Four Stages Of A Relationship
With a Narcissist
I don’t believe we can spot a narcissist, or not all of them, as they are simply too cunning. I should know, as I was married to a narcissist, and survived just.
My husband, a CFO of a Global Bank, good looking, popular, clever, and charming, was an acute narcissist. He never raised his voice, never raised a fist to hit me, as he didn’t need to, his weapon was the most dangerous of all, his sharp, acerbic tongue, cutting through my heart leaving a scar deadlier than any knife could wield.
The collateral result I understand to be as psychologically damaging equatable to PTSD. When my marriage ended, leaving me with our much loved and planned for eight-week old baby daughter to raise, I was confused, angry, depressed and in such a state of shock that it took me many years to fully comprehend what had happened.
I read many articles on narcissism, they all seemed to have criteria of personalities all filled with rage and violence, which confused me for a very long time, as my husband did not display any of these characteristics, yet he was an extreme narcissist.
I am writing to warn you that your partner does not have to tick all the boxes. What I do hope you begin to understand is how dangerous narcissists are.
From the bottom of my heart, I hope you don’t have to experience the pain and tragedy they can and continue to inflict upon us, the innocents who are simply their prey.
Narcissists are extremely clever, and they never reveal their true self to you until they know they have you completely blinded by their immense spell. They only display who they think you want them to be. They are in a way chameleons, modifying their behaviour to whatever the situation may require.
Relationships with a narcissist are broken down into four main stages:-
STAGE N. 1 – THE LOVE BOMBING PHASE.
I’m sure your relationship, as did mine, began in an intensive, almost obsessive cloud of love. Think of this time as the ‘love fest’. So much so, it appears at times they are too good to be true. You may not be familiar with this much attention and total adoration, but after you begin to think – ‘Why not, let’s enjoy this?’
I’m sure your partner was charming, immaculately groomed, a high achiever, and basically you could not have created this person to be more perfect? You cannot believe your luck? Finding somebody so in tune with you, your beliefs and your dreams of your future. They are truly perfect. You feel as if you are existing in a cocoon, which is sublimely perfect.
Within a very short time-span, you are convinced ‘He or She is the one!’
For the first time in your life you have let down your strict boundaries, that up until this point, have been quite rigid in your past relationships. You know you are confident and self-sufficient, and until this relationship you have been extremely cautious as to who you allowed into your life.
Your partner showers you with attention, and you both can’t stand to be apart for too long, as you are simply too in love. Normally you appreciate your own space and your own company, yet this time you decide to throw caution to the wind.
‘This is different; it feels magical?’
‘My partner adores me?’ and you now this feeling is overpowering, like a drug. You both can’t get enough of each other. You can talk until the sun rises, as you are so comfortable and relaxed in their company.
You can remain in the Love Phase for various time-frames. It could be simply days or weeks, or it could be months or many years or as it was with me.
Stage No. 2
The Devalue Stage
This is where the corrosion of you begins. They begin slowly and subtly, with a continuous and sustained verbal onslaught, systematically and insidiously planned. Why would they do such a thing when they are meant to love you?
To have total control over you.
Their goal is to decimate your confidence, your self-esteem, your sense of self, the person you have always been, up until this point in time.
You may not understand why or how your partner, the one that initially was so supporting, nurturing and loving has turned into this cold and cruel individual, who you will do anything for, to keep the relationship intact.
Your partner makes it clear they do not like your family or your closest friends, the ones that have only your best interest at heart? They are so rude when in their presence and make every situation so uncomfortable when you are out with your friends or family, that the easiest way to keep the peace in your relationship, is for you to stop socializing. By this time, your friends and family are worried and concerned for you, and the brave ones voice their concerns to you. But you dismiss their concern and even though you know something is not right, you play down the situation, as you love your partner so deeply. However, you acquiesce to your partner’s pressure and cease socialsiing, as you will do Anything for a peaceful life.
Are you seeing similarities with your life in here?
What you may be unaware of, is that your partner has won here if you cut off your family and friends, as this was the desired outcome your partner needs, to prevent you from having your family and closest friends remain in your life.
This is how they begin to isolate you, and begin to erode your confidence, to ensure you succumb to their ever-increasing demands. This is the beginning of their total dominance and control over you. If you are not married by this stage, you are extremely fortunate and may I suggest to lace up your Nike’s and RUN, RUN, RUN, as fast as you can.
They then may step up to the next step and begin criticising your personal appearance. It could be your hairstyle, your make-up or clothes. One of my clients told me her husband said ‘I don’t like it when you wear make-up, as you are not very good at applying it?’ He didn’t want her to shine, as she is beautiful.
Whatever your partner doesn’t like, they will insist you modify it. If you are a woman and wearing something revealing – or sexy, they will be so threatened that they demand you change? This goes against everything you believe in, yet you acquiesce and adapt your appearance to once again keep your partner happy. This is so against all of your principals of who you are. Yet again, you do it. Anything for a peaceful life.
Stage No. 3 –
The Discard Stage
There will come a time when your use-by-date expires. A partner of a narcissist’s role, is to fulfil a need. When the need is satiated, you will be discarded. At the beginning of your relationship, you were put on a pedestal, adored by your partner. Gradually, over time, your pedestal fell to earth bit by bit, until you have the pedestal knocked out from under your feet, swiftly.
Once the narcissist makes up their mind, you will be discarded quicker than throwing out yesterday’s newspaper. It will be swift and merciless, as you will be reeling by the calculating cold-blooded cruelty they will display. It’s as if they can’t feel anything, they appear to be inhuman, devoid of empathy.
That is because Narcissists do not have empathy.
If you try and oppose them, they will begin a relentless campaign to destroy you. Their capacity to cause damage to the ones they were meant to love is infinite. All that matters is the one and only person they care about – themselves. Their wrath has no end, and remember they have no empathy so they simply DON’T CARE.
From one who has experienced this, if you have been discarded without warning, ensure you seek help from a Divorce Coach or Therapist, to assist in your recovery from this hellish experience. You will need this to understand on a deeper level, that it’s not you who are inept, its simply you were in a relationship with a Narcissist.
It is unlikely your partner will ever change.
Narcissists are devoid of empathy and true feelings.
Stage No. 4
Recovery From A Narcissistic Relationship
If you are at stage 4 – recovery from your Narcissistic Relationship – you are free. You can feel your life is improving now the Narcissist is out of your life. Life feels calmer, smoother, less stressful. If you’re now on the other side of a relationship with a narcissist, I hope you to start looking after you, as I’m sure all your energy before was to support your ex, now it’s all about you!
Much of what’s been fed to us over the years – certain words and beliefs from our partners – often remain with us. It’s important to begin nurturing yourself and understanding that you are complete exactly as you are.
As Rumi said: ‘The Universe is not outside you. Look inside yourself. Everything you want, you already are.’