A series based on the comments made by people who fail to understand the true nature of narcissists and the narcissistic dynamic. Whilst these comments may be well-intentioned, they are incorrect, perpetuate misunderstandings and in many cases create false hope, dashed expectations and perilous outcomes.
‘Let him go but tell him you will always be there for him.’
I have seen this advice given when an individual has been entangled with our kind. The victim has endured the push and pull behaviour of being told that they are not good enough for us as they suffer the devaluation. They cling on and then a Respite Period occurs. Thus they think that their indefatigable approach has caused the return of the golden period. Ultimately, its return is down to us and our decision and not about what you have done. It might be that an external source, such as an Intimate Partner Secondary Source has infuriated us and therefore they have been devalued and therefore to create the contrast, we have given you the golden period again through the imposition of a Golden Period. You might have done something especially impressive through the provision of positive fuel to cause it to return as you have outfuelled your (unknown) rival or rivals. Whatever it was, the decision is down to us.
Accordingly, this on then off, this push then pull, this up and down, in and out behaviour has left a victim totally puzzled as to what is going on. The narcissist may have said such things as
“This is not working, I need space.”
“Perhaps if we have time apart this will bring us closer together again.”
“I need space to clear my thoughts.”
“You are putting me under pressure and I do not need it, just give me room.”
All of these comments are issued as part of the ongoing manipulation to confuse you. Yesterday we went for a wonderful picnic with you and today we are talking about needing space. You do not understand. What has changed? From your perspective nothing has. From ours, it is the switching nature of our perspective whereby we feel the need to exert control over you and gain fuel from you. Yesterday we thought it would look good for the façade to spend time with you and the children and you all gave me positive fuel. It was a good day. First thing this morning, the Candidate IPSS left me a glowing and admiring voicemail which shifted my attention on to them and reminded me why you have irritated and annoyed me. She is white, you have been painted black again and when you tried to hug me this morning, seeking to capitalise on yesterday’s delightful day, you were rebuffed and chastised for smothering me. You recoiled, hurt and confused. Pushed away again after having been pulled in.
After months of this you speak to a well-meaning friend, seek the advice of some supposed relationship expert and you convey your misery, the uncertainty and how often we have talked about splitting up and spending time apart. This advisor listens and fails to recognise the behaviour of our kind and what is behind it. They attribute it to someone who is failing to value you (which is correct) but they do not grasp the real reason behind such behaviour. You have fallen into the victim’s trap of trying to find a reason to explain this behaviour through either the influence of an external agent or in common with your capacity to self-flagellate, your own apparent shortcomings. Between the two of you, you conclude that the position at work and a recent bereavement have resulted in this confusion, this failure to identify priorities with you and your advisor suggests that giving us the often spoken about space would be advantageous.
“Show him that you will give him what he keeps saying that he needs but also let him know that he continues to have your love and support. Let him know that you are there for him when he needs you but you are going to help him by giving him the space that he requires to get his head together. He will get what he needs, value your support and then realise just how much he wants and needs you,” the advisor explains.
So, feeling reassured by these apparently sagacious words and the detailed conversations you have had with this advisor, you tell us that you are going to let us go, but that you will always be there for us.
Of course you will always be there for us. We expect that already. It is the central feature of the Narcissistic Relationship, that you belong to us. You are only telling us something which we know anyway.
What we actually hear when you say this sentence, or something similar to it, is not that you are trying to do what we want. We do not hear that you are trying to accord with what we desire, no matter how much you would rather not do so. We fail to recognise this act of sacrifice on your part. Why? Because as ever we are far too concerned for ourselves. What we hear is that you are trying to escape us.
It does not matter that we have been the ones who have threatened to leave, that we have repeatedly told you to back off, leave us alone, give us space, that we are thinking of going, leaving, separating or however we decide to describe it. No, that is irrelevant and of course we will twist and deflect to ever deny we said those things (you made us do it of course because it is YOUR fault).
We hear you saying you are leaving us. You are escaping. You as our IPPS are about to cut off the supply of our precious fuel and this fills us with horror at this prospect. Your words wound us and accordingly we react through the ignition of our fury. You are criticising us (according to our perspective) and therefore this wounds us. Our self-defence mechanism kicks in and our fury ignites. How this manifests varies dependent on the type of narcissist you are dealing with. You may be shouted at, attacked, emotionally black-mailed, we may burst into tears (crying for ourselves of course – not you and not the death of the Formal Relationship) or we engage in charm and threat to halt your intended departure. (You can read more about how we react to being told that you are ‘escaping’ in How No Contact Feels – Part One How No Contact Feels Part – Two and How No Contact Feels – Part Three).
This supposedly kind and charitable act on your part will be met with an attempt to stop you leaving. This will both confuse and relieve you. You will undoubtedly remain, as you never really wanted to allow this cessation for the provision of space in the first place and you will confirm to us that you do not want it to end. You will reassure and in so doing provide fuel. We will appear pleased, relieved and so forth and of course we do not want to lose our primary source of fuel. At least, not until we are ready to dis-engage.
Do not think that your kindness and consideration will be met with approval thereafter however. Your attempt will be thrown back in your face as evidence of your treachery (and do not even think about suggesting you were only doing what we want) and you will be punished for this traitorous behaviour through the continuance of the devaluation and the imposition of greater nastiness. Your confusion will return. You tried to do the right thing and your advisor suggested this was the right thing to do and look what happened. This is, of course, because nobody has identified what you have entangled with nor understood how we behave.
You are bewildered, perplexed and miserable again.
Do we want you or do we not want you?
Of course not.
We want your fuel.