Ask The Question

 

ASK

You may remember Sophie who was one of my ex-girlfriends. She was a happy-go-lucky kind of person and loved dashing from person to person wishing them well. She was like a machine spewing out good wishes, pleasantries and compliments.

“You look really well,you have lost weight.”

“That skirt really suits you.”

“I heard you recently got married, you must be really happy. That’s really wonderful.”

“Hey great news on that new job. I am really pleased for you.”

“You look so content, I am really happy for you.”

She was really, really good natured. Oh and she used really a lot. There was not a bad bone in Sophie’s body and she always saw the good side of everything. I was by turns fascinated by how she managed it and also hugely attracted by her capacity to find victory from the jaws of defeat.

“He’s grumpy because he is tired, he works very hard you know.”

“I guess he didn’t have time to speak to me today, he has really huge responsibilities. He really has.”

“I don’t mind that he forgot my birthday, I am just really pleased to be with him, that’s a good enough present for me.”

“I haven’t heard from him so I guess he is out with his friends. It is really good to spend time with other people now and again, it keeps things really fresh.”

She just skipped along merrily handing out kindness and warmth as if that was all she was programmed to do. I reached this conclusion because behind the permanent smile, the twinkling eyes and elated expression she wore there really was not a lot else. She had no interest in politics, current affairs, sport, history, literature and so on. She would listen patiently if I railed against the latest proposals concerning immigration nodding and smiling and when I asked her what she thought she would say,

“Oh all of that is for people really clever. It’s not for me.”

She was never dismissive in the sense of pouring scorn on it just because she was not interested or she did not understand. No, she just had no interest because she felt it was beyond her, not something she had to be concerned about. She was concerned with just one thing ; skipping around like some modern day fairy sprinkling goodness everywhere. I do think she lacked much in the way of her own opinions and thoughts because she usually deflected any attempt to get her to critique something with a self-effacing comment like the one above. She never seemed to be caught in a moment of contemplation. She never seemed to pause for thought. She would just ask what I thought. She did this repeatedly. She was always concerned to know what I was thinking about.

“What’s on your mind?”

“Penny for your thoughts?”

“What are you thinking?”

“Where is your mind today?”

“What’s going on upstairs?”

Repeatedly throughout the day, as  we sat watching television, after we had made love, during dinner, going for a walk, when I was shaving and so on. Always wanting to know what I was thinking. So I told her. From the mundane (“This shaving gel is not as good as the last lot I bought”) through to the loving (“I was just thinking how wonderful it is being with you”) to the scathing (“I was just wondering why on earth I am with such an empty-headed woman as you”). That was all she wanted to know. What was I thinking? On and on she would go, asking and asking and no matter what I said, be it compliment or nasty comment or ephemera she would smile and give a satisfied nod.

All of this made her very attractive to someone like me at the outset as she was a real high volume fuel generator but once that wore thin, it was rather difficult to denigrate her so she would react the way that I wanted. She put me in mind of that toy the Weeble. The catchphrase surrounding the Weeble was “Weebles wobble but they don’t fall down.”Sophie was like that. I would be horrible to her and she maintained a smile (although I thought or at least hoped she was dying inside) and made an excuse and found a rationale for my unpleasantness. Insults just seemed to bounce off her. Smashing plates and ornaments caused her to stand and watch with a slightly perplexed look on her face before she tidied the pieces away. She did not cry or show fear. I would sit and flirt with other women online and comment to Sophie about how attractive they were. She would look over and agree with my comments and go on to compliment how white their teeth were or how she liked their hairstyle. If I wandered in during the middle of the morning she would just ask how my night had gone. I am sure she could smell other women on me but she did not seem to react. It was as if she was wrapped in this coating of pleasantness that was impervious to any nastiness thrown at her. She would either respond with a soothing comment, make an excuse for what I had said or done or just not react and get on with her day. I used to wonder if she had me worked out and this was her way of negating me. How had she done this? Who had put her on to this strategy?

One weekend she was staying with me at my house and I returned earlier than she expected. She had not heard me come in (it is often said that I manage to move around with a strange ability to be very quiet, popping up without warning) and I could hear her talking in the bedroom. I crept closer and through the slightly ajar door I realised she was talking to herself.

“Must not think, do not think Sophie. Just keep doing. Smile and shine, shine and smile. Keep going forward. Don’t think about it. We know what happens when you think about it. Bad things happen but we don’t do bad things do we? No. Only good things. I don’t do the thinking, he does. I need to know what he is thinking and then I can make him happy, it is only fair, he deserves it doesn’t he? Don’t think Sophie, must not do that, come on, you can do this, you always do. Do it don’t daydream.”

I stole away and then realised what I needed to do to break her.

After that, whenever she asked me what was I thinking about, I would respond by saying “Nothing.” She would look puzzled and ask again. I would repeat my answer. She then would look slightly anxious. I would turn to her and ask

“What are you thinking about”

She would try and deflect my question by asking me again or changing the subject but now I knew how to get to her. I would never tell her what I was thinking and instead pursue her to tell me what was going on inside that sugary head of hers. It worked. She became upset, angry, frustrated and anxious so I kept it going and going and going. I have no idea why it troubled her so much. Her eyes filled with panic when I kept saying nothing and then she seemed to shrink, her light dimming as I asked her about what she was really thinking. She could not cope with it. I did not work out what it was about thinking that caused her so much consternation and I did not care, all that mattered to me was being able to provoke her into giving me that emotional reaction. It seemed that too much thinking on her part was a dangerous thing indeed. The important thing was that I had worked out how to provoke the provision of negative fuel. Makes you think doesn’t it?

 

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40 thoughts on “Ask The Question”

  1. I was like this with my first narc. I was super positive. He would do horrible things, and I never nagged. Just stayed psoitive. I broke up with him due to the HORRIBLE things he was doing. But did not fight. I was in a stage of “not being the nagging” girlfriend. I wanted to be the positive GF. Maybe sofie was trying this too? Many times when u go through trauma it can also be better not to dwell and think about it. Not sure if maybe she was advised this. A lot fo dating sites do recommend keeping positive.
    However, it;s a mistake not to think. God gave you a brain to use.

    I also liked this post to understand how u (narcs) analyze people. I think another thing that helps is giving narcs fake info about yourself.
    That way they can’t figure out what will get you.

  2. By asking her what SHE was thinking it forced her to confront the very thoughts she was avoiding… and that would force her to face the issues that she was trying avoid….

  3. That moving around silently was a little game my dad and I used to play as a kid lol.

    We would scare each other lmao.

    He still does it to me – I’m laughing as I’m typing.

    I don’t do it to him anymore cause I don’t wanna give him a heart attack.

  4. That’s just so horrible. It is painful to think anyone takes such pleasure in plotting to destroy another human being.

  5. You might have been a good thing to happen to Sophie, she needed to be broken. Hopefully she got help for whatever messed her up before you came along, and is a little spicy now. I’ve known a couple of women who let their narcissist do anything in the world to them- and they would do anything ridiculous they were asked- without questioning how stupid it was- and not seem to hear or see the narcissist, head cocked back in laughter at their cost.

    This does show how clever you are and devious. My narc also moves around without any sound, I wondered if he had special shoes or something. He’s very good at hiding too, even when standing right behind me, I could never turn to see him but I knew he was there from the person I was talking to looking at him, smiling, and looking back at me.

  6. Sophie was autistic. Since she couldn’t understand jealousy, or anything negative, she explained your behavior with positive must haves.

    I wonder how this relationship ended.

    1. Sophie wasnt autistic. She probably did feel jealousy but like a narcissist compartmentalized to avoid dealing with conflict or hurt. Her bubbley overoptimistic personality was her sheild in life altho a flimsy one.

    1. He recycles Sophie frequently. Many newer readers would have no clue about Karen, Sweet Caroline, Alex, oh and the college girlfriend that when on break over the summer from the University, he’d make his dad answer her calls and cover for him because he was busy exploring his friendship with Lucy.
      Remember all those MB?! Lol

      1. I’ve read about some of them. Not the college girlfriend, Lucy, Daddy triangle, though. Did his Dad pretend to be HG? Surely that wouldn’t fool her for long.

        But then, this morning we get Tickety Boo. He’s digging some out from the archives. He heard some readers were in the stacks looking for quiet and went to check on them.

      2. Love those Oldies but Goodies! No, no his Dad did not pretend to be HG. The college girlfriend would call for him and HG was being ornery not taking her calls (silent treatment), but Dad liked her and would say “HG will come around and call back”; or, “he’s out, I’ll give him the message” with HG listening by the door.
        Her story ties in with an article about HG realizing causing someone to have tears of happiness over seeing or hearing from him after experiencing a long period of silence was a very gratifying and edifying source of fuel.

      3. Clarece & HG, I can certainly see how tears of joy and relief after a long period of absence would be quite potent indeed. You could probably only pull that off once, maybe twice before the effect would diminish.

      4. MB, you mean you don’t cry tears of joy after HG starts putting through the comments after a week or two long hiatus when he travels? Come on, you know you do and you’ll never stop.
        (just kidding around). 🙂

      5. Yes, Clarece! (Not actual crying though.) When I see the comments come through after a break. I know he is safe and sound and I do have a sense of relief. I’ve always had this feeling that he will abandon the blog. Either by choice or circumstances beyond his control. If he goes, I won’t only lose him, but all of the friends I’ve made on here too. I don’t know any other way to contact y’all. I’ll just go ahead and say in advance that I love you all and wish you all peace and joy!

      6. Well, MB, I did mention earlier today to K a FB Group I joined in the summer where I plug HG’s blog where appropriate. People can be found or not found if they want.

      7. You did mention it and I don’t remember the name now. I suck at searching too. Yep, that idea crashed before it left the ground!

      8. Lol clarece you have a great memory! I think sophie is the one i feel the sorriest for. I think she grew up around a narc parent and trauma and this was her coping bubble to avoid conflict and always be agreeable. Ive been there myself in some ways with my own narc. Im bubbley and positive but unlike sophie when im pushed too far i address it and usually disengage altho only briefly.
        I see a lot of peoples reactions to a personality like sophies with scorn and dislike i think bc they feel its an act and possibly resent someone who is always positive. Maybe they look at it as weakness. I can see thru it. That said ask yourself why seeing someone choosing to be positive bothers or makes you angry? Why? Is it bc you resent it? It really does make you “think” about why you dont like this in another person…

      9. I feel the most sorry for Karen and HG has always been very tight-lipped about what ultimately happened to her. One of his former intimate partners committed suicide and I’ve always hoped that it was not her.

      10. Clarece, my hunch is that it was Karen that committed suicide. She loved him so much. Maybe one day he will write about it, but I’ll be surprised.

      11. I’m not 100% sure if it was Karen. I don’t know that he would actually write about that relationship (that involved a suicide) on the blog. Possibly in the future book, “Asylum of the Grotesque.” But HG’s tone whenever he wrote about Karen never had any hostility. Yes, she let him down, like all the others but it’s softer. Ask him about his ex-wife and you immediately get “that treacherous bitch”. Yikes!

      12. Karen thought she could love him enough to save him. When she was failed at that, the devastation must have been crushing. The story about the two of them in the rain at the lake remains one of my favorites.

        I hope HG is immortal. He has a lot of books to write. Stay healthy HG!

      13. Chihuahuamum
        I agree about Sophie. I never let other people make my decisions or always agree with them, but I’m a very positive person, also. There’s always something to be happy about. Why choose to be sad if you could choose to be happy instead? Many decisions dont really matter one way or the other in the long run. No sense fighting over them.

      14. The college girlfriend…i have a feeling she got kn with her life. Maybe she still interacts with HG but i think more from a friendship angle. She seemed to have her head on and was not as absorbed into the relationship. I think it was upsetting to her not knowing why she was being ignored and being triangulated but a few cycles of that she would be wiser and focus on her studies and future. I could be wrong but she seemed more sure of herself and independant.

      15. Exactly, it was HG’s early years and she was probably lucky to get away. She probably looks back and thinks HG was the bad boy who got away from college.

      16. Hi windstorm…i can see how this might annoy some people especially more sarcastic or negative people theyd look at an overly bubbly positive person as an airhead while possibly secretly being envious. Ive never been overly positive but ive over the last few yrs beem trying to be more positive and see the things in my life to be grateful for. I take each day as a gift bc so many dont get that next day.

      17. Clarece,

        I just searched Karen and read a few of those articles. You are right HG speaks in a gentle tone about her.

        Makes me feel sad thinking she may have committed suicide.

      18. There is a marked difference in the undercurrent of tone with Karen vs others. I also think Karen may have been post divorce for HG when he had come more into his own as a man and aware of his needs and wants. I also have the opinion he doesn’t recycle her articles the way he does for Sophie and Leslie (It Girl), for example, as a way of being more protective towards her in a way, even though the articles with Karen are just as educational showing the narc /empath dynamic at play.
        I sense he doesn’t want to discuss her as much. In the beginning, he could only guess how readers would respond to hearing how his former girlfriends were treated. People really felt concerned for Karen.

      19. Hi clarece…youd mentioned that HG has a softness when he speaks about karen but do you think if she committed suicide that would make him feel sad or have regrets? Everything ive learned here is that no it wouldnt. A narcissist would feel annoyed that appliance is no longer functioning for their benefit. Also some narcissists would wear it like a badge of honor that they mattered so much someone took their own life over them. Im not saying HG feels this way but from what ive learned about npd.

      20. Hi Chihuahuamum,
        I wanted to think my answer through because you were specifically asking my opinion of how HG would feel IF it had been Karen that may have been the one to end her life. I hate to speculate specifically on such a delicate matter when we don’t know for sure if it was her.
        What I will say is no matter what a person is – empath, narc, normal – grief is as individual as someone’s fingerprint. Everyone will do experience it differently. Even HG has said, he avoids funerals at all costs. But he has written about Narcs who will go and showcase the biggest display of tears and grief over the deceased to garner fuel and create drama. So even there, you have differences based on personality with one shunning the event and another showcasing themselves during it.
        HG has said again and again he does not have regrets. I think his viewpoint comes thru that he personally does not want to see someone go to that extreme. It affects him based on if that person is painted white or black and where they lie in his fuel matrix. I believe that lower physically abusive men who have repeatedly beaten their significant others, would not care whether they killed the woman in a rage or she committed suicide. Again, type of individual and their personality factors in.
        If it was Karen, and she was painted white, and as you reread in The Caretaker that he recycled today, she is described as having some of the best fuel he ever experienced, I would imagine if she committed suicide, that was a deep blow to HG. Lot of if’s in there though. The way he speaks about her, I interpret that he wants the door open to hoover her if the right opportunity presented itself.

      21. Hi clarece…ty for your reply. I still struggle to believe there are people out there that are void of empathy or remorse but psychopaths are that. Id like to think HG is different but he teaches otherwise. I can appreciate why he is the way he is and even feel sympathy but i admire his work and believe in it enough to be cautious where narcissists are concerned. Too many times i thought a narcissist must care but no they dont. HG so many times has said he feels nothing in regards to his appliances as far as loving them or caring about them and i have to believe that based on what ive learned here. If karen committed suicide then i think possibly it shocked HG at first but a true narc would only be concerned about how itd affect them not the victim or their loved ones. They might miss the victim but its not them its the fuel they miss and what they gave them. I like HG so this isnt coming from a hostile position but from what hes taught here.

      22. Hi Clarence, MB, & Chihuahuamum (& everyone else on this thread)
        You raise some interesting points about Sophie, and also the sides of Sophie that are brought out by relationship with HG. I wonder if Sophie was groomed in her family to take on this role of doormat/pleaser. I suspect this is the case. She may have tried to be herself, but met with rejection and resistance in many ways, and over time realised that this was her only way of being and having her needs for intimacy met. Except they never were, and as we know when we are growing up, we don’t have anything else to compare it to, and we sublimate our sadness and pain, and adjust our expectations.
        I feel for Sophie, in some ways she resembles me as a teenager. This is a clear example of self-love deficit disorder. I hope she has gotten away so she could really bloom and grieve and become her authentic self. I hope she didn’t have a complete nervous breakdown first. I hope she has realised that she deserves love, and it in no way resembles the dynamic with HG.

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