It’s Narcissist Friday!
Yes, I know this is posting on Valentine’s Day. There is a bitter taste in even thinking about narcissism on a day when love should be the focus. But that would take the focus away from the narcissist, wouldn’t it?
Too many people will wonder whatever happened to the intimate relationship they shared with their narcissist. Was it all phony? Was it only physical? We all know there is a lot more to an intimate relationship than the physical aspect.
Not all relationships are intimate. The old meaning of the word has not been left behind. Intima, the Latin root, means the innermost parts. Not all relationships enter the inmost parts. Intimacy requires trust, openness, and reciprocation. In other words, the deepest kind of relationship on both sides.
I know that our culture has separated sex from intimacy, at least where the heart is concerned, but few people really want that. Most of us wanted that deep heart connection from the beginning. The physical part was not the goal, not the end of the intimacy. We wanted to know the heart of the one we loved as deeply as possible.
But the narcissist never wanted that. He/she didn’t care to know your heart except to use it to manipulate you. And he/she certainly didn’t want to let you into the innermost parts for fear that you might do the manipulating.
The narcissist talked about love, behaved somewhat like a lover, and claimed to love. He demanded physical intimacy early in the relationship, then used that to manipulate further. Narcissists are attentive, caring, and gentle at the beginning of the relationship. It is easy to let them in. Only later do you realize that you have been deceived. Sometimes much later.
Well, we know all that, don’t we? There is no such thing as narcissistic intimacy, or heart intimacy with a narcissist. They protect themselves too strongly, even against those who love them most. They don’t know what love is.
So, now what? Do you open yourself again to the narcissist? No. You have learned your lesson. It’s time to move on.
But move on to what? Do you dare open yourself to anyone? You missed the signs before, if there were any. How do you know it isn’t going to happen again? All that pain. You don’t want to do that again.
Yet, you long for intimacy. The way it’s supposed to be. You want to share your life. Even while you fear letting someone in again, you want it. We were made for intimacy.
Two thoughts: First, you know that intimacy is far more than physical. Maybe a long time ago you didn’t know that, and you opened yourself only to a fraction of the intimacy you could have had. You thought you were getting something, but you were used. Now you know better. Now you can look for the heart and settle for nothing less.
Let intimacy take time. There is no hurry. In fact, it can be a wonderful adventure enjoyed by both of you if you are willing to take the time to seek each other’s heart. Watch out for the person who wants physical before heart. Protect your inmost parts by being careful.
Second, there is One who knows you so much better than you know yourself. And He loves you. He knows your pain, your weakness, your compromises. But He also knows your strength, your motivation, your kindness. He knows you in truth, without guile. And He welcomes you into His heart as well.
I believe that a relationship with Jesus can fill the heart with love and satisfy our desire for intimacy. Contrary to what some people think, Jesus is happy to share your heart with another who loves you. He wants you, but He also wants others. You won’t have to be alone to experience His love; but, if you are alone, He will be enough.
St. Valentine was a man who loved others. He was generous and kind because he knew that he was loved. Intimately. Celebrate intimacy today. Open yourself to the intimate love of Jesus.