For the Sake of Argument

Would you like to know what is going through my mind when we argue? Thought you would.

I do enjoy an argument. I love to start a squabble, a contretemps and escalate it to a quarrel through to an altercation, a fight ! By now I am sure you have realised that the reason I do this is twofold. First, I am provoking an emotional reaction from you which gives me fuel. Secondly, it enables me to put you in your place and control you by being abusive towards you. I keep it within the realms of stinging and barbed verbal abuse but there are those of my brethren who do like to let their fists do the talking. That is not my style but we cannot shy away from the truth of what is being done in the name of “a discussion”.

I know from experience and also from reading numerous comments and observations that you regard arguing with me akin to banging your head against a brick wall. You cannot understand the stance we adopt in an argument. Surely we must recognise that what we are saying makes no sense? Do we not realise that our position lacks logic? I will endeavour to enlighten you. I recognise two types of argument. The first is created by me. The second is created by you. What they both have in common is you are at fault.

In the first type I generate an argument out of nothing. You find this disorienting and confusing. In fact,I will often do this after we have just done something delightful together (throwing you from a height is all the more delicious – see Get Ready To Drop). I will invent some offence (why did you just look at that man across from us, when you did not) or I will seize on something utterly trivial (thanks for taking that last drop (and it was a drop) of the sauvignon blanc). I will level the accusation at you. You will at first be stunned because everything was going swimmingly. You will then be perplexed as my accusation is either untrue or so minor to be negligible. Why is he getting so het up over nothing? Indignance will then rise inside you as your inner self questions whether you are just going to sit and take this unjust accusation. I am shouting at you now and you either run away or fight back. It might go something like this.

“Oh thanks for taking the last of the wine, I wanted that. I have hardly had any.”

“Sorry? There was only a drop left.”

“But you didn’t ask me if I wanted it did you?”

“I didn’t think to, there was just a dribble.”

“You didn’t think? That’s the trouble with you. You never think.”

“Oh come on, besides you’ve had plenty of wine anyway.”

“Are you saying I have a drink problem?”

“Woah, where did that come from?”

“You. You are always doing this. You do something selfish and then turn it into an attack about me. Just because you cannot stand for someone to point out when you have done something wrong.”

“Good God, what are you talking about?”

“That’s it, try to dismiss me when I am making a valid point.”

“I only poured a drop of wine into my glass. It is not big deal. Here, if it troubles you so much, have what is left in my glass.”

“No, it’s too late. The damage is done. You are trying to make light of when I am pointing something out to you.”

“This is ridiculous.”

“Oh I am ridiculous am I, well that’s rich coming from someone who drinks a bottle, at least one, a day.”

“Where do you get that from? No I don’t.”

“Yes you do. I am concerned about your drinking, have you ever considered getting some help?”

And on it goes.

When I start an argument like this I am not interested in proving what I am saying is correct. I am already right in my mind. You should note that ‘right’ and ‘correct’ are not necessarily the same thing. The whole purpose of this type of argument is for me to upset you and turn an otherwise pleasant experience into a horrible one. This is about exerting control so that you become wary about upsetting me. Next time you will always ensure you offer to pour me a glass of wine before tending to yourself for fear of causing an argument. Of course,, the next time I will be arguing about how you took the last profiterole instead even though I had eaten five more than you already.

The second type of argument is where you level a complaint or accusation at me. Invariably what you say is correct and you have valid grounds for raising it. You will also do so in a calm and level-headed fashion because that is your style. When you do this I do not hear what you are actually saying to me. The validity of your argument is meaningless to me. The piece of paper that documents your point may as well be written in Sanskrit for all the notice I will take of it. All I hear is you criticising me and I hate that. I absolutely hate it. How dare someone like you, who is inferior to someone like me, have the audacity to suggest I have done something wrong. I do not hear your words, I do not see the video recording you are playing back, all I hear is an unjust and scathing attack on me. Your words are drowned out by the raging fire that surges through me. The noise of the flames renders me deaf to your cool logic. I will deflect, deny and launch my own attacks (usually predicated on inventions) in order to beat you back. I am not interested in the correctness of what is being argued about. I am only interested in stopping the burning sensation I feel from your criticism and to do that I have to extinguish you. This is when I lose control and lash out. I will hurl savage insults at you and I will smash items of property (in my mind I am smashing you, just another object in front of me when I do this) and some of my kind will engage in physical violence. You will try to make me see that I am wrong (any healthy person would do this) and you are utterly flabbergasted as to why I cannot see what you are saying to me. Now you know. I cannot see because of the fiery rage that has erupted.

How do you deal with me in these two types of argument? Well, I am saving that information for another time. In the meanwhile, see if you can piece together that ornament I just have hurled against the wall.

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56 thoughts on “For the Sake of Argument”

  1. Amazing. This article just described to a T my life with my ex-narc. And I cannot tell you how happy I am to discover myself bursting into a giant smile and giggles while reading this article. Do you know just how stupid your behaviors are? I can’t believe I put up with this for 9 years! That’s stupidity on my part, yup. But I can stop. You can’t.

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      1. It takes time and reading to comprehend what has happened as you seek to ride out the emotional shock waves which can last for a long time.

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      2. Ok, I married mine twice. Let me say this is a lesbian relationship. I went through five years of back and forth coming and going. During our relationship, she finally ‘accepted’ her mental illness and started therapy and medication. During that time I was told that I was using her illness to control her and keep her with nothing. Flash forward to now, she got pregnant during the end of our divorce, after it was finalized she told me I was the love of her life and she wanted a life with only me. Was told that she was going to celibate and show me her devotion until God worked on my heart and reunited us positively. Later on I found out she was still sleeping with the guy she got pregnant by and lied about their relationahip to me. She then had a mental crisis and was hospitalized. At that time I was accused of not caring about her mental and unborn child and that she would no longer have contact with me (all along I had been telling her I didn’t want a relationship with her and didn’t want to be a part of the child’s life). I’ve been blocked from all social media and she changed her number. She did contact me two weeks ago via email. I asked her not to do that since I was so damaging to her. Do you think she will contact me again???….

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      3. Hello Lost and Confused, yes she will so long as she knows that she can use you to obtain fuel from you. Her behaviour shows her clear disregard for you and your feelings but she regards it as an entitlement to treat you as she sees fit. She will hoover you when she experiences a reduction in fuel from other sources. I recommend you read Fuel and Black Hole.

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    1. WOW!! Did you date my Narcissist??? He would do the same thing, they must have all gone to the same school of acting ridiculous. Grown men stuck in a two year old’s tantrums. I guess someone did not get their diapers changed when they demanded, BOO HOO!! IDIOTS. We would have a great weekend, then out of know where he would pick a fight, or demean me because I bought the wrong type of bread,or some other stupid nonsense. The most toxic, dysfunctional relationship I ever encountered. Evil, Vile, Perverted pig, SATAN ON EARTH!!! So glad I discarded your pathetic self😈 Thank God it only lasted 7 months, he would have killed me with the constant stess and drama!!

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    1. Hello Bree, thank you for your post and excuse the delay in replying. Yes these “discussions” are very effective for us but best left behind by you. Did you have anyway of trying to deal with them?

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    1. Hello Jacqueline, thank you for your post and apologies for the delay in replying. All feedback is appreciated as after all I am just being brutally honest. You see, I can be honest when I try !

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      1. Of course you can. There just has to be something in it for you.

        I notice that the passion for accuracy that you mentioned in other entries doesn’t typically apply when you are the topic, however. Either in terms of your own accuracy or what you expect of other people.

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  2. That is exactly what it was like. Thank you for helping me to see how it was. While I was in it, I was always too sad and upset to see the truth.

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    1. Hello Steph, thank you for your post. There is rarely any clarity to any of this when you are in the middle of the maelstrom. We do not want you to work it out but for the most part your are incapable of doing so. We have isolated you from anyone who might bring a positive influence to bear, we have disconnected your critical thinking and nobody suddenly thinks, “Hey I am with a narcissist” as even if the thought crossed their mind (which is rare) he or she will dismiss it.

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      1. Well, this is exactly how I ‘got it’: I googled “emotionally unavailable man”, “inconsistent/disruptive behaviour”, “lying, cheating”, “mood swings”, “fake”, “other woman”… and then, Google displayed “narcissism” all over my laptop screen!!! I still did not understand the notion of narcissism, but there was one word that triggered me big time: triangulation. That caught my attention. I googled ‘triangulation’ and discovered Sam Vaknin: OMG. He guided me out of the fog, so to speak.

        Of course, HG also played a great role, but he came into play about a year after I discovered that I’d dealt with a narcissist and after studying that topic throughly. So I was already familiar with most of the stuff, although HG has added a special layer of insight and awareness, thanks to his very unique style and approach (fuel drip-drop here;-)).

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  3. Sometimes when I read post that are so familiar to the hell I lived, and they are so accurate to what I experienced I have to come back and reread them, this is my third time. It is like a confirmation of the pain I lived through. My sense of right and wrong became so cloudy, I was not always sure life was what I thought it was. This did really happen it was wrong and I am not crazy. Thanks for helping me to reclaim my life and understand those things I survived and made it through. Validation is the word, this helps validate the memories in my head.

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  4. It’s like reading Zari Ballard here:-)

    [You may censor this comment if it’s you Zari – I won’t mention it again. I read your books and appreciate your writing style, and think that this new blog is an excellent way to spread the word].

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  5. Iam very happy to read this article ,thanks a lot,I thought Iam the only silly person in the world who is always wrong.He tried his best to let me assume all negatives about me and he did.Since years heard riddles about love then sudden denyal …!???? He is now in love with a very young girl and showing happiness and satisfaction but continuously sending texts that my presence or existence have no meanings.I am still in contact don’t know how to get rid from him emotionally?

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  6. This article was the key to not giving away my peace and as he tried to get reaction out of me with all of the tacics i called every tactic out as it was happening and I was so thankful I identified it and stopped it. He got very very little supply from that attempt.. Thank you so much HD

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    1. You don’t, because you can’t control another person. I went through a period of time where I literally tried to obey my ex-narcissist in all things. He responded by moving the goalposts, by claiming he could tell what I was thinking, and that I was thinking bad things about him. He had terrifying “arguments” with me in which I didn’t speak a single word. He would scream his piece and then switch to a high-pitched voice that mimicked mine and argue what he thought I’d say, and then answer in his own voice again.

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  7. Well, I can’t honestly tell if you’re really a narcissist or facetiously pretending in an effort to educate. After all, isn’t it antithetical for a narcissist to A) admit to these atrocious abusive behaviors and B) help anyone recognize them???

    Anywho, it is spot on. Funny enough I had a narcissist friend who alerted me that my then husband was a narcissist. I used to say “you’re just like my husband” all the time – she was evil but at least she alerted me to this disorder.

    I tried many a time to point out his circular thinking / rational and how it made no sense – beating my head against the wall is about right. Bc of our child & business together we still have to communicate & it’s so funny to see him try to bait me. I can dismiss his attempts to control me with a laugh to myself and simply ignore him. I prayed for him to find another woman and God answered it. I don’t know whether to laugh or cry for her bc she got involved with him while we were still married & I thought “working” on the marriage. I know he’s lying to her so I do feel sorry for her a little.
    Oh well. I wish all you narcissists would stop hurting nice people who just want to be loved. Alas, you are too weak.

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  8. Wow, my 33 year old daughter uses these tactics however she is much more vicious and no one is immuned to whoever steps in her path or the next future poor guy victim that has no idea what he’s in for and 1000 times worse especially if he has children. I put up with this for years. The more I read and learned how to deal with a bipolar narc with multiple personality disorder the more angry she became and dangerous. A no contact domestic violence order was finally our strongest defense. We have had custody of her now 15 year old daughter for 9 years. Judge ordered no visitations due to her issues (putting it politely). Of course she violates it and we hold her accountable each time. Thanks for your insight

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  9. Im in this moment living with a narcissistic husband who has depression and cancer and its a living hell. I have 5 kids. I work as a teacher and I am now on the receiving end day 11 of this behavior and even with all his ailments he is still bursting any joy we have any peace …its 20 years and only realized he is deliberately this way. Its not because of tiredness no sex attention etc its about control and being miserable. Im absolutely at my wits end. I just came across this now. He now not goes to work to keep an eye on me when I’m home with my 4 year old. I no longer go to gym go out or have friends. Its impossible to get out of this! His rages are escalating as I try to get him out and his bizarre behavior hangs arounf longer now. There are rare nice moments. He is smug and sits in bed all day with his phone as he is cancer affected but its under control. I have no clue how to live a life without fear and manipulation. He seems to have a few mental health issues refuses help. I can not live like this. Abuse torment he wont allow me to sleep all night..broken property holes in doors grabbing my face calling me vile names. Ive stayed because he got cancer.

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  10. This is spot on except there are usually lots more projections and profanities abt me being nasty inconsiderate evil mad etc and triangulations from their flying monkeys apparently supporting their views always and saying how wonderful they are in everyway..
    How I could have had it all with them if only I was a better person. How they could have anyone and need to dump me immediately. which they are reluctant to do because they can see I could change to this better person and that they’re in love with me and they make up their own mind abt such things.

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    1. Hello Suze, yes the projections and insults can really fly when necessary. Lieutenants will naturally be roped in and utilised when required. How have you learned to deal with them?

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    2. Been married to a narc 9 years now and everything described here is spot on, but you’re the first to mention the flying monkeys. And now with social media it’s even worse. He was arrested and spent 85 days in jail, in which they tortured me. His ex, mother, 18 yr old daughter, and 14 yr old daughter. Following me and my then 6 yr old daughter with him around the carnival where i was trying to show her a good time bc her dad was locjed up. Tge ex went as far as to confront me for jumping on her daughter (the 18 yr old)..completely made up. And nist enraging, having a 18 yr old step daughter who had never been around saying any abuse I endured from him I deserved Bc I am a bitch. Had the other daughter posting on fb calling me a whore, the ex and other daughter joined in on the comments.. we live in a small town. Everyone saw this. I didn’t wanna leave the house. When he went to jail I thought I’d have peace, but the flying monkeys took care of that.

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  11. I am flabbergasted when I read some of your posts. It is almost like reading a book, & It is me that you are writing about. (Me meaning, victim of a Narc)
    Every article I read here, takes me to an ‘event’ that I suffered at the hands of my almost Ex Narc.
    13 Years of loving, trusting & caring for someone who dosnt exist. This information & the realisation on every level is helping me to finally escape and find myself again.
    I cannott thank you enough.
    I am becoming stronger each day & soon I will be free to be me

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    1. Hello Judy,it never ceases to astonish people how similar the behaviours that we adopt are. This is because they are effective, well-practised and to some extent instinctive (which is governed by the degree of function that we exhibit). I ma pleased that you are finding it useful, it is through reading that you gain understanding which opens the gateway to freedom.

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      1. Thankyou again.. I have stopped trying to understand him… Or try & work him out.. It is unbelievable how they can be so charming, funny, caring, ect with EVERYONE else.. I’m positive that not even his parents, siblings or children really know the real him. He displays So many aspects of being a Narc. Just knowing this has helped me

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  12. Spot on!! How, if there is a way AT ALL, do you get a narc to have insight into heir behavior and the damages it leaves behind??

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    1. Hello Tricia, the first step is to know the type of N you are dealing with. If you are interested in more detail on that read Sitting Target. Once you know which type of N you are dealing with you can ascertain whether there is a chance they will have awareness or not and you can move from there.

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    2. Tricia, I don’t think it is worth the time and effort to try to ‘educate’ or ‘lecture’ a narc into awareness. I tried it and believe me – I failed. It’s because they either know, or don’t want to know, but in both cases: don’t want or simply cannot change. It’s sad but it’s true. They simply tick in a different way… remember, it’s an all pervasive personality disorder, not an illness that you can cure. I myself find that concept very hard to believe, and I wish research or someone’s experience would prove otherwise. But apparently, nobody has ever successfully helped heal a narc, nor have I heard of a fully malignant narcissist. They may learn to control their actions to some degree and switch to cold empathy to better function in society. Maybe they even decide to drop anonymity former victim and stop the hoovers, out of respect of newly-found and enforced boundaries. But they never change at core level, not really.

      Now, trying to make them ‘get it’ is doomed to fail and keeps us stuck in the abuse cycle. It is no. 31 on HG’S “30 Wrong Focus List”. At least that is my experience. The more I tried, the more he got angry… I guess he felt criticised?

      Thanks to a 12-step-programm for Co-dependents, I learned and finally came to the accept anderen that I do not have any control over Another person, and that my life had become unmanageble. This is step 1 of 12. From there, I am still working through the steps.

      I think it much more worthy while to focus on ourselves, healing from old wounds, and the wounds cause by the the narc abuse experience (often a mirror of old wounds) and moving on with our own lives.

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  13. This sounds a lot like my mom and her husband. They started dating when I was 16. I am now 31. Only in the past six months or so have I learned about narcissism. Everything I read about it sounds exactly like them…but then I start to question myself – Am I just overreacting? Should I just brush them off like my brother says I should? My brother doesn’t fully understand how they make me feel because in their eyes he can do no wrong. On the other hand, they make me feel like I can never do anything good enough. They belittle me, criticize every single move I make, focus only on the negative things about me or going on in my life, try to control my decisions whether they involve them or not, tell me my life has been a mess ever since I graduated high school, etc, etc. I’m to the point where I’m ready to cut ties with them but feel guilty for wanting to do so, after all, they are supposed to be family… And what if I am overreacting or “imagining” the way they make me feel? What do I do if I find myself in one of these arguments with them? How do I know if they are truly narcissistic?

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    1. Hello Mandi, it is highly unlikely that you are over-reacting but rather the way that you are being manipulated causes you to think that this is the case. There are many indicators and signs which will help you determine that you are engaged with abusive individuals and if they are narcissistic. I would suggest that you read Red Flag and Black Flag which will assist you in that regard. If you have any questions thereafter then do ask. In terms of dealing with them I would recommend you read Manipulated, Escape and No Contact. There is plenty of insight and information in my books which will assist you and will also save my fingers from typing it here!

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  14. I just want to know ‘why’….why behave like thus if someone truly loves you and wants to build a life with you? Why crush and destroy someone like that?

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    1. It is because of the way we have been created and we do not know any other way (or in some instances we will not choose a different way). There is a lot that can be written in answer to this question Anonymous, but at its essence is the fact that this is the way we have been created and we do it because we require fuel to sustain the existence which is the only existence (or appears to be the only viable existence) we know. I recommend you read some of my books to understand more about why this happens. Written from my perspective they will give you different insight.

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  15. This is happening to me now. I’ve been so good to him but one minute I’m the love of his life and a good woman and the next I’m fake and I’m crazy and controlling.

    We’ve argued about him not paying me attention. He ignored me for 3 days and then he text to tell me I was the love
    Of his life and he wants us to stop arguing now. I told him he was selfish and doesn’t think of my feelings and he went mental. Said he’s never been selfish in his life. He ignored me for another day and the then he text and told me he didn’t love me anymore. Said I pushed him to not love me.
    I told him must have never loved me then and he called me a “fake ass bitch”Then he deleted me and blocked me from his phone.
    4 years we’ve been together. I’m heartbroken. Do you think he’s a narcissist?

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    1. Hello Jane,
      There are certainly indicators that suggest you are involved with a narcissist, although of course one would need more detail to provide a more considered opinion.
      1. You feel that you have always been good to him. This is a typical statement of an empathic individual who has provided so much and then finds that such behaviour is only met with unpleasant behaviour.
      2. The sudden switching from being delightful to horrible is a common tactic of ours designed to confuse you and make you react in an emotional fashion to provide us with fuel.
      3. The allegation of you being fake, crazy and controlling, is projection by him as a means to defend himself whilst also cause you to provide fuel.
      4. You have argued about him not paying attention. We want your attention (fused with emotion) all of the time. If you are not providing this, you are not providing fuel and therefore he will lash out at you.
      5. The three days of being ignored is a silent treatment. This is a frequent manipulative tool of our kind. His use of this is often a reaction to your criticism of him (whether real or usually perceived). You were not giving him attention, (or probably not enough in his eyes) and this feels like a criticism to him. This wounds him and ignites his fury. He argued with you (this was his heated fury) and then ignored you (this silent treatment is cold fury) both these actions are done to draw fuel from you to help him repair the wound you have caused.
      6. He then tells you that you are the love of his life. This is him looking to draw positive fuel from you by reason of your relieved response. He walks back in as if nothing has changed or happened.
      7. Your comment re feelings was a criticism. You wounded him, ignited his fury and he lashed out at you (heated fury).
      8. He said he has not been selfish. This is denial. We are good at denial.
      9. Another silent treatment followed.
      10. His text about not loving you was designed to provoke you to provide fuel. He engaged in blame-shifting by suggesting that you made him not love you. Everything is always your fault.
      11. You comment re never loving him is criticism again. He lashes out with the insult.
      12. The deletion and blocking you is another silent treatment.
      These are the responses of a narcissist.
      You are very much caught up in the push and pull of devaluation. It is difficult to make sense of all of this when you are in a heightened emotional position. You need to increase your understanding. I recommend that you read Manipulated, Fuel, Black Flag, Your Fault and Escape as a bare minimum.

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  16. It’s all there…
    Arguing over nothing – in circles
    Degrading belittling and soul destroying.
    Sucking my bubbly funny personality and life for your personal fuel.
    Polite and friendly to everyone but me – controlling the narrative to all who’ll listen.
    Turning things against me deliberately making us all miserable.
    Baiting me to look like the psycho

    Once I learnt more I started taking back me, discussing it with my personal confidents so they to can watch for your ways and give the knowing nod when they see what your doing.

    I may be married to you and have young children to you but It’s your personal problem, it’s not my problem. We are not entering into it and I will make that very clear to remind you as required. I will attend counselling and keep it all well documented there, as has been done already.

    That and reading will be my learning giving me the skills to manage you and disassociate you from us just enough.
    Scream all you like, everyone will only ever hear you never me.
    My new friends are mine and you will never meet them – they will know the real me and who you are.
    When Iam working they will never meet you only know of you. I will call you on all your BS and not play into your game.

    Your friends will soon see through you to.

    Culturally you and your life choices will have you naturally die a young age – your body will go back with your sister if she lives long enough and us as a family will move on in our warm positive light we have made and you will be a shadow not discussed, your attempt at control in the grand scheme will be short lived and like you a fading memory to become nothing.

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