The 3 Phases of a Relationship With a Narcissist

 

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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

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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.

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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.

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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/

2,613 thoughts on “The 3 Phases of a Relationship With a Narcissist

  1. Hopeless

    I need help!

    I have been married to my husband for roughly 5 years, he is currently deployed and coming home in a few months. Throughout our marriage I have caught him cheating on me three years ago and I have recently found out that he has had some affairs. Not only is he physically and emotionally abusive but he blames everything on me. What concerns me is that he is coming back from deployment soon. We have been going back-and-forth . This has been since October 2015 when I found out about his affair he had a year prior. This nonstop back-and-forth is literally killing me. He tries to control everything I do, he tries to control who I talk to on social media. He lashes out at me and accuses me of the most random things when I am home the night because I have no friends.I don’t know what to do, he is coming home in two months please someone help me. My head news I have to leave him but my heart doesn’t agree with my head.

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    1. Barbara

      Sounds like life is better when he is not there with you. That speaks volumes. You also sound fearful and you can’t live like that.
      Do you have a support network of family or friends you can turn to? Can any of them take you in until you get yourself sorted out? Also, do you have children? If you don’t have children then it will be very much easier to make a new life. When you say your heart does not agree with your head, is that because you still really love him, or more that you are scared of the future and unknown? That is not surprising. The unknown us frightening.
      Calm yourself down. If you could just push a button – go or stay – I imagine you would press go.
      Speak to your parents or good friend. They will probably treat you as if this has just come into your head suddenly. Tell them you have been unhappy for a long time. Make them realise you have given it a lot of thought and ask them for help and support. People can be surprisingly supportive if you just can manage to ignore your feelings of failure or embarrassment.
      You can do it. Change Hopeless to Successful Lady.

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    2. Carrie Reimer Post author

      Hopeless, the fact that you realize you must leave is very “hopeful”. It is very rare that a victim of abuse doesn’t have self doubt when they leave. The logical mind and society tells us that if a person is abusive it should be easy to leave, I mean; “who stays with an abuser?” right?
      The thing is; physical abuse is actually a very small part of domestic abuse, long before there is any physical abuse there is emotional, financial, and mental abuse in the form of gas lighting, guilt tripping, isolation from any supportive people in our lives, so that we end up feeling we can’t leave for many reasons.
      I imagine that there are feeling of guilt that would come with the fact that he is deployed, and you don’t want to abandon him or be disloyal to him and society would also put pressure on you to support him, etc.
      There is one truth you need to keep pounding into your head, over and over again, “There is never a good reason or excuse for someone to abuse you and you should never under ANY circumstances tolerate being abused, emotionally, mentally, financially, physically or otherwise.
      The other truth you MUST keep telling yourself is; “You can not cure him, your love can not save him, YOU can only change yourself and your situation, you can not change him and if he is a narcissist, he can not change himself.”
      You need to be gone by the time he gets back with no forwarding address; no contact. Walk away and don’t look back. I know that sounds cold-hearted but it is the only way.
      As soon as he finds out you are leaving him he will promise the world or lay the guilt trip, he may promise to go to counseling, who knows what tricks he will use to get you to stay, but he will do everything within his power to stop you; and if he has been physically violent in the past, you can bet he will do it again.
      Do not doubt that your life is in danger!
      The army has resources for him if he wants help, you MUST take care of yourself first and foremost.
      Once you are away from his influence you will be able to see things more clearly and start to regain strength.
      We are here as support and as a sounding board.
      \Hugs
      Carrie

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  2. Joyce M. Short

    What you’re describing…. your head knows you need to leave him, but your heart doesn’t agree with your head, is the result of the addictive brain chemistry that holds you fast to a relationship, even a toxic one.

    The brain chemistry Mother Nature gave you to enable you to bond does not distinguish between good and bad relationships. Dopamine, oestrogen, seratonin, vassopressin, oxytocin, etc, all compel us to mate and remain mated. Brain chemistry acts like a drug, and yours seems to be working just fine. Problem is, you need it to stop.

    Your husband seems like he has all the characteristic behavior… blame, gas-lighting, flim-flaming, controlling, isolating, intimidating, etc. of a person with Cluster B Personality Disorder. It’s totally irrelevant to distinguish between whether he’s a narcissist, sociopath, psychopath, or whatever. They’re all toxic, and they CAN’T change. He has a disorder, not an illness. His brain is wired for the behavior you’ve been subjected to.

    Yes, they can fool you for a while, pretending to get “fixed,” but it’s just smoke and mirrors. It’s done to get you back into the fold and under his control. Any contact you have with him will put you back into the conundrum you feel. Your bonding brain chemistry will be stirred up every time you hear from him. You need to cut communication and focus on reality. Getting a sociopath out of your life is like fighting alcoholism, cold turkey. You may want to see a therapist to help you.

    So the advice you received, tap your friends, your family, anyone who can help, to get him out of your life, is very appropriate. Do you have children? Do you own your home? Do you rent, and if so, are you the lease holder? All these things matter when you attempt to split with him. If I were you, I’d speak to an attorney right now, before he returns, and find out what you need to do to make a break.

    Wishing you the best of luck!
    Joyce

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  3. Lauren

    This is a great read. I can relate to a lot of the things discussed within this piece and I’m still in the pining stage. It’s been 2 months now and I have seen him every week since we split up. He ignored my txt last week and I thought ok now it’s time to heal and then as soon as I wasn’t ringing he sent me a message claiming he misses me. It’s funny how my whole outlook has changed just by reading this article. There was me thinking ah he must want to be back together, he had his cake and ate it again and I haven’t heard anything for a few days until the next time his ego needs rubbed! Thanks for this!

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      1. Lisa

        I am still in the stroking the embers phase. Absolutely said no to ever coming over to his house and no to vacationing in Florida. He wants me to be his travel buddy haha. Thank the Lord I never quit my job, packed up and moved in with him like he pestered me to do. I have the no going to see him ( 90 miles away ) down but still unfortunately answered his texts. No contact is the hardest thing I am attempting to do.

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        1. Joyce M. Short

          It’s the “cold turkey” way to get your brain chemistry to get back to normal.
          Every little contact you have stirs it up again.

          Try to replace the neurpeptides that kept you attached with endorfins. You can do so by getting vigorous exercise and doing things you enjoy.

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        2. Rose

          Totally in your boat! He is 10hrs away. I havent called him all week and he has dropped off on calling me. But every now and again I get a 2am call/txt. Or a 2pm call. Caught him on FB when his phone was “dead” and when he was “sleeping “. He claims the apps are wrong and I am trying to fight. Or I have issues when he said s caught lying its my fault he lied. Or someone else made him do it. He takes no responsibility, he had not networked with his business and said It was My fault for saying I wanted to move from my state to Oregon so he didn’t know where he would be and therefore didnt put down roots. Ummm I wanted to move not him and we dont live in the same state already!!! So his lack of money is most definately not my fault.

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  4. Larry H

    Part of me is over her; part of me wants her back and hopes she will make contact. I have noticed at work that the phone rings and there is silence when I answer it. That could be because our phones are so antiquated. If she wants to come back, apologizes for what she did and tells me she still loves me, I would probably say yes. I still love her.

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    1. Bruce Stanley

      Larry, PLEASE don’t fall for it. I just broke off a 7 year relationship with a narcissitic GF. It evolved to physical abuse. She even picked up a kitchen knife. I settled her down, and she said she was going to call the police and have ME arrested. Believe me, these people are posessed. RUN!

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  5. 3BH96

    Thanks so much for this platform. I am dealing with this right now in my “marriage”. My husband married another woman 5 years into is dating…unbeknownst to me! We’d already had one child together at this time. A year after, we had another. Three years later he married me…still married to this other woman who he flaunted around me and his family as his “best friend” I never felt comfortable with her but the two of them made me feel like I was being evil and insecure. Two years into our marriage, he told me about their marriage, during an argument. At first, it sounded so ridiculous that I gave it no thought…but when he mentioned it again a week or so later, I decided to look into it. I got proof of the marriage and although the pain of it was paralyzing, there was a sense of relief…now it all made sense! The false accusations, the uneasiness of my spirit when it came to this other woman. I’m in the midst of working my way out of this mess…he’s apologetic and nice one moment then cursing me out and blaming me for his actions the next. Reading this post has given me clarity…he’s not sorry, he doesn’t love me and the kids! I’ve awaken to reality and I’m no longer useful to him. This other woman is clearly his new supply…she’s been in place for some time. To see her though, I don’t know how long she’s going to last…she looks pretty broken down already. But, I have called him out and refuse to lose this fight!!! I will leave this situation empowered and strengthened in my right mind!!! I’m taking back my power!!!

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    1. pamela011

      Wow! The arrogance he has and sense of entitlement is amazing! Your head sounds like it’s in the right place though. Your very fortunate in that way. Good luck to you and your children :) All the best.

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    2. 3BH96

      To Larry H, I understand how you feel and I think that’s normal. I love my “husband” but, I had to come to the realization that he’s not the man I fell in love with…it’s as though that man has died or gone away. I’ve been praying for him and teaching the kids to do the same. Perhaps at some point he’ll be delivered of that DEMON but in the meantime, I must guard my heart. Now that I know what I’m dealing with, I do feel empowered and have gained back a sense of control! Also, me praying for him keeps resentment, bitterness and unforgivenesd from setting up in my heart. I pray that for the deliverance of everyone’s Narc on this page and that each and every victim on this page to mount up like eagle’s wings with strength like you’ve never known!

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  6. Anonymous

    THANK YOU! THANK YOU! THANK YOU! I’m currently separated from my husband and this is my intuition to a T. I now see his behavior for what it was and want nothing to do with him. Problem is, we have two beautiful kiddos together so we have to be in contact on occasion. It’s been three weeks and the only time he wants to see them is when he needs something he’s left here. I’ll be packing all his things shortly so he doesn’t have a reason to come over. What else can I do to ease this transition for myself and not giv in to the eventual puppy dog eyes? He’s never been violent or anything, but I’ve had to block him fom social media because he constantly posts about being sooooooo happy with his mistress. I had to choose my own sanity.

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  7. Corey

    All of what was said about the article is true. This fits my ex girlfriend to the t. The verbal abuse all of it. I felt as though I was walking on eggshells. Nothing I did was right. She told me my friends were bad for me. Said things about other people. When she talked down to me seem as though she was enjoying it. I found out she left me for her ex boyfriend. She has went with the silent treatment. Been that way for three months now. Haven’t heard a word. I tried texting calling email nothing. I thought she loved me and cared for me. I have just started to move forward with my life. Things are getting better. But I fear she will try to come back. I don’t know why I feel this way but I do. I know she will come back. Part of me wants her back. Even though that person was nothing but a myth. But big part of me is saying run hide. I didn’t know what was going on till we split. After this article now I know. I was so confused, hurt, angry. But now I know the truth. The guy she left me for has been with her for 20 years off and on. But I know it won’t work. She will get bored then try to get me back. I have a question it’s been 3 months since she talked to me. How long do they wait to make contact? I do fear that I can’t trust a future girlfriend because lack of trust. I feel like I’m closing my heart off. Just afraid to get hurt again. Just the lies gets me.

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    1. Ness

      Damn. I feel you. I am going through the same situation. I am trying my best to IGNORE if I do get a message from this guy. It will be the same cycle over and over again. Remember, we are only a supply to them. Need to get out of this mess and love yourself first.

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  8. Nessa Mae Pabilona

    I dated a narcissist and the NO CONTACT rule is the only way to burn the fire.
    Thank you SO much for this article. It opened my eyes and I learned a lot.
    It helped me moved on. I am SO happy that I disappeared on him and chased my dreams. I felt like he was studying me and using what he learned to softly kill me and my dreams. He was making my mind and heart feel so miserable. He was so messed up in so many levels. But, this taught me a lesson. I am happier each day. I know there is somebody out there who will love and cherish me for who I am. I deserve the best. <3 With lots of love,

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  9. Hiding In Plain Sight

    I am 8months NO CONTACT.
    I can’t believe how fast time has flown.
    One minute I’m driving away finally, the next I’m in domestic violence court…and now…I am a whole different person
    It’s amazing what can happen in our lives, how we change, how strong We become.
    I can breath
    I’m alive.

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  10. In my head

    I read your posts and all the comments, I know I am not alone and that helps so much. But it has been 9 mo since we split with no contact and every day thoughts of him still rattle around in my head. Sure, some days are better than others and NEVER do I regret getting away from him! I know what he is, I know it was all a fake (I think I knew all along) but I miss the person I thought he was and the way I felt with him. The hardest part for me is that I have no one to talk to about this. I was the other woman, we are both married and luckily I got away from him before it completely ruined my life (although he tried). No one has found out which I am thankful for but it is also very hard not to have anyone to share my feelings with. Yes, it has gotten less and less that I think of him. And mostly my thoughts now are not fond memories but instead angry thoughts of how could I have fallen for his bullshit. It’s just still so hard to swallow that another human being can be such a monster… I want my brain and life back to what it was before his cancerous ways poisoned every aspect of my life! I am strong, I know I will get there!!

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  11. 3BH96

    I totally understand how you feel!! I still love my “husband”, or the idea of him. I actually feel as though the man I fell in love with, had children with and “married” has died. We’ve had no contact with him this time in 8 days. He called a few days ago but, I didn’t answer. 8 days may not seem like a big deal but, it’s a long time to us because we do love him and miss him…at least the him we thought we knew. It’s hard looking at my kids knowing the monster their dad is. Right now, he’s using our landlord, who’s a “friend” of his, to evict us from our home. Even in that, I’m past being upset with him…I am actually scared for him and the wrath of GOD that is going to come down on him for what he’s done and is continuing to do to his “family”.

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