I attended a consultation with Dr E. The view from his consulting room looks over the gardens to the rear of the building in which his room is situated. It is a well-tended garden and is immaculate all year around. I have yet to see anyone working in it or any sign of someone working there. There are never any tools left lying around or piles of leaves gathered together waiting to be burned. The lawn is especially verdant. A lush,green carpet which is devoid of daisies and dandelions. It has been cut and rolled so it appears pristine.
“Now,” began Dr E from his seat across the room from me. I moved my eyes from the garden to the doctor.
“We had been discussing your thirst for fuel.”
“You explained to me about how you draw that from those nearest to you and at first this comes in a positive fashion through admiration and adoration.”
I nodded again.
“Unfortunately however this never seems to last and you need to then collect what we have established is negative fuel based on negative emotional responses from those around us.”
I gave another nod.
“From our discussions I understand you have an unquenchable thirst for this fuel. I understand that. Accordingly, since you must always gather this fuel you are going to obtain it in both positive and negative forms. I wondered whether today we might look at why it should not always come from a positive form. How does that sound to you?”
“By all means.”
“Good. Now, you have told me previously about the different way that people provide you with this positive fuel. It is based on praise, attention, love, adoration and admiration. The nature of the provider influences the quality of the effect it has for you and also the nature of the praise etc has an influence on the quality. Now I understand how you draw this positive fuel from numerous sources but let us focus on it all coming from just one source, the most obvious being that person you are in an intimate relationship with.”
I gave another nod.
“We all like praise. We all enjoy being liked. It matters more to some than others. People offer attention and praise when they choose but as we have discussed you find it necessary to behave in certain ways that causes this to be given as a matter of course and in some instances you actively manipulate a scenario in order to produce this adoration. You have told me how you do this repeatedly during a typical day. “
I nodded once more and wondered when he was actually going to ask me something.
“So, my question is this, how might you ensure you get this positive fuel from just one person? How might you go about drawing it from one person and not needing to draw it from other sources. They may provide it voluntarily, that is fair enough, but I want you to focus on applying your manipulations to just one person to gather this positive fuel and leave the rest alone. How might you do that?”
“I don’t think that it can be done.”
Dr E remained silent as he used the void to encourage me to expand.
“I live in hope that someone might be able to satisfy me and give me this positive fuel all of the time.”
This time it was Dr E’s opportunity to nod.
“If they did it would make my life a lot easier. I would not have to seek the additional fuel from these other sources. You know, the lady in the coffee shop, people in the street, my colleagues and so on. The fact is I am not with the primary provider of my fuel all of the time.”
“I see. So you feel a need to be with them all of the time?”
“Well no I don’t and that is precisely because I am able to draw my fuel from other sources. If you denied me those secondary sources then I would be in trouble.”
“What would you do?” asked Dr E.
“Well, if the stipulation is that I am only allowed, for the purposes of this discussion, to draw my fuel from one source I would have to be with that source all of the time.”
“Because you need to draw on it frequently?”
“Precisely. No matter how much fuel say a girlfriend provides me in the morning I will need more and soon.”
“A few hours, sometimes less.”
“Because if I don’t get it I feel weakened and then well you know, it starts to make itself known.”
“It being the creature?”
I nodded quickly.
“Very well. But if your primary source remains with you all of the time pumping out positive fuel you would not feel weak?”
“Yes but that isn’t practical is it? I have a job to do, she usually has one too. I have to go places where she won’t be there and I cannot be in constant contact on the telephone even when we are apart, however much I might try.”
“Sure, sure but I want to leave the practical to one side for now. I want to understand your mind set and attitude to this. I can then look at the practicalities later.”
“If you say so.”
“So if you could be with this one person, this intimate partner, this primary source of your positive fuel all of the time you would not feel weak because they are giving you the fuel you need. This would sustain you?” suggested Dr E.
“For a period of time.”
“I see. How long that would be?”
” I don’t know because it has never happened.”
“But you don’t feel it will last because you referred to it sustaining you for a period of time?”
“Why do you say that? Could it not sustain your permanently, leaving aside the practicalities for now, but if that primary source is there all the time giving you praise, admiration, love and attention, won’t that be sufficient?”
“You said that straight away. Why are you so sure?”
“Because in the past they have let me down.”
“Okay but this time the source is not going to go away, it is going to keep producing positive fuel just as you need.”
“It still won’t work.”
“Tell me why.”
I leant back in my chair and stretched.
“Where do I start? They stop trying. They do not give me the level of admiration I need. I don’t know why this is. It is not as if I stop being good to them. They always do this first. They don’t look at me the same way that they used to. That shining in their eyes has dulled. I have seen it happen and I don’t understand why. I am still the same, I still shower them with affection and make them feel wanted but they change. They don’t praise me as often as they once did,notwithstanding how often I tell them of my achievements. It’s them doctor, it as if they become bored of me but still want to be around me. I don’t get it. I don’t get it all. How can they be bored by someone like me. I hope they won’t do this but they do. That’s why I have to prepare my contingencies and have others waiting in the wings in anticipation of this happening. They make it happen. Not me. Experience has taught me that I have to have these reserves. Plus as well doctor there is so much fuel out there to be gathered and I know it wants to be supplied to me. A monk would be hard pressed to resist the lure of all this fuel. I am always wondering whether it will be sweeter and stronger than what I am getting already and guess what? When I go and get it I find out that it is. It is fresh and invigorating and it is all because the current supply is not doing what it should.”
Dr E was scribbling energetically as I turned back to the window and looked out into the garden again.
“You see the grass is always greener doctor and I have to go and lie on it.”