TICKETY BOO OR NOT SO PUCKER

Last late Spring I had occasion to be in Scotland. A marvellous country filled with beautiful scenery and plenty of history. I realised that I was fairly near to a place where I had spent a handful of childhood holidays and decided to drive to the location to ascertain if it remained as I remembered it. I found the estate with ease and followed the single track road trying to catch a glimpse of something, anything that I remembered from our visits here.

It was as I turned from the track onto a driveway that I knew I had found the correct place. I halted my vehicle and stared down the driveway. It was lined with scores of cherry trees which were in full blossom. I remembered the first time I saw this drive way and was taken aback at the vibrancy of the pink blossom and how it rained upon us as my father drove us down the driveway, the breeze displacing the blossom and causing it to cascade over us. It was quite the picture and something that I have always recalled although not as much as what came next.

We had spent a week staying at a five star hotel about an hour away from where we were now. This was at the insistence of my mother who had declared,

“If I am to rough it then I want my luxury either side of it.”

Typically a cold fury ensured until my father, as ever, conceded and agreed that we would stay for a week before and four days afterwards at the sumptuous hotel. The place we now headed to was an estate owned by a friend of my father. They had both been in the Royal Air Force together and Geraint, his friend, had removed himself to Scotland to oversee this estate.

My mother had said nothing from the moment we had checked out from the hotel that morning. She sat, her icy rage chilling the interior of the car as my father drove us to the estate. My sister babbled incessantly during the journey, commenting on everything we passed in order to fill the silence. My father concentrated on the road ahead being well-used to these frozen car journeys and no doubt wondering how my mother would continue to behave once we arrived. I knew exactly what she would do and I could see my reflection as I grinned with anticipation.

Our car slowly drove along this bright pink tunnel until we halted by a gate. Set on a hillock to the right was a large and impressive house from which a figure, who I assumed was Geraint, half-walked half-jigged. His red corduroy pants housed two legs which skipped across the carefully manicured lawn that embraced the hillock, the colour contrasting with the mustard of his jumper and the green of the shirt beneath. He was as colourful as the entrance to his estate. My father lowered the window as Geraint neared and bellowed into the car,

“Hello hello, well how are you all you wonderful people, tickety boo or not so pucker?”

The rear of the car exploded into laughter at this expression. We had not heard anything like it and coupled with this multi-coloured man who bore a huge grin on his face we were mightily amused. This became the mantra for the week as my siblings and I would ask one another at any opportunity whether he or she was tickety boo or not so pucker. Still laughing I watched as my mother leant towards my father’s side of the car and trilled,

“Geraint how positively marvellous to see you. You look excellent well. I must say we are so looking forward to staying with you this week, it is awfully kind of you to accommodate us. It looks glorious, tell me how is your wife?”

I smirked as what I came to know as the façade was rolled out. I glanced at the rear view mirror to see my father’s reaction. As I suspected it was one of relief.

We children enjoyed our week. We had been housed in a large cottage which was clearly one which belonged to someone who had worked the estate in the past, a farmer or woodsman perhaps. Geraint occupied the main house where we dined three times if I remember correctly and there were fifteen cottages scattered across the estate.

We spent our days locating them and adding them to the map we made of the extensive estate. My mother alternated between being fragrant and charming whenever she met Geraint and his family (tickety boo) to then sitting in silence when consigned to the cottage (not so pucker). As usual my father flapped about her trying to extoll the virtue of the cottage and its simpler way of life.

The cottage had a permanent musty smell and it was necessary to chop logs outside to burn in the fireplaces and place in the aga range to provide cooking and heating facilities. We enjoyed this difference to the usual conveniences we enjoyed at home but my mother did not. She passed no adverse comment. She did not need to as she had repeatedly berated my father when at the hotel about his choice in coming to stay in this “bloody medieval hovel” and it seemed to me that the lap of luxury which she had insisted on had been not so pucker for her since she spent all of her time slating my father for wanting to see his old RAF pal. The blaming and name-calling then gave way to her iciness for the entire week. I do not recall my mother speaking to my father save when we were in the presence of Geraint and his family when my mother was charm personified, complimentary and quite the star of the dinner table.

Yes this trip stuck in my memory for many reasons but most of all for my exposure to the phrase tickety boo or not so pucker. I saw how these polar states were played out by my mother as part of her manipulation of my father, her quite amazing vacillation between delightful charm and muted resentment. She shone and then she iced over. I have come to realise that this entertaining phrase is most apt for our kind. Either everything is tickety boo, wonderful, marvellous and golden or it is not so pucker, awful, horrible, terrible and cruel. There is never any middle ground. No neutral. We do not do mediocre or mundane. We either give you tickety boo or subject you to not so pucker.

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THE 10 REJECTIONS OF INTIMACY

We embrace the trappings of intimacy because we know this is what you expect when our relationship commences. You want to touch us; you want to be touched. You want to gaze into one another’s eyes and revel in what you see there. The tenderness of the kiss, the tingling sensation that arises from the briefest of brushing touches and the safety and security of a hand being held.

We endure all of this in order to maintain the illusion of our perfect love and to provide you with that which you have been conditioned to expect as denoting love, affection and passion. Such intimacy repeatedly hints at a place we would rather not go but the necessity of your seduction means that we focus on the task in hand and dispel those occasional thoughts of what that intimacy means and signifies.

Those considerations are banished as we press on with our crusade and complete our quest. Once our tendrils are wrapped around you, our fangs sunk deep into your emotional jugular and the fuel flows, then the provision of such intimacy can finally and thankfully be turned to a better application, namely conveying rejection to you and in turn bring about despondency, humiliation and confusion.

Whilst we prefer words to do our work, these rejections work marvellously well because of the effect that they have on you and the economy of effort that comes with them. Provision takes effort. Denial comes easily. Here are ten rejections of intimacy.

  1. No eye contact

I don’t want to mirror you any longer but I don’t want you seeing the lurking darkness in my eyes, not just yet. Instead I will settle for evading looking at you, creating the sensation that I cannot bear to look upon you, which is rather accurate because now you are reminding me too much of what I despise and I would rather look elsewhere.

  1. Kissing the top of your head

We know you want to be kissed on the mouth but that isn’t going to happen. Not today and not for a while until I decide I can stomach doing so in order to get something from you that I want. I will kiss you on the head, tilting your head down, making you lower yourself in front of me as I place the patronising light kiss on the top of your head. You are a child to me, someone who knows no better and has to be guided by me. You are bowing, showing fealty through this gesture for I am your ruler and your liege.

  1. Shuddering if you touch us

You cannot place boundaries for me. I go where I want. You however have no entitlement to me. You require my permission and especially so when it means violating my space. If you catch me unawares and touch me, no matter how lightly, I will give a violent shudder as if have been touched by something unpleasant so you are left in no doubt as to what I think about you.

  1. Turning our back on you in bed

This is done as soon as we climb into bed on the occasion we have deigned to provide you with our presence or not banished you from the bedroom with a well-time bout of aggression. You have your hopes raised of sexual union or at least the heart-warming pleasantry of cuddling up together. Instead you receive a glacial wall that is our back and if you think this is an invitation to “spoon” with us you will be sharply elbowed or back heeled away from us.

  1. Avoiding taking your hand

Once upon a time we always took your hand as we walked along the road, through a museum or around the shops, making you feel loved and showing the world that we were together. There was a time when we wanted everyone to know that you were ours. No longer. We will ignore the proffered hand, driving our own into our pockets or shaking off your hand if you happen to grab ours. You don’t decide to show others we are together; don’t you realise that one of my new prospects might see?

  1. Awkward Evasion

You try to place an arm around us and we suddenly jump up as if we have sat on a tack. You attempt to hug us and we move around you like a rugby player evading a tackle, often contorting ourselves into a move which would be more often seen in a gymnastics contortion. Our desire to wriggle away, duck under, escape and move apart suggests that your very touch might burn us. The exaggerated movement can leave you in no doubt that this was deliberate.

  1. One-sided hug

You have taken us by surprise and launched a hug at us, be it from the front, sides or rear. You will not have it reciprocated. There will be no return gesture, no warming and intimate response. We will stand like a block of ice, arms down by our sides, back stiff and stare straight ahead willing this uncomfortable moment to end.

  1. No longer naked

We once paraded around naked in front of you, letting it all hang out, without a care in the world. Truth be told we wanted you to look on our naked form and admire and it was also done to signal to your that we were entirely comfortable around one another in the buff. Now we behave like a coy virgin. We wear pyjamas in bed rather than sleep naked, we lock the bathroom door when we are in there so you cannot walk in on us and we always wrap a towel around us in order to cover-up our intimate areas so you cannot see us. If you happen to walk in unexpectedly when we are naked we will grab the nearest shirt, sombrero or fruit bowl to cover our modesty or dive behind a door, under a bed or out of the window. You don’t get to look any more.

  1. Proffering a cheek

You wait to kiss us and want to plant a tender kiss on our mouth. Others are looking and we must have consideration for the façade. An awkward evasion move now would be unwise and might invite unwanted speculation and comment. Instead we turn our head so you are left with no option but to plant that kiss on our cheek. We will not hold the cheek there either but pull away as soon as you embrace it. You are being given advance warning of your demotion from intimate partner to outer circle friend with this rejection tactic.

  1. Moving if you lean against us

You want to cuddle up next to us on the expansive sofa. If you do, we will get up and move to an armchair as soon as you begin to lean onto us. If you try and the sit in my lap, I will tip you up and deposit you on the floor as I leave the room and give you a silent treatment for pushing the matter too far. If I am lying down watching television and you try and climb on me, you may as well be trying to wrestle a crocodile as I will resist your advance and push you away before moving into a position which is easier to fend you off and send you a clear signal to sit elsewhere.

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One of the most fundamental questions that must be answered is

“Is he or she a narcissist?”

You need to detect the narcissist and who better to do so on your behalf than me, with my extensive and unrivalled expertise.

Whether it is your husband, girlfriend, boss, brother, neighbour or best friend, ascertaining whether this person is a narcissist (or not) is crucial with regard to putting your mind at ease, formulating a plan to deal with the manipulations of the narcissist and to enabling you to secure freedom.

Knowing if the relevant person is a narcissist is the foundation stone of achieving understanding and freedom.

Submit to me information about the individual as per the guidance sheet which is provided once the consultation is booked and engage my narcissist detection expertise to confirm whether the person is a narcissist and if so, their school and cadre.

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Why Do Narcissists Operate From The Same Book?

It is an often repeated question that I am asked – why do narcissists operate from the same book or why do narcissists all behave in the same way? Is there some School of Narcissism, a University of Manipulation or a College of Coercion?

The fact that much of what I write about with regard to my own behaviours and those of my kind resonates with so many, many people naturally causes this question to be asked. How is it that narcissists know how to behave in such similar ways? What is behind narcissists using such familiar and well-experienced manipulations?

How do we learn to do this? Indeed, such is the similarity of experience that I am regularly asked by people whether I am their narcissist (I am not) and some even go so far as to write to me on a daily basis questioning my behaviour, pleading and chastising as they truly think I am the narcissist who is tormenting them (again I am not) but this is borne (in part) out of the recognition of similarity with regard to the operation of narcissists.

Do we all use the same book and if we do, how does this come about?

The first observation to make is that whilst there are similarities in the way that we operate there are also considerable differences. Of course, many of those who are ensnared by us find themselves ensnared by similar types (as in school and cadre) of narcissist, therefore the behaviours will indeed appear similar to the victim.

However, Lesser Narcissists have a smaller range of manipulations, are rudimentary in their activity, have smaller fuel matrices leading to more interruption to their fuel supply which in turn causes more volatile and haphazard behaviours and have a low threshold on their ignited fury which will invariably appear as heated fury. These are considerable differences from the Mid Range Narcissist and both Lesser and Mid Range are different again from the Greater School.

Now, a Lesser Narcissist may use a silent treatment (the hallmark of the Mid Range Narcissist) but it is rarer, there are cross overs between the schools in terms of certain behaviours. For instance, all schools may use physical violence, however Lesser Narcissists do so more often and more brutally and without regard for consequence, Mid Rangers do so far less often, tend to use pushing, holding, spitting and slapping rather than punching, kicking, biting or head butting and Greaters, where physical violence is used (which is rare) may do so through a proxy or will do so in a manner less likely to be detected. Thus there is a similarity with regard to the use of physical violence but considerable differences in its frequency and application. Similar behaviours but with variations.

How about achieving coercion and control? The Lesser is a blunt instrument relying on blind fear through physical aggression (to person and property). The Mid Ranger will rely on being kind and good-natured moving to pity and emotional blackmail before involving threat, albeit it remains that. The Greater uses charm and reward before the use of threat which will be implemented if required. Thus all three schools engage in coercing and controlling victims but do so in differing ways.

What then of fuel matrices? The three articles I have previously written about those matrices show a commonality – we all need fuel – but significant differences in the composition and extent of those fuel matrices. The Lesser has a small fuel matrix with heavy reliance on the Intimate Partner Primary Source and is more likely to make use of a Non Intimate Partner Primary Source should the need arise. The Mid Ranger has a wider fuel matrix, but relies significantly on the IPPS also and less on a Non Intimate Partner Primary Source. The Greater has the widest and most varied fuel matrix and whilst there remains a reliance on the IPPS, it is not as great as the other two schools and indeed the Greater School can endure for far longer without a primary source at all compared to the other schools.

All three schools exhibit ignited fury when wounded (see the book Fury for more details in that regard) however the Lesser has a hair trigger in that regard and relies mostly, often exclusively on heated fury. The Mid-Ranger has more control than the Lesser but it is not substantially improved and their fury manifests more through cold fury. The Greater has a significant control over his or her ignited fury and will use both heated and cold fury should control not remain in place.

Not all narcissists are grandiose. Some are aggressive, others are passive aggressive. Some are haughty, others almost needy. Some focus on the physical, others on the cerebral. Some are successful and others are not.

Accordingly, it can be seen that there are similar strands with regard to narcissists, in terms of constitution, outlook and behaviour but with notable and significant differences between the schools. Therefore it is not accurate to state that all narcissists operate from the same playbook, but that it appears there are similarities. Again, as mentioned earlier, this appearance of it being the same may also be the experience of the victim because he or she has been ensnared by narcissists of the same school and cadre.

Yet, what if the differences I have explained above (and there are plenty more) are regarded as mere subtleties by victims and instead you point to the fact that we seduce victims, we love bomb, we devalue, we disengage, we suffer wounding, we hoover and we smear. Are those all not the operations of narcissists, are they not all the same? Do we not all regard people as objects as appliances?

Do we not all lack emotional empathy? Do we not all experience envy, jealousy and hatred? Do we not all utilise black and white thinking? Do we not all have an overwhelming need for control of our environments? Again, these would be seen as significant ‘sames’ with regard to our kind and support the suggestion that we all operate in accordance with one, mystical, all-encompassing manual of narcissism.

It is clear from the many comments that I have read on my blog and social media platforms, from the e-mails I have received and the content of consultations that people have very similar experiences with regard to being a victim of our kind, whether it is romantic, familial, social or work entanglement. Thus it very much appears that we do indeed all operate from the same book and this raises the next question, how can that be? How is it that narcissists ‘know’ to operate this way, to have the same perspectives, to react in the same way and to deal with their victims in such similar ways?

That is a simple question to answer.

It is not the case that because one is a narcissist that one knows to operate in the same way as every other narcissist. No.

It is because we act in such similar ways that we are narcissists. If you do not act in this way, you are not one of us, if you do, you are and you belong to our club.

Manipulate, lack emotional empathy, regard people as appliances who belong to us forever, control people, need fuel, lack remorse, have no or poor boundary recognition, exhibit magical thinking, a sense of entitlement, have no concept of accountability, ensure it is never our fault, see only in black and white and so forth and you are a narcissist. Not the other way around.

It is the similarity in behaviour that makes us narcissists, not that we are narcissists so we behave similarly.

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