The Ten Rejections of Intimacy
We embrace the trappings of intimacy because we know this is what you expect when our relationship commences. You want to touch us; you want to be touched. You want to gaze into one another’s eyes and revel in what you see there. The tenderness of the kiss, the tingling sensation that arises from the briefest of brushing touches and the safety and security of a hand being held.
We endure all of this in order to maintain the illusion of our perfect love and to provide you with that which you have been conditioned to expect as denoting love, affection and passion. Such intimacy repeatedly hints at a place we would rather not go but the necessity of your seduction means that we focus on the task in hand and dispel those occasional thoughts of what that intimacy means and signifies.
Those considerations are banished as we press on with our crusade and complete our quest. Once our tendrils are wrapped around you, our fangs sunk deep into your emotional jugular and the fuel flows, then the provision of such intimacy can finally and thankfully be turned to a better application, namely conveying rejection to you and in turn bring about despondency, humiliation and confusion.
Whilst we prefer words to do our work, these rejections work marvellously well because of the effect that they have on you and the economy of effort that comes with them. Provision takes effort. Denial comes easily. Here are ten rejections of intimacy.
- No eye contact
I don’t want to mirror you any longer but I don’t want you seeing the lurking darkness in my eyes, not just yet. Instead I will settle for evading looking at you, creating the sensation that I cannot bear to look upon you, which is rather accurate because now you are reminding me too much of what I despise and I would rather look elsewhere.
- Kissing the top of your head
We know you want to be kissed on the mouth but that isn’t going to happen. Not today and not for a while until I decide I can stomach doing so in order to get something from you that I want. I will kiss you on the head, tilting your head down, making you lower yourself in front of me as I place the patronising light kiss on the top of your head. You are a child to me, someone who knows no better and has to be guided by me. You are bowing, showing fealty through this gesture for I am your ruler and your liege.
- Shuddering if you touch us
You cannot place boundaries for me. I go where I want. You however have no entitlement to me. You require my permission and especially so when it means violating my space. If you catch me unawares and touch me, no matter how lightly, I will give a violent shudder as if have been touched by something unpleasant so you are left in no doubt as to what I think about you.
- Turning our back on you in bed
This is done as soon as we climb into bed on the occasion we have deigned to provide you with our presence or not banished you from the bedroom with a well-time bout of aggression. You have your hopes raised of sexual union or at least the heart-warming pleasantry of cuddling up together. Instead you receive a glacial wall that is our back and if you think this is an invitation to “spoon” with us you will be sharply elbowed or back heeled away from us.
- Avoiding taking your hand
Once upon a time we always took your hand as we walked along the road, through a museum or around the shops, making you feel loved and showing the world that we were together. There was a time when we wanted everyone to know that you were ours. No longer. We will ignore the proffered hand, driving our own into our pockets or shaking off your hand if you happen to grab ours. You don’t decide to show others we are together; don’t you realise that one of my new prospects might see?
- Awkward Evasion
You try to place an arm around us and we suddenly jump up as if we have sat on a tack. You attempt to hug us and we move around you like a rugby player evading a tackle, often contorting ourselves into a move which would be more often seen in a gymnastics contortion. Our desire to wriggle away, duck under, escape and move apart suggests that your very touch might burn us. The exaggerated movement can leave you in no doubt that this was deliberate.
- One-sided hug
You have taken us by surprise and launched a hug at us, be it from the front, sides or rear. You will not have it reciprocated. There will be no return gesture, no warming and intimate response. We will stand like a block of ice, arms down by our sides, back stiff and stare straight ahead willing this uncomfortable moment to end.
- No longer naked
We once paraded around naked in front of you, letting it all hang out, without a care in the world. Truth be told we wanted you to look on our naked form and admire and it was also done to signal to your that we were entirely comfortable around one another in the buff. Now we behave like a coy virgin. We wear pyjamas in bed rather than sleep naked, we lock the bathroom door when we are in there so you cannot walk in on us and we always wrap a towel around us in order to cover-up our intimate areas so you cannot see us. If you happen to walk in unexpectedly when we are naked we will grab the nearest shirt, sombrero or fruit bowl to cover our modesty or dive behind a door, under a bed or out of the window. You don’t get to look any more.
- Proffering a cheek
You wait to kiss us and want to plant a tender kiss on our mouth. Others are looking and we must have consideration for the façade. An awkward evasion move now would be unwise and might invite unwanted speculation and comment. Instead we turn our head so you are left with no option but to plant that kiss on our cheek. We will not hold the cheek there either but pull away as soon as you embrace it. You are being given advance warning of your demotion from intimate partner to outer circle friend with this rejection tactic.
- Moving if you lean against us
You want to cuddle up next to us on the expansive sofa. If you do, we will get up and move to an armchair as soon as you begin to lean onto us. If you try and the sit in my lap, I will tip you up and deposit you on the floor as I leave the room and give you a silent treatment for pushing the matter too far. If I am lying down watching television and you try and climb on me, you may as well be trying to wrestle a crocodile as I will resist your advance and push you away before moving into a position which is easier to fend you off and send you a clear signal to sit elsewhere.
20 thoughts on “The Ten Rejections of Intimacy”
Like a true nun
Was I involved with you HG, all these 30 years? Thank you so much for this overview, the most painful things all summed up and I now finally understand. I tried to talk in relationship therapy why I was hurt so much by him, avoiding eye contact during sex. He pretended he didn’t know ‘how to do that’ and we had some very almost hilarious ‘exercises’, where he stared at me like a psychopath during the act.
Did I do it ok, baby, this way? Of course you didn’t, idiot, and so you made a fool out of me, asking for intimacy.
Afterwards he declared at the therapist he didn’t feel any intimacy, only lust. It was awful, he was punishing me indirectly by denying me what I longed for so much.
Yes, HG, it’s all about control, in every aspect.
My ex did it all, except for the kiss on the head, he used to tap me on the buttock to show his ‘affection’. That was in the beginning.
At the end, he shouted at me, when I dared to step aside to give someone else some space to leave an elevator. Of course, I didn’t know why he acted like this. Now I’ve read and read this blog and painfully realize how much I was left in the dark, punished for things I wasn’t aware off, left on my own, sitting on the couch with him far away in an armchair, no kisses, no warmth, no comfort, no intimacy. Turned back while reading in bed, an iron curtain between us, no cuddling, nothing. He hated me for invading his space, I now realize thanks HG for this article. It all falls in place.
The most wonderful thing happened when I finally got rid of him. Our adult son stayed with me and he wasn’t afraid to sit next to me, watching Netflix, expressing his emotions, giving me a hug when I cried over his father. It was like heaven opening up for me. And for him, because he suffered a lot also.
No contact now for more then a year. I don’t miss him at all, very strange one would say after a 30 year relationship. Not that strange, when a narcissist is involved.
And on my part, I only endured it because I was a vulnerable abused child and not used to being loved. But, not any more. And I raised a normal son who can deal with intimacy.
Mine has no eye contact either during sex ever !
When he did to be honest he would turn me around all these positions that i felt.very nauseous from moving all over the place.
Now no intimacy no cuddling no hand holding.
If he wants a kiss he turns his check so i can kiss him . Or a peck on the lips.
This article spells out devaluation. So sad.
I relate to some of these. Don’t think it is necessarily a sign of narcissism, can be just an avoidant attachment style. Partners typically complain that the other person is not affectionate enough, maybe doesn’t love them, or even cannot love – I got such feedback from some intimate partners. Many narcs certainly also have an avoidant style. People like that usually either avoid non-sexual forms of intimacy for the most part or do the push/pull thing (e.g. experience infatuation and withdrawal, or cycles of it). This is one area that I really wanted to improve in myself over the years and one thing I’ve learned is that the most compatible partner is someone similar to myself (but not too avoidant, that would also kill a relationship) – less likely to crowd each-other or feel starved. But that’s not what narcs do when they target highly sensitive empaths.
HG, have you written in depth about friendships with a narcissist and/or between narc and empath? Can friendships be satisfying primary sources for a narc? I guess it depends on the individual, maybe more for a cerebral? Or constructs like friends with benefits and polyamory – these are often the playgrounds of intimacy- and commitment-phobic people. Or is the openness (openly and mutually accepting non-monogamy and limited intimacy) something a narc would not find appealing?
Friends are not primary sources. They are secondary sources. Please see the book Fuel.
omg, i do 1,2,5,6,7,9, and when 10 occures i stay there hoping it won’t last long and if does, i will finde a reason to go get something.
for my deffence i do it to evrybody, and not by desire to devalue or hurt them, i just can’t get confortable whith it.
HG, have you talked about Johnny Depp and Amber Heard yet? She claims he was physically abusive, which previous girlfriends never experienced (there’s usually a pattern). Thrn there are rumors she did a Minneapolis Steamer on his pillow after sex.
Frankly, if I despise somebody so much I can’t stand to cuddle in bed or hold hands, I’m defo not bumping membraneous parts together just so I can show open contempt afterwards. Blecch!
How does the need for fuel overcome the revulsion long enough to get through the swiving?
Violetta, no, I have not addressed those two.
Violetta, funny you bring up Johnny Depp. Your last post about character actors made me think about him. I just love the roles he plays. His looks alone could have made a “here today gone tomorrow” type actor but he took chances playing off beat characters and succeeded. I hope he’s not an abusive narcissist. When I think abusive, I think lessor. I just can’t see it in him. Also isn’t he a little shy when off screen? Or maybe private? I would think a narcissist would use the spotlight to his advantage.
I agree–he could’ve have stuck with 21 Jump St. teen idolhood until the industry chewed him up and he became another pop culture trivia question.
The real issue here is pattern, or lack thereof. Nobody blinked at yet another of John Lennon’s exes reporting instances of his abuse, but when Paul McCartney’s second wife Heather made claims of physical abuse, people wondered. There’s no evidence he ever hurt first wife Linda, longtime girlfriend Jane Asher, present wife Nancy Shevell, or any of the many enthusiastic groupies he encountered during his single Beatle years. He was likely a thorough slut-puppy, with those opportunities, but there’s no evidence he was ever violent.
With Depp, you have Winona Ryder and Vanessa Paradise both saying they never saw him violent, although they certainly worried about the effects of his heavy partying. Again, it’s not like Axel Rose, where both girlfriends and groupies have horror stories.
I doubt Heard here, just as I doubted Heather Mills. Both display numerous narcy qualities from my point of view, though I’m not sure how HG would categorize them
The real issue is that, as HG has repeatedly said, narcissists neither can nor wish to change. I’m not sure where the exact cutoff is from high narcissistic qualities to full NPD, but the first may struggle to change; the second will display the pattern over and over again, and the only struggle is that of the victims, to survive physically and psychologically.
One more reason to get a puppy.
cats are better violetta, they stay only if they are happy, a dog will stay even if they are mistreated.
Poor dog must be an empath then lol
Yes dogs are empaths, and i hold it agaist them.
Dogs won’t let me sit and brood. I’d have to walk them and throw things for them to chase, thus getting fresh air and exercise.
Also, cats may not feel like cuddling. I had thought that an advantage, because sometimes *I* don’t feel like cuddling, but a dog won’t tolerate that. I’d be forced to interact, and that would bring me out of it.
My friends’ and neighbors’ dogs have been training me for years. I’m a little slow, but they are very patient.
yes dogs have the advantage to force you to do things, but with a dog i feel like i’m taking care of a baby, i stress all day long, thinking if they are ok, are they really happy, i’m i treating them correctly ect…
with a cat i konw that as long as they stay with me and accepte to play, then i’m doing things right, and i can relaxe.
Wow, That’s very good!! Gotta save some of those quotes in my notes.🙂
My last (ever) narc was weird about this. He seemed to be too shy at first to do the hand holding thing etc but loved it when I did, said his previous didn’t like it etc. Sex was great until I realised he didn’t actually feel anything emotional about it. Technically, he was spot on but emotionally, nobody was home. The last night we were together I was glad he just fell asleep. He said the next day (before he d flew back home) “we should have stayed up all night.” I just thought…why?!!
He didn’t do the things in this post to me, because we weren’t together long enough (in person). But I fully believe he did exactly such to his ex. I only escaped it because he got scared of losing the fuel from his IPPS, and he ran home. I only realised what I’d avoided this time, because I found HG’s blog.
I’m grateful for that, and grateful I’m not her. Realising how close I came to *being* her still makes my blood run cold.