The Narcissist’s Compartmentalized Life – Part 2/2

narcissists-create-chaosAlthough narcissists are famous for lacking a moral compass and the ability to show true human emotion, it’s their ability to understand it all that amazes me. In this article, Part 2 of my series on a narcissism and compartmentalization, I’m going to give you my theory on how a narcissist (or sociopath) actually does it…how he or she can actually do what they do, walking in and out of compartments continually fucking with the lives of those who love them. Again, this is my theory on it and I’m no expert but you will see that it makes sense.

Now, as strange as it sounds, a narcissist’s understanding of emotion is beyond even our own, believe me. Understanding what makes others tick allows narcissists to be a pretender extraordinaire and the future-faking emotional chameleon that eventually gets him/her the desired end result from another person. Combine this with compartmentalization and the narcissist creates his own perfect storm of trickery that can fool even the best of us.

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In Part 1, I explained the psychological tactic of compartmentalization and how the narcissist uses it to keep all important relationships separated so that one either never finds out about the other or is incapable of ever gathering the evidence to validate suspicions that they do have. Compartmentalizing is how an N is able to subject partners to silent treatments over and over, all the while feeling perfecting confident that these partners will remain in the queue until his return. I likened the narcissist’s brain to an empty building filled with separate rooms (or compartments) where he keeps the different scenarios of his life under lock and key. Assuming the appropriate personality for each scenario, he simply slithers in and out of these rooms, trauma bonding the occupants to the point that no one knows what the hell is going on (except the N, of course) until it is way too late.

So, how does the narcissist do it? Is he just a pathological liar? Is it really possible that this person we love can have absolutely no problem living this Lie? How does a person just walk away from a long-term partner, historically rejecting years and years of a relationship as if it meant nothing at all? Well, here’s how I see it……

[NOTE: this goes for the female narcissist as well]

Once upon a time, the narcissist, even before he started creating his compartments, had to get a handle on his emotions. Whether this meant learning how to use the few that he did have (anger, rudeness, nothingness…) or learning to mimic those that he knew could get him what he wanted, he had to figure out a way to stay on top of the game so he could, in essence, keep playing for as long as he wanted. (Don’t forget…it’s all about the game here!) To do this, he decided that all emotions, aside from what his fakery made it look like, should, to him, feel the same. By this, he meant that everything and everybody in his life will exist on the same emotional plane. To the narcissist, no one person or situation or relationship or scenario will be any more important than the next and the level of importance allocated to all will be, of course, minimal. Why? Because “minimal” is comfortable to a narcissist as it relates to anything and especially as it relates to how he has to interact with the outside world. Of course, the outside world will be none the wiser because what the narcissist does have is an innate ability to deceive and to also read – like a book – the weaknesses and boundary points of anyone he becomes involved with. And these abilities, combined with the inability to feel true human emotion, then becomes is highly advantageous because it allows the N to have the calm wherewithal to figure out what he has to do to get what he wants. Basically, if he makes the most of what he’s got, he can go through life not giving a fuck about anything and still have a helluva good time! And so this is what he did.

The bottom line is that you mean no more to the N than anyone else in his life and you never did. You, his boss, his buddy, his job, his family as a whole and individually, his children, his co-workers, and even the check-out girl who rang out his groceries this morning all mean exactly the same to a narcissist. Everything and everyone (even you) serves a purpose and if, by chance, you stop serving that purpose, he’ll just find someone else to serve it or he’ll simply stop needing it. It ain’t nothing but a thing!

narcissist-free-zari-ballardThis is why narcissist can quit or switch jobs at the drop of a hat or walk out on his/her children feeling no guilt at all or change cell phone numbers with every deafening silence or talk nasty about you all over town when you did nothing or flash his new girl all over Facebook or leave a marriage after 20 years without saying a word or stop talking to family members or cheat on you even though you have great sex  or make promises only to break them every time or future-fake a wedding engagement or vacation two days before he disappears or seduce and discard you over and over and over no matter how much you cry or beg him to love you and not to do it and to see the error of his ways. This is how he can walk in and out of compartments, fooling the occupants while having the time of his life.

Leveling the emotional playing field for any and all relationships and then sticking the humans attached to those relationships in little compartments so that they never learn about each other is what the narcissist’s relationship agenda is all about! The narcissist never hates or loves or likes you any more or less than he hates, love, or likes the stranger who stood next to him in an elevator this morning. When we view the relationship with the narcissist from this perspective, we can get a better understanding of why it ends in the callous way that it does and we can then take the pain a lot less personally. You, my friend, were never the problem.

This is only my theoretical opinion, of course, but if you think about it, it will connect the dots and make perfect sense.

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  • Shachi

    December 21, 2016 at 6:29 pm Reply

    Thanks for the content. It makes all sense. It will be easier to let go now. Thank you.

    • Zari Ballard

      December 21, 2016 at 8:37 pm Reply

      Hi Shachi,

      I’m grateful to be able to help:) Have an awesome holiday and plan a new year that is focused on YOU. Life is too short to have to put up with these fools.

      Zari xo

  • Searching 4 Answers

    August 25, 2016 at 10:53 pm Reply

    Hi. I went looking for information on emotional compartmentalising as that is what i had triaged my partner as having, and the source of most of my confusion / pain.

    Admittedly, i am at the equally non-functional polar opposite of being often literally paralysed by being ignored, but I noticed it more so during times when she was either at work, weekends away with friends or just generally when not in my physical presence. And i must saybi have made the adjustment for ‘normal gaps of communication’.
    Bottom line is that when we are together (relationship for 3yrs / living togther 2yrs) its wonderful, close, intimate: everything an ideal relationship can be, but I noticed early a clear distinction between myself, her friends, her relatives, her work etc. Each overlaps, but only sufficiently to avoid too clear a distinction.

    I love her with all my heart, which is mostly worn to much in a small glass perforated container, attached to a tear soaked sleeve, but i guess the best description i have come up with, is that i feel that im being ‘managed’. Not in a demonstrably demanding way. Far from it. Its a gentle caressing management, where its oftern impossible to see the strings operating at the time, but its clear that a great deal if effort goes into telling me critically what i want to hear to keep things ticking along.

    I am not angry at all anymore because i can also discern a complete lack of ill intent. It seems to be a function mechanism more than anything.

    BuT… the problems have been escalating and i feel / fear that i must now be proactive abiut either helping her out, or moving on. THAT is the very last thing i want and will exhaust any and all other options, but to date i have let far too many things slide. Far to many things that transgress my own ethics and standards.

    Anyway, i felt compelled to leave a message to say this, as well as wondering whether in the only male who seems to attract these types. I guess it also says alot about me and my part in providing supply to these types.

    Im still hoping that love will be enough to perhaps right the ship

  • erin vales

    July 21, 2016 at 5:24 pm Reply

    I met this man and felt he was always hideing his personality. He had all the behaviors of a narcissist. He compartalized everything and he had inside rage when he was provoked. He always appear to friends he was happy go lucky. But his personality was very dark. I am a nurse and at first he even fooled me. I have never met an narcissist before and pray to god is never will again. They are very charming but be ware!!!!!!!!

  • Anonymous

    August 2, 2015 at 11:22 am Reply

    Compartmentalization, what a Great Description! I read 3 of you articles today, & I broke No Contact last night, by going to my older email acct. because I was wanting to erase the N’s name from my contact list as the final step to Recovery. I Thought I had Blocked him from email, but apparently I must have unblocked him or something a while ago. I went to my acct, and BOOM, saw 2 emails from him. I knew I didn’t even Need to Ask myself if I Should read them, because ilthe answer would be a “No.” But, I relapsed & read them. N said he lost my # after a virus hit his phone. I have changed my # a lot in an attempt to do No Contact, so after I texted him, and let out a lot of stuff, confronting, not mushy. We talked on the phone, but I am on guard. And, even though this quote is from a different article from you, I have to say it Literally Saved me. You wrote, ” Whether or not I can say without a doubt that the person I love right now has my back no matter what the circumstance…” I Immediately sent that quote to him, & said ,”This is what I’m looking for in a partner, & is the “qualifying” factor. I guess you have to decide whether you would want to be this person to me or not. Because I know what I want, and life is short, we have to see if we are “compatible” with this. And, if what makes me happy is what mak es you happy.” Zari, you made me BRAVE! I have never articulated to any partner before, N or not, exactly what I want. I never saw it written out so “clearly” before. This is not about his response, it’s about me. He now knows that I know exactly what I want, and this will determine whether “he qualifies for me, not vice versa.” This changed the entire gsme, because even if he lies and says yes, & future fakes, he knows now that I am measuring him. I feel the Most Bold, Beautiful, & Proud of myself I ever have in maybe a lifetime. Thank you Zari! May God bless the work you are doing for. N Abuse Survivors like me. You helped Change my life by your Insight! Sorry this is so long.

  • Rose

    May 28, 2015 at 12:03 pm Reply

    amazing post…I think your last comments were brilliant. Thank you for sharing.!-

    The narcissist never hates or loves or likes you any more or less than he hates, love, or likes the stranger who stood next to him in an elevator this morning. When we view the relationship with the narcissist from this perspective, we can get a better understanding of why it ends in the callous way that it does and we can then take the pain a lot less personally. You, my friend, were never the problem.

    • Zari Ballard

      June 5, 2015 at 5:27 pm Reply

      Hi Rose,

      Thank you and I once I realized that fact – that I was no more important than the next person or the person before or the stranger he glanced at in the check-out line – my entire perspective of my relationship changed. It was like a revelation that set me free, I swear to God. I probably need to write more about that because it truly is key to separating from madness once and for all:)

      Zari xo

      • RW

        October 25, 2015 at 8:00 pm Reply

        Yes, please do write more on this topic! Understanding the “level playing field” aspect has been the key to my healing as well, once I understood that there was nothing I ever could have done differently to change the outcome. It makes more sense out of the lingering confusion that has been so difficult to process, and also helps me to maintain a strict NC. Thank you for this article.

        • Zari Ballard

          October 27, 2015 at 4:15 am Reply

          Thanks RW…You read my mind because I have been thinking about writing more about this. Realizing that I was just one of many and as UNIMPORTANT as the next was pivotal in that it freed me from having to always try to be better than whoever I thought he was with or wanted to be with. Like you said, when I realized I couldn’t ever change the results…when that SUNK IN..recovery was right around the corner (and we hadn’t even split up yet). The acceptance of this fact is so important and working toward it can start at any time for ANYBODY.

          I’ll write more about it and thanks for confirming the message!

          Zari xo

  • Naomi

    May 18, 2015 at 11:57 am Reply

    This is one of the main aspects of life with a narcissist that I have so much trouble explaining to the friends who saw me through the good times, the bad times, and on to recovery. I found your site on a day when I had a little debris to clean up (which, as you know, can happen for years afterwards) and just wanted to say thank you, because articles like this totally nail it. Also thanks for posting some of your past conversations (aaaaaagh, the frustration!) – they’re excellent reminders of why NC is the way to peace and happiness.

    • Zari Ballard

      May 20, 2015 at 4:59 pm Reply

      Hi Naomi,

      Thank you for the kind words and I’m grateful to be able to help in any way that I can. The way I see it, we’ve all got to stick together because there isn’t a single soul other than those who’ve experienced it who will ever understand. hence, my reason for writing the books and creating this website:)

      Stay strong!

      Zari xo

    • Zari Ballard

      May 30, 2015 at 7:06 pm Reply

      Hi Naomi,

      Thank you for the kind words! Reminding everyone is what my mission is all about so I’m glad it’s working! Continue on to peace and happiness….:)

      Zari xo

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