Today’s article is about Stages Of A Relationship With A Narcissist.
A narcissist is a person who is exaggeratedly focused on his/her own person. This property becomes an insurmountable obstacle to a healthy exchange of energies in any relationship. He/she is able to receive attention in any quantity, but he/she is not able to give it. Therefore, in a relationship with a narcissist, movement occurs only in one direction.
The narcissist gains the resources he needs, his self-esteem and self-worth increase, and he flourishes. Meanwhile, his partner hopelessly expects that sooner or later the black hole that absorbs his resources will fill up, and a holiday will come on his street. However, this does not happen. The narcissist is never enough. His internal deficit is irreplaceable. Gradually, his partner begins to get tired of this interaction and either leaves or brings himself to complete exhaustion.
This relationship mechanism makes the relationship with the narcissist difficult, but highly predictable. In their development, they go through a number of successive stages:
Stages Of A Relationship With A Narcissist
1. Choosing a partner
That has its own characteristics. The key factor in it is the willingness of the potential chosen one to play with the narcissist in his game. He can check this by applying the classic “closer – further” technique. First, he shows the victim with compliments. Emphasizing her unique ability to understand him “like no other.” He will tell a bunch of dramatic stories from his own life, about how he was not understood before. And then, it disappears without warning and appears out of nowhere. If the victim accepts his vague explanation, then she/he is already in the game.
2. The first cooling
This is due to the fact that the victim has a vague feeling that everything is not as good as before. It cannot be associated with anything specific. There are no obvious problems in the relationship yet. There are only slight misunderstandings, in which, as if no one is to blame. Only maybe she herself, but quite a bit.
This is how the narcissist begins to test the strength of the victim’s personal boundaries. It is as if he accidentally breaks the agreement, is late, forgets to call. He finds explanations for his oversights, and it is somehow awkward to be angry with the one with whom “the greatest love on earth” was yesterday. Being dominated by memories of a wonderful romantic period, the victim prefers not to notice the first swallows.
3. Romantic courtship
The beginning of a relationship with a narcissist is usually remembered by the victim as the best time in her life. To conquer her, the narcissist is able to temporarily adjust to her views and interests. Surround her with attention and care. He falls in love with himself very quickly. In one or two weeks, the victim feels that they have finally met a soul mate. This is not surprising, even in the first stage of communication. The narcissist collected all the information about what is dear and valuable to her. Now he knows exactly which buttons to press.
4. Cold shower
This effect is produced on the victim by the first act of open narcissistic aggression. Usually, not motivated by anything. It can be a cynical act, disappearance for no reason or explanation, evaluation, and much more.
At this stage of the relationship, the narcissist already arrives in full confidence that the victim is on his hook and no longer necessary. Most often, he uses this technique after reaching a special level of intimacy, in contrast to the fear of loss, to urge the victim to even more submission. He begins to use such psychological manipulation as gaslighting, in order to convince the victim that she has invented obvious problems in the relationship for herself. He denies the words and deeds that took place. Claiming that all this was imagined by her. With prolonged and consistent use of this method, a person can be driven crazy in the literal sense of the word.
If the victim nevertheless senses something amiss and tries to escape, the narcissist will temporarily retreat and demonstrate to her “the most sincere remorse on earth.” But this is just another manipulation, and if the victim succumbs to it, he will soon be convinced by his own bitter experience that the promises of the narcissist cannot be trusted. Then all the same will repeat but to a greater extent. In addition, the narcissist will surely avenge the “escape attempt”. Then all the same will repeat but to a greater extent.
The victim remains in a relationship after a cold shower, then the emotional swing begins to swing more strongly. Periods of intimacy are becoming increasingly rare and brief. They are replaced by criticism, devaluation, verbal, and sometimes physical aggression.
At this stage, it is already very difficult for the victim to leave. Her mental balance is disturbed. She begins to look for the reason for what is happening in herself and tries to improve herself to save the situation. She learns to recognize the mood of the aggressor so as not to provoke outbursts of anger. The narcissist feels this and plays with her like a cat and a mouse, gradually complicating the task. He does everything to disrupt her plans, not to let her get what she wants.
The next stage of suppression is the prohibition on the expression of emotions. He defiantly does not listen to her complaints, ignores anger, and reduces any emotional manifestation to absurdity. So he inspires her that her feelings and states are worthless, that they are unjustified and illogical. At this time, the victim often has his first somatic problems. It could be a loss of sleep or appetite as the body tries to convey to her that something unbearable is happening.
6. Depletion of resources
At this stage, the narcissist begins to openly treat the victim not as a living person, but as a set of functions, mercilessly mocks her, uses all the resources at her disposal unlimitedly. The victim may have more serious health problems, but this does not affect the narcissist. In special cases, it may even interfere with timely assistance.
The victim develops professional and social discord. Instead of support, the narcissist makes fun of her. Emphasizing that she was in this position through her own fault and imprudence. He can spread distorted information in a circle of acquaintances, complaining to them about how he has suffered from such an inadequate victim. Thus, he isolates her and makes it impossible to seek help.
What happens when the victim has no resources?
Perhaps the tyrant will soften, understand what he has done, and become kind and caring again? If this happens, then only in a fairy tale or in a romantic movie, where the villain becomes a knight again or the spell of an evil sorceress is destroyed. In fact, you have to come to terms with the fact that the narcissist was never interested in personality, he only needed a resource. And accordingly, if there is no resource, then it’s time to leave and look for the place where it still exists.
Pity and remorse are not his qualities. In general, he is in very poor contact with his emotions, which means that the feeling of guilt is not available to him. On the contrary, he can accuse the victim of being so unsuitable for life and causing him so much trouble. According to the classics of the genre, he will leave, leaving the victim in the most unenviable position, without work and livelihood, with undermined health and a bunch of problems.
Is it possible to return the once handsome prince?
It is possible, but only is it necessary? The narcissist generally has the ability to periodically return in order to see whether the victim is so devoted to him as before, whether she suffers without him, whether she has new resources. If he finds that she has what he needs, he will stay for a long time. Even the fact that the victim is already in a new relationship will not stop him. He will do everything to destroy them and return “what is rightfully his.”
The main task of the victim
To cope with the tempting expectation that he will change. It will not happen. With each new chance given to him, the narcissist’s attitude will only get worse, any attempts by the victim to draw personal boundaries will be punished. However, the position of the victim, in this case, is not a personality trait, but a situational role, and this role can be abandoned. It is not simple. This is a real struggle and this is a struggle for oneself.
It will not be easy, you will have to call on all your resources for help, give up the “rose-colored glasses” and remain firm to the end. Do not neglect external support from loved ones. But no less important is the internal state because by acting on it, the manipulator can reduce all efforts to zero. To obtain the desired freedom, you will have to work out all those internal levers – fears, doubts, conflicts that a manipulator can put pressure on.
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