Cookie Jar

When I was a child, my grandmother would bake the most delicious-smelling cookies. Her house would be full of the aroma of those treats as they baked in her oven. She would remove them and place them on the various cooling wire stands as my siblings and me would stand and watch, eyes wide and mouths salivating. The flavours that she would make were so enticing. Chocolate chip, peanut butter, fudge chocolate, cinnamon, cranberry and orange and white chocolate. We were not allowed to eat them when they were warm, even though we knew from our mother’s cookies that they tasted sensational in this state. The selection of mouth-watering treats was placed inside a large cookie jar and placed on a shelf.

“Now, ” my grandmother would announce, ” cookies must be earned. Good behaviour will result in being given a cookie of your favourite flavour.”

“I like chocolate chip best of all,” my sister would declare.

“I prefer peanut butter,” my elder brother would announce.

“It’s got to be cinnamon for me,” weighed in my younger brother as he fizzed with excitement. I would stand saying nothing.

“What about you HG ? Which is your favourite?” asked my grandmother as she leant down to level with my face,

“I like them all grandma, I don’t have a favourite,” I would answer.

My grandmother would laugh.

“Oh you can’t have them all HG, you’ll be sick,” she would say and ruffle my hair.

“He will grandma, he is greedy,” my sister would scold and I would give her my look. I had perfected this stare in the mirror over the preceding summer. I narrowed my eyes and fixed my gaze summoning up every ounce of anger, malice and hatred that I could muster. I found it worked best if I thought of things which angered me. I would recall being left out of the school football team but for no apparent reason. I would remember when my painting did not win the competition organised by the church (“But you came second,” congratulated my younger brother, what’s the good of second?!) and every other injustice that had been meted out to me. I recalled the fury I felt from each act of exclusion and failure to recognise my talents and I channelled it into creating the cold, malicious stare. When I shot it towards my sister she immediately fell quiet. She knew better than to cross me once I had given her that look.

“Well,” my grandmother would continue as she straightened herself, “if you all help me clean the baking utensils you can all have a cookie each. I sneered as my siblings gathered around to assist so readily compliant for such a meagre reward. I turned and walked out of the  room unwilling to engage in their collective submission.

“Don’t you want a cookie?” my grandmother would ask, her voice following me as I walked into the garden.

“No thank you,” I called over my shoulder and made my way to my favourite tree to climb high into its branches and sit in splendid isolation looking across the extensive garden which surrounded my grandparents’ impressive house. I would sit up there for hours, master of all I surveyed.

When I returned for dinner my siblings would remind me of how delicious the cookies had tasted yet I was unaffected by their ineffectual goading for I knew that my triumph would surpass their laughable achievement. I merely smiled and got on with eating my dinner.

That night I waited until the rest of the house was asleep and then I made my way downstairs, back into the kitchen. I stood on the cool stone floor, the moonlight shining into the room causing the glass jar to gleam. I hopped up onto one of the kitchen counters and claimed my prize. I placed the jar down before me and lifted off the lid before dipping my hand inside and selecting a white chocolate cookie. I devoured it in three bites. I grabbed a cinnamon one and wolfed that down before attacking a cranberry and orange cookie in much the same way. I pulled the chocolate chip, peanut butter and chocolate fudge flavoured ones and put them beside me, ready to carry to bed. My hand lingered over the jar again. How I wanted to take a further cinnamon cookie and break it up, scattering crumbs besides my younger brother’s bed but I knew that it was futile. My grandmother could never remember how many she had baked of each cookie and she would never notice that six had been taken overnight. That was the basis for my success. Therefore, there was no point in leading a trail to the bed of my younger brother, no matter how satisfying it would have been to have seen him accused and cry as he protested his innocence. I replaced the jar and scooped up my bounty ready to pad back to my bed and enjoy my stolen snacks and reflect on my skills. Even back then I knew what people’s weaknesses were and how best to exploit them.

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66 thoughts on “Cookie Jar”

  1. I didn’t realize the behavior was prevalent so young HG. Gives me hope my kids won’t be like their father since they can’t sneak a cookie without tattling on themselves due to overwhelming guilt.

    This makes me very sad for you.

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  2. Mmmmmhmmmmm. My mother takes a scissor to Macy’s. She sees a coat she likes, and she buys it (of course) but she also sneakily cuts the buttons off another just like it so she has extra buttons “just in case”.

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    1. Brilliant. My mother when trying out fragrances always refused to use the tester and insisted on a new bottle being used because she didn’t want the “tainted scent of others” on her.

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  3. HG, I will bake you any kind of cookie that you want and you can eat them all. I have been reading and rereading your posts and books and have learned so much! Thank you. Oh btw I figured out why I was blocked from his Facebook page it wasn’t because he was deleting me from his life,it was my birthday! A week later I was no longer blocked. You see by blocking me he knew or thought that I would be hurt (fuel) by knowing me the way he does he knew I would figure out some way to get on it, when I did I would see the posting of when him and his new victim started there relationship! Double whammy more fuel! But one thing he doesn’t know is that I have you!! I don’t think of the golden period anymore I have gone over all the silent treatments, devaluation, discard,and know now what he is and how he thinks. He doesn’t know that he is a narcissist. I have even figured out when I will be hoovered and what he is going to say the reason is for him getting in touch with me! You know with the abuse I suffered as a child,teenager, and adult I could of been a narcissist but I ended up a empath. Instead. When he makes contact this time it will be me gathering all that precious, delicious Fuel and he will be my appliance!! Sleep well HG,I know I will. Your Fab!! Xxxxxx

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    1. Hello Fool Me, looks like you had his behaviour around your birthday figured out. Of course he was also trying in his usual way to spoil your birthday by having the spotlight on him rather than you. Thank you for your kind words, I am pleased you are finding my writing of use to you. You certainly seem to be seizing the power.

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  4. Observation: perhaps the reason you honed in on uncle’s tantrums and mom’s silent treatment (because you recognized the power of dramatic manipulation) is evidently more nature than nurture: you do not seem to have felt remorse as a young child. Little kids are rule-followers, wanting to please. Mostly.

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    1. I daresay you are right Observant. It is of course difficult to remember how one felt during childhood, some things are sharper than others, but I do remember thinking that I could do as I wanted and was required because I was me. I did not feel bad about doing so, even if I could see that someone was upset. It was drummed into me that they are upset because they failed, I must not fail.

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      1. How was it drummed into you that people’s hurt feelings are due to their failure? Was mom trying to teach you to be an even less-feeling, less empathetic N?

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      2. Are your sibs Ns? They began life feeling guilt, based on the cookie jar. Did mom “teach” them not to feel guilt, or did she save that lesson just for you? That must have caused her some mixed feelings: on one hand, she doesn’t want to raise a “weak” child bc it reflects on her. On the other hand, she had to compete with you as a result of her training.

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      3. No they are not. My sister is a co-dependent although she has made considerable strides to manage that situation (according to her) – Chained has more detail on that.

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  5. As a cookie lover, I so enjoyed your delectable description of a delicious variety of warm gooey goodness. I found myself smiling as I read on enthusiastically as you described warm comfortable feelings associated with Grandma’s baking. I felt your sister’s chill up her spine being on the receiving end of that cold glare.

    Family dynamics intrique me. Through extensive therapy, I’ve learned so much about how our earliest experiences shape our personalities and how trauma affects the young developing brain. It’s all so interesting. I enjoyed imaging you as a little boy HG. You were easier to love then.

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    1. I enjoyed reading your first paragraph there Bethany,you enabled me to picture you reading it. Thank you. Tell me more about what you have learned, I appreciate there will be a lot, so if you can distil the essence I would be interested to read about your knowledge. If you enjoyed imagining be as a little boy the forthcoming Little Boy Lost:The Creation of a Narcissist will interest you.

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      1. Little Boy Lost will be very intriguing to be sure.

        I don’t do succinct very well I am afraid. I don’t want to be verbose so I guess, to be as minimalist as possible in describing what I learned, is that our earliest caregivers responses to our basic physical and emotional needs create the template for our future relationships. The emotional health of our caregivers matters much. Appropriate mirroring and a non chaotic and consistent environment allow for a healthy sense of self to develop in a human being. So, personally, having an N father and a co Mother was a set up for early abandonment and a pervasive sense of unsafety which played out over and over again in my adult intimate relationships being that woman who loved too much. after my last N relationship I realized that the common denominator in all of my past hurtful relationships was me…why had I settled for so little when I had given so much? Why did I choose men who did not value me for my person? What did I believe about myself in spite of appearing confident, strong and well put together?

        It all boiled down to those early family dynamics. Daddy was self absorbed and distant, Mommy was too busy pleasing and catering to Daddy to adequately nurture her young children . I was the youngest of five and our house was chaotic and dysfunctional with my siblings all playing out their responses to my Dad’s narcissism and my Moms codependency. Bad stuff happened while not under my parents watch.

        Interestingly enough, although my inner child suffered much wounding, I had a conscious awareness of God. It was this connection that gave me a hand out of the pit of my own hell and helped me find my way home.

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  6. HG when you first published this posting I had recently discovered your blog and I remembered thinking two things.
    Wow this guy is a mind blowing writter. I was just so fascinated with your way of writing. Believe me mind blow is not exaggerating. Second I thought. Here I am really going to understand what NPD means translated into real human life.
    I was not wrong. You are the best of best .
    And now after all this time I am also fascinated by the person you are 😘😘😘☀️🌔💓
    Its an excellent article, from your childhood 💝 And shows how Ns always get what they want. They have the way to do it that we dont!!
    Wish you a nice busy day ⛽️.

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  7. Wow that took me back !! I recall one time when my sister has eaten all the icing off the Christmas cake my mother has spent hours Icing it alone!

    i wasn’t even aware the icing had been eaten but I recall being scolded and beaten for this. I protested my innocence but was never beleived.

    I was always thought to the guilty one, even though I rarely if ever was.

    Obviously my sister found this hilarious.

    Made me grow up thinking I was just plain bad ??

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  8. I like your grandmother’s reward system! Is that a British thing?
    American grandmother’s (most), never deny their grandkids ANY treats that they want…in ANY amount! My grandma didn’t bake cookies.
    She always made cakes. “Sock it to me” cake or “7up” cake (soul food desserts) were always plentiful…..she never had a limit for the grandkids….

    That is probably why we American’s are so unhealthy, and eat so much! lol

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  9. T,

    Are you Southern? My Grandma was a baker too and was always making delicious pound cakes, red velvet, German Chocolate, coca cola cake…mmmmm I can see her standing in her kitchen now with her beautiful suit and coiffed hair and slicing up pieces for us to enjoy.

    Her home brings back positive feelings for me. I always felt safe and loved there and she was a refuge from the storm that was my family. I believe it was her compassionate witness to the early wounds I received that instilled in me the ability to hold on to my spirit in spite of the people and things that tried to steal it.

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    1. Bethany,

      I am not Southern. However, my maternal grandparents were from the South. So, the cooking was passed on to my generation.

      There were many African Americans that migrated to California from the South in the early 1940’s. Many settled in the Los Angeles area…my family settled in the Central Valley of California. Which had many Southern migrants White and African American.

      So, you will find many Californians in the middle of the state that cook and eat like Southerners rather than the health nuts that live in the big cities of our state.

      We also got the Dust Bowl settlers here. Remember the movie/book “Grapes of Wrath? It was based on the Oklahoma dust bowl people that fled Oklahoma to work in the farms in the Central Valley of California? (those jobs are almost exclusively done by Mexican workers, not sure what we will do if they all get sent back. the Central Valley feeds most of the world it’s fruits and veggies..and Americans sure won’t do that work anymore)

      Well, Oklahoma is known for there home cooking Southern style as well….my paternal grandfather was from there….although he wasn’t an “Okie” in the dust bowl sense…he was an”Okie” lol! . He was a cement mason of African American and Cherokee Indian decent.
      So, my diet has always been more Southern than Californian.

      My grandma had a great recipe for German chocolate cake as well…Red Velvet, too!! I remember licking the mixing beaters to taste the raw cake batter as a child…yummy!

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      1. Marvellous, I shall start making a list. First of all some Sour Grape Pie, then some Hard Cheese Scones I think. No humble pie though.

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      2. I enjoyed reading about your background and heritage T! Thank goodness for real butter and ham hocks! I am a Southern food lover thru and thru! Okra, grits, fried chicken…food for the soul indeed! It’s my closet secret out here in Cali with all these smoothie and grilled veggie lovers😝.

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      3. Bethany, are your folks from the South, too?! Yes…real butter! Greens (but I personally fry bacon for flavor, grandma and aunts do ham hocks). Do you make black eyed peas for Good luck on New Years Day?

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      1. Mini = young in age
        i know you are not small now so I suppose not small at 11 but I imagine nevertheless stealing the cookies of your granny, sweet.

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  10. Your so greedy HG!lol. Btw I always had the power just forgot for a moment!🍪😘

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      1. Are you sure your entitled? Or do you just think you are?? If I baked them then I am the one entitled to decide! Perhaps you were a very bad boy and I decide you should have none until you can prove to me how very good you can be! Do not sneak down in the middle of the night and put your hand in my cookie jar! You never know with me what may be waiting inside!! Oh Snap!!😈

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      2. But you ought to bake them for me, that is what you should do for me. Why do you have to make threats about what will happen if I take my cookies?

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      3. I never said they were for you! You see you are all the same! You are not more important then the others I love you all the same! I do not make threats that is what you do dear boy I only speak the truth. Please do not have one of the others sneak down with you to put there hand in first to make sure it is safe! I never said it would be on top did I? 🍪

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      1. I would never ignore your HG! You are far to important to me! Sometimes I think you just can’t keep up handsome man!! 😉

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      2. Really HG was that a little anger I sense coming over the Atlantic?? Don’t get your boxers in such a twist it’s not very comfortable you know!! Lol. I thought you would be a little tougher then that to crack!! Well I’m bored with all this now!! Have a wonderful evening oh Great One! It was fun playing with you. 🙂 xxxxxx

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      3. Ohhh! I absolutely love to dance HG! What shall it be this evening Mia amor??

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  11. Remember HG I can be who or what ever you want me to be. You are not the only chameleon out there you know! I had to do a lot of studying of not only the N but also of myself, the outcome of which has really surprised me! So bring it on if you think you can handle me???

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  12. Only you would pick a dance associated with such a horrible disorder! I thought perhaps you would choose the Jerk!!

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  13. HG, I have really learned so much from you and your books and posts! I don’t think I would of made it through this without you!! In fact I know for sure I wouldn’t have! That was a very scary place that I don’t ever want to visit again! You’ve probably have had a long day and I’m sure your ready for a rest . I just wanted to thank you again. I still have much to learn but with you leading the way I know I will never be a victim again! You really are very important to me! Xo😘

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  14. What I see here is a young boy in the natural and necessary developmental stage of individuation, whose insight and Empathic emergence is being met with the restrictive posturing of an emotional manipulator. The action of the emotional manipulator is most likely unconscious; however it is not hidden to those who navigate with a more evolved self awareness, such as the boy in this experience.

    He is attuned correctly to the collective submission he is both observing and powerlessly participating in.

    He knows of a deeper truth of which he learns to suppress; it is his only means of protection against a sea of wounds to which he is reliant on. Again, he attempts to teach, exercising both free will of truth and choice by expressing his -natural intelligence- “I like them all grandma, I don’t have a favorite” and he is diminished once again- this time through sound- the sound of laughter.

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