When I first meet you and I look into your eyes I find a certain sanctuary. Your optimistic eyes seem like paradise to me. I can see the hope, the desire and the adoration burning in your eyes. Be they brown, blue, green or grey I can see the promise of salvation. That is why I try so hard to win you over. I apply everything I can think of to ensure that you stay with me so I can gaze deep into your eyes and drink the delight, trust and admiration that flows from them. You have no idea how much I need to see those things. The more I show you love, affection and how interested I am in you, the greater the radiance that shines towards me and the sanctuary that you have created for me remains in place. It surrounds and protects me, keeping the pain and the hurt at bay. It is a simple formula; I shower you with affection and attention and you return to me that magical protection in the form of how you look at me. The admiring glance across the restaurant table, the wide-eyed desire when we are in bed together, the simmering passion as I undress you and the sheer adoration as you quicken your pace to cross a room or a road to meet me. I need that place of safety and respite. A sanctuary where I know that the whispering, taunting voices will be silenced. A place of salvation where that cold-fingered dread cannot grip my throat and silence my scream of terror. Those draining shades that manifest from a past which I try to consign into oblivion cannot reach me in this place. That is what I hope for and believe every time somebody new enters my life. If I can just keep you sending me the power and the protection arising from those magnificent eyes then I will be safe. I apply my every effort to maintaining that gaze which will keep the darkness and the foul creatures lurking amongst it at bay. Everything I do is geared around making you feel happy, loved and wanted so that you will keep looking at me in that way and preserving my sanctuary.
Yet, no matter how hard I try, notwithstanding every effort I apply to maintaining your state of joy and happiness, you let me down. Each time someone new appears I am given renewed hope that this time the sanctuary will be permanently preserved and each time you fail me. Why do you do this to me when I try so damn hard for you? The burning admiration that you exhibited towards me suddenly dims. The adoration that blazed across the room has lost its intensity. The shining lustre of desire has become dulled. You do this to me and in so doing you turn the key of the gates, lift the heavy bar and push them open. You do this on purpose don’t you? You breach the citadel so that the screeching, moaning and howling tormentors that have gathered beyond its walls are admitted to assault me once again as they try to pull me into the abyss of insanity. The craven creatures slither forward, their mucus-covered tendrils slipping and sliding as they seek me out, determined to coil about me and drag me silent with terror into that place I must not go. Why do you do this to me? What have I done to deserve this treatment? All I have ever done is love you with a perfect love to cause you to generate that sanctuary and now, with no warning or help, you allow the paradise to be violated by those that seek to harm me.
I am left with no option but to fight them. To muster my strength and seek to defeat these agents of darkness by gathering my rage and anger. I must lash out in all directions, often and without restraint in order to stop my tormentors from destroying me. It matters not who is caught up in this frenzy, it is incidental whether you or anyone else finds themselves collateral damage from my necessary defence of my being. I fight and fight and fight, it is exhausting but it must be done. I have to survive until the next promise of sanctuary is identified and drifts my way. There I will find peace and a place to restore my waning strength. Is it you? Perhaps this time the sanctuary will remain intact.
Once upon a time. The Princess and the Pea. Prince Charming. Snow White. Pretty Woman. Barbie and Ken. The Waltons. Hug you from behind. Breakfast in bed. Picking you up in the rain. Glimpsing you from a train and running after you. The Fabulous Baker Boys. Roman Holiday. Bouquets. Surrounded by your loving family as you pass away. Snow at Christmas. Remembered birthdays. The Little House on the Prairie. Beauty and the Beast. A Room With a View. City breaks. Walking in the foam. Holding hands. Growing old together. Gone With the Wind. The white knight. Crazy For You. The Passion. Spooning in bed. Monogamy. Rosanna. Love Me Tender. Truly Madly Deeply. A candlelit bath. The Best. Gift on the pillow. Save the Best For Last. Impromptu lunch. Dancing cheek to cheek. Someday my prince will come. Red roses. White roses. Opening doors. Up Where We Belong. Romeo and Juliet. Holding your hair. You’re the First, My Last, My Everything. Writing ‘I Love You’ in the steamed up mirror. Endless Love. I Think I Love You. Dedicating a song on the radio. Father Figure. The Power of Love. Fairytale wedding. Carved initials on a tree inside a heart. Giving you the last Rolo. Love conquers all. Love will save the day. Love’s young dream. Love is a many splendored thing. Writing poems. Love notes in a lunch box. A message in the sand. Till death do us part. Together forever. Bright young things. Never Tear Us Apart. Soulmate. Other half. My Heart Will Go On. Bridget Jones’ Diary. I’ll Stand By You. Children. A Whole New World. Paris in the spring time. Lazing in a hammock together. A log cabin by the lake. The Notebook. The Spider man kiss. Notting Hill. Rose and Jack. Letting you sleep in. Bella and Edward. Latika and Jamal. Dirty Dancing. Leading the dancing. Remembering anniversaries. In sickness and in health. When Harry Met Sally. Synchronised orgasms. Sex in the morning. Sex in the evening. Still having sex after all these years. Fidelity. Eyes only for you. An Officer and a Gentleman. Isla and Rick. Letting you first. Knowing you hate spiders. Viola and William. Stardust. Walking in the snow together. Walking through leaves together. Edward Scissorhands. Just the Way You Are. My Girl. Annie’s Song. Matching tattoos. Wearing a wedding band. I Will Always Love You. When a Man Loves a Woman. I Don’t Wanna Miss a Thing. Love is blind. Absence makes the heart grow fonder. The perfect match. Our love is predestined. It was written in the stars above. Love at first sight. Mr/Mrs Right, “My one and only,” “man/woman of my dreams,” “match made in heaven,” “love of my life,” “my true love,” “made for each,” “my perfect match,” “I met the love of my life,” “I knew this was the one.” “We were meant for each other.” “instant connection,” “clicked right away,” “chemistry at first sight,” “hit it off right away,” “experienced immediate attraction,” “instant rapport,” “completely hit it off,” “it was magical,” “you put a spell on me” . Love is a river that drowns the tender reed. The perfect house. The country idyll. Home is where the heart is. Wuthering Heights. Jayne Eyre. Twilight. The Hunger Games. Gabriel’s Inferno. Water for Elephants. Warming the bed first. Investigating a bump in the night. Holding you during a storm. Never being taken for granted. Perfection. Having it all. The Happy Ever After.
False promises and unrealistic ideals created by them.
A gateway to the false promised land, to the unrealistic ideal life offered and exploited by us.
Resorting to self-destructive and addictive behaviours in order to compensate for these failings and disappointments by becoming entangled with us again and again and again. That’s you.
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:-
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)
“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)
“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)
“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.
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.
The eyes are one of our powerful weapons. I hear so many comments made about my eyes.
“I saw the world in your eyes.”
“Everything I ever wished for, I could see in your eyes.”
“I’ve never known anyone give me such a malevolent stare.”
“You are dead behind the eyes.”
“That hollow look you give me, chills me inside.”
“Your reptilian, empty stare always unnerved me.”
When we first engage with you, we are able to reflect back at you want you desperately want. Hope, optimism, desire and trust are all mirrored in our eyes. Do not be mistaken and think that we generate those looks. We do not. All we are doing is ensuring that you see what you want to see in order to ensnare you. This mirroring serves two purposes. Firstly, it shows you what you crave for and makes us all the more attractive to you. Secondly, it masks the empty void that truly exists. Whilst my kind and me learn how to behave and act, we mimic the way in which we are expected to respond in the most favourable manner, we do not truly feel any of those things and we cannot generate it in our eyes. Everything else we are able to simulate – the laugh, the smile, the look of surprise, the intonation of elation in our voices. We have carefully crafted these facsimiles of your emotions but managing to do so in our eyes has always eluded us. We cannot fall at the first hurdle however and have you see through our charade. Accordingly, we have managed to master the mirroring technique. You want that love and hope so badly you will see it in us when you are really just seeing yourself. We hold your gaze for longer than anyone else. You are conned into thinking this is just demonstrating the intensity of our desire for you. It is not. We must look directly into your eyes to shine back at you that which you send towards us. Should we look way, the reflection may fail and we must always have you in our eye.
As with all of our pretence we are unable to maintain this deceit for long. The mirror breaks and the shards of reflection fall away leaving the chasm of emotionlessness behind. The barren hinterland beyond our eyes is all that is left, bereft of anything at all. That is why in the later stages you will see nothing when you look at us. We cannot generate those real emotions and our mirror has now failed. Our real gaze is all that is left, cold, empty and lifeless. People often remark about how the eyes are the window to the soul. Our soul left long ago and that is why you look into dead, uncaring eyes. Even though our mouth is upturned in a smile, the crows feet at the sides crease and the brow rises, our eyes betray us. Glacial and sterile they show the reality of what we are; devoid of positive emotion and spiritually bankrupt.
All that we are able to muster is hatred. Our loathing of this unjust world is so intense that it will break through when we wish to direct that hatred against you. That is when the emptiness vanishes and instead you are subjected to our laser-like, pinpoint accurate malevolent stare. I mentioned in the recollection about the cookie jar, how I had practised my withering stare one summer. This is the precursor to our malice, our antipathy and our scorn. With consummate ease we will call on it to intimidate you and signal our contempt for you. It is powerful, unwavering and unsettling. To be on the receiving end of our hateful stare is not a pleasant experience. We muster such power with our eyes, to seduce you and then to break you, but the reality is that we only have three settings. The mirror, the void and the hatred. There is nothing else. That is all that our eyes have.