We are strong, powerful and impervious to illness or injury. We are a bastion of invulnerability, a veritable shining example of radiant health and vitality. Our superiority means we stand head and shoulders above everyone else and the weakness that comes with ill health and infirmity is not something that affects us. Except when we decide it must. That is when we play the sickness card. There are three instances, in the main, when we do this.
The first is when we do actually suffer from some illness or an injury. It may just be a fractured eyelash but to us we have been blinded with a red hot poker. The pain, good Lord the pain, it is too great and intense. It wracks us and has us twisted up in agony. Come on empath, do something. Do something now. Soothe our fevered brows, splint our broken limbs and bind our wounds. You must drop anything and everything. Forget being at work today, you must call in and excuse yourself no matter how inconvenient, for you are required to don a nurse’s outfit and do your best Florence Nightingale impression for us. This slight snuffle is pneumonia you know and to top it all it is your fault. You insisted on the window of the bedroom being left open, now see what you have done. I may not last the week. You would like that wouldn’t you, you ungrateful bitch after everything that I have done for you. You did it on purpose. You wanted me to be ill so you could see me suffer. That is how nasty and selfish you are. Is it any wonder I have been off with other women when this is how I am treated by somebody who is supposed to love me? Yes the smallest spot, minor ache and slight cough are all that is needed to enable us to declare that we are on our death beds. It is good for several uses. First of all, we will use it to avoid doing things such as household chores or attending an event that you wanted to go to. Secondly, it means you must give us plenty of attention by looking after us. Those soothing words and hot water bottles brought to our bedside all provide us with fuel. Thirdly, we are able to provoke you by being demanding and castigating you for not living up to expectations. You didn’t bring that hot lemon drink soon enough or those are the wrong pills. We will compare you to others, ” My mother would do a better job of looking after me than you.” All of which is designed to cause a reaction from you.
The second occasion on which we will play the sickness card is when you are ill or injured. We are not here to look after you. Good Lord, not at all. Why should we? That is not our role. We are too busy looking for fuel and we do not have the time or energy to spend engaged in nursing you. Not only of course are we devoid of the concept of feeling that we should care and that we should feel sorry and compassionate for someone who is unwell, we do not regard it as a task that is worthy of someone as brilliant as us. If you moan enough so that we are compelled to call out a doctor we will pronounce our own diagnosis in order to align ourselves with the brilliance of the medic. When he concludes what ailment it is you are suffering from we will declare,
“Yes, I said to her that that was what was wrong with her, but she won’t listen to me doctor, she insisted on getting you out. I am sorry she has wasted your time.”
We get to denigrate you and upset you whilst showing off how clever we are because we knew what was wrong with you (even though we did not) and the doctor accords with us. We may as well steal a segment of the doctor’s brilliance for our construct whilst he is here mightn’t we?
We will then invite the doctor to examine our shoulder or leg as we go to great lengths explaining how much pain we are in. This keeps the spotlight firmly on us and has you annoyed that we have hijacked your consultation. We will look to declare we are far worse off than you. You have a cold, well we have flu. We will use this as an opportunity to accuse you of attention seeking (nice bit of projection there) as we point out how selfish you are for being ill when we are. We have no interest in tending to you and we need to make the situation all about us. Accordingly, we will fake an illness or an injury in order to trump yours.
The third reason as to why we will play the sickness card is when we are low on fuel and low on energy. There may be any number of reasons why this state of affairs has arisen. You may be getting wise to some of our manipulative behaviour and therefore you are not reacting as often so that the level and quality of fuel that you provide is reduced. We may also have a natural dip in our energy levels or feel some degree of vulnerability which means that our resources are being stretched rather thin. This makes it difficult for us to seek out additional sources of fuel. This diminution in fuel reduces our power and this risks the craven creature that lurks within trying to escape and making itself heard. When this happens, the creature’s whisperings remind us of our weakened selves. We are not ill. We are not injured. What we are however is feeling weakened, as if we are ill or injured. Accordingly, we play the sickness card in order to obtain an emergency injection of fuel from you or whoever else might be to hand. As an empathic individual you are programmed to respond to this and you cannot resist the opportunity to exhibit your caring nature in order to help us out and nurse us. The attention you lavish on us provides us with fuel and we begin to feel more powerful again. The creature’s catcalls fade as he is subsumed within the prison of our constructed edifice once again and our supremacy returns. Our weakness lifts thanks to this provision of fuel from you and this has been instigated by us playing the sickness card. We will do this to garner sympathy from you, from family and friends and also from health professionals. Our favourite ailments of course are of the invisible variety. Depression, a stomach pain or a bad back. We are brilliant actors and ham up our suffering. The portrayal of our poor sick self would please Ferris Bueller. As with most things it is just another fabrication designed to manipulate you and provide us with fuel but you must never dare question us. We of course have researched the symptoms thoroughly and our Munchausen Syndrome is most prevalent. You are duty bound to help us rise from our sick bed or you are a bad person and we will cut you out of our will in the event that this terrible affliction sends us to the reaper. You will be sick to death of our illnesses and injuries but you will be duty bound to attend to them.
When I am first with you, I like to sit and look at you as you sleep. I like to see you lying there content, your arm draped across me as if checking that I am still there next to you. Your eyes are closed and your face is in a relaxed repose as I feel your chest gently rising against me. You look content, safe and loved. I wonder what you are dreaming about as a small smile plays about your lips. I often believe that it is me. The wonderful, incessant and perfect love that I furnish for you throughout your waking hours must surely continue when you are asleep. It must bleed into your sleep, percolate into your dreams and such is its all-pervasive power it makes you feel loved even when you are asleep. It is during these moments that I consider how I can continue to give you this perfect love that you rightly deserve. I can see what a good and decent person that you are. I feel the admiring love that you pour over me and I know it is genuine, I can tell a fraud at a hundred paces and you are no such thing. It is entirely understandable that you flow with this love for me, who would not when faced with being the object of my perfect love? I look down at you, your delicate features framed in the low lamp light that I have kept on in the bedroom solely for this purpose. You seem so fragile and vulnerable as you lie there, unaware that I am watching over you. I want to protect you; I want to shield you from the darkness that is out there and keep you safe. You deserve nothing less because you give me such a wonderful love in return and I must protect you. I must ensure that my investment remains cherished and loved. It is during these moments as I sit and look at you that I know I must truly love you. How can I not when I feel such a sense of responsibility over your well-being. Look at you; still, perfect and oblivious. Who could not fail to love someone like you? Who could not fail to have such a care for your well-being? Who could ever cause that beautiful face to frown and crease in bewildered pain? Who could cause a solitary tear to trickle from your eyes and spill down those flawless cheeks? I cannot bear to think about you being hurt, feeling sad and in pain. I feel a deep-seated desire to look after you, to keep the darkness from your door and ensure that you are always only ever happy and loved. This sense of being your guardian is strong. I feel anger at the thought of anybody lashing out and wounding you, someone causing this perfect creature to feel anguish, pain and concern. I lay a hand on your shoulder and you shift slightly in your sleep acknowledging this gentle gesture of protection. You face nudges against me as if you know what I am thinking and you feel safe and wanted.
Yet for all these thoughts I know that this is purely the way I am expected to think about you. This is how I should act in order to maintain the façade of our relationship so that you continue to give me what I want. I sit and wrestle with these thoughts. Are they genuine? Are they what I truly feel about you yet I know I do not. I know that the apparent abhorrence that I manufacture at the thought of you being hurt is purely an artifice because it will be me that eventually causes your hurt. It will be me that will twist that beautiful smile into a gash of despair. It will be me that makes that light voice become wracked with anxiety and pain. It will be my words that wound and my actions that scar. For all the tenderness that I apparently exhibit as I sit here now looking over you, I know, as sure as the world keeps turning and that the sun rises in the east, that I will be the one that will bring you to your knees. I will have you feeling exhausted, crazed and desperate and as I sit and recognise that I am the architect of your downfall I feel nothing. I feel no guilt, no despair or remorse because those things have been stripped from me. I was never made to experience those sensations and that is why I know I will do as I do to you, as I have to all the others before me and I will only feel one thing; power. That raw and visceral power which I must have. I am blessed with sufficient insight and intellect to know that what I do is wrong. I can see the tears in your eyes, hear your begging and see your hunched broken frame which tells me that you are hurting and I caused this. Yet for all of this understanding I am unwilling and unable to do anything about it because I am not forged with the desire or the tools to do so. This is what I am and better you remain asleep, oblivious to what is really looking down on you.
We are able to do what we do because of a particularly fundamental trait that we look for in the people that we target; trust. We look for those who place particular reliance on trust and then we abuse that trust. Most people operate on a basis of trust. If they did not, the world would grind to a halt. Trust lubricates so many transactions between people whether those transactions are social, financial or emotional. When somebody tells you,
“I like your shirt it suits you.”
You trust them to be telling you the truth. If you did not do so, you would stop and cross examine them as to why they like it in order to evaluate whether you believe their comment to be a true one or not. You trust the company from which you make a purchase to deliver when they say they will and that the product will be fit for purpose. You trust your colleagues to do their jobs effectively so you can also fulfil your obligations. You trust the police to maintain law and order, if you did not, there would be anarchy and rife vigilantism. It is axiomatic that there has to be trust otherwise everything would be slowed down or stopped as people evaluated, analysed, questioned and verified. Trust is evident everywhere and there is no greater trust than that which is expected in an intimate relationship.
People trust their partner to have their best interests at heart, to trust them not to do something to hurt them, to trust them to be faithful and loving. We know that in order for you to love in the way that you do, that deep and unconditional love, there must be trust. You approach your relationships with this trust held out in front of you, a symbol of good intent. You presume that everyone else that you will engage with will also adopt a similarly trusting stance. You expect them to reciprocate this trust. You trust that they will trust.
You are not a cynic. You do not operate in the realm of suspicion and mistrust. To do so would be admitting defeat and would tarnish the ideal of love that you are committed to. You accept much at face-value. That is not to label you as naïve, that would be unduly harsh, for as I have mentioned, many people operate on the basis of trust and so they must. You apply this trust to your dealings with those that you fall in love, led to believe by us that this trust will be reciprocated, that it will not breached, betrayed or damaged. You are a truth seeker. You apply honesty in all your dealings and the taint of lies and dishonesty offends you considerably. The stench of our deceit, the rank odour of our mendacity is great but the perfumed veil we cast over such dark and dangerous deceptions is such that the malodorous warning never nears you. You are conned into believing that we tell you the truth when we first encounter you. We behave with such conviction, the air of confidence we exude, seemingly unquestionable and unimpeachable. We look you in the eye, those unseen mirrors reflecting back at you your earnest trust so that you what you require. You look upon supposed honesty, apparent openness and this maintains your sense of trust.
By trusting you believe that you will get the truth. That our love will be true, that our intentions are truthful, that our fidelity is real and we govern our interactions with you under the mantle of truth. You trust that all of this will happen because we make you think you can trust us. We will reference those who have let us down, those who have betrayed us and in so doing we hold up our own reliance upon trust in order to receive your trust. See how we have trusted others and they let us down? We have always trusted beforehand and so you can be assured that we want to gain your trust and you shall have ours. It is all carefully orchestrated to channel one of the fundamental tenets by which you abide. When we gain that trust and we do so easily, you enable us to take this valuable commodity and apply our own veneer to it, reinforcing it and demonstrating to you just how much we value it. As a fellow disciple in trust this enables us to conduct ourselves in a way which ensures we are above suspicion. When we meet with a member of the opposite sex and explain she or he is just a friend and it is a friendly drink you have no reason to think otherwise. You trust us. When we tell you that we are working late. You trust us. When we borrow money from you. You trust us. When we tell you that we are using the contraceptive pill. You trust us. When we tell you that we love you and have never loved anybody like this before – you trust us.
Trust equals the truth. We then abuse your trust by carrying out our treacherous acts. We court other partners and shatter your trust. As you sit at home watching television thinking we are working hard for our future we are philandering and sliding our tendrils around a fresh prospect. When you are making that dinner for us both, looking forward to an evening together, I am showering in a hotel as I seek to wash away the scent of the person I have just coupled with. When you check your bank balance and consider what you will do with the return on the investment that I talked about so you lent me the money, your hard-earned money is being used to impress someone else so that they fall into my clutches. We take this very thing that is of such central importance to you and we abuse it. We disrespect and we trade is just like a commodity.
When you eventually realise your trust has been shattered and this has happened repeatedly. When you finally wake up and join the dots. When you see the flagrant breaches of your trust, when the evidence is irrefutable and painful, we may well have gone. Not only have we abused your trust but we have left without explanation or reason, leaving you to deal with the aftermath alone as we move on to the next target and begin gaining their trust. Like any confidence trickster it is necessary for us to gain trust before we are able to abuse it. Not only do we hurt you repeatedly through these actions we do so to such an extent, with so many people and with so many people aware of it, other than you until the last moment. This wide-ranging and wholesale desecration of trust, this tarnishing and defacing of the truth leaves you broken and unable to face the totality of the truth. You cannot comprehend that you have been conned so extensively and so often. You cannot bear the sensation that arises from having been made to look so foolish. You held your trust up as something to be proud of and now you are left to rue your reliance on this as you hear the repeated comments of “Told you so”, “Didn’t you notice?” and “You are too trusting.” You equate trust with the truth. Our abuse of your trust causes you to not want to accept the truth of what we have done.
I have not addressed you by name because your name does not matter to me. In fact, I am struggling to recall it as after all we have only been together for a week but notwithstanding this I wanted to write this letter for you because for once, perhaps the first and only time in my life I wanted to be honest with you and tell you the truth. Your name does not matter because I do not see you as a person. I see you as an appliance but I know you must be the best appliance. How do I know that? Simple. I chose you. You see, although I have given you the impression that I have met you by chance in a wine bar a week ago (is it only a week, it feels like we have known one another a lifetime) I picked you out. I look out for ladies like you. I know that there is a hospital nearby and many of the staff drink in that particular bar. I use it for many of my victims but I don’t want to talk about them because I only now want to focus on you. I saw you with your friends and saw how you made people laugh and how people often turned to you when you were speaking. I saw your membership card when you opened your purse at the bar so I knew from that you did indeed work at the hospital. In fact, I watched you three times before I came over to speak to you. That was to make sure you were my kind of victim and guess what? Good news. You tick so many boxes and that is very exciting. I am not interested in you as a person. I only want to know what you can do for me. I am of course going to pretend I am interested in you and I spent some time finding your social media footprint and having a good look through. Have you had any friend requests lately from someone you were not sure you knew? You have because that was me. Thanks for letting me in and allowing me to look around your page. Great photographs and you gave me so much material to work with. You have been a busy bee telling the world about all the places you go to. I didn’t like that man who kept appearing in your pictures though. I will be trying to find out who he is. Hopefully it is your brother or a cousin otherwise I will need to have him isolated. He seems far too friendly and may get in the way of what I want to do. So, I knew you long before you knew me, but you soon felt like you knew me. That’s what I do. I trot out so many marvellous and flattering lines They are just devices to make you think that we have some special connection. I know you are into all of that. I heard one of your conversations with your friends as I stood nearby as you explained all about the need for connections with those you fall in love with, your belief in astrology oh and spiritualism. I have already organised two tickets for the clairvoyant who is in town in three weeks. I will tell you about that later, although maybe you already know this given your “special powers”? I will tell you this, they are not as special as mine because I already know lots about you. You think you know plenty about me but over half of what I told you was made-up and the balance was embellished and exaggerated. I am great but not as great as I want the world to know me as, so I tell some lies. Okay, I tell a lot of lies but I have to. That is the way I am. You won’t mind though because they are lovely lies. Pleasant lies. Lies that make you smile and grin, that make your head spin and your heart beat faster. That’s good isn’t it? There is nothing wrong with making you feel good because that is what you need to do for me. I am going to seduce you, you see, in order to have you fall in love with me. You will really enjoy it. I promise you that. You will be swept off your feet and you will end up loving me like never before and you will never again. At least, that is what I hope. I truly hope you will be the one that can fill up this void inside me with your perfect love. That is why I chose you. If you can do that I will always be good to you. It is a transaction. If you let me down, well, hey, let’s not be pessimistic about things, we don’t need to go there. Yet. There is plenty of fun to have first. How long? Oh that is up to you. I will do my part. I will put you on a pedestal and make you into a queen and I honestly do mean it because I want you to love me, adore me and admire me. I want you to praise me and raise me up to recognise I am your king, a prince amongst men. I need all of that. You must understand that for some reason which has never been explained to me by anybody I have this nagging sensation of emptiness inside of me but I have learned that if you show massive amounts of positive emotions towards me I feel so much better. I will be good to you, so you will be good to me, so I will be good to you and round and round we will go. I have lots to show you. I have lots of friends. I am a popular fellow. I charmed them all and if they knew what I was really like they would run a mile, but they do not know, so we need not concern ourselves about that need we? I know you won’t say anything to them and to be frank, even if you did, they have had so long a period exposed to my charm and magnetism they would not believe you. You may find out about that down the line. Sorry, there I go again, being the doom-monger. Let’s hope we don’t have to go there. This is the best part. It is all sunshine, love and romance. I will amaze you. Yes, I will. I will probably want to move in with you in about three months’ time because then we can have an even more amazing time together and also I can use all your resources without paying for them. Come on, it is only fair. I am going to give you everything so I will also take everything also. That is how I operate. What I give you isn’t real but that doesn’t matter because you will think it is and that is all that counts. Hey, if it looks the same and feels the same, why complain right? I will buy you many wonderful things. I will say a lot to you and I will do it all day and through the night too. I am an expert at finding different ways to compliment you but then I have had a lot of practice. Just accept it though, it is better that way, after all, those others were just a trial run for you, because you are the real thing. Look at me, I just cannot help it. That is one of those standard lines right there. Anyway, you might want to spend the next couple of days with family and friends because I will steadily isolate you from them. Oh they are nice enough I realise but I need you to be subsumed in my world and there is no room for them, especially your sister who I think may be a trouble maker. Either that or she’s next if things don’t work out with you. What am I writing, of course they will, we are soul mates, whoops there I go again. I do it so often it is second nature to me, no wonder I end up believing my own lies at times. Anyway, what I wanted to tell you was that you are going to now have the most amazing, scintillating, glorious and breath-taking time which will be beyond anything that you have ever experienced before. I will charm, delight, mesmerise and amaze you. Hang on for dear life as we are going to soaring up very, very high indeed. We are heaven bound. I do want you to be the one. I really do mean that. Please don’t let me down. I don’t think you will. I think I have it right this time. I have studied you well and you are a perfect match for me. So enjoy these words, understand them because once you have they will vanish, but I won’t. I will be with you forever and that is very much the truth.
With love for your fountaining fuel but not you as a person,
With falsity, fraud and fake