Narcissists constantly talks about their exes because they’re choreographing your present and future behavior. They condition targets by using their ex as an example of what not to do.
What appears to be a compliment is actually indirect persuasion. The Narcissist says, “My ex didn’t like for me to spend time with my friends. I’m glad you aren’t like that.”
What they mean is, “Don’t complain when I spend time with my friends.”
They say: “My ex got fat. She just let herself go, and didn’t care about trying to impress me anymore. I love that you take care of yourself.”
What they mean: “You better not gain any weight if you want to keep me around.”
It’s easy to mistake these comments for flattery. At the beginning of the relationship, you don’t know to be suspicious of hidden motives.
Far from being flattery, these are actually commands. It’s the Narc’s way of making you conform to their idea of an ideal partner.
They know you’ll go to great lengths to meet these demands. You won’t complain when he disappears for three days, “hunting” with his friends.
And you’ll stay on a diet and/or work out every day to maintain your figure. You’ll do these things because you don’t want to be like the ex.
You weren’t aware of the subtle way the narcissist threatened to leave you if you became like the ex. But your subconscious picked it up.
So you’ll do whatever is necessary to make sure the narcissist doesn’t leave you too. And you’ll act the way the narc conditioned you to act.