Shelf Life – The World of the Secondary Source


There are many different types of secondary sources. There are the Non Intimate Secondary Sources – family, friends, neighbours or colleagues. There are the Intimate Partner Secondary Sources, which includes The Dirty Little Secret and The Candidate. There are virtual varieties also.

What do all of these secondary sources have in common?

The shelf.

Every secondary source belongs on the shelf.

A friend is on the shelf. The narcissist makes an arrangement to spend the evening in the pub with the friend, thus this Friend NISS is taken off the shelf, engaged with at the pub for three hours and is then placed back on the shelf. Throughout this, the Friend NISS is painted white and remains white when her she goes back on to the shelf.

A Dirty Little Secret is on the shelf. The narcissist makes an arrangement to meet the DLS at a hotel on the far side of town at 1pm. The DLS is taken off the shelf, taken to bed for sex for a couple of hours, has an hours conversation and then the narcissist leaves and places the DLS on the shelf. Throughout this, the DLS is painted white and remains white when he or she goes back on to the shelf.

The brother of the narcissist is telephoned by the narcissist. The narcissist and the brother (a family NISS) speak for an hour. The Family NISS is taken off the shelf for the duration of the conversation. The conversation ends and the Family NISS goes back on the shelf. Throughout this, the Family NISS is painted white and remains white when he or she goes back on to the shelf.

The IPSS is on the shelf. The narcissist is dating the IPSS and picks her up to take her away for a weekend break in the mountains. The IPSS is taken off the shelf for the duration of the weekend trip. When it ends, the IPSS goes back on the shelf. Throughout the weekend the IPSS is painted white and remains white when she goes back on the shelf.

The Candidate IPSS is on the shelf. The narcissist calls round to spend the evening with the Candidate watching television at his house. The Candidate IPSS is taken off the shelf for the four hours or so they watch television. The narcissist leaves at 11pm and the Candidate goes back on the shelf. Throughout their television watching the Candidate IPSS is painted white and remains white when he goes back on the shelf.

Each one of the appliances above is treated to the shelf dynamic. The narcissist performs a hoover which results in the appliance coming off the shelf. They are off the shelf for the duration of sex, the watching of television, the weekend away and so forth and when the relevant act or occasion ends, the appliance goes back on the shelf. The time off the shelf and/or the periods being on the shelf will vary dependent on the type of shelf appliance involved, the constitution of the narcissists fuel matrix and naturally whether there are Hoover Triggers and if so, whether the Hoover Execution Criteria are met. These factors come together to govern the frequency, nature and duration of the shelf interaction with the relevant appliance and the narcissist.

A common error is to regard being placed on the shelf as an act of devaluation.

It is not.

When you are placed on the shelf by a narcissist it means that the narcissist has no need of you at the present time. The act of putting you on the shelf, is, in itself, a neutral one. Of course, since we always view appliances as either black or white, you will either be placed on the shelf as white (which is more common) or placed on the shelf as black (less common).

You, however, as a consequence of your emotional thinking, are led to believe that you have done something wrong when you have been placed on the shelf. Your emotional thinking of course wants to con you into thinking this because if you believe you have done something wrong you will then continue to engage with the narcissist (and thus feed your addiction) by doing such things as

  • Trying to spend time with the narcissist by calling round where the narcissist lives, works or socialises,
  • Texting the narcissist
  • Telephoning the narcissist
  • Emailing the narcissist
  • Posting about the narcissist on social media
  • Talking about the narcissist with other people
  • Thinking about the narcissist and your situation with the narcissist

All of these things (and other examples besides) feed your addiction and increase your emotional thinking. Your emotional thinking wants you to believe you have done something wrong by being placed on the shelf so that you will then do any or all of the above.

Consider this – when you meet up with a friend (who is not a narcissist) and you have an evening at the cinema, you then part ways afterwards and perhaps do not communicate with one another for a couple of weeks, perhaps longer. Does this trouble you? No. Why not? Because you know this is the nature of your friendship? Yes. Because you know you have not done anything wrong? Yes. Because you know you will meet up again at some point? Yes. Why are you able to think in such terms and not be concerned? It is because all of those three points are logic. You are able to access your logic because there is an absence of emotional thinking because you are not engaging with a narcissist. Logic prevails.

Your friendship with the non-narcissist operates in a fashion similar to the shelf dynamic, but it does not have you worried, concerned, snooping, fretting and spying. This is because you are able to apply logic.

You may state that when the narcissist drives off after spending the evening with you, you do not have any undue concerns at that point. Perhaps, but many of you will be thinking such thoughts as

  • When will I see him/her again
  • Is he going to see someone else now? Who is it?
  • I wish she would stay longer
  • He is going back to his wife, I wish I was her
  • He left half an hour before he said he was going to leave, have I upset him?

You have been placed on the shelf and painted white, there is no evidence to suggest there is any problem at all, but you find yourself concerned.

Do you find yourself thinking such thoughts about non-narcissists? No. Why is that? Logic prevails owing to the absence of emotional thinking. Where you are left wondering thoughts similar to the above, it is because your emotional thinking is hijacking your truth seeking trait, your trait of honest, your trait of decency, your love devotee trait and others in order to have you engaging further (in some fashion) with the narcissist and thus feed that addiction.

Of course there are instances where there is actual evidence that causes concern. For instance, the narcissist kept talking about his wife and how he should not have been spending time with you. That is triangulation and you are painted black when you are on the receiving end of such comments by way of a Corrective Devaluation. You will have done or said something (or failed to say or do something) amounting to either Challenge Fuel or Wounding and thus you are faced with this Corrective Devaluation which is all about asserting control over you.

When you are placed on the shelf by our kind, you are faced with three issues :-

  • When you are placed on the shelf and you are painted white, you are of course enjoying a golden period of treatment by the narcissist. You want more of that golden period because your emotional thinking (wanting you to feed your addiction) causes you to want to engage further with the narcissist, as opposed to waiting (as you would do with a non-narcissist) ;
  • When you are placed on the shelf and you are painted white, you still suffer from a sense of uncertainty and unease, because you are ensnared by a narcissist and this is what we instinctively cause. Your emotional thinking (already heightened by your ongoing engagements with the narcissist) interferes with logic so even when there is no actual evidence of a problem, you find yourself in a position of concern, wondering when you will see the narcissist, wondering what the narcissist is doing, is the narcissist seeing someone else etc ; and
  • When you are placed on the shelf and you are painted black, you recognise that something is wrong. The narcissist may have argued with you, accused you of doing something you have not done, sat and sulked, talked about someone else, expressed doubts about the relationship, criticised something you have done. Driven by your emotional thinking you fail to recognise that this is a manipulation and shrug it off with “Well he is a narcissist, so he is being what he is” instead you are left worried by what has happened, concerned that the relationship is foundering or is even over and therefore you are driven to seek further engagement with the narcissist, which naturally is all about feeding your addiction.

These three issues are always present at one time or another when you are a shelf appliance with a narcissist. These three issues are absent when you are involved in some form of a relationship with a non-narcissist. You do not have that same level of excitement, that same level of unease, that same level of pining, that same level of feeling on edge as you do when you are in the shelf situation with a narcissist. That is because where the involvement is with a non-narcissist, your emotional thinking is not at work conning you.

If you are friends with a non-narcissist, you look forward to seeing them the next time, but you are not left ruminating on the interaction, feeling a strange sense of unease and wondering if everything is okay and when you might see one another again. No, you get on with your life and you contact the non-narcissist friend days or weeks later and make arrangements to see one another again, or vice versa.

If you are in the early days of a romantic relationship with a non-narcissist, you are pleased and indeed keen to see one another, but you get on with your lives in between dates and the relationship evolves at a steady pace. Many of you reading this will never have experienced this time of evolution in a romantic relationship because you have only ever experienced the heady ecstasy of the intense love-bombing from a narcissist. Those strong, exciting sensations that have you repeatedly thinking about the other person, waiting for the ping of a text message from that person, daydreaming about what they are doing, reflecting on your last meeting and inadvertently allowing us to permeate every aspect of your waking (and sometimes sleeping) life all arise because you are being seduced by a narcissist.

Accordingly, when you are experiencing life on the shelf with a narcissist, your emotional thinking is repeatedly obscuring logic and driving you to experience feelings in order to make you engage in some further way with the narcissist. Think back, even when you were on the shelf and experiencing what you came to realise was the golden period, did you truly feel secure and comfortable. If you are honest, you will realise you did not – you were always wanting more, wondering, contemplating and ultimately being controlled. The consequence of the emotional thinking invariably causes you to maintain contact with the narcissist by calling by, telephoning and sending messages. These are Hoover Triggers as you enter the narcissists sphere of influence and if you receive a response it is a hoover, because the Hoover Execution Criteria is met.

Ordinarily you would not contact a non-narcissist friend, family member, colleague or romantic interest in the same way because there is no addiction to feed. Where you are on the shelf with the narcissist, you keep making this contact and this results in a variety of outcomes :-

  1. The narcissist takes you off the shelf again as you are painted white, the HEC are met and thus you get a two hour conversation on the telephone or an evening at dinner or an afternoon in the countryside or a quick bunk-up in the back of the car around the back of Target – you are then returned to the shelf , or
  2. The narcissist throws you Comfort Crumbs. You are painted white but the narcissist does not need to hoover you and therefore does not. You are not painted black (although victims usually mistake comfort crumbs as meaning you are in devaluation) but instead the narcissist does not want to “play” with you (because he or she is playing with others in the fuel matrix) and thus you remain on the shelf. Keep “pestering” the narcissist to in effect hoover you and you will then become painted black and ignored, namely you get a silent treatment or you may be told off with a terse telephone call, email or text – both of these are Corrective Devaluations. These are temporary “slaps on the wrist” designed to make you go quiet and allow the narcissist to engage with others in the fuel matrix. If you comply, your being painted black will presently fade back to white (as it is a temporary state of affairs). However, if you reject this assertion of control, you remain painted black and you will continue to be ignored (or start to be ignored). Persist further and you may cause disengagement , or
  3. The narcissist has painted you black as you are placed on the shelf and you will receive a further Corrective Devaluation by way of a malign hoover as a consequence of your hoover trigger. The narcissist painted you black, put you on the shelf, but you keep “pestering” the narcissist, so you get further Corrective Devaluations. If you comply, then you will remain on the shelf and over time your black status will fade to white once more. Continue to reject this assertion of control and you will receive further Corrective Devaluations which may then culminate in disengagement.

This is life on the shelf. The sensation of unease ever present and always subject to our control.


136 thoughts on “Shelf Life – The World of the Secondary Source

  1. michele Lynn barretta says:

    Dear HG, This article alone has helped me so much I cant even explain how grateful I am. I have put myself through years of agony wondering “why” he did these unusal things that made no sense. I wanted to hate him but instead I became facinated by his unpredictiable game playing. 8 years locked into his matrix. Now that I have insight I no longer find him a mystery and can finally move on. Today I am free. HG you are like an Angel to me.
    My mind can rest now and I can resume living a normal life once again.

    1. HG Tudor says:

      Good to read.

  2. deniseisdone says:

    Hello HG! I LOVED this article as it explains so much and also because it has helped me healed! I finally was able to understand and accept what IT was…thank you HG!!
    Next month will be a year of NC (never swayed from your advise) and I feel great and SAFE! You gave me my life back and with so much valuable knowledge (favorite is Logical thinking) that I incorporate now in my daily life which has helped tremendously! I still listen to your videos but now I don’t cry – I’m in awe of the mess you led me out of and I’m now on my dry land!
    Thank you HG from the bottom of my heart!

    1. HG Tudor says:

      You are welcome DID

  3. Kim Michaud says:

    Hg is it possible for somebody to give somebody the silent treatment without that person bring a narcissist ? Also would u consider somebody ghosting someone the same thing as giving them the silent treatment ? Specifically ive been dating a man nine or ten months he cut of all communication after a misunderstanding hasn’t contacted me once in two weeks and has not replied to my calls messages emails I texts etc I never considered him a narc and consider myself to be ghosted by him but now I’m wondering if it’s actually a silent treatment from a narc,?

  4. neo says:

    What would theoretically happen if a shelved IPSS blocks the N without warning? They were painted white as far as the N thought, but the shelved IPSS got tired of being ignored and blocked the N? Once the N reaches out to eventually hoover, would they care? Find another means of contact? Paint the IPSS black and move on?

    1. HG Tudor says:

      At the point of blocking, since the victim is on the shelf, the narcissist is unlikely to know they have been blocked. When there is a Hoover Trigger and if the Hoover Execution Criteria are met, then the narcissist will hoover and try to take the victim off the shelf. If the hoover is performed electronically and the narcissist finds they have been blocked, this will wound. The narcissist may shift to an alternative form of contact, dependent on how this sits within the HEC. If the narcissist could post a message on social media instead, they are likely to do that, if they have to get on a plane to go and see the victim, they are unlikely to do that.

  5. AnneB says:

    H.G. This article has been very useful for me today. I have many questions re my past engagement with the suspected N [I feel I can no longer call this a relationship seeing that the suspected N and I to the highest probability never shared what Non-Ns/empaths generally define as such – as a result of capability vs non-capability to attach/empathise etc], I am saving my questions for the several consultations I will need to undertake to gain final understanding. Actually, I perceive how in the digital space in conjunction with trusting your motives, that I am able to ‘wait’ for the answers, no agitation, no N dynamic. This is a normal, respectful dynamic here. How wonderful!

    Thank you for restoring my faith in the truth. Re: Your blog -there is nothing else I have either read, heard or discussed in regard to the N dynamic anywhere else by professionals or otherwise that so completely resonates with my experience and how I felt. It It is incredibly relieving to have my drive to seek and know the truth validated.

    1. HG Tudor says:

      Thank you for that ringing endorsement AnneB and I am pleased, but not surprised, that my work has proven so useful to you.

      1. AnneB says:

        Thank you H.G. I am very happy that I am able to endorse your work and recognise that you are absolutely entitled to it..Your understanding of the victim perspective is..extraordinary. I believe that this must make me accept the info you present about the N dynamic/perspective as fact. I trust it.

        If it wouldn’t break my own boundaries right now, I would endorse you to a number of friends in my personal life, but I don’t discuss my personal experience with the suspected N with anyone IRL. I saw the futility of that from the start, at least as far as my own case is concerned. When my ET is balanced and I am indifferent to the N and that section of my past then I will be endorsing you IRL, without doubt!

        1. HG Tudor says:

          A very sensible approach.

    2. NarcAngel says:


      Your last paragraph would be an excellent testimonial to be posted both here on narcsite and elsewhere. Possibly on one of his books.

      1. HG Tudor says:

        If AnneB emails it to me, NA, I will look at it being added to one of the forthcoming covers which are being updated.

  6. RtotheN says:

    If a narc is testing secondary sources to see which one will be a candidate for a primary ( an official girlfriend for some time), when he makes a choice, how exactly does that work? Because, if you date girl number one for several weeks and then put her on a shelf to date girl number 2 and afterwards number 3 and etc., if you decide number 1 is the best option after maybe month and a half, why would she want to be with you and how would you woo her if you showed her with your behaviour that you don’t want to see her or hear from hear on regular basis, that you can’t/won’t make time and that you’re not serious about her. That’s what any other girl would conclude.

    1. HG Tudor says:

      You have neglected to take into account the power of emotional thinking. Ask some of the Shelf IPSSs here why they continued to hang in there, some for years.

      1. cogra002 says:

        I answered from “the shelf”. Wdy think? Accurate portrayal?

    2. cogra002 says:

      RtotheN, that IS exactly how we feel and keep trying to escape. The missing pieces to the puzzle….my opinion:

      1. You’re not always sure what’s going on. Narcs often keep their primaries somewhat hidden, or they are “friends “, they keep you confused and doubting yourself
      2. We were trauma bonded during lovebombing. Mine seems to be particularly bad, from what I’ve read.
      3. We do try to escape Narc Island pretty often, once deval and discard commences.
      The hoovering is really difficult to withstand because of the trauma bond.
      This is why, as HG says. No Contact is the only path.
      4. Withstanding the withdrawal from Narc heroin, and the trauma bonding is really really hard. But we do.know we’re being treated like shit, and there are many fights about it, and escape attempts. And many of us do not have low self worth and do know we deserve more, btw. The power of Narc manipulation never ceases to amaze me.
      For me, today is like this.

      1. RtotheN says:

        Didn’t mean to sound condescending.. I think I was on the shelf or in devaluation process,not sure, but I was in your shoes also.. but from the very start I refused to get in line, complained when he did something, asked questions, put a stop to the whole thing several times etc.but my narc obviously targeted the wrong victim or thought I was an easy mark so… Maybe try that, be too difficult, know your worth and stand up for yourself, maybe he’ll think you require too much work 😀😀 I remember the last time we saw each other he wanted me to get him a glass of water from the other room and I told him to get it himself. Until then, he tried so soo hard to get me back but I failed this test so..

        1. cogra002 says:

          Ya I did this, this morning. He went into the most extreme victim mode, blamshifting and projection I have seen to date. It was really upsetting to see. But, he brought it on himself. How much he doesn’t give a F keeps being in my face whether it is deliberate or not, and I said almost exactly that. I dont need feeling that way!! I was pissed. I am still.

          1. RtotheN says:

            Stay pissed if it helps you. For me, it’s the logic of things and understanding why to the smallest details but when I’m calm and cold headed. Actually it didn’t really help me reading all this,it made me feel teriffied, scared and sad.
            A month of “detox” by keeping busy from 6am to midnight to keep myself from obesessing, then reading these articles, making lists, writing definitions down, more research, sticky notes and everything (sounds like OCD haha) and then allowing myself to feel things. Now I’m great

    3. NarcAngel says:

      Remember that empaths are targeted as being prone to certain behaviours and as having certain traits susceptible to staying engaged when they are chosen. The narc may get it wrong sometimes but for the most part the empath is already deemed likely to wait and re-engage when they are placed on the shelf. That’s my take anyway.

      1. Shelf Fuel says:

        Yeah pretty much what Narc Angel said…

      2. cogra002 says:

        NarcAngel, I agree. For example the Narc knew my parents had just passed away, and from social media knew I’m never in pictures with a boyfriend or siblings, just some friends and pets. So he rightly gauged I was alone.
        Would I be correct in saying sometimes the thinking is that the Narc is better than no one at all? It’s not true, but that emotional thinking is there. Sometimes the choice becomes the Narc or no one. Then trying to survive the trauma Band and addiction is very difficult with little or no support group

        1. NarcAngel says:

          Is it narc or no one because you have allowed yourself to be isolated and wait for him to engage you? Do you turn down engagements with others in order to be available for him? It may not be the case but I’m asking you to be honest with yourself. I don’t need an answer. Your support group is here. You do not need to submit to abuse to feel supported. That’s your ET at work again.

          1. cogra002 says:

            I meant my response to be more general than just me. But it is sometimes true for me, and it is not necessarily my emotional thinking, there is no one here to talk to most often when Narc games happen. It is a hard cold fact.
            I don’t turn down anything for the Narc. We are long distance and ever since D+D, it’s not like before. There is little left but head games. There was a sense of us being obsessed with each other before, but now just Narc games. Too long for here. I have left many times. But I dont withstand the hoovers for long enough by myself.
            I know the sense of him being better than nothing is emotional thinking because he is a -1

      3. RtotheN says:

        Oh, yes, you are right. I was judging by my example because I was an ideal candidate on the paper, but, fortunately, I fought for myself.

    4. empath007 says:

      RtotheN… I think you may have just solved a lot of empaths issues in that one paragraph haha. That is how we SHOULD see it… but what ends up happening is we think:

      “oh he was probably just busy but he seems so into me… why would he make that up?”

      “he was with WHO?!… that girl is trash and I can be the one to heal him, fix him, etc”

      People make excuses for them in their minds, we project our own world view on to them not wanting to “judge to harshly”

      And if we are being honest… women can be horrible to one another.. putting us against each other in a competition is a smart move because women tend to focus more on “winning” against the other women then the man causing all the issues to begin with. I really think if this problem could be worked on … the narc would be far less effective at what they do, because we’d all say… “Oh you want her and me?? no, no… you just go ahead and take her”

      1. cogra002 says:

        Empath 007
        I actually do see it as RtotheN described. Then he hits me with all his problems and I feel bad leaving. He says “how can you leave me, how can u be so cruel to me…” etc. Its just projection on his part, as I dote in him, but I cant handle it.

        1. RtotheN says:

          Can’t handle what exactly? (Don’t mean to sound cruel or anything..been there, done that). Ok, so, an example..imagine you had years of sickness and a then death in your family, that you handled that badly and then, a few years later, when you’re finally really good and you meet the N, you tell him about it. Several months later,you’re on a shelf and the excuse is – “how don’t you understand me, you are so selfish and when you’re in love with someone, you try to put yourself in their shoes and give them time. I’m isolating myself just like you did when all that happened to you, I’m trying, I need time, help me”.
          Disgusting, cheap, low, humiliatingly obvious. No words needed – goodbye. Yours would do that if had this excuse, no doubt. Do you really want that in your life? What’s good here – you can’t do worse,only better. Move on, meet new people, find new things to do, go to the gym, painting or cooking class, take up sports, go out by yourself, do anything to get through the day and to bring something new and different to your like and things will get better.

      2. RtotheN says:

        Forgot to say – yes, I know aaaaall about “why would he this, what would he that if doesn’t mean it”. Mine swore on his baby son once.. yes, he would.
        It’s a hell of a thing, your own morals, standards and logic and when someone uses them against you.

    5. SMH says:


      In my case (SIPSS) I did not want to be a Candidate or IPPS. I had just left a marriage and was not looking to get seriously involved. It started out as ‘just a fling’ but while I thought I gave him what he wanted (a fuck buddy and later an affair), I did not actually give him what he wanted (he wanted me to want to be IPPS, even though he did not actually want me as IPPS, if you follow me). So the games ensued.

      Well, the games were there from the start but because I was just looking to have fun, I didn’t care about the red flags. For instance, I knew he was lying about his name and he knew I knew he was lying, I suspected he was married but did not know for sure for awhile, and so on and so forth. The manipulations got more and more subtle and twisted, in part because he could not triangulate me with IPPS because I didn’t want to take her place. I was trauma bonded anyway.

      I explained it to someone else the other day with the example of the frog in water: if you put a frog in boiling water, it will jump out. But if you put it in lukewarm water and slowly turn the heat up, it will die. Narcs use lukewarm water and then they turn the heat up (luckily we are not frogs! though that is not to minimize the damage some narcs can do).

      Like most people here, I left many times but it took five tries before I finally escaped for good a year and a half ago. I turned vicious in the end, and that followed three months of trying to be ‘friends.’ This is all by way of explaining how one could stay in a ‘relationship’ as a secondary source with someone who shelves you all the time.

  7. strongerwendyme says:

    Spot on. 👍

    1. HG Tudor says:

      Thank you SW.

  8. SMH says:

    HG, excellent as always. Obviously the dynamic is very complicated. I have a few questions, some based off what other commenters have asked.

    You state that hours long conversations, back and forth are to bring you off the shelf. If that is the case, 1) Was I ever really shelved? MRN stayed in almost constant touch, except when I would escape and go NC, or one of us was traveling. Very rarely did more than a day or two go by without contact initiated by him (because he was curt if I initiated, so I did not). Once he disappeared for a few weeks (I was away and didn’t pursue). I was definitely addicted. No denying that. But it also annoyed me that he would keep me hooked for days on end with no commitment to seeing each other. It distracted me from my day. Post-escape, when I was trying to be friends, I lightly expressed that annoyance, which wounded him. But when we were together and I asked to plan so that we did not have to be in constant touch, he accused me of not being ‘spontaneous’ enough. 2) was that response to save face? 3) What was the point of the hours of email conversations? Was he just fueling up? If so, I was a damned good fuel source!

    And then another related topic: a few weeks ago I was ‘dating’ someone (‘oyster man’) who love bombed intensely. I tolerated it for about two weeks and then told him that he was ott and I was overwhelmed. I was on the fence about seeing him again but was willing to after a break. Then he decided that we should not see each other again because we wanted ‘different things.’ I did not mind – hardly thought about it again. So third question 3) What is the difference between oyster man and MRN? Oyster man love bombed and then discarded but I couldn’t have cared less.

    I guess I asked this last question because I think there has got to be chemistry – the difference between oyster man and MRN was the chemistry. I didn’t really have it with oyster man, though it might have developed assuming he was a normal. I had it immediately with MRN. I don’t think chemistry is something that you can manufacture. It is either there or it is not. MRN and I had it, I did not have it with oyster man and I am sure that not every woman would have it with MRN.

    The question of chemistry really bugged me about MRN because I could not figure out what it meant in the wider context of our relationship. I do not think chemistry is something that one can make happen.

    I once asked you whether any woman had ever rejected you and you said no. I can’t imagine that every woman feels chemistry with you – so 4) do you think you can always make it happen?

    Thank you in advance for deciphering and (hopefully) answering these questions.

    1. HG Tudor says:

      Thank you. There is considerable detail with regard to this and therefore they are best addressed through consultation.

      1. SMH says:

        I guess that was pretty wordy – some four questions (or more) in there on several topics. I must have been tired when I wrote it!

  9. Andrea says:

    Most of these things match my relationship. The whole unease. Being on the shelf.
    We spoke 18 hours + a day for 4-5 months. It suddenly dramatically decreased. Excuses about feeling bad, depressed, sick, etc.
    He says he sleeps alot of the day, and lately hes been around alot more–probably 12 hours a day. But it goes in cycles. More then less, then anger then love bombing.
    I was mislead at the beginning but the trauma bond seems too intense to get away. He first told me that there was more going on with me. But then at the beginning of the year I was told I had to wait more than a year for us to be in a real relationship (he thinks sneaking around is real, but Ive adamantly disagreed)

    The majority of our arguments are about not being present in each others lives. (you may say 12 hours! but all of that is online…I see him once or twice a week for an hour at a time at night) Ive said that a virtual relationship with someone in the background isnt enough for me. But he consistently says –I never led you on, I have to wait.

    I have no idea what I am considered. Other than an idiot. *sigh*

    1. cogra002 says:

      Andrea, I really felt u on your comment. My situation is similar, including 12 escape attempts. Although I have not yet been successful, HG is right No Contact is the only path. Hearing some of Inner Integrations videos on how the brain chemicals get triggered and what is going on chemically, was very enlightening. When Narcs hoover at all. Any contact at all, still triggers dopamine and oxytocin, period. We were set up for this drug addiction to the Narc during lovebombing. This is an addiction that needs to be treated as such. Hugs, and best wishes to both of us to escape.

    2. cogra002 says:

      Andrea. Very similar for me. Waving at you from the shelf of a different Narc Island. Funny how much it looks like your island.
      I had a huge Narc fight today, another that could culminate in me going no Contact again. Really saps your joy on those days. I was on top of the world the last few days, and should be. Another successful artistic collaboration with my French collaborator, which should be out this week. But the Narc really took a big dump on it today, which is in keeping with how they are. I have a new collab this week and my Birthday is coming up. Time to swoop in and Narc all over it. Hugs and take care.

  10. WAF Tudorita says:

    I quite enjoyed this. You just keep getting better HG

    “ You do not have that same level of excitement, that same level of unease, that same level of pining, that same level of feeling on edge”

    This is what I was referring to in another thread- that it would seem I’m only ever attracted to narcs. This description of love/attraction-is all I’ve known.
    From a young teen with a crush on a guy who barely speaks to me, to the babydaddy
    ( ironically the time period of these feelings was brief & we settled into comfortable coupleship pretty much immediately – no large lovebombing (Victim) —and we lasted 10 years but these were not the main feelings I had – we will have to consult.))
    —through to the MMR DLS and also the narcoholic (barely a bronze period)

    This is what love and attraction hits me as and I’m OVER IT. It’s too tiring. I don’t think I experience attraction in a mature fashion. I don’t WANT it anymore – but I thought that was bc it’s always a narc.

  11. empath007 says:

    I have a few comments/questions regarding this one. I apologize if it gets lengthy.

    1) is it possible for a narc to have another category of appliance, a Secret, Intimate, Primary Source? I was a secret… of this there is no doubt… but I was never shelved, I was love bombed, devalued and then disengaged with. So just wondering if that scenario is possible, if not then perhaps I did not notice the shelving. We fought so much it would be impossible to know, literally every conversation was a fight lol.

    2) I think it is imaginary thinking on the Narcissists’ part to believe that non intimate secondary sources spend their time worrying in between not seeing them. I would imagine most friends who are not subjected to any abuse (at least not regularly) would even think to be concerned they haven’t spoken in weeks. All of my friends (narc or not) I have never been concerned about this. As adults we all have an understanding friends do not speak every day.

    3) It is the intimate sources that will spend their time worrying like you said in this article. We do however, have the same worry if a man who is a normal is using us in this regard as well. I think its important to note this is largely due to our own egos. Women are highly competitive with one another. We want to be the object of a mans affection and if we feel that we are not and that there are other women involved we compete. Stupidly, thinking it will go anywhere.

    That’s all.

    1. HG Tudor says:

      1. No.

      2. Not all NISS will do this, some do, it is more prevalent where the SS is of an intimate nature, as stated in the article and as you recognise in (3).

      3. The extent of the worry with regard to a normal man is de minimis compared to the effect with a narcissist.

      1. empath007 says:

        Interesting. So likely since mine did not have an IPPS (and hasn’t for 7 year… that’s a fact we have worked together a long time) he just keeps an ongoing relationship with his IPSSs to get constant fuel?
        OR ….
        Is it possible I was a vailed IPPS.

        Perhaps. Because there was
        Never any break in communication unless we “broke up” but he never not spoke to me. We spoke every day. And saw each other multiple times a week. So… I don’t think I was on the shelf ever.

        1. HG Tudor says:

          You may have been. Utilise the Fuel Matrix Consultation and then you will know for certain.

          1. empath007 says:

            Good call HG.

            Thanks so much. You must get so bored of
            Hearing our stories over and over 🤣 you’re a good man putting up with all my questions.

            Thank you.

          2. HG Tudor says:

            You are welcome Empath007.

      2. empath007 says:

        Oh and thank you for your answers HG!

        1. HG Tudor says:

          You are welcome.

      3. PrincessSuperEmpath says:

        Dear HG and Empath007: For some reason, as a NIPSS, I ruminated night and day about the Narcissist. I felt happy and ill and sad when he was around, at work, and I felt sad and ill when he was not around, and when I was home as I live alone. Almost everything reminded me of him. Clothing stores, the supermarket, etc, as I ruminated would he like this or that. Is he hungry, sad, being respected enough or disrespected. I was going crazy. He never abused me, and after I came to Narcsite, I actually learned that I had been in a Golden Period, and most of my unhappiness was largely a result of how his Lieutenants harassed me especially when he was not around. But it is not a life for my psychological and emotional makeup, even if I had tried to stick it out, so to speak. I finally become so emotionally ill regarding him that I had to make the difficult decision to leave that work place. Feeling ill did what I could not do, assisted by all the information on Narcsite, that I discovered that illuminated the entire dynamic. I am a witness even to myself that a NIPPS can think non-stop practically about the Narcissist.

      4. PrincessSuperEmpath says:

        cont.) and there is absolutely no doubt in my mind that he did not that I ruminated about him, and that he enjoyed that fact, or was fueled by that fact. His world and how it works with his sources is no stranger to him at his age, almost 40 years old.

        1. empath007 says:

          That’s a good example for a work situation. Thanks for bringing that up. Work is tough environment as we tend to spend more time with those
          People then other people in our lives that play a more significant role.

          From what I can remember though… you were also attracted to him? So there was also
          An element of “intimacy” that way even though the relationship itself was not intimate… it may explain part of the reason why you couldn’t stop ruminating.

          I was an NIPS at work to a female in my early 20s…
          It was my first real encounter with a full on NPD person. She drove me
          INSANE and I hated her. But I didn’t ruminate… I’m heterosexual so… basically I just decided I couldn’t handle the circus anymore and left.

          So when another female narc came along years later (way less intelligent then the first) I knew exactly how to handle her…. and never ever brought work home with me.

          I’m super proud of you for leaving your job PSE…
          Honestly that shows just as much strength as leaving a personal
          Relationship. Because that was your livelyhood. Thank God for HG or we’d all be wandering lost in the woods!

          Hope you’re doing well and have a new great job! That’s hopefully narc free!

  12. Shelf Fuel says:

    Oh look….an article about my LIFE on the shelf. Yes to all of it….my comments below on some key points you raise…..

    “You, however, as a consequence of your emotional thinking, are led to believe that you have done something wrong when you have been placed on the shelf.”

    -Always. One of my trademark text messages was asking “Hey are you okay with me?” ALL.THE.DAMN.TIME.

    “Your friendship with the non-narcissist operates in a fashion similar to the shelf dynamic, but it does not have you worried, concerned, snooping, fretting and spying.”

    “Perhaps, but many of you will be thinking such thoughts as
    When will I see him/her again
    Is he going to see someone else now? Who is it?
    I wish she would stay longer
    He is going back to his wife, I wish I was her
    He left half an hour before he said he was going to leave, have I upset him?”

    Yes again, especially the part about wishing to be his wife.

    “Of course there are instances where there is actual evidence that causes concern. For instance, the narcissist kept talking about his wife and how he should not have been spending time with you.”

    -Again yes!!! It became a LITANY of his guilt and shame and blah blah blahddy blah blah….

    “Think back, even when you were on the shelf and experiencing what you came to realise was the golden period, did you truly feel secure and comfortable. If you are honest, you will realise you did not – you were always wanting more, wondering, contemplating and ultimately being controlled.”

    -Yes again! Always wanting more. CRAVING is more of the term though.

    “The narcissist throws you Comfort Crumbs. You are painted white but the narcissist does not need to hoover you and therefore does not. You are not painted black (although victims usually mistake comfort crumbs as meaning you are in devaluation) but instead the narcissist does not want to “play” with you (because he or she is playing with others in the fuel matrix) and thus you remain on the shelf.”

    -This is what it became. It used to be a comfort cake at the outset and then it became crumbs. Oh but he admitted to me that he has a sex addiction and that he is addicted to the pursuit. That is why it cannot be that way. Since he is getting help and is fixing himself.

    “Keep “pestering” the narcissist to in effect hoover you and you will then become painted black and ignored, namely you get a silent treatment or you may be told off with a terse telephone call, email or text – both of these are Corrective Devaluations. These are temporary “slaps on the wrist” designed to make you go quiet and allow the narcissist to engage with others in the fuel matrix.’

    -Last week Piano Boy told me he was a sex addict and is in therapy. He told me that I was just a sexual conquest. But that he never expected to have feelings for me and he does so that is why he is still here. And then he then went on another one of his litanies of “doing the right thing” by being my friend. Before this he has asked for “a break for a little while”. Is this an example of a corrective deval or just another way to control me? Or both? If all we do is pester for more time to be spent with us how is that a threat to their control? Don’t they WANT the attention?

    I am the queen of receiving these corrective devals you’d think I would be able to comprehend this by now.

    Anyway….good article HG, it was helpful and it makes sense. Even though it raises more questions and makes my head spin from applying it all, it still is helpful and makes sense.

    1. Jb says:


    2. E. B. says:

      Hi Shelf Fuel,
      Are you aware that if you were PB’s wife and lived under the same roof you would eventually find yourself on his receiving end?
      You would not find yourself in a better place, this will never happen.
      IPPSs receive a different treatment from IPSSs. IPPSs find themselves in a nearly permanent state of stress.
      Devaluation will eventually damage your emotional and physical health and when you need help, PB will not be there for you.

      1. Omj says:

        That is an excellent reminder of the life of the IPPS that we forget – the constant stress and being 24-7 on the edge. Every time the IPPS and him would
        Break up and get back together – I feared that I could be crowned and fucked it up a bit – even though on the outward I was praying to get the IPPS place which he never gave to anyone else than her.
        I know I unconsciously fucked it up because only 4-5 weekends in a row with him on the fake way to IPPS role and I was already staring to feel the nervousness and lost of appetite and concentration that happens when I see him too much.

    3. WAF Tudorita says:

      Would you GOSO already woman !

    4. WAF Tudorita says:

      -Last week Piano Boy told me he was a sex addict and is in therapy.
      He told me that I was just a sexual conquest.
      But that he never expected to have feelings for me
      and he does
      so that is why he is still here.
      And then he then went on another one of his litanies of “doing the right thing” by being my friend.
      Before this he has asked for “a break for a little while”.
      Is this an example of a corrective deval or just another way to control me?
      Or both? If all we do is pester for more time to be spent with us how is that a threat to their control? Don’t they WANT the attention?

      He’s a TODDLER.

  13. Whitney says:

    Dear HG, I was wondering, when he choked and called me names during sex was I painted black?

    1. HG Tudor says:

      In that instant, yes.

      1. Whitney says:

        Thank you HG. I’m here if you ever need fuel 💖

        During sex he was punishing me. The other narcs weren’t like that. But other than sex, he was the nicest a man has been to me.

        1. HG Tudor says:

          He was not the nicest man, the was abusing you. Do not let the facade of pleasant behaviour mask what was really going on, that is your emotional thinking at work once again.

          1. Whitney says:

            Thank you I appreciate when you say I have emotional thinking.

            I fused with a psychopath for 12 years so now I think narc men are nice. They are twisted, hurt, emotional, and the psychopath was only logical

          2. deniseisdone says:

            Love this response and am sharing it. Thank you!

  14. party75 says:

    Dream on

  15. Joanne says:

    Excellent summary. When you first told me that I was on the shelf, I understood it for the most part, but it took a lot longer to see the whole picture and understand how I got there in the first place.

    And no, I never felt safe and secure about our relationship. Yes, it felt exciting and special and I was on cloud 9, but it did have me on my toes the whole time.

    1. HG Tudor says:

      Thank you.

    2. Shelf Fuel says:

      Ditto Joanne. On my toes the whole time is so accurate. The anxiety when we were not in contact. The overthinking. All of it.

  16. Aurora says:

    Excellent point! Thank you for this article.

    1. HG Tudor says:

      You’re welcome

  17. nfl3 says:

    Perfect, HG!!

    Now I can understand why there is such anxiety each time this shelf period occurs. Waiting with a sense of foreboding. The emotional thinking makes it seem worse. Maybe it’s the contrast of getting lots of attention and then nothing, and cycling back and forth. High to low.

    You are so correct, there have been no romantic relationships with non-narcs in my adult life. I haven’t the faintest idea how a healthy relationship should evolve.

    I know you often recommend GOSO but if that’s not likely, how best to control the emotional thinking?

    1. HG Tudor says:

      You’ll need to consult with me about this as it’s necessary for me to explain it in detail.

  18. Dearest HG: How enlightening. You are so very smart. A genius. A fabulous communicator. Please keep your blinders on regarding any naysayers, and do what you do so brilliantly. HG, you explain things so clearly, that at times, you brings tears to my eyes, like with this article. I forget most of the time that some men are still so very wise. So much bad thinking going around. I sometimes wonder if this confused and cluttered world has left itself any room for such brilliance any longer and this era reminds me of when Nero burned down Rome* (*you know first hand that I sometimes do not get the details quite right, but I do get the point right). This Shelf Life article is one of my favorite illuminating articles. At least in the Top Ten. Like many will say, I wish I had known all of this. But, better late than not at all.

    1. HG Tudor says:

      Thank you and you’re welcome

    2. Whitney says:

      Dear PSE, HG is a genius, an original thinker, and a pioneer.
      His theories are LOGICAL. The root cause of narcissistic behaviours is explained by his theories. It all makes sense.
      Other people are CONVOLUTED in their theories. They parrot other psychologists and spout an innane jumble that makes no logical sense. Their brains do not work well.
      HG is the world leading thinker and only correct source.

      1. PrincessSuperEmpath says:

        Whitney. Some downright dangerous information is being pushed by so many of the relationship workers out there. Many people are going to be attacked and hurt and even killed by all of that bad info. I have the uncomfortable feeling that a lot of people that are going to these relationship experts are actually dealing with a partner with full blown NPD or at the very least a partner with very high Narcissistic traits and all that misguided relationship advice is going to put many people in harm’s way. I once participated often on such a site, until I found HG. I was already alarmed by the advice on that site, and tried to counter plenty of such ill advice, even before I found HG. So I gave links to the readers for HG Tudor and then I left the site. I was going to leave anyway because I was becoming distraught with the abundance of terrible advice on that site. I was very popular on that site, and I even received a special Avatar to accompany my posts from the Admin on that site, but I could not in good conscience stay on a site that I believed would be leading some hapless women to be beaten and raped and kidnapped and killed. That is how bad the advice was floating around on that site. HG says that these guys that choke and do all that sort of thing to a woman is abusive to that woman. Believe HG. No matter how nice the person acts at other times with you. One `accident` on your vertebrae and you are either dead or paralyzed from the neck down. Love, at some point, must start with ourselves. A guy that is nice, must include the guy being nice when one is most vulnerable and when one is alone with the guy and at our most intimate. Otherwise, the guy is `nicely` DANGEROUS. It is not a numbers game where we can say, he is nice almost 23. 9 hours a day, but in `bed` with him, I fear for my neck and my health and my safety and my self esteem as he berates me this way and that way, or this other way, etc. He is Dangerous for us, period

  19. S says:

    Wow. This was extremely helpful and informative. I don’t think I ever really thought about the shelf from this perspective. As someone who is always a secondary source this makes so much sense to me.
    Thinking it through as to the question “when you aren’t with another friend are you thinking about them or worrying about them etc.” gave me so much perspective.
    I am going to really think about this and hopefully this time I will actually go for no contact. Probably not but it really helps me see it better.
    Great insight HG and thanks for giving a whole article to the secondary source!

    1. HG Tudor says:

      You are welcome, S.

    2. PrincessSuperEmpath says:

      S. I too was a secondary source. HG has shined the light on this often neglected category in the field, However, HG is highly applauded in the field for bringing to the forefront this huge category. I am so accustomed to HG that I practically have forgotten that many mental practitioners are ignorant of the importance and extensiveness and even the existence of this broad category of victims, The Secondary Source, (when in fact, there are more Secondary Sources than Primary sources, I think, right HG? ) Thank you, S. for reminding me to thank HG for illuminating the Secondary Source Category, especially regarding the impact that the Narcissistic Dynmamic has on the sundry and multitudes of Secondary Sources within society. Wow!

      1. PrincessSuperEmpath says:

        Dearest HG. Regarding Secondary Sources, also, I have witness on this site that both men and women have found out on Narcsite that they actually are Secondary Sources and not Primary Sources, as they once believed, before they learned more about the dynamic on here.

  20. Supernova DE says:

    This is brilliant HG!
    I have figured out a lot of this on my own with the logic of no contact assisting me. Asking myself why I always felt like I had done something wrong? What was it, I can’t put my finger on it, but I feel like he’s lost interest?
    Recently I started to get some texts from an old friend. I started to get that slightly anxious addicted feeling…I recognized it right away! BLOCK

    These days I’m more interested in figuring out my family narc/empath situation. The MRN is old news

    Thank you

    1. HG Tudor says:

      Thank you, do consult if you require additional assistance with regard to figuring out the family situation.

      1. Supernova DE says:

        Yes, I think I will HG. Really having trouble determining if mother is Codep or a Victim narc.

        1. HG Tudor says:

          I look forward to giving you the answer.

  21. Sweetest Perfection says:

    I’m glad I’m reading this post-escape because if I knew this information while I was still engaged, my ET would have used this understanding to “excuse” my shelving. I know that’s not your intention, HG, quite the contrary. It is our ET that makes us want to make it work, as in “oh so it’s my fault to be so paranoid he’s just contacting me like a regular friend would, when we both have time.” The key here is “using you.” I don’t use my friends. The narc uses, and abuses. I totally understand our last text exchange now. Revisiting it now under this perspective makes me giggle. Of course he didn’t understand why I was mad! It made perfect sense to him to put me on the shelf all summer! It’s economics.

    1. Supernova DE says:

      Agree entirely SP! It all makes sense in retrospect.
      The MRN are always so dumbfounded that you are mad…makes it so easy to gaslight you

      1. Sweetest Perfection says:

        Well, mine is an UL not a MRN. He acts like a 5 year old. When I questioned his behavior he always reacted with “I resent this, I feel like withdrawing.” When he saw I was gonna end it, he would go back like a scared child: “of course I want to retain a relationship with you…” but he still didn’t understand you can’t shelve a partner and pretend she’s gonna be OK until you want to play again. He just couldn’t.

        1. Supernova DE says:

          Yes the MMRN never understood that either.

          Me: I just don’t believe someone who can go three weeks without talking to me or at least checking in with me actually cares about me.
          MMRN: Well I can, it’s not a big deal. I have no idea why you are so mad at me right now.

          Yep, you were clueless you idiot. I’m sure HG manages his S-IPSS much better. He’s probably so smooth and gives lovely crumbs so they never challenge him. MMRN hated me challenging but repeatedly did everything in his power to make me question and challenge him haha. That’s why when I understood that it’s all in the moment for him, no thought about future repercussions, everything made sooooo much more sense.

          1. Sweetest Perfection says:

            Supernova, they totally don’t see time in a consecutive order, in a way they are scientifically right. But, come on. I joked with mine and told him it was actually cute how he could believe we would still feel the same after such a long time apart and he said: speak for yourself, time is nothing to me. Oh my goodness I just had an epiphany! What if he was always giving me clues and I didn’t know? I feel like Champollion after finding the code to the Rosetta Stone! That’s why I enjoyed so much reading Decipher, it’s like everything that was chaos makes sense all of a sudden.

          2. NarcAngel says:

            When it involves narcs and language I think of Babbel.

          3. Sweetest Perfection says:

            NA, it is an absolute state of miscommunication and craziness like in Babel, I prefer the idea of Through the Looking Glass, everything you think it’s in reverse. HG uses that in some of his articles, like “Contrariwise,” which he illustrates with the twins Tweedle Dee and Tweedle Dum from the Alice book, it makes me laugh every time I see that article.

          4. Kim e says:

            Supernova DE
            Haven’t seen you around lately. Hope all is good with you.
            Last time I saw my MRN I had “escaped”…just looking for some time to decompress. When we got back together I told him….”You don’t do emotions but I do. And after I see you a couple times, I need to get away to unjumble mine. And I cant guarantee I wont disappear again.” His reply was “I get it”…. LOL
            Little did he know that less then a week later I really escaped and have been NC since.

          5. Shelf Fuel says:

            I had a similar text VERBATIM with Piano Boy. Ghosted me for 3 weeks and came back like it was not a thing!

            Yeah, there IS a book and all.

          6. Supernova DE says:

            Kim E,
            I’m doing very well thank you. Been crazy busy both professionally and personally. Plus reading too many comments here gets me thinking of MRN more than I’d like at times, so I’ve just been popping in and out.
            Glad to hear you took the plunge!! Ride the ups and downs, you got this!!

          7. Supernova DE says:

            Shelf Fuel,
            I think the longest I can recall was a three month hiatus. That happened twice.
            He seemed surprised I asked what he was looking for when he showed back up. I honestly figured he just wanted to catch up and then go our separate ways after that kind of a break…nope.

          8. WAF Tudorita says:

            When my narcoholic went a week without contact I told him it wasn’t cool
            So he immediately did it again.
            So I scrammed. TotaL NC

            Been 9 months

      2. Joanne says:

        “The MRN are always so dumbfounded that you are mad” – Seriously! Mine was so baffled that I wasn’t just ok with the overwhelming, nonstop level of attention/affection suddenly shifting to almost no attention at all. Really made me question my expectations of him.

        1. Supernova DE says:

          Yes. It’s part of the entitlement and no boundaries. MRN was always so angry (though never said bluntly in true passive aggressive fashion) when I couldn’t be available to him at the EXACT moment he wanted.
          But then when he would shelve me I would get flack for not being more “understanding” of his home situation and his attention/time being pulled in different directions.
          Here’s what I have to say about it now: WHATEVER.

    2. Joanne says:

      My ET probably would have understood it as an excuse for the shelving as well. In fact, in my consult when HG told me this was not devaluation, I was relieved. My ET perked up at the idea that this was not the end, it was just a pause.

      1. Better Call HG says:

        Joanne, I had a similar experience with my ET. When I was shelved, my LMRN texted me and said she didn’t think we were going to work out and offered to meet to discuss. We met, and she eventually said I wasn’t the one for her and she wasn’t attracted to me like she had been with her previous boyfriends. When I was hoovered a month later to pick up an item I left at her house, she unprovoked told me she was seeing someone else while suggesting we could still hang out as friends.

        When I did a narc detector and found out she was a narc, I assumed the break-up in person was devaluation and disengagement so I must have been an IPPS and that the relationship bulletin was to punish me. When I did an audio consultation with HG, I was surprised to hear HG state I was only an IPSS, that the break-up was being shelved not devalued, and I was even more confused when HG explained the LMRN mentioning her new appliance was her attempt to motivate me to try to win her back.

        Of course, my ET corrupted HG’s insights to say, “See, you still have a chance since you’re only on the shelf!” I didn’t contact her, but I allowed the thoughts to dominate my mind, hence constantly feeding the addiction. Even when the LMRN got married and is now expecting a baby, my ET would keep spinning crazy thoughts to keep the false hope/addiction alive that it still wasn’t over because she was a narcissist and I was only on the shelf.

        Logically, it’s crazy that I would allow myself to entertain such thoughts and waste my time on such fantasy. It’s terrible how pervasive and powerful ET Is. I’ve struggled with it for as long as I can remember. HG is the only resource I’ve found that is able to clearly and concisely explain what ET is, the struggle over it, and what to do to defeat it. I don’t know what I would have done without HG’s consultations and the Zero Impact package.

        1. HG Tudor says:

          Good to read BCHG

        2. Joanne says:

          “I didn’t contact her, but I allowed the thoughts to dominate my mind, hence constantly feeding the addiction.” — Same here. We didn’t have a discussion, so there was no closure (also maddening), just a slow fade once he became a new person overnight. I didn’t initiate contact with or chase him, so logic prevailed in that sense. But like you, the thoughts and rumination consumed my mind for months and months.

          Also this, “it still wasn’t over because she was a narcissist and I was only on the shelf.” For a long time it pleased me to hear when HG says that the narc relationship lasts forever. What?! I guess there was some comfort in knowing he *could* pop back in at any time, and that we would have this “connection” until one of us dies. My ET twisted that into making me feel like our relationship had real meaning if it lasted forever.

          The struggle over ET is very real, and the knowledge we have of it NOW is invaluable. I find myself referring to that even in non-narc situations. The application of ET and LT balance is so important in every aspect of life! So, thanks again HG 🙂

        3. Sweetest Perfection says:

          Joanne, BCHG, I totally get your experiences. I’ve felt the same relief or even satisfaction for certain signs. My narc told me two things that I haven’t forgotten: one is that we will always be connected, no matter what happens. The other is that he will never ever reject me, no matter what. Both of them I know are true. HG told me he (my narc) will never paint me black, depending on the hoover criteria he will try to hoover me every time he sees me or has the chance. I know it’s true for two reasons: first, because I have seen it happen; second, because HG said so. I don’t question anything HG says about my narc, he’s always right. Therefore, I know he’s right when he tells us that our ET is seeing things where there’s nothing real. Yes, I feel some moment of euphoria when I think he does certain things to try to hoover, to send an indirect message … but then I try to remember if I had cancer, or had a serious problem, or someone in my family died, or even if I needed someone to help me fix my car… he wouldn’t give a shit, because he doesn’t care at all about me. He has also shown me that multiple times in the past, so I’m trying to remember those times and not the ones my ET is trying to keep as “good memories.”

        4. Abe Moline says:


          Your comment is gold for me. I only saw it now. Thank you.
          And thank you, HG, for giving BCHG those insights and for letting his comment through.

          This clarifies my status completely now, I have always wondered if, at the end, I was on the shelf, devalued, or completely disengaged.

          Towards the end, my Nx imposed a sort of “NC” except messaging, so I thought this might be a devaluation. Seems I was only on the shelf, and not even that, because sometimes we would still chat extensively.
          I also took a self-imposed NC from her (a few weeks) and after that I contacted her again, only a few impersonal words (like, “such nice weather today”). I did this for a few weeks, only one or two messages per week, and then I stopped completely. By then, I already found out what she is and was reading KTN. She never replied to me, although she read the messages, so I thought maybe this is disengagement. But no, I was on the shelf, ignored, receiving a corrective devaluation of sorts.

          So this means I was not disengaged at the time when I started the full NC. I escaped, I was not disengaged!
          This means – I dumped her! I wounded her… heheh… And probably explains her cautious, benign but non-engaging behavior towards me when we met “accidentally”, a few months later.

          This is giving me an ego boost, and makes me laugh, although I know it should not matter.
          But still, it’s good to know I still managed to be the master of my own fate, despite the whole chipping away of my self esteem and mental sanity during that period.

          Another idea I have recently read in one of the comments is this – if they don’t hoover, this means they know you’re strong, they fear you a bit. You should be proud of not being hoovered.
          I was not hoovered again, yet, almost 7 months now.
          However, I have escaped this mentality of “waiting for the hoover” only recently, and the idea I mentioned above has helped.

  22. Omj says:

    Thé shelf life becomes a gift when you start using this time to educate yourself and meet other people .
    I think I have met a nice man now – and the shelving allows me to spend a lot of time with him- getting to know him and slowly walk away from the Narc.
    He is so busy with his IPPS and alll the IPSS that I have been pushed in the back shelves – which is a blessing .

    1. cogra002 says:

      Omj, I agree. Use the time the Narc is away to fortify your knowledge, detox from them, spend time with others. Develop your life awsy from them. It’s also what I do, minus a new gentleman, lol.

    2. Anm says:

      Life doesn’t stop sending the same lesson until you learn. There have been times I thought I was leaving a narcissist, and moving on to a “nice man”. I’m not saying it doesn’t happen, but be very cautious that it could be another type of narc because you could be attracting and drawn to the same energy

      1. cogra002 says:

        An. This was my experience. I dated, very briefly, what I thought were ok guys, but time revealed they were pretty Narky, as well, and I left immediately. Now just the main Narc to contend with.

  23. blackunicorn123 says:

    Spot on, and so obvious too when you see it in print.

    1. BU123: It is an uneasy feeling to me when the unimaginable at some point becomes obvious when one sees it in print. I almost feel paranoid about what else am I not seeing. But, I am determined to stay positive through it all, as you are doing. What choice to we have, put to push forward. We shall sally forth armed with much info now.

      1. blackunicorn123 says:

        Hi PSE, same here. If it’s not written down, why can’t I see it? I’ve learned a tremendous amount here, and no doubt will learn more. This keeps me positive, as I have applied what I have learned wherever I can, and it’s definitely proven true and yielded results. I accept my “weakness” may be this – that I can’t see it, unless it’s written down – but if you know your weakness, you are already ahead! Onwards!!!!!

  24. Anm says:

    Yes, I am one of those who have never been in a slow, healthy progressing relationships. All fast paced. There have been a few people I believe were healthy that wanted to date me, stupid me went for the Psychopath. I am at the point where I haven’t been in a “relationship” in a few years, but will date. The moment I notice someone is a narcissist, I shut it down fast. Some narcissist are patient too. Because they have other sources of supply, some of them will “keep in touch” until they get a chance with you. It’s gross and a turn off when you recognize their game. I’m learning.

    1. E. B. says:

      Hello Anm,
      re “I am one of those who have never been in a slow, healthy progressing relationships. All fast paced. There have been a few people I believe were healthy that wanted to date me, stupid me went for the Psychopath.”

      If you are not used to and you start a healthy relationship, you will probably feel he is not really interested in you.
      Some ‘green flags’ at the beginning of a healthy relationship I watch for: He will not bombard you with calls, texts or with exaggerated, insincere praise and adulation. He will not want to *buy* you with presents. He will not tell you he wants to know *everything* about you (he will not be interested in knowing all your vulnerabilities and if you share some of them with him, he will not use it against you). He will not ask you where you have been or what you are going to do with your time when you are not with him (I find this one very telling because narcissists do not respect your privacy). He will not control your time and sleep. He will not make you feel less than him. He will not expect you to do things for him. He will also accept a No without punishing you for it (narcissists will give you the ST or will make you feel you have let them down). He will not feel uncomfortable when you are not doing well.

      If you have never been in a healthy romantic relationship, you may find men who are sincere and respect your boundaries, your time and your needs a bit distant and reserved. Healthy men are not “suffocating”.

      1. WAF Tudorita says:

        What WILL he do ?

        1. E. B. says:

          WAF T.,
          Most important of all, they respect your boundaries. They let you be yourself. You feel comfortable around them. You have enough energy but you do not feel euphoric, addicted to them or anxious.
          If they are not sure about something, they ask. They do not decide what is best for you.
          They treat you as an equal. They do not humiliate you or make you feel inferior.
          If there is something you consider important and they don’t, they respect it. They do not laugh at it or dismiss it. After all, if your values are contrary to theirs, they can always leave the relationship. They will not shame you for thinking differently.
          Their body language matches their words. Their words match their actions.
          Consistent. They have a similar attitude towards you and others such as acquaintances and service people.
          Dependable. They do what they said they were going to do. They respect arrangements.
          They feel comfortable knowing that you have your own life. They respect the fact that you have your work, your interests, your network. They do not expect a symbiotic relationship.
          Since they are the early stage of a relationship, presents are moderate – not extravagant. Compliments are genuine and sincere. There is *evidence* to back them up.
          They are humble and down-to-earth, even those who belong to the upper classes and went to Eton.
          They do not want to control you.

      2. Anm says:

        E.B. Exactly. I think that’s a good list to keep in mind. thank you

  25. cogra002 says:

    This was excellent. I have wondered many times why I dont have the pervasive thoughts, or anxiety attacks with anyone else. (I have at other times, not currently). I have other friends and boyfriends I see at different times. When we part, I’m not left with my head spinning. And we do take friends and lovers on and off shelves, so why does the Narc have this different effect?
    It was specifically the lovebombing and addicting us? The trauma bond?
    Even though I only got a week respite from Narc Island, combined with more frequent silent treatment, and reading your material, I do feel way more detached. Detached enough to ghost his new video the other day, and cause injury. It’s so weird the effect they have on us.

    1. HG Tudor says:

      Thank you.

    2. Shelf Fuel says:


      “It was specifically the lovebombing and addicting us? The trauma bond?”

      I feel like it is a trauma bond. The more he pushes me away the more it BREEDS my obsession.

      1. Anm says:

        Shelf Fuel,

  26. MB says:

    How I wish I’d had this information during my intimate ensnarement. All the answers are here. You cracked the code, lifted the veil, and gave the answers that circle around in the Shelf’s mind. Bless you Sir!

    So, if I find myself in a state of unease as described, it is a red flag that I am interacting with a narcissist! I know these feelings all too well.

    I feel them now as I think of a particular co-worker with whom I’ve had issues. (I’ve already identified him as a narcissist.) I can have issues with other co-workers and not give it a second thought. For some reason, I ruminate afterwards. Is he mad at me? Is he talking negatively about me to others? Is he holding a grudge? Will he be back to argue some more? I’m anxious around him. Why do I even care? Answer: he’s a narcissist!

    I think I will add a clause in the employee handbook. “If you are a narcissist and you make MB uncomfortable, you will be terminated immediately as a matter of her No Contact regime.” There! I feel better already!

    1. HG Tudor says:

      You are learning.

    2. Joanne says:

      I have had so many of those types in my life and only NOW am I realizing that they are most likely narcs!

      Lots of good points in this article for general DIY narc detecting.

      1. MB says:

        Joanne, I agree. This is an awesome article and once again we get access to this information absolutely free!

      2. Joanne: hahaha. Your statement: `general DIY narc detecting `

    3. MB: I am beginning to understand that I knew practically nothing at all. I perceive that I am lucky to still be alive and standing in one piece.

      1. MB says:

        PSE, we are all very fortunate to have found this place. I truly feel like we are on the leading cusp of a revolution. Narcissistic abuse awareness is becoming more prevalent.

    4. WAF Tudorita says:

      “So, if I find myself in a state of unease as described, it is a red flag that I am interacting with a narcissist! I know these feelings all too well.”
      Yes! That’s what I’ve learned. My internal alarm system will go off before I’m even interacting- I used to brush it away. I don’t now. In fact- if I can- I skip the interaction entirely

  27. Stella SHELF Unmaskers says:

    Thank you very much HG! This article is all about me. I haven’t read it yet, but I’m going to devour it in a few hours

    1. HG Tudor says:

      You are welcome.

      1. Stella SHELF Unmaskers says:

        As I announced, I read all this article, it’s very clear and it represents my very dynamic with my narc. However, there are some points that are not completely clear to me
        1) when you talk about the narc who calls around the IPSS to take them off the shelf, you state that it’s a Hoover. Why? I thought that one can talk about a hoover only after the disengagement, but these instances describe an ongoing relationship
        2) when you say that if someone feels concerned, worried about the next time he will meet the other person, it means that the other person is a narcissist beacuse engaging with a narc causes emotional thinking to rise. Well, if someone falls in love with another, then emotions surge. It’s normal, no matter if the other person is a narcissist or not. You made the example of two common friend that make an arrangement to go to the cinema together and then they part ways. Of course there is no “heart beating”, there is no concern about the next time they will meet again: they are friends, so they are not romantically involved. When the other person has not the same rush as you to meet, it may be simply that they are not fond of you, and surely with another person they behave in a different way. It’s not the case of my narc, as he had many sources in his fuel matrix, and he treated them all in the same way (he’s a narcissist without a shadow of a doubt). Note that it’s not my intention to bring forward any criticism about what you wrote, I’d like to understand better these concepts above as this topic is very dear to me. Thank you if you will explain

        1. HG Tudor says:

          Hello Stella,

          I do not take any criticism from your questions, it is important to seek clarification if you are unable to understand.

          1. The idea of a hoover only occurring post disengagement is incorrect, albeit it is a common misconception. The IPPS is not hoovered during the relationship because this is a near constant situation, but with any other appliance it is not and thus it is a form of hoovering.
          2. Agreed, but your emotions do not surge with a non-narcissist to create that feeling of unease, uncertainty etc. As I wrote, if people look back at entanglements with narcissists they will recognise they never truly felt as state of ease.

          1. Dearest HG: Yes. On point one, regarding the hoover during engagement, when you explained to me about the Malign Hoover through Proxy that the Narcissist employed with his 4 Lieutenants, it was breakthrough info. for me, as a NIPSS. It was at that point that I commenced my disengagement, six months ago. I never have seen any of the 5 since that explanation. I was that angered. Yes, one can be hoovered while not disengaged from as a NIPSS: I found that info. disturbing. You explained this type of hoovering to me on your article titled Minions of Darkness, early this year.

          2. Stella SHELF Unmaskers says:

            Thank you for your clarification about both the points, HG. So everytime my narc proposed me to meet each other he was hoovering me, as I wasn’t an IPPS, albeit he used to keep in contact with me during all the day by message, and this is another point not completely clear. Does usually the narc engage with the shelf source for hours everyday, even if only by messaging, but making up excuses either to avoid to see them and to call them on the phone, or does he completely ignore them while they are left on the shelf?

          3. HG Tudor says:

            1. The proposal to meet is a hoover. Then meeting with you is a hoover.
            2. If you are on the shelf you are either
            a. Brought off it and engaged with (hour conversation, 30 minutes back and forth texting, a weekend away) , or
            b. You remain on the shelf and are either
            (i) given comfort crumbs
            (ii) purposefully ignored , or
            (iii) not engaged with (but not ignored)

        2. RtotheN says:

          I think (I know) it’s a different kind of unease. It’s not excitement and hoping that the other person likes you back and that he will text you tomorrow and ask you out again if you are in the beggining stage of dating. This is a bit later in the relationship when you, if you were with a normal person, should know where you’re standing, if it’s mutual between you two, if he likes you, if you’re building something together etc. or you just didn’t click. This is something in your gut that makes you nervous even if everything’s fine, when you anticipate something happening, a change in his behaviour,you just don’t know when it will happen. For me 🙂

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