The Three Stages of Narcissist Relationships : A Roller-Coaster Ride

Narcissists are the proverbial Jekyll and Hyde characters, one way one moment, one way the next. A roller-coaster ride for anyone involved with them. When we become involved in a new relationship, a need to bond and connect with others is usually the main reason, leading hopefully to love. However, narcissists have their own reasons for connecting with others that has nothing to do with love. The simple reason being they are incapable of love and normal connection with others. The paradox is that narcissists need others more than anyone. Their sole source of self esteem and self-worth comes from the admiration of their victims but they walk the constant tightrope between needing others and needing to be left alone. They have a massive void within them that can only be filled by sucking their victims dry. They enter into relationships being completely self absorbed and not caring about the needs of others. They do need to make sure, however that someone is always available for them ( on their terms) for sex, admiration or whatever they need before they disappear again, emotionally or physically. Anyone who has had the misfortune to be involved with a narcissist can probably define three clear phases that repeat themselves over and over, sometimes in the same relationship and sometimes with new victims.

Stage One : Over Evaluation: The Illusion is Created

Narcissists are very choosy. They choose their victims carefully and their choice is usually based on such things as status, wealth, influence or ability. The victims are usually attractive and popular. The more of this the victim has, the greater the value of the supply for the narcissist. Narcissists are great observers at this stage. They place their victims on a pedestal and make sure that they get everything they need in the way of care, loving and attention. They idolize, worship them and make the victim feel that they have been waiting all their life for this person to appear. The victim might actually believe that the narcissist is in love with them, but this is infatuation. The relationship moves quickly based on the promises that the narcissist makes. The victim, being so wrapped up in all the attention coming their way, happily moves along with it, not believing their luck that this person is in their life. They have fallen for the illusion created by the narcissist and it leaves them totally unprepared for what is to follow.

Stage Two :  Devaluation : True Colors

This is the phase when the narcissist starts to show their true self. Once they are confident that the victim’s love and devotion has been secured, the narcissist’s false self portrayed in the first phase starts to disappear and the true self starts to emerge. Many victims start to wonder at this stage what is going wrong as the narcissist starts to emotionally and physically withdraw from the victim. The truth is that the narcissist has become bored and the void is starting to open up again. The narcissist starts to question the victims worthiness, blaming them for the moods and agitation the narcissist displays. The narcissist starts to emotionally abuse their victim, leaving them an emotional wreck and it often results in the narcissist leaving. The victim usually tries all they can to hold onto the narcissist, giving them the benefit of the doubt, hoping the illusion will reappear. Unknown to the victim, the narcissist feeds off the victim’s misery as much as admiration, either emotion keeps the victim hooked. The cruel, uncaring individual emerges from behind the mask as a true reflection of the narcissist. They will take no responsibility for their actions and have no compassion for their victim..they simply do not care how their victim is or how they are feeling. Victims are often at a loss at this stage to understand what happened and even more confusing is when the narcissist reappears occasionally with the false self in view, hoping to tap into the supply once again. This will continue until it suits them to stop it. The victim was never anything but an object , to be discarded and thrown away at the convenience of the narcissist. At this stage, the narcissist is probably already targeting their next victim, ignoring the previous victim completely or the victim has started to place healthy boundaries around themselves. Either way , the result is the same.

Stage Three : Discard 

Being involved with a narcissist is like having a tornado blow its way through your life. Once it has died down, you are left with a mess. Emotionally, financially and sometimes physically, the victim has suffered greatly. It is incredible how quickly a narcissist can leave their victim and pull away, airbrushing the victim out of their lives completely, separating anything that held them together and completely ignoring the victim. At this stage, victims are asking “did he or she really love me?”. The answer is no. Victims are only a means of narcissistic supply, a resource to be discarded when spent. Once this happens, the victim is quickly thrown away, abruptly, without warning and with surgical precision. This is a traumatic phase for the victim who has likely had their self-esteem shot to pieces, been made to carry all responsibility for the narcissist and usually has to watch the scenario playing itself over again with the new victim. It is important for victims to realize that they were initially targeted by a con-artist and could not have done anything differently. The narcissist that breezed in and out of your life will do this with everyone they meet. They usually have a past full of similar victims and the future will be the same. The one thing that is essential is to close all doors because the narcissist will always reserve the right to revisit an old source of supply, when it suits them.


20 Thoughts

  1. This is spot on. The evil of not having compassion, empathy make man an animal, heartless, a,predator of sorts.

    My daughter has three children by one of these pukes.

    They are very fragile though. I keep him off balance by upsetting his Ego.

    They lie, exaggerate their importance at every chance. They hate to be laughed at,,ridiculed, lectured like they are incompetent.

    I actually tell him I do not listen to your words, I watch your behavior. Mhe hates that.
    Words of superiority are his his only weapon with me. Frustration is what he feels when he crosses my path.

  2. I don’t entirely agree with this. My experience has been that like all people, narcissists are filled with voids, hidden by a false self; or ego. Their ego desires to be like the visage of the people they love, or profess to love. They actually do love their ‘victims’, as much as anyone filled with loss is able to love. However, when they are unable to fulfill their own expectations to be like the people they love, they begin to hide the good parts of themselves; the perceived shame of not being able to attain the qualities of those they admire consume them until they retreat fully from the relationships they have created.

    That is about fear and vulnerability.

    In this, there are simple ways to deal with narcissistic people, and that is to describe their behaviors to them; to reflect their negative traits to them, and to be honest about the flaws that everyone shares. Narcissists are victims too, of past experiences where they have been used by their parents, or other loved ones. Vulnerability and insecurity are at the core of their behaviors, and I have found that destabilising their false egos works to promote positive relationships.

    Everybody deserves love and everyone can find ways to have healthy relationships.

    1. Hmmm..while I applaud your positive comments, I would heartily disagree with the idea of narcissists and “love”. It is manipulated love at best in order to “hook” their victim. I have been a therapist for over 25 years, dealing with victims of narcissist abuse and while lots of different things come to mind, love is not one of them…narcissists live in a world where they take and discard when they are finished. Try telling countless abuse victims that their narcissist ex “loved” them as they are trying to put their lives together afterwards.

      1. I dated a N on and off for six years complete hell. I left him after three years after he cheated, I ceased all contact he came back to me telling me that I was the only one he ever loved(he never once used the words I love you in the previous three years) he also told me to never block contact with him ever again. The last two and half years have been complete hell. Looking back on it He couldn’t handle me leaving him after he cheated he had to get back at me and bring me to the lowest of all lows and to fully discard me in the worst way possible.I would find him looking at dating websites, checking out other woman, woman texting him so on and so forth he could never be accountable and always had an excuse. I lost my shit so in turn it looked like I was crazy he finally found a new target and has given me the silent treatment, which in all honesty is the best thing for me. I had no idea I was dealing with a Full blown Narcissists, I am in therapy and the way he has left my mind set is terrible, He sucked all my joy and love for life out of my soul. You are so right when you say they don’t love. They are pure evil, egotistical assholes.

    2. Wow, that attitude makes you perfect prey for one of these animals.

      Naieve I would describe your attitude.

      Damn I face two of them and this attitude exposed me and my family to repeated harm.

      1. I am neither naieve nor prey, but rather a person from an ancient culture that has positve frameworks to deal with negative social behaviors. As a Maori person, I don’t discard people I love.

        Believe me, I get you. I have been through the wringer with a very narcissistic person. I know the struggle. At the same time, however, helping that person move beyond their learned behaviors has had a profoundly positive impact. I imagine how much easier it would have been to walk away.

        There is always resolve; there are no dead ends; and, good futures take work and patience.

        I am sorry you and your family were hurt by nasty people, but don’t let them limit the love that YOU can give.

      2. Oh, I applaud your heart, also.

        It is like taking a wild animal, a chimpanzee as a pet

        One day it may eat your face

        I am free more available to support more people from my space

        Awareness is not to be ignored

        From another culture wow great

        That will not protect you

  3. I have been with a N person for over 3 years and everything that is said here exactly happened to me. He lied, he exaggerated everything he used and abused me, he called me names, but he never hit me. Everything was my fault i could never do anything right, he went from cold to warm in minutes it was a roller coaster since you never know what you did wrong that upset him, and yes the weekly, monthly silent treatment or accusations omg all the time. Every time I wanted to leave he would not let me, either he would threaten me or he would put the sweet I love I will die without you mask on, and of course you feel trapped and you stay and hope he will change but he doesn’t, the cycle repeats it self, he goes from loving you next minute to hating you and calling you names etc. He finally let go of me after 3.5 years when I have stopped giving into his demands and stopped giving him any praise or attention he found a new victim and left me. Which now I understand was a blessing for me. Imagine I would have married him. I feel so sorry for his next victim and the victims after. One thing I have learned is they do never change and they do not care about anyone else but them self. I always thought he was just an egoist, after reading so many articles I can see clearly he was just a N. I am glad its over. It has been only a week but the emotional break up has happened long time ago that is why I do not feel so much pain anymore, since I always knew something was wrong, this is not how you treat a loved one but I could never pinpoint what the issue was. Now I feel much better because I have always blamed myself for everything, now I know none of it was ever my fault. You just cant please a N or can ever love him enough, nothing is ever good enough for a N.

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