Victim or Volunteer? Part Two




The devaluation. People often regard this as one complete stage that follows the glorious seduction of the golden period. It is in fact made up of two parts. First comes the stranger period. It is so called because to you it seems like you are dealing with somebody completely different to the person that you know and love. This is when the transition occurs between the seduction and the insidious abuse that is just around the corner. This stranger period should be regarded as the calm before the storm and if you are among the few who recognise it when it happens it is a clear signal to you to get out. Most do not of course recognise it. They perhaps see it as the relationship moving beyond the honeymoon period and since there is no horrible treatment per se, they do not realise that the stranger period (which is still a stark contrast to the golden period) is in actual fact a warning. The stranger period is at the beginning of the period of devaluation and is a clear marker that there are far worse times ahead.

You are unlikely to query this shift from golden period to the stranger period in any great detail. Should you have done so? Should you have paid greater attention to us (just as we always have demanded)? Should you have wondered why we did not answer your telephone call with the enthusiasm that we once did? Ought you to have questioned why we seemed less interested in doing things with you? Did you see it and put it down to us being tired? Maybe you just thought it was because we had had a rough day at work? You asked if we were okay and we assured you that we were, but there was no conviction in our responses. They were flat and other worldly but you did not press any further. Why not? Perhaps you should have done? Perhaps if you had done so you would have taken greater heed of what it was signifying or was it asking too much of you to realise that was coming? Nobody has any idea of what this stranger period signifies when they first encounter out so why would you be any different? Perhaps the view that you failed to heed this warning is a harsh one?

What then of the devaluation proper when the darkness descended and the abuse came? Of course it is the false default setting of our kind that everything is your fault. That is the way that we have been created. That is the way that we conduct ourselves in order to protect our fragility from criticism. We must project, blame-shift and remain unaccountable whilst ensuring that you are regarded as culpable, liable and blameworthy. It is part of the matrix of control that we deem necessary to apply against you. Yet, if one strips away this all to readily applied blame what then? Would the objective observer reach the conclusion of victim or volunteer? What do you think? Do not think that this is one of our standard exercises of attributing blame, I have already conceded that such blame-shifting is one of our key manipulations, but I am lifting that usual approach and posing the question as to whether during devaluation you might be regarded as a victim or volunteer?

The first time we doled out a silent treatment which lasted a day? Should you have known then what you were dealing with and distanced yourself? Is that unrealistic? What about when there was the second period of being frozen out? Or the third? Maybe not after those, after all, you dealt with them didn’t you? Perhaps you ought to have realised when we lost our temper with you? When those savage words and insults were shouted at you? That is emotional violence. That is abusive. Why did you not walk away then? You stayed. Could it then be argued you volunteered for more dressings down? How about when we began to gaslight you? We toyed with your reality, confusing and bewildering? Did you recognise what was going on? But you are clever, resourceful and independent, surely you knew what was happening? Besides, this was taking place alongside the shouting matches and the cold shoulders. Surely the alarm bells were ringing now weren’t they? Did you hear them and ignore them or did you just not hear them? What about the times we took your car without asking? Ate the food you had set aside? Stopped you sleeping properly by elbowing you all night? What about the repeated stopping out late and the flirtation with other women? Surely you noticed all of that, in fact we know you did, because we made sure you did so to enable us to get our precious fuel. So, you experienced all of this and you still stayed. Does that make you a volunteer as the abuse continued?

What about the first time we shoved you back during an argument? No? How about the second time when that shove sent you into a wall and you banged your head? No? Surely when that first slap stung your cheek, then you must have realised what was happening and yet you stayed after that. Does that make you no longer a victim but a volunteer instead? Of course nobody ever asks to be treated that way. You are not volunteers in that sense but given you realised that certain behaviours towards you were wrong, unpleasant and downright nasty, you obviously spotted them so why did you remain and allow yourself to be subjected to even more? You are your own person, surely, you should have realised and walked away? You might refer to not being able to because of money, housing, accommodation and children. Perhaps they are considerations but when pitted against your own safety and sanity, which should be protected first?

Accordingly, reflecting on all that happened to you, the repeated manipulative and abusive behaviours which were never isolated examples but rather repeated and increasing violations against you, could it be said that you were a victim or did you in fact volunteer by remaining in the firing line? I would welcome your observations.

Putting aside my usual blaming behaviours I would offer you this conclusion. To volunteer is to be able to exercise a degree of decision-making and control over your own person. You were never allowed that control. We took it.

8 thoughts on “Victim or Volunteer? Part Two

  1. BL says:

    Would you say that a shelf IPSS just stays in the stranger period and, assuming they “behave”, likely wouldn’t continue on to the darker devaluation?

    1. HG Tudor says:

      The shelf is not necessarily in the Stranger Period BL, you are on she the shelf which can mean

      1. Black and on the shelf. The Narcisisst has given you a silent treatment, and then you are put on the shelf and you will remain there (but the silent treatment does not remain in place for long because basically the narcissist “forgets” so that it just becomes being on the shelf. So you start with a silent treatment which whilst you are not being engaged with actually does not mean you are on the shelf because the narcissist has actively decided to do something with regard to you (ignore you) which means you are “in play”. That will not last and the silent treatment (if you are not taken off the shelf shortly thereafter) transmutes into just being on the shelf. You are not being actively ignored, you are just not being considered.
      2. White and on the shelf. The narcissist places you on the shelf, not because this is an act of devaluation (too many people think being on the shelf is devaluation, it is not) and you are not regarded badly, you are just not considered and you remain this way until such time as there is a Hoover Trigger, the HEC are met and you are taken off the shelf (which is usually painted white, but could be black also, so you might be taken off the shelf to be insulted).

      1. BL says:

        Thank you, HG. That makes sense. I thought, because I had the golden period and then suddenly got periods of silence and less messages complimenting me, that I entered that stranger period, but I guess that’s just when he cleared some shelf space for me! I actually prefer knowing he’s just not thinking about me, and that it’s not some active way to annoy me.

    2. Notme! says:

      I know where you are coming from BL,
      as in addition to shelvings daily and silent treatments (corrective devaluations) when I didn’t play nice, I also got the ‘stranger’ setting when we were together the last time. I even yelled, ‘I don’t know who you are’. From what I’ve read on here I don’t think I got into full on devaluation (just corrective ones) but there was a definite switch into something new and ugly before I escaped, I was gaslit when I insisted on discussing it.

      1. Notme! says:

        HG, could a shelfy IPSS be popped back on the shelf even if they are in the same room as the MMRN? Or is it just a straight forward silent treatment?
        Cold shoulder, witholding affection, belittling but passive-aggressive comments, I get they are twatty mid-range behaviours in response to provoke and draw fuel. But there was also this weird, flat, dead sort of behaviour like nothing I’ve ever seen from another person.
        We went to a castle locally and I didn’t really think he wanted to go as he was sulky on the way. Whilst there, he stood looking at something for over 20 minutes (it really wasn’t THAT interesting, a blocked up doorway if I recall), he didn’t speak, his reactions were wooden, just weird, dead staring – not being unpleasant – just like something in him had gone missing. I was stood quietly, looking at him thinking ‘who the fuck are you?’ Eventually I just walked away without speaking too. I came back a while later and he was still just stood there like a halfwit. He did this several more times before I lost patience and said I want to go now. At the time, before I knew about narcissism at all, I thought, ‘well that was effective in ensuring we never do this again’.

        1. HG Tudor says:

          That would be a Present Silent Treatment.

      2. BL says:

        Yes, NotMe, I feel like I’m in kind of a weird place as shelf IPSS. We had that golden period of 3 months, a switch flipped and then short silent treatments, or really just longer periods between hearing from him, began, along with less complimentary messages. So something changed, but I wasn’t devalued (even tho it feels like it) and I never entered a phase where he was mean to me or insulted me.

  2. mollyb5 says:

    HG , sometimes I’m not sure you think empaths know what’s it’s like to get grossed out or feel indifferent to a man. I know what it’s like to not be interested in a man and to all of a sudden because of something he did….loose total interest in him. Is this the narc in me or is it just a sudden realization I don’t want to live with this certain person the rest of my life. I remember this feeling for two people specifically. I imagine this to be what goes on in a Narcs head ? Or actually he feels this disgust all the time ?

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Victim or Volunteer – Part One