The term “bait and switch” is most often used when it comes to material goods being purchased. For instance, quality merchandise might be offered at a real bargain price, only to be switched out for something inferior. Think about it this way, you use bait to draw a fish towards your line, of course the fish is attracted to it, unaware that it is about to be snared by a barb, and of course, you know the fish’s fate from that moment. This kind of activity was also quite popular in the real estate market as well in order to get people mortgages who probably should not have had them.
Instead, I want to discuss about a different kind of “bait and switch”, and that of course involving relationships. And just to be clear, this can be committed by man against woman, woman against man, or same gender against each other.
The first thing that draws a person in of course is usually going to be the physical attraction. For the “fish” it is just natural. But for the one who has begun the act of the “bait and switch”, the act of drawing someone’s attention is intentional, pretending to be someone they are not, motives being mostly superficial. Conversations ensue, with the “fish” being the focus of the topics, which helps to keep the “fish” at ease, unsuspecting of the motives of the pursuer. The bait has been cast. Dates are likely to follow, and a relationship develops.
But there is still going to be more to this set up. Timing is critical. Yes, if you have not figured this out, this type of behavior is very narcissistic, because as you are about to see, the behavior is going to come at the expense of someone else, and the perpetrator cares nothing for the feelings of the person about to be hurt.
As the relationship grows, intimacy increases, and most likely cohabitation. Depending on the needs of the person with the “rod and reel”, the ultimate goal, marriage will be the motive. But care needs to be taken to make sure that the “fish” feels completely secure, safe, cared for, and loved. While the whole time, the one driving the relationship knows the prize is soon at hand. All that needs to happen is to continue build up the other, make sure their needs are the number one priority and met, and get to that big day, the wedding day. Conversations will almost always be mutually agreed upon, so as not to chase the “fish” away. The “fish” will be supported in all of its bad and stressful moments. Of course, the narcissist will be full of affection for the “fish”, and will probably fulfill many dreams of passion and intimacy.
And just like that, with the flick of a toggle switch, the “fish bites into the bait and is caught by the barb of the hook, and reeled in, gutted, cooked, and eaten.” But by then, it is too late for the “fish”. The commitment was made. The lure was too much to endure and was completely irresistible. This was going to be a dream, but instead has turned into a nightmare. The “fish” never saw the end coming, even as it was caught on the line. But the fisherman does not care about how the fish feels. The fisherman only care about catching that fish. Conversations now become one sided, the “fish” will nearly always be wrong. In times of need, the “fish” ends up abandoned in the most critical of times especially. And of course, the passion and intimacy disappears. Now I want to stress, this is not just simply the fire fizzing out of a relationship that with some help might be rekindled, I am talking about the intentional act of withdrawing and withholding passion and intimacy.
This is not to say that all relationships are narcissistic in nature. I do not believe that for one bit. I have had only one relationship that turned out this way. But all it takes is one “bait and switch” relationship to destroy someone physically, and emotionally. Two people make a commitment to carry on a relationship, built on a seemingly strong foundation, unfortunately both having different motives, one genuine and the other a plot, but when the commitment is finalized, the narcissist strikes, and the “fish” is trapped. And even when it is realized by the “fish” what has happened, it is too late. And in spite of the behavior being pointed out by the “fish”, the pleas will fall on deaf ears, because as I have previously stated, a narcissist cares nothing for anyone else, or especially their feelings, only for their own.
The act of “bait and switch” in a relationship is flat out emotional abuse, and rarely talked about. And if the commitment of marriage is the goal of the perpetrator, the price paid by the victim will be even higher when the victim realizes that they were basically conned into the situation they now find themselves in. But again, the narcissist does not care. They got what they wanted. Everything will become the “fish’s” fault. The one with the “rod and reel” will bear no responsibility. And even as the relationship fails, and it will fail, the narcissist will continue to attack and take all that can be had, until the “fish” is left with nothing.
The “fish” will be painted as a loser, emotionally a wreck, a failure. And it is up to the “fish” to realize what has happened, learn how to deal with the tactics used by a person who has no concern other than for themselves. As bad as a situation like this may feel, a person going through this will not be the first to do so, nor the last. But what is important is recognizing the behavior, preferably sooner than later. But if the behavior is not recognized until it is basically too late, seek professional help. This behavior is abusive. There are medical and legal professionals to help deal with this situation.
The problem becomes, when following your heart, how to prevent that opportunity from happening to you.
I would like to share the following link from the web site, LoveFraud.com, titled “Red Flags – Chapter 5”. I have read the web page quite informative.