Have you ever been in a relationship with a narcissist? If the answer is yes, then you must be familiar with the painful narcissistic relationship cycle and the three stages of the narcissistic relationship cycle. Let’s find out the stages of a narcissistic relationship and what they look like.
A relationship with a narcissist has been compared to being on a roller coaster, with huge highs and huge lows. They’ve been described as Jekyll and Hyde, one way, one minute, and the other the next.
People usually get into relationships out of love and the need to connect and bond with each other. Narcissists enter into relationships for completely different reasons. They don’t feel loved and cannot communicate and form normal bonds with others.
Narcissists need people more than anyone else. Because their entire sense of self-worth and self-worth depends on the admiration of others, their emotions are an uneasy balance between their need for others and the need to be left alone.
Narcissists feel a huge void inside of them. This void is ever-present and the only thing that can fill it is the love and appreciation of others. The fix is always temporary though.
One narcissist describes it this way, “It’s like my brain is constantly searching for something. It’s like I’m always chasing the carrot at the end of the stick. Nothing satisfies me, at least not for long. I feel like I’m only doing things because I’m supposed to.” I do it because society does. I don’t feel like I belong anywhere or with anyone.”
Narcissists are completely self-absorbed and oblivious to the wants and needs of others. They get into relationships trying to fill that void and make sure they have someone always available for sex, a stroke, or whatever needs they may have.
A relationship with a narcissist always follows three stages, the over-evaluation stage, the appraisal stage, and the neglect stage.
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3 Stages of the Narcissistic Relationship Cycle: Idealization, Devaluation, Ignoring
- The stage of over-evaluation
The narcissist is very careful when choosing a target. They usually choose a victim based on their condition. They must be attractive, popular, rich, or, in some areas, very talented.
The higher the status, the greater the value the narcissist places on the derivative supply.
Once the target is chosen, it is as if the narcissist gets tunnel vision. They are very vigilant in their quest and will project the perfect image their victim wants them to be. They are overly caring, loving, and paying attention at this point. They shower their targets with attention and praise, literally sweeping them off their feet.
They put their target on a pedestal, worship them, and worship them. Their goal is the greatest thing since sliced bread. Here the narcissist is energetic, full of hopes and dreams. They will constantly talk and think of them, they are cheerful. This is as close as a narcissist can get to love. This kind of paganism is what others call infatuation.
The victim is likely to be surrounded by all the attention and usually thinks at this point, that they have found their soulmate. Their pursuer is exactly what they want in a partner (because the narcissist reflects what they’ve learned and appeals to their goal) and they can’t believe how lucky they are and that this hunt is still lonely.
What they don’t know, or could be prepared for, is what will happen next.
- Reduction phase
The over-evaluation phase, if you’re dealing with a physical narcissist, usually lasts anywhere from a few weeks to a couple of months, just long enough for the narcissist to be confident that they’ve earned their target’s love and devotion.
Unbeknownst to the target, what they were witnessing in the early stage is the narcissist’s false self. In this second stage, the mask comes off and the narcissist begins to reveal they’re true colours.
The transformation can be gradual or seemingly overnight. Suddenly the attention they lavishly paid you was replaced by silence and indifference. It may be days or weeks and you won’t hear anything from them.
They don’t return your phone calls, they don’t keep a single promise, and you’re starting to suspect they might be involved with someone else. The target is left bewildered, confused, and wondering what they did wrong to cause such a sudden turn.
Narcissists get bored easily, and what usually happens in their heads at this point is that emptiness starts to pop up again. The euphoria they were feeding on has diminished and they are beginning to question your worth, perhaps you weren’t so special after all, because if you were then the emptiness wouldn’t have existed.
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They easily become capricious and restless, blaming you for even the slightest transgression. They start to disappear more frequently and give you the silent treatment to create distance. When the narcissist withdraws, the target begins clinging, and your demands for his attention, and your need to understand what’s going on gets on his nerves. The harder it is for you to hold on, the farther the narcissist will be. They start blaming and criticizing the target for everything, treating them like an emotional punching bag.
At this point, the target is an emotional wreck. The narcissist has left without any explanation and they can’t tell one minute they were put on a pedestal and now it’s like they don’t exist.
The narcissist is a projector and they project their emotional turmoil on you. They feed on other people’s misery (as long as it is caused by them) as much as your admiration, either way, it makes no difference to them.
This person, this cruel, indifferent, sadistic person behind the mask. Most targets are desperately trying to find the person they fell in love with. What they don’t realize is that this person never existed. It was a front act of narcissists to secure their supplies.
Narcissists will not take any responsibility for their actions because they simply do not care how they treat you or how you feel.
Narcissists are unable to form normal, healthy attachments to people. Those who are not familiar with this disorder are at a loss to understand how unnecessarily cruel their behavior can be. The object has never been more than an object for the narcissist, whose usefulness declines.
The narcissist is not one to dispose of a potential piece of supply. They’ll keep it up, I love you, I love you The charade doesn’t last as long as it suits them or as long as you allow it. They will pop in and out of your life as if nothing had ever happened, completely oblivious and indifferent to your suffering.
This mental curse is intentional and they will keep feeding you crumbs of attention, just enough to keep you emotionally invested and available for their every need.
At some point, one of two things will happen: either they will find a new target and start Phase One with them, thus ignoring you completely, or you will be tired of being psychotic and will take control and put an end to it. , thus marking the start of the third phase.
- The exclusion stage
It is almost baffling to watch the ease with which a narcissist can walk away from his partner. Many goals are left asking themselves, “Did he ever love me? Did I mean anything to him?” The simple answer is no.
Nobody means anything to him. Women are only a means to an end – to obtain narcissistic supplies that are much needed. Once your usefulness has run its course, you will be discarded suddenly and cruelly, without warning.
Trying to get over a relationship with a narcissist is very difficult. Once the goal has been crossed, usually an emotional wreck, self-esteem has been decimated by demeaning behavior, insults, and callousness by the narcissist. Depending on when they were able to break free, the target may be a shadow of their former selves, with a lot of work ahead of them to rebuild their shattered self-image.
When a victim tries to pick up the pieces, what needs to be remembered is that you have been targeted, lied to, and manipulated by a skilled artist, for their gain. There was nothing you could have done differently and none of this was your fault. The narcissist will repeat this pattern with every person, every time, without exception.
All ex-targets should be on guard, because narcissist always reserves the right to revisit their previous source of supply, no matter how much time has passed or how badly they acted.
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