Do you remember when you were at school and your friends all appeared to know something that you did not? They gave each other knowing looks, made sideways references to “this thing” and smiled and giggled. Unsettling wasn’t it? You asked them to tell you, you pleaded and you may even have become upset or angry, threatening your friends with some repercussion if they did not tell you what it was that they knew. Usually it was nothing. Just a device devised to play a game with you, to provoke a reaction, to cause you to react and it worked. Then you were in on the secret and you could join in and play it against the next unsuspecting individual. Nevertheless, you did not like that sensation of not knowing did you? Few people do. How many times when someone has gone missing, have anguished people declared,
“It’s the not knowing which really gets to you.”
The apprehension you experience when you wait to receive your examination results. You know you studied hard during the year, carried out the revision in the right way and you felt the examination went well, but you can never be sure can you, it is the lack of knowing which gnaws away at you until you receive the result.
Waiting for some test results concerning your health causes anxiety and concern. Even if it is bad news, once you have those results you can then take action, make plans and formulate a way forward but whilst you do not know, you are stuck, paralysed and frozen. It is an unpleasant sensation at best and an utterly debilitating one at worst.
You do not like secrets. We thrive on them.
So much of what we are is a secret. We are like a series of chests, compartments and vaults in which various secrets have been placed. Some have been placed there with the intention of never being revealed, either to you or even to ourselves. Others are those secrets about what we really are or what we actually do and we close the lid, slam the door shut and turn the key in the hope that you do not find them out and expose us for what we truly are. We do not want you to find out that the honey-coated façade is just that as you open a dark box and find the full horror of our true behaviour lurking inside. The past behaviours and historic actions are consigned into the depths of archive storage to prevent you from knowing what we really did to our ex-partner, what was said to our brother that has meant we have not spoken in ten years or the catalogue of infidelities that we engaged in. If you were ever allowed admission to those dark corridors you would pass the vaults, chests and caskets into which the secrets of our kind have been placed. Wife-beater, alcoholic, smack head, fraudster, closet homosexual, expenses fiddler, serial cheater, elder abuser, fence, conman, contemptor of court, distant parent, liar, convict, tax fraud, cross-dresser, sexual degenerate and so much more besides. Many secrets, some which you may eventually look upon, so many you may never know about. So many secrets hidden away, pushed into the recesses, concealed and secreted so that prying eyes do not learn the truth of what we say and do.
Yet, our secrecy goes further than that. We delight in letting you know that we have some kind of secret in order to exert control over you. We revel in giving you a glimpse of something but then pulling it from view. We engage in half-comments, low whispers and veiled comments in order to pique your interest but then we relish withholding the full tale. We take pleasure in these insignificant mysteries that cause you to question and probe. After all, we do know how you behaved when you were so much younger and how the sensation of not being able to know troubles you. It troubles you and your kind more than others. Like the older boy at school, we have snatched your lunch money and now hold it above your head, almost in reach as you hop and jump, frustration increasing as you attempt to recover it. You want to get hold of what it is that we know so you can satisfy your own need to know. We recognise this and therefore engage in the playing of games where we suggest, hint, partially reveal and allude to so that your interest is gained. We tease as we make oblique references to something in the expectation that you will bite. We will sit staring into space, cultivating the appearance of depth and intrigue as you observe us and wonder what we are thinking about. You will of course ask and we will give you some cryptic response which as you pondering and probing further. Whatever we told you is nothing to do with what we were actually thinking about. We may have been admiring the view from the window, we might have been wondering how the match would turn out and most likely we were considering which of the growing stable of prospects to message next. Instead we will trot out some comment or line which gives the appearance of us being pre-occupied with some weighty matter, something possibly beyond the wit of you, something which makes us appear mysterious and heavyweight. The intrigue adds to the allure but it also plays to your desire to need. The keeping back of information, the withholding of knowledge, the cloak and dagger routine is all part of the act. The true secrets will never be revealed to you. The secret we allude to is non-existent. It is just a device to control you. It is a means of keeping you bound to us, asking, wondering and probing. The half-answers and titbits are there to confuse, bewilder and cause your anxiety. The mysterious murmurs, the ponderous gaze and the comments to ourselves which you can only partially hear are mere ruses. They are to give us the appearance of depth when it is lacking. The creation of so many apparent secrets is to keep you away from the real secrets by leading you in a different direction and to make us appear deep and of substance. We look to snatch your consideration and scrutiny and make it belong to us instead.
The playing of secrecy continues after the cessation of our formal relationship. Always when you have been discarded and often even when you escape, how many times are your night bedfellows not some other person but the ghosting questions of how, what, why, when and where? You are given no answers as to what has happened and this is when the secrecy takes on the greatest significance as we have entered you into the maze where you try to find a way through it in order to understand how we could have done what we did, what on earth happened to you, why did we do those things, when will we come back and where did it all go wrong? We condition you throughout your dance with us to be intrigued by us, to wonder, to speculate, to pontificate and so forth so that it builds and builds until when we cast you to one side you can do nothing but keep wanting to learn our secrets, to open those doors, to slide back the bolts and open the portals, to raise the lids and lift the covers. This keeps you coming back to us, it keeps you hanging on in the hope that one day there will be a momentous reveal and it will all make sense. You wait in the expectation that all the secrets of this person that you still love will be revealed to you. But it never happens. Not by him or her. The unmasking comes from another place.
It is no secret that you have the key to the narcissistic universe in your hands now.