The 3 Phases of a Relationship With a Narcissist




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



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.



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


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.

2,442 thoughts on “The 3 Phases of a Relationship With a Narcissist

  1. julie

    i wasn;t a movie star in the real sense, but i did soft core porn in the late 80s, im not proud of this, but suffice it to say i can tell you without a doubt that no matter what you looked like, it is not about you gaining or losing weight. i looked fantastic and was a size 6 the whole marriage and did everything to please this man and make him happy. he still got bored …. they all do. they have no idea what real love and committment and family is. kudos for getting therapy, i think it all goes back to the fact that we got tricked, there were signs, sure, but they were minor things, we didn’t expect perfection, after all , i had a wild past, and he endeard himself to me and my family, the literal knight in shining armour, helped do remodeling, painting, etc, car work, the “perfect” son in law. the major devaluing started when i became pregnant, now that i look back, i think they resent being tied down, but at the same time like the “idea” of home and family and get off on having a “secret” life. basically, in me he took this formally wild, crazy, woman and tamed me into a nice , suburban housewife, pillar of the community, pta wife, and then began treating me like dirt. i turned to tranquilizers occasionally and the abuse became physical as well. ironically, i am what was known as a “:firecracker” hot tempered, tought, etc, however, when i was 3 months pregnant was the first time he struck me, ( not hard ) but had i not been pregnant i would have probably stabbed him or something, i had the protective instinct for my baby and split to a hotel and did not call him. of course, i was gonna leave him, called my parents, everything. he persuaded me to come back and 5 years later here i am, living with my parents, broke , and discarded. the good news is i am no longer a crying, unstable mess and sleep good at night, no more waking up with a sickening feeling every day, walking on eggshells, etc. i lived in a small mansion , boat, beach house, etc. (none of it in my name, i trusted him) had i not wrecked one of our cars and had we not bought my brothers car, ( which he insisted on putting the title in MY NAME ONLY) i am convinced now I would not even have a car. they are so despicable. good luck to you, please come back and read , read, and rant all you want. it helps give me a realtiy check. i have my daughter for the holidays and was feeling nostalgic for the ” family”. you know, he is seeing a woman in a troubled marriage and has no remorse for helping break up that family with 4 kids. or breaking up ours. i can’t beleive anyone could be that selfish. btw he was very distant during my pregnancy and seemed repulsed by me. would not have sex with me , even though i craved it…..


    1. Sue

      Everything you have said rings true….They are out to destroy U when you don’nt comply or even DO comply.
      They call U fat – I’m size 14. Left me for a woman who is at least 15 stone and as plain as a pickstaff with 4 young children.
      Younger version of course – she is easier for him to CONTROL.
      I like U thought I had met the shining white night – until we got married and then I saw the evil eyes, sneering grin when his sarcastic – lying, mapulative self appeared.
      U see, he had got everything from me in the 11 years we were married. I brought him thro prison. His vile kids lived with us – Mi Son left home because of his Son stealing stuff and blamed it on Mi Son.
      I am totally ashamed of myself. I put his name on my house deeds.
      But like U, was blinded by his charm.
      When I saw him the other month he was a different person?
      Not someone I ever knew?? Couldn’nt believe it…
      They are disfunctional in everyway possible.
      Trying to erase the memories and wasted 11 years of being married to “A Thing” – not a person just a imposter. Of course they will blame everything, every affair on U. Told me I was a drug addict and a thief? What…..He had secret bank accounts all over the place. Called me to everyone telling them I was a really bad person lol. I know the truth let other’s believe what they want! They know what he is like.
      U were the One that made him do what he did. lol. I’d rather be alone than live in a state of not knowing what he was up to. Checking his phone bills and bank statements. Drove Me nuts.
      Everything he accused me of – he did himself – projection, the name of the game.
      He was probably replused in your pregnancy because it was seeing other women – sad as it seems. He would only have it on his terms – not mine. dressing up as a woman ECK. makes me cringe thinking about it.
      Steel yourself and look after your child and do not waste another minute thinking about the mind-fuck he as put you tho. I unfortunately do – and wonder why a human-being would do that to someone? – because they ain’nt human – alien’s.
      Mine now wants a divorce – asked ME if I was going to pay for it? lol.
      How bad is that. Told him I didn’nt walk out or call the Police on Me 3 times and cheated and lied. Told him he wasn’nt sane. Don’nt think I am the same person I was anymore. It’s a long road back to normality.
      We all feel the same. Let him go and swim in the shark tank and prey on the other little fish who he will eat. Karma I pray will come to him.
      Love & Light for 2013


  2. Morgan

    I so agree Sue. Here it is New Year’s Eve and yes it is lonely; but, I realize if I was still with him he would be telling me I wasn’t doing or saying something right. One of my friends told me his new wife and he are making the grand tour of the family on the east coast introducing all of his adult children and grandchildren to the new wife. In fact, he seems to be doing the same things he did when we first were married. I have to admit this morning I was crying thinking about the loss of the extended family we once had. I loved all of his children and they still love me. But, now I think about his first wife and how she must have felt when we first married and I was the one taking her family, so to speak away from her. I don’t know if his first wife ever figured out he is an N. I thank my family and friends for helping me remember how badly he treated me. I wonder how long you have to ruminate what we went through before we don’t think of them any more? If any of you have advice on that I certainly would appreciate it. Love Morgan


  3. marion

    Hi Morgan, i have been away from my ex for two years and the pain still surfaces, especially xmas and new year. It is new years eve and my ex has taken his new partner to London, Trafalgar Square to celebrate new year. Well!!!!! no big thing, but hey, we were together for 17 yrs and we NEVER went anywhere, because he didnt want too! So, what does she have that I never did. I guess we just have to feel the pain, to move forward, and give thanks to god that we got away, happy new year to all :)


    1. ladywithatruck Post author

      Marion, the N always leaves a relationship imitating the person he left. ie: everything he did to you he says you did to him, everything you wanted to do and valued he now wants to do and values. Its like they know what would have made you happy but would never consider giving you what you wanted but he figures that if you wanted it the new woman will also. It kills two birds with one stone; he gets to rub salt un your wounds and he gets the new woman. But he is too shallow to realize that all women are different and don’t all like the same thing or aren’t all the same. He only views women as a means to an end, as a tool he doesn’t see them as individuals with unique likes and dislikes. Some times I wasn’t sure if my ex even knew who he was with because he didn’t seem to know what I liked, and he accused me of bizarre things. After we split he was talking like he was me. All of a sudden he was so moral, considerate, “wouldn’t think of driving an uninsured car” wtf ? He never worried about insurance. He never wanted to take a vacation; he always found a way to ruin it. But with the new woman he travelled. It was to rub my nose in it and to project himself as desirable. Behind closed doors he is the same man. The few times we went away we had a great time but the minute we got home he went right back to his obnoxious self.
      You don’t know what goes on behind the door; no wait! Yes you do know what goes on behind the door because you’ve been there. A trip to Paris is nothing, would you happily take the abuse and infidelity if you got to go to Paris for new years?
      Happy New Year!!! Stop torturing yourself thinking she is getting everything you wanted and more. She is getting everything you got alright and more; they always get worse as they age.


  4. Renee Marie jones oregon

    These phases hold true and are short and to the point. Being educated on this disorder is a must. I have only known one person in my life like this, and grateful to be not associated with them today.They do not know or understand the meaning of friendship.. So, don’t even try to pursue that with them. One big red sign of an N is they have no close friends – their friends numbers on fb means nothing! Fb just fills a N supply. It is all for them – all about them. And when you figure this out they want nothing to do with you. Yes, they could come back, but not to pursue friendship. Only to end what you may have ended and if it was not thier choice. If they ended it with you , and they come back they are bored. Don’t give in, if you thought your thrill with the N was hell the first time, they will take you to the bottom of hell the next. No contact is a blessing with these folks. If they pursue the nc rule and you contact them they will only respond back if they are bored. If you are a person that draws attention away from them /it wrecks their ego! They will never walk with you only in front of you. If you find yourself trying to hard or feeling sorry for will be bad news. A normal healthy friendship is both people giving 100 percent!!


  5. Racquel

    This is so true, ex narc that I am separated from and have a beautiful 4 year old daughter with doesnt remember to call on holidays and FYI he is already screaming at the new girlfriend in her own apartment and she can’t say anything. I am slowly moving on and realizing that a narc is a narc is a narc and there are many good people out there. thank God I left him. Happy New year to me and my daughter and anyone else going through this situation.


  6. Shae

    I cannot believe how dead on this is for what I have endured over the last 5 years of my life. I wish I knew what was taking place prior to this point, however I am trying to be Thankful that I am now aware and can begin to move forward. Loving a narc SUCKS!!! and each day I work to rebuild my life with our daughter. I wish someone could tell me why it is so easy to love a Narc and why it is so hard to stop loving them after you find out what they are truly about.


    1. ladywithatruck Post author

      Shae, welcome to my blog, I’m glad you found something useful here, there are many more articles you may want to read and reading the comments from other victims of an N shows you that you are not alone.

      Feel free to rant, cry, ask questions; no one will judge you, or tell you that you shouln’t feel the way you feel. We’ve all been there and are at different stages of healing. Everyone is more than willing to share their experiences and offer words of support and encouragement.

      Why do we find it so hard to leave the N? For many reasons actually. For one thing they presented themselves to be our perfect match. Many women say they weren’t immediately that attracted to the N but his unrelenting attention, charm and sincerity
      won them over. You more than likely never

      had another man “love” you that intensely and profess they love you just the way touch are. It is the kind of love fairy tales are made of, tear jerker movies


    2. Needhelp

      I am going through this right now – knowing what he is and still loving him desperately. And the idea of him leaving breaks my heart just thinking about it. And when the day came that he was with another woman, I would break into a million pieces. I do’nt know what to do.


  7. julie

    shae, welcome.i stumbled on narcissism while googling stuff like, abusive men, stuff like that and started reading and it helped me get a grip and prevented me from trying to get back with him. what hurts is you want closure and it is not gonna happen. keep reading when you get stuck. it is a processs. some days are great and others, something will set you off. seeing “happy couples and family ” tv makes me stabby!!!


  8. EJ

    I have been wondering the same thing for years. I have not left yet. I had left on a trip with the possibility of not coming back, but while i was gone, the thought of not going back was literally torture. I dont know why! Still to this day the thought of it gives me so much pain that it is almost unimaginable. I have never been like this in any past relationship and all of them were very short bc the second that bf did anything i couldnt stand I left him. Now im stuck in this, almost 8 years, and I dont know why!!! I love him but hate him and it’s the most confusing thing on the planet. When I’m gone from him on trips it’s a horrible feeling, and I feel like I have to talk to him constantly or I loose it. Why is that??????
    I havent left bc I know if I do, it’ll be the same…I’ll always have to talk to him and it’ll be worse than it is now. How do you get yourself in the place of not caring anymore????

    And how do I cut off all contact with him if he has a 6 year old son who adores him and always wants to be with him?


  9. Shae

    EJ – I pray that you find your peace. I 100% understand what you are saying. The final breaking point for me was realizing that at the end of each day and each night he was hurting me, my person, my soul. I became a person that was always upset, always sad, and always questioning myself. I look at my daughter (he is her father) and fight each day to be happy so that she does not learn that this abuse in any relationship is OK. I know it is not easy, however try asking yourself how you would feel if you saw your best friend enduring what you are enduring. Then realize that you have to be your best friend because no one else will be and he certainly cannot be. A lot of people post that complete cutoff is essential, however when children are involved it is a lot more difficult. I kicked my narc out 12/4/12. Every morning I wake up feeling like a piece of me is missing, then I remind myself with the help of these blogs that the piece of myself missing is the piece I gave him and now that he is gone I can get it back. Only you know when you have had enough, just don’t allow it to be too late where most of you is already gone. I am learning to love myself one day at a time


  10. Morgan

    Great response Shae, You are absolutely correct. We all have to become our own best friend. Most of us are use to giving to our children and of course those energy sucking Ns. We really don’t think about ourselves. I think most women naturally gravitate to caring for others even if they are not involved with an N. But add a N to the equation and we totally lose our lives. I can’t imagine how difficult it must be to have children involved in your relationship and I am very sorry you have to some how balance their relationship with their father yet at the same time segregate yourself from the N. Please take the above advise and put yourself first. I say this because you will not be able to take care of your child if you are not strong enough to take care of yourself. Probably for the first time in your life you have to put yourself first and be committed to do so. Think of your child and remember they are innocent dependent little beings counting on you always to show them the way. I shall be praying that God gives you the strength and comfort to move you forward into the good life that he wants for all of his children.


  11. EJ

    thank you for the kind words. I worry so much for my son. He adores his father and always says “no i like daddy he is my best friend, i dont want to live away from him” Then I feel like he would be worse off if I took him away from him. He’s so young and doesnt understand anything.I worry about him growing up without a father, but then I worry about how this father would actually raise him. So I feel doomed either way. I try so hard to tell my son that it’s not ok to act like he acts and he tells me “but if you just be nice to him then he wont be mad” This is comng from a 5 year old.

    All of it breaks my heart and it’s so hard to know WHAT to say or how to say it in order to keep your child from growing up wth a PD bc of his upbringing! All I ever wanted was a strong family that would not be broken up, I wanted my child to have his mother and father always, and knew if he didnt have both of them he will have severe issues when he gets older. now i’m afraid if I leave, or if i dont leave, he still will.



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