Oliver Twist, the eponymous main characters of Charles Dickens’ novel (also known as The Parish Boy’s Progress) became famous for coming back and asking for more and thereby incurring the incredulous anger of Mr Bumble. Oliver only ate gruel and was undernourished leaving him always hungry. Whilst we do not eat gruel, we are renown for coming back for more. This is something which often puzzles our victims. When that person eventually realises what has happened to them and that they have been on the receiving end of a sustained period of abuse and then a callous discard their reaction is invariably one of “Is it over?” Our victims are confused as to why it is that we return to them, why do we not leave that person alone? It is always the case that we will have moved on to someone new, indeed it is highly likely that someone else was waiting in the wings, being prepared for their anointment as the primary source so that the present incumbent can now be shed and erased from the records. The queen is dead, long live the queen. The discarded predecessor is left to wonder why it is that we just don’t focus on this new person and leave them alone to recover and tend to their many wounds. Surely we are pre-occupied with our new plaything, he or she is shiny and new, can we not be satisfied with wrapping them in our illusion so that we have no need or desire to maintain your torment?
Therein lies the key to understanding why it is that we keep coming back. It is a case of need and sometimes desire. Of course, our return manifests as the well-known hoover, the attempt to draw fuel from you once again. Often it is of a benign variety where false contrition is exhibited in order to make you think that we recognise the error of our ways and that we wish to change and make amends. Such an approach appeals directly to your good-hearted nature, you desire to see change and healing. We know this. That is why we say all these things. We may even go so far as to attend a session or two with a therapist or counsellor but this is all part of the ruse. In fact, this attendance is done purely to enable us to show to the therapist how brilliant we are, that there is nothing wrong with us and best of all to extract some fuel from them, but that is a discussion for another day. The fact remains we say these things to suck you back in. We express faux remorse and promise the return of the golden period once more and nearly always you accept, anything to make the pain go away and perhaps, just perhaps, this time, things will be different. If your resolve holds and you do not respond favourably to this benign attempt to draw you back so we can grasp you again, then with that lightning fast vacillation you know so well, we turn nasty. The malign behaviours appear and we lash out at you, exhibiting continued cruelty towards you.
Like everything else it is fuel that is the driving force behind our hoovering, the need for fuel is the catalyst. Surely though we are receiving plenty of positive fuel from the newly duped and compliant victim? Yes, we are and that wonderful admiration is providing lashings of positive fuel but if there is the prospect of more we will take it. If you can be contacted then we will make a play for more fuel from you. We are not just satisfied with drawing fuel from this new shiny appliance because we must reinforce our perception of power. The extraction of negative fuel provides us with more satisfaction and power than positive fuel because it is harder to cause someone to respond negatively than positively. It is nice to be nice apparently. By causing anger, upset, fear or frustration then this underlines the powerful nature of our manipulations. Extending that concept of resistance proving the font of the most of potent fuel, then when you have been discarded after our abusive treatment of you, you are likely to want to stay away from us. Admittedly, that resistance may not be high, given your addiction to the golden period and the reduction of your coping abilities, but it is there all the same. In some instances, the resistance is heightened by a determined victim who has received some enlightenment and wishes to implement the dreaded concept of no contact. This resistance, whether small of great, means that overcoming it with our benign or malign hoovering creates potent fuel indeed. It emphasises our greatness that we can treat someone terribly and then, at our time of choosing, draw them back to us or at least provoke some outraged or fearful additional response. The prospect of flexing our manipulative muscles and the accompanying fuel it creates is always too great to pass over. Too often our victims will hear nothing from us for a period of time and assume that we have indeed moved on. It is true our attentions will be on the new primary source but like the cruising shark, we sense the ripple caused by you dipping your toe back in the water and we will head straight for you. It might be the fact that you feel safe enough to walk past where we work again or to reinstate your social media profile without blocking us. It could be that you attend a function where we will be also. You may even send a message to us, wishing well, exemplifying your forgiving and tolerant nature. All of these actions and more will be picked up on our radar and we make a bee line for you ready to extract more fuel from you, be it positive or negative.
It may only be a matter of days before the return occurs as buoyed and triumphant at our new acquisition we wish to supplement the fuel by showing just how easy we are able to control you. On the other hand, it may be months or even years before we make that return for more. You may have disappeared off our radar and proven impossible to contact so that we have no choice but to press on with other victims and thus you are left alone. We never say never though. Should you pop back up on our radar, come to our attention or become contactable again then we will be back for more. The fact of what has gone on before provides a bridge between us. We may have burned that bridge when we discarded you but we will hastily reconstruct it in order to march into your territory once again and begin our occupation and draw more fuel from you. With some of our kind this need is accentuated by the desire to punish you. If you had the temerity to escape us and then raise the drawbridge, this amounts to a massive criticism of us. How dare you suggest that you are better than us, how dare you exert such control over our source of fuel, how dare you go off piste and fail to follow our script. The ignited fury will result in a raging response in order to draw fuel straight away. If you manage to weather that, do not think that our desire to punish you for your treachery will every go away. The greater of our kind, those of us motivated by a deep-seated hatred and malice will never forget this act of treason and we will keep coming back to punish you, issuing malign hoovers against you, wave after wave because you have committed such offence. I am of course a main in chains, permanently bound to you and this bondage, because of my need of fuel, both delights and disgusts me and whilst I want to leave you in the dust, near broken and defeated, I am unable to because of the irresistible pull of your fuel.
George Leigh Mallory, the mountaineer, was asked,
“Why did you want to climb Mount Everest.”
“Because it’s there.”
Why do we come back for more? Because you are there and we can. Except, unlike Oliver, we never ask for more, we just take.