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In the Middle

I had a consultation with Dr O. She looked as clean and inviting as ever. I am sat across the room from her but the scent of cleanliness is discernible. I bet if I tasted her she would taste clean. Her clothes are immaculate, her hair shiny and held in a ponytail and I can see her nails are clear yet manicured. The quality of her skin reminds me of someone I knew long ago. I imagine she attends to a vigorous regime of diet, exercise and skin care to ensure that her healthy, soft looking skin remains so inviting for me. Dr O was engaged in discussing my behaviour.

“What do you think of this statement?” she began, “Your behaviour is repetitive. You draw people to you, you hurt them and then you cast them aside only to draw them in again.”

I waited as I considered this comment.

“Before I answer, I would like to add a caveat,” I remarked.

“Perhaps you could answer it without the caveat. It will keep it simpler.”

“But it is important you understand the context of my response.”

“How about you answer the question first and then you can add your caveat?” she offered.

I reflected on this. It would undoubtedly please her if I did this. By pleasing her she will feel drawn to me.

“Fair enough. That statement is accurate, although,” I answered.

She held up her hand. I would usually plough on, after all, who on earth is entitled to stop me when I am talking? I still felt that by indulging her, it would benefit me.

“Thank you. How do you feel about this statement? You are stuck in this behaviour.”

She had followed-up with a further question, when she said to me that she would allow me to add a caveat. She misled me. I did as she agreed and now she has reneged on that arrangement. I was not pleased. I could feel the anger rising inside. I knew why she had done this. She wanted me to feel small. This is what they all did, just like her. They try to make me feel small and helpless and useless and pathetic and contemptible.  I could feel my grip on the situation loosening. There was a sensation of falling as I tried to reach out and grasp my surroundings, but they shifted and moved, spilling through my hands. I could sense the yawning chasm waiting to engulf me, that place of those lost emotions which I fight on a daily basis. They were rising up to haul me into the chasm. They wanted to surround me and consume me. I can hear her voice drifting up from below, echoing and distant yet somehow clear. That ghostly voice from long ago that lurks in the chasm and becomes unleashed when moments like this happen. I can hear the words, the scolding, the criticising, the demeaning words spilling from that cruel gash of a mouth.  Please stop it. Please,please,please.

“Yes, I feel stuck. I am stuck with her,” I suddenly said, the words coming out in a forced and breathless manner. Was Dr O in the room any longer? I could not be sure, she seemed to have become blurred as if she had melted into the surroundings.

“I am stuck listening to the unfair and unjust criticisms of everything that I do. I try and move forward, I try each and every day, by trying to extinguish her accusing voice, by finding those who will praise me so that their words will stop her from bringing me down. I have to surround myself with those who can help me diminish and then extinguish her, they are necessary in order to help me survive. I turn to others so that their voices will drown hers out, the kind words, the adoration. I have to have it in order to stop her. Even the screaming and the tear-filled sobbing and the shouting, that is preferable to hearing that woman and her acidic tongue. Sometimes it works for a time, her voice is lost amongst the cacophony of others but she always comes back. Why? What did I do to deserve this? I cannot get rid of her. Even when I think, this time she has been silenced, she somehow surfaces. I cannot stand it. Why do you do this to me? I never did anything to you did I? I just wanted you to tell me what I had done was good, that I got your approval, but you never would would you? I didn’t hurt you, I tried my hardest for you, but you always said I could do better, I could improve, I could go higher. I just wanted to please you, was that so bad? Tell me what I have to do, please? I just want it to stop, I want to be good, I always told you that, but you said I was bad for not doing what you wanted, but I did do what you wanted, you always changed it just as I seemed to be getting closer. Please, I want you to go now and stop hurting me, why are you still doing it, have you not had enough? Stop, please stop, I want you to stop, I want it to stop, I don’t want it anymore, I don’t want to be stuck anymore, I don’t want to be stuck in the middle of this any more, I don’t want to be stuck…in the…middle….with…you.”

I can no longer breathe and my words cannot surface any longer. My chest is tight and the air, the air is being stolen from my lungs now, the floor is moving and shifting. I can hear something but cannot make out what is being said, it is like a roaring. My hands are raking the air as if fighting off unseen attackers but they seem to move so slowly. Dr O comes into brief focus as she is moving across the room towards me. I am falling and the floor is coming up to greet me as the darkness takes me. The all encompassing darkness engulfs me as I hear,

“You’ve let me down again.”

Then there is nothing.

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A Devillish Toolkit

You may not realise this but my kind and me are always prepared. We carry with us at all times a toolkit which is stocked with many useful tools and instruments to assist us in our day-to-day machinations. These tools enable us to carry out our quest to obtain fuel. Sometimes you may not realise that we are actually using these tools and on other occasions you cannot help but notice. Every one of our kind comes equipped with this toolkit. Not all of the tools are used by every member of our brethren and we are always on the lookout for additions that can be made to it. It can be tiring lugging it around with us but it is a necessary burden if we are to achieve our aims. Luckily for you,I am going to provide you with an insight into what lies inside the Devil’s Toolkit.

Saw of Interruption – this is regularly used to cut you off when you are speaking.

Chisel of Misery – a very handy instrument which is used on a frequent basis to chip away at your self-esteem

Hammer of Intimidation – a blunt instrument that is used to bludgeon you into submission

Screwdrivers of Diversion – this flexible tool comes with two adjustable ends. The Denial and the Blame-Shift. Either of these ends can be fitted to twist the truth

Pliers of Manipulation – these are used to push and pull, turn and wrench until we get what we want.

Unlimited Tape Measure – this is used to see if you come up to standard but unsurprisingly you never measure up

Stanley Knife – a diverse blade which is used for figuratively making small yet painful cuts or if need be slicing you open

Spanner of Disruption – I have plenty of these in the toolkit and use them to throw into the works on a repeated basis to mess things up for you and others

Fuse Wire – I know you keep blowing yours so this is often used

Insulation Tape – for keeping you insulated from everyone else. It is a large roll and never runs out

Torch of Illumination – this does not work as there are never any batteries in them. Well they are fuel aren’t they?

Power Drill of Inferiority – this is used to drill into you over and over again how useless and pathetic you are

Charming Sander – very handy for smoothing everything over in an instant

Snare – always handy for trapping the unwary empath

Immobility Clamps– used for keeping you right where I want you

Blowtorch of Rage – I may need to take this back to Lucifer since it seems to blow hot and cold

Goggles of Reflection – I don’t want to get anyone,I mean anything, in my eyes do I?

Sugarcoated Knuckleduster of Attrition – wears you down but you don’t realise it

Laser Tape Measure – projects brilliantly

Ear Defenders – always necessary when doling out the silent treatment

Scissors of Snipping – all purpose tool for cutting through any barriers or boundaries

Gas Lamp – prone to going on and off without rhyme or reason

Circular Conversation Saw – I think this one is faulty as well as it goes round and round but never actually does anything

Pot of Fairy Dust – we sprinkle this liberally and everything sparkles and shines. Shame they could not make some that lasted longer though.

Quite the collection isn’t it and I am sure you will recognise some personal favourites of the narcissist in your life.

To understand more about these methods of manipulation and further tools read the Devil’s Toolkit,available on Amazon.

Fifteen Seductive Triangles

 

 

 

Our seductive tendrils wrap around the unsuspecting and draw them into our false reality. We have many ways of effecting this seduction, from the outrageous declarations of premature love, to the excessive texting and messaging, from the gifts and attentiveness to the fantastic sex. There are many strings to our bow when it comes to seducing our victims. We love the allure of the triangle. Bringing someone else or something else into the dynamic between you and me generates endless possibilities for fuel, control and manipulation. Triangulation is seen throughout the narcissistic dance and appears more than you may realise at the outset of your relationship with our kind. Of course our most serious and intense seductive techniques are reserved for our intimate partners who become our primary source of fuel, but we triangulate everybody who we wish to draw fuel from. Whether you are a parent, a sibling, a co-worker, a boss, a friend or someone who is an acquaintance, we will triangulate you in some way.

When triangulation is used in seduction it will be done to portray ourselves as a good and decent person and on the receiving end of some unpleasant and undeserved behaviour from a different source, in order to make you admire us for dealing with this unnecessary attack or provide us with affection to make us feel better or sympathy in respect of our predicament. You are made to think that we are explaining our position and you are made to feel special because we are telling you about something that apparently is troubling us. The reality is that this is being done in order to draw an appropriate reaction from you for the purposes of gaining fuel. It is also designed to make you think that there is something you can do to assist us and help us and therefore gain favour with us through this action .Here are fifteen of these regularly used techniques which may be familiar to you or what you ought to be looking out for.

 

 

  1. My wife doesn’t understand me.
  2. My husband has no interest in sex with me anymore.
  3. My children don’t respect me.
  4. My parents expect me to be their full-time carers.
  5. My boss is a tyrant.
  6. My team are incompetent.
  7. My supplier is unreliable.
  8. My neighbour is inconsiderate.
  9. My partner never listens.
  10. My boyfriend spends all of his time with his friends rather than me.
  11. My girlfriend spends all my money.
  12. My friends expect me to be available all of the time.
  13. My partner just doesn’t appreciate what I do.
  14. My girlfriend would rather play Candy Crush than talk to me.
  15. My children never ring me to see how I am.

The Crying Game – Part Four

 

 

 

The production of tears and the emotion associated with such production has always been a source of fascination for me. I have shared with you my experiences and observations concerning pain, upset, pride and joy. The final part of this quartet concerns another occasion when the tears begin to flow. Just in the same way that I first witnessed and felt the power that I obtained from causing someone to shed tears of joy when I was at university, it was at this ancient seat of learning that I found another way of causing those tears to fall.

     A later girlfriend who arose, after Trish (from Part Three) fell by the wayside, was Anita. A vivacious young lady, with long blonde hair, bright in outlook and intelligence and with an excellent sense of humour we had a rip-roaring time together for some seven months or so and then came the summer. We both returned to the places where we lived, about a hundred and fifty miles apart so not a huge journey even on this small island. Anita had taken a job and the hours varied considerably from week to week so that I did not hear from her as often as I wanted. This concerned me and coincided with an interest in a close friend who I had known from sixth form called Lucy who was also at university and had also returned to our home town for the summer. We began to spend quite a lot of time together and I found that her attention to me put into sharp focus the less attentive approach from Anita. I knew she was busy with the summer job that she had taken but despite this knowledge, I resented her failure to keep in touch with me as often as she had promised at the end of the academic year. When she did telephone I was monosyllabic with my answers and when I decided I did want to talk I began to tell her about all the things that Lucy and I were doing together. The walks through the countryside, the book we planned to write together, the discussions about our forthcoming careers, going swimming, going boating and so on. I knew that Anita was trying to hide any concerns about this sudden and seemingly intense friendship which had sprung up with Lucy, but she could not mask the disappointment that showed in her voice when I launched into a lengthy monologue about my day with Lucy. I found the sensation of power which arose when I talked about Lucy and when Anita tried to sound interested but the nervousness in her voice betrayed her and showed she was worried by this burgeoning friendship. Good. So she should be nervous. She should have been more attentive and been a good girlfriend. Nothing physical had happened between Lucy and I but that was just a question of time. In fact, I was pleased that nothing had happened in that regard because I could maintain that my relationship with Lucy was indeed one of friendship and it provided me with the moral high ground to cast aspersions and denigrate Anita if she tried to suggest there was anything untoward occurring.

This situation continued and each time we spoke I could tell Anita was concerned and was maintaining a brave front. In one telephone conversation she commented,

“I know you spend a lot of time with Lucy, HG, but that does not bother me at all.”

There was something new when she said this though. A defiance. I did not take kindly to that. I noticed that the usual powerful sensations that I felt during this telephone conversation were absent.

I decided that I would not take any calls from Anita after that. I would refuse to emerge from my room as my father shouted up to me that Anita was wanting to talk to me. I would hear him making excuses on my behalf, that I was asleep, or I had gone out and he had not realised. As this silent treatment extended into a second week, with Anita still telephoning on a daily basis, my father began to engage in conversations with her. I stood on the landing above listening to him in the hallway below trying to reassure her and assuage her concerns. I recall standing there, hands on the bannister, feeling the sensation of power washing over me as I thought of her anxious and worried, repeatedly calling and discussing this ongoing situation with my father. I know he liked Anita. He had met her in previous holidays. My father liked most people and saw the best in people. People liked him as well which often irritated my mother in the extreme, but this is not her tale. Not this time.

     My father would argue Anita’s case for her, outlining that it was not very fair to not speak to her and that she was clearly worried that she had upset me in some way but did not know why. I thanked for father for his concerns and his attempt to broker a peace but this was between Anita and me. He pushed it no further with me, he knew by now better than to do so, but he continued to entertain Anita’s morning, afternoon or evening call (dependent on her shifts) in order to keep giving her hope that I would “snap out of it” or “come to my senses” as he put it.

     We reached the third week of the silent treatment. I was enjoying myself. I was gaining daily attention from Lucy who called on me every day in order to ensure we did something together. I had no need to try to impress her any longer. She was hooked. I was also gaining the attention from Anita as her telephone calls and consultations with my father continued. Sometimes I was in and I listened, sometimes I was out and my father left me a note saying Anita had called. It was satisfying.

     Into this third week, on a warm summer’s evening when I had returned from a day out in the countryside with Lucy, there came the chime of the old doorbell being activated. I was alone in the house and made my way to the partition door and stepped into the porch. The large wooden door had a diamond pane of glass set in it which enabled me to see who the visitor was. It was Anita. She had turned to look behind her, no doubt enjoying the wonderful view across the fields as they were lit up still by the sun. I ducked back so she could not see me. The power began to surge through me again. She had travelled to see me, without warning and knowing that I was not speaking to her. I noticed she had even appeared with a small suitcase as well in the hope of staying. She clearly did not want to let go. I was delighted by this. She had learned hadn’t she that she had been failing in her attentiveness to me? By administering this silence, something I had learned from dearest mother, I had caused her to realise her error and up her efforts in respect of me, resulting in her disrupting her working schedule and travelling to me.

To have her do this showed just how much I mattered to her and also how effective giving her the silent treatment was. I punched the air in delight with the powerful sensation still rushing over me, but there was more. I let her ring again and then I opened the door. I stood looking down at her as she stood on the second step. She looked at me, eyes wide in expectation but a nervousness about her too. She said nothing as I look at her.

“Hello Anita,” I smiled, “you have no idea how happy I am to see you on this doorstep again, my goodness I have missed you like you wouldn’t believe.”

I expected her to laugh, to smile but instead she burst into tears, her attractive face scrunching up as the tears flowed.

“What is it?” I asked completely foxed by this response.

She stepped forward and placed her arms about me. I reciprocated as she squeezed me tight, great wracking sobs coursing through her.

“Oh HG, I thought you had had enough of me, that you didn’t want to see me anymore.”

“Of course not, I er, just needed to do some thinking about things and it made me realise that er, it’s you that I want.”

She lifted her head and looked straight at me.

“Really?”

“Of course.”

She started to cry again, a smile breaking through the continuing tears.

“HG, you have no idea what a relief it is to hear you say that to me.”

It was then that I understood. This tearful display was borne out of relief. Relief at having the silence broken. Relief at being held in my arms again. Relief that our relationship remained intact. The sensation was electrifying and I learned just how powerful the effect of seeing tears of relief was. I revelled in knowing that by my grace and decision I could grant her access to me once again and her relief poured from her, invigorating and edifying me. That moment, like so many other moments of realisation has stayed with me and I have used the power to cause those tears of relief to flow and the consequent fuel that arises to good effect on many occasions since.

Six Seditious Smears (And How to Clean Up)

 

 

The smear campaign is a regular weapon in our arsenal. Deployed in order to maintain our façade and ensure that everybody thinks that you are the abuser, you are the trouble maker and that you are the Crazy One. A method of getting our retaliation in first. The smear campaigns are such that you have no idea they are being carried out until the damage is done. You may find out through a third party tipping you off about what is being said about you. You may find out because we have instructed a lieutenant to tip you off in order to allow us to draw fuel from your horrified reaction and frantic attempts to repair the damage. Naturally, we only allow the tip off to take place once we are satisfied that our smears have sunk in and taken effect. The first you may know about these smear campaigns is when you try to tell other people about our behaviour, either during the relationship or when you have sought to escape or have been discarded. You find that you are met with shaking heads, blank looks and declarations of disbelief as your protestations are regarded with scepticism and whispered comments about you having lost the plot. To come up against this wall, especially when you are often in the greatest need, distressing. This distressing is magnified when it occurs with people you thought that you could rely on. Our poison seeps everywhere.

The smear campaign is almost always used at some point when you have become entangled with our kind. There are many different kinds, but here are six which are regularly used.

 

 

  1. The Abuser

 

We like to trot out tales about how cruel and unpleasant you have been to us. Whether it is preventing us from seeing our friends, not letting us have our say, making decisions for us, hitting us, failing to attend to household chores whilst we are out working to support the household, not showing us any affection, questioning us about our movements, calling us names and so on, it will be used against you. Much of the smear campaign is based on projection as we tell everybody that you have been doing the very things that we have been doing. That way we can provide sufficient detail about the form of abuse, because we have done it ourselves, so that it is given the mantle of believability. If we furnish such detail and avoid vagueness, our lies are made all the more believable. All types of smear campaign operate on the basis of making you out to be abusive in some way. Some are specific, as you will see below, whereas this form of smear campaign is predicated on an avalanche of plausible behaviours which cover a vast spectrum of abusive actions towards us from locking us out of our own home at night because we went out with friends to tipping freezing cold water over us when sat in the bath and pretending it was a joke, from making us sleep on the floor to hiding our car keys when we needed to be somewhere. A long list of awful abuses will be detailed along with how much of a martyr we have been in trying to put up with them and make things better.

 

  1. The Philanderer/The Slut

 

We play the card that we are not given any affection, love or sexual gratification by the abuser but more than that you are busy engaging in frequent affairs and one night stands with other people. We have given you chances after discovering what you have been doing, because we want to get things back on track. We have given you everything and this is how we are repaid. We are heart-broken by these repeated infidelities. We will identify people of the opposite sex that you are close to and pedal lies that “there is something going on” between you and them. Those people we know who enjoy some tittle tattle will be approached first in order to give the lies some “legs” so that they will not only believe what they have been told about you and the neighbour, you and your colleague and you and the gardener, but they will spread the smear even further. Add in some casual sexual encounters we have learned about, linked to the fact you work away/work in a bar/ are friendly and out-going then the lies gain more traction.

 

  1. The Spender

We work hard each day to provide for you and all you do is sit around ordering things off the internet, going out to lunch, organising another home improvement and frittering away our hard-earned money. We make out that you are squandering the fruits of our labour by pointing to the recent purchase of some expensive shoes, conveniently leaving out that this is the first pair you have bought in two years and you saved up for them. The joint credit card which bears the hammering of our profligate spending will be attributed to you. Words such as fraud, leech and gold digger will be bandied around as we make you out to be a free loader who has taken considerable advantage of our hard-working nature and generosity.

 

 

 

 

  1. The Lunatic

This smear campaign will involve heart-felt explanations to medical professionals about your behaviour in order to have them say that there could be something wrong but they would need to undertake a proper diagnosis. We will take from this informal consultation the part we want to hear and then spread this around to other people.

“Yes I was concerned about her behaviour and because I care, I mentioned it to Dr Whitecoat and he told me that it would appear that she has a mental health issue. I know, it is terrible but it explains so much of her erratic behaviour. The thing is, I don’t know if she will allow herself to be treated. Of course she will insist that there is nothing wrong with her, but apparently that is what these people do, they have no insight that there is anything wrong with them.”

Sound familiar at all? We will pick on entirely innocuous behaviours of yours and magnify them so they become regarded as problematic. Idiosyncrasies will be portrayed as aberrations from normal behaviour and of course the more you try to point out that is us and not you, the crazier you appear.

 

  1. The Turncoat

In this smear campaign we actually place the focus of your horrible behaviour on not just us but other people as well. We spend our time telling other people the horrible things you have said about them behind their backs. Of course, since we are in a relationship with you, it stands to reason that what we are saying must be true, otherwise why would we make it up about the person we love. We maintain that we are telling the “victim” of your scurrilous comments so they can keep an eye out for it happening again and to be a little wiser in their engagements with you. This will be based on oral recollection, so difficult to prove, but often we will engage a lieutenant in corroborating our lies so that the recipient believes us and is too busy basking in their own indignant and annoyed reaction to test the veracity of what they are being told.

 

  1. The Addict

You have a serious problem and the time has come to tell other people about it. You enjoy the occasional flutter on the horses. You actually have a huge gambling issue which incorporates the casino, slot machines, betting on line, frequent trips to the bookmakers and even betting on which of two rain drops will trickle down the pane the fastest. You may like a drink now and again and we will turn this into full blown alcoholism, showing off pictures of the empties in the over flowing recycling bin. Those empties are ours or are the product of a weekend party but we are not going to let that get in the way of our smear. You are addicted to sex, watching porn, trying to make us do things in the bedroom that we do not want to do, demanding sex on tap and demeaning us. Your recent weight gain, although nothing significant is used against you as evidence of addiction to food, the money you waste on take away food is really starting to stack up now and the salad section in the fridge only ever stocks cream cakes these days.

 

How might you deal with these smear campaigns and wipe them clean from your reputation? You are never in a position to stop them before they begin because you will not know about them until they are at least up and running and unfortunately to you heartfelt and emotional protestations just work against you, give us fuel and encourage us to up the pressure against you.

 

 

  1. Avoid reacting to them in an emotional fashion. This starves us of fuel and may cause us to drop the campaign because it is no longer having the desired effect. Some damage has been done from it already, but you will limit that damage.
  2. Consider carefully who you feel the need to disavow of our lies. If you need support in the context of your escape, save your energies for addressing the lies with those that matter in terms of providing you with support. You may lose some friends, but were they really good friends to have if they were taken in by the smear campaign?
  3. Use any independent evidence you may have to show to people – documents, video recordings, independent witnesses and just provide this to the relevant recipient of the smear campaign for them to make up their own mind. State your side of the story, refer to the evidence and let them make their own mind up. People don’t like to be told what to do. By allowing them to reach their own conclusion as to who is telling the truth you are more likely to gain an ally again and one who will also expound your truth to others on your behalf.
  4. If people approach you concerning the lies and want to discuss it with you, more out of a desire to engage in salacious gossiping than know the truth, there is no point engaging in a lengthy discussion in order to persuade this person. They are not interested in the truth, only the buzz which comes from having some gossip. Raise your hand as they begin and tell them, “He has told lies and I do not want to hear any more or discuss them.” That will stop it in its tracks. You may also wish to add that the matter is in the hands of lawyers which often causes people to back off as they do not want to become embroiled in legal action.
  5. Don’t engage in a reverse smear campaign by talking about what we have done. This creates fuel from us and because we have got in first, it makes you look like you are only saying this because of what we have said. Concentrate on protecting your own reputation. Don’t be concerned with blackening ours.
  6. Adopting the above points will turn the tide so that we are left with a choice of having to expend more time and energy to maintain the smear campaign in light of your non-fuel provision and calculated approach or more likely we will see it is not working and look to concentrate on someone else rather than you.
  7. If the smear campaign is having adverse effects in terms of your job, your professional standing and interaction with the authorities, engage a lawyer to set the record straight. A well-drafted letter to the relevant decision-maker is often sufficient to address the matter. Don’t engage in sending threatening letters to us (unless the smear campaign is especially bad and having serious repercussions on your life and livelihood) as this provides us with fuel and also provides us with an arena for us to continue the allegations and to look to gain further traction.
  8. Sometimes the most appropriate way is to ignore what is being said and get on with your own life. This demonstrates you have not taken the bait which will infuriate us. You may find it uncomfortable having lies said about you, but if it is having no visible effect on you, we will move on. Third parties are usually too caught up in their own lives to have much regard for such tittle tattle for long.

 

Smear campaigns are usually rolled out at when you are at your lowest ebb, feeling frazzled and emotional and this is why they become so effective, but you are able to wipe the mud away and move forwards. You can learn more about dealing with this manipulation and many others in Escape: How to Beat the Narcissist available on Amazon.

US https://www.amazon.com/dp/B016P8VXQA

UK https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B016P8VXQA

CAN https://www.amazon.ca/dp/B016P8VXQA

AUS https://www.amazon.com.au/dp/B016P8VXQA

Doing the Journey

When I come along in my luxurious and expensive motor vehicle it is too difficult to resist that open passenger door and you hop in without hesitation. I won’t be taking you for a gentle drive through undulating countryside nor for a meandering excursion along the coast. No. It is straight to the motorway. You are pinned back in your seat by the sudden acceleration as we speed away. You let out a laugh, delighted by the surge of excitement as I move straight into the fast lane and the speedometer needle climbs as we go faster and faster. It is exhilarating to be driven along by such a confident and masterful driver.

The motorway I take you on has been purpose built for me. It cuts through the landscape, not going around or under or over but straight through. There are no obstacles for my motorway. It is direct and effective. Its construction bludgeoned everything else out of the way as it made its mark on everything around it. Nothing could stop it as mile after mile it stretched across the land. Nothing gets in the way of my motorway.

You marvel at how quickly it takes you to so many different places. You smile as you press your nose to the glass and watch the signs flash past ‘Desire’,’Heaven’,’Excitement’ and ‘Delight’ are all signposted. My motorway takes you to these places in a matter of moments and no sooner have we visited one place then we are back on my motorway, speeding through the night to the next location. The motorway takes us direct to the best restaurants, the most exotic destinations, the concerts where it enables us to drive right up to the front of the stage and the hitherto exclusive and difficult places you always tried to reach are suddenly in front of you, all courtesy of this expansive motorway network.

My motorway never has traffic jams, is free of roadworks and always takes the most direct route to the destination. It is breath-taking how fast we travel along it, yet you always feel safe, content in the knowledge that I am taking care of you on this modern and well-maintained transport route.

Occasionally you see people that you recognise stood on the hard shoulder. Some of your family who watch as we speed by. You see your friends who are parked to one side as we race along. You raise a hand to wave to them but it is too late. We have already rushed by them leaving them far behind, just a passing blur. You are not concerned however as you see the next sign detailing our destination and the anticipation rises as you await your arrival at this glamorous place. All thoughts of family, friends and supporters have been left behind, as quickly as we drove past them.

Sometimes you think you see a warning sign flash on one of the overhead gantries but I am driving so fast along this wide motorway that you cannot be sure.

“Did that say danger ahead?” you ask as we zip underneath another illuminated sign.

“Oh it just a routine test, you do not need to worry about that,” I smile and you are instantly reassured. You settle back in your seat as the world and your life flashes by but you are too focussed on what lies ahead at the next destination to worry about what is passing you by. This is the ride of your life and you never want it to stop.

The car suddenly brakes to a halt. Tyres squeal and smoke drifts past as the vehicle violently stops. You lurch forward in your seat and almost bang your head on the dashboard. Disorientated you right yourself as the passenger door opens.

“Out you get,” I instruct. The smile is gone and is now replaced by a face you barely recognise as I stare ahead.

“Sorry? What?” you splutter in confusion.

“Time to go. You need to go that way,” I state aggressively and point behind you.

“What do you mean? Why have we stopped? I don’t understand,” you protest.

“Out!Out! Out! ” I bark and suddenly frightened you scramble out of the car and stand trembling on the tarmac.

“Your life is back that way,” I add as the passenger door slams shut and you watch as I roar off up a slip road next to a large sign saying “Fuel this way”.

You watch me disappear from view and then turn to face the silent and empty motorway which stretches away into the far distance. You start walking, confused and upset.

The walk back to your life is just like my motorway.

Dark grey and long.

The Vainglorious Twenty

 

 

To say that my kind and me have a high opinion of ourselves is to put it too low. We are superior, of an elevated status and ethereally stunning and wonderful. Our achievements are magnificent, our accomplishments legion and we leave you mere mortals trailing in our wake. We know you look on, slack-jawed and wide-eyed, a mixture of awe and envy washing over you. How good it must be to be like us, you wonder. Well not only are we spectacular and scintillating we are generous too, so generous that I can share with you twenty of our excessively vain and self-centred comments. You may have heard a number of these said to you, about you or just uttered in your general earshot as we gaze nobly towards the horizon. If you have, you know you are dealing with one of our kind and that we wholeheatedly believe these comments irrespective of how pompous, hypocritical,vain or ridiculous they may sound.

 

  1. I don’t complain, I advise.
  2. I do, I am not done to.
  3. Don’t be sorry. Be accurate.
  4. I turn heads. I turn sexual preferences.
  5. I own you.
  6. I have every right to do this.
  7. I never lie.
  8. I achieved all this without any help whatsoever.
  9. I made you what you are today.
  10. I am very much in touch with my feelings.
  11. I hate liars.
  12. It is all down to me.
  13. I am a god.
  14. If it wasn’t for me, nothing would get done round here.
  15. I think of everyone but myself. I am too giving at times.
  16. It can be hard being this well-loved.
  17. I cannot help being so popular.
  18. They are my people. They get understand me,
  19. Everyone wants to either be me or be with me.
  20. I am the puppet master and the piper. Deal with it.

Infatuation

 

 

 

I have never known anybody like you. You are amazing. You are so loving, so kind and so gentle. Everything you do makes me happy. I didn’t think that was possible, not after the last person I was involved with. I don’t want to go on about that person for too long, why spoil this wonderful moment eh? Suffice to say they were not what I thought they were, a con-artist and a charlatan who made me think that they were something else and they took advantage of my good nature. I know you will not do that. I know you are too good a person. It is written all over you. I cannot believe how lucky I am to have found you. I wasn’t really looking but I am sure glad that I have found you. You are amazing. Have I told you that already? I can see you nodding. Sorry, I am just so excited to have finally found you and I am just so excited about all the adventures and fun we are going to have together. You really are everything that I have ever wanted in a person. There are not enough wonderful adjectives available to describe, there really aren’t.

My friends think I am nuts, but in a good way, because all I do is go on about you. I tell them the places we go to, the marvellous days we spend together and just hat a special, precious and loving person that you are. It restores your faith in human nature after all of the terrible things that have happened, sorry I am mentioning them again, I must stop doing that. I am all over the place, in the good way, this is what you do to me. Anyway, I tell my friends all about you, all of the time and I know that they are delighted to see me so deliriously happy because they have not seen me like this for some time. I have such plans for you and I. Wonderful, momentous and special plans. I want to tell you all about them now because they are that good, but I am not going to. I don’t want to spoil the surprises. This feels like my birthday, Christmas, a promotion and a wedding day all rolled into one. I know you might think I am going over the top but this is how happy you make me feel. I feel like I am on fire, fizzing with anticipation and joy. It is truly sensational and it is all down to you. You have brought this out in me. If it wasn’t for you I don’t know what I would have done. You rescued me and made me smile. You are my world. I mean that. I want to be with you all of the time and forever because you are so giving, so warm, so loving, so considerate, so funny, so attractive and well, just the very, very best. I have told my family about you, naturally and they cannot wait to meet you. I think they are nearly as excited as me. I think of you as soon as I wake up and you are in my thoughts all through the day and as I lie down at night I think of you again and wonder what you are doing and wish I was with you right at that moment.

You move me to the extent that I want to do great things for you and I and everyone else. You inspire me, you drive me and you motivate me. I feel completed now I have you, like nothing can ever hurt me and I know I will never let anything hurt you. That can never happen. I need you and I hope that you need me, we are a partnership and cannot be torn asunder, no matter what the world throws at us.

You will probably have seen my Facebook page littered with all those comments about you. I just feel them welling up inside of me and I have to let them out, give birth to them if you will and let them be shared with the world. It is the right thing to do, to allow such joy and happiness to be shared all around. Why shouldn’t other people be happy as well because we are? I want you. I want you more than anything I have ever wanted before I will do anything with you. I want us to be together, I want us to be one. I want us to grow old together and still be in love in sixty years as we are now. I know what we have is so special that we can achieve that.

I know I am babbling on but it is all good isn’t it? It is right to be this enthusiastic and excited and I know this is always going to be the case. That gives me so much comfort but again it is all because I know that we can rely on one another, trust one another and support one another. We are made for one another. Your hands fit mine perfectly, we coil together at night, fitting perfectly around one another. You finished my sentences and I know what you are going to say right before you say it. It is as if we have been forged from the same thing all those years ago, then separated and finally we have been put back together again in order to be happy and why not, we deserve to be happy. You make me happy and I will do the same for you. I want to tell the world how wonderful you make me feel. I want to take out advertisements in newspapers, on YouTube and on television. I want to shout if from the highest mountain and from the rooftops that I love you.

Am I infatuated? Of course you are. Who wouldn’t be so infatuated when being with someone as gloriously brilliant as me. Now, say that all again to me.

The Five Triggers of Devaluation (And Is There a Safety Catch?)

 

 

You will be familiar with the fact that one day you are cock of the walk and the next day you are a feather duster. You are atop the pedestal and in a flash you have been thrown from it and you are lying in the dust as we stand over you berating you. The sudden switch from hero to zero, from princess to pauper, from “good person” to “bad person” is perhaps the most confusing, bewildering and upsetting part of our behaviour. People cannot comprehend why they were being feted as the love of our life on Monday and then by Tuesday they are the devil incarnate. It is something which causes (and of course we want this) victims of our nefarious behaviour to cling to us in order to get an answer, to receive an explanation and some kind of reasoning which will allow them to make sense of what has happened. They are unlikely to accept it, the emotional hold of the seduction and the golden period prevents acceptance of this sudden fall from grace for a very long time, but if you are able to understand why it happened, you are able to move yourself forward with greater speed than you would otherwise. Our reasons may appear illogical to you based on your world view but at least you have some reasons and that is more than you would usually ever receive from our kind as we plough on with your devaluation offering no cogent or realistic explanation for this sudden switch. I am not explaining why we devalue you (fuel, control, reinforcement of our need for superiority and self-worth). I am explaining what is it that makes us love you then hate you in the blink of an eye. What causes this sudden change, this 180-degree swing, this volte face, this switch? You will be given no answer or if you are they will not be anything to do with the real reason why we suddenly idealise you then devalue you. This false reasons are wheeled out to make you remain all the more, pursuing an elusive point as we continue to drain you of negative fuel until we decide you are to be discarded. Thus, here are the five reasons that are the triggers for the devaluation.

 

  1. Stale

The fundamental reason for seducing you is to gather your potent and positive fuel. In the beginning and for some time afterwards we are invigorated by this precious fuel that you supply to us. We are reliant on it, we want and need it and we marvel at the fuel you provide us. This may last months or it may even last years dependent on our demands and your ability to fulfil them. Your complacency however causes the fuel to become stale to us. You may not regard yourself as having done anything wrong. We understand that according to your view of how a healthy and mature relationship should progress that after a dizzying, honeymoon period the relationship moves to a deep-seated position where that initial buzz of excitement has faded to be replaced by something long-lasting, substantial and fulfilling. Should you appreciate your relationship with us with this mind set, it results in us seeing you as complacent. You may regard it as a natural and understandable, indeed potentially necessary progression. We do not. Your failure to admire us in the way you once did (or at least the manifestation of this admiration), your demonstration of love, adoration and such like becomes lessened. You may not think that you love us any less but it is the way that appears to us that matters. This change manifests as complacency to us and it makes your fuel become stale, less potent and this in turn threatens to weaken us. In order to defend ourselves we must immediately switch to the devaluation and extract the negative fuel from you which will power us to the extent we want and demand.

 

  1. Disobedience

Our sense of entitlement, inability to recognise and respect boundaries and huge need for control means that we have to have you do what we want. This control arises through the application of the incentive, the carrot approach, when we have seduced you and the golden period is in play. Through the application of wonderful and loving behaviour we cause you to do what we want by providing fuel and carrying out our wishes. We have delighted you and you want to please us in return. We provide you with the love you desire and you respond by complying with our requirements. When you stop submitting to this benign control then we will switch and commence the devaluation. You may, when viewed objectively by others, be correct in not doing what we want, taking an alternative course of action and doing something else but to us that is irrelevant. You are challenging our control and this cannot be countenanced. In order to stamp out this uprising before it gains traction and undermines our careful operation that has been constructed to control you and gain fuel from you, we must tighten our control, remove the dissent and increase our grip on you. This is when the devaluation begins. We move from benign dictator to malign tyrant.

 

  1. See Through

If we apprehend that you are working us out. If we perceive that you have been influenced by another source and you are joining the dots. If we gauge that you are beginning to realise what we are and what we are doing, then we must strike first in order to shock and awe you into submission once more and dispel your fabrications. You may well be right but we are not going to accept you being right. We will switch to the devaluation in order to unleash all those manipulations which will confuse you, drain you and most of all make out that it is all your fault. We have done nothing wrong other than love you with a perfect love and instead you have brought this on yourself through your lies about what we are and your treachery. We cannot allow you to unmask us and therefore we will assault you with a frenzied devaluation which gives you no option other than to try and defend yourself so you lose sight of your goal of seeing through us. We will make you feel guilty, cruel and heartless in the hope of tapping into your empathic traits so you stop what you have been doing and concentrate on putting things right between us, mending the relationship and showing that you care. The commencement of the devaluation when you are uncovering what we are is a massive distraction exercise designed to protect us and harm you.

 

  1. The Hoover Opportunity

 

This is not a hoover against you. Instead it is the opportunity which suddenly arises to hoover a predecessor. This person may have been discarded and moved away from our sphere of influence or they have escaped and done likewise, but now something has happened whereby they have come back into our sphere of influence. The promise of that sweet and powerful hoover fuel will outweigh the positive fuel that you are currently providing us with. The prospect of getting this hoover fuel means that we want to focus our attention on the predecessor and hoover them. We will not get shot of you, not yet, because that will leave us in in-between primary sources of fuel. Instead, we commence the hoover to seduce again your predecessor and thus because they have appeared on the horizon they make you look like the less desirable option. This causes us to question why we are with you, to regard you as a mistake and therefore we switch to devaluing you as we begin the seduction of them once again. Should the hoover fail, expect the golden period to be reinstated for you, with another sudden switch. Should it succeed and we begin to tie the predecessor back to us once more with the hoover fuel beginning to flow, you can expect the devaluation to worsen as you hurtle towards being discarded.

A sudden switch to devaluation may indeed herald the fact that a predecessor has appeared on our radar and we are hoovering that person at your expense.

 

  1. Total Control

You are aware that we want to control you. This is fundamental to the dynamic between us. Yet, as a further example of the double standards that we engage in we want to control you and if you disobey us we will commence your devaluation but furthermore if we believe we have obtained total control over you then we will similarly commence your devaluation because we know that you will do anything that we want and we will just use you to validate ourselves in the event that other, more exciting prospects do not fuel us during the course of the day. You become relegated to the reliable and dependable, because you are actually doing precisely what we want, but through our warped logic, this equates to you no longer being special. Thus we need to make you special to us once again and we do this through valuation. We will not cast you aside when we have achieved total control, not at all. This state of affairs brings with it considerable benefits but they will now be channelled through the filter of devaluation and not idealisation. It is symptomatic of the bizarre (when judged from your perspective) logic we apply that when you finally do the very thing we want, we turn against you and begin your devaluation.

 

How do you deal with all of this? The short answer is you cannot. Any of these five reasons may suddenly apply without warning and your devaluation starts. You cannot avoid it and you could not avoid it. You did nothing wrong, but you did everything wrong from our world view. There is nothing you can do to avoid this happening, because once the trigger happens, the devaluation will follow. The thing you can draw the greatest solace from however is than in knowing this is how we are, in knowing that there was nothing you can do or you could have done to have changed the outcome, you at least now have this knowledge and through it you can attain freedom from the doubt, uncertainty and sheer bewilderment of wondering why it happened.

The Utopian Ideal

Utopia. You want it. We give it to you. What you may not realise is that you are the spark of inspiration for this utopia, we are not. We allow you to design this ideal world. Interestingly, your utopias are strikingly similar. It is a place where you are loved, protected and made to feel safe. For some of you it involves the trappings of comfort and prestige. The impressive residence which has been tastefully furnished inside and is laden with the benefit of society’s technological advances. It may manifest as a wardrobe that is bursting with the beautiful and eye-catching. It may hold the sensational from the art world or the most luxurious materials that the world has created over millions of years. In other instances it may be the presentation of a cup of tea on your night stand each morning that forms part of their perfect world.

 Some of you reject the material and prefer to build this utopia on a foundation which you regard as more fulfilling, more deep-seated and nourishing. A land where mutual respect is a given, the simple pleasure of a stunning sunset evoking more delight and satisfaction than anything made by Bvlgari or Bentley. You want to be cherished, desired and listened to. For some it might be the intense passion of athletic love-making before the caress of soft hands lulls you into an all-encompassing slumber. Your utopia is a place where there is no anger, no tears and peace of mind. A place where one hand fits perfectly into another and will never let it go, a hand hold that says that it is okay to be frightened but you need not be because I will always be here. It is the knowledge that if you start to fall you will be caught. The wolf will always be kept from the door and nothing lurks in the darkness.  It is a halcyon world where the scent of dill onion bread, or bacon or pancakes signifies that we are together and you never want that fragrance to ever diffuse. So many of you offer different interpretations of what constitutes your utopia yet so many themes remain the same. Love, happiness, smiles, warmth, contentment, caring, laughter and passion are recurrent.

You build this utopia. The bricks are in the words that you say when you first meet us. Those sentences over dinner become walls that create these magnificent buildings that rise upwards into the azure sky. Those whispered desires the metal girders that criss cross as the monument to our relationship takes form. The desire in your eyes creates the undulating countryside and crafts the clear rivers that run through the beautiful meadows and fields that form in  your utopia. Your touch causes ripples across the landscape, creating and nurturing as the idyll forms. Everything you say and do, every expression and every glance, every thought and act is charged with such massive potential and it is all for the greater good. It is all to build utopia. You provide us with the plans and the materials and we set to, building this perfect world. You direct us and explain what utopia looks like, smells like and feels like. We are beholden to your instruction as we merely reflect what you want. You want to be called sweetheart every time we kiss you on the cheek? We do it. You want to dance through the night to the slowest of ballads? It is done. You want to receive a loving note through your letterbox? Consider it achieved. Each and every constituent part of this utopia is created by you, all we do is take what you want and make it happen. This is what we do. We are the facilitators of your dreams. We pay such close attention to the way you design this world, taking note of what should be excluded, what must be included and ensuring that every detail is executed.

We are so dedicated in our desire to build this perfect world for you that we spend as much time as we can with you, watching and observing, so that even your mannerisms begin to be included in this grand design. We are so skilled that we absorb everything about you, every hope, every desire and every dream and weave them into this utopia so that soon it begins to form and you marvel with an open mouth at how wonderful it is. It as if every breath you exhale creates another segment of this amazing place. Each heart beat thrusts life into it, every step you take transfers energy into this wonderland, your thoughts appear as if they were being written down as we somehow interpret them and cause them to become reality. You are the architect and we are merely the construction workers who endeavour to give you what you want and boy do we deliver. Nobody can create your utopia like us. Nobody has the skill or the dedication to bring this paradise to life. Does it matter that it is a construct, made from thoughts, dreams and wishes? Of course not, it is as real to you as the screen you now stare at and the fluttering sensation in your stomach. You can see it, taste, smell it, hear it and touch it. You are amazed at how perfect it is, it almost seems too incredible but it is not because you inspired it. You provided the drawings and plans and we brought it to life.

This is utopia.

This is all that you have ever wanted.

Now we have built it for you.

Does it matter that it is an illusion?

If so, well, you started it.