Vulnerable

 

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Do you remember those early, heady days when I first began to seduce you? Of course you do. Those moments have been branded into your memory and can never be erased, no matter how hard you try. So wonderful were those initial months of our courtship as we began our dance together that you cannot help but recall them and feel that bittersweet tinge. Many times as you have fought through your devaluation and discard you have harked back to those magical moments as you sought some kind of solace from them. Somehow, as you sat with tear-stained cheeks you would force a smile through the misery as you latched on to remembering the things that I said to you, those beautiful, loving and mesmerising words which gripped your heart and took it heavenward. It was impossible to resist the love-bombing which I unleashed upon you and similarly it is impossible for you to banish those memories as you sit amongst the debris of our relationship wondering what on earth has happened. You can easily be forgiven for seeking refuge from the misery amongst those golden thoughts. It is the obvious thing to do to try and take away the searing pain which now burns you. Naturally, this is all something which I planned and is a natural consequence of becoming entangled with me. Do not feel any shame in the fact that you keep running to those thoughts and taking hold of them as you seek to ease your agony. Keep doing it. All the others did and all the others will.

As you walk through those wonderful thoughts and memories, replaying our time together like an incessant loop of our “best of” moments do you recall what else you did during this seduction? Can you remember something else that was happening as we created these scintillating memories? Yes, I know you can remember, how could you forget? It was one of the many things that I did for you which drew you closer to me and made you fall oh so deeply in love with the illusion. What was it that I did? I made you feel safe. I created that sanctuary and opened the door and ushered you in. I showed you how this gleaming and beautiful paradise was impregnable to the wretched and woeful world beyond. I assured you that being in here with me meant that you need never worry about those things again. I would keep the wailing tormentors from your door and ensure that those things did not trouble you anymore. That was the sole condition for entry into this haven that I had constructed for you. Tell me about those things so I can shield you from them. You had never had someone make such a sacrifice for you before. The way we understood how badly those things affected you. We really seemed to grasp the impact that those things had had upon you as we listened with patience and comprehension. You were hesitant at first, the mere act of recollection being one that caused you consternation. You had no issue in confiding in us, no that was not the issue. We had banished any concerns you may have had about trusting us with these secrets within moments, such was our assured charm. No, what troubled you was bringing those dark memories, those fragile foibles to the surface once again. Yet as the words came from your mouth and the tears trickled down your cheeks you felt the cathartic effect of off-loading all of those things to us. From the minor concerns through to the deep-seated and life changing troubles you conveyed each and every one to us and it felt wonderful to do so. The burden came away from you and for the first time ever you felt freedom from those things as you passed the baton onto us and we readily took it from you. You exorcised those ghosts and stepped into our sanctuary elated and delighted to have been able to purge those things from yourself and embrace a new start with us. For too long those things had held you back. For too long you had walked a rocky road alone, stooped and bent double under the weight of your concerns. There had been others but you did not feel able to share the load as you did with me. I was different. There was something about me which made you feel like you could tell me anything and everything and I would deal with it. I would flex those angelic wings and extend them to surround and protect you. Unburdened by those things you walked taller, felt stronger and you had me to thank for this process. Your gratitude and admiration flowed incessantly and I was only too happy to wash myself in this fountain of praise although in keeping with the personae I had created I accepted your compliments with humble acknowledgement. You entered my sanctuary and told me all your weaknesses.

This was achieved in such a way that you felt no shame in telling me them. That was another difference. You knew I would not judge you for them. You knew I would not regard you as silly or stupid for having certain concerns.

“It is how you regard them that matters, not how everyone else views them.”

You remember that sentence and how you seized it with great gladness, thankful that at last somebody understood and recognised how to deal with your concerns. Your confidence in me was absolute and I even made it seem as if actually liked your weaknesses and that gave you great comfort.

All I was doing as you sat there on those many occasions where you shared your concerns, your vulnerabilities and weaknesses with me (for they did not all come out in one session, no, it took weeks of careful extraction on many different occasions to amass them all) was stockpiling my armoury. Your admission that you cannot swim and thus are terrified of deep water was moulded into a missile. Your explanation that you were bullied at school because you had short hair arising from having to have it shorn because your brother poured glue over your head one time became a hand grenade. The fact you suffer a noticeable red flush across your chest and neck when you feel agitated created a bullet. Your confession that you suffer excessive wind formed another bullet. The abuse you suffered at the hands of a family member when you were eight became a thermonuclear device ready to detonate at a later date. Each and every weakness, from your inability to resist eating a packet of biscuits in one sitting through to your fear of public speaking was noted, recorded and fashioned into a weapon. You thought you were safe in the sanctuary. That was just an illusion. You were actually sat in my armoury and I was there with you creating these weapons to use against you at a later date. Each weakness you admitted to me you thought you were handing to me for me to carry on your behalf. The reality was you were giving me the material from which I could create a weapon – be it a sharp stick with which to prod you or a nuclear missile to obliterate you. You thought it was some form of absolution but all you were doing was arming me.

I always want to know about your weaknesses. Your weaknesses become forged into my strengths in readiness for the war of devaluation that I shall wage against you. Keep talking, there is an arsenal to be created.

 

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I Want To Be Adored

 

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The only time that I have felt safe when I was young was when I felt powerful. There were two ways that I was able to achieve this. Adoration or fear. By causing someone to adore me, I felt powerful, I felt myself swelling inside, a warmth sweeping across me, a sensation of unlimited potential. I have realised now that this gave me a sense of feeling omnipotent, invulnerable and capable of doing anything. Indeed, the achievements that I accomplished, through academia, sport, hobbies supported this sensation that so long as I felt powerful I could do anything that I wanted but most of all nobody would hurt me. Of the two catalysts for this, people adoring me or people fearing me, it was adoration which arose first. When I am forced to think back to my childhood (since it is not something that I voluntarily do) I remember that those isolated and they were isolated, those isolated moments of adoration shielded me from everything else that went on.

When I was praised, complimented, lauded and applauded I felt this sensation of power surge inside of me and this overcame the wariness and nervousness that otherwise governed my day to day existence. You see, I learned that it was wiser to remain in the shadows. Out of sight meant out of range and therefore the caustic criticisms and cutting chastisement could be avoided, but only for so long. I cannot recall the first time that I felt the power which rose from praise but I do remember on one occasion I had finished first in the class in respect of English. I did not know what my position would be and I passed the sealed envelope to my mother who loomed over me as she always did. I waited for the irritated sigh, the articulation of disappointment or even the stinging slap of annoyance but none of these familiar mechanisms visited me this day.

“Excellent work.”

Had I misheard? No, I had been told that what I had achieved was excellent and I felt the warm surge which I would later come to know as the power. I tried to reach out, emboldened I suppose by this feeling of safety, to hug my mother but she sidestepped my attempt and moved away. For once though I did not feel that crushing sensation whenever she did such a thing to rebuff me, I felt good, I felt safe and it was because she had praised me. It was only much later that I began to understand the connection between being praised and adored made me feel so much better inside. I was always pushed, driven, instructed and commanded to excel and I knew that the achievement of excellence would surely draw more of this delicious praise that I craved so, so much. Little did I realise how elusive this place of safety caused by adoration would prove to be.

The following year, my first at secondary school and I received a mid-year report, around the end of November. With the change of school came the change of practice, for we were allowed to see our list of placings follow the mid-year examinations and besides the placing was the percentage score achieved, the grade and comments thereafter. I recently located all of my reports and sought out the very first one from my secondary school as I needed to check that my memory had not rusted given the passage of time. It had not. There amongst the results was the one for English Language. I was placed first, the percentage achieved was 76%, the grade was B+ and the comments are best described as cautious encouragement. I was first again. Top of the class. I felt the anticipatory surge of the praise that was sure to come once this report was passed to my mother.

Later that day I handed the report to her. My results were very good, I realised that, but it did not matter. I wanted, I needed her to tell me and make me feel good.

“I came top in English again,” I commented drawing attention to one of many highlights. There was no response as my mother took the folded sheet, opened it and examined the paper for evidence to support my assertion. I waited for the praise to come, relishing the warmth that would rise inside of me.

“Edward!” exploded my mother calling my father’s name. My father dutifully entered the living room from the adjoining study.

“Yes dear?” he asked.

“He came top with seventy-six per cent, just seventy-six per cent. That was enough to top the class. Have you placed him in a class of idiots? This is not good enough.”

My father began one of his protestations as he sought to mollify my mother. I do not recall what he said or what she said by way of response as their voices became background noise as I felt the anxiety and fear sweep over me. I was not good enough. I came top just like last time but it was not good enough. I turned and ran upstairs, the shame burning through me. There was no power. I felt unsafe, exposed and vulnerable. On the landing I passed my sister, Rachael, who had no doubt emerged as a consequence of my mother’s screeching and my father’s bumbling replies, ready to try to pacify the eruption as she always sought to do.

“What is it HG?” she asked.

“Nothing,” I snapped at her. I didn’t want her mocking me as well.

“Is it your exam results?” she asked. I nodded.

“Did you come top again?”

I nodded.

“Wow, that’s great, you are so clever HG,” she smiled and hugged me. I did not respond. I felt stiff and awkward but her comment caused the shame to lessen and a slight surge. It was not the same though. I broke away and headed to my room to curl up on my bed and hope that the still lingering shame would leave me alone.

I so desperately wanted that sense of power again and it had been denied to me. I felt useless. I knew however that there was only one thing to do. Work harder. Apply myself. Try harder and then she would give me the praise that I wanted and needed and that was rightfully mine.

I am beginning to understand that the seeds of my need to be adored were sown through instances like this. Adoration created power which created safety. Adoration created power which created the ability to do more, achieve more and gain even further adoration. Hers was always the adoration I wanted the most for with it I felt more powerful but I also found that any form of compliment, praise or adoration achieved a similar outcome. I knew that in order to be the powerful figure I knew that I actually was, all I had to do was ensure that I was adored. Achievement and accomplishment were the routes to gaining this adoration but then I realised that whilst I was successful, it was actually the image of success that mattered. Who were people to know that I didn’t actually hold the school record for swimming 100m when I recounted such an achievement years later? They did not know but the looks of admiration came nevertheless. All I had to do was show that whatever boast I made was vaguely credible. My physique being athletic meant that nearly all sporting achievements could be passed off as my own and I began to supplement those that I had with the bogus ones. The results were just the same if not better. Thus it became easy to tell lies. I did not stop securing achievements, I still had to be the best in my chosen fields, but I began to tell more and more lies to achieve the looks of admiration and adoration. I realised that it served my purposes to acquaint myself with other successful people because firstly, I belonged to such a group and secondly, I could listen to their achievements and then go and use them as my own. I could build up my suit of armour with a combination of my accomplishments and those stolen from those I interacted with. All that mattered was that I gained the praise, I received the admiration and the adoration. This desire infected all of my relationships and as time went on, I wanted and needed this from the man I passed in the street as I walked to the convenience store. I wanted and needed it from colleagues, friends, strangers in particular from those that I coupled with in the form of an intimate relationship. This was what mattered. I had to be adored because once I was I felt powerful, I was the person that I was meant to be. I ruled. I conquered. I felt safe. Nobody could hurt me when I felt this way. This is why I want you to adore me, each and every day, to praise the way I make a cup of tea for you, to compliment the way I dress, to admire the money that I make, to laud how popular I am, to adore the way I lead you by the hand into the bedroom.

She taught me that to survive I had to be praised. If this did not happen I felt weak, crushed and useless and such a sensation would arise from any and all criticisms that I perceived in respect of people’s treatment of me. The fact that praise was not forthcoming meant that this must inherently be a criticism and this wounds me, makes me feel small and pathetic and I am not those things, but you make me feel like that and that is why I lash at you. That is why I blame you because you do make me feel like that when you have it in your gift to adore me and make everything better for me.

Isn’t that what she was meant to do? Make everything better. I need to you to that now. I want to be adored.

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A Stolen Love

 

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Our victims have many things in common. Those shared traits are why they are chosen and why they become subjected to our incessant manipulations. The evidence of considerable empathic traits is of course one of the pre-requisites to gaining the attention of the narcissist. Exhibit a tendency to care, an ability to see another person’s point of view and a desire to help and you are issuing a neon-lit “Come and get me” to our kind. Your high-scoring on the empathic scale is naturally of considerable value to us. There is, however, another core principle that you all share which is irresistibly attractive to us. This is your devotion to love. You believe in love, you are advocates of the act of loving, you give love and (although not always) you want to be loved in return. Love is all you need, love conquers all and love is a many splendored thing. Love matters. You see that the world can and will be a better place if more love is exhibited. You love with a depth that is beyond many people. You truly give your all. Your love is perfect, selfless and based on a deep-seated notion that loving someone is the best and most wonderful thing one person can do for another. Such noble and laudable sentiments. Your status as a devotee to love means that you will strive to maintain that love once it has been gained. Love may give the appearance of having departed but you know, you believe, you always believe that it can be found and resurrected. That which has become dulled and blunted will be polished and returned to sharpness. That beautiful golden glow will shine again and you are the person to make it happen. You are the healer and the fixer. That which is broken shall be mended by the application of your burgeoning heart. You are a disciple of love and as such there is nothing you can do but act in accordance with the principles of loving. It is second nature to you. You are so full of love you must find ways of allowing it to manifest in the world and of course the pinnacle of doing so is to find that special someone. You want to find the one so that all of this marvellous love can find its true home. You are compelled to find your soul mate, your life partner and your best friend. Only then can your obligation to provide this amazing love be fulfilled and we thank you for being this way. On a daily basis we give thanks that you delicious and beautiful empathic individuals are committed to the promotion, promulgation and practice of love.

We come with the appearance of being that one special person who you can lay all your love upon. That person who will readily accept all of the love you have to offer and we will return it. Some of you would happily give this love in order to ensure there is an elated recipient and amazingly it would not matter to you whether that love was returned or not. Your sacrificial nature is stunning yet even more welcome. We are of course content to reflect your love in order to bring about yet more from you. We understand the transaction and we are happy to oblige because we are giving you absolutely nothing. We have come to take. We have descended on you ready to strip you of every ounce of love that you can provide. We will slurp it from you, nibble it from your straining frame and gulp it down as we devour your love. We will take it away from you time and time again. Do not be mistaken and think that you are providing this love based on a reality. You are doing so on a false premise. You have been conned into giving this love to us because we make you think we are the very thing you want when in reality we are anything but. We are fraudsters and we have come to take your love. If you knew what we truly were you would not offer your perfect love to us but we want it. We want it so much and we always take it. We make you unknown martyrs to the provision of love. We come without warning even though we appear with an explosion, all of it aimed to distract and misdirect so that we may pilfer your love. Our thieving knows no limits or bounds as we take what does not belong to us and use it for our own warped purposes. We keep on stealing your love until you are left spent and wretched, sat amidst the ruins of the relationship which once seemed impregnable and infinite and now is little more than ash streaked across blunted stone. We gorge on your love, gluttons that feed at the banqueting table as you slowly realise that the sumptuous love we appeared to return to you is in fact empty, a puff of air and without any substance. Yet this realisation comes far too late for by then the damage is done. Not only have we helped ourselves to all of your love we have, invariably ripped away and stolen your capacity for further love. Once you finally extricate yourself from our grip and eventually make sense of what has happened to you, even though it may take some considerable time, how often have your kind uttered the sentence,

“I do not think I will ever love any again, how can I after that?”

Words similar to such a question are regularly uttered by those who have been sucked into our malevolent maelstrom. We are the love thieves. We come and take the love to which we are not entitled but we are not done with that. Oh no. We rip out your heart in order to leave you so bereft that you can never love again. We steal your love. We are the love thieves of your past, your present and your future love.

 

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Exposed Part One – 5 Tips to Expose Danger

 

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You never see us coming. You do not know what we are when we ensnare you. You have no idea what is actually happening when we push and pull you through the bewildering experience that is devaluation. You make no sense of what has happened when you have been discarded in the dust, hurt and dazed. When we return, riding back into your lives like the triumphant king we regard ourselves as, you still do not know us for what we are. How many times have you rued the fact that if only you had known earlier? How often have you remarked at how obvious it now seems with hindsight, when the eventual moment of revelation arrives, long-delayed and overdue as it often is. How frequently have you bemoaned to friends and family that if only you have seen the signs you might have done something to avoid what had entangled with you. Wishful thinking indeed and such thoughts go on to pollute your future engagements with those prospective intimate partners. At some future point you may eventually dip a toe in the pool of intimacy again in the hope of finding someone who is as far-removed from us as possible, but what if one of our kind comes a calling? You know you identified the tell-tale indicators with the one of our kind who ensnared you, but what is Lucifer comes in many guises? Would you have the craft and skill set to out one of our if he locked on to you? Would your empathic traits override the caution? Would the old adage of lightning never strikes twice play through your mind even though it strikes several times when it comes to our kind? At the outset of your engagement with that interesting and exciting person, there are of course the many Red Flags which exist and about which I have written in greater detail. You ought to acquaint yourself with them, since not all of our kind will always exhibit certain indicators. Neither does it do any harm to avail yourself of additional ones should you find yourself becoming the attention of the Greater of our kind, if hitherto you had been involved with a Lesser of Mid-Range. Utilise these five early door tactics to expose whether you are at risk of being ensnared.

 

  1. Create jealousy

Make reference to an actor or celebrity and comment about how he or she is talented and handsome. Consider admitting you have a crush on this person and if they walked in now you would be smitten and so forth. Observe the reaction.

A Lesser will struggle even during the seduction to contain the effect of his criticism and will lash out with a comment such as,

“Him? He is a homosexual, yes, well known in the industry, of course his fan base cannot know.”

“Him? Had a lot of work done you know.”

“Him? Really? He is nothing to look at. You’ve got off taste if you like him.”

A Mid-Range will fall silent and then move the topic on to something else. He has the situation just about under control but remains wounded, hence the withdrawal through a brief silence and then going to a different topic.

The Greater. Watch for the very brief flicker of fury in the eyes. A narrowing of the gaze or slight sneer before the control is exerted. The Greater will smile (but there will no warmth) or there will be a hollow laugh before he will say,

“Not a patch on me though eh?”

“I could have been an actor you know.”

A normal person would respond with: –

“Yes, he is a handsome chap, I agree.”

“Do you think so? I’m not so sure, but I can understand why you might say that.”

 

  1. Place Your Attention Elsewhere

Either fiddle with your ‘phone repeatedly or keep smiling at the waiter and chatting to him when he serves you. It need not be excessive as even a fairly minimum distraction in this way will irk our kind. Whatever situation you are in, find a way to put your attention on someone or something else.

The Lesser will put down the third party at the earliest opportunity by suggesting service was slow, the seats are unsatisfactory or will grab the phone from you and put it to one side. He will not be able to contain the ignition of his fury at such an early juncture.

The Mid-Range will try to compete by talking to a different waitress or by using his own ‘phone, doing his best to conceal the wound you have created by effectively ignoring him.

The Greater will start talking loudly about himself so you are forced to return attention to him. Boasts and outlandish comments will be made along with denigrating the offending person/item.

“It must be hell waiting on for a living, I am delighted I am able to have so much control over my work.”

“You know those ‘phones have been setting on fire. Yes, a manufacturing error. Clearly an inferior make. Now, take my ‘phone for instance.”

The normal person would politely ask you to stop using your ‘phone as much or would not smile pleasantly at your interaction with other people as noting it as just being friendly.

 

  1. Get the Details

We will make various boasts about what we do, who we know and what we like and the latter will be frequent as we endeavour to mirror you. In such a situation where we have ascertained what you like through our prior targeting of you, do not, as so many people do, accept it at face value as being true and accurate but instead politely press for some more details. If we explain that we engage in fencing because you do, mention some of the relevant equipment and terminology to draw us into providing more detail.

The Lesser will fudge it, lacking the preparatory depth to know anything much beyond what you like. He will backtrack saying it was some time since he had done it or such like. He will become agitated as his fury starts to ignite because your challenge, notwithstanding its politeness, will amount to a criticism.

The Mid-Range will change subject and ask you to talk more about it. Reject this and invite his comment. He will withdraw as he keeps control and moves on to a different topic or makes an excuse to go to the toilet or to point out something else happening.

The Greater will be harder to trap in this respect because he or she will have undertaken a greater depth of preparatory work and also their higher function enables them to think on their feet more readily, but a continued gentle cross-examination will expose some deficiency eventually. Once this nears the Greater will apply greater charm towards you in order to deflect you from probing too deeply. Expect a string of compliments, a flourishing gesture (“how about some champagne?”) or praising your evident knowledge of the subject before moving on to something else.

The normal will talk easily and extensively about this interest without bragging or evasiveness because it is true.

 

  1. Ask about the Ex

It may appear a little forward but this is a useful indicator to determine who you are with.

The Lesser will be unpleasant about her because the memory of this treacherous person annoys him and therefore you will be subjected to a volley of explanations about how terrible she is.

The Mid-Range will be dismissive about the request. He knows that if pressed he will not be able to help himself and pour out how horrible she has been to him, how crazy she is and how he is trying to put himself back together again after a horrendous experience. He knows enough that this is not the ideal topic of conversation at this juncture but so long as he can maintain control, he need not spill the beans. He will comment that there is not much to say and change the focus. Bring him back to the focus and observe what happens.

The Greater will be complimentary since he or she knows that to portray the ex in such a light at this early stage of the seduction is a sensible move. This will of course change in due course once there is triangulation and you are embedded, but prior to this he wants you to recognise he is a “good” person and that it didn’t work out and will provide some woolly and amorphous reason why that is. The Greater will not be able to help himself comment that she couldn’t cope with his brilliance in some way and then use it to compliment you.

“We got on but she ultimately wasn’t as clever as me, not like you, you and I are exactly on the same intellectual wavelength, it is marvellous.”

“She wasn’t a bad person but she struggled with how hard I work. I know you are not like that because I can tell you are diligent and admire hard work.”

The normal will provide a brief and honest explanation, often admitting to failings on his part as well or explaining that he and her remain on friendly terms. There will be little bitterness or rancour even if the relationship was difficult, this person will have moved on.

 

  1. Ask About Our Childhood

We often do not like to discuss it or certainly certain elements of it. Much of it will be patchy and disjointed to us. References to other family members will be limited unless pushed and they will not be spoken about in warm or fond terms

The Lesser will make sweeping comments about how it wasn’t happy but fail to provide any detail or say it was nothing special. He will not divulge any memories of it as he struggles to do so.

The Mid-Range will be dismissive and want to talk about your childhood instead. Anything he does say will be anodyne in nature as he prefers not to revisit it.

The Greater will talk about his childhood but it will all be boasts about what he achieved, how many friends he had, how good he was football, the fact he was top of the class and so forth.

The normal will recount a handful of anecdotes, speak well of his family, link the fact that his childhood means he sees a lot of his family now or if he does not, because of death or distance, the fact he misses them.

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Excuses, Excuses

 

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The fact for so long you had no idea what you were dealing with resulted in you engaging in an anticipated behaviour. This behaviour is one which we regularly rely on in order to keep you in the dark. I have made mention of the various traits which we look for in those who make the most useful victims to us. One of those traits concerns your ability to try to find the good in everyone and everything. This is a typical empathic trait and along with all of the others which you possess causes you to flare up on our radar when we are seeking an excellent primary source. Your desire to see good means that it obscures your ability to see the bad or perhaps more accurately, to accept the bad. This is something we desire because it prevents you from truly recognising what it is that is happening to you once your devaluation has begun. We of course love to operate from a position of plausible deniability, we court ambiguity since we enjoy and need to twist and turn in order to achieve what we want. If you saw everything as stark and clear as I now describe our machinations to you, you would be more inclined to escape us and bring about that unwelcome cessation of our primary source of fuel. It would also make it harder to apply those hoovers when we wish to return you to the fold and have you engage in our cyclical endeavours once again. We present you with the truth of what we are on a repeated basis but although we offer it up in front of you, we never let you see it clearly. We draw a veil across certain elements, apply a smoke screen, obscure some parts and distort others. The reality is there before you. It is evident and plain but because of the way in which we purposefully manipulate you, you are unable to see it. It is akin to us pointing out a ship on the horizon. It is obvious for us to see but when we hand you a telescope to gain a better look at this vessel, the lens has been smeared with something which distorts the view, or we place our finger over part of the lens blocking your view.

The consequence of this distortion is to prevent you from truly seeing what we are. This in turn means that you are unable to form a clear and coherent view of the person which has taken hold of you. This becomes infuriating for others who we have not been able to drag into our façade, but who recognise full well what we are. These observers tell you what you are dealing with. They may be circumspect to begin with, hoping not to offend your sensibilities but over time their increasing exasperation causes them to come out and say it straight. Yet, such candour rarely finds favour with you because you do not like to be told something about someone as wonderful as us (or at least someone who was wonderful). You do not like to think that the golden period has gone. You do not like to be deprived of the idea that what you once had will never come back or even that it did not exist to begin with. Most of the reasons why you think like this is as a consequence of our manipulative behaviour, which further foes to underline that it is not your fault. Even your desire to see the good in people is not your fault either. That is who you are. We know that and we exploit it. It is our fault again but of course in the midst of the battle that we engage in with you, we will never admit that anything is our fault. That will never do.

Thus, your view of us is obscured and because of this you will always issue excuses to explain away our behaviour, our words and our actions. You make these excuses time and time again, to others and to yourselves. You believe these excuses because this is how you think and you have been led towards this train of thought by the schooling you have received at our manipulative hands and mouths. You also utilise these excuses to continue to convince yourself that the unsavoury elements of our behaviour are just an aberration, on occasional blip in respect of an otherwise magnificent person. Your charity is amazing and naturally most welcome for through this blinkered approach you divest us of responsibility for the things we do, something which aligns with one of our many stated aims. You prevent yourself from examining further the reality of what has now ensnared you and the repeated application of these excuses keeps you in situ. We want you to utilise these excuses. We want to hear them. We want them said to us and to others. Your excuses frustrate and alienate those who are against us, your excuses support out manufactured façade and most of all they ensure you deny to yourself that which is directly before you. Here are twenty-five of those such excuses. You will have said them and probably more than once. Understand that each time you utter one you have used a further death knell for your prospects of escaping us.

 

  1. He is just tired; it makes him snap.
  2. He doesn’t mean it, not really.
  3. You don’t have to pretend with me, I just want you to be yourself.
  4. He has a lot on his mind at the moment.
  5. Work is particularly stressful for him.
  6. He sometimes has a bit too much to drink, but hey, who hasn’t been there?
  7. I think perhaps I am too harsh on him at times, it is my fault really.
  8. He is in a bad place but he will come through it.
  9. He is a complex person; you don’t understand him like I do
  10. It is just the way he is; I have got used to it.
  11. I know it seems bad but he does so much that is lovely; this is only a small part of what he is like.
  12. Nobody knows him properly, that’s why you think bad of him.
  13. He is a popular guy so he is always going to have women hitting on him.
  14. He has a temper, I know, but that’s part of what he is and it’s not for us to change him.
  15. I need to be more supportive and then he will be better.
  16. He’s not well at the moment but I will help him get through it, you will see.
  17. You’ve only heard one side of the story; he is not like that at all.
  18. Yes, well, his family would say that about him to cover up what they did to him.
  19. All he needs is to be loved and I am the one who is going to do that for him.
  20. You don’t know what you are saying anymore, it is okay, I do understand.
  21. It was a one-off, it won’t happen again.
  22. I know it was wrong but this time he has promised that he won’t do it anymore.
  23. You don’t understand the way that me and him are together.
  24. You are just jealous of what we have. Why can’t you be please for us, for my sake?
  25. I’m sorry, it was my fault.

Sound familiar?

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Hiding

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Another session with Dr E. As I sat down in his consulting room I wondered how much had been spent so far with regards to this supposed treatment. A few thousand pounds no doubt and I imagined that both Dr E and Dr O would be more than content to continue these consultations given their lucrative nature. The cynic in my nature pondered that the financial rewards were such that they would string out this course of treatment for as long as they could. That did not concern me. I was not paying and I usually enjoyed my sparring with the good doctors. It entertained me. However, as I ruminated on whether the lure of filthy lucre was what motivated Dr E and Dr O, I realised that they at least gave the impression of wanting to help me. I know from the many sessions it was as much about me gaining awareness and insight in order to make informed decisions about what I wanted, rather than a prescriptive approach from these head doctors but I realised that they actually did care. They wanted to help me. This of course was the main reason why I was content to keep turning up and being subjected to their questions; these two examiners of HG exhibited empathic traits and thus they proved attractive to me. My tolerance for their repeated probing of areas of my life that I preferred to keep shuttered and closed arose because they provided me with the attention that is so vital to my existence. I also knew that there was an admiration there for me as well. It was evident in the way the pair looked at me, especially Dr O. I knew, as academics, they admired the way I was so candid about the way I behaved. I could see how they admired the way I had been created. I knew they did not like it, how does one like something like me given the abuse I dole out as freely as a farmer broadcasting seed, but they had that deep-seated admiration for this efficient machine that had been stripped of all unnecessary emotions and super-charged with certain traits in order to function at maximum effectiveness. Accordingly, even the doctors were providing me with the thing I needed and our relationship might continue ad infinitum. They continued to be fascinated by me and they desired to help me. I, in turn, was content to engage in this relationship as it provided something that I required. The arrangement was a mutually satisfying one, even when the doctors strayed into territories that were best left alone.

“Hello HG how are you?” asked Dr E. I hesitated. He did not normally enquire as to my state of being. Others would trot out such a question rarely interested in the answer but merely performing a social nicety. Dr E did not ask such a question and for him to now do so put me on guard.

“I am excellent well, thank you for your kind enquiry,” I replied with a smile. I did not enquire after his well-being; I was not interested nor did I have to feign such interest.

“Good. Now, straight down to business, who are you?”

“H G Tudor.”

“Indeed you are. Anything else?”

I paused. I see Dr E we were going deep today were we? Very well, let’s flush out where you want to go.

“The question of who I am is something that depends on the context,” I began. Dr E commenced his note-taking.

“How does one define oneself is what I suspect you are really driving at.” I looked to Dr E for a sign of affirmation but there was none.

“Do I have an idea of who I am? How is that arrived at? Do I know who I am or do I look to others to define me? Am I an independent identity that has been shaped by my own decisions or am I a product of others and their experiences? Am I aware of who I am or have I yet to discover all that I am?”

“All interesting questions but let me return to my initial question,” interrupted Dr E, “who are you?”

“Who am I? I am many things to many people. Friend, lover, boss or confidant are labels which are applicable to me. Conqueror, seducer, victim and defiler are others which are equally applicable. Charismatic, urbane, intelligent, interesting, stimulating, successful and alluring are also traits that come together to create who I am.”

“I see. Would you say therefore that you are confident that you know who you are?”

“Yes.”

“Do you think that if I asked this question of your family and friends, your colleagues or even my secretary that they would give similar answers to those you have provided me with?”

I snorted.

“Liars lurk within the ranks of those you have described and they have nothing but ill-will towards me. Their perfidy is so great I can smell its stench as I sit here. By all means ask but you will be given nothing but a litany of lies. Insults and assaults on my good nature.”

“So all of them would insult you?”

“No, not all, there are those who know me for what I am.”

“Might it be said that they all know you for who you are?” pressed Dr E.

“No. There are those who have an agenda to topple me and it is they that think they know me but they have constructed an idea of what I am and it is a false one that is used to serve their nefarious purposes. Others recognise my greatness and they are content to embrace it.”

“But could it not be the case that these categories of people just happen to know different elements of you. Your admirers know the H G that is generous, interesting and charming. Those who you regard as detractors perhaps know a different part of you, the defiler and conqueror that you made reference to, this causing them to regard you in a less positive light?” asked Dr E.

“No. The defiler and conqueror are artifices created by those who seek to harm me. Let them do so and I will be that which they think I am. It is no more than they deserve. They create such a monstrosity through their perfidy and unwarranted attacks, so let them know the beast, let them feel its hot and fetid breath in their faces, the rake of its claws against their yielding skin and the full horror of its power on their being. They create it, let them endure it,” I spat, the mere consideration of those who would do me wrong causing my fury to ignite.

“Could you not possess all of those attributes? Could it not be the case you have them all and people see some over others?”

“No,” I said firmly. Dr E nodded and fell silent.

“What would you think if I said that I think you are hiding from yourself?”

I switched my gaze from Dr E and focussed on a picture on the wall. Not this, don’t start this again. Don’t let him gain a foothold H G. Repel the boarder, eject the intruder, cast him out.

“I do not hide.”

“But might you not realise that you are doing so?”

“No.”

“Could it be that you do not know who you are?”

“No.”

“Could it be that you do know but would prefer not to contemplate it?”

“No.”

“Is this line of discussion making you uncomfortable?”

“No.”

I shifted my gaze back to Dr E. Go on, keep trying to batter through my defences, you will not succeed. I know your game Dr E. I know what you are trying to suggest but I am not going there.

“Very well. Let us go back to how you regard yourself then, elaborate on that,” he invited.

The sense of relief washed over me but I gave no outward sign of its effect. I smiled, elated to have rejected this probing once again and excited by the prospect of talking about my favourite subject in greater detail; me.

 

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Remembrance

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The chime of my ‘phone alerted me to the arrival of a text. There was nothing unusual in that. Scores arrive daily and this rises to beyond a hundred and more when the glorious seduction has commenced of a fresh, prime target. I looked over with half-interest to my ‘phone and see a name which attracted a greater level of interest. It is from Jane. An ex. One of the many exes. I stopped what I was doing and reached for my ‘phone and opened up the message.

“It would be 2 years today x”

A flame rose inside of me at this sudden provision of fuel. Even better it was unsolicited. Goodness me, would it have been two years? How time flies. The power flowed, generated by this welcome dollop of fuel. Dear Jane, always the one for remembering dates. She sent me a card and a gift to mark 1 month together. She pole-danced for me to commemorate one month since we first had sex (no the pole-dance and the card and gift were on different dates, just in case you were wondering. I am a gentleman after all). She sent a card to remind me that is was three months since our first kiss, a month since I first stayed overnight at her house, six months since we first set eyes on another. I used to call her the Chronicler for her ability to remember the anniversary of certain key moments in our relationship. At first I was suitable impressed by her memory and power of recall but then I realised that she had assistance. On one particular occasion I was having a good look around her house whilst she was out, opening draws, cupboards and so on in order to learn more about this enticing individual who I had seduced and in the process of this trawl I found a diary. At the rear she had a list of key moments in our relationship with the date written next to it. First date, first kiss, first time we had sex, first time pet name was used, first weekend away, first “I love you” and so on. Each milestone, from the trivial to the fundamental had been carefully written in her neat hand-writing (she always wrote with a Mont Blanc fountain pen – something which I liked until I decided to bend the nib one day after she accused me of forgetting her mother’s birthday. I didn’t forget. I deliberately did not remember). Each moment, each occasion had been carefully committed to the rear of this diary and beside it the date inserted as well. I was impressed and as I sat reading it, I felt the fuel of her dedication and admiration pouring over me. She was not there to do it but I knew from reading those neat entries just how much we meant to her, just how important I was and the fuel flowed. I remember sitting on her bed clasping the leather bound diary and realising that Jane was meeting my expectations and that I had such high hopes for her. The reminders and commemorations kept coming. She never forgot anything. Naturally the more traditional anniversaries – birthdays, Christmas and so forth were addressed and not only for me, but close friends, family and even Matrinarc.

Of course this slavish devotion to the recollection of events could not go unused by me. When she fell from grace and her denigration and devaluation began I would always send her a reminder written in black ink (using a superior Mont Blanc fountain pen) on a crisp piece of thick white paper inserted into a stylish small envelope. I would leave these reminders on her pillow, on her car seat, under her windscreen wiper, in her bag, on her laptop and so forth.

 

–         1 week since I last spoke to you –

–         2 months since our first argument –

–         5 days since I rang you –

–         A month since we last made love –

–         A week since the last silent treatment –

–         Three months since I took you anywhere

I have no idea if the timing was entirely correct with some of them, it was the effects I was after. Sometimes she would telephone me and question why I had one this. If it was during a silent treatment I said nothing but listened, allowing her strained tones to fuel me. Other times I would just stare at her and then snarl an insult, causing her to jump and her fearful look would naturally provide me with further fuel. On other occasions she did not manage to contact me but it did not matter because I knew how she would be responding as I used the very thing she liked to engage as an endearing gesture from her to me in our relationship, against her. We like to take the wonderful and then batter it, rust it, twist it and warp it so it resembles something else entirely and this act of defiling is powerful indeed in its effect.

 

Soon I accelerated their use at one stage having them delivered through her door on a daily basis.

 

–         One day since I realised I hate you –

–         Two days since I realised I hate you –

–         Three days since I realised I hate you –

–         Four days since I realised I hate you –

–         Five days since I realised I hate you

–         Six days since I realised I hate you –

–         Seven days since I realised I hate you –

–         Eight days since I realised I hate you –

–         Nine days since I realised I hate you –

–         Ten days since I realised I hate you –

–         I don’t hate you. I love you –

That last note was a highly effective respite hoover which had her call me straight away and I answered straight away and her sobbed relief poured over me with such potency, marvellous fuel that it was. Once again by using the very tool she deployed in our relationship I was able to bend it and her to my will.

Eventually she was cast aside, the new prospect of Andrea having come into my sights and dear Jane was removed, not even afforded the courtesy of being a memory. That is until that text message arrived.

A foolish move on her part to reach out to me in this way but having received the text, I knew that it was inevitable she would have done it and indeed I know that when it is 3 years, 5 years or 10 years she will keep sending these reminders. Her memory had been conditioned this way. Notwithstanding the pain it will invariably cause her she wanted me to know that she remembered still. The addition of a single ‘x’ was the green light which told me that my follow-up hoover (of course there would be one) will succeed and she would respond to it. Dangerous to apply those kisses. She had entered my sphere of influence. I did not want her back, I was busy with Andrea and that seduction, but this reminder told me that there was fuel just waiting to be collected. All I had to decide was how I was going to go about. There was no need to be malign about it, a benign follow-up hoover would work but in what form and for how long? That was what then occupied my mind as once again I remembered dear Jane and her delicious fuel. So good of her to remind me.

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