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.

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17 thoughts on “Victim or Volunteer – Part Two

  1. CL-E says:

    Amazingly insightful work Mr HG – to be able to read such a painful experience as the stranger/ devaluation written with such clarity of explanation and accuracy..both helpful and a torment.

    1. HG Tudor says:

      You are welcome.

  2. December Infinity says:

    Ouch. This painted the harsh reality that I have endured for the past several years. I certainly did not volunteer for all the abuse I faced during a long devaluation. It was tough to get him out of my place of residence.

  3. Emma Driscoll says:

    “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.”

    There are 2 men I have had some contact with in the past who I suspect to have had toxic/abusive narcissistic tendencies. The one I knew first wasn’t somebody I was ever in a relationship with but he was in a relationship with my best friend of the time. They ended up marrying (they’re now divorced I think).

    The guy largely saw me as a threat (amongst her other friends and family members) – because of wanting her all to himself. For reasons to do with this friend as well as him (as awful/messed up as he was, I can’t reasonably blame 100% of how things turned out with her on him though he definitely played a big part in things) I should have cut myself off from the situation far sooner than I did. Wanting to protect her from harm was one reason I didn’t. Another was not wanting to let him win out of the situation.

    Really the only way I could win was by cutting myself off from both of them in the end. She has her own toxic person tendencies. Signs of this had started showing themselves in her before she even met this man. I’d put it all down to the stress of her previous relationship not working out at the time, but there was more to things to that.

  4. Asp Emp says:

    It was painful to read both Parts 1 & 2. I would say ‘victim’ is the answer, in my case anyhow.

    I was led to believe it was his ‘health’ that was making him the way he was changing towards me.

    No. It was not. He had “selected” his IPSS and also fooled someone else in taking her on.

    In the last month, I have read posts / comments on this site. I can now see why he changed. It was not his “illness”. A friend & I talked about his changing towards me and it was interesting (and also made me feel better for it) that my friend acknowledged and agreed with me – he changed because of the ‘selected’ new IPSS. He’s become her victim, whether he knows it or not, is another matter. Not my problem. Not my concern.

  5. Natalie Kir says:

    Dear HG Tudor, how does it feel to a higher middle range narcissist if a victim volunteers to stay with him despite his behaviour just pretending that everything is fine but does not react emotionally. Reason – financial benefits from a narcissist, unfinished business or whatever…. Only positive response to his good behaviour and no negative reaction to his manipulations (I am speaking about someone not prone to physical violence or name calling and is a covert type). I understand that he will be looking for another supply but his strong schizoid traits and pandemic does not allow moving on quickly and finding easily a quality supply.

    1. HG Tudor says:

      I think you are referring to Upper Mid Range. You will be reacting emotionally if you stay with a narcissist, despite you thinking you are not – see The Reason Why Grey Rock Does Not Work as this will help you understand why you are providing fuel and from what you have written you are less likely to be threatening control (see The 3 Interactions With the Narcissist). If you want specifics with regard to your own situation, please organise a consultation for the reasons stated in the rules, Natalie.

      1. Natalie says:

        Thank you for the helpful reply!

        1. HG Tudor says:

          You’re welcome

    2. Violetta says:

      Sounds like a Stepford Wife. Have you seen HG’s article on that?

  6. Weiway says:

    Out of interest, what would happen if the victim walked away as soon as the ghosting and gaslighting started?

    1. HG Tudor says:

      It would wound the narcissist. The narcissist would still seek to assert control and fuel, initially through hoovering and if this could not happen or did not succeed, the narcissist would shift to a different assertion of control. See The 3 Key Interactions of the Narcissist and the 3 Assertions of Control, these are key pieces of logic which you must digest and understand.

  7. hopeless says:


    I think the person is a victim. When another person knowingly puts a frog in a pot and turns up the heat slowly, the frog doesn’t know what’s happening until it’s too late. The frog slowly adjusts to its environment because it’s adaptable and isn’t assuming there’s a predator.

    People tend to judge others using themselves as the template. A good person will assume the best in another even as the temperature is increased. It’s just as important not to project your characteristics onto others, as it is to not let evil be projected onto you.

    Great article. It made a powerful point.

    1. HG Tudor says:

      Thank you for sharing your observations.

  8. conmycat says:

    Dear HG Tudor, what happens if I just ignore narc’s behaviour playing the game that everything is fine. Purpose – getting things that I want from a narc, let’s say as a compensation for his behaviour? Just letting him know with my reactions or absence of reactions which of his tricks “work” on me and which I don’t notice… I know it is not healthy…. but…

    1. HG Tudor says:

      Already answered your question when you phrased it slightly differently, I would add that you are breaching the First Golden Rule of Freedom and you are being conned by your emotional thinking. If you know the individual is a narc, you apply GOSO.

  9. Sharyn44 says:

    Hi HG – yes all very accurate thank you – however your conclusion is interesting – I see it even more black and white – a Narc (say the man) would have played this out 100’s of times and knows exactly what will happen.

    Unless a woman (Non Narc) is aware of this pathology trait they will have no idea, even once silence commences – this is not volunteering, this is an calculated ambush.

    Black side – by lobbying the rights of both sides (and yes both have rights) will never a correlative bipartisan position be reached. Ironically, by Narc subterfuge this position is reached – discard – end of the relationship.

    White side – narcissists can’t be narcissistic in a vacuum. Safest way to live or most risky? Cultivating relationships with people who stick around for the show, instead of the person. It is not the partners facade that slips – it is the Narcs – constant fear that people will find them lacking becomes a horrifying reality.

    Hat’s off to you HG – hell of a way to live.


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