A Sense of Purpose

In one exchange with hissy fit Hannah, she of the perfectly poised potty mouth, I was blundering my way through the Madness of King George and my off kilter timing was causing her to explode once again. Her script had been thrown to the ground and the papers lay scattered. She was ramrod stiff and her tiny feet seemed nailed to the floor as they did not move. Instead, she seemed to move only from the ankle, the rest of her body in perfect alignment as she jolted from side to side. Her caustic tongue went into over time and I stood with a false perplexed look on my face conveying that I was mystified as to what was causing her such concern.

“You do this on purpose don’t you?” she accused. Those small round brown eyes glinted with the fury that coursed through her. I must admit, other than my own rage, I do not think that anybody who I have ever met has come anywhere near to the seething outrage that Hannah used to feel. Were it not for her magnanimous nature and her ability to take an interest in people you might have thought that she was one of my kind. She was very good at making people feel wanted. Notwithstanding her degree of fame, she made time for people and welcomed listening to them and asking about them. She actually preferred for people to talk about themselves rather her having to speak about herself. She took pride in the calibre of her performance, enjoyed the decent money she commanded as well but ultimately it was all about the performance. Something I could identify with.

“It is not difficult to do HG, it really is not,” she ranted “You used to be so damn good at doing this, much like everything else in our relationship. I don’t know what has happened to you, but you seem to have lost your sense of purpose. I admired you because you tackle everything head on and you are usually brilliant at everything you turn your hand to, but I am beginning to wonder if your power has peaked. Are you losing it? This is shambolic, you are useless, absolutely useless.”

She then descended into combining a thesaurus with profanity as she found every synonym she could for incompetence and interspersed these descriptions with a heavy serving of swear words. Her breath was coming in staccato bursts as she built herself into a frenzy, her cheeks reddening as her voice rose and rose.

“I really do have to ask, for what purpose God put you on this earth?”

Finally she stopped and she held my gaze. I could feel the fire ignite inside me as for once she had created the spark. The flames leapt into life, the heat surging upwards through me. She had questioned my purpose. She was challenging my existence. Who did she think she was? My eyes narrowed as I savoured the vitriol that now pumped through my body, the rising malice giving me power and reminding me that I am the supreme authority and she is but dust on the wind. Already the schemes of manipulation flickered through my racing my mind like a thousand screens showing trailers for the malevolence that would be unleashed on this thespian for her audacity in questioning my purpose.

I felt the words form in my throat and the anger came soaring with them as I strode up to her. She remained defiant, still in that strange stiff pose and she did not shirk despite the clear intent signalled by my rapid walk towards her. I thrust my face into hers, eyeball to eyeball and with incandescent rage burning through me I yelled into her face,

“I was invented by God to test your belief in him.”

She blinked once and then again. The edifice immediately cracked and came crashing down as she let out a howl of upset and her eyes filled with tears.

Nobody does rage like me.

Nobody delivers the final line like me.

Nobody questions my purpose.

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The Asylum of the Grotesque

“Why don’t you try to love me the way that I love you?” – Paula

“Perhaps if you just tried you could find a better way to something deeper and more substantial.” – Kate

“I know it is within you, it has to be, all you need is to embrace it and place your trust in me.” – Alex

“I know you flirt with all kinds of dirt, but beneath the sin, I know you want to love me like I love you.” – Karen

“If you let me I will show you how to love without condition or cruelty, it can be done by all of us. Just let me try.” – Caroline

I still hear these words from these women (and more besides) as I sit late at night in the large living room to the rear of my house. It is on the first floor and provides me with a commanding view of the fields to the rear of the property, the occasional copse breaking up the undulating countryside. I had two bedrooms knocked together and created this living room where I like to sit and look out across the view as the sun vanishes and the cool, calmness of the night arrives. The sky shifts from the medley of flaming oranges, reds and yellows to a soothing azure and then the darkness descends. Karen and I enjoyed sitting in the large elbow chairs that faced the window. Often we would say nothing as around us the lamps would switch on, a gentle click signifying their creation of a pool of light as the timer activated them one by one.

I will often leave the city behind and come out here so I can sit in this house which I regard as my castle and with a glass of Chablis in hand, watch the sky change colour. The occasional noise of a distant animal might be heard but largely there is silence. The enveloping stillness of a calm world until I hear their words. All of them meant what they said and did so with the best of their intentions. I know that because I could see it in their eyes. Whether it was the earnest green, the heart-felt hazel, the beseeching blue or the inspiring grey, I still see them as they tried to make me see a different way. They wanted me to change. They wanted to make me something else.

Now Karen no longer sits beside me, I rarely bring the girlfriends that I acquire out here. I prefer the solitude, only for a few days. I will periodically check my electronic devices and the winking displays, lists of messages and e-mails sustains me as so many seek my attention. Without Karen, I decide against having the lamps gently bloom and instead prefer the gathering darkness. It is here that I can sit and plan. It is in this quiet that I can marshal my resources, mark my targets and organise my machinations. It is also when I resist those pleas to become that which I regard as impossible to achieve. I prefer to walk amongst my trophies. I stride amidst the frozen tributes to my brilliance as I picture each and every of my conquests as if they are beautifully crafted statues each in a pose denoting my victory over them. There is Siobhan, on her knees looking up at me as she begs me not to go, her pretty features contorted by the pain she is experiencing. Paula sits at a table, her hands clamped over he mouth, her eyes wide with fear as she fights to say nothing, terrified that a word might slip from her lips. Becky dangles limps, the strings rising upwards attached to her hands, her feet, her head, her hips and other places. The broken puppet. Kate stands on tip toe, her face a mask of anguish as with one hand raised above her eyes she peers into the distance as if searching for something, an empty dog lead in her hand. I let my hands glide over the smooth stone that has captured their defeat and embodied it in an eternal stance. My fingers drift over open mouths, curled lips, tear-filled eyes and flared nostrils. I savour the misery, anger and dejection that has been injected into these statues. I regularly walk amongst them and it reminds me of my power, the hold that I have over these people who sought to change me but could only ever disappoint me. Why would I ever want to do what they would have me do? Why would I embrace their suggestions when I can create these monuments to my omnipotence? These masterpieces of misery always reinforce that I am destined to do this for this is what I do best. I am reassured, validated and comforted that my way is the right way when I take a stroll  in my asylum of the grotesque.

 

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A Lack of Support

We don’t provide support. We are too concerned with ourselves and our daily hunt for the fuel that we need to be concerned about you. We are engrossed in our own world and have no interest in yours. The only time we pay attention to you is when you are providing us with fuel or you stop providing us with fuel. Everything we do is focussed around us. This is because we have to obtain fuel, as without we will disintegrate. The hunger for this fuel is never ending and accordingly all of our energy must be applied towards obtaining it. This leaves us with nothing left over for anyone else.

Being a caregiver yourself, you would like to think that the person who you share your life with, or who you work closely with, would be amenable to providing you with support. That may mean giving you emotional support when you are experiencing a difficult time or taking the strain allowing you to lessen the burden on yourself. You give and you are happy to do so, therefore why should they not do so as well? That is the outlook of someone normal operating by the norms and rules of your world. Those do not apply to us. We cannot provide you with support since we have nothing available to do so.

Added to that we do not know how to provide emotional support. Yes we can see how chores can be done and the like. We also have observed the ways that you provide emotional support to other people and we know the phrases that are used, the expressions that are formed on people’s faces and the gestures that are made. We have seen all that and we could trot all that out. In fact we have done in the past. We did this when we were seducing you. When we wanted you to divulge about your weaknesses and vulnerabilities this will have invariably saddened you and upset you. It may even have caused an episode where you need emotional support. We were happy to go through the motions then because we were at the stage of investing in your in order to get our fuel. We were content to make the right noises, give you a hug and make the panacea that is the cup of tea. All of this was learned from others. We did not feel anything for you. We could not put ourselves in your shoes (heaven forbid that would ever happen) and we could not empathise with what you were experiencing and nor can we ever do that. Yet again, we conned you into thinking that we are a caring and selfless person. We demonstrated such an approach when we were first together and that attracted you to us. This raised expectations that you could rely on us and turn to us when the need arose. It is all false.

Furthermore, when you need support and expect it from us, you are showing to us how you are weak. We despise weakness. You will find that our kind is rarely found near children, the infirm and ill and the elderly. This is because they are all weak and want support regularly. We do not want to be reminded of that fact. We cannot be bothered with you cluttering up our route to fuel. An exhibition of weakness infuriates us. A normal person would see someone in a position of weakness and deign to help and assist. We have seen how this is a natural reaction in normal people. It will not happen with us.

If you are fortunate, we will absent ourselves from the situation in an instant. We will generate some urgent reason; find a pressing engagement we had forgotten about in order to ensure we can get away from you and your ailment, woe or injury. You probably will never see us move as quick when it comes to getting away from somebody who needs help. If we are unable to exit the situation then we may just stand and look at you. You could be reaching out to us, eyes filled with tears of pain, asking for help and we will just give you a blank stare. We know we ought to be helping you, convention and observation has told us this, but we cannot do so. We are unable to leave but we are also unable to help you. This requires compassion and we do not have any. It requires us to us our energies to help you out and we are forbidden from doing so.

Our ultimate reaction where you need support from us is to go on the offensive. The uncomfortable feeling that you have generated inside of us makes us feel less powerful and smacks of inferiority. We know of only one way to banish such a sensation. We need to reassert our power and that means we must lash out at you. It becomes necessary to subject you to further insults and denigrating comments, at a time when you are feeling hurt and vulnerable.

“What are you crying for? I have had worse happen to me.”

“I am sick and tired of you being pathetic. Deal with it.”

“I bet (insert name of triangulated individual) would not make such a song and dance about it like you do.”

“It’s only a dog, you can get another one. Seriously, what a display over a dumb animal.”

“You are hysterical, you need to get help.”

“Stop crying or I will give you something to cry about.”

“That’s right; make it about you on my special day.”

We will lash out at you with these words in order to make you feel worse and ourselves feel better because that is all we care about. We fooled you into thinking that we care about you. That is a fallacy. Do not expect us to support you.

Demonstrating our legendary hypocrisy we will expect you to always be there for us. When we have a need you must attend to it straight away, even if you are experiencing difficulties yourself. When we have a scratch we expect you to make it better even though you might be bleeding to death before us. As with so much of our behaviour we do not regard the way we act towards you as meaning you should behave the same way towards us. If you chopped us in half you would most likely find this stencilled through us like lettering on a stick of rock

“Do as I say, not do as I do.”

 

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Chained: The Narcissist’s Co-Dependent

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The Tallest of Poppies

I am well used to suffering the jealous behaviour of others as a consequence of their resentment arising from my brilliance. No matter how inclusive and charming I may be there are always some who suffer from the politics of envy. If I understood what sympathy really was I suppose I might have some for these people. It must be horrendous never achieving anything of note and being mired in mediocrity. Thankfully, not all those who are not blessed with the talents that my kind and me have are prone to this behaviour. If that was the case then surely we would face anarchy. Many of them realise their status as an epsilon semi-moron to borrow Aldous Huxley’s description from Brave New World and they are content to fulfil that role. There is much to be said for knowing your place. Few are destined to greatness and one will lead a much more satisfying life if one accepts that at an early stage and you leave the important stuff to those of us who occupy the rarefied stratosphere of superb achievement.

It is a regrettable trait that certain people, envious and jealous of my achievements feel the need to attack me. It is puzzling since so often I have exhibited nothing but pleasantness and compliments towards them and have enabled them to benefit from my largesse, but still they feel the need to attack me and pour scorn on what I do. Admittedly, they are in the minority and that is a helpful indicator and confirmation (if it were needed) that their stance is both unpleasant and erroneous. They might catcall my kind and me, attempting to attribute our success to underhand and devious methods, but they are merely fuming that they did not think of driving forward in such a manner themselves. Whenever I have to deal with one of these idiots who tries to denigrate me then I must always remind them that you cannot add to the stature of  a dwarf by cutting off the leg of a giant. That usually sends them away with a flea in their ear.

No, I have no sympathy for these fools, only contempt. Perhaps if they had tried harder at school, worked harder in their occupations and applied their minds with the singularity of vision and purpose that my kind and me are famed for, then and only then, these people might have achieved something.

I resist all attempts to cut me down. I am the tallest of poppies and you must crane your neck, look upwards and admire me for what I am. Of course, it is entirely appropriate that I maintain my stature by removing those who might unseat me. Should anyone else grow close to where I am and have the audacity to cast a shadow over my progress and achievements then I am left with no choice but to wield my scythe and cut them down. I must do it to them before they do it to me. It is the law of the jungle and you do not grow as tall and as fine as me without being able to eradicate the aspirers, the false climbers and the clambering imposters. Threaten my superiority and I will cut you down without hesitation or regret. I am compelled to ensure that the glow of sunny admiration falls on me and that there is no shadow from any other that might impinge my steady advance upwards.

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The Read to Revolution

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Arm yourself with understanding and knowledge. Know your foe.

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Acting Up

I recall one occasion when a particularly upset girlfriend of mine, Hannah, descended into one of her typical fits of hysteria. Hannah was an actress. She had been involved in acting since she was a teenager and had also appeared in a Royal Shakespeare Company production of Hamlet. She played Ophelia. I found this rather apt. She loses her mind over the Prince of Denmark and drowns. Typical self-centred response. Poor Hamlet. His father dies and his mother shacks up with his uncle. Not only this but his uncle murdered his father and has taken the throne of Denmark leaving Hamlet cast adrift and mired in woe. His girlfriend Ophelia is meant to support him but what does she do? She gets all worked up about Hamlet telling her “Get thee to a nunnery” and climbs a willow tree and falls in the water below and drowns. I found Hannah to be prone to such similar histrionics. I put it down to her being an actress and her desire for everything to be achieved in one take. She was meticulous in her preparation for her acting. At first, I would help her and play the other parts to help her learn her lines. She was so grateful for my support in this regard, remarking how hard it was to find someone willing to do this and so often. If truth be told, I revelled in it. Not only was her gratitude all good fuel, I am of course something of the actor myself and the opportunity to grab the script and play a part was something I enjoyed. I did not pay much attention to Hannah’s delivery, only listening to what she was saying so I knew when to speak my lines. I was too concerned with ensuring I delivered a masterful performance. This would often draw praise from Hannah and she commented on a number of occasions that I appeared to have missed my calling. I was in agreement.

Of course, over time I grew tired of her repeated declarations of how good my delivery was and I began to look for ways to irritate and annoy her. I knew she put so much effort into her rehearsals and preparation because she wanted the final performance to be outstanding. Whether it was filming for a TV show (she has appeared in a couple of rather good British television dramas) or a stage production of a famous play, her performance had to be the best. I often gained the impression that she was doing this in order to outshine me. I may not be recognised as much as Hannah but that did not mean that what she did was better or more important than what I did. Quite the opposite. She needed to be reminded who was the leader and superior mind in our coupling. I began at first to fluff lines or speak when it was her turn to say her line which drew sighs of exasperation. I delighted in her irritation as I knew that it would soon become annoyance and she would erupt into one of her tirades. I would jump places in the script, says words incorrectly, use the wrong tone for questions and statements and then I began to hide her scripts so she could not practise. A meltdown was inevitable and foolishly she aimed all of this at me. I just continued to make comments that would keep her in a frenzy. You would be surprised to see this waif-like lady who usually is the picture of serenity on television react in the way she did. My goodness, did she have a foul mouth on her.

I rarely got angry with her. Her performances were so gratifying and amusing that I just could not generate a spark, even when she was blaming me. It was actually easier to keep trying to get it right and purposefully messing it up again. Several times I had to exit the room under the pretence of being upset so I could lock myself in the bathroom and stuff my hand into my mouth as I collapsed in paroxysms of mirth, her shrill voice echoing through the house.

The occasion that entertained me the most and which I began this post by recalling was when she was rehearsing her part for a six part dark drama that was part of a major channel’s Autumn drama selection. It was a fantastic piece of writing and Hannah had a chunky part. I got her so worked up and histrionic as I messed about, murmured the lines, said sections incorrectly and so on that she erupted into one of her fits. As the insults flowed I drank the fuel she poured over me and then she made a strange croak and gripped her throat. Feigning interest, I went to her side and she pointed at her throat, eyes filling with tears. It transpired that she had badly strained her vocal chords and a doctor instructed her to rest them completely. She could not rehearse and was unlikely to be ready for filming. The producers replaced her with another actress and dismayed by her fall from such a prestigious production, I sought out somebody else to entertain me.

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