Fuel is the Rule

Understand fuel. Understand the narcissist.

 

Learn all about what drives the narcissist and YOUR role in this

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Parasite

 

 

 

You fed off me and I am sick of it. You attached yourself to me drawn by my magnetism, but I never asked you to. You just decided that you wanted to be with me, you need me, truth be told and because I am magnanimous I allowed you to attach to me but as of late your taking and leeching has begun to annoy me. You cannot deny this is what you are. The evidence speaks for itself. You saw my charm, my attractiveness, my easy manner with people and how they are drawn to me and like some opportunist you decided that you wanted some of that. You realised that you could benefit massively by attaching yourself to me. You could avail yourself of my impeccable reputation, my scintillating presence as my esteemed connections. I do not blame you for wanting to be associated with me, who would not? Who would not want such a slice of the action as me? The opportunity to move in circles that you had never experienced before. The chance to be somebody. The time to clamber upwards from the tedious life you led and the doldrums in which you festered. I suppose I ought to admire your desire to improve yourself and better yourself by seeing what I am and what I do and wanting to be a part of that world. You certainly did become part of that world as well. You enjoyed my extraordinary largesse as you accepted my gifts, my invitations and my cold hard cash. You were delighted to be on my arm as we went to so many special places. You were granted access all areas. You consumed the love I poured in your direction, drinking deep of my passion, my affection and my dedication. I helped you, I listened, I advised. I called you often as you wanted me to. I made sure you felt safe and secure with my frequent messages and attention to your well-being. I allowed your friends and family to become part of my entourage, they certainly had no qualms about getting on the gravy train did they? You dominated my attention, engulfed me with your need to keep taking from me. Even when matters became difficult you did not stop with your neediness. You wanted reassurance still, to be told that I loved you, to be taken to those special places once again. You tried to stop me doing what I wanted to do, what I needed to do. You wanted to prevent me spending time with my friends and yes before you say anything they were always only ever my friends. Honest. You saw me as an easy target. I see that now and you kept taking, taking and taking. Is it little wonder that my irritation became annoyance? That my annoyance became fury? You just would not stop taking from me and in the end I had to stop this. I had to find someone who would give rather than take and that meant I had to be rid of you. That is why I chose someone else to escape your leeching and draining behaviour. That is why I cast you aside. You are a parasite.

 

 

 

You fed off me and I am sick with it. You attached yourself to me drawn by my goodness, but I never asked you to. You just decided that you wanted to be with me, you need me, truth be told and because I am the kind and caring person that I pride myself on being, I allowed you to attach to me but as of late your taking and leeching has begun to destroy me. You cannot deny this is what you are. The evidence speaks for itself. You saw my compassion, my attractiveness, my empathic manner with people and how they respond to such kindness and love and like some opportunist you decided that you wanted all of that for yourself. You realised that you could benefit massively by attaching yourself to me. You could avail yourself of my gushing compassion, my reflective presence as my emotional nature. I do not blame you for wanting to be with me, who would not when they are a creature like you? Who would not want such to erode me slice by slice? The opportunity to move yet again in circles that you had experienced before. The chance to be make yourself feel like somebody for once. The time to clamber upwards from the empty life you lead and the chasm which threatens to engulf you. I suppose I ought to admire your desire to improve yourself and better yourself by seeing what I am and what I do and wanting to make me part of you by swallowing me up. You certainly did make me become part of you as I struggle to remember most days who I am and what I was before I met you. You enjoyed my extraordinary love as you accepted my attentiveness, my invitation into my heart and my warm, loving nature. You were delighted to be on my arm as we went to so many special places. You were granted access all areas to who I was and you saw no reason to ever respect my identity. You consumed the love I poured in your direction, drinking deep of my passion, my affection and my dedication. I helped you, I listened, I advised and even when you began to abuse me, I never wavered from that. I called you often as you wanted me to. I made sure you felt safe and secure with my frequent messages and attention to your well-being. I allowed my friends and family to become part of your facade, they certainly had no qualms about forgetting me following your smear campaigns did they? You dominated my attention, engulfed me with your need to keep taking from me. Even when matters became difficult you did not stop with your neediness. You wanted reassurance still, to be told that I loved you, to be taken to those special places in side my soul once again. You tried to stop me doing what I wanted to do, what I needed to do. You wanted to prevent me spending time with my friends and yes before you say anything they were my friends until you banished them. Honest. You saw me as an easy target. I see that now and you kept taking, taking and taking. Is it little wonder that my confusion became despair? That my despair became desperation? You just would not stop taking from me and in the end I need to find a way to stop this, but I can’t seem to. You won’t stop.  I have to find someone who will give rather than take and that means I need to be rid of you. I know this has to happen but I feel I cannot escape you, you have drained and leeched from me to such an extent that I am barely able to think and function. That is why I need to cast you aside but how can I when you will not let me go and you will not stop causing me to love you. You are a parasite.

 

Who is the parasite. You, me or both of us?

 

The parasite is the one who benefits at the expense of the other.

 

Who is the parasite?

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The 5 Central Questions to a Middling Degree

 

I have come across these five questions on a number of occasions. They are often regarded as the five fundamental queries which are raised about our behaviour. They are usually answered in a forthright manner by certain commentators in order to drive the message home. However, these observations and answers are provided by people who are not of our kind. They are naturally entitled to comment but the true value arises from someone who is on the other side of the fence, the perpetrator of the actions, the doer. Furthermore, the usual observations are provided without regard to the fact that narcissists are both similar yet different because we operate in certain schools which are linked to our degree of functioning and malign outlook. Accordingly, the traditional answer provided to one of these questions may be correct for the greater of our kind, but not for the mid-range or for the lesser narcissist. This time the focus falls on those narcissists which are from the Mid-Range school. It is usually the case that those who Mid-Range are not so much defined by what they are, but rather by what they are not. Thus if a behaviour which accords with a lesser narcissist is absent and a behaviour which accords with a greater narcissist is absent but the individual still displays behaviour which accord with narcissism as a whole, this person falls within the Mid-Range. The Mid-Range is neither a creature of complete knee-jerk reactions but nor is he or she fully aware of what he or she is and the capabilities that he or she may possess. He or she will not exhibit the driven, malign nature of those narcissists from the greater school. Here are the five answers to the five central questions.

 

 

 

  1. Do We Know What We Are Doing?

 

Whereas the lesser narcissist operates through instinctive responses and in a knee-jerk manner the Mid-Ranger knows what he or she is doing. They notice that they feel a sense of unease and being unsettled. This is when their fuel levels have dropped to a low level. They do not know that the sensation of unease is linked to the reduced fuel levels. The Mid-Ranger does know that provoking reaction in the person who is his or her primary source and other people causes the unease to diminish and vanish. He or she is aware of the link between the need to receive attention and the reduction in the state of unease. He or she realises that certain reactions do not always work (i.e. unemotional ones) and that some reactions are superior to others (the sense of unease vanishes quicker and is replaced with a feeling of power) but they do not know why that is. They do not realise the index of fuel supply governs their own state of power/unease. They do know what if they are praised they feel better, if you are made to cry, they feel better and if you are losing your temper because of something that they have done, they feel better.

 

  1. Do We Know That We Are Hurting You?

 

Akin to the lesser, the Mid-Ranger is aware of the hurt that is being caused. The Mid-Ranger will also give some consideration to how this might be achieved whereas the lesser just does it. The Mid-Ranger does not behave this way because of any innate malevolence but rather because he or she is aware that the evidence of pain on your part gives them a “good” feeling and lessens the unease which may appear. The Mid-Ranger knows that if he or she acts in a certain way, it will cause you upset and therefore he or she will take some time to evaluate how best to respond in a situation so that the “good” feeling can be obtained. The Mid-Ranger will be aware of what it is that you are doing which has generated contempt, irritation or annoyance. He will be able to provide you with a reason behind this sensation and moreover if there is no actual reason he is readily able to invent one. Whereas the lesser can only usually respond in a vague and amorphous fashion, the Mid-Range will provide you with a reason for this annoyance at your behaviour and why he or she is hurting you. It is most likely a lie, but a reason will be provided nevertheless.

 

  1. Do We Do This Deliberately?

The Mid-Ranger is deliberate in his or her behaviours. They do not know it is fuel, they do not know its true purpose but they are sufficiently aware and of sufficient function to link the provision of certain reactions by you to the settling and empowering effect it has on them. The Mid-Ranger is aware that he or she can provoke good and bad emotions from you, that these reactions serve a purpose and therefore they will apply some time and effort to ascertaining the best way of doing this. They are also able to apply a wider range of manipulations from their repertoire as a consequence of their increased function. The response is thought out and whilst the plotting and scheming is far removed from the grand scale of the greater narcissists, there is no doubting that the Mid-Ranger will plan. He or she will consider how people can best serve them. This is not done from a malicious point of view but is more about working out what will serve him or her the best. The Mid-Ranger will consider which friends serve him best, who will make the best target and how the various people that are his fuel lines knit together. He does not behave in the random and chaotic fashion of the lesser nor with the pinpoint, malicious accuracy of the greater but with a sense of organisation and planning so that he or she gets what he or she wants.

 

 

  1. Can We Control This Behaviour?

 

The Mid-Ranger is possessed of the ability to control his or her behaviour. Since he or she is not a creature of instinct like the lesser but adopts a more considered approach there is greater thought given to how he or she should respond. The Mid-Ranger is not aware of why they ought to behave in this way, they only know that there is a way of behaving which suits them best and they need to tailor their responses and behaviours to accord with this way and this includes control. The Mid-Ranger only has so much control and in situations where fuel levels plummet and there is a real or perceived threat of a primary source cessation then the Mid-Ranger will lose control when placed under such duress. This may manifest in the use of physical violence. The Mid-Ranger knows there will be consequences but is unable to contain the urgent need to “do something” and therefore control is lost. The Mid-Ranger is particularly prone to using the silent treatment as this represents a halfway house between exerting and losing control. He or she may be panicked into a sudden reaction but they do not lose control to such an extent that a frenzied response, by way of violence both physical and verbal may appear. Instead they vanish. The Mid-Ranger is also more likely to engage in emotional, financial and sexual abuse through planning and the greater subtleties and insidious nature attached to these particular machinations.

 

  1. Can We Stop It?

Yes, the Mid-Ranger can. He has an awareness and therefore is able to decide that the behaviour can stop. Indeed, where the Mid-Ranger perceives an advantage to be acquired he will do so and amend his behaviour accordingly. Whereas the lesser narcissist will instigate a respite period instinctively without knowing why he is doing, his need to devalue will just abate and the golden period returns, the Mid-Ranger knows the value of a respite period and will grant it because he feels settled and prone to wanting the contrast of the positive fuel again. Similarly, when those fuel levels drop the Mid-Ranger knows to commence the devaluation again. His awareness and control enable him of her to stop the devaluing behaviour as and when it is required. He does not exercise this with regard to any sense of malevolence, like the greater, but rather it is driven by need. The Mid-Ranger could stop his or her abusive behaviour but will not do so if they perceive a need for it to continue. The lesser is unable to stop it because it “just happens”. Of the three schools, the Mid-Ranger is less volatile, less malicious but in some respects can be regarded as entirely culpable for the behaviours which are engaged in and that are doled out to his or her victims.

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Boundary Breaking

I read your e-mails, your text messages and your post. I will become enraged if you do not give me the passwords to access your various forms of social media. I listen to your telephone conversations by standing nearby. I tap your telephone conversations and plant listening devices around your home. There is a GPS tracking device attached to your exhaust pipe. I interrupt you when you speak. I burst into a room when you have told me you are studying. I play loud music when you have a headache. I turn up uninvited when you are attending a function and waltz around as if I belong. I take your money and use your credit cards. I know you have been saving that delicious cake to share with your friends when they are visiting tomorrow but I take two huge slices from it anyway. I will use things that belong to you without asking and use things up that belong to you without buying a replacement. I am the friend that uses your make-up and wrecks the lipstick or causes the nail varnish to dry out. I am the neighbour who borrows your leaf blower and breaks it and never tells you least of all replace it. I borrow your vehicle even though you need it. I stand in your space, in your face and on your toes. I have absolutely no concept of what a boundary is. Why is that? Two reasons. I am so special I am entitled to all of these things as a matter of right. Who in their right mind would deny me access and use of such things and deny my behaviours as just reward and payment for having someone as special in their lives? You are paying for having me around. Secondly, I do not regard you or anyone else as separate to me. You are an extension of me and therefore what is yours is always mine. So no, I don’t do boundaries. Actually, that is not quite accurate. I do not do boundaries but I do lay them down for you. Rigid and inflexible but more of that another time I need to change channel now even though you were watching that programme. Fetch me a beer I know you bought some, I have drunk four already.

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The Ten Empathic Obligations

 

 

In order to manipulate you and control you, we rely on certain behaviours which cause you to act out of fear. Fear of injury, isolation, financial ruin, loss of your home or loss of your children. We also rely on your deeply embedded sense of obligation. Owing to your honesty and decency, you feel need to do certain things. Your sense of obligation is greater than normal and we exploit this in the following ways:

 

  1. You feel responsible for us

So much of what we do is of our own doing. In fact, next to nothing is caused by you when looked at through your worldview. From our perspective you are responsible for everything. It is always your fault and we repeatedly project and blame-shift in order to condition you to feel responsible for us. You already have a sense of responsibility towards us. You feel a sense of responsibly to nearly everybody because of the fact you are caring and compassionate. This increases when it comes to us because we are your intimate partner and you believe that it is the intimate partner who ranks amongst the highest who deserve such responsibility. This increases again when you realise that we have certain flaws and you feel a need to take on responsibility for them. Indeed, combine this natural state with the conditioning that we cause and you become someone who is over-responsible for us.

 

 

 

 

  1. You feel that you owe us

Once again this is a combination of the natural and the condition. You have been given such a wonderful time during the seduction period, given so much both material and emotional that you feel you do owe us. You are also a person who is polite and well-mannered and you feel a natural desire to return favours, thank people for what they do for you and a sense of paying the debt that has arisen. We also believe you owe us for everything we gave you during the seduction and accordingly you are obliged to repay us for the rest of the relationship and beyond. Combine these two elements and a powerful obligation of owing us is created which we are then able to exploit to our advantage.

 

  1. You feel sorry for us

That natural sympathy people possess is available in spades with someone as empathic as you. You never regard someone as weak or pathetic but rather feel sorry for them. You would not regard a homeless person as a stain on society but rather feel sorry that they find themselves in such a situation and you consider how they ended up where they are what might be done about it. You realise our behaviours are abhorrent but rather than always feel angry about it, you feel sorry for us that we behave this way. You feel sorry that we cannot explain ourselves, that we lash out and behave in such a destructive fashion. Your exuding sympathy not only fuels us but it creates an obligation on your part towards us.

 

  1. You feel guilty

Even if you know that a certain course of action is for the best, you are assailed by the guilt that you might be hurting someone, stopping them what they want to do or upsetting them in some way. Tough love is not a concept you want to embrace as the guilt at seeing someone else hurting, as a consequence of something that you have done, is too great. This sense of guilt forces you down different routes, often doing things which are not the best for you but nevertheless you feel obligated to do out of this considerable sense of guilt which looms large which someone empathic like you.

 

  1. You feel a need to fix us

You are a problem solver. You enjoyed the Sound of Music when you were younger and you always felt that if you had been given the chance you would have solved a problem like Maria. You regard it as your role to heal and to fix. You are of the unshakeable mind-set that everybody can be fixed. Everyone can be made better and when you experience the broken elements of our machinations and manipulations you do not shirk from them. Instead, you remain in situ and work out how you can resolve them. This obligation to make things better and to heal is a central part of who you are and is readily exploited by us since we know you are unlikely to go anywhere despite how bad things are.

 

  1. You feel it is your duty

You have a strong sense of duty. Duty to be an excellent parent, supportive friend, caring son or daughter, hard-working colleague and all round decent human being. Most of all you regard your duty to your intimate partner as one where no matter how difficult things might be you are not going to walk away. This duty is often compelled from the vows that you have taken and a strong religious undertone to your personality.

Duty is paramount and from that rises the obligation.

 

 

  1. You feel a need to abide by your standards

So often the world appears to have lost its moral compass and therefore it falls to a diminishing group of people to right the wrongs, stand up for the vulnerable and defend the weak. You often see that people are ruled by those twin gods of sex and money and this causes people to forget who they are and the standards they once adhered to. This is not for you. You do not do this to be lauded by others but do so because you cannot lie straight in your bed at night if you do not uphold these standards for yourself and in your daily dealings. This translates into treating people with patience, understanding, compassion and empathy, no matter how difficult it becomes. Some might suggest that you are making a rod for your own back.

 

  1. You feel a need to maintain appearances

This is not done for your own benefit. You are not like us creating an image to show the world. No, you do this to maintain appearances for the sake of others. It is keeping the family together for the sake of your children so they are not upset. It is appearing to get along with your difficult brother for the sake of your fragile elderly parents. It is taking one for the team in order to maintain an appearance so that you deal with the pain and aggravation so others do not. This need creates an obligation in you which we are content to exploit as we know it will keep you around and stop you from speaking out about what we do.

 

  1. You feel a need to never give up.

You are not a quitter. You do not give up at the first bump in the road or black cloud. You keep going, you are tenacious. You are indefatigable and you persevere. You plough forwards and feel that it is only right to do this because you know that the just reward will come at the end of it. Anything worth doing is worth doing properly. Anything worth having takes effort. We applaud this desire to stick at things.

 

  1. You feel a need to have done your best

When everything is added up and evaluated, at the end of the day, you want that satisfaction, just for yourself, to know that you did your best and you could have done no more. You always consider whether you could have done something a different way and more effectively. You are self-critical and behave like this in order to fulfil your chosen role as a good person. This obliges you to try and try again.

 

These empathic obligations result in your remaining with us longer, enduring more of our abusive behaviours and forgiving more of what we do than an ordinary person. We know these obligations exist and we exploit them.

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The Five Central Questions – To a Lesser Degree

 

 

I have come across these five questions on a number of occasions. They are often regarded as the five fundamental queries which are raised about our behaviour. They are usually answered in a forthright manner by certain commentators in order to drive the message home. However, these observations and answers are provided by people who are not of our kind. They are naturally entitled to comment but the true value arises from someone who is on the other side of the fence, the perpetrator of the actions, the doer. Furthermore, the usual observations are provided without regard to the fact that narcissists are both similar yet different because we operate in certain schools which are linked to our degree of functioning and malign outlook. Accordingly, the traditional answer provided to one of these questions may be correct for the greater of our kind, but not for the mid-range or for the lesser narcissist. Here are the five answers to the five central questions, beginning with those of our kind who are from the lesser school.

 

  1. Do we know what we are doing?

The lesser does not know. He or she is a creature of knee-jerk reactions, impulse responses and almost machine like programming. The lesser narcissist behaves in his or her manner as a matter of routine response. Push button A and you will get response A. Push button B and you will get response B. It is an unsophisticated system for an unsophisticated person. The lesser narcissist is something of a blunt instrument and has no understanding as to why he or she acts in this way. Out of all of our kind if you try to get a lesser to understand what they are doing, that they must realise what is happening and they are aware of their behaviour, you really may as well go and find a brick wall and slam your head against it as it will be more productive. The lesser does not know and your questions will only serve to enrage him for yes, again reasons he does not know, only that he knows he does not like your questions and he wants you stop asking them so you had better do so or else.

 

  1. Do you know that you are hurting people?

The lesser may be low-functioning but he or she will know that he or she is hurting people. They are not so stupid as not to not recognise that whatever he or she is doing is causing pain, distress and upset to somebody else. They recognise such emotions even though they do not feel those emotions themselves. They see the product of their behaviours and like all of our kind extract fuel from this although they will not understand that this is what they are doing. They will not recognise the concept of fuel. Instead the lesser narcissist will just regard the reaction of the victim as their own fault and they deserved it because they did something the narcissist did not like. The lesser often cannot even point to what it is that the victim has done that has provoked the annoyance, the irritation and the ignition of fury and being invited to do so just increases the hostile reaction. There are occasions when the lesser will respond sometimes with something specific but more often with a general expression along the lines of:

“You just wind me up.”

“You know how to push my buttons.”

“You get on my nerves.”

“You really bug me sometimes.”

The lesser experiences the irritation, the annoyance and the ignition of fury but does not know why and therefore he is not in a position to tell you what it is that has caused him to hurt you, but he just has to, because once he has, the irritation and so forth recedes. He has gathered fuel and addresses the restlessness that comes with the low provision. He has gathered fuel and repaired the wound caused by your criticism (real or more likely perceived) but he doesn’t not know that this is the process. He sees the hurt he causes but has no idea why he is doing it.

 

  1. Is the behaviour deliberate?

With the lesser it is not deliberate. He or she does not plan to respond in the way that he or she does, it just happens. There is no scheming or plotting with the lesser narcissist, they are not of sufficient function to achieve this. In the same way that if you are hit on the knee with a small hammer there will (usually) be a reflexive action, it is the same for the lesser. He needs fuel, although he does not realise this. He needs to provoke you but again does not realise this. He just reacts and responds. He is a victim of some unseen and unknown higher force that causes him to react. He is already programmed this way but has not been granted any insight or understanding into why he acts as he does. This is why the lesser narcissist will never accept there is anything wrong with him, why he will never admit that he is defective in some way and why he will never concede that he is a narcissist. This is how he is. Isn’t everyone else this way as well? He has no ability to recognise what he is doing. I appreciate that this is often one of the hardest things for a victim to understand. Surely the narcissist knows what he or she is doing? How can they not see it? If you can, why can’t they? This is because they have been wired in a different way to you and with a lesser narcissist this means that their world view is so different that they consider it the only way that people behave and that there is nothing wrong with it.

 

  1. Can you control it?

In the same way that you might think that the lesser narcissist must surely understand what they are doing, you would expect that they can control it. The answer is that they cannot. As I have explained, their responses are programmed and they do not act in the same way as you. It is knee-jerk, immediate and automatic. For instance, let us say that you are walking along the street when you see a large man running towards you. You will do the following:

  1. Regard the behaviour that you can see;
  2. Evaluate what that behaviour means;
  3. Consider the range of responses available to you;
  4. Consider the most appropriate to the situation;
  5. Consider the consequence of such action;
  6. Execute your response.

Thus you realise the man is just out jogging because as he nears you he is wearing sports kit and headphones, so you keep on walking and smile at him, he returns the smile and all is well.

The lesser narcissist sees the behaviour and then responded. Parts b through to e are omitted. This is why the response, viewed through your world lens, may seem disproportionate, outrageous and wrong. To the lesser narcissist, it just is and why are you complaining about it?

The lesser narcissist has an extremely low ability to control his behaviours because of this programming. Whereas the mid-range and greater (as I shall explain separately) can exert control, evaluate and form decisions before responding, the lesser cannot. This is why lesser narcissists have a greater propensity to more extreme responses, including physical violence, because they cannot control their actions and do not evaluate the repercussions of that action. They just react.

 

  1. Can they stop it?

It is often thought that our kind can stop our behaviours and therefore if we do not we must be enjoying what we are doing. With the lesser of our kind they can no more stop what they are doing than you can halt a runaway train with your bare hands. The lesser is a creature of response and reaction. It happens and if you are in the way when it happens, that is your fault. He does not know why he behaves this way so has no basis for stopping it. He is programmed to respond in a knee-jerk manner and therefore is unable to stop the behaviour. If you tell him to stop, you are tapping in to this inability to control his behaviour and this amounts to fuel or a criticism (if delivered emotion free) but in either instance all it will do is cause the behaviour to continue, although the lesser will not know this. In some respects, this lack of understanding, insight and control makes the lesser of our kind a pitiful creature but in other respects it makes him especially volatile and dangerous.

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Try Walking in My Shoes – Part Two

I am sat in a meeting and I am having to endure a colleague droning on about his ideas for increasing market share. He is stood at the front of the room holding everybody’s attention. I am not enjoying this. I feel unsettled and slightly queasy knowing that people are listening to what he has to say and not paying me any heed. I can hear the whispers from my personal tormentor as she reminds me of how nobody is looking to me. I fight the urge to hurl a laptop though the plate-glass screen behind me in order to create some drama, but it is hard. If the Chief Executive was not sat two seats away to my left I may well have done it. With him there however I need to focus on my A game. I write that my colleague has everyone’s attention. That is not true. Well, almost everybody’s attention. He does not have my full attention. Fortunately for me, I am able to triple track and I am listening to his dull diatribe, whilst I formulate my questions for him and I am always casting occasional glances at the recently promoted Lucy who is sat directly across the boardroom table from me. I have spoken to her a few times but her recent elevation makes her of greater interest to me. Her recent success has grabbed my attention. I like to be surrounded by the successful, just so long as they are not more successful than me. Very few are, I always identify some of their faults and weaknesses, it is a skill I possess. I glance down and tap in a text message to Lucy.

“I like your blouse, is it T M Lewin?” and send it to her. I see her move slightly as her ‘phone vibrates in her pocket and her eyes catches mine (again). I cock my head indicating for her to check her pocket. She gives me a slightly quizzical look but the smile is there and her arm moves indicating that she has reached for her mobile. She looks down and I wait, feeling  slight surge inside of me as I wonder what she will write in reply.Notice how I know that she will reply. That is not in question. I see her head remain looking downwards and after a few seconds my phone vibrates in my hand as she replies.

“Yes it is, thanks for noticing. Great tie by the way x”

She is right about the tie and I notice the kiss. The door is open. I feel the satisfying surge of power at having acquired her attention and simultaneously revel in the fact that now two of us are not paying full attention to Monroe as he stands pontificating and spouting his corporate claptrap. The moron. The texts ping back and forth between Lucy and I as we exchange mutual compliments and my charm begins to have its effect on her. The whispering ghost has not been silenced as she continues to mutter in my ear, trying to point out that more people are listening to Monroe than are paying attention to me and that is because I am insignificant and uninteresting. I have this battle on a daily basis. The never-ending tug of war between my own personal tormentors who seek to paralyse me with fear and self-loathing and my need to keep them at bay as I drink deep from the fuel that I find around me. I look up and see that Lucy, beautiful, sensual Lucy is texting again but what is that over her shoulder? There in the window that overlooks the city beyond I see a reflection. It is a thin-faced, leering and insipid looking thing. The creature is back trying to unsettle me and unnerve me, His wan smile plays about those thin lips and he begins mouthing something at me. I do not try to decipher it as the phone buzzes and I smile at Lucy’s response.

“HG, what is your view on that point?” asks Monroe. I can tell from his tone that he is both irritated and sensing the opportunity to point score. He has noticed that Lucy and me have apparently disengaged from his presentation and this has got under his skin. That is good. I can feel the flames rising inside and then they surge higher as faces turn to me. Monroe thinks that he is going to show me up. He thinks I have not been listening. You have under-estimated me again you dough-faced cookie cutter. You are not equipped to deal with the likes of me and whilst I have been texting Lucy I have continued to listen to his words. That is the skill I have and he does not. That is why I am soon to be promoted again, leaving him in my wake. I purposefully do not reply immediately as I finish the text to Lucy and fire it off. I look up and fix my gaze on Monroe, who I notice has unbuttoned his top button behind his tie, not professional or smart Monroe when you are addressing us. I can see from the position of his mouth that he is waiting to add some sardonic comment. He thinks my hesitation in answering is a mark of having caught me out. He is wrong. I am savouring having everyone’s attention on me. He is on the side of my tormentors wanting to do me down. His face seems to shift as it becomes the creature that stalks me, but it is not working. I smile and fire back my carefully constructed point in a succinct sentence. The creature fades leaving the panicked expression of Monroe as the forensic brilliance of my comment hits home.

“An excellent point, ” adds our Chief Executive and I cannot help but smile as the power rages through me. There are murmurs of assent as the lily-livered hangers-on around the table curry favour by supporting the Chief Exec’s appreciation of my point. I do not care for their flip-flopping since it has given me further attention. As Monroe hesitates I throw another verbal grenade at him. Foolishly, he catches it and it explodes in his face as the Chief Exec presses him to respond to my point. I look to Lucy and she is returning my gaze with admiration writ large. My phone buzzes and I look down

Yes drinks at 6pm will be great, I will come to your office first x’

Another surge and the whispering ghost has been silenced. The beast tries over and over again to drag me into the abyss but so long as I draw breath I have the means and the skills to tame it. My destruction of Monroe who has now gone bright red as he stammers an ineffectual response and the knowledge that I will be with Lucy this evening, in a bar of colleagues who will be all congratulating me on my performance today fills me with an amazing sense of strength and power. Perhaps I will win this war with the creature within after all?

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