Most things in life are a cycle.
This is especially so in abusive relationships.
While they can be unpredictable, for the most part they go in a repeatable cycle. I’ve shared a lot about the Cycle of Abuse before, but this is particularly the cycle of Narcissistic Abuse.
This is important to recognize because I was stuck in this cycle over and over again with more than one person. Recognizing the cycle can help you to see what’s happening so you don’t get trapped again.
The stages of the cycle are:
I’m going to dig deep into each of these below, but remember that this doesn’t cover every aspect of the cycle, this is just an overview.
This is where they seem like the PERFECT person. Flowers, compliments, so many fun dates. They figure out exactly what you like and give you everything.
According to GoodTherapy.org, “The emotional high can feel like a drug cocktail as potent as cocaine, heroin, and ecstasy, all rolled into one noxious dose that lasts a few weeks, months, or in some cases a year or slightly more. Targets of narcissistic abuse report feeling as if they have found their soulmate and can’t believe their good fortune that this seductive courtesan has elevated them to soaring heights upon a pedestal.”
They put you down and literally pull value away from you. They aim your self worth and take shot after shot.
You as the victim begin to notice red flags and it becomes clear that they’re losing control over you. They begin to make you think that they’re the only person who will ever be there for you.
“You’re so lucky I put up with you.” and other phrases are used to make you think that no one else will ever put up with you.
Another goodtherapy.org quote: “This may happen via putdowns, gaslighting, intermittently lacking emotional or physical intimacy, withdrawing affection, seductive withholding, inexplicably disappearing from contact, or blaming the target for the narcissistic person’s issues (projection).”
Projection is an important piece here because they’ll put their thoughts, feelings, thoughts, and anything they feel guilty about on you, blaming you for it. Everything becomes your fault.
Discarding is what happens when the narc, for lack of a better word, gets bored. They realize that you’re not providing the ego boost that you used to.
GoodTherapy.org for the win again: “When the target asks for compromise, reciprocity, empathy, integrity, honesty, and boundaries (all healthy and valid requests that people with extreme narcissistic qualities generally do not engage in), the person with narcissism may decide that the target has lost his or her luster and is tarnished—no longer the “perfect partner” to fluff the ego feathers.”
But this can also happen because they’re not getting the rush that they used to get. They have to get a new supply.
This can happen over time or very suddenly. In some cases they secure the new supply before they end things completely.
The biggest thing to remember here is that when this happens IT’S NOT YOUR FAULT.
It took me a long time to see it, but I look back and realize that being discarded was the biggest gift I was given. I’ve got my life back now and there’s not enough money in the world to get me to go back to that place.
Healing and recovery truly is possible. You’ve got this, boo.
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