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 my ex 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 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 and every one who knows you knows 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 my ex 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. The victim often times gives up a perfectly good marriage, moves to be with the narcissist leaving their support network, friends and family behind. They give up an excellent job, invest with the narcissist and are blinded by love; willing to do anything to be with the “love of their life” believing what the narcissist is telling them, that they are soul mates and they have the kind of love fantasies and movies are made of.

Unfortunately this “honeymoon” period never lasts for long. Once the narcissist feels the victim is fully committed they 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. This is when the victim begins to think that if they just love the narcissist well enough he will go back to the loving attentive man they met. What no one seems to realize is; the narcissist doesn’t get off on your love and admiration, he feeds off of your pain.

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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, (my ex 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 and worse.

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 firmly 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.

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. (my ex 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.

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.

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 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 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.

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

https://ladywithatruck.com/xmlrpc.php

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

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

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

2,745 thoughts on “The 3 Phases of a Relationship With a Narcissist

  1. Sabrina Serigne

    WOW I FEEL LIKE YOU JUST BLOGGED THE LAST 13 YEARS OF MY LIFE I FEEL TRAPPED AND I FEEL HELPLESS, ALL I HAVE IS HIM, NO FAM. ( MOM DIED) NO FIRENDS N E MORE, GOD FORBID I TALK TO MY SISTER THATS A PROBLEM TOO. NEVER HOME ALWAYS HAS ” WORK” BUT THE JOB RULES SEEM TO SUDDENLY CHANGE CALLS STOP AT 7 NOW 8 NOW IT THE WEEKENDS , NOW ITS HE DOES ALL THESE SIDE JOBS, I FIND COUNTLESS ACT OF DISLOYALTY, IM AT A POINT IDK WHERE TO TURN , WONT ALLOW ME TO WORK, I GOTTA DEPEND ON HIM, 6 KIDS, NO HELP, WHEN HES HERE, HE LAYS IN BED ALL DAY. GOD FORBID I SAY SHIT ALWAYS PULLS MY KIDS IN OUR FIGHTS TURNS THEN AGAINST ME, HE MAKES LIFE MISERABLE AND HARD FOR ME. ANY BLOG ON HOW TO GET AWAY ??

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  2. Rosa De Love

    I am a married woman, married to a man with great narcissistic tendencies. I was anused emotionally and broken down for years. I then met a man who swept me off my feet, I will include a stroy I wrote about how this “affair” turned out…. He turned out to be a narcissist of the worst kind with certain anti social tendencies….. My short story explains the inner agony and destruction created by being drawn in by and falling in love with a narcissist.
    The journey

    To write it down was his advice mmmm… Well he said i should repeat that i forgive him and i forgive myself …. Well….

    How does one go the journey of releasing and letting go the pain?? Interesting question??

    Also I need to ask myself why it is she still so slumped and sad ? She cant move… She lies on the floor…. Bent over head down … Sad and broken…

    What was it that made her heart so sad ? How did he take so much from her …. She sometimes lifts her head and mostly puts it straight back down… Defeated and immersed in a pain so debilitating that she cant even cry the tears … She feels as if she is paralyzed.

    Who was this person that did this to her ? How could a man steal the life from her ? How was it that she was so ripped apart by someone so broken himself?

    Sometimes I remember to reach out and place my hand on her weary back and stroke her and let her know that it is ok… That she will survive and find the life inside of her … Sometimes i feel it with her and forget about my life as it is and become one with her pain.

    So many beautiful moments, so much love so much passion and they had together. She was alive and felt so beautiful and special. She felt as if she really mattered as if there was a man to take care of her and make her feel like a woman. She felt sensual and sexy and I imagine she felt so wanted by him…. Something so new and precious to her that she made it her world and made him her reason for being.

    But then he left her, he betrayed her and put others in her place. He made her feel as she had for so many years…. The lies one after the other shot through her like arrows piecing deep inside her soul… Wounding her so deeply, she fought and clung on hoping and praying that each stab would be the last and that the clock would rewind back to the way he had loved her.

    She felt so helpless and angry that he had stood by others over her and believed the deep lies and manipulation of those that he hardy knew! Her deep pain it seems comes from that he gave up on her and that she wonders if she actually really knew him at all. He had declared his undying and eternal love for her in pso many ways. She believed him as the truth lay in his beautiful blue green eyes.

    He did love her she knows that so how could he make another his before he had said goodbye to her. She loved him so insanely it was beautiful. But that was why she has curled up on the floor and cant get up. What and who did she love?

    I try and help her find the answers. There are none. She is not the only person ever to lose a lover and too be thrown away and tossed aside. How she wished she could understand and how I wish i could help her find the answers. However together her and I are at a loss to find the answer. I cant help her … Only time will heal her bleeding heart and heal her piecing wounds.

    Well she needs to know that he is gone. She needs to know that maybe it wasnt real to begin with … She needs to know that his illness was exactly that which he did to her … He really was not worth her pain …

    So i need to tell her to look at whats real. To see how much she has. The physical is only a special treat that not everyone gets to have. Yes i know she yearns for that beautiful loving… Her body needs him still… But i need to tell her that he is no longer what she thought he was … And probably never was.

    So i stroke her and let her know its ok … And she lifts her head … just a little … It feels to me like feeding soup to a sick person in order to I help them gather their strength, one spoon at a time.

    Again another day… No sound from him and she is hurting still. She seems to be coming to accept that this is how it will be, though she now feels anger and wants to spit out at him and make him hurt, but she knows she cant. She realises he really doesnt care much and that no amount of anything will even make a tiny dent in his life. As if she never was a part of his life.

    Each day we wait to hear from him , each day we hope but we know that as time stretches further away he is not coming back.

    I ask her why she would want to subject herself to that again ? Why would she want to feel that pain again? She says she really just wants to know that he feels sorry for what he did to her and that she didnt deserve to be battered in such a cruel way. She wants to know that he thinks of her and misses her too. She wants to know why someone so much less than her was his choice to replace her ?

    She wont get those answers … I know that!!

    She misses him so much … Yes shredded is a good word … He broke her … He tore her to pieces

    Another day and where we are right now is so different. I still love him and always will. I breathe easy coz I can speak to him if I need to or want to. I realize however that perhaps he’s not anything I want. She is standing up now and drinking water from a stream… Cupping her hands and tasting the sweetness of freedom.

    The pain she felt has gone … It’s lifted and has begun to heal to the point of her and I almost being joined as one again.

    I feel sad for him for the choices he’s made … She feels sad for him because he is humiliating himself again and repeating a pattern in his life that won’t serve him.

    She dances with joy and I watch in delight … So good to feel free of all that has gone before us. She is stronger… She is healthy and she has a power within her to move herself forward one tiny step at a time.

    She is worth so much more than him. She is worth so much more than even what he believes is ok for now. He is her past and goodness knows what the future holds for us but for right now it’s just this moment. The one we are in right now..

    There still are tweaks of pain here and there in her heart but that’s just her ego mostly she feels sorry for him … He is so broken and wounded and yes … Sick…. But u know what… It’s not our job to fix him. What a freedom, what a blessing, what a beautiful view to the future .

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  3. Pat

    1 6 years of abuse. I thought that he would eventually stop ghosting and stay forever. Last summer I tried harder than ever. I was off from work and played house with him. He started devaluing me and just watching tv. But I continued to try to no avail. Then in november the holidays were starting to approach he left. He went to his sisters to watch his nephew while his sister was in the hospital he was suppost to be home after one day. He never came back. This has been the pattern he leaves I wait. He returns he gets bored he leaves I wait nd so on. He excluded me from his children and we have no mutal friends. I feel isolated and abandoned. I have gone no contact and am determed to successful ly end this pattern forever. He is cruel beyond imagination. Because of this pattern I have lost all my friends and social contacts.
    I am in abuse couseling thank God. But my spirit is broken after years of manipulation and false promises and control.

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    1. Barbara

      To Pat and Rosa,

      I am pleased you are in abuse counselling Pat, talking about it helps you analyse your feelings more. Only when you start to understand yourself and your reactions to the abuser (which he will have manipulated and controlled) will you be able to rationalise it all and move forward to a new life.

      Have you thought that with him coming and then leaving you for such long periods he probably has several women on the go at once? I think it is highly likely that this is the case.

      He has you walking down a long narrow corridor with a glint of light at the end that represents the possibility of getting to him and love and happiness. It is all false. Stop walking down the lonely corridor and open some of the doors at the side. They offer new friends, interests and life fulfilment. It might take a few wrong openings, but eventually you will find a new life that suits you.

      Beware he will not want to set you free, he likes you to sit waiting like a pathetic slave. But you are not a slave are you? You are a person deserving to love and be loved back. Don’t settle for anything less.

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  4. Helpless

    I’ve been going tbrought this for a year. He continued to fool me each time until I started researching personality disorders and he is textbook N. I feel like he’s a drug – I love him and I’m not sure why anymore either. When we are apart I pray he will text or call. Last night he kept asking to come see me (has been for days), and I finally gave in. All for him to show up after over a month and tell me he has a new gf. Still cut me down and told me I was the crazy one, etc. He even told me he ended our relationship the “classy way” but not saying a word. No closure, just the silent treatment. He also told me a few things that led me to believe he’s been stalking me. Oh the best part – we work together so I have to see him. I need to move on with my life but I feel like he has partially destroyed me. I trusted him and was so good to him. I feel like my heart has been ripped out of my chest. I know I should block him, but can’t seem to make myself do it. Any advice would be most helpful.

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