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The 3 Phases of a Relationship With a Narcissist

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 woman 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 having a bad day, or maybe he is sick, maybe he has a brain tumor, or he’s having a nervous breakdown, it will take a while before you go searching for answers about why the love of your life has 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 was following the course described in various web sites I still didn’t believe he could be unfaithful or would discard me so callously.

It is almost impossible to get your head around the notion he 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 only know of one of JC’s ex’s that left him before phase 3 and she is the only one to have gone on to other relationships with other men.

The Phases of Loving a Narcissist


During this phase a narcissist is very loving and is in his or her best behavior. A narcissist can be extremely charming and loving, which often makes a person fall head over heels in love with them. 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 or 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, be telling you how he wished 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 disarm the other person and 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.


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 man. 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 such treatment. You may try to please a narcissist and try to “make him or her love you again”, however nothing you do seems to be good enough. He may treat you well out in public but behind closed doors he acts as if he loathes you. 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,┬ánow every thing turns into a fight. You find yourself walking on eggshells for fear of setting him into a rage. Every thing 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. Speaking of which he has an uncanny ability to sense when you have had enough and are ready to leave and will turn back into the man 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 “available”, if the new relationship does not work out the way a narcissist is expecting. A narcissist is getting “kicks” when he or she is thinking that two people (the current spouse and the secret lover) are “madly in love” with a narcissist. This feeling serves as the source of a narcissistic supply. Often times they will leave evidence of their cheating around for you to find because your pain serves up such delicious narcissistic supply.


During the phase of discarding a narcissist becomes totally indifferent to the needs and wishes of the (soon-to-be former) spouse of a narcissist. A narcissist is ready to move on after either finding another source of a narcissistic supply or simply having drained the current source (the current spouse) dry. The current spouse no longer serves as a source of a narcissistic supply and the current spouse is no longer useful for a narcissist. When a narcissist reaches this phase, there is no chance to reason with a narcissist. If you try to beg a narcissist to get back together with you, you are only feeding the ego of a narcissist and providing him or her with a transient source of a narcissistic supply as a narcissist feels you are now devastated after losing them and their “perfectness”. He/she will take great pleasure in rubbing your nose in his new relationship and .blaming 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 his new woman will be so smug about how special she is. You are left reeling, wondering what the hell happened, how could such a powerful love go so wrong. Not only does he dump you, kick you while you are down and spit on you, he will try to destroy your reputation, go on a smear campaign to win over your friends and even your family, he will accuse you of doing to him what he has done to you and make himself look like the victim. There is no staying friends with a narcissist even though he likes to keep his ex’s hooked as a back up supply and to keep the new woman on her toes. He will try to turn the children against you or get custody, they will leave you financially destitute, and emotionally devastated and taunt you to just kill yourself. They are evil and without mercy.

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 e 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.






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1,667 responses to “The 3 Phases of a Relationship With a Narcissist

  • Andre

    hi Jeanette My advice is don’t blame yourself. They are twisted people with no self esteem. They do these things to hurt people because they can and they get pleasure from seeing the look on your face that you don’t know what you did. they get some perverted pleasure in hurting people they lie when the truth would serve them. PLEASE DON’T GO BACK…..
    would you let a rabid dog take up your head space? No !!! he has the same worth BE STRONG keep yourself busy and don’t sit and mope. dont give yourself the time to think of him.


  • Kelly

    After reading this article I finally have a answer to so many questions I’ve had for so long. I had a child with a man 5 years ago. The first year was blissful. He was doting and cared for me, but there were times that he was snippy that I just blew off. After the birth of our child it seemed as if I couldn’t do anything right down to putting on a diaper, clothing or feeding him. He remarked on everything and it was always in a demeaning, angry tone. He stopped touching me and everything that went wrong was my fault. The house was never clean enough or I never cooked enough. I became very ill and he still expected I clean and care for our son even after major surgery, I did and I did the best that I could. He was rarely home and I never asked questions. I paid the bills and he never gave money to me his money was spent on what he wanted and I recall buying a beauty product off tv and when it arrived he blew up and demanded I cancel the membership, but the odd thing was it was coming out of my bank account. I did what I was told. He told everyone all I did was blow his money, when in fact he never gave us any. Towards the end if I went out I had to bring the receipt back to allow him to inspect it and he couldn’t fathom why cleaning, detergents and household items could possibly cost over $50.00. He isolated me and he came and went as he wanted. My mother abruptly passed in 2011. His abuse became so severe and controlling he went to child protective services and lied to them and put me under even more stress and every day when he went to work I had social services come into my home interrogate me and finally after two months of the constant stress I overdosed on Ambien. The ambulance had no way to contact him, or family members because he had me so isolated I had no phone numbers programed into my cell phone. My children went to a foster home for over night and when he found out he came into the ICU unit jerked me out of the bed and started to smack me repeatedly to wake up. The nurses had to have him removed by security guards. When I woke up 3 days later the nurse came into my room told me what had happened and asked me was I a domestic violence victim. I told her no he was very good to me. She knew I was lying. She didn’t even make it outside the glass door and I busted into tears and I said yes that’s when she told me they had to remove him. I told her I didn’t want to kill myself I just wanted to sleep, I wanted to peacefully sleep not in fear he was going to kill us. She understood. We fled in March 2012 in the middle of the night leaving everything we owned after he hit me with his iphone when i saw his phone ring and it was his new girlfriend. He hit me as hard as he could and blacked my eye. He left for work and I ran a bath. I set in the tub my eye I couldn’t see out of it I thought he had put me blind and I cried, and I cried then the phone rang. It was him he screamed at me to NOT call that girl or he’d make sure she’d press charges for harassment on me. I said yes sir…and hung up. I set in that tub until the tears stopped and the water turned cold. I got out emptied a box of garbage bags and loaded my babies clothes took a few of mine and left everything I owned behind. It’s been 3 years and he’s expecting a new child and calls me everyday saying that he loves me, he doesn’t love her and he wants his family back. My question is after all he put me through I love him, I’ve never loved somebody so much in my life. I’m in a new relationship and we celebrated our 2nd anniversary and I don’t love him because my love for my ex is still so substantial it over shadows my new relationship. I’m in counseling. I need help I need to know how, how do you get over it, please tell me there’s a way to get rid of this satanic human being from my heart after all i lived through with him I want to finally know what LOVE feels like.

    This is how I feel about love:
    I often wonder how a woman like me will ever know what real love will feel like when they’ve spent their life being hurt by men who say they love them. At this point its a useless overrated term once used to define beauty, peace, a safehaven, serenity and peace but now it only defines abuse, pain, rage, terror, sorrow, fear and shame. Love- no longer means anything.

    Please help me change this. I’m 31


    • Carrie Reimer

      Kelly, I wish I could give you a great big hug! Honey, I am not a therapist, only a survivor of abuse, but I will share what I think and I am sure there are a few other women who will add their experiences also. Take a deep breath and know that this is NOT a life sentence, it can be fixed.

      First of all I’d like to ask a few questions, you say you are in counseling, how long has it been and does the counselor know about narcissists, many counselors do not recognize narcissism, you HAVE to find a therapist who has worked with victims of a narcissist. Besides that, there has to be a connection with your counselor, you have to feel safe and that they understand where you are coming from. If you don’t feel a connection or if the counselor doesn’t know narcissists you need to try again. No harm in saying to the counselor you need to find someone else. any counselor worth his salt would understand that.
      Secondly, If you have been away from your abusive ex for 3 years and just celebrated your 2nd anniversary; my math skills tell me you got involved very quickly after leaving your ex and the new relationship moved very quickly. You never gave yourself time to heal from your abusive ex and hopped right into another relationship. I am guessing you did that because you thought it would help you heal from your ex, but it never works that way. If you try to bury your feelings and mask them in a new relationship, they lay there under the surface just waiting to rear their ugly head again.
      Thirdly, you are still in contact with him, which means he is still pushing your buttons, shredding your self confidence and esteem any chance he gets, which means you haven’t healed either. Every time you start to heal he rips the bandage off again. It’s equivalent to walking on a broken leg and wondering why it never heals. I know you have a child together and you have to have contact but it should be MINIMAL, just information about when and where he picks the child up for visits, and any other pertinent information and that is IT! No chit chat, to emails, to text messages, no fb, no contact is preferable.
      I know you say you still love him and I am anticipating you saying you can’t stop talking to him, you need to talk to him. Every single victim of a narcissist will tell you that he was the love of their life, they didn’t think they could survive without at least talking to him and any of them who have healed will tell you that as long as they were in contact with him, they did not heal, period, no exception. No contact is a non negotiable. Even if you have a child, if there is any body else who can do the talking and dropping off etc all the better.
      He will take any opportunity he can to cut you to the quik.
      He has obviously not changed, he is involved with another woman and she is having his baby and he is feeding you bull shit trying to suck you back in and it is working. He is getting to you, you are thinking about him and he is driving her crazy. You are giving him exactly what he wants, he is still abusing you! and he would love nothing better than to get you to leave your husband for him and then he would play you like a fiddle until he tired of you and then he would dump you as pay back for you leaving him. His only motive right now is to make you pay and if you ever went back to him I fear what he would do. Trust me you will wish you were dead.
      I wonder about your present husband. He must sense that you don’t love him, is he not upset? I am wondering if he is also abusive because it was so quick and that is how narcissists work, sweep women off their feet, get them hooked and once the victim is firmly tangled in their web the abuse starts, maybe he knows he doesn’t have you yet and is still putting on an act or maybe he has his own co-dependency issues but something doesn’t sit right with me on that issue.
      You say you have always been abused by the men in your life. Was your father abusive? Were you always the “fixer” as a child, trying to keep everyone happy, never feeling like you are quite good enough?
      I understand that you feel you love him, I loved James with all my heart, I was in my early 40’s when I met him, never been in an abusive relationship before, it was not a cycle for me and yet I stayed 10 years and lost track of how many times I went back. It has been 3 + years and I am still single and working on myself because it is only in the last year I have truly felt free of him and it took a lot of soul searching and reflection, I have worked very hard to heal and any victim will tell you, there is no quick fix but it is so worth the effort to deal with it and prevent it never happens again.
      I am going to be brutally honest with you. He never loved you. He ACTED like he loved you in order to hook you but it was all a sham, there is no good little boy inside there that needs to be saved. Any good you saw in him was an act, if his lips are moving he is lying. He has no conscience, none, he uses and abuses everyone and all women are interchangeable, he will leave a trail of destruction in his wake for the rest of his life. He is the closest thing to the devil you will ever know and he is capable of murder because he does not have a conscience. Think about it, no guilt, no remorse, means no love, his only concern or motivation is to feel superior, to get the things he wants, whether it is money, prestige, or the woman. Just so he can say he got them not because he will ever cherish them. They don’t even value possessions, they will just steal someone else’s if they lose theirs, they don’t care about their children, they will play the role of daddy if they get something out of it, like praise about being a good daddy, but they will never be there when the child is sick and needs them. They will be critical and with hold love as punishment, they are cruel and cause all kinds of issues for their children, low self esteem being a big one and always grovelling for affection.
      Which leads me back to you. The surest way to get anyone to want you is to reject them. It is a proven fact that if a guy wants to hook a woman, reel her in, then push her away, reel her in push her away. She will keep trying to get back into his good graces. That is why they say women should play hard to get, because it makes the guy want her even more. It is just the way human’s are, we always want what we can’t have, if we are rejected we will turn ourselves inside out to make that person like us. If you have always been abused it is even more powerful.
      I suggest you read my articles on brainwashing and the ones on he apologized and want you back. Just go to the search tool and type in brainwashing, or apology and all the posts related to that will appear.
      You are going to have to retrain your brain. Your brain only knows what we put in it, it only knows from the past, so if you keep saying I love him, if you keep obsessing about loving him, that is what your brain is going to tell you. It is a vicious cycle. You have to remind yourself how he abused you, how he made you feel. Did you feel loved when he was hitting you, screaming at you that if you called his girlfriend he would have you charged? How can you love someone like that? Realistically. Our minds don’t think realistically, that is why we have to argue with what it is telling us. Some where you found the strength to get the hell out of there and that is wonderful!! so you are obviously a strong person who just doesn’t know how to reprogram your brain.
      I can’t guarantee you will be in love with your present husband when you are done healing, but I can guarantee you that you can get over your ex if you are willing to do the work. It is all in your control, you just have to want it bad enough.
      Well this is a novel and enough for one day!
      Please get back to me with more info and I will see if we can work some of this out for you ok?
      Big hugs


      • Kelly

        My jaw hit the FLOOR! I swear it is like your sitting inside my head.
        First of all, my current relationship I jumped into because I was living in an abuse shelter then when I did get into an apartment I met this man and he was going through a divorce and we did something crazy and moved in together. He’s studying to be a psychologist and will not work. I support us. He refuses any comforting. He puts me down, but not in front of my children. He is an amazing father to my children which is the oddest thing. I became sick a few weeks ago with kidney stones and he became so enraged he was screaming and I was crying and I shouted “Would you treat your mother this way somebody you love, you say you love me would you?!” His reply was ” You stupid cunt I don’t love you, never have ha..ur such a stupid bitch” I was in so much pain I cried the entire way home. I’m epileptic so I’m constantly sick. This is a big issue and he resents me for it. He has no compassion for it he actually acts as if I’m faking a lot of it. I will tell him a symptom in case I seize and he says that’s all you do is complain. OR all I do is talk about drama OR cry OR so its MY fault OR something OR something, I gave up on asking him to get a job because his response was for me to get my lazy ass up and get a job. I cannot get a job I am disabled. My epilepsy is so severe I am actually undergoing brain surgery within the next few weeks to try and fix the seizure activity. He has zeo empathy no compassion. So that’s what happened there.

        My son is basically soul custody because my ex doesn’t want anything to do with him he could careless about taking care of him he doesn’t pay child support and I dont ask. My son is all I care about. So we don’t even speak.

        Whats caused the recent pop up is he randomly text me when he’s in a need for a fix to fill his ego tank. His gf is ready to pop and he knows this whole prince charming charade is about to come to a crashing END.

        The more I read your articles the more I feel like my feelings are being purged and its become very cathartic

        Thank you Lord thank you so much. .


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