We are takers and not givers. We drain, bleed, leech and suck dry. Whether it is occupying your home, using your car, borrowing money which we do not repay or something as simple as drinking your last can of soda, our kind are recidivists in the art of stealing. We are entitled to anything and everything, nothing is exclusively yours. We suck what you own and possess down into the plughole of our emptiness in an attempt to fill our vast black hole.This not only applies to material items and those things which are tangible. Upsetting and frustrating as it is when we help ourselves to your money and your possessions there are five things which we always take which are far more precious. These are high priorities for us to take from you. These are five intangibles that we always steal and this is why we do it.
At the beginning of our interaction you are self-assured without being cocky or boastful. You know what you like, you are proud of your accomplishments and achievements without feeling any need to crow about them. I am jealous of your self-esteem and I want it for myself. I wish I could have that sense of independence and knowing your place and role in the world and being content with it. I have to gain my self-esteem from the views and comments of others and I long to have it already in place just as you have. My bilious jealousy means that I want to shatter your self-esteem through my repeated put-downs, my reminders of your failings and the trumped-up elevation of my brilliance over you. I want to snatch it away from you, use some of it for myself and with the remainder I want to rip it apart leaving you unsure, uncertain and clinging to me. I want to reverse the roles so that you look at me and wish you had what I have.
You may not be a demagogue. You may not stand before a sea of faces and hold them in your rapt attention but you knew that you did certain things well. You had confidence in your abilities, your likeable characteristics and you also knew where you had failings and weaknesses. You addressed those vulnerabilities and you never made them someone else’s problem. Once again my envy is such that I want this self-confidence. I know how to portray it with my boasting and bragging, always turning heads as I make a grand entrance, easily able to play to the crowd at a function as I am driven on by my knowing I am superior, I am entitled to this crowd’s attention and everyone should be praising me because I am worth praising. I suck the self-confidence from you, absorbing into me, powering my being with what you once had. My conjuring and manipulation is designed to drain you of your self-confidence to ensure that you rely on me all the more, turning to me for approval, seeking my permissions and always requiring my say so. You have to ask me first if you can see your friends, your conversations are never private as I am always listening in, you run every decision past me now for you are so fearful of making a mistake and incurring my wrath, be it a silent baleful glare or the blazing, spittle-flecked oral assault.You even ask if you may use the bathroom, such is the erosion of your self-confidence to make a decision for yourself.
3. Critical Thinking
You once were a pretty good judge of character, able to rationalise and evaluate but you did not reckon with the force that is my love-bombing. You should not be ashamed for few recognise it for what it really is and all too soon they become entangled in the seemingly wonderful golden period, unaware they have now been ensnared. We need to attack your critical thinking capability and damage it to the point of no function. If you are able to evaluate what we are doing, there is the possibility of you working us out and stopping the provision of the fuel that we need. There is a chance that you will escape us. We must not allow that to happen and through our gas lighting of you in particular, our repeated and sustained lying and the incessant barrage which exhausts you, we whittle away your ability to reason and think. The throbbing headache which never really goes away, the tiredness around your eyes and the sense of utter fatigue plays havoc with your ability to think straight and see what is really happening. It is far easier just to accept what we say as the truth. It is easier to go along with what we want. You can no longer distinguish reality from illusion as we hammer away until your critical thinking capability has been smashed.Now we can keep you in our grip without fear of you working things out.
Once upon a time you were always believed. Your word was regarded as the truth and people accepted this. You were not questioned but rather when you explained something or recounted an incident you were believed. Not any more. We take your credibility and batter it into nothingness through the repeated application of character assassinations and smear campaigns. We put you down, we scold and chastise, we tell you how wrong you are, how worthless you are and that you are nothing without us until you start to doubt yourself. We do not stop there however. Your credibility is shattered with every one else. We need to smear your name to your friends, family, colleagues and neighbours so everyone realises that you are a habitual liar. You tell such terrible lies about me and them that nobody can believe you any longer. Add to this your exhaustion and generally histrionic presentation as a consequence of our other manipulations, when compared with our calm appearance then your credibility vanishes. We take it further so that you are not believed in situations dealing with your employer, the school, the authorities and so forth so that you find yourself in some Kafka-esque nightmare where you always feel like the accused and you are never believed. Now we have free reign to spin our propaganda and maintain our superiority.
We finally take your ability to trust and we destroy it. You may think it odd that we might destroy your ability to trust us but that does not matter. If you no longer trust us we will still do as we please, we will still make out that it is your fault that we do what we do and because we have eroded your self-esteem, shattered your self-confidence, maligned your critical thinking and removed your credibility we will always triumph. It does not matter to us that we have removed any trust you once had for us because this removal is not going to stop us doing what we want to do. The trust that really matters, the trust that we have taken from you comes later. In the event that you escape us, whether it is through your own doing or staying free from us once we have discarded you, it is what comes next where the eradication of your ability to trust matters. We leave you always doubting those that you meet. We have you unable to trust someone who has taken an interest in you. Is this person like us? Are they showing signs similar to how we behaved? How can you tell whether they are genuine or not? You are no longer able to trust your own judgement and you are no longer able to trust those who might just happen to be genuine and make you happy. It is this final intangible theft that we commit which leaves the harshest and enduring legacy.