The Power of Demise




“As long as I have a want. I have a reason for living. Satisfaction is death.”

So said George Bernard Shaw. To us satisfaction is not death but we derive satisfaction from death, the death of others. I wrote about how I rarely attend funerals and explained the reasons why, but that is not to say that we will not use the instances of dying and of death to our distinct advantages. Indeed, where the spectre of death looms waiting to cut that last slender link between the person and life, with his sharpened scythe, our kind come crawling from the woodwork in order to avail ourselves of the copious fuel that is available. Should you see one of our kind re-appear after an absence, there is a reasonable chance that the sickly sweet smell of death has attracted us.

Should we learn that a family member or friend is about to shuffle off this mortal coil, then this presents a marvellous opportunity for our kind. To begin with, the façade can be maintained through demonstrating false compassion about the circumstances of the person whose demise is imminent. We know all the phrases to rollout to the procession of visitors and comforters who are drawn to the bed of the dying individual. We delight in keeping a vigil besides this person even though we may not have bothered with them in years. Should someone be as bold to question why we have appeared now of all times after remaining away, we will seize on such an unwarranted observation to castigate the questioner.

“How can you ask such a thing like that, at a time like this?”

“This isn’t about me; it is about Uncle Malcolm.” (How we say this with a straight face still surprises me.)

“You can talk, what have you done for her lately?” (Which will be asked even if we know that the questioner has been a total rock to the dying individual)

Our response will be designed to draw an emotional reaction and allow us to drink of the fuel provided.

We will provide the rudimentary appearance of caring, although it is all for show. We will of course leave the heavy lifting work to other people. We are not there to change the pus-ridden bandages or sooth the fevered brow. We will not clean up after someone soils themselves or spills food and drink down their front from shaking, tremulous hands. Not at all, but we will do what we do best and shower words of empty kindness, false compassion and fake consideration towards the ill individual. This makes us look good in the eyes of all assembled and their nods of approval and muttered thanks not only provides us with fuel but adds to the façade’s maintenance. We are a good stick for travelling all this way (we were coming anyway for another reason) and offering such eloquent words of comfort to all assembled.

Watch us as we move amidst family members, friends, colleagues and neighbours who turn up to see if they can help as we position ourselves as gatekeepers. Nobody gains admittance without seeing us first so that we may suck in the fuel that comes with such a heightened emotional situation. Tearful siblings, stern-faced uncles, bewildered cousins all ripe for us to send a pleasant and supportive comment towards, purely to receive their thanks, gratitude and approval.

We will not allow the person whose sands of time are running out to inhabit centre stage one last time as we camp on to their ground, usurping them through an exhibition of apparent concern and compassion. Watch carefully and you will see that we do not actually do anything for the dying person, that is not our role, there are minions for that and it is all beneath us. Instead, we see this as a chance to draw fuel and appear to be a supportive individual who is pulling everyone together and ensuring that the dying person’s final days are as happy and as comfortable as possible.

We have seen enough times what needs to be said in order to produce the tears, the slowly dipped head and the weak smile, the attempt to be brave despite the heavy sadness. Inside we do not feel this as we greet each person. We feel empowered at the fuel that flows. We hover by the bed, watching over the new arrival’s interaction with our charge, commenting on what we have been doing for them (in fact it will be someone else who has cared for them but we are content to take the credit) so we gain additional approval and thanks. We regard these visitors as having come really to see us, to thank us for our work, our generosity and our greatness, rather than the dying, shrivelled person in the bed nearby. Like some morbid cuckoo we appear and take over this person’s final act, claiming it for ourselves, our fuel lines snaking towards anybody and everybody who appears.

Of course there even remains the opportunity to draw fuel from the dying individual. Though they may look at us through morphine-hazed eyes and mumble medicated words which are difficult to discern, the tightness of their grip on our arm or hand tells us plenty about how they appreciate what we are doing. As their time on this world draws to a close, we still see the chance to pull some fuel from this person as we trot out the familiar platitudes at a time like this. We do not say them to convey comfort, but only to ensure that appreciation, gratitude and thanks comes our way and in turn fuels us.

As guardian and comforter-in-chief we position ourselves at the centre of everything during this period. We do little but direct others and issue our spoken commands and observations, all of which being self-serving. We will endeavour to create yet more fuel by leaning in low and listening intently as the dying person speaks, perhaps their last words as we nod and gently pat them with our hand, the chosen one for their final speech. We will take these words and use them to our advantage. Should the grieving widow, let’s call her Emily ask what her now departed husband said, we might dismiss his actual words and say,

“He said, tell Emily I am sorry for what I did.”

Her look of confusion at our false utterance will provide fuel. Alternatively, we might say,

“He said, tell Rose I love her so, so much.”

Her puzzled look as she asks “Who is Rose?” generates a further dollop of fuel.

Then again, we may pretend that some huge secret has been imparted to us and that we cannot say what it is in order to draw questioning and attention to ourselves.

Indeed, there may be instances where there is that last chance to draw some negative fuel, to make those dimmed eyes flares one last time in shock, hurt and confusion. An opportunity to lean in close and whisper a final caustic sentence, designed to consign this wretched person to spend their final moments in torment, unable to respond effectively, their grimaces and clawing indicative of the discomfort that has been caused by the parting savagery that has been gently spoken into their ear. A parting burst of negative fuel which underlines our sense of omnipotence that we can still achieve this even at a time like this. Such an act is usually saved for someone who we truly believe deserves it.

I have watched in my time a master practitioner at such behaviours. From silent child made to sit and observe, through to knowledgeable adult who can see straight through this veneer and who knows what is really being done. I have seen all these moves, actions and behaviours meted out by this supposed bastion of compassion and all the while I knew what was really going on.

I may not have copied those behaviours extensively myself – usually because time has never permitted me to spend such days providing such a vigil – but I have seen it when younger and snapshots when older, as well as recollections from others which all fits together. I know what she does. When she arrives, immaculately attired, heels clicking away on the floor as she assumes centre stage, I focus on that click click clicking and know that the death watch beetle has arrived.

I have learned and I may yet choose to apply those lessons should the need arise, but I know for sure that I will seek that last fountain of negative fuel before the death rattle. I know who I will save my choice comment for in order to achieve that satisfaction from death.

22 thoughts on “The Power of Demise

  1. Cloudy says:


    Do narcissists need emotional support in life challenges?

    1. HG Tudor says:

      That is a manifestation of fuel, the response to the need to assert control.

  2. Violetta says:

    A college club I was in involved small groups doing volunteering projects. Since the Little Sisters of the Poor had recently spoken at my church, I made arrangements for us to visit one of their homes for the elderly poor. When we discussed our project with the rest of the group that night, one woman–the one who had done the least work, had the least contact with the residents, even looked on in horror as I allowed one blind resident to feel my now-regrettable hairstyle (she had just complained about her hair, and I said matter-of-factly, “Ha! You should see mine! Feel this”)– was the one who positioned herself in front of our group and started declaiming platitudes about the sad, lonely lives of the residents, and how important it was for us to brighten their day.

  3. Gina says:

    My nex used his father’s death in this way. He died in Feb, I left in Mar and the funeral was in April. I attended, very nervously, because I loved his father who was part of my life for 25 yrs. It was there I learned he had turned people against me, not everyone was cold, but some were. He then had the audacity to use my name in his speech, which caused a few to turn and stare at me. What a cruel woman to leave such a man in his time of need! Later that day old family pictures were posted on Facebook, by my ex brother in law (someone I’ve never had any problems with), and I was cut out of them. The nex then made another play in court, by approaching me to say he had heard that the bil had been unkind, and he had contacted him so I was then put back in the picture.

    The “good” things my nex said to me were always where others could hear, the nasty stuff was said and done with no witnesses.

  4. santaann1964 says:

    Good day Mr. H I’ve been sending people to your site for knowledge! Just saying

    1. HG Tudor says:

      Thank you for doing so.

  5. Intrepid Traveller says:

    One of the great and brilliant benefits of appreciating and utilising this website is the clarity. It is a gift that is a conclusion of the reading. I have read this post before and recognised the behaviour but couldn’t remember any occasions for examples. Recently, i have been watching the life of an ex boss of mine unfurl as i now recognise that she also is a narcissist. She has become involved with another narcissist which has intrigued me to watch with new understanding. I have not been surprised by the steps this relationship has taken in a very short space of time. Under the auspices of ‘giving too much away in a divorce settlement’ her choice of narcissist partner decided to approach the death bed of his ex partner to ask for more settlement money. Two hours before she died i suspect she thought that he was calling her to clear the air, perhaps to tell her of his love for her he had had, of the gifts of two beautiful children. In fact he wanted to ask her for twenty more thousand pounds before it was too late. People I know make excuses for him, ‘maybe he didnt know it was the end’. I of course know better. No longer does my brain do that weighing up thing to excuse peoples behaviour. The behaviour is clear as clear can be.

  6. Pingback: The Power of Demise ⋆ NarcTopia
  7. Sherry Mitcham says:

    Jesus Christ. You’re a master. Were you things sent by satan? Do you ever befriend people that know all about you and except you as you are? And not try to get fuel from them?

    1. HG Tudor says:

      No. Nobody knows all about me and nobody accepts me as I am. Everybody is to be controlled and to obtain fuel from.

      1. Violetta says:

        So if I happen to encounter you in NY or London and recognize your voice (I am hopeless with names and faces), should I pretend not to so you don’t have to kill me?

        1. HG Tudor says:

          Denial comes a long way ahead of killing on the chain of narcissistic defences.

          1. Violetta says:

            “No idea what you’re talking about. I’m dreadfully sorry. I expect many British dialects sound quite similar to the American ear.”

          2. Gina says:

            Maybe he means he’d deny whatever you were accusing him of long before he’d consider killing you. Too much risk and energy to kill someone when you can just say you don’t know what they’re talking about. Just a guess.

          3. HG Tudor says:

            You are correct Gina.

          4. Violetta says:

            Well, despite the fact you don’t exist, HG, I am having a field day recommending your work on DM and Yahoo! Even Americans who might be inclined to give MM some slack (encouraged by puff pieces in linked Cosmo) are catching on and using the word “Narcissism.”

            As to the Brits screaming for all titles, etc. to be taken away immediately, blaming HM’s partiality for Harry, I have a suspicion her advisors have suggested giving MM enough rope, rather than open up the palace to accusations like Hilary Mantel’s. MM has already started, releasing pics to distract from Camilla’s speech on domestic violence (a cause one would expect to be dear to a “Feminist” heart.)

            You’ve been calling it from the beginning. She’s started off Playing Nice, wearing Brit fashions (which many readers said she could have done all along), but she will pull one or more of her stunts before they leave. She won’t be able to do otherwise. Someone who commandeers a previously reserved section of Wimbledon and lists the ticket-holders, then accuses a spectator of papping her (when he was trying to take a Selfie with the tennis court behind him) will not be able to restrain herself.

            I believe the RF are counting on exactly that.

            I hope, one way or another, someone’s brought your work to their attention. One thing I’ve found particularly useful is your ability to write a script. Saying that “Narcissists will try to twist what people say” isn’t half as vivid as:

            “Woah, where did that come from?”

            “You. You are always doing this. You do something selfish and then turn it into an attack about me. Just because you cannot stand for someone to point out when you have done something wrong.”

            “Good God, what are you talking about?”

            “That’s it, try to dismiss me when I am making a valid point.”


            If I didn’t feel sad about Harry’s ensnarement and even sadder about the Queen having to deal with this stress at her age, it would be downright fun to watch. I’m actually starting to feel slightly guilty at becoming an enthusiastic spectator at this Roman Circus. When a DM posted a report that MM wanted to play a Marvel superhero, I thought, “Even SHE can’t be that delusional.”

        2. Witch says:

          Violetta just pretend that you believe his denial so he doesn’t have to kill you

          1. Violetta says:

            Do I have to do a Katie Couric? When she heard a guy she was interviewing pronounce controversy as “con-TRO-versy,” she went into “Ooh, I just love your accent” mode. It was like, lady, you’re on the news, not doing a Jr. High podcast; you’ve must have heard all kinds of accents over the years.

      2. Narc noob says:

        I think people can accept others just as they are. They might not like it. Accepting others without needing (or wanting) to change them doesn’t mean you agree with them.

      3. FYC says:

        “Nobody knows all about me and nobody accepts me as I am.”

        This could be said of anyone. But people can be accepted “as is” without full knowledge. Acceptance does not equal inviolate agreement or endorsement. Narcissism is a defense and fuel acquisition is part of the defense. So if one were to accept a narcissist in full, one would have an appreciation of this aspect of the person and proceed accordingly. That said, most defenses are not typically something people are aware of, they exist as a coping mechanism and emerge as situations affect the individual. Even for those who are aware of their defenses, if they revealed them in advance, they would no longer be effective defenses. All humans utilize psychological defenses, however, most are not a complete defense as is narcissism.

  8. kathvich says:

    HG, the more I read, the more I learn, the more I try to digest. It is amazing to me how narcissists can be so hurtful and mean and have no remorse or regret. It is painful to learn about you kind and know that they exist among us.

    1. HG Tudor says:

      Naturally, because you are not one. Over time you will understand it as you increase logic and reduce emotional thinking. You will not like it, but it is not a case of liking or not liking it, it is about learning.

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