Chameleon

 

CHAMELEON

 

Chances are you are reading this on your mobile ‘phone, a tablet or a laptop, enjoying the mobility that is provided by accessing content such as this from an electronic device. You might be at home, curled up on the sofa or you quite possibly are reading this sat on a stool in the kitchen waiting for a pan to boil or a microwave to go ping. Alternatively, you may be on the bus or train, perusing this latest piece of writing with other people nearby and passing you by. Can you see the bus driver? You can. How did you know that it was him? By virtue of his position at the steering wheel of the vehicle, obviously. His uniform and company livery on his shirt, jumper or jacket might also tell you his role. You may be stopped at a station or some traffic lights and you can see a police officer handling an enquiry, marshalling the traffic, handing out a ticket or just casting a watching eye over the world around him or her. How did you know that he or she is a police officer? The uniform stands out most distinctly, as it is intended to do. Easy to spot isn’t he?

How about the man sat across from you? Who is he and what does he do? He is engrossed in the content of his tablet but you can see that he isn’t reading but is looking at some charts. An analyst maybe? A salesman checking his sales performance? A statistician looking over the latest data concerning crime rates in the city? He could be any of those couldn’t he but you could make an educated guess as to his role. What about the lady who is getting on the bus now, what can you tell about her? She is struggling with a buggy and two large bags of shopping as she is ensuring a toddler also clambers on board. Most likely a housewife and clearly a mother. You can see a wedding band on one of her fingers so she is married. Her husband is probably at work as she attends to the running of the house. You have gathered all that in a moment.

Perhaps you are walking home and as you scroll through this article you notice that someone is walking behind you. You lower your ‘phone and look over your shoulder to see a well-dressed gentleman walking briskly along carrying a briefcase. You do not regard him as a threat and you resume looking at your ‘phone as he catches you up and then passes you without incident. Your assessment of him was proven correct. Just like the time you approached a subway late at night and saw half a dozen tracksuit wearing youths hovering nearby. You were taller than them and older than them but something about the way they were stood made you realise that they were looking for trouble so you decided against taking the subway and found a different route albeit longer and circuitous but your safety mattered more than your aching feet.

You evaluate and assess everyone you meet. In conversations with friends you sit and listen and look for visual cues that they are interested in what you are saying. Poker players scrutinise their opponents as they look for the “tells” to assist their gameplay. Boxers stare into one another’s eyes before the bout begins seeing who will break off the stare first and concede a psychological advantage to his opponent. Judges watches witnesses carefully and through their facial expressions they are given hints as to whether the witness is giving his or her evidence in a truthful manner, this observation allowing the judge to assess the veracity of the witness. In bed with your intimate partner you will watch their face and listen to the sounds they make to ascertain what is working for them and what you should do more of. You can tell by the way somebody is walking through the office that with shoulders hunched and head down they are not in the mood to be approached and asked a question about a forthcoming meeting. That person in the corner of the room at the party is staring at the floor feeling too shy to speak to people. Each and every day you assess hundreds of people and make an instant decision as to who they are, whether you like them, whether you want to help them or if they present a threat to you. You instinctively know that certain ways the eyes look amounts to a warning, the slope of the mouth denotes irritation, the tilt of the head confirms a certain cockiness. The way someone stands, sits, walks and gesticulates all tells you something which you process in an instant. You gather so much from a lifetime of watching nostrils flare, lips thin, chins jut, brows furrow and eyes widen. Assessment after assessment is made and invariably accurate ones which enable you to negotiate your way through the day, through life as you interact with so many people in your private life, in business and socialising. You are highly adept at reading the signals, working people out and anticipating what will happen next. It is a highly developed and impressive skill.

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62 thoughts on “Chameleon”

  1. Thank you HG for writing this. Yes, many of us have been “created” to do this from a very young age. Looking for “the tell”, clues to lives we know nothing about, the hint of danger or reward, authenticity or fraud or something in-between. Clues on how to behave, how to respond, how to protect ourselves. Growing up with a parent that was depressed when I was a child and a very stoic father, I learned to see the microexpression. I saw them all over the place. I didn’t really know, consciously what I was doing, no. In fact, at times I did not know that I was picking up those expressions and “vibes”. I just knew my gut told me to run, or it ached in fear or dread or relaxed in safety at differing times. Only now as an adult do I know that I picked up on these signals, which may also be “vibes” as well. In my ex narcissist, I saw the slips of the mask, the microsecond flash of rage, the split second twisted smile of contentment from getting one over me, or the look of disgust. Then there was the blank face. This one terrified me the most. I think because it gave me nothing, no information. Perhaps the feeling of being “non human” or unfamiliar or the unknown…the root of all fear really. That look that cannot be read…only felt.

    This past weekend, I witnessed my grandson (who has high functioning autism) give a look of death. It was purposeful directed anger with such an intensity that it was intimidating, like a predator. Now, he is not a predator, mind you, he is 5. However, this look could tear your soul. He gave it to a stranger. He had a staring contest with a stranger, an adult older woman who he tugged her pony tail. It was a truce and he turned around, pouted, as he did not win (or lose!), and said “I do not like her”. I bust out laughing. The energy from those eyes…wow. It made me think of you, HG, and your “Cookie jar” stare. There are so many reasons we direct eye contact with various intensities. To socially communicate and to socially dominate (or submit). It never ceases to fascinate me.

    My profession, ironically, also assesses facial expressions and eye contact a lot. It is an expertise of mine. And, boy, the eyes have it!

      1. Oh Goody!! BTW, your younger brother is the one that says “Cool beans” too, right? And his favorite cookie is cinnamon? For real, that is mine as well. He sounds like a good egg.

      2. HG, i respect the love you have for your brother. You really got the ‘it’ girl good! You can be a good man who helps those who show you love and respect.

  2. I believe narcs have this skill too, do they not HG? Especially since you’ve been studying facial expressions all your life?

  3. Well thanks to you I walk around with a lot more awareness. I pay attention to who’s around me and I am always thinking what’s their agenda?
    I have moved to the other side of the spectrum.
    Can’t be too careful now.
    I’m starting to understand your black and white thinking and extremes.

    1. Snow, your beautiful and open heart is what makes you You. It is great to have awareness but I hope you have not changed that essential element within you. ❤

      1. Thanks Love! You always make me feel good❤️
        It’s hard to find the balance. I wish I could walk around again making eye contact thinking that everyone was as nice as me. I still think that they all have an agenda. I still love my sunglasses! Lol
        My heart is still damaged.

        Tomorrow is one year that I said goodbye to my ex and I am struggling with who I am. So many things have changed. How I feel, how I think, and what I believe in. Soo many thoughts and emotions are flowing through me.
        I will be pouring my heart out tomorrow.
        So thankful for this blog to get everything out. And for everyone who understands
        ❤️💜💜❤️️

      2. Thanks Jenna! ❤️
        Glad to hear your PTSD symptoms are gone. I can’t wait til I see zero trace of mine.

      3. Snow White Happy Anniversary! I do hope your day has been as wonderful as you are!

      4. Hi Twilight!
        Awwwww…Thank you.
        It really means so much to me to have people like you reach out to me. All your stories and experiences that match mine are priceless. I wouldn’t have made it without this place. Not one single person off this blog has been able to understand what I went through.

        I have been reading some very entertaining, graphics posts on here lately that have distracted me. Lol
        Poor HG for having to sort through them.
        Sending you hugs❤️🍎❤️

      5. Aww thanks Snow White
        I am sure many others have been way more helpful then I. Yet you are right many do not understand what happens in these relationships.
        HG has created a wonderful place to get the answers and support from others. And entertainment from time to time.
        I agree HG does a marvelous job at keeping things productive, considering he does have a professional and private life to.
        Hugs right back! 🤗

      6. Snow White
        How is your daughter doing? You both have been in my thoughts recently. I do hope her recovery is progressing quickly and smoothly.

      7. Hi Twilight/Dawn!!!!
        Thank you soooo much. She has been to PT and Orthopedic. Next is a neurologist.
        It’s starting to sound like my experience. Nobody seems to be able to pinpoint the exact problem. She is feeling better though and I’m still pushing therapy. Lol
        And I have been reading lots of abuse posts here and I’m sorry you had to experience that. I can’t even imagine.
        I appreciate that you have us in your thoughts.
        ❤️🍎❤️

      8. Hello Snow White

        I am so glad to hear she is feeling better. I understand seeing various doctors and not getting answers to why. At times it can be very frustrating.

        Yes many posts dealing with abuse, many emotions have been running high here. Something’s are best never experienced.

        Hope your weekend is amazing!

      9. Snow, sending you warm wishes and prayers for all your ptsd symptoms to completely depart. 🙏💖💜💖

      10. I second that! Happy One year, Snow!!!!

        I used to celebrate my leaving my first relationship as my personal independence day. My recent ex is actually on July 4th, LOL. Do something celebratory for you!!

      11. Hey Indy!!!!!
        Thanks!
        I spent my day in the gym so I would be sweating my ass off and not having time to think about last year at this time.
        My daughter just reminded me that I should be happy that I got out before I would have married a polygamist sociopath narcissist. LOL…. that did make me smile. In between the tears.

        July 4th is the perfect day for that to fall on. A whole day for you to celebrate. You can relax and have a drink in the beautiful warm sunshine.

        I enjoyed your recent story of your grandson and his stare. It sounds like he is doing just fine.

        I’m getting ready to make some energy balls… reminded me of the brownies.😂
        At this one year mark I think of all the dietary changes that I have had to make. The trauma really left damage to my insides. I’m now eating all clean foods and finally starting to feel that I’ve got it right. I would love to know why my dietary needs changed sooo much.
        HG talks about how they take advantage of our five senses and they definitely damage every part of our body and soul.
        Have a great evening! ❤️🍎❤️

      12. Hi Snow!!
        I’m glad you coped with something healthy and something that gets all that trapped energy out! What is an energy ball?

        The diet: I have a theory on why we may be more susceptible to food intolerances after abuse- have levels of cortisol chronically from stress. It hurts our immune system, weakens us physically. It can trigger autoimmune issues if you are vulnerable to them, like me. I’m currently dairy and gluten intolerant. When I eat them now, I experience mass joint pain and migraines and my energy is sapped. I’m slowly healing though😊 I’m hoping to be able to add these foods back (nonGMO) in 6-8 months. We will see. Those darned narcissists though, hearty and healthy as ever! I think that is also due to biology, naturally low stress response in sociopaths in particular means less cortisol. Lucky ducks!! 😊
        We will get through this though, I have hope!!!
        Hugs, hearts and Red Delish

      13. Good evening Indy.
        No bake energy ball bites have oats, coconut flakes, peanut butter, flax seeds, you can use vegan chocolate chips, vanilla, and honey. You roll them all up into a ball. Many different variations.

        Glad you are starting to feel better. It’s been a slow preocess like everything else but I can see the progress and improvement. I didn’t think anything of it in the beginning but after everyone started sharing here I found it to be another interesting piece to the puzzle.
        Yes, just like you say, the narcs are healthy and out enjoying all their meals.
        I will be living through your hope Indy!!
        And by next year I might be marching with you. Lol 😂
        Many many hugs

      14. “Cooking with Empaths” hehe. They do say that food made with “love” and blood of empaths is better tasting! With that said, there are a lot of narcissistic chefs out there!

      15. Thank you Snow! I will try the yummy energy balls.

        I am actually marching again this month, April 22, for advocating science knowledge, funding and awareness as this administration is planning on cutting a lot of funding for very important research across the board that is funded by the NIH and NIMH, including medical, mental health and environmental stuff. We need more research into how we develop deseases and how to prevent or lessen them, if not cure in some cases. Autism research is potentially at risk. A lot of work I personally do could be impacted by these cuts, combined with healthcare coverage threats. Further, anyone who rejects climate research is rejecting a lot of science and is putting our military at risk. The Navy and Coast Guard depends on climate research (my ex-narcissist used to do this type of work). Ok, ok, I will get off my box now. I know there are a lot of varying views here. Anywho, Indy the Marcher will be marching on April 22 for science funding. And again in June in DC for LGBTQQ rights and legislation.

        I will resist sharing any baking fun 😉 for HG’s sake. However, he seemed quite OK talking about meat pies and how amazing they are and how they are thrown at the opposing team supporters (Crazy Brits!) Popcorn is meant for throwing, pies with all those juices are injurious weapons equivalent to napalm!!

        Now, where was I, oh yes….creating some more chants for the next rally. LOL

        Sending hope to us all, good vibes!

        Hugsssss and cinnamon apples in a PIE!

      16. Hello Indy!!!!
        😂😂😂😂😂
        Marching and meat pies.
        I was dying laughing.

        I was picturing HG as the baker and all the empaths as gingerbread men.
        Eating us up one by one.

        I 100% agree with all the marches that you will be attending. There are so many things to fight for now.
        I was just talking to one of our state region support teams for special ed and she was telling me about the laws recently changed and some that could be changing in the future.
        I could go in and on about research that needs done and talk about LGBTQQ rights all day but I’ll stop here. LOL

        Hugssss and apple chips🍎🍎

      17. We get each other! Yeah, these will be bumpy times for medical/mental health research and LGBTQQ and POC and women. Some will see it, some will not (particularly those with certain types of social privilege). We all just need to hold tight and hold on to those we love. 🙂
        ((((Hugs))))

      18. Indy, i’m sorry to hear you developed food intolerances due to your narc relationship. I wish you the best of health. 💖

      19. Thanks, Jenna, though I am very reluctant to out right say that my food intolerances were “due” to the relationship. It is likely more accurate to say they were intensified (along with my body pain and autoimmune symptoms) by being in a chronically stressful and abusive situation due to increased cortisol. Just a theory, just a theory. And, I appreciate your kind sentiment.
        Hugs

      20. Indy, I love your theory. It makes sense. I think socio/psycho/narcopaths were an evolutionary answer to cope with survival and massive changes in our world (from living in caves and hunting, to nomadic life, to wars, and any other chaos). Honestly, I think they’ll be the only survivors of an apocalypse.
        I realize I’ve been in survival mode for most of my life. So no health problems came to surface. Now that I’ve had almost a year of narc-free life, my body is turned upside down. I don’t know if it is withdrawal, or boredom from not being on a never-ending roller coaster, or it is my body attempting to expel the lifelong amount of negativity and stress. I’m using eastern medicine to hopefully help find the answer.

      21. Happy Anniversary, Snow!!! I know it hasn’t been an easy journey for you, but I am so proud of you for coming so far. I just went through my one year anniversary, as well, but unfortunately, I had a two for one anniversary. The first being on March 27, which was the day I was discarded, and the second being Easter Sunday, which was March 27 last year. A lot has changed in a year for me. I just sold my townhouse that the ex-N was a huge part of. He was with me when I signed the papers and he gave his input as far as decorating ideas. I’m really looking forward to starting a new life without all the memories attached to where I’m going to be living. It’s also going to be a huge relief for me knowing that he will no longer have an idea where I’m living when he decides, someday down the road, to hoover. Snow, I wish you continued growth and peace in your life and may all of your memories subside, as well. Take care, Snow; and again, HAPPY ANNIVERSARY!!! 🙂

      22. Hello Braveheart!!!!
        Thank you for all the wonderful things you just said. ❤️❤️❤️
        It has been a long year and just like you it took a lot to get here. No one else could understand what this year was like for us except for someone who lived it.
        Thinking about the past year and my relationship has been very emotional and I couldn’t even continue to read some of the articles in the past few weeks because it would just bring tears.
        I hate to admit it but I still miss her some days.
        I have made great progress but there is still a lot of work to be done. I’m still in therapy and in some ways I won’t ever be the same.
        Unfortunately I have the same two anniversaries like you. May 1st is the other one for me. It was when I arranged to meet my ex and said my goodbyes.
        I am very proud of you as well. You are moving in a great direction. It’s exciting to relocate and to start making new memories. I hope that there are many new ones in your future.
        You deserve it!!!
        I wish you all the best and Happy Anniversary back!!!!
        Many hugs ❤️🍎❤️

      23. Thank you, Snow. I completely understand the feelings you had, and still have, over losing someone so harshly that you loved so deeply. Like you, I still feel emotional and afflicted at times, when I allow myself to think of all that I went through, including the times when I thought he loved me as much as I loved him. I’ve also come to the conclusion that I, more than likely, will always have a place in my heart for him and I will probably always miss him, as well. As much as I understand what type of person he is now, it’s just not that easy to change my feelings in even a years time. I may have mentioned this to you already, but my therapist told me that I very well could be one of those people who’s 90 years old, rocking in my rocking chair, and still thinking about him. I hope to meet someone someday who can take all that away from me, but it’s really the least of my concerns right now. I’m just trying to be honest with myself and my feelings at this point in my life and part of that is admitting that he may always be a part of me, just like HG has mentioned in other articles. I think that’s what makes all of this so hard. The thought that they can walk away with no feelings of attachment whatsoever. It’s all so very surreal to me still, at times.

        Hugs back to you!!!

      24. Good evening Braveheart!
        We think very much alike and I couldn’t have said that any better.
        I know it’s dangerous to think about but I believe I will be like you and she will always be in my heart.
        We will see how we are both doing in one more year. Lol
        One day at a time.
        I hope someone will be in that rocking chair next to you that you love. ❤️❤️

      25. It will be interesting to find out where we are in a years time that’s for certain. I believe we’re going to be much better off, than we are even now, because we’re striving to learn all we can about who we are and the boundaries we need to anchor in place. I know for a fact we won’t go backwards because we’re strong, educated, confident women who now know and believe that we don’t deserve what happened to us. Let’s make sure we check in with each other next Easter to share how far we’ve come. In the meantime, I’ll be cheering you on throughout the year! Best wishes to you every day sweet lady and always take care of you first! 🤗💞

      26. Hi Braveheart!
        How are you?
        I am just getting caught up from being away.
        I would love to catch up next Easter on our progress. I agree we will be much better off. Each day is a tiny bit better.
        You will have all my support and love too.
        HG is right about all things but especially about how they can not think of us and we can still think of them in a positive light after all the manipulations. I still think of all the good times. Even after one year there isn’t a day that goes by that I don’t think of her. Some days I wish my memory was erased.
        Sending you hugs this evening. ❤️❤️

    2. I do the same thing, @SnowWhite – thanks to this blog. When a difficult situation arises, I ask myself – how would HG handle this situation? Attempting to think from the other side of the spectrum provides balance and more objectivity.

      1. I agree H4T!!!
        I have taken some of HG’s thinking for own. For all of the bad things he does I have found some to be very positive.

        I am a very different person than I was a year ago.

      2. Are you gonna make WWHGD bracelet for everybody? Shackle shaped so we can remind ourselves of what it was like to be in cuffs and remember what hg would have us do to get out? All I see is signs….all I see is $ signs!!! I want one.

  4. You possess these skills due to living with a person who deems you to be a failure. You have now acquired a skill that allows you to decifer if someone is out of the ordinary. Do not share the information that you gather as you will be labeled paranoid.

  5. What a tedious life that would be. No such thing, again.
    We don’t assess, we trust and value others, though I always feel being assessed by narcissists, always looking me up and down as I try not to notice it.

  6. the photo used to illustrate this writing, Chameleon, is both interesting and repulsive…

      1. Yes, HG, I would luv to expand for you!
        This has what is called the “uncanny effect”… are you familiar with that, as it applies to art? (I believe it comes from a Freudian term) When I view this, it provokes a feeling of discomfort and also conflict, within me….. I appreciate the composition, but am repelled by the content. I have observed this in many of the illustrations you choose to represent your writings

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