Those I interact with, mainly those who I have had relationships with, often ask me what it was that first attracted me to them. Dr E has asked me to consider this question as well. He has framed it in two parts however. Firstly, he wanted me to tell him when I first saw somebody what immediately drew them to me. He wanted me to return to that first impression, be it online or in person or from the window of my car. Secondly, he asked me to view it from now. Was the reason for the attraction any different ? This proved to be a long session of extended pauses as I gave this ample consideration. I must admit, this was one of Dr E’s better questions so I felt it merited some application on my part.
Addressing the first part, it can be absolutely anything. The colour of your hair, the slope of your nose, the scent you wear, the piece of work you have completed, your choice of dip for your fries, your voice or the car you drive. That is what I seize on. I use this as the focal point for my sudden and overwhelming desire for you. I look for something, anything that seems worthy of a compliment and when I find it I deploy it immediately and then look for another, then another and another as I fire up my machine gun to blaze compliments towards you.
The second part of the question is what I really find attractive. The initial attraction is just a frenetic, rushed attempt to form a bridge with you and dash across it to be with you. What really attracts me is showing that you are honest and caring. Decent and understanding. That’s what really matters to me. Those attributes mean that you will be hugely susceptible to my compliments and also utterly bewildered when I withdraw them. Ultimately I sniff out that you will give me the admiration and attention I am entitled to.
This led Dr E to ask me how do I know that you are honest, decent and so on. I began to answer but he said he wanted me to think about this for 15 minutes before answering. I knew the answer in under a minute so I compiled a list instead of the methods I am going to use to seduce my neighbour. That was a much more productive use of the time. Once the prescribed time limit had expired, Dr E asked me again how I knew. I said it was simple; I just do.
I am your personal Jesus. I enter your life and bring light and healing. Have you been hurt and damaged by another who did not value the honesty, decency and truthfulness by which you lead your life? I will soothe your fevered brow and reassure you that you are a good person. I bring calm where there is confusion and misunderstanding. Listen to me as I explain to you how the world really is. I have created paradise. I will open its gates and let you gaze upon it. Feel the love, warmth and tranquillity flow from it. This is all yours. All you need to do is follow me. That is all I ask. Come with me and I will be your world. I am everywhere and understand everything. When you are feeling down I will call you and remind you of how wonderful you are. My angels will remind you through my text messages and love notes of how special you are. You have a place reserved in my heaven. I chose for it you.
If you feel that your journey through life has taken a wrong turn, let me guide you. If the road ahead seems dark and stony, do not be troubled. Climb onto my back and let me carry you. I am your angel and my wingspan is wide enough to protect both of us from the darkness that lurks in the world. Open your heart to me. Give it freely and it will prosper under my stewardship. Listen to my words. They are imbued with wisdom and you are welcome to keep them as watchword to your heart. For too long you have struggled alone. I am here to relieve your burden and show you the wonderful, beautiful perfect love that you deserve. Just take my hand and follow me.
I am your saviour.
I will always come back to you. I do this because I need to know that you are still pining for me. I need to know that you have not been able to move on from the pain that I have caused you. When I have cast you asunder and I have left you in a mental torment of pain and confusion as you struggle to reconcile the early golden period with the horror that followed, I will leave you be for perhaps a couple of months and then make my reappearance. Somewhere down the line, I will disappear again. I will wait for as long as I vanished the first time so you start to think, “yes he has really gone this time” and then I will add a week and then reappear. Each time I do this I wait just a little longer than the time before so you lower your admittedly fragile defences. It is all calculated.
I do this so you are conditioned to expect me back at some point. This means that I can seek out new victims in the meanwhile safe in the knowledge that you are sat waiting for me and will provide me with a deliciously juicy source of fuel in the future. It also means that I can manage your expectations. I get away with more and you expect far less. Again, it is all designed to enable me to do what I want.
I often return expecting to carry on as if nothing has happened. I call this my grand entrance. Like a king I will sweep back into your life and you will be so relieved to see me and also blown away by the grandiose nature of my return that you will be powerless to resist my overtures. In fact, because I will open the gates to heaven for a little while, you are relieved and delighted to have me back again. You think I have changed. You think I have been away and reflected on what I have done and have returned improved, better and redeemed. Oh the look on your face when I just appear at your front door. I can see you want to shout at me. I know you want to call me all the names under the sun but you cannot. My conditioning of you is so effective you just melt into my arms.
Alternatively, I decide I will play the spinning game. I will telephone you and then hang up the moment you answer. You call me back and I do not answer. You are now wondering why have I called? What does he want? Is it more torment or is he calling to apologise and makes things right? You cannot help but over analyse this situation. That is part of your DNA and why I chose you. I keep you spinning round and round. This entertains me and also softens you up for when I do decide to make the grand entrance.
Which ever way I decide to return, return I will and I shall do so in triumph as I capture you once more.
I would like to tell you about one of my ex-girlfriends, Karen. Karen, this is directed to you out of recognition of how spectacular your supply of fuel was. It was one of, if not the best.
Using my legendary powers of empathy detection I was able to pick you out like a pig sniffing for truffles. Some might suggest that it quite an apt analogy. I identified that you are a caretaker. You are a passionate, caring and strong individual. How best might I harness the sweet, sweet fuel that you would be bound to supply to me? I decided that rather than love bomb you I would apply a different technique. Yes I was polite, complimentary and took an interest in you so you were drawn to me, but I did not bombard you in the way that I ordinarily might. No instead I decided that I needed to test you. I reasoned that you would see me as a challenge. Most of my victims apply their caretaking instincts when I start to devalue, demean and belittle them. They want to fix me in order to return to the golden period. I opted in your case to start testing you from near the beginning.
You were never allowed to contact me first. You had to wait until I made contact and then you had to respond within one minute. If you did not you clearly did not care about me. I would wait hours in the day before I made the approach to you. Was I denying myself fuel in this way? Yes and no. Of course I was not receiving the usual blitz of telephone calls and texts that I ordinarily would when I would love bomb. This way however I knew you were always thinking of me, wondering when I might call or send a text message. I knew you would be repeatedly checking your phone and be in a state of readiness to respond. Knowing that I was ever present gave me a different kind of fuel at a different stage of our relationship to how it usually would be. When that first reply came, the power that surged me from having you waiting and ready, was intense.
I would insist that you refrain from eating before me, even when we were apart, to ensure that your hunger pangs reminded you that you were doing this at my say so. You would agree because you wanted to prove to me how much you loved me, how passionate you felt about me and that you would not be beaten. You readily became a co-conspirator in this game. I devised knew and harder challenges, pushing you each time and always you rose to the challenge and indeed you would often surpass my expectations.
As ever, I was several steps ahead of you. When I grew tired of this and starting to demean you, the conditioning that I had subjected you to in our golden period was so strong that you went above and beyond to try and please me. No matter how fruitless this seemed you never gave in. You showed immense reserves of discipline and strength, your depth of character was startling and it was all being used up on me.
I may tell you how my relationship with Karen ended at some point.
I don’t like going to sleep. Being asleep is not such a problem because obviously I am asleep and therefore oblivious to what is going on. It is the act of going to sleep which troubles me and consequently it has in the past taken me some time to fall into slumber. Once I do, I always sleep straight through until morning and awake refreshed and raring to take on my first fuel of the day. I recall a room mate on a football tour when I was 21 asking me why I was still up reading at a late hour when he had been asleep and woke to use the toilet. I explained I was enjoying reading my book, after all, I was not going to admit to him the real reason why I was still reading at midnight. I need to exhaust myself so that I know when I climb between the sheets I will be embraced by my deep and untroubled sleep straight away. If I cannot do that I have learned, after many fretful nights, that sleep will not come easily to me.
I know why this is. It is not, as a spiteful ex-girlfriend Tonia once remarked,
“You cannot get to sleep because your conscience won’t let you after all the despicable things you have done.” I laughed that one off. She had no idea.
No. The reason is that when I am going to sleep I believe that everything I have built up and created will disappear. I fear you will vanish because I can no longer see you. I am troubled that all my hard work in finding and establishing supplies of fuel will melt away once I am not able to control it. I need to be in constant control of what is happening and hate for that control to be taken away from me by asleep. Naturally, I must sleep like everyone else but it is in that few minutes as one settles down that the demons creep out from the corners of the room and threaten the destruction of my empire because shortly I will no longer be on hand to govern it. It matters not that I have woken the next day and found everything intact. I am terrified that one day that just could change. Accordingly, I need the transition from wakefulness to sleep to be swift and pronounced.
I do enjoy going fishing. After all, I am a master at preparing the bait aren’t I? Based on my expertly honed observational skills I know exactly what to say or do to provoke a reaction from people and in turn garner some fuel from them. I know for example that my sister is obsessed with fashion and has to wear what is deemed to be the latest item or ‘in this season’. All I have to do with her is greet her and remark on her dress.
“That’s a lovely dress you have on. Is it new?”
“Yes, it is MaxMara, it is a runway piece. It is the latest high fashion,” she replies delighted by my compliment and the opportunity to boast about its origins and exclusivity.
“Is that so? I saw the very same dress last year when I attended that fashion show in Milan.”
“No you didn’t?” she will answer. Note how her reply was not a statement but it was a question. Straight away I have my bite. She is not so confident as to issue a full-blooded rebuttal. All I have to do is keep telling her that I did see it last year, embellish it with the name of a famous model and keep repeating the circumstances so my conviction seems absolute. Any criticism of her fashion selection will reduce her to tears and have her running from the room. If I receive any withering stares from her friends or my family, I will shrug and say,
“Hey, I wasn’t the one who was telling a lie was I by saying it was the latest high fashion was I?” Nifty piece of blame-shifting there as well. They can shake their heads and tut all they like but I know I have landed a blow. By the time she returns having found some verification from a third party that her attire is the latest dress to wear from MaxMara the moment has passed and triumph has eluded her. It is easy and I get the reaction I am looking for.
I have a colleague who thinks he is an expert on the Tudor dynasty. I will throw him the occasional obscure fact and back it up with obstinate insistence and an almost slavish devotion to confirming I am right. He cannot stand it and it send him into a rage. He literally stamps his feet in exasperation. I usually choose to do this when he has no method of verifying what I am saying. Days later when he tries to correct me I brush him aside and give him no opportunity to speak. It does not matter then. I got my catch earlier and by telling a whopper I landed a whopper.
Many of my ex-girlfriends used to enjoy reflecting on the past. They would smile and recount some event in the past, a particular party or an enjoyable trip they once took to the coast. Sometimes it was not specific to an event but rather would be about the way a person had behaved. More often than not, their reminiscing focussed on the good. I don’t think about the past. It never invades my consciousness. I am not haunted by the memory of the cruelty that I have meted out to people. I lie straight in my bed and night and sleep soundly. I awake refreshed and ready for my next conquest. When I eventually discard someone from my life (I always do) I do not give them a second thought until I consider I might want something from then. I never wonder how they are or what they are doing. To me, out of sight really is out of mind. I delete you and in effect deny your existence. Many people lay down powerful reminders of their journey through life so far ; children, their wedding day, starting a career or college, moving to that first house and so on. I don’t bother with any of that. I gain nothing from looking backwards. It serves no purpose to me. I must look forward. I have to look to my next fix, my next conquest and my next victim.
This lack of attachment to past events and people gives me huge mobility. You are mired down for week, months and even years with the ghosts and memories of the past. For me they evaporate in an instant and free me to act with impunity. I have no reminder of what has happened. There is no cautionary tale. There is no record of things that came to pass. That is why it is futile to try to draw the past to my attention in some hope that I may change or may recognise the force of what you are saying. You try to point out something we once had, once did, once shared. Not to me. It never existed. It is a waste of my energy to hold onto the past. I never look back. You would do well to do the same.