You do not give up easily do you? We are pleased that this is the case. You try to resurrect what we once had. You will look to resuscitate our relationship. You want to breathe new life into you and me. You want to salvage what you can from the wreckage and build something anew. You will not let the life slip from what we have, you will not step out of the tangled and twisted remains and walk away. No, you try. You try to make it work, you try to see what can be done, you try to sort things out. You try to make everything right again, you try to make us happy, you try to please us, how you try to please us. You try to fix us, you try to banish these demons which plague us, you try to shed light and joy. You try when everything seems lost, you try when all seems pointless and you try despite everything else suggesting that what we are is a lost cause. You try because you believe in hope.
But what is this hope that has you trying on a superhuman scale, which has you wiping away the tears, picking yourself up, dusting yourself down and standing up once more to try to do the right thing? If you were not with our kind but someone normal and the relationship was foundering would you try as you do with us? Of course you would try and steer the good ship towards calmer waters but you would not try to the same extent as you do with us. Where two people find they no longer have anything in common, they may be content to leave matters as they are and drift along in neutrality. It is not heady and wonderful but neither is it awful. Is beige such a terrible place to be? There is security, the children have grown up and you have your separate interests. There is no hatred, far from it, but neither is there passion any longer, but something in the middle. This is deemed as acceptable and you are happy to trundle along in this manner. You do not try to rekindle those early days of your honeymoon period. In other instances, this mediocrity is found to be stifling. If you hear another gardening anecdote or incident at the bowling club, you will go spare. You want to travel and experience new things. Your other half is more interested in the home brew and the latest episode on television. There is no hatred, there is no passion but this time the middle is deemed suffocating and unacceptable. You do not try to rekindle what you once had but instead decide you want something else. You move on to something else, be it a single life with new pursuits or finding a new person who shares your interests. The separation is amicable, fair-minded and there is no turbulence. The relationship ran its course and you saw no reason to try to make it anything different.
Yet with us it is so different isn’t it? You try your absolute best to get things back on track, you try until you are shattered and exhausted, bewildered and confused. How can you not achieve what we once had again? Why is it so elusive? Yet you do not give up. You keep on trying. Again and again.
Such is the intoxicating power of the golden period, such is the addiction of this utterly falsified state of affairs, such is the massive attraction of that seemingly perfect love, you try your damnedest to resurrect it. Sometimes there is a glimmer of a return or even a brief sortie to that promised land once again and you know that your repeated trying has succeeded. It never lasts. It never stays. Still, you exhibit that indefatigable spirit as you try once more, looking to rekindle that special love we once had.
You even begin to sacrifice pieces of yourself in order to try to bring it back. You try to guess what we want all the time. You walk on those eggshells in order to avoid disrupting the fragile peace. You agree to do things you would never have countenanced once upon a time but hey, it is worth trying isn’t it? You decide to spend more time with us, sacrificing your relationships with your friends and with your family, but you have to try don’t you? You cannot be said to have not tried to make this work and if you had it once then surely you can get it again can’t you? You submit to more and more of our demands, demeaning yourself, degrading yourself and suffering our repeated denigrations but you convince yourself that this is all worth doing because you are trying to achieve a greater aim. You have hope that you will succeed and bring back that elusive golden period. You forgo invitations to events because you know it will displease us. You do not invite people to the house to avoid causing a disruption to the evening, since we want peace and quiet. You try not to say anything when we return late from who knows where. You try to remain silent when we spend hours staring into the screen on our laptops, tapping away, our minds somewhere else. You retreat, back-off and compromise, giving away more and more of yourself and your life as you try to succeed.
Thus here is the awful warped nature of being ensnared by us. In a normal relationship you may not try to the same extent because the excitement and passion was not as it was with us. Yet, this relationship is one where trying will bring about success. Yes, you won’t establish that paradise that exists when we seduce you, but it never actually existed to begin with. It is a fiction. However, trying to succeed with someone normal and healthy is entirely achievable. You will not, by contrast, ever succeed with us. You can try over and over and over again but for all this effort and endeavour you will not get what you want. What we once granted you will only ever be given again in small doses and then only as part of this continuing manipulation so that you remain in our grip so we can gather fuel until we throw you aside. No matter how determined you are, no matter how great your resolve, no matter the fact that you put every breath, every ounce of effort in to trying to make things work between you and us so everything is golden, it will never ever work. It cannot because you cannot control the golden period. Only we can and we choose who is granted it and when in accordance with our need for control and fuel.
Try to understand that.
I didn’t ask for this you know. I know you did not either but for once let’s not make this about you and let’s talk about me, yes? I never asked to be created so that each and every day I must gather the fuel that is necessary for my existence. Yes, I must eat, I must drink water and I must breathe the air, just as you do, but for me I have another staple requirement of daily living. I must have fuel. Did you choose to always needs food and water? No, you did not. Neither did I. I did not choose to require this fuel either but without it I will cease to exist. What I have created in order to survive in this world will come toppling down and that will be the end of me. How far would you go to eat? At first it is simple enough is it not? You go to the grocery store or you order online from the supermarket and acquire the ingredients to make a meal or receive a pre-cooked one. You chop, you peel, you mash and you stir and you make that meal. A hundred thousand different recipes to choose from. Instead you may remove the packaging, pierce the cling film and pop it in the over or the microwave. Either way you have food, ready to eat and to sustain you. But what if you had no money to acquire this food, how would you quell the rumblings in your stomach? Perhaps you might ask to be given food from neighbours, from food banks or left overs at supermarkets. It is demeaning but you need to eat don’t you, so what does a little pride matter so long as your stomach is filled? However, what if that charity ends? What if the benevolence of friends and neighbours dries up? What would you do then? What if there are no friends and no neighbours? Would you look to survive on berries you find by the roadside, drink the water from a stream? Would that sustain you for long or would you tire of that? Would you scavenge through the bins outside a supermarket for food that has been thrown out but is perfectly edible? Is that stealing? Perhaps not. Would you cope with the stares of pity and disdain from those who saw you surfing a dumpster?
Would you steal from the shops in order to quell the hunger pangs? Snatch a loaf from a bakery, sneak into a house and steal that cooling pie or rifle through the cupboards in order to find something to eat. What if there is no edible food in the dumpster, would you remove the mould and eat what you find, risking illness? What if the supermarkets ran out of food and there was nowhere to steal it from? Would you scavenge from the orchards until that fruit ran out? Would you catch fish or hunt a lamb or grab a chicken in order to cook and eat it over an open fire? What if the usual sources of meat began to vanish, having fallen prey to starving wild animals following the collapse of civilisation, what then? Would you try new sources? Would you, driven by hunger hunt down and eat a sparrow or a robin? How about an owl? Seagull? Would you slaughter a fox in order to eat its meat? Where would you stop? Would you eat another human being in order to survive? When needs must where would you draw the line? How far would you go to feed yourself and your loved ones? Begging, growing you own, stealing, savagery, cannibalism? Do you have a limit or when the chips are down and your stomach is knotted with the agony of starvation would there be no limit? How far would you go? Would you fight another person for a packet of rice? Beat someone up in order to steal their hoard of windfalls? Would you consider their loss of their food source and their injuries an acceptable consequence of your own necessary survival? Would this become collateral damage in the pursuit of survival? Abhorrent as it may sound, I should imagine, when the need really arises, that you would go beyond the unpalatable in order to survive.
Now replace food with the need for fuel and you will understand that I have no choice other than to gather this fuel from different sources and in different ways throughout the course of each day. The consequences which arise may seem regrettable to you but they are purely the result of this need for me to gain fuel. I did not ask to have to do this, but the way I have been created makes it so. In the same way that you would fight to ensure your own survival, rather than curling up and dying in a hole, so must I. Does that make me what would be regarded as a bad person for just doing what I need to in order to exist? I suggest that it does not. I know that what I do has consequences for others. I am not blind nor am I a fool. I understand fully the devastation that I cause as I tear through someone else’s life like a whirlwind, sucking everything in, hurling it about and then discarding it broken and shattered. I have heard the complaints, the stories, the recollections and the accounts. I have heard the cries of dismay, the wails of misery, the screams of terror and the slow sobs of pain. I know what is caused by my actions but what choice do I have? I do not set out to achieve these things but they must always arise as a consequence of what I must do.
I feel no guilt nor remorse. I am devoid of those emotions. Another consequence of the way I have been created. I feel no shame in these actions, no pity for those who suffer from my behaviours and no sense of empathy for those who are remorselessly cut down by my machinations. I am not burdened by such emotions so I do not toss and turn at night, I do not have my sleep peppered by nightmares of torment, I do not sit in anguish and seek absolution for everything I have done and everything that I am to do. Those concepts are not applicable to me. What I do is invite you to understand me. I want you to understand what I am, what I must do and what arises from this and if you were in my shoes then you would do the same. This does not make me a bad person does it? I am a good man who is having to do a bad job. Yes?
I always wake before you. This allows me to slip into the en suite and lock the door and deal with the horror of confronting another day without you seeing me endure this daily ritual. Already I can feel the hunger rising as I stare at my reflection. Is this what I have become? The bleary-eyed, stubbled, exhausted creature that gazes unwaveringly back at me. No, I do not recognise that thing. How old it looks. The lips are thin, the hair thinning and clumped. Its shoulders rounded and slumped in resignation. I feel refreshed from a solid night’s sleep yet whatever is looking back at me does not accord with that feeling. The fear crawls across my skin and I rub at myself trying to dislodge that cold grip but it never works. The inner dread rises as I contemplate another day at the grindstone trying to piece together what I am, that long arduous task which never gets easier. In point of fact, the task becomes more difficult with each passing month as my advancing age screams at me about my mortality. How that banshee tortures me as she howls in my ears about my waning powers. I feel the tears welling as every injustice I have ever suffered is heaped on my shoulders by an uncaring and oblivious world. Does it not see my pain or does it just not care?
My mobile phone is clutched in my hand. I rarely let it leave my side and I place it on the counter besides the sink and then grip the counter as I continue to look at my reflection. My knuckles whiten as I fight the urge to scream at how empty I feel, how bereft I am and how this is so damn unfair. I try to wrench my gaze away but I cannot. I am entranced by what I see. I do not recognise this person. Where has that shock of white come from in the hair above the left temple? That is not me. Its skin looks dry as if it has been subjected to the dehydrating suction of some foul shade that visited in the night. The horror continues to escalate and it is only the chime of my ‘phone which breaks this terrible appreciation of the thing in the mirror.
Grateful for this interruption I shift my eyes to the ‘phone and see that a message has arrived from one of my coterie of admirers, Samantha. The pilot light inside of me flares into life and there is the slightest surge as the fuel begins to flow. I should wait until I have showered but the hunger is too great already and it must be addressed. I open the text message and like a starving man being given his first meal after fasting I devour the words of admiration.
“Good morning handsome, I missed you last night, I will call you when you are at work xxx”
The flame increases in size and strength as I close the message and smile .I turn on the shower letting the stream of water heat up as I flick to the texts that Samantha sent last night whilst I sat on the settee preoccupied with my activity of flitting between her texts and a conversation I was engaging in with a new prospect on facebook. I re-read a handful of the texts from Samantha with their declarations of admiration for me and I feel my strength returning. I put the phone down and step into the shower and relish the hot embrace of the jets of water. The fear has shrunk away and the dread sensation has been pushed back down. I liberally apply the shower gel, enjoying the sophisticated scent as I use a different product on my face, scrubbing away the dead cells and then another to cleanse and wash. I turn the taps and the water stops. I reach for a thick towel and pat my face dry feeling rejuvenated. As I stood beneath the purifying water my keen mind raced whilst I formed my machinations for the day. Always plotting and always scheming. The prospective fuel that will be garnered from the new sources that I am pursuing coupled with the dose of triangulation I will involve you in is causing me to feel excited and powerful. I pick up a bath sheet and admire the toned nature of my body as I dry myself and embark on the next stage of my preparation for the day by shaving and brushing my teeth.
A little while later my phone has chimed again and this time it is a colleague wanting to arrange lunch as he wants my advice since I am an expert on a particular topic he has to present on. The flame inside rises higher now and this spurs on my delinquent mind to consider additional ways to garner that oh so precious fuel during the day. The hunt for fuel is unending. The craven hunger that rumbles inside of me cries out for it and it is my sole preoccupation. The beast inside must be fed. Yet, now I am feeling strong. I haven’t applied my after shave and already two admirers have seen fit to worship at my altar and the games have not even yet to be played. But they will. I reach for the fragrance and splash it into my cupped hands and apply it to my neck as I look to the mirror. The handsome me has returned. The piercing blue eyes shine, the tousled, shiny locks of hair await the application of some wax to style them, the unblemished skin and close shave accentuate my chiselled good looks. I flash that winning smile as another surge of power flows through me. God I look good.
I return to the bedroom, ‘phone in hand and find you have now risen and I can hear the sounds of movement in the kitchen downstairs as you prepare breakfast as you always do. You will shortly bring me a mug of fresh coffee but I think I will complain that it is not hot enough and criticise you, just to see if I can provoke a reaction from you. It should not be too hard, I know precisely what to say. I notice the bed has not been made and rather than attend to it and help you, when you pass me my coffee with a ‘Good morning’ and a smile, I will cock my head towards the dishevelled heap and tut. Ah, yes, the master of games knows his stuff. I dress as another text arrives from another friend who wants to organise a golf game and asks for help with his swing, praising my technique. He is after more than assistance with his golf since he wants me to place work with him. He will have to provide me with more fuel yet to even be considered and of course, I will send the work elsewhere since there is someone who will give me something I want in return in a sweeter form and in larger amounts than my golfing chum. Still, the disappointment on his face will no doubt provide me with a hit too.
I can hear you coming up the stairs and I decide I will take a look in the full length mirror since I am fully attired to admire how elegant I look. I dress in a manner which says to anyone who meets me that the first move is mine. I stand and give a contented nod at my statuesque reflection. I look fantastic. I start to smile and then a bolt of anguish shoots through me as the craven creature that first lurked in the bathroom mirror appears. It is only for the briefest of instances but it causes me to exhale. My expensively-dressed self returns and the relief washes over me in an amazing way. The creature has gone again. He does that though. He likes to make fleeting appearances throughout my day to remind me that I must keep finding fuel. My quest for the potent fuel must be at the forefront of my mind at all times. As if on cue, you enter the bedroom, a veritable reservoir of fuel. You greet me as I cock my head to the unmade bed and tut. I feel the rush of power as your smile evaporates and you look crestfallen. The games have begun and my day is off to a great start. I only hope that creature stays away from me.
One is never enough for us. Two or more are required. When we commence our seduction of you and launch those missiles towards you bearing love, passion and desire, we repeatedly tell you that you are the one. You are the only one that we want. All of our life we have waited for this moment to be with the one, you. This singularity of number meets singularity of purpose. One is all that we want. We tell you this, we text you this and we do some repeatedly in order to put you on that pedestal. The world may as well just be populated by you and me. Nobody else matters. All that we want is you and you alone. The effect of such words makes you feel extremely special, revered and worshipped and it feels wonderful doesn’t it? Being the sole recipient of our attention, such wonderful, dedicated and loving attention is uplifting, joyful and magnificent.
Recently a commenter posted a quote from Robert A Heinlein which revolved around kissing. Essentially, this quote referred to the fact that when most people kiss they are not putting their all into it, they have other things on their mind, they might be worrying about work, they know they have to put the rubbish out, they are wondering what is for dinner and as a consequence that person’s kiss is nowhere near as it should be because that person has distractions. The person they are kissing does not have their total attention. There is considerable merit in such a proposition. What we manage to do however is make you think that nobody else matters, that you are the only person we are kissing, have ever kissed and will ever kiss. We make you the centre of our universe and you believe it. Yet the reality is that whilst we exhibit this singularity of attention on you, we have so many other people in mind. Understand that when you are with one of our kind there is never, there is never a time when it is just you and me. There is always you, me and her or him or them. Your dynamic with us is not exclusive. It never is. It is not your sole preserve. You are shared throughout the entirety of your relationship with us, from the beginning until, well forever. I do not necessarily mean that we are engaged in s sexual relationship with someone else when we are with you but the fact is that when you think it is just you and I, there is far more going on that you will realise.
At the outset when I am seducing you, I make you feel like the only girl in the world, however there will be at least two other dynamics ongoing. The first is that I will be embarking on a cruel campaign against your predecessor. I will be considering how next to provoke them and punish them so I am able to draw negative fuel from them. I will undoubtedly tell you about them as I explain how horrible and abusive that person was to me. What you are less likely to know is that I am sending them abusive messages, stalking them and organising various methods of manipulation to keep punishing them.
The second dynamic at the outset is the fact that I may also be working on another prospect as well as you. In the extremely unlikely event that you ever had access to my mobile ‘phone and you looked in the messages you would see something like this.
“Message to You 19:48 – I cannot stop thinking about you. What have you done to me? I love it though. I cannot wait to see you tomorrow even though it is too long to wait for my aching heart.”
“Message to Her 19:50 – I cannot stop thinking about you. What have you done to me? I love it though. I cannot wait to see you tomorrow even though it is too long to wait for my aching heart.”
There may even be,
“Message to Her 2 19:52 – I cannot stop thinking about you. What have you done to me? I love it though. I cannot wait to see you tomorrow even though it is too long to wait for my aching heart.”
Notoriously greedy for fuel and wary of the effects of not having a supply of the same, we will ensure that we have other targeted prospects in hand. You may become the chosen one as my primary source of fuel but the others will not necessarily be discarded. They will be retained as “friends” who rank as high producing secondary appliances, continuing to supply me with fuel. You think you have me to yourself. Of course that is the impression that I will create but you are sharing me with the others who will be kept ready to replace you should you start to fail in your production of fuel.
During the golden period it may seem that there is just you and me but I will be keeping other prospects warm and extracting negative fuel from one or more predecessors in the meanwhile. Then, without warning you find yourself being devalued. You have your suspicions that we are playing away. Indeed, we are as we use these secondary sources that we have kept “warm”. There will be others as we find additional people to draw into our network as we play them off against you. You will find you will be compared to these people, to friends and family and always found to be wanting as we press the devaluation against you. After this horrendous time, we will cast you to one side with a callous discard and somebody else has replaced you. How did that happen so quickly? How were we able to move with unseemly haste and find someone else who we now declare our love for? Easily. They were waiting in the wings all along.
Now discarded you will find you are still involved in the dynamic as we play you against your replacement. We will keep trying to draw negative fuel from you and then suddenly hoover you back and make you the apple of our eye again, as your short-lived replacement is cast aside. A period of vacillation may follow as we lift you up and crash you down. You are sat on one end of a see saw, as you go up, she goes down and vice versa. We stand in the centre, straddling this see saw and gobbling up all the fuel that is pouring from you both.
As our primary source you will always find that there is somebody else involved in the dynamic of our relationship. It does not end there though with the person who is our primary source of fuel. This addition of an extra player in the game happens throughout all our fuel gathering activities. We set family member against family member, our brothers against our sisters, or one parent against another. We treat one child as golden and the other as a pariah as we have them compete for our blessing and affection. We pit one colleague against another as they vie for that promotion which lies in our gift. We have friend fighting against friend in order to spend time with us at the expense of the other. We enter the online realm and have people backbiting, clashing and competing all through a few keystrokes on the keyboard. We can never be satisfied with it being just you and me, we always have to involve others and that involvement cannot be harmonious. There must be competition in order for the fuel to flow. Never think that we are dedicated to just you, our need for fuel does not allow it. There is always someone else despite what we may tell you. If you were ever able to ascertain the full extent of our machinations, schemes and plans you would see so many lines radiating away from us, connecting us to you, to her and to many others, with lines running between the unknowing and knowing until it looks like an extremely complex organogram on the wall of an incident room in a police station.
It can never just be you and me. There always has to be another.
The telling of a secret is a very useful manipulation.
In the first instance, we may tell you a genuine secret about somebody else because we are adept at garnering information about other people, gaining their trust and their confidence. Your reaction to this will provide us with fuel. It is also highly likely that you will tell somebody else because as we all know, if you want to keep something secret, do not tell anybody else. How many times have you been told a secret and heard the words, “Don’t tell anyone else but…” before the confidence is breached by the person speaking to you and you go on to do the same. It does not take long before the secret is amongst many people and is no longer a secret. Accordingly, we have gained fuel and we have also set a cat amongst the pigeons as somebody else’s secret becomes the subject of the day’s gossip and more. The person who is the subject of this released secret may well confront us about our indiscretion, which will naturally be denied and more fuel is gathered.
In the second instance the provision of the secret is all about drawing you into our world. By making it appear that you are privy to information about someone else or even better, about us, we appear to be taking you into our circle of trust, our ring of confidence. It is an effective way of making a victim feel special. This act of passing you some information which is given the label of a secret is designed to signal to you that we apparently trust you. Trust is a most important factor in the dealings between people and of course especially for those who are of an empathic nature. This nugget of secrecy may be passed to you as a Non Intimate Secondary Source (a friend or colleague) or as part of your seduction as we rope you in as our Intimate Partner Secondary Source en route to you becoming our Intimate Partner Primary Source. We want you to feel special, we want you to feel trusted, desired and set apart from all the others. Passing you a secret is a sure fire way to achieve this.
By causing you to think that you know something that nobody else knows about us, you feel as if you have been admitted to the inner sanctum. Our aim, when dealing with any of our victims, is to have them subsumed into our world. This means that you are bedazzled by the illusion that we have created, you will thus be under our control in our world and you will provide us with what we want, namely The Prime Aims . Whether this bedazzling is fleeting – in the instance of an interaction with a Tertiary Source, or longstanding – the years of manipulation of an IPPS – the aim remains the same. We must pull you into our world, own you and control you and that way we get what we want.
There are numerous ways of doing this but telling you a secret is a very effective way of doing this. We tell you that you are the only one who knows this about us, that we trust nobody except you (cue some sob story about why we will not trust and this will be predicated on our view of the world being full of harsh and betraying people) and that we know you will not tell anybody else because you would never do anything to harm us. Your earnest response and assurances that our apparent trust is well-placed in you, provides us with fuel. It also provides us with a useful indicator of how you are submitting to our control and being absorbed into our world.
What you fail to realise is that this supposed secret that we have conveyed to you in hushed tones, in a reverent manner as if we are passing down some weighty and earth-shattering revelation, is invented. We have our secrets, indeed much of our life is spent moving in the shadows and ensuring that those skeletons stay firmly in the closet. We do not want you knowing about those secrets. They must remain hidden because we do not trust you at all. Instead, we fabricate some secret about ourselves and pass it off as something nobody else knows about us and that you are the esteemed recipient of our innermost secrets.
It might be something to do with our family, an event in our past, some achievement which we apply false modesty too, some interesting peccadillo that we have engaged in. The content is varied but so long as it attracts the mantle of requiring secrecy it will serve its purpose. Remember this conveyance of the secret occurs during our seduction of you, when we are focused on drawing you into our world, when we lock on to you and truly make you seem like the only person in the world who matters. Our considerable charm, our lack of concern or morality for our actions enable the lies to spill readily from our lips. We want you to trust us and for you to think that we trust you. By seemingly unlocking the gate to our heart and our innermost vulnerabilities, the provision of a secret to you signals to you that we must trust you. This feels wonderful to you. This amazing person who has pledged love and devotion to you, who has made you feel magnificent, who has come as the answer to all your prayers is someone you want. You want to be friends with this interesting and capable person and when this new best friend lets you in on a supposed secret then surely that is your admission to our inner circle? You want the grace and favour we hold as your boss and if the boss confides in you, then does not that mean you are the chosen one in the workplace? Most of all, you want this person to remain your love interest forever and a day and when we share that secret with you and only you, then that demonstrates to you that you are now regarded as trusted confidante. Your elation is palpable and you have just been bound to us even tighter.
Of course, since this secret is fabricated there is no danger perceived by us that if you ever betrayed us and disclosed this secret, we could readily deny it and even point to something which proves that it is not true. At this point we have no interest in keeping you onside as we will already have begun to devalue you. As an empathic individual who is honest and decent, you would not have chosen to disclose this apparent secret first. You will only do so as a reaction to how we have treated you and thus should you decide to disclose it, you will be in devaluation, smeared and possibly dis-engaged from also. Your revelation is either seen as bitterness, jealousy or the rantings of a unhinged abuser who we have sought to escape from and its content has next to no impact on us. We do not, by this stage, care that you have discovered the secret to be false, indeed, your reaction to this revelation just provides us with fuel.
Whether the dynamic with us is familial, social, work or romantic the repeated provision of secrets draws you into our world. It makes you feel special, it makes you feel anointed as a special person to us and to be held in such regard by someone you admire, appreciate and/or love means much to you. It secures your loyalty, it gains your fuel and allows us to exert control over you. That delicious tingle of excitement as we make you our co-conspirator with secrets about others or ourselves tells you that we must really trust you and that you are now elevated.
The provision of secrets is done with many people that we seduce, be they inner circle friends, colleagues or intimate sources. The telling of a secret is a masterful way to make you seem as if you are the only one who matters to us, that we trust you and therefore our relationship with you is special indeed.
Not such a secret now though.
It is a well-recognised trait of ours that we do not feel empathy. We know how to show empathy. You and others have exhibited this on many occasions so we understand the facial expression to adopt, the tilt of the head, the appropriate body language such as a hand on the arm or an arm around the shoulders. We have listened most carefully so we understand the phrases to trot out,
“I’m sorry to hear that.”
“Is there anything I can do to help; it must feel terrible.”
“I understand where you are coming from, believe me and just tell me how I can help you.”
“I know how you feel.”
“I would feel upset too if this had happened to me.”
I have watched people like you in action as they exhibit their empathic nature and I have scoured the internet as well to gather a few choice phrases there also. Put all of this together and our kind is able to exhibit a convincing display of empathy which will fool almost everyone. You will see this false empathy exhibited during seduction when we want to show you how we are a kind, caring and sympathetic person so you will feel drawn to us even more. We know the correct recipients of this false empathy as well, the sick, the elderly, the stray cat, the homeless, the earthquake victim, the child with the distended stomach because he has not eaten for days, the earnest looking villagers crowded around a newly sunk well and so on. Yes, I know all of those who need some empathic reactions and I will provide them in front of you so you are all the more attracted to me. So that I fit in.
It is, of course, all for show. I do not feel it. Not at all. Not one iota, speck or scintilla of empathy. Show me a report of some tragedy and my eyes will glide across the text as I register what has happened. Inside I feel nothing. There is no response. I do not feel sorry for the people involved in the aftermath of the hurricane. I do not imagine what it must be like for them and how they must feel. Certainly I am intelligent enough to know how they must feel but I do not put myself in their shoes. I do not imagine what it must be like for them. There is no pulling at my heart strings, a feeling of upset, despondency or even anger at the injustice they may have suffered. Of course as you seek my response from alerting me to this latest disaster I will form a furrowed brow, shake my head and issue some suitable words to make you think that I care. That is of course if I want your positive reaction whereby you look on approvingly at my supposed compassion. If I no longer seek positive fuel from you then I will use it as an opportunity to provoke you.
“And?” is usually a good starting point for drawing a reaction from an empathic individual to something terrible.
“What do you mean and? These people are homeless and injured. They live on a small island and have no power and no clean water.”
“What do you expect me to do about it? They shouldn’t live there then.”
“What? Do you really mean that?”
“Yes. Their choice. They have to deal with it.”
This will invariably provoke a stunned silence or protestations. You may follow me as I walk away asking me how can I not feel for these people. You may express anger or outrage and naturally this is what I want you to do. The fact is I feel nothing. If I see a charity appeal on television I am unmoved. I have nothing in common with the people who are requesting help. I cannot identify with how they must feel in any way. It is a total disconnection.
The situation is different with those who I interact with and especially those who are an intimate partner when I am devaluing you. If you are ill and wanting some support and those three dreaded words “tender loving care” I do not feel nothing. I feel an overwhelming sense of disgust and revulsion. How have I come to couple with someone so pathetic and weak? Why did I agree to live with someone who is sneezing, coughing and rasping? They are trying to infect me aren’t they? Trying to bring me down to their level. I know what their plan is and I will not be duped. I see no reason why I should waste my time and energy dealing with somebody like this. It is a drain on my resources and there is little or no fuel to be had. Moreover, the sense of disgust drives me to get away from you. I cannot stand to see such weakness, such illness and such infirmity. I must escape it and thus I will disappear, sometimes with an excuse and often without in order to avoid this horrific scene.
When you are upset, perhaps over a bad day at work or an argument with a friend and you tearfully explain what is troubling you, expect to be met with a shrug. What do you expect me to do about it? It is your problem, not mine. Sort it out yourself. If you persist pleading with me to listen and to help you then I become irritated at your commandeering my time in this manner. Do you not realise I have much to do myself? I cannot forgo my own machinations and fuel gathering to play agony aunt to your whinging and whining. Your pathetic concerns annoy me and you will can expect me to berate you in order to further your misery so I at least draw some negative fuel from your upset. That way the situation is not one which will be completely written off. If your upset is even greater following the loss of your job or a bereavement, we will show no regard for your feelings and indeed exploit your misery during our devaluation. We will take this opportunity when you are vulnerable to extract further fuel. That is what matters to us. We feel the need for fuel. We do not feel any compassion or warmth towards you and indeed your selfishness in concentrating on yourself when you should be attending to us infuriates us. We will suggest that you never bothered much with that family member when they were alive so why are you now getting upset when they have passed away? You cry about your sacking and we suggest that you deserved it because you were not working hard enough. We will extract that negative fuel from your tears, your hurt, your frustration and your anger and once that has been obtained we will leave you to it. We have got what we want and there are other things, notably other people we can better spend our time with, rather than remaining with you and being subjected to your self-centred pity. We know you find such an approach heartless and abhorrent but there is no hope for anything else. We do not feel compassion or sympathy. There is no need for us to fake it because we can draw negative fuel, we do not need to make you like us or admire us and provide positive fuel. This is how we have been created. This is the cold comfort that you will always receive from us whenever you have a moment of need, upset or anguish. Deal with it.