What Happens When a Narcissist Loses a Primary Source


The narcissist pursues the Prime Aims . All of the appliances in the fuel matrix contribute to some extent, to the Prime Aims.  The various elements of the Prime Aims are of importance, but one element is of critical importance.

The most important aspect of the Prime Aims is fuel and control and I  have explained how we seek control and draw fuel from primary, secondary and tertiary sources.  This article focuses on the impact that the loss of the Primary Source (usually Intimate in nature) has on the issues of control and fuel.

The different sources of control and fuel vary in potency and are affected of course by the method of delivery of the fuel. The primary source remains our most important source of control and fuel since it is this person, usually the intimate partner, who we are with more than anybody else but also who has the greatest emotional reaction to what we say and do. They fulfil the Prime Aims to the greatest extent, hence why they became the Intimate Partner Primary Source. Therefore, this person provides us with the most fuel and of the most potent kind. The primary source is naturally the most important fuel provider which is why we seduce this person with such dedication, unleash such a terrible devaluation and keep on hoovering following escape or discard. We make such an investment in you as the primary source that we regard it as our right to keep drawing fuel from you, whether that is positive or negative, whether it is now, next week or in ten years’ time.

The secondary sources are those which contribute good fuel and are invariably those who are part of our façade. Our lieutenants and the coterie are drawn from the secondary sources – friends, family and colleagues – who we interact with frequently but not to the same extent as we do with the primary source. Nor do the secondary sources give out the same heightened fuel as the primary source. The secondary sources serve an excellent function as part of the façade and the maintenance of this façade is important, therefore we prefer to keep the same people in at and keep adding to it. Secondary sources enjoy lengthy golden periods with us. This is because our call on them is intermittent and therefore we are far less likely to regard their fuel as stale. Moreover, we can have many secondary sources but we only ever have one primary source. Thus if a certain secondary source is perhaps not admiring us as much (but they are not criticising us and are still providing some fuel) it does not merit a devaluation.

They remain loyal, they remain part of the façade and we will just switch to another secondary source to increase the fuel. There is no need to devalue or ditch the initial secondary source. Thus you may see our kind have a friend who is “flavour of the month” because their fuel is better than other secondary sources and then the fuel dips in quality but it is not a concern as we can add another secondary source or switch to another who perhaps we have not seen for a couple of months. This is advantageous as it means our energy can be saved for devaluing the primary source whilst keeping a range of functioning secondary sources on hand and the façade intact.

The secondary sources very rarely stop providing fuel. They have no need to. A primary source may do so owing to the descent into ill health caused by the devaluation or learning how to tackle our kind as a response to the abuse. The secondary source, nearly always treated to an elongated  golden period, has no need to adopt a stance of not providing fuel.

A secondary source may however criticise us and if that is the case they may be subjected to devaluation but usually they are excluded from the coterie and replaced easily enough. They will be smeared and made to feel like an outsider, with the narcissist using the façade and other secondary sources to achieve this aim. We like to create our cliques and if anybody threatens our supremacy or delivers a criticism who is a secondary source they will be ejected from the group.

The occasion for devaluation of the secondary source is rare. It only happens in two instances. Firstly, the source has criticised the narcissist (this criticism might come through something said to the narcissist or something done, for example through exposing the narcissist’s behaviour to others)  and thus fury is ignited and the narcissist decides this person must be made an example of, before being discarded, in order to show the rest of the coterie who is in charge.

Secondly, in an even rarer instance it may happen when the narcissist has no primary source. If there is an absence of the primary source for a period of time, say a number of weeks, the narcissist’s fuel levels will have been tested. He will have sought to seduce and embed a new replacement primary source and most times the narcissist in such a situation is able to do so with success. However, let us assume this has not happened. The narcissist turns to his secondary and tertiary sources (more on tertiary in a moment) and relies more than usual on them to provide him with fuel during the absence of the primary source.

At first there is no problem, the secondary sources provide positive fuel which is sustaining the narcissist, but if he has only a few secondary sources, then it will not be long before his fuel demands outstrip the positive fuel they can give. The lesser quality of their fuel (compared to the primary source) is being exposed by the absence of the primary source. It is also because greater demand is being placed on them. Ultimately, the primary source will always go further for the narcissist than anybody else and they are also far more proximate.

No matter how seductive if the secondary source has to deal with his own family, his work and so on, he may not be available to provide fuel. If this keeps happening, combined with the increased demand and the lack of a primary source the strain on positive secondary sources will start to tell. This means the narcissist will either have to add new secondary sources and/or devalue the secondary sources to shift to negative fuel so he is sustained. This will work for a period of time with the confused inner circle friend who is a secondary source trying to work out why their supposed best friend is ignoring them and then trying to patch up the relationship. A secondary source however will not sustain devaluation as long as a primary source and may even infect other secondary sources by pointing out how they are being treated. The narcissist is already suffering reduced fuel levels and the supremacy of his façade is being challenged. This increases the demands on him.

The tertiary sources provide the least fuel and generally they are also treated to lengthy golden periods – for example the lady who works in the petrol station or the postman – since they are only extracted from on an intermittent basis. Tertiary sources can also be used straight away for negative fuel, for example, upbraiding a waiter or shouting down a shop assistant. We do not regard them as necessary to the maintenance of the façade, their negative fuel provides a useful boost and such high-handed behaviour may impress a primary (or secondary source) and draw positive fuel from them where appropriate.

If there is no primary source for a period of time, the reliance on tertiary sources increases. There will be increased activity to use technology to draw these people to the narcissist – such as on dating sites, chat rooms or through social media, but if the reliance is frequent and sustained the quality of the fuel will diminish quickly and those who have been attached to the narcissist in this way will be discarded and replaced with new remote tertiary sources promptly. There will be a high turnover. At the same time, the narcissist is likely to lash out at physically proximate sources more and more as the fuel level dips. This happens for two reasons. Firstly, he needs the fuel more than ever from tertiary sources and negative fuel is better than positive. Secondly, he will be furious at being placed in this position (through having no primary source but he has not got one to lash out at) so tertiary sources bear the brunt of this rage.

A narcissist without a primary source will eventually alienate secondary sources and in certain environments – say a small town – will struggle to replace them as people become wise to what he is. He may lack the energy to keep up the turnover of remote tertiary sources and spends his time lashing out at those which are physically proximate. At this point the narcissist faces losing the façade (since so many people know about his behaviour) in order to keep drawing fuel. It is now that he has three choices: –

  1. Secure a new primary source immediately;
  2. Move his environment so he can seek out fresh secondary sources and tertiary sources and rebuild his façade; or
  3. Sink into depression and inactivity as his fuel levels plummet.

The narcissist becomes a fading star. Once brilliant, magnificent and illuminating, his loss of the primary source and inability to find another means that the alluring shine is fading as a black hole awaits. Thus you can see just how paramount the primary source is to the existence of our kind and why we make such an effort to secure them, replace them and hoover them back again.

To understand in greater detail how the vapours alterations in the fuel matrix impact on the narcissist obtain Understanding Changes To The Fuel Matrix

3 thoughts on “What Happens When a Narcissist Loses a Primary Source

  1. Joa says:

    “My” narcissus came to me 1.5 years ago as a fading star. He was in terrible condition.

    I helped him. I gave a lot of fuel and strength. And when he was at the top and I noticed the first black band, I ran away saying – you can go on your own, you can do it.

    I ran away because I knew he was going to disappear in a moment. This way I feel better – I learned from the master.

    Currently, his IPPS is his narcissistic mom. Their “relationship” is very gloomy and dark. I shudder at what I know. And how many things must be that I do not know, but I can guess …
    He is her parent, partner and child at the same time – the guardian façade. Interestingly, she adopted the same facade. They act alternately in these roles.

    All children ran away from her all their lives, and she chased after them. He failed to get away from her and will no longer be able to. He was a scapegoat who now receives a rarely released crumb of “warmth” + is still triangulated with his sisters, brothers-in-law and extended family.

    He became her slave. In fact, they are both their slaves.

    She mentally participates in all his love affairs. This is how they both have fun.

    I don’t know if he has plans to cast me as “mother” after her death. But for now, I should be in peace, he was engrossed in having fun.

    A 40-year-old guy came to me with the mentality of a 70-year-old on his deathbed. Now he is mentally 20 years old again … although he is also as old as the oldest tree in the world … I can’t explain it, but I feel this way.
    The child and the old man. Brightness and darkness.

  2. psychologyandworldaffairs says:

    At the time I had no idea about fuel and his need for it. This would have been the reason for his rage and need to destroy me came from. I was completely unprepared for this – it made no sense at the time.

    Yes, I called his mother and told her to contact him after he walked out in the freezing cold intending to walk miles to a hotel. Yes, I guessed it would be the end. Anticipated he would make me out to be a monster, in his anger and to save face etc… To such an extent he could never return to me without losing face.

    Now I understand the calm before the storm – they gave him fuel in commiserating and agreeing I was a monster (no idea what exactly he said to them). We would be talking on the phone (sorting out finances etc) and suddenly he would turn nasty – I would know someone had entered the room with him (if asked he would tell me who) – keeping up the facade I guess.

    I am guessing the girl he had been seeing (whilst with me) did not work out. He became trapped in a situation of his own making… than came the storm…

    If I had suspected what he was – I would have handled things differently…

    1. A Victor says:

      Hi PAWA, I think your final sentence is possibly true for many of us. But, even if I’d been told, would I have listened at that point? Who knows.

      Mine once got upset with me and took off waking in minus 30. Don’t even know what the windchill was. His MO included many absent silent treatments, prior to our wedding. He had at least a mile to walk before he’d each any place to go inside. I was worried, as he knew I would be. I was pissed off also, as he knew when he left. Lots of thought fuel and he asserted control by leaving, win/win for him. And I was completely relieved later when I saw him and he was okay. Asshole. Glad to finally be able to make sense out of these things.

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