The Contrary Octopus

The Contrary Octopus is a minion we use to keep you ensnared and under our control. He has eight tentacles of contradiction which repeatedly coil around you, keeping you in their grip and squeezing your self-esteem and confidence from you.

1. You’ve put on weight

You haven’t of course, in fact you look fantastic and we resent that because now you look better than we do. If we are inclined to take pride on our appearance we hate the fact that you are outshining us. If physical perfection is not something we tend to major in, then we are resentful of the fact that other people will admire you and give you attention and not us. We once basked in this reflected admiration, proud of how attractive you looked, but that was when we seduced you. Now we do not want you looking better than us or drawing attention away from us or even worse still attracting suitors so you might even consider leaving us. Few people are secure about their weight and with our repeated sniping, this tentacle will squeeze some self-esteem from you as you worry about how you look. You are forbidden from attending the gym or going running though, we don’t want you do anything about it.

2. You need to eat more

You don’t. You had a healthy appetite once and these days it takes more effort to swallow your meals because of the anxiety that grips you as a consequence of our behaviour, but once again the issue of weight is something we know causes people concern and therefore it is low-hanging fruit in terms of undermining your confidence. You may resist, fearing gaining weight and this will only provide us with an opportunity to emphasise how you never do anything that we want and you are so argumentative. We want you cooking hearty meals so that we can indulge in them too. We want you running around after us. Naturally we will have wrapped the first tentacle above around you last week and then follow-up with this one, pushing and pulling in order to maximise your confusion. Don’t even try to suggest we said last week that you have gained weight, you are just being awkward again.

3. You need to dress up

You are so exhausted through our manipulation of you that you rarely wear make-up anymore. It is too much effort and usually attracts some scathing comment if you do so. It is far easier to pull on those jogging bottoms and a sweat top, after all, there are so many chores to attend to, because we will not help, that you are best dressed this way for reasons of practicality. We will criticise you for appearing like this and remark how you once took pride in your appearance. This will be said to make you feel guilty for letting us down because you are our extension and you are expected to look immaculate when we want you to. You of course need to second guess when those occasions will be because you will often be caught between the pull of this tentacle and the next one.

4. You dress like a slut

You managed to order something online for that forthcoming night out. Usually any suggestion of you visiting the shops is met with annoyance and criticism by us. We remark about you spending too much time and money shopping. You needed this new outfit and it fits perfectly, elegant and classy, showing off your legs which you still remain proud of. You have spent time doing your hair and make-up and you smile with satisfaction as you look in the full-length mirror at how you still scrub up well. The smile disappears in an instant as we loom up behind you and ask you where do you think you are going dressed like that? We don’t want you going out and enjoying yourself. We do not want you commanding attention and therefore we wrap this tentacle about you and apply the pressure, denigrating your clothing choice, berating you for wearing “too much slap” and bandying words such as whore and slut around until the tears start to flow.

5. Hurry up

This tentacle will always make an appearance when you are doing something that you enjoy. If you are browsing in a shop, you will be castigated for walking too slowly and told to get a move on. If you stop to talk to some friends who you have bumped into one afternoon we will hover nearby coughing and harrumphing in order to unsettle you in front of those people before taking you by the arm and pulling you away, hissing at you that you are showing off. Whenever it involves you, you are wrenching the spotlight away from us and therefore your event needs to be over as quickly as possible. Expect early departures from parties where you are given more attention than us, from concerts when it is your favourite band playing and from family events where your supporters outnumber ours. The octopus’ tentacle will wrap around you and haul you away.

6. Stop rushing me

Naturally when it something we want to do or where the attention is on us then we can take as long as we like. It does not matter if we need to go and pick somebody up, reach the shops before they close or get back for dinner, it is our time in the spotlight and we are damned if you are going to cut it short. No matter how politely you may remind us that we need to be somewhere else you will always be cut down for trying to undermines us and rushing us. It will provide us with the basis for criticism, even though we have stood in the bar for an hour longer than necessary regaling our coterie with stories of our brilliance.

7. Shut up

Nothing you say has any value. Who are you anyway? You are nothing without me so shut up and listen. Do not dare to speak and point out my many faults and contradictions, you are not allowed to do that. You are not permitted your own voice or opinion, those are denied to you. Mine is the only voice that must be heard, strident and bragging. You are not allowed to defend yourself when I am wrongly accusing you of something. You are not allowed to talk when I am reading, flirting online, watching a television programme or staring into space as I plot my next move. Your silence is expected and when I tell you to shut up, you had better do it.

8. Well, say something

What’s wrong with you? Speak. Anybody would think that you are not allowed to say something. You stand there mute and idiotic. You are making me look stupid by not joining in with the conversation. This is my evening remember and you had better shine and sparkle so everyone realises how great I am by choosing you. Make them laugh, say something of note and don’t embarrass me. Make sure you speak highly of me and keep the praise going, laugh at my jokes, prompt the praise and fulfil your role as my number one cheerleader. Don’t ever stand there in silence when I am ruling the roost. What do you mean I just told you to be quiet? Don’t start with those games again, how many times have I warned you?

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35 thoughts on “The Contrary Octopus”

  1. Ha! One of my children has, since birth, resented any time or effort I might put into looking decent on a family outing. He’s just a kid, getting impatient because he senses it is time to go, but kids have no filter. “Mom, why do YOU have to put on makeup? Why do YOU care what you wear? Nobody else does.” Grrrr…. I have no problem taking that to the next level: showing up for the school field trip dressed in a Halloween costume. Ha ha!

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    1. Now when you do that Observant I would like to see a picture. You are right to identify that it is the lack of filter with regards to children. We not only lack a filter we add a magnification to what we do and say.

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  2. This one makes me remember the constant stress I felt for eight years. I breathe a sigh of releif to be away from this for the most part.
    My ex always liked to point out how he was the only one who ever made fun plans for us. He was quite fond of rushing me as well, but of course it wasn’t allowed that I should go somewhere by myself because that would mean I was meeting someone else.
    I will say I am proud of myself for never letting him control my appearance. I like to look nice and have never looked “slutty”. From the very beginning he knew better than to push this one.
    Now we just need a book on how to live with one you can never get rid of…since I do still have to deal with this list on occasion when discussing the kids. Any suggestions HG?

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    1. Escape does provide some options concerning handling the various manipulations when you find yourself in a situation where you cannot yet get away or you are tied in because of children for example but I am working something up additionally which is specifically for people in such a situation.

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      1. Excellent! Escape is next on my list and I look forward to seeing what you are working on.
        I did find that the advice for handling court situations in No Contact has helped, however once that process ends I’ll have no choice but to discuss certain things with him.
        Thanks a always HG!

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  3. No. 1 really stung. After the major fallout last July that eventually led to me finding you here, whenever my Narc hoovered last fall or earlier this year, he stopped being complimentary about my appearance and would kind of ridicule and tell me I put on weight, call me his “little fatty”, etc. I found this to be such a mixed signal because why are you resurfacing to talk to me if I’m too much of a fatty AT A SIZE 6? Yet he was known with his guy friends to like girls with a little meat on her, not stick thin. I never let him know that it bothered me. I’d laugh it off, and joke about my favorite new comfort food, but it was really hurtful and confusing. Logically I’m thinking he didn’t stop being attracted to me because I may be 5 lbs. heavier than when we met. He’s put on weight too.
    Does this play into the aspect that part if you feels chained to us (our fuel) and it disgusts you and annoys you that you still want our fuel so badly?

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    1. It is more a case of just finding something that we know will get under your skin and make you react. Virtually nobody likes to be told that they have put on weight and even moreso if you know you haven’t, but when did the truth ever get in the way of us getting our fuel?

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      1. I guess so. It was more or less that his actions at this later time came across as getting back in touch just to “punish” me and it wasn’t even going to attempt to sugarcoat it.

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  4. I’ve lost 80 lbs since I got sober & I’m keeping it off, but every time I bite into something in her presence, my mother will tell me that I’ve “put on weight”. I’m smaller than she is now, and yet she loves to talk about how fat I am (not just me, she can talk for days on how fat and sloppy everyone else is, but she thinks she looks great)

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    1. Excellent question Bethany. I have had several people who I would say exhibit strong narcissistic tendencies (and therefore may be narcissists) who pour praise on my work. There are others who find they identify with what I write and it has caused them to question what they are, as some of them thought themselves empathic individuals but are no longer sure of that. Then there are those who praise what I write and identify with it in terms of the behaviour of their friend, partner, family member but it is evident from my interaction with them that they have the narcissistic tendencies but do not realise it and continue to project onto others.

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      1. Interesting! Your writing style presents the inner landscape of the narcissistic personality with such a haughty audacity that it is unmistakable the author is a true narcissist. I asked because I feel the presence of many lesser of your kind here that must fall over their wagging tongues slurping up the fuel they crave reminding them of their perceived omnipotence.

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      2. I fear N1 finding this site because I could see him climbing past the mid level he recently grew to if he had access to such a toolbox as yours.
        I shared the site with N2 because I thought he was like me and had been hurt by one. I realized later the amazement and shock he had about finding out about narassists’ was likely because he was wondering if this was what was wrong with him, although he refused to admit it later and said I was the narcissist…maybe he is right. Hahahaha

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      3. He is not right Jingercin. This is both his fantasy and projective identification. Do not entertain the question that is being asked of you here. It may be helpful that when this common question arises as you are processing and healing from the abuse, to replace it with – am I able to recognize, however faint it may feel, who I am/was prior to the abuse. If you are able to do this you are not a narcissist. A narcissist is unable to this, they have no sense of self.

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      4. Well…a narc is never wrong are they?
        You’re comment about some having narcissistic tendencies and not realizing it made me think twice about a few of my behaviors. I do not really think I am one of you…but maybe have picked up some bad habits from exposure.

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      5. It is highly unlikely that you are and most likely you are questioning yourself because this is what you have been conditioned to do. It is a further manipulative technique deployed against you – doubt, projection and blame. Leaving us to walk away scot-free.

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  5. All of this reading today reminds me that the biggest mistake we can ever make with an N is to believe that we are special to them. Fuel is quite generic, so individual attributes and personality types, strengths and weakness truly take a back seat to Fuel which anyone can provide! When I get honest, even when I started understanding what he was, my own self delusion told me that he loved and needed me…because his acting skills were off the charts. Somehow I thought because I had his number…and he knew I did…that we would grow through it! LOL…imagine the depth of my own magical thinking!

    The scorpion and the frog story comes to mind.

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    1. Right on, Bethany.
      Although it’s crushing to know that he never really thought of us as “special” after all (beyond our empathic natures and ability to provide fuel), we can hopefully, eventually, get some small comfort knowing that the one(s) who comes after isn’t “special” either.
      Although I do think G sees me as more “special” than the last one because she doesn’t sound like a co-dependent. And we are the most “special” and prized of all.
      See HG? I may not have a fancy degree, but I am a quick study! 😉

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  6. N1 shocked me one evening with #7. It came out of the blue….he was a somatic that played the victim card. N3 was a cerebral. I think cerebrals welcome a spirited debate in the beginning….they like to show of their intelligence….

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    1. G is an elite who enjoys playing the vc (victim card) to get the nurturing fuel he never got from Mommy.

      He is brilliant (this is not me being in awe of him – though I definitely was in the beginning – he is acknowledged as such by his work peers) so at first I thought he was more cerebral, but he also is very good looking and everyone (including me, of course) tells him how he doesnt look anywhere near his age (and he’s over 50) and other men would kill to have his hair (which is definitely thinning!) and body (which is getting softer for sure).

      I am totally into instagram and used to be proud to post pictures of us together. (Of course G doesn’t allow me to tag him on ig and he has not liked or commented on a single one of my ig photos. NOT ONCE.). However, I got my revenge earlier this year, when we were on our “romantic reunion” trip (more like a business trip that his work paid for and he would have gone with or without me.)
      He was making negative comments about my body- so much so that when he grabbed the camera and I was in a bathing suit, I twisted my body awkwardly to avoid my thighs getting in the shot.
      My “revenge” was posting a picture someone took of us together when he was wearing a tshirt that lets just say totally emphasized his growing gut and man boobs.
      During the love bombing phase, he couldn’t get enough of my photos and was on my ig page all the time! Now, I KNOW he never looks anymore, because if he did he would be FURIOUS that I posted such an unflattering picture of him and would make me pay for sure. 🙂

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      1. Cody,

        These guys are ALL the same! None of my N’s allowed tagging on social media! N3 did not have any social media accounts (in his real name). So, I could post pics of us all day everyday and he didn’t know…..

        I have an uncle that is a player…but NOT an N. He’s smooth….has several relationships going at any given time….none of these women know about each other. My uncle doesn’t have a cell phone or any social media accounts. He’s truly a simple man….my grandma said he’d been chasing skirts since he was 12!!! I believe that!

        I asked him how he juggles so many women without a cell phone…..he laughed and said….if they want to talk to me they can call my house…if I’m not home….they just have to wait until I get home. These intelligent women with professional jobs will be glued to their phones trying to reach my uncle. All times of day and night…..

        I told my uncle that he should at least have a cell phone in case family needs him….he said he’d never wear an electronic leash….and that’s all a cell phone is….he then showed me the boxes of brand new phones his women have bought for him….and he laughed.

        All Players and N’s have strange relationships with cell phones and social media! Always remember that! Lol

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  7. I have a ninth tentacle, perhaps. Another form of manipulation and/or surreptitious devaluation depending on the phase of the relationship. My N would fall-out of phone or text conversations: right in the middle of a fast-paced interchanged, she’d disappear for an extended time, almost teasing me by her continued silence to frantically text or call her to restart the conversation or find out what happened to her. To me it became her foremost disagreeable “feature.” It is her trademark M/O and it allowed me to recognize her initial hoovers two months after being “thrown under the bus,” as I saw instances of this behavior on text exchanges with mysterious parties, which of course are now met with NO CONTACT. You HAVE been therapeutic to me – I realize now what I went through and the dynamics of relationships with such people, and have given me ample knowledge to recognize and defend myself against such monsters in the future.

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    1. I experienced this exact behavior with my second N. He would also promise to call at a certain time and not do so, while he deliberately posted to social media so I knew he didn’t “fall asleep” like he said he did as an excuse for not calling. I think he found this an easier way to start drama as a member of a younger generation narcissist. I wondered if I was being overly critical as he would say I was being “needy” by expecting him to respect me enough to do as he said or finish a conversation he had started. If I called him out on the behavior I was subjected to silent treatments and punishment of him ignoring me on social media and ensuring others received his attention instead. Sadly (for him) I never learned my lesson and did not except this behavior.

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  8. My exN hated social media and cellphones. He told me that I didn’t need to go on facebook anymore than once or twice every two weeks. He knew I was on there every day and it pissed him off. Of course, I still did whatever I wanted.

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