Those of you who are among my longer-term readers or those who have gorged on all my writings may remember Karen. Karen was my ex-girlfriend who I tested from the start. She enjoyed the challenge that I presented to her. At first I charmed her in the usual way but I did not go all out with my weapons of mass seduction. I ascertained that I would draw her in much more readily through the application of challenging behaviour. This behaviour did not belittle or demean her (that, as it always does, comes later). No, instead this behaviour was designed to make her go the extra mile in order to please me. One of the particular ways that I would do this was by appealing to the nurse inside of her.

Karen was not a trained nurse although if she had opted for such a vocation it would have suited her considerably but she was an expert at caring for others and mopping their fevered brows. I used this to my advantage by repeatedly playing the sickness card. I have never done this with anyone else because generally I like to maintain the impression of being fit and healthy but with her I knew it would grab her and it was another method of presenting a challenge. I would feign stomach pains, a sore throat, a bad back, stabbing pains in my feet, headache, blurred vision and such like. If I did not want Karen going out all I had to do was call her and make groans down the telephone and she would come over and embark on her nursing routine. She would take my temperature, gently check the affected area with her fingers, peer into my mouth, place her hand against my brow and so on in respect of whatever affliction I had dreamt up. I would lie in the bed moaning and groaning and asking her to stay and look after me. She always did. She would sit in the chair in the bedroom and watch over me, shuttling back and forth with food (if of course I felt upto eating) hot drinks, cold drinks, medicinal drinks and whatever else I could think of to have her running around after me. She would make soothing noises, massage where it hurt and kiss it all better.She revelled in this role and of course the very next day I was fully recovered and able to go and play golf despite her advising me not to.

“Nonsense,” I would reply as she urged me to stay in bed, “the fresh air will do me good. It was one of those 24 hour things wasn’t it? You can’t keep me down for long, not with you looking after me.”

She would smile and hug me, delighted at my recognition of her nursing of me.

Karen enjoyed ski-ing. She was a real ski nut and massively enthusiastic about it. I less so. I don’t really get it.You ski down a slope once and there you are you have done it. Why go up and around again? Why keep going over and over the same thing repeatedly? Makes no sense to me. She had booked a ski holiday for us both at Val Thorens and we had an impressive chalet (which of course meant chalet maid) to look forward to. As the holiday neared I made repeated comment about how my right knee was giving me trouble. I had injured it when playing football when I was younger and repeated matches thereafter took their toll on it so that occasionally I would wear a brace when playing but it was not anything which ever stopped me from playing my favourite sport. I naturally made reference to the injury as causing me considerable pain and concern as the departure date neared.

“Should we not go?” asked Karen.

“Oh no, I would not want to spoil the holiday. I am sure I will be fine.” I answered.

“Well only if you are sure.”

We flew out and once there I explained that my knee was giving me real trouble and I had decided I was not going to risk any exacerbation of the condition by ski-ing. The friends we went with were suitable sympathetic.

“But please don’t let me stop you, you carry on I will be okay, Karen will look after me.” I announced showing how much of a trooper I was.

“I will just read outside the nearest bar and admire the view with Karen.”

I looked at Karen. She made to say something but did not do so and gave a small nod. Thus Karen did not ski once that holiday but instead she sat with me outside the Bar Hibou and we read, talked and drank beer until our friends returned from their day on their slopes. If she had any complaint she never articulated it but continued to ensure I was looked after. She would walk slowly alongside me to make sure I did not slip as we walked from the chalet to the bar. She would place me in a chair and then allow me to stay there all day, wrapped up with the sun on my face and whatever I needed to hand. She once again showed she was up to the task and would readily put my needs well ahead of her own. She took great care of me. I cannot say I did the same for her however.

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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.”

I nodded.

“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.”

“How soon?”

“A few hours, sometimes less.”

“Why?”

“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?”

“Yes.”

“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?”

“No.”

“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.”

You messed up. I gave you the world, I really did. I truly gave you everything you ever wanted from someone. I know I did because this is what I always do. I always deliver. You did not though and you let me down. Despite everything I said, everything that I did you failed. Oh I hear you bleat on about how you loved me like nobody else. You protest about all the things you sacrificed for me, all the things you did for me and how you put me ahead of everything else in order to please me, to make me happy. Stop going on about yourself will you? It is not very becoming. This hysteria surrounding how you pulled out all the stops, gave your all and did everything that I ever asked of you, even doing some things you did not like is pathetic. Ah I see, you complain about it now, but you did not at the time did you, you charlatan? You disgust me.

I am well rid of you and in a way I suppose I must thank you because if you had not failed you would not have made me realise how we did not belong together. I did everything I could to make it work but you let me down. Thank goodness I woke up and saw it otherwise I would still be trapped by you. You at least enabled me to realise how flawed you actually are and I won’t be making that mistake again. Not a chance of that happening. In fact, as testament to just how wonderful I am and how brilliantly I treat you I have someone else. What do you mean I wasted no time in moving on? Why should I? I am not going to sit around and bemoan how you let me down. That will not serve any purpose and besides I cannot help it if people want to be with me, it is only natural.

Yes I am with Lauren now. She is wonderful. She is everything I have ever wanted and I am her soul mate. I know that we are going to be very happy together now. She is the one. I know I thought that of you, but you misled me. Lauren is not like that. I am moving in with her next week. It makes perfect sense. I want to be with her all of the time. She is beautiful, just look at her, perfectly put together. She is so shiny and new. I am head over heels in love with her, I cannot be apart from her. Take a look. If you had been more like her then I would not have had to punish you the way I did. That is not going to happen with Lauren. No way. I can only see a bright and beautiful future for us. I hope she falls pregnant soon as our child will be such a wonder to behold. Thank God I did not have a child with you. Imagine that? Good God that would have been terrible having to share a child with a monster like you. Lauren will be a first class mother, we have already talked about it and I can tell that she is keen. She adores me and always will. Not like you. You had your chance but you messed it up. You only have yourself to blame. Oh I know what you are like, you will try and make out that it was me that was the problem but I know it was you. So do all my friends and yours. Yes I have already spoken to them and they agree that I am better off without you and that Lauren and I are the perfect couple. She always knows what to say you see. She understands me like nobody else does. She gets me. She is the only one. I bought a new ‘phone with an increased megapixel camera because there will be so many photographs I have to take of Lauren and I. I want all those perfect moments captured so I can show the world how happy we are together. I know other relationships have not worked out but that is what happens when you get duped by harpies. Lauren is not like them. She is not like you. We have booked a holiday away already. Two weeks in the sunshine. We are going to have such a brilliant time being together in paradise. You can expect plenty of postings on Facebook so feel free to look in on them, I know you will. You can expect all my friends to be talking about us. We are the golden couple. Thank goodness I found her. This is it. This is the one for me. We just fit together. It is as if she knows what I am thinking. She listens and learns and then always knows the right thing to say and to do. It is marvellous and just shows why we belong together. I know you will need to know all of this because, well, I deserve to be happy after what you did to me. You should be happy for me, you should, that is if you really do love me. You tell me you do but that does not matter now. I have a perfect love with Lauren and this is the one that will last.I imagine we will be married by the summer. It will be a glorious ceremony and she will look absolutely stunning, polished and gleaming, stood just the way I want and looking at me with rapturous adoration.

I could not be happier, I really could not. I have my soul mate, I am her angel sent from heaven to make her happy and I will do that because I am so good at doing that for people. Everything is going to be just wonderful and you had your chance but you blew it. I get so excited when I find someone new and when I know they will be better than you. Someone who puts me first rather than themselves. Someone who deserves me. Someone who is not you. Someone who is new and improved.