Connected Yet Removed

CONNECTEDYET REMOVED

The people that know me and interact with me often remark that I always seem attuned to people and my environment. They remark about how I know so much about certain things, that I have clearly experienced a lot and retained the benefit of this experience. My awareness of matters is high and it is often commented on how I am able to “plug in” to something and instantly understand it, know how it works and what to do. Whether it is a meeting, discussion or event, I always fit in. I am not going to disagree with those comments.

Let us imagine that you are a massive football (soccer for our transatlantic cousins) fan. I listen to how you analyse a forthcoming match and discuss the impact of an expensive new signing. I carefully pay attention as you detail how the opposition centre-half is weak on short passes played into the penalty area. I see your eyes widen and light up with interest as you debate these issues with fellow fans. I make a careful note of what is said by you and the others and store it so that I can regurgitate it later to someone else who is similarly interested in football and pass it off as my own knowledge and observations. I do this with conviction so that nobody recognises that these comments are not my own. I spent the morning before the match that we are attending, reading the sport sections of two quality newspapers and also the satellite broadcaster’s webpage for the match, along with other bits and pieces from around the internet in order to assemble my knowledge for this, our first match together. I knew from your social media postings that you are a passionate fan of this team and as I targeted you I pretended I was as well. I managed to recall key trophies the team had won and recent events from the football club’s website to enable me to demonstrate I was also a committed fan. In the course of the discussion with you and your friends who are also die-hard fans I trot out a piece I memorised from a football writer, tweaking it here and there to give it a ring of authenticity as I explain how the captain, sorry our captain, needs a holding midfielder alongside him to allow him to venture further forward and play key balls to the lone man up front. You all nod in agreement showing admiration in my knowledge despite it being acquired elsewhere. I feel the fuel flowing.

I attend the match with you and see how excited you are by the occasion. Your conversation speeds up as you talk about the team the manager has selected. The smell of beer and hot dogs and pies mixes together on the concourse, heightening the occasion as the singing from the away fans drifts from inside the stadium. An event like this assails the senses. The press of the crowd as it makes its way inside seems to lend energy to you and your pace quickens, causing me to have to speed up to ensure I am not left behind. Once in our seats your face shows how you are eagerly anticipating the game, the chanting and shouting already loud, bouncing around the stadium and competing with the delivery of the pa announcer. All around me I can see nervous anticipation, bullish enthusiasm and well-founded confidence. I listen to the chants so I learn the words enabling me to join in. I watch you as you crane forward in your seat, eyes fixed on the unfolding match, fists clenched and repeated utterances issued loudly to urge your team on. I mimic your exhortions and body language, leaning towards the pitch and then jumping up as your team, now our team, opens the scoring. You hug me and I return the hug, jumping up and down in a replica of the delight that washes across the home crowd. The taunting chants aimed at the opposition ring out and I readily join in, gesturing towards the disconsolate faces in the adjoining stand. A second goal is scored, this time from the cries of delight and the conjoining of profanity and blasphemy the goal is clearly of both quality and importance.

“That puts us on top of the league on goal difference,” you explain as if you are able to see that I am wondering why there is such a heightened reaction to this second goal. I know however that you are not wondering that at all. I know that you are thrilled that I am embracing with such enthusiasm the match, sharing the main passion in your life. I join in with the cheers, the shouting, the cries of frustration and disappointment, the barracking of the referee when he makes a poor decision and ensure I am fully integrated with the experience. I look around me watching the passion, the hope, the fury and the delight etched on the other supporters. The stadium is a cauldron of noise and emotion. I am plugged into this experience alongwith fifty five thousand other people. I can see the emotions are raw and visceral, even primitive.

I see all of this around me yet I feel none of it. I merely mimic everyone else in order to fit in. I am attached to the experience but I feel nothing. I am completely detached from it. All it does is serve  a purpose to enable me to create and build bridges and ties with you. I can see how it all affects you, it is clear to see. I am there yet I am not. I am connected yet removed. This is how it feels, or rather, this is how it does not.

 

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23 thoughts on “Connected Yet Removed”

  1. HG, I’m having trouble imagining you pressed up against a heaving mass of hygienically challenged, farting, spitting (male) football supporters, even in the pursuit of delicious potent fuel lol

    1. Ha ha.

      1. I may be found in the corporate section from time to time.
      2. I think you are doing down football supporters with that description! It isn’t that bad you know.

      1. Yeah, you in corporate hospitality drinking Dom Perignon and eating truffle canapés I can definitely envisage!

        I’ve only done the corporate thing a couple of times and I didn’t have to sniff my pomander (not a euphemism) once lol. However, my extensive experience of the cheap seats is definitely like that. I forgot to mention the line of guys openly urinating over the stand wall right next to me at half time, that was a particular highlight haha. Not wanting to name drop, but the only time it wasn’t like that was when Pelé sat next to me. He was charming and wonderfully fragrant and he didn’t even pick his nose and wipe it on the seat in front, or anything… the height of sophistication haha

  2. I mean to be fair – I’m not a narcissist or a psychopath or personality disordered and I feel like this fairly often. I personally need different/higher levels of stimulation to get that excitement….it feels as if you are going through the motions. The difference is …I don’t have the patience to fake it and find it totally pointless lol.

    1. Dr Q
      You’re saying you’re ODD, struck a chord with me. I volunteer at the middle school where I used to teach. We have 190 11 year olds this year on my team. One has ODD. I’ve never knowingly had a student diagnosed with this. He can be almost scary in his reactions and does very little he is supposed to do.

      After a confrontation with me when I was subbing, now he is almost clingy to me and all smiles. He seems eager to do what I ask him. It is a little spooky how well we get along now. Don’t know how long it will last. I’m in Kansas for a week now. Interesting to see if our improved relationship is still there when I get home.

      1. Windstorm,

        I love that population 😂. I have the most fun with them. You are very lovable he will adore you I’m sure. Make sure you never start a sentence with the following:

        You should
        You need to
        You’re going to
        You better

        Try approaches like…

        – It might be in your best interest if
        -Well let’s consider all the choices and what the outcome would be – focus on making good choices
        – talk in a neutral calm unemotional tone
        – give two choices and focus on how it’s in his control now he can make the choice – clearly they don’t always make the right choice but the natural consequence should immediately follow – it needs to be consistent
        – focus on the behavior not the person
        – always give an alternative to crappy behaviors – lots of people tell the kids what they can’t do but no one tells them what the CAN do
        – make sure the rules and expectations are clear and check for understanding
        – verbal praise – I like the way you’re trying – you’re making awesome choices
        – focus on problem solving through situations
        – validate their feelings – I can understand this is frustrating I would be frustrated too – let’s do three math problems instead of 7 and you can have a break
        – try behavior contracts – if you earn x amount of points by whatever time you can extra time on the computer – make sure everything is clearly defined
        – take into account comorbidity – often you will see adhd and learning disabilities I’ve seen mood disorders or little HGs lmao

      2. Also avoid embarrassment and calling him out in front of people..

        I feel he’s losing his shit try to stay calm and again validate and help Idenify the feelings …

        “I can see ur rally upset right now we can take a break and return to this… “

        Again focus on choices and consequences have to match the crime and be delivere immediately and consistently

      3. Dr Q
        Thanks a lot for your suggestions on dealing with my ODD student! I’m sure it’s no surprise that I am not a confrontational person. When he had his meltdown the other day, I pulled him aside and talked to him like I would one of my grandsons (my standard method) about how I was concerned that he was making choices that would get him into trouble. That his behavior had already earned a consequence according to school rules, but explained what he could do to make it better. I did give him choices and made sure he understood that I wanted to see him make good ones and not get into trouble.

        I always hated people in authority giving me ultimatums and making me feel inferior. In my own way, I am a rather defiant person, too. But mine is a hidden defiance. Outwardly I would do what I had to do, but inwardly I was often thinking how stupid the rule was or how two-faced and pompous the adult was. Outwardly I might conform my behavior when I had to, but inwardly I maintained my own values and beliefs. The surest way to gain my cooperation was always to explain to me logically why it was the best thing to do. Just because an adult thought it was best meant nothing to me. Especially if I’d already witnessed that adult making stupid choices of their own.

      4. Windstorm,

        I think you did a great job! Remember to consider any kind of learning issue or ADHD because they may have difficulty with the work or understanding directions so you may have to modify it or give them systematic ways to solve problems – look into cognitive strategy training.

        I hate rules lol. I’m reasonable though – if the rule makes sense to me…i won’t break it.

      5. Yes, Dr Q. Same with me, but the rule has to make sense to me! I don’t do anything just because someone says to with no reason.

  3. I think there are people who have maybe low grade depression or require different and/or higher levels of stimulation to feel excited about things that can relate in some capacity to what you are talking about.

  4. HG What if a drunk guy threw a beer and it landed on you ? What someone from the opposite team you wanted challenged you to a fight and yelled ,” fuck your team they suck ! “. Would you feel that anger directed at you from a stranger in a crowd ?

  5. This might be of interest to you, then again who knows..

    Just watched ‘Celebs in solitary confinement’ on channel 5.

    Four celebrities (professor green, Anthea turner, worlds strongest man and a comedian.. forgive me i forget their names!)

    Spend five days in isolation. No contact with anybody else, no social media and under the supervision of psychiatrist Sandra Scott.

    How do they cope? There is no notion of time …or night and day, how do they deal with complete isolation?

    Some sleep, some exercise, some create regimes.

    Cameras watch their every move.

    They ALL felt loneliness (or lack of fuel? being celebrities with higher than normal narc traits?)

    Professor green slept for the first 17 hours and remained in a shut down state.

    Anthea has not stopped presenting to the cameras, she can’t sustain this.

    Worlds strongest man is angry and can’t stop letting us know that!

    The comedian writes, but struggles to focus. When you are on your own it’s easy to go dark in thoughts.

    But each of them have their own way of dealing with their dark thoughts.

    Keeping your mind occupied is the key to survival.

    Then one of their 3 luxury items to help occupy the time (puzzles, weights, smells, journals) is taken away to test them.

    The powers that be, remove an item of value to the detainees.

    Some are sad, some are angry, will they all comply?

    Professor green did, Anthea didn’t, worlds strongest man did, comedian didn’t.

    Professor green, clever compliance, Anthea is more concerned about viewers, worlds strongest man most honest offering, comedian rebelled.

    Tomorrow night we will see punishments and consequences.

    Mind over matter.

    HG, you should be watching this because it’s like research for you without getting burnt!

    1. If it is more scientific than sensationalist then it does sound interesting. I thought Big Brother was going to be an interesting experiment but then I watched a couple of episodes and realised it was not at all.

  6. The narc didn’t really latch on to anything I was interested in but more or less showed a general interest. He never pretended to a runner or into the sport but went to lengths to show interest in physical health (biking for him) instead. He would laud me for the way I ate and packing my own food, going so far as buying a smoothie machine. He did latch on to a song I sent making it “ours” along with a song he had sent me that I liked. Part of the reason I never thought anything of it is he wasn’t INTENSE about any of it. It felt normal.

  7. HG,

    Do you, or narcissists in general, ever achieve that sort of ‘zen’ feeling while engaging wholeheartedly in something like running, or creative activities – where your brain just sort of shuts off and time passes…and then for a time you really aren’t actively thinking, or thinking *about* thinking – but just being in the moment? I know how this question sounds and invites a joking response but it is another of my questions on the inner life (or lack there of) of narcs.

    For an empath, this state of being can be so freeing because it actively shuts down any critical inner voices and the constant sounds of the hamster wheel turning…for a bit, anyway.

    1. My mind is always whirring thinking about something even when running, cycling or setting fire to spiders.

      1. Re setting fire to spiders. Are you just trying to get us empathic spider lovers riled up, HG?

    2. WC, let me know where I can find the zen. I’m no narc, but the only way I can achieve the “no thinking” state is to be dead asleep. I admit, I use sleep as an escape very often.

      1. MB
        Zen Mind, Beginner’s Mind by Shunryu Suzuki.

        Might not be your cup of tea, but this book changed my life. Google it and there’s a lot online, too.

      2. MB, do you engage in any hobbies, creative endeavors or physical activities to reduce stress or encourage mindfulness? Personally, I don’t do anything structured like meditation but I find art very therapeutic and often find myself so absorbed in the ‘doing’ of it that time passes without my knowing and it’s very relaxing…

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