Not Tonight, Caroline
Established readers may remember dear, sweet Caroline, an ex-girlfriend of mine who had a huge conscience and always sought to do the correct thing. She often wanted to fight back against my manipulations but could not do so because she took the view that it was wrong. Wrong because she did not believe in meeting fire with fire. Wrong because she always maintained that I needed help to overcome the issues that apparently I had. She was sweet but ever so misguided. Caroline was a particular enthusiast of horror movies. I at first found this slightly at odds with who she was although I naturally embraced her enthusiasm for them as part of my mirroring of her likes. I found that it was actually psychological thrillers and creepy horror (not out and out gore fests) which she preferred. The reason for this soon became apparent. She enjoyed being scared witless in the cinema because it made her amorous, randy, horny, call it whatever you will but it made her want to go straight to be to make love after any visit to the cinema. We would make near weekly visits to the cinema and sometimes twice in a weekend for her dose of fright and then the sex thereafter.
Once the period of devaluation began with Caroline I knew, as was often the case, that withdrawing sexual interest from her would provoke the appropriate hurt, upset and frustrated response which would provide me with the negative fuel that I craved. I also knew however that she was confiding in a handful of people outside of our relationship (note – always secure a lieutenant in the primary source’s camp) and it would not do to have my name besmirched in such a way. Firstly, I was not wanting those listeners (two of whom I had identified as potential targets) to think that I had a reduced sexual appetite when that was not the case, of course they could not be told that this apparent loss of libido arose as a consequence of a manipulation. Secondly, I did not want her to garner sympathy and support from her camp over my withdrawal of sexual attention.
Accordingly, the tactic needed to cause the withdrawal without it being directly linked to me. Naturally I identified that the attendance at the cinema to watch frightening movies was the catalyst that ignited her libido. To her, film night was sex night. Film night therefore had to be the target. I needed to maintain my appearance (at least) of being reasonable so I would be able to garner sympathy at her now failure to engage in a sexual union and also to avoid it seeming as if I was the one sabotaging film night. She had to be the one to sabotage film night and thus if we or rather she did not attend the film there would be no sex to follow. This would be her doing and I could justifiably complain that I was the one not getting any sex as a consequence of her selfishness.
Accordingly, my aims with Caroline we are as follows: –
- Cause the withdrawal of sex leaving me blameless and thus with grounds for complaint;
- Sabotage her attendance at film night without it appearing that I had done so;
- Cause her to cause the sabotage so I remained blameless.
I knew she was angling for new car and I had been engaging in future faking by suggesting that we would organise for her to get a new car. I kept putting it off and I knew that she was becoming irritated by this because she wanted a larger vehicle for the increased mileage she was doing associated with her job. On the Saturday when we were due to go to the cinema that evening, I returned to the house with a couple of brochures from a dealership.
“What have you got there?” she asked pleasantly enough.
“Oh a couple of brochures for the new Jaguar, I fancied a change.”
“What do you mean?” I asked.
“Well you’ve only had your car less than a year.”
“Well, you don’t need a new car, I do.”
“It’s like that is it?” I asked.
“I am not allowed to look.”
“You said you fancied a change.”
“I do but that isn’t the same as ‘I am getting a new car’ but oh no, you had to assume you knew what I meant, just in the same way that you always assume you know what is best for me. If I want a new car, I will get one, it is my money.”
“Yes, yes, okay, but you have been promising that we would change my car.”
“No I haven’t.”
She paused trying to keep her rising exasperation under control.
“Yes you did.”
“Are you suggesting that I have lied,” I said firmly and quietly. She halted.
“You were weren’t you, you fucking snake,” I hissed at her.
You can imagine how the rest of the conversation went. I baited and pressed until she erupted in tears of frustration. I strung the argument out until it was close to the time to depart for the cinema.
“You are in one of your moods again, I’m not going to the cinema with you since you are being so horrible,” she declared.
“Suits me. I will go on my own.”
I saw her mouth drop open. She expected me to talk her around into going. She probably also expected me to arrange a new car for her in order to persuade her to come to the cinema. That was how manipulative this woman could be and I was not falling for it. Apologies, that was how I later described the conversation when recounting the poor treatment, I had been subjected to. I knew she expected me to sweet talk her into accompanying me to the cinema, but I was not doing so. I had to turn my head so she did not see my smile of satisfaction. I was fuelled from her upset and frustration. I also knew that she would be cursing the fact she was not going to the cinema and would in turn rue the loss of the catalyst for her sexual engagement that she otherwise wholly enjoyed. I made for the door as she made a noise of protest and headed to the car.
I adopted a blackened look on my face, appearing as if it was I who had been wronged by her refusal to accompany me to the cinema but the reality was I was delighted. I had drawn fuel, asserted my control, reinforced my superiority and I could watch the film without someone grabbing my arm every five minutes in terror. I could also complain about her behaviour to anybody I chose to tell and knew her options for complaint had been severely limited because she chose not to come to the cinema which in turn stymied her expected later pleasure.
This is how a greater narcissist thinks. Planning ahead in order to secure the fuel, the control and the winning outcome.
13 thoughts on “Not Tonight, Caroline”
Or tomorrow, next week, next month, next year etc. As was the case in my last relationship.
By the end I was broken and had absolutely no confidence.
You have found a like group here, many of us being broken and having no confidence left at the end. HG’s materials and teaching have helped me make sense of it, most here also. You are in a good place here to get understanding about why they do what they do. Welcome! 🙂
WoW…. I actually pondered sending this comment in. What a challenge it would be to be your girlfriend. I think it would be a real rollercoaster and not for the faint of heart. I actually pictured who the perfect one would be? Interesting voyage of the mind…
“My N” couldn’t hide a smile sometimes. It poured sideway…
Wanting sex after horror movies – interesting 🙂
The denial of sex thing actually works? That one always fascinates me. I had one narcissist I was involved with try it and I believe my exact words were, ‘Are we going to have a problem? It was around 6 weeks in. I always find 6 weeks to be the sweet spot. That’s when the first test occurs. I don’t understand why any person stays when the sex is taken away…
We stay because we don’t understand what is happening, that we are addicted and being abused and we hold onto hope that it will be made right again. If it’s not sex, it will be something else that is abused in a narc/empath dynamic. Why do we stay for any of it? This is why they seek out empath’s, because we are more likely to stay. HG did a video explaining it, Gabby Petito and Brian Laundrie: Why did Gabby Stay. It is very good.
HG am I missing something?
If you are looking to get a new car – could she not have yours? Trade hers in for the new = win win?
I am surprised this thought was not her first one 😉
Seems like an awful lot of time spent planning and executing a scheme like that just to get out of relationship. You wanted out of the relationship so why not just tell her that. You obviously didn’t care about hurting her feelings so why make up the drama?
This is fascinating reading btw.
Hi K J Kelley,
It wasn’t about getting out of the relationship, it was about obtaining the prime aims.
When you say prime aims do you mean you are taking delight, in this situation, it seems to be causing confusion through manipulation onto this woman. It’s hard for me to wrap my head around that concept. And then you end up going to the movies by yourself… that way of thinking is (was) totally foreign to me.
The Prime Aims are
3. Character Traits
4. Residual benefits.
Great article. But again poor Caroline. I feel so sorry for her.
If that was me, you would have had a large dent in your backside from the Jaguar.
So Happy to not be putty in some Narcs hands anymore !
Hope this story turns the lightbulb on for any narc victims thinking of their former manipulator with Rose Colored glasses on. I need to focus on how not to be drawn in by the Narcissists of the political spectrum and media outlets.