I still remember the sensation of the cold sheets against my skin, when going to bed. Alone. It was a harsh winter and the snowstorms howled like crazed wolves outside our windows, most of the time. The chill crept into the sheets, even though the rest of the apartment was warm and snug.
I had moved into Hero’s place on a trial basis. I had known him for three years at this point in time.
The first week of living together had been wonderful, we hadn’t been able to keep our hands off of each other for even a New York minute. I had been living inside a dream of velvet skin and euphoria. It was heaven on earth.
When I looked at myself in the mirror, the eyes of a happy woman stared back at me. Everything I’d had to go through the last three years, was behind us; it seemed like Hero was finally ready to let me into his heart completely and treat me right, this time.
—(Yes, I know what you’re thinking by now)—
After this honeymoon period of one week, however, there was a shift in him. Hero started staying up late at night, watching TV or sitting at his computer. I’d wake up sometimes and see him sleeping in the living room. He would start sleeping there most nights. In the evenings when I came from work, his focus was anywhere but on me.
He also had the graveyard shift at work some nights. When at home, he suddenly stopped initiating sex or any form of physical intimacy. It seemed he was a million miles away. The contrast between this and the initial honeymoon week became unbearable to me. I tried talking to him about it but nothing I said had any effect. My body gradually adapted to the cold sheets. My heart never could though. It demanded the return of the loving man who had so suddenly vanished.
I then recalled when we first started dating. The pattern was the same! After spending a wonderful weekend in the countryside, with laughter, adventures and passion, I would not hear a word from him for at least three days. My heart would sink and I began to feel insecure: had all that only been a meaningless pastime?
The behavior continued after the initial dating phase. After a while I could predict that any time we’d get together and enjoy ourselves, would be followed by him showing no interest in me whatsoever. The happy times got mixed with feelings of fear of the inevitable disappearing act that would ensue.
After enduring this behavior a few hundred(?) times (not to mention all of the other abusive behaviors), I was fed up, feeling unloved, and wanted to leave. Suddenly, there was Honeymoon Hero again! Only with one small change: He seemed desperate in his efforts to make me stay. He would even hug me and in doing so, cling to me like a child, asking me to stay. This shift became totally outlandish to me, still remembering how cold and uninterested he’d been right before the shift into the man-child.
The moment you feel safe and warm, even loved, by the narcissist.. Observe closely what happens next: he will disappear completely, or at least pull away from you, emotionally and/or physically. When you have experienced this a large number of times, your natural reaction will likely be that you yourself begin to pull away from your partner, sometimes as a preemptive strike, other times as a counterattack after he starts the behavior. Then he will suddenly “chase” you again! What’s all this about?
What is it?
This is the world famous technique of push-and-pull, ladies and gentlemen! Utilized and certified by narcissists around the globe. It comes highly recommended by abusers everywhere, on account of its wonderful 2-in-1 formula. It keeps someone from leaving your side, and helps you avoid getting too close to them!
Why is it used?
In my opinion the reasons for this behavior are probably several, but I will mention the two most obvious ones. The first is: the narcissist’s fears: Of true intimacy (the “push”), and of abandonment (the “pull”).
The second is having control over you, while getting narcissistic supply. It’s a form of passive-aggressive, emotional abuse. It is hard to “prove”, since you can only see the pattern of it over time.
For abusers who prefer subtle emotional abuse, this is one of their greatest tools. A loving partner will likely be devastated by this inexplicable behavior, and try harder to work things out. This in turn will give a narcissist some much needed narcissistic supply. He will enjoy seeing his partner wriggle around like a worm on a hook, fighting to escape the gutting pain.