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The Switch

switches-1One of the more difficult of my behaviours for you to cope with, let alone understand, is the switch. On the Sunday we have enjoyed a pleasant day together lounging on the beach with a picnic. The next day you try and call me and I do not answer. I do not reply to your texts. I am not subjecting you to a prolonged silent treatment on this occasion and eventually we managed to speak in the afternoon. The conversation is not going to win away awards. I ask no questions, I am monosyllabic in my responses and you feel like I have pulled down the shutters and put up the defences. You ask me what is wrong and I do not give you a credible response which satisfies this sudden change in behaviour.

You draw the contrasting behaviours to my attention and I know full well what I have done and what I am doing. I however feel no need to explain myself. I recognise that I was pleasant and caring yesterday but now I am like a block of ice. Do not make the mistake of thinking that I am unable to see this shift in my behaviour. I can. It is not that I cannot offer you an explanation for it. I don’t want to. This is because I am not accountable to you. If I want to behave this way then so be it. I have learned however that if I say this to you, it will make me appear bad, so instead I will ascribe it to being tired or I have other things on my mind. I am also doing this because I know that it will cause you to show you care (and thus give me more attention) by asking what is wrong and what has happened. If you push too far, I am likely to become angry and go on the attack (why do you always have to question me? Why must you assume there is always something wrong? I don’t have to be happy all the time you know?) Later on I will most likely send you a text stating I am sorry but I am under a lot of pressure at the moment or I had just received some bad news and did not feel upto talking (all lies of course) but you will then feel bad but also relieved at having received a (false) explanation and you will remain dangling, rather than doing the most appropriate thing which is to leave me to it.

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Will I Ever Be Left Alone?

This is a frequent and plaintive cry from those who have been caught in my web. There are those that never realise what they have become involved in when they are targeted by my kind. They never leave and we never leave you alone. You are always there and available for us to extract some fuel from. We of course discard you but it is never a true parting of the ways. We only cast you aside in order to bring you back again. We do not really want to get rid of you. It is purely a device to ensure that we put you through the ringer again and extract some extra droplets of fuel from your battered and withered self. If you make no attempt to leave we will attach that metaphoric piece of elastic and bounce you back and forth. How long will that pushing and pulling go on for? Until you die. You will always serve some function to me. You will hang around and be used and abused until either you expire or I do and I never contemplate the latter for long.

What if you try to escape me? Well, the lesser narcissist also known as the oxymoronic benign narcissist will try to rope you back in but if you demonstrate sufficient resolve he or she will seek out a far easier target. The reality is there are so many people walking around oozing empathy, that they may as well have a target painted on their backs. We always find fresh fuel and without too much effort. Sometimes I do think that we attract you without having to anything. I know how we are able to sniff you lovely empaths out, but I have started to wonder whether the super empaths that exist have some function for finding us. Their desire to fix and repair enabling them to home in our broken and warped ways and inadvertently they are drawn into our sights. The lesser narcissist will try to hook you back in, but eventually he or she will leave you alone. It may take a few months but you can avoid their clutches. Beware however, should you fly too close in the future we will shoot out a tendril and ensnare you again. Do not make the mistake of thinking that we ever forget how useful you are to us. We do not forget and should you attend an event where we are or decide out of some misguided sympathy to send a text asking how we are, we will come straight back after you.

That is the approach of the lesser narcissist but what of my breed, the malign narcissist. Will we ever leave you alone?

Never.

Picture This

thV6PJJ06DWe all know that a picture paints a thousand words but with my kind and me, you are far more likely to receive a novel. If you know what to look for, my use of pictures is a helpful indicator for you. Initially, I will take hundreds of pictures of you as I shower you with compliments. I will also ensure there are thousands of pictures of us, wearing beaming smiles, radiating out our long-standing love (of three days so far). These pictures will be taken in a sun-drenched location, on a ski-slope, outside the theatre, at restaurants, at the game and so on and so forth. These markers of happiness and location will be plastered all over my phone and social media as part of my Relationship Bulletin (see post) and also a general declaration to the world. Look at us together, see how happy and content we are. This is going to last forever.

Wait a number of months and then ask to see the photos of my phone. I will be evasive and no doubt pick a fight and engage in one of my numerous manipulative techniques to deflect you from pursuing this line of enquiry. The reason? You are no longer clogging up my photo album, in fact I will have stored there various pictures of my new target. None will have been taken with her consent. No, these photos might be surreptitious ones taken at work or most likely copied from her Twitter feed and Facebook account. You might think in the evening that I am sat poring over our photos. Not a chance. I am studying my next source of fuel.

You will also notice a reluctance for me to pose in photographs with you. I will come up with all manner of excuses and invariably suggest we have plenty of pictures we do not need any more.

“Honestly, you take so many selfies, anyone would think you were a narcissist,” I will declare in a delicious moment of irony. I will be refusing to appear in a picture with you and slowly removing all those pictures of us and you from social media accounts. I will not do it in once fell swoop ; that is too obvious. Instead, I do it little by little, imagining I am erasing a little bit of you each time. My version of a death by a thousand cuts.

If you do manage to get a picture of me unawares there will not be the brilliant smile I always used to flash, instead it will be a scowl. If I submit to a posed photograph the smile will be thin and the eyes will be cold and dark, just like how my heart feels for you.

Point Askew

In a discussion with Dr E we were engaged in one of the sessions where he invites me to consider the situation from the point of view of those that I interact with. On this particular occasion we were discussing situations where a victim wishes to cease interacting with me and he wanted to know if I could understand why they might form that view. Since I am a clever chap I am able to work out how people might feel about being on the receiving end of my behaviour. I understand that anxiety and hyper vigilance, misery and upset follow the way I treat people. As you know though I do not care. People make the mistake that I am dismissive of the way people feel. It is not that. I can see that they are upset. I can see that they are angry. I know all of that. What people often fail to realise is that my needs have to come first. I need my fuel. If that means you standing there sobbing at me then that has to happen so I get my fuel. If there was a different way of getting that fuel then I would use that method. If that alternative method did not leave you upset then I would take it, but there is no other way, not when I grow tired of you. I need the fuel and that means you have to suffer as you supply that to me.

I do understand how you feel because I have seen the reactions over and over again. I know what anger looks like, I know what misery is and I have seen despair so often. I can understand your point of view when you stand arguing with me, but I will not concede to it. I want you to keep arguing as that gives me fuel. I will deploy a circular argument to keep the drama going. I want you to explode through frustration and shower me with your attention as you do so. I hear everything you say to me (although I will wind you up by saying I cannot hear you, so you speak louder and become exasperated). People suspect that I cannot appreciate what your view is. I do but it must always be subservient to my desire for fuel. Of course, by telling you this I can extract even more fuel from you because now you know that I understand your views but I wont pay any heed to them and that will infuriate you all the more.

Cheats Always Prosper

I have admitted previously that I am a pathological liar. I speak and a lie pops out. I really cannot help it. It happens so often it has become my default setting. The lies of course vary. Sometimes I need one to support my grandiose nature,

“Yes I have two Bentleys at home, one for winter and one for summer.”

Alternatively, it may be to cut you down.

“No that shirt does not suit you. Pastel shades make you look insipid.” You look great actually but I cannot have that.

Other times the lie appears to deflect your unwarranted criticism of me.

“I could not be in Revolution bar with a blonde lady because I was in a meeting still with a client. Shall we ring him and embarrass him by asking him to confirm he was with me? No? Thought not.” That blonde was a delight. I got her number within minutes.

I was discussing all of this with Dr O. She asked me if I could remember when I began to tell lies. I sat silent for a short while.

“Can you not remember? Would it be fair to say that you have always told lies?” she asked.

“Wait I am remembering. That’s it. I remember now,” I answered triumphantly. She looked at me in that expectant way she has. I do like that. I hope to see her giving me that look from my bed in the near future.

I went on to explain that I recall cheating at Monopoly. I always insisted on being the banker and in the more frenetic stages of the game I would always ensure an extra £100 would be allocated to me when I passed go by sliding it off the pile with two other notes. Nobody noticed. I would then routinely give the other players short change and they usually failed to notice. If they did, I would correct it and blame it on the speed of the game. I would then invent rule changes with players who were not regular players and as with any instance where I look to alter reality, I would say it with such conviction they would back down. After all, my word is law, I am a god.

I continued to explain how this set in motion an reliance on cheating and telling lies. I noticed how doing so always afforded me a better table at a restaurant, got me out of a commitment I was no longer interested in, garnered interest from somebody new as I lied about my career. I achieved promotions by lying about my achievements and telling tales about my competitors. Wielding my trusty friend plausible deniability I carved my lies into the landscape, built towers of fabrications and cities of deceit. In fact, I confessed to a scribbling Dr O I would be hard pressed to recognise the truth anymore since lies serve me so much more effectively.

Ice Cold With Alex

th08QINOIKI had a girlfriend called Alex. She was a vivacious creature who was very much into her gymnastics and I cultivated an interest in this after seeing her various tweets about attending competitions and her posts on Instagram. She was at least ten years younger than me and she had a delightful naivety about her. Although she was far from old, indeed she was very much in her youth, she was approaching the upper age limit for those who could be regarded as competitive in gymnastics. Similar to competitive swimming, the shelf-life of a female gymnast is not long.

Initially, I would drive her all around the country to the various competitions which she took part in. She was very good and often found herself amongst the medals. The rigorous routines began to have an effect on her body and on return to home it was often necessary for her to apply ice packs to reduce the swelling she suffered about her knees and ankles. Once I tired of her bubbly persona and incessant chatter about straddle press handstands,pike press to handstand from front stand and the Arabian doubles, I would prior to her competition remove any ice we had in the house. On return she would express her dismay at the lack of ice. I would volunteer to go and find some for her from the supermarket as she rested. I would go to the pub instead or go and visit Mary who was attracting my attentions around this time.

I would return empty-handed resulting in Alex not recovering quick enough and thereafter having to pull out of competitions. She would swear that she had purchase some ice only the day before but I would point out that she could not have done since we had none. That was a fact and with a confused look she would eventually accept the force of what I was saying. Unfortunately for her, she insisted on attending a competition when not fully recovered and ended up badly injuring her right knee. Her convalescence was such that she felt her confidence dry up and she was most reluctant to rejoin the competition. This pleased me as it meant my weekends were no longer being interrupted and as she was on crutches for a time it meant I was free to come and go and there was little she could do about it, being largely housebound. In order to show some semblance of caring for her, I would cook the evening meal for her on condition she fixed the drinks for us both. It was then I decided I would always drink Absolut vodka. On the rocks.

The Rules of Attraction

Those I interact with, mainly those who I have had relationships with, often ask me what it was that first attracted me to them. Dr E has asked me to consider this question as well. He has framed it in two parts however. Firstly, he wanted me to tell him when I first saw somebody what immediately drew them to me. He wanted me to return to that first impression, be it online or in person or from the window of my car. Secondly, he asked me to view it from now. Was the reason for the attraction any different ? This proved to be a long session of extended pauses as I gave this ample consideration. I must admit, this was one of Dr E’s better questions so I felt it merited some application on my part.

Addressing the first part, it can be absolutely anything. The colour of your hair, the slope of your nose, the scent you wear, the piece of work you have completed, your choice of dip for your fries, your voice or the car you drive. That is what I seize on. I use this as the focal point for my sudden and overwhelming desire for you. I look for something, anything that seems worthy of a compliment and when I find it I deploy it immediately and then look for another, then another and another as I fire up my machine gun to blaze compliments towards you.

The second part of the question is what I really find attractive. The initial attraction is just a frenetic, rushed attempt to form a bridge with you and dash across it to be with you. What really attracts me is showing that you are honest and caring. Decent and understanding. That’s what really matters to me. Those attributes mean that you will be hugely susceptible to my compliments and also utterly bewildered when I withdraw them. Ultimately I sniff out that you will give me the admiration and attention I am entitled to.

This led Dr E to ask me how do I know that you are honest, decent and so on. I began to answer but he said he wanted me to think about this for 15 minutes before answering. I knew the answer in under a minute so I compiled a list instead of the methods I am going to use to seduce my neighbour. That was a much more productive use of the time. Once the prescribed time limit had expired, Dr E asked me again how I knew. I said it was simple; I just do.

Personal Jesus

I am your personal Jesus. I enter your life and bring light and healing. Have you been hurt and damaged by another who did not value the honesty, decency and truthfulness by which you lead your life? I will soothe your fevered brow and reassure you that you are a good person. I bring calm where there is confusion and misunderstanding. Listen to me as I explain to you how the world really is. I have created paradise. I will open its gates and let you gaze upon it. Feel the love, warmth and tranquillity flow from it. This is all yours. All you need to do is follow me. That is all I ask. Come with me and I will be your world. I am everywhere and understand everything. When you are feeling down I will call you and remind you of how wonderful you are. My angels will remind you through my text messages and love notes of how special you are. You have a place reserved in my heaven. I chose for it you.

If you feel that your journey through life has taken a wrong turn, let me guide you. If the road ahead seems dark and stony, do not be troubled. Climb onto my back and let me carry you. I am your angel and my wingspan is wide enough to protect both of us from the darkness that lurks in the world. Open your heart to me. Give it freely and it will prosper under my stewardship. Listen to my words. They are imbued with wisdom and you are welcome to keep them as watchword to your heart. For too long you have struggled alone. I am here to relieve your burden and show you the wonderful, beautiful perfect love that you deserve. Just take my hand and follow me.

I am your saviour.

The Caretaker

I would like to tell you about one of my ex-girlfriends, Karen. Karen, this is directed to you out of recognition of how spectacular your supply of fuel was. It was one of, if not the best.

Using my legendary powers of empathy detection I was able to pick you out like a pig sniffing for truffles. Some might suggest that it quite an apt analogy. I identified that you are a caretaker. You are a passionate, caring and strong individual. How best might I harness the sweet, sweet fuel that you would be bound to supply to me? I decided that rather than love bomb you I would apply a different technique. Yes I was polite, complimentary and took an interest in you so you were drawn to me, but I did not bombard you in the way that I ordinarily might. No instead I decided that I needed to test you. I reasoned that you would see me as a challenge. Most of my victims apply their caretaking instincts when I start to devalue, demean and belittle them. They want to fix me in order to return to the golden period. I opted in your case to start testing you from near the beginning.

You were never allowed to contact me first. You had to wait until I made contact and then you had to respond within one minute. If you did not you clearly did not care about me. I would wait hours in the day before I made the approach to you. Was I denying myself fuel in this way? Yes and no. Of course I was not receiving the usual blitz of telephone calls and texts that I ordinarily would when I would love bomb. This way however I knew you were always thinking of me, wondering when I might call or send a text message. I knew you would be repeatedly checking your phone and be in a state of readiness to respond. Knowing that I was ever present gave me a different kind of fuel at a different stage of our relationship to how it usually would be. When that first reply came, the power that surged me from having you waiting and ready, was intense.

I would insist that you refrain from eating before me, even when we were apart, to ensure that your hunger pangs reminded you that you were doing this at my say so. You would agree because you wanted to prove to me how much you loved me, how passionate you felt about me and that you would not be beaten. You readily became a co-conspirator in this game. I devised knew and harder challenges, pushing you each time and always you rose to the challenge and indeed you would often surpass my expectations.

As ever, I was several steps ahead of you. When I grew tired of this and starting to demean you, the conditioning that I had subjected you to in our golden period was so strong that you went above and beyond to try and please me. No matter how fruitless this seemed you never gave in. You showed immense reserves of discipline and strength, your depth of character was startling and it was all being used up on me.

I may tell you how my relationship with Karen ended at some point.

The Sleep of the Righteous

I don’t like going to sleep. Being asleep is not such a problem because obviously I am asleep and therefore oblivious to what is going on. It is the act of going to sleep which troubles me and consequently it has in the past taken me some time to fall into slumber. Once I do, I always sleep straight through until morning and awake refreshed and raring to take on my first fuel of the day. I recall a room mate on a football tour when I was 21 asking me why I was still up reading at a late hour when he had been asleep and woke to use the toilet. I explained I was enjoying reading my book, after all, I was not going to admit to him the real reason why I was still reading at midnight. I need to exhaust myself so that I know when I climb between the sheets I will be embraced by my deep and untroubled sleep straight away. If I cannot do that I have learned, after many fretful nights, that sleep will not come easily to me.

I know why this is. It is not, as a spiteful ex-girlfriend Tonia once remarked,

“You cannot get to sleep because your conscience won’t let you after all the despicable things you have done.” I laughed that one off. She had no idea.

No. The reason is that when I am going to sleep I believe that everything I have built up and created will disappear. I fear you will vanish because I can no longer see you. I am troubled that all my hard work in finding and establishing supplies of fuel will melt away once I am not able to control it. I need to be in constant control of what is happening and hate for that control to be taken away from me by asleep. Naturally, I must sleep like everyone else but it is in that few minutes as one settles down that the demons creep out from the corners of the room and threaten the destruction of my empire because shortly I will no longer be on hand to govern it. It matters not that I have woken the next day and found everything intact. I am terrified that one day that just could change. Accordingly, I need the transition from wakefulness to sleep to be swift and pronounced.