A Grimoire of Narcissism

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Have You Seen Who He Is With?

HAVE YOU SEEN

 

You have been discarded in an unceremonious fashion. If that was not bad enough, word has reached you (naturally purposefully sent your way by our obliging lieutenants) that we have hooked up with someone else. You haven’t even had time to stagger up from the brutal dumping by the wayside that you have suffered and we have already invited someone else into our bed. Naturally, you want to see who has replaced you. Everybody does. This is not just a case of seeing who this person is but it is about your self-esteem and your self-worth to see who has replaced you. You organise a way to observe the replacement and through your own supporters you find some background information about this person. The combination of this viewing and intelligence gathering causes you to remark to your best friend,

“Have you seen who he is with?”

This is not announced out of breath taking admiration for the person who has replaced you. You are not looking on a stunning beauty who holds down a high-powered position in a major corporation, or who is a leader in her particular field of research. She is not known for her charitable work, being universally liked, someone who is committed to family and friends, someone who shines like a gilded trophy partner. She is the opposite.

You invariably undertake an inventory of your own selling points. I have witnessed this many times. You know that you are attractive. Many people have commented on this. Whether it is your glowing smile, your radiant eyes, your lustrous locks, your curvaceous figure, enticing cleavage, elegant shoulders and a score of other things, there is plenty about you that attracts the admiring looks. You may not be a Nobel Prize winner but you know you are bright, hard-working, articulate and have a keen interest in the world around you. You are well-liked by people. They praise your compassion, your wicked sense of humour, your wild side after a few tequilas or your competitive yet fun nature when it comes to sports and games. You are independent, aware and resourceful. You have an excellent job, you probably had money (until we appeared and leeched it away), a decent home and those trappings which denote the fact you are in regular employment and have good taste. You know you are a catch and that is not a boast. There is always room for improvement and you have your flaws, hey, who doesn’t? Nevertheless, you know you have plenty going for you.

But who on earth have we chosen?

You may not wish to be unkind to another member of the sisterhood but your jaw dropped when you saw that first picture that was posted on Facebook. We were stood there, huge grin on our face, arm wrapped around this new acquisition who is, well, everything you are not. If you are curvaceous, she is rake thin. If you are slender, she is packing some beef. Whereas you have long hair, hers is shorn short and looks as if it has been done in anticipation of her beginning a marine training course. Your elegant dress sense has been replaced by somebody who got dressed in the dark. Your eyes shine with intelligence. Hers are dulled from idiocy, drink or narcotics. Your nails are long and sharp, hers are bitten down and dirty. You learn she has no job, or is wearing an electronic tag, has a reputation around town for being a slut, had her children taken away from her, is known for shoplifting, comes from a notorious family on the other side of town and so on and so forth. Pick any combination and you will be left with someone who is not a patch on you.

You may have an initial surge of pride that you stand head and shoulders, metaphorically and possibly even literally, above your replacement, but we know that this is often overtaken by a sense of confusion and bewilderment. Why on earth have we chosen someone like her? After all the compliments that we gave you about the way you looked, how you behaved, the various characteristics that we praised and admired in you, why have we gone down market in choosing your replacement and why do we look so damned pleased about it?

There are a number of factors which you should have regard to.

  1. You may be witnessing a Panic Pick. If you escaped us and we had not embedded a new primary source of fuel, you will have forced us to rely on supplementary sources as we frantically sought out a new source of primary fuel. This is the result. We would ordinarily target someone who has the traits which we look for which align with the type of the narcissist that we are, however, the need to put in place some form of primary source is paramount and consequently we will sink our claws into the nearest half-decent (in terms of fuel provision) appliance we can locate, target and seduce. This person is the outcome of this. Your cessation as being our primary source of fuel, threw us into a panic and we have picked this person.
  2. It may be an Immediate Ego Boost. This also occurs when you have escaped us. Your escape is a huge criticism to us and wounds us. We need fuel and we need it soon. This person has not been targeted for the characteristics which we might purloin from them for our own use (as we did with you – claiming your successes and achievements as our own, basking in the reflected glory) nor have they been targeted for the residual benefits (money, status, good home and so on). This person has been targeted because they are so grateful to have someone take an interest in them that the fuel is gushing and pouring from them. It is likely, although not guaranteed (dependent on the type of narcissist that we are) that we will be a decent catch (or at least appear as one) for them. They feel extra special for having someone so good looking, successful, interesting and so forth take an interest in them. They cannot believe their luck at having traded up in the relationship stakes. Their reaction is one of total devotion, massive fuel supply and this makes us feel all the better after the wounding that we have received at your hands.
  3. It may be a Two Fingered Salute Triangulation (or a Middle Finger Triangulation dependent on where you hail from) which has been done entirely on purpose to undermine you. This happens where we have discarded you and we want to make you feel alarmed that we have chosen someone so beneath you but we chose them over you, so how bad will that make you feel? If you ever challenge us about this replacement and how unsuited she is, you can expect the exchanges to go something like this.

“You always told me that you loved my long hair.”

“I was lying. You took too long drying it when we wanted to go out. I have always preferred short hair and Sandy’s is just the way I like it.”

“You told me you didn’t like skinny women.”

“I never said that. You are just jealous because you are fat and I have found someone who really does it for me.”

“She doesn’t even work, you’ve always complained about people who are scroungers.”

“She looks after me. It is a shame you didn’t do that but you cared more about your job than me.”

“She is some two-bob skank whore. Everyone knows that.”

“She is a firecracker in the sack believe me. What would you know, you are an ice queen?”

Whatever part of the replacement’s appearance or whichever characteristic you identify as being undesirable, we will negate that, criticise you (even though we have always said we liked said characteristic of yours). This is done to upset you so you provide fuel, demean you and erode your self-esteem whilst making us look good in the eyes of your replacement. If this happens to you, you should consider that what is actually happening is that you are being given an early and brutal dose of the truth. What really mattered to us was your fuel and all that praise and all the compliments was solely done for the purposes of binding you to us.

  1. This arrangement provides the basis for a Triangulated Hoover to win you back which stands a greater chance of success.

“I was so lost without you, I lost the plot and chose her. I have no idea what I was thinking, she was not a patch on you, do you see how much you mean to me? I could not find anybody who came close to you. I made a huge mistake and she made me realise that it is you that I really do love. Let’s try again?”

The comparison between you and this less endearing individual and our apparent remorse and contrition is designed to maximise the prospects of this hoover succeeding. You will be shocked by how “off the rails” we appeared to go in choosing the skanky individual and you will be relieved by our apparent realisation that you are the one for us that you are far more likely to accept our overtures and be hoovered.

We will behave like we have found our soul mate (sound familiar?) in order to confuse you and make you feel utterly miserable that we are now happy with this person who we chose over you. You will invariably be caught in the grip of still wanting us and therefore to have been discarded and then replaced with someone like her, hurts you hugely.

Accordingly, should you ever find yourself remarking,

“Have you seen who he is with?”

On the basis of sheer amazement at the down-trading that has gone on, you will now understand the motive and rationale behind it. You should also keep in mind that whichever of the four scenarios detailed above has happened, your replacement will not be in situ for long. This person is a temporary primary source of fuel who will soon be dispensed with. This person is a stop gap to allow us to receive sufficient fuel in the interim while a more suitable and longer lasting victim is selected or is a method purely designed to lash out at you and hurt you until we find again someone more suitable and longer-term.

For once we are not reflecting you.

The Asylum of the Grotesque

 

THEASYLUMOF THEGROTESQUE

“Why don’t you try to love me the way that I love you?” – Paula

“Perhaps if you just tried you could find a better way to something deeper and more substantial.” – Kate

“I know it is within you, it has to be, all you need is to embrace it and place your trust in me.” – Alex

“I know you flirt with all kinds of dirt, but beneath the sin, I know you want to love me like I love you.” – Karen

“If you let me I will show you how to love without condition or cruelty, it can be done by all of us. Just let me try.” – Caroline

I still hear these words from these women (and more besides) as I sit late at night in the large living room to the rear of my house. It is on the first floor and provides me with a commanding view of the fields to the rear of the property, the occasional copse breaking up the undulating countryside. I had two bedrooms knocked together and created this living room where I like to sit and look out across the view as the sun vanishes and the cool, calmness of the night arrives. The sky shifts from the medley of flaming oranges, reds and yellows to a soothing azure and then the darkness descends. Karen and I enjoyed sitting in the large elbow chairs that faced the window. Often we would say nothing as around us the lamps would switch on, a gentle click signifying their creation of a pool of light as the timer activated them one by one.

I will often leave the city behind and come out here so I can sit in this house which I regard as my castle and with a glass of Chablis in hand, watch the sky change colour. The occasional noise of a distant animal might be heard but largely there is silence. The enveloping stillness of a calm world until I hear their words. All of them meant what they said and did so with the best of their intentions. I know that because I could see it in their eyes. Whether it was the earnest green, the heart-felt hazel, the beseeching blue or the inspiring grey, I still see them as they tried to make me see a different way. They wanted me to change. They wanted to make me something else.

Now Karen no longer sits beside me, I rarely bring the girlfriends that I acquire out here. I prefer the solitude, only for a few days. I will periodically check my electronic devices and the winking displays, lists of messages and e-mails sustains me as so many seek my attention. Without Karen, I decide against having the lamps gently bloom and instead prefer the gathering darkness. It is here that I can sit and plan. It is in this quiet that I can marshal my resources, mark my targets and organise my machinations. It is also when I resist those pleas to become that which I regard as impossible to achieve. I prefer to walk amongst my trophies. I stride amidst the frozen tributes to my brilliance as I picture each and every of my conquests as if they are beautifully crafted statues each in a pose denoting my victory over them. There is Siobhan, on her knees looking up at me as she begs me not to go, her pretty features contorted by the pain she is experiencing. Paula sits at a table, her hands clamped over he mouth, her eyes wide with fear as she fights to say nothing, terrified that a word might slip from her lips. Becky dangles limps, the strings rising upwards attached to her hands, her feet, her head, her hips and other places. The broken puppet. Kate stands on tip toe, her face a mask of anguish as with one hand raised above her eyes she peers into the distance as if searching for something, an empty dog lead in her hand. I let my hands glide over the smooth stone that has captured their defeat and embodied it in an eternal stance. My fingers drift over open mouths, curled lips, tear-filled eyes and flared nostrils. I savour the misery, anger and dejection that has been injected into these statues. I regularly walk amongst them and it reminds me of my power, the hold that I have over these people who sought to change me but could only ever disappoint me. Why would I ever want to do what they would have me do? Why would I embrace their suggestions when I can create these monuments to my omnipotence? These masterpieces of misery always reinforce that I am destined to do this for this is what I do best. I am reassured, validated and comforted that my way is the right way when I take a stroll  in my asylum of the grotesque.

 

Contrariwise

Contrariwise,’ continued Tweedledee, ‘if it was so, it might be; and if it were so, it would be; but as it isn’t, it ain’t. That’s logic.”

Makes perfect sense to me but I should imagine it will not to you. Welcome to the logic of my world. The penchant that our kind and me exhibit for telling you that black is white and when you eventually agree (and you will no matter how ridiculous this may appear) we will tell you that it was black all along. Or orange. Or azure.

Our ability to deploy contrariwise must rank amongst one of the most confusing, infuriating and draining manipulative techniques that we possess. Well, judging by your reactions when we wheel this out it is. In all honesty, it is used so often it may as well be a default setting. No matter what you say to us we will automatically adopt a contrary position even if that contrary position appears to you as untenable and that it flies in the face of logic. We will always find ways of undermining, denying and deflecting what you are saying to us, most particularly if you are trying to make us look bad, prove we are wrong or you are challenging us in some way. We cannot allow those things to happen. We have a number of standard phrases that we will use in furtherance of this ability.

“Why must you always exaggerate?”

“No, I have never done that.”

“You are over-reacting. Again.”

“I think you will find that you are being sensitive, I did not mean it the way you are interpreting it.”

“You always look at it the wrong way.”

“I didn’t say that.”

“Your memory is playing tricks on you.”

“You/he/she/the world is making things up.”

“If you say so but you have got it wrong.”

“I never do that.”

“You always have to make a scene don’t you?”

Do any of these sound familiar to you? Our capacity to be presented with evidence of something and then in the next breath deny the existence of that evidence is staggering. We will reject what you say, deny we ever said anything (even though we actually said it just ten minutes ago) and twist our position so many times we appear to turn into a corkscrew.

Why do we do this? It serves three purposes. The first is because we are never wrong then we must never be shown to be wrong. You seem to have a fascination for trying to demonstrate to us that we are wrong about the things we say and do. That is a nonsense. We cannot be wrong and you must accept that. Our use of contrariwise enables us to ensure that we remain right and you remain wrong. It is entirely logical to us. If it is not so to you then that is your problem. You wanted to come into our world so now you must accept its rules. Do not try and argue that you did not agree to this. When you embraced our illusion you consented to this state of affairs. Do not try and deny that it is the case otherwise we will just have to provide you with some more contrariwise.

The second reason that we do this is that we have to have you in a state of confusion. This means that being a creature of order and logic you will try and make sense of our contrariwise which will merely serve to put your head in a spin. Furthermore, you cannot help yourself but want to show us that we are wrong. You cannot accept that we are unable to see the point that you are making. That is entirely the point. You are subjected to our rules now and logic, reason and sense rode out of town many moons ago. This confusion will leave you susceptible to our other manipulations and drain you of your resistance and resolve making it harder for you to escape our grip.

The third reason is down to our lifeblood, yes fuel. Your evident frustration, curses and desperation as you try to make us see that we are wrong provides us with delicious dollops of fuel. You tear your hair out, repeat yourself, raise your voice and collapse sobbing in frustration. It is all good fuel to us. No matter if you argued the point with the forensic precision of a top barrister we would twist the words so they achieve what we want and not what you want. To borrow from Lewis Carrol’s fantastic writing I leave you with the words of humpty dumpty, who was clearly a pioneer of our kind.

“When I use a word it means just what I choose it to mean.”

 

Never Let Go

NEVERLETGO

I was engaged in a discussion recently with Dr E. The conversation concerned relationships.

“So, when you end a relationship, tell me how do you feel about it?” he began as he unfolded his notebook and found a fresh page.

“I do not end my relationships,” I replied.

“I see, so they are always ended by the other person are they?” he asked.

“No.”

He waited to see if I was going to say anything else but I remained silent. Come on Dr E, let’s see where you are going with this. You cannot outsmart me. He sat looking at me and I at him.

“Those answers suggest to me then that your relationships do not end.”

Give Dr E enough time and he always gets there.

“Exactly,” I answered.

“I see. We have discussed a number of relationships that you have and have had. With family members, acquaintances, friends and of course lovers. Now, from what you have explained to me I would certainly regard many of those relationships having come to an end, either by your doing or, though admittedly less often, at the hand of the other person.”

“Your concept of a relationship evidently differs from mine.”

“Please, expand on that point.”

“My relationships begin when I determine that they should begin,” I started to speak. Dr E frowned but said nothing. I could tell he wanted me to provide clarity to that assertion and I was happy to oblige.

“When I detect somebody who will prove of use to me then our relationship has already begun. It matters not whether we have spoken in person or even made any kind of contact. The decision that the relationship has begun rests with me.”

Dr E was making notes as I spoke.

” The nature of the relationship is defined by what use that person is to me in providing me with my fuel. If the fuel they provide is strong and potent then I will be spending a lot of time with that person, others less so. I dictate the pace at which the relationship will develop by such criteria that I understand people like you apply to relationships.”

“What criteria are those?” asked Dr E.

“Instances such as familiarity with one another, whether there is a hand shake or a kiss on greeting, the name by which we call one another, whether they can be relied on to provide information, whether they will lend money, whether we go to certain places together and how often, whether we live together, all of these things are what you measure a relationship by.”

“And do you regard those criteria as instances that ought to happen over a particular period of time?”

“No. They are all measurements by which I know people like you determine the nature of the relationship. I use them as markers by which the level of fuel can be influenced, accordingly, I will move them along at a pace which suits my demands for fuel.”

“But not according to anyone else’s input or say a generally accepted norm from society?”

“Well, the other person has to consent to the act, I mean, I haven’t imprisoned anyone in my home. Yet.” I smiled.

“But if they are to provide their consent surely that means the timescale is taken out of your hands?”

“Not at all. I just make them consent in accordance with my timescale,” I said.

“By exerting the influences you have described to me previously?”

“Exactly.”

Dr E remained silent as he continued to write.

“So you determine when the relationship begins and the pace at which it proceeds and this relationship never ends?”

“Yes.”

“But some of the instances of your intimate relationships that you have described to me certainly fit with the concept that they have ended.”

“Not at all. If I have cast someone to one side because, as they always do, they have let me down in some way, then I will not let them walk away. They might think they have been able to do this. Indeed, in certain instances I encourage that train of thought so that the person’s defences remain down and thus they are susceptible to me resurrecting our interaction. Nobody leaves me and I do not leave anybody. They will always serve some kind of purpose, at some point and therefore there may be a pause in our interaction but there is never a cessation.”

“What if the other person decides they no longer wish to interact with you?”

“Why on earth would they think that?” I asked puzzled.

“Well, your treatment of many of them was harsh and unpleasant.”

“But no less than they deserved. People need to know their place and if they step outside of that they must be brought to heel.”

“Why?” asked Dr E.

“Because I gave them everything and each time they repay me by letting me down. That is unfair. Each time I give them the world, I really do doctor and no matter how wonderful I am to them they do not do enough in return and they let their affection become dull or they fail to provide me with the adoration that I deserve. It is wrong and they must be made to see how wrong they are punished for their transgressions.”

“So you maintain a relationship to punish the other person?”

“In part yes, but it is usually because they still prove of use to me and they have their debt to me to repay.”

“I see,” remarked Dr E and he continued with his writing.

“And when do they repay this debt?” he asked.

“That’s the problem doctor, ” I said with a sigh, ” they never do. That is why I never let them go.”