What Is Future Faking?


I will tell you later.

What did you feel when you read that sentence above after being drawn by the title of this article? Disappointment? Irritation? Annoyance? Amusement? A familiar tightness in the chest? A mixture of all of the above?

Future faking is a common manipulation used by all narcissists.

Lesser Narcissists –  often, lacking in sophistication, instinctive, vague, can be of questionable provenance.

‘I want to see you again.’

I want to marry you.’

‘I will buy you that mansion’ (Even though the narcissist has no money and no job).

Mid Range Narcissists – often, subtle and more sophisticated, instinctive, more likely to be specific, more likely to be plausible

‘I want us to go on holiday this summer together, somewhere like the Maldives.’

I can see you and me as a married couple, I want to marry you in the Autumn next year by the latest.’

Start looking for that new car I will buy you, why not have a look at the Mercedes dealership over at Pleasantville?’

Greater Narcissists – infrequent (Greater Narcissists are more likely to deliver), greater sophistication, sometimes instinctive but usually calculated, highly plausible.

‘I have e-mailed you some houses to look at. I really like the fourth and sixth ones in the list. They are in the countryside so there will be room for the animals to roam as well, but not so far away as to make getting to work a chore. You have a look at it and let me know what you think. We can talk about this over dinner.’

What is Future Faking?

It is the imposition of control and acquisition of fuel in the NOW using a FUTURE event.

Read that sentence again.

It is the imposition of control and acquisition of fuel in the NOW using a FUTURE event.

Our victims find future faking upsetting, bewildering and infuriating. Why did he promise to marry me and never do it? Why tell me we would live together if he never intended to go through with it? Why arrange to have dinner with me and then fail to show up, not even texting me to say he could not make it?

There was never any intention to deliver on the original statement but you were conned into thinking that the intention was genuine.

Why were you conned?

  1. Future Faking is an easy manipulation to use because it relies on a spoken/written intent with no associated requirement to deliver. Thus it is very low in energy expenditure and as you know, we like to achieve the maximum outcome with the minimum expenditure of time, energy, money etc.
  2. You as an empathic victim operate on the basis that if you say you will do something, you will (unless there are exceptionally valid reasons) deliver on that promise. Therefore you expect others to operate to the same standard of behaviour. You are goaded into thinking that since the person you are entangled with is similar to you (because you do not know he or she is a narcissist) they will behave in the same way as you, i.e. deliver on the promise.
  3. Your emotional thinking wants you to continue to engage with the narcissist. Therefore it corrupts your empathic traits for example,  Honesty, Love Devotee and/or Decency into believing that the narcissist will deliver on this stated intention because that is what honest and decent people do. We are neither honest or decent – you however do not know that or you fail to abide by the logic of knowing that when your emotional thinking soars. The former scenario occurs when you do not know that you are ensnared by a narcissist and therefore you are led into thinking this person will operate the same as you. The latter is when you know you are dealing with a narcissist and you know about future faking (or you do not know you are dealing with a narcissist but you have noted (logically and based on evidence) that this person keeps promising things and does not deliver) BUT notwithstanding this fix of logic, you fail to take heed of it because of soaring emotional thinking outweighing it. An example might be   ‘This is the third time he has promised to take me to that new restaurant, but he blew me out the last two times. He was clearly sorry to have done so, I could tell, so I don’t think he will do it a third time.’
  4. The corruption of your Love Devotee trait would involve some grand romantic gesture and again your emotional thinking overrides logic. An example would be ‘I will take you to the Maldives next month’  You know he has no money and no job so how can he afford it, thus it is questionable that he could ever deliver on this but you fail to pay attention to this Future Faking by either

a. Thinking it is a lovely, romantic gesture and ignoring completely his lack of apparent resources to achieve this;

b. Thinking it is a lovely, romantic gesture, you are not sure how he will pay for it but he must mean it so he must have something up his sleeve to achieve this (savings, he has borrowed the money, he has a magic wand) ; or

c. You know he cannot deliver but you think the intent is sweet anyway and you do not mind that he cannot deliver. Indeed, you will end up paying instead or not go and you do not mind.

Future Faking is nothing to do with the narcissist changing his or her mind. It is nothing to do with you making a mistake, annoying the narcissist or messing things up so the promised event is not delivered (although of course a combination of our Blameshifting and your emotional thinking corrupting your empathic trait of Guilt) will make you think that you have derailed the opportunity to travel to the land of milk and honey.

When the Lesser or Mid Range Narcissist issues a promise or statement of intent with regard to some future event, whether it is ‘I will mow the lawn’ through to ‘I am taking you on a 90 day world cruise’ or from ‘I promise I will see you next Friday night’ through to ‘I am marrying you some day’. There is a very high risk that this is Future Faking. Occasionally there will be delivery (this is more likely in the seduction phase) but usually there is not.

The Lesser or Mid Range Narcissist  means it when it is stated (thus when you suggest they are not going to deliver they will be mortally offended by this Challenge Fuel issued by you)  and lash out in order to assert control. The original Future Faking statement is instinctively issued (and believed by the narcissist) in order to assert control you and to gain fuel. Thus

Narcissist : ‘I will call you tomorrow and we can arrange to go for dinner on Saturday night.’ (Future event, spoken statement (low energy) for the purpose of controlling the victim).

Shelf Intimate Partner Secondary Source Victim : ‘That would be great, I am really looking forward to seeing you again.’ (Control maintained in the instant, positive fuel gained)

Following day

Narcissist calls and converses and makes arrangement for Saturday night with victim. Control again maintained in the instant, victim’s pleased and enthusiastic responses provides positive fuel.

Saturday comes. The narcissist has a Hoover Trigger from a different Shelf IPSS and the Hoover Execution Criteria are met for him to hoover that appliance by going out for dinner with that person. This is because the narcissist had an instinctive need for control over that person in THAT MOMENT and there was no need for control over the First Shelf IPSS because that person was under control. The narcissist does not attend dinner with the First Shelf IPSS and does not even message to cancel because the narcissism does not deem it necessary. There is no emotional empathy therefore the narcissist does not instinctively feel behaving this way is ‘bad’ and should not be done. The narcissist may not have any cognitive empathy and no façade management, therefore there is no need to send a message cancelling. The narcissist is unaware that such a step would be seen as the polite thing to do. A narcissist who has cognitive empathy MIGHT send such a message cancelling the dinner IF the instinctive need for control deemed this an appropriate step, otherwise because of the sense of entitlement (the narcissist does whatever he or she wants, when he or she wants and with whoever he or she wants) and the innate lack of accountability ( I am not accountable to anybody for what I do) then the narcissist fails to turn up to the dinner date with the First Shelf and goes off with the Second Shelf because in THAT MOMENT this was the best outcome for the narcissist.

The fact that the First Shelf Victim may become angry with the narcissist is not at the forefront of the Lesser or Mid Range Narcissist’s mind. The consequences of that anger or upset are down the line and therefore not of importance. What matters is NOW, not yesterday, nor tomorrow, but NOW. The narcissist will deal with the collateral consequence of his failure to turn up as he sees fit and when he sees fit (again sense of entitlement, lack of emotional empathy and lack of accountability). This might be issuing an excuse claiming the First Shelf never confirmed with the narcissist (Blameshifting and the Revision of HIstory), focusing on something else (Deflection) or ignoring the First Shelf (Silent Treatment) . These are further manipulations. The anger of the stood up First Shelf Victim manifests as Challenge Fuel and the response of the narcissist (whether active or not) is a manipulation instinctively occasioned for the purposes of asserting control again by quelling the challenge (and gaining fuel to boot).

The narcissist does not change his mind. Consciously (when Lesser or Mid Range) he meant to deliver BUT unconsciously his narcissism meant he is highly unlikely to because it is not about the achieving of the future event (which is what victims mistakenly focus on) it is all about achieving control NOW and this is used by referring to a future event to achieve that, hence future faking. The Greater will either issue the promise and deliver (having greater resource ands ability to do so) or issue the promise knowing there will be no delivery (calculated future faking) because the Greater deems this the best allocation of resources in order to achieve control and fuel.

For the majority of you, you will have encountered this from a Lesser or Mid Range Narcissist and it is instinctive, frequent and all about controlling you NOW by promising something later.

15 thoughts on “What Is Future Faking?

  1. WokeAF says:

    My kid’s dad has dropped out of the picture a few months ago and I (for the first time) didn’t fight it.
    I went to collect child support and told him his kid wants to see him
    He said “yeah I was thinking Tuesday”
    I said “ok well give him a call , on his cell”
    He said (with a quick look of fury that disappeared as fast as I saw it) “ oh – YOU don’t wanna….” (plan, arrange, organize, facilitate… Make happen like you usually do… )
    I said “no well, he’s 15. You can call him and arrange it.”
    He said “ya ok …ya”..looking uncomfortable and scratching the back of his neck

    That was a week and 3 days ago.
    Havent heard from him.

    1. WokeAF says:

      Correction : 2 weeks and 3 days ago)

      1. WokeAF says:

        He hasn’t asked to see his son in months. He hasn’t called or visited in months despite me reminding him every two weeks his son doesn’t understand why. I am raged at and gaslighted when I explain his son is hurt.

        And then that future fake. Not the first.

        The future fakes are *really* hard on kids.
        I didn’t tell my son about that one.

        Bc I only just realized recently what I’m dealing with. 23 years (our daughter is 22) and the cognitive dissonance is ONLY NOW fading.

        1. Tammy says:

          So sad your child has to be in the middle of this. Trust me when I say they will get it one day. They will know what is and has been going on. These kids today are very bright and aware. Bless you and your family. I hope you and your kids get out of this mess. It’s all up to you now knowing what you know.

    2. Tammy says:

      WAF…. The worst thing dealing with a Narc for a week and 3 days is dealing with this for a week and 4 days. Every day is another day you can’t get back. I hope you go NO CONTACT. Please start NC today or yesterday!

  2. Mary says:

    I don’t understand myself and my tollerance on the disgusting future faking which is going on for years!!!!!

    What’s wrong with me HG?

    1. Tammy says:

      You, like the rest of us don’t or didn’t get the reason for the future faking. It’s because we expect people to be decent. Because we are decent. We take people for their word. Sad news is narcassists never live by their word. You will always be future faked. The narcissist does this to get what they want IN THE MOMENT. Read up a bit more on future faking and you will know why and how this happens.

      1. Mary says:


        Yes, i understand now.

        I feel disgusted at his constant insistence on future faking, ( is degrading) he must know is faking, and he must know i pretend to believe him (often) for avoiding vile confrontations, which it happens anyway.

        There isn’t hardly any time i meet him that he won’t be vile and cruel to me, because now he realise that i cannot be muzzled, i know it is fuel for him, but nevetherless i tell him what he is, withouth cruelness or rage, but intelligently… and he despises that..

  3. Shelf Fuel says:

    My Piano Boy MMRN used to future fake me constantly. I began calling him out on it and giving him shit. He did not react too well and said I was being “very mean and hurtful”. I then told him I feel hurt that he says all this shit and does not deliver. He then rattled off excuses (my kids, my job, blah blah). I told him we all have responsibilities and we make time for what is important and therefore I must not be important. He went silent for a little while and then just told me again how awful and hurtful I was being and how dare I question how he feels about me. He then said he was not sure he wanted to keep existing plans with me because he “cannot handle my hurtful attitude” and was worried I’d keep giving that attitude to him in person (the prior fight was via text and phone call).

    “You are being incredibly hurtful to me” I lost count the number of times I had to hear that. Is that supposed to mean “you are wounding me by challenging me?” Did I get that right?

  4. Tammy says:

    I was future faked for nearly 10 years by one N. He didn’t deliver on every topic listed in this post. Of course I was to blame. Today it’s laughable. When the words and actions don’t match, believe the actions. (Or lack of.)

    1. Caroline-is-fine says:

      Good advice, Tammy. I’m sorry it was 10 years, but you’ll be so much wiser about healthy dynamics with all the years you still have.

      You’re right – so much of it is laughable & easy to see when you’re away from it. I’m not sure the human brain is meant to fully absorb such fakery for a sustained time, so I think it tries to make sense of it, almost like a defense mechanism, filling in the gaps. It’s a really big learning experience. It takes time to sort it.

      1. Tammy says:

        Thank you for your response. Yes, it took me a long time to figure it out but thankfully I did. (Thanks to HG).

        1. Caroline-is-fine says:

          Good for you, Tammy… and good ol’ HG — in the way he IS good. 😉

    2. mai51 says:

      Absolutely Tammy…..

      It’s so easy to get caught up listening to words only and not paying close attention to actions. It’s also incredibly useful to look closely at patterns. Eventually you see that the words, actions and patterns are so far apart, they may as well be on different planets….

      That’s when you know that the narc is full of shit. Always has been, always will be…..

      It’s always about instant gratification and what feels good at that point in time….. there is no future. There is no past. Just the immediate present, and saying whatever gets results. In.That.Moment.Only.

      Urghhh….. what a way to live.

      I used to think it must be such an awful way to live thinking he actually had the intentions to actualise what he vocalised, and how disappointing it must be to plan all these amazing dreams and never have them come to fruition. But that’s not how they work. They’re already onto the next amazing plan/idea/scheme……the past ones are no longer in they’re head….

      Con artists. Charlatans. Tricksters.



      1. Mary says:

        Maybe many of them are self-conned into believing their own crap??
        That would be more than sad, would be insanity at the purest state. 😢

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