The Crying Game – Pt 4

 

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.

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5 Narcissistic Myths

 

Image result for picture of a myth

 

I always read views propounded about me and my kind, with considerable interest. I see many intelligent and well-reasoned observations about what we do and why we do it. Many carry considerable force. Other views are purely driven by the understandable anger and hurt that is engendered in people by us, although as I have repeatedly sought to explain, when one operates through emotion, poor decisions are made and the clear picture is not observed. I also come across comments which are made about us which are inaccurate. I am not referring to the disagreement one might have in terms of an ad hominem attack against us. Many people consider us to be arseholes and bastards. I understand that viewpoint, many of my kind would disagree, but it is not that kind of value judgement that makes its way to becoming a myth about us. There are other more important misconceptions. As part of my ongoing work in explaining what we are, why we do what we do and your involvement in this narcissistic dynamic, it is just as important to explain what we are as detail what we are not. With that purpose in mind, I turn to five myths about our kind.

 

  1. We have no emotions

 

This view has gained some traction owing to the fact that my kind function with a considerable emptiness inside of us. The existence of this void can cause people to believe that because we are a shell and a husk that we are devoid of emotions. The fact that we feed off other people’s emotions also supports the view that we have none of our own. We need to steal the emotions that other people experience to enable us to feel.

The fact is that we do experience and feel certain emotions. We experience annoyance, anger and rage. Indeed, the churning fury which is always there beneath the surface, ready to be ignited, is a prevailing emotion of ours. We know boredom, disgust and loathing. We are very familiar with jealousy, envy, shame and hatred. Malice, malevolence, anticipation, contempt, aggression and power are further ones. Our stable of emotions is dominated by negative emotions. These are the ones which have been allowed to develop and that is because the force behind these emotions has been harnessed to allow us to achieve our aims. Our hatred for being devoid of fuel, drives us on to extract it. Our disgust at weakness causes us to always want to maintain superiority and strength. It is these emotions which make us effective and ruthless.

By contrast we do not experience joy or happiness, sadness or regret, serenity or love, remorse or guilt. These are alien to us along with others. We either have never known them or they have been stripped from us in order to allow us to operate with greater effectiveness, free from encumbrance and hindrance. We understand emotions because we want yours directed towards us. We understand how to mimic them and we understand when they should be exhibited (although some of our kind are better at this than others) but ultimately we do experience some emotions, just nowhere near as much as you.

 

  1. Copying us infuriates us

 

No it does not. If we are angry with you and shouting, if you decide to mirror this behaviour, all you are doing is providing us with fuel. If you parrot what we say to you, if there is any emotion attached to it, even if it is said with sarcasm, a sneer or contempt, it is fuel. If you decide to fall silent because we have, we may realise that the silent treatment is not reaping the fuel that we expected, but it does not infuriate us. Instead, we will just switch to a different form of manipulation in order to cause you to provide us with fuel. You find it hard after a while to keep mirroring what we are doing, your emotional capacity is such that it usually breaks through in some form and thus fuel is provided. We also recognise what you are doing and if you are giving us fuel, we will let you continue to mirror us. If you are not, your mirroring is not a criticism therefore there is no wounding, but we will shift to a different behaviour to bring forth the fuel.

 

  1. We miss you when you are gone

 

No, we miss your fuel, not you. That is what we miss most of all. We may also miss the traits that we were able to steal from you and also the residual benefits that you provided. It is something that victims of our kind find very difficult to accept. Surely some of what we said and did was genuine? It seemed that way, so surely it must have been? It must be the case that we liked somethings that you did? We did; the fuel, the traits and the residual benefits. We did not care about whether you were humorous, save that your sense of humour was appropriated by us for the purpose of making us seem better with other people. The radiant smile is only missed because it gave us fuel. Your extensive knowledge about wine was again another trait which made us look better.

Not only is it only these things that we miss when you are gone, the simple fact remains that if we discarded you, we decided that you were no longer worth the effort in keeping around and in most cases, we had identified and seduced a replacement. With this person in place, we focus on them, only turning to you to dole out Malign Follow-Up Hoovers (or Benign ones later when the replacement begins to turn stale). There is little doubt that you loved us with everything that you had, that you thought the world of us and nobody could have done for us what you did, but that is all from your perspective. Once we have discarded you, that all counts for nothing. You became a malfunctioning appliance and you have been replaced. We miss nothing about you.

If you escape, we will miss the three items that I detailed above and indeed we will look to recover them through the Initial Grand Hoover and Follow-Up Hoovers but do not think that our protestations of being unable to live without you, how we cannot imagine another day with you and we miss you so much, have anything to do with you as a person. They do not. We are unable to live without your fuel, we cannot imagine another day without using your traits and miss your residual benefits so much. All of these declarations, pleas, begging gestures and so forth are only designed to recover the three principle reasons we attach you. You can tell yourself that we miss you terribly if it makes you feel better but you are misleading yourself.

 

  1. We hate being alone

 

We need people. There is no doubt about that. We need people because we need the three principle benefits, chief amongst which is fuel, but that is not the same as saying we hate to be alone. In this instance, there is a degree of truth in the above statement but it requires considerable qualification. If we have been well-fueled we are able to be alone, engage in solitary activities and spend time in our own company without difficulty. Of course, the longer this goes on, eventually our fuel level drops and we will need to seek out people, but we do not hate being alone in such a situation.

Furthermore, the advantages of technology mean that although we may not be physically proximate to somebody, the advantages of Skype, text messages, telephone calls and even hand-written letters allows us to be on our own but in contact with many fuel sources. Add to this Thought Fuel and you have a situation whereby we can be physically isolated but with such connections we can manage perfectly well extracting all of these variable fuel types.

Remove such connections however and in a situation when our fuel levels are already low and we are physically isolated with no means of contacting people and that is when you shall see that we hate to be alone.

 

  1. We have a conscience

We do not. We think only of ourselves, our needs and how each situation can benefit us. We may appear to exhibit a conscience in order to con people and this is something more witnessed with the Mid-Range and Greater Narcissist, in order to fit in to a situation and people’s expectations but we have been created without a need for a conscience. If we had one, we would not be able to trample on people in the way we do. We would not be able to always be moving forward, never caring for what has gone before us. If ever you witness a situation where one of our kind appears to have had our conscience pricked, all it means is that we see an advantage in pretending that this is the case and we wish to dupe you and others for our own benefit.

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You v Her

 

I have grown weary of the incumbent primary supply. The fuel that ought to be provided at a premium level has become diminished in quantity and quality. Whilst it still flows as part of the devaluation that continues, the time has come to audition for your replacement. I am courting you following my usual preparatory work once you have been targeted and I have now commenced your seduction. You are not alone. I am seducing someone else as well. It makes sense to have an insurance policy after all. You won’t know about this competitor (at least not yet) but believe me that when you are in the early stages of being seduced by our kind, it is highly likely that I was seducing someone else. In order to identify the best source of fuel so we choose the most effective primary source, we will set a number of tests. These tests are not so arduous that they will risk the seduction failing, but are designed to ascertain which of the two, or more, competing prospects provides the best fuel. This current performance amounts to a strong indicator of future performance. Here are ten of the tests that are commonly utilised.

  1. Sending the same text message to both prospects to see who responds the fastest.
  2. Sending the same text message to both prospects without concerns as to the speed of reply but as to which provides the best fuel-laden response.
  3. Arranging a date with both prospects and then cancelling (with a view to re-arranging of course) to determine who is the most disappointed and which of the prospects tries to keep the date alive by making adjustments and alternative suggestions.
  4. Calling both prospects in the middle of the night to see who answers.
  5. Sending the same gift at the same time to see who thanks us the fastest and in the most appreciative manner.
  6. If sexual coupling has occurred at this early juncture, then sleeping with you both in the space of 24 hours (or less) in order to determine who is the more fuel accomplished lover.
  7. Feigning a minor emergency and seeing who responds the fastest and with the greatest concern and compassion.
  8. Suggesting a date when I know that the prospects have something else on to see who will break their existing engagement in order to see me.
  9. Having a lieutenant try to arrange a date with you to see if you rebuff him and make mention of me.
  10. Holding a social media challenge to see how many likes, re-tweets, comments each prospect applies to my postings in a three-day period to see who posts the most and provides the most fuel.

 

Not only does this contest between the two prospects provide us with plenty of fuel coming from two fuel lines, it enables us to determine who we should focus our greater efforts on to ensure they are seduced and become our intimate partner and primary source. If the contest is too close to call after the ten tests above, then additional tests will be applied and the ten above will be re-run also. The winner becomes our intimate partner but the loser does not go home empty handed, not at all. They are likely to be awarded the status of inner or outer circle friend and they will be kept within our sphere of influence as a supplier of fuel. They also a future role to play in a prospective triangulation and there may even be a promotion in the offing at some point….

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15 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.
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Understand why.

Why? Understanding the Narcissist's Behaviour by [Tudor, H G]

Why? The ever present question about why the narcissist did as he or she did? A host of questions which overwhelm, confuse and paralyse the victim. Not any longer. A range of fascinating questions, some common, others rare, have been selected dealing with the various elements of the narcissistic entanglement. Forthright and accessible answers are given to these key questions, jargon-free and in an enlightening manner which will aid any reader. The key to freedom starts with understanding. Read this and stop asking why.

UK https://www.amazon.co.uk/Why-Understanding-Narcissists-Behaviour-Tudor-ebook/dp/B01HU2NMSW

US https://www.amazon.com/Why-Understanding-Narcissists-Behaviour-Tudor-ebook/dp/B01HU2NMSW

CAN https://www.amazon.ca/Why-Understanding-Narcissists-Behaviour-Tudor-ebook/dp/B01HU2NMSW

AUS https://www.amazon.com.au/gp/product/B01HU2NMSW

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5 Reasons We Argue (And What You Can Do)

 

It is often said that our default setting is one where we are on a war footing, ready to lash out and savage anybody who ventures into our sphere of influence. Our ability to argue is extensive and people may well remark, not knowing what we actually are, that we are capable of starting an argument in an empty room. Of course, an empty room is no use to us for we are reliant on others or the perception of others regarding us, giving us emotive attention. Our ability to argue over seemingly anything and nothing, without diminution or retraction is a fearsome attribute. It is frustrating, upsetting and often causes those around us to wonder why on earth we must always be red of tooth and claw. Surely it would be easier not to argue? Is it not tiring always being on the attack, aggressive and belligerent? Would life not be so much sweeter if we were not so war-like and bombastic? You may think that from your perspective, but as ever, I am allowing you to understand our perspective. You may not agree with it but if you understand why we are like this then you will be in a better position to do something about it and be less likely to be trapped by confusion and bewilderment. Here are five reasons why arguing is central to our way of living.

  1. To Provoke

You are a tanker full of fuel. Our aim is to prod, poke and assail you until your shell is breached and the fuel begins to pour from you. Your emotional responses to our argumentative stance is what we want. It does not matter what we are arguing about, whether it something trivial or something major, the subject matter is not the issue to us. It is the need to make you angry, make you frustrated, make you upset or make you fearful. So long as you keep reacting to what we are saying, then we shall keep arguing. Indeed, you are fuelling us and making us feel powerful so that this enables us to sustain this course of conduct – you are the one perpetuating the argument by reacting, it is not us. Disengage and halt the emotional responses and you will take away one of the fundamental reasons why we love to and have to argue with you during devaluation. We know however that you will not do this. We have cranked up your emotional response level that you cannot help but keep going, you are haemorrhaging emotion and we are lapping it up. Your desire to have us accept the reality (your reality) keeps you going and you fall into our trap of trying to make us “see sense” when we will never do this. We are not interested in an outcome or a resolution on your terms, the argument is about us attaining what we want.

  1. Control

You do not like to argue. You prefer peace and harmony. Discord is an environment which sustains us but not you. You want the quiet life, everybody to get on and for things to run smoothly. If you want that then you are going to have to keep giving up more and more control to us, otherwise you will face the fury of an argument. We do not want you to go out and enjoy yourself with other people. This means your attention is elsewhere and you are depriving us of fuel. It also means you may be susceptible to the influence of other people. We do not want our hold on your weakened in any way as we may lose you as our primary source of fuel and this will mean that we have to find a new one – this takes time and energy. Accordingly, we want you by us as often as possible and isolated from the treacherous influence of other people. If you want to do something which is contrary to our desires, then we will create an argument. It is often not even about the thing you wish to do and we wish to stop. Not at all. We will pick something out of the air and create an argument with you so that you are made to feel upset or frightened. This may cause you to no longer feel like you want to go out or have friends round after being involved in such a confrontation. Thus our control over you has been achieved. We may be more direct and cause the argument to be about the very thing you wish to do so that you end up backing down in order to keep the peace. Our ultimate aim is to cause you to alter your behaviours so you stop doing what you know is contrary to what we want beforehand so the argument can be avoided. Causing an argument is a weapon of intimidation, the threat of which becomes a method of achieving control over you. It is difficult, especially in the face of such hostility, but by refusing to engage and continuing with your planned course of action you are sending a signal that this method of control is ineffective. We will no doubt shift to a different form of manipulation, but the fact you have stuck to your guns and done what you want, provides you with a victory.

 

  1. Exhaustion

Our capacity to argue is almost limitless and powered by your provision of fuel we can keep going and going. We adopt our method of circular arguments, leading you towards a supposed resolution and then starting the argument up again much to your exasperation and disappointment. By keeping an argument going and going over the same ground repeatedly we aim to grind you down, tire you out and exhaust you. This method of creating battle fatigue is effective in reducing your defences, your ability to cope and your ability to evaluate. You cannot be bothered to put up a fight any longer and let us have our way. It becomes self-perpetuating as once you no longer wish to fight back then we exact further manipulations against you to exhaust your even more. The steady erosion of your energy levels is a method of wearing away your defences before launching a salvo of different manipulative attacks against you. The key to avoiding this draining situation is to avoid engaging in it in the first place. By recognising what arguments are being used for, you should make your point and if not accepted leave the matter there. You have said your piece, you know that and can take satisfaction from that. Do not try and have the last word. We know that your kind are often desperate to do that and we will goad you into trying to achieve that as we continue to wear you down. You need to avoid getting sucked into these ever decreasing circles in the first place and recognise that this is a chief aim of arguing.

  1. To Close the Wound

An argument is often a heated fury response to you having criticised us. When you deliver a criticism to us (whether real or more often perceived by us) which is free of emotion, it wounds us. In order to repair this wound we will either withdraw, apply cold fury or lash out with heated fury. The manifestation of the ignited heated fury includes causing an argument with you. By creating an argument, we provoke an emotional response from you which provides us with fuel. We use arguing to gather fuel in any event, as I have described at one above, but we also use it to gather fuel when it is desperately needed to repair the wound which has been caused by your criticism of us. You provide fuel and this allows the wound to be closed. We will then continue the argument to gather more fuel to make us feel powerful as well. One way of countering this would be to avoid criticising us in the first place. Unfortunately for you, many criticisms are perceived rather than actual. This is why they wound more are the perceived criticisms are usually emotion free because they have been unintended by you. Accordingly, your prospects of avoiding criticism based on perceived criticism are slim. The alternative is for you to avoid responding to the argument in an emotional manner. This means that you will not provide us with the fuel that we need to close the wound. Accordingly, we will try harder to get it from you, but if you maintain your resolve, do not engage and do not provide an emotional response then we will be forced to withdraw and seek the repairing fuel from another source. You will have brought the argument to a conclusion sooner than usual by forcing us to go elsewhere.

  1. Self-Worth

 

We need to maintain our sense of superiority. We need to ensure you remain inferior to us, beneath us and worthless. We are desperate to generate a sense of self-worth which does not come naturally to us through our arguing with you. If we can annoy you, frustrate you, put you down through the auspices of an argument that we gain a sense of self-worth. We remain in our elevated position, we are the top dog, we are better than you. By keeping you downtrodden through the power of an argument it follows that we are superior and therefore we have achieved our aim. To counter the perpetuation of an argument for the sake of us gaining a sense of self-worth, you may consider just accepting what we are saying (this is often easy because what is being argued about may actually be (in your world) completely trivial) and therefore you are giving nothing away by conceding. If you agree with us, tell us we are right and concede in such circumstances the need for the argument has evaporated. If you reinforce our superiority through praise and admiration it will have a similar effect. You are giving us that sense of self-worth that we crave.

It may appear that we always want to win the argument. That is not the case at all. We have no interest in winning the argument. What we really want is to achieve one or more of the five above.

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In My Shoes

I always wake before you. This allows me to slip into the en suite and lock the door and deal with the horror of confronting another day without you seeing me endure this daily ritual.  Already I can feel the hunger rising as I stare at my reflection. Is this what I have become? The bleary-eyed, stubbled, exhausted creature that gazes unwaveringly back at me. No, I do not recognise that thing. How old it looks. The lips are thin, the hair thinning and clumped. Its shoulders rounded and slumped in resignation. I feel refreshed from a solid night’s sleep yet whatever is looking back at me does not accord with that feeling. The fear crawls across my skin and I rub at myself trying to dislodge that cold grip but it never works. The inner dread rises as I contemplate another day at the grindstone trying to piece together what I am, that long arduous task which never gets easier. In point of fact, the task becomes more difficult with each passing month as my advancing age screams at me about my mortality. How that banshee tortures me as she howls in my ears about my waning powers. I feel the tears welling as every injustice I have ever suffered is heaped on my shoulders by an uncaring and oblivious world. Does it not see my pain or does it just not care?
My mobile phone is clutched in my hand. I rarely let it leave my side and I place it on the counter besides the sink and then grip the counter as I continue to look at my reflection. My knuckles whiten as I fight the urge to scream at how empty I feel, how bereft I am and how this is so damn unfair. I try to wrench my gaze away but I cannot. I am entranced by what I see. I do not recognise this person. Where has that shock of white come from in the hair above the left temple? That is not me. Its skin looks dry as if it has been subjected to the dehydrating suction of some foul shade that visited in the night. The horror continues to escalate and it is only the chime of my ‘phone which breaks this terrible appreciation of the thing in the mirror.

Grateful for this interruption I shift my eyes to the ‘phone and see that a message has arrived from one of my coterie of admirers, Samantha. The pilot light inside of me flares into life and there is the slightest surge as the fuel begins to flow. I should wait until I have showered but the hunger is too great already and it must be addressed. I open the text message and like a starving man being given his first meal after fasting I devour the words of admiration.

“Good morning handsome, I missed you last night, I will call you when you are at work xxx”

The flame increases in size and strength as I close the message and smile .I turn on the shower letting the stream of water heat up as I flick to the texts that Samantha sent last night whilst I sat on the settee preoccupied with my activity of flitting between her texts and a conversation I was engaging in with a new prospect on facebook. I re-read a handful of the texts from Samantha with their declarations of admiration for me and I feel my strength returning. I put the phone down and step into the shower and relish the hot embrace of the jets of water. The fear has shrunk away and the dread sensation has been pushed back down. I liberally apply the shower gel, enjoying the sophisticated scent as I use a different product on my face, scrubbing away the dead cells and then another to cleanse and wash. I turn the taps and the water stops. I reach for a thick towel and pat my face dry feeling rejuvenated. As I stood beneath the purifying water my keen mind raced whilst I formed my machinations for the day. Always plotting and always scheming. The prospective fuel that will be garnered from the new sources that I am pursuing coupled with the dose of triangulation I will involve you in is causing me to feel excited and powerful. I pick up a bath sheet and admire the toned nature of my body as I dry myself and embark on the next stage of my preparation for the day by shaving and brushing my teeth.

A little while later my phone has chimed again and this time it is a colleague wanting to arrange lunch as he wants my advice since I am an expert on a particular topic he has to present on. The flame inside rises higher now and this spurs on my delinquent mind to consider additional ways to garner that oh so precious fuel during the day. The hunt for fuel is unending. The craven hunger that rumbles inside of me cries out for it and it is my sole preoccupation. The beast inside must be fed. Yet, now I am feeling strong. I haven’t applied my after shave and already two admirers have seen fit to worship at my altar and the games have not even yet to be played. But they will. I reach for the fragrance and splash it into my cupped hands and apply it to my neck as I look to the mirror. The handsome me has returned. The piercing blue eyes shine, the tousled, shiny locks of hair await the application of some wax to style them, the unblemished skin and close shave accentuate my chiselled good looks. I flash that winning smile as another surge of power flows through me. God I look good.

I return to the bedroom, ‘phone in hand and find you have now risen and I can hear the sounds of movement in the kitchen downstairs as you prepare breakfast as you always do. You will shortly bring me a mug of fresh coffee but I think I will complain that it is not hot enough and criticise you, just to see if I can provoke a reaction from you. It should not be too hard, I know precisely what to say. I notice the bed has not been made and rather than attend to it and help you, when you pass me my coffee with a ‘Good morning’ and a smile, I will cock my head towards the dishevelled heap and tut. Ah, yes, the master of games knows his stuff. I dress as another text arrives from another friend who wants to organise a golf game and asks for help with his swing, praising my technique. He is after more than assistance with his golf since he wants me to place work with him. He will have to provide me with more fuel yet to even be considered and of course, I will send the work elsewhere since there is someone who will give me something I want in return in a sweeter form and in larger amounts than my golfing chum. Still, the disappointment on his face will no doubt provide me with a hit too.

I can hear you coming up the stairs and I decide I will take a look in the full length mirror since I am fully attired to admire how elegant I look. I dress in a manner which says to anyone who meets me that the first move is mine. I stand and give a contented nod at my statuesque reflection. I look fantastic. I start to smile and then a bolt of anguish shoots through me as the craven creature that first lurked in the bathroom mirror appears. It is only for the briefest of instances but it causes me to exhale. My expensively-dressed self returns and the relief washes over me in an amazing way. The creature has gone again. He does that though. He likes to make fleeting appearances throughout my day to remind me that I must keep finding fuel. My quest for the potent fuel must be at the forefront of my mind at all times. As if on cue, you enter the bedroom, a veritable reservoir of fuel. You greet me as I cock my head to the unmade bed and tut. I feel the rush of power as your smile evaporates and you look crestfallen. The games have begun and my day is off to a great start. I only hope that creature stays away from me.

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Read and understand all about narcissists from the best source possible. A narcissist himself.

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