Category Archives: emptiness

The Narcissist’s Reality Gap

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The Lesser Narcissist. Whether it is the out and out loser that is the Lower Lesser, the usually useless Middle Lesser or the successful but overbearing bully that is the Upper Lesser, the three have certain common traits. One of these traits is their delusional state. The Lesser exists in a bubble convinced of his or her good looks or innate strength or irresistible sexiness. They think everybody likes them, they think if you don’t then you must be an idiot and you are not worth bothering with. They believe themselves to be great at sport, or writing, or whatever hobby and if they do not win or receive an accolade well the game was fixed, the paint was the wrong sort or the judges are retarded. After all, anybody who cannot see that the Lesser is a swaggering champion, well, they must need their head seeing to, right?

The Lesser cruises through life doing what he or she wants, taking whatever they want, behaving as they please and nobody is allowed to stop or interfere with this god-given right. They are completely oblivious to their shortcomings – that bloated beer belly just shows a certain joie de vivre, going bald is a sign of virility, wearing that same jacket is a mark of classic attire. Their narcissism enables them to maintain their perceived superiority (where often none exists) through the application of this delusion. They just do not see their failings, their inadequacies and failures. The self-defence mechanism of the Twin Lines of Defence will either deny any such failing or deflect it away by ascribing it to being the fault of someone or something else. Thus, the Lesser escapes culpability, maintains superiority, gathers fuel and barrels through his or her life wreaking havoc all around and never suffering consequences.

Now, the fuel crisis will cause the bubble to burst, but this article is not about the effect of the fuel crisis but rather the reality gap. When fuelled, the Lesser suffers no reality gap whatsoever. He or she is oblivious and served totally by the delusions of their narcissistic perspective because that is what enables them to exist and function.

What then of the Greater? There is no doubting that the Greater can point to substance to support those bold pronouncements. Look at the money, the high status career, the successful public life, the adoring crowds, the power that is wielded, the records made, the books sold, the art created, the countries invaded, the factories opened, the gadgets invented and the elections won. From captain of industry, Olympic champion, pop star, politician, royal, leader, spin doctor, fixer, striving executive, acclaimed actor, feted artists through to hundreds of other positions and roles, the Greater populates the higher echelons of achievement. His or her narcissism has enabled such an ascent. With no sense of remorse, no conscience, the desire to be the best, a total belief in one’s ability, a sense of entitlement and operating with absolute expediency it is little wonder that the Greater narcissists clamber into these positions.

Is there delusion with the Greater? Indeed and it manifests in the form of embellishment and exaggeration because the innate paranoia of the narcissist means that it is never enough. He may be popular but he sees that he is immensely popular because the narcissism demands it. The narcissism enabled him to scale the heights of political power to begin with and then feeds the need to stay there and want more and more and more because non sufficit orbit terrarum.

Thus the Greater will have considerable power but sees its reach as being even further. He has wealth but embellishes its degree. The narcissistic perspective insists on there being a reality greater than there is. It is even better than the real thing. The combination of that which has been achieved and the belief in added achievement results in the application of power on a tremendous scale, which in turns feeds the narcissism. Round and round it goes. There may be a reality gap, but similar to the Lesser, it is not apparent to the Greater save when the effects of a fuel crisis manifest.

What of the Mid-Range Narcissist? He or she can also achieve. Not on the scale of the Greater but beyond the Lesser. The Mid Range Narcissist, particular Middle Mid Range and Upper Mid Range will secure success, good jobs, excellent incomes, academic achievements, sporting achievements and so forth. Many friends, well-liked by family and the community (that good old facade at work there) and convinced of their own innate goodness.

However one of the fundamental differences between the Lesser and Greater Narcissists compared to the Mid Ranger is the basis on which the application the reality gap operates. The Lesser’s superiority is based on aggressive provocation, albeit in a rudimentary and base manner. The Greater’s superiority is also based on aggressive provocation but in a far more streamlined, refined and magnificent manner. The Mid-Ranger’s perceived superiority has its foundation placed on passive provocation – the silent treatments, the jealous smearing, the office politicking, the pity plays and so forth.

The consequence of this is that this passive, defensive superiority, as opposed to the driving, thrusting aggressive superiority of the other two schools, results in the Mid Range Narcissist suffering periodic reality gaps. He of course will have them and in a massive way as a consequence of a fuel crisis but as stated above, that is not the subject of this article.

The Mid Range Narcissist is afflicted by episodic instances of a detachment between his narcissistic perspective and reality. This is part of his narcissism because this is what enables him or her to operate in a passive aggressive manner through seeking sympathy, exhibiting jealousy, inviting pity and demanding help and support. The Mid Range Narcissists will occasionally get a glimpse of what he is as opposed to what he wants to be. He suddenly sees he is the middle manager salary man and not on the fast track to the board. Whereas the Lesser sees he is holding a semi-skilled position on the factory floor he either sees that as what is best for him and he wouldn’t want to be a “white collar wanker” or he believes he has never made it to management because the existing managers are cocksuckers who are clueless and have no idea how to run a company. The Greater is either at the board already or on his way. The Mid Range Narcissist once believing he was destined for that executive position suddenly realises he is not. He once believed he brought influence to bear beyond his current status because he was talented and just ripe for promotion, he is suddenly aware that this is not the case. The football career was not as glittering as he wanted it to be. She is not as popular as she wants to be. She isn’t able to win the races as she desires to.

The shortfall between what the Mid Range wants to be and believes him or herself to be and what they actually are manifests and delivers a crushing blow to the Mid Range. It can come out of nowhere, a sudden fountain of self-loathing which surges up unexpected and unwelcome. The Mid Range Narcissist immediately seeks to escape this reality gap by complaining, raging, sulking or smearing. Their jealousy of those who are what the Mid Range wants to be is unfettered. Their dejection at their position requires immediate succour from those around them, to flow with pity and sympathy until the moment has passed and with it the danger to their existence.

Accordingly, should you ever witness a Mid Range Narcissist exhibiting some kind of panic attack, a wailing and bemoaning of his or her lot in life even though there is no fuel crisis evident, then you have witnessed the appearance of the Mid Range narcissist’s reality gap.

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To Have Not To Hold

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You can have our kind but you cannot hold on to us. We will not permit it. We are the archetypal individuals who you can experience, you can love, enjoy, cherish and so many other things but the one thing you may not do is hold on to us.

We allow you to have us because what we give you is constructed and comes at no great cost to us. Instead it allows us to gain. By being generous with our supposed love, passionate with our words, highly desirable with our sexual prowess, charming, flattering and everything else which you associate with out love bombing of you, we want you to have it all. We want you to have all of our charm, our magnetism, our illusion. We want you to drown in it, become engulfed by the blazoning lights and soothing sounds, swamped by the seductive desire that we sweep across you like a tsunami. You can have it all because the more we give you, the more likely you will be carried away by this tidal wave of false love. The more sugar we pour over you, the sweeter the golden period and the greater your addiction to us becomes. Naturally,the extent of how much you can have of us is governed by our energy levels and our capacity for control, so that the experience is all the more fuller should you be ensnared by a Mid Ranger than a Lesser and many times more intense should you fall prey to a Greater.

You can have all of our time because it serves our purposes. All of our focus is yours, you get our near undivided attention as we pull out all the stops to seduce and conquer. You can have our financial resources as we spend money on you (even when we may not have the money to spend on you – incurring debt or using someone else’s resources) , take you to places, book interesting days out, tempting nights out and utilise financial muscle, whether ours or borrowed from  bank or devalued victim, in order to let you have the full on magical experience that is being seduced by us.

We will grant you access to our friends, which of course is just allowing the façade to wrap around you and convince you of our bona fides, our supportive and attractive coterie all so giving of their time to you, praising us and welcoming you.

We will allow you to have a route to all of our favourite things, although of course this is manufactured in order to actually allow you to attach to your favourite things as we mirror your likes, your desires and your hopes back at you, but it is still giving of us.

The Somatic and Elite cadres will allow you to have us physically as the weapon of mass seduction that is sex, is rolled our to delight you. You are apparently given access to our most intimate of levels, in a series of steamy and orgasmic encounters as we utilise our well-practised sexual skills in conjunction with the whole orchestrated seduction of you to create an intense and mesmerising experience.

We may move you in, a supposedly generous act as we allow you to have closeness and regular time with us, all engineered of course to maintain our façade of pleasantry and reliability as you are bound closer to us. In some instances we perhaps allow you to have what could be considered the ultimate act of ‘having’ as we give you our seed or our womb for the purposes of the creation of new life.

Yes, by allowing you to have so much of us, we create the image of someone who gives, someone who sacrifices, who thinks of you before we think of ourselves and thus you, understandably, fall for this and truly believe you have us. You do have us but it is for, in the scheme of things, a fleeting instance. A mere moment in vastness of time and for all of its wonder and brilliance, you are allowed to have us but you cannot hold us.

We cannot allow this to happen because we will turn matters around, in order to ensure that our hunger for fuel is addressed, in order to cater for our slavish devotion to the maintenance of superiority and in order to assert our right to do as we please, when we please, how we please and with whom we please.

You cannot hold us. You cannot keep us. We regard ourselves as that omnipotent force that is not beholden to boundaries, constraints and bondage. You have no say over what we do. You are not there to impose your rules on us, keep us in check or prevent us from seeking out what we need in order to maintain our existence. Indeed, the prevention of you keeping us is material in ensuring that the threat of our departure is something that keeps you working hard to please us,to provide that fuel, be it positive or negative and to allow us to keep you just where we want you. We can keep a hold of you of course, that is the nature of the narcissistic covenant, but as usual, what applies to you will not apply to us and vice versa.

We make the decisions. We choose. We execute and operate. We are not there to be bound to one person and especially one which will invariably fail us. We consider ourselves as beyond such things and therefore the notions of faithfulness, fidelity and monogamy are cast out as evicted tenants from the House of Narc.

We want you to try to hold on to us, that is part of our game playing. We want you to strive to keep us, to exert your every waking moment to clinging on to us but it can never happen. We are programmed to reject that desire to keep us as you want us to be. There is no hope for it to happen, but we will give you that false hope, through the respite periods and the periodic resumption of the golden period. You are led to believe that you have managed to keep us, that you can continue to have us and to hold us, but it will not last and it cannot last because the concept of being beholden to you and just you will ultimately run contrary to our needs and as you are well-acquainted with the idea now, our needs must always come first.

We decide when we come back, we decide when the false love is shown to you again, we decide when you get to see us, get to speak to us and receive our attention, seduction, fury or disdain. We must behave this way to shore up our idea of being the one who calls the shots, who makes the decisions and pulls the strings because we dare not contemplate for too long what would happen if we allowed you to take hold of matters.

We will always let you have us, but you will never be allowed to hold us.

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Why Does The Narcissist Seem So Odd?

WHY DOES THENARCISSISTSEEM SO ODD?

 

It is accurate to state that we operate in three essential states. There are varying degrees within those states, differing levels of intensity which are affected by factors such as the type of narcissist that we are, what we require from you, the level of empathic individual you are as well as several others. Nevertheless, there are three basic states. The first, as you would expect, is the golden setting. We are at our most wonderful, most brilliant and most loving when in this state. This always appears during our seduction of you and we will reinstate it from time to time and often when we hoover you in order to suck you back in and keep you hanging on to us. The second is the dark setting when we instigate our devaluation of you. This dark setting allows us to deploy our various machinations against you, a variety of different  manipulations as the abuse begins and we make your life particularly unpleasant. This requires effort and energy on our part and whilst we will be rewarded with fuel, a certain degree of application is required to use these manipulations against you. When we unveil our dark setting it is upsetting and confusing but often you will find some reason to explain our behaviour. It is usually the wrong reason but you will find one nevertheless as you like to understand and have a reason to explain why someone is behaving in a certain way towards you – you decide we are stressed, tired, hungover, in need of affection or perhaps you are unduly harsh on yourselves so that you, in that usual empathic manner, blame yourself for the behaviour we have meted out against you. Perhaps you did not listen when you ought to have done, perhaps you should have realised that we wanted to go out tonight, or that we would not want chicken for a second time this week.

There is a third setting and this often proves more confusing than our unpleasant dark setting. This setting might be regarded as a neutral setting, somewhere between the golden and the dark, but it is not. This setting is on the road to the dark setting and is closer to that than the golden. This particular setting is the stranger setting.

There will be times when we do not wish to apply considerable energy to our continued devaluation of you, but the devaluation must continue. It may not be as harsh, since there is no shouting, no violence, no insults and such like. It is not the golden period because we show no affection, we do not do things for you and we do not exhibit any of the charm that once flowed so readily from us. During this stranger setting we are neither wonderful nor awful but we behave like someone who doesn’t really know you and you are certainly left feeling like you are dealing with somebody else.

If you telephone us we will not dole out a silent treatment and ignore your repeated calls. We will not answer in less than a ring and speak to you with affection and enthusiasm, instead we answer and engage in a monosyllabic conversation. It is like drawing teeth. We confirm that nothing is wrong and you may think there is but we have not responded angrily or harshly. We have not accused you of anything, we have not labelled you in some way but the conversation is flat. It is as if our personality, whether golden or dark has vanished and left almost an automaton in its place. We function, we talk about our day but with little detail and certainly no enthusiasm. We ask questions of you but they are polite and perfunctory as if we are just going through the motions. There is no nastiness, no backbiting or sneering. It is difficult to process because it is not nothing, that cannot be the case because we are talking to you, but it feels like nothing.

We may call around to see you but it feels like an inspector has called around. We sit, we decline a drink that you offer us and we answer your questions without offering you anything much in return. Where has the charmer gone? Where has the monster gone? Who is this stranger that looks like us, sounds like us but is not behaving like us? You cannot accuse us of being unpleasant but it feels unpleasant because you are dealing with someone you do not recognise. Any questions about what is wrong with us are politely answered and you are assured there is not a problem, but we seem lifeless. You flatter us, compliment us and whilst we accept them there is no spark of interest, there is no response.

Why are we like this? Why is this being done? Why do we seem like someone else? It is as if we have been abducted by aliens in the night and replaced with a robot which is neither wonderful nor savage but is frustratingly something else. This third setting occurs during the devaluation period. It is not a respite from devaluation as that is the golden setting once more. It is clearly not the dark setting as that is the rolling out of nastiness and abuse. This third setting is an indicator of the calm before the storm. Whilst there are occasions where we might switch from golden to dark setting in the blink of an eye, this third setting is used when we wish to conserve energy in readiness for unleashing a particular savage next stage in the devaluation as we will move to the dark setting and crank it up to eleven. You are not cruising along being driven by fair winds, nor are you being thrown up and down buffeted by a storm, instead you are becalmed or moved along by a weak breeze. This is the time we are girding our loins, gathering information and plotting. The switch of functions to the organisation and scheming of what is to come, along with the intense outpouring of energy required to sustain the vicious intensifying of this devaluation means we adopt this near automatic state. You may not ever see this happen dependent on the nature of the narcissist you have become entangled with, but when you do, you should be aware that a storm is brewing and not just any old storm but a supercell storm of savage and damaging proportions. This is a warning.

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Attachment Is The Seat Of Misery

ATTACHMENT IS THE SEATOF MISERY

This is a capricious, arbitrary and hostile world. It must be brought to heel, tamed and subjected to the exertion of control. My control.

This is why I must cause every appliance that I come across to become attached to me. From my next door neighbour who I say hello to and exchange banal pleasantries with for the sake of my façade (even though I would readily drive a rusty meat hook through his malformed cranium if he tells me again about the refurbishment details of his latest property acquisition) through to my friends who join me for drinks on a Friday evening through to the latest girlfriend that I parade, all of them must be attached to me.

The creation of my construct is the device which causes these individuals to become attached to me. That magnificent edifice which is created from the mirrors which I show towards those whose paths I cross. Make the ticket inspector smile on the train by supporting him dealing with a obstreperous teenage passenger, encourage a friend in his plans to lose weight, show that prospective IPPS her own hopes and desires so she begins to fall in love. All of that is the work of the construct which is designed to draw each and every source – from the tertiary through to the ever-so-crucial Intimate Partner Primary Source – to me and cause them to attach to me.

Whether the barista thinks I am a pleasant and loyal customer, a junior colleague considers me an inspirational boss, the lady I pass every other day whilst out running gives me a smile of acknowledgement and admiration, whether a friend considers me someone he can turn to for advice, whether she falls hopelessly in love with me; there are thousands of different ways for these appliances to attach to me.

It might be a jealous co-worker who seethes at my arrogance, the nervous supplier who dreads my call demanding what is behind his company’s latest cock-up, the weeping cast off who was once the apple of my eye but is now a maggot-infested windfall, all of them remain attached to me.

It is through causing these appliances to be attached to me that I can exert control as I assimilate them into my world. They are mine to control, to utilise, to extract from and through this I can then control my environment. By controlling my environment I aim to minimise the traitorous ambush or the treacherous mutiny. Keeping everything in its place, subject to my control and functioning as I require it, means I drive forward and order is maintained.

Attachment is the key to achieving this. I have to draw you in, hook you, grip you, I have to bond you to me, bind you so you do not escape me, clamp you in place, tie you down and secure the attachment. I will give you the illusion of the golden period, I will lie to you, I will give you generosity, I will show you largesse, I will even exhibit some form of manufactured intimacy, kindness and support, the promise of fuel and the years of practised scrutiny enabling me to give you what you want so I secure your attachment.

Yet for all these fuel pipelines that are connected to me, for all of the bridges that have been built, the links which have been carefully constructed, they are all one-way. It is you being attached to me. I feel no attachment to you.

That is why I am so able to turn on the person that I supposedly love and watch as the tears trickle down the disbelieving face as I lambast her for wearing the wrong shade of red or turning up two minutes late. That is why I can lie between the silken thighs of another and promise her the world whilst you lie awake wondering where I am and praying that I have not been involved in a road accident. That is why I can assure you that you will be promoted by year end and in the next meeting offer it to somebody else instead. That is why I can decide not to turn up to the dinner party you have spent a month planning and go and watch a film elsewhere. That is why I can smash your grandmother’s watch with a ballpein hammer as you observe, in a fit of hysterics.

My lack of attachment allows me to disappoint, renege, cheat, lie, provoke, hurt, torture and abuse. It gives me fluidity, mobility and efficiency. I am not hampered by guilt, nor remorse or a sense of obligation. I form no attachment with you. I do not feel it.

You may ask me what I might think of those who I interact with and I can conjure up the tributes and platitudes in an instant:-

“John? Excellent worker, never lets the company down, a key member of the team.”

“She is a wonderful woman, I do not know what I would do without her. She is my world.”

“He is amazing. First name on the team sheet every week.”

“NarcSide Inc? Fucking brilliant. Use them. I did once. Never gone anywhere else.”

But for all of this I feel nothing by way of attachment. I bolt you on to me, but I will not attach to you. What does attachment bring? Nothing but misery. Look around and you will see the woe and pain that being attached brings for people.

You become attached to a pet dog which will die in 10 years’ time and you cry for the loss of your furry friend. Why? Why attach to something that is only going to leave you?

You are attached to your employer and show loyalty? What for? So they can bend you over and shaft you by making you redundant and show you the door without even a tub of lube to ease the pain of the experience?

You are attached to your house, but you have to sell it, or it burns down, or it is flooded, or someone breaks in and yet more pain is dumped on you.

You are attached to your friend and share everything with that person and then one day he is mowed down by an articulated lorry and is left nothing but a smear on the road. You are distraught, besides yourself with grief because of your attachment.

You attach yourself to a lover, a girlfriend, a husband, a partner only for them to cheat on you, to leave you for someone else, to shuffle off this mortal coil pumped full of morphine or grasping their chest as a heart attack takes them from you. Your world comes crashing in, you are shattered, besides yourself with grief and it is all because of your attachment.

You attach yourself to offspring only for them to disappoint you, leech from you, turn to an unsavoury lifestyle which embarrasses you and dismays you because you are attached to them. Or you are always worrying how they are getting on at school, will they secure that job, pass their driving test, find a good man or woman? Your feelings are put through the mill owing to this attachment.

Oh I know you will tell me that you gain so much from these attachments, love, happiness, support, understanding, companionship, joy, loyalty, a sense of achievement and more besides. I have heard it before, but I see over and over again the misery that always arises from these attachments. It is not worth it.

It is far better to never become attached in the first place. I cannot trust. How can I when I was given a salutary and compelling lesson that if you try to attach all you receive in return is rejection and misery. Better not to bother. Build the wall, dig the moat, put up the barriers, do not allow anybody in and in so doing you prevent these weakening attachments from occurring and you save yourself the inevitable, and it is always inevitable, misery that is waiting around the corner.

Yet for me, I do not even have to contemplate creating that tower or ensuring that the ditch is dug deep. I do not have to roll out the figurative barbed wire and electric fences to keep people out. This is all done for me because I do not know how to connect with someone. I have no idea how it is done.

I can attach them to me. That is easy. I have been doing it for as long as I can remember. A combination of brilliance, charm, magnetism, manipulation and the identification of those from the strong to the weak and back again who are the best for succumbing to being attached to me. I can bring that about through all of the various seduction techniques I have described before.

Yet for all of that power of attraction, which few can resist, from tertiary to secondary to primary source, I do not know how to form an emotional attachment with someone. I may align interests and outcomes and sense a mutuality of purpose but I feel nothing for these appliances. There is no bond. There is nothing attaching me to them. The emptiness within me, the void which I seek to fill with fuel from all those in my fuel matrix pervades my relationship with those in that matrix. I am hollow and that echoes in my relationships with all those around me.

Whatever it is that compels you to feel connected to somebody else, whatever you describe it as and I have heard people do so on many occasions, I remain unable to sense and experience it myself.

There is just nothing there.

Does this trouble me? No. I see the misery that comes with attachment and I see my inability to connect to anybody as an advantage so I am spared what happens to so many others.

The Creature had all of that and it can keep it.

I rose from the seat of misery and I found a new throne.

 

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Perchance To Sleep

 

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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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