The 3 Phases of a Relationship With a Narcissist

 

insp1

Welcome!

So, you are wondering what the hell happened aren’t you? You thought you had met your soul mate and you were the luckiest person in the world. Of course in phase 1 you weren’t questioning your relationship, but like a switch going off everything changed, even if you can’t put your finger on it, something is very wrong. You entered phase 2, for a while you just chalked it up to him/her having a bad day, or maybe they are sick, maybe they have a brain tumor, or they’re having a nervous breakdown, it took a while before you started searching for answers about why the love of your life had turned on you.

I was into the relationship for over 5 years before I went looking for answers and even then, once I found Narcissist and JC fit the description almost to a T and our relationship followed the same stages described on various websites, I still didn’t believe he could be unfaithful or would discard me so callously. I believed everyone has good in them and I had seen the good side and if I loved him well enough I could bring that good side out again.

It is almost impossible to get your head around the notion they could ever just toss you aside with nothing and not even look back. If anything; while you are reeling in pain from the relationship ending he’ll take the opportunity to give you a kick in the guts a few times for good measure and make sure you know it is all your fault.

If you are in phase 2 and think you are hurt and confused please believe me it is nothing compared to the excruciating pain of phase 3. You would be doing yourself a HUGE favor to get out now.

I tend to talk in terms of the narcissist being a male but female narcissists exist and are just as destructive and ……. well………evil. The phases of the relationship are the same whether the narcissist is male or female.

The Phases of Loving a Narcissist

lies

Idealization

During this phase a narcissist is very loving and is on his/ her best behavior. A narcissist can be extremely charming and loving, which often makes a person fall head over heels in love with them or feel they would be crazy to not love them. In the beginning I felt JC cared for me more than I cared for him but I had never been loved like that in my life and that is very hard to walk away from. I was perfect in his eyes, to quote him, “Don’t ever change, I love you just the way you are.”

If a narcissist is cheating on his or her present partner with a new lover, it is often more due to the actions of the narcissist than the lover that the relationship started in a first place. While pursuing a new lover, a narcissist is often claiming that he is very unhappy in his/her current relationship, the woman takes him for granted, abuses his good nature and he is carrying the load financially, in the home and emotionally. He will say he has tried and tried and done his grieving of the relationship long ago. He has had to stay because he’s afraid she’ll try to kill herself if he leaves, or she just won’t accept that its over. He is about to get a divorce/separate, has never felt as strongly towards anyone else as he or she is now feeling towards the new lover, etc. If you are the married one he will become your best friend and perhaps even befriend your husband, he will point out how your husband takes you for granted, tell you he wishes he had a woman like you, he will be your perfect match, totally into you, always so happy to see you, wanting to know all about you, your hopes and dreams, you will feel attractive, appreciated, it will be exciting, his romantic gestures will take your breath away, the love-making like nothing you have ever experienced before, you will feel like the sexiest most desirable woman on earth. You will feel you must have this man in your life, you can face anything as long as he has you in his arms. It is intoxicating, you can not believe your good fortune to meet this wonderful man and he loves YOU. A narcissist knows how to say all the right things to make the other person fall hard.

Unfortunately this “honeymoon” period never lasts for long. A narcissist soon grows bored and restless and starts to look for another provider of a narcissistic supply. This is when a narcissist enters the devaluation phase.

bullet

Devaluation

During this phase the behavior of a narcissist changes, he becomes cold and uncaring almost overnight. this is when the “mask drops” and you see the real person. The narcissist no longer tells you how much he or she loves you, but instead becomes increasingly critical towards you. Suddenly he/she finds all sorts of flaws in your behavior and possibly also in the way you look. You start to feel increasingly unhappy and depressed, because you have no idea what you have done to deserve to be treated this way. You try to “make him or her love you again”, however nothing you do seems to be good enough and what they want seems to change with the wind. He accuses you of things you aren’t thinking or doing, is controlling, twists your words, where once you could talk about anything calmly and rationally, now every thing turns into a fight. He accuses you of being paranoid,  yet they are snooping through your phone and computer, (James even had a tracking device somewhere on my vehicle, I found a hidden camera and his sister found a wire running from the trailer to the barn that had a speaker on the end). They know they are out to destroy you, so assume you must be doing the same thing and want to make sure they get you before you get them.Whatever the narcissist accuses the victim of doing is more than likely what they are doing. A rule to remember; If their lips are moving, they are lying. They can look you right in the eye and tell you a lie, they can cry real tears and could get an academy award for their acting abilities.

They may be loving in public and then treat the soon-to-be-ex with disdain when they get home, yet expect the victim to stay loving and giving until the narcissist is firmed enmeshed in their new relationship. It is a very confusing time for the victim, one minute they are treated with disgust and the next the narcissist is loving, they are blamed for the problems in the relationship but anything they do to  mend the fences is never good enough. (I went years not knowing if we were broken up or a couple, he could tear me to shreds in the morning before he left for work and come home from work like nothing ever happened). The victim is accused of causing conflict, yet if they give in to the narcissist they are treated even worse.

Once the narcissist drains his supply, the supply refuses to comply with his demands or the N finds better supply he is ready to move on and if they don’t have new supply lined up they set out to find a new source of NS. At this point he is obvious in his infidelity, short tempered and generally acts as if he hates sharing his air with you. The narcissist picks their love interest by what they have to offer, it might have been a roof over their head, the reputation of the victim, perhaps to advance their career, a parent for their child, status in the community, or something as simply as sex.

You find yourself walking on eggshells for fear of sending him into a rage. Everything is your fault, you are paranoid, too sensitive, causing drama and you should know he hates drama. More than likely some addiction like obsessively watching porn has surfaced or he forces you to perform sex acts you aren’t comfortable with, the great sex you once had is a distant memory unless he is trying to win you over after a really bad fight. Female narcissist often use sex as a weapon, withholding or seducing to manipulate the man. Speaking of which they have an uncanny ability to sense when you have had enough and are ready to leave and will turn back into the sweet, appreciative, loving partner you fell in love with just long enough to reel you back in.

During this phase a narcissist may start to look for another provider of a narcissistic supply and may end up cheating or having an affair, however still keeping the current spouse hooked, just in case the new relationship does not work out the way the narcissist is hoping. The narcissist gets a huge ego boost from thinking that two people (the current spouse and the secret lover) are “madly in love” with them.  Plus they get off on being able to pull something off right under the victim’s nose. The narcissist will fly into a rage that you could possibly think he would ever cheat on you and turn the tables so you end up apologizing for accusing them or for some other crime you committed months or years ago. Their crimes are brushed under the carpet while yours are always brought up and never forgiven, even crimes you didn’t commit or even think about committing. (James said he screwed around because I could have taken a different man home every night. I said, Key word is “could” have, I didn’t)

They often play one against the other creating triangulation, and then sit back and watch the show. Nothing feeds the ego like having two lovers vying for your affections; doing the “pick me” dance.  Often times they will leave evidence of their cheating around for you to find because your pain serves up such delicious narcissistic supply.

level headed

Discarding

During the discarding phase the narcissist becomes totally indifferent to the needs or pain of the victim.  Once the victim is no longer useful to the N they discard them like yesterday’s garbage. When a narcissist reaches this phase, there is no chance to reason with a narcissist.

Many victims will say that the discard “came out of the blue” everything was fine and then the narcissist sent an email saying it was over, or the victim is thrown out of the house with nothing, and the narcissist is immediately involved with “the love of their life” and the victim is a psycho bitch or abusive asshole. But when you talk to the victim it comes out that there were signs but the narcissist denied their suspicions, accused them of not loving them enough, made them feel if they only did this……… or that………… things would go back to the way they were. There had been abuse but the victim had just gotten so used to the N being hot and cold, the discord had just become “the way they were” and they believed the narcissist would never truly leave them. Then the victim discovers the narcissist was planning their exit for a long time, has been slandering the victim behind their back, hiding money, and has the victim’s replacement lined up.

If you try to beg a narcissist to get back together with you, you are only feeding their ego and providing him or her with a transient source of a narcissistic supply. The narcissist wants you devastated at the thought of losing them and most victims ends up drained, confused, with their confidence and self-esteem in shreds. A feeling of doom pervades everything in their life and many suffer from PTSD. There is no way to have an amicable split from a narcissist. When a narcissist is done with you he is not happy to just walk away, he wants to destroy you and your reputation. He will turn your friends and your own family against you. If you have children he will turn them against you, he will even go so far as to try to get you fired, arrested on trumped-up charges, victims have even been committed to mental institutions because of the vicious actions of a narcissist.

Out of loyalty the victim didn’t talk behind the narcissist’s back so no one believes them when they try to explain what went on in the relationship. The narcissist has already told everyone who will listen that the victim is a paranoid psychopath who has made their life hell, so anything the victim says is taken as being vindictive and they are the psycho liar the N claims them to be. The narcissist must win, and that means they must take everything from the victim, leaving them with nothing to rebuild their lives. In their minds if you are of no use to them you are worthless. It is at this point the narcissist will have no qualms about killing you and the victim should be very careful (there is a free safety plan download at the top of the blog).

He/she will take great pleasure in rubbing your nose in his new relationship and blame you for the relationship failing. He will say how he has met the love of his life, she is calm and rational, they are soul mates and the new man or woman will be smug about how special they are. They will taunt you to kill yourself, accuse you to your face of doing exactly what they did to you, twist the facts to make themselves look the victim, they will never admit to any fault in the relationship and the victim ends up friendless with no support system because the narcissist carefully planned his/her exit and will just deny deny deny any of the victim’s claims of abuse. It is the victim’s worst nightmare, like they stepped into the twilight zone and are helpless against the vindictiveness of the narc. After all who can believe anyone can be that cruel and conniving. That is why only someone who has been there can understand and will believe the victim.

THEN, just when you are starting to heal and get your legs under you he will pop back into your life, professing his love, tears and all, apologizing for everything he ever did and you believe your prayers have been answered, the man you fell in love with is back and you fall lovingly into his arms. The arms of the devil. As he holds you telling you how much he loves you and how sorry he is, he is secretly laughing and giving himself a pat on the back for being so clever and irresistible, and planning how he will punish you for being so stupid as to believe him. In his mind you deserve to be punished for your gullibility and he feels so superior to have that kind of control over you. The cycle begins again only much worse this time.

If you found this article helpful you will probably find the following posts of interest also.

http://ladywithatruck.com/2014/01/30/search-terms-on-narcissists/

http://ladywithatruck.com/xmlrpc.php

http://ladywithatruck.com/abuse-can-be-subtle-and-deadly/

http://ladywithatruck.com/2013/08/15/whats-in-a-name/

http://ladywithatruck.com/2013/11/01/did-heshe-ever-love-me-2/

2,388 thoughts on “The 3 Phases of a Relationship With a Narcissist

  1. Nemo

    Can I add…that I see myself in so many of you. You must be so careful not to run into the arms of another narcissist. You can be strong and you don’t actually need to be with anyone. I was deliberately single for 15 years after my final break up with him and had a great time. My story is proof that they will never change..even after 30 years apart. So don’t waste another moment of your precious life pining for something that will never happen.

    Liked by 1 person

    Reply
    1. Carrie Reimer Post author

      Nemo, great message!! So many victims fall prey to another one right after leaving a narc because the narcissist pretends to be the love of their life. They forget that is how it starts with all narcissists. A victim has to heal themselves and not look for another man to heal what the narcissist did. They have to learn to accept and love themselves before they will find healthy love and expect nothing less.
      Thank you for sharing that there is a fantastic life without the narc without a man and having a man in your life does not give you or your life value, you do!
      Hugs

      Like

      Reply
  2. Carlo

    I am currently waiting for psychotherapy, to help me try to unravel what has happened to me and to help me come to terms with it and move on. The indefinite limbo you find yourself in is utterly horrendous. If anyone has any advice regarding the rumination, I would be very grateful. It’s like your brain has ‘forgotten’ how to think about anything else. No matter what distractions you try, it only works momentarily and you are stuck in this 24/7 rumination. It’s the worst mental torture you could ever experience.

    Like

    Reply
    1. Belinda

      Carlo it’s really really difficult,I’m still thinking about my ex constantly but just think to yourself how badly she has treated you. And she’s never going to be able to be in a stable relationship ever!!! You need to get your self worth back and think about how you can do so much better,your not a human punch bag anymore. Stay strong Hun xx hugs xx

      Like

      Reply
      1. Carlo

        Thanks Belinda, it’s so difficult to stop romanticising about such a toxic relationship. The bizarre thing is that, like most, it was a relationship that was 95% awful peppered with 5% of anything that remotely resembles ‘normality’. Same to you, thank you. Xx

        Like

        Reply
    2. Carrie Reimer Post author

      Carlo, we end up in this vicious cycle and the trying not to think about them makes us think about them and then we are upset we thought about them and think about them again.
      For one thing, give yourself a break, you are going to think about them, it is normal, your mind is trying to accept the new information it has and has to replay the whole relationship over and over again with the new knowledge. For so long there were so many unanswered questions and now you know and your brain is processing it. Plus it is healing, plus a lot of what you went through you buried and it will come up to the surface. being upset with yourself for thinking about them is self defeating, once again you are telling yourself you are not doing something right, you “should” be doing this or that.
      What you CAN do is when you find yourself obsessing about her make sure it is not about how happy she is and the good times; make a list of all the horrible things she did and remind yourself she is toxic. make a list of all the things she said were wrong about you and prove to yourself she was wrong. not just say she is wrong but write it out, give examples, argue with yourself in your head. it IS work, no one said it would be easy. That is why people go back, it is easier than dealing with the healing. But to go back just prolongs the inevitable. you have to go through it to heal. No one ever left a relationship without pain, no one likes to feel pain but you can’t avoid it. To bury it will only hide it for awhile and it will rear its ugly head again, sometimes years down the road.
      Give yourself a time every day to grieve and when that time is up you have to get on with your day. You can think about her, its crazy to think you can make yourself stop. She was your whole life, she made sure you thought about her all day. It is going to take time to change your thought patterns. Every time you do think of her, try to think of something else, even for a few minutes and then extend the time. you are not going to be able to do it for more than a few minutes at most at first.
      Hugs

      Like

      Reply
      1. Carlo

        Thank you Carrie for such a kind, personal reply, it means a lot. I know that delaying my grief is what has ultimately led to my breakdown. I was trying everything in my power to avoid this stage, every possible distraction but I was just making myself more ill by delaying the inevitable. Acceptance inevitably brings grief and I actually cried my eyes out last night for the first time. The anger was preventing me from doing that up until now. I’m going to allow myself to grieve because I know that I need to in order to purge these feelings and to heal. It’s going to take time, support and more sadness and crying but I know I will get there in the end. Thank you so much for your empathy and support. X

        Liked by 1 person

        Reply
        1. Carrie Reimer Post author

          Carlo, you are welcome! Tears can actually be cleansing, I have done a few posts on tears and they actually have healing properties. you know the saying “have a good cry”? there is a reason people say that. Tears actually cleanse the toxins out of your body and what is more toxic than a narcissist? Stands to reason there would be a lot of tears, right?
          There are stages to healing and acceptance is one of the biggest ones, so many of us were in denial for so long and it is very hard to accept the truth, it is truly the ugliest thing we probably have or ever will experience. you will find you go through stages, will feel pretty good for a while and then be hit with a wave of sadness again. like the ocean waves rolling into shore. With every wave it takes away stuff with it and the beach is cleansed until the next wave and that wave brings things with it, some good things, sand dollars, crabs and some garbage too but when the wave goes back out it will take stuff with it. Some times the waves crash into shore and other times they gently roll in. If you roll with it, not fight it and can think of it like a wave washing over you bringing healing, try to relax, breath and know it will pass, even put on some soothing ocean sounds and imagine laying by the ocean, the pain in your heart moving down your body and away with each wave. Try to picture a beautiful sunny beach and all the pain is taken out into the ocean and cleanses you.
          We are here! You are not alone. you can do this!!

          Like

          Reply
  3. Belinda

    Such a good way of putting it Carlo. Do you ever think to yourself what is wrong with me ? I know I do !!! And thank you xx

    Like

    Reply
  4. Belinda

    I start my therapy in a few weeks I have never had anxiety in my life like I have it now,we live really close together and I mean a stone throw away,I really hope you get through it Carlo. How long have you been split up from your wife ? Xx

    Like

    Reply
    1. Carlo

      I have been put on Venlafaxine and Propranolol for the anxiety. We split up at the end of January. We also live in the same locality. I wish you the same, I know exactly what you are going through. Xx

      Like

      Reply
  5. Belinda

    I do really feel for you Carlo if I could give you my number to give you support I would. Does the meds help you ? I literally shake from head to toe even at the thought of bumping into my ex narc xx

    Like

    Reply
    1. Carlo

      Awww, that’s very sweet of you. The meds help to a certain extent but they aren’t an elixir. I drove past her recently and had exactly the same thing you described, a panic attack essentially. It took me days to recover from it. I had to stop the car because I was shaking so much and couldn’t breathe. Xx

      Like

      Reply
  6. Belinda

    Aww I know exactly how you feel but one thing I have taken away from this is I’ll never let anybody treat me badly again. I have had physical abuse from a previous relationship and I’d rather be punched in the face than go through this again xx

    Like

    Reply
  7. Carrie Reimer Post author

    Belinda and Carlo, I just wanted to add a note of caution. I am sure you are both who you say you are and it is great to want to be supportive of each other I just wanted to caution you both about taking the relationship off the safety of the website. Any website. I know it has happened, not often; but it has happened where a narc pretended to be a hurt victim in order to hook a new victim. There is nothing stopping a narcissist from coming in here and using the forum for his own selfish means and everyone here is very vulnerable. I tried to monitor all the comments and I watch very closely for any signs that someone is not who they say they are but there has been at least one woman who took it off the site and was hurt and stalked by some guy who pretended to be a victim. just be very careful please. I won’t pass along personal information any more but sometimes people post their email before I get a chance to see it.
    Belinda I also wanted to point something else out that happens to many victims. They say “I will never let anyone abuse me again.” That is great! but the problem is the narcissist appears to be everything you ever wanted in a partner in the beginning. He is anything but abusive, he comes on so understanding and thinks the sun rises and sets on the victim. The victim, being so broken and lacking in self esteem soaks up the attention like a dry sponge and before you know it they have jumped from the frying pan into the fire. And because they are in a weakened state mentally it is so much more damaging to their self worth and self esteem.
    I really advise not even thinking about dating for a couple of years and working on loving yourself and setting boundaries that you protect before ever considering dating again.
    I just don’t want to see you get hurt.

    Like

    Reply

Don't be shy, add your comments

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s