Underlying much of our struggle with a narcissist is our deep-down quest for true intimacy. That desire for intimacy is what often got us involved with them in the first place. A narcissist fakes intimacy at the beginning, but their drive for dominance and self-absorption prevents it from truly taking place. The failure of intimacy may tempt you to throw in the towel and try again, but if you don’t know what you’re looking for it will be futile.
True intimacy arises from someone who cares about you, who knows you deeply, and who is deeply interested in what you think about it – and with you in turn caring for them and what they think about. Imagine sitting across from your soul mate, someone you love and who loves you, and being able to say, “you have complete insight into my soul”.
That would be wonderful if you could find it in the form of another person. How many people do you know who have found that? People are fallible in many ways, and self-centered, to the detriment of intimacy. Putting an expectation of intimacy on someone who is not up to it, puts extra stress on the relationship. Of course, as with many things a measure of intimacy is possible, even if not to the degree you might hope.
God knows that we will never be completely fulfilled apart from Him. That’s not a self-centered move on His part, but the reality that only He is completely satisfying, and His creations – even at their best – a dim reflection of His magnificence.
Ultimate intimacy comes from God and is reflected in what are the most intimate chapters of the Bible Psalm 139.
O Lord, You have searched me and known me.
You know when I sit down and when I rise up;
You understand my thought from afar.
You scrutinize my path and my lying down,
And are intimately acquainted with all my ways.
Even before there is a word on my tongue,
Behold, O Lord, You know it all.
You have enclosed me behind and before,
And laid Your hand upon me.
Such knowledge is too wonderful for me;
It is too high, I cannot attain to it.
Think of being so in love with someone that you watch their every move. That’s what David is talking about here. I originally of God’s awareness as an “accountability” thing. That is true, as God does see everything we do from a moral perspective. But we can also simply take it for what it is – the God who cares for us knows us intimately.
The Bible phrases it in other ways. For example, just think of taking your concerns, and handing them to someone who is able to carry them, and who cares enough to do so.
“casting all your anxiety on Him, because He cares for you.”
I Peter 5:7
And one of my favorites,
Whom have I in heaven but You?
And besides You, I desire nothing on earth.
My flesh and my heart may fail,
But God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.
Is this just a cop-out or rationalization for a bad situation? No. The fact is that this intimacy with God is the ultimate goal for God’s creation of us. Paul says,
For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face; now I know in part, but then I will know fully just as I also have been fully known. I Corinthians 13:12
While God knows us perfectly now, and knows that He is our true soul-mate, we can partially understand that now, but will full understand it when we see Him face to face. In the meantime, He uses the disappointments of our current relationships to gently encourage us toward the real goal of intimacy with Him – the One who can truly satisfy us.