Your role in any relationship which involves us is to listen. We have no interest in what you have to say unless you are giving us fuel. It does not matter if you are lavishing us with praise or calling us all the names under the sun, so long as it is providing us with our much-needed fuel then we listen. Well, I say listen but the reality is somewhat different. When you are showering us with effusive praise we heard the words that give us the fuel but what we really hear is,
“Yes you are right, yes I am powerful, yes I am better.”
Those words echo through our mind as you tell us how brilliant and wonderful we are. When you are engaged in shouting at us, exhibiting your anger or pleading with us not to go or to stop berating you, then we hear the noise that you generate which in turn provides us with fuel. We do not process the content of what you are saying. All we are hearing is how powerful and successful we are and contemplating what we will do or say next to keep up this flow of fuel.
By contrast you are expected to listen to us and absorb and digest every word we utter. This is because what we have to say if naturally always of interest, of consequence and great import. We have an opinion on everything because we are experts at everything. Our knowledge is vast and encyclopaedic and we enjoy letting you know this to be the case. You must sit and listen whilst we regale you with our stories of success, our tales of triumph and our anecdotes of achievements. You should ensure that your eyes are wide in rapt attention, mouth slightly agape in silent awe at our magnificence and those ears of yours are pinned back so they take in each sentence, every word and all the syllables. If we sense that you are not listening to us then be prepared for us to lash out at you for your failure to pay heed to the gold that we issue forth from our mouths is a criticism of us. You are suggesting we are not worth listening to, that we are boring and that we have nothing of importance to say. How wrong you are? We delight in long lectures where we propound how fantastic we are and remind you how fortunate you are to be in our presence. Our addiction to the sound of our own voice enables us to embark on lengthy monologues and especially if the topic is castigating and chiding you for whatever wrongdoing we have seized on. You must not argue back whilst we stand in our pulpit, for that is a criticism also. How dare you interrupt us when we are trying to help you.
We have a view about everything except when we know that expressing now view or a dismissive shrug will invite an emotional reaction in those around us. On that occasion a fabricated air of ignorance will suit us just fine as we elicit that fuel response from you. Once we have allowed you to express your surprise, frustration or annoyance at our dismissive response, we will of course claim to know exactly what you are talking about and launch into a detailed exposition. This is further designed to make sure you listen to us. It minimises your opportunity to criticise us (which as you know we cannot stand) and it reinforces our superiority and brilliance.
To emphasise your position as our listening post we delight in interrupting what you are saying. We will talk over the top of you raise our voices to drown you out and even clamp our hands over our ears and shout,
“La la la.”
We do it because it infuriates you. We do it because we have to be listened to. We are stood on the soapbox and by doing this we always ensure that the spotlight swings around and shines on us. In order to keep talking we will shift positions, moving from one stance to another irrespective of whether it is logical to do so. So long as we keep you listening and prevent you from speaking then this is what matters.
Even when we have subjected you to one of our legendary silent treatments we expect you to be ready and waiting for the first pronouncement that we will make. We expect you to behave like a listening post. You must listen out for our arrival and ensure you are ready to greet us with enthusiasm and ask how our day has been. Do not expect it to be reciprocated. We demand you listen out for praise about us from other sources so you can relay it to us and also to advise us if someone is telling untruths about us so we can launch a strike against them. You are to listen to everything we say so that you can always act in our best interests. We even expect you to hear the things that we do not say but you ought to hear anyway. You should be used to hearing through telepathy by now surely? Yet, should you be listening in on our other activities when we are talking to a new source of fuel that we have covertly cultivated or if you listen in on our conversations with a coterie of admirers who have flocked around us then you are a spy, an eavesdropper and an unwelcome snooper. In such an instance you will be taken to task and made to listen and listen hard to our scolding and denigration of you.
You should ensure you are alert, listening at all times except those times when you should not be doing so. No, we will not tell you what those times are. You should have this worked on by now. So after listening to yet another of our diatribes delivered at full pelt as we explode with fury at one of your critical transgressions, make sure you listen and listen well and at the end give a resounding cry of