How do those with narcissistic personality disorder treat relationships?
A narcissist finds a target, and it depends on the nature of the narcissist and the nature of their target.
Once identified, they will usually find out as much as they can about you before they take action, either by asking your friends or coworkers about you or looking into your social media.
They will then start the love-bombing of you, the idealisation ￼stage, they often already know things about you to draw you in fast and deep, compliments, wanting to see you as much as they can, lots of messages from them, they mirror you and all that you do, all your likes and dislikes the narcissist will match.
Once they know they’ve got you, the idealisation stage continues, not as much as they do in the start. How long this lasts depends on the type of narcissist and you.
When they no longer feel you are meeting their needs, they will start to devalue you. First, they could just start acting differently towards you, perhaps messaging less, not seeing as much of you, or if you moved in together fast, they’ll just not be as interested in spending time with you. This may leave you wondering what’s wrong, and you may ask the narcissist if everything is ok, they will lie, that they or tired or some rational excuse. You might just think you are settling into the norms of a relationship, the excitement of the newness wearing off￼, not realising that they’ve just realised that you are human and that, as all humans do, you make mistakes. They are no longer getting enough positive attention from you. It can be days, weeks or months or years after this that the full devaluation begins.
They do manipulate you from the beginning of the relationship. Yet, as most narcissists do they up their games, the gaslighting, silent treatment, infidelity, projection, blame-shifting, isolation, arguments, triangulation, financial abuse will all be used against you, to destroy your independence, your confidence, your ability to see what’s happening to you, and negative reactions from you so they can blame you. To provoke you into arguments, so you react, so you end up feeling bad and give in to their demands or whatever they can to get you to apologise for. As by this point you are most likely suffering from cognitive dissonance you will be confused, you care, have empathy and feel a need to put things right, we rarely walk away to start with, as we don’t understand what’s happening to us, and will still have all the great memories of the good times with them, because we care about them, we try to fix things, they will then bring intermittent reinforcement of the idealisation period back, so we end up questioning ourselves, even more, they can stop any abuse temporary, and show you how amazing they are, which makes it all the more intense, we believe that as we put more effort in, or apologised to them, it has saved the relationship, leaving us thinking we are to blame, and leaving us more confused when they start to devalue us again, these moments can last, days, weeks, months or years, depending on the narcissist, they will cycle between, idealisation and devaluation, to keep you locked in the relationship, full of self-blame and self-doubt and becoming more confused.
Sometimes they can devalue you while in the idealisation stage. If they find a new target, or if that doesn’t work out, they’ll start the idealisation stage on you again and discard them. If it works out, they’ll discard you.
They might resort to a prevention hoover if they believe you will abandon them and they’ve not got a replacement sorted. So they will give you an amazing and often intense love-bombing period of idealisation. Depending on the type of narcissist, the victim narcissist will most likely use pity plays. Although most narcissists can and will play victim, some will use violence and threats, either overt, “I’ll take the children if you leave.” Or “I’ll make sure nobody sees you again if you leave me.” Or the covert. “Nobody will love you.” Or “I’ll make sure you regret leaving me.”, once they have a replacement sorted, they will most often up and leave you. Some could be a lot more calculated, often using financial resources, to either sweep you off your feet with holidays and cars to keep you hooked or threaten they’ll leave you with nothing if you were to leave them.
At some point, they will leave, as nobody falls in love faster than a narcissist who needs a place to stay or to prove they are not the problem, they often move on fast, finding a replacement before they’ve even ended it with you.
They might triangulate you and the new against each other, either by getting reactions out of you, to help with their smear campaign against you of just how crazy you are, so they get the sympathy from the new and others while getting reactions from you, to match the lies they are telling about you, or they’ll be telling both of you how much they love and care. Yet, the other will not let them go, so you both fight for the attention, as most are often trauma bonded, a narcissistic relationship is highly addictive as it meets all your human needs, as well as chemicals released, the dopamine from the highs, and the cortisol from the lows.
After they have devalued you, they discard you, and in some cases, you might have been thinking things were going well, yet they up and leave, often giving you no closure, leaving the door open for them to come back for the hoover.
Most will try to test the waters to come back for the hoover, to suck you back in.
Then they repeat, with the new person, or with you.
The only way to stop this is by you standing up for yourself and saying no more, getting out safely, getting restraining orders if needed, writing out all the negatives of the relationship, and how it always cycles around to you getting hurt, so when you doubt yourself and want them back read it.
Learning it’s not love you feel. You are addicted to them. Like any addiction, it’s easier to break if you become addicted to something else, become addicted to finding who you are, working on and creating new dreams for you, knowing why you want them, making it a must, filling your time in positive ways with things you love doing for you. Learning to stop people-pleasing just so you’re liked and don’t offend anyone, learning that if you are saying yes to someone else, you’re saying no to you. You need to say no to them and yes to you, nothing wrong with a compromise with those who like you are willing to compromise, those who are not are not worthy of your compromise.
Learning that what others say about you does not define you, writing out all those endless invalidation comments others have made about you, and putting in place your own thoughts, taking good care of your own thinking abilities, you have the powers within your mind to think and feel how you want to, to say no those outside events do not get my attention, no the past is not defining my future, I’m in control of my thoughts and my life now, then go and make your new dreams happen. You can, and you will.
Common patterns of a narcissistic relationship.
What happens to you in a relationship with a narcissist.
Click the links below to join, Elizabeth Shaw – Life Coach on social media, for more information on Overcoming Narcissistic Abuse.
You’re not crazy video.
Help Overcoming your thoughts after narcissistic abuse.