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The majority of those who are ensnared by our kind are so ensnared owing to particular inherent susceptibilities which we rely on and instinctively exploit. Based on what you have learned about yourself and your own engagements with our kind, what do you think are your susceptibilities?

Perhaps you now realise that you are chasing the ‘storm’ which you experienced during your formative years and at an unconscious level you are wanting to find that in those you engage with as an adult? It might be that you cannot but want to help the troubled and tortured souls which present themselves to you, that you find you are drawn to the challenge of such individuals. It might be that you just though lightning would not strike twice and that having been ensnared once it just could not happen again and thus your defences were lowered. Maybe you find our kind so exciting, ‘spicy’ and invigorating that everything else which is healthy feels dull by comparison?

Perhaps you find you are always struggling to accept the truth of what we are, that you believe we can find and give love, that we are wanting to and can change even though this is not the case? Or is it that you recognise your own narcissistic traits play a part in that you want those narcissists who reach the top of the tree because you feel you deserve success in various forms which some narcissists achieve? Alternatively, you may recognise that you are poor at establishing boundaries and despite your best intentions you just end up being steamrollered by our kind and drawn into a relationship or is it that being with narcissists is all you have ever known? Perhaps you always struggle to spot our kind until it is too late or that you identify potential problems but you always give the narcissist the benefit of the doubt until it is too late?

You can choose as many options are as applicable before casting your vote.

As ever, do expand on your experiences in the comments section.

Thank you for participating.

 

What factors do you think have caused or cause your susceptibility to narcissists?

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There are occasions when you have been on the receiving end of one of our conversational narc grenades which has been thrown at you as we then walk away from the ensuing carnage, sucking up the fuel and marvelling at our own brilliance. There will of course been times when you wished that you had something which you could lob at us in order to make some kind of impact, a comment or a gesture which does not take much effort but manages to land a blow on us. The problem is, until such time as you have received the benefit of my mentoring I should imagine that your responses to your particular narcissist have been along these lines:-

Shouting and hurling insults at us as you lose your temper

Crying as you call us as many names as you can think of

Throwing something at us with a yell of frustration

Banging a door shut in annoyance

Telling us what you think about us as you bristle with anger

Of course as avid students you will know that all of these responses and more besides have no impact on us other than to provide us with fuel. You can call me as many insults as you can think of but if you do it as you scream at the top of your voice in anger or with tears spilling down your cheeks, the savage words merely fuel me. Now, for the purpose of extracting more fuel and providing me with something to go and complain about to other people (thus gaining more fuel and smearing you into the bargain) I will provoke you even further. Once you have lost yourself to emotion, we will keep pushing, prodding and provoking in order to make you deliver even more fuel to us. We will feign that we are hurt, we will pretend to be angry in response, we may even mimic being frightened of you. It is all fabricated and is just designed to draw more fuel. Accordingly, you should not respond in this fashion. Instead, when deploying these ripostes, you must do so without showing any emotion. If you do, the intended effect will fail. If you do these without expressing any emotion you will not provide and fuel and the effect will be that we will feel criticised and this will wound us. Be aware that when wounded our fury will be ignited. This may mean we withdraw, we may unleash a cold fury (silent treatment) or a heated fury (insults, violence) and therefore you should proceed with caution. You are best performing these ripostes when you are departing so you are leaving your own empathic riposte grenade behind to explode and wound us. In some instances, departure may not be possible and therefore you need to consider carefully the type of narcissist you are with and their likely reaction to criticism. Caveat out of the way, here are the ten critical ripostes for you to use against your narcissist.

  1. Point and Laugh

Point at us and give a hollow laugh. A slow, hollow laugh which is repeated will provide no emotion. Alternatively, point and just say “HAW ha” in an exaggerated manner, akin to the Simpsons’ character, Nelson Muntz. We will not know why you are laughing and the fact you are pointing at us but giving what is a derisory laugh will feel like a significant criticism to us.

  1. “You are big on emotion, low on substance.”

We like to think we are important and of considerable substance. You are the emotional one, not us, even though of course we are the ones which thrive on your emotional attention. To suggest we are emotional (when of course we have a limited range of emotions) implies that we lack control. To suggest we have no substance (which hints at our need to adopt the characteristics of others and also impugns our importance) adds to the criticism. The Lesser will be wounded by the suggestion of being emotive and unimportant, The Greater, knowing what he is will be wounded by the massive hint at knowing what we are, alongside the suggestion of lacking control and lacking importance. A double whammy.

  1. Feign sleep when we are talking

There is no emotion in closing your eyes and emitting a gentle snoring as you are sat down or lying down and we embark on one of our lengthy monologues. Once we realise you are not paying attention the criticism will wound.

  1. “I have to be elsewhere.”

If this is said without emotion you are telling us that our presence is not magnetic and commanding enough. Make your exit and leave us to our ignited fury at this wounding remark.

  1. “Jim has one only his is better.”

Useful for when we are crowing about some material possession. “Jim” may be somebody known to us both or you may make him up, the key thing is to point out that whatever we have, then “Jim’s” is better. It may be that his is a nicer colour, or his if larger, faster, more spacious, tougher, more durable. Whatever it is it will wound us. You can even keep rolling out the fictional Jim on repeated occasions and it will soon dent our crowing and have us wounded.

  1. “I wasn’t listening; can you repeat what you said please?”

You should always be listening to us. We are important. Any suggestion that you are not amounts to a criticism and if you actually tell us that you were not doing so, then it is even worse.

  1. Fall asleep when we are having sex with you

To impugn our Olympic sexual mastery in this way is a massive criticism. It need not be full sexual intercourse either. If you are touching us, drift off or vice versa. Best used with a Mid-Range as they tend to go off in a wounded sulk rather than erupt in a rage.

  1. “It is just not that interesting to me.”

Any suggestion that we are dull or boring when we are demonstrating something to you or regaling you with our latest tale of brilliance will constitute a wounding criticism.

  1. “Let me know when you have finished.”

This can be applied to so many different activities. We expect you to either be a willing and enthusiastic participant or a delighted spectator. If you make this remark when we are showing off about something and then walk away we will be wounded by this criticism.

  1. “No that does not make sense.”

Remember how frustrated you become at our circular conversations and inability to understand the point you are making? Well, this is your chance to turn the tables. You probably do understand but by suggesting we are not articulating ourselves clearly when delivered without emotion will amount to a criticism. We may try and explain again. If so repeat the comment. You can then walk away as our fury ignites and no doubt we insult you for being stupid and thick but who is the one who has just been wounded?

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This article provides you with the analysis of an interaction between a Somatic Lower Mid-Range Narcissist and three Standard Empaths (one from the Magnet Cadre the other two from the Carrier Cadre). The emphasis is not about the schools and cadres of the participants (although the flavour will be evident) but rather on demonstrating the nature of the interaction and how the narcissist regards the two.

The narcissist has a co-habiting partner (Carrier Standard Empath)and thus this person is an Intimate Partner Primary Source (“IPPS”) in devaluation. They have been in a Formal Relationship of partners for two years. Devaluation commenced one year ago. 

 

The Candidate Intimate Partner Secondary Source (“CANIPSS” – Standard Magnet Empath) lives in the same city as the narcissist. She is single.  They met on a dating site. They have met in person and known one another three weeks. The Formal Relationship is narcissist and CANIPSS,  early dating.

The Shelf Intimate Partner Secondary Source (“SIPSS” – Standard Carrier Empath) also lives in the same city as the narcissist and the CANIPSS. She is single and met the narcissist on the same dating site. They have met several times and have known one another for two months. The Formal Relationship is narcissist and SIPSS, established dating. The SIPSS is viewed as white and is currently on the shelf.

The narcissist awakes and immediately thinks about the CANIPSS. This is a Hoover Trigger (“HT”). She is viewed as white, he has her telephone number, they are friends on social media sites, the Hoover Execution Criteria are easily met and therefore he issues a hoover by sending a text message. Note that a hoover occurs as part of seduction.

“Hi, dreamt about you last night, better not say though, you might get too carried away before work.”

The CANIPSS answers within seconds by text.

“Wow, I like that, go on, you can tell me.” Positive fuel, potency high as CANIPSS, quantity low (written message) and one-off frequency.

Pleased by the effect of the fuel and the rapid response (signalling to the narcissist that the CANIPSS is coming under his control) he replies

“Let’s just say we both enjoyed it. Would be even better in person.”

The CANIPSS again responds in seconds by text.

“You think so? You sound pretty confident, I am no pushover you know, lol.” Positive challenge fuel (potency et al as before).

The narcissist whilst challenged by this text sees it as an opportunity to assert his perceived superiority but in a benign way.

“Of course. I know what I am doing. You will have to let me find out.”

The CANIPSS again responds in seconds.

“I might just do that. Did you have anything in mind?” Positive fuel (potency et al as prior)

The narcissist is buoyed by the fuel but moreover identifies that the CANIPSS is clearly interested and thus his control is slowly increasing. He responds quickly by text.

“How about I take you out for dinner tonight?”

A text arrives from the SIPPS.

Hi, how are you? I was just thinking about last week and how much we enjoyed that new Thai place. How about we go again? I am free tonight or tomorrow.” Positive fuel, potency high (as SIPSS), quantity low as written word, frequency one off.

The narcissist does not respond however, even though the SIPSS is viewed as white. She is on the shelf and he is focussed on the CANIPSS as he impatiently awaits her response to his suggestion.

The CANIPSS texts back.

“I cannot do tonight. I have something on.”

This rejection wounds the narcissist. It is only mild in nature however as it is by text. He is slightly irritated by this but as he is in the seduction period with the CANIPSS and therefore she is viewed in a white manner he maintains his control so the ignited fury does not manifest. He replies by text to the CANIPSS.

“How about tomorrow night?”

Just then the IPPS (the cohab partner) appears at the bedroom door. She is in devaluation  and is viewed as black.

“On the ‘phone again are we? You are never off it, I swear it’s welded to your hand.” she says with a frown and a shake of her head. Negative Challenge Fuel. Very high potency (IPPS), significant quantity (in presence, spoken word, tone, body language, facial expression), frequency one off.

This is negative Challenge Fuel. She demonstrates irritation and annoyance. It is a Challenge because she is ‘attacking’ the narcissist’s right to use the ‘phone when he chooses. Also because it suggests that he is not doing something right because he is on the ‘phone. The narcissist is not concerned that he is texting another woman and his partner has caught him on the ‘phone (albeit she does not know what who he is interacting with) but rather it is the Challenge as described which has to be addressed.

“Yes I am because someone has to work hard and bring the money in to pay for you and your wretched wardrobe haven’t they?” he responds with a provocative comment designed to draw further negative fuel but moreover to stamp on the challenge issued by the IPPS.

The IPPS puts her hands on her hips (negative fuel, very high potency, moderate quantity – presence, facial expression, body language, frequency one off.

“Yeah, you know what I am talking about.” goads the narcissist with another provocative remark. As he says this, he texts the CANIPSS again.

“I know this really good Thai restaurant which you will love, my treat naturally.” (Of course this is the same Thai restaurant that the narcissist went to with the SIPPS evidencing his lack of distinction between the people he is engaging with as they are appliances to him.)

Rather than wait for her response barely a minute after suggesting the restaurant, his lack of boundary recognition and sense of entitlement causes him to send this text. Further, the black view he has of the IPPS remains a stark contrast to the white view taken of the CANIPSS. In his mind the IPPS is a traitor, the CANIPSS the increasingly loyal saviour.

“Oh and you never buy any clothes do you?” retorts the IPPS in annoyance. Negative Challenge Fuel, very high  potency, significant quantity (presence, spoken word, tone, facial expression, boy language) , frequency one off. Challenge since the IPPS is suggesting that he is a hypocrite.

“I can buy what I like you money-grabbing ungrateful bitch, I earn it.” The narcissist increases the provocation with a gratuitous insult designed to garner more fuel but mainly to establish superiority again.

“Oh and I suppose I do nothing other than run the house and do a job do I? Anyway, I haven’t got time for this, I will see you at 1pm for lunch right?”

This is negative Challenge Fuel because she is suggesting the narcissist is ungrateful and does not do as much as she does (therefore she is superior) and furthermore she is trying to close down the discussion by having the last word which also challenges the narcissist’s notion of superiority. As she says this a text arrives from the CANIPSS.

“Yes, tomorrow would be great, I will be free at 8pm, let me know the name of the restaurant, I cannot wait and if you are good you can come back for coffee afterwards.”

Positive fuel, high potency, low quantity and one-off frequency. The narcissist’s control is increasing.

“Excellent. Cannot wait. Wear something hot, that blue dress really suits you.” he texts back.

His prescriptive nature about telling the CANIPSS what to wear evidences his sense of entitlement and increasing ownership of the appliance that she is to him. He also, owing to this sense of entitlement and lack of accountability sees nothing wrong with doing this and making the IPPS wait for him to respond. She stands waiting, glaring, providing further negative fuel. Her Challenge to him has still not been dealt wth. The narcissist is edified by the positive fuel from the SIPSS, more positive fuel from the CANIPSS but especially from the negative fuel from the IPPS. His day has started very well indeed and it is only 7-30 am.

“Oh I cannot make it, I have to go through the pitch with Ian.” answers the narcissist. This is a lie however his lack of conscience means he has no issue with stating this to the IPPS.

“You haven’t mentioned that before, well tell him you cannot do it,” responds the IPPS in irritation. Negative Challenge Fuel (telling the narcissist what to do), very high potency, significant quantity, one-off frequency.

The narcissist is under attack again and his verbal responses have failed to assert superiority as required. He has no fuel problem however. Since he has been accused of not telling the IPPS something he responds verbally

“Yes I did, I told you yesterday, but you do not listen, you never do, too caught up in yourself.” He issues a denial against her accusation of not having told her about the engagement with Ian which is part of the Narcissist’s First Line of Defence (see the article The Narcissist’s Twin Lines of Defence). He is also seeking to stamp out her challenge by shifting the tack of the discussion (an instinctive response) through the manipulation of Projection by accusing her of the very thing he does.

“No you didn’t. you did not say anything,” she says in annoyance. Again Challenge Fuel of a negative variety. Potency et al remains the same.

The narcissist shifts manipulation (instinctively) again by ignoring her. Present Silent Treatment. Her status as viewed black causes him to think of asserting his superiority further even though she IPPS will not know what he is doing, in his mind, he is gaining superiority through this  next act.

The narcissist texts the SIPSS.

“Hi, good to hear from you, I was just about to text you when you texted me.” (A lie but it will make the SIPPS feel wanted).

“How about lunch today at 1pm? My treat. The Thai restaurant is open at lunch as well.”

(Note the second offer to buy a meal for someone outside of his relationship – a somatic gesture of generosity)

The IPPS stands waiting for an answer. She is still providing negative fuel from her stance, frown and glaring eyes. The narcissist continues to ignore her maintaining the Present Silent Treatment.

The SIPSS replies by text

“Yeah, great, I did have something on at 12-30 but I can move it for you (Carrier Empath – poor boundary assertion) I will meet you at 1pm, cannot wait.”

The SIPSS is on the shelf still (short exchange) but will be taken off the shelf for the lunch appointment – assuming the narcissist attends. He may not if circumstance dictates this benefits him. She remains viewed white.

Her text is positive fuel of high potency, low quantity and one-off frequency.

“Oh forget it!” hisses the IPPS he remains ignored as the narcissist starts flicking through a set of pictures he has exchanged with the SIPPS which gives him a small amount of Thought Fuel alongside the negative fuel that the IPPS continues to pump out as she is ignored and annoyed.

The IPPS storms off and slams the front door leaving the property. This last act provides another does of negative fuel because it is an annoyed gesture. The well-fuelled narcissist  smiles and finally rises from his bed. It is only 7-37 am and his day has begun rather well for him.

IPPS remains in devaluation and painted black.

Candidate IPSS is prime candidate in seduction, painted white and the narcissist will repeatedly hoover her during the day in a benign way, ahead of their date tomorrow night.

SIPPS is on shelf until lunchtime, painted white and ranking behind the Candidate IPSS still.. with no prospect of any immediate shift in that status.

 

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NARCISSIST V SHELF IPSS

The following is a breakdown of an interaction between a Middle Mid-Range Narcissist and a Geyser Standard Empath. The two are in a Formal Relationship of Narcissist and Shelf IPSS (“SIPSS”), which those not benefiting from such knowledge would see as a married person who is having an affair with someone who is The Other Woman/Man.

  1. The narcissist and the SIPSS have spent the weekend together away in a coastal city. Therefore the SIPSS is off the shelf for the extent of the duration. She is painted white. The narcissist received positive fuel of a very good potency (SIPSS), massive quantity (in person, sexual interaction) and constantly (together all weekend).

2. The weekend ends and they leave the coastal city together. SIPSS off shelf and painted white.

3. The two part company and return to their respective homes. The SIPSS is now ON the shelf. This is not devaluation. The SIPSS remains painted white.

4. The following day, SIPSS sends a text to the narcissist

“It was great spending the weekend with you. I can’t wait until we do it again.”

This is pure positive fuel. Very good potency, one off frequency, very low quantity as short and in writing.

There is no response for an hour. The narcissist responds with

“It was great. Yes, we will do it again soon. I have a busy week ahead, so I will text you later on. Missing you.”

The SIPSS remains on the shelf. She remains painted white. This was a comfort crumb from the narcissist. It was pleasant, it maintains the engagement but signals to the SIPSS that she should not expect to hear from the narcissist often.

5. The following day there is no contact between the two. This is not a Silent Treatment, the SIPSS remains on the shelf and painted white.

6. The day after, the narcissist is reminded of the weekend. The SIPSS has entered his sixth sphere of influence. This is a Hoover Trigger. His Intimate Partner Primary Source has gone out for the evening unexpectedly. She in devaluation. Her departure has wounded the narcissist, he sends her an unpleasant text to provoke her in order to gain fuel. He requires fuel to address the wound, he can easily contact the SIPSS by text, social media or telephone, she has no partner, she has not wounded him, she provides excellent fuel and therefore the Hoover Bar is very low and the Hoover Execution Criteria are met. The narcissist telephones SIPSS. She has been taken off the shelf. They speak, fuel is provided, he berates his wife to the SIPSS (triangulation) and speak for about an hour. The call ends. The SIPSS goes back on the shelf and remains painted white.

7. There is no contact between the two of them for three days.

8. The SIPSS sends a text message early in the morning to the narcissist

“How are you? Just wanted to let you know I am missing you.”

Positive fuel. Very good potency, one-off frequency, very low amount.

There is an instant response from the narcissist by text

“I miss you too.”

The SIPSS sends a further text.

“I cannot wait until we can see one another again.”

Positive fuel, very good potency, one-off frequency, very low amount.

There is no response from the narcissist. The SIPSS remains on the shelf. She is painted white. The narcissist has not given a silent treatment but the lack of response is purely symptomatic of being on the shelf.

9. The following day the SIPSS texts the narcissist again early in the morning

“Hi, are you okay?”

Positive fuel, very good potency one-off frequency, very low amount.

There is no response. The SIPSS is still on the shelf, painted white and this is not a silent treatment.

10. She waits thirty minutes and texts again

“Please will you answer me, I hate not hearing from you.”

Positive fuel, very good potency, one-off frequency, very low amount.

Ten minutes later the narcissist replies by text

“I was in the shower. Busy day ahead. Will text later.”

This is a comfort crumb. The SIPSS is on the shelf and painted white.

11. There has been no contact between the two and it is now 5pm. The SIPSS texts again

“I really find it hard not hearing from you.”

This is positive fuel, very good potency, one-off frequency, very low amount.

There is no response from the narcissist. The SIPSS is on the shelf and painted white.

12. She waits ten minutes and texts again

“I thought you said you were going to text me later? This hurts.”

This is now Challenge Fuel. Her admission of hurt is negative fuel (albeit a very small amount as it is contained in a text) – however she is seeking to hold the narcissist to something he stated. The narcissist is NOT wounded by this, but regards this as a challenge to his superiority because the SIPSS is trying to make him feel accountable and this feels like his control is being eroded.

13. The narcissist replies with a text two minutes later

“I told you I had a busy day ahead, I am in a meeting.”

He is providing an explanation and asserting his superiority by looking to close the matter. He has not been provocative and is not seeking fuel from the SIPSS.

14. The SIPSS answers immediately

“Sorry, I didn’t know. When will you text me, or will you give me a call?”

This is Challenge Fuel again. The apology is a very small amount of positive fuel, the request for a call is mildly Challenging BUT aggregates with the earlier text message. The narcissist has not been able to assert the superiority to the extent required.

He texts back immediately

“No idea. V busy. Cannot talk now.”

He is not seeking fuel (he will be well fuelled whatever he is doing – maybe in the meeting or if not in a meeting in some other interaction) but needs to assert superiority and is seeking to close the challenge down. The SIPSS remains on the shelf and remains painted white

15. The SIPPS does not relent. She texts back straight away :-

” Will it be tonight? I want to talk to you, I always enjoy our chats. I hate not hearing from you.”

Again positive Challenge Fuel.

There is no response from the narcissist. His lack of response is designed to assert superiority by halting the conversation and thus the challenge from the SIPSS. The SIPSS remains on the shelf and painted white.

16. The SIPSS texts again :-

“Will it be tonight? I want us to talk, please.”

No response from the narcissist. Same point as above applies.

17. The SIPSS texts again :-

“Just yes or no, that’s all, I miss you.”

Positive Challenge Fuel.

No response from the narcissist. Same point as above applies.

18. The SIPSS texts again :-

“Will you answer me? It will only take you a second. Don’t ignore me.”

Negative Challenge Fuel. The irritation is fuel and the request to answer, prescriptive statement on the time taken and command not to ignore are the challenges.

No response from the narcissist. Same point applies.

19. The SIPSS texts again :-

“Answer me. This is not fair. Stop ignoring me. You had better answer me or I will call you at home on the landline.”

Negative Challenge Fuel. Annoyance plus criticism and threat.

20. The narcissist responds

“I said I am BUSY. Stop texting me. I said I would text you later but you cannot leave it can you? You dare ring my house. If you do, that’s it, it’s over. You’ve pissed me off.”

The narcissist is irritated by the SIPSS failure to accede to his superiority. She is not wounding because fuel is being provided.

The SIPSS repeated failure to stop texting and be patient now means she is painted black. She has failed to accept the narcissist’s superiority. She has not been compliant. The narcissist will now ignore her texts completely. She is being given a Corrective Devaluation which is an absent silent treatment.

21. The upset SIPSS fires off ten more texts. She makes no threats but insults the narcissist and complains about him being unfair and uncaring. These are either pure fuel or challenge fuel. The narcissist does not respond. The SIPSS realises there will be no response so she stops texting. She does not call the home landline.

The narcissist, in accordance with the Corrective Devaluation does not contact the SIPSS at all that night.

The SIPSS is on the shelf, painted black and subject to a Corrective Devaluation.

22. The next day the SIPSS sends a text at midday

“I am really sorry I pestered you yesterday, I know you work hard, it is only because I wanted to hear from you. I won’t do it again. I adore you and I will just wait to hear from you.”

This is pure positive fuel. The narcissist on reading this instinctively recognises that his superiority has been accepted again by the climbdown. The text is a Hoover Trigger. The narcissist sees this climbdown and views the SIPSS as white again. The Hoover Execution Criteria are met and he telephones the SIPSS. The conversation only last 5 minutes but he assures the SIPSS that they will speak tonight.

The SIPSS is still on the shelf, painted white and the Corrective Devaluation has ended.

23. The narcissist recalls his promise to call. This is a Hoover Trigger. The Hoover Execution Criteria are met (he recalls excellent fuel from the SIPSS, she is easy to contact, she has not wounded, there are no obstacles) and thus he does indeed telephone her and they speak for two hours that evening whilst the IPPS is out at the rifle range. For this telephone call the SIPSS is off the shelf, painted white. Positive fuel is provided during the conversation. It is of very good quality as coming from an SIPSS, the frequency is constant for the duration of the call and it is of moderate quantity since it is a telephone call.

Once the call ends, the SIPSS is back on the shelf and painted white.

24. Around midnight with the IPPS sound asleep and the narcissist in his bolthole, he recalls the telephone call (hoover trigger) and again the Hoover Execution Criteria are met ( similar to points above at 23) so he sends a text to the SIPSS. She replies immediately. They text back and forth for an hour. During this exchange the SIPSS is off the shelf and painted white. Positive fuel is provided. It is of very good quality, very frequent and low quantity because it is in writing. The narcissist is in-between engaging with another SIPSS online through social media and thus has two fuel lines open at this point.

When the texting ends, the SIPSS is placed back on the shelf and is painted white. The narcissist engages still with the other SIPSS and does so through Skype engaging in some mutual masturbation. Once that has concluded, the call ends and that SIPSS goes on the shelf also.

Accordingly, this short series of interactions provides the pattern of behaviours, clarifies how the appliance is regarded, how a Corrective Devaluation works, shows the shift from white to black to white, the fuel gathered, the type of interaction occurring and also the entwinement with other appliances also.

 

 

 

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“But I can change.”

A phrase so often said by some of our kind. You will, more likely than not, have heard this sentence at some point during your entanglement with us. Usually it is uttered as part of a Preventative Hoover when the narcissist sees that there is a considerable risk that you are going to depart the Formal Relationship and in so doing threaten the provision of fuel from the chief source. It also makes an appearance as part of the Initial Grand Hoover to draw you back in, should you have managed to take those first steps towards escape. You will hear it in Benign Follow-Up Hoovers although following the effluxion of time you are more likely to hear the cousin, namely, “But I have changed.” Occasionally it appears within the devaluation phase, following an unpleasant episode as part of the further manipulation to keep you bound to the narcissist and providing fuel. Accordingly, its use will occur at different parts of the narcissistic dynamic.

To some, the sentence contains the magical words that the empath is waiting to hear. The empath’s inherent desire to fix, to heal and to repair longs for that acknowledgement by the narcissist that they can alter their behaviour, make new and fresh choices, learn from the mistakes and choose a better path. The declaration of a willingness to change is welcomed by certain empaths and they selflessly accept this statement, believing that all people have some good within, that it is a case of recognising this and applying a different approach.

To others, the words are welcomed but with caution. Perhaps the devaluing behaviour has been so deep and savage that the recipient is wary, fearful of their hopes being raised too soon. Their inherent desire to see change, for the good of both people in the relationship wants to agree, to grab this offer with both hands and see to its implementation, but dare they hope that it can be done? Indeed they can, for in that moment, as the cool, hard logic of caution makes its presence felt, it becomes overrun by the soaring emotional thinking that cries out – “He has realised. He knows he has done wrong. He wants to make amends. He wants to change.” The emotional thinking brings forth those twin sisters of pressure – Hope and Guilt. The empath, chained to the concept of hope, sincerely wishes that  the person that they love will change and become a better person. Guilt also weighs in, whispering, “What if it is genuine, what if he can change and you do not give him a chance, what a bad person you will be for doing that?” The emotional thinking will win out.

Rarely will this protestation of being able to change go unheeded. Rarely will the opportunity not be given to the narcissist who states that this can be done. It is only the informed, those who can apply their cool, hard logic and resist the rising tide of emotional thinking who can repel the allure of those enticing words. For everyone else, they are drawn into allowing the narcissist a further opportunity to keep they, the victim, in place.

Yet, who is it of our brethren who issues this plea? What is meant by it and can it really happen?

You will rarely hear it from the Lesser Narcissist. He sees no reason to change. He or she does as they want. If he smashed up the house or physically attacked you, well it was your fault that it happened and once the ignited fury has abated, the best you will get is that the reset button is pressed and nothing is said about the previous behaviour. The statement of change might be issued if the Lesser faces a fuel crisis and in absolute desperation it is blurted out in order to prevent the cessation of his primary supply but come the morning after, the intention will have evaporated and any suggestion of change will be rejected. The crisis has been averted, the wound healed and fury abated and the entitled Lesser is not going to make those changes, not when of course it was your fault ll along.

If reminded of his intention, he will brush it to one side, telling you he will look into it, that he is busy with something else at the moment but you can talk later, that he has to go to work, that he has someone to see and you will be left dangling. He will not return to the discussion about making a change or seeking help and fearing a further explosive episode you do not press further and there the matter is left.

You will rarely hear it from the Greater Narcissist. He sees no reason to change either. Oh, we know what we do but that is borne out of necessity and it is what must be done. Our needs, superior to yours, require this behaviour and if you cannot accept it, well we can easily find someone else who will, because, after all, we are the prize, the champion and the ultimate, so it is your loss. The Greater will not issue this plea as a Preventative Hoover or such like to stop you leaving. True, he will not want his primary source to escape. This is a matter of fuel provision but often more of pride and superiority. After all, the extensive fuel matrices of the Greater school ( see The Fuel Matrix – Part Three ) means that even if the primary source had the audacity to escape he has plenty of other sources to turn to in the meanwhile. He will however not want to suffer the wounding of this primary source escaping and will want to stop it, but he will use charm and threat to achieve this, not the plea that he will change. It is beneath him.

The only time you might hear these words uttered by the Greater Narcissist is purely because he sees the opportunity for more Machiavellian behaviours through manipulating his victim by engendering false hope. He will see the opportunity to increase his trade craft through agreeing to engage in therapy. He will see it not as a chance to change, but rather an opportunity to learn more about himself (and why not, since he is such a fascinating creature), understand more about his ways and indeed take on the challenge of therapists and the like. If he agrees to changing his behaviour and enlisting external advice and assistance he will also lay down terms and conditions for this occurring in order to further his own agenda. You will however never hear the Greater Narcissist use the phrase “But I can change” as part of some desperate plea.

Accordingly, this leaves us with the school which uses this manipulation often, far more often than the other schools and that is of course the Mid Range Narcissist.  The Mid Ranger uses this manipulation for the following reasons:-

  1. He sees him or herself as a good person. Their perspective means they genuinely regard themselves as decent people and therefore since they are decent, they will, well, do the decent thing and look at making a change;
  2. They regard themselves as giving and they are prepared to make that sacrifice if it means saving the relationship;
  3. They consider themselves to be something of a tortured soul, they have “their demons”, there is something eating away at them and they wish to address it;
  4. They need to be saved and you are the person who can save them. They lack the pig-headed arrogance of the Lesser or the sneering superiority of the Greater.

What is behind those driving factors?

  1. The narcissistic perspective. They consider themselves the one who does good and it is other people who cause the problems, but because they are SO good they will prove that by addressing the issues which have been raised. This is not because they actually believe there is something wrong with them in terms of culpability but rather it is actually an opportunity for them to show the world that they are good and it is other people who are the problem.
  2. This is the victim perspective coming to the fore. The world is a horrible place and no matter how much they try to help others, the world keeps trying to bring them down but that doesn’t matter because guess what? They will rise above it and they will be the one who takes one for the team, who makes the sacrifice and does so for the greater good.
  3. This is the victim perspective once again. They do not see that they are disordered. They do not recognise that they manipulate. They are incapable of doing so because they have no insight or awareness. They do however regard this whole concept of being a ‘tortured soul’ as a magnificent device for drawing fuel. Sympathy, concern and compassion all come flowing. This is not an acknowledgement that there is anything wrong with the Mid Ranger but rather he blames ‘the demon’ (whatever that might be) because blame-shifting is a key defence mechanism and blaming you, the neighbours, the weather or an intangible concept will all work for him.
  4. This is the victim perspective once more but also all part of the sympathy grab for attention. The Mid Ranger wishes to draw pity and compassion but then also be revered, for he is the fallen hero who has been saved and is then able to rise once more, in the magical thinking that plays out in his mind.

The Middle Mid Ranger and Upper Mid Ranger have sufficient cognitive function to realise that their behaviour causes a problem. This is where many victims (understandably) are fooled into thinking that the narcissist is actually showing insight (indeed this often causes them to either think that the narcissist is not a narcissist, or that he is but he can actually change) . The MMR or UMR may acknowledge that his actions cause hurt and problems, however, he or she will never accept ownership of the hurt and problems. For instance, they might say,

“I know that when I disappear for a few days you are worried sick, BUT I need space because you are always pestering me.”

“I understand that you are hurt when I say certain things BUT I am under pressure at work at the moment and you aren’t helping when you question me about why I am home late.”

They can see the consequence but they will not own the consequence. They are configured not to do so.

As is always the case, the uninformed victim accepts the third party explanation as the cause of the errant behaviour or self-flagellates and the victim blames him or herself. So the cause of the problem is regarded as pressure at work or the pestering of the victim.

The Mid Ranger will state he can change and moreover he will also act on the declaration which again sows the seeds of false hope and ensures the victim remains in situ and providing fuel. This is just a further part of the manipulation.

The Mid-Ranger may become more attentive, does not dole out silent treatments, removes the manipulations and stops sulking for a few weeks. This is a Respite Period and he has implemented this because when you said you would not leave, you became painted white again because you did what he wanted. You succumbed to his control and your gracious behaviour provided fuel. The golden period returns and this is what powers his altered ways. It is not because there is any recognition that he must change because it hurts you. The alteration is because you have done what he wanted, thus his split thinking makes you ‘white’ once more and this is what keeps the devaluation at bay, but only for a while.

Naturally, the unwitting victim, having seen changes effected (but not knowing the real reason behind them) is conned into thinking that these changes can happen again and therefore when the plea “But I can change” is made at a later time, the victim is swamped by hope because it happened before (thus it can surely happen again) and thus the cycle continues.

If you return to the Formal Relationship through an Initial Grand Hoover or a Benign Follow-Up Hoover you are painted white once more and the golden period returns, creating the illusion of changed behaviours. Until it tarnishes in due course.

The insidious manipulative manner of the Mid Ranger means that these changes come in many forms. He will alter his actions at home. He will cease the affair shelving the IPSS as your Respite Period Golden Period draws him back to you. He will help out, he will show that inkling of charm once again. He will of course herald his new-found redemption to third parties because this will garner fuel and maintain the facade and of course accords with his complete conviction that he is a good person. This will also provide him with ammunition to hurl at you at the appropriate time, in that he made the changes and if things have faltered it has to be your fault then.

The Mid Ranger will readily attend therapy sessions. This allows him to do several things:-

  1. Show you he is willing and a good person;
  2. He can maintain the facade, “Dawn wanted me to go to therapy and because I love her so much it was the least I could do.” (now tell me how wonderful a husband I am).
  3. He will use the therapy sessions to advance his own agenda. Often the victim will not know what is discussed owing to confidentiality. Therefore the Mid-Ranger, convinced of his own goodness and lack of culpability, will manipulate the therapist  (and will do so convincingly most of the time). Thereafter, the Mid Ranger will tell the victim that actually the therapist said that the victim is the abuser and that the narcissist is the victim. This might be true, an exaggeration of the observations of the unwitting therapist or a lie. Either way, this will leave the victim undermined such is the conviction of the narcissist. Ally that with the fact the victim has seen some changes, their own eroded self-worth and reduced critical thinking and it comes as no surprise that the victim is confused or even believes what the narcissist is saying.
  4. The narcissist can hold it over the victim. “I did as you asked and got some help. They told me there is no issue.” (Now you owe me and I am going to ensure I extract that debt from you repeatedly).

The desire to change is motivated by entirely different reasons than you realise and this desire is not genuine. The change is short-lived, never permanent and any and all behaviours associated with it, no matter how genuine they appear, no matter how earnest the pleading, no matter how many tears are spilled (and the Mid Ranger will turn on the waterworks) it is all part of the manipulation.

They cannot and will not change.

Grasp that understanding so that when you hear “But I can change”, cool,hard logic prevails and you resist the allure of hope. People are inherently optimistic. Empathic people even more so, but the dark side of this hope is vulnerability and our kind and in particular the Mid-Ranger count on that and exploit it.

 

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You are not allowed to question us. To do so is an affront to our notion of superiority and lack of accountability. Your questioning of us may be deliberate, in that you want to know why we have rolled up half-drunk at 3am or it may be perceived by us as you questioning us in a critical fashion, even though you have not intended this, for example you politely ask us where we have been. We regard this as you suggesting to us that we are not allowed to do as we want and that we are somehow accountable to you.

If you engage in Deliberate Questioning, it is usually the case (until such time as you become fully acquainted with what we are and know how to approach dealing with us) that your methodology will be one that provides us with fuel, even though you are challenging us. You will ask in an annoyed fashion where we have been, or express irritation when you ask why we have not moved the rubbish outside. When there is Deliberate Questioning, we do not like you challenging us but because you do so at the same time as providing fuel, our fury is not ignited. Instead, we recognise your challenging behaviour and identify that this must be addressed and our superiority exerted but at the same time we also see that there is an opportunity for us to gain more fuel from you.

You might think that since our fury has not been ignited that we could accept the fuel provided and admit that we are in the wrong, explain what has happened and allow the matter to be resolved. A normal person may do this and you, as an empathic individual, would say your piece and with the agreement and resolution being achieved, you will draw a line under it and move on. Such a scenario is no good to us. You have challenged us and whilst the fury has not been ignited we must still maintain our superiority and this means rejecting your challenge. This rejection also presents us with an opportunity to draw fuel from you, by denying your assertion and so forth. Thus we assert our superiority and gain fuel.

If you engage in Perceived Questioning this invariably ignites our fury because you will do it in a fuel-free manner so that the perceived criticism arising from your questioning wounds us, our fury ignites and we lash out in order to demand fuel to heal the wound caused by your criticism. You may have asked us a question but you did so without any agenda attached to it. We do not see it that way, your simple query of

“Oh, where have you been?” is interpreted by us as suggesting that we are not entitled to do what we want without your approval first. It is delivered without fuel and is critical, thus the wounding occurs and the ignition of fury occurs. We must strike back, once again in order to assert our superiority but also to gain fuel from you.

Accordingly, whether you raise questions of us in an emotional manner, whether you ask them in a straight-forward way, whether you are demanding we explain our selves or that your question is innocuous, you are always going to find that we respond in a manner which provokes an argument.

We do not want you questioning us, whether it is Deliberate or Perceived. You are not permitted by our rules to do so. Once you do, we must reject your challenge, assert our superiority and gain fuel (either because we see the opportunity to do so or because we have to heal the wound). What is the result of this? The deployment of evasion tactics.

This is why you are never able to have a reasonable discussion about something that is concerning you or why we fly off the handle after a seemingly innocent question you have asked us which you find both alarming and bewildering. This is why you find your concerns are not resolved, that you are pushed to a state of heightened emotion, confused, annoyed and frustrated as we point blank refuse to answer what you have asked us. These responses on our part are largely instinctive, a reaction to your challenging behaviour and the prospect/necessity of fuel. The Greater of course will delight in adding to these instinctive responses by layering them with further manipulation and game-playing.

So, what are these evasion tactics? There are many but below are eight which you will no doubt be familiar with. Now you know that these responses, hitherto unexplained and perplexing, are instinctive responses designed to counter your challenge to our superiority and to cater for our need for fuel. No longer will you scratch your head at why we do these things when you question us and instead you ought now to realise how you are only falling into a trap every time you try to engage us.

Why do you fall into this trap? It is because of your innate empathic traits which cause you to be drawn into our machinations through the evasion tactics. You fall for this because you continue to engage with us for the following reasons:-

  1. You need to secure the reality of what has happened. (The Truth Seeker).
  2. You want us to see your point of view. (The Need To Fix.)
  3. You want to be heard. (The Need to Be Honest To Yourself).
  4. You want resolution. (The Need To Be Decent).

These traits of yours cause you to become entangled every time we deploy the Evasion Tactics, of which eight are now detailed.

  1. Drown You Out

We will talk over you, we will shout over you, we will hurl insults at you in a blitzkrieg response which is designed to result in the fact that since you can no longer be heard then you can no longer challenge us. Hearing is challenging, we do not want to hear you any longer and instead we shall draw fuel from your gestures and expressions as our blanketing response draws your frustration and anger.

2. Other People

We shift the topic of conversation on to other people in order to deflect from your attack against us. We will explain how a colleague works similarly late and never receives any flak from his spouse in order to make you appear unreasonable. We will triangulate you by explaining how a previous partner never made such a fuss about our spending habits. By comparing you to other people we engage in our classic act of triangulation, aiming to belittle you and cause you to talk about those other people rather than continuing your attack against us.

3. Delivery But Not Content

We will repeatedly interrupt you as we demand to be allowed to finish, we accuse you of not allowing us to speak our mind, we tell you that you are judging us before we have been able to state our case, we remind you not to interrupt us, not to raise your voice at us, demand you lower your voice or change your tone. None of this of course addresses the content of what you are wanting to discuss with us but instead we deflect by getting you to defend yourself by saying you are not interrupting, that you are not raising your voice and so forth. Your challenge becomes lost as you are caught up in these sideshows and all the while the emotion pours from you.

4. Early Resolution

This is a classic tactic of both the Lesser and the Mid-Ranger. The Lesser, lacking the articulate nature to continue the verbal sparring decides to call time on the “discussion” and thus end the attack. He will announce that the discussion is at an end and will sign off with one last act which will draw a sudden surge of fuel from you. He may push you and bellow that the matter is over, or possibly  lash out with fists and spit in your face that he has had enough of talking and  your shocked and hurt response providing that jet of fuel that he requires and he then withdraws, satisfied he has asserted himself and has instinctively avoided any further wounding. The Mid-Range will declare

“There is nothing more to discuss.”

“I have made my point and that is the end of it.”

“This ends now.”

He will then withdraw and dole out a silent treatment, gaining fuel after the event and having protected himself, perhaps when he felt that the situation was slipping away from him, by withdrawing from the continuing challenge or criticism.

5. The Shift

We will turn the discussion onto something else completely. We may talk about some issue arising at work, point out that the exterior of the house needs a lick of paint or that we are thinking about buying a new car. You will try and shift the topic back to what you want to discuss but we will keep tugging it off topic again as we demonstrate our control over you and your emotional responses provide us with fuel.

6. The Outgunning

You think we have done something wrong? Luckily for us we know of plenty of other things which you have done (in our minds) that are far worse and therefore we will commence our own inquisition of you about your behaviour in order to demonstrate that you are the one who is in the wrong and should be subjected to questioning, not us. You feel the need to get to the truth of the matter and therefore you are derailed from advancing your questioning of us as you are forced into defending yourself.

7. How Could You?

How could you treat us in this manner after all that we have done for you/after the week we have had at work/knowing that our dog has just died/our football team lost the final. We will roll out one of the typical pity plays by pointing out that we have either done so much for you and this is the thanks that we get and/or you are a heartless cow who is kicking us when we are down. Either way, it prompts you to justify your approach and deflects from what you have been trying to discuss.

8. Pest

Why won’t you leave us alone? We just want a simple and quiet life (oh the hypocrisy) but you just won’t let us will you? You have to keep pestering us with questions all of the bloody time, just shut up and leave us be. This is often used when you engage in Perceived Questioning as our abrupt response to you just asking “how are you” leaves you upset and bewildered.