The Player of Games




I love playing games. As I have written before, the games are always being played. I only ever play to win otherwise there is no point. I cannot lose and sit back and smile and accept it was nevertheless an enjoyable experience because if I was to lose then it could not be enjoyable. I would be accepting that you or someone else is better than me. You are not. He is not. They are not. I always have to win. In order to achieve this I operate by a particular set of rules. You think you know what those rules are because when we first come together I deign to play by your rules; I agree to operate by the systems and conventions of your reality. That is easy for me to do because everything is going swimmingly. I am seducing you and therefore you are letting me win because it feels good. I am content to go along with the pretence of agreeing that these are the rules of engagement. You think you are winning because you are getting this wonderful, generous and loving person. In reality, I am winning because I am receiving plenty of positive fuel from you.

It is thereafter that the rules alter because I decide (and it is always my decision) that we will now abide by the rules in my reality. You are not given a rulebook and you have to guess what those rules are. As soon as you think that you have grasped them and got a handle on them, they will suddenly change. It is akin to playing a game of football and I am winning three nil. You score two more goals and you are in the ascendancy and likely to equalise. There would normally be fifteen minutes to go but suddenly I change the rules so there is just one minute left. You fail to score and I win. You protest stating that is not the correct time but it does not matter because here I am the referee, the assistants and the fourth official and what I say goes. If you do not like it, tough. I will just pick up the ball and go home with it. It is like a game of darts where you have to start from 501 and end with a double. I on the other hand start from 51 and do not need a double. You claim it is not fair but why should I care about it? I have to win. Thus, you may realise that I enjoy a lie-in on a Sunday morning so you do not disturb me. I will purposefully set the alarm early and get up waking you early. Or if I do have a lie in, I will concoct some mystery appointment that I have missed because you let me lie in. When you wake me early the following Sunday I will erupt at you for being so selfish and not letting me sleep.

When you think have ascertained what the rules are they will alter. You will do your best to try and keep up but it is exhausting and frustrating. Yet, this manipulation of the rules to allow our kind to win does not end there. Goodness me no. Our driven desire to always be the winner means that not only will we sucker you by pretending to play by your rules and then change them; we will then change the game. One moment you think you are playing Monopoly and then I am telling you it was Professor Plum in the Study with the Candlestick.

“But that is Cluedo,” you will declare rather puzzled.

“I know,” I will smile in return.

“But we are playing monopoly.

“No we are not.”

“Yes we are, look this board has streets from New York on it.”

“No it doesn’t, those are rooms in the stately home.”

“What are you talking about? See here and here, street names.”

“Are you blind? Those are snakes and ladders.”

“What? You’ve changed it again.”

“No I haven’t. You are just making a fuss because you are losing.”

“What are you on about? I am not losing, I was winning.”

“Not at all. Check mate.”


Our phenomenal capabilities for lying, blame-shifting, denial and reflection all mean that the game will change. You are wrong footed, unsure of yourself, confused and we keep on doing it. We must win, always and you have to lose, at your cost. We will apply all our methods of manipulation to ensure we are victorious and you lie sprawled in the dirt, broken and defeated. Our success has to be at everything and I mean everything, from the trivial to the substantial, Defeat is never an option for our kind and we will bend, twist and snap the rules and alter the game in order to achieve this. Now, let’s play a game. It is my favourite. You may know it. It is called Guess Who? You have no chance.

37 thoughts on “The Player of Games

  1. cogra002 says:

    You are inspiring me to have another go at slipping all the way out again. I’m just not into it anymore, not pining. He disgusts me, for the 1st time. I’m hoping for a silent treatment, then I’ll keep going. 🤞

  2. Cloudy says:


    My partner claims so much love for me & bashes me behind my back.

    Likes playing the victim at the same time & deny’s the bad mouthing.

    Crazy false beliefs

  3. SMH says:

    BL, Also SIPSS here. I understand why you feel sad and that you have tried your empathic best. But all they want is fuel and they will do anything to get it. Positive fuel, negative fuel – it’s all the same to them. We are just fuel pumps/appliances.

  4. wildviolet22 says:

    Haven’t read your story before, but all I can tell you is I’m in a similar boat. And those “feeler” messages are what kept sucking me back in when he started doing the distancing, push-pull stuff a while back. I was going through heavy stuff at the time, and didn’t get out at the first signs of trouble, and I’ve been set back almost 2 years now (although I’ve also known my person for a long time).

    What helps me is asking myself, does he sit there and worry about how I’m doing, or how I’m feeling, when he’s ignoring my messages or “shelving” me? The answer is a big, fat, *no*. And reading the articles here has really helped me, because even hearing it phrased that way pisses me off (no one puts baby in the corner-ha! and seriously, would you even treat someone whose guts you hated that way?)

    Anyways, I’m also in early stages of extricating myself out. He blew up at me and discarded me after I somehow wounded him by not being a mind reader, and responding the “right” way to him recently. I really wish he’d just stay away now after the vile things he said to me (screw that too- I’m picking my dignity up off the floor, and there’s no going back now), but I’m sure there’s some “feeler” message in my future too. He’s a victim/ poor me, always-excuses-for-why-I- act- that-way type. My plan is to “gray rock” if that happens. I believe mine might be borderline too, and I’m not sure how crazy he gets or how he takes being cut off completely, so I’m carefully pulling myself out. Then the communication will be locked down from my end completely.

    Not sure if that helps you and your situation at all, but that’s how I plan on getting out. Good luck to you too!

    1. singasongy says:

      Wild Viotet! You sound like my soul mate! Ha! I REALLY did say, the baby corner about myself when I read that shelf thing. How dare he!

      It has helped me as well. I don’t feel upset anymore when I don’t hear from him. I realize I’m on the shelf and that is the best place to be. It gives me time to get confidence again and be normal.

    2. BL says:

      Thank you, wildviolet. Yes, I have thought that MANY times – that he is not sitting at home wondering how I am the way I do him. I wish it was as easy as saying to him, “this isn’t working” and have him go away. I hate not answering, but I know that just opens the gate, so silence it is. Just like he did to me.

  5. singasongy says:

    HG how long can one go trying to be ahead of a NARC before the narc figures it out and puts a stop to it.

    Today LB charmed the pants off of me. It was good day. Everything was good. 30 minutes later a big devaluation came. I know my face had a moment of what the fuck? He saw it. I saw him see him. Why he would say that to me in front of that person? I was majorly thrown off not expecting it, came out of nowhere. He laughed and said, what? Whats wrong boo? He was chiding me , and kept asking me the pretty demeaning question. It embarrassed me and also ruined my happy state. BUT I will say as soon as he said that and I saw the satisfied look on his face when he saw my startled look I knew what he was doing. He was high on positive fuel but wanted to see my anger erupt so he could get the even more potent negative fuel. It was like I was watching myself and himself in a movie. I was out of my body and observing instead of being in the center of it.
    I didn’t react too much but still “pretended” to be offended ( I was offended but I feigned a reaction when I really just was about to walk away). After that then he followed me around saying, come on you know I love you. I actually gave him that negative fuel because quite honestly I’m not done with him yet and now I’m nervous that he will catch on.

    Its like his very favorite game in the world is propping me up, devaluing me (not anything super hurtful but things he knows I’m slightly embarrassed about like the age I got married) and then after getting the eruption or tears or the screaming words he goes into overdrive trying to comfort me and make me feel okay. He was the one that made me this way but he now is the hero. Today was the first time I was completely armed and aware of what was going on. It was an enlightening situation. Its like I”m in a real time game and you guys are my teammates helping me make the right moves.

    Oh well, motherfucking LB. I am good at playing games too. I just need to know how long I have before the shit hits the fan. I worked VERY hard today to make shit good and just pretend to adore him and tell him how very wonderful he is blah blah blah. It isn’t taking that much effort to fake it but it is disgusting to see how much he loves it. He is so high when I treat him this way. Just like he is mad and his eyes turn black when he is high his eyes are sparkling and light. I’ve watched myself manipulate him when he is in the state and that’s when I don’t think he is that good of a narcissist. On the other hand he could be way ahead of me and he is a master one, lol! I guess time will tell.

    And for the record I had a massive crush on Lehmann. Still do. My heart will always be with das Vaterland. ha ha ha ha

    1. HG Tudor says:

      You do not aim to be ahead of the narcissist. You go no contact.

      1. singasongy says:

        yeah. I know, I just can’t right now. I don’t want to. I need his expertise. Oh well, I know that I am making excuses for my bad choices but there is no other option. If I go NC I will not have my hobby any longer. I have put myself into a bad position, I know. I’m trying to figure out how much I can handle mentally because I can’t go NC.

  6. BL says:

    I am in a baby-steps modified NC. I know this isn’t the way to do things, but it was all I could get myself to do to start breaking away from the games (how appropriate a post today!). I am at day 11 of not speaking to him and today I received a message asking how I am. I know it was a “feeler” and he doesn’t really care how I am, but this is still hard for me, as he has been a part of my life for over 20 years. I ignored the message, but I am feeling sad. When I read that narcissism is partly a fear of abandonment, it’s so hard to do that very thing to him. Despite what we’ve been through (I am shelf IPSS for those who don’t know me), he didn’t choose to be a narcissist. It just sucks. Just curious if anyone has felt conflicted for this reason too, and please go gentle on me – it’s a rough day!

    1. NarcAngel says:


      “When I read that narcissism is partly a fear of abandonment, it’s so hard to do that very thing to him.”

      Blatant pity play by the ever conning ET in force. Logic knows that he will just get fuel from another source and that his issues are not your concern.
      You have also read and know that narcissism is a disorder that cannot be cured and will result in his abuse of you. It should be harder to open yourself up to that by engaging. Ask yourself why attending to his needs is more important than your own.

      1. BL says:

        Thanks NA. Right now I feel nauseous, but I’ll get there.

        1. Notme! says:

          Noone would be hard on you for having a tough day through ET. The whole situation of loving a narcissist is fucking horrible. Well done for your steps in the right direction. Stay strong though and keep taking them because you sound like a caring person who deserves so much more than being picked up and put down to meet someone else’s needs. Does your relationship with him make you happy, does it add to your life or does it cause you upset? Your logic has told you to pull away from him and his games, don’t let ET derail you x

          1. Notme! says:

            And yes, I’ve been conflicted about this and a dozen other things. Logic, HG, wine, logic, logic

          2. Kim e says:

            Lots of wine helps immensely 🍷🍷🍷

          3. singasongy says:

            ha its a bit of the sticky icky that does the trick for me *wink*

          4. BL says:

            Thank you, NotMe!. I felt having him in my life was making me happy because those moments it was good were really good. But they are fewer and farther between the longer this drags out. I also have to wake up to the fact that even the good times were fake.

          5. Kim e says:

            “I also have to wake up to the fact that even the good times were fake.”
            Thank you for the reminder. It is easy to forget. Like you said, they are so good when they are good.

        2. NarcAngel says:

          Yes, you will get there. The pull of addiction is strong though and causes skewed thinking in order to stay engaged (for instance putting the “feelings” of abandonment you have fabricated for him ahead of your own – he feels no such thing). It sounds at this stage that you would benefit greatly from the 3 new packages on addiction HG is offering to explain why you feel this way and to bolster your logic.

          I just heard your ET loudly start rhyming off reasons you can’t.
          I also heard your logic whispering: Choose help over the inevitable abuse.

    2. Intrepid Traveller says:

      Yes. Just like you BL. Each time my ex n went ‘off on one’ and did his sulking disappearing act, which was pretty frequent, at the beginning i would chase him for an explanation as i thought that was what all good relationships did – work things out. Latterly, when I realised it was a habit of his (now of course I realise it was a manipulation) i used to ignore him and leave him to it. Then when he put out his ‘feeler’ as like yours BL, i always told myself to be the bigger person and not be like him, and would respond politely but with no intention to let him slip his way back in. Guess why it lasted 8 years!!! ET beat me each time. The arguments i had in my head with myself are why it lasted so long. You started your blog HG, just when i had every good reason to leave that relationship, i wish i had found you then, i would have 6 precious years that wouldn’t have been wasted. The clarity i have now is so unbelievable i cant believe i didnt see it before. I still argue in my head when penny’s fall occasionally, but logic comes running in from the wings nowadays.

      1. singasongy says:

        @intrepid. you know what I find enlightening here? How similar all of us are. I always thought I was “crazy” because sane people wouldn’t be like me. Reading that you have arguments in your head about this and other stuff like that is what I do all the time and its so eye opening for me to know I’m not unique in this way! I often wonder if normal people just take everything at base value and not look deeper like I do or like you do. Everyone posting here are all like me, finally people understand how my brain works! Sorry it was a tangent off your post but it sparked me to tell you that.

        1. Intrepid Traveller says:

          I think the arguments in my head are the emotional thinkings. HG’s ET. It’s definitely my driver to ‘fix things’. Since childhood I have very easily taken on any blame pointed at me, guilty or not. Boundaries were very poor in my childhood household. My ex was very good at blaming me – it was always something i had Said or done wrong which had made him go silent, bugger off, rage at me. So my ‘head arguments’ are me weighing up was i in the right or wrong – taking him as correct without a second thought. If i wanted to address the point he would just up the ‘punishment’. Once i left i continued to have arguments in my head about various incidents between me and him if i ever thought about them and my angst was horrific. Being here, and taking on what you can learn here, has meant that i have been able to take those incidents out of my head by applying logic and getting the validation i needed and never got from him. I get it from you guys. However, my head still keeps talking – just about more exciting things!! I am beginning to sound weird … 🤭

          1. singasongy says:

            @Intrepid yeah I totally get you about whether you are to blame and duking it out in your head. Have you ever had an epiphany about being right? Like I always take the blame as well and then once in a blue moon something will happen and its like a light came on and I see it totality that it really really wasn’t my fault! And it can be startling, like, whoa, mindblower, I’m not the problem!
            Has that ever happened to you?

        2. Intrepid Traveller says:

          @singasongy – “ Have you ever had an epiphany about being right? Like I always take the blame as well and then once in a blue moon something will happen and its like a light came on and I see it totality that it really really wasn’t my fault! ” sorry, no reply button after your comment – yes i did, but fleetingly, and he soon talked me out of my rational thoughts or didnt give me the space to work things out. The real penny droppers, for me, have been after i left, when you have time and peace to put the jigsaw together. Being here has validated my thoughts and clarified my thinking. I had a huge penny drop last week. now I KNOW i was in the right and i don’t feel the NEED for him to know I am right,which is a big step forward. If you are like me, you need to find the inner confidence that you are right, but unfortunately the bigger step is not to need the validation from the narcissist,which of course you will never get. I dont think i will ever be in that place, so of course, no narcissists for me!!!

          1. singasongy says:


            Yes, that is how I am as well. If I’m in “too deep” as I call it in my head, then its like the Wizard of Oz tornado in my head and its all spiraling and every emotional and irrational thought just keeps doubling and spinning.

            BUT if I have time to think and I sleep well (I usually sleep a lot, 8 hours is usually the normal for me but it is often more) I will not get so wrapped up in that. I have realized that the more tired I am the worst my emotions are as well as dietary. I will gain the mental clarity and then the inner confidence you speak of. And you are right, if it isn’t mature enough then anyone can break it down fairly quickly.

            What is interesting for me, is once I’ve had enough I’ve had enough. I give all sorts of people the benefit of the doubt and blame myself and then I leave and rebuild but come back. but after each confidence break the ladder to self healing is stronger. Like two steps forward once step back and eventually the confidence ladder is complete and I can move on. I will finally leave that person that is making my mind hell.

            Then of course time elapses and I meet someone new (friend, foe, anyone) that gets in my head and then I spiral again and have to rebuild it all.

            I need to learn to not let them do this to me in the first place!

      2. wildviolet22 says:

        Intrepid Traveller, wow, yes, that’s exactly how it is, and how my 2 years in happened. May I ask, when you figured out what was going on, did you ignore the next “feeler”? Block all means of communication completely when you found this blog? Did he act out when you stopped responding to him? Or just disappear? Just curious how it played out for you.

        1. Intrepid Traveller says:

          Nope, never ignored the feelers, not totally. Unfortunately I never found this blog until after i had left and it has been my recovery. I think i was naturally trying to go no contact but he just upped the ante and upped the level of feelers, well in fact they were grand hoovers. At the beginning there were no feelers, he made me work really hard, i was stuck in the ‘its your fault’ he kept projecting on me. And I’m a fixer, so fix it i kept doing!! Latterly, I think i always knew the hoover was coming and thought about ignoring it but just trying to be a decent person and not be a ‘game player’ very often over rode the decision to ignore him – not realising i was Strangely enough playing the game exactly as he wanted me to. He played the ‘I’m a decent man’ game, projecting myself back to me. By year 6 i started to ignore him completely – the game bored me by this time – and he would ‘up’ the hoover – turning up at my workplace or home unexpectedly promising me all the future we had discussed. So i suppose you could say he was acting out, i never got the future. I was flattered believe it or not, and read it as the ‘strength of his love and wish to be with me’ and so we then entered a new game. As HG says, the games are always being played.

          1. wildviolet22 says:

            Makes sense Intrepid Traveller, thank you for elaborating. Glad you got yourself out, and that you found this blog to help keep you out.

            Whenever I see the term “Initial Grand Hoover”, my mind interprets it as being a Grand Mal/ “maul” hoover, haha. Which is what it ends up being. I’ve fallen for them over & over, and I’m seeing now that all it’s doing when you give any response at all, is showing them what they just got away with. And you’re right, it then just goes in circles and never ends, you have to figure it out and be the one to do it :/

      3. BL says:

        Oh my gosh, intrepid… 8 years. I can see how it happens though and I am only 1.5 years in. The last time I politely answered a feeler email with no intention of doing more than asking how he was, I got sucked right in by the “I miss yous” and turned around and lost a few more months of my life before he disappeared again. Even my telling him it was over only put him on good behavior for a week, so that’s how I know I can’t even tell him this time. It’s a hard game for a normally kind-hearted person to play.

        1. wildviolet22 says:

          BL- same here. Funny, I had a couple of substance abusing boyfriends when I was younger, and I went no contact with them (not knowing “no contact” was something people did, at the time I was going by instincts/ self preservation). I didn’t respond to any phone calls or letters after that (this was in the 90s, just before cell phones and email, or at least in the early stages). I didn’t check up on them, and moved on with my life, but apparently both only got worse and died a few years back. Can’t even imagine what I would have gone through if I kept in contact with either of them.

          With this person now, it was my own fault for initiating contact with him after some time apart. Walked into the Lion’s den, basically. But I’m seeing now I just need to get out, period; block the email too, so nothing gets through (phone number was blocked and deleted after his berating rage rant). If just one little toe gets in the door, the door gets busted wide open, then the next incident is right around the corner, and you’re the one dealing with the emotional fall out. Over & over until you end it :/.

          1. Intrepid Traveller says:

            Exactly wildviolet and BL. Get out as soon as you can. Or round and round you will go, wasting those precious minutes.

    3. singasongy says:

      oh gosh, I know you must be going crazy right now. Don’t get in your head, like Angel said.

      It sounds like you are trying to make an excuse to let him back in. You’ve gone a long time. Don’t let your heart fool your brain. Remember it takes 30 days to change a habit.

      1. BL says:

        Sing, I am always making excuses for him, you’re right. I wish that 30 day marker was a magical milestone that clears him from my brain!

    4. Kristin says:

      I can relate and it sucks. Being empaths, we, of all people, feel bad about their disorder! I know it probably sounds crazy to those who can’t relate but I still struggle with those same feelings and thoughts. Insert ET here. You are trying and then the narc screws everything up, I am so sorry. You can do this and I pray that tomorrow is better for you and that he leaves you alone for good so you can heal. 💚

      1. BL says:

        Thank you, Kristin. Yes, that would be best case scenario – if he just stopped trying. My one friend I talk to about him thinks I’m crazy. She always tells me not to feel bad for him, but I do, even if I also feel bad for me! He feels nothing and I feel for both of us. I think the fact that it’s a disorder is what drives my ET – he can’t help what he is. But I have to stay on the logic train and remember that staying with him isn’t fixing anything. Unfortunately.

        1. Kristin says:

          Sometimes I think empaths have a disorder because our traits are so engrained in us and it takes and act of God to change the way we think! As you said, you feel for both of you, it comes naturally, as do the many other things we do and say that the narcs are drawn to and take advantage of. Empaths and narcs, a match made in hell but at least we are aware and capable, with HG’s help, to make changes and heal from the sick and twisted ways in which the narcs leave us.
          Yes, staying on the logic train is the only way even though it is easier said than done as I am discovering. You’ve got this 🥰

          1. wildviolet22 says:

            The empathy really can screw you in the wrong situation. I think it’s a nice trait to have, it just takes such hard work to put it away with certain people, when it comes so naturally.

            I’m reminded of DBT therapy, where you learn to get out of “emotional mind”. Are you familiar? One of the things a person can do when feeling emotional, is try a “left brained” activity, like putting together a puzzle, the rubik’s cube, untangling a ball of yarn, etc. I like how this website and the information here, is helping people get out of “emotional mind” for this behavioral stuff with people. Good quality to have with certain animals =^..^= and children; some people. With predatory type or disordered people, not so much. So learning to train that logical/ psychological muscle it is :).

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