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.

23 thoughts on “The Power of Demise

  1. Noname says:

    The death has always been a crucial matter for my first husband (by the way, he was a rare example of “pure” narcissist without additional core status like a sociopathy, etc.).

    He was afraid of death, but he attended funerals pretty often. Sometimes, to “show” himself and get attention, but in many cases to be “accustomed” to death.

    He was obsessed with death-related matter. He read volumes about death experience and always discussed it with me.

    Once, he woke me up in the middle of the night and said “I’m reading a book about death and its autor suggests that we have to visit cemeteries to became “accustomed” to death! I want to visit a cemetery right now, but I don’t want to go there alone! Come with me. I need it!”

    There was an old cemetery near our home and we got there. We walked slowly down the “alleyways” of the dark cemetery in silence. He was engrossed in his thoughts, I was engrossed in mine. After a while he said “It doesn’t work! Let’s go to home”…

    One day, I returned to home from uni (I was a third year student) and, passing by his room, I saw the black coffin in the center of his room. He was at home too and I asked him “Wow, coffin? Anyone of us is going to die?”. Lol.

    He said “Nooooo. God forbid! It is for meditation and sleeping! I read the Orthodox monk’s book and they said that sleeping in the coffin helps to “accustom” to death! I’m going to try this technique!”. By the way, our Orthodox monks do it even nowadays at their monasteries! I said “Alright. Whatever that makes you happy”.

    When it was a bed time, I wished him good night and good luck with his “meditation” and went to my room (we had separate bedrooms). I was lying in bed reading something when the door opened and my husband strode into my room.

    Saying nothing, he took my nightstand table and carried it to the opposite corner of my room. Then he left the room. He returned in couple minutes, carrying that coffin to my room – “I don’t want to sleep alone in my room! I want to sleep here” – was his short comment.

    He positioned that coffin next to my bed (along to it), brought his pillow, blanket, lied down there and closed his eyes. I continued to read my book for a while, then I turned the light off. When darkness fell, he said “Take my hand and keep it”…

    We had slept in such “way” for whole week. Then he said “I’m going to return that coffin to the funeral service shop. This technique doesn’t work!”. I said “Alright, do it”…

    He is trying to find a way to be “acustomed” to death even nowadays. He calls me from time to time and often rises this topic during our conversations.

    Last time he said to me “The older I become, the more I’m afraid of my death. I wonder and wonder what would I feel when I die? You’ve been there, tell me, what did you feel?”.
    I said “Tell me, what do you feel during your sleep?”.
    He said “Why, I feel the “comfortable nothing””.
    I said “So, you have an answer to your question already”.
    He said “Whaaat? So easy???”.
    I said “Yes, my dear, so easy”.
    He said “F*cking hell… Mother f*cking hell!!!” and hunged up on me. Lol.

    Comfortable nothing. So easy.

  2. Noname says:

    Don’t do it. It won’t be as satisfactory as you think. Moreover, you’d get another “demon” to fight and live with. Plus, you’ll need the additional “fuel” to keep that “demon” within also. She really isn’t worth it.

    Better forgive her. Forgiving someone, you show your strength and superiority to that person. You show to him/her that no matter what he/she did to you, you weren’t affected internally and now you don’t give a damn about him/her. You are internally indifferent.

    Forgiving someone, you let him/her go out from your system. You needn’t to spend your energy for that person anymore. That small step leads to big victory.

    Not fury, not anger, not revenge are the most terrible weapons. Indifference is.

    Forgive her, gain your indifference toward her and you’ll win.

  3. Scout says:

    Hello HG. This is very timely. Narcy wrote to me this morning to inform me of his ‘lovely’ mother’s sudden death yesterday. He says he is ‘quite’ emotional and asks me to sort out his radio show which runs after mine. Technically he’s done the right thing by informing me of his intended absence and I am now obliged to sort it out. Very manipulative move by him. He’s preyed on my compassion (which I no longer have for him) under the guise of his unavoidable absence. Very sneaky. It wasn’t necessary for him to tell me about his mother. He could have sent someone to the studio do sort his show out, although not common practice. He said I can call him (stuff that). HG, how should I handle this and what can I expect over the coming weeks now he’s ‘grieving’?

    1. HG Tudor says:

      Hello Scout, I recommend you remain professional for your own sake and also in terms of not providing him fuel. In terms of his ongoing behaviour, it depends on the type of narcissist he is, but I would regard him as MR based on the snippet provided. Thus, he will use the grieving as an opportunity to shirk responsibility and draw fuel by way of sympathy, pity and compassion from all around. If you criticise him for his mawkish behaviour he will brand you uncaring and cold and triangulate you with other people (and it will most likely work).

      1. Scout says:

        Hello HG,
        Thank you for your good advice; I did indeed handle the situation without him deriving little, or any fuel thanks to helpful advice you offered elsewhere. His “grieving’ didn’t last long – the end of July he went away to a four day festival and has just returned home as he was in the studio today.
        I was unsure if he was a MR or an LG; I believe you to be right, but he has given many signals that he knows what he’s doing during some of his machinations, so I’m thinking UMR…
        Anyway, something happened today and things have got much, much worse…

        1. HG Tudor says:

          You are welcome Scout.

  4. LisaB says:

    Oh my god. Well this certainly explains my greater (ex) narc’s chosen profession…FUNERAL DIRECTOR Oh the fuel of all kinds that comes pouring in, I’m sure. And how he provides his own special kind of “comfort” to the chosen few. HG. Talk about a light bulb moment. I’m both extremely grateful and horribly…mortified? Disgusted? Broken? But free.

  5. Noname says:

    “I know who I will save my choice comment for in order to achieve that satisfaction from death”…

    Don’t do it. It won’t be as satisfactory as you think. Instead, you’ll get another “demon” to live and fight with. Very ugly demon.

    Moreover, she doesn’t worth it. Too much honor for her, you know. Better to forgive her. Sometimes, forgiveness is more humiliating then revenge. When you forgive someone, you show the strength and superiority toward that person, in fact.

  6. Laurie says:

    Some of your finest writing yet, HG. This was laugh out loud funny. I wrote to you several months ago about my Greater cousin who used the suicide of his grandson to do a Malign Hoover on me. This same individual loves flying all over the country showing up at funerals and immediately positioning himself as Grand Rabbi of the funeral protocols and mourning. He decides the hows, where’s and when’s of the big event. I long ago noted that he rarely stayed beyond the first 24 hours and always excused himself by saying he had to go tend to his ailing wife. As time went on and narc info began pouring in over the internet I learned there is an actual reason for these brief appearances beyond not wanting to do any actual work for the family of the bereaved. This is an actual process called roaming. After the first 24 hours the fuel is less potent so the narc has no need to remain. He’s gotten the cream off the top so it’s time to skeedaddle. Plus, his superficially could be exposed with extended contact, as well as the possibility that he might be asked to give something back. So he swoops in, sucks up the prime fuel and moves on. I keep wondering when hearing about your kind will become boring but it never is. Again, thanks for a terrific article.

  7. Narc affair says:

    This reminds me of my mother. She loves to play nurse and “be there for that person”. Shes a mix of dirty angel and covert narcissist.
    When my grandma was dying of leukemia she was there to visit her and drive her to appts always playing the cncerned ex daughter in law. She loved rubbing the fact she was doing these things in my stepmums face. I remember one time her telling my grandma ” i like that table over there could i have it in your will”. A few yrs prior my stepdads mum passed on and they got a lot of possessions and money and she was bite by the bug of death and acquiring. Now her dads getting older and shes helping him ” clean out” his home more like taking things. I said to her ” id like to go thru things bc there could be items from my summers spent there”. She got defensive and said they were just papers. She wants to move him close so she can control what she gets when he dies. A neice of his hes close to she drove away and hates bc im sure for fear she will get something when he passes on. It really turns my stomach her caring act for the sick and dying. Shes a vulture and is after what she can get. It sounds harsh but ive seen it in action firsthand. The sad reality is you cant take money or possessions with you they are nothing! What matters is our relationships and memories with people. Some people just dont have a clue about life.

  8. Aphelion says:

    Using the anniversary of the death of a “loved one” (as portrayed by the narc when in reality they probably never even met the person) as an excuse to drink or do whatever or talk to/not talk to whoever is totally a thing I’ve seen my XN do.

  9. I’d bet my arse that script has already been written and played out in your mind many times?

  10. Ruth says:

    You know, my n of a father was exactly like this. He was divorcing my mother until she got cancer, then he guarded her like a lion, while letting my sister and myself do all the care taking. He took all of the equity for himself and spent it on a “new family”. He gets no more fuel from me. I beg you, HG, please don’t do that to anyone. The fuel cannot possibly be worth it.

  11. SVR says:

    This is simply sick

  12. Scout says:

    This is awful, just sick, but God forgive me I laughed at the bedside cruelty. I assume your last paragraph you are referring to your mother?

  13. D. Monroe says:

    The inherent problem of having a self-identified narcissist provide “information” about narcissism is that they’re pathological liars. Nothing appearing here can be believed.

    1. HG Tudor says:

      Yet so many people identify with what is described here, have seen what I have told them happen go on to happen and have utilised what has been written here to further their own march to freedom.

    2. Mercy says:

      D Monroe

      I can assure you that if you are involved with a narc and you read HG’s writings, you will identify with what is being said. This is not BS being thrown at vulnerable people. This information is fact and is a useful tool in getting over and taking back your life…no you will not get your hand held and told that everything will be alright (not by HG anyway, us empaths may do that) these are the cold, ugly truths that we have to face.

      I agree that they are pathological liars but I believe that HG has more to gain by providing us with the truth than trying to manipulate us. Simply because there is no other site out there that provides credible information and that puts him above the others. The truth, in this case, benefits him more than lies.

      Just read and you will see.

      1. HG Tudor says:

        Well put Mercy.

    3. Suckerfornarcopaths says:

      …and just to punctuate Mercy’s point:
      I have had the unfortunate displeasure of being a primary for both an upper-low to lower-mid narcopath and a borderline (certain traits are shared by the two, but they are distinctly different), and I can tell you that these insights have been instrumental in helping to regain my footing and put myself back together as well as making me much more discerning and wary. Whatever his motives, I can’t invalidate the truths, brutal, uncomfortable, and difficult to wrap my mind around as they are.

  14. Sarah says:

    Your Mother?

  15. Anonymous says:

    This post is particularly interesting to me. His father had a stroke in January and his end is probably very near. My ex keeps visiting his parents now, the flight is two hours, so it’s not like it’s just a quick stroll down the road. Before, he used to visit them as well but told me he can’t handle them for more than 3 days every few months. Now he goes monthly. I realise this isn’t unusual behaviour for a normal son; parent is doing bad, you support them and take care of them. But the problem here is: he actually doesn’t give much of a shit. Whenever I asked about his father, he was entirely cold. I thought this even before I figured out he’s a narc, so it’s not like I’m biased now. There was one incident when we talked on Facetime while he was at his parents’ house. This was a couple of years ago. The father was on his computer in my ex’s room and my ex said to me “he will die soon anyway” in this entirely unemotional, cold way. I stopped breathing for a bit and said “you can’t say that! He’s right in the damn room”. My ex claimed he doesn’t understand English (they’re French) but come on, “die” is a pretty well-known word. Plus, a normal person doesn’t say that about a parent, whether they’re there or not, not in that cold manner.

    I guess my ex visits his parents constantly now for fuel, not necessarily from them, but from the other relatives. I said to my friend the other week that he’d probably be really excited if the father died because the funeral would be a huge fuel-fest for him, considering he’s the only child. God, he’ll probably overdose on fuel when the father eventually dies.

    Oh and on a sidenote, he also used the father’s condition to make me feel bad. He was actually at his parents’ house when I discovered the excessive cheating and when I confronted him, he said things like “I have to take care of my parents”, like I’m some nuisance and should stand in the corner and stfu because his dad is dying and who cares that he’s been cheating on me since day one.

  16. Suckerfornarcopaths says:

    I have not read the article in which you discuss your reasons for rarely attending funerals…which one is it?

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