Category Archives: emptiness

Perchance To Sleep

 

PERCHANCETO SLEEP.jpg

 

When I am first with you, I like to sit and look at you as you sleep. I like to see you lying there content, your arm draped across me as if checking that I am still there next to you. Your eyes are closed and your face is in a relaxed repose as I feel your chest gently rising against me. You look content, safe and loved. I wonder what you are dreaming about as a small smile plays about your lips. I often believe that it is me. The wonderful, incessant and perfect love that I furnish for you throughout your waking hours must surely continue when you are asleep. It must bleed into your sleep, percolate into your dreams and such is its all-pervasive power it makes you feel loved even when you are asleep. It is during these moments that I consider how I can continue to give you this perfect love that you rightly deserve. I can see what a good and decent person that you are. I feel the admiring love that you pour over me and I know it is genuine, I can tell a fraud at a hundred paces and you are no such thing. It is entirely understandable that you flow with this love for me, who would not when faced with being the object of my perfect love? I look down at you, your delicate features framed in the low lamp light that I have kept on in the bedroom solely for this purpose. You seem so fragile and vulnerable as you lie there, unaware that I am watching over you. I want to protect you; I want to shield you from the darkness that is out there and keep you safe. You deserve nothing less because you give me such a wonderful love in return and I must protect you. I must ensure that my investment remains cherished and loved. It is during these moments as I sit and look at you that I know I must truly love you. How can I not when I feel such a sense of responsibility over your well-being. Look at you; still, perfect and oblivious. Who could not fail to love someone like you? Who could not fail to have such a care for your well-being? Who could ever cause that beautiful face to frown and crease in bewildered pain? Who could cause a solitary tear to trickle from your eyes and spill down those flawless cheeks? I cannot bear to think about you being hurt, feeling sad and in pain. I feel a deep-seated desire to look after you, to keep the darkness from your door and ensure that you are always only ever happy and loved. This sense of being your guardian is strong. I feel anger at the thought of anybody lashing out and wounding you, someone causing this perfect creature to feel anguish, pain and concern. I lay a hand on your shoulder and you shift slightly in your sleep acknowledging this gentle gesture of protection. You face nudges against me as if you know what I am thinking and you feel safe and wanted.

Yet for all these thoughts I know that this is purely the way I am expected to think about you. This is how I should act in order to maintain the façade of our relationship so that you continue to give me what I want. I sit and wrestle with these thoughts. Are they genuine? Are they what I truly feel about you yet I know I do not. I know that the apparent abhorrence that I manufacture at the thought of you being hurt is purely an artifice because it will be me that eventually causes your hurt. It will be me that will twist that beautiful smile into a gash of despair. It will be me that makes that light voice become wracked with anxiety and pain. It will be my words that wound and my actions that scar. For all the tenderness that I apparently exhibit as I sit here now looking over you, I know, as sure as the world keeps turning and that the sun rises in the east, that I will be the one that will bring you to your knees. I will have you feeling exhausted, crazed and desperate and as I sit and recognise that I am the architect of your downfall I feel nothing. I feel no guilt, no despair or remorse because those things have been stripped from me. I was never made to experience those sensations and that is why I know I will do as I do to you, as I have to all the others before me and I will only feel one thing; power. That raw and visceral power which I must have. I am blessed with sufficient insight and intellect to know that what I do is wrong. I can see the tears in your eyes, hear your begging and see your hunched broken frame which tells me that you are hurting and I caused this. Yet for all of this understanding I am unwilling and unable to do anything about it because I am not forged with the desire or the tools to do so. This is what I am and better you remain asleep, oblivious to what is really looking down on you.

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Knowing Everything Yet Nothing

The people that know me and interact with me often remark that I always seem attuned to people and my environment. They remark about how I know so much about certain things, that I have clearly experienced a lot and retained the benefit of this experience. My awareness of matters is high and it is often commented on how I am able to “plug in” to something and instantly understand it, know how it works and what to do. Whether it is a meeting, discussion or event, I always fit in. I am not going to disagree with those comments.

Let us imagine that you are a massive football (soccer for our transatlantic cousins) fan. I listen to how you analyse a forthcoming match and discuss the impact of an expensive new signing. I carefully pay attention as you detail how the opposition centre-half is weak on short passes played into the penalty area. I see your eyes widen and light up with interest as you debate these issues with fellow fans. I make a careful note of what is said by you and the others and store it so that I can regurgitate it later to someone else who is similarly interested in football and pass it off as my own knowledge and observations. I do this with conviction so that nobody recognises that these comments are not my own. I spent the morning before the match that we are attending, reading the sport sections of two quality newspapers and also the satellite broadcaster’s webpage for the match, along with other bits and pieces from around the internet in order to assemble my knowledge for this, our first match together. I knew from your social media postings that you are a passionate fan of this team and as I targeted you I pretended I was as well. I managed to recall key trophies the team had won and recent events from the football club’s website to enable me to demonstrate I was also a committed fan. In the course of the discussion with you and your friends who are also die-hard fans I trot out a piece I memorised from a football writer, tweaking it here and there to give it a ring of authenticity as I explain how the captain, sorry our captain, needs a holding midfielder alongside him to allow him to venture further forward and play key balls to the lone man up front. You all nod in agreement showing admiration in my knowledge despite it being acquired elsewhere. I feel the fuel flowing.

I attend the match with you and see how excited you are by the occasion. Your conversation speeds up as you talk about the team the manager has selected. The smell of beer and hot dogs and pies mixes together on the concourse, heightening the occasion as the singing from the away fans drifts from inside the stadium. An event like this assails the senses. The press of the crowd as it makes its way inside seems to lend energy to you and your pace quickens, causing me to have to speed up to ensure I am not left behind. Once in our seats your face shows how you are eagerly anticipating the game, the chanting and shouting already loud, bouncing around the stadium and competing with the delivery of the pa announcer. All around me I can see nervous anticipation, bullish enthusiasm and well-founded confidence. I listen to the chants so I learn the words enabling me to join in. I watch you as you crane forward in your seat, eyes fixed on the unfolding match, fists clenched and repeated utterances issued loudly to urge your team on. I mimic your exhortions and body language, leaning towards the pitch and then jumping up as your team, now our team, opens the scoring. You hug me and I return the hug, jumping up and down in a replica of the delight that washes across the home crowd. The taunting chants aimed at the opposition ring out and I readily join in, gesturing towards the disconsolate faces in the adjoining stand. A second goal is scored, this time from the cries of delight and the conjoining of profanity and blasphemy the goal is clearly of both quality and importance.

“That puts us on top of the league on goal difference,” you explain as if you are able to see that I am wondering why there is such a heightened reaction to this second goal. I know however that you are not wondering that at all. I know that you are thrilled that I am embracing with such enthusiasm the match, sharing the main passion in your life. I join in with the cheers, the shouting, the cries of frustration and disappointment, the barracking of the referee when he makes a poor decision and ensure I am fully integrated with the experience. I look around me watching the passion, the hope, the fury and the delight etched on the other supporters. The stadium is a cauldron of noise and emotion. I am plugged into this experience alongwith fifty five thousand other people. I can see the emotions are raw and visceral, even primitive.

I see all of this around me yet I feel none of it. I merely mimic everyone else in order to fit in. I am attached to the experience but I feel nothing. I am completely detached from it. All it does is serve  a purpose to enable me to create and build bridges and ties with you. I can see how it all affects you, it is clear to see. I am there yet I am not. I am connected yet removed. This is how it feels, or rather, this is how it does not.

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The Crying Game – Part Two

 

 THE CRYING GAMEPART TWO

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

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

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

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

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

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

“Why?”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Dr E nodded and made a note.

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

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

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

I shook my head.

“And your father?” he asked.

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

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

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

“Why?” asked Dr E.

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

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

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

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

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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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‘Til Death Do Us Discard

 

 

The word ‘discard’ is well-known in the lexicon of the narcissistic world. It forms one of the four cornerstones of the narcissistic embrace. The seduction, the devaluation, the discard and the hoover. Discard brings with it a sense of finality. The impression that we have extracted everything we can from you and that we are finally done with you. You have served your purpose and we no longer have any use for you. I do not think discard is an accurate description. We certainly toss you aside with no concern for your well-being or emotional state. We suddenly stop communicating with you. You cannot contact us as we vanish, walking off the face of the earth. If you receive some kind of half-baked explanation, then you ought to consider yourself as lucky to receive even that. We are, however, never done with you. The discard as such is a temporary cessation to the dance that you and I engage in.

I have written elsewhere of the main reasons why we discard and chief among them is the fact that we have acquired a new toy. You are old, stale and no fun anymore so you are left at the bottom of the toy box as we become infatuated with our new shiny and glittering toy. Of course your discard is not permanent. Once I selected you, you had a role to fulfil for the rest of your life when it comes to me. You have no choice, so far as I am concerned, in respect of this role. I assigned it to you and I regard you as obligated to carry it out forever. I may decide that I require you again for the purposes of triangulation. I may want the new primary source to pump out even more positive fuel because they feel threatened by your re-appearance. Like some corpse, we resurrect you in order to unnerve the new primary source. We will hoover you and tempt you with the prospect of winning our favour once again. When we triangulate you in this fashion you can rest assured that what is being said to you will be said in a similar way to the new primary source. We may comment to you: –

“She is just someone to pass the time with, she is nowhere near as special as you are to me.”

Around the same time, we will be telling your replacement primary source,

“Don’t worry about her. She cannot let go. I am not surprised really because I did so much for her, but it is you I want, you are so special, far more than she ever was.”

You are spurred on by such encouragement and double your efforts to please me in the hope of winning me back. The replacement is spurred on by such encouragement and she doubles her efforts to keep me and ensure you prove to be no temptation to me.

We will bring you back if the new prospect turns out to be less effective than we thought. We decide that they need to be consigned to the scrap heap quicker than usual and therefore we will turn to that person we know. You. We know all about you and how you will react and therefore it is far easier to return to you and hoover you than seek someone new again. This has the added benefit that the passage of time will have allowed you to recover from our abuse but also the longing that we imbue in you, when we discard, will continue to gnaw away at you and thus when we decide we have ended the “discard” you are easy to hoover.

We may be utterly delighted with your replacement but decide we will end the “discard” in order to punish you further. At this stage we have no interest in engaging in a romantic and intimate relationship with you again. Your replacement serves that role most effectively. No, we want to punish you. We will hoover you in an unpleasant and savage way, smearing you and parading your replacement around to all and sundry and explaining how wonderful it is to be with someone who truly understands us, loves us and is not abusive as you were.

We may toss you aside and come nowhere near you for weeks, months and even years. We know that the nature of this “discard” is such that no matter how hard you try; you remain vulnerable to being sucked back in. This is because you have not been able to cope with the ever presence we created and your frequent reminders of the golden period. It is also because you want answers, finality and understanding and because we flounced off the face of the earth, you did not get those things and the desire to receive them remains strong even years later.

We do not truly discard you. We push you to one side but you serve many purposes afterwards. You recover so your fuel provision increases again, you are the provider of both positive and negative fuel, dependent on how we hoover you. You are needed for the triangulations we wish to deploy. This cycle of picking you up and putting you down again, as and when suits us, is one that will go on and on until such time as you decide to break the pattern of “discards” and escape instead. Of course when you try to escape us we do not regard this as ending our binding arrangement. You are mis-guided, perhaps listening to the biased voices of others which is affecting your judgement. You, in our minds, do not get to choose when the arrangement ends. All the way through our lives, we will use you and then push you to one side before coming back again at some future point. If you allow us the means of contact by drifting into our sphere of influence again then we will hoover you, because the opportunity is too good to pass up. You are then drawn in, the cycle commences once more and a further “discard” will happen. You can see by the repeated nature of this process that there is no real discard, only a temporary cessation to our entanglement, but one tendril always remains wrapped around, continuing the connection so that we can draw you back in at our choice.

Even if you take steps whereby you expose us for what we are or reveal us to other people who accept what you say, we will withdraw to lick our wounds but this discard is temporary also. We still want your fuel and we want it badly. We also have a desire for revenge. We may not resume matters in a benign method when this happens and instead opt for the malign approach in order to extract fuel, but the entanglement will begin again at some future point.

We put you down but you can always be picked up again. Rest assured that this will happen repeatedly and even if you think the nature of the discard was so harsh, so savage and seemed so final, it was not. We will return, if able and do it all again.

The only true discard of our toxic entanglement is when of us dies. Only then is there finality.

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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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