Highly skilled manipulators understand how to seduce their prey — even without touching them. They are skilled wordsmiths and psychological puppeteers, pulling the strings every step of the way. They know your love language and they understand how to appeal to everything you want to hear. They open doorways, they take you out on extravagant customs, they take their time with foreplay — both physical and verbal. Their initial chivalry masks their cruelty. Their tenderness is a very persuasive façade due to their cold interior.
The idealization stage can only be described as pure, unadulterated ecstasy — both to the sufferer as well as the predator. Love-bombing — the excessive praise and flattery the predator showers on the victim — might well be crack cocaine. It’s a common manipulation employed by cults to restrain their members and in a relationship with a narcissist, you turn into a one-man cult. Your loyalty to these becomes servile, disturbingly teetering on the border of worship. Plus it’s usually because you’re pursuing their lead.
The goal is groomed to become hooked on the narcissist’s adoring words and affectionate actions — not knowing they are hollow. We start to invest in the predator since they seem to invest in us. They mirror our deepest desires and desires; they even mirror our pursuits, hobbies, and viewpoints. They tantalize us with the promise of a brighter future, a connection where we are profoundly validated and taken care of. We get used to the daily compliments and laser-focused attention. Sex with the narcissist throughout the idealization stage is explosive — filled with just the right amount of tenderness and aggression — the narcissist knows precisely how to bring us into greater heights. It’s because theyrsquo;t researched what we like and have learned to mimic it. Little do we know, gender will afterwards be utilized as ammunition.
During idealization and love-bombing, our place on the base is secure and complete. We become the center of the narcissist’s world — or so we think. Really, they become the center of ours as we strive to measure up to the ideal image they have of us. They make us feel like God, only to appeal to their own God complex.
On the way, we deepen our investment because the bond feels really special and distinctive. We believe we’We met our soulmate, our other half, ourldquo;twin flame. ” What we’ve really met is somebody who’d burn us to ashes without a second glance if it meant getting everything they wanted. This link is heightened in a way that needs our attention on a physical, religious as well as biochemical level — and we know it, we start to rely on this new person for survival. And that is when the danger begins.
Within even the best period of idealization, there are tiny moments of fame and fleeting red flags. Predators will always ‘test’ the bounds of their victims early on — with provocative remarks made to make the sufferer doubt their senses. There will always be slippings of the mask at which we receive a terrifying view of the authentic self.
Nevertheless these are so scarce in this stage we are led to doubt whether we’ve seen anything in any way. During love-bombing, the luckiest of survivors pick up about the cracks in the narcissist’s mask and see the empty shell under — and they do not attempt to rationalize or resolve the shattered pieces. They are able to leave with their sanity and savings intact — they are able to leave, still whole. The remainder move onto the devaluation stage, to be tattered and broken.
An adept emotional predator knows how to exploit a goal’s strengths as well as his or her weaknesses. From the very start of the connection, theyrsquo;re taking a list of the qualities you have that would enable them to exploit you. That usually means they’re not only zooming in on your exposure, they’re also preying on your resilience and empathy — your skill to bounce back as well as your capability to sympathize with their excuses for poor behavior.
When devaluation begins, it’s not necessarily surprising. In reality, it can be like a gunshot from the dark or even a quiet murmur from the corner. You simply ‘feel’ that something has changed, but you’re not sure why, how, where, or even when. Your lover stops accepting your calls. They draw without an explanation. You see them interacting with other people in a playful, flirtatious way — in the same way they used to behave with you. They praise others the way they used to praise you. The coveted partnership you two used to share appears to have been displaced onto another replacement goal (or multiple targets) — somebody who’s now on the receiving end of the flattery and focus you cherished.
Meanwhile, you seem to be on the receiving end of their criticism, their harsh insults, their never-ending rage attacks. The amount of disappearances, discrepancies and conspicuous evidence of adultery start to climb. When they pull away, they pull with full force — and they enjoy seeing your humiliation when you pine for them. They enjoy knowingly provoking you to react, making you out to become the crazy one. And they love bringing in others to the dynamic of the relationship — whether they’re friend, foe, ex, or stranger.
Then there is the stone-cold silence after stonewalling you during discussions. The narcissist’s silent treatment is deafening — and it hurts, literally. You feel an invisible, solid wall placed between you two — it’s an inexplicable sense of being trapped yet tethered. You ache for the person you had assembled in your mind — somebody he or she was all too happy to depict for a short period of time.
However, the man or woman you love does not exist. And this is a painful fact for — let alone somebody who has a high level of investment from the connection — to swallow.
Targets who are devalued are ripped to shreds from the verbal and emotional battery imposed by their narcissistic partners. Their psyche is infiltrated with disempowering belief systems and messages about their worthiness. They reside daily in a perpetual battle — a power struggle that never seems to finish. They try not to internalize the criticism and blame, but they feel ashamed about being treated so viciously. This is not a shame that is theirs to carry — it goes to their perpetrators. However they believe it down to their bones. It burdens them on sleepless nights and during countless tired times. Throughout the vicious cycle, pain is periodically mixed with pleasure. Victims are overjoyed at getting crumbs of focus from their abusers — just to be ruined by blow after blow.
People who have the ability to endure the devaluation phase unfortunately move onto the last stage (though, to be honest, there’s absolutely no such thing as a ‘closing’ stage to a narcissist, who never seems to allow her or his victims go).
People who are able to escape and ‘discard’ the perpetrator first do not really escape, since they tend to be stalked and harassed even years afterwards by the vindictive narcissist.
People who are lost suffer a horrible injury as well — they are pummeled by the narcissist’s cruel and ruthless indifference since they are seemingly rejected and disposed of by somebody they thought loved them. After having their body, soul and mind violated, used, destroyed, they are subsequently subjected to the greatest betrayal. They are left in a way that leaves no closed. The drop is staged in a means that is excessively painful and embarrassing for the victim. Perhaps it occurs in people, or happens soon after the narcissist has galivanted off using their new sufferer. Perhaps it’s accompanied with a sickening twist of events, an unraveling of shocking truths about the extent of the narcissist’s betrayals or an especially violent rage attack. However it happens, it’s merciless and calculated to destroy.
Supporters of narcissistic abuse are often brought to their knees and left blindsided by the narcissist’s death. They are depleted, drained, belittled, diminished. They are left with more questions than answers, more uncertainty than certainty. Many fall into depression, spells of stress, and endure the symptoms of injury. Some even perpetrate suicide or get close to the precipice of death. If they are not familiar with or well-versed concerning the cycle of abuse, they have a propensity to blame themselves to be mistreated, not realizing this cancerous predator has only squeezed them dry.
If the victim survives the drop, the only route left would be the long road to recovery. That is, unless they get entangled in the narcissist’s games once more and squeezed back to the traumatic vortex of the connection. If that’s the case, the cycle only begins.