I didn’t ask for this you know. I know you did not either but for once let’s not make this about you and let’s talk about me, yes? I never asked to be created so that each and every day I must gather the fuel that is necessary for my existence. Yes, I must eat, I must drink water and I must breathe the air, just as you do, but for me I have another staple requirement of daily living. I must have fuel. Did you choose to always needs food and water? No, you did not. Neither did I. I did not choose to require this fuel either but without it I will cease to exist. What I have created in order to survive in this world will come toppling down and that will be the end of me. How far would you go to eat? At first it is simple enough is it not? You go to the grocery store or you order online from the supermarket and acquire the ingredients to make a meal or receive a pre-cooked one. You chop, you peel, you mash and you stir and you make that meal. A hundred thousand different recipes to choose from. Instead you may remove the packaging, pierce the cling film and pop it in the over or the microwave. Either way you have food, ready to eat and to sustain you. But what if you had no money to acquire this food, how would you quell the rumblings in your stomach? Perhaps you might ask to be given food from neighbours, from food banks or left overs at supermarkets. It is demeaning but you need to eat don’t you, so what does a little pride matter so long as your stomach is filled? However, what if that charity ends? What if the benevolence of friends and neighbours dries up? What would you do then? What if there are no friends and no neighbours? Would you look to survive on berries you find by the roadside, drink the water from a stream? Would that sustain you for long or would you tire of that? Would you scavenge through the bins outside a supermarket for food that has been thrown out but is perfectly edible? Is that stealing? Perhaps not. Would you cope with the stares of pity and disdain from those who saw you surfing a dumpster? Would you steal from the shops in order to quell the hunger pangs? Snatch a loaf from a bakery, sneak into a house and steal that cooling pie or rifle through the cupboards in order to find something to eat. What if there is no edible food in the dumpster, would you remove the mould and eat what you find, risking illness? What if the supermarkets ran out of food and there was nowhere to steal it from? Would you scavenge from the orchards until that fruit ran out? Would you catch fish or hunt a lamb or grab a chicken in order to cook and eat it over an open fire? What if the usual sources of meat began to vanish, having fallen prey to starving wild animals following the collapse of civilisation, what then? Would you try new sources? Would you, driven by hunger hunt down and eat a sparrow or a robin? How about an owl? Seagull? Would you slaughter a fox in order to eat its meat? Where would you stop? Would you eat another human being in order to survive? When needs must where would you draw the line? How far would you go to feed yourself and your loved ones? Begging, growing you own, stealing, savagery, cannibalism? Do you have a limit or when the chips are down and your stomach is knotted with the agony of starvation would there be no limit? How far would you go? Would you fight another person for a packet of rice? Beat someone up in order to steal their hoard of windfalls? Would you consider their loss of their food source and their injuries an acceptable consequence of your own necessary survival? Would this become collateral damage in the pursuit of survival? Abhorrent as it may sound, I should imagine, when the need really arises, that you would go beyond the unpalatable in order to survive. Now replace food with the need for fuel and you will understand that I have no choice other than to gather this fuel from different sources and in different ways throughout the course of each day. The consequences which arise may seem regrettable to you but they are purely the result of this need for me to gain fuel. I did not ask to have to do this, but the way I have been created makes it so. In the same way that you would fight to ensure your own survival, rather than curling up and dying in a hole, so must I. Does that make me what would be regarded as a bad person for just doing what I need to in order to exist? I suggest that it does not. I know that what I do has consequences for others. I am not blind nor am I a fool. I understand fully the devastation that I cause as I tear through someone else’s life like a whirlwind, sucking everything in, hurling it about and then discarding it broken and shattered. I have heard the complaints, the stories, the recollections and the accounts. I have heard the cries of dismay, the wails of misery, the screams of terror and the slow sobs of pain. I know what is caused by my actions but what choice do I have? I do not set out to achieve these things but they must always arise as a consequence of what I must do. I feel no guilt nor remorse. I am devoid of those emotions. Another consequence of the way I have been created. I feel no shame in these actions, no pity for those who suffer from my behaviours and no sense of empathy for those who are remorselessly cut down by my machinations. I am not burdened by such emotions so I do not toss and turn at night, I do not have my sleep peppered by nightmares of torment, I do not sit in anguish and seek absolution for everything I have done and everything that I am to do. Those concepts are not applicable to me. What I do is invite you to understand me. I want you to understand what I am, what I must do and what arises from this and if you were in my shoes then you would do the same. This does not make me a bad person does it? I am a good man who is having to do a bad job. Yes?
41 thoughts on “Bare Necessity”
This is so precise and also describes exactly what makes it so difficult for aover-empath to let go …just like in AA: “We love you, we don’t love you illness”…so now what ? No contact may feel cruel sometimes
Hi Angel rachmani,.
For me, at the current time, it’s a matter of sorting out whether my health or my mother obtaining fuel from me is more important. But I have a friend that I recently explained no contact to, the way it is taught on this site, and she flung back in her chair with “But that seems so mean!”. She’s at a different place than I, not even willing to contemplate it. Many here have done it, others have opted not to, at least yet. Some never will.
AV, your health first, not mother’s – the way I see it – she has had her life. It’s your turn now, for your daughter & her children.
Thank you Asp Emp, that is where I am headed but it is a process. I appreciate the support a lot.
Reading your “she has had her life. It’s your turn now” I keep thinking “She doesn’t give me that option.” Shows the power I still give her. And it makes me sick to my stomach. She doesn’t even care that I don’t have a life, I’ve actually tried talking to her about this, and as a result, that’s what has hit me recently. But, things are progressing. It is a matter of taking my life, wresting it out of her grip and moving on, but I have to get my head around that idea and figure out how best to make it happen, before I can actually do it. Thanks again, your comment made me think, and admit these things, which is sometimes a step in the right direction.
AV, mother has no right to give you the option to decide. It’s your life. Not hers. You have done enough for her. I know I am coming across as ‘hard’ – you have said it yourself in your comment to me – she does not care. She still has control over you, at present. Think about yourself. Your daughter needs you more than mother does. Your grand children need you and they still have the opportunity to become brilliant and non-selfish people and contribute to society in the future.
I’d lob mother out of the window 😉 (she lives upstairs, doesn’t she?)
I know it’s difficult. HG will have the answers for you, he knows your story. You are a very strong person but your ET is holding you back x
Thank you Asp Emp, I will take this into consideration and yes, the upstairs window, haha, made me giggle!
Hello AV, I am glad you had a giggle about that (I knew you would). Take care of yourself, AV.
AV, I hope that you will soon find a way to keep a bigger distance from your mother if NC is not possible. It is absolutely worth it. Being able to feel ownership of your life is much more cathartic than receiving an apology from a parental narcissist.
You are correct and I am hopeful for this as well. I will be discussing it with HG shortly. She does apologize but it isn’t sincere, I stopped paying attention years ago. Thank you for your thoughts. I thought you had made a choice not to go NC, perhaps I misunderstood or misremembered that?
AV, I went very limited contact. I just sent her money every month and talked to her on Skype once a month to make sure that the money I’m sending her is enough to cover all of her bills and rent and food etc. And also to monitor if she is still getting along with her landlady and neighbors. She always got in fights with landlords and neighbors that we used to move to a new address every three months or so. I was so used to neighbors glaring at me as we pack up to move or see them with big smiles and even offering to help carry stuff to the moving vehicle because they are so happy we are leaving. What a crazy life I had as a child. So thankful my kids will never get to experience that. She also lived in a different country and even though as a child I have promised her many times that I will take her here in the US when my dad petitions for my citizenship I decided to not follow through with that promise because no matter how I think about it I knew she would impact the life of my husband in a very bad way.
Thank you for sharing this. I am so saddened for all the ACONs who have had such difficult times. There are a good number of success stories here also, which is encouraging. And I so appreciate people’s willingness to share how they did it. Right now I have ANC, we are living as landlady and tenant, with me paying for half the mortgage and utilities. I don’t see her for days on end and when I do, I keep it as limited as possible. She was very angry at first but has seemed to settle into the idea but, every interaction is a manipulation. There was a recent article which discussed malign and benign manipulations, one I could barely read the first time it came by. This time, I did read it and was very shocked by how many of the malign manipulations were the usual with her. I have so much to learn it seems, about the abuse aspect, how it manifests etc. Anyway, thank you again, very thought-provoking and encouraging.
AV, I think that you are doing really well. I could be wrong but I personally think that ultimately you have to do what feels true inside you. We can also consider the logic bullets and think about them until it feels true to us to add more and more distance from the N parent. I believe the N parent or child might be the hardest narcissists to disengage from.
MP, thank you, it is getting easier overall. I agree about doing what we feel is right and that it is likely incremental sometimes. I would have no issue with going much bigger ANC with her if some things in the mix were different. If it comes down to it, I may change those things and do it anyway. When we each had our own home, I didn’t see her more than every month or two and it was fine. I didn’t know she was a narcissist at that time but I knew I always left, between her and my dad, shaken and upset, so it was easy to stay away.
I don’t think I could disengage from one of my children. That would be much more difficult.
Your concern of cruelty in no contact is misguided and emotional thinking.
Better to remember that abuse feels cruel ALWAYS and to remove yourself.
They will be just fine with the fuel from the next (and other existing) targets. Their narcissism ensures it – that’s it’s purpose.
Wow, powerful comment. Though it was to AR, I needed this also, thank you.
It is so very accurate what NA says, the fuel of another is just as good as yours. It’s simply that your biological tie to your mother makes you an easy pipeline and little effort has to be expended to get you to produce what she needs. The cultural messages we are surrounded with about mothers and your own sense of obligation add layers of control to the already existing famial tie. But I understand how it does not appear to be a simple decision.
I have been full NC with my mother since 2019.
Thank you for sharing this WC. I will add it to my consideration.
NA is spot on. Plus think of all that sympathy she’ll be lapping up from others with you NC
thank you …yes i agree this is emotional thinking and i hope to get rid off this totally, at least when fronting an abuser….these days i’m ignoring his suicide threats which are again violent manipulations. just now another one because i am ignoring him.
HG, why is it that positive fuel is not enough? With your superior intelligence, charm, and resources, could you not find an unending supply of appliances and survive on positive fuel? When an appliance’s fuel goes stale, you could explain that you aren’t interested in the relationship anymore and leave it at that, rather than the more malignant ways to get fuel. Appliances would still feel the pain of your withdrawal, as i imagine a golden period with you would be penultimate, but the appliance would not be left so broken. This is a sincere question. Thank you for sharing your wisdom with us.
1. Why should I explain I am not interested anymore, when I am?
2. The devaluation must occur because
a. To jettison then would leave a hole in the fuel matrix (as I have explained before) because there will be no replacement lined up at this point (the replacement is obtained during devaluation)
b. It entertains me (this point does not apply to unaware narcissists who are the majority of narcissists)
c. Negative fuel is more potent
d. I have no emotional empathy so I am unconcerned as to the state of the appliance.
e. The appliance has failed me and therefore punishment follows.
What about the Narc who shelves the appliance for a very long time .
Well yes I know , there is plenty of other fuel going on but , but why would a Narc expend energy only to shove you on a shelf for months and months .
Or is that a total discard .
No such thing as a total discard.
I now understand why you said I was shelved, not disengaged from. He intended to shelve me for a very long time, but not forever. I’m now utterly grateful to whomever replaced me as top IPSS. Good luck to her, genuinely.
I don’t see it as them expending energy really. They believe they own us and we are already there to be picked up when they see fit.
Much like the shoes in my closet. Many pairs, and some I hardly ever wear, but they are there when I deem them appropriate to the occasion. The only energy expended was in their initial purchase, with minimal and occasional dusting/cleaning subsequent. There is no day to day energy expended. They are just there ready and waiting to be picked at my discretion.
Thank you NA
I just read shelf life .
I have been picked up and put down for long long periods of many months .Over a 10 year period.I know !😩
A hoover might crop as a message but when I replied I would get no answer.
It was just to check was I still on the shelf .
I have now shut off all access to me .
A step that was scary but I’ve finally had enough .
This Narc practically broke me .
I am actually off work due to completely falling apart with anxiety depression and panic .
I am improving though .
Thank you for explaining, HG. It is so important for those of us with empathetic traits to understand Point 1. It is my “default position” to only be interested in romance with a romantic partner who enjoys the relationship as I do, because I’d rather be alone than not be genuine. I wasn’t fully comprehending the narcissistic perspective. Youve stated all those points many times before… it’s interesting how projection can “blind” the empathetic person. Thank you! 🙂
I was thinking about this today. If I knew that I never had to feel the pain of losing a loved one, a child, parent, friend. You know the kind of love that, when they die, violently rends your existence and you feel that you’ll die from the pain, there’s unstoppable keening, and crying through which you can’t breathe? If I never had to feel that again, but I had to be a narcissist, would I do it?
I agree with you but for a different reason. For me, pain is clarifying. It directs my attention so precisely on matters of uber import. For example, the pain from the death of losing my father was (and at times still is) so razor sharp, deep, and shredding, that his non-presence reminds me of his lessons and his love for me. Every wave reminds me how great it was to have had him, and i can cherish the memories of the relationship. Pain is illuminationg, for how could i know what true joy is without knowing the depths of despair to which to compare it? Another example arises from the mid ranger who ensnared me last year. I allowed him to wound me so deeply, the pain woke me up and directed my attention to my greatest weakness, which i am coming to understand is emotional thinking (still working on that.) So as a person with empathic traits, i do not want or enjoy pain, but i NEED pain. Pain clarifies, pain screams “look here! Now! Pay attention to THIS!” and pain cleanses. Pain is an excellent teacher.
We cannot have one without the other. This type of pain cannot exist without attachment. Once we experience it, it sweetens future happiness.
If there could be none of the pain but also none of the hurting others, I might just take it. Lol! A Narem?
Hahaha tsk tsk You can’t have one without the other! I also really like the articles Attachment is the Seat of Misery and Love is a Taught Construct, they are the two I think of most often when I wonder what it might be like to be a N. I imagine that our pure joy and bliss is light years more enjoyable than the “power” Ns feel. We’ll never really know, I mean, it’s all relative.
Sometimes I am overcome with joyful emotion just from reading or seeing something on the TV. It’s just my thoughts. The people or events aren’t related to me in any way. I’m not physically there or interacting with them, but I can be brought to laughter and tears and feel so happy I could burst FOR them. It’s empathy, and it’s brilliant. Ns cannot do that. I wouldn’t give that up either.
I have that with my kids and grandkids, I would never give it up, never. And I believe, from my ex, that the N “power” is no equal for what I have with regard to them. But, it is all relative as you say and he would likely disagree with me.
After reflecting on this conversation, I’ve decided to do the EDC on my mom. I know she is an E, but I have no idea what kind.
That’s a great idea! Would she be willing to fill it out? It would be hard to answer for someone else, I think. I’d love to have all my kids do it also. But what if one turned out to be a narcissist!? That would be horrible!! Also unexpected. Lol
I don’t know if you watch Wanda Vision but there was a scene in episode 8 where Wanda was grieving the death of her brother and Vision told her that he had never experienced loss because he had never had a loved one to lose. And then he said, “But what is grief, if not love persevering?” Goodness that couldn’t be more true! 😭😭
Wow, that’s powerful. It got me crying about my dad, which is fine. Which also made me realize that just because they can’t love us, we can still love them and probably often do.
So true. It was so powerful. It was a powerful scene. My husband looked at me saying that is so true then his eyes widened and he chuckled when he saw tears streaming down my eyes lol. But I thought the words were so perfect.
And you are absolutely right. I personally believe that there is nothing wrong if we still love them. We are being true to ourselves and we should embrace our nature and who we are. But loving them should not mean we love ourselves less. We always have to choose us.
I have a new perspective where if I have emotional thinking I ask myself, if it is my son or daughter who is experiencing such, would I be happy to see them make the same choice that I am making? I know I always want them to choose them. And that gives me the logical answer that I need to apply to myself.
MP, you are blessed to have your husband.
Thank you for the thoughts around how I would want my children to respond, I have given this a bit of consideration but I shy away from it as I don’t like to put my ideas of what they should do on them, even if only in my own mind. I don’t want it to color conversations with them, but rather allow them to make their own decisions. That said, I do see the value in using those thoughts to work for me, and I do appreciate the encouragement to do so since it does not hurt them in anyway but could be very beneficial for me. As such, I will dip a toe in here and see what happens, thank you!
You’re most welcome! I agree, there’s nothing more than I want for my kids too but to design their own lives the way they want to live it. Although I always hope that I can be helpful in laying the foundations for them to make decisions that will make them happy and fulfilled in their lives. But yes it is only a personal approach to overcome ET and give a louder voice to logic and choices that are for our best interest because we want to best for our kids but sometimes we ignore that when it comes to ourselves. Good luck and every little improvement is a battle won.