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Be a force to be reckoned with!
Schools teach us many useless things. There are so many unnecessary subjects they make us learn in school. Most subjects rarely help us in any way in life. I wonder why there has never been a class taught on recognizing self-serving opportunists. Have you wondered too?
Definition of self-serving according to dictionaries:
- serving one’s own selfish interests, especially at the expense of others
- serving one’s own interests in disregard of the interests of others
- serving own’s interests, especially without concern for the needs or interests of others
If there is one thing I have learned in life, it’s to make sure I cut certain types of people out of my life for good. Cutting a cord that brings nothing but huge benefits in spades! What types of people am I talking about? Well, there are many….but in this article, I am going to talk about self-serving opportunists. I will explain my take on this prototype of creatures in a very straight-forward, to the point kind of language. My usual disclaimer: I am not a psychologist, nor a sociologist. I am merely an ardent observer of human behavior, and all the experiences I share with my blog readers are, as I just mentioned, „experiences“.
I lived with a self-serving individual, a narcissist one at that, for more than two decades of my precious life. My kindness was taken for weakness and stupidity. I let him use and abuse my kindness until I could take it no more. He truly believed I was there to serve him, and he used me as long as I served a purpose. I put up with him for way too long until I realized I had lost myself and forgotten who I once was. That’s when I finally left him. I wish I had de-camped instead.
When you read the following lines, please bear in mind to use your own discernment to connect the dots and apply it to your situation, if you have one, as you see fit. My only aim is to help those who might be needing an experienced person‘s advice. I am a very well meaning person, and wish all my readers lots of love, light and enlightenment. Keep in mind that if you know someone with one or two of these traits you should not immediately assume they are self-serving. But if you do notice many or all of the following traits, chances are very high that you are giving to a self-serving person at your own detriment. So now let’s begin:
Typical characteristics of self-serving individuals:
They are very intelligent strategists.
They strategize their plan to use someone and calculate meticulously in advance. In fact, they often have strategy related careers. Their business acumen as strategists is very high. They use their intelligence to gain their own advantage with little to no regard for others. They think they can get away with their evil intents because they slyly find plausible explanations for their decisions and actions. In other words, they are adept at legitimizing their cunning behavior. Needless to say they don’t always get away, at least not for good. To sum this up, they strategize and legitimize. All the while, they also have very low morals, often dormant. So they never „knock-knock-are-you-there?“ their conscience. It is a dormant or rarely frequented territory! Self-serving opportunists have little to no morals to tap into, they only tap into what they can explain as „plausible“ or „legitimate“! They find reasons and arguments why someone is serving them, and don’t give a flying f….. if it is morally wrong. You will notice that many of them love strategy games!
They are good (public) speakers, but watch out for their body language peculiarities!
Warning! This is not to say that all good speakers are self-serving. In fact, there are many good speakers who are kind, loving, considerate and selfless. I hope we are clear on that. Now what sets a self-serving articulate speaker apart from other articulate speakers is their body language. They are in fact very good with words, that’s how they fool you into serving them. But if you are observing them in a speech or presentation, you will notice something strange about their hand movements. They don’t know what to do with their hands! A sincere person, speaking from the heart, with good, genuine intentions, without ulterior motives, will use their hands freely at the risk of looking awkward. One of the signs of sincere people is their hand movements while they speak. People who come from a place of good intentions, not calculations, will complement their words with hand gestures, and they won’t mind if it’s too much. It’s real, not taught. Even if a speaker is not kind and loving, they could still have sincere gestures that won’t hide their ulterior motives. In other words, one could be an aggressive, hostile jerk with untamed aggressive, hostile jerk hand gestures! This, although not desirable, is at least authentic and real. If you are taught to speak a certain way, you are out there to manipulate. Self-serving people are great manipulators. Keep that in mind! So if you are observing a self-serving speaker during their speech, presentation or interview, you will notice that they either put their hands in their pockets every 6 seconds and take them out again, or show no hand movement. If they show no hand movement, it is because they were coached not to put their hands in their pockets every six seconds and take them out again (laughs….). If you see them hold a pen the whole time, that’s not much better. I believe that your hands are there to move and further express yourself. There is nothing awkward about hand gestures. It shows you are human. I automatically warm up to a person who moves their hands while they speak, it makes me trust them more. It shows they are genuine. Now a person who keeps putting their hands in their pockts is hiding something. They are hiding their hands in their pockets because body language shows one’s true motives. While they are articulate enough to relish their bullshit with fancy words, their hand gestures might give them away!You will notice that most arrogant people walk with one hand in their pocket even around the office, even if it is not cold! Have you ever wondered why? It’s because a self-serving person is also arrogant. So pay attention! If you attend a seminar, or a speech of some sort, do not trust the speaker if they don’t know what to do with their hands. A genuine person moves them freely. Trust me! Of course, and as I mentioned before, there is such a thing as agrgessive hand gestures, so not all gestures are kind, loving or friendly, but at least they are genuine. What I am trying to say is, if the hands of the speaker are too tamed or hidden in their pockets, they are hiding something! That’s precisely what self-serving do while giving a speech, i.e. hide their true motives.
You never see their weak side.
The ego of a self-serving person will not allow for vulnerability. They see kindness as weakness. That’s why you will rarely see them engage in acts of kindness. If they do, it is certainly not free of an ulterior motive. Again, that motive has been duly strategized and calculated in detail and WILL BE legitimized by them.
They are skilled manipulators.
One of the things they can make you believe is that you are not doing enough for them, or that it is your duty to serve them. They might not use the word „serve“ but that is the gist of what they think. How so? They make you feel inferior and manipulate you into believing that it is YOU who needs them. You will see examples of that in the next paragraphs.
They self-praise their own manipulation techniques at workplace.
They might even share a laugh with you and tell you with self-praise how people just do things for them cause „threy’re stupid.“ They certainly won’t admit that what they’re doing is evil manipulation. They will call it their „innate power of leadership“. At workplace, for instance, they see themselves as born bosses, and believe that people are out there to serve them. That is how they set themselves apart from what they call „simple employees“. They do so proudly.
As partners, they don’t complete you, they deplete you!
For one thing, I have learned that we should never allow someone to be in a position to complete us. We should complete ourselves on our own. This might seem sad, but it actually isn’t. It merely means, that no matter what your circumstances, you are fully and completely content with yourself, to the point of not needing that contentment from an external source, such as a life partner. Now, if you haven’t yet arrived at this conclusion in your life – because this is something to arrive at through life lessons – then at least keep in mind that self-serving people, if you have the misfortune to have them as your partner, will not complete but DEplete you! How? They take, take, take and take all they can get, and they give little to nothing back! By manipulating you, though – read my next paragraphs – they will make you feel like they¹re the ones giving you. Please don’t let it go that far! Stop those conniving sons of b……!
They are well aware of their own behavior.
They use others all the time and they are not afraid of admitting it. They don‘t deem it as wrong. They don’t see it as using. If the other person does not object to this treatment, they will continue using them. That’s why it is important not to let them! You have to realize that your kindness is taken for stupidity! They see you as stupid, and they have a firm belief that if you are stupid enough to be kind, then you should be serving them. Again, that’s how these creatures legitimize their evil behavior!
They consider themselves to be special.
They think that others should just do things for them because of their superiority! Why do they feel superior? Well….for the most part, it is their upbringing. I lived with a self-serving, opportunist for more than 2 decades of my life. I heard his mother tell me stories about his childhood. Stories like: „other kids used to carry his bike and be happy to be allowed to carry his bike.“ or „he always told other kids to do this and that and they did it.“ „he was always a born boss.“ His mom would tell these stories with pride. She was proud of her son. Apparently, she praised him for treating other kids that way. So he grew up thinking that using other people is a good thing. He learned at an early age that people are out there to serve him and it is a good thing to make them do so! His upbringing reinforced an already existing tendency in him. This tendency could have been tamed had he been brought up differently. Had his mother criticized this behavior and taught him to be kind and considerate instead, he would not have turned out to be an oppourtunist jerk! (pardon my English…….give French a break! laughs….)
They have a hard time accepting being wrong.
If you oppose them, they will simply ignore your „inferior opinion“. Why „inferior“? Well….they see most people as inferior to themselves. You will almost never hear them say: „sorry I was wrong.“ Even if they realize they were, they will say something like: „ok…let’s move on and be productive.“, „fine, I heard you….let’s take care of things now.“, „Ok….you got a point, but…..“. It would be a futile attempt to get an „I am sorry, I was wrong“ out of them!
They’re not a helping hand. Let me give you a simple example. Let’s say you are at a dinner table with a few folks. When the dinner is over, people usually pick their plates and glasses and bring them to the kitchen to help the host. Everyone usually tries to do something. We all lend a hand, because it just doesn’t feel right to walk away from the table after that lovely meal that was put there for us. Right? That’s what most of us would do. We would be a helping hand, even if it meant taking only one glass to the kitchen. Self-serving individuals don’t tick the same way and always manage to disappear for a few minutes until the work has been done by others. They find ways of doing so. They might go to the bathroom, take a call, suddenly have to check urgent e-mails,….you name it. They find ways of not helping. They are very well aware of what they‘re doing. They’re strategists, after all. They have always done it this way, because they want others to serve them!(
It is hard for them to have a real sense of empathy.
They might know how to spell the word „compassion“, but they don’t know how to feel it. Even if they might sometimes show empathy, it will usually depend on what they are getting from the person they are empathizing with. There will always be an ulterior motive and the empathy is never genuine and heartfelt. They don’t come from a heart space. Period. Click on the following link to read more about lack of empathy:
They rarely seem like they are listening to you.
To them, others are not important, so why listen? Unless you have been established as an “important person”, or they need something from you, they will have no regard for what you are saying. So don’t explain anything to them. You will regret any attempts you make to get them to look at you and show you they are listening. They won‘t even make eye contact. They ruthlessly continue doing what they’re doing and treat you like dirt. Why? Because it does not serve them, at the moment you are talking, to listen to you. Self-serving people respond only when they are getting something. So when they need you and it’s time to get, get, get, they’ll come and talk AT you!
They have no remorse for the way they use others.
The way they see it, if someone is „stupid enough“ not to question the service they are providing or the favor they are doing, or the kindness they are giving, they should continue doing it and see it as their duty. So why stop them or be remorseful?
They act like they are superior to everyone around them.
Let me give you an example. Let’s say someone is nice enough to offer driving them to the airport. Upon arrival, they might just get out of the car and wait for that person to take their luggage out of the car, too! Not only will they not stop the person from taking the luggage out, they will also give them a dry „thanks“, as if it were that person’s job! They are the empitome of evil arrogance.
The self-serving man I lived with for more than 2 decades once told me himself: „I admit I am an arrogant asshole“! He said it with a sense of pride, and he laughed. He said he and his colleague (same type of guy) both admit to being arrogant assholes! He literally admitted to this with no shame. He said: „if there are people out there who are stupid enough to be subservient, then we can tell them what to do.“ That was the mantra that got him to the top of the career ladder! He said that was what set regular employees and bosses apart. He said he hated being a regular employee, that he wasn‘t cut for that! So yes, many (but not all) of the self-serving people happen to be topdogs! Their mantra: Douchebaggery!
(Reminder: the post you are reading is written by author/blog owner: http://jeanniealogy.com/index.php/about-her/ )
They have a habit of keeping you waiting, but don’t like to wait themselves.
They will make you wait by design. Why? Because it will make you feel like you need THEM. The more you think you need them, the more they can pull the strings, manipulate you and have you do things for them. It is all part of their strategy. Now there is nothing wrong with needing someone. However, when they „need“ something themselves, they don’t need in a kind way. They just want to gain advantage and be served. That is not needing. Needing is different than wanting to gain advantage. Very different. More awful yet, they usually talk to you only when they need something.
Now if and when they happen to need something from you, and they find out there is waiting involved, they will raise havoc! When they want something themselves, they will be impatient and verbally abusive towards you to speed the process. It doesn‘t matter what it is they want. Even if it is as simple as getting out the door or getting into the car, the moment they want you to do it, you have to hop and do it! They will even say the words „hop hop, come on, move it“ to rush you into things. They are always in a hurry. In their universe, everything should happen as fast as they command! It’s always their timeline, not yours! Now, what kind of verbal abuse am I talking about, if you are not fast? Here are some examples: you‘re too slow, why don’t you get it, come on move it!, I don’t have time…hurry up, move your ass, damn it!, you’re not done yet?, etc…. They will rush you and make you nervous and insecure. By the time you are done doing whatever you were doing for them (or anything you were doing), you will be happy enough that you won’t even expect a „thank you“, which they won’t give you anyway. Why would they thank you if you weren’t fast enough? It‘s all strategizing. They know that by doing so, YOU will perpetually be on the thankful end (you will be thankful because it’s finally over) and that THEY did you a favor by waiting for it! That is their strategy. They do this to everyone who is not, according to them, of a higher rank. That’s probably how my ex made those kids carry his bike and thank him for it when he was a kid! God knows what he was telling those poor neighborhood kids before they willfully consented to carry his bike! Nothing but manipulation and that as a child! And it was re-inforced and praised by his dim-witted mother!
They don’ really hang out with friends.
You don’t see them hanging out with buddies. They’re just not the buddy type. They say that‘s a waste of time. But the truth is, who wants to be their buddy? They might know some people and have business acquaintances they see from time to time, but they will meet them for a purpose. They are not the „hang out“ type of people! They‘re actually lone wolves, and if they’re a boss, they are often not liked by many of their subordinates. Why would people like someone who has no empathy, sympathy, regard or consideration for others? They have no true friends. They just have acquaintances and important, useful connections, often other self-serving topdogs and politicians. They also ON PURPOSE connect to other rich people. They want to be in the circle of rich people only. They do so by joining expensive clubs and associations to have the possibility of being in a network of rich and influencial people. Do keep in mind, though, that they always come across as very polite and courteous in public. This politeness is all calculated, not heartfelt. They have nothing heartfelt to offer. Zilch! They use polite phrases to match their ridiculously expensive suits, and they hang out with other “suits”…..that’s the kind of people they spend their free time with. Buddies are “no bodies” to them!
Their moral compass is defective!
Whenever they get a chance they will take advantage of someone, thinking all they did was just to outsmart the other! They praise themselves for it. To them it’s all about the survival of the fittest AT ANY COST. They don’t believe in morality. They only believe in institutions and guidelines. They mock spiritual people and to some extent artists. Now if art were presented at a work-related event, where there are topdog jerks such as themselves attending, then they would pay respect to it. They basically have no value for anything but their own monetary advantage and power. They are very greedy with regards to others, indeed. Self-serving people often spend a lot of money on themselves, though, trying to look sleek and wealthy, not because it looks nicer, but because it exudes power! You will find them collecting lablels and brands. They’re shopaholics! It fills their empty soul! Or they think it does.
They don’ show concern for sick people.
Again, „concern“ is a word they can spell, but not feel….how could they? They lack empathy! So if you are sick or in pain and need rest, they might say something like: „take a painkiller,“ „take some medication“, „don’t be a vegetable“, „take this medication and get up!“ That’s exactly how they talk. Instead of showing empathy, kindness and love, instead of saying something like: I am so sorry that you are sick, is there anything I can do? Maybe you need some rest….let me get you something…….they just criticize you for being sick! Why? Because if you are sick, you can’t serve them! Even if they do get you something that can linder your pain, it is not given to you with kindness, but with an air of “take this and get back on your feet”. No empathy, no love.
They‘re not much into the ceremony of thanking people.
They will never use such phrases as „that is very kind of you“, „that’s so sweet of you“, „I really appreciate it“, „thank you soooo much“. If you’re lucky, you‘ll get a dry „thanks“ that is worse than a slap on your face. You have to remember that self-serving people are also very efficient. Thank you is not always efficient, neither is a smile, unless they deem it as such. A smile is probably even redundant to them. Sometimes they know they will need you again right away for something else, in which case a thank you would be practical and not hindering efficiency. But even then, it would be a dry smile and a dry “thanks”. Never kind or friendly. Kindness is weakness to them, remember?
They kick you to the curb as soon as they believe you no longer serve a purpose to them.
Precisely that. Problem is, though, sometimes they miscalculate. As smart as they are, they might sometimes discover holes in their strategies afterwards. Let me add a bit of a personal anecdote. My ex, for instance, tried to keep me with him for as long as he could, not because he loved me- I used to think he did -, but because he was gaining an advantage from us being married.
Being with me gave him a tax cut, a mother to his children, a wife who took care of a lot around the house while he was busy kicking everyone out of his way to get to the top of the career ladder and become Douche Officer. I am not going to tell you here how much I took care of at home. I was also contributing to paying bills. Especially when our children got older, I was working more and making more money. As soon as he believed our children no longer needed a mother around, he started mistreating me in a different, rather more obvious way. I had always sensed his self-serving personality, but had ignored it. It had not always been at an acute stage. I had my blindfolds on while raising our kids. I ignored the proverbial big elephant in the room. All along, though, he took advantage of my kindness. Once our kids grew older, he talked down at me more and more frequently and withdrew that little affection he had in that smaller than a pigeon’s heart of his, if any, ignored me, slighted me, and told me he had more important things to do than listening to me. I tried to explain to him how much I was doing for the family and for him. I was vying for his affection and kindness, something he did not have. But through manipulation he made me believe that I was a needy person and that if I was not happy I could leave. But when I mentioned divorce, he told me that it was a very complicated thing in Germany (where we live, that’s where he is from) and said it would only cost money with no benefits for me. He suggested I just leave and live separately! Why? Because he had strategized everything. He still needed the tax cut that he would not have if we got divorced, and because I work, it was a fantastic option for him to have me leave, pay for my own expenses, and give him a free tax cut. The tax cut was for him, not for me. I had to pay way more and he thought I would just do what he said and have him enjoy that cut after kicking me to the curb. Well, first hole in his strategy: I was legally authorized to separate our taxes after separation, which pissed him off immensely. Other holes in his strategy? I will talk about that in another article in the future. I just used this one as an example for how self-serving people kick you to the curb if THEY BELIEVE they no longer need you.
And why did he think he no longer needed me anymore? I think it is greed. He is a topdog, but he wasn’t always one. He had to get there. On his way to becoming one, he still needed me around. When he got there, once he found himself mighty and rich, and a handsomely paid boss indeed, he no longer wanted to share anything with me. He would ask me to pay many bills. I paid for half of our vacations, paid for hotels, rentals, restaurants, recreational parks, you name it. He had all that money, but he suddenly stopped sharing! I have no idea when this switch happened in his head. Even if we ordered a pizza from home, he would ask me to split the bill! How tight-fisted can you get?His greed was showing in his face. He looked unkind and ill. To make the long story short, he wanted me to leave so he could have all the money to himself! Even though I was working and making money, I was becoming, in his mind, more of a liability than an asset. So he strategized on making me feel miserable. He knew how delicately sensitive I am.
He made me volunteer to leave by hurting my feelings and stepping on my soul over and over and over again. As he did so, he felt nothing. I was in his way! „hop hop….get out of my life“ is probably what he was thinking. He said he didn’t love me, that people change, that „that was then, this is now“!! But he never thought I would separate our taxes and file for divorce. He thought I was afraid of that. He thought I’m not German and won‘t do research on German laws. He probably also assumed that I was afraid of divorce, not being a citizen of his country. His calculations had many flaws, because he was certain of my stupidity. He thought I was stupid enough to just live separately and let him have all the monetary advantages, so he let me go. Little did he know, I got an accountant and separated my taxes the day I left, got a lawyer and filed for divorce soon after. My kindness was interpreted as stupidity. His strategy was outright evil, but he underestimated my intelligence! The self-serving person is now being served! Voilà monsieur! (pun intended….laughs…). I AM THAT FORCE TO BE RECKONED WITH!
If you are in a similar situation with anyone, de-camp and claim your rights!
Some of the DON’Ts I suggest:
Don’t ever expect a self-serving person to recognize their mistakes and apologize for them.
Simply don’t! On top of that, I should warn you against the well-meaning, outdated adage of your elders when they say: „forgive them for they know not what they do.“ Don‘t!!! For they very well know what they’re doing! They’re strategists, remember? My sincere respect and empathy to the blind and the deaf….but self-serving people have ears and eyes, yet are blind and deaf! The only thing they see is their own gains and they don’t hear anyone! If there is a life after death, I suppose they might regret their behavior on their way to the other side. Don’t expect it before!
Don’t be their doormat, have clear boundaries with them.
Not every self-serving person is self-serving in the same intensity. These people are usually born with this toxic trait, however, their upbringing and their environment can either diminish/tame or fuel this attribute. Once you find yourself having to deal with a self-serving person (hope you don’t end up living with one!), make sure you have very clear boundaries. They often don’t recognize the difference between kindness and weakness.
If you are too kind with them too often, they will take advantage of you. Ration your kindness. Teach them how to appreciate each and everything you do for them. Make sure they reciprocate. Don’t buy into this so-called „unconditional love“ bullshit! You can only have unconditional love for your children, not for any other. So by all means, make sure the conditions are very clear. One of the first conditions is reciprocation. If you find yourself doing things and serving all the time for little to no return, then stop! You are doing something very wrong! Don’t be „the bigger, more generous person“! Don’t! It won’t work with self-serving people. The more generous you are, the weaker you will be deemed as! Remember that! And what do self-serving people do to weak people? They use them! Got that? If you don’t have clear boundaries, they will step on you like a doormat. However, if the boundaries you draw don’t work or have very little effect, take it as a sign that it’s already too late. They might have been too shaped by their parents or by your silence, in which case, I suggest you cut them out of your life before they cut you to pieces!
Don’t get attached to them. You are being manipulated!
Getting attached to a self-serving person is one of the gravest mistakes you could make. Sadly enough, self-serving people usually prey on kind and giving souls and manipulate them. Why? Because they know they can get, and get, and get, and get. A loving, giving nature is the best victim. If you find yourself doing things for someone, because you love them, and because of the kindness of your heart, and because you think that’s what people do for one another when they care about each other especially if they are in a union of some sort, well that is noble and all that. But as soon as you detect self-serving tendencies, you need to put the brakes on, or at least count the blessings you give them! Literally count them and see how much you get back in return! Watch for reciprocation before you get attached. Loving, giving people get attached fast. I know that, cause I‘ve been one. Love is not something you strategize or calculate. It comes from a pure source. A self-serving person’s life, however, is based solely on calcuations. If you give them unconditionally, love them and think you are doing the right thing, you will only find yourself slapped, no…. let me say stabbed by reality. Sure, they will find ways of breadcrumbing you. That is also part of their cunning strategy. They are professional breadcrumbers! Don‘t pick up their crumbs thinking they are reciprocating! As much as your big heart still chooses to love them, they will not love you back. They only love power and money. Before you get too attached, count the blessings you are giving them! Be like them a bit. Count things, keep track. An eye for an eye! If there is no reciprocation, de-camp! And I really mean de-camp as in don‘t even give them notice! Remember! If you continuously have to witness that they don’t care about you, believe in it! Take your blindfolds off!
God I wish I knew these things better myself back then! I had all the opportunity to de-camp all along, because I had options. Yet I chose to stay with him because I believed it was the right thing, and I was in fact attached to him. This attachment was very unhealthy. It took me a long time to finally consider my abundantly available options! And I did so. But here’s my advice to you: even if you think you might not have options, you still do. It’s all in your head. When you leave an unhealthy attachment, healthy options come your way.
If you have to defend yourself, make it short and to the point.
Self-serving people have a thick wall around them which hinders them from listening to others. They listen only for work or money-related purposes. But if you got something to say, something to get off your chest, if you need them to listen to you, make it short. If you need to defend yourself, say it fast and act upon it. Don‘t much talk, just do it! They don‘t give a sh…. about what you say anyway, so why waste your time? Go and take action instead.
Don’t give them too many chances!
Remember!!! If you give them too many chances, they will continue using and abusing you. They will always choose „self“ over sympathy. Any effort you will make to gain their sympathy will be in vain since they may have already gone too far to even realize the importance of justice, compassion, empathy, true love and consideration. Say no and feel no within you!!The more you give them a chance the longer they will prey on your kindness, which they see as weakness. They will do so until the day they believe you no longer serve their purpose, in which case they will kick you to the curb! Before that happens, leave. And when you¹re leaving, make sure you let them know how you feel about them and state your reasons for leaving. Do so briefly, or in writing. Not only will this remind you of why you made the decision to leave, but it may also make a tiny bit of impact on the self-serving jerk you had to put up with for so long – hopefully! Let life take care of the rest, for self-serving people will be taught many harsh lessons in life. They are usually too egocentric, too hard-headed, too arrogant to admit and accept they have made awful mistakes, but deep inside that dreadful abyss called their „soul“, they know what they are paying for, and they know that what goes around comes around. Oh they know sooooo well, as they go through payday. What goes up, must come down!
Self-serving creatures, I believe, will die lonely, with remorse and mental affliction and agony.