Why Is The Narcissist Always On My Mind


“He is always in my mind.”

“Try as I might I just cannot get him out of my head.”

“I can’t stop thinking about him.”

I am sure such comments or similar have been made by you at some point about the narcissist in your life. We have this formidable capability to get into your head and remain there for a long time which evokes bittersweet reactions from you at best and utter miserable frustration at worst. I have written about ever presence previously, namely that ability we have to ensure that you keep thinking about us, even when you have been pushed to one side or if you have sought to go no contact. This insidious form of manipulation is pervasive and very difficult to deal with, but how is it so effective?

Like much of our effectiveness it actually comes down to you. As an empathic individual you are much more susceptible to our method of remaining in your mind which is achieved by encoding. Since you care about others and take an interest in the thoughts, actions and well-being of other people, you have been wired to take on board stimuli from other people in a far more effective manner than others. Take my kind for example. We are so focussed on ourselves and what we need that we are not wired to be especially encoded by what others do. Our minds are nearly impervious to the actions of others. It is as if they are so full of what we do and what we want that there is no room for anything or anyone else. You on the other hand are like a sponge and you soak up the words and actions of others. Combine your susceptibility with our determined application of suggestion through what we say to you and what we do for you then the outcome is a devastating form of encoding which creates powerful and near indelible memories in your mind.

Through our visual encoding of your mind, you create a vivid mental picture and this will be recalled in pin-sharp crikey vision time after time. Every detail of a particular scene will be recalled by you and it is ingrained in your mind deeply through this encoding. The more you recall it, the more it becomes ingrained as if you are wearing a groove in a piece of wood. We make particular use of music (think how often your narcissist used certain tunes to woo you and/or create  special moment) to achieve acoustic encoding. Our voice is used in this way as well by the careful selection of key phrases which will resonate with you. You always remember the things that we say because we have encoded them into your mind. Similar encoding occurs in respect of taste and scents as well as tactile encoding. Accordingly this quintet of senses is assailed by all the things that we say and do in order to achieve this encoding. We create powerful memories so that you have no option other than to recall them and with that comes the emotional attachment. You will remember so much of what you have done with us compared to say what you have done with family, friends and colleagues. You will recall more memories, in greater detail and more often when they involved us because of this deliberate encoding.

You might think this was enough in terms of the efficacy of this method of affecting you, but it does not end there. Most narcissists are male and thus it follows that the majority of victims are female. In general terms, women remember events better than men (men have better spatial memories) and therefore you are genetically pre-disposed to remember all those occasions and dates you spent with us in such detail. Females remember pleasant memories in better detail than men, thus this is a further reinforcement of why you can summon up such powerful memories of the golden period and why it hurts you so much. Conversely, in general terms, men remember unpleasant events better than women who tend to recall them in a ‘blurred’ manner. This is why despite the abuse you have suffered the golden period memories tend to triumph. It is not the case with everyone, admittedly, but generally this holds good. Add to this the fact that women’s memories retain more of their potency through the advancement of age than men and you will see why your memories of us are so difficult to shake. Not only do we specifically encode your minds, which are primed to accept this more than other people, your gender also makes you more susceptible to retaining these detailed and vivid memories of the when everything felt wonderful.

These memories are deeply ingrained and very hard to dismiss and remove, even with professional help. Combine this efficacy with the fact we leave you exhausted and broken, it is little wonder you cannot shift us from your minds. Everyone knows how difficult it is to think straight when you are tired. Little wonder then that we always loom large in your mind when you have been exhausted and shattered by our behaviour.

These memories of the golden period are massively powerful and all of the above means that for someone like you, you will often think of them and suffer the emotion that is linked to them .It is a devastating weapon in our armour. Pretty memorable eh?

49 thoughts on “Why Is The Narcissist Always On My Mind

  1. Contagious says:

    Lorelei, you are my hero. I have had none of those experiences “just” a possible narc hubby. Waiting the test results. The fact you are here demonstrates a strength that is commendable!

    1. Lorelei says:

      I appreciate the kind comment Contagious.

  2. Jan Chenoweth says:

    Me thinks you brag too much, HG. I was very happy to leave my narcissist. He was a dull, dark cloud. Uninteresting, uninspiring, unlikable by nearly everyone, except for the daughter we shared, whom he brainwashed or was genetically predispositioned to be like her dad.

  3. Whitney says:

    HG 💙
    I want you to know, although No Contact and GOSO takes me a long time, because of my own choices, your education has freed me from entanglement with two narcissists.
    Most importantly, your education has allowed me to recognise countless narcissists who try to ensnare me. You save me from ensnarement all the time.

    1. HG Tudor says:

      Good to know.

      1. Violetta says:

        Btw, HG, I’m starting to recover from grad school. I realized that hoping my 2nd reader would recognize she had been unfair to me or that my chair should recogize that she should have put a stop to 2nd reader’s abuse instead of acting like her lieutenant was unrealistic.

        The fact that grad students who either got her off their committees or (in the one case got dumped by her 2 weeks before the candidacy exam) finished more quickly and with their confidence intact because they could focus on what interested them instead of rewriting everything to HER specifications will never convince them that they mishandled me. I was the Golden Child, with my fellowship and professors initially trying to elbow each other off my committee, but when I didn’t produce, it didn’t mean their methods were misguided. No, I didn’t bring Glory to the institution. All on me. I went from Golden Child to Embarrassment.

        My Chair wondering why I was having trouble completing my research was like my mother complaining, “You’re just like your father!” Um, duh…. Why would I act like my friend Fern’s nice, patient dad when I didn’t grow up with him? Yes, around half a dozen students had She-Who-Must taken off their committees and got good, tenure-track jobs. Some who managed to work with her went on to non-academic jobs, burnt out and demoralized. Sure, she had her successes, but the mediocrities she thought not worth torturing often did better than many of the supposed jewels she was trying to polish.

        When I wanted to change committee members, as others had done, my chair was against it, saying, “For your topic, I’ve always thought She-Who-Must should have been your Chair.” I was afraid she’d bail on me entirely and I’d never graduate, so I toughed it out as well as I could. I wondered why the others were allowed to use research approaches or prose styles I was forbidden, when, as my Chair pointed out, “no one is going to see your Dissertation anyway. By the time you publish, you’ll revise most of it.” Fellow grad students had been openly bitchy and cliquey to each other, but I got reamed for having too many NYC subway experience monologues instead of “asking your colleagues about their work and showing interest,” as SWM expected.

        In reality, students HATED being put on the spot about their writing progress; one woman who asked about people’s research in front of faculty was detested. Another woman who had fled SWM’s academic boot camp remarked, “Students PERFORM their friendships in front of her; nobody really acts like that.” (BTW, the appropriate response to a NYC subway experience monologue is to try to top it.)

        When I taught my first grad class, I realized more fully how inappropriate SWM’s conduct had been. I would NEVER talk to a grad student like that or write comments like hers on a paper. If something had to be changed, I explained how, without telling students, “Oh, your writing is terrible!” Even for things like plagiarism cases, I didn’t get personal. I just told the student which passage(s) had not been properly attributed, and reported the incident per procedure. And I certainly never finished an office discussion with a ritual of reconciliation: on at least TWO occasions, SWM demanded, like Dr. Evil, “Give me a hug!”

        I wanted my Chair to put a stop to my 2nd reader the way I had wanted my mother to put a stop to my father. They weren’t going to. I wanted them to acknowledge I had been mishandled. They weren’t going to. Even my mother (who was probably highly Narcissistic, though I suspect not a full narc), only admitted towards the end of her life that she had made some bad choices.

        These people CAN’T be wrong. Their narc construct will not let them be.

        1. HG Tudor says:

          Your final sentence is entirely accurate.

          1. Violetta says:

            Sorry for long rant, btw. My roundabout way of saying thanks.

  4. Hope says:

    @alexis does pants in the uk mean underwear? In the us pants are outer garments that go from the waist to the feet.

  5. Lorelei says:

    This is so true. I hate my ex but struggle to even hold onto the hate because it feeds the addiction.

    1. K says:

      In order to stop feeding the addiction, you have to hate your ex and you don’t have a choice. If you do not process your feelings, you will not move forward. Your hatred will set you free.

      “Use your aggressive feelings girl. Let the hate flow through you.” – Palpatine

      1. HG Tudor says:

        In order to stop feeding the addiction you implement a total no contact regime which will result in having no feelings whatsoever towards the narcissist. Hate is still a form of engagement.

        1. Lorelei says:

          Yes, and total no contact has only been since just after New Years taking allowing text conversation into the equation. Email period and Infrequent & minimal. It’s insane that email still irks me. If it continues I’ll have to eradicate and pay someone. My ex is overall too lazy to “force” engagement.

        2. theletterafterj says:

          If an individual is angry, sad, jealous, envious, happy etc., then they should feel that emotion. If you don’t feel it then you deny or bury it, which may hinder moving forward. It’s a process that takes time and KTN is the perfect place for Lorelei to vent.

          My IRL empath refuses to acknowledge or feel her negative emotions (she denies them) so she smokes, binges on junk food and pops Klonopin (benzos). She also slit her wrist.

          Hate is a beautiful emotion that can be expressed in a healthy and prosocial manner.

          1. HG Tudor says:

            Vent once, be done with it. Repeatedly hating is a form of engagement and is contrary to no contact.

          2. K says:

            hahahahahaha…once! Crossing the Emotional Sea is an arduous journey, however, it’s a good idea to set a time limit.

            I agree; it is a form of engagement.

          3. Lorelei says:

            K—HG hates everyone. Why can’t we?

          4. theletterafterj says:

            Hahahahaha…exactly! Hate’s great. Feel it then let it go. Repeat until spent, then move forward.

          5. alexissmith2016 says:

            I hate pantman! Lucky for me so do the very vast majority of others too. He just doesn’t realise. This irritates me.

          6. Violetta says:

            I urge people needing distraction from Narc withdrawal symptoms or just general cheering up to visit Daily Mail’s “Worst” column.

            I’ve been posting referrals to Narcsite either as independent comments or as responses to a post under “Best” comments, so there’s a chance of more readers looking at my reply. (Laptop required for this at DM, BTW: phones only post new comments.)

            However, I’ve been checking out the “Worst” column, and the conversations are practically an art form.
            Troll on Meghan Markle article:

            God Save the Meghan God save our gracious Meghan, Long live our noble Meghan, God save the Meghan


            – Idiot go and lie down in a darkened room

            – Oh dear doctor needed

            – Lay off the weed fella.

            Troll on an article on improving one’s love life:

            As a Brexit voter I only provide my wife with 1 minute of a sweaty unsatisfying time. I spend the rest of my time watching videos imagining I am a good lover.


            – Shut up DePfeffel.

            [PM Boris Johnson’s full name is Alexander Boris de Pfeffel Johnson.]
            How can anyone stay depressed after that?

      2. Lorelei says:

        K—I know you will appreciate my candor in suggesting that my father’s narcissism impacted more than just the mental health of my immediate family. I’m sorting the family albums this morning and damn—I was the ugliest kid. My mother was too tired to manage my mane. She cut it short. I looked like an anomaly from a well in the ground. Just ugly as sin. I am appalled and not sure what to do with the evidence. If I’m ever famous nothing on here compares to the evidence in these albums. I looked better half lit up a few years ago.
        Seriously though—it’s quite reflective to see the family narcissists not drooling on themselves. I still want that. It’s precisely what HG is up against in providing an understanding that cognitive empathy is not the same as emotional empathy. People walk away broken from relationships and never make the distinction—they can’t.

        1. alexissmith2016 says:

          I’m sue you were beautiful Lorelei, as you are now.

          I too always had my hair cut short. I hated it. This happened as soon as my father got sick and never recovered. when my mum had full control. My sister had glorious long hair always.

          It’s interesting the subtleties you can pick up from family photos. We were going through some recently. My husband noticed that in all the photos where I was around the ages of 2-4 my sister and I (she’s a few years older) always stood next to each other. Nothing natural about the poses and my sister is always stood with her hands neatly behind her back. I’m clearly being told to do the same but can’t quite manage it (lol). You can see I try and in one particular photos I’m looking down at my hands which are in front of me, holding them in an anxious pose. my sister looking at me and sneering holding her hands as instructed whilst I’m unable to perform this simple task.

          1. Lorelei says:

            Alexis—let me be clear. I should have been put in a sack of rocks and thrown in the water. I would have culled my crew had anything looked like I did.

          2. alexissmith2016 says:

            hahahha awww no way! I can’t believe that at all Lorelei.

            I find it amazing how N parents see their own children (if painted white) as beautiful no matter what they look like.

            I know one N a total asshole! He is a father of four and I have known him a while. He posts tonnes and tonnes of photos of his kids and sent me huge numbers unsolicited? Only ever of three of his children though, the fourth he was embarrassed of. She was beautiful but because slightly overweight and I really mean slightly, he wanted to keep her locked away so noone could see! One day, something about her became special (without going into detail) to some outsiders. Then all of a sudden she was paraded around like she was an only child and the others all pushed to the side as though they didn’t exist. what a wanker!

          3. Lorelei says:

            That’s so disgusting Alexis—that even the children are differentiated. My father bought me anything I wanted and talked about how smart I was, and how dumb my brothers were. One of my two brothers still struggles with me. I really have to be careful because I know I irritate him, although he tries to stay logical. He was “fed” to be bitter. He has no idea why he was conditioned to feel this way and it’s not a discussion we can have. So, having been the golden child has not ultimately improved my relationship in this sense. It’s a form of triangulation. My brother married his high school girlfriend and found refuge in her family many years ago. He has had to (I am sure) reconcile his upbringing. Funny my father said he would never amount to anything. He has more resources than the rest of us and and no longer has to work. I hope the festering resentment never culminates in a negative issue—it’s kids gloves for me.

          4. alexissmith2016 says:

            Yes it must be pretty tough being the golden child too as a non narc. I’m glad you brother has found his way. My sister was the golden child but she is a narc so I have no sympathy for her. Not now I know. I could not imagine at all favoring one child over another let alone making one feel excluded on purpose. Just the mere thought of it makes me feel sick inside. This other child, I wanted to take her home and love her. I know that’s not possible but it does rather make you feel that way.

          5. Lorelei says:

            And being the golden child wasn’t great because of the material goods. The flip
            side—I rely on “stuff” to decrease anxiety. He was sexually inappropriate so I’m actually quite uptight in that regard. He never touched me—but may as well have. The behavior was deplorable. He would leave nude photos, talk about matters that frankly made me sick. Many sexual slang terms make me nauseated. One time I asked for help with a math problem. He would not let me up until I’d done 100 more.

          6. NarcAngel says:

            That’s an interesting (and I think important) link to make. The provision of goods causing the need for “stuff” as you put it, to deal with anxiety. Do you remember if things/gifts were provided around the time that the inappropriate incidences occurred, or was that just a constant? Forgive me and don’t answer if that’s too intrusive. I understand.

          7. Lorelei says:

            Interesting question NA. His sexually inappropriate behavior was up and down, but the provision of stuff” was fairly consistent. Not overly ridiculous at all—but my brothers did not receive the same generosity. They were generally berated, but mainly the middle of us—the brother I refer to. My oldest seemed more neutral in the equation unless I just didn’t see it. That is quite possible because they were 6-7 years older.

          8. Sorry it’s been a very long day! But now in my hotel room and catching up.

            That must be pretty tough relying on material things. I’m sure that will be a linked addiction.
            Your father sounds awful Lorelei and highly inappropriate. That must have been horrible for you. I feel angry on your behalf.

          9. Lorelei says:

            Thanks Alexis. I remember crazy things. He made me undress to be beaten by a belt in public, told me if I missed a speck of dirt on dishes he would use a belt and all dishes would be rewashed. Killed my cat, said he had to do it. I’m not embellishing one bit. He asked details about my relationships, left porn and his own genitalia photographs (polaroids) laying out. Masturbated openly with his door cracked. Talked about no longer having sex with my mother. Hit on my friends. Solicited women online. Gambled away money, cruel to his sister and her kids. Triangulated my brothers with me. Chemist by daylight though!

          10. Lorelei that’s horrific. What an evil evil man. I’m so sorry you had to go through all of this. Do you still have contact with him?

          11. Lorelei says:

            He died nearly ten years ago. To be honest—this wasn’t that awful in the sense that when you are accustomed to such behaviors the lights get very dim. The spotlight dampens because it has to. If you get robbed daily you may even get up to answer the door! If you asked me say, two years ago about my dad I was conditioned to tell you how wonderful he was. Alternating with the dysfunction, I created a reality that all was well and our lives were “normal.” Because it had to be.

          12. NarcAngel says:


            “Sorry it’s been a very long day! But now in my hotel room and catching up.”


          13. Lorelei says:

            Alexis—how did pantman get his name? Sorry if you’ve been asked. It’s a fun name!

          14. hahaha I answered Kim e just the other day. Here is my reply

            I went to a business meeting at his house (yes more fool me I know because I knew what he was but I needed something from him) his wife was supposed to be there. She wasn’t!!! He went upstairs for an hour on an ‘important’ call. Whilst I waited in the lounge. I had work to do and was just grateful he was away from me.

            An hour later he comes downstairs (it was the height of summer so very hot) in his pants!!!!!! he pretended (it looked so staged) that he had forgotten I was there. No he fucking hadn’t. I just looked straight ahead and said nothing at all. He did get dressed promptly. Thank god! so absolutely disgustingly gross!

          15. Lorelei says:

            I’m still lost, no pants or pants?! Lol

          16. Pants thank god. The mere thought that it could have been no pants would have made me feel emotionally raped. It was already bad enough!

          17. Lorelei says:

            Interesting how we have these work related entanglements. I can’t believe some of the things people do & say.

          18. Lorelei says:

            Alexis—I looked at this comment again and noticed the mention of emotionally raped. I know it was in semi-jest at the absurd behaviors, but I seem ultra sensitive to the ridiculous behaviors as of late. I’m hoping to temper my own emotional responses to mute down the annoyance a bit. The level of irritation impacting my emotional state is quite high at times. I presume this rests with emotional thinking.

          19. Violetta says:


            Surviving that crap will give perspective. Even in grad school, there was one group of MeanGirls who tried to bully everyone (including our instructor): they would sneer at comments they didn’t agree with or roll their eyes, sometimes they let the crickets chirp, then continue the discussion as if no one had spoken, loudly discuss some concert they were going to (I swear, one of them asked the others, “Are you going to wear glitter?” In grad school).

            One student was close to tears–wondered if they were going after her because she was from Canada and didn’t get the culture or was an Evangelical Christian (trust me, she was not the one being smug and self-righteous here!) I reassured her that I had seen them pull this on other people in other classes, including me.

            I was infuriated, but not in tears: when you’ve had the crap beat out of you at school and you go home and get the crap beat out of you some more, you’re not fazed that a bunch of Heathers (one of them really WAS named Heather!) won’t let you play their reindeer games. My real fear was I would lose it and slug somebody, and be expelled.

            In summer, I usually wore crinkle cotton empire dresses, but when we had a cold spell, I lurched into class wearing jeans, a Bubonic plague t-shirt, my hair down, and brown lipstick, then sat in a kind of sprawl, staring at everyone psychotically.

            They stopped bothering me.

            Eventually, they missed a class for their precious concert. Their ears should have been burning…people I thought were neutral deeply resented their hijacking the class’s time with their bullshit.


            1. The instructor made the mistake of telling us she was up for a teaching award. The Heathers slammed her on the evaluations.

            2. One Heather got shunned by the others after she dated someone they disapproved of. She eventually flunked out of her Arts and Sciences department and went crawling back to the department of Education (from which several of them had got their college degrees–shoulda known).

            3. The worst Heather graduated into a robust job market before me because my 2nd reader refused to.serve on her committee after seeing all the Critical Theory word salad this Heather was tossing: Feminism, Structuralism, Deconstruction, Gender Theory… Since she didn’t have to do the extensive rewrites my 2nd reader put me through, she got a tenure track job and is now an Associate Professor. She also stole somebody’s long-distance boyfriend, married him, and after he applied only to the one doctoral program she would be at, relied on him to pay the bills with his non-academic day job while she finished her degree. So far, she has lived Happily Ever After, although her Rate My Professors entries bounce between sycophants who worship her methods and students who think she’s an utter ass.

            Btw, if you decide to cite HG as you were considering on one thread, be prepared for “Not an academic source, blah blah.” You can, however, cite him as a primary source: people interview drug addicts or V.A. patients all the time, so why shouldn’t you interview a confessed Narcissist? Qualitative research often precedes the quantitative research, and may help you determine your variables and the wording on any questionnaires.

            In the worst case, do whatever you have to do to get the degree (the best dissertation is a finished dissertation); then when you publish, cite whomever you damned please.

        2. theletterafterj says:

          Did you look anything like the girl in this meme?


          1. vandenboss says:

            I like the expression on her face. Lets hope its not because someone just fell.

          2. Lorelei says:

            I looked ridiculous K. Much more so.

          3. theletterafterj says:

            Hahahahaha…you and me both; I looked a lot like that girl.

        3. Kristin says:

          When I think the stories can’t get any worse. I know you don’t want sympathy but your story brought tears to my eyes, I am so very sorry. Your strenth is admirable given what you went through. Thanks for sharing.

          1. Lorelei says:

            Thanks Kristin—it really is ok. It was routine life. The hardest part about having to strip down like that was in direct proportion to sexual abuse at the time from a neighbor—that was ongoing and my family was unaware of it. It was a total cumulative cutting down of myself. I can look at it with an almost sterile view, rarely become emotionally attached to the painful element —at this point in life. So, it serves as more a platform as to why I had such a complete & total decompensation—to get that low wasn’t unfamiliar territory. Disorienting almost. Oddly, my father’s unusual sexual “stuff” leads me to believe he was likely abused sexually—he also had gay porn stashed.. He was treated similarly in regard to academics. For hours he was forced to study and he did excel, and was his class valedictorian. I don’t hold hatred for him Kristin. It’s a very hollow sadness actually. Hatred just isn’t part of it. He was poorly equipped to be a parent or partner. It’s that simple.
            The triangulation continues of course—I have to be very cautious dealing with one brother in particular because he’s a great person but I know I serve as the focal point of some negative emotions. It’s really quite interesting that I function in the way I do. Maybe I am sturdier than I have offered credit to myself. Who knows.

          2. Kristin says:

            You are quite “sturdy” and a very strong woman. Those awful experiences have formed in part, who you are today and the fact that you have a perspective which allows you to see it for what it was is encouraging and admirable. It gives others hope as well so thank you.

  6. Gina says:


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