Category Archives: Awareness

Shouldn’t Have Done That

SHOULDN'T HAVE DONE THAT

 

You caught the same train at 8-05 am every day from Monday to Friday. You always sat at a window seat nearest to the door with a seat beside you and a double seat opposite you. You never sat and read the paper. You did not hold a book. You kept your mobile ‘phone in your bag rather than prod and jab at it. You preferred to look at the passing scenery. You preferred to look at your fellow travellers. You told me that the opposite seat was free. You returned my smile.

You shouldn’t have done that.

You said hello on the following day. You smiled again. You engaged in small talk with me and answered my seemingly innocuous questions. You accepted my compliment about your fragrance with modesty and thanks. You told me your name and I told you mine.

You shouldn’t have done that.

You said hello again the day after and the one after that. You smiled at me first this time. You engaged in small talk again but it grew from small to medium as the train left the station. You told me where you worked and what you did. You told me where you used to work. You explained all about your hoped for transfer to another department. You told me about your colleagues and laughed at my remarks about them.

You shouldn’t have done that.

You turned in your seat looking for me as I entered the train. You smiled and the smile was wider. You waved me over and we engaged in conversation. The small talk had been left on the platform. You told me this, you told me that and you told me about the other. I absorbed it all. I told you how your outfit suited you and you told me where you got it from. You told me where you lived. You told me you lived alone.

You shouldn’t have done that.

You looked for me again as you did every day. You always kept a seat for me. Sometimes opposite you. Sometimes beside you. You always had plenty to talk to me about. You showed me your new ‘phone and I saw the Facebook logo. I also memorised your four-digit passcode as you tentatively typed it. You told me that you were going for drinks after work and you told me the bar.

You shouldn’t have done that.

I went to the bar but did not look for you. You came and found me instead. You invited me over. You invited me and my two lieutenants to join you and your colleagues. You introduced me to them and them to me. I made you laugh. I made them laugh. I bought you more drinks. You touched my arm and your touch lingered.

You shouldn’t have done that.

Your privacy settings are not as good as they should be. You placed so much of your life online. You accepted my friend request. You messaged me first that Thursday evening and I messaged back. You messaged again and again so I did so too. You told me about your plans. You told me about your family. You told me about your friends.

You shouldn’t have done that.

You met me for coffee. You answered my questions. You gave me more and more information as our friendship grew. You gave me your telephone number. You told me about your ex. You told me about the one before him. You showed tears in your eyes.

You shouldn’t have done that.

You met me for dinner. You laughed at my jokes. You told me your hopes. You told me your fears. You told me what you liked and I liked it too. You told me where you wanted to travel to and I wanted to travel there too. You looked in my eyes and you allowed me in.

You shouldn’t have done that.

You invited me to the party at your house. You greeted me with delight. You let me into your house. You showed me your books. You showed me your tastes. You showed me your friends and let me entertain them. You showed me my recruits. You poured me a drink and I poured one for you, then another and another. You kept coming to see me as I kept the group in the palm of my hand. You smiled and you laughed and you looked at me with something else, something more in your eyes. You kissed me.

You shouldn’t have done that.

You answered my calls. Each and every one. You talked with me for hours. You answered every one of my messages. You showed excitement. You showed delight. You showed enthusiasm. You accepted the flowers. You rang and thanked me. You accepted the jewellery. You rang squealing with pleasure. You accepted the invitations. You invited me over. You made me dinner. You insisted I stay. You took me to bed.

You shouldn’t have done that.

You thrilled at my notes. You soared at my voicemails. You revelled in my messages. You thanked me for my generosity. You clapped your hands in excitement when I showed you the tickets. You kept asking me to stay. You held on to me all night. You whispered in my ear and told me what you wanted, although I already knew.

You shouldn’t have done that.

You told me to leave a toothbrush. You insured me on your car. You gave me a key. You booked our first holiday together. You introduced me to your family. You introduced me to your boss. You introduced me to him, to her, to everyone. You believed everything I told you.

You shouldn’t have done that.

You gave me your heart and said keep it safe. You told me your plans for us. You told me you loved me though I said it first. You told me nothing like this had happened before.

You shouldn’t have done that.

You made this choice. You let me in. You ignored the red flags. You let my tendrils slide around you. You told me how I had captured your heart and made you a queen. I whispered softly in your ear as you slept in my arms,

“I always do that.”

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The 5 Fears of the Narcissist

5 FEARS

1. You will leave

You are our primary source of fuel, our life giver and without this precious fuel we are thrown into chaos, impending oblivion on the horizon. You signed an unwritten contract to supply us with potent and delicious fuel until we decide to the contrary. It is our decision. It is not yours. We know what we do to you, the repeated push and pull, the games, the abuse and whilst we rely on our significant powers of manipulation and your near indefatigable desire to heal, hang in there and make things work, there is always that slight doubt that perhaps this time we have gone too far? There is an iota of concern that this is the occasion where you put the pieces together and realise what you are dealing with and therefore you decide to escape us. Leaving us when we have not ensured your replacement is in place or that he or she is working to maximum efficiency places us in peril. If you leave our fuel supply has been fractured, maybe even cut off. If you leave you have wrested control away from us and this is not something that can ever countenance. If you leave you are telling us that we are not the superior being we maintain that we are,  you are pouring scorn on our might and undermining our magnificence.

2. I am ignored

There are those for whom the spotlight of attention causes them to flush with embarrassment, that searing heat which makes them feel uncomfortable. That is not the case for us. Its light brings us warmth and power. We need the spotlight like plants need the sun. We bask in its brilliant blazing light and revel in the attention that comes with it as we drink deep of the fuel that is provided. Should you ever move that spotlight away from us, the icy chill of the cruel and desolate world we have been placed in becomes all too real and this wounds us. The removal of the light of attention criticises us and strikes at our core. All eyes should be directed on us, ears should be pinned back in appreciative listening of our oratory, attention should be focused on us. It is about us, not you. Whether it is just you or I, a group of friends in a bar,a family gathering or in a meeting, everyone should know that we are there and they should be reacting to our presence. We do not care how that reaction comes so long as it is laden with emotion. If you ignore us you are telling us that we are worthless and that takes us to a place that we have consigned in the depths of our minds. Never ignore us, we cannot stand for that to happen.

3. I am exposed

Whether it is the unmasking of me as a narcissist or the revelation of my abusive machinations when you do not know fully what you have become entangled with, the fear of exposure lurks within us. Of course we will react and fight against it, of course we will deny, deflect and withdraw from your treacherous behaviour in telling the world what we are. We will paint you as a liar, a crazy person and a fantasist even though, for those of us who are aware enough, the words you issue are arrows of truth that rain down upon us tearing and wounding. Whether it is exposure in terms of you, as a primary source, telling us what we are or the wider unmasking to our carefully constructed façade, we fear this happening because it hurts us, it burns and it wounds. We will fight back, we will seek our retribution against you for this most heinous act but this requires precious energy which we would much rather use in a more productive way. In the worst of cases, your revelations force us to new hunting grounds which means we must re-build our twisted empire afresh. It will rise again but we would rather not endure the agony that this entails or the effort required.

4. I grow weary

I come as a god to walk this earth, a colossus astride this planet, leading and forging ahead as my massed ranks of admirers watch on in awe and wonder. I am omnipotent, immortal and unstoppable, my power endless as I seduce, abuse and recycle. There is so much fuel to drink up and I will never stop. Yet, occasionally that scintilla of concern manifests. What if I were to lose my powers? What if the ability to seduce started to wane? What if I lost the appetite to abuse and slay? What if I said the unsayable and admitted that I am tired of this endless routine? What if I no longer had the hunger or desire to stalk my hunting grounds and wanted an end? What if I wanted to remove my demagogue’s crown and vacate the throne, my appetite diminished and senses dulled? What would I do then? I soon shake off these terrible considerations but they remain in the shadows, occasionally calling to me. I dispel them as quickly as the manifest but still they come every once in a while.

5. The creature escapes

What if as a consequence of all the above I can no longer keep the craven creature within the prison that I have constructed for it? What if one day it is able to breach the walls and emerge from the depths of is incarceration so that it surfaces, hissing and tormenting me, its once whispered threats becoming a reality. What if it takes me to the edge of the abyss and forces me to look into the great void, oblivion just a step away, the howling winds of desolation whipping around me. Sometimes and it is a rare occurrence, but when all is still and dark this thought forms in my vast mind, this awful, terrible thought as I feel the craven creature’s clawed hand against my back, ready to shove me over the edge……..

Listen to ‘The 5 Fears of the Narcissist’

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The Fading Narcissist

YOUTUBE THE FADING NARCISSIST

Everybody who is part of our Fuel Matrix plays a part in maintaining our existence. Our construct, that which imprisons the creature and that which we want the world to see, must be maintained in order to preserve our existence. If not, we begin to fade away as the construct crumbles and collapses. The maintenance of this construct is entirely reliant on the provision of fuel and you play an integral part in that. How do the various types of appliance mesh together then in order to prevent us from fading away? 

I have explained how we draw fuel from primary, secondary and tertiary sources. These sources vary in potency and are affected of course by the method of delivery of the fuel. The primary source remains our most important source of fuel since it is this person, usually the intimate partner, who we are with more than anybody else but also who has the greatest emotional reaction to what we say and do. Therefore, this person provides us with the most fuel and of the most potent kind. They are also someone who satisfies the  The Prime Aims (which includes fuel) more than anyone else. The primary source is naturally the most important fuel provider which is why we seduce this person with such dedication, unleash such a terrible devaluation and keep on hoovering following escape or dis-engagement. We make such an investment in you as the primary source that we regard it as our right to keep drawing fuel from you, whether that is positive or negative, whether it is now, next week or in ten years’ time. You belong to us, in our minds.

The secondary sources are those which contribute good fuel and are invariably those who are part of our façade. Our lieutenants and the coterie are drawn from the secondary sources – friends, family and colleagues – who we interact with frequently but not to the same extent as we do with the primary source. Nor do the secondary sources give out the same heightened fuel as the primary source. The secondary sources serve an excellent function as part of the façade and the maintenance of this façade is important, therefore we prefer to keep the same people in at and keep adding to it. Secondary sources invariably enjoy lengthy golden periods with us. This is because our call on them is intermittent and therefore we are far less likely to regard their fuel as stale. Moreover, we can have many secondary sources but we only ever have one primary source. Thus if a certain secondary source is perhaps not admiring us as much (but they are not criticising us and are still providing some fuel) it does not merit a devaluation. They remain loyal, they remain part of the façade and we will just switch to another secondary source to increase the fuel. There is no need to devalue or ditch the initial secondary source. Thus you may see our kind have a friend who is “flavour of the month” because their fuel is better than other secondary sources and then the fuel dips in quality but it is not a concern as we can add another secondary source or switch to another who perhaps we have not seen for a couple of months. This is advantageous as it means our energy can be saved for devaluing the primary source whilst keeping a range of functioning secondary sources on hand and the façade intact.

The secondary sources very rarely stop providing fuel. They have no need to. A primary source may do so owing to the descent into ill health caused by the devaluation or learning how to tackle our kind as a response to the abuse. The secondary source, nearly always treated to an elongated  golden period, has no need to adopt a stance of not providing fuel.

A secondary source may however criticise us and if that is the case they may be subjected to devaluation but usually they are excluded from the coterie and replaced easily enough. They will be smeared and made to feel like an outsider, with the narcissist using the façade and other secondary sources to achieve this aim. We like to create our cliques and if anybody threatens our supremacy or delivers a criticism who is a secondary source they will be ejected from the group.

The occasion for devaluation of the secondary source is rare. It only happens in two instances. Firstly, the source has criticised the narcissist (this criticism might come through something said to the narcissist or something done, for example through exposing the narcissist’s behaviour to others)  and thus fury is ignited and the narcissist decides this person must be made an example of, before being discarded, in order to show the rest of the coterie who is in charge.

Secondly, in an even rarer instance it may happen when the narcissist has no primary source. If there is an absence of the primary source for a period of time, say a number of weeks, the narcissist’s fuel levels will have been tested. He will have sought to seduce and embed a new replacement primary source and most times the narcissist in such a situation is able to do so with success. However, let us assume this has not happened. The narcissist turns to his secondary and tertiary sources (more on tertiary in a moment) and relies more than usual on them to provide him with fuel during the absence of the primary source. At first there is no problem, the secondary sources provide positive fuel which is sustaining the narcissist, but if he has only a few secondary sources, then it will not be long before his fuel demands outstrip the positive fuel they can give. The lesser quality of their fuel (compared to the primary source) is being exposed by the absence of the primary source. It is also because greater demand is being placed on them.

Ultimately, the primary source will always go further for the narcissist than anybody else and they are also far more proximate. No matter how seductive. if the secondary source has to deal with his own family, his work and so on, he may not be available to provide fuel. If this keeps happening, combined with the increased demand and the lack of a primary source the strain on positive secondary sources will start to tell. This means the narcissist will either have to add new secondary sources and/or devalue the secondary sources to shift to negative fuel so he is sustained. This will work for a period of time with the confused inner circle friend who is a secondary source trying to work out why their supposed best friend is ignoring them and then trying to patch up the relationship. A secondary source however will not sustain devaluation as long as a primary source and may even infect other secondary sources by pointing out how they are being treated. The narcissist is already suffering reduced fuel levels and the supremacy of his façade is being challenged. This increases the demands on him.

The tertiary sources provide the least fuel and generally they are also treated to lengthy golden periods – for example the lady who works in the petrol station or the postman – since they are only extracted from on an intermittent basis. Tertiary sources can also be used straight away for negative fuel, for example, upbraiding a waiter or shouting down a shop assistant. We do not regard them as necessary to the maintenance of the façade, their negative fuel provides a useful boost and such high-handed behaviour may impress a primary (or secondary source) and draw positive fuel from them where appropriate.

If there is no primary source for a period of time, the reliance on tertiary sources increases. There will be increased activity to use technology to draw these people to the narcissist – such as on dating sites, chat rooms or through social media, but if the reliance is frequent and sustained the quality of the fuel will diminish quickly and those who have been attached to the narcissist in this way will be discarded and replaced with new remote tertiary sources promptly. There will be a high turnover. At the same time, the narcissist is likely to lash out at physically proximate sources more and more as the fuel level dips. This happens for two reasons. Firstly, he needs the fuel more than ever from tertiary sources and negative fuel is better than positive. Secondly, he will be furious at being placed in this position (through having no primary source but he has not got one to lash out at) so tertiary sources bear the brunt of this rage.

A narcissist without a primary source will eventually alienate secondary sources and in certain environments – say a small town – will struggle to replace them as people become wise to what he is. He may lack the energy to keep up the turnover of remote tertiary sources and spends his time lashing out at those which are physically proximate. At this point the narcissist faces losing the façade (since so many people know about his behaviour) in order to keep drawing fuel. It is now that he has three choices: –

  1. Secure a new primary source immediately;
  2. Move his environment so he can seek out fresh secondary sources and tertiary sources and rebuild his façade; or
  3. Sink into depression and inactivity as his fuel levels plummet.

The narcissist becomes a fading star. Once brilliant, magnificent and illuminating, his loss of the primary source and inability to find another means that the alluring shine is fading as a black hole awaits. He begins to fade as he enters a fuel crisis. Thus you can see just how paramount the primary source is to the existence of our kind and why we make such an effort to secure them, replace them and hoover them back again.

Listen to ‘The Fading Narcissist’

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All In The Eyes

ALL IN THE

The eyes are one of our powerful weapons. I hear so many comments made about my eyes.
“I saw the world in your eyes.”
“Everything I ever wished for, I could see in your eyes.”
“I’ve never known anyone give me such a malevolent stare.”
“You are dead behind the eyes.”
“That hollow look you give me, chills me inside.”
“Your reptilian, empty stare always unnerved me.”
When we first engage with you, we are able to reflect back at you want you desperately want. Hope, optimism, desire and trust are all mirrored in our eyes. Do not be mistaken and think that we generate those looks. We do not. All we are doing is ensuring that you see what you want to see in order to ensnare you. This mirroring serves two purposes. Firstly, it shows you what you crave for and makes us all the more attractive to you. Secondly, it masks the empty void that truly exists. Whilst my kind and me learn how to behave and act, we mimic the way in which we are expected to respond in the most favourable manner, we do not truly feel any of those things and we cannot generate it in our eyes. Everything else we are able to simulate – the laugh, the smile, the look of surprise, the intonation of elation in our voices. We have carefully crafted these facsimiles of your emotions but managing to do so in our eyes has always eluded us. We cannot fall at the first hurdle however and have you see through our charade. Accordingly, we have managed to master the mirroring technique. You want that love and hope so badly you will see it in us when you are really just seeing yourself. We hold your gaze for longer than anyone else. You are conned into thinking this is just demonstrating the intensity of our desire for you. It is not. We must look directly into your eyes to shine back at you that which you send towards us. Should we look way, the reflection may fail and we must always have you in our eye.
As with all of our pretence we are unable to maintain this deceit for long. The mirror breaks and the shards of reflection fall away leaving the chasm of emotionlessness behind. The barren hinterland beyond our eyes is all that is left, bereft of anything at all. That is why in the later stages you will see nothing when you look at us. We cannot generate those real emotions and our mirror has now failed. Our real gaze is all that is left, cold, empty and lifeless. People often remark about how the eyes are the window to the soul. Our soul left long ago and that is why you look into dead, uncaring eyes. Even though our mouth is upturned in a smile, the crows feet at the sides crease and the brow rises, our eyes betray us. Glacial and sterile they show the reality of what we are; devoid of positive emotion and spiritually bankrupt.
All that we are able to muster is hatred. Our loathing of this unjust world is so intense that it will break through when we wish to direct that hatred against you. That is when the emptiness vanishes and instead you are subjected to our laser-like, pinpoint accurate malevolent stare. I mentioned in the recollection about the cookie jar, how I had practised my withering stare one summer. This is the precursor to our malice, our antipathy and our scorn. With consummate ease we will call on it to intimidate you and signal our contempt for you. It is powerful, unwavering and unsettling. To be on the receiving end of our hateful stare is not a pleasant experience. We muster such power with our eyes, to seduce you and then to break you, but the reality is that we only have three settings. The mirror, the void and the hatred. There is nothing else. That is all that our eyes have.

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The Crying Game – Part Four

the-crying-game-p4

 

The production of tears and the emotion associated with such production has always been a source of fascination for me. I have shared with you my experiences and observations concerning pain, upset, pride and joy. The final part of this quartet concerns another occasion when the tears begin to flow. Just in the same way that I first witnessed and felt the power that I obtained from causing someone to shed tears of joy when I was at university, it was at this ancient seat of learning that I found another way of causing those tears to fall.

     A later girlfriend who arose, after Trish (from Part Three) fell by the wayside, was Anita. A vivacious young lady, with long blonde hair, bright in outlook and intelligence and with an excellent sense of humour we had a rip-roaring time together for some seven months or so and then came the summer. We both returned to the places where we lived, about a hundred and fifty miles apart so not a huge journey even on this small island. Anita had taken a job and the hours varied considerably from week to week so that I did not hear from her as often as I wanted. This concerned me and coincided with an interest in a close friend who I had known from sixth form called Lucy who was also at university and had also returned to our home town for the summer. We began to spend quite a lot of time together and I found that her attention to me put into sharp focus the less attentive approach from Anita. I knew she was busy with the summer job that she had taken but despite this knowledge, I resented her failure to keep in touch with me as often as she had promised at the end of the academic year. When she did telephone I was monosyllabic with my answers and when I decided I did want to talk I began to tell her about all the things that Lucy and I were doing together. The walks through the countryside, the book we planned to write together, the discussions about our forthcoming careers, going swimming, going boating and so on. I knew that Anita was trying to hide any concerns about this sudden and seemingly intense friendship which had sprung up with Lucy, but she could not mask the disappointment that showed in her voice when I launched into a lengthy monologue about my day with Lucy. I found the sensation of power which arose when I talked about Lucy and when Anita tried to sound interested but the nervousness in her voice betrayed her and showed she was worried by this burgeoning friendship. Good. So she should be nervous. She should have been more attentive and been a good girlfriend. Nothing physical had happened between Lucy and I but that was just a question of time. In fact, I was pleased that nothing had happened in that regard because I could maintain that my relationship with Lucy was indeed one of friendship and it provided me with the moral high ground to cast aspersions and denigrate Anita if she tried to suggest there was anything untoward occurring.

This situation continued and each time we spoke I could tell Anita was concerned and was maintaining a brave front. In one telephone conversation she commented,

“I know you spend a lot of time with Lucy, HG, but that does not bother me at all.”

There was something new when she said this though. A defiance. I did not take kindly to that. I noticed that the usual powerful sensations that I felt during this telephone conversation were absent.

I decided that I would not take any calls from Anita after that. I would refuse to emerge from my room as my father shouted up to me that Anita was wanting to talk to me. I would hear him making excuses on my behalf, that I was asleep, or I had gone out and he had not realised. As this silent treatment extended into a second week, with Anita still telephoning on a daily basis, my father began to engage in conversations with her. I stood on the landing above listening to him in the hallway below trying to reassure her and assuage her concerns. I recall standing there, hands on the bannister, feeling the sensation of power washing over me as I thought of her anxious and worried, repeatedly calling and discussing this ongoing situation with my father. I know he liked Anita. He had met her in previous holidays. My father liked most people and saw the best in people. People liked him as well which often irritated my mother in the extreme, but this is not her tale. Not this time.

     My father would argue Anita’s case for her, outlining that it was not very fair to not speak to her and that she was clearly worried that she had upset me in some way but did not know why. I thanked for father for his concerns and his attempt to broker a peace but this was between Anita and me. He pushed it no further with me, he knew by now better than to do so, but he continued to entertain Anita’s morning, afternoon or evening call (dependent on her shifts) in order to keep giving her hope that I would “snap out of it” or “come to my senses” as he put it.

     We reached the third week of the silent treatment. I was enjoying myself. I was gaining daily attention from Lucy who called on me every day in order to ensure we did something together. I had no need to try to impress her any longer. She was hooked. I was also gaining the attention from Anita as her telephone calls and consultations with my father continued. Sometimes I was in and I listened, sometimes I was out and my father left me a note saying Anita had called. It was satisfying.

     Into this third week, on a warm summer’s evening when I had returned from a day out in the countryside with Lucy, there came the chime of the old doorbell being activated. I was alone in the house and made my way to the partition door and stepped into the porch. The large wooden door had a diamond pane of glass set in it which enabled me to see who the visitor was. It was Anita. She had turned to look behind her, no doubt enjoying the wonderful view across the fields as they were lit up still by the sun. I ducked back so she could not see me. The power began to surge through me again. She had travelled to see me, without warning and knowing that I was not speaking to her. I noticed she had even appeared with a small suitcase as well in the hope of staying. She clearly did not want to let go. I was delighted by this. She had learned hadn’t she that she had been failing in her attentiveness to me? By administering this silence, something I had learned from dearest mother, I had caused her to realise her error and up her efforts in respect of me, resulting in her disrupting her working schedule and travelling to me.

To have her do this showed just how much I mattered to her and also how effective giving her the silent treatment was. I punched the air in delight with the powerful sensation still rushing over me, but there was more. I let her ring again and then I opened the door. I stood looking down at her as she stood on the second step. She looked at me, eyes wide in expectation but a nervousness about her too. She said nothing as I look at her.

“Hello Anita,” I smiled, “you have no idea how happy I am to see you on this doorstep again, my goodness I have missed you like you wouldn’t believe.”

I expected her to laugh, to smile but instead she burst into tears, her attractive face scrunching up as the tears flowed.

“What is it?” I asked completely foxed by this response.

She stepped forward and placed her arms about me. I reciprocated as she squeezed me tight, great wracking sobs coursing through her.

“Oh HG, I thought you had had enough of me, that you didn’t want to see me anymore.”

“Of course not, I er, just needed to do some thinking about things and it made me realise that er, it’s you that I want.”

She lifted her head and looked straight at me.

“Really?”

“Of course.”

She started to cry again, a smile breaking through the continuing tears.

“HG, you have no idea what a relief it is to hear you say that to me.”

It was then that I understood. This tearful display was borne out of relief. Relief at having the silence broken. Relief at being held in my arms again. Relief that our relationship remained intact. The sensation was electrifying and I learned just how powerful the effect of seeing tears of relief was. I revelled in knowing that by my grace and decision I could grant her access to me once again and her relief poured from her, invigorating and edifying me. That moment, like so many other moments of realisation has stayed with me and I have used the power to cause those tears of relief to flow and the consequent fuel that arises to good effect on many occasions since.

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My Secret Garden

my-secret-garden

Would you like to know what my garden is like? Before I tell you, why don’t you stop and close your eyes and picture in your mind’s eye what you think my garden looks like? That’s right, conjure up the image that forms when you think of me and what my garden might be like. Take your time, move around it and ensure you have given it due consideration as you generate the image. Have you done it? Did it take you long? I suspect you managed to envisage it rather quickly didn’t you, after all, you are well-known for your amazing imagination aren’t you? I often find I have to apologise for your fantastic tales and over the top comments, but that is to be expected of somebody like you. Anyway, let’s leave your behaviour to one side for the time being (although I will return to it when nobody is looking, you can be assured of that) and let’s consider what you created in your mind.

I should imagine that the landscape you have formulated is one of two outcomes. I expect that some of you will have pictured nothing but concrete. All plant life and flora banished by a solid slab of grey cement that has solidified into an impenetrable barrier that stretches in all directions, lifeless and uninspiring. Once there might have been a flourishing and verdant garden but it has been banished by this concrete covering which has extinguished anything that grew or blossomed. If the concrete carbuncle is not what you saw in your mind then you will have opted for the alternative. You will have pictured solid, barren and lifeless soil which will not sustain anything of beauty. A toxic and poisonous stream flows through the centre of it, dead fish floating on their backs as they drift lifelessly along. Not even algae grow on this polluted stream. The few trees there are in this garden are dead. The bark grey and lifeless, forlorn limbs stretching into a dark grey sky, where there is always cloud. The branches and twigs are leafless. The bushes consist of brambles which hinder anybody who might try and move through this uninviting place. There is no grass and there a few brown, dried-out husks which suggest they might have once been something greener and vibrant. There are no sweet smelling flowers here, only the awful stench which rises from the slow-moving stream which looks more like treacle that water. Even the weeds are few and far between, struggling to find any sustenance from the sterile soil.

Is this what you saw?

Come and follow me as I take you into my secret garden. I produce a key from my jacket explaining that very few people ever get to see my secret garden but I am letting you inside because you are special and I like you. I open the thick gate and usher you inside. You do not see me hurriedly lock it behind you since you are busy staring at the beautiful garden that rolls out before you. Capability Brown must have laboured long and hard here. The lawn is flat and even, the grass has been rolled so that stripes have formed and there is not one blemish to be seen amidst the green, green blades. The edges of the lawn have been carefully cut so that no grass overhangs so that there is a distinct line between the lawn and the flower beds. The soil looks fertile, well-nourished and is free of weeds. A dazzling array of flowers grow from this well-tilled soil. Strong stalks reach up towards the azure sky, shiny leaves sprouting from the stalks before the injection of colour appears. Every shade of the rainbow is represented amongst the many varieties of flower that flourish in my secret garden. Brilliant blues, fiery oranges, ruby reds and sunshine yellows abound. The flowers have short petals, long petals which move in the gentle breeze, there are bell-shaped flowers, trumpet shaped flowers and others shaped like stars. White, purple, scarlet and ochre all combine to create this tapestry of beauty. A stream gurgles as it passes through the garden, cutting across the magnificently manicured lawn, so that an intricate bridge has been created allowing one to traverse from one side to the other. Bushes ring the flowers, an expert in topiary having crafted them into sensational shapes. Beyond the bushes are the trees, tall and trimmed so that they form a fence around this paradise. You stand on the edge of this magnificent garden utterly transfixed. The scents waft from the roses, from the lilies and the sweet William combining to create a heady concoction of fragrances. You are over awed by this display.

“Do you like it?” I ask.

You are dumb-founded, unable to speak. All you can muster is a slow nod as you feel a tear trickle down your cheek from your left eye as you are overtaken by how beautiful it all is.

I beckon to you and you follow me to a nearby apple tree which is festooned with fruit. The red and green apples hang from the branches and I pluck one and pass it to you. You smile and take a bite anticipating how fresh and crisp the apple will be. Your teeth easily sink in as you are surprised to find the flesh of the apple soft. You taste bitterness in your mouth and instinctively spit out the piece of fruit.

“What’s wrong?” I ask as I select an apple too.

“It is sour,” you explain. I take a bite from my apple and you hear the crunch as I take a chunk from it. I chew and through the mouthful explain that mine tastes fine. I hand the apple to you and you bite into it. It is soft and again tastes sour. Confusion rises inside you as you look at the apple and see a maggot wriggling beneath where you have bitten into the apple. You hurl the apple away as I invite you to sniff a magnificent rose nearby. You lean in and inhale its perfume, pulling the petalled head towards you. There is no scent and instead you sneeze. As you let go of the rose you give a short cry of pain and find that a thorn is wedged in your finger, the blood already spooring from the wound and trickling down your finger. You sneeze again,your nose irritated by something and you keep sneezing as your eyes water. You stagger away from the rose still sneezing and into a bush but it is not the sculpted creation you saw moments earlier. Instead, you feel a prickling sensation as you are stung and realise you have stumbled into a bed of nettles. Pain rising you stagger away, eyes streaming and make for where you recall the stream is hoping to use the cool, clear water to wash away the irritation you have suffered. You can just make out where it is through your blurred vision as you drop to your knees only to cry out again. You have knelt on some thistles.Where did they come from? This lawn was flawless before. You reach out flailing for the stream but there is nothing, The water has gone and the stream has dried up. You feel something wrap around your left wrist and as you try to wipe away the tears from your eyes with your free hand, you feel pain as a vine begins to tighten about your wrist. You pull trying to free yourself from it and twist around to call to me for help.

The smooth lawn is no longer there. Gone is the rolled grass. Instead you are looking at a mountainside, rugged and steep. You yank your arm as the vine is trying to pull you and look upwards. You can see me standing there smiling at you, looking down from my lofty position atop this mountain which has sprung out of nowhere. A cold wind begins to blow as you shout for help, another vine beginning to snake towards you. I tilt my head as if I cannot hear you, a smile still plastered across my face.

“Help me, what is happening?” you shout.

“Nothing,” I call back, ” I don’t know what you are talking about.”

“This. The garden, it has changed,” you yell above the gathering wind. You see that I am shaking my head.

” Not it’s not, everything is just the same, Beautiful isn’t it?” I reply.

You frown. How can I not see what has altered? The beautiful glade has become a hostile and hurtful place. How has this happened to you? You try and crawl forward and I stand watching you, offering no help as more vines snake towards you, the ground beneath you hard and stony. The vines wrap about you and threaten to pull you into the abyss below you. All the while I stand and watch smiling.

Welcome to my secret garden.

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The Crying Game – Part Two

 

 THE CRYING GAMEPART TWO

Having ascertained that the commission of tears arising from physical and/or emotional hurt resulted in a sympathetic reaction from certain people, I committed this to memory. I have rarely encountered much physical pain as an adult, enjoying excellent health and ensuring that I always get my retaliation in first so my enemies are the ones who experience physical pain rather than me. The early conditioning that I have been subjected to, as I now understand, appears to have resulted in me being impervious to many emotional injuries that others suffer from. Even the horrendous sensations which arise from my wounding as a consequence of criticism does not cause the tears to fall. Instead, I must focus on repairing the wound through retreat or the instigation of fury in order to gather fuel. The attention this requires means that I do not suffer the immediate reaction of becoming upset. I must feign upset in order to attract the required sympathy and in doing so I use that issued sympathy in order to bring about the control I require over the subject.

My tuition in the art and use of crying later embraced a different catalyst and one which has served to drive me ever onwards and upwards. I have many gifts and of those the one that was cherished most by my father was my academic ability. As I have mentioned beforehand, he was a very intelligent man, well-read and with an interest in the world at large, something which be bestowed on all his offspring. This served him well in both his careers of commerce and then academia. His was the steady hand at the tiller of our academic progress and he sought to steer a path through the choppy waters of my mother’s ambitions for us, our own desires and what he felt would serve us best. The three, as might you expect, were not always compatible.

I excelled at school which naturally resulted in my progression to sixth form college and I was always destined for university. Naturally it was to the most prestigious that I was directed towards and I achieved admission whereupon in such a fertile environment I began to flex my tendrils as I embraced my dark art, but that is a tale for another time. Alongside this I flourished at my chosen discipline and eventually I graduated with a double first. It was this achievement which Dr E honed in on in one of our discussions.

“So a double first, quite the achievement,” he remarked. I nodded. He was not wrong.

“What did your parents think about it?” he asked.

“My friends once they had their results went racing away to telephone their parents to let them know the outcome. I didn’t.”

“Why?”

“It had already been arranged that I was meeting my parents for dinner that evening and I would tell them my degree result once we ordered.”

“What did you think of that arrangement? Weren’t you keen to tell your parents sooner of your success?”

“I suppose so but I knew there was little point. Even if I had tried to telephone them, nobody would have answered. My mother would have deliberately absented the house so I could not reach them so as to avoid spoiling the anticipation at dinner.”

“So this arrangement was at your mother’s behest?”

“Of course. Who else? If I achieved the expected outcome the evening would pass pleasantly, if I did not, I would be subjected to a lengthy cross-examination unable to avoid it by putting the telephone down.”

“I see. It was fortuitous then that you achieved such an excellent result.”

“Fortune had nothing to do with it. This dinner was placed in the diary as soon as my mother knew when the examination results would be posted. It was a further incentive for me to achieve what was expected of me.”

Dr E nodded and made a note.

“How did the meal progress then? How did they react to news of your achievement?”

“Once our orders had been placed and the waiter walked away, my mother turned to me and asked ‘Well?’ I responded with, ‘I obtained a double first’ and she answered by saying, ‘As expected. I will make the call,’ and she left the table to telephone the other family members to let them know, probably her brother first of all out of them all.”

“No mention of well done or congratulations?” asked Dr E.

I shook my head.

“And your father?” he asked.

“My father waited until my mother was out of earshot and he reached across and placed his hand on my arm and said, “Well done HG, very well done, that is a fantastic outcome. I know just how hard you have had to work for that result. It is a magnificent result, truly outstanding. I am so very proud of you son, very proud indeed,” and then as he said the word proud his voice cracked and I looked up into his eyes and I could see that he was crying. I had never seen my father cry before. Ever. I had seen him concerned, downcast, worried and so much more, but never the tears. His face was fixed with a huge smile and he tried to speak again but he was overcome with pride. Pride for me. Just me. I had not seen anything like it.”

“How did you feel about him showing such pride for you?”

“I was taken aback but then I felt this surge through me and it felt amazing. It was visceral and ever so powerful as I continued to look at him, the tears filling his eyes and he kept nodding. His hand patted my arm, I can still picture it now. He wasn’t able to speak but the look on his face and that nodding told me that somehow he felt that the job was done, the mission had been accomplished and he was proud of me for doing so. I have never forgotten that moment.”

“Why?” asked Dr E.

“Because the way I felt when I saw my father cry tears of pride at my achievement made me want to see that again. The sense of power that he imbued in me, his praise, his pride, his adoration of my achievement was so edifying that he made me strive even harder. Oh, my mother thinks she is the driving force behind my success and it would be wrong to say she has not been. She has been a huge influence but from that point onwards, my postgraduate achievement, my securing employment and advancement through the hierarchy to where I am now and also in terms of what the future may bring has been driven by my father. I wanted to feel that power again and for that to happen I wanted to see those tears of pride again. So I worked damn hard. I never knew that pride would make someone cry. I never knew that someone’s proud tears would make me feel so powerful.”

“I see. Did you see those tears of pride again from your father?”

I felt the first flicker of the ignition of my fury at this question.

“No. Once again something special to me was taken from me.”

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