Evil : Imagine Greater

 

EVIL _ IMAGINE GREATER

You put yourselves into the position of others. We put others into ourselves. You do it as a matter of choice in order to fulfil one of the roles you see for yourselves. Admittedly, you are struck by a considerable compulsion but you still retain the ability to decide if you will do so. We do not. We must do it. We have no choice if we wish to survive. I would invite you to exercise that ability of yours.

Imagine being wounded by the words and actions of others. Imagine that injurious sensation arising because of the deliberate and treacherous behaviour of someone who we have come to rely on. From minion to colleague, from friend to lover, the slight that is occasioned by them stings, hurts and pains. Imagine suffering that agony even if the transgressor claims not to have intended such injury and pleads innocence of all wrongdoing. Imagine that you recognise that they are right in their protestation but it still does not take away what they have done.

Imagine being of ability, brilliance and talent yet within an instant being laid low by the turn of the back or the failure of acknowledgement. Imagine being beholden to such a tortuous response and hating being chained in this way. Imagine the desire to rail against the offender, mocking them for their shortcomings, their pale comparison and diminished abilities yet that same pathetic specimen has the ability to wound in such a grievous manner. Imagine the shame of despising that individual for their behaviour yet knowing that in their hands they hold such a power. Imagine those moments of genuine horror when it is contemplated that if that competitor only realised what they could truly do and that the consignment to oblivion might be moments away.

Imagine the anguish of knowing that your well-being and capacity to function is reliant on a whole host of others who have no inkling as to the part they play. Imagine how such ignorance is regarded as a blessing and that each and every day, thanks is given that they remain shrouded in such ignorance for if they became armed with knowledge, what destruction they might wreak. Imagine knowing you are chained to the one thing that generates such contempt and bilious hatred, the need to strain against those binding chains until they split, rupture and fall away with the arrival of another. Imagine the hope, the expectation and the desire for the new arrival to prove to be the saviour. Imagine always searching for that one true acolyte that will remove the ills, eradicate the risk of annihilation and instead will prevent the necessity of the imposition of those heavy oh so heavy chains. Imagine the fervent endeavour to acquire that new arrival and the sense of delicious anticipation as they begin to function in accordance with the expected and hoped for desire.

Imagine the soaring power that arises from this saviour, the promised one, the perfect one. Imagine that sense of surging, blazing power, the sweeping majesty of knowing that the needs are now catered for, that all is and will be well, that function and form can rely on this spectacular provision. Imagine the possibilities as being super-charged from this significant, this most significant other and that worlds will collide, empires will rise and the intended endless dynasty will be created.

Imagine the horror, the disappointment, the envy and the fury as that perfect one turns out to be a seditious charlatan who has lied, conned and connived. Imagine the incandescent rage that seeks escape. Imagine knowing of the consequences of such treachery and the reckless application of such blind fury. Imagine knowing that control must be exerted in order to preserve so much that has been built. Imagine straining to keep the beast within its confined place, the shackles so perfectly formed and seemingly impervious to weakness or fragility that now appear weak, rusted and not fit for purpose. Imagine the contemplation of becoming nothing. Imagine that which you wish the world to see being steadily dismantled and by a traitor’s hand. Imagine the sense of injustice, unfairness and bitterness to be undone by the very thing which promised the ultimate salvation. Imagine hearing that craven whisper that signifies that which should not be entertained or occasioned. Imagine the icy terror of that mocking, lisping voice and the frantic need to silence it. Imagine the whirlwind of necessity to rebuild, to acquire and to conquer once again. Imagine the Herculean effort required to reassert one’s place in this cruel and feckless world.

Imagine in such times of being reminded of what once was and what you swore would never be again. That which you have sought to bury deep and keep buried, locked away, hidden and rarely contemplated. Imagine the tormentors that come like shades to pull and drag towards that time again. That time which ought to have been banished yet still somehow rises time and time again. Imagine trying to bury it dead but knowing it will not allow this and instead when the obscene and scandalous plans of our opponents, our competitors and our enemies weaken that which ought not be seen as weak, that the corpse breathes once again and seeks to rise, its fetid words travelling from near-forgotten times to resurrect them and bring us down.

Imagine striking out left, right and centre in order to bring control and order back. Imagine that it can only be from the external chaos that order is enforced within and that the suffering of others is the glue, the mortar and the binding which creates that prison once more. Imagine reliance on the agony and suffering to re-build and re-create so that the voice is silenced and decorum established once more.

Imagine that whirring mind which must always assess, evaluate and calculate. Planning, plotting and scheming. A marvellous frenzied activity which devises and develops in order to always drive forward. Imagine knowing that stillness is not an option. Imagine the knowledge that taking such a step would only result in that slow descent and instead momentum is required at all times, onwards, upwards, forwards with never a backward glance, a moment of retrospect or the time to pause and consider. Always consuming, always extracting, always gathering, garnering, purloining, taking, sucking, draining, hunting, claiming, conquering. A ceaseless behemoth that draws the light from stars, the good from the benevolent, the love from the decent and the soul from everything. Imagine that and so, so much more.

Can you imagine it?

Can you be it.

I can.

I have to.

67 thoughts on “Evil : Imagine Greater

  1. fiddleress says:

    A magnificent piece of writing indeed, like everything that I have read so far, HG.

    But this article breaks my heart as it helps me grasp what the narcissist I knew experiences.
    He never explained as clearly what he goes through at times, but I had sensed this through what he said. For instance, that he was like a torero in an arena, fighting a bull that he was familiar with.

    Now I’ll hold on to the certainty that I was always going to wound him at some point, because it is unavoidable, no matter what I said or did and how carefully.
    Or I am worried that my resolution to “stay out” of the relationship may falter.

    One day he went berserk over me supposedly saying “I understand you” (I had actually said “I understand”). He was adamant that no one could ever understand anyone else.
    And I agree that you can never fully understand the suffering that others go through. You can indeed only “imagine”.

    1. HG Tudor says:

      Thank you Fiddleress.

  2. Whitney says:

    This work is magnificent. You are my favourite writer and the best writer in the world.

    1. HG Tudor says:

      Thank you Whitney

  3. njfilly says:

    Dear Mr. HG Tudor,

    You are magnificent.

    You have the spirit of a warrior; the soul of a Knight; the heart of a Prince; and the will and determination of a King.

    Is it any wonder that I am infatuated with you?

    1. HG Tudor says:

      No, it’s entirely understandable.

      1. Violetta says:

        Wait, she’s not allowed to be infatuated. That’s a Narc prerogative.

        1. njfilly says:

          Then what is the word that describes the infatuation of the empath?

          1. HG Tudor says:

            ET

          2. njfilly says:

            That emotional thinking appears to be all encompassing for the empath. Speaking only for myself, I believe there is more involved than that.

  4. Dorion says:

    I relate to parts of the last paragraph about the constant planning, scheming, calculating, the endless mental activity and restlessness to move forward…but I do these for different reasons. I also think most non-narc people burn out doing that on and on endlessly, for many years. That’s exactly what happened to me in my 30s and with that came the addiction, depression, nihilism. I have never been able to find that obsessive person within again after that dark era. I know I should not fancy it, miss it and it’s better to be more relaxed and balanced now, but can’t help and still fantasize about it every now and then and sometimes do feel a sense of failure. But then usually just distract myself, get a good night’s sleep, take a day off etc and all is well again. Then I realize that those fantasies are merely delusions now, one cannot not embrace the passage of time and normal changes, including changing needs, throughout a lifespan realistically. I still plan, calculate, constantly come up with new designs, improved versions and so on. But that over-ambitious, hypomanic, never wanting to stop, unable to relax person is more or less just a memory now and I am very happy for it to be this way.

    The other things described I can only imagine probably in a similar way you understand empathy, HG. What is amazing to me is that you always say this life is great and works for you, that you wouldn’t want it any other way. I think this is where narcissism differs significantly from other addictions, especially substance abuse. Addicts of that kind rarely feel that the lifestyle works for them. They may in the first few years, but definitely not after a decade, or decades… they are usually utterly miserable in many ways. I believe addiction to fuel does not mess up the body in the same way as drugs, so that may be one reason for the difference.

  5. Kel says:

    Imagine having no emotions.

    That even a limited range of feelings like rage, hurt, humiliation, and envy are only momentary reactions.

    Being Adored. Being Entitled. Being Special.

    We don’t have to imagine. We know what you’re feeling everyday when you react, when you lash out at us, and we try to overlook it.

  6. Zielum says:

    HG,

    I like this one. I relate.

    I wonder…If a potential intimate partner presented themselves more realistically, like “yeah I might, or even probably will, leave you, but I like you so let’s see if we can provide some mutual companionship in the meantime”, if that would be attractive on a deeper level? In a way, feeling safety in that you both already know the game and it’s not going to be a surprise when it’s not peaches and sunshine. Taking betrayal out of the equation.

    1. Hope says:

      I’ve tried this. In the end they lie even when they don’t have to. There’s always consequences. But maybe someone can get it right. My dynamic doesn’t seem to work well. It was easier when I was younger. I didn’t know what was really happening and extremely resilient. I grow feelings like weeds now. Can’t stop them from taking root and I don’t even plant them—when in a compromising situation. On the other hand, they’ll never seem to grow in the most suitable environment.

      1. HG Tudor says:

        We lie because from our perspective it is necessary, from yours it is not.

        Learning not to impose your worldview on ours is key to understanding the narcissist and achieving freedom. It is a common and understandable mistake that victims make, but it needs to be rectified as part of the process of learning.

      2. Zielum says:

        Hope,

        Between myself and my ex, I’ve learned that you need to understand your partner on a deep enough level to not listen to their words at face value. I’ve learned that lying can often be a self-defence mechanism for uncomfortable feelings, and can be safely ignored at times–I can choose to see it as lying, or look past it and recognize what he’s actually trying to say.

        My ex is extremely uncomfortable with all things medical. I used to get frustrated with his assurances that he was fine or that he was indeed taking his meds as prescribed, when I knew otherwise. Now, I know he’s going to lie pretty much every time, so I check on his meds for compliance, I schedule his doc visits for him and I go with him to the office to make sure he follows through…and for emotional support. Thankfully, that just entails being there–I don’t have to hold his hand or anything. But yeah…I’ve also learned his very subtle signs of stress–he can be showing them whilst simultaneously cracking jokes like he always does in nonstressful situations.

        The narcissist I’m interested in is a completely different ballgame, of course. I don’t know him hardly at all–I don’t know where to look out for lies or what the reasoning behind them is. But I have faith in myself to figure them out….if he’ll ever give me the opportunity. But, as I’m sure HG would assure you, most narcissists will abhor that level of scrutiny. It has to be a subtle observation without comment.

        I think it’s a mindset thing. Are you okay with being lied to (putting aside any other abusive behaviors), if you can read the true meaning behind the lies, and are okay with the truth you find there? My example with my ex was of a benign lie…some are more hurtful and harder to reconcile. But again, it’s my conviction that words are meaningless when you get a grasp of reading a person.

        This gets into the realm of “victim-blaming”, but narcissists have triggers, and if you can avoid the triggers and accept the other behaviors, I honestly believe it can work. At least, with a non-malignant type. But even they are people too, underneath it all. As HG said, just a different worldview. My friend has an ex who was a narcissist with psychopathic traits, highly malignant. But he did break down in front of her a single time–proof that even he is human. And if they’re human, they can be puzzled out.

        1. WhoCares says:

          Hello Zielum,

          Off topic, but I just wanted to offer an observation (in response to you questioning, elsewhere, whether or not you possess empathy) that you seem to be quite insightful into your own motives and drivers for your behaviour and also responsive to the perspective of others – this type of self introspection and perspective-taking is pretty indicative of someone who possesses emotional empathy and not just cognitive empathy – since you feel moved enough to respond to your observations of others. Also, your answers to questions here, regarding more sensitive matters demonstrate a desire to educate and yet, simultaneously, not offend – again demonstrating emotional empathy.

          On topic:
          “But he did break down in front of her a single time–proof that even he is human. And if they’re human, they can be puzzled out.” Sure, any narcissist would be happy to have someone puzzle them out, if it meant the giving of attention to them.

          1. Zielum says:

            WhoCares,

            My ex is the primary breadwinner. If he neglects his health and is unable to work, or even passes, I will be forced to move in with either his parents or mine with the kids. Considering my unemployability, we would be stuck there for a very long time…Which would require me living by their rules. Both sets of parents have a narcissist, both would be extremely aggravating to me as we always butt heads, and I wouldn’t put off the table that I would end up leaving my kids in their care in order to get away from the living situation. This is not an acceptable option.

            That being said. He is also the only person that has ever understood me for me, and accepted it, and decided to stay. I don’t know where else I would find that. And so it is very valuable to me.

            Regarding not offending people; I have stated previously my motivations for that. Part of me is irritated for not being recognized, the other part is pleased that I’m doing so well. I’ll put it this way–HG rarely says anything on here to offend, offers advice, offers thanks, wishes to educate. Does he have emotional empathy? Or is that just the way he operates in order to fulfill his own aims? Aims don’t have to be malicious to still be self-interested.

            Narcissists aren’t the only ones who project. Everyone does it to some degree–that’s worldview and perspective. It colors how we see people. I see on here that a lot of people project their own good intentions and motivations onto others. As HG has covered thoroughly, this is what makes people susceptible to narcissistic manipulation. You’re trying so hard to see your own self in others when that person may be operating from a completely different set of rules.

            And as far as your last part about attention…There is a limit to that. Or perhaps, obstacles. As HG has demonstrated with his articles describing therapy sessions, narcissists love to talk about themselves but are extremely wary of being prodded in tender spots. There will be resistance. Obviously–it is painful and it is scary, not that that will be admitted in so many words. Do narcissists, deep down, want someone to pay that much attention to address their suffering? I think so. I know it’s what I want. But I’m not going to let just any old joe schmoe do so. Someone would have to care, genuinely, truly care, as well as be competent, sensitive, and meta-cognizant. I have yet to find any person who fits this bill, and I don’t have high expectations of ever finding one. Hence why therapy seems pointless for doing what it’s supposed to do. There is a nearly insurmountable wall of mistrust that would need to be scaled and overcome.

            I guess what I’m implying is that I believe I can be that person for my guy. Unfortunately, the cat’s out of the bag and he perpetually has his guard up with me. Who knows.

            A final point about my style of empathy, which I believe is mostly cognitive. First, I used to experience the whole range of emotions. Again, I don’t know what happened, but they’re largely gone now. But I remember what they felt like, and I can see when people feel them. Second–My parents raised me with the mantra “Do as I say, not as I do.” We were taught cognitive empathy. I think they were going for emotional empathy, but they never modeled it. They taught us the proper way to interact with people but they never showed us what it means to truly care about a person. They always berated us for not thinking of others, yet they showed us day after day how not to think of others. That was a lesson learned.

          2. Hope says:

            I’m intrigued that you lost emotions at I’m guessing an adult age? How long have they been gone? Do you think they will return? I lost emotional function for a short time post divorce.

            It sounds like the embodiment of emotional empathy and is curious to me that I also felt I was and wanted to be the person who the narc could trust. I also felt I had to prove to him he could trust me. I wanted to know him. Not to heal him, but to feel intimacy. I don’t know I can’t heal anyone. I think healing takes a long time. But I thought it would help him begin the process of healing himself or provide relief during the healing process. Much like a person going to do a painful thing alongside you makes it easier. Like when I was able to hold/squeeze someone’s hand as the doctors cut something out of my foot as a child and I could still feel the pain. It felt easier, even if it wasn’t, by having that emotional support, their presence. Maybe when you gave birth you had someone do nothing but their presence helped when you were afraid or in pain? I wanted to be a calming presence. The selfish part is that intimacy is what I really crave. What I desire. I don’t know why.

          3. Zielum says:

            Hope,

            [I rehashed a lot of stuff I’ve already talked about before…I promise that I did *try* to stay on point with “When and how did the emotions leave?” lol]

            They disappeared slowly, starting near the time of two simultaneous events: Starting testosterone, and the divorce.

            You might think, “Aha! Those are easy reasons.” And they would be. Except–

            1. Just last night, I found a personal memo on my phone pre-dating testosterone treatment by a few months (I was taking notes for what I wanted to discuss with someone); it mentions “constant apathy”…so it wasn’t testosterone treatment that did it.

            2. I had wanted and been seriously considering divorce for about three years prior to it happening (I was worried about financially supporting myself and the kids, and losing them in a custody battle). When it finally happened, I was the one to initiate it and control all proceedings. My ex, who wanted nothing to do with it, chose to stick his head in the sand as if nothing at all was going on and maybe by ignoring it, it wasn’t real. But it was. We stayed friends throughout it, laughing and joking our way through mediation, him agreeing to everything I proposed in the documents…it was the epitome of an amicable divorce. So it wasn’t the divorce itself that did it.

            After the divorce, I waited only a month before downloading Grindr and hooking up. I was ready and rearing to go. I went through hooking up, relationships, moving out a few times (always having to come back..), job changes…I felt no sense of real loss towards my ex. We were “friends”, and that was all that mattered. Of course, there were plenty of times where he, at the urging of some coworker or fling, would decide I was somehow being unfair or something, and he would lash out at me. I was still able to feel back then, and yeah, it did hurt. Or at least, that’s what it seemed like**. Looking back now, I think…well, I remember a lot of indignation. And a lot of panicking–remember, my ex has always been the one holding the power, ultimately, as he is well liked by everyone and has the financial means to take care of both himself and the kids–so of course I panicked that he may take everything from me, so I did whatever was necessary to get back in his good graces and get back to normal. I happen to have struck fortune in that, despite his capability of pulling everything out beneath me, he’s a very passive doormat 99% of the time.

            As I’ve said before, I was very borderline back then. I didn’t like that about myself. I also had a victim mentality, and a “good guy” mentality. I hated that my emotions controlled me. I hated feeling so deeply.

            I began looking into stoicism not long after an…unsavory experience with a post-divorce hookup that left me pretty broken. The outlook that emotional reactions are unhelpful and impractical spoke deeply to me.

            I began researching the crap out of BPD. I hid behind the diagnosis, excusing most of my behavior, while simultaneously trying to control it.

            I’ve mentioned many times that my guy and I have been talking regularly for over two years. This is true. However, that doesn’t mean he was always at the forefront of my mind. I dated other guys in the meantime and often “forgot” about him for the most part.

            My last relationship was for about four ish months, a year ago. That guy was…a handful. A few narc traits, but mostly it was his anxiety and bipolar aspects that took center stage. He’d erupt into a fit of rage at the drop of a hat. And it was weird…being faced with that, so different from my passive ex, it was infinitely easier to control my own self. I saw how childish his tantrums seemed, and it…put things in perspective. It made me feel superior. His loss of control was my power. So I was able to stay calm and work through it, either calming him down, or quietly rolling my eyes as he stormed off to some other corner of the house.

            We broke up around the beginning of last year. It stung–I was still able to feel a bit and I felt he was going overboard about our issues. I moved back in with my ex. That was around the time that I started paying renewed attention to my guy. I’d known he was narcissistic, but the more I researched his behaviors, the more I realized he most likely did qualify for NPD.

            The thing being…I was also growing unsettled with myself. Why did my values not match up to other Borderlines? Why was my inner monologue negative 24/7? Why was I starting to get the feeling that my…assumed motivations, weren’t what I thought they were?

            In researching my guy, I began seeing parallels to my own self. Still a lot of discrepancy, but way more similarities than I would’ve ever thought.

            So I began watching my every move, my every thought. (This was all within the past year). I asked myself, Why are you thinking that? Why are you doing that? What do you really want? Is that what you really really want? And I found that the more I delved, the more the answers surprised me. At first, it was uncomfortable. I didn’t want to believe I had a victim complex. I didn’t want to believe my intentions were less than honorable. But the more I delved, the harder it was to deny it.

            As an example:
            “Why are you upset that Ex is barring you from his room for days on end?”
            “Because I feel lonely, and angry.”
            “Why?”
            “Lonely because I have no one else to talk to; angry because it’s not right for him to lock me out.”
            “Would you talk to him even if you did have others to talk to, or do you need him to talk to you because he’s the *only* person you have to talk to?”
            “Well…I mean, there isn’t anything *wrong* with talking to him, usually….”
            “But if there were other people available to talk to, that were fun or interesting, would it bother you that he’s not talking to you?”
            “Well…no, I guess not. Not at all, actually.”
            “Why isn’t he in the right for locking you out–aren’t people supposed to have boundaries?”
            “….I guess so? Idk. No, I have a right to talk to him when I want. I have a right to have my needs met.”
            “Most people don’t see it that way. You hear all the time that people value boundaries. What if he just needs space?”
            “Who cares if he needs space. I’m feeling a certain way and that’s his purpose–to make me feel better.”
            “Maybe you hurt his feelings?”
            “….idk….maybe. But he should get over it. Why the hell is this even a question? He didn’t have to start that fight. If he’d just listen to me and stop trying to wear the pants around here, we wouldn’t be in this situation. He’s got no right to feel upset. He’s the problem, not me.”
            “That seems pretty self-centered.”
            “Yeah. Probably. Idk. Does it matter?”
            “Idk lol.”
            “You know what, I don’t need his whiny baby ass. I’ll figure out shit to do on my own. I don’t need him.”
            “Cool. He’ll come around in a few days, I’m sure. Besides, we could always use that bent paperclip you’ve got to pick his lock, if we really feel like going in there.”
            “Very true. I’ll let him be for now, til he’s calmed down.”

            Over time, questioning myself constantly like this, I was able to sort out a bit more of my true nature. And with that knowledge came a further muting of emotions.

            So yeah…It didn’t happen all at once, and there was no single big event that caused all of it. It just happened over time.

            I have more to say about it, but we’re leaving for pizza soon lol and this is kinda long anyways, even for myself.

            I guess…It’s possible it’s a suppression thing. That I hated emotions so much within myself that I subconsciously began ridding myself of them. Because consciously, I was pretty frustrated that I couldn’t feel good anymore. I no longer felt elation, no longer felt excitement, none of it…all gone. Or maybe it was more due to recognizing that the emotions had always been misplaced, and didn’t align with my true values and personality. Maybe they were some sort of mechanism to enable my self-delusions of victimhood and good intentions. I’m really not certain.

            **I try to be as honest as I can be on here. However, I don’t have all the answers and my perception and understanding of myself may be flawed. So I may end up telling untruths about myself and my feelings, but not with an intent to mislead.

          4. WhoCares says:

            ​Hi Zielum,

            I apologize if I somehow put you on the defensive, or if I am misinterpreting the tone of your reply please correct me. My comment was intended as an objective observation of more than one of your comments – not just one in isolation – and actually as a compliment but it didn’t read that way, I am realizing now.
            My observation is that you present a significant level of self-insight and ability to see all potential sides of a dynamic – more, in fact, than some who have the quality of confirmed emotional empathy in their empathic make up. That is a compliment. It is refreshing to see someone who can discuss an emotionally charged issue, step back for a second, and *consider* the alternatives before making a determination or taking sides.

            The specific example that I quoted from your comment was your friend’s experience – was it not? I was not commenting on your own relationship with your ex. But, just based on that isolated example; many narcissists will demonstrate vulnerability to keep an empathic person engaged – it is an excellent hook to keep them ensnared. I don’t have enough information on your own relationship to form a perspective on it. You maintain that you have a unique dynamic with your ex and it works for both of you. That is awesome.
            Yes, empaths project as well, especially on to narcissists – that is part of what ensnares them.
            I am not projecting empathy on to you. I am basing my observations on your comments, the way you construct them etc. I don’t doubt that you have a unique configuration of traits. As for HG, many people project empathy on to him and have difficulty believing that he doesn’t possess real empathy; that is a testament to the level and expertise of his cognitive empathy.

            I am uncertain where/why children entered into the discussion – except that you feel (if I have ascertained correctly) that maintaining contact with your ex is of financial benefit to your children and prevents you from having them exposed to narcissists. That is a good thing. It is a sensitive issue to discern where a child’s best interests lay. Believe me, I am no stranger to making sacrifices in order to protect my child from narcissists.
            I am sorry for your experiences in your family of origin. I also recently came to the realization that I grew up with very limited exposure to real empathy – although this only came to me once having experienced it from others and making the comparison as an adult.

        2. Hope says:

          Awwwwhhhh ….. Zielum!! That sounds and looks like love in action to me!! Precious. I’m touched.

          Yes, you can probably handle it. I’m not on your level. I would love to get to that point where I understand despite his attempts to obscure but I’m not that intelligent or intuitive or resilient. It sounds beautiful though.

          1. Zielum says:

            Hope,

            Lol. It is definitely my version of love, I’ll give you that. But I promise you it’s self-centered at its core. Which is why–probably projection, but–I tend to believe that all love is self-centered at its core. I don’t see any way of loving someone without getting *something* in return. Even just good feelings. Does someone love altruistically, or do they love because someone makes them feel a certain way, and they want to keep feeling that way?

            Thank you for your faith. I do hope that I’m good enough as well. My current guy is the toughest nut I’ve had to crack and sometimes I doubt the headway I make.

          2. Hope says:

            I do wonder that as well.. I’m not actually selfless in love. If I didn’t feel it would improve my life I’d not care for it. I value what I would get so much and that is why I would sacrifice so much. I think love is probably one of the most valuable things to me and that’s probably because it seems to be unattainable. at this point it seems so unattainable it’s like a fairytale, and so I’ve devalued it and given up on romantic love. I love, though, my sister. It is hard not to. She is absolutely pleasant and I do receive benefits from our friendship. Anyone would be lucky to be her friend. I love people I currently hate, like an ex, but I don’t actively love them. I’d never lost a finger to help them. So is it love? I do think I agree that all love is self-serving to a degree. Then you get into we are all connected in a molecular level through energy so even if you help others they are connected to you and you really helped the collective, which is yourself as we are all connected. So much of life is really perspective and relative and subjective.

            Awh man, I bet it would be fun to day drink with you and get philosophical. I could listen to you for hours.

          3. Zielum says:

            Hope,

            Hells yeah. Drunk me gets fucking ecstatic to talk philosophy ^_^

            While plastered:

            Once told a guy we were “all slaves to God”, he got pissed and walked off–turns out he had just left rehab a few weeks earlier and “found God” lmao

            In Army training, there was this white blimp that was always tethered off in the distance within view almost anywhere on base. Everyone dubbed it “the Jesus fish”. One partyful night I was explaining to a whole group my ideas on religion, and told everyone “we may as well worship the Jesus fish. All hail the Jesus fish!” I was laughing and insisted that everyone get on a knee and bow xD I think I was trying to make a point about the ridiculousness of worshipping something just for its mysteriousness and familiarity.

            Unfortunately, I don’t get to party much anymore :/ Although there *is* a large party college campus within minutes of my house; I have definitely considered crashing a party or two. I look very young for my age, so I know I could go incognito. I don’t know if kids with limited life experience would be worth having debates with though.

          4. Hope says:

            LOL! Slaves to Jesus does identify with my Catholic upbringing. I couldn’t rationally follow it once I had too many questions that couldn’t be answered but was told I had to follow anyway it I’d go to Hell, even for asking questions it’s a sin… I had to let that religion go. I am the queen of questions.

            I think I know exactly what that balloon is and does. I’m not sure why it’s in the States if it’s what I’m thinking. You all weren’t far off and paranoia wouldn’t be misguided. Maybe they used it for training.

          5. Zielum says:

            Hope,

            I was there for Military Intelligence training. All-source analyst. The base also hosted schools for Signals Intelligence, Human Intelligence, Geo-whatever Intelligence, drone doohickey piloting, etc. (If anyone cries opsec…this info is freely available to the public online, and I was never mos-q). I would not be the least bit surprised if the Jesus Fish had some “sinister” purpose. But I mean, we all kind of expected that with anything and everything there…you’re government property and treated as such. If they want to spy on you or whatever, they damn well can, no rights infringed–we accepted it as part of the job. But I’m still curious–what are you thinking it is, that has some counterpart overseas? We were discouraged from asking about it (about anything…).

            Pre-adoption, I was raised religiously. I remember being taken to church and Sunday school. Post-adoption, my parents mysteriously left all religion out of our upbringing, despite (or due to) having been raised very religiously themselves. Naturally, my sisters and I all grew up atheist, with a healthy mistrust in and disdain for religious teachings.

          6. Hope says:

            It was for reconnasiance/surveillance. The exact tech is pretty advanced. Here is what is available apparently unclass on the internet: https://www.army-technology.com/projects/persistent-threat-detection-system-us/

            My family was raised strict Catholic (mandatory mass Saturday evening) and my mom would go from Catholic to Christian at will so we also sometimes had the option of going to Sunday school at a christian church and going to the potluck afterwards. Out of 7 children only one is still going to Catholic church, or any church. My sister tells me she had a legit miracle experience as a teen and that’s why she still goes. I forget what it was exactly but it wasn’t anything crazy, just something SHE couldn’t deny afterwards.

          7. Zielum says:

            Hope,

            My dad I know was raised strict Catholic, even went to a Catholic school. My mom I have no idea, but I would guess Christian. They rarely volunteered information about their life “Before Children” (BC as they called it). We never cared to ask.

            After adoption (around 5 years old), I clung onto my indoctrinated faith for a while, praying at night for the demise of my adopted parents. That didn’t work, so I figured it must not be what the “kind, loving” God would want. So I wished–sorry, *prayed*, that he would just rescue us from them instead, maybe have authorities step in and take us away again. I prayed for years. Nothing changed. And I finally came to the conclusion that if this all-powerful, all-loving god could not save an innocent child from abuse, he was either not all-powerful, or he was an asshole, or he was non-existent. I was bitter for a very long time, railing in conversation against this God any chance I got. Eventually it petered out and now I’m mostly just bitter at religion itself, and the indoctrination of young children into it that don’t know any better and will carry that faith in a failure of a god and system their whole lives. I’d call myself agnostic atheist; I don’t believe there is a god, but no one has all the answers to the universe and so, there is still a possibility it exists. If there is one, I imagine it to be a neutral…essence, tied somehow into Time…I’m still working out the theory but usually I don’t give it much thought. Regardless of what is or isn’t “in charge”, we’re still all on our own.

            Mostly now I just despise the religious people who wish to make this country a theocracy, pushing for (and often succeeding in) laws that restrict MY freedom as an individual based on THEIR faith that I don’t believe in. That’s bullshit.

            Yeah, I figured that with the Jesus Fish lol. What can you do.

          8. Hope says:

            I can’t imagine how you must have felt!! I was thinking about this the other day. I never thought about God during abuse or spoke to him about it because I was manipulated into thinking it was me who was acting sinfully, I was inviting the Devil into my life, and I didn’t dare bring God’s attention to it. I had blamed myself for what happened with me. I compartmentalized anything bad so that I could still be pure or good for God. I would never think about or talk to God about or anyone about what happened.

            The only person I could clearly see was at fault for some things was my mom. She was always trying to control me for illogical reasons. I remember thinking about killing myself as a child but not because I hated myself, because I hated her in that moment. I wanted her to suffer. I couldn’t ever actually do it. I loved life, I just wanted freedom from the toxic environment. I do remember thinking through what would happen if I killed my mom. It was meant to punish her not me. But if I killed her I would end up in jail for ever. And she wanted to die anyway, always talking about wanting to go to Heaven. So that’s wouldn’t solve my problems. I couldn’t think of any viable solutions so I just endured, running away from the house and thinking about Jesus helped in a compartmentalized way. I never blamed or empowered Jesus in my mind to change the situation. Mom always told us suffering is holly if you offer it up to the souls in purgatory. My suffering was my penance for my sins and if I wanted to get to Heaven after all my sins I needed to suffer more than anything I was already experiencing in my mind. I thought I could never stop being sinful. I tried at the bus stop to go ten minutes without sinning. It’s impossible when you know all the sins. The thoughts are sins. It’s all sinning. So I just blamed myself again for my situation even if I was able to blame my mom and her lack of rational thought for certain situations.

            I imagined Jesus as the accepting and loving parent who was also a friend. I was able to do this because I was told Jesus is all forgiving. There used nothing he can’t forgive and hit don’t even have to remember or speak it, he loves you no matter what. I just thought about him when I was alone and trying to feel peace in a chaotic world.

            I could never view my parents as pure evil-just stupid. The only person I thought was pure evil at his core was my oldest brother. He is pure evil but he is able to fake not being evil really well. I feel guilty being pleased with him or things he does because he is basically the Devil and only I know this and I’m still a lazy victim to his charm and apparently impressive successes when I allow myself to ignore who he really is at the core. I can’t hate him because that’s not who I am but I feel guilty if I encourage him in any way as well.

            Religion makes things harder than they should be. It is too polarizing. I don’t really think it’s helpful to think of the Devil or things like that. Now, I know he’s not evil he is just disordered.

            When we were kids he was trying to build a bomb with the stupid neighbor kids. He had these oil cans and wires on a old concrete pad on a hill behind our house. We were all too afraid to tell on him for fear of what he would do. I had nightmares about bombs being dropped in the neighborhood larger than a small house. I remember knowing I couldn’t out run a bomb that size and the entire neighborhood would be gone if it went off. I told on him. No one took it seriously. Luckily, no bomb was actually successfully created that I know of. Maybe that’s why I’m afraid of Trump. My childhood fear is coming to life only it’s not the neighborhood that will be blown up, it’s entire Continents and the environment will become too toxic to support life anywhere on earth afterwards if anyone did survive the nuclear war.

            “Mostly now I just despise the religious people who wish to make this country a theocracy, pushing for (and often succeeding in) laws that restrict MY freedom as an individual based on THEIR faith that I don’t believe in. That’s bullshit.”

            —Yes. This is a huge problem.

          9. Zielum says:

            Hope,

            Further solidifying my conviction that religious indoctrination of young children is child abuse.

          10. Hope says:

            Lol!! Ahh…well… I feel like it worked out for me…but then again… Lol. Well, the past is the past, I survived, and I am still alive. I do credit my faith to this but I suppose it may just be correlation not causation.

          11. Zielum says:

            Hope,

            I read the article now. I’m gonna go ahead and say it was on base for training purposes. Although it wasn’t part of our curriculum–not surprising, as we were to analyze received intel rather than gather it–so it was probably for the signals guys or something. I don’t recall ever being sent to its area, nor finding myself in proximity to it while utilizing base facilities. So it was isolated. Again, no surprise there. *shrugs*. It was just part of the landscape for us, a good party topic apparently, and an ever-present (as well as redundant) reminder that we were there as government property, to be watched and used at their whim.

            Funny thing. Hurting yourself in any way could be written up as “Destruction of Government Property” and severely punished. A friend and I were hold-overs (in limbo after our time in class had ended, waiting for our next orders), both facing removal from the military, so we had a fuck-everything attitude. We both decided to take a break from our current detail (manual labor assigned as jobs to hold unders/overs to fill our time) and sunbathe–rolling up our sleeves and basking, splayed out on a table. Both of us were pasty white, mind you. We got red as lobsters lmao. Definitely against the rules and qualified under the aforementioned Destruction article. Thankfully, the sergeants didn’t really care about us either, knowing our situation and realizing it wouldn’t change our attitude. Also, I think they probably figured we learned our lesson well enough, as we both had to avoid the sun for several days and were in visible (and audible) pain any time we ventured out.

          12. Hope says:

            Haha!! I can understand this story perfectly! We did have a guy get in trouble (Destruction of government property) for not wearing gloves during a concrete pour and getting hospitalized from lime burns. The reason they didn’t charge you with anything also makes sense to me. The motivation to do what you did makes sense as well as the lack of motivation to kill time day in and out pulling weeds from gravel or whatever they had you all doing. I was in holding for a week and put in charge of these evolutions. It was very difficult to have people pull weeds and scrub bricks with water and stiff bristled brooms or whatever the staff invented for the day, often for their own amusement but mostly to appear to be running a productive operation. I tried to keep the fellow troops distracted with conversation and talk of what’s next. The ones that were not moving on, adseps, weren’t in our group. They had them on the quarterdeck during the workday answering phones and running administrative errands for the staff. So much of what we do when there’s nothing important to do is all a game of maintaining perception. They could probably not care less just as long as no one saw you or traced you back to being their responsibility. The 🎈 operators probably told on you. LOL—something to break up their boring days.

          13. Zielum says:

            Hope,

            “Quarterdeck”…Navy?

            Aaaagggghhhh yes…you explained it perfectly. All just for appearances. (I had a sergeant once who had a female friend of mine and I–presenting as female at the time–move an ENTIRE closet full of giant kettlebells over to the far end of the building. Then, once they were all there and stacked perfectly, he decided he didn’t want them there after all…and had us move them all right back! Like….argh!). I was a hold-under for a month and a half, then a hold-over for almost four months. Also got recycled during my class, so including basic, I was in initial training for nearly a year. I really think that if I hadn’t been a hold-under, I wouldn’t’ve grown quite so disenchanted with the whole thing, wouldn’t’ve picked up the habits I did out of sheer boredom.

            Pulling weeds…yep. Police call–cigarette butt pick-up–yep. Having to clear out the administrative building because something about the Air Force guys were taking over that building. Scrubbing down trucks. Sweeping, mopping, cleaning. Reorganizing. Some sort of guard shift detail–I actually liked that one cause I got to sleep: They drove me out to this spot to stare at an abandoned gate in the middle of the desert. I sat on the provided chair, put my sunglasses on, pulled my ACH down, propped myself up with my rifle…and took a nice little nap ^_^ When my friend came out to replace me, he had no idea lol. One of the cool jobs was working the van…another friend of mine took me with him occasionally, he was running a nice little side business of sneaking cigs in to our peers on their final FTX where they weren’t allowed tobacco. Yeah…we were the “shitbags”. But that’s what everyone expects of holds. The pointlessness of most of it wears on you.

            Definitely had my share of rats. I don’t even really want to get into the things that happened with that. Just this: Don’t rat out your “friends” behind their back when said friends are holds who get regularly tasked with sorting the files of the sergeants’ admin office. And can see the sworn written statements you wrote about them that fucked up their time. Ten years ago and I still hold that against her. As if she wasn’t underage drinking, using, and sneaking out in civvies right along next to me.

            Anyways. All that said. I’d still reenlist in a heartbeat, if I had the chance. My discharge was Honorable, but I was kicked for mental health reasons, so I’d have to get that waivered, along with some other things (including being transgender, so gotta wait for the ban to be lifted again). There’s pretty much no parallel in the adult world to the amount of people and level of camaraderie I was exposed to on a daily basis. I don’t think I’ll ever get that again elsewhere. And I’d certainly be able to support my kids better.

          14. Hope says:

            ““Quarterdeck”…Navy?”—technically, yes. But I don’t go on ships. I am more of what they would call a dirt sailor. I do construction. We do FTX. We carry rifles in the desert and sometimes pistols too depending on your role. We often deploy in support of Army Generals or work for the Marine Corps. Most of the regular Navy doesn’t even know we exist. We also do fun humanitarian deployments doing water wells and building schools.

            “There’s pretty much no parallel in the adult world to the amount of people and level of camaraderie I was exposed to on a daily basis.” –I hear this a lot. Everyone says after they get out or change duty stations–that they don’t miss the work or the place, they miss the people. I couldn’t understand that at first. I was shocked. I couldn’t stand the people. I really liked the work, not so much the people when I first got in. I liked leaving my mark. I liked seeing how productive I was. I enjoyed watching a bunch of materials turn into a finished product. I liked knowing I made a difference. I liked learning. The people?! They treat you like crap! People gave me the most problems, stressed me out the most. Made things way harder than they needed to be. But as I get older, I notice more what they mean. There are good people mixed in, and the good people really do make a difference. And now, I try to make the difference for the people under me when I know it counts so they hopefully never have to feel the way I felt when I was coming up.

            You seem smart and industrious, when it counts. Lol. I can see how you could add immense value to anything you apply yourself to but also how you would be limited by the nature of the military and quickly feel overwhelmed by feeling idle or useless. The military is a reliable job, once you get in. It doesn’t really change that much though. There is still a lot of monotony. I got so upset in the beginning at my “wasted potential.” I felt I had so much to offer and no one to listen. No one who would take me seriously. No one who cared about anything enough to want to improve it. I think we are all created with a purpose in mind, we all have something to share with the world. We are stewards of our own talents and gifts. We just have to find a way to make a difference, our difference. I am inspired by your passion for your kids and their well being. Kids are something I couldn’t make happen and be in the military. I couldn’t settle down and make a family. I wouldn’t want to leave them and miss out on everything and feel guilty about moving them all the time. I feel trapped by the military at times. You feel trapped by your kids. I will try to be less spoiled and enjoy it a little more, for your sake. Lol. I may be here for a reason and I need to be present. You may be the best thing to ever happen to your kids and you should give yourself more credit. You make a difference to them and it’s huge. I am proud of you! Truly! You are doing good and important work.

          15. Zielum says:

            Hope,

            I hated the work I was training for because it was boring. Staring at a screen, quietly reading through reports, writing reports…I was the one constantly at the back of the room standing or doing pushups in an attempt to keep myself awake. I even fell asleep standing up once, falling backwards into our gear lined up along the back wall. It’s frustrating because even though my strengths lie in “white collar” sort of work, I find it boring enough to want to shoot my brains out, while the “blue collar” sort of work appeals to me greatly, but I’m generally hopeless at it. I attempted to get myself re-classed to something more exciting–really wanted EOD at the time, hah–but no dice. They kicked me out instead…that’s a complex story but yeah. I made a lot of really bad decisions back then, very self-sabotaging. If I were to go back in…I really want to be a linguist, but they’re mostly only taking the natural language interpreters last I checked, and the other linguist job entails a lot of desk-sitting again, staring at written work or listening to audio and transcribing. So Idk. I know for sure though that if the opportunity came up, I’d think hella long about it this time, rather than listening to a recruiter tell me that the analyst job was “like being a spy”. Lol.

            You’re right. You think at first that the people are awful, you want nothing to do with it, you just want your freedom and to be away from everyone. Then you get into the civilian world and you realize that the bad apples are still there, the bullshit is still there, the lack of freedom is still there, cause the responsibilities never go away and you’re still forced to work, often at less-than-desirable places with less-than-desirable management, nothing changes…except the camaraderie, people looking out for you, that feeling of being part of a legit team who gets you…that goes away. And of course, the job security, the benefits, the free training, the pay, the cool work projects, the travel, etc.

            I’m very glad that you’re looking out for those under you. I had a few sergeants that…meant a lot to me. They actually listened, actually cared. Still held me responsible for my actions, but took into consideration who I was and what I was going through, without dismissing me outright as just a shitbag. Our CSM, Idk why he took an interest in me, but he often checked up on me, pulling me aside and just asking how I was doing. That meant the world to me. And my one sergeant, he saw that I was having depression and adjustment issues, he took the time to talk with me and have me come up with life goals–five short-term, five long-term. He didn’t put up with shit–rather than write us up, he once smoked my friend and I, who had clearly both been underage drinking, in the middle of the night in a sadistic attempt to make us puke, I’m sure of it lmao. I loved his tough love. He cared. Whereas I had a lot of other sergeants–most of them, actually–who saw me as a broken cog in their wheel, and gave me shit every chance they got, reducing my morale to practically nothing. The one and only time I truly dissociated was back then, and it last for months. I felt lost and alone. Didn’t know how to deal with leaving home like I had. Didn’t know how to deal with my parents…being my parents. Didn’t have the faintest clue about my psychological makeup and how it was affecting, and sabotaging, all my efforts to just do what needed to be done.

            I wasn’t a good fit for the military back then. But I think I’m in a much better place now. Not great, but better. I think I would be ready for trying to reenlist, and being productive this time.

            Thank you for your compliments. And your insight; your last paragraph conveys a lot of understanding on multiple points. I know what you mean by the frustration of no one around you caring about improving the system. I understand the limitations of change in the military, but with the things that *are* in command’s control, you just feel like….surely someone, somewhere, sees the flaws you do and would work to fix them??

            Likewise, I will try to value more what I have with my kids. Not looking for pity but the fact of the matter is this: I am not great parent material, and I know that there are a lot of areas I’m failing them. I know the right thing to do, I can see exactly where I’m going wrong, but I can’t get myself to get my shit together. I keep thinking of therapy more and more, because…like, I don’t really see the specific areas they could “improve”, but I do think that maybe overall it would help my outlook and motivate me to do what I know needs done. You’re right, I do feel trapped. I self-sabotage all the time at the expense of those who rely on me. That’s the curse of insight. Seeing things, but not necessarily having the right traits to make it happen. Idk. I’m working on it. Guess I should work harder lol. I have a real motivation problem. When you see morals as subjective, when you don’t have faith in a deity, when you don’t have emotions to spur you on or keep you from doing dumb shit, when you have existential doubts over the point of everything…It makes it hard to do anything. A therapist would have to make me “see the light” as far as the point in doing things, and Idk how possible that is. It’s like I’ve set up my life outlook to ensure I won’t feel bad about not doing anything of substance. It would be nice to be motivated to do something with my life, and to be the parent I should be for them. I’m probably the epitome of wasted potential; all my life before adulthood, everyone thought I was going to go far. Everyone told me how smart I was, how insightful how I was, that I was destined for something great. Maybe that was my downfall. Everything always came so easily for me. I never had to try. I coasted. And now that success actually takes work, and I see the faults in myself that no one ever did, I feel…not up to par. I’m afraid to try because trying invariably means failure. I can’t live up to the expectations. So I run from any opportunity to do so, because what if I try, and fail, and then have solid proof that I’m not actually all that great? Idk.

            Anyways lol. Thank you.

          16. Hope says:

            Zielum— Sounds like you’re too smart for your own good. It’s hard for you to believe in things because you don’t have excess emotion. I know a lot of what I believe is emotional rather than rational and I just don’t understand it enough for me to be able to embellish it as reality with whatever emotion pulls me in. You remind me of Sheldon in The Big Bang Theory. He goes through existential crisis as well. You aren’t as arrogant or disconnected from reality as he is but you are very intelligent, misunderstood, and feel wasted at times.

            Recruiters are the biggest liars, the biggest seducers. They take the best ever possible day or scenario and turn it into everyday life. EOD does sound uniquely fitting—you really do need a few screws loose in my humble opinion lol—but even that isn’t what it seems. They do get to train quite a bit and if they are ever used for the intended purpose it’s hugely meaningful. But it’s a lot of hurry up and wait. Wait for the opportunity to be needed. Maybe go an entire career highly trained and train others and be in danger never, or maybe few times, or maybe you lose limbs or even your life, you never really know. I’m happy they have more technology these days to distance the warfighters. Your job is more staying trained and being available than actually being applied. But the camaraderie is definitely there, when it’s not people back-stabbing you to get ahead and break up their own personal monotony. Lol. When things get real scary or real boring, people pull together. Fear and discomfort are all-humanizing. I would say keep trying if that’s what you want. Recruiters get desperate all the time trying to meet quota and waiver all kinds of things or “lose paperwork” so there’s no trail. The best time is probably end of month or near the holidays when the families are pressuring them to be at home more. Shop around. If you have time just go to different offices in different areas and different forces. If I could do it all over again knowing what I know now, I would go into the Air Force. Officer if possible. The Army feels like it would comfortable though, so many low achievers to get lost in making it easier to appear more valuable than I might actually be. That’s a feeling not a fact, I don’t know. Lol. I hear people talk about going army and becoming a helo pilot when they fear the advancement is too competitive here. They say it’s easy to get accepted into the program and it’s an automatic officer. I do think they would be used in real life applications, and used a lot.

            The last bit sounds a lot like perfectionism on both ends. I struggle with perfectionism a lot. Caring too much or finding a way to become apathetic when I feel perfection is out of reach. In school, at work, in romantic life.

            I struggle to get anything less than an A in school because I feel like if I do I’m closing an otherwise open door or opportunity. I feel like it’s easy enough for me to apply myself and control that outcome —where other things in life are much harder for me to impact. If I ever feel I don’t measure up, I try to alter my reality to where it doesn’t matter the outcome. Much like you do when you try to take meaning away from things that others won’t respect or appreciate your usefulness in or where you feel you don’t measure up.

            At work I always want to be successful at first and try very hard and if I struggle at something I try to find a way to make peace with a lack of achievement in that area. I justify it by altering its importance in my mind. For example, everyone wants to make Chief, as the revered end-all be-all. This isn’t within reach for me as I made someone angry/offended them and they took it out on me administratively to the point where I’m not going to be considered seriously for promotion until it falls off my record in five years. Only now that the promotion is not a realistic aim, do I attempt to alter my consciousness to a point where I’m satisfied with this. I question, why do people even want that? What is really the motivation for it? Just to keep moving up arbitrarily? What does it really mean to them and to others? Is it just a little validation from status and a little extra money? Is it really worth it? Is the extra responsibility with the money? Are they really ready for it? Will they actually influence people via the elevated position positively? They become more vulnerable to attack being in that position. People do sometimes try to manipulate people in power and attack them with falsehoods to destroy them when they don’t get their way. Is the added risk really worth the reward if they don’t make it to retirement or get knocked down in rank due to the added risk they exposed themselves to? Am I really ready for that? The added responsibility and the risk? Will I be a good enough leader for those whom I lead? Maybe my indoctrination period needs to be longer for me to be a better leader when it’s my time. Maybe is not my time. Maybe I am iron left in the fire —getting stronger and sharper— building a more useful toolbox at this stage than would be possible at a higher one where duties remove you a little more from the learning available at my current position in the org structure. I find a way to make my lack of success a desirable trait when I explain it to myself after I feel I can’t change the outcome.

            In love, I wanted to be normal. I wanted to have that life in all the movies. I wanted true love. Now I’m content without it after realizing the realities of it. How it’s not like movies and the fact it never will be. I can play my part all I want but it won’t manifest in it being reciprocated or valued. I can’t win at love and so I devalue it. I redefine it’s possibility.

            I’m just not smart enough/clear headed to see through the emotional lies I tell myself to accept what is, what I feel I can’t change. I guess in this case it’sa blessing to have emotion. I really do believe ignorance is bliss sometimes and apply that theory ti my life strategically.

            I read somewhere narcissism can reduce stress and chances of depression. https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2019/10/191029080728.htm:

            “Dr Papageorgiou comments: “The results from all the studies that we conducted show that grandiose narcissism correlates with very positive components of mental toughness, such as confidence and goal orientation, protecting against symptoms of depression and perceived stress.

            “This research really helps to explain variation in symptoms of depression in society — if a person is more mentally tough they are likely to embrace challenges head on, rather than viewing them as a hurdle.”

            I suppose grandiosity is also emotional thinking. My emotions bog me down and mess me up but they can be applied strategically as well to keep me motivated. You don’t have as many emotions, or they express minimally, so maybe it would be easier for you to apply yourself to business. You don’t have emotions to distract you or pull you away. Ever think about science? Discovering things? Or math field? I can’t imagine my emotions being absent to push or pull me. I remember a brief time went I went emotionally numb after my ex-husband gave up on us. Thankfully, it didn’t last too long. Lust was the first emotion to return, tragically. Lol. But not feeling anything at the time, it was like a blanket was removed from my head and I saw everything differently. Apathetically. Nothing mattered.

            I do think you would do well in therapy. You really care and try. You’re smart and you can see how learning more tools could help as you are unaware of a lot. (Your words, I find you highly intuitive). It sucks that therapy isn’t free and it’s not given the credence it deserves. It’s sucks that even getting treatment holds stigma. It’s not fair that people hold it against you. I’m proud of the scar on my leg, no one holds that injury against me. People are so afraid of unseen wounds. Of what they don’t understand. I applaud your courage in wanting to understand more.

          17. Hope says:

            I don’t party much. I was thinking white claws in the Apt complex hot tub. Lol.

          18. Zielum says:

            Hope,

            Me neither. I miss redneck bonfires, to be honest. They know how to party lol. I remember one party, guys were using tractors to haul the wood over to the bonfire, then progressing to slow-motion wheelies and letting on hooting and hollering hitchers as they got more and more drunk lol. Then one guy getting mad at another guy, so he tried to start a chainsaw, but he was too drunk to pull the cord right–another drunky even tried to help him, it was hilarious–giving others enough time to try to convince him it wasn’t worth it. At another one, there were stuffed trophy animals everywhere, and I began a comically dramatic lamentation over a giant bear, itching for and earning everyone’s good-natured laughter. I’m much more confident and socially adept when drinking (aren’t we all?? lol). There was almost always a cooler of jungle juice, I loved fishing for the little fruit pieces, they concentrate the alcohol in such a delicious way. The party where I told the guy we’re all slaves to God, I later ended up leaving early by foot–for whatever drunken reason–and I first ran into an electric cow fence, then nearly got lost making my way through a dead corn field, then finally found a ride with some guys who were chopping up fish in their barn with giant butcher knives. Lmao.
            Mmm, good times.
            Never was much for city bars and whatever…Like, there’s nothing to do but sit there and stare at each other. And the crowd usually isn’t my type. Plus you’re paying high prices for every little drink.
            Now if I drink, it’s at home with my ex after the kids have gone to bed. Lol.

          19. Hope says:

            Haha!! Good times! Reminds me of high school. I grew up in a rural area in the country and we had a lot of underage drinking and bonfires. The best times!

        3. Dorion says:

          Hi Zielum,

          Interesting. So there are two of us on this thread who can make it work with some narcs and even enjoy it – you in romantic life (“love”) and me in the professional realms. Do you consider yourself an empath?

          1. Zielum says:

            Dorion,

            “Do you consider yourself an empath?”

            Sure. Why not. Lol.

            Effectively, it probably looks the same. But generally, I’d say no, because:

            1. My empathy is mostly cognitive; I’m acutely aware of how people are feeling, but I don’t feel it back, I don’t…Idk, relate emotionally? It’s a thought process, not a feeling.

            2. My end goal is always about myself. I pay attention to how they feel and I take care of them, but it is always with a personal goal in mind. Thinking in terms of the Prime Aims…yes, I’d say it’s due to those. My guy has traits I need for myself. He has financial stability and I’m always in search of a potential new place to live. Knowing he relies on me for fuel would, in turn, be fuel for myself (if it happened).

            I consider myself…well, outside of this forum, I’d say vulnerable/covert narcissist. On here, as I outlined in another comment, I’m not exactly sure where I fit in the classification. Mid-Range, used to be victim cadre but now…not sure.

            Aside from narcissism, I have other strong traits. A lot of schizoid. I’m in my head a lot, avoid people, don’t understand people, etc. Possibly some antisocial traits…they overlap a lot with other PD’s…but my “drifter” makeup doesn’t fit well with anything else, even schizoid.

            Also regarding my narcissism vs empathic: When my efforts to “connect with” and “help” people are met with resistance, I feel hella disgust and/or hostility. They’re not doing as I advised, they’re not listening, I consider them dumb. I have to exercise patience to not lose my temper. That’s something I’ve been really working on because I’ve seen the benefit of holding out for the long game.

            So yeah…I would say that even if it looks similar on the outside, I’m not that empathic.

            You say you’re able to make it work with narcissists in terms of employment. Are you a therapist?

    2. Violetta says:

      You wouldn’t be very useful as an IPPS, if that was your attitude. The narc would want someone who provides more drama: tears, accusations, shock at being betrayed, bewilderment, even just mere vanity.

      Someone who just shrugs and says, “Fine, I’ll just go find somebody else or do without for a while” produces lousy fuel.

      1. HG Tudor says:

        The narcissist wants someone who fulfils the Prime Aims.

        1. Lorelei says:

          My prime aims are flowers, jewelry, snow shoveling and trash removal. And good forearms! I don’t lift heavy things. I also need undivided attention when I so choose and my car cleaned regularly! (And waxed)

        2. Lorelei says:

          And I do not mow lawns. He does it or hires me a lawn care man.

          1. WhoCares says:

            Lorelei,

            Those are residual benefits.

          2. Lorelei says:

            I’ll take residual benefits! I don’t need character traits or fuel! I like the men who carry the heavy stuff though.

          3. Hope says:

            Is it worth it though? Wouldn’t you rather pay someone and not be vulnerable to all the problems relationships bring? I bought myself a truck, workout, and pay for what I can’t get accomplished on my own. My peace of mind is more valuable to me than intermittent residual benefits.

          4. Lorelei says:

            I do pay someone! For all those things. But.. If I ever date someone again regularly they can take the garbage can outside. I really don’t want a boyfriend because then there are expectations of my time. That feels like prison all over again. I only want residual benefits of giving an hour of my time once a week.

      2. Zielum says:

        Violetta,

        [I’m adding this right here after having written my reply. HG has reminded us that narcissists do everything in pursuit of the Prime Aims. I don’t disbelieve him. I’m taking the approach that his explanations cover the disordered aspects of pwNPD; what I’m referring to here is underneath the disorder (maladaptive coping mechanisms). The implication being that I believe, if I do it right, I can speak to the needs of the core person without triggering the disorder. I do recognize what a tall order that is–it happens to align with the very same goal of therapists, who have a notoriously difficult time working with narcissists. My intention is not for my guy’s welfare, but moreso, the position I would be in if I were successful. But, considering I’m not malignant, I’m not setting out to harm him and I don’t intend to do so upon success. That would weaken the achieved position–i.e., counterproductive.]

        I know what you mean, and I agree. I don’t think I’m easy or possibly even preferable fuel. But I can’t change who I am and so, I’m working with what I’ve got. Which requires going about it a different way.

        There is a side I have that I don’t bring up much on here. I have an attachment style that is more clingy/anxious than avoidant. Most narcissists have an avoidant attachment style. Shallow connections are fine, but they are repulsed by attempts at genuine connection and are generally immune to it.

        Both those things considered: I have a side that gets…well, borderline, when I’m in a lovebombing phase. Giggly, charming, cute, wide-eyed naive, laser-focused and hopelessly devoted. This side largely fades once I either lose interest, or I’m assured I’ve got the person I’m after, and then I’m back to my impassive, brooding self. I have so far been unsuccessful at stopping myself from acting this way (lovebombing). I guess I learned it at some point as an effective tool to reel certain types of people in. False promises, I suppose. They’re always disappointed afterwards and that’s where I seem to fail. I’m learning with my ex how to engage a mellow version of that side of me to keep things going.

        The guy I’m after, he has seen all sides of me. He’s familiar with both the lovebombing, and the brooding. I still feel negative emotions and so, any time he hoovers, I’m not immune to the emotional thinking it causes, and I attack him again with all my antics to be with him. It’s borne of both a desire for the situation I could see us in, and out of frustration that my tactics aren’t working on him. I’m driven to succeed and he effectively thwarts all my efforts. It’s irritating that I can’t control the situation.

        But I’m hoping…I’m hoping that he sees the value I could bring to the table that’s different. I’ve explicitly told him what I’m after, my motivations, how I view myself and him. I’ve told him that I don’t necessarily see people as people, that I have a history of leaving people. I’ve tried to be as real as I can be.

        I don’t expect him to see me the same way as regular fuel. I’m not someone he could show off, I’m not someone who will be easily manipulated into emotional outbursts (though I’m sure he could figure out my buttons the same way I’ve been figuring out his). However, I’ve gotten a much greater grip on my emotions in similar scenarios, so I’m confident that even with my buttons pushed, I’d be able to handle it with some semblance of dignity.

        What I’m hoping to provide is stability, patience, and understanding. Something that might speak to him on a deeper level. It’s all I’ve got. I could be completely wrong in a lot of my guesswork, I’ll admit. There’s so much I don’t know about him and therefore, it often feels like I’m stabbing in the dark. He keeps it that way; aside from what I’ve found out in my stalking, he volunteers zero personal information to me. The last time he made a real offer to meet up, his condition was that there would be no talking; he didn’t want me digging.

        He’s only human. Even with an avoidant attachment style, even with the narcissism, I know there is a core somewhere in there that does want and need connection. It’s just a matter of figuring out how to wriggle myself in there. I know that I’m doing something somewhat right, as he’s kept in regular contact for over two and a half years now. But I also know that I’m doing something somewhat wrong, or I would’ve progressed further by now. Or maybe it’s just proof of how entrenched his defenses are. I’m not sure. All I know is that I’m going to keep trying. I’m hoping that this persistence alone will go a long way in proving the viability of letting me in closer.

      3. Dorion says:

        Is the narcissist also interested in providing those Prime Aims to someone else or only getting it?

        No. 1: it seems like they enjoy both flattering the partner during the Golden Period and making them mad during Devaluation, so if the source was interested in fuel, they would probably get tons?
        No. 3: Narcs seem to shower their sources with gifts and such initially…

        Not sure about Character Traits… probably not many to be admired, but I personally do pick up some methods of efficiency and certain manipulation tactics from the better (Greater?) ones. I think Aim 2 is not only for narcs, it is pretty normal social learning.

        1. Lorelei says:

          Dorian—interesting comment about normal social behavior re, (I assume) an almost correlation to their version of picking up character traits. I assume it’s a necessity for them due to a diminished sense of themselves as whole maybe. For us it’s less survival and more in tune with a version of boundaries.

          1. Dorion says:

            Lorelei,

            I actually see the compulsive seeking to pick up character traits from others and integrate into one’s behavior by an adult more as a survival strategy by narcs than by empathic or normal people. These strategies are essential parts of the development of our sense of self and identity during early formative years for everyone. I think it gets tempered and much more subtle for most people as we grow up, mature and age, but probably much less so for narcs (and apparently for other individuals with Cluster B disorders), because they lack a solid sense of inner self and identity even in adulthood. So they continue seeking examples from others, externally, they literally need the external source and plenty of it. Like HG says, there is no other way. I think people with a better sense of self established by early adulthood will naturally and often even unconsciously build onto that, simply just go through life and the social realms and those desired character traits stick easily and effortlessly. Narcs, on the other hand, struggle with this life-long. Just my speculation at the moment, but a bottom line is that non-narcs should have a higher survival fitness in evolution (for those who believe in evolution), and thus more efficient social learning, otherwise the proportion of the personalities would be different.

          2. Lorelei says:

            It’s interesting Dorian. I usually am just me wherever I go. I wouldn’t blend well trying to be undercover.

        2. Zielum says:

          Dorian,

          Was your comment in regard to my situation, or to narcissists in general? I don’t want to try answering and accidentally hijack it from who/what you intended.

          1. Dorion says:

            The comment about Prime Aims was general, I just wonder if narcissists also want to provide them to others and not just receive. I had a specific question for you a few posts above.

          2. HG Tudor says:

            It is what the narcissist seeks, not gives. What might be given is manipulation.

          3. Dorion says:

            I see, thanks HG. I was mostly just smiling to myself that maybe another narc could prey very well on those things in a N-N relationship. But I guess that’s more complicated and obviously the ideal of a narc for a close relationship is not another one of the same kind.

  7. Hope says:

    Wow. What do the doctors call it? Disassociation and split personality?

    1. Zielum says:

      Hope,

      Is that facetiousness?…

      1. Hope says:

        I don’t know this word. Ok I looked it up. No? I really want to know. I’m curious what is the medical term to bring the understanding full circle. I understand it from an abstract patient’s perspective from the story. I want to know what that means, in concrete terms. I may understand it more fully with this knowledge. You can describe and see symptoms and understand what that means and how it feels but until you see the doctor’s/scientist etc perspective you still won’t understand what you are looking at. I’m not making a joke. I want to know for real. I want to understand. I do often get people laughing at me when I’m being serious as most people don’t think as I do nor speak their mind or even care to know. They accept things at face value with no desire to understand.

        1. Zielum says:

          Hope,

          No–I’m sorry–I wasn’t laughing at you or anything. I often have a hard time reading tone through the written word.

          HG can correct me if I’m wrong, but I don’t believe his description had anything to do with dissociation or split personality.

          I think he was touching on the predicament where narcissists need to be in control and they feel themselves superior, yet at the same time, they are reliant on inferior others for fuel/self-esteem regulation.

          I relate to it. It’s a love/hate relationship with others. I’m sure everyone has been in a situation where they cared about the opinion of, and were possibly judged as lacking by, someone they didn’t like. For a narcissist, that’s potentially pretty much everyone. Hence paranoia. Hence resentment and bitterness. You don’t want to care about that person’s opinion, you *shouldn’t* care, but you do, and you hate it. You hate that they have that power over you.

          Dissociation is where you feel…away from your body, like an out-of-body experience, although it’s normally uncomfortable. You feel like you’re viewing your own body’s experience from afar, in a very physical sense, not metaphorical. I had this happen to me once for several months straight. It sucked. I made a lot of very poor decisions during that time because my brain wasn’t connecting consequences to self with whatever my body seemed to be doing of its own accord.

          Split personality, in the diagnostic sense, is a fracturing of the personality into very distinct pieces. Each piece has its own personality, its own thoughts/desires/motivations/memories (as there’s often a blackout period for the other alt personalities when one takes a turn being in control). They each have their own “voice” and sometimes, but not always, are able to talk to each other.

          1. Violetta says:

            Zielum:

            “You don’t want to care about that person’s opinion, you *shouldn’t* care, but you do, and you hate it. You hate that they have that power over you.”

            ‘….even in things indifferent it is always desirable substitute the standards of the World, or convention, or fashion, for a human’s own real likings and dislikings. I myself would carry this very far. I would make it a rule to eradicate from my patient any strong personal taste which is not actually a sin, even if it is something quite trivial such as a fondness for county cricket or collecting stamps or drinking cocoa. Such things, I grant you, have nothing of virtue them; but there is a sort of innocence and humility and self-forgetfulness about them which I distrust. The man who truly and disinterestedly enjoys any one thing in the world, for its own sake, and without caring twopence what other people say about it, is by that very fact fore-armed against some of our subtlest modes of attack. You should always try to make the patient abandon the people or food or books he really likes in favour of the “best” people, the “right” food, the “important” books.’
            Screwtape Letters

          2. Hope says:

            Oh. I was just throwing the terms out there hoping the accurate ones would return to me so I can look them up in more concrete terms. I thought disassociation because of the outside or external rejecting the internal and spilt personality because the rejection is so specific—to a time in childhood where the trauma occurred.

            I know about disassociation because it is something my sister experienced from advise when she was a child. Her body has memories her brain does not recall. She felt memories when she had a procedure done to remove cysts on the ovaries. The numbing drugs did not remove feeling and only paralyzed her. She fought and screamed and didn’t understand where the memories in her body came from. She experienced flashbacks for months afterwards. In her body, she was feeling the body memories for the first time that were disassociated from at the time it occurred and she said it felt as if it were happening now. She was able to describe to me both what she felt in practical reality and what was happening in clinical terms so that it made sense to me.

            Spilt personality I know from movies and maybe he rejected his childhood self so much that is a fraction of himself that’sa different personality now because his emotional self is stunted and immature from its being imprisoned for decades and his external personality and ego is much more advanced. I thought there must be terms for it and he must know from the doctors if it isn’t spilt personality. I like to understand things from both a psychological perspective and a clinical/scientific one. Some things happen inside our psychological functions and our brain is nueroplastic and can be altered.

  8. Kim e says:

    Unimaginable 😳

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