him. And then i received message from our mutual male friend whom i trusted as well: Did (his name) change his number? And i replied: who is he? So yeah i lost both of them. Then i went to travel and posted pictures on social media. I didn’t want to give them the satisfaction from knowing that they managed to hurt me. What hurts the most is that both of them knew that i was going through difficult times since i was being abused by my family and decided to add more to my plate.
Do you mind me asking how old they were when this happened? Not that age is any excuse for this type of fuckery… I’m glad you responded in the way you did.
Well, i can say that one of them was 10 years and another 15 years older than me Joanne. The one who was 10 years older was my dad’s friend( even though the age difference between them is big) and used to call me sister to earn my trust. He helped me to achieve my dream which i wouldn’t have been able to do it myself.( well because of my dad’s request as we didn’t know each other before) His friend was there for me on the day when i got in hospital and would be in touch with me almost every day to ask about my well-being. They were world class actors. I really thought that they cared for me and didn’t expect being betrayed by them in such horrible way.
I’m sorry for what you went through. And I hope you’ve recovered from what you’d been hospitalized for! It’s devastating to find out someone’s intentions are disingenuous after you’ve put your trust in them. And these types surely have a way of getting us to swiftly lower our guard. I hope you are on your way to healing now.
By sister i meant “female sibling”. In other words, my status changed from best little sister to stranger.
AR, your reply was perfect. I hope you’re well. I’m sorry you were hurt by them.
Thanks KellyD. I found myself and became much more self-aware after they backstabbed me. They pushed me to the top by trying to destroy my life as i used all the energy that came with pain to achieve my goals and improve myself.
This is one of my favorite articles because it so accurately describes the situation that happened with me when he changed. I wish I had found it sooner – it would have saved me so much grief.
“Where has the charmer gone? Who is this stranger that looks like us, sounds like us but is not behaving like us? You cannot accuse us of being unpleasant but it feels unpleasant because you are dealing with someone you do not recognise. Any questions about what is wrong with us are politely answered and you are assured there is not a problem, but we seem lifeless. You flatter us, compliment us and whilst we accept them there is no spark of interest, there is no response.”
This entire paragraph is an exact summary of what happened. It did not make any sense. It also came right after our last date, so of course I began the self-flagellation that it must be ME. I must not have looked pretty enough for him. I must have said or done something wrong. I asked him what changed, and he would tell me nothing’s changed. It was maddening. Gone were the compliments, the early morning texts and constant contact throughout the day, the overflowing love emojis. It was all replaced with small talk and pleasantries. Looking back, at this point I was also given an “advanced silent treatment with warning” – I was told he had a work exam coming up that he was stressed about, and that was where his attention would be and to not “make it about us.” After a few days of bread crumbing, I took the hint that I was no longer his “soul mate” (for whatever reason), and let it go. It has never been in my nature to chase or beg a man, and I certainly was not in a position to do it at that point anyway (being married). After those few days of painfully dry messages, he texts dried up completely. I was an emotional disaster.
He came round about a week later in a text, all sweetness, asking how I was doing, and wondering if I might be having “second thoughts about us since he hadn’t heard from me!!!!” It took every ounce of my self restraint not to unleash. But instead, I pointed out how he changed – which again he denied. When I pressed him with my “evidence,” he left the conversation entirely and that was that. From that point on, our communications were sporadic and solely through facebook/social media likes and comments. There was never any resolution to what had happened between us OR the abrupt ending to it, it just…..went away. I struggled with this for MONTHS before I finally gained the understanding of what he really was and why things happened the way they did. Thank you for your work HG. I would not have come through this without you.
You are welcome Joanne.
It is crazy making. Romantic partners who are not manipulative do not play mind games. They are reliable and consistent, you always know what to expect, even when they are tired, exhausted, ill or going through difficult times.
OMG this was my ex to a T. The yep, nope answer conversations, monotone, flat, not silence but no enthusiasm no anything just basics it was the worst.
I preferred the silent treatments to this. It made me feel like I was shit on a shoe. Can’t explain it but everything written here HG was my ex and these behaviours the in between dark and golden were the behaviours that had the worst effect on me.
Yes, mine did this before serving me divorce papers the day before our anniversary. Afterwards he texted me and said ” I wish you had the guts to kill yourself”. I actually ended up in the hospital with a stroke. Turns out he was having an affair. Once divorce wasn’t going his way, and judge was going to hold him in contempt, he left the state. So judge cancelled the divorce. So husband came back. Yes we got back together for a about 2 months, before he disappeared again. All it took was me asking him if he was coming home?. His answer ” are you retarded, I would leave the country if I thought it would get me away from you.” That was about 1.5 months ago. His son had come to visit us from Alaska. Hasn’t seen his dad in a year and a half, since dad originally filed that divorce. I’m stepmom. He’s 15. I raised him. His dad told him to f off too. Rather than see him before he returns to Alaska. It really is all about them.