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What is She Thinking?

She smiled warmly at her coworker. At least, she hoped it was warmly. She put effort into it. He was back again, a honey bee seeking nectar to thrive upon, looking for a delicate flower to pollinate. She knew how to keep him coming back, too. She had to develop the skill set to ensure it so she could keep getting her narcissistic supply and fluff up her ego.

The formula for expressing caring is quite easy to nail once you see it a million times. Smile when they ought to be happy, stop smiling when they ought to be sad. It never actually touches my soul in order to evoke true empathy because all I care about is getting mine. The more I make him talk, the more likely he is to say something nice about my hair or my apron or my nails or anything.

I need this because my significant other is taking all my emotional capacity. I am so drained all the time, but this man? He makes me feel younger, somehow. He makes me feel seen. Special, in a word.

Because I am married to a psychopath who cares nothing for my own emotional state, it is just fine that I push that onto my unsuspecting coworker to repair myself. It’s okay, I just need a little bit. Never mind that he gives me the eyes. I know I’ll never sleep with him because he’s ordinary and I’m not ordinary at all, I am very pretty and I know that deep down but I somehow need reminded of it.

We’ve had a conversation every day for weeks now. He comes around when he’s on break and I’m still on the clock. I always get my work done in time to clock out when I should, so I view it as a wonderful way to break up my day. I deserve it. I deserve to be told I’m pretty by the common folk. I deserve to be told that I am special by a man who plainly wears the hope of something more on his face.

I ignore it. Why do I ignore those seeking eyes? He searches mine for a way in and I know that, I ain’t no dummy. I know what he wants: a relationship. I’m already married in my heart to the loser lawyer boyfriend I have who pays my tuition to go back to school to be a paralegal. There’s no way I’m leaving that pscyho just to be with this nobody, stuck earning minimum wage just like me. I am above that, I just need to stretch and I’ll get there, I know that.

I smile more when I see patrons pass by, gawking at him, knowing I have taken the spotlight. I am pleased to reserve one more honey bee to pollinate my flower in a pinch, should my entire world fall apart because I’m a reactive asshole instead of a proactive planner. Oops, I forgot to smile. What did he just say? I’ll have to ask him to repeat it, but you know, if I do that too many times, he’ll just stop talking to me. I didn’t give him enough active listening to keep him on the hook.

I love having men on the hook because it makes me feel great about myself. I am a queen amongst the worker bees. I can wave a hand and one of them will eat right out of it, soaking up all my romantic pretense, the bullshit that I offer, thinking they have a way to my heart. My heart is too broken, perhaps I’ll just give them a tiny morsel. I have twenty of them at my disposal, after all, and if I only let him have a teeny, tiny piece, he won’t be able to break me.

Nobody goes all in anymore, I know that now. After dating too many assholes, I know the score: every man and woman for themselves.

I refuse to play the game of giving my heart away. Instead, I turn to the game of stealing others’ hearts, putting them in a jar, just like Christina Perri sings about, and then coming back for the ones I miss. I have become a psychopath because I broke my heart so many times without stopping to repair it that NO I WON’T STOP YOU STUPID WHORE YOU STOLE AWAY A BOY WHO IS NOT YOURS now I justify doing it to everyone else who thinks I have something special they’d like to be around more frequently than for fifteen minutes at a time at work.

This is making me sick to my stomach. Am I really like this? Is this how I am perceived? What can I do to fix this feeling that’s been stirred up inside of me? I am not okay with this. I am not okay with the idea that I’m the problem. I thought I was the protagonist of my own story this whole time and now someone I can’t even see or hear in the real world is calling me out as a villain. She’s calling me out on my shit and I don’t know what to do about it.

She? You gotta be kidding me. Woman, why won’t you empathize with me?

Do you really, truly, want the answer to that question or are you asking me because you think I’m being unfair because you broke your heart over and over again like a stupid wind up toy that bumps into a wall blindly because it cannot see, hear, think, or feel?

That’s far too harsh. Why are you so mean to me?

Because you’re in my way, obviously. You are an obstacle on an obstacle course. You are a silenced victim who will not stand up in self-righteousness and tell that psychopath you fuck that he’s a lunatic that needs to be examined under a microscope, allowing him to be free amongst the sheeple of the world.

How am I in your way?

Oh, yes, let’s focus on that, instead of the rest of what I wrote for you. YOU. ARE. MAKING. THE. PSYCHOPATH. A. MORE. CONVINCING. PSYCHOPATH.

That cannot be true! Jerry loves me deeply, I just know it. He cares about me, that’s why he’s putting me through school.

Wrong. He puts you through school because he can control your income as a result once you exit Just-A-Job and go into whatever it is you’re studying, taking your income in exchange for the investment he made up front. This is how a psychopath do.

Let me guess — right before you graduate, he’ll present to you a ring and get a joint bank account in your married name because, naturally, you’ll both allow him to buy you, take his name, and your income.

But he paid for it!

Then demand you keep minimum wage. Whatever the fuck you are making now is completely yours for the rest of all time. Wait and see how that one blows over. (It won’t, he’ll hold it over your head for the rest of eternity to control you into doing as he pleaseth.)

How do you know?

I’m a psychopath, obviously. It takes one to know one, as the old adage goes.

Why are you telling me all of this?

You’re still in my way, obviously. But now that you are listening, I will tell you the real answer: because you’re a victim who does not know she’s a victim. If I can enlighten you to understand that he is a victimizer, then you can fix it. Think about it: why do you need another man’s love to feel good about yourself at all? If the man you have already was empathic enough, and if you communicated well enough, he’d already make you feel valuable by himself. You wouldn’t need to talk to slobs with shirt stains to pump your ego.

You have a valid point, but aren’t I also increasing this other guy’s self-esteem by being kind to him?

That depends. How much are you leading him on?

I’m not leading him on, I don’t think… what could I be doing to lead him on?

Do you make vague plans to hang out together outside of work with no intention of fulfilling that? Does he hint at wanting to and you ignore it? Does he tell you things boys reserve for their girlfriends? Do you respond like a girlfriend? Do you ask yourself if you’d sleep with him if it was the end of the world? If you did that, would you? Are you sure you’re not just looking for sex without strings attached so you can reclaim your womanly power for once and feel like your old self again while your husband-to-be continues to wring you dry of all sensation, leaving you too numb to even understand you could be breaking a man’s heart by being a phony bitch?

HINT: Any “yes” answers == he’s on the hook.

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