I Will Tell You A Secret
The telling of a secret is a very useful manipulation.
In the first instance, we may tell you a genuine secret about somebody else because we are adept at garnering information about other people, gaining their trust and their confidence. Your reaction to this will provide us with fuel. It is also highly likely that you will tell somebody else because as we all know, if you want to keep something secret, do not tell anybody else. How many times have you been told a secret and heard the words, “Don’t tell anyone else but…” before the confidence is breached by the person speaking to you and you go on to do the same. It does not take long before the secret is amongst many people and is no longer a secret. Accordingly, we have gained fuel and we have also set a cat amongst the pigeons as somebody else’s secret becomes the subject of the day’s gossip and more. The person who is the subject of this released secret may well confront us about our indiscretion, which will naturally be denied and more fuel is gathered.
In the second instance the provision of the secret is all about drawing you into our world. By making it appear that you are privy to information about someone else or even better, about us, we appear to be taking you into our circle of trust, our ring of confidence. It is an effective way of making a victim feel special. This act of passing you some information which is given the label of a secret is designed to signal to you that we apparently trust you. Trust is a most important factor in the dealings between people and of course especially for those who are of an empathic nature. This nugget of secrecy may be passed to you as a Non Intimate Secondary Source (a friend or colleague) or as part of your seduction as we rope you in as our Intimate Partner Secondary Source en route to you becoming our Intimate Partner Primary Source. We want you to feel special, we want you to feel trusted, desired and set apart from all the others. Passing you a secret is a sure fire way to achieve this.
By causing you to think that you know something that nobody else knows about us, you feel as if you have been admitted to the inner sanctum. Our aim, when dealing with any of our victims, is to have them subsumed into our world. This means that you are bedazzled by the illusion that we have created, you will thus be under our control in our world and you will provide us with what we want, namely The Prime Aims . Whether this bedazzling is fleeting – in the instance of an interaction with a Tertiary Source, or longstanding – the years of manipulation of an IPPS – the aim remains the same. We must pull you into our world, own you and control you and that way we get what we want.
There are numerous ways of doing this but telling you a secret is a very effective way of doing this. We tell you that you are the only one who knows this about us, that we trust nobody except you (cue some sob story about why we will not trust and this will be predicated on our view of the world being full of harsh and betraying people) and that we know you will not tell anybody else because you would never do anything to harm us. Your earnest response and assurances that our apparent trust is well-placed in you, provides us with fuel. It also provides us with a useful indicator of how you are submitting to our control and being absorbed into our world.
What you fail to realise is that this supposed secret that we have conveyed to you in hushed tones, in a reverent manner as if we are passing down some weighty and earth-shattering revelation, is invented. We have our secrets, indeed much of our life is spent moving in the shadows and ensuring that those skeletons stay firmly in the closet. We do not want you knowing about those secrets. They must remain hidden because we do not trust you at all. Instead, we fabricate some secret about ourselves and pass it off as something nobody else knows about us and that you are the esteemed recipient of our innermost secrets.
It might be something to do with our family, an event in our past, some achievement which we apply false modesty too, some interesting peccadillo that we have engaged in. The content is varied but so long as it attracts the mantle of requiring secrecy it will serve its purpose. Remember this conveyance of the secret occurs during our seduction of you, when we are focused on drawing you into our world, when we lock on to you and truly make you seem like the only person in the world who matters. Our considerable charm, our lack of concern or morality for our actions enable the lies to spill readily from our lips. We want you to trust us and for you to think that we trust you. By seemingly unlocking the gate to our heart and our innermost vulnerabilities, the provision of a secret to you signals to you that we must trust you. This feels wonderful to you. This amazing person who has pledged love and devotion to you, who has made you feel magnificent, who has come as the answer to all your prayers is someone you want. You want to be friends with this interesting and capable person and when this new best friend lets you in on a supposed secret then surely that is your admission to our inner circle? You want the grace and favour we hold as your boss and if the boss confides in you, then does not that mean you are the chosen one in the workplace? Most of all, you want this person to remain your love interest forever and a day and when we share that secret with you and only you, then that demonstrates to you that you are now regarded as trusted confidante. Your elation is palpable and you have just been bound to us even tighter.
Of course, since this secret is fabricated there is no danger perceived by us that if you ever betrayed us and disclosed this secret, we could readily deny it and even point to something which proves that it is not true. At this point we have no interest in keeping you onside as we will already have begun to devalue you. As an empathic individual who is honest and decent, you would not have chosen to disclose this apparent secret first. You will only do so as a reaction to how we have treated you and thus should you decide to disclose it, you will be in devaluation, smeared and possibly dis-engaged from also. Your revelation is either seen as bitterness, jealousy or the rantings of a unhinged abuser who we have sought to escape from and its content has next to no impact on us. We do not, by this stage, care that you have discovered the secret to be false, indeed, your reaction to this revelation just provides us with fuel.
Whether the dynamic with us is familial, social, work or romantic the repeated provision of secrets draws you into our world. It makes you feel special, it makes you feel anointed as a special person to us and to be held in such regard by someone you admire, appreciate and/or love means much to you. It secures your loyalty, it gains your fuel and allows us to exert control over you. That delicious tingle of excitement as we make you our co-conspirator with secrets about others or ourselves tells you that we must really trust you and that you are now elevated.
The provision of secrets is done with many people that we seduce, be they inner circle friends, colleagues or intimate sources. The telling of a secret is a masterful way to make you seem as if you are the only one who matters to us, that we trust you and therefore our relationship with you is special indeed.
Not such a secret now though.
8 thoughts on “I Will Tell You A Secret”
This clears up yet another area of confusion. The narc used to say I was his inner circle, and he shared so many personal “secrets” about himself his family, his fears and hopes. Up to this point I could not reconcile this with his subsequent behaviour. Boy was I duped. Now I feel grateful every day that I was not consider IPPS material. Thank you for another amazing and well crafted insight.
You are most welcome Joy and Love, it is all about the education.
The thought that this type of manipulation, like many others, can be done instinctively really amazes me. The narcissist may not even be that intelligent, may not consciously realise that the act of sharing a (supposed) secret with somebody would bind them to him/her, make them feel special, become protective of the narcissist, etc.
Who teaches them this stuff??!!?
How does their brain know which manipulation to deploy and when?? Do they learn from the person who created them?? How is this ‘narcissistic instinct’ formed??
If I were a Psychology student I would be devoting a huge part of my time to studying this phenomenon. It’s way too interesting..
How do you know to breathe in and out? You do it instinctively. It is in effect programmed into you. Did you learn to breathe? No.
How do you know to make your heart beat? Or to duck down when you hear a loud bang? You do it instinctively.
Narcissism is similar. It occurs for reasons already explained and is a developed self-defence mechanism.
Thanks for the reply HG.
I think I still struggle with associating the concept of ‘instinct’ with that of ‘manipulation’, which (in my mind) requires skill, ability, application.
On the other hand, the analogy with breathing, eating, etc. does explain why the behaviours of a narcissist are so rigid (“There can be no change”) and predictable – for you at least.
Your concept of manipulation is based on your world view. You think that manipulation requires prior planning and thought. In most instances, to serve the needs of the narcissist, it does not, because it does not need to be that way. It needs to be instantaneous which means instinctive. It is a detailed explanation and one which is not suited to the provision of an answer in a comment.
I know you have explained this before but it is a difficult concept to understand.
Anyway, it’s pretty amazing that you can understand everybody’s perspective so well, not just the narcissist’s.
It is difficult for you to understand, agreed, that’s why I unravel it for you, but the comment section does not do it justice and I don’t like to provide incomplete information on such an important matter. Yes, I understand both perspectives, it’s necessary to be able to do that to be as effective as I am.