Future faking is exactly what it sounds like. It’s when someone — usually a narcissist, histrionic or borderline — makes fantastical statements about relationship plans in the future that’ll likely never come to fruition.
For example: “I could see spending the rest of my life with you. I’ve never met anyone who made me think of settling down before. You’d make a great mother or father. I think my parents would really like you. You’re a diamond in the rough and I see you. I never had such intense sexual chemistry before. We’d make an incredible team . . . ”
Typically, future faking statements have a once upon a time, sweep you off your feet, destined to be together forever and they lived happily ever after quality. Oftentimes, narcissists and other Cluster B predators will casually talk about marriage, having children and other relationship milestones early on in a relationship. Or rather, talk about these things long before any reasonable person would seriously consider them.
What is future faking? Is it the same as love bombing?
Future faking is a love bombing tactic. It’s a seduction tool that narcissists, histrionics, borderlines and psychopaths use during the love bombing stage. Basically, future faking statements are an empty promises or allusions of a magical, happily forever after relationship that’s never going to happen. It is possible to have enduring, healthy and loving adult relationships, but not with someone who’s a NPD, BPD or HPD individual.
People with personality disorders are neither healthy nor capable of healthy reciprocal adult relationships. They lack the prerequisite emotional and psychological maturity necessary to establish functional adult attachments and bonds. It’s impossible to have good relationships who lack empathy and integrity and refuse to take personal responsibility for their actions. Their pathological dishonesty and professional victim identity are also problematic.
Perhaps the narcissist, histrionic or borderline believes the empty promises they make in the moment. However, that moment has an extremely short shelf life. Ultimately, it doesn’t matter if the future faking is a well-intended wishful thinking or calculated lies. Future faking fantasies are just that — fantasies — that leave the target feeling deceived and hurt.
Would you like to buy some magic beans?
Let’s use “I could see spending the rest of my life with you” as an example of future faking. What does this statement actually mean? That is, if it means anything beyond egregious manipulation? Given clinical experiences with partners of narcissists, borderlines and histrionics, it probably means: “I could see you emotionally and financially supporting and enabling me the rest of my life.”
When narcissists et al are grooming you (for abuse), they feed you fairy tales. Basically, they mirror you back to you and tell you whatever they think you want to hear. In some cases, I think they believe their own BS. Meaning, they genuinely want the fairy tale yarns they spin. Of course, none of their future faking is possible or sustainable because:
- These individuals aren’t Disney princesses and princes.
- Their expectations for a perfect relationship and perfect life in which they’re never unhappy or disappointed without any effort from them are wildly unrealistic.
- The person they pretend to be during love bombing isn’t real.
- Cluster B personality disordered individuals destroy everything they touch. They’re psychologically wired for destruction of others and self. Not only are they incapable of happiness and contentedness, they want everyone else to be miserable, angry and bitter, too.
A fairy tale relationship, life and future are childish things to want and expect. Typically, these relationships are built upon a foundation of lies, characterological pathology, codependency and unrealistic expectations.
Future faking creates a myth around the NPD, BPD or HPD, you and the relationship. Oftentimes, it creates an illusory sense of destiny or fate. For many of my clients, that mythological sense of destiny can be very hard to let go. You’ve been sold a bill of goods. You tell yourself all the suffering and craziness will be worth it in the end.
No, it won’t.
This is what we call cognitive dissonance, folks. And it’s a motherf–ker. As in, you desperately cling onto the fantasy person the NPD, BPD, HPD initially pretended to be, their lies and your self-delusion. Again, accepting reality is usually extremely painful and difficult.
Additionally, “I could see spending the rest of my life with you” is a cautionary reminder. Be careful of your own capacity for projection and ask for specifics. In other words, whatever the future faking statement may be, you’ll have your own understanding of it. Don’t assume that the words narcissists, borderlines or histrionics use mean what they mean to you — or Merriam-Webster’s Dictionary for that matter.
What does “someone you could see spending the rest of your life with” mean to you? What qualities and traits does someone with whom you could contentedly and without abuse spend your life have? Does it involve financially and emotionally supporting an adult who treats you like crap? Someone for whom nothing is ever good enough?
Someone who tells you you’re not good enough? Is it someone who enjoys hurting you? Someone who’s terminally ungrateful? Is it a pathological liar who abuses you harder when you hold them accountable or ask them to be a little nicer? Is this someone you could see yourself spending the rest of your life with?
The devil is in the details, so ask for specifics. If Insta-Soulmate date responds with nonsensical word salad fluff or gets irritated, I feel reasonably confident telling you that she or he is full of beans.
Dr. Tara J. Palmatier, PsyD helps individuals with relationship and codependency issues via telephone or Skype. For over a decade, she has specialized in helping men and women break free of abusive relationships, cope with the stress of ongoing abuse and heal from the trauma. She combines practical advice, emotional support and goal-oriented outcomes. If you’d like to work with Dr. Palmatier, please visit the Schedule a Session page or you can email her directly at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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