Hidden Engagement

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How many times have you stood outside the study door and pressed you ear against the door in the hope of hearing something? Many times I would wager. You press it closer and close your eyes as if shutting off one sense might just aid another. Is that our voice you can hear? It is difficult to tell as the frenetic and anxious beating of your heart causes the blood to roar in your ears and you cannot tell if that is us speaking in a low murmur, the sound of a television or the incessant hum of the technology on the other side of this portal. Are we speaking to someone or is that now the clack of the keyboard as our fingers glide across it? What is it that we are doing beyond this door? Your hand reaches out to the handle but you know that it is pointless. The door will be locked. It was not long after we began these night time residences in the study that a lock was fitted and you have never seen the key. The room is always locked when we are in it. The room is always locked when we are not in it. You have no access. You once went to find a ladder, determined to peer in through the window and see what lies within. Strange thoughts of witnessing bizarre experiments flicked through your mind, visions of some hybrid beast chained and caged, a monster yet to be unleashed, yet as you looked up you could see that the blinds had been closed. Once again we had out strode you.

Even if a locked door did not bar your access you know that as soon as you began to open the door we would appear at it, face filling the crack, bodyweight behind it preventing you from pushing it open any further, our suspicious face blocking you from seeing what lay within. We soon ushered you away, muttering about having important work to do. You made kind noises, suggesting that we worked too hard and inviting us to allow you ingress so you might massage our shoulders but your suggestion did not even merit a reply as the door was shoved shut once again. You shall not pass might as well have been etched on the timber.

Now you walk past, the cold blue light leaking from underneath the door, evidence of the technology at work inside. You always pause and contemplate what we could be doing. What is it that engrosses us to such a degree that we are preoccupied inside this place nearly every night, from after dinner until late. You gave up trying to stay awake for our eventual appearance in bed. Now, you awake in the night and find that we have magically appeared beside you, having soundlessly and lightly entered the room and climbed into bed. Occasionally you have debated looking for the key as we slept and trying to access our place of refuge but you have come to fear and dread the backlash from such clandestine behaviour as it as if we sleep with one eye open. We always catch you when you start to play us at our own game, with sneaking about and covert activities.

Truth be told you have no idea what goes on when we indulge in our night life. You may be told we are working or enjoying watching a film in peace, without the interruption of children, animals, telephones or you. There just might be a film on in the background but the only work that is being undertaken is of the plotting kind. We are busy tending to our growing kingdom of admirers as we flick between the first ‘phone, the second ‘phone and the computer. Technological tendrils radiate away from these devices as we scour the dating sites, pick up the previous evening’s flirtations with someone with an inviting user name and bat back and forth the messages with a new prospect on Facebook. Our inbox bulges with the fruit of our nefarious labours, the computer screen contains an array of different tabs and notifications as the world of social media lights up the monitor. Messages, emoticons and pictures cascade towards us as we drink up this fuel. We reply to text messages, plan arrangements to meet, indulge in sending sexual snares to capture a willing victim and requesting plenty of pictures to send to the hard drive which is attached to the computer. The heat from these exchanges would readily power the house for a week. You may hear a film but it will not be the latest block buster or some critically acclaimed production. Instead we will be staring glassy eyed at the naked figures which contort for out imagined direction. Our fingers grip the mouse and with each click we delve deeper and deeper into the vast array of pornography, our tastes becoming ever more extreme and dangerous. Some nights we might spend ten seconds watching one piece of footage before our eyes are drawn to a more enthralling thumbnail beneath which we dutifully click on. Then another and another. We watch everything but see nothing as we flit like a butterfly from one porn site to another, dancing across the categories, inserting our own searches as we seek that elusive hit that satisfies us. Our eyes widen as an e-mail arrives and we immediately open it, delighting in the messages we can see racking up on our ‘phones. We are gorging on flirtation, infidelity and voyeurism. Like a glutton we cannot get enough as we stuff ourselves with the fuel that flows from so many supply lines. As we do so our thoughts drift to you lying alone, no doubt wondering what we are doing and we allow ourselves a smile as we savour that drop of negative fuel, imagining your discomfort and loneliness.

It begins as an hour after dinner. Then two. Soon external appointments start to be discarded and avoided in order to make a return to the mothership and plug in to all of the waiting admirers in chatrooms, across the internet and in cyberspace. Soon the entire evening is given over to this pursuit and then it bleeds into the early hours until we are still sat wired and fuelled, clicking and surfing as the first rind of dawn can be seen on the horizon. This is our nightlife.

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13 thoughts on “Hidden Engagement”

  1. Sad. Very sad. Searching for fulfillment and never finding it. No different than a car that will always need gassing, the narc seeks fuel to merely survive. That’s not living. I feel sorry for the narcissist but not enough to try to save another one. I no longer have that much empathy.

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    1. Very well said MistyNolan01. This article was so disturbing to me that I almost didn’t comment. It depicts one of my greatest fears.

      But I appreciate his raw honesty here as this is exactly the type of reminder I need to help keep me on course. When I became privy that the fellow who hurt me was using Craigslist to search for women who were advertising their loneliness, I was crushed. I realize that many of these women were just innocently looking for a decent, loving relationship, but I can’t even begin to describe the disgust this discovery caused.

      With the ease of the internet and the magnitude of sites offered, even non-narcissist men can fall into this trap. It truly becomes an addiction. But for the man on the desperate hunt for his fuel, it is a playground.

      No one woman can compete against this.

      As my heart sank to my stomach while reading his confession, on this day of thanks, I have to be thankful for such reminders.

      This rare glimpse at honesty is exactly what helps me.

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  2. Is videogame’s dependency (hours/days or nights or entire weekends) also a sign of some “fuel” need? Or can be considered a way to cope with life problems (evade) for some empaths/normals too?

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    1. A videogame is not fuel UNLESS it is being played live with human players who are interacting via text or headset.

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      1. Thank you for your answer!
        I forgot to mention interacting via text or headset, cursing, getting angry/happy because of losing/winning at that stupid (in my opinion) virtual game. Being ignored for days, I perceive it as a triangulation and go into a rage, he leaves computer for a day, then back…going to restaurant and talking to myself (he’s on smartphone, playing), at semaphore stops, phone in his hands…
        In so many ways…I’m speechless (and I really feel my stomach turned upside down). Maybe I should have stayed single all my life. A perfectly “normal” man is one in a million, you have to be lucky, not only rational to find him…

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      2. And then when you do find him, we’ll all fight you for him.

        Kidding. Just kidding.

        I’ve done PLENTY wrong in this life of mine, but that’s one thing I’ve never done (to my knowledge) is go for a man who was in a relationship with another woman. Perhaps it was the green-eyed monster that kept me at bay as this is one area where I do not like to share!

        I simply never was able to break that code, so please know I was teasing.

        I wouldn’t want to do something that hurtful to a fellow woman. While I was cheated on no telling how many times by a male who exhibits plenty of narcissistic tendencies, I also have experienced a non-narcissist man cheat on me (with a woman who persistently pursued him). I was devastated.

        I don’t understand why women do this to one another? So even considering just how right you are Somewhere Over The Rainbow… how rare it is to find a good man… if we do find him, he won’t be immune to the same temptations either!

        Now that really gets disheartening when we truly realize our odds!

        I might be wrong, but I believe that NPD arises from part nature, part nurture. (A wiring for such before birth, coupled with an upbringing that supports narcissism.) But sometimes I wonder if a big portion of narcissism isn’t simply a moral issue?

        Maybe deep down, we’d all like to partake in selfish or risky behaviors? (Mankind has certainly done so for centuries.) But maybe the rest of us try to resist these urges from a moral standpoint? Maybe that’s the real difference… maybe for some, it’s just easier to succumb to our primitive desires?

        Certainly, we humans are comfort creatures. On some level, we all want what feels good. Afterall, fun IS fun!

        But while we all are at risk for temptation, isn’t it annoying, SOTR, just how men get a pass here… much more easily than a woman would? (Whether it’s sexual indiscretions or constant gaming. And I apologize if I’m wrong in assuming you’re female.)

        I stayed loyal to my narcissist (or whatever he is) but a part of me wanted him to realize that we all have the ability to play the same games. And I guarantee; if any of these women who have been hurt by a male narcissist wanted to play his game… wanted to seduce men… she’d beat him at his own game – hands down. I’d easily place my bet that she would be more successful, especially in obtaining prey.

        And speaking of games… isn’t it amazing how addictive those video games can become? I’ve long said we humans seem to be wired for addictive behaviors, so I guess in some ways, we all struggle with at least one vice that we can’t seem to get out of our system. Today, mine is food.

        So if you’re from The States, Happy Thanksgiving.

        Furthermore, I know that “speechless” feeling you spoke of… when we are so dumbfounded that there’s nothing left to say. Well, I have found with mine that saying nothing feels pretty good. (Even though I’m not far enough into No Contact to get cocky. So I best say no more… for now.)

        Best wishes to you, SOTR.

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      3. BurntKrispyKeen…

        Thank you for your words. I’ve never broke another’s relationship, I can’t see an engaged/married man as a “man”, in terms of physical desire, so…we’re both there. The one I was talking about is my husband and he has some narcissistic traits, but so far…I’m ok, he NEVER abused me on purpose and I know it. We openly discuss everything, he never cheated and acknowledges he has a “game” problem. There is a professional (psychologist) and we’ll sort that out. If not, his life is passing by, not mine, his choice. Some kind of addiction exists in all of us, as we’re all humans, even shopping addiction: sometimes, I “emotionally” buy unuseful things, then resent my decision.
        A very wise man (who saw worse than most of us here = war) once told me to be smart and look around before thinking in leaving my husband, because I can’t imagine what kind of men are “out there”. He was so right, HG proves that to us on daily basis (through his words/facts).
        I agree that NPD is at least half born “ability” (I heard a neurosurgeon speaking and it seems that some people, usually man, use more of their left sided brain- unemotional than the right sided one-related to the emotional and imaginative thinking), that’s why-getting maybe worse treatment than HG got when a boy, my husband is unable to harm people on purpose, he doesn’t want to, even if he knows that would serve his professional “life”. My hubby has a kind soul, but a realistic mind because of the abuse.
        Thank you for your kind wishes, I am a woman as you “sensed” but I’m not from USA, not even close, just one of my best friends lives there. Maybe visiting one day, who knows?

        Best wishes to you, too!

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      4. As for the perfect man/woman…they don’t exist, narcs or empaths (except HG, of course)! 😉

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      5. I hear you on the shopping, SOTR! My weakness is handbags and shoes!

        (And I understand that guilt as I tell myself that I don’t NEED those boots, but sometimes the want simply prevails.)

        We seem to share many traits, regardless of how far apart we live. That’s why I always enjoy talking to people. One of my clients identities herself as Hmong, spending the first part of her childhood growing up in a mountainous village of China. During the Vietnam War, she was relocated to France as a refugee and lived there for several years before moving to the USA.

        I love talking to her because when she bitches about her husband, it’s about the same male issues we all have! There’s no culture difference there!

        That’s how I know this human connection is valid no matter where we reside as we all basically want the same thing out of life… to be loved in a respectful manner.

        I cerrtainly can’t speak of your situation with any authority, but it sounds like you have, at the core, a good man. And as you and I already proclaimed… an available, caring, decent man appears to be too damn rare of a find.

        I know you probably feel pushed away by his obsession, but personally… I’d take a back seat to Donkey Kong and Mario any day over the hurt of losing to another woman.

        It sounds as if he is trying, so hanging on to him might be wise as my sister once told me… “The devil you know is better than the devil you don’t know.” But in my case, she didn’t realize her analogy wasn’t exactly an analogy. Ha!

        But here’s something you might consider trying… the next time he spends an excessive amount of time on Grand Theft Auto, or whatever his preference, leave the house and come home with a new pair of guilt-free shoes… matching handbag if he doesn’t’ even notice you leave!

        But seriously, he sounds better than most. So best wishes in helping him to see… to get his priorities in line… or else you might just need a bigger closet!

        All kidding aside, I hope you two are able to continue to work through this. Best wishes, again.

        (And nice save on the “perfect” comment. Now I might need your help to get ME out of hot water!)

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