When we start a new relationship, we let a few things go that we might not later. We don’t always set boundaries or recognise so-called ‘red flags’. The adrenaline is just running too high and that is just the way we want it. We want to enjoy this new feeling before routine sets in and the relationship moves into a different phase.
Many of my clients have described this early phase as one where they just did not want to see anything wrong with the person in front of them. Natural perhaps, but later they said they wished they had been a bit more open to being more realistic. Lessons learned. For codependents, this period is extremely difficult. Given their inherent need to fix and give, they will naturally seek out partners who might naturally allow them to do that. These people especially need to be observed more than others and the mantra should certainly be…Is action following words?
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Some years ago I wrote about the three stages of narcissist relationship. This, at the time, resulted in many people contacting me and documenting their experiences of early experiences with potential partners who turned out later to have narcissist tendencies. They were mostly bowled over in the first phase, known as the adulation phase. This is when a narcissist is at the height of his or her power over their victim. They provide everything needed to give the firm belief that their victim has just landed the greatest prize of all. A man or woman who is understanding, giving, loving in an emotional and physical sense, buys gifts and does all the things their victim thought was not possible to find in this world. Why would we worry about the odd time that things don’t look so good ?
Remember…..action always speaks louder than words!!!
Whenever a narcissist attaches themselves to a victim, the first phase full of adulation is a crucial phase for them. They are looking to ‘hook’ the victim so they become pliable and open to being used and manipulated, seen as supply by the narcissist. Why do they need this? A number of reasons….sex, money, increase in self-esteem, anything really as long as it benefits the narcissist. This is why they hide behind the mask until they get it and why it quickly drops to move into the second phase (known as the critical phase, where the narcissist starts to check out emotionally by blaming his or her victim for nearly everything), when he or she its eyeing the next victim and planning the final discard when they can just ghost out of the victim’s life.
This can leave the victim emotionally, financially and physically shot. It is akin to a tornado blasting its way through the victim’s life and the effects can be felt for a long time. Being kissed by a narcissist leaves the victim doubting themselves or their ability to have relationships again. For a codependent, it can be worse. They have given even more than they needed to and feel the effects of being discarded much more. They are generally traumatised after such contact and recovery is much harder and longer.
It is critical that we are very aware of who we are dealing with in this adrenalin fuelled early phase if we are not to be disappointed later on. There are never guarantees but we can do a lot to ensure that we are not going to be manipulated further down the line. How do we do this? Matching action with words in terms of evidence, expecting that action will follow words and allowing ourselves to set boundaries and consequences if this does not happen. Even in the first phase with a narcissist, It is crucial to observe this.
Remember…..action always speaks louder than words!!!
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The trouble is that most people can have some narcissist tendencies or traits.
That in itself does not make them narcissists. Someone with NPD.
The difficulty is finding how much of a person with narcissist traits can you live with and can’t you live with?
There are many people who are willing to put aside those traits, because they concentrate on the more better or positive sides to the person. Everyone is a complex mix, and is molded by their past and their first care-givers as you rightly know.
As well as see if someone’s actions prove their words true and giving the relationship time, I would also say, get to know their background and history with their parents. That will usually tell you all you need to know.
If there has been any kind of abuse in their past, or neglect, abandonment or trauma, then this will more than likely show up in their present life in some way or another. It’s like a ripple effect. And often although the person can manage unhealthy and maladaptive thinking and behaviour with help over time, there will still be areas where they will have certain weaknesses. Although strengths in other areas too. This will often present narcissistic traits and tendencies. But many people actually find those attractive in someone.
Even the fact that many people are therapists, has been borne from trauma and abuse.
The best therapists in my opinion have themselves come from pain, trauma and abuse.
After all, calm seas never made a skilled sailor did they?!