Following on from my illuminating discussion with my neighbour’s wife (she is called Fiona by the way) I decided that I needed to make my next move. We had discussed which gym she was a member of and that she liked to attend at 7am. This posed no problem as I am an early riser, I find the silence helps me think. I joined the gym that she had mentioned and paid for a year’s membership using the ex’s credit card. I made a note of the pertinent details before I sent her on her way. After the way she behaved it is the least she can do to pay for the membership. With that established I headed for the gym just before seven and spent some time warming up on the treadmill. Fiona arrived and spotted me and headed straight over. Honestly, sometimes it is just too easy. She hopped on the treadmill next to mine (I had ensured that two were free either side of me) and as she walked briskly we chatted.
I had spent some time going on line to learn about Dungeons and Dragons since she had mentioned she played it as a teenager. I also rang one of my nephews and pumped him for information as I know he plays it too. Armed with this information I asked if she was a thief or a fighter. She laughed and explained that she always played as a magic user since she was fascinated by magic and its effects. I listened as she went on about various spells she used in the game and then I steered it around to who she played the game with. She explained that she played with one of her brothers and his friends, all of whom were a couple of years older than her. Apparently, he had been bullied at school and she used this as a means of making friends, filling up part of her weekend and a form of escapism. I listened very carefully to all of this. It seems therefore that she felt vulnerable as a child and dealt with this by being whisked away to a fantasy land. Step this way Fiona, it is time for some deja vu!
I remember watching the memorable film Flash Gordon (the version released in December 1980) and Princess Aura sees Dale crying and asks “why is water leaking from her eyes”. I had always wondered what this was too. Ming the Merciless (a personal hero of mine but that’s for another occasion) explains :-
“It’s called crying, it’s a sign of their weakness.”
I was delighted by this enlightenment and pleased to have acquired this understanding. I don’t cry. Even as a baby I didn’t. My mother said that I was such a perfect baby. When I see someone crying I just do not understand why they are doing it. I mean, if they are supposed to be an equal and strong, there is no reason to do it is there? My ex-girlfriend, Kate, she said I made her sad and that was why she cried. I had to keep pointing out to her that I had done everything I could to make her happy and she had no possible reason to be sad. She would not accept this so I sat her down in front of my widescreen television and selected the execution scene. She watched and started crying. I said to her, “You are not meant to copy her, listen to Ming.” I’m not sure she could hear in between the sobs. Some people don’t want to learn do they?
As part of my ongoing work with Dr O and Dr E I have been encouraged to tell them about the things that I say and the things that I do for them to consider and compile. I have been happy to oblige. They instructed me to place this distillation of my activities into a guide and they then added some observations as to the meaning of these actions and comments. They did most of the work for the meaning, albeit I framed it in my world view. The purpose of this is to demonstrate the cold calculation that lies behind my words and deeds because do understand that everything I say and do has been evaluated first as to how it will best serve my aims. Anybody who tells you that what I do not know what I am saying or doing is either misguided or lying. I know exactly what I am doing. Indeed, I think it was from the film Dangerous Liaisons that one character was described thus, ‘He does not open his mouth without first calculating the damage that he will cause.’ or words to that effect. That is me. Accordingly, the good doctors felt that not only would this provide excellent material for them to consider and for them to then discuss with me in order for me to gain an understanding as to what I say and I do (I already know that – I do it to gain fuel) but for it to serve as a rough and direct guide for other people. An in-your-face crash course in recognising the ways of me and my kind. I was only to happy to oblige as this provides me with a platform to show you all just how brilliant I am and as you know, I do love an audience. Interestingly, when detailing some of my key phrases I noticed Dr O shudder a few times and I am beginning to wonder if she has more vested in her study and treatment of me than she has admitted. I will be watching her most carefully. Accordingly, in order with the good doctors’ prescriptions I have compiled this guide for your digestion so that you may better watch out for me and my kind. No doubt, as the good empath that you are, you will wish to share this with those you care about, in order to ensure they are better protected. You can find the guide at the links below. Good luck.
I utilise my good friends denial and deflection, but sometimes you just keep going so I need to roll out another friend from the D cupboard, namely Distraction. If you have accused me of something or you have challenged something I have said or done which I find too close for comfort I will need to distract you from having a landed a blow against me. I cannot countenance you believing that you have delivered a hit. The most effective way I achieve that distraction is to either walk away or erupt into a massive rage. If there is an opportunity to escape your cross-examination of me then I will seize it. This may be putting the phone down or not responding to your texts, but if it is in person, I need to leave and do so in a pronounced fashion leaving you in no doubt as to what you have done. You have annoyed, irritated and infuriated me. If I flee the scene you can expect a pronounced period of silent treatment to follow as I seek to even things up. If I find I cannot get away from you then I must unleash my anger at you. It will come out of nowhere, it will not be linked to anything specific or logical and is purely a means of shifting the focus from what you have said that has struck a chord with me.
One of the common themes in my sessions with Dr E and Dr O is their need (note not mine) to have me be aware of what I am. Of course I know what I am but as ever I went along with their questioning. Initially this was all about how I regarded myself. I enjoyed this part and I could have gone on for some time. They reported back to me that I consider myself as more intelligent than most people, that I am more amusing, I am more likeable and more successful. I am also more physically attractive than most people. Well, hell yeah ! They then also established that I am obsessed with power (who isn’t if they have any drive and ambition – you don’t become President by sitting there do you?). I am also impulsive. I agree. I am arrogant (I call it confidence but what’s in a word?) and I like to exaggerate my success and abilities. That is true, how else am I going to get people to do what I want.
Things got interesting after that. The sneaky duo had been asking questions of others about how they perceived me. I was fascinated as they told me that their perceptions of me were bang on what I thought about myself. How about that for getting it right? I was rather pleased. Dr O asked,
“Some of those traits could be viewed in a negative light. That is how other people see you. Does that not concern you that they view in a negative manner.”
I shook my head.
“You label it as negative. I regard those traits as strengths and it is clear that other people do as thy have clearly identified them with me.”
She raised her eyebrows (recently plucked I noticed) and remarked,
“What if I told you that those people do regard those traits as negative?”
“If they do then that is jealousy for you. Or I suppose they are too stupid to recognise the brilliance of what I do.”
“Okay, but what if I was to tell you that those people are intelligent and they answered honestly and consistently?” she pressed.
“Would you not rather they liked you for decent qualities such as honesty and trustworthiness.”
“I’m not bothered about whether they like me or not, I want them to admire me for what I am.”
I know precisely what I am. Anybody who tries to tell you that I am oblivious to it is a moron. The only difference is that some people regard what I am as a bad thing. I know they are wrong. What I am is a good thing. The world needs people like me.
One of my key defence mechanisms is the art of deflection. You may realise that nothing is ever my fault. It is evident why that is. I am special and above the regular humdrum vagaries of life that affect the little people. Accordingly, since I cannot be held to account, by reason of my elevated status in the world, it follows that nothing is my fault. I know this but I often utilise a method that ensures this state of affairs remains as it should be, with me blameless. I achieve this by accusing you of precisely what I have been doing. I am completely incapable of accepting I have done anything wrong because as I have explained, I am not subject to the usual rules and conventions that bind people like you. Thus if you challenge me for coming home in the middle of the morning, I will respond by listing the times you have arrived home late. I will accuse you of hypocrisy by suggesting I have returned late when you have done it several times. Usually you have not done that at all and this is where my tactics works so well. You are so flabbergasted that I have accused you of staying out late on repeated occasions, that you forget that you were challenging my behaviour. Instead, you switch to defending yourself by trying to prove that you did not stay out late on those occasions. I will then ramp up the antagonism by accusing you of suggesting that I must be lying. I feign indignation at this point and decide I will lose my temper. You cannot stand to be shouted out so you switch from defending yourself to placating me. Thus, your original complaint has been lost. I remember that your allegation was unfounded and invalid (so I can throw this back at you the next time you try and criticise me for something) and you feel bad for causing me to lose my temper. I have lost count of the number of times these conversations end with you saying, “I’m sorry, I was mistaken.” I win again and this validates my belief that the rules do not apply to me (because you have accepted my position) and therefore I can do as I please. I impress myself sometimes you know.
I am an expert in reading people. I truly am. I use this ability to further my aims, namely to seduce you and then to cause you pain as I always know how I react. Remember when we first met? Of course you do. You replay those golden moments through your mind several times a day as you try and conjure up some way of recovering them. Or even if you now understand you won’t be able to replicate them, you still like to remember them (even though it hurts you) as you are addicted to the memory. That is how powerful I am. That is how magnificently I get under your skin, into your mind and in between your sheets. When we first met wasn’t it amazing how I mirrored all your good qualities. You were staggered by how much we had in common. That is easy to achieve. I stalk your Facebook page which is a veritable goldmine for your thoughts, desires and what you enjoy doing (and moreover what you don’t like). Knowing your favourite meals is child’s play – you post pictures of them often enough. I have a look at your most visited places (since you like to brag about where you’ve been) and I add them to my list of favourite venues. I even manage to finish off the sentences that you start.
All of that pretence works wonderfully to draw you in. However, it is my skill at impersonating emotions that is where my brilliance lies. You see, I know that you want to believe everything I say and do. It is a very human trait. The need to believe. That is why Karl Marx declared that religion is the opiate of the masses. I am your opium. Utterly addictive. You want to believe in me. You therefore make it easy for me to feign how I feel. I watch and I learn and I copy. Since you are desperate to believe you do not analyse my mimicry to any great degree and accordingly I get away with it. I create a false environment. This world is one where I promise you the earth (but never deliver) and if you try and challenge me about my promises I will pretend I never said them. You cannot prove it can you? Thus I maintain control by causing you to be anxious.
Everything I do with you is false. The way I drew you in, the façade I maintain, the games I play. They are all designed to create something which is not real purely to serve my purposes. Some of you eventually realise this, although only when it is too far late. For others, you never grasp that I am the great pretender and thus you consign yourself to a lifetime of despair and misery.
hasn’t the slightest clue what the fuck you’re talking about.
I used to be in a band. I played lead electric triangle as I was the fulcrum of the outfit. Success was denied by the incompetence of my fellow band members and I let them know about that. I love the triangle. As Madonna once sang, one is such a lonely number. Two is okay but not enough, not for someone as great as me. But three, now three is marvellous. In any of my relationships I need to bring in the third person. With my brother, I would point out that his Christmas gifts were not of the standard of our sister. That would infuriate him. Even better, I would put the ‘phone down and call my sister and tell her that her gifts were not as good as our brother’s offerings. Fantastic. At work it is so easy to do. Somebody provides a presentation and I will deem it satisfactory but inferior to that given by Worker B the previous week (there was no presentation but Worker A does not know that). In respect of my best friend, I used to have an imaginary friend called Stuart who I would pretend to go out with, who was repeatedly calling me or who had “just called round so can you call back later”. I used Stuart as a method of blocking my best friend for three months. He bought me a golf club membership in order to try to preserve the friendship so we could spend time golfing. That was a great result.
As with most of my work it is in the field of intimate relationships that my trusty triangle and me bear the most fruit. I will drag anybody I can into the triangle and repeatedly through the day. I will compliment my personal trainer and compare her to you in terms of tone and definition of body. I will remark how the cook at the diner makes a better cooked breakfast than you. I will make oblique references to a new female colleague and enthuse about her abilities and make you know how often we speak during the day. Hell, I will even bring inanimate objects into the triangle too. That really gets to you. My obsession with my ‘phone is the best one, but I will spend an age polishing my shoes and commenting how reliable and beautiful they are, unlike you. I will of course be grooming a new person as I grow tired of you as I engage in extra relationship affairs, my triangle has to have meaning. I always feel however that I can take it a step further, drive it to new heights because to me, just like the triangle I played in the band, it is incomplete.
I noticed the wife of my neighbour was outside doing some gardening. I had seen him leave earlier so my opportunity had arisen. I slipped out of the rear of my house and clambered over the fence and then ran around the block to arrive back at the front of the house to give the impression I had been out for a decent run. This meant I had to run across the front of her garden. There she was tending to one of the flower beds, knelt down, her bottom and calves defined through the material of her trousers. I halted in front of her and pretended to breathe hard. She immediately looked up and smiled before greeting me. She was attractive, more so now that I could see her close up.
Now, the key things to do in this initial meeting are to pay her a few compliments and gauge her reaction. The greater purpose however is the acquisition of intelligence. I began with praising her horticultural skills, then remarking how her keen gardening ability had not diminished how elegant her fingers were. She smiled and thanked me for both compliments. Note to self ; susceptible to compliments. I also asked if she ran and if not, how did she maintain such a terrific figure. She explained she had a gym membership and told me which one. I explained that I had one there too (I haven’t but by this afternoon I will have) and I managed to bluff from enough knowledge about the gym (garnered from others I know go there) to make it seem like I occasionally attended. I did add that I would probably go there more now that I knew she attended. This gained a coy smile. I was reeling her in. With sufficient compliments deployed I then listened intently as I asked repeated open questions to gather as much information as I could. Accordingly, I now know that she enjoys baking, her favourite food is Mexican, she enjoys swimming. She volunteers twice a week at a local school, reading to children who have learning difficulties. She doesn’t like live music but loves 80s pop and 90s dance music. She does not work, but used to, as a pa to an insurance executive. Her favourites book is Wuthering Heights and she has several favourites films including American Beauty, Pretty Woman, Scent of a Woman and Lord of the Rings. She used to play Dungeons and Dragons as a teenager.
She opened up like a freshly cut wound and the information poured from her. I have logged everything in my notebook, committing to paper all the information I gleaned. What is amazing is that I like all the things that she likes. It is fantastic. I will now be using this information to get far closer to her and then I will be able to ascertain the other side of her personality ; her fears and weaknesses. This will be similarly added to my armoury. First of all for me to exhibit sympathy and understanding and then to utilise as a weapon. It’s great being neighbourly isn’t it?
In memory of those who lost their lives 14 years ago. You will not be forgotten. We stand shoulder to shoulder with you.