One Thing Leads To Another

So your break-up was hard and it left you wounded, the injuries both physical but mainly emotional and you have kept yourself locked away for months now. Seeking isolation as a means to address the upset that you have experienced and vowing never to date again. Your resolve has increased, with daily deliverances as to what he did mounting up as you hear about an accumulation of abhorrent actions. You decided to focus on what mattered to you and thus relationships were consigned to the back of your mind. Feeling stronger, the wounds healing yet not healed you face repeated invitations from your well-meaning friends, friends who have supported you through this unpleasant period of your life, to come out of hiding and let yourself shine once more. You agree and after extensive preparation you emerge,like a hibernating creature and join your friends in that bar that has been refurbished and is a honey pot for all the beautiful creatures.

I see you stood there at the bar. You are stood slightly apart from your friends as if seeking to preserve your personal space. I see conversation is directed your way and recognise that your friends are paying you what I would regard as an excessive level of attention as if they are repeatedly checking that you are okay. Occasionally hands touch your arm by way of reassurance and heads lean in as soft faces radiate kind expressions. I know you are being looked after. I know that you are being protected and that means you have been wounded. I scent the blood that has been spilled in your past and wait until the ‘phones are wielded to take various posed photographs. Time to approach.

I make my way to the bar and slightly turn to observe you and your friends as the photos continue. One catches my eye and I smile. She responds with her own smile and nudges her friend.

“Would you like me to take one of you all?” I ask as I move alongside you. Nods of appreciation follow and I am handed phone after phone as I commit your group photo to a digital memory. I engage in polite yet playful conversation with you all but remain focussed on your reactions. You are hesitant but laughing at my words, seemingly wanting to embrace them yet unsure as to whether you should. I pull out my own phone and take a picture of you all and then alter the focus so the lens homes in on you and you alone as I take a burst of pictures before wishing you an enjoyable evening and withdrawing to my waiting lieutenants. It is not long before a search of your image has given me your name and I am able to ascertain some of your interests from your Face book profile which include the fact that you are a keen dancer and have won several dance competitions. I do some research into dance competitions for young men and prepare my hook of having been a dancer in  my youth although a football injury put paid to my burgeoning progress. I absorb a few key elements of terminology and then make my move towards you. I flick the first domino and it begins to fall into the second.

We talk. We drink. We dance. I learn more about you. I impress judging by your friends’ responses. I secure your number and give you mine. I text courteously the next day. A dinner date is secured. The date goes well. I learn more about you, compiling my dossier about you as a follow-up date is readily agreed to. I surprise you with tickets to a ballet performance. You are delighted. The dominos keep tumbling. Your resistance evaporates. Date three is a pushover and then the dates become more frequent. I am in your house. I am in your bed. I am inside you. Three weeks becomes three months. The dominos keep tumbling as I know all about your past. I know all about your present too from my snooping. I engulf you in my world my lieutenants circling about you. I grab the wool and pull it over your supporters’ eyes, recruiting two of them into my fold. I raise you up. I draw you in. I flatter and charm.

Your time is with me. Your phone full of my love. Your weekends are filled by me. I stay at yours and you at mine. The toothbrush appears and then the overnight bag which remains in place. You wash the clothes for me and then I am there more than I am not. I disconnect those who serve no purpose from your network but you seem not to notice. Your eyes show me how enchanted you are as those dominos continue to tumble. The holidays are booked as I start to invade your future. I check your phone for you and relay messages. I read your post but you do not mind as I do it when you are busy to help you out. Naturally. The salami slices as I impose my world on you and you readily submit. I know all your friends, I know all about your work, your hobbies and your family. I am regarded as the ideal tonic after ‘him’ who we laugh about and who I know is one of my brethren but I never tell you. Your days are mapped out for you by me and you tell me often how lucky you feel. I do not disagree. I move in but keep my own house as ‘the market is not right to sell just now’. That bolthole is going nowhere. The social circle is established. You are elated. The world is offered to you and as the dominos clack clack clack you accept it all. The ring appears and you say yes. A date is set and plans are made as I give you the future. The tendrils are all around you, the fuel lines in place but of course you do not notice. I am with you, in you and around you. You sit at breakfast admiring the glinting ring on your finger as you remark.

“Do you know it is six months since we met in that bar? Who’d have thought it?”

I send you that special smile and you fail to notice my eyes blacken for an instant because you are still yet to discover that one thing leads to another.

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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.

Sex and the Narcissist

No holds barred and no strings attached

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The only unnatural sex act is that which you cannot perform

Read about how the narcissist views and uses sex and how you are central in that

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Dark Minions

We never act alone. All through your entanglement with us we will utilise the services and dedication of those who are loyal to us. Before we have even spoken to you we will be compiling a dossier of information about you by contacting those who know you. We will utilise our lieutenants to approach you and gather intelligence which will all be passed back to us for the purpose of analysis and subsequent application. Once our seduction of you has begun you will be taken in by my butterflies. The butterflies are those who do my bidding and they always do, who always appear and please you. Like a beautiful butterfly he or she will flutter around you, making you smile with his or her pleasantries, charm and general goodness. Like a butterfly with striking colours and that delicate movement they have been sent to enchant you on my behalf and alongside my own endeavours. My butterflies will only ever say pleasant things to you, repeating and consolidating the charming words which I have sent your way. They will flutter around you complimenting the things that you, how you look and who you are. They will remark what a wonderful couple we are together and how they can see it lasting forever. Primed with all the speeches, sentences and rhetoric that we use, these butterflies will remind you of all our magnificent attributes and thus reinforce how fortunate you are to be with someone like us. They will point out how happy you are and confirm that you make us happy too, far happier than that other harpy that came before you. You must watch out for her by the way, she is a trouble maker and will want to split you and us up. These butterflies will primarily be friends of ours but over time we will want to recruit your own friends and family to be our butterflies as well. Not only is such a recruitment a massive boost to our egos, it also means that there will be added credibility when they fly around you issuing their compliments about us both. When you are told time and time again how wonderful you are, how sensational we are and how magnificent we are together, any doubts that you may have had,any degree of modesty about such over compliments will soon melt away as the array of fluttering butterflies transfixes you.

Real butterflies only live for somewhere between one and five weeks and like their real-life counterparts my butterflies have a limited shelf life as well. This of course is down to you because as usual you always end up spoiling everything. If you maintained my interest and ensured that the high-grade, positive fuel you have supplied for the last year or so was maintained then my butterflies would have continued but your fuel diminishes, it turns stale and is not at the required level we demand. Accordingly, the selfishness you exhibit in behaving in this manner causes those beautiful and mesmerising butterflies to fade away. Your lack of loyalty and treachery means that these beautiful creatures become replaced by my crows.

Noisy, dark and petulant my crows will descend on you as I commence my devaluation of you. Remember you have brought this on yourself so you cannot expect any sympathy from my dark minions who have been recruited, brainwashed and controlled in order to further my own malevolent ambitions. My crows act at my command as they, like you, relish any opportunity to gain my favour and attention. Like some medieval king I will grant them access to me and allowing the crow to bask in my radiant brilliance secures their loyalty. Like the butterflies my crows come from my ranks of friends and family but once again I shall seek to corrupt those from your support networks so that they might first appear as a butterfly before transforming into a squawking and mocking crow. It is even the case that some of my cast-offs, desperate to remain around me and be subjected to my wonderful largesse are recruited as my minions. Thinking that they will win my favour and more importantly keep you from it, they readily agree to carry out my will. Some of my minions do not realise that they have been manipulated into doing what I want. Instead they carry out my instructions in an oblivious fashion. Others are well aware that they act as my agents of destruction but they revel in this role. Their loyalty is without question. I have flattered and charmed them as I did with you. They recognise you as the enemy who has sort to usurp their king and therefore you must be destroyed. No wonder the collective noun for a crows is a murder.

My crows are unleashed to perpetuate the devaluation against you. My dark minions come forth in order to do my bidding. The crows flap around you, their dark wings making it difficult for you to see clearly. Their incessant squawking fills your ears as they scold you for your treason. My crows move quickly, announcing to your support network the terrible way you have behaved and before they can be struck down they fly away to flap around you once more, their cacophony of insults swirling about you. This near constant noise of insult and vitriol has all been fed to them by me. Like dark messengers they repeatedly assail you with their name calling and lies, making you anxious as you are under sustained attack. You try and swipe them to one side but they merely dodge your attempts and continue to mock you. As you grow weaker from these repeated assaults they fly closer and then begin to peck at you. Just as we control you through our notorious salami-slicing techniques this pecking from my crows steadily erodes your confidence, your self-esteem, your self-worth and your identity. The crows land on your shoulder and with vicious beaks peck away something more of you as you try to fight them off but the weakness that has gripped you makes this difficult. More crows come, ordered by me to continue this campaign against you. The deployment of my dark minions saves me energy and allows me to create my butterflies for my new target whilst you lie there curled up in a ball, the dark crows hopping over you, twisted beaks pecking at you, weakening you further. Those in my coterie, my lieutenants, my agents of darkness provide a fundamental role in both my seduction and devaluation of you. I cannot succeed without them and will always ensure that I have both a box of butterflies to open for you and a tree full of black crows waiting to attack you. Perhaps you need to find a scarecrow?

The Volunteer

It is a recognised truth that we select you. We are able to sense the empathy flowing from you and our sights become locked on to you. We move in and through a combination of our experience at recognising your kind and our subtle and informed questioning we soon establish whether you will fulfil our needs and have that sweet, delicious fuel flowing for us. If the answer is yes, and invariably it is, we do not often get it wrong when we first target somebody,then all of our seductive and manipulative charm is deployed to ensnare you. The love-bombing begins and we soon bind you to us, wrapping our tendrils about you and holding you close as our claws sink into your flesh, our hooks drive deep into your soul and the fuel lines attach and thus the extraction begins. You can shoulder no blame when this happens. You are unlikely to know what one of us is. You see the warning signs but do not recognise them. The red flags flutter but you just think how beautiful they look. The klaxons blare but they cannot be heard above the noise of our silky, honeyed words which pour into your ears. You may be fortunate enough to have somebody in your support networks who knows exactly what we are. Nevertheless, their kind and thoughtful explanations never dissuade you. How can they when you are being made to feel like a queen? How can they when we are giving you everything that you ever wanted? How can they when your soul mate has appeared and gathered you close? You smile and nod and thank them for their concern but you dismiss it and especially when we tell you that they are to be ignored, he or she is only jealous of what we have, they want to cause trouble, I have seen it before believe me and of course you will always believe me. You are a sitting target.You anticipate nothing of what is to come and you cannot be blamed at all. You do not know what we are, our seduction is virtually impossible to resist and why would you want to spurn this opportunity of a lifetime. Your ensnaring is a given and you are blameless in that.

Yet after this when the glow of the golden period fades and what was once shiny becomes tarnished and dull, when those sweet words have become barbed and thorny, when the lustre has gone and the brilliance has been diverted to a more deserving appliance, this is when you become culpable. You are no fool. Although you cannot work out why we switch back and forth in the blink of an eye in our behaviour. Although you cannot fathom why we lie and lie and lie. Although you are unable to comprehend why we show such rank hypocrisy, crass contradiction and sheer contrariness, you know that you are being badly treated. You know our words are harsh and hurtful. You know that our disappearances are unwarranted and leave you upset and worried. You recognise that our repeated taking, our ignoring of your needs and our calculated and systematic tirades are abusive. Yes there is much of our behaviour during this devaluation that is insidious and purposefully so. Much of our manipulations continue without you really appreciating they are happening or their full effect but everyone knows that being shouted out and called names is abusive. Everyone knows that the broken promise to call you or meet you is unfair and unnecessary. You do recognise that our behaviour towards you is unpleasant and abusive. Yet, despite this recognition what do you do? You stay. You are picked up and put down, treated as the appliance that we see you are to be used when it suits us and pushed to one side when someone else proves of greater interest. You see this happen yet you put up with it. You know we flirt with other women and seem to have a string of relationships which have never quite finished somehow. You see how those other women are all vying for our time and you resent that. Notwithstanding how badly we treat you, you do not want them to be the recipients of the golden largesse you know that we are capable of. You want it. Thus you remain, trying to keep them at bay, fighting further battles with these other members of my coterie most likely unaware that this triangulation upon triangulation is all by design. You make excuses after excuse for our rotten behaviour. You trot these excuses out to your friends who look on with weary faces. You tell these excuses to yourself as you sit sobbing after another violent outburst. He is tired. He is stressed. He has a lot on at work. If I try harder I know I can help him. If I can just make him see what he is doing to me I know we can work things out. I just want to cure whatever ill it is that is eating away at him and making him someone he is not, I know deep down he is a good man, I have seen it with my own eyes. The excuses come thick and fast and frequent. You clothe the abuse in these excuses seeking to make the abhorrent behaviour seem more acceptable as you continue to hang on in there in the hope that today we will give you a dose of the golden period. Occasionally it will happen and you are elated. All is well in the world and you knew that your fortitude would bear a reward. Now everything will be fine again. Only you could achieve this, not those other harpies. Why do they hang around so much? What are they waiting for? You bask in the golden light only for it to soon fade once again. The cycle continues but you do not depart, you do not leave and instead you remain hoping that we will pick you and spend time with you. You hang on in there in the hope of picking the lucky ticket which means you experience our brilliance once again. You will do anything to gain our attention and our golden love again. You will sacrifice your self-esteem, your confidence, friends, family, job, money, looks and health just for the prospect of feeling that golden, delicious love once again. Just like a hopeless addict everything else will be given up for that fix of us. You know how bad we are for you yet you keep on staying. You cannot blame us for that. You cannot blame us for the fact that you become the willing volunteer.

How Could You Be So Twisted?

How could you be so twisted? I gave you absolutely everything. I opened my heart to you and gave you a perfect love which is beyond compare. I let you in to my world and shared everything with you. Nothing was kept from you. I knew that you were the one, the one person who amidst all the treachery and deceit in this cruel, harsh world who would take care of me. I recognised that you would shield me and protect me from the perfidious foes that lurked seeking to destroy me. I gave you everything that I had. I poured my love into our relationship, investing in it because I knew that this time it was my soul mate who stood before me. You made me so happy because you knew what I needed. You gave me what I wanted and also what I needed and you lifted me heavenwards with that beautiful brand of love that only you can possess. Our relationship was built on the firmest of foundations and promised a glittering and marvellous future. We had so much in common. You liked what I liked and I liked what you liked. So many times I would remark to my friends that it was such serendipity that we had found one another. There is so much hurt in the world, so much darkness beyond the front door and we found one another, two shining lights that when combined we burned brightly and brilliantly.

Nobody made me feel the way you did. At times, eloquent and articulate as I am, I struggled to find the words to convey what you did for me. Your selflessness and devotion were breath-taking and naturally I reciprocated. I put you first. From the moment I rose until the moment I let slumber take me, I had you and only you in my thoughts. As our mighty empire grew around us, I planned for us both. I looked forward and constructed a happy, fulfilling and most of all loving future for us both. We had no need to look back at the past. We had both been hurt by those who acted to their own agendas. I suppose that is why we found such a need in one another and one that we could both address. It was as if we had been cut from the same cloth. Two pieces of a fabulous and stunning garment that just needed to be stitched together and once combined cloaked us in magnificence. Our brilliance was never ostentatious. Most definitely other people would look upon us and comment as to our satisfaction, but not smugness. People would remark about how happy we looked and they were genuinely delighted for us, there was no envy in their words or expressions. We had it all. We had found one another and I believed in you, I believed in us. I gave every ounce of my being to you in order to ensure that what we had did not crumble to dust. I strained every sinew, fired every synapse and poured my very essence into us. I could not have given more of myself to you. From the material to the ethereal I ensured it was all directed onto you in order to ensure you knew how deep and perfect my love for you was and is. I melded with you, combined, conjoined and became one because I knew. I knew with a certainty that I had never met before that this time, this time I had found my angel, my muse, my protector and my soul mate. Such was the treasured nature of this find that I knew I had to do everything in my power to maintain that you and I remained as one. There was no hope for anything else. I could never do anything to hurt or harm you and thus spoil this most precious union. Every waking moment was dedicated to preserving our special relationship. Each word, each act and each thought revolved around the concept of us and I wanted more than any desire that I have ever known to keep us together.

Yet you destroyed that. How could you? How could you render into the dirt and ashes what we had? How could you betray me so viciously? How could you twist what we had built together so that it was no longer recognisable? A warped and corrupted image of what had been so magnificent, so perfect and what I though was so impregnable. You perverted our creation, the poison which flowed so readily and alarmed me with the speed by which you were able to summon it. The toxicity which clouded my vision, stinging my eyes, filling my nose and mouth as I choked on the malevolent fumes. Where did this come from? I had never seen this about you. In all the time we spent together, and we spent a lot of time together, not once did I see anything that would indicate that beneath your beauty and your tenderness lay this vast repository of hatred and malice. How could you be so twisted as to unleash all of this against me after everything that I had done for you, after everything I had done for us? It makes no sense. There is no logic in what you did, no rationale for taking what we had and then rending it apart, pouring acid upon it so it melted into awful shapes, searing it with flame so that it bubbled, cracked and split becoming something terrible and fearsome. So many times I have asked myself why did you do this? We had the world beneath us and then for some incomprehensible reason you wrapped your hands around it and began to dismantle and destroy it. No sane individual would do this would they? Only someone sick would act this way. Someone who has something very wrong with them would let me down in this way, after giving and promising so much, to then cast it all asunder. A twisted and hateful game is what you made the concept of us become and your warped actions have exacted a severe cost to my well-being. You have tried to break and destroy me. Why did you do this after all that I have given you, after everything I have done, after all the love, affection and dedication that I have shown to you? Only someone twisted could behave this way.

Do I speak these words or am I hearing them? Perhaps I speak them as they are spoken to me as I look into the mirror? Are these my words, your words or do they belong to both of us?

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I Know Your Weaknesses

Do you remember those early, heady days when I first began to seduce you? Of course you do. Those moments have been branded into your memory and can never be erased, no matter how hard you try. So wonderful were those initial months of our courtship as we began our dance together that you cannot help but recall them and feel that bittersweet tinge. Many times as you have fought through your devaluation and discard you have harked back to those magical moments as you sought some kind of solace from them. Somehow, as you sat with tear-stained cheeks you would force a smile through the misery as you latched on to remembering the things that I said to you, those beautiful, loving and mesmerising words which gripped your heart and took it heavenward. It was impossible to resist the love-bombing which I unleashed upon you and similarly it is impossible for you to banish those memories as you sit amongst the debris of our relationship wondering what on earth has happened. You can easily be forgiven for seeking refuge from the misery amongst those golden thoughts. It is the obvious thing to do to try and take away the searing pain which now burns you. Naturally, this is all something which I planned and is a natural consequence of becoming entangled with me. Do not feel any shame in the fact that you keep running to those thoughts and taking hold of them as you seek to ease your agony. Keep doing it. All the others did and all the others will.

As you walk through those wonderful thoughts and memories, replaying our time together like an incessant loop of our “best of” moments do you recall what else you did during this seduction? Can you remember something else that was happening as we created these scintillating memories? Yes I know you can remember, how could you forget? It was one of the many things that I did for you which drew you closer to me and made you fall oh so deeply in love with the illusion. What was it that I did? I made you feel safe. I created that sanctuary and opened the door and ushered you in. I showed you how this gleaming and beautiful paradise was impregnable to the wretched and woeful world beyond. I assured you that being in here with me meant that you need never worry about those things again. I would keep the wailing tormentors from your door and ensure that those things did not trouble you any more. That was the sole condition for entry into this haven that I had constructed for you. Tell me about those things so I can shield you from them. You had never had someone make such a sacrifice for you before. The way we understood how badly those things affected you. We really seemed to grasp the impact that those things had had upon you as we listened with patience and comprehension. You were hesitant at first, the mere act of recollection being one that caused you consternation. You had no issue in confiding in us, no that was not the issue. We had banished any concerns you may have had about trusting us with these secrets within moments, such was our assured charm. No, what troubled you was bringing those dark memories, those fragile foibles to the surface once again. Yet as the words came from your mouth and the tears trickled down your cheeks you felt the cathartic effect of off-loading all of those things to us. From the minor concerns through to the deep-seated and life changing troubles you conveyed each and every one to us and it felt wonderful to do so. The burden came away from you and for the first time ever you felt freedom from those things as you passed the baton onto us and we readily took it from you. You exorcised those ghosts and stepped into our sanctuary elated and delighted to have been able to purge those things from yourself and embrace a new start with us. For too long those things had held you back. For too long you had walked a rocky road alone, stooped and bent double under the weight of your concerns. There had been others but you did not feel able to share the load as you did with me. I was different. There was something about me which made you feel like you could tell me anything and everything and I would deal with it. I would flex those angelic wings and extend them to surround and protect you. Unburdened by those things you walked taller, felt stronger and you had me to thank for this process. Your gratitude and admiration flowed incessantly and I was only too happy to wash myself in this fountain of praise although in keeping with the personae I had created I accepted your compliments with humble acknowledgement. You entered my sanctuary and told me all your weaknesses.

This was achieved in such a way that you felt no shame in telling me them. That was another difference. You knew I would not judge you for them. You knew I would not regard you as silly or stupid for having certain concerns.

“It is how you regard them that matters, not how everyone else views them.”

You remember that sentence and how you seized it with great gladness, thankful that at last somebody understood and recognised how to deal with your concerns. Your confidence in me was absolute and I even made it seem as if actually liked your weaknesses and that gave you great comfort.

All I was doing as you sat there on those many occasions where you shared your concerns, your vulnerabilities and weaknesses with me (for they did not all come out in one session, no, it took weeks of careful extraction on many different occasions to amass them all) was stockpiling my armoury. Your admission that you cannot swim and thus are terrified of deep water was moulded into a missile. Your explanation that you were bullied at school because you had short hair arising from having to have it shorn because your brother poured glue over your head one time became a hand grenade. The fact your suffer a noticeable red flush across your chest and neck when you feel agitated created a bullet. Your confession that you suffer excessive wind formed another bullet. The abuse you suffered at the hands of a family member when you were eight became a thermonuclear device ready to detonate at a later date. Each and every weakness, from your inability to resist eating a packet of biscuits in one sitting through to your fear of public speaking was noted, recorded and fashioned into a weapon. You thought you were safe in the sanctuary. That was just an illusion. You were actually sat in my armoury and I was there with you creating these weapons to use against you at a later date. Each weakness you admitted to me you thought you were handing to me for me to carry on your behalf. The reality was you were giving me the material from which I could create a weapon – be it a sharp stick with which to prod you or a nuclear missile to obliterate you. You thought it was some form of absolution but all you were doing was arming me.

I always want to know about your weaknesses. Your weaknesses become forged into my strengths in readiness for the war of devaluation that I shall wage against you. Keep talking, there is an arsenal to be created.

Love Thieves

Our victims have many things in common. Those shared traits are why they are chosen and why they become subjected to our incessant manipulations. The evidence of considerable empathic traits is of course one of the pre-requisites to gaining the attention of the narcissist. Exhibit a tendency to care, an ability to see another person’s point of view and a desire to help and you are issuing a neon-lit “Come and get me” to our kind. Your high-scoring on the empathic scale is naturally of considerable value to us. There is, however, another core principle that you all share which is irresistibly attractive to us. This is your devotion to love. You believe in love, you are advocates of the act of loving, you give love and (although not always) you want to be loved in return. Love is all you need, love conquers all and love is a many splendored thing. Love matters. You see that the world can and will be a better place if more love is exhibited. You love with a depth that is beyond many people. You truly give your all. Your love is perfect, selfless and based on a deep-seated notion that loving someone is the best and most wonderful thing one person can do for another. Such noble and laudable sentiments. Your status as a devotee to love means that you will strive to maintain that love once it has been gained. Love may give the appearance of having departed but you know, you believe, you always believe that it can be found and resurrected. That which has become dulled and blunted will be polished and returned to sharpness. That beautiful golden glow will shine again and you are the person to make it happen. You are the healer and the fixer. That which is broken shall be mended by the application of your burgeoning heart. You are a disciple of love and as such there is nothing you can do but act in accordance with the principles of loving. It is second nature to you. You are so full of love you must find ways of allowing it to manifest in the world and of course the pinnacle of doing so is to find that special someone. You want to find the one so that all of this marvellous love can find its true home. You are compelled to find your soul mate, your life partner and your best friend. Only then can your obligation to provide this amazing love be fulfilled and we thank you for being this way. On a daily basis we give thanks that you delicious and beautiful empathic individuals are committed to the promotion, promulgation and practice of love.

We come with the appearance of being that one special person who you can lay all your love upon. That person who will readily accept all of the love you have to offer and we will return it. Some of you would happily give this love in order to ensure there is an elated recipient and amazingly it would not matter to you whether that love was returned or not. Your sacrificial nature is stunning yet even more welcome. We are of course content to reflect your love in order to bring about yet more from you. We understand the transaction and we are happy to oblige because we are giving you absolutely nothing. We have come to take. We have descended on you ready to strip you of every ounce of love that you can provide. We will slurp it from you, nibble it from your straining frame and gulp it down as we devour your love. We will take it away from you time and time again. Do not be mistaken and think that you are providing this love based on a reality. You are doing so on a false premise. You have been conned into giving this love to us because we make you think we are the very thing you want when in reality we are anything but. We are fraudsters and we have come to take your love. If you knew what we truly were you would not offer your perfect love to us but we want it. We want it so much and we always take it. We make you unknown martyrs to the provision of love. We come without warning even though we appear with an explosion, all of it aimed to distract and misdirect so that we may pilfer your love. Our thieving knows no limits or bounds as we take what does not belong to us and use it for our own warped purposes. We keep on stealing your love until you are left spent and wretched, sat amidst the ruins of the relationship which once seemed impregnable and infinite and now is little more than ash streaked across blunted stone. We gorge on your love, gluttons that feed at the banqueting table as you slowly realise that the sumptuous love we appeared to return to you is in fact empty, a puff of air and without any substance. Yet this realisation comes far too late for by then the damage is done. Not only have we helped ourselves to all of your love we have, invariably ripped away and stolen your capacity for further love. Once you finally extricate yourself from our grip and eventually make sense of what has happened to you, even though it may take some considerable time, how often have your kind uttered the sentence,

“I do not think I will ever love any again, how can I after that?”

Words similar to such a question are regularly uttered by those who have been sucked into our malevolent maelstrom. We are the love thieves. We come and take the love to which we are not entitled but we are not done with that. Oh no. We rip out your heart in order to leave you so bereft that you can never love again. We steal your love. We are the love thieves of your past, your present and your future love.

Hiding from Yourself

Another session with Dr E. As I sat down in his consulting room I wondered how much had been spent so far with regards to this supposed treatment. A few thousand pounds no doubt and I imagined that both Dr E and Dr O would be more than content to continue these consultations given their lucrative nature. The cynic in my nature pondered that the financial rewards were such that they would string out this course of treatment for as long as they could. That did not concern me. I was not paying and I usually enjoyed my sparring with the good doctors. It entertained me. However as I ruminated on whether the lure of filthy lucre was what motivated Dr E and Dr O, I realised that they at least gave the impression of wanting to help me. I know from the many sessions it was as much about me gaining awareness and insight in order to make informed decisions about what I wanted, rather than a prescriptive approach from these head doctors but I realised that they actually did care. They wanted to help me. This of course was the main reason why I was content to keep turning up and being subjected to their questions ; these two examiners of HG exhibited empathic traits and thus they proved attractive to me. My tolerance for their repeated probing of areas of my life that I preferred to keep shuttered and closed arose because they provided me with the attention that is so vital to my existence. I also knew that there was an admiration there for me as well. It was evident in the way the pair looked at me, especially Dr O. I knew, as academics, they admired the way I was so candid about the way I behaved. I could see how they admired the way I had been created. I knew they did not like it, how does one like something like me given the abuse I dole out as freely as a farmer broadcasting seed, but they had that deep-seated admiration for this efficient machine that had been stripped of all unnecessary emotions and super-charged with certain traits in order to function at maximum effectiveness. Accordingly, even the doctors were providing me with the thing I needed and our relationship might continue ad infinitum. They continued to be fascinated by me and they desired to help me. I, in turn, was content to engage in this relationship as it provided something that I required. The arrangement was a mutually satisfying one, even when the doctors strayed into territories that were best left alone.

“Hello HG how are you?” asked Dr E. I hesitated. He did not normally enquire as to my state of being. Others would trot out such a question rarely interested in the answer but merely performing a social nicety. Dr E did not ask such a question and for him to  now do so put me on guard.

“I am excellent well, thank you for your kind enquiry,” I replied with a smile. I did not enquire after his well-being, I was not interested nor did I have to feign such interest.

“Good. Now, straight down to business, who are you?”

“H G Tudor.”

“Indeed you are. Anything else?”

I paused. I see Dr E we were going deep today were we? Very well, let’s flush out where you want to go.

“The question of who I am is something that depends on the context,” I began. Dr E commenced his note-taking.

“How does one define oneself is what I suspect you are really driving at.” I looked to Dr E for a sign of affirmation but there was none.

“Do I have an idea of who I am? How is that arrived at? Do I know who I am or do I look to others to define me? Am I an independent identity that has been shaped by my own decisions or am I a product of others and their experiences? Am I aware of who I am or have I yet to discover all that I am?”

“All interesting questions but let me return to my initial question,” interrupted Dr E, “who are you?”

“Who am I? I am many things to many people. Friend, lover, boss or confidant are labels which are applicable to me. Conqueror, seducer, victim and defiler are others which are equally applicable. Charismatic, urbane, intelligent, interesting, stimulating, successful and alluring are also traits that come together to create who I am.”

“I see. Would you say therefore that you are confident that you know who you are?”

“Yes.”

“Do you think that if I asked this question of your family and friends, your colleagues or even my secretary that they would give similar answers to those you have provided me with?”

I snorted.

“Liars lurk within the ranks of those you have described and they have nothing but ill-will towards me. Their perfidy is so great I can smell its stench as I sit here. By all means ask but you will be given nothing but a litany of lies. Insults and assaults on my good nature.”

“So all of them would insult you?”

“No, not all, there are those who know me for what I am.”

“Might it be said that they all know you for who you are?” pressed Dr E.

“No. There are those who have an agenda to topple me and it is they that think they know me but they have constructed an idea of what I am and it is a false one that is used to serve their nefarious purposes. Others recognise my greatness and they are content to embrace it.”

“But could it not be the case that these categories of people just happen to know different elements of you. Your admirers know the H G that is generous, interesting and charming. Those who you regard as detractors perhaps know a different part of you, the defiler and conqueror that you made reference to, this causing them to regard you in a less positive light?” asked Dr E.

“No. The defiler and conqueror are artifices created by those who seek to harm me. Let them do so and I will be that which they think I am. It is no more than they deserve. They create such a monstrosity through their perfidy and unwarranted attacks, so let them know the beast, let them feel its hot and fetid breath in their faces, the rake of its claws against their yielding skin and the full horror of its power on their being. They create it, let them endure it,” I spat, the mere consideration of those who would do me wrong causing my fury to ignite.

“Could you not possess all of those attributes? Could it not be the case you have them all and people see some over others?”

“No,” I said firmly. Dr E nodded and fell silent.

“What would you think if I said that I think you are hiding from yourself?”

I switched my gaze from Dr E and focussed on a picture on the wall. Not this, don’t start this again. Don’t let him gain a foothold H G. Repel the boarder, eject the intruder, cast him out.

“I do not hide.”

“But might you not realise that you are doing so?”

“No.”

“Could it be that you do not know who you are?”

“No.”

“Could it be that you do know but would prefer not to contemplate it?”

“No.”

“Is this line of discussion making you uncomfortable?”

“No.”

I shifted my gaze back to Dr E. Go on, keep trying to batter through my defences, you will not succeed. I know your game Dr E. I know what you are trying to suggest but I am not going there.

“Very well. Let us go back to how you regard yourself then, elaborate on that,” he invited.

The sense of relief washed over me but I gave no outward sign of its effect. I smiled, elated to have rejected this probing once again and excited by the prospect of talking about my favourite subject in greater detail; me.