The Fading Star

I have explained how we draw fuel from primary, secondary and tertiary sources. These sources vary in potency and are affected of course by the method of delivery of the fuel. The primary source remains our most important source of fuel since it is this person, usually the intimate partner, who we are with more than anybody else but also who has the greatest emotional reaction to what we say and do. Therefore, this person provides us with the most fuel and of the most potent kind. The primary source is naturally the most important fuel provider which is why we seduce this person with such dedication, unleash such a terrible devaluation and keep on hoovering following escape or discard. We make such an investment in you as the primary source that we regard it as our right to keep drawing fuel from you, whether that is positive or negative, whether it is now, next week or in ten years’ time.

The secondary sources are those which contribute good fuel and are invariably those who are part of our façade. Our lieutenants and the coterie are drawn from the secondary sources – friends, family and colleagues – who we interact with frequently but not to the same extent as we do with the primary source. Nor do the secondary sources give out the same heightened fuel as the primary source. The secondary sources serve an excellent function as part of the façade and the maintenance of this façade is important, therefore we prefer to keep the same people in at and keep adding to it. Secondary sources enjoy lengthy golden periods with us. This is because our call on them is intermittent and therefore we are far less likely to regard their fuel as stale. Moreover, we can have many secondary sources but we only ever have one primary source. Thus if a certain secondary source is perhaps not admiring us as much (but they are not criticising us and are still providing some fuel) it does not merit a devaluation. They remain loyal, they remain part of the façade and we will just switch to another secondary source to increase the fuel. There is no need to devalue or ditch the initial secondary source. Thus you may see our kind have a friend who is “flavour of the month” because their fuel is better than other secondary sources and then the fuel dips in quality but it is not a concern as we can add another secondary source or switch to another who perhaps we have not seen for a couple of months. This is advantageous as it means our energy can be saved for devaluing the primary source whilst keeping a range of functioning secondary sources on hand and the façade intact.

The secondary sources very rarely stop providing fuel. They have no need to. A primary source may do so owing to the descent into ill health caused by the devaluation or learning how to tackle our kind as a response to the abuse. The secondary source, nearly always treated to an elongated  golden period, has no need to adopt a stance of not providing fuel.

A secondary source may however criticise us and if that is the case they may be subjected to devaluation but usually they are excluded from the coterie and replaced easily enough. They will be smeared and made to feel like an outsider, with the narcissist using the façade and other secondary sources to achieve this aim. We like to create our cliques and if anybody threatens our supremacy or delivers a criticism who is a secondary source they will be ejected from the group.

The occasion for devaluation of the secondary source is rare. It only happens in two instances. Firstly, the source has criticised the narcissist (this criticism might come through something said to the narcissist or something done, for example through exposing the narcissist’s behaviour to others)  and thus fury is ignited and the narcissist decides this person must be made an example of, before being discarded, in order to show the rest of the coterie who is in charge.

Secondly, in an even rarer instance it may happen when the narcissist has no primary source. If there is an absence of the primary source for a period of time, say a number of weeks, the narcissist’s fuel levels will have been tested. He will have sought to seduce and embed a new replacement primary source and most times the narcissist in such a situation is able to do so with success. However, let us assume this has not happened. The narcissist turns to his secondary and tertiary sources (more on tertiary in a moment) and relies more than usual on them to provide him with fuel during the absence of the primary source. At first there is no problem, the secondary sources provide positive fuel which is sustaining the narcissist, but if he has only a few secondary sources, then it will not be long before his fuel demands outstrip the positive fuel they can give. The lesser quality of their fuel (compared to the primary source) is being exposed by the absence of the primary source. It is also because greater demand is being placed on them. Ultimately, the primary source will always go further for the narcissist than anybody else and they are also far more proximate. No matter how seductive if the secondary source has to deal with his own family, his work and so on, he may not be available to provide fuel. If this keeps happening, combined with the increased demand and the lack of a primary source the strain on positive secondary sources will start to tell. This means the narcissist will either have to add new secondary sources and/or devalue the secondary sources to shift to negative fuel so he is sustained. This will work for a period of time with the confused inner circle friend who is a secondary source trying to work out why their supposed best friend is ignoring them and then trying to patch up the relationship. A secondary source however will not sustain devaluation as long as a primary source and may even infect other secondary sources by pointing out how they are being treated. The narcissist is already suffering reduced fuel levels and the supremacy of his façade is being challenged. This increases the demands on him.

The tertiary sources provide the least fuel and generally they are also treated to lengthy golden periods – for example the lady who works in the petrol station or the postman – since they are only extracted from on an intermittent basis. Tertiary sources can also be used straight away for negative fuel, for example, upbraiding a waiter or shouting down a shop assistant. We do not regard them as necessary to the maintenance of the façade, their negative fuel provides a useful boost and such high-handed behaviour may impress a primary (or secondary source) and draw positive fuel from them where appropriate.

If there is no primary source for a period of time, the reliance on tertiary sources increases. There will be increased activity to use technology to draw these people to the narcissist – such as on dating sites, chat rooms or through social media, but if the reliance is frequent and sustained the quality of the fuel will diminish quickly and those who have been attached to the narcissist in this way will be discarded and replaced with new remote tertiary sources promptly. There will be a high turnover. At the same time, the narcissist is likely to lash out at physically proximate sources more and more as the fuel level dips. This happens for two reasons. Firstly, he needs the fuel more than ever from tertiary sources and negative fuel is better than positive. Secondly, he will be furious at being placed in this position (through having no primary source but he has not got one to lash out at) so tertiary sources bear the brunt of this rage.

A narcissist without a primary source will eventually alienate secondary sources and in certain environments – say a small town – will struggle to replace them as people become wise to what he is. He may lack the energy to keep up the turnover of remote tertiary sources and spends his time lashing out at those which are physically proximate. At this point the narcissist faces losing the façade (since so many people know about his behaviour) in order to keep drawing fuel. It is now that he has three choices: –

  1. Secure a new primary source immediately;
  2. Move his environment so he can seek out fresh secondary sources and tertiary sources and rebuild his façade; or
  3. Sink into depression and inactivity as his fuel levels plummet.

The narcissist becomes a fading star. Once brilliant, magnificent and illuminating, his loss of the primary source and inability to find another means that the alluring shine is fading as a black hole awaits. Thus you can see just how paramount the primary source is to the existence of our kind and why we make such an effort to secure them, replace them and hoover them back again.

28 thoughts on “The Fading Star

  1. mollyb5 says:

    Stable person — someone who is fine right where they are at a moment in time ?

  2. mollyb5 says:

    HG , So ….many mid rangers and lessers need a mum . A carrier empath fits the type ….Or my HG educated guess would say ….HG , That a narc actually turns an empath into a carrier empath and co-dependent instinctually for survival …and perhaps an empath will shape herself to fit these roles if she wants to …if she can or actually is forced to and sees no other option worthwhile , and if she is some what of a chameleon . (And maybe out of survival for kids or …herself , too)

  3. mollyb5 says:

    HG ? so you are saying the tertiary sources online are relied on when the primary isn’t around or he devalued this primary and she is ignoring him (narc) not talking to him because she has been hurt emotionally/ or physically (devalued ) or escapes . So , the narc is older and not handsome , chews tobacco and isn’t sexy anymore ,so , he can’t attract a new primary as easily as when younger . So he begins to rely on the tertiaries (online chics) that are replaced easily and he yells at them online because he has nobody else (no primary)to take his frustrations and hate crap out on at home . He eventually devalues (tertiaries) saying to them sluts , whores, bitches etc …and replaces his cam girls frequently . His secondaries are busy and can’t be there all the time for him …like a primary can. HG ? What if he only shares sex with the online tertiaries ….he is only intimate online with himself / and with porn girls …who he thinks are his friends . This isn’t enough for a narc …he has to have a primary for their attention good or bad attention doesn’t matter. ..and Or he will be depressed and become a sloth ?

    1. HG Tudor says:

      The narcissist has various appliances at different levels within the fuel matrix. The primary source (obviously) is the most important one.

      If the primary source is not providing fuel or worse is wounding the narcissist (for instance escaping) the narcissist must turn to supplementary appliances (secondary and tertiary) whilst seeking a replacement. Some narcissist replace the primary source quickly, others take time and some really struggle. You can read much more about this in my book No Contact. Here is quick example to help you understand.

      1. A Middle Lesser Narcissist. His fuel matrix (and the percentages of fuel provided by the relevant sources) is as follows
      a. Primary 80%
      b. Four secondary sources (two friends and two family members) 10%
      c. A Range of tertiary sources (online, guy in the shop down the road, neighbour) 10%

      2. The Primary source escapes. This leaves an 80% hole in his fuel matrix. What are his options

      a. Replace the primary source and plug the gap with someone who provides 80%. Most desirable option BUT he may not have been cultivating a replacement or if he was, they are not under his control. He may some work to do to locate that replacement and quickly, and he is hampered by being a Middle Lesser.
      b. Fall back on his supplementary sources.

      The problem with b is that
      (i) If he operates at existing levels, he is only going to have 20% of his fuel provided by secondary and tertiary sources. That brings him near to a fuel crisis , or
      (ii) If he seeks to increase fuel output from existing levels, he needs to get 90% of his fuel (existing 10% plus missing 80%) from just four people. This is 22.5% from each individual (assuming an equal division) and therefore he is going from 2.5% to 22.5% which is a huge shift in demand. This means he will need to not only spend much more time with those people, but they need to provide him with the fuel also. Those people may not be in a position to give him that fuel (they have jobs, they have other people to be with) and if he demands their time (i.e. their fuel) he could cause them to back away also and make the situation worse.

      He needs to acquire more secondary sources, which is not going to be straight forward, to make up the fuel deficit. He is better served by

      a. A short term increased reliance on existing secondary and tertiary sources (so cause them to shift from 20% to 40% of fuel provision)
      b. A short term increase in recruiting additional secondary and tertiary sources to share the load (perhaps to say bring in another 20%)

      He has now moved from 20% unto 60%. Away from a fuel crisis but it is far from perfect but this will assist in enabling him to have sufficient fuel to ensnare that new primary source and revert to 100%. Of course, if he cannot do so, he has a problem.

      This is why Lesser and some Mid Range Narcissists, when they lose the IPPS move back to mum and dad, so they gain a NIPPS. They shore up the the fuel deficit. More usually, this is why the narcissist hunts down another IPPS as a matter of priority (where Lesser or Mid Range) It is far easier for those less evolved narcissists to control one person who provide most of their fuel, than try to control say 20 people to provide the equivalent amount of fuel.
      Greaters of course do not rely on the primary source for fuel to the extent that Lesser and Mid Range do AND are more accomplished at replacing them if required, often the Greater can use a stable of IPSSs and NISSs very easily without having a Primary Source.

      1. mollyb5 says:

        HG …a stable IP secondary source ….like a professional ?

        1. HG Tudor says:

          Can you clarify the focus on stable?

          1. mollyb5 says:

            Stable ? Meaning able to support themselves , emotionally stable —doesn’t need another person in their life , doesn’t want much in return from a man / woman …feels fine with and is stable with how their life is at a given moment ?

          2. HG Tudor says:

            1. Stability in terms of being able to support themselves. Some narcissists cannot do this, many can.
            2. Emotionally stable. Some narcissists come across as stable in that regard, others are more volatile. It depends on the strength of the facade and the school of the narcissist, alongside the extent of the threat to control.
            3. Stable as in terms of does not need another person in their life. If you mean IPPS, most narcissists need one, but not all.
            4. Feels fine with how their life is at a given moment. Many narcissists will suggest they are, but they are not, some will suggest they are not (Pity Play) and some demonstrate a greater level of stability because they are more proficient at exerting control.

            I think ultimately it is accurate to say that you will find some instability in the life of a narcissist, dependent on which lens you are looking for. Take me, most people would regard me as stable. My life is not haphazard, I am not all over the place emotionally, I function very effectively in my chosen arenas, yet over time my romantic pattern of relationships would be considered lacking stability. My finances are stable, my home is stable, I have a stable set of friends. I however present in an unstable fashion because I am a chameleon, there is no stable sense of self.

          3. mollyb5 says:

            HG a person who knows their place and is satisfied with their life as is ……a hooker or woman that is a ( professional) at sex …escort . ?

          4. mollyb5 says:

            HG Well you used the word stable so ….I’m wondering what it means to you . ? Mentally stable , emotionally stable …geographically stable ? All of those ? Someone who stays put . Lol

          5. HG Tudor says:

            See earlier answer Mollyb5.

          6. mollyb5 says:

            Thank you HG for taking the time to explain .

          7. HG Tudor says:

            You are welcome.

          8. mollyb5 says:

            HG ? I reread. You meant you could use a “stable” of IPSS. You meant a lot of horses … a lot of secondary sources . I thought you meant when I first read it ….one secondary source that was stable . LOL !

          9. HG Tudor says:

            Indeed, however notwithstanding that error, the nature of your question was one worth addressing.

          10. mollyb5 says:

            HG, Is trump playing victim ?

          11. HG Tudor says:

            With which particular behaviour, MB5?

  4. NotMe! says:

    This is the first article which has made me question whether he was really a Narc. I suppose they’re all different though

  5. cogra002 says:

    I’ve noticed that the Narc depletes “hunting grounds” on social media. Rather than actually moving, I’ve seen him develop new interests or “pages” so he has a new hunting ground to spin up new supply.
    This must be exhausting to do this over and over. Or is it exhilarating for them?

    1. Kim e says:

      cogra002. It is everyday life for them.

  6. Lamb says:

    I think he knows he’s fading. Over the past year he’s constantly making comments about how “ old “ he is now .
    He’d never admit it , but I think he has suffered from depression for decades. Not sure if it’s depression because of narcissism ( he secretly hates himself ) or from his substance abuse problem???

    1. cogra002 says:

      We encountered similar Narcs then

  7. Whitney says:

    Dear HG 🙌

    The UMR Somatic was in Fury at me lately. I wonder if I’m his Primary source in devaluation.

    He told me many times his other sources were “friends”, who I could meet. One was nice and tried to make plans with me, but I don’t wanna be friends with his other sources. 😟 They are Carrier Empaths.

    He’s overseas so maybe it’s a good time to start no contact. He said “good luck with the business while I’m gone”. It’s my business. My mum asked if he’s had a break with reality. He does nothing but disturb me by showing up and being Furious. I feel calm and happy by myself.

    1. Lamb says:


      Your post reminded me of something I had long forgotten.
      When I was dating my Narc before marriage, he was telling me about his previous girlfriends and he suggested that I should meet one ( The same one now his OW) , and told me that I would really like her. I thought it was a bizarre thing to ask of me. I told him I had no interest in socialising with his ex-girlfriend’s.


      Can you please explain why a Narc would want his former girlfriend and a new girlfriend to socialise with one another ?
      He had suggested to me at the time that he would like to continue to date her and me. I told him absolutely not, I told him that I did not date multiple people at the same time and that I expected the same of anyone that I was going to date. I suppose I made him choose, her or me. He promptly dumped her, and rushed me into marriage. She was also dating other people at the time as well as my narc,so I didn’t think back then that their relationship was very serious.
      I did find out later that she was furious that she got dumped and he was dating me. Christ, it all sounds so juvenile !
      So many red flags and I ignored them all, young and stupid. I thought my knight in shining armor had arrived . All the flowery notes, promises of what the future would be like , etc- . My family and friends all told me he sounded too good to be true , they were right!

      1. HG Tudor says:

        It is triangulation and was being done to ascertain the extent of his control over you, to gain fuel from you whilst also asserting control over her (should his control over you erode).

        1. Lamb says:

          Thank you, HG.
          I thought it was such a bizarre thing for him to ask of me .

          1. HG Tudor says:

            You are welcome.

  8. Esther says:

    Great article! That explains well why a narc takes extreme measures to accomplish his goal in securing a primary source. No fuel- no life…

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