A series based on the comments made by people who fail to understand the true nature of narcissists and the narcissistic dynamic. Whilst these comments may be well-intentioned, they are incorrect, perpetuate misunderstandings and in many cases create false hope, dashed expectations and perilous outcomes.
It is often the case that a victim of our kind finds that the (unidentified) narcissist continues to keep in touch with them. As I have explained on many occasions, we will always look to hoover you whether it is post escape or post discard because there is the prospect of fuel and potentially the opportunity to draw you back into the Formal Relationship. Those hoovers are governed by the Hoover Triggers and also the Hoover Execution Criteria. If you are unaware of the nature of the person that you became entangled with, it is highly likely that you will keep triggering hoovers and the bar will be set low on the criteria, which means you will be regularly hoovered.
This may seem to somebody like we are just keeping in touch, wanting to see you, perhaps explain why things did not work out, organise to address outstanding issues. Those are the most likely views taken where the dynamic has been between narcissist and Intimate Partner Primary Source (“IPPS”). It does not end there however. In this dynamic, you will have been devalued and this will cause you to question certain behaviours that you have experienced and witnessed. If you are an Intimate Partner Secondary Source (Shelf or Dirty Secret) you may well not have experienced any devaluation and instead you are seen only at certain intervals, picked up and put down and we keep coming back to you, seeing you, sending you pleasant messages as we future fake and provide comfort crumbs. There is no ‘traditional’ malevolent behaviour towards you and yet you find yourself not elevated to a position of IPPS, so you find it strange that you are not referred to as the girlfriend or you do not meet our family and friends.
Whether you were the IPPS and you are now being repeatedly hoovered or you are the IPSS who keeps getting picked up and put down, these ongoing interactions can last for years. We have embedded you into our fuel matrix and whilst you may never return to the position of IPPS (or be crowned as such) you remain an appliance that we draw fuel from. This leaves you perplexed. We are intimate with you (or have been), we talk of future plans with you, appear to confide in you, yet there is not the sensation of being in that formal intimate relationship of partner, spouse, boyfriend or girlfriend. This leaves you puzzled as to what you mean to this person and why we keep engaging with you even though there appears to be no end game in sight.
Labouring under this situation you seek advice from a third party who listens to you explain the dynamic. They are likely to gloss over the devaluation (if you were once an IPPS) preferring not to get involved in conflict again and instead focus on what appears to be a more constructive interaction now as you are hoovered. Whether it is being hoovered or being placed on the shelf and removed from it, this advisor will deduce that our continued interest in you and our efforts to keep in touch with you (which may be strenuous at times – for instance tracking you down after you have moved) ) means that we are clearly interested in you and this should be regarded as ‘a good thing’.
No it is not.
The advisor is likely to suggest that because you clearly mean something to us that you should continue this engagement with us, perhaps look to increase it if we remain interested also (invariably you are) and therefore great things are on the horizon.
No they are not.
The only things you mean to us are in accordance with the Prime Aims (fuel, character traits and residual benefits).
This prolonged contact is born out of our need to secure these Prime Aims and keep you within our fuel matrix. We want to keep drawing fuel from you and we do this through the repeated hoovering (even though we may never put the Formal Relationship of boyfriend and girlfriend back into place). We do this through taking you off the shelf and engaging with you as an IPSS and then putting you back there when we turn to somebody else. We will continue to do this for as long as we are able. Perhaps we will restore you to the position of IPPS following these hoovers or we might promote you from IPSS to IPPS and of course your continued engagement with us appears to have paid off. In the short term yes, but ultimately that promotion or restoration is a poisoned one as your devaluation as IPPS will come about.
If there is no restoration or promotion you will be kept in this state of purgatory, never sure precisely what you are to us. You see us sometimes and then not on other occasions. You hear of us doing things with family but you may not be invited to join in. Certain social occasions are excluded from you also. You feel close to us because of the way we make you feel when we are with you but at the same time there feels like a gulf between us because we are not admitting you entirely into our lives. You may feel like the Other Woman or Man, you may feel like the Friend With Benefits, you may feel like the Secret Shag, you may feel like you are Permanently In Waiting and if it is this last one, you are correct. You are permanently in waiting as you are at our whim and pleasure. If we want to engage with you, we will, if we do not, we will not.
By convincing you that this elongated song and dance translates into you meaning something to us, your advisor has made an error of the ignorant. They have given you false hope that you are special to us, that we will make good on all those future fakes, on all those tempting promises and that those comfort crumbs will somehow gather together to make a Relationship Cake. They might, but it will not be to your taste in the end and more likely, they will not and five years later, ten years later, twenty years later you are still the one waiting for us to call and pick you up as you realise that your life has been placed on hold and all because you were made to think that this narcissistic behaviour of hoovering/shelfing denoted that you were special and you meant something to us.
If you recognise this behaviour in your dynamic with someone or that it is happening to someone else you know and care about, do not commit the error of the ignorant and enlighten them to the reality of what they are in and what awaits them.