Slippery And Scaly: Beware Of The Reptilian Shadiness Of The Seductive-Withholding Narcissist

 / 

,

“He’s a cold hearted snake, look into his eyes…(uh oh)…He’s been tellin’ lies…” Paula Abdul

*please note this article addresses a narcissist as being either male or female. For simplification purposes the gender pronoun is interchangeable. Narcissism does not discriminate 🙂

Many of the narcissistic abuse survivors I work with have become intimately acquainted with a seductive-withholding narcissist in their love life. This article serves to define and illuminate the dangers of encountering and preventing a constriction crisis with such a slippery serpent in the dating world.

The internet abounds with articles on narcissistic abuse recovery. Fortunately, we live in a time where access to information for the abuse survivor community is readily available. I want to point the reader’s attention to a particular type of shady creature who can present as Mr. Gallant Knight in Shining Armor or Delicious Dazzling Vixen in the beginning stages of the idealization stage of an abuse cycle. Enter the seductive-withholder….

This term was originally coined by Susan Peabody in the love addiction community. Essentially, she is describing a somatic narcissist who uses romance and sex to seduce a potential romantic partner. However, instead of just one cycle of idealize/devalue/discard, the narcissistic seductive-withholder performs a specific type of “hoover” called the relationship recycle. In other words, we know from literature and studies that extreme narcissists often do return to prior sources of narcissistic supply to see if they can tap more “ego fuel”. When an extreme narcissist returns for multiple cycles of “hoovering”, oftentimes this abuser is said to be engaging in repetitive cycles of seductive-withholding. The survivor often is reeling in the aftermath of being discarded, and so with a trauma bond in tact, often will take back their abuser to attempt to return to the original state of infatuation or idealization. However, the seduction phase is short-lived, and as soon as the extreme narcissist knows that the former lover is still pining away for their lost love relationship or if s/he provides any response indicating a re-engagement with the narcissist, the abuser will begin the devaluing phase quickly or even move to discard rapidly. A healthy individual would reciprocate the attraction and evolve the relationship mutually by gradual increased expressions of vulnerability and trust-building. Not so for the seductive-withholding extreme narcissist.

An extreme narcissist has a core fear of engulfment and abandonment. At the very center of their vacuous identity is a core state of shame.

The narcissist experienced an abusive childhood devoid of healthy attachments and possibly extreme abuse and learned that s/he had to use a false self (mask) to survive an emotionally intolerable experience. When an adult extreme narcissist is attracted to a potential mate, s/he may have the same longing for love and connection as any human being does. With that drive comes the seductive behavior of the somatic narcissist. However, once the extreme narcissist discovers that their love object has reciprocated interest, alarm bells in the narcissist’s mind go off. The narcissist equates love, vulnerability, and emotional expression with pain. Also these revealing sentiments expose the narcissist to their core shame and potentially re-experiencing the feared same ridicule and shaming brought about by their abusive caregiver(s) growing up. So when an extreme narcissist gets close to someone they are attracted to, they immediately shut down their emotional center and detach. S/he cannot tolerate the vulnerability of mature love. Then s/he devalues and discards the romantic partner.

An extreme narcissist is seeking the very thing every human being needs and wants: love. However, when love is expressed/returned or interest is a green light by a love object, the abuser cannot tolerate the potential exposure to vulnerability.

This toxic shame, wound tightly and subconsciously within the psyche of the narcissist, permeates his/her actions. Instead of happily receiving the response of love and vulnerability from their potential mate and reciprocating it, the narcissist is flooded in shame, fear, and anxiety. A seductive withholder will gaslight and deny any pronouncements of a relationship, dating, attraction, or heaven forbid, love. Instead an extreme narcissist projects shame and blame onto the very person they were attracted to and attempted to seduce in the beginning of the cycle with love-bombing and future-faking.

So the narcissist shames, blames, gaslights, and flat-out denies any attraction to their potential mate and the often will engage in the silent treatment at the discard stage.

For a time. Until s/he isn’t getting enough narcissistic supply. Then the abuser will revisit prior sources of narcissistic supply and attempt to recycle the relationship again…if the former love interest will bite the bait….

So, what can you do if you have been in a love relationship with an extreme narcissist who uses seductive-withholding to extract narcissistic supply?

You can chose not to re-engage. Your ex, if an extreme narcissist/seductive-withholder, will never be able to give you what you need for a healthy relationship. The qualities of integrity, accountability, honesty, authenticity, compromise, accountability, and empathy are sorely lacking in your abuser. S/he may do a very good job of acting like they possess these qualities, but they cannot psychologically maintain the ability to continuously express these qualities with any depth or integrity for any length of time. In short, the result will always be idealize/devalue/discard and with as many cycles as the partner allows after permitting another idealization stage.

With a narcissistic seductive-withholder, the survivor is destined to have emotional pain with contact.

No Contact is the way to go in circumstances such as the above. Refusing to participate in the dance of idealize/devalue/discard is key. Psychotherapy with a trained trauma-informed therapist is essential, particularly a professional who understands narcissistic abuse recovery. Joining a support group or forum of compassionate survivors can be helpful. Reclaiming self worth, establishing healthy boundaries, and connecting with safe community is essential in the healing process.  Survivors may encounter the intoxication of a potential “high” of another dance with the snake…but the outcome will always be the same with an extreme narcissistic seductive-withholder: emotional pain. Best to not play with the snake or allow the serpent any access to your precious emotional/physical/financial capital. No Contact.

A colleague of mine, Shahida Arabi, renown writer and advocate for the survivor community, recently reminded me of an amazing quote by Marianne Williamson, which is so very relevant. I will leave the article with the following:

“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be?”

(from Marianne Williamson: A Return To Love: Reflections on the Principles of A Course in Miracles, Harper Collins, 1992. From Chapter 7, Section 3 (Pg. 190-191).)

 

 

Related Video – Signs You’re Arguing With A Psychopath

Become a Contributor at The Minds Journal

We Want To Hear Your Story. Share your work,thoughts and writings and we will make sure, it reaches the world! Submit Now


By Andrea Schneider, MSW, LCSW

 

You May Also Like

 

— Share —

— About the Author —

Responses

  1. Butta Frierson Avatar
    Butta Frierson

    I’m dealing with narcissist and he’s work

Leave a Reply



Up Next

Brunch Quiz: Build A Brunch Order And We Will Reveal What Your Personality Is Like

Fun Brunch Quiz: What Your Ideal Brunch Order Says About You

Are you tired of those serious personality quizzes that always claim that they know you better than you know yourself? Well, I have a got a fresh twist for you that’s as delicious as a stack of fluffy pancakes dripping with maple syrup! I have got a Brunch Quiz for you today!

This Brunch Quiz is the ultimate way for you to uncover your true personality, and also while you are scrolling through delicious foods and choosing your favorites. Sounds like a dream, doesn’t it?

Imagine you are sitting in your favorite cafe and looking at the menu and thinking about what to get. Little do you know that your brunch order holds the key to unlocking the mysteries of your inner self.

Related:



Up Next

Find Out What Your Favorite ‘Family Guy’ Character Says About You!

Favorite Family Guy Character Quiz: Reveal Your True Self

Do you relate to Peter, Stewie, Meg, or Brian? Take this fun quiz to find out what your favorite Family Guy character says about your personality.

Family Guy has kept audiences laughing for over 20 years with its irreverent humor and colorful cast. From Peter’s ridiculous exploits to Stewie’s brilliant plans, each of these characters brings something different to the table.

Therefore, let us get right into it and find out what your favorite Family Guy character reveals about you!

8 Favorite Family Guy Character Quiz: Reveal Your True Self

1.



Up Next

Dream Of Being Pregnant? 13 Hidden Things Your Subconscious Is Trying to Tell You!

Dream Of Being Pregnant? Hidden Pregnancy Dreams Meanings

Most people experience dreams about falling, flying or teeth falling out at some point. But have you ever had a dream of being pregnant? This kind of dream is special; it has a lot to say about what’s going on in your life. So, let’s explore more about this.

Dreaming has its own language that speaks to us and often unveils hidden thoughts, desires, and anxieties deep within our minds.

According to Lauri Loewenberg, a dream analyst, “Pregnancy dreams could mean there’s something in your life that is currently in the works.”

These dreams may mean something even if you are a parent or never conceived before. We will be scrutinizing your subconsciousness for 13 different



Up Next

Can You Find The 3 Hidden Words In This Vision Challenge Within 9 Seconds? Fun IQ Test

Fun Vision Challenge: Find The Hidden Words In Seconds

Attention puzzle enthusiasts and avid word hunters! We are back with another fun optical illusion with answers. This time it’s a vision challenge where you have to find the three words hidden in the picture.

But there’s a catch – you have to spot the hidden words in 9 seconds only! If you are able to do that, then congratulations, you have a powerful IQ, I must say. So, are you ready to take this vision IQ test? Let’s go then! But first, let’s talk a bit about optical illusions.

Related: Center Optical Illusion Test: The Color You See Reveals What Kind Of Genius You Are



Up Next

15+ Quotes From “Bridgerton” That Depict Obsessive Yearning

Best Bridgerton Quotes About Love And Romance

If you like romances and things from the Regency era, these Bridgerton quotes show how obsession can be a form of longing. This Netflix series features several love stories in which the characters experience intense desire and emotions.

Through eloquent dialogues and passionate interactions, “Bridgerton” powerfully reveals the aspirations that motivate its characters.

The series effectively frames the relationship between Daphne and Simon as an embodiment of smouldering attraction while at the same time conveying other major figures’ secretly yearning for each other.

Here are some Bridgerton quotes about love that perfectly sum up obsessive yearning.<



Up Next

Are You Seeing Pink Flags In A Relationship? 9 Signs You Shouldn’t Overlook It

What Are Pink Flags In A Relationship? Warning Signs

In relationships, we usually look out for red flags – those big signs that something is seriously wrong. But what about the less obvious ones? Let’s talk about what are pink flags in a relationship.

These signs don’t scream “danger” but still make you stop and think!

So, What Are Pink Flags In A Relationship?

Consider pink flags in relat



Up Next

4 Mutable Signs In Astrology: The Philosophers Of Duality

The Great Mutable Signs In Astrology: Are You One Of Them?

Did you know that Zodiac signs are classified by modalities or qualities, which describe their character and the stage they represent in a season? Mutable signs of the Zodiac signs are in a group which include Gemini, Virgo, Sagittarius and Pisces.

These signs signify the death of a season or the end of a cycle. For example, Gemini begins as spring is coming to an end; Virgo starts when summer has finished up its business; Sagittarius kicks off just as fall is wrapping itself off — finally! — around everything it can find; and Pisces starts when winter has almost said “uncle” but not quite.

Related: The 12 Zodiac Signs: