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It can sometimes take years to realise you are in a narcissistic relationship pattern, particularly if this is your first rodeo. A narcissistic relationship pattern can make you feel confused, drained and depressed. I hope to give you the clarity that you need by uncovering the 5 narcissistic relationship patterns.
You will learn about some phrases that narcissists use as well as why they can be so hard to let go of. To the people finding it hard to explain to family members/friends about what dealing with a narcissist feels like, just show them this post.
You are not going to feel alone after this.
I want to point out that narcissism affects both men and women but this is directed at my female readers.
1. Idealisation stage
Initially, they appear to be your knight in shining amour. They take advantage of a girl’s fantasy to have that fairytale storybook ending. One thing that is very common with narcissistic men is that they tend to move very quickly. This is to groom you to be the perfect target before his mask of deception drops.
Now if you pay attention, the early warning signs are usually there. You will notice there is no genuine interest in you as a person. Any story you share seems to be a prelude to how he did xyz.
However, If he is preoccupied with getting to know you, this is also another way he can use to gain leverage over you by looking for loopholes he will exploit. He will often use flattery and word salad to to win you over.
He will mirror you but as time goes on you realise that the relationship becomes emotionally stagnant. This is due to their stunted sense of self, distrustful nature and their perception of vulnerability as weakness. Narcissists seek out mirrors, people who are beautiful, talented, kind-hearted to serve as an extension of their identity.
You think you have found your soulmate but it’s only a karmic relationship
Some phrases a narcissist will use to con you
Where have you been all my life
I wish I met you earlier
I haven’t met anyone like you.
I haven’t felt this way about anyone before
I’m so in love with you (when you two barely know each other)
I can’t wait for us to …> insert fake future plans here<
2. Devaluation stage
Once the narcissistic person has managed to sink their hooks of deception into you, the narcissistic game unfolds.
These are the type of men that won’t give you a title and are against labels but they want you to treat them like a boyfriend. Their jealousy can easily go from charming to unsettling really fast!
The devaluation starts with subtle put-downs on your character until it reaches the extreme, which is verbal and emotional abuse. Like the frog in boiling water analogy, the gradual change in the temperature (abuse) is to prime you up for the worse. Narcissitic people are highly skilled at throwing jabs with a hint of fake niceness at you.
Every comment, joke they make is another opportunity to twist the knife deeper into your gut because they know where it hurts. This is the stage where targets rationalise the terrible treatments they receive from their abuse by giving them the benefit of the doubt to justify their behaviour.
There is also this feeling of hope among victims that things will get better or back to the way things used to be. Narcissistic people go as far as to devalue your hobbies/interest/lifestyle choices, making your life revolve around them. This dependency on them slowly but surely erodes your sense of self and self esteem, making you unlikely to leave them.
Trauma bond between narcissists and the codependent
A Narcissist will find other ways to assert their dominance over you, by controlling you through a display of physical strength, finances, isolation, constant mood swings, invalidation, silent treatment, criticism etc. Everything will always be on their terms.
Their mood changes unpredictably to keep the attention on them and make you feel responsible for them. This Jekyll and Hyde emotional inconsistency triggers the codependent in you to fix, chase and beg to bring them back to the person you once knew.
They like to take the negative attention from themselves by projecting their negative qualities on you. Sooner or later you find yourself dried up like a prune while they enjoy the benefits of their soul sucking nature. You ever wonder why you look so tired and old and they look great?
Their life becomes better with you in it and yours becomes progressively worse. You’ve gained weight, you’re losing your hair, getting acne, losing sleep and feeling depressed but they are totally unbothered.
There is something so subtle and sinister about the abuse, that to the unsuspecting target it gradually depreciates their sense of self and self-esteem. You get to know what it feels like to be them, it is as if you swap roles.
How a conversation with a narcissist will typically go
Just forget about having a conversation with these toxic types. They will use your words against you, twist it and when you try to defend yourself they make you seem crazy or stupid by accusing you of what they are doing to you.
They are notorious for manipulating you into confusion with their crazy-making behaviour. Everything is an attack on their character and you are left defending yourself (which they never let you finish btw because they cut you off with more sidetrack, and before you know it you don’t even know what it was that started the fight in the first place).
You can feel yourself being swept into their vortex as the seemingly circular conversations leave you feeling dizzy, draining, to say the least. You are left thinking to yourself “What just happened?”, “Am I reading this wrong?”, “Am I actually what they accuse me of?”, “We were just having a good time.”, “Am I a bad person?”.
You’re not crazy, you’re being gaslit.
When you call them out on their act, they act out in rage to punish you or should I say distract you. Let’s say you found out he was cheating and you confront him, he will flip it back on you and make you feel worse for bringing it up. Then you start digging for more information because you feel crazy.
They have finally succeeded in feeding off of you and you are trapped in their black hole of perpetual emptiness. It’s all down to them having control over you because they feel powerless and deeply insecure. They seek to trigger you, there’s no winning with narcissists. They hate peace and harmony. Ever wonder why you can’t just seem to get along, they love seeing you in pain, they love making you feel crazy, it’s a game to them.
The narcissistic mind games toxic men play
It’s in their demonic nature to play a lot of mind games.
He will do this by using confusion as a manipulation tactic to control you. This could manifest in a myriad of ways such as pretending he has amnesia, confusion with future faking and gaslighting, triangulation, emotional inconsistency, circular conversations, evasiveness, lies, denying the obvious truth, silent treatment, cruel jokes followed by “you have no sense of humour”, deflection, projection, minimization and loads of mixed signals
How a victim of narcissistic abuse feels
The psychological abuse can have a severe impact on the victim, causing them to constantly second guess themselves, self-gaslight, loss of self-trust, the inability to make decisions and a constant struggle with cognitive dissonance.
Oh, and the constant feeling like there is something wrong with you.
You might even be in denial, and this is where the cognitive dissonance comes in. How can this be the same person? You might even see him as a good guy. You want to believe that the same person you met at the idealisation stage is still the same guy. But I’m sorry to break it to you, it was only an illusion.
This is only a chip of the iceberg of how narcissistic abuse feels, and until you’ve experienced it yourself you can’t really begin to grasp the damage they can do to your soul. I wish that you will free your soul from this nightmare.
Sidenote – I highly suggest keeping a record of things that happen. That way you have something to look at as evidence for how the relationship really is so that you can find clarity and peace. This is a must especially if you are being gaslighted.
Some phrases a narcissist will use during the devaluation phase
“It’s not that deep”
“Everything is not about you”
“I can’t believe how insecure you are”
“It’s because of the type of person you are”
“You are too sensitive”
“It’s not a big deal”
3. Discard stage
When you are no longer deemed a good enough supply (that is when you are gaining a little bit of confidence, or acting unbothered or have simply become immune to their tantrums) is when they pull out their next set of cards. This phase is all about winning for them. It becomes their duty to paint you as the horrible villain and they are the helpless victims.
You want to go back to the time where things were rosy, where they made you feel special. If that time ever existed, it was all brainwashing. They hate you for your good qualities and make it a mission to punish you for it. It’s scary to think that all this time you’ve been sleeping with the enemy. The best thing to do to seek clarity is to create distance.
Some phrases they might say during the discard phase
“You are not the woman I thought you were”
You are so manipulative, I want nothing to do with you”
“You never loved me”
“You won’t find anyone like me”
“Good luck finding someone who one will love you as I do”
“This is all your fault, you’re the reason we’re breaking up”
“You wanted to be used!” “You knew what this was”
“if you didn’t do xyz we wouldn’t be here”
I highly suggest you pick up this book by Debbie Mirza called ‘The covert passive-aggressive narcissist‘. It goes into detail about the personality disorder and the characteristics that a covert narcissist might exhibit.
Hoovering is an attempt to lure you back in with the hopes of getting more supply. It is also a manipulation tactic to gauge your tolerance level for abuse. Depending on how long you’ve been in the relationship, the hoovering stage can get really ugly and severe. In the narcissistic person’s mind, they own you and are sure that they can get you back.
They will implement their tried and true manipulation bait tactics that have worked over the years. if that doesn’t work, this is where the demonic rage is unleashed.
Think triangulation, smear campaigns about what a terrible person you are, stripping you more of any self-esteem you have left, harassing voicemails and emails.
They will even go as far as to use flying monkeys (other people who will do the narcissist’s bidding) to control you. All of the above is to ensure that you have no other choice than to feel guilty enough to want to make it right. There is no making it right with a narcissist they will always want control, the best thing you can do is to not let them have access to you by ignoring them and letting them be their own karma.
5. Reconcile stage
Initially, you feel relieved that you are now back together. But, there’s a part of you that’s screaming to get out, you feel trapped but you can’t help but go back. It feels like hell not being together, like a part of you is missing.
Although you have a horrible relationship with them they seem to feel your void. So you stay for the good times, knowing fully well that the good times are few and far between and the bad times are frequent and much WORSE. But you tell yourself that he will change and he just needs a little help, love and support.
If he can just see what a great and loyal woman you are then he will be inspired to be a better man. He is on his best behaviour which will usually last around two weeks before he goes back to mistreating you.
Why this toxic relationship are hard to let go of
Research shows that women try to leave an abusive relationship 7 times before they finally leave.
This could be for a number of reasons such as time invested, the hope that they will change, low self-esteem, unhealthy soul ties but the answer is simple
The constant reinforcement of inconsistent love aka breadcrumbing is a powerful manipulation tool that can drive a sane person into a push-pull relationship dynamic with a person that they know is no good.
This power imbalance theory was tested in a scientific study done by Robert Sapolsky, to test the effect of reward on monkeys. The results showed that the monkeys became accustomed to the time they got rewarded, from when the signal went off, to work and then reward.
Interestingly, delayed gratification led to a spike in their dopamine levels. The dopamine caused by uncertainty caused the monkeys to become addicted as they highly anticipated the reward.
Similarly, in humans pulling someone closer by giving them attention and love and then withholding it suddenly will stimulate a part of the brain that will make us desire the same love and attention even more.
What makes this trauma bond relationship difficult to break is the comfort that is subconsciously felt in the fixing and repairing of the relationship. Staying with them would mean you avoid facing your self, your abandonment issues and the fear of intimacy.