The Power of Demise

 

the-power-of-demise

 

“As long as I have a want. I have a reason for living. Satisfaction is death.”

So said George Bernard Shaw. To us satisfaction is not death but we derive satisfaction from death, the death of others. I wrote about how I rarely attend funerals and explained the reasons why, but that is not to say that we will not use the instances of dying and of death to our distinct advantages. Indeed, where the spectre of death looms waiting to cut that last slender link between the person and life, with his sharpened scythe, our kind come crawling from the woodwork in order to avail ourselves of the copious fuel that is available. Should you see one of our kind re-appear after an absence, there is a reasonable chance that the sickly sweet smell of death has attracted us.

Should we learn that a family member or friend is about to shuffle off this mortal coil, then this presents a marvellous opportunity for our kind. To begin with, the façade can be maintained through demonstrating false compassion about the circumstances of the person whose demise is imminent. We know all the phrases to rollout to the procession of visitors and comforters who are drawn to the bed of the dying individual. We delight in keeping a vigil besides this person even though we may not have bothered with them in years. Should someone be as bold to question why we have appeared now of all times after remaining away, we will seize on such an unwarranted observation to castigate the questioner.

“How can you ask such a thing like that, at a time like this?”

“This isn’t about me; it is about Uncle Malcolm.” (How we say this with a straight face still surprises me.)

“You can talk, what have you done for her lately?” (Which will be asked even if we know that the questioner has been a total rock to the dying individual)

Our response will be designed to draw an emotional reaction and allow us to drink of the fuel provided.

We will provide the rudimentary appearance of caring, although it is all for show. We will of course leave the heavy lifting work to other people. We are not there to change the pus-ridden bandages or sooth the fevered brow. We will not clean up after someone soils themselves or spills food and drink down their front from shaking, tremulous hands. Not at all, but we will do what we do best and shower words of empty kindness, false compassion and fake consideration towards the ill individual. This makes us look good in the eyes of all assembled and their nods of approval and muttered thanks not only provides us with fuel but adds to the façade’s maintenance. We are a good stick for travelling all this way (we were coming anyway for another reason) and offering such eloquent words of comfort to all assembled.

Watch us as we move amidst family members, friends, colleagues and neighbours who turn up to see if they can help as we position ourselves as gatekeepers. Nobody gains admittance without seeing us first so that we may suck in the fuel that comes with such a heightened emotional situation. Tearful siblings, stern-faced uncles, bewildered cousins all ripe for us to send a pleasant and supportive comment towards, purely to receive their thanks, gratitude and approval.

We will not allow the person whose sands of time are running out to inhabit centre stage one last time as we camp on to their ground, usurping them through an exhibition of apparent concern and compassion. Watch carefully and you will see that we do not actually do anything for the dying person, that is not our role, there are minions for that and it is all beneath us. Instead, we see this as a chance to draw fuel and appear to be a supportive individual who is pulling everyone together and ensuring that the dying person’s final days are as happy and as comfortable as possible.

We have seen enough times what needs to be said in order to produce the tears, the slowly dipped head and the weak smile, the attempt to be brave despite the heavy sadness. Inside we do not feel this as we greet each person. We feel empowered at the fuel that flows. We hover by the bed, watching over the new arrival’s interaction with our charge, commenting on what we have been doing for them (in fact it will be someone else who has cared for them but we are content to take the credit) so we gain additional approval and thanks. We regard these visitors as having come really to see us, to thank us for our work, our generosity and our greatness, rather than the dying, shrivelled person in the bed nearby. Like some morbid cuckoo we appear and take over this person’s final act, claiming it for ourselves, our fuel lines snaking towards anybody and everybody who appears.

Of course there even remains the opportunity to draw fuel from the dying individual. Though they may look at us through morphine-hazed eyes and mumble medicated words which are difficult to discern, the tightness of their grip on our arm or hand tells us plenty about how they appreciate what we are doing. As their time on this world draws to a close, we still see the chance to pull some fuel from this person as we trot out the familiar platitudes at a time like this. We do not say them to convey comfort, but only to ensure that appreciation, gratitude and thanks comes our way and in turn fuels us.

As guardian and comforter-in-chief we position ourselves at the centre of everything during this period. We do little but direct others and issue our spoken commands and observations, all of which being self-serving. We will endeavour to create yet more fuel by leaning in low and listening intently as the dying person speaks, perhaps their last words as we nod and gently pat them with our hand, the chosen one for their final speech. We will take these words and use them to our advantage. Should the grieving widow, let’s call her Emily ask what her now departed husband said, we might dismiss his actual words and say,

“He said, tell Emily I am sorry for what I did.”

Her look of confusion at our false utterance will provide fuel. Alternatively, we might say,

“He said, tell Rose I love her so, so much.”

Her puzzled look as she asks “Who is Rose?” generates a further dollop of fuel.

Then again, we may pretend that some huge secret has been imparted to us and that we cannot say what it is in order to draw questioning and attention to ourselves.

Indeed, there may be instances where there is that last chance to draw some negative fuel, to make those dimmed eyes flares one last time in shock, hurt and confusion. An opportunity to lean in close and whisper a final caustic sentence, designed to consign this wretched person to spend their final moments in torment, unable to respond effectively, their grimaces and clawing indicative of the discomfort that has been caused by the parting savagery that has been gently spoken into their ear. A parting burst of negative fuel which underlines our sense of omnipotence that we can still achieve this even at a time like this. Such an act is usually saved for someone who we truly believe deserves it.

I have watched in my time a master practitioner at such behaviours. From silent child made to sit and observe, through to knowledgeable adult who can see straight through this veneer and who knows what is really being done. I have seen all these moves, actions and behaviours meted out by this supposed bastion of compassion and all the while I knew what was really going on.

I may not have copied those behaviours extensively myself – usually because time has never permitted me to spend such days providing such a vigil – but I have seen it when younger and snapshots when older, as well as recollections from others which all fits together. I know what she does. When she arrives, immaculately attired, heels clicking away on the floor as she assumes centre stage, I focus on that click click clicking and know that the death watch beetle has arrived.

I have learned and I may yet choose to apply those lessons should the need arise, but I know for sure that I will seek that last fountain of negative fuel before the death rattle. I know who I will save my choice comment for in order to achieve that satisfaction from death.

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22 thoughts on “The Power of Demise”

  1. When I read about telling the widow that the husband was like “tell x I love her”
    At first it made me laugh, but after a minute I was like wow that’s bordering on criminal.
    The person who said that must have a lot of self control to see the confusion and sadness on the widow’s face and not crack a smirk of other expression.

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  2. This is abhorrent. But necessary to remind us what lies behind the normal façade in absolutely every situation.

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  3. I was holding my breath til the very end of that HG!
    You make me feel like I am in your life. I was even afraid of the clicking of the heels. I would have been terrified of your mother.

    What terrible memories you relive. I can’t imagine growing up the way you did. You should having been learning how to love and not how to gather fuel on someone’s deathbed.

    I bet you have known for sometime what your final words to your mother will be. Whatever your plan is I hope it brings you some closure, peace, revenge, or whatever you are looking for.

    Thanks for sharing that HG. I always like to hear your personal stories and to understand why you do what you do.

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  4. To your mother I can just imagine you muttering under your breath, ‘we know that you are going to die, so we won’t say get well, we’ll just say goodbye’

    As for your own death….. Goodness I seriously only hope it is one of your own kind you save your choice words for and not to torture an empath for the rest of their days.

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  5. My Father’s Mothers family, narcness monsters. Every funeral….let the competition commence. Loved watching it. It was like tele novella. That side comes from Spain. Drama embedded in the DNA. They would always have a huge party, music, dancing after the big Catholic shindig in old creepy haunted church. Taking pictures of the dead in the casket, then later on at the party they would get out the book and compare to other dead relatives as to who looked better dead. OMG! Yes I am a product of these people. Especially when my 2 great uncles would arm wrestle or do push ups because they were in their 70s and still had stamina. Ugh! It was a laugh a minute. I’d sometimes bring a friend just so they knew I wasn’t bullshithing. Fun times.

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  6. I am pretty sure you will not get satisfaction. When my (LV) mother died, I assumed I would get some form of closure and for a brief period I did. When she was in hospital I felt pity and thought that the past did not matter. Now I realise that I will never get the apology I wanted, I will never get the explanation I need. I also know that I never would have those things even if she were to live forever. It was not in her makeup to recognise the damage she inflicted – she only saw how events affected her.
    Don’t imagine that your tiny piece of revenge will, in any way, make you feel better. It won’t change the past and it will be meaningless. In fact, she may get more out of it than you.

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    1. Flickatina (30 Jan.9.37 AM), please change your view to your mother. It is not necessary, that she gave you an apology. Look on yourself. You did best. You have your explanation. She was a sick woman. Be your own healthy mother. Tell yourself, what a loving mother would say to you. You do not need this apology anymore. You are much more, than she could ever be. You are able to feel compassion, love, responsibility. You do not envy anybody else….. Do not ask for an apology by a person, who is defect in some way. You did your way, although you had a Matrinarc, you are someone! She pretended to be someone. That is a huge difference. Be proud of yourself.
      My Matrinarc is still alive, I do not ask for any help or apology anymore and she feels it. I am polite but that is all. She notices that she has no influence anymore, sometimes she tries, but ….She knows she has lost me. And that is a bitter pill for her to swallow.

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    2. FLICKATINA
      Aw and things were going so well….. but heres the brutal truth. I still get a Supernova burst of power when I think about him lying in that bed waiting to die. Powerless, dependent, and a hostage of sorts as the hours ticked away. My favorite times when the others would leave and trust him to my care because after all- I am the moral one, the one they turn to, who was so against how he was that surely I would be better than him at this time. Wrong. My only regret is that I didnt have more time to share more memories with him when he could only slur sounds back. I am full of fire (power) even writing this and it feels AWESOME recalling it. And no I dont fear God (where was he when I endured my abuse and why was I chosen as a child to suffer it). I suffered hell on Earth at his hands so fear nothing on my death. I think having that time was what kept me going at times. Even as a child I dreamed about him being trapped in a wheelchair or being dependent on me in some way. Sorry but thats the honest truth. If that makes me a Narc then make me up a t-shirt and I’ll join the team.

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      1. I think we must all deal with these things in our own way. Am I glad she is dead? In a way yes. I am relieved that I do not have to deal with her anymore. I do feel a certain freedom. And this is eight and a half years on. The compassionate part of me is sorry the last two weeks of her life were unpleasant.

        But I still rage internally from time to time that she could not see what she was and could not accept responsibility. She was the parent, I was the child. She had a responsibility. And as a mother – it cuts even deeper.

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      2. NarcANGEL:
        Wow …. yeah, you can join my team … When my father was dying, he was at home with my (narc-)mother taking care of him. My mother made me come visit shortly before his death. I didn’t want to and only stayed a few minutes. It wasn’t a nice sight, he was kind of … shriveled. I believe that my mother didn’t give him enough water (she’s a horrible nurse, but I have no idea if on purpose or not).
        However: I didn’t feel anything but relief. I didn’t care that nobody took care of him well enough.
        He was drugged (morphine) anyways. I don’t know if he recognized me.
        But so see him sooo helpless and small and shrunken … was a kind of revelation.
        His funeral was soo fake, my sisters on xanax or whatever, … I still not feeling anything.
        He even abused me (verbally/emotionally) when I was trying to help him when he got ill. So … no, no sympathy anymore.

        I will never ever forgive my mother that she did NOT call me when my beloved grandfather was dying, though. 🙁 He died with only my cold-hearted grandmother around, and he did not deserve that.

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  7. Have you ever personally twisted, misrepresented, or withheld someone’s last words to torment the bereaved (just for fuel), HG?

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  8. Oh, this is SO my mother. I believe the death of others make her feel stronger, powerful.
    I am pretty sure she would be pleased if I died before she does. It would give her the feeling that she won. Of course, she would pretend to be devastated. Me committing suicide would have been the best option for her (not that I am suicidal) as that would have been the proof to the whole family that I am mentally unstable. That would have given her so much fuel.
    The image of this post is SO apt.

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  9. This is so accurate! Most narcissists I know never miss a funeral and love to visit people in hospital, although they do not do anything to help them.
    They know how to market themselves effectively. 🙂

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  10. I cannot read it all as I am stopped by the first few paragraphs. I have been growing more and more sure that my mother is a narc. Can you tell me something? my brother died unexpectedly from long term alcohol and drug abuse. Just died unexpectedly. My mother created massive drama around his cremation as an autopsy was required. What she then did the night before the service, she and one of my brother’s friends arranged for all his buddies and her and my sister and her family to show up at favorite pub of his the night before. I found it incredibly disturbing and distasteful. I had wanted to not even have alcohol at his service and not because I don’t drink. It seemed so much in poor taste. So what does she do? She who would ply him with alcohol while telling him he has a problem? Goes to a pub. She is there the center of attention I am sure. I did not go. My father did not go as they do not get along and are divorced. So only she had all the mourning attention. And the result was the next day, most of those people did not even go to the service. They felt they had paid their respects. For the life of me, I could never figure out, why a ‘party’ before the service? Isn’t a drink fest what you do AFTER? Except that she would be the star of all the attention. She would be the one to receive ALL the attention as the mother. Yes?

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    1. It had to be all about her. So she made it so in order to gain fuel and head off part of the spotlight falling on your brother at the funeral. She gained fuel the evening prior AND she set up provocation with you to gain more fuel as she knew you would be disgusted by her actions.

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      1. I had one request for the service when she asked. No alcohol. Next I hear, some big pub gig is planned. And to my request, I get a scathing “well, that is like the pot calling the kettle black. I worried about you drinking on your visit last time [i used to have an afternoon drink to escape her]. Her mother was an alcoholic. Once did not even recognize her. She abandoned my brother when he was about 13 to run off with another man. He was a mama’s boy. That is when he stared to cope with his pain by drinking. I thought mourning a life at a pub was like going to a shooting range to mourn the death of someone who had been shot at a range. Its like a story out of “People of the Lie”. And it was even to extract fuel from ME?

        I spent my life running from her in tears (like the tears you send others off with). Frustrated tears and she would just sit there acting like she was totally clueless. My entire life story has changed for me. Nothing was EVER what I thought it was. I was never to blame for failing to get it, she was to blame for being an empty human being.

        Wow HG. I had someone who was also waking up to realizing they had a narc mother, whose brother committed suicide at 16 tell me that this is why she did it. but to hear it confirmed this way in this entire post…

        how profoundly sad. my brother never had a chance. and I only realized what was really going on too late. I had been catching on to the triangulation. To the smearing disguised as busy body gossip and more. But I was too late to understand the pathology. My poor brother.

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      2. You brought incredibly sad tears to my eyes. I want to cry for hearing the truth of this all from yet another source. He never stood a chance at a real life.

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