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.

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58 Comments

  1. 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?

  2. 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.

  3. 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.

  4. 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. 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. 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. 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. 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. 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. 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. ​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. 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. 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. 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. 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. 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. 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. 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. 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. 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. Hope,

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

          10. 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. 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. 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. 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. ““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. 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,

            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.

          17. 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. 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?

    2. 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. 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)

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

          2. 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.

          3. 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.

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

        2. 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. 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. 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.

      1. 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. 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. 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. 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.

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