The 3 Phases of a Relationship With a Narcissist
The Phases of Loving a Narcissist
During this phase a narcissist is very loving and is in his or her best behavior. A narcissist can be extremely charming and loving, which often makes a person fall head over heels in love with them. If a narcissist is cheating on his or her present partner with a new lover, it is often more due to the actions of a narcissist than the Lover that the secret relationship started in a first place. While pursuing a new Lover, a narcissist is often claiming that he is very unhappy in his or 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. A narcissist knows how to say all the right things to disarm the other person and to make the other person fall hard.
We all want to be loved and adored by the person we love. During the idealization phase a narcissist is fulfilling this need and is making us feel special. This is why it is so difficult to resist a narcissist. 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. A narcissist may become cold and uncaring almost overnight. A narcissist no longer tells you how much he or she loves you, but instead becomes increasingly critical towards you. Suddenly a narcissist 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 such treatment. You may try to please a narcissist and try to “make him or her love you again”, however nothing you do seems to be good enough.
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 “available”, in case the new relationship does not work out the way a narcissist is expecting. A narcissist is getting “kicks” when he or she is thinking that two people (the current spouse and the secret lover) are “madly in love” with a narcissist. This feeling serves as the source of a narcissistic supply.
Many short term relationships is a distinctive, tell tale sign of Narcissism. How those typically end, also signals the degree of callousness as this varies depending upon the level of their disorder.
During the phase of discarding a narcissist becomes totally indifferent to the needs and wishes of the (soon-to-be former) spouse of a narcissist. A narcissist is ready to move on after either finding another source of a narcissistic supply or simply having drained the current source (the current spouse) dry. The current spouse no longer serves as a source of a narcissistic supply and therefore the current spouse is no longer useful for a narcissist. When a narcissist reaches this phase, there is no chance to reason with a narcissist. If you try to beg a narcissist to get back together with you, you are only feeding the ego of a narcissist and providing him or her with a transient source of a narcissistic supply as a narcissist feels you are now devastated after losing the Perfect Being (a narcissist).
One of the first signs to watch for in a narcissist is that he/she may seem just too good to be true. He loves everything you love, and nothing that you don’t. Everything that has happened to you has also happened to him. If you were cheated on in a past relationship multiple times in a past relationship, well, so was he. If you love sushi, he does, too. If you love old movies, so does he. He/she also hates the things that you hate.
You tell him/her how you hate injustice, he will tell you about his crusade to end it. He seems perfect, too perfect. Often, you will find that later on in the relationship, he didn’t like all those things he tells you about, and he may even deny ever even telling you that he did like it. That’s called gaslighting, and covered in another article of mine .
Another not so well known sign of the narcissist is making big promises and never following through. The narcissist will promise you the moon at the beginning of your relationship, leaving you starry eyed and wondering how you ever got so lucky. There’s only one problem with his promises. He not only doesn’t follow through, but often can’t. He may promise you a brand new car when he can’t even afford the car he has. He might promise the biggest diamond ring you could imagine, when he can barely afford rent. He promises a lavish lifestyle, but doesn’t have the funds to give you that. At first it seems sweet and sincere that he wants to give you so much, but after a little while, you may get blamed for holding him back and keeping him from giving you these things, when you never asked for them in the first place. He may also tell you he never made those promises, or worse, tell you that it’s what you wanted, and never what he wanted, which is again, gaslighting.
Those really are two of the biggest signs you will see of the narcissist in the beginning of a relationship. Depending on how much he needs you to make him look good, the honeymoon stages where he is like this can vary in length. Sometimes it is a very long time, because he knows that if he loses you, he stands the chance of losing his facade as a perfect spouse as well. Other times, the honeymoon period may be very short. It just all depends how long it takes him to get you so ensnared in his web that you cannot get out easily.
The name for the condition is narcissism, and the description is of someone permanently stuck in a six-year-old’s view of reality. Not to
oversimplify a complex condition, but narcissists (by which I mean the severe, clinical kind, not everyday narcissism) replace both the real
person they are, and their real relationship with the world, with fantasies. For a six-year-old this is a normal stage of development, and normal children later figure out that they are not perfect or omnipotent, but that life is interesting and worthwhile anyway.
Narcissists, by contrast, and for reasons no one has sorted out, get stuck in a post-infant, pre-adult stage of development, usually forever.
For their entire lives the typical narcissist exhibits some traits that are normal for a six-year-old, like a naïve reliance on the views of authority figures, while secretly resenting the power of those authorities. But adult narcissists show behaviors that are brought on by their having gotten stuck in infantile behavior while simultaneously being pushed into adulthood.
According to many mental health professionals, the biggest single mistake people make in dealing with narcissists is to underestimate how dangerous they are. A good percentage of prison inmates are narcissists whose impulses got out of control, and the only thing separating a typical clinical narcissist from iron bars is a fortuitous mixture of circumstances. Narcissists live in a perpetual state of barely suppressed rage, are frequently unbelievably reckless, and appear to be oblivious to the risk their behavior poses to themselves and to others.
This is all trivial to see from an adult perspective, but the point is narcissists don’t have an adult perspective. They have the outlook and
instincts of a six-year-old child, forever. It is this hard-wired intellectual and emotional limitation that motivates mental health professionals to almost universally offer this advice: the best way to deal with narcissists is to get away from them, as soon as possible, before they destroy you. That is a lesson I am still learning.