Narcissists & the Cell Phone Game

narcissist-cell-phone-gameNarcissists are experts when it comes to playing The Cell Phone Game. A narcissist uses the cell phone as a tool, a prop…a weapon, in fact…to conduct his evil and bring sadness and especially anxiety upon his victims. My ex was a master at The Cell Phone Game and I repeatedly called him on it, prompting him to play the game even harder and with more sinister intent. It took me a while but as the years passed and I caught on to the Game, I was able to predict his next move simply by watching how he interacted with his cell phone.

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During one three year stretch, my ex changed his cell number no less than fifteen times. His MO was to simply vanish while simultaneously letting his cell run out of minutes. The fact that suddenly (and for no apparent reason) I was simply cut off from all contact – sometimes for months – literally crushed my soul to the very core. Later, although he vehemently denied the connection, I became convinced that the number of times he cheated was directly related to the number of times he changed cell numbers. And although I never could prove this theory, I’m still convinced of it. In a weird sort of way, it was triangulation by cell phone. Sometimes he’d resurface with a newly reactivated old number (from years before) and sometimes even the old phone to go with it. I assume this twisted pathological strategy was to ensure a vaguely recognizable number when he hoovered but all I could envision was a big bag of disposable Kyoceras that he simply reached into whenever he needed to cut me off or come back, depending on which bed he was headed to!

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Do not ever be fooled…..The Cell Phone Game is always a key component in a narcissist’s  pathological relationship agenda. A clever narcissist learns that he can use his cell phone as a tool for juggling multiple relationships and for keeping one relationship from ever really finding out about the other. Having a cell phone and knowing how to “use” it to his advantage allows a motivated narcissist to move seamlessly through life without the stress of multiple worlds colliding. He also understands that in a second it could backfire on him. My ex learned this lesson the hard way, giving me the one and only time that I was ever able to bust him red-handed.

After a two week silence, he had magically reappeared with a new number and ridiculous story in tow and I, of course, took him right to bed for some great make-up sex. Later, when his cell rang, instead of mysteriously ignoring it (like usual), he rolled over in bed and simply answered it, letting his guard down and completely forgetting the rules of the Game. Within seconds, he was getting an angry earful from the daughter of the girl he had obviously just cheated on me with. She was screaming at him on her mother’s behalf, demanding to know the reason he’d slipped out without a word just hours earlier…just up and left…apparently while her mom’s back was turned. Naked and lying right next to him, I could hear every word she said loud and clear and I flipped. It was a classic moment that marked the beginning of a very long summer where I did nothing but obsess the affair. For my ex, he became a cell phone Ninja, never again making such a careless mistake. From then on, it was war.

You see, a narcissistic partner succeeds at The Cell Phone Game by mastering all the various strategies by which he can play it and also by streamlining our codependency so that he gets away with it. But he can’t be careless or too cocky. Lucky for the N, victims, as a rule, are fairly easy to manipulate most of the time and, therefore, he can usually rely on the absurdity of his own words and actions to go unpunished. There were times when, for various stupid reasons, my ex would pretend to have no phone at all. In retrospect, I know that this was a narcissistic tactic and a lie and in fact he probably had multiple phones sitting at home (or in the trunk of his car) ringing off the hook. Truthfully, the multiple phone theory never even occurred to me until I accidentally overheard the narcissist quietly snicker while listening to a talk radio discussion about that very thing. I felt instantly sick but suddenly the absence of a phone or the fact that the phone he did have when with me never ever rang made perfect but horrible sense. When he pretended to have no phone, I could never decide which was worse – us having no means of contact at all or him using the only means of contact we did have as an evil weapon.

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A narcissist is also very good at acting as if he isn’t particularly attached to his phone to distract you from the fact that he’s obsessed with it. For example, my ex would sometimes punish me for calling him out on The Cell Phone Game by smashing his phone to bits (whereby implementing “no communication”) as if replacing it over and over was simply no big deal. And he loved to say, “I don’t even know why I have a cell phone. You’re the only one that calls me.” Thanks and yeah, right…

Narcissists also like to “lose” their cell phones just long enough to do whatever it is they need to do behind you back…Did you try to call me? Sorry, I couldn’t find my phone. Sometimes they’ll choose to keep the phone but “lose” the charger, conveniently rendering the phone “dead” just long enough to do whatever it is their doing…Did you try to call me? Sorry, I couldn’t find my charger. And it doesn’t stop there because The Cell Phone Game always has another card to play….Did you call me? I don’t know why but the battery’s going out…Did you try to call me? Sorry, my minutes ran out.

Sound familiar? It’s nothing but narcissistic word garbage – all of it – and it’s intended to confuse, abuse, and manipulate you.

I imagine that before the cell phone, the Narcissist and his cousins Sociopath and Psychopath had a much harder life. They may have actually had to face their victims and admit the truth. The Cell Phone Game allows a narcissist to hide behind a nasty text or no text at all. He can subject a victim to silent treatments in the blink of an eye and the flip of a switch. He will Idolize, Devalue, and Discard you using nothing but text messages. And he’ll do it all from the comfort of his own home.

Keep in mind that the N is as simple as he is complicated and nothing about him or his evil agenda is rocket science. Once you figure out his strategies and see them for exactly what they are…ridiculous, ludicrous bullshit that no one deserves to be subjected to, you will start to wonder why you ever let it get that far. You will begin to let go of the narcissist in your life. You will be able to go No Contact and regain your sanity.

And you will begin to take your power back.

Stay strong, my friends!!

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  • Candiss Riehle

    April 22, 2017 at 6:45 am Reply

    Hi Zari…wow I stumbled on your site after being done with a Narcissist I dated for the past 3 years. I never had a partner before like this so it was all so confusing. The silent treatments repeatedly, disappearing, the cell phone excuses, I knew something wasn’t right with this man..I just didn’t know what..until I Google and read up on Narcissists. I ended up finding out he was leading a double life besides me, but also another woman he was living with. Then all the disappearing made sense. But this topic of cell phone games goes even more insidious by these jerks. What my guy started doing was using the “blocking” feature on the iPhone. He’d block me, thinking I had no clue and wouldn’t receive my texts or calls….so in his mind he’s not even bothered. Then when he was ready for his hoovering…he’d unblock and reach out via text. Then I’d entertain him just enough for his fill….or until I expected more from him….then he’d put the block back on. He’d turn it on and off at his disclosure. And this infuriated me. The control and games. The mind fuckery. I couldn’t take anymore. So He left found someone else I’m sure….and I’m in no contact. I’m following all your advice and thank you. Candiss

    • Zari Ballard

      April 25, 2017 at 3:36 pm Reply

      Hi Candiss,

      Yes, the cell phone game is all that you describe and more. Blocking, unblocking, and even changing numbers when it suits them. I can’t imagine what narcs and sociopaths did before the smart phone! Now, they use it to juggle relationships like Mission Control.


  • Michelle

    December 26, 2016 at 10:24 am Reply

    Hello Zari, I really need to speak to you. I am trying to end a 5 month relationship with a man who is definitely a textbook narcissist. It’s so hard for me because I didon’t fall in love with him. I finally caught him red handed cheating last night. Christmas night. He was giving me the silent treatment and then he called me whIle i was at a Christmas gathering. He had been giving me the silent treatment since the Friday before Christmas because we got into an argument. He was totally in the wrong. I finally busted him and now I’m super hurt. Like hurt beyond measure. Because I actually thought that he could possibly be the one that I would or could end up being with. He hid who he truly was for the entire 4 in a half months. I hav never met anyone like him so I was on baffled answer confused about his behavior. It wasn’t until here recently that I decided to research his behavior because it was so abnormal and hurtful to me.

    • Zari Ballard

      December 26, 2016 at 4:36 pm Reply

      Hi Michelle,

      I am so sorry about everything, girl. How sad! Unfortunately, it is so typical that this would happen at the holidays. This is when their true colors shine through. Book some time with me so that we can chat…I would be happy to help you through it:) If you think that you need to book some extended time with me, choose the longer package here. As soon as I receive notification, I will contact via email with some times that we can speak. No worries…we’ll figure it out.

      Zari xo

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