HOW THE NARCISSISTTURNS A TRAITAGAINST YOU.jpg

The chime of my ‘phone alerted me to the arrival of a text. There was nothing unusual in that. Scores arrive daily and this rises to beyond a hundred and more when the glorious seduction has commenced of a fresh, prime target. I looked over with half-interest to my ‘phone and see a name which attracted a greater level of interest. It is from Jane. An ex. One of the many exes. I stopped what I was doing and reached for my ‘phone and opened up the message.

“It would be 2 years today x”

A flame rose inside of me at this sudden provision of fuel. Even better it was unsolicited. Goodness me, would it have been two years? How time flies. The power flowed, generated by this welcome dollop of fuel. Dear Jane, always the one for remembering dates. She sent me a card and a gift to mark 1 month together. She pole-danced for me to commemorate one month since we first had sex (no the pole-dance and the card and gift were on different dates, just in case you were wondering. I am a gentleman after all). She sent a card to remind me that is was three months since our first kiss, a month since I first stayed overnight at her house, six months since we first set eyes on another. I used to call her the Chronicler for her ability to remember the anniversary of certain key moments in our relationship. At first I was suitable impressed by her memory and power of recall but then I realised that she had assistance. On one particular occasion I was having a good look around her house whilst she was out, opening draws, cupboards and so on in order to learn more about this enticing individual who I had seduced and in the process of this trawl I found a diary. At the rear she had a list of key moments in our relationship with the date written next to it. First date, first kiss, first time we had sex, first time pet name was used, first weekend away, first “I love you” and so on. Each milestone, from the trivial to the fundamental had been carefully written in her neat hand-writing (she always wrote with a Mont Blanc fountain pen – something which I liked until I decided to bend the nib one day after she accused me of forgetting her mother’s birthday. I didn’t forget. I deliberately did not remember). Each moment, each occasion had been carefully committed to the rear of this diary and beside it the date inserted as well. I was impressed and as I sat reading it, I felt the fuel of her dedication and admiration pouring over me. She was not there to do it but I knew from reading those neat entries just how much we meant to her, just how important I was and the fuel flowed. I remember sitting on her bed clasping the leather bound diary and realising that Jane was meeting my expectations and that I had such high hopes for her. The reminders and commemorations kept coming. She never forgot anything. Naturally the more traditional anniversaries – birthdays, Christmas and so forth were addressed and not only for me, but close friends, family and even Matrinarc.

Of course this slavish devotion to the recollection of events could not go unused by me. When she fell from grace and her denigration and devaluation began I would always send her a reminder written in black ink (using a superior Mont Blanc fountain pen) on a crisp piece of thick white paper inserted into a stylish small envelope. I would leave these reminders on her pillow, on her car seat, under her windscreen wiper, in her bag, on her laptop and so forth.

–         1 week since I last spoke to you –

–         2 months since our first argument –

–         5 days since I rang you –

–         A month since we last made love –

–         A week since the last silent treatment –

–         Three months since I took you anywhere

I have no idea if the timing was entirely correct with some of them, it was the effects I was after. Sometimes she would telephone me and question why I had done this. If it was during a silent treatment I said nothing but listened, allowing her strained tones to fuel me. Other times I would just stare at her and then snarl an insult, causing her to jump and her fearful look would naturally provide me with further fuel. On other occasions she did not manage to contact me but it did not matter because I knew how she would be responding as I used the very thing she liked to engage as an endearing gesture from her to me in our relationship, against her. We like to take the wonderful and then batter it, rust it, twist it and warp it so it resembles something else entirely and this act of defiling is powerful indeed in its effect.

Soon I accelerated their use at one stage having them delivered through her door on a daily basis.

–         One day since I realised I hate you –

–         Two days since I realised I hate you –

–         Three days since I realised I hate you –

–         Four days since I realised I hate you –

–         Five days since I realised I hate you

–         Six days since I realised I hate you –

–         Seven days since I realised I hate you –

–         Eight days since I realised I hate you –

–         Nine days since I realised I hate you –

–         Ten days since I realised I hate you –

–         I don’t hate you. I love you –

That last note was a highly effective respite hoover which had her call me straight away and I answered straight away and her sobbed relief poured over me with such potency, marvellous fuel that it was. Once again by using the very tool she deployed in our relationship I was able to bend it and her to my will.

Eventually she was cast aside, the new prospect of Andrea having come into my sights and dear Jane was removed, not even afforded the courtesy of being a memory. That is until that text message arrived.

A foolish move on her part to reach out to me in this way but having received the text, I knew that it was inevitable she would have done it and indeed I know that when it is 3 years, 5 years or 10 years she will keep sending these reminders. Her memory had been conditioned this way. Notwithstanding the pain it will invariably cause her she wanted me to know that she remembered still. The addition of a single ‘x’ was the green light which told me that my follow-up hoover (of course there would be one) will succeed and she would respond to it. Dangerous to apply those kisses. She had entered my sphere of influence. I did not want her back, I was busy with Andrea and that seduction, but this reminder told me that there was fuel just waiting to be collected. All I had to decide was how I was going to go about. There was no need to be malign about it, a benign follow-up hoover would work but in what form and for how long? That was what then occupied my mind as once again I remembered dear Jane and her delicious fuel. So good of her to remind me.

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 WHAT'S IT ALL FOR_

The sudden silences. The periods of no communication when before the airwaves crackled with the send and return exchange of text messages. The repeated calls throughout the day to talk of something and to talk of nothing, now gone and empty. The absence of a morning greeting. The absence of any greeting. Just absence. Cold and unremitting silences which stretch from hours, to days, to weeks. What was once there has been banished. What’s it all for? Perhaps he just wants some time alone?

The inability to ever say sorry. The frustrating failure to ever issue an apology, it is as if those words cannot be formed or do they manifest but something causes them to freeze so they never find the light of day? The denial of fault, the deflection of blame, the resolute and forthright rejection of any accountability. All you want is to hear her say it the once, to say sorry, to hear that admission and sense some humanity exists there after all. What’s it all for? Perhaps she believes that I will think less of her if she apologises to me?

The never-ending carousel of blame and accusation. The merry-go-round of that dizzying discussion which never reaches fruition. The whirling array of “I never said that”, “you do the same”, “you can’t keep accusing me” and so much more leaves you disorientated and nauseous. Just once, just one time, can’t something be resolved without this round-the-houses farce? Must it always be this way? Why is nothing ever put to bed? Why is everything buried alive? What’s it all for? Maybe he just doesn’t understand me, perhaps I need to be clearer about what I mean?

The broken engagements. The no-shows. The promises to meet and then the failure to appear leaving you upset, annoyed and miserable. He promised. He promised that this would not happen again. The frequent ringing and all you receive is the notification that the cellphone you are calling is not available right now. Where is he? Has he forgotten? He cannot have done, you spoke to him only four hours ago to remind him of the arrangements, especially after what happened last time. You miss him and you were so looking forward to spending the night together after a period of not being able to do so. Surely he should have remembered? The chasing messages “Where are you?”, “Are you near?”, “I have been waiting twenty minutes, where are you?”, “What’s happening, I am worried”. What’s it all for? Perhaps he has had to work late, or he is stuck on the subway or he has run out of charge for his ‘phone?

The repeated alterations to arrangements. The tears, the shouting, the disappointments, the rolling out of false explanations to try to ease their upset. Yes, he did say he would take you out today, he must be caught up with something else, why don’t we do something instead? How can he let the children down like this? The turning up without agreement and demanding to see the children. Forcing you into a corner in order to placate him so the children are not scared. You back off again and again. Always you making the compromises. Always you trying to explain away the increasingly unexplainable. The arguments about the arrangements, the lies about what was arranged, the confusion over details. What’s it all for? Is he going mad? Maybe you are?

The insults and slurs, the nasty words, the harsh put-downs and the savage comments. The vicious text message tirades sent at 3am, the blistering verbal attack down the telephone, the dressing-down in person just before a night out. The personal cutting remarks, the swear-words, the name-calling and the labelling. So hurtful, so demeaning, so upsetting. What’s it all for? Perhaps he just doesn’t love you anymore?

The chopping and changing. Last week’s steak had to be well done and now it has to be bloody. How were you expected to know, but you were? The eruption and the tantrum which followed demonstrated that you were the one to blame. Red is good, now it is bad. No soda with the vodka, but now he is banging doors and shouting because there is no soda. Sit there, no there, be quiet, say something, leave me alone, you never speak to me much these days, do it like that, no don’t do it like that, who taught you to do this it is brilliant, who taught you to do that you are an amateur, back and forth, push and pull, right then wrong. What’s it all for? Perhaps he just cannot remember or just wants to keep changing for the sake of it? Perhaps the pressure of work is really getting to him these days?

The argument over nothing. The argument out of nowhere. The argument when everything was going well. Why is she angry all of the time? Nothing is ever right but rather than discuss it in a civil manner and be reasonable with one another, there always has to be a fight. She could start an argument in an empty room. She seems to thrive on creating a scene. So many days, so many occasions, so many events all spoiled by the epic tantrum which she throws. What’s it all for? Perhaps she has anger management issues?

The sudden bouquet of flowers. The expensive perfume. The sudden trip away to somewhere exotic and exciting. The sensitive poem carefully written in copper plate and placed under your pillow. The sudden proclamations of love. The dizzying romance. The grand gestures. What’s it all for? He must really, really love me.

The accusations, the challenges, the pointed finger and the sneer. The demands for the truth when you are telling the truth. The inquisition and the interrogations over anything and nothing. The way you answered the phone, the way you wear your dress, the friends you said you were visiting, the time you came home. Always the questions, the allegations of lying, cheating and skullduggery. Every time this happens when you want to do something and he never seems to realise he does all of these things himself. What’s it all for? Perhaps he is just possessive because he cares so much?

The lies. The tales. The fabrications. Every day a new boast which is so outrageous that she must surely know she is telling a porky pie. The flagrant omissions of the truth. The repeated protestations that this is the truth even when you know she is lying again. The lies when the truth would serve her better. The inability to know she is lying. The fact she really does seem to believe her lies are her truth. What’s it all for? Perhaps she is just a born liar and a fantasist?

The disappearances whenever you need help. The excuses that he has something else more important when you require support. The sudden coldness when you call and explain how you have been bullied at work again. The distant look and the eye-rolling as you try to explain why you are crying. The sudden lack of availability when you need a hand. The fact you must fend for yourself even though you are too weak to stand and feel dizzy. The shirking of responsibility, the rejection of assistance and the distancing when you are injured. What’s it all for? Perhaps he just cannot stand the sight of blood or does not know what to do when somebody is ill?

The flirting, the staying out late, the drunkenness, the drugs, the gambling, the smell of perfume on his clothes, the receipts from lap-dancing bars, the hours and hours and hours spent watching porn online, the obsession with his video games, the sudden and mysterious trips away. What’s it all for? Perhaps he has an addictive personality?

The tears, the pleading, the begging, the demand for one more chance, the assurances that it will never happen again, the promises to get help, the panic in his eyes and the wailing from his mouth. The neediness, the repeated requests to make things right, the long involved explanations, the repetition of how we should be together and how good we are for one another, the promises, the future, oh the promises of what the future can hold for us both. What’s it all for? Perhaps he is broken and you should not walk away from someone in such need?

Maybe he struggles to express himself?

Maybe he just has never had anybody stand up to him?

Maybe she has problems with trusting people?

Maybe he is just disorganised?

Maybe he struggles with being a single parent?

Maybe he cannot help how he feels?

Maybe he is indecisive?

Maybe he feels unappreciated?

Maybe he really does love you?

Maybe that’s his way of loving you?

Maybe she is just different?

Maybe he doesn’t love you anymore?

Maybe he can’t help but feel jealous because he really does love you?

Maybe she tells lies to make herself feel better?

Maybe he struggles with responsibility?

Maybe she is tired?

Maybe he is lost?

Maybe she is over-worked?

Maybe he is stressed?

 

Maybe you don’t know what you are entangled with?

Maybe you make too many excuses for them?

What’s it all for?

Fuel.

THE GOODTHE BADAND NOTHING ELSE

 

We all like to attach labels to people. People do it instinctively in respect of someone who they have just met, someone they have read about, a person they have known for a long time or someone they have seen on television. It is rare for someone to say that they do not have a view or an opinion about someone. Examples might include: –

“He’s a dependable chap, always there when you need him.”

“He’s a funny looking fellow.”

“She is very catty.”

“She is stunning looking.”

“A complete attention seeker.”

“A genius musician.”

“Really annoys me, I don’t know what it is but he does.”

Those are just classifications based on looks and personality. One can classify somebody by race, religion, birthplace, occupation, gender and so much more. Labels are used all the time as people are placed into boxes and compartments. Our kind do the same, but we differ in a fundamental way. We have an instant classification of people which is very straight forward. We will place people into further categories after this initial categorisation often using labels you would not and then we may well attach additional labels similar to the ones you use. What is this initial categorisation? It is simple. A person is either good or bad. That person is either with us or against us. They either do what we want or they do not. There are no ifs and maybes about these classifications. There is no grey with us when it comes to deciding into which camp someone should be placed. You are either white or black. You cannot be light grey, mid-grey or dark grey. We do not do the middling; it is one or the other. Let me give you some examples of those around me at the current time.

Julia (my boss) – Good

My mother – Bad

Paul (a lieutenant of longstanding) – Good

Andrea (predecessor primary supply) – Bad

Rachael(sister) – Good

Eric (colleague) – Good

Tania (lieutenant) – Good

Lesley (It Girl) – Bad

Elizabeth (litigious former girlfriend) – Bad

Phillip (lieutenant) – Good

Colin (competitor at work) – Bad

Not one of them am I indifferent to. You should be aware that this categorisation is based on my view of them irrespective of their behaviour towards me. Lesley for instance responded to a hoover a little while back and still messages me with pleasant comments from time to time. I play along as I am a far from finished with her but she is a bad person because of what she has done and moreover I know she will be looking for an opportunity to unseat me and seek some form of revenge over me as a consequence of my repeated thwarting of her ambitions. I know her game.

These categorisations are fluid. In fact, they are extremely fluid with some people, usually our intimate partners who are our primary sources of fuel. You may begin as a good person when I wake-up but by breakfast you are a bad person. Sometimes you will be utterly unaware of why your status has altered and it may appear capricious and arbitrary but it is not; you will have done something or failed to do something which has shifted your classification. Most often it is linked to your failure to provide me with fuel and therefore you will be designated a bad person and subjected to treatment in accordance with such a status; devaluation and denigration. Conversely, one can also move from bad to good in the blink of an eye. You won’t necessarily realise why this is, but we do. It is entirely logical to us.

As I mentioned once we have classified you as good or bad, we will classify you further, usually linked to the fuel you provide and how under our control you are. After that we will use similar labels to you – an interesting, handsome person and so on. Thus, take Paul my longstanding side kick. He is naturally a good person but I also regard him as a very good source of fuel, a highly reliable source of fuel and completely under my control, loyal and dedicated. My mother is a bad person. Whilst she is a good source of fuel for her emotional outbursts and temper tantrums, she is only fairly reliable. I have little control over her, she is a traitor and scheming to dethrone me, she has no concept of loyalty and is actively plotting against me. Thus whilst she may provide fuel the other factors cause her to be placed in the bad classification. I do not consider her to be grey just because she provides fuel but cannot really be controlled.

Why do we regard people in this manner? Why is it that we cannot take a holistic view of them? For instance, one might suggest that with the ex-girlfriend Lesley that she at one point was loving, dedicated and did much for me. Yes, she became a broken appliance and let me down, she also caused affront to me for which she must be repeatedly punished. She continues to try to be pleasant to me. Do I not look at this myriad of attributes and factors (plus more besides) and place her on some kind of spectrum between good and bad? No I do not. Why? Because my need of fuel is such I cannot have wishy-washy, amorphous classifications of people. This person is good – I can rely on them to give me positive fuel and do as I say. This person is bad – I can get negative fuel from them but I must be careful as they are plotting against me and seeking to avoid my control. This then enables me to apply my manipulations appropriately. It is also necessary to enable me to maintain my superiority and my self-worth. I need to keep those two aspects alive at all times. If you do not do what I want, you are calling into question my superiority. You are suggesting that I am worthless. Thus you are a bad person and I am the person who is admirable and worthy, you are wicked and evil. If you do as I want, you are confirming my superiority by submitting to my will. I am full of self-worth because you are acknowledging this by acting in accordance with my wishes. Deviate from that and you become a bad person.

You should have learned by now that because we look at the world through a different lens to you, there are many things that you will do (which you will not be aware about) which cause us to oscillate from regarding you as good to bad and then back to good, often in the space of an hour or less. This is all based on how we perceive your compliance to be. During our seduction of you, you are only ever a good person because you represent that wonderful potent source of positive fuel which we desire. You represent the prospect of an undimmed source unlike the bad person we are devaluing and about to discard. You always respond positively to our overtures, our love-bombing and you give us what we want. Hence you remain a good person. Those who are in our coterie, our lieutenants and those who form our façade remain good people. Challenge us, defy us or even worse see through us and you are challenging our need for superiority and self-worth and you must automatically be designated as a bad person, irrespective of what may have come before, that would create a more complex view. You failed to do what we want; you are a bad person. You then change and do what we want, you become a good person. It is a simple and necessary classification that we utilise.

Accordingly, everything is either good or bad with our kind. Admittedly, though it usually turns ugly as well….

THE NARCISSIST'STWIN LINESOF DEFENCE

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

N – “No, I wasn’t.”

V- “Yes you were, I saw you.”

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

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

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

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

N – “It wasn’t me.”

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

N- “It was not me.”

V- “I saw you, I saw you with her.”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

N- “About what?”

V- “You kissing that woman.”

N- “What woman?”

v – “The one on the video.”

N – “What video?”

V- “The one I just showed you.”

N- “No you didn’t.”

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

Returning to what this act achieves for the narcissist

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

3. Superiority is maintained through this act.

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

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

V – “What do you mean?”

N- “Spying on me.”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

OR

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

OR

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

OR

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

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

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

 

I recall one occasion when a particularly upset girlfriend of mine, Hannah, descended into one of her typical fits of hysteria. Hannah was an actress. She had been involved in acting since she was a teenager and had also appeared in a Royal Shakespeare Company production of Hamlet. She played Ophelia. I found this rather apt. She loses her mind over the Prince of Denmark and drowns. Typical self-centred response. Poor Hamlet. His father dies and his mother shacks up with his uncle. Not only this but his uncle murdered his father and has taken the throne of Denmark leaving Hamlet cast adrift and mired in woe. His girlfriend Ophelia is meant to support him but what does she do? She gets all worked up about Hamlet telling her “Get thee to a nunnery” and climbs a willow tree and falls in the water below and drowns. I found Hannah to be prone to such similar histrionics. I put it down to her being an actress and her desire for everything to be achieved in one take. She was meticulous in her preparation for her acting. At first, I would help her and play the other parts to help her learn her lines. She was so grateful for my support in this regard, remarking how hard it was to find someone willing to do this and so often. If truth be told, I revelled in it. Not only was her gratitude all good fuel, I am of course something of the actor myself and the opportunity to grab the script and play a part was something I enjoyed. I did not pay much attention to Hannah’s delivery, only listening to what she was saying so I knew when to speak my lines. I was too concerned with ensuring I delivered a masterful performance. This would often draw praise from Hannah and she commented on a number of occasions that I appeared to have missed my calling. I was in agreement.

Of course, over time I grew tired of her repeated declarations of how good my delivery was and I began to look for ways to irritate and annoy her. I knew she put so much effort into her rehearsals and preparation because she wanted the final performance to be outstanding. Whether it was filming for a TV show (she has appeared in a couple of rather good British television dramas) or a stage production of a famous play, her performance had to be the best. I often gained the impression that she was doing this in order to outshine me. I may not be recognised as much as Hannah but that did not mean that what she did was better or more important than what I did. Quite the opposite. She needed to be reminded who was the leader and superior mind in our coupling. I began at first to fluff lines or speak when it was her turn to say her line which drew sighs of exasperation. I delighted in her irritation as I knew that it would soon become annoyance and she would erupt into one of her tirades. I would jump places in the script, says words incorrectly, use the wrong tone for questions and statements and then I began to hide her scripts so she could not practise. A meltdown was inevitable and foolishly she aimed all of this at me. I just continued to make comments that would keep her in a frenzy. You would be surprised to see this waif-like lady who usually is the picture of serenity on television react in the way she did. My goodness, did she have a foul mouth on her.

I rarely got angry with her. Her performances were so gratifying and amusing that I just could not generate a spark, even when she was blaming me. It was actually easier to keep trying to get it right and purposefully messing it up again. Several times I had to exit the room under the pretence of being upset so I could lock myself in the bathroom and stuff my hand into my mouth as I collapsed in paroxysms of mirth, her shrill voice echoing through the house.

The occasion that entertained me the most and which I began this post by recalling was when she was rehearsing her part for a six part dark drama that was part of a major channel’s Autumn drama selection. It was a fantastic piece of writing and Hannah had a chunky part. I got her so worked up and histrionic as I messed about, murmured the lines, said sections incorrectly and so on that she erupted into one of her fits. As the insults flowed I drank the fuel she poured over me and then she made a strange croak and gripped her throat. Feigning interest, I went to her side and she pointed at her throat, eyes filling with tears. It transpired that she had badly strained her vocal chords and a doctor instructed her to rest them completely. She could not rehearse and was unlikely to be ready for filming. The producers replaced her with another actress and dismayed by her fall from such a prestigious production, I sought out somebody else to entertain me.

I do find it fascinating that you take everything so personally. You complain about the amount of time which I spend playing a strategy game on my laptop or fiddling with my iphone. I am enjoying playing that game or connecting with people through social media on my Iphone, it is nothing against you. Just because I spend an entire afternoon cleaning, waxing and polishing my car, you go into a sulk. Why? The fact I really like my new car and take pride in keeping it looking good is surely a good thing isn’t it? You automatically assume that it is some kind of slur against you because I am outside buffing the bodywork and not sitting talking to you. I choose to go to the match with a few friends rather than go shopping with you and there is an almighty bust-up. Why is that? I like watching sport and shopping does not really interest me. In fact, I prefer to do my shopping online or if I do go to the stores, I go alone. That way I know what I want, I can go and buy it and then leave. In and out. The best method and preferable to dawdling along behind slow-walking people in a mall. Yet you seem to regard this choice of mine as some kind of stain against your character. It is not.

Even when we have one of our frequent arguments and I hurl insults at you, you always take them to heart. You should not do so. I may criticise your haircut or the jumper you are wearing, I may seize on a character trait and make that a source of a scathing remark against you and you go to pieces. There is no need. I do not actually see you. You are but an object to me and I insult everybody. I have no prejudices, I hate everybody equally. You happen to bear the brunt of these remarks because you spend more time with me. I do the same in the workplace or amongst certain friends. It is not personal to you at all, I am merely pressing the button on the relevant appliance to ensure that I am getting my fix of fuel. For some reason, you descend into a spiral of despair and question your self-esteem and worry about your self-worth. You sit with a trusted circle and recount the torments and insults (why do that? You are just pulling the scab off the wound) as you question why is it you that I am so awful to. It isn’t you. I have no concept of you. You and all the other appliances blur into one. You are machines for the production and provision of fuel. Perhaps if you started to remember that that is the case you would feel less troubled by my behaviour and remarks in the future. Try it, you never know you might just for once stop thinking that it is all about you.

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

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