One of the weirdest things I noticed with my ex husband was how he’d always walk ahead of me, rather than us walking alongside each other as a couple. Another obvious show of his complete disregard for me (and his own children) was how he’d walk through a door without ever holding it open for the person behind him.
In addition to those two very invalidating behaviours, he had also never shown any interest in holding hands while we were out together as a couple. Even during the love bombing phase, that show of affection literally never even crossed his emotionally-void mind.
After going through your own experiences, you may also be wondering why the narcissist walks ahead of you, plus avoids holding hands or sharing any kind of companionship while out in public.
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Why the Narcissist Walks Ahead of You
There are a few different psychological reasons behind why the narcissist walks ahead of others, particularly their partners once they’ve hooked them in through the initial idealisation phase.
They Have a Superiority Complex
Narcissists have a huge superiority complex. This is basically the belief that their appearance, abilities, accomplishments, skills and successes are drastically better than everyone else’s.
They are one hundred percent driven by their ego, which dictates that they must be the best in everything at all times. The ego is all about competition, greed and doing whatever is necessary to fulfil its own needs, regardless of the needs of others.
Narcissists belief that they are a god, who sits above all others and demands to be revered at all times.
The narcissist’s ego actually created an entire false reality to protect the narcissist from any truth, which proves that they are a flawed human being just like the rest of us.
So, in the eyes of the narcissist, they are better than you in every way, which they physically demonstrate by walking ahead of you.
When the narcissist walks ahead of you, they are silently reiterating that they are superior, while pegging you as a second-rate citizen who must walk behind them.
To a narcissist, the only things that matter to them are the things that they want. If you’re holding them up from getting to where they want to go, they won’t hesitate to walk ahead of you and actively show you what an inconvenience you are to them.
My ex used to jump out of the car and power on through to wherever he was going, without even waiting for me. When it came to walking through doors, he’d walk through and continue on without even holding the door open for whoever was behind him.
Interestingly, if there were other people around and he wanted to give the impression of being a kind, caring partner or father, he’d suddenly remember to hold the door open.
Isn’t it interesting that as empathetic people we so easily justify their crappy behaviour by thinking, “oh, they don’t realise what they’re doing,” or “they don’t mean to do that.”
However, when there’s an audience they manage to spring into action and be seen to be doing all of the right things. This is evidence enough for me that they are fully aware of their behaviour, making it all a conscious choice.
When the narcissist walks ahead of you, it’s because they have no care or regard for others – their destination is always more important.
They Want to Control You
Narcissists are extremely controlling and often that behaviour comes out in the most subtle and unspoken of ways. They aim to dominate you in every aspect of your life and yep, that includes walking. Crazy, right?!
When the narcissist walks ahead of you, they effectively control where you go as well as how far or fast you go. On top of that, they’ll leave you behind if you stop, which will mean that you’re always the one having to catch up to them.
Narcissists love being chased as it makes them feel special and important, so they’ll fabricate that situation over and over again by constantly walking ahead of you.
Without having to say a word, they’ll make you feel guilty for stopping to look at something or talking to someone. They’ll invalidate you for walking too slow and not being able to keep up with them in all of their greatness.
When the narcissist walks ahead of you, it’s because they aim to control how far or fast you go, as well as removing the opportunity for you to stop and look at things or talk to anyone.
To Instil their Hierarchy
The narcissist’s false self truly believes that they are a god, worthy of being idolised just merely for existing.
However, for the narcissist’s warped world to continue to exist for them, they need constant validation from others that their reality is in fact ‘real.’ How they do this is by controlling everyone around them and moving them about as though they were pieces on a chess board.
In order for the narcissist to have the continued affirmation that they are indeed as superior as they think they are, they need to create situations where you are eternally lower than them.
There is no equality with a narcissist, because that would mean they’re not superior or special after all.
When the narcissist walks ahead of you, they are confirming their self-created hierarchical system whereby they are the pinnacle.
To Devalue You
During the narcissist’s abuse cycle, they will always begin with love bombing. This is where they idealise you and treat you like the best thing since sliced bread. During that time, they’re heavily observing you and working to gain your trust on every level.
The narcissist thinks that you are the answer to all of their problems. You make them look good and they get a great amount of energy and attention from you. On top of that, you probably offer them a range of other resources, which has them rubbing their hands together.
Eventually though, something will happen where the narcissist’s bubble bursts and they realise that you’re just another flawed human being who inevitably disappoints them.
All friendships and relationships with narcissists are purely transactional. It’s always about what they can get out of it, never about what they put into it.
Deep inside, the narcissist very much needs you and the attention that you provide, which serves to prop up their false reality. They’re much like a drug addict, whereby your life force energy is the drug.
However, they know you’d never stick around if you knew that they were just using you to mine your energy and resources. So instead, they work to insidiously chip away at your independence and self-worth, so that you feel like there is no one else for you besides the narcissist. That way, you’ll be bound to them and never abandon them unless they decide to discard you.
The simple act of the narcissist walking ahead of you is a complete devaluation of you as a worthwhile human being. They are repeatedly demonstrating to you that you’re so far beneath them, you’re not even worthy of walking alongside of.
Narcissists and Holding Hands
Some narcissists can be super affectionate during their love bombing, which leads you into a false belief that they’re a caring person.
However, most people report that beyond that initial phase, much of the intimacy drops off besides the expectation of sex whenever they want it.
To a narcissist, unless there’s something in it for them, why would they bother holding hands? Heck, they can’t even manage to walk alongside you, let alone display any kind of closeness!
Holding hands, especially as a public display of affection is something many narcs are just not comfortable with. They lack the piece of being human that’s necessary for experiencing empathy, love, compassion and kindness.
Narcissists May Hold Hands to Paint a False Image
During my two decades with a narcissist, every now and then (as in, once every other year) my ex would get the sudden urge that we ‘should’ be holding hands, just like other couples. It was total FOMO because he couldn’t stand missing out on something that other people had.
So, we’d give the whole holding hands thing a go, but honestly, it was so awkward for both of us that it wouldn’t last more than 3 seconds. Admittedly, he was quite a bit taller than me, so physically it didn’t actually work.
But on a deeper level, his feigned affection was just so repulsive, I actually couldn’t stand playing along. I knew that it wasn’t because he genuinely loved me and wanted to show me affection, but because he wanted what other people had (even though he failed miserably at it).
Interestingly, he’d do the same thing with the ‘goodbye kiss.’ Every so often he’d say, “we should be kissing each other goodbye,” because he was aware that it’s something that ‘normal couples’ did.
His false-self desperately needed to appear successful in the relationship arena, therefore he’d just try to replicate what others where doing. Underneath it all, he had no emotional capacity or desire for those things, so he had to fake it in order to hold up his mask.
Those things never lasted because there was nothing authentic behind them.
Narcissists May Hold Hands Through Possessiveness
I do know of one narcissistic woman who’s so completely dependent on her husband, that whenever they leave the house, she must be holding hands with him.
He is her survival security blanket and is also her complete carer (slave) now. She has devalued him to such low levels over the years that he has no idea how much she has made him bound to her.
There was one incident where the husband got quite ill and the narcissistic wife was absolutely beside herself. However, it wasn’t out of concern for her husband, but out the pure childlike terror of, “who’s going to look after me if he goes!?”
So, in that circumstance of an aging, needy covert narcissist who’s fully aware that she won’t be able to replace her supply (husband) when he dies, she literally holds onto his hand for dear life.
Healing From Narcissistic Abuse
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