The Narcissist’s Pathological Relationship Agenda (Book Excerpt)

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An excerpt from Zari Ballard’s book  When Love Is a Lie:

A narcissist’s pathological relationship agenda is a phrase that I coined relevant to the undeniable fact that every narcissist we will ever meet or read about treats their partners the exact same way. And if I do say so myself, I haven’t read or heard a phrase that explains it any better.

Now, certainly I could refer to the narcissistic behaviors I speak of as symptomatic of the borderline personality disorder because I know this to be true as well. However, since I don’t appreciate having to give a narcissist, sociopath, or psychopath any way out or excuse to hide behind, I prefer to call it by exactly what it is – a pathological agenda meant to destroy the identity and soul of the recipient.

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What the N does is deliberately manipulate every possible situation so that he fully dominates our thought process. This, in and of itself, is the most frustrating part of narcissistic relationship agenda. It’s incredibly hard to live our lives when half of our brain is focused on this one individual. We can never quite relax in our own mind because the N is always plotting and then implementing ways to keep us unbalanced and insecure. This is his plan for us – the most essential part of his relationship agenda – and he, too, is very good at what he does.

The narcissist’s relationship agenda is his modus operandi for living. He has no other choice but to fulfill the requirements of the agenda to the best of his ability or life, as he knows it, will be far from worth living. Keep in mind that since the narcissist is completely void of human emotion, he must create emotion (i.e. suffering) in others to get his fix. Now, as I stated earlier, this agenda being part of the narcissist’s borderline personality disorder does not make it okay, it just makes it what it is. We don’t have to accept it or adhere to it or allow the narcissist’s determination to fulfill it get in the way of our lives – but we do. The more we do this, the better he feels about himself and his miserable, empty life.

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You see, any relationship where one partner is a narcissist will never get better because the N likes it just the way it is. His plan…his relationship agenda from day one, is always clear in his mind and that is to keep his long-time lover, girlfriend, or wife – as his main source of supply – in a heightened state of anxiety. In fact, the person who is his main source is actually secondary in his life to his multiple primary sources – that is, the other women, men, and extracurricular dalliances he plays with on the side. Yup, that’s right – his main squeeze in not even the most important one but rather the most convenient because the effort to keep this person in the game is so minimal. The narcissist knows that invoking a good, hearty silent treatment every so often will keep his partner in line, condition her passive-aggressively according to the agenda, and buy himself time to tend to his other relationships. Sad, but true. With that system in place, the N happily gets what he wants from life – a big piece of sugary cake and all the time in the world to eat it.

Don’t ever forget that when the narcissist’s partner suffers, he wins. Why? Because, according to the narcissist’s relationship agenda, our suffering is the narcissist’s reward for a job well done.

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  • mjohn

    March 25, 2017 at 11:11 pm Reply

    Thanks for the article. It was particularly helpful because the use of phone contact for hoovering is what I’m dealing with now. My wife discarded me after years of her narcissistic abuse by obtaining a restraining order against me when I started to stand up to her. The forced no contact has actually been really beneficial to me and helped me get my head straight about the damage her narcissism has caused to me and my children.
    Anyway, 4 months into the restraining order now and the hoovering has begun in full force. Emotional messages are being sent through my mother. Possessions of sentimental value are being sent from my house (that I can’t enter). However, the phone use has been the real kicker. On my last six scheduled phone calls with my children, she started answering the phone. She hadn’t done it once in almost 4 months. Now every time she just dangles herself out there to tempt me to break no contact.I just ask to please speak to my children by their names, talking to her as if she were just a receptionist, who I don’t know.
    The interesting thing about this is that in 20 years of marriage it is the first time I feel like she is cracking and I’m winning a battle. She has always so thoroughly manipulated me by my fear of losing her that I have always done her bidding when push comes to shove. Because of the ending of our relationship and the no contact, I am now free of that burden. I now know that she is really emotionally desperate herself, but her impulse to manipulate and control me is still overwhelming. Not quite sure what her motivation is. Maybe she misses me, but maybe she just is trying to entrap me. (Maybe both at the same time?) Navigating the next couple years of my life will be difficult,

    • Zari Ballard

      April 14, 2017 at 12:43 pm Reply

      Hi Mjohn,

      I’m so running behind in my responses! So sorry! I hope that you are holding strong. Her motivation is the fact that she senses your strength and pulling away. At the moment we feel better, they will suddenly reappear to suck as back in. This is a very typical tactic. It has nothing to do with “missing” us except for the fact that they “miss” the convenience of our insecurity and willingness to give in. You have to stand strong train “her” to YOUR way, not the reverse. You’ve come too far to ever back down now, my friend. Stay engaged for the children but keep it to a minimum always. 20 years is a long time and I’m grateful that you are free. She doesn’t really want you to be happy because then she can’t control you. Stay on top of the game, be the best dad you can be, and enjoy the rest of your life.

      Zari xo

  • Annette Calandriello

    December 8, 2016 at 7:07 am Reply

    I haven’t heard back from you, I ‘ m sure you are extremely busy .Still very grateful for your helpful information, I will NEVER have contact with my N again.And at this point not able to FORGIVE him.I know I need to but I can’t let him off the hook that easily.He took years from me, that I can’t get back. Any suggestions? Annette Calandriello

    • Zari Ballard

      December 9, 2016 at 5:55 pm Reply

      Hi Annette,

      I did just respond to your last post. All I can say is read through all the articles here. There are over eighty and I have tried to cover every topic possible. Also, read through the comments under each article because the people that share their stories here are amazing and will give you a world of insight. We’ve all been in your shoes and YOU CAN DO THIS. Start the new year right, sister!

      Zari xo

    • Sierra Harrington

      January 23, 2017 at 4:14 am Reply

      Annette forgiveness is for you NOT him. When you are able to forgive you will finally be free, if you choose to hold on to the pain and hurt he caused you will stay under his control forever. You must not turn the pain back in on yourself by forgiving him you must also forgive yourself for the pain you allowed. In my opinion this is the hardest part not to turn the blame inward. Forgiveness can take time to process and is not instant. I would say 6 months to year to heal and fully forgive is completely normal. Don’t let him hold power over your emotions for one minute longer! He did those things because he himself is hurting, it says nothing about you and everything about what he himself is lacking. You are stronger and by forgiving you can take back your power. Hope this helps..

  • Val Heike

    November 20, 2016 at 1:11 am Reply

    Read me Val Heike I write about my narcississ half sister who placed me without proof on Elder Abuse. Harassed our mom by calling her 70 times a week then threatening her our mom. Mom wanted to remain in Iowa then after we spoke to my priest and he told us his to fight Iowa Human Services and keep the money crabbing bitch away from mom. Next night we had a laundry fire! No one heard me when I told them what she did . I cared for my mom all my life. I was the scapegoat dad always used me for leaving family gatherings Diana crushed the life from me. I to show her that when mkm tells you no I want to stay with my family that dies not mean burn my home lie about my daughter and kill my cat.

  • carrie

    November 16, 2016 at 1:21 am Reply

    I have been on and off in N relationship for the last 4 years. It has torn my world apart I did not realize I was even in one till small things that were red lights turned slowly but methodically into massive head turning cold hearted words then to actions, a pattern began. I realized after very painful situations and his reactions or no reaction AND…very abnormal one’s that were indeed ALL the signs of a NP .

    I have been discarded many times, dealt with word salad, gas lighting, got hooked into his family of which BTW his mother is I believe also one.

    That is another story upon itself there I was patronized by the mother when I confronted her about her son . I was told i was a liar and he is the perfect son that I was the sick one . I was told to get help , mocked by her and by him . I have had full on arguments to defend my soul in there house with both demons on me him and her ( the dad passive in the corner) telling me complete lies one feeding the other . The whole family are NP. He got me involved with his family right at the get go the love bombing the wealthy family house and the glitter blinded me. Until about 4 months in he started to show signs of oddities in his behavior. He would start fights with me out of the blue do things on purpose to ruin date nights . I found condoms in his car then one day one was gone..I asked him about it he said I was delusional I was sick I was lying get help.. then silent

    He would freeze me out, he would do things to make me paranoid like guard his phone like fort knox. I was going crazy working like a detective sleuth to figure this guy out…exactly what he wanted indeed.
    I found bizarre phone numbers in his cell all of which were women. A trip he told me the day he left no warning no heads up…again more numbers while he was on this trip were on his phone. It went from bad to worse to a night mare Hollywood style Norman Bates .

    I also realized he was a hoarder hence never going to see his place till a year and a half in I was blown away at the mess the stuff you could not even go into the room he slept in. Another piece to the puzzle another ahhh ha moment. There were times I was sick with flu really badly, and the absolute worst one of the many kicker. Is I had a skin cancer diagnosed and it was not a good one. I am ok now very lucky but I realized that day not only did the Dr. say I have Cancer in the office lol… when I went to the car where he was waiting I told him .

    And here is what will make any normal person cry . he said without blinking an eye that” too bad” . Well lets get going I have to go back to my folks place no work here this winter did I tell you I was leaving today!.”…

    I said ” you never told me that?”… I was in tears in crisis panic mode for good reason. He told me that in fact he had told me and that I knew this and I should not be upset . He was gas lighting me telling me he told me all this and it was my fault for not listening he made the whole thing up to confuse me… then I am thinking maybe he did tell me he was leaving.. but NO IN FACT IT WAS WORD SALAD BULLSHIT TO MAKE ME feel nuts and more confused and mask his lies and evil shit he had planned ..I was now discard with the cancer that was inconveniencing his life. Only tru psychopath could do this to someone.Not one ounce of empathy, care , concern..absolute only care was for himself…

    The more I cried the more he got evil like… shut up am leaving no big deal (totally not considering me or my cancer) He was getting angrier and angrier like it was my fault for having cancer and I was now in his way a boat anchor he had to toss out. I said when will you be back he said in a week. That week turned into 3 months . Later of which I discovered he was on a dating site under a similar handle name of his own and indeed this was him . No pics but latter I played a cat mouse game with him as an imposter on the site and he not once wanted to deliver any pics of himself in case it was the GF..but the answers were clar it was him indeed..

    .I dealt with the cancer on my own with friends and family we got through I am ok and well of that at least.

    I would hear from him I tried my best to NC but my vulnerability and my addiction was stronger. Which has been the puzzling factor with NP they leave a very very deep addiction withdrawal symptom in there victims . I think because when you are with them and it’s GOOD it’s really good there intoxicating. But so was Ted Bundy.

    The worst to get out of because he wrapped me up in his NP mother too I didnt know it could be in the family as well a whole team !!! this made it double hard . She would dott on me then back stab me to her son . She was able to gain her weapons as did he this way turning on me saying she never said that then same thing as her son… your delusional I never said those things.. your PMSING…. or have you reached menopause…? just berating things to minimize me.She would play good cop bad cop then unveil the mask of horrors latter as arsenal against me to stack up her son’s defense and behavior.

    HIs lies are so good so precise, he could fool anyone.

    One time I was so upset about the cancer i was having panic attack I called him I was in tears he started laughing on the phone I was talking about why he left me that day in the car and how cold awful he was..
    doing so.. I was confronting him about that day… he was laughing chuckling in the phone.. then he would take the phone away and put it down then pick it up 5 min latter laugh.. absolute torture and loving it.
    the say I gotta go then put me on the SPAM list right to voice mail.. and freeze me out some more..

    The mother..she would come to me and complain about her husband how it was all his fault her son drinks and cant keep a GF..bitch all her N crap about how bad a father he was ..more like he is too scared to speak up he might get castrated who knows..

    They were like these 2 parasites feeding off me anyone that dared to question her or her son was headed for the abyss of pain they instill.

    The story gets worse can you believe it: This is when I 100 % knew I was dealing with family NP or pure Psychopaths… or N.

    MY NP birthday at his families house…consisted of his mother baking him a cake the shape of a cat with whiskers and nose and ears a cake for a 4 year old. !!! he loved it apparently the family legacy every year!!!!
    She says here’s to another birthday for my boy and lets keep passing this along…lets take the legacy to your daughter.

    ..I have a daughter who is now 8 . yes we all sat there her and I even at her age she spoke up and said…
    That cake is for a kid not a an adult… lol!! the mother was trying to create infantile sickness to her too. The NP I am discussing is well over 40 !! yrs old. I said lets hope not … she shot me a look and so did he .

    I was so scared
    I went to the bed room that night tossing and turning feeling like I was indeed in THEIR LAIR…. a sitting duck what was I involved in and how did this happen ?? like a speed up movie of a night mare.

    I went home with the fear of god in me thinking.. I am in deeper than I thought they have there claws in my life digging in deeper and deeper and I am seeing exactly how bad this really is going down holy shit!!

    I ran for my life…I did a NC for 4 months I broke down he hoovered and got me back. I had so much guilt and depression self hate for doing this but I tried at least to keep him at a very good distance in snippets .
    more for intimacy to ease my loneliness as pathetic as it sounds..but I never let him in my house for long or involved with my daughter after the true colors were falling out of the closets. I saw him maybe once every 2 weeks in total
    despair and PTSD more than anything.

    Things like holidays, trips, vacations he ruined was manipulative, callous, my few last Birthdays he made me feel so bad about the fact that he HAD to buy me gifts or a dinner out was appalling to him.. he often said women should pay for him take him out… that women were nothing but whores to get dinners out of guys and money. That no man should fork over money or gifts not even for special occasions. I think he slept with hookers probably..

    Here is a good one for the ruin er of birthdays : He said he was going to buy me a computer lap top for it. He looked and looked and promised up and down. As he went on looking he started to change his tune the closer it got to my birthday. He was more angry..he said everything was too expensive he wont spend more than a few hundred bucks if that???on me quote on quote… he was broke..

    Then I looked on his favorites list and found a game computers for 2,000 $$ ?? I don’t play video games…he owns 4 computer… does he need a 5th..?

    HE DOES….!! the night of my birthday he announced he bought a computer he brought it over.. it was for him he said.. isnt it great he said in glee watching my face very carefully for reaction. He was so pleased with this
    chess move. He was waiting for any flinch of my body or voice to give him the suffering he so likes to inflict..

    I did not flinch I was calm. I said how nice then lets go for planned.. he said ok very unwilling.. then said..” I will give you a few hundred bucks tomorrow to buy yourself something” you know this damn dinner of yours
    will cost me another fortune this is just bullshit.. ” why people have expectations….” his intention was to never give a bloody thing if he could help it for my special day.

    I said zero… other than well if you really intend on giving me the money now or tomorrow wont make a difference lets stop by the ATM… on the way to dinner..
    He was steaming… at this point I wanted to push the buttons of the N cheap skate and have him lose something out of all this mess he has tried to ruin..

    I got the cash we went to dinner I ordered most expensive bottle of wine, cocktails..steak and lobster, appies, desert , desert wine, coffee and then the bill arrived.
    I went to the washroom called a cab and went out the back door. First time I felt some control back of my life even it was childish..the better was to NC. I know.

    Sad but true… that computer just got more expensive a dinner for 2 tuned into a dinner for 6 …lol at the very least I was one step ahead of him that one time only.

    Enough was enough.. same thing he had done for the previous year as well a grand present he would lord over me getting me all excited about the big birthday..
    to his beloved and the let down extreme pain.. all premeditated and planned.Same with Christmas, same with his parents
    at Christmas he sends his sister 25 bucks in a card..he makes over 40.00$ an hour full time wage..bitches about how it’s such an inconvenience other peoples lives. There so so selfish ….lol

    he complains that he is broke no one understands makes everyone feel bad for even being alive or even breath on him repulses him esp subjects on money and giving on occasions

    for the next massive attack he has on you of head games and lies and DD and more crap. OR if he needs something out of you using you .

    If he has to be forced into any unconditional love /philanthropy, kindness, EMOTIONS… he is ruthless and calculating his way to destroy your day and your life ..him and mommy dearest do the same she will drop a mighty fortune
    on me just to keep me around as what I call MEAT TO THE LION her son.. I was only like meat /food to entertain her son so he wouldn’t be alone in the world.. I was her N supply as well .

    I left NC she e mailed me to say she had a trip for the whole family bought and paid for .. yes indeed she could not stand the lose of control and her son’s loss of control during my NC of 4 months.
    Currently , I am on the path to recovery and educating myself more and more about these monsters. He is charm, money , great sex, so loving when he wants to be so cute ..then the other side I have seen is pure
    monster, jekly hyde, very very very different. So different you think he could win an academy for his hiding. How can anyone hide the monster like that under false niceties. I really do think there demons…

    I don’t know he has had no relationship more than a few years no kids not married..but married to mom only, like they have some pact . He even calls her HON short for honey..barfff…
    who knows what goes on behind closed doors lol it’s just so bizarre the entire relationship even with his mother he just worships her like an child…and she keeps him needy on her he is her N supply too .

    There all a bunch of nut jobs that should be all behind bars to save our society lol of the pain they all inflict..

    MY story my experience. Still on the mend very very heart breaking it has destroyed my life for now am trying to muster the strength to never go back to never fall for his charm or his mother charm.. to be latter
    told my opinion and ideas are worthless as they have so told me . it has been 2 against one the whole time and I am sick of it so am trying to NC to save myself from the stress and smile again know who I am again..

    Ive lost my self and I am getting help , I have friends, and I am very aware of there tactics now all to well. I busy myself and try not to think of the good times. I have notes on the wall to NC and motivational cards to see as well around the house to not slip into a routine of the psychopath N. I try yoga and beautify myself and life to care of ME it is about me now surviving the after math .

    It is so painful the NC process I am having PTSD again. I wake up at 5 in the am shaking my body is reacting. I have woken up in tears having a panic attack.. it is like drugs.
    It is no pain no gain of a better life I will never be free or happy I will be his pawn to destroy and I have a daughter to bring up and my family to love and friends to talk to . Its those times alone or at night , morning time..
    the worst . Why all this it was the way the insidious nature of HOW he planned to take me out.. tearing at my life bit by bit..

    I am healing am trying I am dedicated to this I am fighting not just the boyfriend Np but history of family of his family its a dbl whammy. I have all my help on speed dial cause it’s like an alcoholic trying to quit.
    Why do these parasites have so much control over us more than any other it astonishes me how I would be attracted like a moth to the flame. Must be kind to myself and one step at a time one day at a time.
    I will just move slow and be mindful of all my emotions and just try and not deal with it too much because when I think of all the times he has been that monster I can not function and I NEED to function and live a happy life.
    I deserve that. And more.

    • Zari Ballard

      November 21, 2016 at 2:25 am Reply

      Hi Carrie,

      WOW…that is one nightmare story right out of a creepy movie. The entire time that I was reading it, I had characters envisioned in my mind and – yes – like Norman Bates and his mother! OMG…and the cake. I would have slept with one eye open that night too. Good God! My ex had a weird relationship with his mom too – so many of them do. Yikes! So crazy. The way you describe yourself as his mother’s “meat for the lion” gave me the chills. I pictured the scene of the cat cake like out some creepy Tarantino film!!

      Yes, my sister, be mindful of your emotions and realize that any hoover will come as a mother-son tag team. Block him, her, and anyone who has anything to do with them…especially now that it is the holidays. If you ever want to talk about it, consider booking some talk time with me. I will keep you on the straight and narrow. Yes, these people are predators on a very grande scale and they have no business in your life. If we allow it, they will waste every second of our lives away.

      Stay strong and keep your eye on the prize – your happiness. Never waiver! If you need me, I am here and we all will support you:)

      Zari xo

  • Wes

    November 13, 2016 at 7:40 am Reply

    I have “When Love is a Lie ‘. I would just say that Narcissist come in the Female gender also. Ask me how I know? It was a devastating experience.

    • Zari Ballard

      November 14, 2016 at 1:06 am Reply

      Hi Wes,

      I wrote a book about that too…the female narc and the male victim. It’s called When Evil Is a Pretty Face. And I also wrote an article specifically for the male victim and you can read it here. We’re all in it together, my brother!

      Zari xo

    • Val Heike

      November 20, 2016 at 1:18 am Reply

      Your right deadly lying bitch my half sister was and is a Narcisstic had been all her life. I to sue my half sister and gmhrt son for placing me on elder abuse and killing moms cat burning momd home and killing her cat then accusing me of burning the house. Then while I was in intensive xsre in Iowa city Diana went to two court houses to stop me from sitting with our mom. That didn’t work do she told the hospital staff in my home town that I beat our mom and to Never allow Me to be alone with mom

  • Star

    July 29, 2016 at 2:45 pm Reply

    Hi Zari,
    This was the most enlightening information I have read in my life. I feel it was God sent that I found your site. Reading all this is like removing a veil off my eyes.
    Thank you so much!

    • Zari Ballard

      August 4, 2016 at 6:06 pm Reply

      Hi Star…thank YOU for stopping by and I’m grateful that you are finding the info that you need to recover!….Zari xo

  • Judy

    April 4, 2016 at 6:12 pm Reply

    I have even heard people in his family talking about me saying things that are untrue. I dont know what hurts more the fact that he turned them against me or the fact he is a manipulating runt. I’ve really just been putting up with the mental abuse. And that has made frustrating I find it difficult to relax in my own skin I even managed to finish with him but the please take me back and feel sorry for him calls didn’t stop. I can’t believe I’m writing this and he is still here in my house. Yes I fell for it hook line and sinker & soaked it up like a mop. Yes I’ve lost count how many times I’ve beat myself over the head about this. My head is constantly nodding side to side like I’m at a bloody Stevie wonder concert.yes I’m bloody wondering what’s wrong with my head and wonder with myself wtf is going on. I really have to try and see the funny side to all this nonsense or I believe that if I’m sad there day is won. I really hope that by writing about this I can help my own problems and help another poor suffing someone.

    • Zari Ballard

      April 8, 2016 at 5:35 pm Reply

      Hi Judy,

      I’m working on an article right now about how to handle the smear campaign. Believe it or not, when they’re talking smack to everyone and anyone, this is when OUR silence has the most impact. Look for the article to be up in the next couple of days:)

      The fact that he’s still there with you….we know that’s no good. Consider booking a consult with me so that we can hash this out. Enough is enough already. It’s time to change your perspective so that you can better see through his contrived “I’m sorrys” and mind fuckery. There’s no time like the present to start mentally breaking free from the nonsense.

      Zari xo

      Zari xo

  • Judy

    April 4, 2016 at 5:42 pm Reply

    And as I have found I’m still in a abusive relationship just holding out till I can escape from him. I was in one before this and was really badly hurt think that would have teached me something.: ( apparently not I’m still making it so difficult for my myself. So writing about these feelings of dread helps.

  • Judy

    March 26, 2016 at 8:39 pm Reply

    Zari I think that’s so spot on thankyou so much for that insite. Yes the female probably has phycological problems and suffers from phycopath symptoms one maybe very highly strung and over sensitive because of the abuse that she’s indured from narc that she’s been attracting all her life or she’s been attached to. There’sa saying misery loves company. Thanks great read

  • Judy

    March 26, 2016 at 8:34 pm Reply

    Zari I think that’s so spot on thankyou so much for that insite. Yes the female properly has phycology problems and suffers from physiological one aswell my she’s phycophatic because of the abuse that the victim has indured from narc that she’s been attracting all her life or she’s been attached to. There’s a saying misery loves company.

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