10 Heart Beats



It was a beautiful evening for a walk. A walk along the quayside. Plenty of other pedestrians enjoying the still warm evening air, the bars that line the historic cobbled riverside busy with noise and activity. We hadn’t reached that stage of the evening. We had not yet sat beside the smooth waters of the river and ordered drinks as we talked and watched. We had not reached that favoured bar. In fact, it was the bar that we had first met in some fifteen months ago and now here we are over a year later and the throes of the despicable devaluation surging around you, although you have yet to understand what it signifies. This evening though is meant to be some respite from the machinations and manipulations, a return to the golden period, so long as you behave and comply.

I watch you stumble on the cobbles. Your choice of heels (my choice of heels as I directed earlier what you should wear) is elegant and fashionable but ill-suited for venturing across this section of the quayside. I of course suggested that we should take a taxi to the bar direct (at least this is what I will say during the post mortem which will invariably arise) and then walk a different way, but you wanted to promenade along this particular section and look what has happened.

I watch you stumble, ankle twisting as the sharp stiletto heel slides, like a young fawn’s spindly leg on the smooth stone, polished like ice by the passage of so many booted feet. Your left leg shoots out as down you go, unable to maintain your balance. I have not reacted quick enough to grab hold of you as you stumble despite being stood close to you. I was distracted by somebody passing who happened to smile at me and furnish me with a dollop of fuel. I will, as I so often do, revise history to explain I was further away than you thought and therefore unable to prevent your ungracious fall.

I watch you stumble as your right knee strikes the cobble and you give a sudden cry of pain. The twist of your ankle and the laceration of your knee both causing you hurt. I stare at your features, twisted in pain, mouth open and eyes starting to well with tears no doubt driven by a combination of injury and embarrassment. I feel the first surge. It leaps inside of me as the contempt soars. Look at you, useless and pathetic, slipping over the cobbles in those stupid heels, a testament to your vanity. Why am I with someone this clumsy? But is not these thoughts alone which drive this contempt. No, it is the fact that the emotion which is now etched across your face, the twisted pain, has been caused by something other than me. Such wasted emotion. The watering eyes, the cry, the anguished features. Ordinarily I would be the catalyst for this but I am not and this irritates me. You are so pointless you cannot even get upset in the right way.

I hear someone give a short gasp and realise that others have witnessed your tumble. The façade! The façade! I ought to do something in front of this gaggle of strangers. I look at you as your almond eyes turn to look at me. I know I should feel concern for you at your mishap. I know I should care that you have slipped and hurt yourself but other than the contempt I do not feel anything. There is nothing there to propel me into assisting you, no innate desire to act. It would be instinctive for others who are not me, but I am me and therefore I must assess and evaluate before I decide what should happen next. I know I should be reaching down to you, lifting you up and making suitably concerned noises as I reach for a handkerchief to apply to your bloodied knee. I feel no compulsion whatsoever to do so. Why should I help you? Will it profit me? Perhaps it will but I know there is a chance for fresh, delicious negative fuel first. The situation has been assessed and my response has been determined.

I watch your eyes alight on me and then it happens. The flames leap as I see that the physical hurt has now been joined by your emotional injury as you give me a puzzled and then hurt look at my failure to act. There it is. That is what I wanted. Your emotional attention as the surge of contempt becomes mixed with the rising sense of power as your response at my inaction fuels me. Your irritated hurt has been caused by me and thus the fuel flows. That is good. I let it hit me, racing upwards, my eyes still fixed on yours as those blue eyes shift from hurt to puzzlement at my continued hesitation. This remains good. How long can I hold this for? The fuel flows but I am mindful of the façade. A damsel is in distress and needs a knight and no interlopers shall be allowed here. No crusading passer-by shall intervene and steal my scene.

In the corner of my eye I see a gentleman move forward making to help. Not today sir, not today! I burst into life and dart to you.

“Goodness me, are you alright?” I ask as my hands take your arm.

“Is she okay?” asks the man who is still pressing his claim.

“She will be, I will help here,” I answer turning to him and flashing a short smile at him. The teeth have been bared pal, the smile is there but the stare says back off, not that you can see my hostility to this intervening hero. He gives an uncertain nod and moves away. Message received and understood.

I help you to the nearby bench and produce my handkerchief with a flourish, dabbing at your bloodied knee as you wince slightly. I continue with soothing noises since a couple of people continue to look. I turn and see the two women smile in reassurance at my chivalrous action and the fuel is gratefully received.

“That hurt,” you say softly. I see the two women move away.

“It was your own stupid fault, “I hiss quietly. I catch your hurt gaze and drink up your reaction as more fuel is provided.

Observe. Assess. Evaluate. Act. Fuel.

This is our world. This is our perspective.

The repeated reward of fuel has been obtained.

And all of this was done in just ten heartbeats.

33 thoughts on “10 Heart Beats

  1. Victoria says:

    Absolutely magnificently written!!! I love the story it’s one of my favorites because it shows so clearly what a narcissist is really thinking And you sir being a master writer explained it beautifully. I wish you would write more of these stories for me anyways the message that you sent and the example that you give makes it so much easier to understand .,
    Thank you so much H G. A brilliant piece👍👍

    1. HG Tudor says:

      Thank you Victoria.

  2. Norma Castillo says:

    “Not today, sir! Not today! “……

    now that is funny…dark humour, but still lol

  3. Shannon says:

    My husband would never SAY it was my fault, but it would be plain as day in his facial expression.

  4. NarcAngel says:

    Preditoroknows post reminds me of a friend who was ill. She got up in the night to go to the bathroom, got dizzy, sat in the hallway between the bathroom and the bedroom and eventually laid down. She called to her husband who did not answer. She awoke sometime later to him stepping over her on his way to the bathroom himself. She told him she was dehydrated and could he get her a drink (he did not try to help her up). He replied that there was ginger ale in the fridge downstairs and continued on his way. This story was told in a group of people and made into a joke. He claimed to be sleepy and unaware. He is and has been for a long time, a Paramedic who is known for his dedication to his job. She had 2 children with him subsequent to this incident.

    I think this is a good example of how a narc can be very effective in his field by being absent of some emotions and how it affects the personal relationships. It also speaks to how desperate some women are to be with them. They will make excuses and rationalize this behaviour in order to acheive their goal. I wondered how she rationalized that a man capable of this treatment to her would be a good father. Perhaps by focusing on the fact that he would be practical in their care as a Paramedic, provide them with an income to support their lefestyle, and fulfill her goal of being married with children.

    Now which one is selfish?

  5. I also found this story sad but I would have taken off my shoes and tried to get myself up. When I was married to the narc, I had just had a baby and wanted to get back to my 110 lbs. I wasn’t eating enough and fainted in the bathroom. I was on the floor and coming to when he opened the door, saw me and left me lying there. He was sitting in the living room when I went in there and laid on the sofa. He said what’s wrong and tried to act like he didn’t see me in the floor but we both knew he did. Useless bastard.

    1. HG Tudor says:

      A neat example of no empathy, no compulsion to assist (nobody else there to see it) and the fact that more fuel could be derived from your reaction thereafter than at the time by helping you up and checking on you.

  6. Victoria says:

    Wonderful article-your writing is so vivid-I can totally visualize the entire scene. That is a gift that few writers possess!
    How long do you think was the encounter between the time she fell and the time you helped her up? Also, is this always the case when an incident like this happens do those of your kind also make that mental analysis in split seconds?
    This article really made me see and remember so much! Thanks you HG!!

  7. Matilda says:

    It’s quite sad to read this actually… not a morsel of affection or care from you! You acted like a robot.

    This could never happen to me, thank goodness, because I do not own a pair of high heels. I’m a sneaker girl, I am walking on gel or air. 😀 For formal occasions, I wear a pair of my beloved Oxford shoes. Nothing beats the elegance of a semi-brogue Oxford!

  8. 12345 says:

    I probably stand alone when I say this but I laugh my ass off when I fall down. Now if my daughter falls down I run to her to see if she’s okay and when we both see that she is, we both start laughing. It can be very funny. When one of us falls we usually say, man, I wish we’d caught that on video😆 Now, this blog entry is unsettling so it is different. I can see that.

  9. shantily says:

    Insult upon injury insult upon injury upon insult upon injury literally salt in the wound

    But I brushed it aside because I wanted to forget the whole incident and enjoy the rest of our evening. 😔

  10. Sophia says:

    Pure evilness.

  11. Giulia says:

    “Then the worst happened, that big, dark, hunky boy, the only one there huge enough for me, who had been hunching around over women, and whose name I had asked the minute I had come into the room, but no one told me, came over and was looking hard in my eyes and it was Ted Hughes.
    …and I was stamping and he was stamping on the floor, and then he kissed me bang smash on the mouth and ripped my hairband off, my lovely red hairband scarf which has weathered the sun and much love, and whose like I shall never again find, and my favorite silver earrings: hah, I shall keep, he barked. And when he kissed my neck I bit him long and hard on the cheek, and when we came out of the room, blood was running down his face.”

    Probably the most tragic poetry love story…

  12. abrokenwing says:

    This reminded me of a very similar situation. We were walking through the park to restaurant we had booked before the concert.I was wearing high heels and a tight dress. He was teasing me all the way and at some point I tried to playfully slap his arm but lost my balance and fell on the pavement. I was so embarrassed…He said it was my fault and punishment for putting my hand on him ( stated as a joke). We got to the restaurant and I realised that my hand is badly grazed so I covered it with tissues trying to stop the bleeding and I kept it under the table. He could see the pain on my face. ‘ Is your ego hurting?’ he asked. ‘ It’s not my ego, it’s my hand ‘I replied. ‘Show me please ‘ he asked. ‘ Ah , this must really hurt ‘ he said while holding my hand. He then took a salt shaker from the table and he poured salt over my open wound.

    1. HG Tudor says:

      What did you do next?

      1. abrokenwing says:

        I reflexively put my hand into his glass with water! He somehow turned it into a joke and made me laugh. Once our order had been placed I asked a member of staff to assist me with some dressing & antiseptic. I was angry with myself for being clumsy. I also wanted to forget the whole incident and enjoy the rest of our evening.

        1. HG Tudor says:

          Thank you ABW and your response to that incident is useful to read.

      2. abrokenwing says:

        You are welcome.

    2. KT says:

      How horrible

    3. Dragonfly says:

      I’m replying to your comment above, HG. I believe she was a narcissist and I think her depression propelled her to commit suicide. What perplexes me is the emotional depth of her poetry. If she truly was a narcissist, how could she feel that emotion (when most narcissists only feel jealousy, rage, anger)? How was she able to feel the deep sadness from the depression if narcissists don’t feel sadness? In her poetry you can tell she was abused by her ex-husband. Maybe he was a narcissist too because I find it ironic that she and the neighbor he left her for both committed suicide. He was also very controlling. Sylvia’s son also committed suicide after an episode of depression. What do you think, HG? How uplifting, huh?

      1. HG Tudor says:

        I shall have to examine further. It might be that if she was a narcissist and yet spoke of sadness, given that she did not know what she was, she may have equated her sense of emptiness as amounting to her perception of sadness. Or she understood the concept of sadness sufficiently so to be able to articulate it for the purpose of drawing sympathy to herself.Alternatively, she knew sadness and was either not a narcissist or had strong narcissistic traits.

        I know she committed suicide by sticking her head in an oven but she had lined the door etc to prevent the gas escaping to harm her children. Caring act or selfishness to ensure her line continued to tell of her death and thus preserve her after death?

      2. Indy says:

        Hi Dragonfly and HG,
        Sorry to jump in, I loved Sylvia Plath when younger. Her poem Cut makes me think she had BPD, due to self-harming. they also have a very high rate of suicide and can have narcissistic traits.

        Have either of you read The Bell Jar? I worked at that psychiatric facility when I lived in Boston. Those underground tunnels were wild!

  13. giulia says:

    My love for you is more athletic than a verb.
    Sylvia Plath

    1. HG Tudor says:

      A good description. After her first suicide attempt, Plath wrote that she thought she had “blissfully succumbed to the whirling blackness that I honestly believed was eternal oblivion.”

      1. Dragonfly says:

        I do not love; I do not love anybody except myself. That is a rather shocking thing to admit. I have none of the selfless love of my mother. I have none of the plodding, practical love. . . . . I am, to be blunt and concise, in love only with myself, my puny being with its small inadequate breasts and meager, thin talents. I am capable of affection for those who reflect my own world. – Sylvia Plath

        HG, do you believe she was a narcissist? Why would she commit suicide? Most narcissists are too selfish to follow through with the act.

        1. HG Tudor says:

          I do not know enough about Sylvia Plath to make a determination Dragonfly. From what I do know, there is a considerable likelihood that she was, but it requires further consideration. Yes, most of our kind would not commit suicide, but there are occasional exceptions. What do you think?

  14. giulia says:

    But this is not happening without us knowing what you are doing.
    We see it and we feel it.
    We just give it the wrong meaning . Part of us enjoys it bc it means that we stirred some deep emotional response from you.
    Something that will keep you linked to us forever as it comes from the unconscious. You putting in action ancient frustrations originated from your mother’s realtionship is a chance for us to take your mother’s place in your mind and love you better.
    So we take all the shit, thinking there’ll be something behind, something worth it.
    And that’s the battle we must not engage in.
    That’s something you must fight.

  15. Amy S. says:

    Where do narcissists find the time to do work? I mean, he always completes whatever he is told to do in time, but he spends sooo much time trying to gain attention or annoy me. I find it perplexing.

    1. HG Tudor says:

      Being effective, delegating to others, not engaging in frivolous tasks, cutting corners, remaining focused – lots of different ways.

  16. Dragonfly says:

    You’re an a$$! Ugh!!!! I’m sorry this just triggered moments with my ex how he would always play the hero role as long as there was an audience. HG, what I don’t understand is how you can have no empathy but if it was reversed and she did not help you, you would probably flip your lid, right?

    1. HG Tudor says:

      I do not tend to wear heels Dragonfly! Yes you are correct, if I needed assistance and it was not forthcoming it would ignite my fury. It is straight forward really. The way I am designed is so that since I have no empathy, conscience or sense of remorse, I do what is always in my interests and do so effectively. I am also designed to react with fury (sometimes unleashed and sometimes controlled) when I am criticised which is an inherent self-defence mechanism again designed to ensure I gain what is in my interests and I do so effectively. It is of course alien to you because you and I are different, but that is the way I have been designed and created.

      1. Dragonfly says:

        That makes sense and I’m glad you don’t wear heels, HG. A follow up question for you. Why are you so honest? I appreciate it greatly because your blog and books resonate with me more than any narcissistic information on the Internet. Narcissists are prone to lie so what makes you the exception?

        1. HG Tudor says:

          Because it serves a better purpose for me to tell you the truth here where it has no detrimental impact to me to do so. Nobody here knows me, therefore I can explain the truth of how I am and how my kind are, engage in the interaction, provide the information you need and there is no downside for me. I cannot operate that way elsewhere.

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