Black Or White But Never Grey

black-or-white

 

We all like to attach labels to people. People do it instinctively in respect of someone who they have just met, someone they have read about, a person they have known for a long time or someone they have seen on television. It is rare for someone to say that they do not have a view or an opinion about someone. Examples might include: –

“He’s a dependable chap, always there when you need him.”

“He’s a funny looking fellow.”

“She is very catty.”

“She is stunning looking.”

“A complete attention seeker.”

“A genius musician.”

“Really annoys me, I don’t know what it is but he does.”

Those are just classifications based on looks and personality. One can classify somebody by race, religion, birthplace, occupation, gender and so much more. Labels are used all the time as people are placed into boxes and compartments. Our kind do the same, but we differ in a fundamental way. We have an instant classification of people which is very straight forward. We will place people into further categories after this initial categorisation often using labels you would not and then we may well attach additional labels similar to the ones you use. What is this initial categorisation? It is simple. A person is either good or bad. That person is either with us or against us. They either do what we want or they do not. There are no ifs and maybes about these classifications. There is no grey with us when it comes to deciding into which camp someone should be placed. You are either white or black. You cannot be light grey, mid-grey or dark grey. We do not do the middling; it is one or the other. Let me give you some examples of those around me at the current time.

Julia (my boss) – Good

My mother – Bad

Paul (a lieutenant of longstanding) – Good

Andrea (predecessor primary supply) – Bad

Rachael(sister) – Good

Eric (colleague) – Good

Tania (lieutenant) – Good

Lesley (It Girl) – Bad

Elizabeth (litigious former girlfriend) – Bad

Phillip (lieutenant) – Good

Colin (competitor at work) – Bad

Not one of them am I indifferent to. You should be aware that this categorisation is based on my view of them irrespective of their behaviour towards me. Lesley for instance responded to a hoover a little while back and still messages me with pleasant comments from time to time. I play along as I am a far from finished with her but she is a bad person because of what she has done and moreover I know she will be looking for an opportunity to unseat me and seek some form of revenge over me as a consequence of my repeated thwarting of her ambitions. I know her game.

These categorisations are fluid. In fact, they are extremely fluid with some people, usually our intimate partners who are our primary sources of fuel. You may begin as a good person when I wake-up but by breakfast you are a bad person. Sometimes you will be utterly unaware of why your status has altered and it may appear capricious and arbitrary but it is not; you will have done something or failed to do something which has shifted your classification. Most often it is linked to your failure to provide me with fuel and therefore you will be designated a bad person and subjected to treatment in accordance with such a status; devaluation and denigration. Conversely, one can also move from bad to good in the blink of an eye. You won’t necessarily realise why this is, but we do. It is entirely logical to us.

As I mentioned once we have classified you as good or bad, we will classify you further, usually linked to the fuel you provide and how under our control you are. After that we will use similar labels to you – an interesting, handsome person and so on. Thus, take Paul my longstanding side kick. He is naturally a good person but I also regard him as a very good source of fuel, a highly reliable source of fuel and completely under my control, loyal and dedicated. My mother is a bad person. Whilst she is a good source of fuel for her emotional outbursts and temper tantrums, she is only fairly reliable. I have little control over her, she is a traitor and scheming to dethrone me, she has no concept of loyalty and is actively plotting against me. Thus whilst she may provide fuel the other factors cause her to be placed in the bad classification. I do not consider her to be grey just because she provides fuel but cannot really be controlled.

Why do we regard people in this manner? Why is it that we cannot take a holistic view of them? For instance, one might suggest that with the ex-girlfriend Lesley that she at one point was loving, dedicated and did much for me. Yes, she became a broken appliance and let me down, she also caused affront to me for which she must be repeatedly punished. She continues to try to be pleasant to me. Do I not look at this myriad of attributes and factors (plus more besides) and place her on some kind of spectrum between good and bad? No I do not. Why? Because my need of fuel is such I cannot have wishy-washy, amorphous classifications of people. This person is good – I can rely on them to give me positive fuel and do as I say. This person is bad – I can get negative fuel from them but I must be careful as they are plotting against me and seeking to avoid my control. This then enables me to apply my manipulations appropriately. It is also necessary to enable me to maintain my superiority and my self-worth. I need to keep those two aspects alive at all times. If you do not do what I want, you are calling into question my superiority. You are suggesting that I am worthless. Thus you are a bad person and I am the person who is admirable and worthy, you are wicked and evil. If you do as I want, you are confirming my superiority by submitting to my will. I am full of self-worth because you are acknowledging this by acting in accordance with my wishes. Deviate from that and you become a bad person.

You should have learned by now that because we look at the world through a different lens to you, there are many things that you will do (which you will not be aware about) which cause us to oscillate from regarding you as good to bad and then back to good, often in the space of an hour or less. This is all based on how we perceive your compliance to be. During our seduction of you, you are only ever a good person because you represent that wonderful potent source of positive fuel which we desire. You represent the prospect of an undimmed source unlike the bad person we are devaluing and about to discard. You always respond positively to our overtures, our love-bombing and you give us what we want. Hence you remain a good person. Those who are in our coterie, our lieutenants and those who form our façade remain good people. Challenge us, defy us or even worse see through us and you are challenging our need for superiority and self-worth and you must automatically be designated as a bad person, irrespective of what may have come before, that would create a more complex view. You failed to do what we want; you are a bad person. You then change and do what we want, you become a good person. It is a simple and necessary classification that we utilise.

     Accordingly, everything is either good or bad with our kind. Admittedly, though it usually turns ugly as well….

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15 thoughts on “Black Or White But Never Grey”

  1. Borderlines use this classification too. I either like you or i dislike you depending on how you treat me. I don’t prefer to use the word ‘hate’ unless the person has very unfairly betrayed and hurt me. However, i am starting to form a gray area, realizing that i should remember and value the times when the person has been good or neutral towards me.
    HG, i hope i am good in your books. If i ever deviate frm being good, let me know and i will work on my mistakes, be it here on the blog.

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    1. I am getting very efficient at this “gray area”, too. I do not wish to hate anyone. I love everyone. Sometimes people make me very angry, though, in how they treat me, or my loved ones. Sometimes it makes me feel furious, and I do not know how to handle such rage and fury. When I was very young, I handled it very badly; I even got kicked out of school, and had to be sent to a private school. But, I am more mature, now.

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  2. HG, I have noticed an interesting phenomenon with narcissists I am engaged with. Would love a comment if you have time. What I have noticed , and this happens exclusively during phone calls, is that I will step outside my normal catering to them routine, make some sort of request of them that to a neurotypical would be no big deal, and the phone will suddenly go dead. Being a source of great fuel I always assumed the sudden disconnect was some sort of a connection problem and called them back right away. Now, having read your article, I’m starting to wonder if my request for some sort of reciprocity from them ( in the latest instance I asked this narc if he would mind picking me up at my house rather than just meeting at the event, given that I am providing event tickets AND dinner) just throws them ( because in a split second I have gone from good to bad) and they hang up on me until such time as they can figure out how to regain the power position and be in control again. Is this analysis valid? Is the sudden disconnect / hanging up the phone another tactic in the narc’s tool kit?

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  3. if you see black and white, do you also believe yourself to only be black or white to others?

    most people cannot comprehend something they haven’t experienced being real for another so it makes me wonder.

    i’m sorry for my constant questioning. i do not intend to annoy, just understand.

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    1. You are always welcome to ask questions PetiteFromage. No I recognise that people will regard me in different ways, but all I require is white at certain times and black at others and never ever clear.

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  4. If we do what you want, it is because we love you and want to please you, and, because we want to do it. It certainly does not mean that we submit to your will, or that we accept your superiority. Such thoughts had never even crossed my mind before I educated myself on narcissism – that is not at all how we tick!

    If we don’t do what you want, it is because we do not agree with your words or actions, and refuse to go along. It has nothing to do with our perception of you as a person, let alone your worth as a person!!

    It’s no wonder that you react so strongly to any perceived criticism, if you believe that a refusal to comply with your wishes was due to us thinking you were worthless!! This makes it a matter of life and death in your eyes, an attempt to obliterate you. This is your assumption, and it could not be further from the truth.

    You need to find a way to establish a sense of self-worth which is not dependent on how others respond to you. Then, you would not be at the mercy of their reactions anymore…

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  5. So, would you say that the only hope for an empath, a co-dependent or a people-pleaser is to aspire to be bad in your eyes, i.e., to work overtime to ensure that you are angered, your wishes are not met, etc etc. Would this cause you to look elsewhere for positive fuel?

    At the moment, I am actively doing this with my family, not giving in to their wishes… deliberately, even the most benign of wishes. I am going out of my way to piss them off. I am no longer going to furnish them with positive fuel – from now onwards, if they get in contact with me, its negative fuel all the way. I am trying to go fully No Contact.

    I want to look very very bad in their eyes, coz pleasing them just means I never get to live my life and the goodness of my heart ends up being taken advantage of over and over again.

    Not being a good girl anymore…lol!

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    1. Negative fuel is welcome also.

      If you kept giving me negative fuel each time I contacted you, I would keep coming back.

      No Contact is the answer or contact with no fuel.

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  6. Hi HG,
    Just re-read this article and it makes perfect sense from your world. However, if “If you do as I want, you are confirming my superiority by submitting to my will.” your IPPS always say’s “Amen” to all you say and do, wouldn’t that get boring after awhile? No one to contradict a discussion or to have another opinion? What do you think?
    Thanks,

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