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Approach-Avoidance Repetition Complex and Fear of Intimacy


Narcissists are afraid of intimacy and commitment.
 
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It is an established fact that abuse – verbal, psychological, emotional, physical, and sexual – co-occurs with intimacy. Most reported offenses are between intimate partners and between parents and children. This defies common sense. Emotionally, it should be easier to batter, molest, assault, or humiliate a total stranger. It's as if intimacy CAUSES abuse, incubates and nurtures it.
 
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Intimacy Retarding Paranoia
 
Paranoia is use by the narcissist to ward off or reverse intimacy. The narcissist is threatened by intimacy because it reduces him to ordinariness by exposing his weaknesses and shortcomings and by causing him to act "normally". The narcissist also dreads the encounter with his deep buried emotions - hurt, envy, anger, aggression - likely to be foisted on him in an intimate relationship.
 
The paranoid narrative legitimizes intimacy repelling behaviours such as keeping one's distance, secrecy, aloofness, reclusion, aggression, intrusion on privacy, lying, desultoriness, itinerancy, unpredictability, and idiosyncratic or eccentric reactions. Gradually, the narcissist succeeds to alienate and wear down all his friends, colleagues, well-wishers, and mates.
 
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The narcissist does his damnedest to avoid intimacy. He constantly lies about every aspect of his life: his self, his history, his vocations and avocations, and his emotions. This false data guarantee his informative lead, asymmetry, or "advantage" in his relationships. It fosters disintimisation. It casts a pall of cover up, separateness, mystery over the narcissist's affairs.
 
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The narcissist divides all women to saints and whores. He finds it difficult to have sex ("dirty", "forbidden", "punishable", "degrading") with feminine significant others (spouse, intimate girlfriend). To him, sex and intimacy are mutually exclusive rather than mutually expressive propositions.
 
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People with Personality Disorders (PDs) are very afraid of real, mature, intimacy. Intimacy is formed not only within a couple, but also in a workplace, in a neighborhood, with friends, while collaborating on a project. Intimacy is another word for emotional involvement, which is the result of interactions with others in constant and predictable (safe) propinquity.
 
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Narcissists have no interest in emotional or even intellectual stimulation by significant others. Such feedback is perceived as a threat. Significant others in the narcissist's life have very clear roles: the accumulation and dispensation of past Primary Narcissistic Supply in order to regulate current Narcissistic Supply. Nothing less but definitely nothing more. Proximity and intimacy breed contempt. A process of devaluation is in full operation throughout the life of the relationship.
 
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Inevitably, the sexuality of patients with personality disorders is thwarted and stunted. In the Paranoid Personality Disorder, sex is depersonalized and the sexual partner is dehumanized. The paranoid is besieged by persecutory delusions and equates intimacy with life-threatening vulnerability, a "breach in the defenses" as it were. the paranoid uses sex to reassure himself that he is still in control and to quell is anxiety.
 
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Question:
 
What is the mechanism behind the cycles of over-valuation (idealization) and devaluation in the narcissist's life?
 
Answer:
 
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Thus, paradoxically, the worst his anguish and unhappiness, the more relieved and elated such an abuser feels! He is "liberated" and "unshackled" by his own self-initiated abandonment, he insists. He never really wanted this commitment, he tells any willing (or buttonholed) listener – and anyhow, the relationship was doomed from the beginning by the egregious excesses and exploits of his wife (or partner or friend or boss).
 
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Thus, on the one hand, the narcissist feels that his freedom depends upon re-enacting these early experiences. On the other hand, he is terrified by this prospect. Realizing that he is doomed to go through the same traumas over and over again, the narcissist distances himself by using his aggression to alienate, to humiliate and in general, to be emotionally absent.
 
This behavior brings about the very consequence that the narcissist so fears - abandonment. But, this way, at least, the narcissist is able to tell himself (and others) that HE was the one who fostered the separation, that it was fully his choice and that he was not surprised. The truth is that, governed by his internal demons, the narcissist has no real choice. The dismal future of his relationships is preordained.
 
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In his quest to find new sources, he again embarks on ego-mending bouts of sex, followed by the selection of a spouse or a mate (a Secondary Narcissistic Supply Source). Then the cycle re-commence: a sharp drop in sexual activity, emotional absence and cruel detachment leading to abandonment.
 
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Encyclopedia of Narcissism and Psychopathy

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Aug/25/2009, 11:44 am Link to this post  
 


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