Why Does the Narcissist Seem Like a Different Person?



It is accurate to state that we operate in three essential states. There are varying degrees within those states, differing levels of intensity which are affected by factors such as the type of narcissist that we are, what we require from you, the level of empathic individual you are as well as several others. Nevertheless, there are three basic states. The first, as you would expect, is the golden setting. We are at our most wonderful, most brilliant and most loving when in this state.

This always appears during our seduction of you and we will reinstate it from time to time and often when we hoover you in order to suck you back in and keep you hanging on to us. The second is the dark setting when we instigate our devaluation of you. This dark setting allows us to deploy our various machinations against you, a variety of different of manipulations as the abuse begins and we make your life particularly unpleasant.

This requires effort and energy on our part and whilst we will be rewarded with fuel, a certain degree of application is required to use these manipulations against you. When we unveil our dark setting it is upsetting and confusing but often you will find some reason to explain our behaviour. It is usually the wrong reason but you will find one nevertheless as you like to understand and have a reason to explain why someone is behaving in a certain way towards you – you decide we are stressed, tired, hungover, in need of affection or perhaps you are unduly harsh on yourselves so that you, in that usual empathic manner, blame yourself for the behaviour we have meted out against you.

Perhaps you did not listen when you ought to have done, perhaps you should have realised that we wanted to go out tonight, or that we would not want chicken for a second time this week.

There is a third setting and this often proves more confusing that our unpleasant dark setting. This setting might be regarded as a neutral setting, somewhere between the golden and the dark, but it is not. This setting is on the road to the dark setting and is closer to that than the golden. This particular setting is the stranger setting.

There will be times when we do not wish to apply considerable energy to our continued devaluation of you, but the devaluation must continue. It may not be as harsh, since there is no shouting, no violence, no insults and such like. It is not the golden period because we show no affection, we do not do things for you and we do not exhibit any of the charm that once flowed so readily from us.

During this stranger setting we are neither wonderful nor awful but we behave like someone who doesn’t really know you and you are certainly left feeling like you are dealing with somebody else.

If you telephone us we will not dole out a silent treatment and ignore your repeated calls. We will not answer in less than a ring and speak to you with affection and enthusiasm, instead we answer and engage in a monosyllabic conversation. It is like drawing teeth. We confirm that nothing is wrong and you may think there is but we have not responded angrily or harshly. We have not accused you of anything, we have not labelled you in some way but the conversation is flat.

It is as if our personality, whether golden or dark has vanished and left almost an automaton in its place. We function, we talk about our day but with little detail and certainly no enthusiasm. We ask questions of you but they are polite and perfunctory as if we are just going through the motions. There is no nastiness, no backbiting or sneering. It is difficult to process because it is not nothing, that cannot be the case because we are talking to you, but it feels like nothing.

We may call around to see you but it feels like an inspector has called around. We sit, we decline a drink that you offer us and we answer your questions without offering you anything much in return. Where has the charmer gone? Where has the monster gone? Who is this stranger that looks like us, sounds like us but is not behaving like us?

You cannot accuse us of being unpleasant but it feels unpleasant because you are dealing with someone you do not recognise. Any questions about what is wrong with us are politely answered and you are assured there is not a problem, but we seem lifeless. You flatter us, compliment us and whilst we accept them there is no spark of interest, there is no response.

Why are we like this? Why is this being done? Why do we seem like someone else? It is as if we have been abducted by aliens in the night and replaced with a robot which is neither wonderful nor savage but is frustratingly something else. This third setting occurs during the devaluation period. It is not a respite from devaluation as that is the golden setting once more. It is clearly not the dark setting as that is the rolling out of nastiness and abuse.

This third setting is an indicator of the calm before the storm. Whilst there are occasions where we might switch from golden to dark setting in the blink of an eye, this third setting is used when we wish to conserve energy in readiness for unleashing a particular savage next stage in the devaluation as we will move to the dark setting and crank it up to eleven. You are not cruising along being driven by fair winds, nor are you being thrown up and down buffeted by a storm, instead you are becalmed or moved along by a weak breeze.

This is the time we are girding our loins, gathering information and plotting. The switch of functions to the organisation and scheming of what is to come, along with the intense outpouring of energy required to sustain the vicious intensifying of this devaluation means we adopt this near automatic state.

You may not ever see this happen dependent on the nature of the narcissist you have become entangled with, but when you do, you should be aware that a storm is brewing and not just any old storm but a supercell storm of savage and damaging proportions.

This is a warning.

5 thoughts on “Why Does the Narcissist Seem Like a Different Person?

  1. Asp Emp says:

    Reading this article and thinking back – I would say that the ‘golden period’ was around 18 months.

    Then comes the on / off ‘stranger / not stranger’ period for around 3 years + 9 months = my ‘depression’ was ‘middling’ during this time. From my understanding, this is possibly the ‘devaluation’ period with “selected” ‘respite’ periods. He certainly had secondary sources as well.

    Followed by a 10 month ‘discard’ but not discard. This was when he had a new IPPS. As well as other secondary sources. I suppose I was ‘delegated’ to further down his ‘fuel matrix’ – on the shelf but not on the shelf. During this period, my ‘depression’ became deeper and I certainly was on the path of being the narcissist’s narcissist (laughing). In fact, I was more than one narcissist’s narcissist – towards his boss, my line-manager’s boss….. effectively my ‘position’ as the ‘fuel source’ at “selected moments” with each narcissist was on the shelf and most of the time, I was off the shelf. The ‘elevation’ (on the shelf) to the ‘drop’ (off the shelf) being almost as big as HG describes in ‘The Empath’s Ascent’.

    ** note – I must state it was around this time when my dog, my companion of 14.5 years passed away – which added to the period as follows ** So it was not just with 3 plus narcissists at work (one being “non-sexual intimate” relationship).

    Then, ah, my massive ‘explosion’. Followed by 2-3 months of what I can probably describe as having my insides (guts – emotions) ‘ripped out’. Before it becomes the really deep emotional ‘depression’ (my most dangerous time – mentally unaware of the ‘suicidal’ sensations). These words can be likened to HG’s words in this article “a storm is brewing and not just any old storm but a supercell storm of savage and damaging proportions” – certainly, from my perspective and my experiences.

    I would say this lasted around 6 months from the deepest ‘points’ to an ‘alleviating’ (upward ‘spiral’, coming out of the ‘pits of hell’ – the ‘suicidal’ period) to finding my way to KTN site.

    Then it was a matter of my ‘re-processing’ how I see things.

    Just like a narcissist seemingly to be a ‘different’ person, an empath can go through a similar personality “overhaul” throughout ‘entanglements’ with narcissists.

    A narcissist’s ‘reality gap’ may be really short-lived when they experience it. However, an empath’s “reality gap” can actually last for years, simply because of their ‘addiction’ to and the ‘influence’ of narcissism around them.

    Extracted from HG’s article ‘The Ties That Bind’ – “The bond we create with you is so powerful, so deep and so long lasting that it is often the aftermath of the ties that bind that hurts more than the abuse itself. That is how dangerous we are”. Exactly. It goes deeper than physical and mental abuse – because you can “re-program” your mind faster than the emotional ‘psyche’.

  2. bowerbirdie says:

    I have seen a lot of this. Thank you for describing it because it answers my confusion at this behavior, which I have not been able to identify clearly. Not outright nasty, but ‘narcy’, petty criticism, sarcasm, passive aggressive. Like, ‘I’m going to leave soon’, I need to go to my Dr about my shoulder (suspected lie, on a sunday, had no appointment booked, claimed pain in shoulder), my response- oh, ok, I don’t want you to go’. He said, ‘I thought you’d say that’. Criticised my possessions, my books etc… Asked about car wash places in my area, I said, you can wash your car here if you like (refused to let me help, and apparent pain in shoulder non existent) …When he left I said, ‘thanks for coming’, he replied ‘I didn’t want to disappoint you’ (sarcasm from a previous conversation, and spite over something sexual), got in his car and drove away… I felt really confused and hurt about his behavior. I texted him and asked him to call when he got home. I said, ‘something is not right here, will you please tell me what is wrong’, he retorted nothing is wrong. I said ‘yes there is, something is not right’ he sounded flustered, then switched flicked to cold business like, ‘I’ll address your question when I get back from my Dr… I said ok. That was it. He gave me silent treatment for a week, then said ‘I sincerely believe we are not a good match, my Dr said I need surgery for my shoulder and I am in negotiations for a job leading the team interstate’. Trying to garner sympathy for made up illness, and trying to hurt me by saying he is moving further away, because I hard previously said I wish he didn’t live so far away. I tried to talk, I apologised etc blamed myself for jumping to conclusions. He would not respond (until he hoovered me recently – all loving and caring, then discarded me in the morning, acting like he couldn’t wait to be rid of me, while his phone was vibrating with messages, saying he is now based in Singapore leaving for a flight tomorrow, and was here for only a week. BS- what about 2w quarantine?). It all seems so clear now. It is really setting in how it is absolutely impossible to please, no matter what, it is like walking on eggshells through a minefield. The most innocent things trigger, and there is no way of knowing. Trying to be careful with words and hypervigilance, the lies and deception, it is maddening. I am sickened that I still love him despite it all.

  3. A Victor says:

    I think my ex was in this this setting more than any other.

    The videos on YT today about hunting and stealing our smiles are particularly disturbing this time. Chilling even. I’ve heard them before but the reality of them but harder today.

  4. Connie says:

    But…lower and mid-rangers aren’t girding and plotting consciously? They’re not aware they’re being distant? Or they’re aware of their behavior but not the reasons behind it?

    1. HG Tudor says:

      Lesser not aware.
      Mid Range aware but not aware of what is really causing them to act that way.

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