Tell Me What You Are Thinking

 

TELL ME WHAT YOU ARE THINKING

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 youthinking 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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36 Comments

  1. Aw poor Sophie! She was way out of her depth, like many of us. I always knew from a couple of lines of text that he was ‘off’. I used to say ‘what’s going on with you, have you been eating meat again?’ Same sentiment, I’m sure you’ll agree, just lacking Sophie’s sweetness. In the beginning he’d say ‘how do you know something is up?’ To which I’d reply ‘because I’m a witch’.

    As for constantly perky and positive people, remember what happened to Jill Dando – just saying!

  2. Although I feel for Sophie, I try to avoid people who classify themselves as ‘happy go lucky’, ‘nice’ or ‘easy going’. (Particularly men). It’s not definitive but often I find it stands for people who don’t want to accept the negatives in life or the negative emotions within themselves. Also that they are somewhat ‘wishy washy’ and not strong enough to form opinions that other people might disagree with.

    1. You’re more a fan of the ‘happy go fuck youself’ sort Niffly?
      I know that’s not your name, just how I read it first time and it stuck.

      1. Notme!:

        I didn’t mean to sound so abrupt in my first response to you. I was short on time and just trying to answer quickly, so I have come back around.

        I would prefer a middle ground with a healthy mixture of all emotions, but yes, if given the choice between those two extremes I would prefer “happy go fuck yourself”.

        I can’t stand the extreme of weakness; the always trying to appear happy (which is fake), the sickly sweetness, innocence and childlike (also fake, so childish), the inability to say no and defend oneself and do what must be done. It literally sickens me and I’m not exactly sure why, but I just can’t be around it. It makes me angry. I would much prefer somebody with passion, intensity, an opinion, the ability to say no and defend themselves. I would rather have an argument with somebody (I do quite well with verbal altercations usually). It’s exhilarating, intense, and challenging. If they just insulted me and left, I would just go on with life and not be bothered. But the other extreme bothers me greatly.

  3. I just find this story really sad. I empathize with Sophie greatly. She had opinions, she just didn’t wanted to be berated or whatever….

        1. Ya I thought of that, too. I have felt exactly like this story before, yet I’m not at all vacant. Perhaps she saw how HG leveled other people’s opinions and didn’t want it to be her.
          How overly empathic is this 😂😂😂

          1. Sometimes the person that acts like Sophie is doing, is the person that is the the one that tries to keep the peace in very abusive situations. Asking about him, keeping everything about him and his thoughts, usually keeps someone that is physically abusive so happy to be talking about themselves and feeling superior, they will give that person a reprieve for a little while. Not that I’m saying you were physically abusive HG, I just mean that she could have been conditioned to act in this manner for survival purposes at an earlier time in her life. There are just to many unanswered questions to really ever know for sure.

  4. Sophie sounded like a nice person Always positive and.seeing the good in everyone.
    She obviously loved you and never wanted to upset you HG. Although she was stuggling with negative thinking perhaps.
    How long did this relationship last?

          1. I knew better then to even ask you that question! Why do you have to tease us so?? 🙃

          2. I do not tease you. I merely state that the information is not yet available for publication but will be.

          3. Yes, yes, I know. Which book will this information be in HG? I truly do wish you could leave your other job and just do this full time. Just think of the writing you could accomplish? 🙃

          4. I must confess HG, I knew the answer to that question also. I just wanted you to get the name of it out there once again!! 🙃😘

  5. I agree with you Chi about Sophie and hiding behind all of that kindness as to not rock the boat. I believe she is the one I most think about also and I hope she has found some kind of help.

  6. This story makes me laugh but also sad. I laugh bc HG was momentarily confused by the fact she didnt react and i know for a fact provoking a reaction is so important bc it means they matter. Ive been doing this for awhile now not reacting or getting upset over things i used to but its not just to deny fuel i genuinely am getting over a lot of the tactics used. If it were overt like in this case where there was open flirting id confront that but i wouldnt lose my shit and freak out no bc that would build the ego. No id calmly talk about it and let the narc know im not standing by to watch him flirt and if he wants to be with another girl id walk away. Im so done with silly triangulation. I look back over the years and realise what a waste of time it was being insecure or upset or angry. I taxed my health with such emotions. Ive learned how to move on in a sense or maybe ive stopped caring to some extent. I know ive lost attraction and see things for what they are. I laugh bc if HG was confused by sophies lack of reaction i wonder what my narc is thinking lol Some narcs will discard due to lack of reaction and boredom. I do react to positives but his old tactics no longer work on me. He knows if he escalates it too much i would cut him out of my life so theres a fine line where his control is limited.
    Sophie i feel sad for bc i see deep issues i think we only see at the tail end of this story. I see a scared woman with many internal emotional scars. I see trauma and compartmentalizing. Shes so afraid of conflict she becomes a doormat and people pleaser. She never wants to rock the boat or have others upset with her bc emotionally that would rock her boat and make her feel unstable. Sophie i feel is hanging on by a thread and in desperate need of therapy. Shes a good hearted lady that has been thru a lot and just trying to get thru her day unscathed.
    She definitely has ptsd that she is internalizing. Its made her a caged afraid animal where she cant be herself and does not feel entitled to a voice or opinion. She doesnt feel she deserves boundaries or to be treated with respect instead she gives gives gives to others in hopes of being accepted and loved. She lacks self love as a result of her past. Id be curious to know about her past and her childhood where this all stemmed from. She has given up all assertiveness to maintain the peace. I get the sense shes barely hanging on in life emotionally and it makes me sad. I think many readers are annoyed with her and think shes too sugary but they dont see where its stemming from or why. They think its an act but i think shes a very kind person but has used her kindness to overcompensate her ptsd and protect her like a shell from further hurt and conflict.
    I think she was dying inside with each devaluement. I wonder most about sophie out of all the victims written about and i hope shes on a self recovery journey of healing.

    1. Chihuahuamum: I think you’re right. I think her constant questions were a form of monitoring developed at a very early age. “I must figure out what everyone is thinking and make them happy if they aren’t, and then Daddy will stop cheating, Mummy will stop hitting the bottle, and Uncle Humbert will stop molesting me. If I just maintain a Positive Attitude, I can fix it.”

      Poor kid.

  7. This is really sad. I’m speculating that when H.G. started saying “nothing” it had the effect of breaking down her defense mechanism that she [apparently] had been using, up to that point, in all her personal relations, except the relationship with herself -ie bedroom scene. The bedroom scene may indicate though that the defense was cracking anyway, at least in relationship with H.G… but ofcourse H.Gs narrative cannot tell us for how how long her defended life may have been precarious. I really hope she had some support to get help but fear that because she was always so outwardly happy and giving to everybody she may have not had the capacity to seek support and that nobody would think that she needed it. On the other hand if the defense completely shattered -the “nothing” response being an inadvertent catalyst – then one would hope that others in her life would notice the change and support and help her.

  8. I agree with Liza about the likely origin of her attitude. It is sad, but I usually find that kind of behavior quite manipulative and intrusive as well. They don’t express genuine opinions, sugar coat shit even when it is not necessary, and compulsively try to come across as a good person who finds silver linings in everything so that they will be loved or at least appreciated (which likely wasn’t the case in their early life). In my view, that behavior is also very controlling, becomes obvious when they get upset if someone resists the intrusion or is not impressed by all the positivity. In my opinion, it is another version where someone is chronically afraid of being themselves and using authentic expression. I don’t know, maybe they lose their sense of self (or never truly developed) and only identify with being this nice, supportive person. When that is not needed or refused, they don’t know what to do. Sadly, I don’t think one needs to be a narcissist to reject such a person after a while. I am pretty sure I would have reacted in the same way, resisted the inquiries, maybe would have have challenged her with asking what she is truly thinking. Or more likely would not have wanted to be cruel to her and just get away. I think this is exactly how it is not a healthy and effective strategy to be “all good” – most people will eventually reject them or just take advantage as long as possible. Then the responses just replicate and reinforce the lack of appreciation in their early lives. No surprise if such a person finds themselves with narcissists over and over.

    1. thank you for your acknowlegement Dorion.
      i’d like to say that i understand such behaviour could be irritating for someone who is not a narcissist, but i think that she doesn’t have much controle over it, she did it all her life and it is the only thing she learned to avoid being hurt.
      her behavior ressembles one of a scared childe, and the sentence she keeps repeating to herself sounds like something that would have been told to her several times when she was younger.
      of course it is juste speculation, and my argumentation is viable only if the assumption that her familly was abusive is true.

    2. Hi Dorion,

      “In my view, that behavior is also very controlling, becomes obvious when they get upset if someone resists the intrusion or is not impressed by all the positivity.”

      The behaviors you are referring to in the sentence above, if they are repetitive, constant and clearly a pattern, might be those of the Overwhelming Angel Narc,

      I don’t see evidence of Sophia being this type, not in H’g.s portrayal.

      1. Based on my sentence above, indeed. I read that post by HG before but this one about Sophie does not strike me as such either. For me, constantly asking about what goes on in my mind would feel intrusive but many other things as well – I know I am especially sensitive to intrusion. So it may just be me. The other features like always complimenting everyone and focusing on the positive is certainly pleasant, but I personally believe it can be part of (often unconscious) manipulative behavior in some people, wanting to connect by pleasing everyone and just being an all-over nice person. I think it is sometimes described for codependents. Anyhow, I think these are all different patterns, I wouldn’t see someone with Sophie’s tendency (based on this post) as narcissistic either. What I was trying to emphasize more is how people with this kind of pattern draw abuse on themselves… so easy to take advantage. Not surprising for me at all if people like this manage to be with a narcissist for longer times than others that are more outspoken and less agreeable.

  9. Sophie was most likely rised in a verry abusive family, in wich she was belittled and evry move she tried to make, and evry initiative she tooke was faced with a terrible punishement, to the point were she thought of her capacity to think and have opinions as a burden that only brings bad things to her.
    i think it is one of the saddest stories i’v read in here, i hope that Sophie coud get help after that.

    1. She may be just fine when she isn’t around a mean ol Narc. I have felt just like this. There are people I rarely express myself around because I know how belittling they are. My close friends will tell u I’m not short on ideas or vacuous, in the least. My father was a horrible Narc, so I learned not to say anything around certain people. I’ve also been known to torpedo things from time to time exactly by expressing a contrary opinion around an abusive A-hole….. just to see them show their ass to a group. It’s like sitting back and watching fireworks 💥 😂

      1. note than you distinguish beteen people with whom you can be natural and others, and if you feel good with someone you are sharing your thoughts, and when you are by yourself, you do acknowlege your thoughts, but Sophie refuses to alow herself to think, she is desperately trying to desable her brain.
        i think that in her case the damages runs deeper than just not wanting to share, or dificulties to trust.

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