The Player of Games
I love playing games. As I have written before, the games are always being played. I only ever play to win otherwise there is no point. I cannot lose and sit back and smile and accept it was nevertheless an enjoyable experience because if I was to lose then it could not be enjoyable. I would be accepting that you or someone else is better than me. You are not. He is not. They are not. I always have to win. In order to achieve this I operate by a particular set of rules. You think you know what those rules are because when we first come together I deign to play by your rules; I agree to operate by the systems and conventions of your reality. That is easy for me to do because everything is going swimmingly. I am seducing you and therefore you are letting me win because it feels good. I am content to go along with the pretence of agreeing that these are the rules of engagement. You think you are winning because you are getting this wonderful, generous and loving person. In reality, I am winning because I am receiving plenty of positive fuel from you.
It is thereafter that the rules alter because I decide (and it is always my decision) that we will now abide by the rules in my reality. You are not given a rulebook and you have to guess what those rules are. As soon as you think that you have grasped them and got a handle on them, they will suddenly change. It is akin to playing a game of football and I am winning three nil. You score two more goals and you are in the ascendancy and likely to equalise. There would normally be fifteen minutes to go but suddenly I change the rules so there is just one minute left. You fail to score and I win. You protest stating that is not the correct time but it does not matter because here I am the referee, the assistants and the fourth official and what I say goes. If you do not like it, tough. I will just pick up the ball and go home with it. It is like a game of darts where you have to start from 501 and end with a double. I on the other hand start from 51 and do not need a double. You claim it is not fair but why should I care about it? I have to win. Thus, you may realise that I enjoy a lie-in on a Sunday morning so you do not disturb me. I will purposefully set the alarm early and get up waking you early. Or if I do have a lie in, I will concoct some mystery appointment that I have missed because you let me lie in. When you wake me early the following Sunday I will erupt at you for being so selfish and not letting me sleep.
When you think have ascertained what the rules are they will alter. You will do your best to try and keep up but it is exhausting and frustrating. Yet, this manipulation of the rules to allow our kind to win does not end there. Goodness me no. Our driven desire to always be the winner means that not only will we sucker you by pretending to play by your rules and then change them; we will then change the game. One moment you think you are playing Monopoly and then I am telling you it was Professor Plum in the Study with the Candlestick.
“But that is Cluedo,” you will declare rather puzzled.
“I know,” I will smile in return.
“But we are playing monopoly.
“No we are not.”
“Yes we are, look this board has streets from New York on it.”
“No it doesn’t, those are rooms in the stately home.”
“What are you talking about? See here and here, street names.”
“Are you blind? Those are snakes and ladders.”
“What? You’ve changed it again.”
“No I haven’t. You are just making a fuss because you are losing.”
“What are you on about? I am not losing, I was winning.”
“Not at all. Check mate.”
Our phenomenal capabilities for lying, blame-shifting, denial and reflection all mean that the game will change. You are wrong footed, unsure of yourself, confused and we keep on doing it. We must win, always and you have to lose, at your cost. We will apply all our methods of manipulation to ensure we are victorious and you lie sprawled in the dirt, broken and defeated. Our success has to be at everything and I mean everything, from the trivial to the substantial, Defeat is never an option for our kind and we will bend, twist and snap the rules and alter the game in order to achieve this. Now, let’s play a game. It is my favourite. You may know it. It is called Guess Who? You have no chance.
One thought on “The Player of Games”
I love this article because it sums up my entanglement with narcissists.
That’s why I also love the Hunger Games!
At the end of the first novel/film we have a rule change. Convinced to change the rules initially to allow two victors, suddenly at the end of the games the rules are changed to allow only one. Katniss Everdeen one ups the game makers by convincing Peeta to go along with her ploy to eat poison berries so both victors die and therefore there will be no victor. This cannot happen. As Peeta says ‘they have to have their victor”. Katniss will not allow it and take the choice to kill Peeta to win the games. Now the game makers have a dilemma. As the Tributes make the choice to consume the berries and disallow a victor, Peeta says “Together?” and Katniss replies “Together”. The game makers are stumped as both bring the berries to their mouths and suddenly declare the rules have been changed again to allow two victors to the games. Therefore it appears to game makers/Snow have won.
But Snow realizes he has to make an example of Everdeen, and it is a ‘fatal’ move on Katniss Everdeen’s part as Snow now has her in his sights for a thoroughly malignant response.
The games go on with twists and turns a plenty. It is a fascinating study (from my point of view).