Trying Behaviour



You do not give up easily do you? We are pleased that this is the case. You try to resurrect what we once had. You will look to resuscitate our relationship. You want to breathe new life into you and me. You want to salvage what you can from the wreckage and build something anew. You will not let the life slip from what we have, you will not step out of the tangled and twisted remains and walk away.

No, you try. You try to make it work, you try to see what can be done, you try to sort things out. You try to make everything right again, you try to make us happy, you try to please us, how you try to please us. You try to fix us, you try to banish these demons which plague us, you try to shed light and joy. You try when everything seems lost, you try when all seems pointless and you try despite everything else suggesting that what we are is a lost cause. You try because you believe in hope.

But what is this hope that has you trying on a superhuman scale, which has you wiping away the tears, picking yourself up, dusting yourself down and standing up once more to try to do the right thing? If you were not with our kind but someone normal and the relationship was foundering would you try as you do with us?

Of course you would try and steer the good ship towards calmer waters but you would not try to the same extent as you do with us. Where two people find they no longer have anything in common, they may be content to leave matters as they are and drift along in neutrality. It is not heady and wonderful but neither is it awful. Is beige such a terrible place to be? There is security, the children have grown up and you have your separate interests.

There is no hatred, far from it, but neither is there passion any longer, but something in the middle. This is deemed as acceptable and you are happy to trundle along in this manner. You do not try to rekindle those early days of your honeymoon period. In other instances, this mediocrity is found to be stifling. If you hear another gardening anecdote or incident at the bowling club, you will go spare. You want to travel and experience new things. Your other half is more interested in the home brew and the latest episode on television.

There is no hatred, there is no passion but this time the middle is deemed suffocating and unacceptable. You do not try to rekindle what you once had but instead decide you want something else. You move on to something else, be it a single life with new pursuits or finding a new person who shares your interests. The separation is amicable, fair-minded and there is no turbulence. The relationship ran its course and you saw no reason to try to make it anything different.

Yet with us it is so different isn’t it? You try your absolute best to get things back on track, you try until you are shattered and exhausted, bewildered and confused. How can you not achieve what we once had again? Why is it so elusive? Yet you do not give up. You keep on trying. Again and again.

Such is the intoxicating power of the golden period, such is the addiction of this utterly falsified state of affairs, such is the massive attraction of that seemingly perfect love, you try your damnedest to resurrect it.

Sometimes there is a glimmer of a return or even a brief sortie to that promised land once again and you know that your repeated trying has succeeded. It never lasts. It never stays. Still, you exhibit that indefatigable spirit as you try once more, looking to rekindle that special love we once had.

You even begin to sacrifice pieces of yourself in order to try to bring it back. You try to guess what we want all the time. You walk on those eggshells in order to avoid disrupting the fragile peace. You agree to do things you would never have countenanced once upon a time but hey, it is worth trying isn’t it?

You decide to spend more time with us, sacrificing your relationships with your friends and with your family, but you have to try don’t you? You cannot be said to have not tried to make this work and if you had it once then surely you can get it again can’t you? You submit to more and more of our demands, demeaning yourself, degrading yourself and suffering our repeated denigrations but you convince yourself that this is all worth doing because you are trying to achieve a greater aim. You have hope that you will succeed and bring back that elusive golden period.

You forgo invitations to events because you know it will displease us. You do not invite people to the house to avoid causing a disruption to the evening, since we want peace and quiet. You try not to say anything when we return late from who knows where. You try to remain silent when we spend hours staring into the screen on our laptops, tapping away, our minds somewhere else. You retreat, back-off and compromise, giving away more and more of yourself and your life as you try to succeed.

Thus here is the awful warped nature of being ensnared by us. In a normal relationship you may not try to the same extent because the excitement and passion was not as it was with us. Yet, this relationship is one where trying will bring about success. Yes, you won’t establish that paradise that exists when we seduce you, but it never actually existed to begin with. It is a fiction.

However, trying to succeed with someone normal and healthy is entirely achievable. You will not, by contrast, ever succeed with us. You can try over and over and over again but for all this effort and endeavour you will not get what you want. What we once granted you will only ever be given again in small doses and then only as part of this continuing manipulation so that you remain in our grip so we can gather fuel until we throw you aside.

No matter how determined you are, no matter how great your resolve, no matter the fact that you put every breath, every ounce of effort in to trying to make things work between you and us so everything is golden, it will never ever work. It cannot because you cannot control the golden period. Only we can and we choose who is granted it and when in accordance with our need for control and fuel.

Try to understand that.

18 thoughts on “Trying Behaviour

  1. Diana Kirkpatrick says:

    Yes- My father would dole out golden periods – but they were very few and far between. He was absolutely horrible to our mother. How she managed to stay with him all those years, and deal with 3 kids as well amazes me. I just crawled into myself and lived in my imagination, it was the only way I survived. Narcs do nothing but make life hell.

  2. Mon says:

    I sensed and felt it was and it wasn’t getting any better. I waited for a moment and another – at some point emotional distanced already but still involved – whether I might not have been mistaken and whether many a strange situation or reaction was only imagined….. no it was not. Trust your inner gut feeling! Saying “goodbye” to the person you once saw and who is only an illusion is not easy. Because you somehow think and hope that maybe you were just mistaken after all. But then the cut has to be made. It had to be. In this case: hope is a lousy traitor.

    Thanks HG for this excellent and intensively presented explanation

  3. WiserNow says:

    Speaking of trying behaviour, I recently watched a film called ‘Mrs Lowry & Son’ about the life of British artist L.S. Lowry. Made in 2019, it is an excellent depiction of how a victim narcissist (Lowry’s mother Elizabeth) treats a child. The performances by Timothy Spall and Vanessa Redgrave are very good and the cinematography is exceptional.

    The only criticism I have of the film is that L.S. Lowry is portrayed as a rather unattractive simpleton (no offence to Timothy Spall). In the film, L.S. Lowry comes across as bumbling and dimwitted. I think it isn’t entirely accurate to portray him this way. In reality, I think L.S. Lowry must have been extremely tenacious, imaginative and emotionally controlled to endure his mother’s constant denigration and still have the optimism and fortitude to keep going. His paintings were modern and insightful, showing his unique talent.

    In this case, L.S. Lowry was his bedridden elderly mother’s carer and lived with her. A bachelor, he was her primary source of fuel (not an intimate source) and endured constant emotional and psychological belittlement while supporting her, working, cooking and doing the household chores. She was unrelenting in her belittlement of her son. The film is actually heartbreaking to watch at times.

    Despite his mother’s harsh treatment, L.S. Lowry was patient, attentive, supportive and humorous with her. From a young age, he drew and painted. As an adult, when not catering to his mother, he retreated to the attic and painted the scenes of life he saw around him.

    If anyone is interested, the film is available in full on YouTube as a free film with ads.

    1. alexissmith2016 says:

      It was a great film WN! A fine example of a victim N (his mother). Of course we can never know how accurate it is, but if he was as portrayed it must have been very miserable for him. I adore Timothy Spall, one of my absolute favourite actors!

      1. WiserNow says:

        It is a great film AS2016. As a study of both characters and the mother/son relationship, it is very well done.

        I think both actors in the main roles are outstanding and they are both very talented. Also, the film was made with patience and care. You can tell by the period scenery, the beautiful photography, the costumes, the attention to detail with respect to interior moods and decors, costumes, social customs, beliefs, etc. I found it very enjoyable to watch. A well-made, well-acted movie can transport me to another place and time.

        I also think Timothy Spall is a good actor. I am not very familiar with his other work, but I did watch an interview of him on the BBC Breakfast program (available on YouTube) promoting the film. He was interviewed by Charlie Stayt and Louise Minchin. I enjoy interviews in which actors are promoting a movie I’ve just watched, especially if I think the movie is well-made. It adds information to the film that can enlighten aspects about the making of it or the actor’s or director’s attitudes and thoughts, etc.

        In this particular interview with Timothy Spall, he was asked if his parents objected to him becoming an actor. Timothy replied that his parents had been very supportive and encouraging and he grew up in a time when his acting studies and aspirations were socially supported too. He also said that from a young age he felt compelled to be an actor and followed this instinctive personal drive.

        I thought Timothy’s personal experiences of becoming an actor were interesting in relation to how he played the role of L.S. Lowry (Laurence). Unlike Timothy, Laurence had been actively discouraged and his attempts to become a painter had been insulted and diminished by his mother. On the other hand, both Timothy and Laurence felt instinctively compelled to become artists in their respective fields.

        I think that although Timothy is a great actor, he cannot truly relate and know how to act as Laurence, regarding Laurence’s psyche and inner thoughts regarding his mother and the dynamic with her, etc. Timothy was supported by his parents, so there is a big difference in each man’s self-view, inner-life, and perspective.

        On the other hand, Timothy, like Laurence, felt compelled to keep working on his chosen art-form. In that sense, Timothy was able to draw on his personal experience.

        Another interesting point in the BBC Breakfast interview involved Timothy saying about Laurence: “..when I read the script, that’s exactly what intrigued me about it. I mean, this incredibly close, intimate, some would say abusive […haha..what an understatement!] relationship with this woman he was enthralled to, he looked after, he adored, he loved.”

        That point in the interview made me think that Timothy isn’t aware of the psychology behind the parent/child relationship and the (maladaptive) attachment Laurence was conditioned from birth to live with. Society calls it ‘love’ and ‘adoration’. Really though, it is a child’s brain and psyche developing after birth to attach to a caregiver in the ‘best’ way that child can with the biology and external circumstances the child has.

        It’s not dim-wittedness, or slowness, or not being able to reason, or not having an internal locus of control, or even a lack of ‘logic’.

        To Laurence Lowry, his earliest and most important relationship was with a mother who was a victim narcissist. This was his template of what a so-called ‘loving’ relationship was. He had no other template to refer to. He was fully dependent on this ‘template’ to survive. He had no choice.

        Another aspect that was interesting was that L.S. Lowry was an only child. It’s interesting because Russian president Putin and Harry’s wife also grew up as ‘only’ children, even though Harry’s wife had step-siblings. I think there is an association with a lack of early life socialisation with other children of a similar age that may be a factor in how detrimental and pernicious a parent’s narcissism is to a child’s psyche.

        Back to the movie and your comment AS2016. Yes, it’s a great film and it may not be entirely accurate with regard to L.S. Lowry’s life, however, I think it’s an accurate and sensitive portrayal of a victim narcissist (to use HG’s categorisation) and the effects of a parent’s narcissism on a child.

    2. Contagious says:

      My husband was isolated. Not educated from 12-15 then sent to a mental institute from 16-17 to hide his mum and grandmothers failure to educate him. He moved to a village of 800. No friends have ever entered his house. At 18, his grandma “ mum” died and he he called went to college and he entered into his first relationship with his 50 year old grief counselor at college. It ended with her cheating on him. He went to London. At age 36, he had a heart attack. His mum has done everything to keep him with her over 10 years. Threats of disinheritance, manipulations including multiple suicide attempts to physical violence. It’s not a movie for all. It’s real what some mothers do. Sad.

      1. WiserNow says:

        Yes, it’s very real, unfortunately. It’s not just a 2-hour movie, it’s day after day, month after month, year after year, too.

        I’m sorry about your husband’s childhood and teenage years, the isolation and his first relationship. All of that must have been very stressful for him. The stress and difficulty manifested as a heart attack at age 36, I think. Most people are at the prime of their life at 36 and it’s not normal to have a heart attack at that age, generally speaking.

        It’s interesting that HG says the vast majority of narcissists are Lesser and Mid-Range, which means they behave instinctively and without awareness of their narcissism. Yet, you say your husband’s mum did everything to keep him with her for over 10 years. That suggests that her manipulations to keep him with her were instinctive rather than deliberate. It sounds like she was instinctively afraid of him abandoning her and then instinctively acted in ways to prevent that from happening.

        HG consistently says that the vast majority of narcissists ‘act’ from instinct and lack of awareness, and yet, in general, people say (and believe) statements such as, “he did this”, or “she did that”, or “he chose to do this” etc.

        In HG’s recent interview with Dr Bishara (Part 3 & 4) on YouTube, Dr Bishara asks HG how a narcissist parent “chooses” a scapegoat child. I found that part of the interview very interesting. HG’s answer revolved around the narcissist’s need to fulfill the prime aims.

        In general, I think narcissists don’t “choose” a scapegoat child in a conscious way. I also think that it doesn’t just happen in an instant. Narcissists don’t make a deliberate selection as if they wake up one day and say to themselves, “I think I’ll wear my blue socks today.”

        I think the narcissist’s control of a particular situation or group is a moving feast and the control will change as the situation or group changes. Also, the aims of the narcissist will be instrumental in how each member of the group is ‘used’ or manipulated. Similarly, the members of the group will have their own so-called ‘strengths’ and ‘weaknesses’ – as judged by the narcissist in terms of the narcissist’s aims.

        To say that the narcissist “chooses the runt of the litter” or the narcissist “selects the golden child that is a mirror”, for example, is a very simplistic – and frankly, misleading – way to frame it. This kind of thinking is highly subjective and lacks objective analysis. How do you define “runt of the litter”? Is it based on which child is smallest, or had the lowest birth-weight, or didn’t gain weight as quickly as the others? To me, such lazy definitions and superficial judgements hinder rather than help understanding.

        To one narcissist, a member of the family who fountains with fuel may become the golden child because the family member is a passionate speaker in public and provides character traits the narcissist can rely on. To another narcissist, the same fountaining family member could be a scapegoat because devaluation provides more negative emotion and that fuels that particular narcissist.

        … and there could be as many variations on the same theme as there are narcissists.

        I’ve gone off the track a little because your comment about your husband made me think about instinctive behaviours of the narcissist instead of deliberate choices. It’s all connected though, I think, in terms of how narcissist parents treat their children.

        1. WiserNow says:

          By the way Contagious, in my reply to your comment in relation to instinctive behaviours compared to deliberate behaviours, I did not mean that you do not know the difference. I hope my reply doesn’t sound like I’m suggesting that you say and believe that narcissists manipulate deliberately.

          I listened to HG’s interview with Dr Bishara and was thinking of that before coming here to reply. Your comment and the interview combined in my thoughts in certain ways. This led to me relating your comment with information about scapegoats in the interview.

          It’s a case of relating and finding meaning and patterns in two (or more) distinct conversations/experiences. It’s not a case of suggesting you are incorrect, for example.

          Sometimes, life would be more straightforward with more compartmentalisation!

      2. Joa says:

        Contagious, my heart broke reading this 🙁

        I partly identify these experiences with the N2 situation.
        He failed to escape from his mother. He would tear that leash, step on it, spit on it, and set it on fire many times.

        Their mother chased them (N2 and his twin sister) all over the world. Currently, N2 is taking care of her sick mother (according to the latest data I have, although they are a bit outdated).

        It’s a very twisted relationship, where he’s the father and the partner, and least of all the son… Terribly dark and murky. There is a great closeness between them (which should not be between a mother and a son) and a huge distance 🙁

        He’s picking up the crumbs from her table…

        I would do anything to help him so that he could go his own way, even if he had to step on me 100 more times and finally parade in front of me with a beautiful and in love girl 🙁 Just to know, that his eyes have that sparkle again and that he is laughing…


        Yes, I know, I know, no contact, logic, I know everything… It doesn’t matter at all, when it comes to my desires.

        Soon this cloud will fall, soon, soon…


        Idiot! (this is for me). Now good?

        1. Contagious says:

          Hello Joa: It’s worse. She hated that we were getting married in 2014. On our engagement night with my kids here Christmas Eve, she told my husband she couldn’t feel her hands and her eye sight was gone in one eye. Why we celebrated that night , he couldn’t reach her, it was Christmas. He never experienced not talking to her at Christmas. A week later she surfaced fine but he was crying with worry literally until then. So much for a celebration. Then she once drank so much she was dead drunk as he tried to leave for the airport. Then there was the worst. She stabbed herself with a knife repeatedly and wrote “ my son hates me” on the door as he was leaving to join me. He missed his flight. Then another time, she went out in a storm and slipped and fell on her ex boyfriends “ grave” in the back yard. ( I still wonder what happened to Norman) . She has no friends and never has. Norman was her grief counselor they were together 5 years before he died. Many odd things about that relationship. He slept in a separate room that she keeps as a shrine to this day. His boots are where he left them. Her only other relation was my husbands dad as my husband was born out of a brief fling at 20. My husband called his grandma mom and mother Pat as his sister because of her “ issues” growing up. He is so unaware that he said what if I had my headphones on and didn’t hear her scream. ( We all know she would have ran back inside.) But ambulances were called and she was tested for hypothermia. She was fine and released the next day. Then during Covid she took aspirin and “ frothed at the mouth” but was found ok by doctors after the ambulance took her to the hospital. There are no doubt other stories I don’t know. Now it’s the pipes bursting due to lack of maintenance such as letting the water drip or heat, ok maybe this is out of her control, but? She won’t leave the home and signed a police waiver to stay there. I send her gifts and flowers but we no longer talk. She drinks and hadn’t left the home for decades. She won’t use a computer or a smart phone. She is abusive to my husband physically ( smashes plates, smashes his things, refuses to leave his room) verbally ( “ I wish you were never born, you ruined my life” ) to I will disinherit you and silent treatments are a given. One was 14 months while he lived here during immigration. It’s HELL. He was lucky that although his grandma was sick during his teens, when he was not educated, she was very sick. His grandma appears to be functioning, caring and normal and I think she financially and emotionally supported his biological mum because of her issues and because she loved Ben. Grandma was mum to my husband and he calls her the “ real mum” and she worked hard to give him a nice home, boarding school at Steiner in Dorset, cricket teams and he loved her very much. Shame grandma/mum died when he was 18. We have to deal with mum now alone. Many would say her behavior especially all the “ suicide attempts” were BPD. But HG said Narc. There is obviously an empathy chip missing. My husband won’t go no contact. He recognizes she is mentally sick and pities her and tries to help. It’s taxing to say the least.

          1. Contagious says:

            Also interesting HG did an evaluation and both were found to be narcs. But I can say my husband has empathy. He does adopt narc traits. He sulks and dies silent treatments and when he drank there were more but he quit 9 years ago. He is very empathetic to the underdog, always helping the homeless, animals around him, etc… but what is weird is that when he was sent to the mental institution at 16 ( not being educated from 13-16) and they bought a 5 bedroom home in the countryside of Somerset after selling the London house, the government intervened. He was the only day student there. They thought anspergers or autism. This was the 70s, not popular then. Instead they gave him Valium to deal with his anxiety which was tough to quit as he got into the top liberal arts college in Europe. He is artistically gifted in many ways. HG labeled it but I can’t recall it. I wonder…as I failed to mention this potential diagnosis to HG if he isn’t on the spectrum. He has lots of friends but is also a loner in sime ways. He prefers to work at home alone but then many like remote. He is devout and faithful but mum is a partner in ways. He has low self esteem. He is hypersensitive to criticism often getting it wrong which he admits. For example a coworker asked why he didn’t eat meat. My husband is against cruelty to animals, and he took it as a put down versus a curiosity. This is norm. He misreads others. He asked his doctor about it and the doctor, a country general practitioner found nothing wrong with him. He is a mixed bag. There are narc red flags and tell tale signs and then there is this fidelity and empathy for many even me. He is beauty and the beast. At times attentive loving and stable and others adopting “ bio mum” behavior such as yelling and name calling and silent treatments or blocking. He always apologizes and admits fault without excuse but he still engages in it on occasion. Not regularly but a couple times a year. He feels vast shame and guilt over not being able to help his bio mum ( no matter what I say). I feel like his bio mum was Norman Bates mother but there happened to be a very very strong loving cockney grandma in the house.

          2. HG Tudor says:

            He does not have empathy and your mistaken belief that he has continues to betray you.

          3. Leigh says:

            Contagious, I’m sending a hug. Its not easy admitting that our spouses are not who we thought they were. I think its wise to listen to Mr. Tudor. It might be time to take the rose colored glassed off. As empaths we’ve been conditioned to fill their needs. I had a conversation with Mr. Tudor recently about conditioning. Below is the link:


            Its so natural to us that we don’t even realize we’re doing it. You have to find a way to lower your ET so the fog will clear. Once the fog clears, your perception will change. It seems you may already be questioning it.

            Yes, I agree even learning about narcissism existing is mind blowing. Mr. Tudor has given us an amazing gift. He has given us a key to human behavior.

          4. Contagious says:

            I wish I could sort it all out and fix it but I just cope. I believe in finding joy in each day and I am a very grateful person. I love Gid. I have so much love in my life. 98% of my relationships are positive at work and home but not with my mother in law (the Mumster I secretly think of her). All other long term relations mothers loved me and I them. I would do anything for her if she was normal but she is so destructive. Any suggestions to this very weird life are welcome by this loving group forum. Joa I love your posts so much. HG has helped beyond belief in that knowledge is power. Even if I don’t understand always where or why this is going on, I know immediately identify the bad narc behavior and remove myself emotionally. Some things can’t be fixed. But you all can imagine how crazy it is to even learn about it existing. It is “ beyond the pale” to say the least.

  4. oshikromem says:

    “However, trying to succeed with someone normal and healthy is entirely achievable. You will not, by contrast, ever succeed with us. You can try over and over and over again but for all this effort and endeavour you will not get what you want. What we once granted you will only ever be given again in small doses and then only as part of this continuing manipulation so that you remain in our grip so we can gather fuel until we throw you aside.” – Wow!!! this really resonated with me. I must be a narcissist myself. Is there a blog about how to stop being one anywhere on this site?

  5. Not Insidious says:

    The Heart. The Heartbeat.
    The Heart is not only a pump.
    It’s also an emotion.🪁

  6. Tom says:

    I give up very easily and in an instance once I see anyone wasting my previous time and energy….we only hold onto those worth holding onto… the rest can make their own way to hell ..I clear the path for them.

  7. Rebecca says:

    No, I don’t give up easily and I don’t do things half-assed either. I keep trying the lock until my fingers bleed and the lock is slippery with my blood, that’s how determined I am to keep trying….it was very hard for me to just drop the dumb lock and leave it….walk away…but, I did once and I did it again last year and I’ll do it again…I’m just as determined to leave the dumb lock now, as I was to open it.

    The one thing I learned well through all of this is, I’m stronger than I think I am.

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