Why Does The Narcissist Compartmentalise Appliances?
As narcissists we often engage in compartmentalisation. This articles concerns how and why we compartmentalise various appliances in our fuel matrices.
We view our lives as a series of compartments. The compartments are linked and there is an archway from one compartment to another but this archway has been bricked up by us and only we know the secret word that will open up the archway and admit us to the next compartment. You will try and search for an opening so that you may move from one compartment to another but your search will be fruitless. You will rhyme off all the passwords you can think of from ‘open sesame’ through to ‘abracadabra’ but none of them will work. There is a simple reason for that. We want you to stay in your compartment until we come back to it. We do not want you interacting with any of our other compartments because then it makes each area harder for us to control. A greater need for control mean more energy expenditure which will mean that there is less available for me to use to gather fuel and that is not something I can allow to happen.
A blissful domestic set-up will be in one compartment where I play the role of doting husband and caring father. To the external observer who looks in on the scene through the Perspex it appears to be a picture of harmony and good relations. Yet the observer cannot hear the shouting nor listen to your sobs as you are on the receiving end of another tirade. The fearful cries and the scathing admonishments fail to air beyond this compartment. You are not able to escape to another place and reveal what is really going on in this compartment. As soon as I depart to the next one then the brickwork closes behind me with lightning quick speed, trapping you where I want you. Of course I will tell you all about what is happening in the other compartments when I return, so that you will be subjected to tales of my magnificence in the work place and anecdotes about the new ‘friend’ I have in order to create some triangulated jealousy from you.
My work compartment show me as all conquering and masterful yet those that have been subjected to my brutal put downs and suffered from my repeated dumping of work on them as I breeze around town are forbidden from escaping this compartment to pollute the carefully constructed image that I have made for myself.
The members at the golf club who find my boasting odious and have seen me mark down a lower score than that which I had achieved on my score card are unable to blacken my name to my admirers beyond this particular place. Instead I depart the golf club and scurry to the bar where I regale my hangers-on with another story of my five under par round which won the competition. They coo over my success oblivious to what has actually gone on.
Home life, work life, mistress, friends, club, family and more are allotted these compartments. In each one I am a god. I rule supreme able to do as I please so that I can carry forth my stories of heroism into another compartment and there drink deep of their admiring fuel.
I spend much of my time ensuring that the inhabitants of each compartment know about one another, to multiply my fuel of course, but rarely shall I ever allow them to cross paths. This might lead to someone squaring the circle and working out what is behind my carefully orchestrated campaigns of divide and conquer. A must never speak to B who must not be allowed to tell C what really happened. I must maintain my constructed world where these people are little more than dolls in a huge segregated dolls’ house. I put them in poses and play with them so that I can create a scenario by which I can brag to others in the next room about. If they ever escaped and managed to follow me through these archways so they could compare what I have said with what has actually happened I would be truly finished. Sometimes this happens and then the compartment must be set ablaze, scorched from the record and denied an existence. Next time this compartment will be refurbished, repainted and with new dolls put in place. I must control everything around me. Everyone in their place and a place for everyone.
30 thoughts on “Why Does The Narcissist Compartmentalise Appliances?”
Married for 23 year, I was not allowed to ask how his day was. I was on a “as need to know” basis and expecting him to “bring his work home” was cruel of me.
My narc talked about this, but neither of us knew what the deal was with it. He said he kept his business, music, and personal lives very separate and didn’t want any of them to mix, and he couldn’t tell me why. He liked having separate worlds, but he also said he didn’t want to keep things so “secret” anymore. I later learned that he was having affairs with a work colleauge in LA, his high school sweetheart in Kansas City, and a bandmate’s wife here in Dallas. I had no idea that he was talking to the female bartender at the bar where he gigged (whom I was friends with), and a friend of hers. I went to his gigs because I met him through another bandmate and his wife…and I loved his music and him. I had no idea I was there as member of his harem, though my intuition was telling me something was off. I’ve learned SO MUCH from your work HG. Thank you.
You are welcome Julesrh.
The more I read, the more I hate the Narc, and enjoy making him uncomfortable. F these assholes
Enjoying making him uncomfortable is you being misled by your emotional thinking as it means further engagement, which is a contravention of the principle of GOSO.
HG, is the blog a slippery slope for our ET? After all, we talk about our Ns and certainly think about our N’s. I find logic prevails when reading reading your work, but ET can creep in when reading and writing comments.
Hello MB, no, it is not.
1. Emotional thinking would use you to think that in order to prevent you from obtaining understanding and logic here.
2. Your emotional thinking will rise to an extent reading and commenting here, however, this is an acceptable consequence of the receipt of the best information and logic.
3. Think of it like an x-ray. Radiation will kill you if you receive too much, but a small dose which enables you to ascertain what is wrong with your leg or chest is entirely acceptable and appropriate.
Thank you HG.
MB, I use to wonder about that too. The emotional thinking here is manageable because we have the support of HG and his readers to point it out. I feel like controlling emotional thinking is like a muscle that has to be worked regularly in order to stay strong. The blog is like our gym and is equipped with the tools we need to work that muscle. I don’t forget what HG has taught me about emotional thinking when I’m gone, but I slack at working at it and find myself weakened, therefore vulnerable.
I like the X-ray example.
Thank you Lorelei.
I think the X-ray example is great!!
I also relate no contact as the key here. If you have a robust no contact regime in place the emotional thinking is connected to past and not present experiences. There is no imminent threat to your emotional stability because you are connected with the recovery phase.
If you are not yet in no contact daily reading of the blog provides ample rationale to bring you to a place where recovery becomes a priority. We must read the articles through the lens that is most beneficial for our learning and understanding to make informed choices. This is our homework – our responsibility to ourselves.
Such a good comment here, HG. I liked the example of the X-Ray 🙂
I didn’t want anyone’s hopes up, since I’ve crumbled before, but I’ve been out a few days now.
It’s difficult, the more educated one is, to see such ridiculous behavior and not say anything. I did recently, lol.
HG, when Narcs are blame shifting, projecting, deflecting, gaslighting, etc
Do they actually know they are doing this, or has it become a habitual response to get the focus off their shit behavior?
I can never quite tell how deliberate it is, as the Narc is so volatile
Lesser and Mid Range do not. Greater do.
I suggest you read the articles “Does The Narcissist Know What He Is Doing?” (there are two) and also the articles “The Narcissist Calculates” they will assist. It is a difficult concept for victims to understand owing to the impact of emotional thinking and the imposition of your own (understandable) worldview on that of the narcissist. You will also find an audio consultation with me of significant assistance in gaining this key understanding.
Can you please link them?
I realised this was happening early on. I slipped compartments a few times, just because I’m smart. Boy did he lose his mind. He went back and resealed compartments with new ironclad security.
But, as I’ve been trying to detach and slip away, I see it’s easy to have compartments, or the illusion of, myself. Boy does he hate that.
This morning he just realized I have another app in my phone he didn’t use before. He was so unnerved….lol. f’ng proud of myself on that one.
The compartments are just another manifestation of the lies, deceit and multiple lives.
Can a non-narc compartmentalise HG?
Not in the context I describe.
Ah okay. As always, thank you HG.
This one brings their awareness of what they do into question. I know they (most of them) are not consciously aware of what they are and why they do certain things, but they are aware enough to know to keep these areas of their lives so distinctly separate.
I see compartmentalisation from the N perspective as a very accomplished defence strategy and means of self preservation. As a victim, I am pleased for its application in the narcissistic dynamic as it is also a form of protection for us where a dark fuel matrix exists. I am relieved that due to compartmentalisation my path never tangled with N’s morally corrupt associates.
I imagine compartmentalising enables the N to provide a level of intensity and focus within each compartment that most of us can’t achieve. Knowing that one can shut the door to the compartment would bring with it the energy that an end is assured – no ties, no responsibilities. I guess this is one reason why the IPPS suffers so much – the door to their compartment must be open each day – an intimate partner relationship cannot function without a perceived level of commitment.
I must admit, the other thought I had was that we need an illustration of the famous ‘Bento Box’ on this article – a real hero of success in compartmentalisation. Ha!
I like your “Bento Box” idea!
Thanks Who Cares – the irony I have just realised after reading your message is that the N’s initials were BB. I think he has a new nickname. He is not quite as useful as the box but from a compartmentalisation perspective they are definitely kindred spirits!
Sarah – “the N’s initials were BB” Haha!
And: most certainly less useful!!
On a separate, yet related, note – this conversation reminds me that I’m overdue for some decent sushi (and *now* I live not far from more than one source of sushi) – so glad my narc never warmed up to sushi!
I hope you enjoyed your narc-free Sushi!
HG is it time consuming and hard to keep the compartments separate and remember the separate information you have told each separate person and each separate compartment? I was realising that although it gives you control it must be hard work. ps thank for letting us vent it helps to see in words my frustrations and thoughts written down.
impressive. You should all become project managers. Great skill to have. I suppose if you dont have the brain chatter about others feelings you can use the space for compartmentalising. Being a Project Manager with OCD for many years it is also second nature to me. I just noticed my ex couldnt cope with too many things at once without having to turn to drink to wipe out the stress thats why I asked. maybe he wasnt a very good and accomplished narc. Diagnosed as one but not a good one. Keeps getting caught by police and courts for stupid stuff. Lazy narc. very lazy but still a narc. i would have admired his skills if there was something he did well.