Knowing the Narcissist : The Incredible Sulk
Who is the Incredible Sulk?
Unsurprisingly, he or she is a Mid-Range Narcissist. Lesser may occasionally sulk but it is rare, they are far more likely to explode with heated fury, either lashing out at you by name-calling or windmilling fists. The Greater may also sulk, but that is a very rare occurrence as the Greater regards such a passive-aggressive behaviour as beneath him and would rather use implied threat and intimidation as the expressions of his heated fury and escalate them from that point.
The Mid-Range Narcissist utilises passive aggressive behaviours in order to draw fuel. All Mid Range narcissists (LMR, MMR A, MMR B and UMR) are more likely than not, going to deploy The Incredible Sulk at some point. Of the Mid-Range it is used most by LMR, then UMR, then MMR Type B and then MMR Type A. Chief amongst those behaviours are pity plays, cold shoulders, baleful glares and silent treatments. There is however a particular manipulation that some Mid-Rangers will use and this is when they become the Incredible Sulk. What are the main features of the Incredible Sulk?
- It is a Present Silent Treatment. The Incredible Sulk is never an Absent Silent Treatment. This is because the Absent Silent Treatment serves two functions. The first is to draw fuel from you as the main victim by making you worry where the narcissist has gone and also to have you trying to effect contact which in turn provides fuel to us. The second function is that it usually (although not always) enables the narcissist to focus on seducing someone else. Accordingly, that two week disappearance or two day vanishing act is being used to upset and anger you, but at the same time this will be used to draw somebody else in. It stands to reason therefore that if the charm et al is being used against someone else there cannot be an Incredible Sulk taking place. Even if (unusually) this absence is not being used to seduce someone else, there is not a sulk in progress. The Absent Silent Treatment is a Cold Shoulder whereby the Mid-Ranger is being more aggressive in his ignoring of the victim.
- The Incredible Sulk occurs when the narcissist remains present to the victim for the whole purpose of enabling the victim (usually the IPPS but will also include family member Non-Intimate Secondary Sources “NISSs”, friend NISSs and sometimes colleague NISSs). When the Incredible Sulk is in progress, it is not just a case of the IPPS being singled out for the silent treatment and the narcissist speaking with everybody else, not at all. The Incredible Sulk is with everybody.
- The Incredible Sulk is a manifestation of cold fury. The Mid-Range Narcissist will have been criticised (usually unintentionally) and this has then ignited his or her fury, leading to the silent treatment.
- Whilst it is criticism which is the catalyst for the Incredible Sulk, one of the defining features which remains at the heart of its operation is envy. Just as the Incredible Hulk went into Hulk mode by turning green, the Incredible Sulk is also green, but it is with envy. Huge, visceral envy for others and how they are outflanking, outgunning and outperforming him or her. The Mid-Range Narcissist who is prone to engaging in the Incredible Sulk is one who has a huge envy issue. Envy is a common theme for all of our kind, but especially so for some and if they are Mid-Range it manifests as the Incredible Sulk. The Mid-Range Narcissist will be envious of something said and/or done by the victim (usually the IPPS) and whilst this is part of the criticism it is this envy which is perpetuating the Incredible Sulk. The narcissist will be envious of the victims prowess in some regard, for instance if the victim has passed an examination or secured a new and prestigious job, been given a significant pay rise, been complimented by somebody or has achieved an accomplishment. The spotlight (even if not asked for by the victim) is on the victim and the narcissist hates this. It underlines to him how mean and cruel the world is, how unfair his life has become and it is of course all the fault of the person that the narcissist envies.
- Whilst engaged in an Incredible Sulk the narcissist is sullen, uncommunicative, self-pitying and doleful. There is no baleful glare directed at anybody. There is no curled lip in readiness for a snarl. There is no blackened look. Instead, the Incredible Sulk will stare at the floor as if willing it to open up and consume him. He will gaze with wistful angst from the window or pick up some personal object and fix his eyes on it as he turns it over and over in his hands, depicting how wrought with dejection he is.
- The Incredible Sulk is maintained for a considerable period of time. This is not a fifteen minutes or two hour present silent treatment. This will last for at least a day and most likely longer. Any attempt to communicate with the Incredible Sulk will be met with him or her not responding at all, shrugging or fixing the recipient with a hangdog expression as if every woe in the world is pressing down on and being experienced by the narcissist.
- The Incredible Sulk wants everyone to be looking at him, flocking around him, asking what is wrong, suggesting ways to break this state. He wants his IPPS trying to establish whatever is the matter. He will expect his children to be pulling on his sleeve asking “Dad, what’s up?” If the children are young, their uncomprehending tears will only add to the fuel. He does not care for their upset. In the narcissist’s mind, he feels only dejection, rejection and self-pity. He knows the world does not care about him, but it should and this state is a representation of how he knows the world regards him. Even if the IPPS invites friends, family, colleagues around to try and break this almost catatonic state that the narcissist has entered, those trying to inject a smile or at least some kind of positive reaction in the narcissist will only be met with the doleful stare of the narcissist which seems to saying “There is no hope for me anymore”. It is an instinctive response of the Incredible Sulk and is designed to draw yet more fuel through consternation, bewilderment and redoubled efforts to help.
- There are two reasons why the Incredible Sulk operates by involving everybody around him or her, rather than say the IPPS (which is the usual outcome of a Present Silent Treatment). The first is that the more people which are responding to the Incredible Sulk, the more fuel is available The second reason is that if the IPPS becomes fed up of trying to elicit a positive response, there will still be others (children, friends, other family members) who will keep trying and thus the fuel continues to flow.
- The Incredible Sulk wants fuel from this behaviour. He wants to be fawned over, mollycoddled, told how much he is loved, apologised to and made to feel special. Even when the wound that arose from the criticism has been healed, the Incredible Sulk will keep this behaviour going because it is so effective at drawing fuel. He also regards it as his right to do this – the world owes him it. It should be lauding him, respecting him and idealising him and its failure to do so means that instead he is entitled to withdraw (yet remain) and drink up all of the consequential fuel from the appliances affected by the Incredible Sulk.
- The Incredible Sulk is unlikely to eat (again for effect by making it appear as if there is something seriously wrong), they will miss certain activities they would usually engage in (for instance not going out with friends) in order to draw more fuel appliances into the catchment of the Incredible Sulk and will give the impression that he or she has entered some kind of depressed state. There is no such depression but the Incredible Sulk is content to make it appear so as this will generate more concern and fuel.
- He or she will sit for hours on end in a chair, staring at the television, apparently not really taking in what is going on. Mealtimes will be ignored and even food brought to the Incredible Sulk will be ignored or just picked at. He or she will walk slowly, moping about, emitting occasional sighs of dejection and flopping listlessly into bed or onto the settee.
- The Incredible Sulk has no difficulty in maintaining this state because he or she is initially wounded and then the huge envy that this particular Mid-Range Narcissist suffers from will perpetuate the behaviour over several days. Work will be missed with a concern spouse calling in on behalf of the narcissist, doctors will be consulted and the Incredible Sulk will continue as of course this is all fuel.
- The only way to break the Incredible Sulk is to ignore it wholesale. This means everybody in the vicinity. Nobody ought to pay the Incredible Sulk any attention At first this will cause the Mid-Ranger to respond by trying to draw more attention through loud sighs, slumping, holding his or her head in her hands, muttering under his or her breath. These are just further manipulations and should be ignored. Once the Incredible Sulk realises that this showcase silent treatment is not having any effect any more he will slowly emerge from it. He or she will not just snap out of it, but rather emerge like some kind of hibernating creature. Once this happens, resists the urge to ask “what was all that about” as you will only be fuelling the narcissist. Act as if it never happened. This will be difficult to do and offend your sense of empathy to assist someone and establish what was going on, but once you recognise that an Incredible Sulk is in hand you will know how to address it.
- The Incredible Sulk is not just rolled out at home. It might appear in a social setting whereby the Incredible Sulk will suddenly just not speak with anybody and will sit staring at his or her drink, looking through people and appearing as if ‘not there’ in order to garner attention. It might be during a meeting with colleagues where the narcissist will just look out of the window as if pre-occupied before giving a dejected and puppy dog look at someone as if to say “I am so troubled and you have no idea.” It is all about garnering sympathy and pity. It is not an aggressive sulk that is telling people to stay away, not at all, it is one which is designed to draw people and thus their fuel as they try to work out what is wrong and help.
Thus this is the Incredible Sulk. Just be thankful no shirts or trousers were ripped in the process.