Valentine Vagaries (Who Gets What In The Narcissist´s Fuel Matrix)


There are those who label our kind as predictable – of course that only arises once knowledge of what we are and what that means has been acquired, understood and applied. Prior to that, much of our behaviour is entirely unpredictable, pleasant one moment and then a tyrant the next, approving certain behaviour one week and then berating it the following week, such are the vagaries of ensnarement with us.

What then of Valentine’s Day, the occasion, as I have explained, whereby opportunity knocks and cannot be ignored? How does this day pan out for the various appliances that form our fuel matrices? (If you are unfamiliar with the concept of the fuel matrix, do see The Fuel Matrix – Part One The Fuel Matrix – Part Two and The Fuel Matrix – Part Three

So, who gets what kind of treatment from us? Here is a brief overview.

The Intimate Partner Primary Source (“the IPPS”)

The IPPS is the main provider of our fuel, character traits and residual benefits (“The Prime Aims”) and thus holds the most important position in our fuel matrix.

The IPPS who has been embedded as the IPPS and remains in the first golden period of seduction can expect a delightful day. From a small gift and a kind act from the Lower or Middle Lesser Narcissist to an over the top display of largesse from the Upper Lesser through to a delightful dinner engagement, a weekend away (dependent on where the day falls) , flowers and meaningful and tasteful gifts from the Mid Rangers and Greaters. Expect maximum romance – some of it may be a little clumsy, some of it may be worthy of the silver screen, some of it may be ostentatious, some of it may be spell binding but whatever form it takes it will make the IPPS feel wonderful, amazed and loved. Of course they have no idea whatsoever what they are dealing with.

The IPPS who is in a Respite Period can also expect a delightful day. It is unlikely to be on the same scale as that delivered during that first blissful, mesmeric appearance of the initial golden period when the IPPS was embedded but it remains special. It may be a ceasing of ongoing hostilities and a reminder of that side of the narcissist which seemed to have vanished through to an impressive display of charm and attention which often is allowed to make up for the behaviours that have gone before and ensure the IPPS thereafter clings on, once devaluation returns. Expect the Lesser to find a little something which after the horror that has gone before seems  all the more wonderful by comparison. The Mid Ranger will layer on the false contrition alongside the romance, apologising (seemingly) for those occasions when he did not treat as you well as he should have done. The future faking will manifest with promises of change, doing things right and “I lost sight of what you mean to me but that is not going to happen again”. The Greater will entertain and charm, flicking the switch so that the grateful IPPS-in-Respite continues to be both amazed and perplexed by these opposites that appear in the person they love. The IPPS who is in respite however should approach the day with caution. Although the golden period is revisited, devaluation has occurred before and therefore this IPPS is walking on thin ice. The wrong thing done or said could well lead to the respite ending abruptly, devaluation resumed in the twinkling of an eye and the day ruined.

The IPPS in devaluation may have high hopes for a day dedicated to them, a return to the golden period and finding some sanctuary from whatever it is that has gone wrong, since of course, they are unlikely to know. As ever, hope misleads and the IPPS will find whatever they do the subject of criticism, lambasting and nastiness. If the IPPS in devaluation pulls out all of the stops, the narcissist is likely to dismiss it all and claim “I do not like a fuss” or “It is just a commercial con, we agreed to give it a miss” the latter usually having never been said at all. The effort this IPPS has  gone to in choosing a suitable gift or card will be either ignored, barely acknowledged or rage ensues because it is the wrong one or “I do not even fucking like them, you know that, are you deliberately trying to annoy me?”. If the IPPS fails to send a gift or card (even though expressly told this is what should be done) then he or she can expect criticism for forgetting, for being selfish or too self-centred – and then the narcissist produces an expensive gift with a flourish. These are the reactive devaluation responses to the IPPS. The proactive ones from the narcissist will include sending an inappropriate gift, a cheap  bunch of flowers, sending nothing, booking somewhere to dine which the IPPS does not like, turning up late for dinner, forgetting to turn up at all, getting drunk, completely disappearing and the phone being switched off. The upper echelon narcissists will invariably plan so that the IPPS in devaluation thinks they are getting something wonderful, hopes are raised and then dashed so the devaluation continues and hits them harder. This might occur through dropping heavy hints, appearing to take the IPPS to a particular place which excites the IPPS, “allowing” the IPPS to see that something has been bought or booked which thrills the IPPS but they never receive it or go to it. It is a day which the IPPS in devaluation eventually comes to dread.

The former IPPS. This person may be largely ignored if the narcissist is in an embedded golden period unless the narcissist is engaging in a malice campaign. If so, the former IPPS may find they receive pictures of the narcissist and their new IPPS enjoying their Valentine’s Day together, a string of nasty texts about the former IPPS, a bouquet of roses with the heads lopped off and similar malign hoovers which either rub the former IPPS’s nose in the fact that the narcissist is with someone new, reminds the former IPPS that they are alone or is just straight forward in plain savageness. Ordinarily however, the former IPPS will hear nothing when the narcissist is in the new golden period with the embedded IPPS. If the new IPPS is in a Respite Period, silence is also likely to follow (save malign campaigning). However, if the new IPPS is in devaluation, the former IPPS can expect a hoover (subject as ever to whether there is a Hoover Trigger and whether the Hoover Execution Criteria are met – Valentine’s Day does act usually as a Hoover Trigger). The form of this hoover may be malign if the former IPPS remains painted black or more usually they will receive a benign hoover which relies on a dose of nostalgia in order to draw fuel from the recipient. If there is an ongoing campaign of benign hoovers towards the former IPPS (since the narcissist is angling to resurrect the Formal Relationship again) then the narcissist will ramp up the nature of the hoover which may well include gift buying and/or trying to spend time with the former IPPS.

The Intimate Partner Secondary Source – Candidate

A similar day arises for the Candidate IPSS. This person is in the throes of seduction, the illusion is very much in play (not that the Candidate knows this) and therefore dependent on the school of narcissist, Valentine’s Day ranges from pleasant to off-the-charts memorable. Enjoy it. It’s not going to last.

The Intimate Partner Secondary Source – Dirty Little Secret

If the DLS has not been placed on the shelf, they are likely to be hoovered by the narcissist. There is much fuel to garner and in most cases there is an IPPS in devaluation and thus the attraction of the DLS means the narcissist will want to avail him or herself of the effect of Valentine’s Day to garner fuel and keep the DLS bound to them. It may not impact on the IPPS’ day (the narcissist managing to avoid suspicion) or the narcissist leaves the IPPS upset and in the lurch to head off to see the DLS.

If the DLS is on the shelf they can expect some communication during the day to let them know they have not been forgotten about. This will range from being told what the narcissist would like to be doing with them if they were together, to bemoaning the fact the narcissist isn’t able to see the DLS and providing some form of excuse in support of this. The narcissist will want to keep the DLS onside (failing to have some contact will lessen the hold) even though they are on the shelf, so the narcissist will not go so far as to see the DLS but will hoover through text, call, sending a card and/or a gift.

If the DLS hears nothing, they are on the shelf and the narcissist is focussed elsewhere. This might be because the narcissist is engaging with a different IPSS, revelling in devaluing the IPPS or the IPPS is in Respite so the DLS will be forgotten about.

The Intimate Partner Secondary Source – Shelf

It is unusual for the Shelf IPSS to be taken off the shelf for Valentine’s Day and by that, this means the narcissist spending time with them. The narcissist will have other appliances that require his or her presence on this day. This may be the IPPS who is in respite, an IPPS in devaluation, a different IPSS who is the Candidate or the IPPS is embedded which has meant the IPSS has been on the shelf for some time and will remain there whilst the golden period is intact.

If a Shelf IPSS gets to spend significant time with the narcissist on Valentine’s Day this is likely to be because the IPPS is away and thus this frees the narcissist up to engage fully with this secondary source.

More usually the Shelf IPSS is on the shelf and their status as The Other Man/Woman sometimes hits home. They will receive the comfort crumbs – the call, the text, the card, the flowers etc and the platitudes from the narcissist which suggest he or she is longing for the IPSS but it is merely the continuance of the manipulation to keep them engaged and onside. If there is a personal attendance which is short in duration of mere minutes, this is just a larger comfort crumb, a rushed visit to maintain control and is not being taken off the shelf.

Non-Intimate Secondary Sources

There is no intimacy involved but this does not mean that these appliances are necessarily left out. The narcissist may organise for a gift to be sent to a particular NISS intending to convey that some mystery man or woman is interested in this person in order to make them feel wanted, a benign act which garners some positive fuel for the narcissist. This might for example be done with a family member who is single. More likely is the narcissist using the day as an opportunity to cause suspicions between appliances or between an appliance and their intimate partner by sending one or the other a gift or card  either anonymously or with a name attached. Dissent and accusations follow – all fuel generated by the narcissist’s actions. Family, friends and/or colleagues may well be roped into the narcissist’s actions to gain fuel and exert control, although it is the intimate appliances which are the main focus of the day’s potential.

Tertiary Sources

Where the narcissist is seeking to add appliances to the fuel matrix and has targeted a stranger who is thus a tertiary source, the day and its occasion can readily be used for the purposes of achieving manipulation and who knows, drawing that appliance in so they are not a tertiary source for long. Alternatively, a tertiary source may be used for the purposes of triangulation with regard to an intimate source (usually the primary source).

8 thoughts on “Valentine Vagaries (Who Gets What In The Narcissist´s Fuel Matrix)

  1. Alison says:

    I am in the midst of devaluation, and expected literally nothing for Valentine’s Day save a headache, but was actually surprised by a few days of respite and a nice bottle of Irish Whiskey. Back to the silent treatments and pity plays tonight.

  2. lickemtomorrow says:

    There’s also the Kindergarten Casanova … narcissist in the making?

    1. A Victor says:

      LET, seriously, this reminded me of the boy in my class in Kindergarten and First grade who recruited his friends to chase me and hold me down every day on the playground because I was his “girlfriend”. It was so traumatizing and the damn teachers never helped me! Finally mid-year in First grade, one day, he moved on to my good friend Mary, I felt sorry for her, happy for me, and a bit jilted! Haha, how does that work?? My ET was already in play I suppose.

      1. lickemtomorrow says:

        AV, some boys! 🙂 Not sure how I feel about this story, though, considering you felt traumatized by it. What were the teachers thinking? Good old ET got you even at that age (sigh). Maybe he was triangulating you?

        I had my first serious suitor at the age of 5yrs and he kept wanting to kiss me under the willow tree.

        I was not into him and weirdly looked him up more recently to tell the ex narc what he was doing now (after getting into discussion about our early years) 😛 I’m still not into him. So, no regrets 😉

        I can categorically state I did not want to be kissed by him, but gave him one chance under the willow tree after he wore me down … SMH.

        Seems to my MO x

        1. A Victor says:

          Hahaha LET, thank you for sharing that! How sweet! You were in control! Why don’t we stay like that? The “wearing down” is effective, that’s part of it I suppose. Mine didn’t even try to woo me, just started chasing me after we met in Kindergarten! And I totally think triangulation was in play, why else pick my best friend? I have never felt in control with men. Until now, I think now I realize I do have power, choice, options etc and I am entitled to use them. It didn’t help that no one would help me back then, what kind of message does that send to a 5 year old?! Dumb teachers. I am glad for you though, that you don’t feel you missed out on anything!

          1. lickemtomorrow says:

            AV, I didn’t feel in control, but I guess fobbing him off for as long as possible was a sign that at least I was trying to be in control! LOL.

            Why don’t we stay like that? Good question. Because we’re empaths and not suited to countering the manipulations of the narcissist, especially when we are ACON’s. We can’t see the forest for the trees and it can be a lifelong blindness for some. If I hadn’t encountered that last narc, for all the misery it caused me, I’d still be vulnerable.

            Haha to him not even trying to woo you 😛 He was getting straight down to business! No flies on that guy. Maybe they get cues from adults which is what I had to wonder with the little Kindergarten Casanova. It’s cute and adorable and at some level decidedly weird to me. He’s either influenced by adults – they had to put him in a suit, buy the flowers and chocolates, etc – or he’s a kid who knows what he wants and goes for it! Unfortunately, it does shore up that idea of romantic love and much as I love it in some ways, it’s been forever tainted after the narc/s.

            It’s wonderful that you realize now how you do hold cards, and you do have a choice about what happens. Definitely feel entitled to use them now that you know. We are soft touches as empaths, and we will naturally cater to the other on many occasions. Here we learn we also need to look out for ourselves because that is something the narcissist will never do – look out for us.

            It hurts to think that no one was looking out for you at that tender age, AV. I know how that feels and the message it sends is that you are not important and there’s no need to expect that kind of concern or attention. It’s heartbreaking to think not even one person found the ability to intervene. I was fortunate with my first grade teacher. Without her, I don’t know where I’d be. She told me something about myself that was true and I held onto it ever since <3

            Definitely didn't miss out on anything with that guy x

  3. lickemtomorrow says:

    Kanye West had a truckload of red roses delivered to former IPPS Kim Kardashian for Valentine’s Day after dumping his most recent IPPS, Julia Fox. It must be a real toss up for narcissist’s sometimes to know which former IPPS to hoover, but Julia is obviously painted black. So one didn’t get roses and one got roses she didn’t want. The insulting of the new beau in Kim’s life is ongoing as a means to disrupt her new relationship, so how does that fit with the hoovering of the former IPPS? It’s a benign hoover (I’m guessing) with a malicious twist. What is going on, HG?

  4. Asp Emp says:

    Bubbles…..ah, bless you, “(13) for friendship apparently”, hilarious!

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