Why Is The Narcissist Always On My Mind?

“He is always in my mind.”

“Try as I might I just cannot get him out of my head.”

“I can’t stop thinking about him.”

I am sure such comments or similar have been made by you at some point about the narcissist in your life. We have this formidable capability to get into your head and remain there for a long time which evokes bittersweet reactions from you at best and utter miserable frustration at worst. I have written about ever presence previously, namely that ability we have to ensure that you keep thinking about us, even when you have been pushed to one side or if you have sought to go no contact. This insidious form of manipulation is pervasive and very difficult to deal with, but how is it so effective?

Like much of our effectiveness it actually comes down to you. As an empathic individual you are much more susceptible to our method of remaining in your mind which is achieved by encoding. Since you care about others and take an interest in the thoughts, actions and well-being of other people, you have been wired to take on board stimuli from other people in a far more effective manner than others. Take my kind for example. We are so focussed on ourselves and what we need that we are not wired to be especially encoded by what others do. Our minds are nearly impervious to the actions of others. It is as if they are so full of what we do and what we want that there is no room for anything or anyone else. You on the other hand are like a sponge and you soak up the words and actions of others. Combine your susceptibility with our determined application of suggestion through what we say to you and what we do for you then the outcome is a devastating form of encoding which creates powerful and near indelible memories in your mind.

Through our visual encoding of your mind, you create a vivid mental picture and this will be recalled in pin-sharp crikey vision time after time. Every detail of a particular scene will be recalled by you and it is ingrained in your mind deeply through this encoding. The more you recall it, the more it becomes ingrained as if you are wearing a groove in a piece of wood. We make particular use of music (think how often your narcissist used certain tunes to woo you and/or create  special moment) to achieve acoustic encoding. Our voice is used in this way as well by the careful selection of key phrases which will resonate with you. You always remember the things that we say because we have encoded them into your mind. Similar encoding occurs in respect of taste and scents as well as tactile encoding. Accordingly this quintet of senses is assailed by all the things that we say and do in order to achieve this encoding. We create powerful memories so that you have no option other than to recall them and with that comes the emotional attachment. You will remember so much of what you have done with us compared to say what you have done with family, friends and colleagues. You will recall more memories, in greater detail and more often when they involved us because of this deliberate encoding.

You might think this was enough in terms of the efficacy of this method of affecting you, but it does not end there. Most narcissists are male and thus it follows that the majority of victims are female. In general terms, women remember events better than men (men have better spatial memories) and therefore you are genetically pre-disposed to remember all those occasions and dates you spent with us in such detail. Females remember pleasant memories in better detail than men, thus this is a further reinforcement of why you can summon up such powerful memories of the golden period and why it hurts you so much. Conversely, in general terms, men remember unpleasant events better than women who tend to recall them in a ‘blurred’ manner. This is why despite the abuse you have suffered the golden period memories tend to triumph. It is not the case with everyone, admittedly, but generally this holds good. Add to this the fact that women’s memories retain more of their potency through the advancement of age than men and you will see why your memories of us are so difficult to shake. Not only do we specifically encode your minds, which are primed to accept this more than other people, your gender also makes you more susceptible to retaining these detailed and vivid memories of the when everything felt wonderful.

These memories are deeply ingrained and very hard to dismiss and remove, even with professional help. Combine this efficacy with the fact we leave you exhausted and broken, it is little wonder you cannot shift us from your minds. Everyone knows how difficult it is to think straight when you are tired. Little wonder then that we always loom large in your mind when you have been exhausted and shattered by our behaviour.

These memories of the golden period are massively powerful and all of the above means that for someone like you, you will often think of them and suffer the emotion that is linked to them .It is a devastating weapon in our armour. Pretty memorable eh?

46 thoughts on “Why Is The Narcissist Always On My Mind?

  1. Steve. says:

    No. It’s not the golden period that stays with me. Although for sure I do remember when it was good between us. It’s the devaluation that I have a problem with getting out of my head. I know that in time it will become indifference for the most part. But I don’t think we ever truly get over the abuse.

  2. MB says:

    And this is why he’s in my blood. I’ve been encoded. It’s not due to a “Total submissive mentality.”

    “We create powerful memories so that you have no option other than to recall them and with that comes the emotional attachment.“ ~ HG Tudor

    1. NarcAngel says:

      You are not a total submissive. I think the line you quote is true while you are ensnared and unknowing, but can memories not be altered to be seen for what they really are/were with new knowledge applied? The memory would still be there yes, but for example a gift you recall being given may have less emotional attachment once you know he gave the same to others, or a lovely dinner out may leave a bad taste once you know it was for purposes of triangulating you or to fuel him at the expense of abuse to someone else. Memories are powerful but they are ours and perhaps we can decide how much life to give them?

      1. MB says:

        NA, ”can memories not be altered to be seen for what they really are/were with new knowledge applied?” You ask the hard questions that make me ponder and I like it!

        For me, the answer is no. The experience WAS real and so were the memories, the smells, the tastes, and my feelings at the time. I didn’t imagine it. I throughly enjoyed myself and treasure the experience I had and who I was at the time. After deciding to go no contact, I have to accept that I’ll never get to be her again and I don’t want to let that go. The bell cannot be unrung. That’s what leaves the tiny unsealed crack that lets them back in.

        Imagine for a moment The SM. She is having the time of her life now. Jetting all over the world, the wonderful food, the expensive gifts, being treated like a queen, the smell of Viking Creed on her perfect man. Her experiences are REAL and they are exactly as she is perceiving them at this moment; in vivid color with all five senses. No matter what is to come in her future, why in the hell would she want to forget these memories? One smell, one taste, one touch, one sight, one sound and it’s all flooding back to be experienced over and over again.

        I really don’t think it’s possible without forgetting serum or electro shock therapy and I don’t know why I would want to. Even if my child became a serial killer, I wouldn’t want to forget that precious time when I first held him in my arms. He won’t remember it the same way I did (if even at all) but that is no matter. It was MY experience, and nothing that happens or is learned in the future can change the memory itself.

        1. NarcAngel says:

          So do you recognize this as a choice you are making? To keep the memory unaffected by new knowledge so that you do not have to let her go? Or do you believe that you are truly unable to alter the memory by observing it from an outside position? What you felt was real yes, but now you know that it was fantasy. My thinking was that failing to overwrite the memories (fantasy) with applied knowledge and logic could be dangerous in becoming easily ensnared again. I’m asking to understand better the mindset of the love devotee.

          1. Mercy says:

            NA, what you are talking about was automatic for me. Every good memory I have is attached to something hurtful he was doing without my knowledge at the time. That is where my anger came from. Like MB, I loved being that person and I’m sad she is gone but I can not have fond memories because he poisoned them. 

            I won’t speak for MB but you asked her if she was making a choice by not overwriting those memories with applied knowledge. That is a good question because if you asked me if I could remove the poison from my memories, I couldn’t. 

            I think in both cases we are equally vulnerable but we are both equally armed now with the knowledge of what was real. The only difference is the way we mourn the loss of person we were when the memories were made. 

          2. blackunicorn123 says:

            I feel very similar to you Mercy. As part of my healing I have forced myself to acknowledge a corresponding negative fact to every positive (happy) memory I have/had. I have systematically destroyed every positive thought or memory. I will never be that girl again, I will never feel that connection or charge again, and I accept it, and as part of that acceptance I am laying waste to the “world” he created, so I can never go back, either in my head or irl.

          3. Mercy says:

            Blackunicorn, I completely get what you are saying. I didn’t have to force the negative though. I actually couldn’t feel the happiness of those memories once I found out the truth. It was like getting paid on Friday but your broke after paying bills. The joy was gone. I wish knowing the truth would have removed all of the other attachments as well like hope and faith. It’d make this process so much easier.

          4. empath007 says:

            That’s an interesting point NA. I understand where you are coming from and I think what we are talking about here… is perception.

            The way that sensory information is interpreted and
            Consciously experienced.

            The love devotee at the time of seduction is experiencing sensory over load. A gentle touch, a passionate kiss, “the smell of Viking on her man”. HG writes articles About filling up our senses… and that is exactly what happens. Therefore the perception for the victim is psychological. It’s only natural to associate these things with the “positive” because for the vitcim it was positive.

            Can we change our perception with knewly acquired knowledge?… I beleive we can. But I also believe it’s perfectly OK to keep our good memories while understanding the narc iintpreted them differently. As llong as someone is able to seperate their perception from the narcs perception I don’t beleive they run the danger of being ensared again (with that same narc).

          5. Caroline says:

            It’s a good question. For me (“my” narcissist knows he is one/and I obviously know he is one now too), I think one way to explain MB’s feelings (which I understand completely) is that it’s similar to how you love someone who has passed away…

            That person is gone… but the love you had for them still lives on, in all those memories – and all your heart had opened & gave doesn’t just die – so you still can feel that somewhere in you, without receiving anything, rather like agape love — not dependent on someone giving back even. That love can’t be erased, in that it’s real. You’re the keeper of that love. It’s *your* love. In a lot of ways, I look at that as beautiful and pure love, no matter the receiving end… now as for the narcissistic dynamic…

            If someone YOU loved (narcissist) deceived you while you gave care and real love, it doesn’t cheapen the real love YOU gave/had.

            The “fantasy” is tied up in the motivation of the narcissist (their fraud)… the “reality” is the empathic person who knows HOW to love.

            But I agree with you that logic must then come to the rescue so that the empath is not harmed/abused for loving… which is why NC.

          6. NarcAngel says:

            You have all made great points and I appreciate the examples. It has given me much to think about. If I have understood correctly, it seems a lot of keeping the memory “good” is tied to loving who YOU were at that time and not the narcissist, which is completely different to what I previously thought. If the memory is not “good” and overwritten, it may be a case of identifying an underlying issue for the future protection of oneself. Both valid positions. It appears to be a choice as to what life you give memories and that choice is determined by what is learned from the experience and how it is perceived to benefit each individual.

          7. Caroline says:

            Thanks, NA, and I appreciated this discussion… this topic was actually on my mind a week ago, as in talking to the narcissist of late, it struck me that I am still caring in nature to him, but it’s not like I want that relationship again, nor that I’m swayed he can change or think I can fix him. I do see his NPD clearly. I feel logical about that — and what that means.

            So, at first, with my “Caroline caring,” I wondered: “Why am I still kind toward him? Is that bad?”

            Then it hit me: it’s simply because of who I am, not who he is. And that’s okay… well, from a big distance away from him it is! However, I can’t keep up that active caring toward him, because of who he is, as he’ll eventually take advantage of that… so, again, it always goes back to NC.

          8. Abe Moline says:

            So many things are bound here together…

            It’s who we were during that time, it’s the freedom and excitement back then.
            The dream of the ideal match and love.
            As IPSS, it’s also the contrast to the “dullness” of current relationship (that MB, I think, was mentioning somewhere else).
            Then everything tainted due to our newly acquired knowledge. No more lies to hide behind.

            It’s no wonder there’s a big inability to let go.
            The frustration is immense. Yes, I think frustration describes it best.

            The good part is that we now know that it’s not the narc that still attracts us.

            I became fully aware of this after meeting her, I have completely accepted that she is unfixable and “bad”.
            I’ve been able to see her real face in action, without the idealization I previously experienced. She’s very transparent to me now, and quite a dull thing to see (not ugly, she just became dull).
            For me, any sort of relationship with her is impossible now or in the future.
            I have also recently let go of any dreams of achieving any sort of revenge (did not bother much anyway, but sometimes I entertained these ideas).

            But now I’m still left with a big thing to fix. When everything else is clearly not the issue, there’s only one place left to scrutinize – myself.
            I had to do this anyway, sooner or later. Better do it sooner.
            Kind of exciting, but also frightening to go there.
            But I can do this at my own pace. There’s no more need to hurry once I have finally pinpointed the issue.

      2. foolme1time says:

        NA & MB,
        I understand the statements of both of you. To share something with him which I thought only I shared that made me feel special and important to him, to find that it was something he shared with others, broke my heart and made me sick at the time. But letting go of that moment, that feeling of importance and being special is something I cannot do. Did I help? Or did I just confuse you more? I guess you both could just say, well it’s FM1T we would expect nothing else! 🤣🤣😘🙃

        1. MB says:

          FM1T, you are a ray of sunshine on the blog. I would never dismiss your contribution. I agree with you on the memory of being special. That feeling of being sexy, being desired, and wanted is something I don’t want to let go of just in case it never comes round again. That’s the “her” im referring to.) Even if it was my fuel that made me special, I was genuinely wanted at that moment and that is good enough for me. (Since it wasn’t a primary relationship of course.)

          NA, I’m not sure I’m the best one to help you understand the mindset of the love devotee since giving fuel is fine by me.

          1. foolme1time says:

            MB I understand what you are saying, I think for me it was feeling important to someone and them being able to share with me ( even though now I know it is not true) something they could not share with anyone else. Btw, you are so much more then just fuel MB! 😘🙃

        2. FYC says:

          MB & FM1T, I just want you both to know you always were and ever will be the person you loved while in the presence of the N. You actually are special and beautiful and sexy, etc. These qualities emanate from within, not from without.The N just provided the mirror for you to see these qualities, but in truth they are your own.

          I agree with NA in looking at every side of the memory to understand what actually took place clearly (and understand Mercy’s feeling that the memory is forever spoiled), but I also agree that the love *you* gave was real.

          I see no problem in you cherishing the experience of sharing your love with another as long as it does not induce the departure of your logic and ability to see what actually took place for both of you. Accepting both sides of what took place keeps you safe.

          Please know if you leave the door open a crack something uninvited and dangerous can slither in. Better to close the door and clearly evaluate who knocks at the door. Only invite in those who are healthy and able to love the whole of you (and not just the pieces that serve another’s construct). In so doing, you honor yourself and so do they. Wishing you both the very best.

          1. foolme1time says:

            Oh FYC I have missed your wonderful mind! Yes I understand, that is why I was able to see both NA and MBs ways of thinking. I don’t want to forget the feeling of being important to someone, but I do know it was all bullshit! No cracks here, heavy duty weather stripping around every door and window! 😘🙃

          2. MB says:

            FYC, thank you so much! You articulated that perfectly. (My narcissistic trait of envy makes me jealous!) I have the same issue reading HGs work.

            I suffer from poor self-esteem and quite a bit of shame. I am working on these things and have made great strides. My entire life, I have relied on outside approval to make me feel worthy of taking up space in this world. I’m not CoD but have a high number CoD traits. (It’s on a spectrum like NPD.) I’m Narc bait and very lucky to not have been ensnared in my primary relationship. He’s a normal.

            Thank you for saying the things you did about mirroring and that I am enough. It’s nice to hear. I know it logically, but I don’t feel it.

            I like my memories of who he made me feel like. I didn’t have to be “me” with him. It was quite liberating. That’s what is difficult to let go, not him.

          3. FYC says:

            Sweet FM1T, I love your answer! Bravo! Never forget you are all that and more!😘

            MB, I got a giggle from your jealousy comment, no need for that, you communicate very well, but you are most kind. You can be whatever version of “you” you choose to be. Your N only let you see what already exists, so own that and expand upon it.

            I do hope you begin to cherish yourself regardless of others. You are so very worth it. If you are ever in doubt, just consider if you would be as hard on another kind, engaging and vibrant person as you are on yourself—I bet the answer is no! If you need a reminder, let me know and I can assure you I will be happy to share what I see (hint: it is not negative in the slightest).

          4. MB says:

            FYC, Thank you ❤️

          5. FYC says:

            MB, You are most welcome. I was going to ask if you suffer from guilt or shame, but was reticent to open that topic. If you would like to discuss it though I will. Guilt is a healthy reminder we stepped outside our values. Shame is a false believe about self that one is unworthy or not enough. If you suffer from shame, I do hope you find your way to see what we do–that you are worth everything. Always were, always will be. Nothing anyone does or says changes that. Hugs to you!

          6. Mercy says:

            FYC, I love this response to MB. ❤️

            MB, I second what FYC says and hope you find a way to see yourself as we see you.

          7. FYC says:

            Thank you, Mercy😘 I hope all is well with you and you are back to your usual strong self. You were in my thoughts during your absence post N exposure.

          8. Mercy says:

            FYC, thank you! I’ve been thinking of you as well. I’ve needed your compassionate calm logic. I’m struggling but I’m still here. The hoover turned into more than I could handle but I’ve done good removing myself when my emotions started taking over.

            As far as work (I’ve been wanting to tell you), I talked to my boss finally. It went really well. I was able to state my concerns and voice some options for him to consider. We talked about what happened with the previous narc boss. It got a little emotional but it’s hard because he was always my friend before my boss. I think I was able to make him see things from my perspective. He did so much to fix the damage that she did. I don’t think he realized that there was still open wounds that she created. Thanks for your help. I channeled a little FYC logic before the meeting.

          9. FYC says:

            Hello Mercy, Thank you so much for the update. I’m so glad the work convo went well, big congrats! You had it in you all along. As for the personal side with the N, I am not surprised it was too much. We do not control, they do. That is why, no matter if our heart is in the right place, it is far better to follow HG’s advice and GOSO with a firm SO. No worries that you gave into hope/need, it happens to all of us. In a way, it helps to prove the point of how important the SO is at all times. Sounds like you are well on your way now. Be good to you! Hugs to you for all your progress on all fronts. No stopping you now!

          10. MB says:

            Thank you Mercy. You’re so kind.

          11. MB says:

            FYC, it is toxic shame. I push it deep down most of the time. But when it is activated by a shaming experience or a shaming memory, I feel small, unworthy, and less than and wish I could disappear. I’ve written at length about it on the blog. I went down some paths here that led me in the direction to start to heal a bit. I still don’t like that person and I will still do whatever I can to avoid feeling that way. I’m not her and I don’t like to be reminded that she is there.

            Logically, I know I have no reason to feel this way, but when it hits, it’s a punch in the stomach and logic goes out the window.

          12. FYC says:

            Dear MB, I am so sorry to hear you suffer toxic shame. I have not yet read your earlier posts on this, but I will try to find them to get a better feeling for your personal experience.

            The problem with burying shame is that is the very act that keeps it alive and allows it to persist. So if you care to expose the lies, you can purge that shame and keep it far from you going forward.

            Have you separated out your innocent core self from your toxic shame false beliefs/fears? Do you have a harsh inner critic that pulls you back towards this core shame? Was one or both of your parents shaming/blaming? Did either parent fail to see and treasure the unique qualities of yours? If you don’t want to go there, I totally respect that.

            Knowing you suffer toxic shame really sheds light on your impressions regarding the “you” that you felt was discovered during your N relationship. I’ll share more on this if you like too.

            My intent is to be supportive but if it is not helpful to discuss I do not wish to intrude further. I do wish for you to be free of these painful lies so they no longer inhabit your thoughts and beliefs.

  3. Tamar says:

    Yes, they are memorable so devastating. The part that stays with me is not the “bad times”, but the Golden Phase. It is long-lasting, if not everlasting. I would suppose that with each category of Narcissist – Lesser, Mid Range, Greater- the ante of the victim’s longing is increased. It is both, deathly bleak, while breathtakingly beautiful; dauntingly gloomy, but of crystalline quality; and despairingly final, yet forever, a rendezvous, with the heart. Sigh.

  4. Sweetest Perfection says:

    In 1988, Pet Shop Boys released a video with their version of the classic “You Are Always on my Mind.” I was a little girl at that time but I remember I got intrigued by the beginning of the video, in which the two members of the band are driving a taxi, and they pick up a strange old passenger who starts a surrealist dialogue in which he mentions a girlfriend that used to visit a psychoanalyst. I always thought the guy sounded like a vampire, at the end of the video he looks more like a serial killer. I couldn’t stop thinking of that song while I was entangled to the narc.

    1. HG Tudor says:

      That was from the film ‘It Couldn’t Happen Here’ which was created by the Pet Shop Boys. If you watch the film you see more of Joss Ackland’s character (the stranger they picked up) and that may give you more context as to the nature of his character.

      1. MB says:

        Forget “Alexa” or “Hey Google”. Ima start saying “Hey HG” Such a plethora of knowledge.

      2. Sweetest Perfection says:

        Oh thanks a lot, HG! I’ve always felt very curious about that strange character, I’ll check it today. Of course I couldn’t know because I was younger. Hahaha! Kidding with you. Thanks for the info!

        1. HG Tudor says:

          The strange thing with films is that they can be watched years later by younger audiences!

          1. Sweetest Perfection says:

            Which is precisely what I’m gonna do! Thanks!

    2. Chihuahuamum says:

      Not sure but i think willie nelson sang the original. My grandmother loved willie nelson! Ill have to check out the pet shop boys film. Always loved west end girls! Always on my mind sang by willie makes me sad 🙁

      1. HG Tudor says:

        It was Elvis Presley.

        1. Sweetest Perfection says:

          Elvis made a cover but Willie Nelson was the original composer I believe. HG, how have I been able to dodge this fabulous film until now??????? I see so many allusions, from Un Chief Andalou to Morrisey’s video Everyday is like Sunday, and The Cure’s Close to Me. I’m only half way but I’m loving it!

          1. Sweetest Perfection says:

            Hahaha my phone spelled Chief! It’s obviously Un Chien Andalou (An Andalusian Dog), the surrealist film by Buñuel and Dalí. Stupid, ignorant autocorrect…

          2. HG Tudor says:

            No, Christoper, James and Carson wrote it. Presley was the first to have a major hit with it about ten years before Willie Nelson covered it.

          3. Sweetest Perfection says:

            You’re right, I answered way too quickly and then went to check and found out. But I was excited about the film so I rushed to comment.

        2. MB says:

          See? He even answers without you asking, “Hey HG!” Plethora of knowledge, I’m telling you!

          1. cb says:

            I was only ten or eleven, remember my parents correcting beside me. “That’s an old Elvis song. These new artists are all about covers!”

            Thanks for the name of the actor in that car. HG.
            As non-Brits, whenever we see anybody like that on the screen, we go “Is that Q?”

        3. Chihuahuamum says:

          Hi HG …good to know it was ol snake hips 😁

        4. Getting There says:

          One of his top three songs.

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