WHY THENARCISSISTMAKES IT ALLSO DIFFICULT

 

You will have silently asked yourself this question many times. You will have asked it of friends and family as you recount the latest confusing bout of behaviour from us. You may even go so far as to ask us why we make everything so difficult. Your confusion stems from several places. First of all, life really ought to be a bowl of cherries and straight forward. You have a good house, two cars on the drive, you get to go on holiday, there are no real concerns about the bills, the jobs seem safe. You are not rich but you are in a fortunate position. Everybody in the family enjoys good health, you have two wonderful children and extended family are supportive and play a part in your life. You once got along famously, brilliantly, a complete match made in heaven which shows that it can be done and therefore that suggests, does it not, that this can be resurrected and returned to, if only he wanted to and tried to do it. Going beyond this you give everything to the relationship. You have not changed. You remain devoted, loving, working hard for the family unit both in the office and at home. You make our meals, you suggest days out, you attend to the laundry and the housework with little assistance in return. You know that you give more of yourself to us, emotionally and in terms of dedication to the concept of our relationship and the family and truth be told you do not begrudge doing so. You have always been a giver and you derive pleasure in seeing other people content and happy knowing that you have played a part in it. Whilst it would be lovely to receive some affection from time to time you could live without it, if you are completely honest, if only we did not make everything so difficult.

You cannot understand why we make life so hard. There is nothing to be upset or concerned about. Indeed, with your tolerance and giving nature, we have surely landed on our feet. Your friends tell you that given everything you do for us we ought to drop to our knees and worship you when you come through the door in the evening. You laugh at such suggestions, since you are far too modest, but inside you do wish that there could be some acknowledgement, some thanks for everything you do. It does not have to be reciprocated, you are content with that role, but if only we would accept this massive advantage that we have and not spoil things, cause arguments and bring discord when there really is no need. You could understand it if you actually did something wrong but you do not, you know you don’t. From time to time you do find yourself analysing what you do and wondering if perhaps it is you that causes these sudden mood-swings, the lashing out, the sulking silences and the irritation. Once in a while you think you might have done something wrong and you apologise and make amends, not that it seems to get you anywhere. At times you think you would be better off if you came in drunk, kicked the dog and demanded that we make you something to eat before falling asleep in front of the television. Perhaps if you came in full of thunder and gave us a slap we might respect you more, because it seems that your dedication and subservience get you none. This thought tumbles through your mind often but you know you could not behave like that, because it is not you, but it does make you wonder what you need to do to gain our respect, our interest and our love once again, like it once was.

You cannot understand why someone would choose to be so difficult and so often. We have every advantage. Why not be content with that and life a wonderful life with a delightful family and doting spouse? Surely that is far easier than causing chaos, pandemonium and upset? Not only do these storms come out of nowhere, you just cannot understand why someone would behave like that towards someone that we supposedly love and care about. It makes no sense, no sense whatsoever, but you are not going to give up. You are not a quitter. You will work out what it is and then make the appropriate changes so that life really is a bed of roses.

How often have you felt this way? Many times I should imagine. It is extraordinary and unbelievable that we almost choose a life of conflict over what could be a peaceful and enjoyable life. This makes no sense to you at all. The fact is that we do not choose to cause confusion and chaos, we have to. Admittedly, we choose the degree and extent, the Greater of our kind doling out particularly savage and heinous machinations which increase the pain and misery, but all of us, whether Lesser, Mid-Range of Greater do not choose a life of conflict with you, our intimate partner, it has to happen.

We need to create drama because we feed off the emotional output generated by you in response to that drama and this provides us with fuel. It has gone beyond the point where we could rely on your admiration, love and affection, that has become stale although we do not dismiss it out of hand. In order to make that admiration, love and affection seem shiny and new (if only for a short while) we must create the drama, the downside and the conflict in order so there is a contrast. This contrast will allow us to reinstate our “good side”, the golden period and things will seem wonderful for a period of time but then the stale sensation returns once again. Thus the conflict must be resumed. You have no control over this. No matter how hard you try to please us, to accommodate us and to do the things that we like, this unquenchable need for fuel means that the roller coaster will not stop. There is often no logic to it, from your perspective. You may notice certain behaviours which tell you that the storm is about to be unleashed but often you will not know. This is because what triggers the storm is the ignition of our fury which is caused by your criticism of us. Those criticisms are usually more likely to be perceived by us than actual on your behalf and this means you will always struggle to identify them. Believe me, a simple “Hello, how are you?” can trigger the storm. In our world we regard this simple and pleasant greeting as unnecessary questioning and the suggestion that there is something wrong. If there is something wrong, then that is a criticism. This is why we seem to erupt over “nothing”. It is nothing in your world but in ours there has been a criticism and this ignites our fury with the resulting shouting, nastiness, sulking and silent treatments. There is no pattern to this behaviour. Once cannot say it is three weeks good one week bad. You may have months of the reinstated golden period before another tornado tears through your life. It may be a succession of tornadoes each and every single day for a month. It will always leave you confused and bewildered as to why we behave this way when there is so much good in our lives, so much to enjoy and look forward. As ever this is because you are looking at the world from your perspective. From ours it is vastly different. We do not choose to make life difficult, we have to.

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THE CLASSROOMNARCISSIST

I am Chloe. I am 18 years old and I had an affair with my teacher, Mr Stevens or Phil as I came to call him.

I am not some silly girl, although they have repeatedly tried to tell me that I am. Believe me, I have felt the weight of my opponents as they tried to convince me, no doubt orchestrated by Phil, that I dreamt the whole thing up. Still, it is to be expected isn’t it, that they, the teachers, will close ranks and look out for one another. That is what they do isn’t it? I have lost friends because of this, but I realise they are just jealous and they fancied Phil just like me, only I got to have him. I don’t blame them for fancying him, he is good looking and funny and he has that easy air about him that makes him so likeable, but what they don’t realise that it is all an act. Phil the Flirt, Phil the Mate but when it suits him he remains Phil the Teacher, set apart and to stay apart.

He started it of course. I won’t deny that I liked him from the beginning. Everybody does. He is a popular teacher and being good-looking as well is never going to cause him a problem in the popularity stakes, but you see, he knows all of this, he plays on all of this and boy does he use it. He uses it to reel you in and then, and here is the clever part, he uses it as his defence. “I cannot help it if they take advantage of my popularity,” he protests as he maintains his innocence. He is not innocent. And he took my innocence.

He started it. I recognised the way he looked at me. He always looked for me in class before anybody else, as if ensuring that I was there in my usual seat and then giving me ‘that smile’. Oh, he smiles at everyone I was told. He does not smile for them the way he does, or rather did, for me. I am not stupid. I may be young but I saw how he would stare at me, how I could feel his gaze on me, how I could tell from the corner of my eye that he was stood besides me and was looking down my blouse. Who wouldn’t? I am attractive, I have my fair share of boys chasing after me and Mr Stevens is a man, he is flesh and blood, so he is bound to look isn’t he? He wasn’t meant to touch though but he did. Oh he touched me, in so many ways and he knew what he was doing.

I had heard that others had become besotted with him before. Rumours of some girl a few years ago who had to be persuaded to move to another school because she fell in love with him and would not leave him alone. I tried to find her actually but got nowhere. Some say he got her pregnant and she had to have an abortion, her parents hushing it all up as they did not want the scandal. Some say it is all made up. They have said the same to me.

I know what I saw. The cheeky winks just for me, the slightly longer smile than usual aimed at me. The way he usually asked me first when I put my hand up to answer a question. He was besotted with me first. I tried to tell them this but they dismissed what I said. Told me I was reading too much into him just being friendly, that I was trying to see things which were not there because I was desperate for his approval.

He was always encouraging, praising me for my work. I always enjoyed history but it became even better when he was allocated as my teacher. I worked hard because I wanted good results and I wanted him to be pleased with my work. I got high marks from the beginning and I now realise this was his way of reeling me in, making me feel special, marking me out for special treatment. He advocated on my behalf that I should be a candidate for Oxbridge (prestige British universities) and that meant extra tuition ; with him of course. Now, I am good enough to get in to Oxford or Cambridge (I chose Oxford) but he clearly saw this as his opportunity to isolate me from the other students and cleverly, from witnesses. After all, plenty of people across the various subjects have these Oxbridge tutorials after college hours, but he used his to teach me about more than the Tudor dynasty and the English Civil War.

Once he had me in those special tuition one-on-ones, then it was inevitable where it would end up. I was not complaining. I wanted his attention, absolutely, although of course he should have known better. He was the one in a position of trust, a man in a position of authority and I was just the pupil. Yes, I wanted him, but I didn’t realise that he was the one who had engineered for me to feel that way. That is what these predators do. They make it seem like your doing, but he hypnotised me and made me fall under his spell.

He was always so assured, doing just enough to maintain an element of doubt should he have misjudged the situation, just enough to be able to protest it was an innocent gesture. The hand on the shoulder, the hug of congratulations, the slightly-too-long touching of fingers when passing a book or an essay to one another. Oh, he was good, he knew what he was doing, steadily reeling me in and making me the centre of the universe. He chose me from the very beginning and little by little he reeled me in. He used his influence to bring me to heel and have me on my knees (how he relished seeing me on my knees) and I lapped up his attention and more besides.

Soon the secret trysts began. Arrangements made in his office with that Stuart family tree covering the door window so nobody could see what went on in his office. So much for transparent government, he still subscribed to the idea of an absolute monarchy. He never used his ‘phone, clever old Phil. He made it seem romantic, the whispered instructions of where to meet and when, always outdoors, never in places where we would be seen. No traces left, no observers, no evidence. He was a master at this game and I was clearly naive, but I am not a silly little girl.

And then he dropped me. No explanation. He became cold. Civil yet cold. I tried to get my friends to see how he treated me differently but they told me that I was imagining it. My grades remained excellent but the Phil that held me and read to me from historical texts and delighted me with his knowledge was gone. The Oxbridge tutelage came to a conclusion as the entrance examinations loomed ; he had no reason to be alone with me and even though I sought an audience with him, this absolute monarch would not grant me admittance.

So I spoke out. Why shouldn’t I? He told me he loved me and I loved him too. Yet once he had my innocence (or rather once he had it two score) he considered me conquered and of no great interest to him anymore. Nobody treats me like this. I will bring him down. He is not going to get away with it. Oh, I know they think I have made this all up, some kind of revenge for not getting my way, but they have underestimated me. I am not going to be denied and I will make the all see, even my parents who for some inexplicable reason have sided with him. I shouldn’t be surprised though, the have always hated me for some reasons, they are frauds to think they can call themselves mother and father. No, I know this is how his kind behave. They turn everyone against you, cut you off and paint you as the trouble maker. That is not me. I am the victim.

 

I am Mr Stevens. I am 30 years old and a teacher of history. I still am, although I am currently suspended as a consequence of the ridiculous allegations of a fantasist. It is an outrage that someone’s made-up fantasy has the potential to ruin a man’s career.

I am no fool. I have taught for nearly a decade and I know the tricks pupils get up to. I have seen them all. I have always been a teacher who adopts the ‘carrot’ approach. You always get further with honey rather than vinegar. Oh, I know there are one or two sticks in the mud in the staff room who regard my popularity with sniffed disdain, but that is just jealousy on their part. My results speak for themselves. Plenty of students choose to study history and between Miss Kelshaw and I, we make a formidable team. Thankfully Miss Kelshaw has supported me in this unpleasant matter although I always knew she would do so. Sensible lady.

You do walk a tight rope at times when you are friendly, yet firm, with the students. I am not their friend but I do not have to be their enemy either. I love history and my natural enthusiasm for the topic is something I try to install in my charges too. If you love something, you always do better don’t you? It does not feel like a bind or a chore. By ensuring those who choose to study history with me really love it and want to live and breathe it, I weed out the ones where it is not for them nice and early and they move to a different subject in the first two weeks. Plus doing that ensures that I am only going to get those who are going to get the best grades, so it is a win-win all around. I want to make my mark on this college. I will be the principal one day, although at present it appears that moral principles are ones which are trying to attract my attention to a greater degree.

Chloe Fowler is a good student. She will do well. Polite if something of an attention-seeker. Always first to stick her hand in the air an one to air an opinion on absolutely anything and everything. Nothing really wrong with that I suppose, at least she has learned the mantra of make a point and then ensure you have something to back it up when she advanced her arguments. I taught her just as I taught everybody else ; to the best of my ability.

Unfortunately for me, she mis-read my concern for her education as meaning something else. What can I do about that? I am not going to sit behind a screen and isolate myself from my students am I? That is not how I operate. I am not a ‘no smiles before Christmas’ kind of guy. Not at all. History needs to be alive, accessible and most of all enjoyable. It is like anything in this life – if you enjoy it, make it yours and you will succeed. I want all my students to succeed.

Yes, I selected Chloe Fowler for Oxbridge tutelage. That was the right selection and I still say it is, despite her ridiculous allegations. She has her keen mind, too keen as it happens. I have read what she has accused me of, or rather the police office read it to me and it is all nonsense, a made-up fairy tale. I see she has been clever though, she has ensured that she has accused me when there was nobody else available to witness our interactions. It is always the case that those chosen for Oxbridge tuition see their tutors in their offices. That has always been the case and I am pleased that my fellow teachers and the principal have confirmed that to be the case. I knew they would back me on this. It is an occupational hazard of ours, infatuated students who start to think they are the apple of your eye. Usually it is nothing more than a harmless term-long crush and they grow out of it, but not this girl. She has something seriously wrong with her. Has to have to come out with the lies she has spouted. Suggesting we had sex beneath ‘the tree that Charles the Second hid in’. I know that to be a lie ; that tree was destroyed hundreds of years ago. Everything she has spouted is just the slops of the mind of a fantasist and she is dangerous. Nobody is going to believe her. I know the police have to go through the motions but it will be soon kicked in to touch. She has done this because I rejected her. I didn’t reject her outright, after all there was nothing to reject, we had no romantic relationship, there was no flirtation, nothing. It is clear, however, she thought otherwise and in that warped mind of hers, she has felt rejected in some way and this is the result. An expensive and unnecessary investigation, plus the interference to the other students, no wonder so many have turned against her.

I know she liked me. I am a likeable person but I maintained a proper teacher-student relationship and she has seen fit to dream up something else. What can you do? Put cameras everywhere I suppose but then who wants that, surely there has to be some element of trust between us? Am I annoyed? Of course I am. I haven’t done anything wrong and along comes this girl and she spouts all manner of idiocy and she is treated seriously. I mean, anybody can see this is a tissue of lies. This had better not affect my promotion prospects or I will be taking legal action too. Thankfully the local paper have not reported anything about it so far, that conversation I had with the deputy editor seems to have worked, so far so good on that front. He is a good friend and does not want to see the reputation of a hard-working and successful teacher sullied. What annoys me most is how easy it is for someone like her to make these things up and next thing it is suspension and investigation. They tell me that it is a neutral act but I know there will be those trotting out the old ‘no smoke without fire’ rubbish.

I realise that when you are decent-looking chap like me and because you are friendly and get to share a joke with the students, some might blur the boundaries but it is one thing for them to be blurred and another for them to be crossed. Am I to be punished just for being popular, because that is what she is trying to do?

I am not going to change my style though. I am a hands-on teacher and that always gets results and one besotted fantasists is not going to make Phil Stevens change how he teaches. No way.

It is ridiculous. As if I would be interested in some 16 year old (which is how she says she was when this started) when I have a gorgeous wife at home. That in itself should tell those looking into this that this is a witch hunt by a disturbed adolescent who should be studying for her exams and getting help with whatever problem she has, rather than trying to ruin the life of an honest and decent man. I am the victim in all of this.

Who is the class room narcissist?

 

Who do you think is the narcissist?

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the-micro-managing-narcissist

The Micro Manager is someone who does not describe what he or she wants done and then trusts in someone else to know what to do and how to do it. Instead, the Micro Manager is someone who effectively stands over the shoulder of the person charged with performing the task or project and excessively directs, interferes and criticises, often insisting on changes and then wanting it to be changed back to the way it was before whilst denying it had been correct the first time anyway. Micro management is not in itself a conclusive indicator that somebody is one of our kind, but micro management is a form of manipulation that is used by our kind to further control and gain fuel.

It will be used most commonly in two environments ; the home with the Intimate Partner Primary Source (“IPPS”) and the workplace with Non Intimate Secondary Sources (“NISS”) although you might be doubly unlucky and be an IPPS who works with us also. Good luck with that.

In the domestic environment, the Micro Managing Narcissist (“MMN”) creates a highly unpleasant, oppressive and demanding atmosphere. Whilst our manipulations as a whole cause our victims to second guess and walk on those well known eggshells, the MMN ramps the experience up to a new level.

Whatever task you are engaged in the MMN will be making his or presence known. There are a variety of ways this will manifest:-

  1. Watching you carry out tasks and chores but not saying anything. If you ask why the MMN is watching you, you will be met with

“Don’t mind me, I am just staying out of the way before it goes wrong.”

“Can’t I watch my wife doing some work for once?”

“Just keeping an eyes on things.”

“I am waiting to sort it out when it all goes belly up.”

2. Repeatedly passing you as you are engaged in doing something and sighing, rolling their eyes or tutting and if you challenge them you will either be met with one of the responses above or similar or a denial that anything was said and that you are imagining things.

3. Standing over you and commenting in a critical fashion about what you are doing, pointing out that you are doing it wrong, that you are going to break it if you keep doing that, it will never work doing it that way, you are going too fast/too slow/ and so forth. If you react to this you will be told you are over-reacting, that you cannot take criticism or that we were only trying to help.

4. Being the expert. Rather than expressly criticising what you are doing as per item three above, this time the MMN will be telling you precisely how it should be done as per his or her expert knowledge but of course we will not lower ourselves to actually help you do it or show you how it ought to be done. We would rather stand on the sidelines and snipe at you.

5. Bringing the expert along. Similar to the above but we will just happen to know some expert who knows a better way of pruning that bush and if you respond to this, then we will retaliate with “So are you saying such and such is not an expert then?” in order to make you feel that you are out of line for issuing such a challenge.

6. Providing a running commentary on what you are doing as if you are not there and we are talking to someone else. “She is never going to get them to sit right doing it that way is  she?” or “Oh dear, he won’t remove that stain doing that, what a schoolboy error.” This form of micro management is especially dehumanising by acting as if you do not exist.

Invariably you may well be doing nothing wrong but this looking over your shoulder behaviour will put you on edge and make you anxious which means you may make mistakes which of course we will seize on with a cry of triumph and the all too familiar “told you so”.

Everything you do is scrutinised, commented on, observed and ultimately expressly or implicitly criticised. This is designed to make you feel worthless and devalued. It naturally is aimed at drawing fuel from you, whether through hurt, upset, anger or frustration. Whatever your reaction happens to be, do not expect that we will provide you with any support or encouragement. Instead your response, whilst welcomed as fuel, will be used against you.

“There is no point getting upset about it, you need to learn to do it better.”

“Don’t try and blame me for your shortcomings, I am sick of you doing that.”

“I try and help you and this is how you react? You are so ungrateful.”

“If you did it right the first time I wouldn’t have to comment would I?”

If you try to make us carry out the task we will just shake our head and walk away muttering some insult under our breath or tell you that it is not a solution to try and pass the task to someone else, you need to learn how to do it right.

You should also expect our contradictory nature to make an appearance. Thus last week we told you that you should always put the milk in the mug before adding the tea bag and then this week it is the other way around. Do not think that pointing this out to us will cause us to accept the contradiction; there is fuel to be gathered by keep doing this.

All of your endeavours in the home will be subjected to scrutiny and observation. We will stand and watch you as you iron or clean. We will comment on the way you are cooking the evening meal, doing the gardening, putting items in the cupboards and so forth. Whatever you are doing will be subjected to this behaviour by the MMN.

The following are the aims of the MMN :-

  1. Fuel from your responses;
  2. Exertion of close and detailed control;
  3. Erosion of your self-worth;
  4. Gas-lighting;
  5. Creation of anxiety and tension

Is this something that all of our kind engage in? No it is not. The Lesser Narcissist will engage in such behaviour and his approach will be one of repeated criticism and exasperation at your apparent incompetence. They tend to engage in behaviours 1,2 and 3 the most. The Mid-Ranger will also do this and be more inclined to operate in the way described in behaviours 4,5, and 6. Greaters, of all the schools of narcissist are less inclined to engage in MMN because they will regard even commenting on what you are doing around the house as beneath them. They consider it too mundane and boring to merit spending time observing you. Instead, they are far more likely to go for an After The Event Put Down such as:-

“This dessert is quite good but obviously nowhere near as good as mine last week.”

“Is this shirt meant to be ironed?”

“What on earth is this abortion of an effort?”

“It is not going to win any awards.”

“I don’t know  why you bothered, it will be dead within the week.”

“I hadn’t realised Jackson Pollock had decorated the study.”

“I see the blind window cleaner has visited us again.”

The Greater will just prefer to shoot down your endeavour at the end, fully aware of the effort that you have put into the particular task or project and undoing it with a sarcastic or hurtful remark. This is more his approach than spending time watching you do something mundane and remark on it.

How then do you counter the MMN in the home?

  1. As ever do not react to the jibes, comments and observations. If you avoid providing fuel the MMN has less of a motivation for engaging in the behaviour and will either stop it or at least do it less often.
  2. Get a professional in to perform the tasks. Even if for just one week, hire a cleaner, gardener, someone to iron the clothing, order takeaway meals every night. Once the bills arrive you will of course be blamed but you have saved yourself a whole host of effort.
  3. Perform the tasks for yourself and the children but not for the MMN. He will of course complain and this will ignite his fury but you were being undermined and devalued you anyway. This still happens but you are saving yourself some effort. The MMN whilst entitled also wants those residual benefits that you provide and if you withdraw them they will look to manipulate you into reinstating them and this may well be through the provision of compliments and reward. Of course there is a risk of additional threats being made, but no doubt these will be no worse than what you are already experiencing.
  4. Don’t invite the MMN to try and do a better job. You are just giving fuel and the MMN will not regard your behaviour as something he needs to address. Whilst you might think there is a temptation for him to prove his superiority by doing the task, his desire to avoid expending energy unnecessarily and his sense of entitlement means he will find some reason not to do it.
  5. Instead you may consider framing the request in terms of “I need an expert to show me how it is done” this will not always work but stands a better chance of engaging the MMN to pitch in by appealing to his sense of superiority than challenging it.
  6. Remain an IPSS.

 

 

utter-disgust

You disgust me. How did I ever choose to be with you? How did I not see what you really are? You conned me. There can be no other explanation for what has happened. You drew me in and promised me so much. You offered all that I needed and now you have revealed your true colours. Another chameleon. I would have thought that I would have become more adept at identifying you by now but I suspect that you came with leaden tongue which was draped in sugar as you sought to lure me into your despairing world. I cannot believe that you behaved in such a way and after everything that I have done for you. This is the method of your thanks is it? You are a disgusting person to behave in this way. Building up my hopes, thinking that after so long searching and hunting that I have finally located the one that would always give me what I need. The sole supply of my strength, the bearer of joy, the provider of sustenance and yet you promised all this and when it came to the moment of reckoning you failed to deliver. I should not berate myself for once again I have been fooled by someone who came with obscuring smoke and confusing mirrors. I am but a simple and straightforward person who offers only dedication and a perfect love. You knew this yet you lured me in with your false promises and empty words.

How did you think I would react to such perfidy? With a smile and a “oh it does not matter”? Of course not. You failed me and in the most offensive way possible. You have insulted me, me of all people. You have caused grave offence through your disgusting conduct and that was why you had to be punished. It is not good pleading for clemency. You held a position of trust and you abused that trust in a foul manner. You were given complete and utter access to my inner being and you achieved this through manipulation and fraud. Your punishment accordingly must match this heinous crime. Look at you, snivelling and begging, the crocodile tears spilling down your face as you plead for leniency and another chance. How many chances must I give you? You have failed me so many times and you have taken advantage of my most generous nature. You disgust me. So weak and so pathetic. You thought you could break me but you could not. You thought that you could outwit and outflank me. Not a chance. You thought you could do as you pleased but I have found you out and for that you shall receive your comeuppance. Get up and have some dignity. By heaven, I cannot stand it when you behave like this. Your weakness offends me. I can smell the putrid stench of your pathetic vulnerability now that I have pierced that fraudster’s veil. The offensive odour is all pervasive and I want to vomit such is the disgusting sensation that arises from it. Get out of my sight, you turn my stomach. How did I ever think that you would be the solution? I must have taken leave of my senses but then in a way I did. You made me believe in something that was not real. You duped me. Me, me of all people, someone of my brilliance and intellect, taken in by the sleight of hand of a trickster. I cannot stand this association with something so vile as you. I despite you but I also despise myself for having ever chosen you. You promised me everything and I fell for it. I thought I knew better. I thought I had it all worked out, the path forward and the road to infinite excellence but you were waiting around the bend again weren’t you, you despicable bastard. You ambushed me and just as I thought everything was right, correct and well, you sought to topple me with your clandestine behaviours. Your deceit run through you like a disease and you are riddled with it. Do you see how it causes your features to twist in some sick parody of what you are? The vitriol and the malice age you. It is bound to be the case for nobody can such sick sin for too long. I suppose that is why you try and conceal it isn’t it? Your leering sick grin cannot be looked upon for it will reveal all your other warped features, the grimacing evil that stems from being such a disgusting creature as you are. I cannot stand to look upon you, I cannot bear to hear your screeching and pitiful voice which makes me shudder when I think how often I desired to hear it. Oh what a fool I have been to have been taken in by your promises. You have misled me over and over again. How could you behave in such a manner? Are you not disgusted with yourself? You ought to be. I can feel the bile rising in my throat as I contemplate what you have done to me and now as I see you for what you truly are. Leave! Be gone! I have no desire to have you in my eye any longer. My disgust overwhelms me and I must escape your presence. I said for you to go. Why do you remain staring at me and mocking me with those hooded eyes? Is there not end to your torturous ways? Stop looking at me. Stop it, I demand it. Perhaps if I shut my eyes and yes, you have gone. Ha, I am not finished yet. I have dispelled you but even as I keep my eyes shut tight I know that when I open them again you will have returned because I can never escape you can I?

Listen to ‘Utter Disgust’

The Contrary Octopus is a minion we use to keep you ensnared and under our control. He has eight tentacles of contradiction which repeatedly coil around you, keeping you in their grip and squeezing your self-esteem and confidence from you.

1. You’ve put on weight

You haven’t of course, in fact you look fantastic and we resent that because now you look better than we do. If we are inclined to take pride in our appearance we hate the fact that you are outshining us. If physical perfection is not something we tend to major in, then we are resentful of the fact that other people will admire you and give you attention and not us. We once basked in this reflected admiration, proud of how attractive you looked, but that was when we seduced you. Now we do not want you looking better than us or drawing attention away from us or even worse still attracting suitors so you might even consider leaving us. Few people are secure about their weight and with our repeated sniping, this tentacle will squeeze some self-esteem from you as you worry about how you look. You are forbidden from attending the gym or going running though, we don’t want you do anything about it.

2. You need to eat more

You don’t. You had a healthy appetite once and these days it takes more effort to swallow your meals because of the anxiety that grips you as a consequence of our behaviour, but once again the issue of weight is something we know causes people concern and therefore it is low-hanging fruit in terms of undermining your confidence. You may resist, fearing gaining weight and this will only provide us with an opportunity to emphasise how you never do anything that we want and you are so argumentative. We want you cooking hearty meals so that we can indulge in them too. We want you running around after us. Naturally we will have wrapped the first tentacle above around you last week and then follow-up with this one, pushing and pulling in order to maximise your confusion. Don’t even try to suggest we said last week that you have gained weight, you are just being awkward again.

3. You need to dress up

You are so exhausted through our manipulation of you that you rarely wear make-up anymore. It is too much effort and usually attracts some scathing comment if you do so. It is far easier to pull on those jogging bottoms and a sweat top, after all, there are so many chores to attend to, because we will not help, that you are best dressed this way for reasons of practicality. We will criticise you for appearing like this and remark how you once took pride in your appearance. This will be said to make you feel guilty for letting us down because you are our extension and you are expected to look immaculate when we want you to. You of course need to second guess when those occasions will be because you will often be caught between the pull of this tentacle and the next one.

4. You dress like a slut

You managed to order something online for that forthcoming night out. Usually any suggestion of you visiting the shops is met with annoyance and criticism by us. We remark about you spending too much time and money shopping. You needed this new outfit and it fits perfectly, elegant and classy, showing off your legs which you still remain proud of. You have spent time doing your hair and make-up and you smile with satisfaction as you look in the full-length mirror at how you still scrub up well. The smile disappears in an instant as we loom up behind you and ask you where do you think you are going dressed like that? We don’t want you going out and enjoying yourself. We do not want you commanding attention and therefore we wrap this tentacle about you and apply the pressure, denigrating your clothing choice, berating you for wearing “too much slap” and bandying words such as whore and slut around until the tears start to flow.

5. Hurry up

This tentacle will always make an appearance when you are doing something that you enjoy. If you are browsing in a shop, you will be castigated for walking too slowly and told to get a move on. If you stop to talk to some friends who you have bumped into one afternoon we will hover nearby coughing and harrumphing in order to unsettle you in front of those people before taking you by the arm and pulling you away, hissing at you that you are showing off. Whenever it involves you, you are wrenching the spotlight away from us and therefore your event needs to be over as quickly as possible. Expect early departures from parties where you are given more attention than us, from concerts when it is your favourite band playing and from family events where your supporters outnumber ours. The octopus’ tentacle will wrap around you and haul you away.

6. Stop rushing me

Naturally when it is something we want to do or where the attention is on us then we can take as long as we like. It does not matter if we need to go and pick somebody up, reach the shops before they close or get back for dinner, it is our time in the spotlight and we are damned if you are going to cut it short. No matter how politely you may remind us that we need to be somewhere else you will always be cut down for trying to undermine us and rushing us. It will provide us with the basis for criticism, even though we have stood in the bar for an hour longer than necessary regaling our coterie with stories of our brilliance.

7. Shut up

Nothing you say has any value. Who are you anyway? You are nothing without me so shut up and listen. Do not dare to speak and point out my many faults and contradictions, you are not allowed to do that. You are not permitted your own voice or opinion, those are denied to you. Mine is the only voice that must be heard, strident and bragging. You are not allowed to defend yourself when I am wrongly accusing you of something. You are not allowed to talk when I am reading, flirting online, watching a television programme or staring into space as I plot my next move. Your silence is expected and when I tell you to shut up, you had better do it.

8. Well, say something

What’s wrong with you? Speak. Anybody would think that you are not allowed to say something. You stand there mute and idiotic. You are making me look stupid by not joining in with the conversation. This is my evening remember and you had better shine and sparkle so everyone realises how great I am by choosing you. Make them laugh, say something of note and don’t embarrass me. Make sure you speak highly of me and keep the praise going, laugh at my jokes, prompt the praise and fulfil your role as my number one cheerleader. Don’t ever stand there in silence when I am ruling the roost. What do you mean I just told you to be quiet? Don’t start with those games again, how many times have I warned you?