Losing My Grip



Do you still remember the first time we held hands? I do. I will never forget. We were walking alongside the river. I had seen you walking there on numerous occasions previously. I would pass you and see you ambling along, completely lost in your own world. I would lean against a nearby tree and watch you as you would stand on the riverbank and gaze out across the flowing river.

I would stare at the back of your head as I concentrated on working out what you would be thinking. Occasionally you would take out your ‘phone and take pictures of the river before standing once again in silent contemplation. You wore simple, sensible outdoors attire for these frequent walks. Your only concession to glamour was the scarlet scarf you wore about your neck. You were a creature of habit always taking this walk in early evening at the same time during the summer and then on the cusp of dusk through autumn and winter. You did it every day and each day you would spend some time staring out across the flowing water.

Once in a while you would make this walk with a friend and it was through her that I plotted to get to know you. You and your friend would both drive to the car park and then meet by the café on the edge of the car park and the path that wound along by the river’s edge. I noticed how you always arrived and left independent of one another. It was as if your friendship relied on being contained to this walk and nothing else. After seeing this ritual on many occasions I saw you drive away but your friend went to the café. This was my chance. Taking a replica of the scarf that you wore I entered the café and interrupted your friend as she stood in a short queue.

“Excuse me,” I smiled, ” I was walking along the path and your friend dropped her scarf, I have it here.”

“Oh thank you,” your friend replied and smiling took the scarf from my hand.

“Not a problem, did you enjoy your walk?” I asked pleasantly.

“Yes it is a lovely spot here isn’t it?”

“Absolutely and no matter what the weather or the season there is always something different to see,” I explained. She nodded and using my customary charm I found myself sat with the friend and enjoying a warm drink together. It was in the course of that discussion, a polite conversation on a chilly autumnal late afternoon that I learned your name. Once armed with this information and remembering the other shards of your life that your friend had mentioned in innocent reference I soon tracked you down on Facebook.

There I worked through your profile, admiring your photographs and finding more about you. I spent time checking through the films and books that you had liked. They were not many, only a half a dozen in each category and I noticed that Memoirs of a Geisha was one of your favourite books. I knew this book and also its author. As I worked through the pictures I saw the ones of the river where you often stood and I beneath each one you had posted the same quotation which you attributed to someone who I knew was the author of Memoirs of a Geisha.

A little later I saw you stood contemplating the river once again and this time I walked up besides you.

“Never give up for even rivers someday wash dams away,” I said. You turned and smiled at me.

“Arthur Golden,” you answered naturally recognising the quotation and referring to the author of one of your favourites books.

“Correct,” I smiled, “is that why you look out over this river every day, to give you hope?” I asked.

You looked at me as if evaluating whether you should admit me to your confidence. Your did not take long to decide.

“Absolutely. It gives me hope that by looking on something so natural and beautiful as this that it will wash certain things away.”

I knew from the way you had answered that there was more to tell but now was not the time. We talked a little while and then I left you to your contemplations. After that you always said hello and we stood and talked as little by little I was given entry into your world. From standing at that same point we moved on to walking along the river bank as we got to know one another. I took care to walk in step with you. I knew the places you liked to stop and enjoy the view, since I had watched you do so on many times before. Like other fragments of your life that I had learned, I had memorised this and used it to stand with you and comment in an appreciative fashion about the river, the trees and the way the light would strike the surface of the water.

Carefully, like the skilled artisan that I am, I would peel away a piece of your life and add it to my own as I grew to know more about you. You spoke of work, your home life and your interests. I noticed you never met your friend for a riverside walk again and it appeared that I had supplant her as your riverside companion. Each time we would walk, talk and then have a drink in the café as my knowledge about you grew. I ensured that I said the things I knew would bring about the best response from you. I knew what to say to make you interested and attentive. I could tell, for I had seen such looks before, that the way you looked at me meant more than just companionship.

Then after perhaps two weeks, maybe a little more, as we strolled along that peaceful riverbank I reached out and took your hand in mine. You did not hesitate. There was no resistance and you allowed my larger hand to engulf yours as you slipped your hand into mine. The movement was natural. You looked at me with a smile and I saw the light flare in your eyes as you felt my power surging from within. You did not let go of my hand once on that walk. In fact that became your signature. The fact you always loved to hold my hand.

No matter where we were you would take it and hold on, even twisting your movements to avoid letting go. It was as if you had vowed that whenever you took my hand you would not let it go until I decided. I saw it as your signal of intent to care for me. It was a marker, your way of telling me that no matter what happened you would always be by my side and ready to care for me.

The handholding created this marvellous connection between us. I felt your love and admiration flowing through this handhold and in return you got to savour my brilliance. It was a fantastic connection that had been fashioned in high heaven. The moment our fingers entwined the connection was established and we both got something from it. That was why it worked. That was why we worked. That was why I worked you as I did.

I took full advantage of that but then I think you wanted me to didn’t you? That was why you always held my hand until you let me down. It was only once and you let go. You were never supposed to let go. You never had before despite everything I did, you always clung on. You always gave me that reassurance but then you took it away. I realised that you had no choice but to let go but you still let me down when you did it. I can never forgive you for that. Ever.

Sometimes I can still feel your grasp sliding from mine, the fingers slipping by and then.


Lightning does strike twice.

43 thoughts on “Losing My Grip

  1. Rebecca says:

    WhoCares and AV,

    I’m sorry your kids have been exploited by people who are suppose to love them, not hurt them. I had my mother did that to me with hugging too, but I still enjoy giving and receiving hugs to and from someone I know and trust. I remember when I was a small child and my Uncle’s (mother’s brother) Mother in law would come to visit. She liked to kiss my face, pinch my cheeks and hug too hard. I didn’t like her visits. Her kisses were not welcomed by me, her cheek pinching was painful and her hard hugs made me feel trapped. I told my mother this and she dismissed me, calling me too sensitive and a snob. She would force me to stand there and receive this strange woman’s affections for me,but it didn’t feel like affection to me, felt like punishment. I hated it when she would come visit. O would groan out load, when I heard she was coming and mother would glare at me , for being snobby,as she called it. If I had kids, which I didn’t, not my own anyway, I wouldn’t force them to accept “affection” from someone they weren’t comfortable with. It’s so wrong and hurtful.

    1. NarcAngel says:

      I was also forced to accept “affection” from friends/relatives (also to address them as Aunt and Uncle because using just their first name was inappropriate for a child back then. Wft?!), but the worst was having to kiss StepNarc on the cheek nightly before going to bed. He laid there like a King on the sofa staring straight ahead at the tv. The ritual sickened me and has had long term effect. There was also an old man that lived next door who was known in the neighbourhood as being sweet and kind (treats for kids) and helpful to the mothers (gifts from the garden and keeping “an eye” on the children). He was a creep who touched inappropriately and bribed with money and candy but it was always explained away as the intent being misinterpreted by us and we were expected to run errands for him (which always resulted in us having to go into his home where the inappropriateness was never seen). He had a camera (not common at that time) and took pics of the neighbourhood kids (giving mothers a copy to “show how much we’ve grown” while no doubt keeping a copy for himself). I came across a picture he took of my siblings and I in our bathing suits years later and you can clearly see that I am uncomfortable (drawing into myself and not smiling). We were taught to “respect our elders”. Fuck that – they have to earn it.

      1. Joa says:

        NA, I was very touched by this statement. In line with what I think. Especially the last, emphatic postulate.

        I taught my daughter not to be afraid to say NO, even if the person is much older, more powerful or richer than she is. If she feels that something is wrong, she is to cast aside her fear and BRAZENLY say: “I disagree.”

        After my personal experience, it was one of the flagship points in raising my child.

        Respect cannot be forced (then it’s fear).

        Respect does not obscure contemptible motives.

        Respect does not force “love”.

        Respect is a beautiful mixture of feelings, it is a gift, that can be given to someone. And it only depends on the giver.

      2. A Victor says:

        I agree NA, fuck that. I have been glad that my children have taught their children that no one is allowed to touch them unless they approve it. And never to keep secrets no matter what. Etc. It is much healthier and safer for the kids.

      3. WhoCares says:


        “There was also an old man that lived next door who was known in the neighbourhood as being sweet and kind (treats for kids) and helpful to the mothers (gifts from the garden and keeping “an eye” on the children). He was a creep who touched inappropriately…”

        Ugh. Just ugh…I can see how that experience would leave a residue. ❤️

        And I totally agree with elders needing earn respect…it doesn’t automatically come with the designation of ‘elder’.

        1. WhoCares says:

          needing *to earn respect

      4. Bubbles says:

        Dearest NarcAngel and lovelies,
        Check out Netflix……’Our Father’ about Dr Donald Cline, inseminator !
        Luv Bubbles xx 😘

    2. A Victor says:

      I didn’t allow my mother to exploit my children, they do love their grandma as a result. I am happy for them. And they have good times with her, she can be very pleasant to her secondary sources. But, I did have to stop her from the hugs and kisses to them or they would’ve had to suffer through it, and they might feel differently about her today if they had. What drives me crazy now is how she will write things on the family group text as if we’re all part of her, because in her mind we are. My kids find that odd and don’t respond. But I have stopped trying to tell them about narcissism, except as behaviors if it comes up.

      I am sorry your mother called you snobby. For me, some of the words are what has stuck with me the most, whether it’s being angry at her for saying them, or more often, for her saying them and me allowing myself to believe them even decades later. I’ve had to work to make those messages stop having the power over my thoughts that they don’t deserve. Power over me that she doesn’t deserve.

  2. BC30 says:

    I can’t imagine how exhausting it is for a N to love bomb an E whose love language is touch.

    1. A Victor says:

      Haha, this made me laugh! But, my ex always wanted to hold hands and hug. I think some use touch to control.

      1. Rebecca says:

        This article makes me sad. Touch is important to me and most of the time it’s platonic in nature…a comforting touch to the shoulder for a friend having a bad day, a soft squeezing of the hand when someone is crying, a strong, tight hug when someone’s world is falling apart…it makes a difference in making someone feel loved and cared about, it makes a difference to saving a life and that person having the strength to carry on….it’s sad when you lose that from someone you cared about and thought they cared for you.

        1. A Victor says:

          Rebecca, I’m sorry the article made you sad. It would be for any empath who loves touch. Touch is not important to me, my ex used it to control and know how under control I was, and with him I had a good comfort level until that last year, when I was in Supernova mode around him. My mother misused touch in my childhood and left me with an aversion to most touch. My kids and grandkids are fine. No one else. It is sad.

          1. WhoCares says:

            I had a similar experience of touch being used for control in familial settings. I can guess now that my maternal grandmother was a narcissist.

            After family and/or holiday visits it was the expectation that all the grandchildren would all give Grandma a hug and kiss before leaving – plus all the aunts and uncles (at least a hug in some cases.)

            When I had a child, I knew I would never force him to hug or kiss me, or any adult in his life. But of course, I would happily accept a kiss or hug if he offered it himself.
            It offends me to the core if someone places an unwanted hand on my son – you know, those ‘touchy, feely’ people (lack of boundary recognition much). And even in public I have to grit my teeth to not lace into them and cause a scene.

          2. A Victor says:

            I would not allow my mother to hug my kids if they don’t want her to. I made her stop that at the first sign of resistance from them. My kids didn’t mind her so much but my grandkids hate when she tries to force them to hug her, we stop it, it’s so wrong.

          3. WhoCares says:

            A Victor, I agree – it’s so wrong.
            And I am glad that you stop it.

            My son doesn’t really object to hugs, he is a very ‘huggy’ little guy…but that’s what ‘touchy- feely’ people take advantage.

            Also, this aspect of my son has been exploited by his father during visits where, during a hug, with his father, his father has given him a really mean look (a sneer, likely, going from memory) and it gets reported in the supervision notes – but then it is not validated by the adults on hand, who claim they did not see such a look on his father’s face. I always point out to others, “Were you part of that hug? How would know what look was on his face?”

            But I have been on the receiving end of such looks, so it’s not hard for me to see what’s happening.

            It ends of up being a form of invalidation…and gaslighting, for my son.

          4. A Victor says:

            It was the force of it, the forcefulness behind it, her strength to my child strength, I had no choice in the matter. The absolute feeling of violation, my person being violated and especially when it happened on the heels of a physical assault. I hated her, I hated being touched by her, in those moments. I feel for your son, I hope his experiences such as you describe are very limited. He is blessed to have you.

          5. WhoCares says:

            A Victor,

            ” The absolute feeling of violation, my person being violated and especially when it happened on the heels of a physical assault. I hated her, I hated being touched by her, in those moments.”

            I am so sorry AV 💜. You didn’t deserve such treatment.

          6. Rebecca says:

            It’s OK, no sympathy needed. It’s just sometimes things get to me and hurt, flashback of bad memories and it strikes to the heart. I’m picky about who touches me, like you, there’s a list of people allowed to touch me, others aren’t. For the ones I trust, I give hugs to and comfort them through touch. Touch is important to me, most likely because I only allow it from a select amount of people and I wasn’t given a lot of comforting touch growing up. My dad and maternal grandmother were the two in my childhood I accepted and enjoyed hugs from. Now it means a lot because it wasn’t available much to me. I remember when my dad was alive and he would visit me, as an adult, and right before he would leave to go home, we would hug and we’d tell each other, I love you. I’d start to cry, just from the overwhelming feeling of adoration and love I felt from my dad and towards me dad. I miss him the most. I push down my sadness most days because I still miss him,but I have to function on a daily, so I set time aside to let my feelings out and experience the pain, the memories of him and just to relieve the ache. If I don’t, it erupts when I least expect it and if kept bottled up too long, I experience unhealthy body responses, like headaches and my hypoglycemia acting up. Sorry, went into that a bit long….being emotional sometimes messes with the body. But, AV, I do understand your aversion to touch. I get it. Not everyone can touch me either.

          7. Rebecca says:


            I wanted to share with you a painful memory, I guess also with everyone else on the blog here….the last time I saw my dad alive. June 25, 2010 around noon. My husband and I were running him some lunch, he was on a jobsite and didn’t have time to stop for lunch, so I was bringing lunch to him. He was doing an inspection of a school. He met me outside and came to the car real quick. We had my stepkids with us and in a rush to go somewhere with them. My dad and I quickly exchanged words, I handed him his lunch, made quick plans for dinner with him later that night, told him I loved him and we were off. The last thing I saw, was my dad waving good bye back to me and looking kinda sad. That image was in my head for years. Him looking sad….and I didn’t take the time to hug him before I left…..I kick myself for years over that, the guilt, the pain, how I hated myself for years for not hugging him before I left. I never got another chance…and died that night, at work. And I didn’t hug him. It took me years to come to terms with that and that’s why the article made me cry. When HG wrote that he could still feel her hand slip through his fingers, I just felt that to my heart….made me cry and made me sad. I just wanted you to understand why the article touched me and how it gave me flashback of a painful memory.

            HG, I enjoy your writing and I normally don’t cry when reading your articles, but this one got me. At least my emotional response to the article makes sense to everyone, instead of everyone thinking…there goes her Geyser side again. 😆 xx

          8. A Victor says:

            Hi Rebecca, thank you for sharing your experiences. Your emotional responses definitely make sense, I apologize if you have felt I have minimized your feelings because of your Geyser, or explained them away that way. I will need to make sure I’m not doing this to my daughter also, thank you for bringing it up. I am very happy for you to have had a father you could love and who could love you back. That is a wonderful thing.

          9. WhoCares says:

            Rebecca – 💓

          10. Rebecca says:

            No need to apologize, you’re fine. I didn’t feel you minimized my feelings. I just wanted to clarify why I reacted the way I did to HG’s article. My ET has its flare ups and sometimes it’s calmer.

          11. A Victor says:

            Okay, thanks, I’m glad not to have offended you. I think it is typical for us to have flare ups sometimes and calm sometimes, whether we have Geyser or not, it just presents differently.

            Today I am having a flare up, tiny, it makes me quite teary, someone else might get loud or be visibly shaking etc. Mine today is for known reasons, not feeling 100%, seeing my daughter worried yesterday about how the world seems to be now and concern for her children, things like that affect me overall state of mind, which can then allow my ET to be affected. Also seeing her husband yesterday, and how he treats her, affects my ET for a period of time. I want to punch him sometimes. Anyway, it’s typical for it to fluctuate, for me anyway. But thankfully the average is lower now than when I first got here, by quite a bit, so when the fluctuations happen, they aren’t as extreme, I can usually catch them and do something to bring my balance back, bring it back under control.
            Every time I interact with a known narcissist, and I live with one, it goes up also, I limit my time with that person very much but probably have a consistently higher ET than someone who has no known narcissists in their life. Anyway, all that to say that it’s probably normal for it to go up and down. Thank you for your comment.

        2. WhoCares says:


          I am sorry. Your comment resonates with me. Touch is important to me as well.

          1. Rebecca says:

            Touch is important to me because I reserve it for those I care about and no one else gets hugs from me,especially not kisses. And I’m not being a snob, I just don’t like touch from strangers, especially not kisses.

          2. WhoCares says:

            I do understand. Thank-you for sharing. I know it isn’t about being a snob.

            I am actually quite reserved about physical demonstrations of affection ( other than when with a romantic partner).

            I had to become more okay with hugs etc., for the sake of my child and push outside of my comfort zone. And it is a good thing, as I can see that he has a normal range of expression of physical affection. He offers hugs and kisses much more spontaneously than me, actually, to the people he cares about.

          3. Rebecca says:


            No worries,, no need to apologize.. I don’t like touchy Feely people either, nothing worse than someone I don’t know or feel close to, touching me like they have a right to. I don’t like that, it’s very boundary crossing….

      2. WhoCares says:

        A Victor,

        I have had weird experience with hugs (and kisses) during the first dates with my ex.
        After the first date or two, I know he wanted to kiss me (I think anyway) but he withheld. I thought he was being polite and a “gentleman’ (I wanted him to kiss me.) I based this assumption on what I understood to be his particular cultural background.
        I thought to myself, fine, I can wait for a kiss.

        So I offered him a warm hug instead. And because he was much taller/broader than me, I adored his hugs.
        At some point later in the relationship, I remember his saying that I “taught him about hugs.” I was struck by this statement, and couldn’t help thinking: “I know you come from a different country far, far away – but like, don’t they do hugs there??”

        It actually came across as an almost child-like fascination with the experience of hugs.

        1. A Victor says:

          WC, I allowed my ex to hug me but I didn’t really feel connected or get anything from it. I did enjoy holding his hand but he complained that i didn’t grip his hand enough, it was too claustrophobic for me.

          Today I was talking to my son and I said I’d been thinking how, because I had no close ties to my family of origin, I’d not known how to really make bonds with the family I made, and I’d never been too concerned about doing so either. He understood what I meant, my kids know I’m independent. I enjoy time with them more than anything else but I’m not one to make it happen. My two oldest daughters do make connections happen, they like doing it, and my kids all seem to accept this is who I am. They love me anyway. It’s just been on my mind lately, another lasting effect from my parents. I think it relates to the touch thing somehow.

          Thank you for sharing your experience. I wonder what your ex was thinking when you hugged him.

          1. WhoCares says:

            Thanks for sharing A Victor. It’s wonderful that your children accept you as you are. 💜

            As to what my ex was thinking…my guess is that he never considered it (a hug) as a viable source of fuel!?

            But this is going on other things that he said. He once said something similar about buses. He had never taken public transit (I think) before being relationship with me. And he said I showed him about buses – haha…I mean, lots of fuel grabbing opportunities on the bus…chatting with the driver was one he did a lot! Bumping into people etc….(was like being squeezed in like f*cking sardines in TO, when we lived there – don’t miss that a bit!!!)
            Also, he simply stood a full head above most people on the bus, as he’s very tall, so *everybody* could see him!

          2. A Victor says:

            I suppose a narcissist considering physical touch of value depends on their school or cadre possibly. My ex, a MMRA, used it to control and I believe also to assess how much control he had more than getting fuel maybe. My mom, LMR used it as control but also did get fuel I think. With her the fuel was likely from sensing our distaste. My dad, UMR, rarely touched anyone after I was probably 5 or 6. Or maybe it’s just part of their specific personality, that being pretty directly tied to their school I think! Interesting, all of it. Thanks!

          3. WhoCares says:

            Yes, it is interesting A Victor. I think it just happens to be a combination of their school, cognitive function and who they have in their life to mirror from. For example, female narcissists likely rely upon mirroring female empaths etc , therefore extending physical affection (and crying!) to others comes more easily.

          4. A Victor says:

            Oh, and the public transport speech is fascinating! My ex would’ve been in heaven on a bus!

          5. WhoCares says:

            “My ex would’ve been in heaven on a bus!”

            Haha, A Victor!

          6. A Victor says:

            Haha, and where did “speech” come from?? Autocorrect strikes again!

  3. DoesntMatter says:

    The bud looked so innocuous, waxy green and tightly furled. Potential lies beneath those green protective leaves.

    Then, it swells. Then pops in an explosion of color. Dew collects on the silken petals, as she flowers fully. Bees collect and bath in the golden powder of life, gathering in her gracious bounty.

    But then, time marches on. She withers, droops, drops petals. The colors fade to a memory. The bees move on to new delights.

    A wind tugs and the husk falls to the ground. Rot and age seep in, as black mold spreads across the filaments. A revolting stench fades to brittle staleness. Time stamps it to dust. No color, no smell, no form. To dust it’s returned.

    1. Joa says:

      Like everything in this world. Also a Narcissist.

      An intense life also continues in the dust. And what dust can be a pain in the ass! 🙂

      I am hugging.

  4. Asp Emp says:

    Thank you, HG, for reposting this thread. It was good to re-read it. Laughed myself silly 🙂

    1. Truthseeker6157 says:


      I just read it too. Haha! We were on form that day!


      1. Asp Emp says:

        Yes we were, TS 😉

  5. Shawn says:

    I’m curious Mr. Tudor. Why do narcissists get married.

    1. HG Tudor says:

      She the Narcissist and Marriage.

      1. Shawn says:

        Thank you. Your work here is invaluable. It has helped me so much over the last few months. I will continue to read your insights as to what the narcissist means when he does or says certain things. I’m currently free of my Cluster B psychopath, I hope to remain free.
        Again thank you.

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