Why The Narcissist Must Reject Intimacy



Narcissists abhor intimacy.

Why is that? It is an instinctive and necessary response. Intimacy creates attachment. As I have explained in Attachment Is The Seat Of Misery we attach our victims to us, but we do not attach to you. If we became attached to our victims we would not thrive and survive because our fuel needs would not be met as fully as they must be. We must be in a position to move forwards, unhindered, unfettered and unleashed. We must be free of anything which slows us down and prevents us from achieving The Prime Aims.

Our necessity of being able to jettison our appliances in one guillotine action drives this rejection of attachment and thus it follows, we have to reject intimacy. Intimacy creates bonds, it creates links, bridges and couplings – that is all very well when it is done to bind you to us, that is permissible but it must not and cannot be reciprocated.

Take for example a failing Intimate Primary Partner Source (“IPPS”) (a spouse, partner, boyfriend/girlfriend) who is no longer providing us with the requisite fuel, character traits and residual benefits which are necessary to our survival. This person has been idealised, they have been devalued and there has now been a disengagement trigger. We must reject them wholesale, we cannot dally about the task, holding on and keeping them as the IPPS when they are not functioning properly. That is highly likely to cause in all narcissists (save the Greater and even then to us it will still cause problems) a fuel crisis. A fuel crisis would arise because the narcissist would continue to engage with an appliance which is not delivering and the narcissist, if attached in some way, would be dedicating too much time for too little reward. Time would not be available to draw fuel from the secondary and tertiary sources to compensate for the shortcomings of this IPPS. The result would be a fuel crisis or at the least, a reduction in fuel levels which would cause the narcissist to function less effectively and feel the presence more fully of that ever present chasm of oblivion.

The narcissist may have a Candidate IPSS (“Intimate Partner Secondary Source”) waiting in the wings, ready to be crowned IPPS, but because the incumbent IPPS remains, this fresh, functioning appliance cannot yet be locked-on to the narcissist. Thus the narcissist finds themselves in a position of malfunctioning IPPS without being able to draw fully on the bountiful fuel (and other benefits ) of the IPPS-In-Waiting. A terrible state of affairs.

This is the scenario that intimacy threatens to generate. If intimacy is allowed then it will create tendrils that bind us to you and make it all the harder to jettison you at the flick of a switch or push of a button. By rejecting intimacy, the threat of attachment is countered. Intimacy, genuine intimacy can never happen, we are incapable of it and that is why there must be a wholesale rejection of it. Our narcissism means that genuine intimacy never gains a foothold.

Yet, what then of those narcissists that DO exhibit intimacy in the heady days of the seduction, those tender touches burnished with the fiery tinge of the golden period, those hugs, those delicate brushes of skin on skin, the gentle embrace of parted lips upon parted lips? I know many of you will have experienced that and indeed I have exercised such behaviour myself on many occasions – is that not then going to create intimacy and thus risk attachment which will prejudice our existence?

Not all narcissists will exhibit such intimacy. That is a preliminary point. It is far less likely to occur within the Lesser school of narcissist. It will be evident amongst Mid Range and Greater Narcissists. Why does it appear if intimacy is abhorrent to us? Simply, as with all matters ‘narc’, our narcissism causes us to do whatever is necessary to acquire what is required for our existence and supremacy. If that means mirroring your delight in rescuing puppies then we will do it, if that means demonstrating an enthusiasm for Asian fusion cuisine then we will do it, if that means singing along to Celine Dion then… well maybe there are some places we will not go. However, if intimacy is a necessary device (and it invariably is) to securing the seduction of a target then our narcissism drives down and supresses our innate abhorrence of intimacy for the purposes of the greater gain ; namely your seduction and ensnarement.

All well and good so far in using intimacy to ensnare, but where does that then leave us with regard to the risk of attachment and the consequential impact on our needs? Intimacy often appears through seduction. It is not felt, but rather it is administered as a consequence of understanding how the victim desires this, how it is so useful at supporting the illusion and enabling us to bring that victim under control. Of course its application is entirely instinctive (save with added calculation where a Greater is involved) and is achieved through copying what has gone before and is seen elsewhere – between other people, in books, in film, what is spoken of by other people in various forms. The intimacy is manufactured and applied with a skill which causes this counterfeit tenderness to appear genuine – but it is not.

It is superficial and merely a gloss. Yes, it appears to all intents and purposes to be something genuine. It is certainly real because you do not imagine it, but it is not genuine and because, as your emotional thinking surges owing to your repeated and sustained entanglement with us, you do not scratch beneath the surface and accept that what you see is what you are truly getting. Thus, since it is not an emotional response, but a learned one, this renders attachment unlikely to occur. However, our narcissism is not done yet. It must ensure that there is no risk whatsoever of attachment. Accordingly, Stage One is the process of preventing attachment through the application of intimacy in an entirely shallow manner. Stage Two is the process of devaluation.

The application of devaluation means that intimacy is withdrawn. Gone are the hugs either in their entirety or they are replaced by brief, card-board stiff interactions. The long, lingering kiss is taken from you and either has no replacement or is substituted with a brief peck on the lips, the cheek or the forehead. No longer will we hold your hand, no longer will we gaze into your eyes, no longer will we allow our fingers to trace the contours of your body making your skin tingle.

The application of devaluation and with it the removal of the false intimacy is a further safeguard to ensure that even IF there was a slight possibility of intimacy creating attachment, it is totally removed. Devaluation paves the way for an eventual disengagement (if there is a trigger) so that the disengagement is swift, effective and in one fell swoop.

Imagine if you will an escape chute. For this to be effective it must be clear and uncluttered. If vegetation (intimacy) grows across this chute it might block it altogether and prevent a prompt escape or it might be partial and slow and hinder the escape. Thus the false intimacy means that the growth of this vegetation across the chute is minimal, slow and far less likely. Devaluation is the flame thrower which comes along to burn away any encroaching vegetation, so come the point of escape (disengagement) this is totally effective.

Thus, our narcissism rejects true intimacy and applies false intimacy and then removes this false intimacy through devaluation. Accordingly, the rejection of intimacy means that attachment will not happen. Therefore, when our needs dictate you go and are replaced by another or just let go and existing appliances are relied on, the disengagement is swift, absolute and effective. We waste neither time or energy, allowing our resources to be wholly directed towards those prime aims and especially the acquisition of fuel.

Intimacy must be rejected to facilitate our existence and success.

26 thoughts on “Why The Narcissist Must Reject Intimacy

  1. Tappi Tikarrass says:

    So well written and explained.
    There is no room for misinterpretation.
    There’s been quite a few of my Top 20 articles of late!

  2. Witch says:

    This was the most shocking thing to learn about my narc situation, that he did not feel any empathy whats so ever to be able to enjoy intimacy.
    It’s so strange to me that people exist who do not like cuddles. (How can you not!?) Who do not appreciate the tapping sound of paws from a little doggo running towards you. Who do not see the hand of a baby and gush thinking “the wittle wittle hhhaaannnndddddd!!!”
    It doesn’t make any sense!

    1. NarcAngel says:

      You do not have to be a narcissist to have issues with intimacy. Those who did not grow up exposed to displays of affection and/or being held or touched can find it foreign and uncomfortable where others crave it. I have no issues with displaying affection toward animals and babies, but if you try to spoon me in bed it’s off with your head.

      1. foolme1time says:

        And there it is, the laugh I was looking for today!! You rock NA! 😘

      2. Mercy says:

        NarcAngel, im the same way. I need my space.

      3. Fool Me 1 Time says:

        NA you are missing all that is going in comments on the post 3 traits of an empath. Twilight is going to leave us for awhile and I thought you may want to say goodbye.

  3. Chihuahuamum says:

    Ive been thinking a lot lately about this fear of intimacy and it is not just in a relationship but also friendships with narcs and working relationships.
    They cant allow true bonding bc they can never trust. That wall is there so they can detach at any moment.
    I work with someone like this that can never accept a gift and enjoy it and say thank you or accept true friendship bc inside they cant allow trust or leave themselves open to that moment they believe they will be betrayed. You can never fully be close with a narcissist in any type of relationship bc that wall of protection is there.
    In a work situation they need to be detached to be in control and in some cases let an employee go without a struggle of conscience. They cant fully manipulate if true bonds are formed bc its a chess game and we are the pieces.
    True intimacy is not possible.
    I see this when the narc and i become close in a golden phase he will say or do something after to neutralize the situation bc he can not allow himself to become attached. That is way too much of a risk for him to leave himself open to. Hes afraid of this bc it means lack of control and safety. To bond means to feel and ultimately be hurt deeply. He is afraid of being hurt and feeling the shame of allowing that to happen. Ive accepted this about him bc i understand it. Im not advocating staying with a narc but it helps understanding why they cannot be genuinely intimate.

    1. lisk says:

      Intimacy does not belong in the workplace.

      A healthy detachment is necessary in order to be a professional.

      1. Chihuahuamum says:

        Hi lisk..i agree intimacy in the workplace can become complicated and interferes with professionslim. In regards to my post what i meant is narcs in the workplace wont allow for any degree of bond at all. Ive seen people be friends in the workplace and still maintain professionalism but narcs make it a point never to make genuine connections bc they are playing a game and know at some point they may have to devalue or discard.

  4. foolme1time says:

    Narc noob, You will see that you are making the right decision. Yes HG is one of them, as he has told us so from the beginning. How many times have you of the help and knowledge he has given others that were not sure, each time they come back and tell him thank you, you were correct HG? Now, how many time have you read or heard anyone say anywhere, HG, you were wrong! It didn’t work! I am in a worse situation then when I started? Know where have I ever heard such a statement! Go with your gut on this one, you have been given his knowledge time and time again and always he has been right. 🥰

    1. Narc noob says:

      FM1T, I’m sorry but I can’t see what you are responding to. There’s no post from me above?

  5. PrincessSuperEmpath says:

    Dearest HG: It is like saying, one can not drive a car that has flat tires.

  6. J.G THE ONE says:

    Hello, H.G.Tudor.
    This article as always brilliant. Well, it gives us the understanding of why? of his ease and detachment when it comes to decommitment.
    I remember his last words: You are nobody in my life!
    And indeed he was not lying. Although it did not surprise me very much because I was already tired and although I did not understand why, I had assumed it.
    But that’s not the point.
    I wanted to ask H.G. You know the lie has short legs.
    The narcissist feels ashamed to be discovered by his victims?
    He doesn’t see in the eyes of his victims the reflection of their uselessness, of this deformity, of their incompetence to be able to feel something for someone.
    You know H.G. There are many kinds of deformities, the most obvious are the physical ones, others are more subtle, limited, incapacitated and invalid on the sentimental plane.
    Do not believe this, in your great shame?
    You will say No.
    But deep down you know that Yes.
    I understand that narcissists pretend to project that image of grandiosity. But deep down they are just deformed sentimental dwarfs, casting great shadows. But when they are illuminated by the light of truth. We see the reality of their deformity, handicap, so disproportionate deformation, their emotional disfigurement of this alteration.
    Its anomaly which prevents it from living a full and happy life, This one which for shame so much they want to hide.
    It reminds me very much of the Gay men, who pretend to be or what they are not. They seduce women to hide their homosexuality. But this fact is simply because they are ashamed of their sexual status.
    Really that great shame and contempt they themselves must feel inside. Because although their acts are performed compulsively and unconsciously and do not know the reason for their acts. If you are aware of this reality.
    I imagine that feeling this way must be extremely devaluing creating this great sense of inferiority within yourselves. The need to consume emosions because you have no choice, which limits a free life to be able to choose, was freely denied to you.
    If grandiosity and brightness on the outside, but simply deformity on the inside.
    And that these discover and see you, your victims are not ashamed and terrified?
    If I were a narcissist, I would be extremely ashamed and panicky…

    1. J.G. He is not deformed on the inside. He has a part of himself that his mind, that wanted to survive, made a decision to protect in order to attempt to survive in this world, when he was in danger from perishing from being traumatized either mentally, emotionally, physically, or a combination. His survival mechanism, that his mind created to protect him, refuses to allow that part of him to ever be assaulted again in any manner and by anyone, and has managed to find ways for him to survive without the benefit of what that hidden self could have brought ongoing to the plate, or to the table of his complete personality. It is like when someone is being trained to withstand painful mental or psychological or physical interrogation, if they are captured by the enemy. The person is taught to go to a different place in the mind during the torture. To think of fire when they are cold, or other planets, or playing outside in the ocean, and on and on to evade the abuse at the time it is happening. So HG`s mind took part of himself to that place, and that part of himself is still being protected by that part of his mind, to not be tortured ever again in any manner by anyone. To never risk that, because enough had been enough according the makeup of his mind, when he was young without the power to protect himself. And he learned to fight and survive without the assistance of that protected self. So he is fighting with one hand tied behind his back so to speak. It is not a deformity, it is fighting his way through life in a different fighting style than what most people use. And because he is naturally highly intelligent and has high cognitive function, he learned very well to behave like the `strong` person/s in his environment instead of the weak person/s. Because his trauma/s happened because he did not have the strength to overpower in any way the abusers at that time. And, Because, we are not a creature that is born and can be left to function on our own, like some creatures in the world, and many highly considered un-ethical behavioural scientists have deliberately deprived new born specimens of people and young children to see what would happen, as if the could not guess, but I guess they wanted to see first hand for their controversial research, they all admit that environment is crucial in the develop of a person.

  7. Narc noob says:

    Hello HG,

    In my experience I have found that MRN (SIL) does show intimacy with the IPPS. Of course the need for physical touch and conversation could be a covert cover-up, yet it has been a consistent display of affection? She appears to abhor sexual infidelity – religious upbringing? I have not seen evidence that suggests there’s any DLS or IPSS lurking behind the scenes. I am guessing that her NIPPS or secondary sources provide the ongoing fuel, as does her workplace environment. No doubt the devaluation and GP will go back and forth with the IPPS providing what is needed to keep the relationship going.

    Any thoughts on those observations? Gracias.

    1. HG Tudor says:

      It is not genuine intimacy.

      As for the dynamic as a whole, this is a matter for consultation.

      1. Narc noob says:

        I think I responded elsewhere – yes, thanks, a consult is necessary especially given my partner may be going into business with them! He isn’t so keen on HG and KTN and shuns me for disengaging from one N only to run into another (also my initial thoughts when I moved here) so…. we’ll see.

  8. Claire says:

    Good example about the puppies. My ex is now a crusader for a certain mental disability because his lady friend has a family member suffering with this particular issue. It has been a source of conversation (unflattering due the obvious manipulation) by my supporters prior to my ceasing most conversation of the subject. Yes, occasionally I falter in life and here due to the truly goofy shenanigans.. It seems only human but I get how the emotional thinking is re-engaged in this manner. I want a cheap shot sometimes, but there is a possibility that even cheap shots impact me.

    1. foolme1time says:

      You got it! Now keep applying it! 😘

  9. Kate W says:

    This essay fits in well with the article about emotional thinking and the listed excuses. The list of 25 excuses was used by me when the yawning crevice of intimacy was sensed by me Early in the relationship. within the first year for sure. I remember the feeling of ut-oh- I’ve made a mistake.. I have a problem here. it’s probably when I also began searching online about behaviors of my ex. And came up with borderline/narcissist/bipolar/cluster b traits.
    The heart of an empath just knows. The narc can say a lot of “caring” things but my heart sensed an emptiness-nothing behind the words – no real openness or vulnerability .only some glimpses of despair for herself at rare times. But such “concern” always available for the rest of the fuel matrix. (Triangulation is a great intimacy killer)

    1. Kate W says:

      Also- the physical actions were often seemingly doled out in kinda patterns-.not spontaneous. And could be paired with a robotic ‘pat’ statement. One of my favorite essay pictures HG has is the one with the white robot opening up a compartment to show the heart -I felt that one really symbolizes the narcissist well. Or the one where they’re removing their face. Or the one where they’re lying in bed and their faces on the wall that they can select for the day. LOL.
      HG… I’m really glad I have found this community to come back to you to bolster my psyche now and then.😊

    2. lisk says:

      “Triangulation is a great intimacy killer.”

      Kate W — you got that right! I can recall the first time I felt totally high on our love (or what I thought was our love one evening when we were walking from my work. Even a random man on the street commented on how “in love” we looked as he passed us by.

      Within fifteen minutes of that happening, Narc Ex and I were on the train cozily seated together, when he checked his emails on his phone. He commented on an email that he had just received from Gina, a former colleague. He even showed the email to me. She was just wondering how he was doing. She hadn’t heard from him in a while. Blah, blah, blah. And then he gave me a short history of the way Gina used to tease him at work, flirting with him but never following through, etc.

      Needless to say, I had a sharp pain in my gut after that. And a big fight ensued once we got back to his place, when we really should have been having a big love fest.

      I chose to sleep on the sofa that night. I now wish I would have never returned to his bed upon his reeling me back in a few days later, because there was always something else to interrupt the intimacy…of course, it was ALWAYS I who ruined close moments!

  10. empath007 says:

    Question on a related note. Do N have a particular “taste” that they tend to go towards? Mine used to say I was thier physical “ideal” or does that not exist? Are looks irrelevant as long as someone can provide fuel?

    1. HG Tudor says:

      Please see Sitting Target (book).

  11. Claire says:

    HG, I’m asking for myself and a friend who had a very similar narc experience to mine….
    We were both in short (three month) relationships with our narcissists (mine a greater, her’s a mid-range). We were both rejected suddenly and forcefully. Is this possibly as a result of our narcs feeling that they were getting too close to becoming attached? My friend’s mid range even said that when he spent too much time with her he felt he had to pull away… Whereas my greater would say he felt we were becoming too much like boyfriend/girlfriend and it was too soon for him as he had just split up with his wife of 8 years. He did this every time we were having a great time together or he had been vulnerable with me.

    1. HG Tudor says:

      I need more information with regard to ascertaining the school of narcissist, your position in the fuel matrix and circumstances to provide an accurate answer and therefore recommend that you organise a consultation.

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