Weeping with the Frenemy

 

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You will be familiar with the concept of a frenemy. One of the applications of this oxymoronic portmanteau is to describe a person who pretends to be your friend but is actually your enemy. The frenemy makes several appearances in the narcissistic world. The most obvious one is us. We appear as friend but we are really the enemy. If you are an intimate partner who is the primary source you witness this first hand as love turns sour. As a secondary source you also experience the narcissist as frenemy. It is not always obvious because as that secondary source you may experience a lengthy golden period but even if you do, we are your enemy because we are taking from you, taking your fuel, acquiring your attributes for our own use and drawing on your resources by way of residual benefits, such as using your car, borrowing money, blagging invitations to events and so forth. The same applies to tertiary sources who are more likely to witness the charm turn to malice as a consequence of a delayed serving or giving attention to someone else instead of us in the store. Our kind are the frenemy incarnate. If we are not plain using you for fuel and other benefits as we smile, charm and compliment, we then turn rogue on you, lashing out and devaluing you.

With that stated however let us turn to another type of frenemy. The Lieutenant. The loyal and obedient puppet that not only provides us with fuel but supports us and carries out our wishes and wants without hesitation or complication. Every narcissist has at least one lieutenant, usually more and the lieutenant performs a range of actions on our behalf. The lieutenant will naturally provide fuel, praising and admiring, being a great audience to our witty repartee, providing a sympathetic ear when we complain about the behaviour of others and ensuring as a dedicated secondary source that we can always rely on them. The lieutenant can be relied on to acquire information for us in respect of the targeting of a potential victim. The lieutenant will form part of our façade and will welcome you with characteristic smile and warmth to be part of the coterie and as soon as the command is given by us, turn his back on you and pretend that you never existed. He or she will do favours for us, ever eager to gain our trust and praise and outperform other lieutenants. This is especially so if the Lieutenant is earmarked for potential recruitment to intimate partner. It is not just the victim who receives some future faking. A lieutenant will be promised jam tomorrow – whatever it might be, promotion to intimate partner, that promotion at work, the membership of that club we can secure, a weekend away with us – whatever lies within out gift will be dangled before this lieutenant in order to secure loyalty and their commitment to us. Of course the rewards will be delivered from time to time, so long as we have extracted a sufficient price from our part of view, but future faking plays its part in keeping the Lieutenant ready, willing and wanting. The Lieutenant will also be used in our post escape and post discard campaigns. They will assist with hoovers, they will hoover on our behalf, prove receptive to our smearing of you and indeed assist in plastering mud about you far and wide.

How then does our kind go about identifying and maintaining these Lieutenants? Naturally it depends on the nature of the relevant member of our kind.

The Lesser

The Lesser Narcissist operates with fewer Lieutenants than the other two schools. This is because he lacks the charm and ability to acquire them so readily but also given his low control threshold he also runs a greater risk of his devaluation of them proving too much and resulting in them no longer remaining loyal and thus they are either discarded or they escape the narcissist. The Lesser has very little trust and his inherent paranoia makes it difficult for him to create a wide network of those he can call on. Instead he often relies on family members to be his Lieutenants. Parents, siblings, extended family and adult children are common Lieutenants of a Lesser Narcissist. In terms of friends, he may have one or two friends who are longstanding. These individuals are often childhood friends who have known the narcissist all his life and feel a sense of duty and obligation towards the narcissist borne out of when the narcissist put his furious temper to good use in giving a bully a hiding and thus earning the ongoing gratitude and admiration of the Lieutenant. This Lieutenant is also frightened of the narcissist, as he knows what he is capable of and consequently aims to stay on his good side and therefore is very loyal. The Lesser makes no conscious decision to recruit people to assist him but rather, owing to his sense of entitlement, he expects those around him to do what he wants. Owing to his low sense of trust, he feels he can only rely on those close to him either from blood (family) or longstanding friends. The Lesser ensures that those who are Lieutenants do his bidding through a combination of guilt-tripping (“We are family; you should have my back on this”) or intimidation (“If you don’t do it I will kick your teeth in”). It is rare to find a Lesser able to recruit a Lieutenant from your own ranks and therefore your vigilance should be maintained primarily in respect of those people you know who are his friends and family.

 

The Mid-Range

The Mid-Range Narcissist is an extensive user of Lieutenants because of his generally passive aggressive nature he would rather have other people doing his dirty work for him (the Greater is similar but his rationale is different – see below). The Mid-Range possesses sufficient cognitive function and pleasant charm to recruit suitable people to do his bidding. He will have a circle of dependable friends from whom he will draw a few Lieutenants. He also makes extensive use of family and colleagues as well. The Mid-Range also recognises the benefit of having a Lieutenant from within your ranks He will do this on the basis of wanting to curry favour with you by cosying up to your parents, a sibling or a good friend in order to inveigle his way into their affections. He will not necessarily possess the out and out charm of the Greater but rather be regarded as a “good egg”, “a decent person” and “pleasant and likeable”. The Mid- Range will ensure he has numerous lieutenants because he will need them to be used extensively when he hoovers and smears at a later juncture. Master of the Hard Done To, he will tell his sob stories about how badly he has been treated by you in order to have those Lieutenants propagate this position to others through a smear or to convey to you how much the narcissist is hurting and needs you back.

The Mid-Range usually maintains his Lieutenants by doing two things. He does not future fake extensively (with Lieutenants) and whilst there may be occasional rewards he does not rely on this to any great degree in order to keep his Lieutenants loyal. He instead relies on being liked and also for people to feel sorry for him and thus they will do what he wants. He will use emotional blackmail extensively in order to ensure that his Lieutenants act on his behalf.

“I am in a bad place right now and you need to help me.”

“I knew you couldn’t stand by and see me be treated like this.”

“She has said some horrible things about you, naturally I defended you, so I know I can rely on you to do the same for me.”

“It just isn’t right for someone to behave like this.”

“You are better at dealing with people like this.”

“I am on the edge here; you need to help me out.”

“I know she is your friend but I don’t think someone as decent as you would want to be associated with someone who behaves like this.”

“I appreciate she is your daughter but she is letting down your family with what she has done.”

 

The Greater

The Greater has many Lieutenants. He recruits them from friends, colleagues, family and even acquaintances. The Greater makes its aim to have at least one (but usually more) from your ranks. His huge reserves of charm ensure that people are made to feel so special to be associated with him that they want to do his bidding. They want the Greater’s approval, favour and largesse. A master at future faking, the Greater will not only reward those who carry out his commands but he will also ensure that larger rewards are repeatedly on offer. These may be material in nature but they are often based on elevation. Promotion from outer to inner circle friend. Advancement from colleague to outer circle friend. Potential to move from inner circle friend to intimate partner. The Greater is no fool though and will ensure that rewards are provided, not only to maintain the loyalty of the recipient but to act as an incentive to the others who have not been rewarded on this occasion. If your narc seems to know when you leave home and arrive do not be surprised to find that he has even recruited a neighbour minion as a Lieutenant.

The Greater will use a varied range of techniques to ensure that his Lieutenants remain loyal and willing to assist him: –

–         Reward

–         Threats of devaluing behaviour/ expulsion from the clique

–         Emotional blackmail

–         Smearing the victim so the Lieutenant is motivated to “do the right thing”

–         Threats of exposing or exploiting a vulnerability of the Lieutenant.

Of all of the three schools the Greater is the only one who engages in calculated behaviour to recruit and maintain his Lieutenants. The Lesser has a limited range to choose from and thus there is no consideration given. He expects loyalty anyway. The Mid-Range does it by making himself likeable and then playing on a sense of obligation and loyalty. The Greater will scrutinise who will have something to lose and who will want to gain in order to use this information is his advantage in due course. These Lieutenants will then be subjected to the love-bombing charm (adjusted appropriately depending on status) and brainwashed (along with the presence and effect of the façade) into believing that the Greater is better than anything else, is to be worshipped and can do no wrong.

Keep in mind that you as an intimate partner may well be recruited for Lieutenant purposes as well as against the primary source that you have replaced. Think how often you have witnessed the incoming primary source join in on attacks against you once you escaped or have been discarded. Indeed, using the primary source as a Lieutenant in such circumstances takes them beyond the sphere of Frenemy and into total enemy territory, but that person remains a Lieutenant nevertheless.

We use Lieutenants extensively. We ensure we maintain their loyalty and you should always exercise caution in your dealings. You may think we are off the scene and we have disappeared but there are Frenemies lurking all around you ready to continue our campaigns against you.

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Feeling Drunk with Fatigue

 

Are you reading this through bleary eyes as you desperately await the effect of a caffeine boost to kick start your weary self into life to endure another day? Perhaps you can vividly recall that drained sensation that haunted you and that nagging ache which was ever present behind your eyeballs? The need to close your eyes and slip into a deep and restful slumber. All you wanted to do was to close your eyes and allow the tiredness to evaporate and shrouded in the amnesiac qualities of sleep you would be given respite from the nightmare that enveloped you. Yet, you were never able to achieve that sleep. Your near permanent anxiety meant that as you lay in bed you were tensed, ready to respond to the next jibe or manipulation. You heard a click. Was that me exiting the study at long last and coming to the bedroom or was it just the house settling? You were hyper vigilant and you cannot now recall how long that state had existed but you did know that if caused a nightly battle where you tried to sleep but each sound made you twitch and ready yourself. Sometimes you must have fallen asleep, such was the extent of your exhaustion and you dreamed and then suddenly you awoke. What had happened? Why did you awake so suddenly? You twist and see me there lying fast asleep, unburdened by any concerns. Even now you want to reach out and touch me in the hope that my hand will be placed on your shoulder and then my arm will envelope you, making you feel safe and secure, like it once did. You have learned not to reach out though for the consequences of waking me from my rest are not worth experiencing again. Instead, your shaking hand retreated and you turned to look at the clock and you sighed with resignation as you realised that the fitful sleep you had endured was only about an hour in length.

You lay there, eyes stinging and head heavy giving thanks that it was not one of those nights where I repeatedly jabbed you in the back to stop you sleeping. How did I manage to do that and then bound from the bed refreshed and revitalised as you rose like a zombie? How had I been able to interrupt your sleep through the night by prodding you and yet I was energetic? Was I sleeping during the day like some vampire hiding from the sunlight? At least this time I am sleeping and you have been spared the intermittent prod in the small of your back. It is a small mercy since the questions and thoughts race around your mind, as they always do in the dead of night. Why is this happening? What has gone wrong? Why am I doing this? When will it end? How can you stop it? Should you ask me to talk about it or will that risk another argument? How much more can you take? When did you last sleep properly? These questions and more besides whirl around in your mind, having taken a hold in your head. Your eyes flick to the silent television set in the corner of the room and you debate watching something, anything, just to break the relentless churning in your skull, but even with the volume set at barely audible you know it will disturb me and then it will be your fault again.

You look to the door now closed. You managed to resist a lock being fitted to the bedroom door, wary of what further horrors might be unleashed against you if your exit was barred but each day you fear that on your return that you will see an invoice from a joiner on the kitchen table and a lock has been fitted. You ponder whether you should head downstairs and see if sleep will come on the sofa or at least you can put the headphones on and listen to a radio play or some music. That would provide some sanctuary but yet again, as if possessed of some sixth sense, you know that I will appear and demand to know what you are doing downstairs in the middle of the night. No matter how deeply I appear to be sleeping it as if I sense your absence and come looking for you. It is then that you face the accusations of texting some man behind my back even though your ‘phone is not to hand. It does not matter what the facts are does it? I always find a way of twisting the blame on to you. No, you cannot steal downstairs and instead you must remain board stiff in bed as your eyes watch the incessant march of time and sleep remains evasive. You can feel the hammering of your heart in your chest. Even though nothing is happening and all is quiet and still, that sense of foreboding remains. A cold hand of dread has gripped your heart and squeezes, driving the breath from your body and causing anxiety to spread across you. Perhaps you ought to see the doctor and see if he will prescribe something for this? You will need to do it without my knowledge otherwise I shall accuse you of attention-seeking by going to the doctor without consulting me first. I, of course, know what is best for you and I screen everything you do before determining whether I shall allow it. You know you ought to fight against it but you are so tired, so weary and you need what little strength remains to help you navigate a way throughout the day without treading on a mine and causing an explosion of fury. It is getting harder. You forget things now. Your memory used to be excellent or at least you think it did. Even thinking is becoming arduous and sometimes you just sit, staring into space, caught somewhere between wakefulness and hypnosis. If only one night of rest could come, if only this anxiety, this fear, this wariness would leave you and let you gain some strength, then you would not make the mistakes and I would not be angry. Perhaps then we could be as we used to be. You can still remember that and hope with all your heart that somehow this situation can be retrieved. You never felt tired then. You never walked with a shuffle or placed the milk in the dishwasher in error. You did not forget you were baking something until the acrid smell of smoke jolted you from your daydreaming and had you running into the kitchen, cursing your foolishness and immediately wondering if you could cook a fresh batch before I came home and witnessed another of your failures.

The clock shows 5am and sleep has evaded you once more. The dull throb in the centre of your forehead remains. You would have to be up in an hour anyway. There is no point trying to sleep now. You can see the first rind of dawn trying to permeate through the curtains and another day has arrived. You may as well rise and weave through this day, whichever day it is, is it Wednesday or Thursday? You cannot quite remember. You slide your feet from the bed and sit up, glancing at me over your shoulder, back now turned to you, my body rising and falling in a steady rhythm as I sleep on, oblivious to your exhaustion. You stand and sway a little as you ready yourself for another day of feeling drunk with fatigue.

Mudded Hell

I have a busy day today. Much to do and many people to do it to but when you have someone’s interests at heart, well, this is what you have to do isn’t it? I have the list of telephone numbers which I have noted down from your telephone when I gained access to it. It was not difficult to do so. Using my famous ability to move around without making much of a noise I stole up behind you and watched you enter the passcode for your phone and I stored that in my memory to enable me to use it when you were sleeping. Naturally I had a good look through all your messages, your diary and e-mails but that is for another discussion. I recognised the names of numerous people and made a note of their numbers inside my little book and then hid that in readiness for when I decided it was time I needed to use it. Now that time has come and it is incumbent on me to take this step.

The first number I enter into my phone is that of Sarah, a friend of yours. She answers after two rings. Like many people she is surgically attached to the ‘phone.

“Hello Sarah it is HG. Listen, I just wanted to let you know, since you are such a good friend of hers, that Gemma is, well I think the easiest way to describe it is that she is not well, not well at all. What do I mean? She has been acting rather strangely. The slightest thing seems to either have her shouting or crying. At first I wondered if it was just, you know, women’s things, but it has been going on for months now. You had no idea? No I know, I have not said anything before because well I was hoping I could help her  deal with it but it is beyond even me. I am going to get her some help. I try and talk to her about it but she just clams up on me, gives me silence and then a little later accuses me of not caring. I don’t think she is sleeping properly either and it takes me an age to get her to eat. Should you come round? No, thank you, that is kind of you, but I don’t want her to do anything which might upset you. She is very erratic in her behaviour but it is something more than just mood swings. I am going to get her the proper help but I am just forewarning you that if she contacts you just be aware that she is not herself. She has been saying things about people, me included, which are not very nice and I don’t want this period of illness to affect her relationship with her friends, you know how some people can be overly sensitive to what someone says and they miss the point they are unwell. Yes, that’s right. Yes I think it would be a good idea if you just give her some space. Yes, absolutely. If she does contact me, let me know, you have my number on your ‘phone now. Yes I will pass on your kind words and thanks for your help Sarah, it is much appreciated at this difficult time.”

I end the call and place a tick next to Sarah’s name. She was most understanding and fully appreciate the need for space in order to allow you to get better. Now, who is next. Ah yes, another of your friends, Helen. I call Helen and explain the situation almost word-for-word as I did with Sarah. She asks more details about what is wrong and I reluctantly tell her about the violence and the lying. She is shocked I can tell and she spends some time searching for an amateur diagnosis as to what it might be. I listen as she drones on, checking my watch and noting I have other names to get through too. Eventually I am able to conclude the call and place another tick. I continue working my way through your list of friends, the ticks adding up. Next is John, your fitness instructor.

“Hello John, this is HG, Gemma’s partner. We haven’t met. Look John, difficult call to make but Gemma is unwell at present. It is pretty serious. Yes, thank you, it is a difficult time but I am doing the best I can to help her. It is unclear at present what it is, I am organising for a doctor to come and see her today but it is making her very difficult to be around. She may be suffering from some kind of breakdown brought on by exhaustion. Yes, it is a worry. I know you would not have thought it to look at her outside of our house but I think this has been brewing for some time, you know, she even started telling me that she was going to marry you. Yes I know that is ridiculous isn’t it? You are already married? I thought you were. Don’t worry, I know nothing is going on, I am sure you are far too professional for that kind of thing, but this is part of the problem, she keeps coming out with outlandish comments and I can handle it but I worry others might not so she won’t need your services until further notice. Payment? Well yes if she has an agreement with you then just continue to take her monthly payment after all this is not your fault is it? I will let you know when she is well again but just in case she tries to contact you I think it would be best if you don’t take her calls, I don’t want her causing you any trouble especially between you and your wife. Thank you John, your discretion is appreciated.”

Another tick and a similar call is made to your choral group and your book club. Next is your employer. I made you take today off under the pretence of you gaining a lie in and then us doing something together. We stayed up late last night so you are still fast asleep upstairs allowing me to make these important telephone calls. Your employer is understanding and I can confirm that arrangements will be made to provide the relevant doctor’s note because I explained this situation is likely to last a number of weeks. My preparation thus segues into arranging for the local doctor to make a house call after I explain to the receptionist, in worried tones, that having you leave the house in your current state might be a risk to both you and other people. She was most understanding and confirmed that a doctor would attend after surgery, around 5pm. Next on the list are your family members. I secured the advantage of persuading you to move with me away from them and they are now a flight away. The inconvenience of having to fly and the distance is something I play on as I call your parents and your sister, forewarning them that they may experience some unpleasant comments about them and especially me given her condition. I assure them that I am taking care of you and there is really no need for them to come all this way. I confirm I will keep them updated and they are pleased I have taken time off work to care for you and that I have arranged for a doctor to attend. I spend considerable time reeling off examples of the terrible behaviour you have exhibited, explaining the awful things I have been subjected to and the lies you have told about me, your friends and family. I explain that I can deal with it but I just feel so sorry for your parents and your sister having to hear such things and in order to prevent it happening again the best thing is to contact me and not you and to keep you at arms’ length. I explain I understand that it is hard but it will be the best outcome for all concerned if you are prevented from lashing out and hurting people. My explanations and good intentions are accepted and thanks is offered for my understanding and support.

The final tick is placed on the list and I place both ‘phone and pen down. I really should go and wash my hands now after smearing all that mud around.

Fading Star

 

 

I have explained how we draw fuel from primary, secondary and tertiary sources. These sources vary in potency and are affected of course by the method of delivery of the fuel. The primary source remains our most important source of fuel since it is this person, usually the intimate partner, who we are with more than anybody else but also who has the greatest emotional reaction to what we say and do. Therefore, this person provides us with the most fuel and of the most potent kind. The primary source is naturally the most important fuel provider which is why we seduce this person with such dedication, unleash such a terrible devaluation and keep on hoovering following escape or discard. We make such an investment in you as the primary source that we regard it as our right to keep drawing fuel from you, whether that is positive or negative, whether it is now, next week or in ten years’ time.

The secondary sources are those which contribute good fuel and are invariably those who are part of our façade. Our lieutenants and the coterie are drawn from the secondary sources – friends, family and colleagues – who we interact with frequently but not to the same extent as we do with the primary source. Nor do the secondary sources give out the same heightened fuel as the primary source. The secondary sources serve an excellent function as part of the façade and the maintenance of this façade is important, therefore we prefer to keep the same people in at and keep adding to it. Secondary sources enjoy lengthy golden periods with us. This is because our call on them is intermittent and therefore we are far less likely to regard their fuel as stale. Moreover, we can have many secondary sources but we only ever have one primary source. Thus if a certain secondary source is perhaps not admiring us as much (but they are not criticising us and are still providing some fuel) it does not merit a devaluation. They remain loyal, they remain part of the façade and we will just switch to another secondary source to increase the fuel. There is no need to devalue or ditch the initial secondary source. Thus you may see our kind have a friend who is “flavour of the month” because their fuel is better than other secondary sources and then the fuel dips in quality but it is not a concern as we can add another secondary source or switch to another who perhaps we have not seen for a couple of months. This is advantageous as it means our energy can be saved for devaluing the primary source whilst keeping a range of functioning secondary sources on hand and the façade intact.

The secondary sources very rarely stop providing fuel. They have no need to. A primary source may do so owing to the descent into ill health caused by the devaluation or learning how to tackle our kind as a response to the abuse. The secondary source, always treated to the golden period, has no need to adopt a stance of not providing fuel.

A secondary source may however criticise us and if that is the case they may be subjected to devaluation but usually they are excluded from the coterie and replaced easily enough. They will be smeared and made to feel like an outsider, with the narcissist using the façade and other secondary sources to achieve this aim. We like to create our cliques and if anybody threatens our supremacy of delivers a criticism who is a secondary source they will be ejected from the group.

The occasion for devaluation of the secondary source is rare. It only happens in two instances. Firstly, the source has criticised the narcissist and thus fury is ignited and the narcissist decides this person must be made an example of, before being discarded, in order to show the rest of the coterie who is in charge.

Secondly, in an even rarer instance it may happen when the narcissist has no primary source. If there is an absence of the primary source for a period of time, say a number of weeks, the narcissist’s fuel levels will have been tested. He will have sought to seduce and embed a new replacement primary source and most times the narcissist in such a situation is able to do so with success. However, let us assume this has not happened. The narcissist turns to his secondary and tertiary sources (more on tertiary in a moment) and relies more than usual on them to provide him with fuel during the absence of the primary source. At first there is no problem, the secondary sources provide positive fuel which is sustaining the narcissist, but if he has only a few secondary sources, then it will not be long before his fuel demands outstrip the positive fuel they can give. The lesser quality of their fuel (compared to the primary source) is being exposed by the absence of the primary source. It is also because greater demand is being placed on them. Ultimately, the primary source will always go further for the narcissist than anybody else and they are also far more proximate. No matter how seductive if the secondary source has to deal with his own family, his work and so on, he may not be available to provide fuel. If this keeps happening, combined with the increased demand and the lack of a primary source the strain on positive secondary sources will start to tell. This means the narcissist will either have to add new secondary sources and/or devalue the secondary sources to shift to negative fuel so he is sustained. This will work for a period of time with the confused inner circle friend who is a secondary source trying to work out why their supposed best friend is ignoring them and then trying to patch up the relationship. A secondary source however will not sustain devaluation as long as a primary source and may even infect other secondary sources by pointing out how they are being treated. The narcissist is already suffering reduced fuel levels and the supremacy of his façade is being challenged. This increases the demands on him.

The tertiary sources provide the least fuel and generally they are also treated to lengthy golden periods – for example the lady who works in the petrol station or the postman – since they are only extracted from on an intermittent basis. Tertiary sources can also be used straight away for negative fuel, for example, upbraiding a waiter or shouting down a shop assistant. We do not regard them as necessary to the maintenance of the façade, their negative fuel provides a useful boost and such high-handed behaviour may impress a primary (or secondary source) and draw positive fuel from them where appropriate.

If there is no primary source for a period of time, the reliance on tertiary sources increases. There will be increased activity to use technology to draw these people to the narcissist – such as on dating sites, chat rooms or through social media, but if the reliance is frequent and sustained the quality of the fuel will diminish quickly and those who have been attached to the narcissist in this way will be discarded and replaced with new remote tertiary sources promptly. There will be a high turnover. At the same time, the narcissist is likely to lash out at physically proximate sources more and more as the fuel level dips. This happens for two reasons. Firstly, he needs the fuel more than ever from tertiary sources and negative fuel is better than positive. Secondly, he will be furious at being placed in this position (through having no primary source but he has not got one to lash out at) so tertiary sources bear the brunt of this rage.

A narcissist without a primary source will eventually alienate secondary sources and in certain environments – say a small town – will struggle to replace them as people become wise to what he is. He may lack the energy to keep up the turnover of remote tertiary sources and spends his time lashing out at those which are physically proximate. At this point the narcissist faces losing the façade (since so many people know about his behaviour) in order to keep drawing fuel. It is now that he has three choices: –

 

  1. Secure a new primary source immediately;
  2. Move his environment so he can seek our fresh secondary sources and tertiary sources and rebuild his façade; or
  3. Sink into depression and inactivity as his fuel levels plummet.

 

The narcissist becomes a fading star. Once brilliant, magnificent and illuminating, his loss of the primary source and inability to find another means that the alluring shine is fading as a black hole awaits. Thus you can see just how paramount the primary source is to the existence of our kind and why we make such an effort to secure them, replace them and hoover them back again.

Burial

One of our aims when we entangle you is to cause the equivalent of you feeling as if you are being buried alive. Doing this keeps you in our grip and under our control. For some people, the thought of being buried alive causes them considerable terror. The concept of being bound and dropped into a prepared hole in the ground, lying against the cold, damp earth as the first shovel load of earth lands on you, dirt cascading over your face as you blink frantically trying to avoid it going in your eyes. A second shovel load lands, this time more compact and it hits your torso with the equivalent of a moderate punch to the ribs. You shout out but your unknown assailant does not respond as more earth cascades down on to you. You kick and wriggle but soon the earth begins to heap around you, your movements are constrained and you are trying to back up so you can keep your head as high as possible, just as you might do during our devaluation of you, trying desperately to retain some dignity. You continue to shout and scream and you begin to wonder whether you are making any sound at all as there is no response. Your legs are now covered and you are unable to move them now, the weight of the earth on them pinning them into place. Someone else has now taken control of how much you can move and they have deemed that there is to be no movement, at least from the waist down. Still that steady and rhythmic motion can just about be heard above you as the dirt continues to fall, a steady curtain of earth which is creating your tomb. The encroaching earth has moved over your chest and you look down, arms tied in front of you as you lift them up and down breaking the layer of earth for a little longer.

On it continues as more and more dirt tumbles onto you now making it seem as if the ground is swallowing you. How many times had you wished that would happen when you were on the receiving end of one our vicious tirades? You try to move your arms but the weight is too great and now the terror has taken your voice so that your once hearty yells and piercing screams are replaced by a strange strangulated rasp as the cries for help become lodged in your throat, just like the earth will do so very soon. Your pleas to be spared, your bid for clemency and begging for mercy has gone unheeded as the earth continues to rise and you shake your head from side to side, trying to fight off the onslaught. The whole of your body, save for your head, is now paralysed, trapped by the significant load of earth which has been dropped on to you. You can feel your lungs being squashed as your breathing becomes harder. You wish you were dead. A gun shot to the head, quick and instant. That would be better than this lingering, slow and crushing descent into suffocation. Sounds suddenly become muffled and you realise that the earth has now begun to cover your ears. You still twist your head but the room for movement has become even more reduced. Your eyes are shut now otherwise they would be filled with grit and crumbs of dirt. You spit and blow away the earth which lands across your mouth as just an oval of your face breaks the surface of the soil.Your terror and panic is at its zenith and then there is a cessation in the onslaught. You cannot feel anything dropping onto you any more. There is a spark of hope. Is this it? Have you been spared at the last moment? Have you perhaps been rescued, your tormentor now pinned to the ground by the timely arrival of law enforcement? Will it be only a matter of moments before the shovel tentatively digs around you to free you? You blink furiously and open your eyes hoping to see the glare of a flashlight.

Your vision sharpens into focus and you see the silhouette of somebody leaning over the edge of the pit, shovel in hand, peering down at you as if scrutinising you for the last time. You cannot make out any of their features against the darkening sky behind them as they stand and then the earthen rain begins again. You manage to muster a final scream of defiant protestation as the soil begins to gather over your face, covering your eyes, blocking your nose and sealing your mouth as a thousand thoughts flash through your mind, mixing with the terror as you wonder how long you have left?

Such a thought of being buried alive by an unknown aggressor or waking in a coffin having been mistakenly thought dead and thus buried alive, hands scrabbling at the smooth wood, yells and shouts unheard through the coffin lid and heaped earth above, causes considerable anxiety in many people. Such an imagined experience is akin to the way we treat our victims. We control them and restrict them, steadily and effectively, through the always used slice, slice, slice technique as we little by little reduce their movement, just as if we were heaping soil onto them. We create that sense of rising panic as there remains some movement but it is insufficient to escape the looming threat. Through our manipulations we keep you rooted to the spot with nowhere to escape to, nowhere to turn,just as if you are lying helpless in the bottom of a pit.

The steady and repeated accumulation of our manipulations make you feel as if you are being slowly suffocated. You cannot speak without approval or reprimand, your thoughts no longer feel your own as you are left to second guess what we want in order to try to avoid a further consequence. You close your eyes hoping it will all end and then your heart sinks as it does not. Each day you feel the air being drawn from your body, your strength sapping away, the will to fight back being diminished and stolen from you. The walls seems to close in on you, the air becoming stale and foul from you being kept indoors for so such long periods of time, prevented from seeing other people and leaving our sphere of influence. We invade your spaces, reading your messages, your e-mails and post. You have nowhere to go to in order to escape our incessant and all-consuming presence. We are like a weight on your chest, around your neck and about your heart.Your identity is steadily squeezed from you as we impress our thoughts, needs, desires and demands on you. Every day the pressure increases, just like the weight of the earth piling on your chest. You beg and plead for relief from this incessant pressure but just like the silent and unresponsive wielder of the shovel, you receive no respite from us either. The panic rises and the anxiety robs the breath from your lungs, forcing you to gasp as the panic attack takes you in its grip. You are suffocating. You cannot breathe. We are all around you, pressing against you, holding you, pressurising you, leaning on you, invading your space and driving the breath from your body. Being with us is just like being buried alive.

Utter Disgust

You disgust me. How did I ever choose to be with you? How did not I not see what you really are? You conned me. There can be no other explanation for what has happened. You drew me in and promised me so much. You offered all that I needed and now you have revealed your true colours. Another chameleon. I would have thought that I would have become more adept at identifying you by now but I suspect that you came with leaden tongue which was draped in sugar as you sought to lure me into your despairing world. I cannot believe that you behaved in such a way and after everything that I have done for you. This is the method of your thanks is it? You are a disgusting person to behave in this way. Building up my hopes, thinking that after so long searching and hunting that I have finally located the one that would always give me what I need. The sole supply of my strength, the bearer of joy, the provider of sustenance and yet you promised all this and when it came to the moment of reckoning you failed to deliver. I should not berate myself for once again I have been fooled by someone who came with obscuring smoke and confusing mirrors. I am but a simple and straightforward person who offers only dedication and a perfect love. You knew this yet you lured me in with your false promises and empty words.

How did you think I would react to such perfidy? With a smile and a “oh it does not matter”? Of course not. You failed me and in the most offensive way possible. You have insulted me, me of all people. You have caused grave offence through your disgusting conduct and that was why you had to be punished. It is not good pleading for clemency. You held a position of trust and you abused that trust in a foul manner. You were given complete and utter access to my inner being and you achieved this through manipulation and fraud. Your punishment accordingly must match this heinous crime. Look at you, snivelling and begging, the crocodile tears spilling down your face as you plead for leniency and another chance. How many chances must I give you? You have failed me so many times and you have taken advantage of my most generous nature. You disgust me. So weak and so pathetic. You thought you could break me but you could not. You thought that you could outwit and outflank me. Not a chance. You thought you could do as you pleased but I have found you out and for that you shall receive your comeuppance. Get up and have some dignity. By heaven, I cannot stand it when you behave like this. Your weakness offends me. I can smell the putrid stench of your pathetic vulnerability now that I have pierced that fraudster’s veil. The offensive odour is all pervasive and I want to vomit such is the disgusting sensation that arises from it. Get out of my sight, you turn my stomach. How did I ever think that you would be the solution? I must have taken leave of my senses but then in a way I did. You made me believe in something that was not real. You duped me. Me, me of all people, someone of my brilliance and intellect, taken in by the sleight of hand of a trickster. I cannot stand this association with something so vile as you. I despite you but I also despise myself for having ever chosen you. You promised me everything and I fell for it. I thought I knew better. I thought I had it all worked out, the path forward and the road to infinite excellence but you were waiting around the bend again weren’t you, you despicable bastard. You ambushed me and just as I thought everything was right, correct and well, you sought to topple me with your clandestine behaviours. Your deceit run through you like a disease and you are riddled with it. Do you see how it causes your features to twist in some sick parody of what you are? The vitriol and the malice age you. It is bound to be the case for nobody can such sick sin for too long. I suppose that is why you try and conceal it isn’t it? Your leering sick grin cannot be looked upon for it will reveal all your other warped features, the grimacing evil that stems from being such a disgusting creature as you are. I cannot stand to look upon you, I cannot bear to hear your screeching and pitiful voice which makes me shudder when I think how often I desired to hear it. Oh what a fool I have been to have been taken in by your promises. You have misled me over and over again. How could you behave in such a manner? Are you not disgusted with yourself? You ought to be. I can feel the bile rising in my throat as I contemplate what you have done to me and now as I see you for what you truly are. Leave! Be gone! I have no desire to have you in my eye any longer. My disgust overwhelms me and I must escape your presence. I said for you to go. Why do you remain staring at me and mocking me with those hooded eyes? Is there not end to your torturous ways? Stop looking at me. Stop it, I demand it. Perhaps if I shut my eyes and yes, you have gone. Ha, I am not finished yet. I have dispelled you but even as I keep my eyes shut tight I know that when I open them again you will have returned because I can never escape you can I?

Changed

 

 

You’ve changed and I don’t know why. Have I done something wrong? Have I done something to offend you or upset you? Why have you changed? You aren’t interested in me anymore. Once upon a time you would sit in rapt attention as I explained things to you, as I told you about the things I had done. The things which mattered to me. I thought you liked them too. You seemed interested and it was a genuine interest as you asked me questions and admired me for what I told you about. Do you remember those conversations? I do, although I must admit there are days when they seem such a distant memory to what we have now that I wonder if I made them up or dreamt them. Those afternoons where we lay in bed, the world so far away from us as we held one another and made plans. The world was ours to conquer wasn’t it? We made such grand plans, you and I, with nothing to stop us or hold us back. Except ourselves. How have we come to be so far apart? Where did it go wrong? How did these changes happen? What caused them? We were united as one. We did not know where one of us started and where the other ended, we were so entwined. I was happy. I thought you were too. You seemed happy. Tell me you were happy.

We did everything together. I never wanted to be anywhere other than your side. You completed me. I completed you. Two halves at long last united. Two lost souls who were wandering through the wilderness and then we found one another and all became wonderful. I did not dare to believe it was happening at first. After so many had failed, those who offered so much yet turned out to be pretenders with nothing but failure dripping from those promising lips. How I yearned to find the right one and just as I had almost given up all hope, along you came. My saviour. I knew from the moment I saw you that we belonged together. I could sense it and that first kiss, well, I can still feel the tingling up and down my spine even now, after all this time, after everything that has been said and done.

Why did you change? I did nothing wrong. I gave you my all. I believed in us but perhaps I have let you down, perhaps I have failed you in some way. Is there another? Is that why your eyes no longer shine when you look at me? Is that why your special smile has not been seen in these parts for too long? Do my tales and stories bore you now? Does the re-telling of these famous tales grow stale? Perhaps you have found someone else, someone who gives you what you want, someone new and exciting? Is that it? Is that why you have changed. Have you found sanctuary in the arms of another and now you have become malleable in their hands as you once were in mine? Do you remember how you said that my touch brought you to life and how you had merely existed beforehand? Do you remember taking my hand as we walked mile upon mile, never faltering from having something to say to one another. How we used to talk? Now I am lucky if I get a sentence from you as you take refuge in a monosyllabic citadel, seeming as if you are more content to reside there than with me. Your words used to flow, enchanting and marvellous and how I delighted to hear what you had to say. You could make the mundane magical and all through that perfect and delicious mouth of yours. Does that mouth still weave its magic for someone else now? Do the words feel leaden, your mouth full of dust when you talk to me? I still listen. I still give you the attention but it no longer works as it did before. I know it is not me that has changed. I never do. I can see that it is you that has changed but I am at a loss to understand why this happened. Believe me, I have spent long hours working out everything that has been said, what has not been said and all the acts and omissions. I have played them, replayed them and chopped back and forth, like some detective analysing CCTV footage in the hope of finding that one clue. That one lead, that certain something that will allow me to understand how we lost that certain something.

Is it that you want me to change? Do you need me to transform into something different? Is that it? I will be whatever you want me to be if only we can have what we once had. You have changed but if you need me to do so too, if that is what it takes to recover ourselves then I am willing. Tell me, just give me a sign, some kind of signal so I know what to do. Your wall of silence gives me no indication of what I must do in order to save us. Do you do that because all your time and attention must be saved for someone else and therefore you have none to give me? Have they come like some silent-footed thief and stolen away the person who I want more than anything on this earth? Perhaps that is what has really happened. You have not changed but rather the real you, the you that makes everything matter again, has been acquired by a pilferer. Has your soul been stolen by another? Have they taken it when I was regrettably distracted and have they now placed it in a gilded locker, far away from me, leaving me with just the husk, the image of what once was? Perhaps that is what has happened. I know you have changed but perhaps, just perhaps it was not of your doing. Maybe an outside agent has influenced you, brought about this alteration, neither seeking not obtaining our consent to this heinous act. Yes, that must be what it is for I know you would not willingly leave me. How could you? Why would you? Why leave what we have and leave me with so little when once we had so much? You have changed but it is at the sordid and filthy direction of another which gave you no choice. Did you warn me? Perhaps you did but I did not notice. Did you cry out and seek my help? Maybe you did but I was distracted and I did not hear. Tell me now, tell me how I can help you. I will do anything to win what we had back. That brilliant, loving, passionate and above all seemingly perfect union that you and I created before this change occurred.

Please, I am begging you, just tell me what I have to do. I am lost from ideas, I have no more ingenuity or guile to achieve what needs to be done and I need your assistance more than ever before. Don’t let them win, do not let those who are jealous of what we have, the green-eyed interlopers who have watched and waited for that moment to drive a wedge between us. Don’t let them make your change permanent. Fight, fight with me, for me so we can succeed and shine again. I cannot stand where we are now. The pain and weakness that sweeps me tears me apart, makes me feel disgusting and wretched. I cannot stand to be this way for it causes me such great distress as I look over to you watch you, unnoticed by you. You are not who I knew you once as. I do not recognise the person who sits across from me now. So much is alien, so much has become foreign. I don’t feel like I know you anymore. Or that I ever did.

 

All About You

I do find it fascinating that you take everything so personally. You complain about the amount of time which I spend playing a strategy game on my laptop or fiddling with my iphone. I am enjoying playing that game or connecting with people through social media on my Iphone, it is nothing against you. Just because I spend an entire afternoon cleaning, waxing and polishing my car, you go into a sulk. Why? The fact I really like my new car and take pride in keeping it looking good is surely a good thing isn’t it? You automatically assume that it is some kind of slur against you because I am outside buffing the bodywork and not sitting talking to you. I choose to go to the match with a few friends rather than go shopping with you and there is an almighty bust-up. Why is that? I like watching sport and shopping does not really interest me. In fact, I prefer to do my shopping online or if I do go to the stores, I go alone. That way I know what I want, I can go an buy it and then leave. In and out. The best method and preferable to dawdling along behind slow-walking people in a mall. Yet you seem to regard this choice of mine as some kind of stain against your character. It is not.

Even when we have one of our frequent arguments and I hurl insults at you, you always take them to heart. You should not do so. I may criticise your haircut or the jumper you are wearing, I may seize on a character trait and make that a source of a scathing remark against you and you go to pieces. There is no need. I do not actually see you. You are but an object to me and I insult everybody. I have no prejudices, I hate everybody equally. You happen to bear the brunt of these remarks because you spend more time with me. I do the same in the workplace or amongst certain friends. It is not personal to you at all, I am merely pressing the button on the relevant appliance to ensure that I am getting my fix of fuel. For some reason, you descend into a spiral of despair and question your self-esteem and worry about your self-worth. You sit with a trusted circle and recount the torments and insults (why do that? You are just pulling the scab off the wound) as you question why is it you that I am so awful to. It isn’t you. I have no concept of you. You and all the over appliances blur into one. You are machines for the production and provision of fuel. Perhaps if you started to remember that that is the case you would feel less troubled by my behaviour and remarks in the future. Try it, you never know you might just for once stop thinking that it is all about you.

Flies on the Windscreen

You know how much I like to drive my car. It is an impressive vehicle. It is fast, attractive and demonstrates to the world beyond just how superior I am to other road users as I surge past them with just the slightest pressure on the accelerator. Cocooned inside this metal shell I race from place to place in order to carry out my engagements. Gathering fuel in this place, ensuring a devaluation is doled out in that place and dropping by at the other place to open the passenger door and tempt you to clamber back in to the passenger seat with a winning smile and a reassurance that last time was a mistake. You remember last time don’t you? When I took you along the motorway and then dumped you there leaving you with a long walk back. How could you forget? You still have the blisters and the aching legs haven’t you? Well, climb in and allow me to ease your suffering. I promise I won’t leave you in the middle of the motorway again, distraught and facing a lengthy walk home. No, I am sorry about that. Why did I do that? Let’s not get into all that now, there is plenty to see and I would rather show you how good I can be than go over that old ground again. That was in the past and we both need to move on if we are going to make this work. I pat the leather seat invitingly as you hover by the passenger door. You look at it with a mixture of longing and wariness.

“You need to hurry up if you are getting in, there are plenty of others who want to sit there,”I observe as I look over your shoulder. You spin around and see several people, mainly women but some men, advancing towards you along the motorway. They are running and as they get nearer you can hear them shouting as they plead for me to wait. You stand for an instant and watch the nearing mob, limbs flailing as they hurtle towards us.

“They will soon be on you and they will trample you into the ground in order to get into here,” I warn.

This jolts you into action and you get into the car, slamming the door closed and pressing the lock button.

“Go, go!” you urge as the admiring mob gets ever closer. I smile to myself as I press down on the accelerator and we drive away leaving the disappointed mob stood in a cloud of dust and exhaust fumes as they watch you and I race away across the empty motorway ahead of us. I turn and look at you and already I can see that you feel comfortable as you sink into the luxury of the passenger seat. You have slipped your worn down and scuffed shoes off allowing your sore and blistered feet to sink into the thick carpet which lines your side of the car. I hear you give a little sigh of contentment as your tilt your head back.

“Always feels good to get back in this car doesn’t it?” I ask.

You nod and reach out a hand towards me touching me on the arm.

“It is a beautiful day,” I remark as I nod my head towards the windscreen. You give a little gasp as the clouded horizon which existed only a few moments ago has somehow vanished and you are staring at the bright blue sky and a golden, blazing sun.

“Where did that come from?” you wonder aloud and look at me. I say nothing but let you reach your own conclusion about how everything is always better when you are with me.

“Are you thirsty? You look parched,” I comment and motion to a drink held in one of the cup holders next to you. You pick it up and suck the cool, delicious liquid through the straw as I continue to hurtle along the motorway. You gaze out of the window as the embankments which normally grip the motorway and hide your view of what is beyond have now disappeared. Instead, you are afforded a breathtaking view of the undulating countryside which rolls away to the snow-topped hills in the distance. The land is kissed by golden light, full trees dotted here and there, the whole scene idyllic and just as you always imagine the countryside to look. It is as if I can read your thoughts and show you what you want to see. You have always thought that. I appear to have some sixth sense which enables me to create the very scene or environment that delights you the most and accords with what you want to see. You missed that when you were trudging along that bleak and grey motorway beneath the leaden firmament.

You continue to gaze through the windscreen, marvelling at the scenery outside, the beauty and the serenity breath taking, along with the absence of anyone else. Your eyes are wide looking at the vast scene that unfolds beyond the windscreen as you enjoy the comfort of my ride. So transfixed are you by what you see outside of my car you fail to notice the dots and specks which are forming on the windscreen. You are oblivious to the flies that smash against the glass, their insignificant lives obliterated in an instant by my driving forward at such speed and with such intent. The insects never saw me coming, flying along, blissfully unaware of what was hurtling towards them and would wipe them out in an instant. More and more bloody smears coat the windscreen and you still do not see them as they begin to mount up. I keep glancing at you but you are so transfixed by the beauty outside that the increasing death toll under your nose is going unnoticed. I do not activate the windscreen wash nor the wipers preferring to keep this carnage in full view, yet this obvious massacre is not countenanced by you. I allow myself a little smile as my test confirms what I knew would be the case. Just like a fly on the windscreen you have little idea just how close you are to such danger, how your existence hangs in the balance and how it is all down to me.