Damned If You Do, Damned If You Don`t



Society and people need rules. The requirement for regulation looms large in everyone’s life. Pay your taxes, don’t park in that place, don’t drop litter, say please and thank you and so on. From laws to rules to codes of conduct, through to convention to procedures to etiquette we are bound up in rules wherever we go and whatever we do. People grumble and complain about them but ultimately they prefer the world to have these rules.

People like to know where they stand. You know what you can and cannot do. You may not agree with it, but you at least have some certainty. Those that found themselves in the horror of concentration camps complained that there was never any certainty to the day. You could be subjected to punishment for walking too slowly one day and too fast the next. It was random and awful, yet such a system is horrendously effective at undermining someone’s will and paradoxically causing them to try harder in order to avoid a sanction.
Our behaviour is much the same. There is no rhyme or logic to it. Last week I said I liked sugar in my tea and this week I do not. I deny that I said I liked sugar in my tea and moreover this triviality causes me to erupt in rage when you put sugar in my drink this week. You are confused and anxious by this random control that I exert over you. It is all intentional. Do not make the mistake of thinking that we cannot recall what we said or did the previous day, that we are somehow blind to our previous likes and dislikes as if affected by some form of amnesia. This disorientating tactic is deliberate. You may as well ascribe outcomes to the numbers two through to twelve and roll two dice.

That gives you just as good a chance of determining how I will behave. One week I sleep with the bedroom window open, the next it must be closed. Yesterday I want silence in the kitchen in the morning, today I want the radio on. Each day you are put on parade and then awaiting the inevitable criticism as I will find some fault in order to control you, demean you and provoke a reaction. I am like an insane regimental sergeant major who deems the buttons on your uniform to not shine enough despite the hours you spent polishing each one.

Like his parade ground bark, I will unleash my haphazard criticism of you with a barrage of abuse, raising my voice and making you wince with each syllable. We understand the effect of repeatedly being shouted at and it causes you to submit to our demands Invariably I will see what you are doing and pick the opposite as being what I want. I am a natural contrarian. All of this is done to maintain your heightened sense of anxiety, forcing you to second guess and thus become conditioned to our will. Periodically we will approve of what you have done and your sense of relief is so overwhelming you receive a natural high. This in turn causes you to want to repeat it and therefore each and every day you are walking on those eggshells as you try to please us and avoid our erratic and groundless rage.

There is no system you can depend on, no method of working out what is safe to do and what should be avoided, yet still you will try. As ever, you want to make matters right and keep the peace.

6 thoughts on “Damned If You Do, Damned If You Don`t

  1. Empath007 says:

    I’m wondering how people manage rejection. Without writing a novel. I recently put myself back out there 3 years after my narc… it was with someone I had known for years, had feelings for for a long time… but he was my boss and married so nothing ever happened. He recetnly moved away and became single. I told him how I felt and he was receptive. So much so I flew out to see him a few weeks ago for what was supposed to be … a romantic weekend.

    There were definite red flags, the way he spoke about my smile being the largest. He spoke about his feelings for me… we had sexy exchanges leading up to the trip…. but when I got there… he couldn’t perform…. I was left feeling humiliated. My self esteem has always been an issue for me.

    He tried to explain its something that’s happened in his past but not in long term relationships. That it has nothing to do with his attraction for me… but obviously that seems logically unlikely to me.

    He said he’s not ready to date. Needs to sort out his divorce (it’s very fresh, they are only just separating and he was very in love with her). So I can appreciate the timing was off.

    While there were a few potential narc qualities. I don’t think he’s a narc persay. Just a selfish man.

    I’m feeling hurt. Trying not to message him my feelings like I did with the narc. But that’s been hard. I’m loosing sleep and beating myself up. I’m eating poorly. The whole thing is over before it even began. I’m trying online dating but so hung up on him I just deleted my accounts because I’m not ready.

    It also makes me miss my narc. Because he made me feel sexually desirable. I’m not going to ruin 3 years of no contact. But have been so depressed about this new guy… it makes me tempted….

    1. Gypsy Heart says:

      Empath 007,

      It is certainly hard to put yourself out there again in the dating world. My husband and I split up nearly five years ago and I have only encountered frogs that never turn into prince’s. Two of them were recently out of a relationship and went back to the predecessor. I will never date someone fresh out of a relationship again.

      I have read that HG recommends not dating for at least six months I believe, after coming out of a toxic situation and I am going to stick to that and enjoy spending time with myself and reading his material. I pulled out several of his books to read, starting with Fuel, Fury, Sitting Target, and Red Flags because apparently I see the situation as a meme that I just found; to add a little humor to the situation.

      Therapist: you saw the red flags though, right?

      Me: I thought it was a circus.

      Just don’t let this effect your self esteem. Remember this does have more to do with him than you.


      1. Empath007 says:

        Thanks Gypsy.. yes too fresh out of his current relationship, however it appears as though he’s already starting dating someone else! I just hope that situation goes as badly as mine haha. I took 3.5 years to date after the narc… I can’t lie… I do not enjoy the process of dating and meeting new people. But I’m giving it a whirl.

    2. Savoy Truffle says:

      That sucks about the new guy. But he obviously has his own problems that have nothing to do with you. Have some chocolate.

      1. Empath007 says:

        Haha! I did eat poorly for week… but then decided I’d best start working on that revenge body! So clean eating ever since! haha.

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