Category Archives: criticism

The Nasty Neighbour Narcissist

 

 

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Neighbours. Unless you operate a sheep farm in Australia or man a lighthouse, chances are you will have some neighbours. For the most part, people may not know who their neighbours are, particularly in busy multi-occupancy properties in cities or they recognise them, but the interaction is a little more than a “Hello” and “Turned out nice again” as they pass in the street, lobby or lift. For others a neighbour has become a long-standing friend, a person who is spoken to every day, who is always welcome to pop in or who a conversation is engaged with over the garden fence. There is never a problem borrowing a cup of sugar, watching the cat whilst on holiday or taking in a parcel.

From the unknown, to the amiable to the hearty friendship, neighbours proliferate across the planet and largely there is no issue. However, there then comes the individual (although sometimes it is a couple or family) who earns the epitaph of neighbour from hell. This individual makes life for their neighbours or perhaps one in particular, irritating, annoying of complete misery. I daresay you have your own experiences of this, either something that has happened to you or you have witnessed or heard about having happened to a friend or family member. The variety of behaviours engaged in by this inconsiderate and unpleasant individuals is endless but here are some examples:-

  1. The neighbour who plays loud music every night until the early hours of the morning.
  2. The neighbour who complains if one of your visitor’s parks their car outside his house even if it is not blocking the driveway.
  3. A neighbour whose garden and house is an eyesore and nothing is done to keep it tidy or well-maintained.
  4. A neighbour who commences a boundary dispute because the new ornament atop the pillar at the end of your drive appears to encroach one inch onto his land.
  5. The neighbour who kicks over your wheelie bins because they say you are leaving them on their property.
  6. The neighbour who erects a huge fence blocking out your natural light.
  7. The neighbour who leaves mountains of rubbish lying around, attracting rodents and causing a stench.
  8. The neighbour who has an animal which causes a problem through noise, droppings, biting or damaging property.
  9. The neighbour who will not return footballs and the like which go over the fence.
  10. The neighbour who repeatedly complains about you and your family over non-existent or trivial complaints.
  11. Sending anonymous notes to other neighbours suggesting that the targeted neighbour is a paedophile or serial-womaniser.
  12. The neighbour who always borrows possessions and never returns them

It may be the case that a particular neighbour engages in one or several of these anti-social behaviours. It may be the case that a neighbour engages in a vendetta whereby the behaviour goes beyond that of being anti-social and amounts to a concerted campaign of harassment, criminal damage and even criminal assault. This unpleasant neighbour may embark on a series of behaviours such as poisoning animals, pouring weed killer on flowers or ripping up the garden turf, posting faeces through the letterbox, smashing windows, erecting barriers to prevent access and physical attacking the long-suffering neighbour.

Many people are either unwilling or unable to move away from this particularly problematic person. Naturally, the innocent party will try to reason with the difficult neighbour, trying to reach a compromise over parking arrangements, or asking the neighbour to show more consideration with regards to making noise at night. The innocent neighbour recognises that the behaviour is anti-social but is unable to understand :-

  1. Why the neighbour behaves like this in the first place;
  2. Fails to recognise he or she is doing anything wrong;
  3. Refuses to change their behaviours;
  4. Get so worked-up over trivial matters; and
  5. Increases the aggravation when reasonably approached.

The innocent person is completely at a loss as to what they could have done to invite such treatment. They are unable to grasp why it cannot be sorted out. They may escalate matters by making a complaint to the relevant authority about noise, refuse and behaviour, involve the police or commence their own legal proceedings to resolve a boundary dispute where significant money is spent arguing about a strip of land three inches in width and makes no real difference to anybody. Even such escalation fails to cause the nasty neighbour to correct their ways, often resulting in the unpleasant behaviour continuing or if the neighbour complies with a court order or notice, they engage in an alternative form of nuisance and harassment, leaving the innocent party exasperated. They cannot understand why this person behaves this way.

The reason they behave like this is that in all likelihood this is a nasty neighbour narcissist.

Now, many of our kind have pleasant interactions with our neighbours. The neighbour, either a tertiary or secondary (sometimes intimate) source is treated well enough because

a. Positive fuel is provided on an intermittent basis so there is no risk of that fuel going stale or the narcissist shifting stance owing to a reduction in quantity or frequency;

b. Façade management is key. It is often important to the narcissist that they are regarded as a pleasant person, well-regarded in the community etc by their neighbours and therefore it pays to remain courteous and pleasant to them as part of the façade;

c. Neighbours may form part of the narcissist’s coterie;

d. The neighbours form the contrast (through façade and coterie) compared to the treatment of the IPPS.

Accordingly, it usually suits the narcissist to have convivial relations with neighbours.

Yet, when problems arise in the manner described above, it will invariably be a narcissist who is generating the nasty behaviour and prolonging the campaign of harassment. Why is this?

  1. The sense of entitlement. The narcissist is entitled to sleep without your noisy kids making a racket even though it is a family neighbourhood, the middle of the afternoon and the school holidays. The narcissist can park his car blocking your drive if he wishes. He does not have to remove the refuse just because you ask. If he wants to park a large van so it blocks your light, he can do that. Those footballs which keep landing in his garden belong to him now and in fact, how dare your offspring invade his territory.
  2. No boundary recognition. In some instances this actually becomes literal when the narcissist builds an extension to the property encroaching on a boundary line. Having no recognition and respect for boundaries, the narcissist neighbour will remove anything of yours if he thinks it is in the way, tell you to change the colour of your front door is she does not approve with the shade you have painted it, walk across your front lawn rather than around it because it is easier to do that and a hundred other examples.
  3. No concept of accountability. This links in with the sense of entitlement. The narcissist does not have to do something just because you ask nor do they have to act just because the local authority has said as such.
  4. Victim mentality. Utilising the narcissistic perspective and the Toxic Logic that prevails, each situation will be twisted around so that the innocent person is the one who will be regarded as the one who has caused the problem, the narcissist is the individual who has been put upon and badly treated.
  5. Split thinking. The neighbour may well have been painted ‘white’ to begin with and then inadvertently does something which results in them being seen as ‘black’. No matter what this person does, they are always viewed as being in the wrong. For instance, the narcissist may have been hosting a party and the neighbour politely asks them to turn the music down as it is after midnight and they have young children. This offends the narcissist’s sense of entitlement and they are wounded by this request. The narcissist sees it as a demand, an order and plays the victim “all I was doing was celebrating my birthday but they had to spoil it”, fury is ignited so the music is turned up and thereafter the neighbour remains painted black and becomes a scapegoat in the neighbourhood.
  6. Inability to resolve the dispute. This arises out of the differing perspectives and because the innocent person does not know what they are dealing with. They think it is enough to ask their neighbour not to keep moving their rubbish bins when they have been left out for collection and that is a reasonable request. They do not realise how this request wounds the narcissist, that their fury ignites and they lash out in order to seek fuel. They do not realise that the narcissist has different aims to them which means that resolving any issue (trivial as it seems to the innocent party) becomes impossible as the potential outcomes desired by each party are completely different (to understand more about this mentality which extends to all manner of disputes with a narcissist see Why Are The Arguments Never Resolved?
  7. Why does the nasty neighbour narcissist keep on going, seemingly hell-bent on revenge over something minor such as the innocent neighbour accidentally knocking over a garden gnome? This incessant attack by the narcissist neighbour leaves the innocent party bewildered and flabbergasted. Who on earth keeps on going over such a minor matter? The answer; a narcissist. Why? One huge problem for a neighbour who has found themselves painted black by a narcissist neighbour is that they are always going to be hovered and they will be malign. Why is this? Firstly, the Hoover Trigger ( see The Spheres of Influence ). You, as the innocent neighbour will activate a hoover trigger every single day because you enter the narcissist neighbour’s sphere of influence either because they see you or they see your house. Next, what about the Hoover Execution Criteria? Are they met ? (see It’s Hoover Time). It is usually the case that the Hoover Bar on these criteria will be low because

a. The narcissist knows fuel will be readily obtained from you, because you will be angry, upset, pleading etc;

b. The hoover will be easy to execute – the narcissist knows where you are, does not have to travel far at all to effect the hoover, has a vast array of ways of hoovering you to draw fuel, there is no romantic Formal Relationship to try to resurrect, it is a straight forward grab for fuel and the criteria are nearly always going to be met.

Accordingly, whilst the innocent party cannot fathom out why the narcissist keeps engaging in the harassment and dirty tricks, the simple fact that that person has been painted black in the eyes of the narcissist and then the Hoover Triggers are repeatedly activated and the hoovers effected means that an ongoing, sustained and repeated campaign of harassment and nastiness is waged against the individual. Reasoning with the neighbour does not work, upping the ante will not work (it is just fuel and/or allows the narcissist to smear the innocent victim) and even in some instances repeated court orders will be flouted by the narcissist who rejects the attempt to shackle their entitlement and continues their stance of being unaccountable.

8. No empathy. Lacking empathy, the narcissist neighbour feels no need to stop with their behaviour, does not appreciate the plight of the innocent neighbour or consider how it would feel if it were acted out against them in a similar way. Instead, the narcissist will turn the matter around to explain how they are the one hard done to and engage in all of the familiar manipulations in order to maintain the upper hand and control with their neighbour.

9. The scapegoated neighbour is used for the purposes of triangulation with other neighbours or more often the brainwashed members of the narcissist’s family so that more lines of fuel are opened up.

10. There may well have been no warning signs either because the narcissist, at first, will have presented a façade to the new neighbours and in effect been subjected to a form of ‘seduction’ by the narcissist neighbour. Those other neighbours who tried to warn you were ignored since “oh he has been ever so friendly since we moved in” – sound familiar to the romantic dynamic?

Accordingly, if you have a repeatedly anti-social, unreasonable and harassing neighbour it is highly likely you are dealing with a narcissist.

What to do?

  1. Do not react so little or no fuel is provided. This may well result in an increase in malign hoovers for a while but if there is no response, eventually the lack of fuel will mean the narcissist looks elsewhere or at least reduces the frequency of the behaviour.
  2. Log all incidences of anti-social behaviour with relevant authorities, install CCTV as a must so you have evidence, write down in a journal incidences of anti-social behaviour so you build a solid evidential foundation which can be used by

a The police if criminal charges are to be pursued;

b. Environmental agencies where they have jurisdiction – noise, nuisance, refuse.

c. Relevant local authority if the individual is a social tenant who could be evicted.

d. You if you bring private court proceedings for an injunction to stop trespass, harassment, or to seek an appropriate order relating to a boundary dispute

3. Recognise that asking the neighbour narcissist is not going to succeed. Ask once, politely, in writing (so you have a record) and then recognise that you have to escalate the matter through the appropriate channel with a solid evidential basis.

4. Understand that even formal escalation will take time and with certain neighbour narcissists they will ignore court orders, flour notices and so on until enforcement action is taken by the relevant body and/or  the neighbour narcissist is sent to prison for failure to obey the court order or notice.

5. Go no contact and find a damn good estate agent to sell your home.

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The Micro Managing Narcissist – Part One

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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.

 

 

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The Dirty Empath – Infidelity

THE DIRTY EMPATH INFIDELITY

The Empath. Regarded as a paragon of virtue with those traits of honesty, decency, compassion, love devotee, moral compass and so on. All of which make the empath and their fuel output tempting prey for us. Yet within these virtuous empathic traits sit other traits, narcissistic traits.

There are four schools of empath (Standard, Super, Co-Dependent and Contagion) . Layered on to these schools are the empathic cadres (such as Magnet, Carrier and Geyser).

Each empath within the relevant school has both empathic and narcissistic traits. Some will have a small number of strong empathic traits with few narcissistic traits which are low in strength. Some will have many empathic traits which are moderate in strength and have few or numerous narcissistic traits which are all very low in strength. Some will have many empathic traits which are strong and numerous narcissistic traits which are moderate or even quite strong. The key consideration is that, in effect, the empathic traits keep the narcissistic ones ‘in check’ and thus the empathic individuals behave in a way which is empathic with other people.

There are however two main instances when the narcissistic traits come to the fore. The first is through The Empathic Supernova which is when the empathic traits become ‘dialled down’ or eroded for a temporary time and thus the narcissistic traits come to the fore. The second instance is a permanent state of affairs and this is the cadre of the Dirty Empath. The individual is empathic, of that there is no doubt, they have those empathic traits, they also have narcissistic traits too, however one of those narcissistic traits remains strong and prominent throughout and sits alongside the fewer, weaker narcissistic traits and the various empathic traits of varying strength. This does not mean this person is a narcissist, not at all. It does not mean that this person is not an empath. What it means is that they are an empath but there is one (sometimes there might be more) narcissistic trait which ‘dirties’ their empathic status. Think of the empath coloured white with a black streak running through them.

This cadre of Dirty Empath has various strands which appertain to the relevant narcissistic trait which prevails and this includes the strand of infidelity.

Thus where the empath is already in a romantic relationship, whether living together,boyfriend and girlfriend or married and they embark on a romantic, sexual relationship outside of that relationship, their narcissistic trait of infidelity has risen to the surface and remained there. What has caused that to happen? As ever, it is a symbiotic equation.

From the empath’s side there is something not right within their existing relationship which means that the narcissistic trait comes to the fore.

For instance, let us take the example whereby the spouse of the empath is either an empath or a normal and has become impotent and/or has no interest in sex any more. All else is well within the relationship – they care for the empath, they pull their weight around the home, they are a good parent, they have a decent job and so on. All is largely well, save for the issue of sexual relations. In such a situation, the empathic spouse has the following choices:-

  1. Recognise that all else is well within the relationship, that sex is but one facet (albeit an important one) and accept that it is better to have all of the other good elements of the relationship and therefore not seek to damage the relationship or hurt their spouse by seeking sexual interaction outside of the marriage. This is the response of an empath who has no dirty streak of the narcissistic trait of infidelity;
  2. As above save that the empath regards sex as so significant that they need it yet they do not want to hurt their spouse. Accordingly, they seek their spouse’s blessing to seek sex outside of the marriage but otherwise want nothing more external to the relationship. This is the response of an empath who has the narcissistic trait of infidelity but it is not so strong as to amount to a dirty streak;
  3. As per point one, save that the empath craves sexual interaction and knows it can only be achieved outside of the relationship. They therefore seek out sexual encounters with other people but have no desire to leave the existing relationship. This individual’s narcissistic dirty streak has risen to the fore and governed the behaviour of this particular empath.

With regard to this third element it remains relatively rare that the empath will do this unilaterally because their traits of guilt, honesty, decency and compassion will fight against the desire to accommodate the narcissistic desire of infidelity. If the narcissistic trait is very strong, the empath may still seek out these encounters and have them with normal people, an empath in a similar position to their own or find a narcissist.

What happens more often than not in this third situation is that the empath spouse has been targeted by our kind.

An empath with no narcissistic streak of infidelity will resist the sexual overtures of the narcissist. They may remain as a Non Intimate Secondary Source to the narcissist. It is highly unlikely they would be targeted to begin with in any event by the narcissist.

An empath with the narcissistic streak of infidelity will succumb to the overtures of the narcissist and find themselves engaged in an affair, breaking their wedding vows, breaching the trust of their partner and becoming sucked in to the world of the narcissist. If the narcissistic streak of infidelity is very strong, the empath may even have sought out (unconsciously) the narcissist.

Combine the narcissistic streak of infidelity in the Dirty Empath and a narcissist and infidelity is a given. How this pans out very much depends on the desires and wants of the narcissist. Please see the latter part of The Married Target as to how we are drawn to those who are married and are thus susceptible to our overtures. We may want the empath to become our IPPS and thus they are designated the role of Candidate IPSS as we love bomb them and lure them away from their spouse using our range of manipulations in the way that is described in ‘The Married Target’. It may be the case that both Dirty Empath and narcissist are content with an arrangement whereby the Dirty Empath is a Shelf IPSS and sees the narcissist intermittently and is treated as a friend with benefits, side person or mistress. Both parties are content with this. The narcissist gains in accordance with The Prime Aims and the Dirty Empath scratches that itch for sex outside of the marriage (coupled with the excitement that accords with it) but keeps their own relationship intact.

Sometimes the Dirty Empath becomes the Dirty Little Secret and is content with that arrangement also.

Note however that whether the Dirty Empath is a Candidate IPSS, Shelf IPSS or Dirty Little Secret, this is always at the behest and control of the narcissist. The Dirty Empath may willingly embrace the dynamic (unaware of course that they are with a narcissist and what their role is) as it fulfils the desires of the narcissistic trait of infidelity.

The issue arises however when the Dirty Empath wants to remain in the role of Shelf IPSS or DLS but the narcissist wants the empath to become the IPPS. Battle is joined to pull the Dirty Empath in the direction the narcissist requires with all of the drama, triangulation and heartache that follows. The problem for the Dirty Empath is that having allowed themselves to be governed by the narcissistic streak of infidelity they have already trampled over their partner and the narcissist knows this. In the same way you cannot get a little bit pregnant, you cannot be a little bit unfaithful, you either are not or you are. Where the Dirty Empath has hitherto enjoyed being the Shelf IPSS or DLS, keeping this activity secret from their partner and enjoying all the other benefits of the best of both worlds, it is the narcissist who ultimately calls the tune and if he or she wants that Dirty Empath in a different role, the narcissist will strive to make it happen. If the Dirty Empath will not accord with the change of allocated role then he or she can expect their partner to be told of their infidelity and invariably the narcissist will have evidence (photos, film, documentary evidence of hotel trysts, oral testimony from Lieutenants) to use against the Dirty Empath. If the threat of release of this material does not persuade the Dirty Empath to submit to the whim of the narcissist, then it will be released. The hitherto painted white Dirty Empath will be painted black, they will be devalued prior to dis-engagement and their own existing relationship with spouse or partner will be the prime target of the narcissist for the purposes of causing its destruction and spreading misery. The need to punish the disobedient Dirty Empath and the significant fuel available (negative fuel from IPSS, negative fuel from secondary/tertiary cuckolded spouse, negative fuel from secondary/tertiary sources allied with said spouse and/or Dirty Empath, positive fuel from loyal secondary/tertiary sources to the narcissist) means that the chances of the Dirty Empath being ‘let off’ are virtually nil.

The Dirty Empath may find they can keep their own infidelity quiet for some time, remain as a DLS or Shelf IPSS and enjoy an elongated golden period with the narcissist, but they have no control over that. If it continues that way, this is purely down to the approach of the narcissist. There remains a risk that the narcissist will wish to change the dynamic and with that comes significant consequences for the playing away Dirty Empath, his or her spouse, partner and family.

Those who give in to their narcissistic trait (and this is usually because a narcissist has ‘sniffed out’ this Dirty Empath will eventually end up suffering.

This happens in the following circumstances :-

  1. The DE is DLS or Shelf IPSS for some time and then the narcissist wants to promote them to Candidate IPSS and then IPPS, but the DE does not want this as this will blow open their infidelity;
  2. The DE is DLS or Shelf IPSS for some time and then the narcissist decides to dis-engage against the will of the DE;
  3. The DE wants to become the IPPS of the narcissist, but the narcissist does not want this to happen;
  4. The DE wants to become the IPPS of the narcissist, achieves this, leaves their former spouse with all of the attendant heartache that causes and then enjoys a golden period with their newly acquired (but unrecognised) narcissist. Of course you know what is coming next don’t you? Yes, the DE IPPS is then devalued and dis-engaged from. Their narcissistic streak of infidelity has seen them lured from an otherwise satisfying relationship, drawn by the golden allure of the unrecognised narcissist only for that to collapse and now they find themselves alone, rejected and often hated by narcissist and the cuckolded spouse they once had.

The Dirty Empath with the narcissistic streak of infidelity who becomes ensnared by our kind is only heading for misery. They do not have the lack of remorse, lack of conscience or lack of guilt that allows us to drive ever forward. Instead they are left to rue the consequences of this narcissistic trait being intensified and exploited by our kind.

Further articles will follow concerning the various strands of the Dirty Empath.

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The Narcissist’s Twin Lines of Defence

THE NARCISSIST'STWIN LINESOF DEFENCE

In order to understand your narcissist opponent (and let’s not avoid recognising the fact that we regard you as our opponent) it is essential that you realise that we adopt two lines of defence. It is imperative that our kingdom remains intact, that our rule over you is not impeded, hindered or diminished in anyway. This means that we must always have control. By maintaining control, we are assured of achieving the provision of  The Prime Aims so we gain fuel (most importantly) , character traits and the residual benefits.

Imagine, if you will, a motor vehicle. This motor vehicle has a computer which controls the suspension of the vehicle, This computer makes thousands of calculations and adjustments every second so that the suspension alters to take into account holes in the road, rocks, rises, dips and any deviation. The consequence of these frequent and instantaneous adjustments is that the car itself never lurches, dips, rolls, leans or deviates. You could balance a glass of water on the dashboard and it would never spill. The car remains still and steady.

We are similar. We must always maintain control. We have to have control over our environment so that we know there will be no loss of fuel, no reduction in the elements of the construct, no destruction of our empire and the descent into oblivion. To ensure this control, just like ensuring the motor vehicle remains steady, we have to make repeated and frequent adjustments to cater for the vagaries of the environment. We must tackle the challenges, maintain the loyalty, head off the insurrection, put down the rebellions, stifle the dissent, maintain the discipline and whatever changes, alterations and differences occur, control must be maintained. It does not matter if our behaviour, when viewed from your perspective, is inconsistent, illogical, hypocritical, contradictory, abusive, absurd and so forth, so long as the control is maintained. That is what matters above all else. By keeping control, we gain what we need and we continue to exist as we require.

Any challenge to this control requires a defensive response from us and this comes in two distinct forms. We have a twin defence mechanism. The first line is Denial. The second line is Distract and Deflect.

Dealing with Denial. If you challenge us in some way, which therefore threatens our control, then our immediate response will be one of denial. Your challenge may be one which wounds us (therefore you can expect a response by way of ignited fury which encompasses the denial) or more likely, you will be providing us with Challenge Fuel. Thus, you will not be wounding us, you will be giving us fuel, but we not only want to provoke you into giving us more fuel but we also have to assert control and assert our superiority and denial achieves both.

Take such an exchange for example, V is the accusing victim and N is the denying narcissist.

V – “I saw you in a bar this evening, Lorenzo’s, and you were with another woman.”

N – “No, I wasn’t.”

V- “Yes you were, I saw you.”

N- “You could not have done, I was at work, I had a meeting run on, there was a new client and he needed the team and I to sort quite a few problems out for him.”

V – “Stop lying, I saw you with my own eyes.”

N- “Well you need new glasses because it was not me, you think you saw.”

V- “It was. I know what you look like for God’s sake. You were holding hands with a slim woman with long brown hair and she had a green blouse on.”

N – “It wasn’t me.”

V- “It was, stop lying. Just admit it, will you?”

N- “It was not me.”

V- “I saw you, I saw you with her.”

N- “You couldn’t have done. Like I said, I have been in work until now, Ring Tom, go on, he will confirm that I have.”

The narcissist maintains the denial. Challenge Fuel is being received as the victim is either frustrated, angry, hurt or upset. The words used, the tone, the facial expression and the body language all contribute to the provision of fuel. If the victim is the Intimate Partner Primary Source (“IPPS”) then the fuel will be of a high potency. The quantity of fuel delivered is so far low since the discussion has only lasted a minute or so, but the frequency is constant for that minute. The narcissist will continue to deny in order to maintain control and assert his superiority for the purposes of ‘putting down’ this challenge. If the victim keeps asserting the allegation, the narcissist will continue with the denial until the victim gives up with the assertion. The narcissist has fuel and has maintained (or regained) superiority.

Sometimes the first line of defence is all that is needed to maintain the defence of the narcissist’s realm. However, if the narcissist senses that the victim believes that they are gaining the upper hand and thus has in effect broken through the first line of defence of Denial, then the narcissist will move to deploy the second line of defence which is that of Distraction and Deflection.

This second line is vast, extensive and draws on a myriad of narcissistic manipulations. Some of them are subtle and insidious, others are blatant and rudimentary. Nevertheless, they fall under the banner of Distraction and Deflection.

Returning to the example above, the increasingly exasperated victim decides to play the ace card and produces a mobile ‘phone which contains footage of the narcissist with the mystery lady, holding hands and sharing a kiss. The victim plays the footage and the narcissist watches.

The Denial could be maintained and in some instances this does happen. For instance the narcissist will state

“That’s not me, that is someone else.”

however, the narcissist will observe that the victim is displaying the signs of gaining the upper hand. The words used, tone and expression will alter to denote that the victim believes that she has now won the argument and therefore the repeated denial is not going to enable the narcissist to maintain superiority. Yes, he may continue to draw fuel from the victim if the victim continues to respond in an exasperated or incredulous manner, but the superiority has to be achieved also.

Accordingly this is where the second line of defence is activated.

The Lesser may just grab the mobile phone and smash it. This is Deflection and Distraction. Admittedly, it will not win any awards for ingenuity but this is what such an action achieves on the part of the narcissist:-

  1. The evidence that supports the victim’s challenge to the narcissist’s superiority has gone. In the compartmentalised world of the narcissist if it is not there it does not exist AND moreover it NEVER existed, accordingly

V- “You smashed it because you know I am right.”

N- “About what?”

V- “You kissing that woman.”

N- “What woman?”

v – “The one on the video.”

N – “What video?”

V- “The one I just showed you.”

N- “No you didn’t.”

Note how the first line of the defence has been resurrected. The destruction of physical property (a manipulation, albeit a base one) was deployed as a Deflection and Distraction and then the narcissist, feeling that the challenge has been addressed, deals with the follow-up challenge from the victim by reverting to the first line again and thus engages in Denial.

Returning to what this act achieves for the narcissist

2. The response of the victim to this manipulation will provide fuel;

3. Superiority is maintained through this act.

How might the Mid-Range Narcissist respond to this escalation on the part of the victim? Denial only worked so far, thus the second line of defence is deployed.

N – “What the hell do you think you are playing at?”

V – “What do you mean?”

N- “Spying on me.”

V – “What? I’m not, I am showing you what you have done.”

N- “Yes you are, I am sick of you trying to control me, spying on me like this. And I am not the only one, John said to me only last week he thinks you are very controlling.”

V- “John thinks that? How do you work that one out?”

N- “Oh he is not the only one a few of my friends think it.”

The victim then gets sucked into justifying her own behaviour, trying to defend herself against the imaginary control she apparently exerts over the narcissist. The narcissist has deployed Blame-Shifting, Triangulation and Smearing as part of the second line of defence and it has worked. Fuel is being provided and the initial allegation about cheating has been left by the way side.

The Mid-Ranger could have Distracted and Deflected by walking off and engaging in a silent treatment (absent or present) or accusing the victim of having an affair (Blame Shifting, Labelling, Projection) and therefore all manner of different manipulations can form part of this second line of defence.

How about the Greater, how might he have responded to the production of this video evidence?

He may have adopted the approach of denial to begin with, however, there is a significant chance that the Greater will have either seen what the Victim had been doing, been tipped off by someone as to what the Victim has done or ascertained from the Victim’s demeanour that there is a potential ace to be produced. Accordingly, the Greater would have not bothered with Denial to begin with. His entire confidence in the efficacy of the second line of defence to this challenge means he can dispense with the first line. Thus, the conversation may have proceeded in this manner :-

V – “I saw you in a bar this evening, Lorenzo’s, and you were with another woman.”

N – “Did you, why didn’t you come in and say hello. I was going to call you. That is Jennifer, old friend of mine.”

V- “Oh, I see, you didn’t say you were meeting her.”

N – “Did I not, I think you will find that I did. I told you a week ago about catching up with her, I haven’t seen her in ages. You have met her before, do you remember? It was when we were at the box at the racing, for Ladies’ Day last summer. You had that delightful dress on, you know, the striking green one.”

Away goes the Greater and embarks on a monologue, drawing up details from the past (real or invented), showering compliments and distracting the victim from the thrust of their complaint. In effect the Greater may deploy a Word Salad to Deflect and Distract and thus gain fuel and maintain superiority. The Greater has a vast array of potential ways of deploying the second line of the defence. For instance he might say :-

“Oh that woman, she is obsessed with me. There’s nothing to worry about. Yes she kissed me, rather presumptuous of her but can you see how I broke it off. I didn’t want her causing a scene, she’s a bit of a looney, but you’ve nothing to worry about there. You aren’t going to let someone like her come between you and me are you?” (Blame Shifting, Smearing, Triangulation, Charm)

OR

“I kissed her, so what. If you kissed me more often, this would not happen. You might want to take notice and up your game or you will lose me.” (Threat, Blame-Shifting, Triangulation)

OR

“It really is nothing, she was just being rather zealous. You know people throw themselves at me, it is you that I want. Why else am I here with you and nobody else? Now, let me feel what a real kiss feels like, hmmm?” (Flattery, Charm, Triangulation)

OR

“I was recruiting her for that threesome you said you wanted, you do remember agreeing to that don’t you? Admittedly, you were a little tipsy but you did say you wanted to do it. She will be calling me at 9 o’clock, to come round, but I wanted you to myself of course before she joins us.” (Triangulation, Gas Lighting)

The Greater will invariably rely on his charm and self-confidence to assert superiority and head off the challenge, possibly switching to the issue of threats if required. Either way, the fuel is obtained and the Deflection and Distraction line of defence remains intact and superiority is maintained and thus control with it.

Denial is the first port of call for us to maintain control (though less so with the Greater) and then the range of manipulations from Gas Lighting, Threat, Word Salad, Silent Treatment, Bullying, Intimidation, Labelling and Triangulation and more besides form part of the second line of defence. We will embed Split Thinking, Volte Face, Hypocrisy, Contradiction within this second line in order to maintain control and keep control on an even keel. Such is the breadth and depth of this second line, you will not breach it and we will keep going until you are forced into a retreat, we are fuelled and we maintain that control that is paramount to us. This is why we do as we do.

 

3+

You Should

YOU SHOULD

What is the prevailing mind-set of the Mid Range Narcissist? What is going through the mind of the member of the largest school of narcissism when an appliance has been treacherous and disloyal? Does he manifest the malice that is exhibited by the Greater school or is his response different? What is he thinking when there is treason committed in the Kingdom of Mid-Range? Whether the appliance has escaped him, exposed him, challenged him or some other capital crime against the nation-state of narcissism, the Mid-Ranger’s mind goes into overdrive. This is a glimpse inside to understand what he or she believes.

You should not have done that to me. You should be thankful for who I am. You should be giving thanks to whichever god you follow that you have someone like me in your life, someone who cares, someone who is considerate, someone who only wants the best for you. You should be ashamed of the way you have treated me. You should apologise this instant. You should say sorry to me for the way you have behaved. You should treat others the way you want to be treated and not going around behaving like you are something special. You should realise I am something special and you keep treating me terribly. You should understand that I am a good, honest and decent person and not everybody would put up with your hysterical outbursts. You should know how hard it is to love somebody like you, but I do. You should be grateful for that.

You should know who you are messing with. You should be wary of getting on the wrong side of me you know. You should make sure you keep me happy because you will not like me when I am not happy. You should be looking out for me and not gadding around after other people. You should learn what your priorities are. You should spend more time with me. You should know when to leave me alone. You should be here and doing what I want. You should try giving for once rather than doing all of this taking.

You should be more aware of the way that you treat people and especially me. You should think more about how your actions impact on me. You should take my feelings into account and stop being so selfish. You should realise just what you do hurts me. You should understand that the things you say and do to me have consequences. You should stop making it all about you and let me have a say from time to time. You should stop being so obsessed with your friends’ lives and think about our lives together. You should spend less time with your family, they do not appreciate you in the way I do.

You should stop telling lies about me. You should get your own house in order before you start telling me how I should lead my life. You shouldn’t live in a glass house you know and throw stones. You should stop being such a nasty person to someone who has only ever been good to you. You should stop smearing my name to other people. You should take a look in the mirror. You should take a good look in the mirror actually.

You should stop putting me down. You should do what I want for a change. You should come back and apologise, I am a reasonable person and you should recognise that. You should make things right again because after all this is all your fault. You should stop fighting with me, I do not know why you have to do this. You should stop trying to tie me in knots. You should be more considerate. You should think about me more. You should sort this mess out because you are the only one who has caused it.

You should see how hard I have been trying for us. You should recognise a good person when you see one. You should know I have made the changes you demanded but you should be making some of your own as well. You should realise just how much I have tried for you and me.

You should know what other people say about you. You should realise that I put up with people saying bad things about you and you should be grateful I defend you to them, but I won’t keep doing it forever. You should realise you are not as popular as you think you are. You should be aware that I am a popular person and you won’t come out of this looking good at all.

You shouldn’t treat me like this. You shouldn’t destroy what I have built. You should recognise a good person, an honest person, a truthful person like me. You should learn just what you have lost by behaving like this. You should see just how many people hold me in high regard. You should be so happy to have someone like me, someone who people think well of and they do, just ask anybody and they will tell you. You should take the time to realise that I am a good person and consider what you are doing to me, to us, to what we have.

You should stop hurting me. You should stop getting a kick out of this horrible treatment of me. You should stop being mean to someone who loves you. You should help me. You should love me more. You should show me that you mean it. You should stop with the pretence. You should be genuine like me. You should stop playing the games. You should be the person that would make your grandmother proud. You should be the best person you can be for me.

You should get some help. You should see someone. You should go to therapy. You should sort these problems out. You should stop blaming me. You should stop projecting your problems and insecurities on to me. You should stop the game-playing, I am cleverer than you so I see straight through it. You should tell the truth for once You should stop making up stories about me. You should reflect on what you do. You should get some insight into what you are actually doing. You should shut up and listen to me for once. You should go and see the doctor. You should take your medication. You should stop being such a borderline. You should stop being such an attention-seeker. You should stop dodging the issue. You should address your issues.

You should let me speak. You should give me a chance to make things right again. You should come back because you owe me. You should let me show you what I can do. You should understand sometimes I don’t know what comes over me. You should make allowances for my behaviour because you are worse. You should not focus on the handful of supposedly bad things I do when I do way more good things. You should listen to why I do those things because if you did you would realise there is always a very good reason behind it. You should understand I have to disappear once in a while because your behaviour becomes too much. You should understand I am not sulking, I am just being quiet. You should accept I have to tell people about the way you behave because otherwise I would go mental. You should think about the names I call you and realise I am actually trying to help you because otherwise you will not listen. You should stop trying to blame me for everything that goes wrong and instead be grateful for what I do for you.

You should give it a rest now because you are giving me a headache. You should go and let me rest because I have been working hard all day. You should rub my back. You should make me something to eat. You should be there when I come home. You should stay out of my way when I am fed up of you. You should ask me how I am and not keep telling me about what you want. You should stop telling me how I should behave. You should see what I have to deal with. You should try being me. You should understand how much pain I am in from my back and not complain about your own supposed ailments. You should show some consideration for me now and again. You should get off your high horse. You should give it a rest. You should try walking in my shoes. You should try being me for a day. You should look at it from my point of view. You should make allowances. You should be more tolerant.

You should do it because you want to. You should do it for us. You should have more faith. You should have more discipline. You should have more resolve. You should let me in. You should keep out. You should learn when to speak. You should learn when to stay quiet. You should be seen and not heard. You should follow me. You should watch what I do . You should learn from an expert. You should stick with me. You should be mine. You should stay away from him. You should not speak to them. You should know what is best for you. You should know home is where the heart is. You should know where you bread is buttered. You should know how lucky you are to have me.

You should come back.

You should because I say so.

You just should.

5+

Birthday Blues

birthday

They happen every year and you have come to dread the appearance of both your own birthdays and mine. You would much rather neither taken place if you are entirely honest. The day is spent treading on eggshells as you await the inevitable argument and dressing down that you will receive. The annual sense of disappointment will happen again and again and you hope somehow it will change, but it never does.

Let’s begin with my birthday. You dedicate time and money to making my birthday an enjoyable and memorable occasion. I dedicate a degree of energy to ensure that it is memorable, but for the wrong reasons. You plan something special to mark the occasion and go to considerable lengths to organise a surprise party or a trip out somewhere you believe I will like. You scour catalogues and the Internet trying to find that gift you hope will make me break out in a smile. Most normal people will be happy with half the effort you put into pleasing me on my birthday. Not me. The occasion may involve a grand day out and a spectacular gift but just as it did last year and the year before that, it will end in an argument and us lashing out at you.

On the face of it, one would imagine that just for once we would get throughout the day without causing some kind of drama. After all, the day is all about us. Exactly what we like and what we want. People wish us happy birthday, they send us cards, they give us presents and you run around lifting and carrying for us (even more than usual). The spotlight is firmly on us. We drink up all this fuel but still we want more. Every single second has to be about us. Do not expect us to thank you or anyone else who provides us with a gift. Remember, we are entitled to receive them. We may have received gifts of twenty people but you know that all we will harp on about is the person we did not get a gift from whom we expected to. That becomes the focus of our irritation. The brilliant and thoughtful gifts are left to one side as we rail against this one person who has not bought us something. It does not matter that they send a card, it does not matter that we did not send them a gift on their birthday (and never have done), and it does not matter that nobody else would expect this distant relative to send such a gift. We will raise it and repeat it and rant about it.

Woe betides you if you do not give to us the exact gift we expected. If you fail to do this we will comment and lash out at you. You cannot possibly love us since you did not give us the right gift. We conveniently ignore the fact that what you have brought us is still a wonderful gift and we actually do like it. That is not the point. It is not the gift we wanted and you will be subjected to our scathing remarks. If by sheer dint of exhaustive effort you manage, against all the odds, to work out what we want (don’t expect us to help you by explaining what we want, we expect you to know this through telepathy) and give us the right gift, do not expect smiles and thanks. We need to make a scene. Instead, we will remark,

“I see you finally got it right. It does not really make up for all the years you got it wrong does it?”

You can never win when it comes to providing us with gifts. We will always want to put you down no matter what you have done and irrespective of the effort and expense that you have gone to. We will always be unsatisfied and this will manifest in us giving you a dressing down in front of everyone at the party, or storming out of the venue at some sleight. Every year you will hear the same stinging accusation ringing in your ears,

“You’ve ruined my birthday. Again.”

When it comes to your birthday the position is just as bad. We will routinely pretend to forget about it. Do not be fooled by our repeated apparent memory lapses. We have minds that remember everything and our powers of recall are spectacular. We know your birthday is on the horizon and with most things with us it generates two reactions. On the one hand we resent the forthcoming anniversary because it is a day geared towards the individual, namely you. It is not about us and we cannot stand that. It is rare that you ever allow the spotlight to be shone on you (by now you are so used to having to point it at us, you give up on it ever being fixed on you) but you do hold out the futile notion that it might still be done on your birthday, of all days. We find this galling. This is a day that will be about you and thus where will we get our fuel? Its approach generates dread and horror inside of us.

Conversely, we relish your birthday because we know, despite every previous disappointment, you still hold out hope that this year it might just be different. You pray to your own personal god that please, just for once, the day can pass without incident and you can enjoy yourself. You are not particularly bothered about doing anything special, perhaps a meal out somewhere and the gift need not be expensive, just so long as it exhibits that some kind of thought has gone into it. Your thoughts are based on hope as opposed to expectation. It will not be different because we need to spoil it; we need to make you feel upset and demeaned. To achieve this there are various things that we will do on your birthday.

  1. We forget about it completely. If you mention at 6pm that evening that it is your birthday we will lash out at you by explaining how busy we have been at work or that there has been some other pressing matter which means that it has slipped our minds. We deliberately forget about it and we will not countenance you criticising our omission.
  2. We organise something lavish but we know it is not something you will actually like. As usual, you put a brave face on it and fix a rigid smile to your face. We know what you are really thinking because we know it is not something you like. In fact, it is more likely that we have organised something that we enjoy. We do this so that everyone else can see what a grand and delightful gesture we have made and we drink in his or her admiration. It also enables us to poke at you repeatedly suggesting that you don’t like it. We are goading you into making a tiny admission that it is not quite what you expected and then we erupt in self-indignant fury as we castigate you for being ungrateful after all the effort we have gone to.
  3. We buy some token gesture and point out that your 43rd birthday is not really something to celebrate is it? It is hardly a milestone. We then use this to remark on your advancing years and point out your various flaws.
  4. We organise a lovely birthday for you but spoil it by turning the spotlight back onto ourselves. We turn up late, we flirt with a guest or we manufacture some drama so that everyone is looking at us and not you. We complain at waiters when there is a family meal out, when there is not actual need to do so. We want to make a scene and wrench the spotlight back over to us.
  5. We remember your birthday and spend it doing what you want and we are pleasant to you until early evening when we deliberately pick a fight with you over absolutely nothing. The fuel we gain from this behaviour is all the sweeter as we have built you up, your guarded behaviour has melted away as we appear to have done everything that pleases you. We are waiting. We are waiting for you to feel good and happy and then we will cast you down so your emotional reaction is all the more heightened.

This behaviour is not just reserved for your birthday although we enjoy ruining your birthday the most. We do this with the birthdays of our children, friends and family. We hate it being about someone else and we hate seeing him or her being happy. In our world, nobody else is allowed a birthday and we believe that every day is our birthday and everyone should recognise that and act accordingly.

We know that you would rather your birthday be erased from the calendar. It is always a horrible day in one form or another and you would rather it not take place. We put a big red ring around it in the calendar in our mind and scribble next to the day the words, “ Special Fuel Day.”

3+

The Octopus of Contrariness

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?

1+