Narcissists & The Soul Mate Effect

soulmate2In a relationship, a narcissist will use a variety of emotional manipulation tactics to hook, re-hook, and then string-along his partner. One of the most effective of these tactics is one that I call the soul mate effect. Along with its sister manipulation tactic future faking, the soul mate effect makes up the stickiest portion of the web that narcissists weave to capture their targets. Both tactics are so important, in fact, that failing at one or the other will cause the narcissist’s relationship agenda to fall completely flat and ultimately cease to exist. Utilized separately, both the soul mate effect and future faking are typically pulled from the narcissist’s bag of tricks only during those moments in the relationship where the narcissist has to work overtime to suck us down the rabbit hole – namely, the beginning Idolize Phase and every reappearance after a silent treatment.

Yup, I have to admit (and not proudly) that the soul mate effect was my downfall. Clearly exploiting the fact that we’d known each other for nearly ten years before spending another ten as boyfriend and girlfriend, my ex would incorporate this historical tidbit into the soul mate effect to pull me back after periodically letting me go. You see, narcissists and other emotional manipulators will typically create the soul mate effect during the Idolize Phase to hook us to The Lie and then again each and every time they press the relationship reset button and magically reappear after a silent treatment. For the latter, the hoover maneuver is used as a prelude to the reset and, as you know, it’s very successful.

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In the beginning, just like all of you, I felt as if my ex and I were meant to be together. For the first few months, it was as if we shared the same fucking brain. We’d finish each others sentences, we liked the same music, we laughed at the same things, I loved his sense of humor and he flattered me every chance he got. It was amazing! And then, of course, he referred to us as soul mates and BANG, I was a done deal. Wow…could he be right? Are we soul mates? Of course we are!

You see, my ex knew me because we had been buddies years before and narcissists never forget a thing. Several years had passed since I’d seen him and from the first moment, it was as if I’d seen him yesterday. Within just two weeks, he had me convinced that being together was our destiny. In essence, he created that highly deceptive beginning phase phenomenon that I now describe as a narcissistic manipulation tactic called the soul mate effect.

The soul mate effect is particularly effective because it is so very personal. Not only do we fall for the lie, we actually deeply believe it – so much so that later down the road, perhaps during a silent treatment or to prevent him from leaving, we will actually try to convince him of its importance. Please don’t leave me! We’re soul mates! Consequently, because we frequently confirm that indeed it works, a narcissist – using just a slight spin – will re-create the effect upon every return as an easy relationship reset. In those cases, for example, my ex’s soul mate rhetoric might go something like, “You know, I just can’t stay away. I think I’m addicted to you. What can I say? We’re soulmates!” And if he really wanted to tug at my heartstrings, he’d refer to “our history together” which, for me, was another key phrase that instantly created the same damn effect.

The difference between the soul mate effect and future faking is that the soul mate effect occurs only at the beginning and at reset points to hook and then re-hook a target respectively. Future-faking, which involves the narcissist making promises and/or future plans that will never happen, is typically a strategy used to keep or maintain the hook. In essence, future-faking is an extension of the soul mate effect. Both strategies are obviously evil in that they are pre-meditated manipulations to fuck with a victim’s head for reasons that are completely deceptive and self-serving.

The trigger-pull, of course, is how the narcissist behaves soon after creating the soul mate effect or future faking and, mind you, it’s not a matter of if but when it will happen. Sadly, the narcissist will 1) create chaos and disappear the next day without an ounce of shame, or 2) forget the plans made altogether and then look at you incredulously when you remind him, or 3) accuse you of putting pressure on him even though it was he who made the plans, or 4) accuse you of ruining his life the morning after an entire night of him calling you his soul mate…and it goes on and on. It’s all a bunch of pathological word garbage of course but when it’s happening, it’s a heart breaker.

My ex enjoyed using both strategies simultaneously. For example, he had a habit of vanishing immediately after we’d spent a wonderful weekend together, leaving me confused and heartsick. Upon his return weeks and even months later, our conversation would go something like this:

W: I really missed you. I don’t know, Zari. I guess we really are soul mates. We’re just meant to be together.

Me: W, you’ve been gone two months and I don’t even know why you left. You don’t see anything wrong with that? I’ve been sick over it. How can you say that we’re soul mates when you keep disappearing? Where the fuck do you go?

W: Come on…we have a history together. I was thinking last night that I know we’re going to grow old together. I love you.

Me: You’ve been gone two months. What do you want me to do…just pick up like nothing happened? I don’t get this at all.

W: You know what? This…this is why I leave. All you do is bring up the past…over and over. I’m here, aren’t I?

Me: Yeah but yesterday you weren’t!

W: Alright, that’s it. What do you want…do you want me to leave?

Me: No…that’s –

W: Because I will. I have no problem with that at all.

Me: No problem with it? A minute ago you said we were soul mates…

W: I can’t talk to you. I shouldn’t have come here. I should have known it would be the same old shit…..

Me: Okay, okay…please don’t go.

W: Hey, you know what? How about we go to that concert this weekend? Let’s have some fun.

Me: I’d love to go but..but…you always make plans when you come back and then we never go. I don’t want to pretend to get excited over something that won’t happen.

W: You are nothing but a buzz kill.

Me: Alright…fine. Let’s go then.

Concert night comes and Wayne is nowhere to be found.

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If you think about it, the narcissist has no choice but to create a soul mate effect because for who else but her soul mate would any woman endure this much bullshit? Learn to recognize the signs of the soul mate effect and future faking with a current partner and also with any new person you may meet.

Understand that when the feeling of love is real, no one will ever have to say a word, let alone try to convince the other that it exists, and promises are rarely made and then broken. We must re-train our brain to recognize what is and isn’t normal relationship behavior… and then never ever settle for anything less.

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  • Denisha Rivera

    February 22, 2017 at 8:15 pm Reply

    I am currently entertaining the idea of dating a potential narcissist. He’s been there for me always. And we’ve been friends for almost 10 years. He travels a lot for work and sees me once to twice a month if I don’t ignore him over something he did wrong. He never hit me but he did get disrespectful joking about something. He basically facetiously made a comment toward me. He always apologizes when I’m mad at him and he buys me gifts just because. He seems great but because he’s an entertainer who travels I’m afraid to commit. He has n ex wife and one child both of which I have yet to meet.

    • Zari Ballard

      February 28, 2017 at 6:03 pm Reply

      Hi Denisha,

      Read my book When Love Is a Lie before you even think about getting together with this guy. In this book, I tell my story and it will sound very familiar to you. I knew my ex too for ten years before we became a couple and then it was holy hell for the next thirteen. I must have been asleep or something the first ten because I didn’t have a clue. I thought we were best friends! I guess because he wasn’t my boyfriend, I wasn’t paying attention. My bad!!

      Knowing what you know about narcs, why even consider it? If you think he’s a narc, he more than likely is. Don’t waste your time and your life. Read through the articles on this sight and allow me to change your mind!!


  • Janey

    February 19, 2017 at 11:54 am Reply

    Great site Zari, much needed validation.

    My narc and I also “knew” each other for several years before we were a “couple”. He was basically waiting for an opportunity to swoop in and I know for a fact (now) I was one of many he was grooming for his next victim.

    I of course received the same soulmate bs, you’re HER, you’re the ONE, I’ve never loved anyone before until you, I didn’t know what love was before you, you’re the most beautiful woman I’ve ever known, I love you just for you, I GET you, I’m the ONY one who will ever really appreciate you, I’m the only one who will love you this much, you’re my best friend, we’ve known each other for so many years, you’re PERFECT and the FUNNIEST person I ever knew, all my exes are CRAZY, thank god there is a normal woman out there!, I love everything about you and we have so many exact same interests!, etc etc etc – and these phrases would repeat themselves in the devalue/ discard / hoover cycles, becoming increasingly negative and sinister.

    The future faking was from the same playbook as everyone else’s, about that wonderful life we were going to have until we grew old, all that traveling and the cabin we’d buy and the house in Costa Rica, getting married in Greece…I don’t want you to have to work unless you want to, I want to take care of you and I put you as the beneficiary of my life insurance policies (all lies) ….on and on.

    The most embarrassing thing about this whole thing to me is not so much that I put up with it for 4 years – all the abuse, name calling, pathological lying, accusations, paranoia, crazy making chaos, utter hell, smear campaigns, – the worst part is that I never even met the guy in person. He lives one state over from me – a 7 hour drive. He never came to see me once. I couldn’t go there because he was embroiled “in a messy divorce with children involved”, “had business financial problems” “had a bout of cancer” (if I even believe that now) which was cured 2.5 years ago – and one excuse after another.

    Anyway, I am proud to say that I have had NO CONTACT for almost 3 months – he occasionally tries to hoover – first with the “are you ok?” and when I don’t answer it gets increasingly crazy with name calling “I always knew I made the right decision dumping your fat ass”(I dumped him lol) to “I always knew you were fucking your N***** boss” and even crazier and crazier accusations and how he is back with his crazy ex girlfriend and she knows ALL about me and how crazy I am.

    But I will NEVER answer him, which will forever drive him nuts.

    Thanks for letting me vent, glad I stumbled onto your site. 🙂


    • Zari Ballard

      February 24, 2017 at 3:55 pm Reply

      Hi JM,

      It looks to me like you’ve got it together! Three months is very good and you’ve just got to keep going, day by day. The more time, distance, and space that we put between US and THEM, the better. You have a great reason to be proud of yourself!

      Zari xo

  • Sick of BS

    February 5, 2017 at 10:33 pm Reply

    Yeah girls…it comes back to the BASIC question…if U over-look the fake love-bombing, the soul-mate crap & the delusional future-faking…is this person really acting like they are INTO me, by their behaviour, instead of just WORDS? And the biggest indicator of NO…is the gaps!
    Normal men admit…they have NO hestitation when they are really keen on a woman….busy job, or anything, won’t stop them…to try & make an impression, if she seems interested, too. So stop hanging out for losers & douche-bags…just wanting to play the field to stroke their egoes…or more likely their penises…which is where their brain resides between their legs.
    It has nothing to do with how lovely U may be…in fact, how lovely U maybe could end up ur demise….these creeps that feel they need a harem (& won’t tell U) are NO soulmate…& there is definitely NO future…so, get out while U can. Coz, what they are actually doing…is stopping U meet someone decent.

  • nellie wanpis

    December 7, 2016 at 3:36 am Reply

    I live in the South Pacific Pacific and Iam married to a narcissistic for 17 years.realised it and now totally ignoring him.we live in the same house,we have three girls the two big girls are teenagers and my last girl is 10 years old.
    I totally ignore him even if he takes his girlfriends around in his car in public for me to see an hear ,I see and hear but ignore it.
    He is now trying to take our three girls to his family away from me.he wants to get a reaction from me and punish me for ignoring him.I need help please help,I cannot live without my babies but I cannot be controlled by him also.he is jealous of my job and in taking the kids away I will leave my job and follow them and he will punish me worse.please advise

    • Zari Ballard

      December 9, 2016 at 6:02 pm Reply

      Hi Nellie,

      Don’t let him go – say no! I don’t know what other advice I can give you, girl. If you have a good job and can support yourself, is it possible for you to divorce his ass and take the girls with you? Ignoring him but still living in the same house is no way for you to live. It also doesn’t have the same effect as leaving him. If you don’t want the girls to go with him and you don’t want to go along, then flat out say no. You don’t have any other choice except, of course, to kick him out. Send him off on vacation alone and pack up and you and the girls move out. The biggest problem for women who want to do this is the fact that they can’t support themselves. If you can, hell – run, run, run. It will be hard at first but the end reward down the road is well worth it…I guarantee it. Do NOT be intimidated.

      Stay strong,

      Zari xo

  • protectyourselfatallcosts

    November 8, 2016 at 1:58 pm Reply

    my heart knew from the get go.. but my brain couldnt accept that such evil existed.. I schemed and made him feel he was discarding me and with tissues in my hand I pleaded and begged for his love – whilst he thought he had me groomed and helpless for his future entertainment – like a true oscar winner I ran and never looked back – this way he would leave me alone forever.. feeling his ego stroke and get an erection from thinking I am home crying and dying, and I will suffer for months to come 😉 . but im with my new boyfriend sucker-you taught me well……

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