You just scheduled an appointment with Roberson’s Plumbing and Septic to fix your leaky faucet when you get a call from your partner. They seem agitated with you, and you aren’t sure where it’s coming from. Yet, you’ve noticed they’ve changed over the last few weeks. They used to be so kind and caring, and now it’s like they’re someone else. Your friend told you that your partner might be a narcissist.
If your partner is a narcissist, expect a long, painful road ahead if you decide to stay with them. Here are the 4 phases of a narcissistic relationship so you can know what to expect. Our advice is to leave before you get in too deep.
Phase 1: Idealization
The first phase of a narcissistic relationship, known as the idealization phase, is often the sneakiest. This is where the narcissist reels you in with all their charm and charisma. They’ll make you feel like the world’s most important person. The relationship typically moves incredibly quickly, as the narcissist wants to possess you as soon as possible.
Signs You’re in the Idealization Phase:
- The narcissist will tell you they love you early.
- The narcissist might want to move in quickly.
- The narcissist will shower you with compliments and gifts.
- The narcissist will love bomb
Phase 2: Devaluation
The next phase of a narcissistic relationship is the devaluation phase. It depends on the narcissist, but this phase usually happens about 2 months into the relationship. However, it can happen as early as a few weeks or not until a year later. It usually occurs once the narcissist feels they have control over you. Once they feel they have you trapped, they start to devalue you. They are an entirely different person than who you first met, and this could make it incredibly confusing and emotionally exhausting for you.
Signs You’re in the Devaluation Phase:
- The narcissist emotionally, verbally, or even physically abuses you.
- The narcissist pulls you away from your friends and family.
- The narcissist gaslights you, making you question your reality.
- The narcissist manipulates you into thinking you’re the problem.
- The narcissist will not take any accountability for their actions.
Phase 3: Discard
One of the most painful phases of the narcissistic relationship is the discard phase. This phase occurs once the narcissist has either found a new “supply,” is no longer interested in you after you’ve been depleted by them, or when you’ve finally had enough of their treatment. This is where the narcissist works to get rid of you, as they no longer find a need for you in their lives. Seeing as narcissists can’t experience empathy, you’ll notice they turn incredibly cold toward you.
Signs You’re in the Discard Phase:
- The narcissist no longer tries to feign feelings or emotions towards you.
- The narcissist ghosts you or gives you silent treatment.
- The narcissist seeks out attention from someone else.
- The narcissist makes it impossible for you to stay with them.
Phase 4: Hoover
The last phase of a narcissistic relationship is the hoover phase. Once the narcissist has discarded you, they won’t be comfortable staying out of your life for long. Narcissists are known to have control problems, and as soon as they feel you’re moving on, they will try and reel you back in with love-bombing or promises of change.
Signs You’re in the Hoover Phase:
- The narcissist stalks you on social media.
- The narcissist keeps reaching out to you.
- The narcissist keeps tabs on you through mutual friends or family.
- The narcissist promises they’ve changed to try and get you back.
If you believe you’re in a relationship with a narcissist, you should seek the help of a professional. This type of relationship can be incredibly harmful to your mental and physical health, and it’s crucial that you get the support you need to move past it.