Category Archives: criticism

The Crying Game – Part One

THE CRYING GAMEPART ONE

Tears. One might consider them the ultimate embodiment of emotion. Tears appear when you have experienced some kind of extreme emotion. I know because I have watched on so many occasions as I have sought to understand the circumstances in which somebody cries and why it is that they do so. I understand that when tears appear, whether it is a welling-up in the eyes, the single full teardrop which slides down a cheek or the cascading waterfall which leaves the eyes red-rimmed and blurry, it is as a consequence of you experiencing emotion in a huge dosage. What I had to learn was which emotions were associated with the emission of water from the eyes. The first emotion that presented itself for my understanding as to how it caused tears was pain. I remembered as a child that my younger brother was somewhat accident prone. If there was tree branch he would fall off it, if there was a wall,he would fall off it and once he even managed to “fall” off a rug and sprain his ankle. The cuts and bruises would have him howling in pain as he lay there sobbing or limped away tears trickling down his face in search of our father. I saw how a physical injury such as a scraped leg or bruised forearm would bring forth a flood of tears. My younger brother would await the attendance of my concerned father, usually brought to the scene by my always caring sister and his tears would be wiped away with a large white handkerchief as consolation and soothing words were administered. I was not accident prone and therefore rarely susceptible to physical injury save the deliberate. I do recall once catching my hand on the edge of the grill and instantly a sore red weal appeared. I presented myself to my nearby mother as I felt the tears forming in my eyes.

“No tears HG,” she announced firmly, “tears show fears, be fearless,” she instructed me as she cast a cursory glance over my injury and directed me to the cold water tap. Tears came from physical hurt but it was not to be for me.

Around the same time I also understood that tears were generated by sadness and it was sister who exhibited this the most. I would find her in one of her many hiding places (I knew them well as I used them myself) and she would be quietly crying.I would ask her why she was crying because I wanted to know. Thinking back, I never felt anything other than curiousity when I saw her with puffy eyes and tear-stained cheeks.

“Why are you crying Rachael?” I would ask.

“Mother shouted at me because I hadn’t tidied my room, she said I was a bad and dirty girl and I don’t like her saying that to me, it upsets me.”

I would nod in understanding and walk away, leaving her alone. She was instructive in showing me that sadness caused tears. Her rabbit escaped from its hutch and went missing so she cried because she missed it. She missed a birthday party because she was ill so she cried because she was sad that she could not play with the other children. If she watched something on television she would often be in tears as she felt bad for the starving children in Africa or the victims of some earthquake. She would cry and ask my father why God did these things and he would do his best to comfort her and explain. He was always good at finding an explanation, but he was a very bright man, well-read and with a keen hunger for knowledge which he invariably retained. There was at least something that I had inherited from him then. I would watch in fascination as Rachael would cry and he would scoop her up and make gentle noises to try to soothe her. Just as he laid a gentle hand on my sobbing injured brother, I saw how this demonstration of tears, be it through physical or emotional hurt engendered sympathy and caring from him. He never rejected them, he never barked at them to deal with it or get on with it, but he would always pander to their upset until he had chased it away and made them feel better. It always got them attention from him, more than I ever did. All they had to do was cry and the sympathy would flow with the attendant attention. I learned that quickly enough.

I, by contrast,never recall feeling sad. I have tried and the good doctors have asked me about this on numerous occasions.

“How did you feel when something bad happened to you?” Dr E would ask.

“What do you mean by bad?” I often have to help him provide some context to his questions. I thought he would have learned by now.

“If you did something wrong for example.”

“I was well-behaved as I child. I did as I was told. I saw what happened if I did not.”

“I see, did your parents ever tell you off?”

“Yes.”

“How did you feel then?”

“Resentful, angry, determined,” I answered quickly.

“Sad?”

“No.”

“Upset?”

“No.”

“How about after the incident?”

I glared at Dr E as I did not like him springing that on me without adequate warning. At least he had remembered to refer to it by the label I required.I remained silent.

“Did you not feel sad after that?”

“No.”

“How did you feel?”

I paused. I did not want to revisit this but I knew he would not stop until he had extracted something from me. He would prod and probe in order to fulfil his selfish desire to know how I felt. I felt empty and I felt angry but I had realised by now that if I told him this he would only go on even longer. The truth would not serve me here. I remained still and silent.

“How did you feel?”

I noticed his tone had become gentler, more searching.

I then thought of all the injustices that I had ever suffered, the hurt that had been meted out against me, the denial of my brilliance, the shunning of my achievements, the lack of recognition when I deserved so much more. I focused on the times when I had been ignored by the foolish, the fact that I am consigned to an unending quest for fuel. I brought to the fore the hurt that I keep under control except for moments such as this and I banished the room and Dr E from my mind as I allowed the floodgates to open. The desired effect eventually came, although it took some time and I eventually felt the welling in my eyes.I blinked theatrically to ensure that Dr E noticed and finally I felt a tear, only a small one though, squeeze out and make its way beneath my eye. I brushed at my other eye, features set in melancholy and still I said nothing. Dr E remained quiet as well as I stared at the floor willing another tear to join the first and thankfully it too finally came and rolled downward, a larger one this time which landed on my left thigh. He will have seen that. I did not look at him but concentrated on the floor still, summoning up all of the hurt I could muster in the hope of maintaining this appearance.

“I can see it is troubling you, perhaps we should move on. We can revisit this at a later time,” he said softly.

I nodded.

Those early observations of how the crying game worked had paid off once again.

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Oh No, Not I!

oh-no

 

It is fundamental that we remain unaccountable for our actions. Not only is it the case that we believe we are entitled to complete immunity for what we say and do, occasioned by our innate superiority, we also believe it to be necessary for us to be able to gather fuel as often and as effectively as we do. If we were slowed down by having to make meaningful apologies, explain ourselves, account for what we have done and accept responsibility for the consequences this would absorb time that would be far better spent in the pursuit of fuel. Hampering us in such a way would result in us becoming weaker since we would not be able to gather as much fuel as usual. It is therefore necessary, so we remain sleek, effective and light of foot, for us to never be concerned about accountability and also to never allow responsibility to rest with us. As with many of our machinations, this approach also allows us to gather fuel in itself by the imposition of blame on others, usually you and the astonished and outraged emotional response which then flows from this staggering act of walking away scot free. As ever, words are our best allies when it comes to throwing off the attempt to make us assume the mantle of responsibility. Here are five of our favourites.

  1. What do you expect me to do about it?

 

I regularly brag about how brilliant and special I am. That I have many talents and if I so chose I could remedy many situations within moments, but notwithstanding this being the stance that I adopt to the world at large, I am not going to do that with you. Not a chance. I am not here to pick up the pieces after you, although I expect you to do so for me repeatedly. I can do as I like and you are obliged to make good the damage that I cause – collect the broken pieces of crockery, apologise to the shell-shocked friend after an outburst, try to solve the financial headache that we have left. If you have caused a problem, and let’s face it, it is always your fault anyway, you cannot expect me to do something about it. I am above such menial tasks. I have important and bigger things to attend to. Such as? I don’t have to explain myself to the likes of you. If I caused the problem (which in reality is usually the case) I am not going to do anything about it.

  1. Deal with it.

That’s the way it is and you had better get used to it. This haughty declaration is par the course for our sense of entitlement to do as we please. We bulldoze through everything and you just have to put up with it. You can’t walk away; we will not allow that to happen. Issuing this barked instruction at you is an effective way of upsetting you. It is telling you that you are useless and you should just be getting on with the situation rather than complaining about it. You shouldn’t be complaining; you should have already guessed that you needed to sort the situation out. Don’t ask me for help because I just do not have time for this mickey mouse nonsense.

  1. You caused this to happen.

We like to maintain that we act with the omnipotence of a god but how many times have you found that you have somehow caused something to happen so that it would suggest that you exercise the powers of a deity? My late arrival was down to you. My failure to remember something was caused by you. My infidelity for the sixth time was wholly as a consequence of what you have done. At its most brutal this declaration is issued without any explanation as to why it is that you caused the problem to arise. We say that it is the case therefore that must be right. Does this exchange seem familiar?

“Why is that the case?”

“It just is.”

“But why?”

“Because I say so.”

Other than our kind, who comes out with such assertions bereft of reality or explanation? That’s right, children. That tells you all you need to know about our mentality when we accuse you of being the one who has caused the problem. If you are “fortunate” enough to be given some kind of explanation it makes perfect sense when viewed from our perspective, although it will not from yours. That is deliberate. We want you to feel astonished, bewildered and annoyed at our sheer audacity to make the connection between our wrongdoing and your causation.

“If you were more loving I wouldn’t go elsewhere.”

“What do you mean by that? I couldn’t be anymore loving towards you.”

“Oh that’s right, deny it is anything to do with you and make me out to be the bad person.”

“Well, it is you who had the affair.”

“Caused by you.”

“How?”

“I have already told you and if you cannot accept that then there is no point continuing with this conversation.”

You get no answer no acceptance of blame. All you get is a tenuous (in your world but not ours) explanation as to why our wrongdoing is all down to you.

  1. Why do you have to spoil everything?

A cousin of the third shirking above but with an added layer of blame. In the above example, you have caused the problem although you may not necessarily have intended it. With this statement we are telling you that not only is the problem not of our doing, it is your fault and guess what? You meant to do it because you are such an awful and horrible person. Our rampant paranoia causes us to believe that you are out to get us, to topple us and that you are plotting to unseat us as a consequence of our behaviour towards you during devaluation. This is why whenever anything goes wrong you are the architect of that misfortune as you have purposefully set out to cause a problem for us, driven by your innate nastiness and jealousy.

  1. Why do you make my life so hard?

Poor us. Put upon by you and your terrible behaviours. This is often thrown at you when you begin to wise-up to our manipulations and either through choice or out of sheer exhaustion you are no longer engaging with our provocations and machinations. What we are actually saying to you here is, “Why do you make it so hard to extract fuel from you?” Your failure to play ball and do what we want is causing us to expend more energy in order to get the negative fuel from you and in accordance with our outlook as a victim, you are doing this on purpose. We need to get that fuel and you should be helping us, not hindering us, no wonder we lash out at you as we do because you are horrible and you make our lives far more difficult and hard than you should or once did.

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The Mind Games – Part Two

 

mind-games-2

 

Having detailed some of the mind games that we deploy against you, this leads to the inevitable question of why do we do this? I daresay that some of you will be tempted to answer

“Because you are all arseholes.”

Whilst this is understandable and potentially accurate (when viewed from your perspective) it is not going to provide you with any insight into the workings of our minds and behaviours. Accordingly, I will expand on why it is we use mind games to comprehensively.

  1. Fuel. An obvious one and rightly the first one that is considered. The application of mind games to the dynamic between you and us is done in order to prompt an emotional reaction from you and thus garner fuel from you. Whether you become upset, distraught, frustrated, annoyed or angry as a consequence of the games being played, it is all fuel which we will readily drink up.
  2. Control. We are obsessed with control. Our environment must be beholden to us. We have to control everything around us in order to ensure that we continue to exist, receive fuel, minimise and remove risks and so forth. By subjecting you to mind games, we are able to achieve this need for control, since you become trapped by them, you remain paralysed by their effects as you try to establish what is happening, rather than knowing them for what they are and moving away from them.
  3. Future planning. It is a common outcome from entangling with our kind that you will be labelled as The Crazy One once you have been discarded or escaped, as part of the smear campaign. The mind games bring about such a state of mind in you that it becomes easy enough for us to point to your behaviour during devaluation, your behaviour post discard/escape and demonstrate that you are indeed unhinged. There are very few people who can actually resist the proliferation of mind games and not be affected by them in some way and many people are left at the end of their tether creating an appearance of being “crazy”.
  4. Façade management. By engaging in games where we are I control, you are seen as histrionic and volatile, where we are calm and pleasant to everybody but you and causing people to form an adverse view about you, this allows us to manage and maintain the façade. We have an array of lieutenants and members of our coterie who all regard us as decent and kind, which then makes your life even harder in terms of trying to persuade people about what we really are.
  5. Superiority reinforcement. We operate from the perspective that we are superior to everybody around us and especially you. By engaging in games where we are able to pull the string, make you upset and angry and exert control, this allows us to emphasise that we are indeed superior to you.
  6. Self-defence. Many of the mind games that we engage in are because we need to defend ourselves from being challenged or criticised. Hence when we project, deny, deflect and blame-shift, although there may be a collateral benefit in terms of how it affects you, the primary reason for engaging in these behaviour is to protect ourselves by rejecting blame, preventing your challenge and addressing criticism.
  7. Exhaustion. With any situation, you respond to it more effectively when you are rested and able to think in a clear manner. The deployment of mind games causes you to become exhausted which results in your lacking clarity, experiencing a reduced resistance and diminished will-power. This means that you are far less likely to try to escape what we are doing and far more likely to accept doing what we want.
  8. Plausible deniability. By operating within the vestiges of the spoken, gestures and actions, we are often able to maintain being vague and amorphous. This allows us to manipulate you to a further degree but also serves an incredibly useful purpose in denying that we have engaged in such behaviours to begin with, especially with a third party. If we are challenged by, for example, someone in authority, we can point to the absence of proof or turn it into the word of someone calm and reasonable against some frazzled, ranting Crazy Person.
  9. Impact. The impact of emotional and psychological abuse is invariably more difficult for the victim to handle than physical abuse. Whilst physical abuse is understandably unpleasant, the insidious nature of mind games means that the victim cannot grasp what is happening, cannot ascertain if they are being subjected to a mind game (being punched is obvious and unequivocal) and cannot fathom why they are being treated in this manner. You no doubt will have heard victims state,

“I would have preferred to have been physically assaulted than be put through the mental torture.”

For someone to choose physical injury over this underlines just how devastating the impact is.

  1. Lack of detectability. Alongside plausible deniability is the fact that a bruise is a bruise and therefore raises questions. It is far harder to determine the effect of the mind games. Yes, someone may present as exhausted, anxious, hypervigilant, terrified and so on, but there is always the potential for us to suggest that it is put on and/or is related to something else. It is harder to do this with physical abuse (although not impossible). Indeed, some people do not allow the effect of the mind games to be seen, preferring to keep it hidden from other parties.
  2. Erosion. If you suffer a broken arm, you can still function. You can use your other arm, you can walk places, talk, you can hear and see and so forth. The mind games naturally affect that which controls and governs everything you do. By wearing down your mind, we are able to grind you down, causing your resistance to weaken and preventing you from functioning in a manner which might aid your escape from us.
  3. Tenderising. The application of mind games through achieving erosion and exhaustion as described above means that in effect you are being “tenderised” for further manipulations to be applied against you with maximum effect.
  4. Empathic vulnerability. As a person who has empathic traits and thus the reason why you were targeted by us, you are more susceptible to these kind of behaviours. Mind games work especially well against you as a consequence of your traits such as honesty, decency, telling the truth, needing to understand, wanting to help and your emotional responses.
  5. Endeavour. Some of the mind games end up making you try harder to please and do things for us with the additional benefit which naturally arises from this.
  6. Power. This is applicable to the Greater Narcissist only as the Lesser and Mid-Range are not aware of the true extent of the application of mind games. The Greater Narcissist revels in being apply to treat somebody in this manner, distort their world, have them jumping and moving at their say so, causing them to fountain with fuel and have no idea how or why this is being done to them. The various manipulations and their outcomes means this appeals to the omnipotence which Greaters believe that they have.
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The Mid-Range Narcissist

 

the-mid-range-narcissist

 

Meet Malcolm the Mid-Range Narcissist. Say hello Malcolm.

“Hello.”

Ever obliging is Malcolm, part of his charm. He doesn’t have the ubermensch mentality of the Greater and nor is he governed by the almost rash instinctive behaviour of the Lesser. Malcolm is not so much defined by what he is, but by what he is not.

“Isn’t that right Malcolm?”

“Isn’t what right my dear?”

“You are a Mid-Range Narcissist.”

Malcolm laughs. It is an affable laugh. He knows that a veneer of self-effacement is effective to get what he wants. He is not prone to the wild outlandish boasts of the Lesser (based on what he thinks he is and therefore says as such as a matter of immediate response) or the Greater (who actually has the achievements and accomplishments to back up those boasts, but boasts about them the Greater always must).

“Hey, what can I say, I like to look good and you know, you have to love yourself before you can love anybody else, that’s what I always say.”

You see, Malcolm thinks that is what a narcissist is. Somebody who loves themselves. He lacks the higher function to know what it really means and lacks the cunning to know it himself but to deny it to those who would seek to topple him. He has some understanding so the comment does not present as a criticism to him, but since he has a moderate degree of function, he knows enough to use it to maintain his façade of being a decent, likeable and reliable fellow.

“You are a likeable chap, I must say.”

“Why thank you and may I say how lovely you look today.”

“That’s most kind, mind you, you are not the first person to compliment me on my appearance.”

Let’s see how he responds to that little piece of provocation. Did you see it? There was a flash of the inner fury but he kept it under control. Watch again. You see the sudden frown and the narrowing of the eyes as his jealousy started to climb inside of him as he felt the injury from this criticism. My comment suggested that someone else might be interested in me, that I am not just Malcolm’s. Of course, it was just a well-meant and polite compliment, but like all of their kind, Malcolm views the world from a position of suspicion and wariness. Wariness is an apt description for Malcolm. He doesn’t erupt in the way Lee the Lesser might have done if I had made the same remark. Lee would have responded with insulting questions to my comment. The Greater would show no sign of concern but file the remark away to be used at the appropriate time, when the moment is exactly right. Anyway, let’s get back to Malcolm. There is that flash of fury but he has enough control to keep it held back. For now. He won’t let it go though, he cannot.

“Oh really, who said that?”

He asks in a tone of relative disinterest but he is dying to know. He wants to know because he feels uncomfortable at this revelation. He does not know precisely why, although he knows he has to be wary about someone interfering with his partner because after all, he wants to maintain his façade of family man with the dedicated wife and so forth. Steady Malcolm who knows he is not amongst the elite of the world, but he is also far from the underclass too. He has abilities and people should recognise that. Okay, he is not the best, but he is still good, very good actually.

“Oh you know the attendant at the petrol station, he chats to me every time I am in there, he probably fancies me.”

There it is again. The brief look of consternation. The fury is rising but he is managing to keep a grip on it, but he won’t be able to do so for long. He does not want to erupt, he knows that will not do, that is not how he behaves, but he knows he needs to do something to counter this threat. He does not like the fact that I am accepting compliments from this interloper, I should only receive them from him.

“Yes well, I was told by Lucy at the florists that I look ten years younger than my real age.”

There we are. He is switching to an alternative fuel source. His level of function allows him to rely on a past event and still draw fuel from it. The Lesser would not be able to do that. Firstly, his fury would have erupted already and secondly even if it had not, he would struggle to bring up the previous compliment. His mind does not work that way. Malcolm can though and this is his way of switching the spotlight back on to him. He is also looking to get a reaction from me as well to provide him with some fuel. Let’s pretend I haven’t heard him.

“Yes the guy at the garage, Luke he is called, strapping lad, so pleasant. He always tells me that my hair is looking nice or that I smell gorgeous. He fair makes my day.”

“Yes well he can’t be too bright though can he if he is working in a garage.”

Malcolm doesn’t say it as a question but it’s a statement. He is losing control; the fury is coming. His comment had a dual purpose. You see, his mid-range function provides him with some weaponry in that regard. He wanted to cut down my comment in order to provoke a reaction from me but also by stating that Luke is not very bright he is undermining the compliments that Luke has sent my way. He’s a little bit clever with it you see.

“Oh, he just works there in between his studies. He is going to be an architect, he wants to show me some of his designs, I think I might do that.”

Let’s push it a little more. You can see Malcolm’s face is now set in a frown. He doesn’t like it at all that I am not giving him any fuel and moreover by fawning over Luke I am implicitly criticising Malcolm, at least in his mind that is the case.

Malcolm won’t respond in an outwardly aggressive manner. It’s there if he is really pushed, if he feels cornered in some way or has a frantic need for fuel then the fury will erupt as heated fury and he will lash out. He can only keep the fury under control for a short while. The Lesser can barely do so. The Greater can and will or will not, dependent on how the Greater has calculated whether the unleashing of the fury will provide him with the greatest return at that instant. Malcolm is caught between the two. He can exert some control but not enough to really deliver and savage aggression is rarer with him. Watch now and see how his ignited fury manifests.

Do you see? He has snatched up his ‘phone and rings one of his secondary sources. He knows he does not like this feeling of being ignored and he knows that to deal with it he needs attention from somewhere else. He does not know it as fuel of course, only that when this happens, if I, his primary source, is letting him down, he has to either up his game with me and/or draw attention from somewhere else.

“Hi Janice, just wondering if you were still on for lunch today?”

There’s no arranged lunch but he knows that Janice likes him, he makes sure that this remains the case and she is usually available. Notice the sideways glance to ensure I have heard him. There are not the bold assertive moves of the Lesser (through instinct) or the Greater (through calculation) but the wary steps that are the hallmark of the Mid-Range Narcissist.

Janice is cooing down the ‘phone and he feels better already but he also wants a reaction from me.

“Who are you calling?” I ask in a loud voice.

“Yes I thought so too Janice, thanks for saying that, I appreciate that.” He is ignoring me. I repeat the question but there is no response as he continues to talk into the ‘phone and lap up the fuel from Janice whilst enjoying my irked expression. This is a silent treatment from him as he refuses to acknowledge me. The Mid-Range uses the silent treatment more than any other cadre of narcissist because the Mid-Range is a creature who is passive-aggressive. The Lesser uses them, of course he does, but they tend to be short-lived. The Lesser will storm out of the house and disappear to a friend or a bar for an afternoon. The Greater will organise the silent treatment and apply it for maximum effect, it will not be a knee jerk reaction. The Greater will apply them for a long time as well but does not use them as often as the Mid-Range. The silent treatment is the main method of manipulation for the Mid-Range Narcissist. This is because it allows him to exert control, it can be used whilst preserving the façade (there won’t be a sudden eruption and storming away with slammed doors and cries of “You’ll never see me again”) but rather he will quietly depart for a period of time, or more likely use the present silent treatment. The Mid-Range is a sulker. He has enough control to sit and say nothing to you and drink up the fuel as you keep badgering him. He can sit and sulk for hours, days if need be. He can breeze around the house as if you aren’t there. Yes, Malcolm the Mid-Range Narcissist revels in the effect of his silent treatments and his dual approach here is providing dividends for him.

I walk over to him and stand in front of him, hands on hips. He sees the gesture and this fuels him further but to the him it is as if I am not there. He just looks through me. Again this is some of the discipline that I afforded by him by virtue of being Mid-Range.

He ends the call and walks off ignoring my comments as they drift fuel-filled through the air to him. He won’t shout back (he rarely does) he knows it is more effective to sulk and also then the neighbours won’t hear so he remains seen as pleasant, good neighbour Malcolm. He will probably head next door and hide there with Margaret for a couple of hours. He is good at cultivating a wide range of fuel sources. The Lesser keeps his circles tighter, lacking the discipline to operate too many fuel lines. The Greater of course has hundreds of fuel lines because he can draw them in through his outlandish greatness, his achievements and golden accomplishments. The Mid-Range doesn’t shine as bright but he has charm and ability which he uses to develop many different fuel sources and he can always rely on them. He does not have a high turn-over, keeping many of them in the golden period for years. The Mid-Range is most likely to have long-standing friends going years back. The Lesser and Greater may have as well, but not in the same number of the length of time as the Mid-Range.

So, Malcolm will be away giving me the silent treatment as he draws fuel from Margaret and then Janice. He knows how his silent treatment affects me and that is why he also uses it so often. Oh well, that’s my day spoiled already and he knows it. I suppose I had better go and fill up the car with fuel. I know a good garage and a sympathetic ear to hear my woes.

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Ten Conversational Narc Grenades

1. You never….

The precursor to a criticism of how you do not do something for me. It is a twin explosive assault against you because not only do I tell you that you are failing me by not doing something for me I also choose something that you actually do carry out. By suggesting that you no longer do a particular act or say a certain thing, when you actually do so, I intend to leave you speechless with exasperation and confused as to just how I can say such a thing. You will be stunned by such a blatant contradiction and this will result in your emotional response coming to the fore, rather than a reasoned one. All the better fuel for us.

2. You always….

The flipside of the above and likely to be tossed in your direction not long after the above narc grenade. The allegation of “you always” will be followed by some put-down and criticism highlighting a behavioural trait of yours which we deem unsatisfactory. Once again we will actually highlight something that you do not do in order to perplex you. You will defend yourself against this scandalous accusation and once again erupt in an emotional manner.

3. I’m sick of you controlling me.

Thrown at you in order to project our own rampant control of you. This is also used to deflect any criticism of us when you chastise us for our behaviour. Any attempt from you to point out the error of our ways or even to try to help us in some way will be met with this response. We do believe that you are trying to control us, by trying to break our own control of you and we cannot allow this to happen. It is through our control that we gain what we want from you and therefore any threat to this must be met with something that will knock you off balance. Accusing you of the very thing that we are doing will cause such astonishment and consternation that our aim is fulfilled.

4. My ex wouldn’t do this

A narc grenade of triangulation and who better to do it with than your predecessor. By implying that your predecessor has some form of superiority to you, after all the smearing of her name we did when we first ensnared you, not only will you be taken aback by this sudden volte face, you will also be mightily offended at being compared to someone who we hate so viciously. Drawing you down to her apparent level always brings forth a reaction from you.

5. My ex would do it

Another flipside whereby we are seeking to coerce you to do something for us, something which you are evidently reluctant to do. You have reservations and no doubt with good reason, but that does not matter to us. You are our extension and therefore you ought to be complying with our wishes without hesitation or refusal. By triangulating you again with she who went before you we are threatening that you are inferior to her and raising the prospect that you will be soon dispensed with if you do not do what we want.

6. I love you but I don’t like you right now

This carefully crafted narc grenade will shatter you as it appears as a compliment before ripping your heart out as you struggle to comprehend what we have just said.Surely if we love you, then we must also like you? What do we mean by saying this? It creates confusion and will have you trying to persuade us to both love and like you. What we mean when we lob this grenade towards you is “You say you love me but you will not do what I want.”

7. If you loved me….

We know that you are a love devotee. A passionate supporter and believer in the concept of love and we use this as grenade to about compliance. We know that you take pride in your integrity and decency and therefore you have standards to always uphold. By suggesting that your failure to act in the manner we want or that your disagreeing with us is somehow representative of you loving us less, we are challenging what you stand for. This will always force you to react by stating your case, reacting in an emotional fashion and ultimately doing what we want, in order to prove that you do indeed love us.

8. You are over reacting

A favourite to make you react even more. You take matters seriously and there are many things that we shall do which will cause you to respond in a serious and concerned fashion. By using this grenade, we belittle you and cause the issue to be about your reaction rather than what we have actually done.It acts as a brilliant way to deflect discussion and dissection of our behaviour and instead causes you to try to prove that you are not over-reacting, which will invariably actually heighten your response.

9 I can’t deal with this right now

Our grenade that is thrown in order to provide us with an escape route from any crisis or situation that requires us to be either accountable or supportive. We do neither and we want to keep it this way. We will invent some other reason which means that we have to depart or that you have to deal with this situation as we hurl the grenade, leaving you to catch it and deal with the subsequent explosion as we walk away, free from involvement, responsibility and culpability.

10 I don’t remember

The blast from this grenade is used to eradicate the problem that you are facing us with. Whether it is an accusation that we have failed to do something or evidence of misbehaviour, this grenade is a failsafe way of enabling us to escape the problem. Often it will be used even when it is blatantly clear that we can remember, making your flabbergasted reaction all the more satisfying. There may be irrefutable evidence that we know and can remember but this never stops us from hurling this grenade at you and making good our escape from your attempt to blame us.

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What Have You Done For Me Lately?

Ah, you recall those heady days during the golden period when nothing was too much trouble for me? Breakfast would be brought to you in bed. I would take your dog for a walk without being asked. I would leave those little love notes hidden around the house for you to find after your trip away. I would walk into the countryside and pick flowers for you to hand over to you with my dimpled smile. Something upset you? I would listen on the telephone or drive across to listen as you cried and emptied your heart. I was on hand, on time and on your side.

After a few months, longer if you are really lucky, my helpfulness and ever present assistance has eroded. If you ask me to do something you will be met with a sigh and a roll of the eyes and I may just do it. More likely I vanish when chores are required. I never answer the phone when you desperately need to speak to me to discuss your bad day at work. I flat refuse to do the things that I always did for you and indeed I will even deny that I ever did them. To reinforce this stark withdrawal of my services I will then always query what have you done for me? I will trot out the list of things that I have done for you (adding some fabricated ones in for good measure – go on, try and suggest I am making them up and see what happens next). Isn’t it curious how I have a foggy memory about agreeing to pain the fence yet I can recall with amazing recall the date, manner and duration of each and everything that I have done for you. I only ever did it so I could hook you and then throw it back in your face. Of course, as with everything I do, you frantically try to fathom out what has happened and to steer us back to my useful and helpful period. Thus the dance goes on.

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The Hurt it Burns

I cannot stand to be criticised. I do not remember a lot about my childhood but I do recall that I tried very hard to ensure that my parents, in particular my mother were proud of me. This was difficult. She set high standards which of course were for my own good and to ensure that I strove to be the best because as she told me, I was the best. If I fell short then her scathing criticism of me left me crushed. I felt like my insides had been ripped out and waved about in front of my face and I needed to extinguish that feeling fast.

That sensation of utter devastation if I am criticised has never left me. In discussion with Dr O I have learned that it blossoms from two things. The first is that this feeling of massive vulnerability and wretchedness still persists and I cannot stand it. I think this is peculiar to me because God has made me brilliant but He wishes to remind me of my mortality and therefore causes me to feel such an horrendous pain when I am attacked. It sickens me and leaves me wracked with agony. The second is the fact that I should not be criticised and especially not by those who are beneath me. I cannot fathom out how those who are inferior to me have any standing by which they can actually pass judgement on me. That is entirely valid and logical. However, this second element ignites inside me something which I have learned overrides the devastation and that is important to me. The sense of injustice and indignation that arises from this undue and unnecessary criticism ignites a fury that is immense. It explodes inside me with unrivalled speed and then erupts with such violence that the initial wretchedness I feel is blown away within moments. I need this rage. I need it to extinguish the horror of the devastation. It needs to burn with such magnificent fury that it strengthens me again. This rage cannot however sit inside of me. It must be poured out and directed. You criticised me, you created the devastation and thus you must feel my immense rage in order for the devastation to be obliterated. In that time you will be obliterated too by my anger, my rage and my fury. But that is collateral damage to my need to remove the emptiness inside. You caused  my pain so you must feel the cure. I can see it is unpleasant for you, the shouting, the venom, the accusations and vitriol that I send in your direction. Sometimes the cure erupts from my fists. I cannot help it as I must let the rage burn to remove the emptiness. You can help it though ; don’t criticise me.

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