Exploring a Narcissist’s Reactions during Different Stages of a Relationship in Times of Crisis.
Living with or interacting closely with a narcissist can be a challenging and often emotionally draining experience. The captivating cycle of a narcissistic relationship follows stages such as love bombing, devaluation, intermittent reinforcement, discard, and hoovering. This article aims to shed light on how a narcissist typically reacts during each of these relationship stages when faced with a crisis, and the subsequent impact on the individual involved.
Love Bombing Phase – Helpful and Supportive:
The initial stage of a narcissistic relationship, known as love bombing, is characterised by an intense and seemingly perfect connection. During this period, a narcissist will go to great lengths to provide emotional support and appear helpful in any situation, including times of crisis. The narcissist’s primary goal during love bombing is to charm and win over their partner, utilising their empathetic nature as a tool to manipulate emotions. Consequently, their support during a crisis feels genuine and helpful, causing the individual to feel valued and secure.
Devaluation Phase – Abandonment:
Once the narcissist has successfully secured their prey into the relationship, the devaluation phase commences. In this stage, the narcissist gradually begins to reveal their true colours, belittling and devaluing their partner’s contributions, including their support during times of crisis. A narcissist will often dismiss or abandon the individual when they need help the most, emphasising their desire for power and control. Consequently, the individual feels rejected, abandoned, and frustrated, questioning their own worth and place within the relationship.
Intermittent Reinforcement Phase – Helpful Support:
During this stage, the narcissist oscillates between providing sporadic and inconsistent support. They may occasionally display helpful behaviour in crisis situations, attempting to maintain a shred of control over their partner’s emotions. These intermittent displays of support create a sense of false hope within the individual, leading to confusion and emotional turmoil. Furthermore, this intermittently reinforced helpfulness serves as a way for the narcissist to maintain their power and dominance within the relationship.
Discard Phase – Disappearance:
As the relationship deteriorates further, the narcissist reaches a breaking point where they decide to discard their partner. This phase is marked by abrupt disappearances and a complete lack of support during times of crisis. The narcissist no longer views the individual as valuable, leaving them to cope with their struggles alone. The discard phase often leaves the individual feeling devastated, abandoned, and emotionally shattered, as they grapple with the realisation that the support they had once received was merely an illusion.
Hoovering Phase – Helpful with Hidden Motives:
Following the discard phase, the narcissist may attempt to re-establish contact through manipulation tactics known as hoovering. During this period, the narcissist will reemerge, seemingly helpful and responsive to the individual’s needs during a crisis. However, this support is often superficial and driven by the narcissist’s ulterior motives, such as maintaining control or gaining a temporary ego boost. The individual may feel tempted to trust the narcissist’s false promises once again, despite having experienced their harmful behaviour, which can lead to further emotional turmoil and confusion.
Living through the repeated stages of a narcissistic relationship, including the phases of love bombing, devaluation, intermittent reinforcement, discard, and hoovering, can be deeply damaging and distressing during times of crisis. The narcissist’s reactions, shifting from seemingly supportive to completely abandoning, leave the individual feeling rejected, abandoned, and questioning their self-worth. Recognising and understanding these patterns is crucial in breaking free from the cycle of abuse and seeking support and healing.
Click the links below to join Elizabeth Shaw – Life Coach on social media for more information on Overcoming Narcissistic Abuse.
The online courses are available by Elizabeth Shaw.
For the full course.
For the free course.
To help with overcoming the trauma bond and anxiety course.
All about the narcissist Online course.
The narcissists counter-parenting.
Elizabeth Shaw is not a Doctor or a therapist. She is a mother of five, a blogger, a survivor of narcissistic abuse, and a life coach, She always recommends you get the support you feel comfortable and happy with. Finding the right support for you. Elizabeth has partnered with BetterHelp (Sponsored.) where you will be matched with a licensed councillor, who specialises in recovery from this kind of abuse.