The Narcissistic Abuse Cycle

The Narcissistic Abuse Cycle

The narcissistic abuse cycle is a vicious and damaging pattern of behavior that is all too common in relationships where one partner is a narcissist.

This cycle can be difficult to break free from, but it is possible with the right help and support.

It's important to recognize the signs of the narcissistic abuse cycle so that you can understand what is happening in your relationship and take steps to protect yourself.

Let's take a closer look at the narcissistic abuse cycle and try to understand further. 

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What is the Narcissistic Abuse Cycle?

The narcissistic abuse cycle is a pattern of behavior that is common in relationships where one partner is a narcissist. 

This cycle can be difficult to break free from, but it is possible with the right help and support.

It typically consists of three phases: idealization, devaluation, discarding and hovering. 

Idealization

In the idealization phase, the narcissist puts their partner on a pedestal and worships them.

They will make them feel like they are the most special and important person in the world.

This can be a very intoxicating feeling, and it is often what keeps people in the relationship despite the red flags that may be present.

Devaluation

However, the idealization phase will not last forever. 

Eventually, the narcissist will begin to devalue their partner.

They may start to nitpick at them and find fault in everything they do.

Some examples are:

  • You're never good enough
  • You're not pretty/smart/successful enough
  • You're not doing things the right way
  • You're not meeting their needs


They may also begin to withdraw their affection and love.

This can be a very confusing and painful experience for the victim as they try to figure out what they did wrong.

Discarding

The final phase of the narcissistic abuse cycle is discarding. 

This is when the narcissist completely breaks off the relationship and leaves their partner feeling worthless and abandoned.

Examples of how this can look are:

  • The narcissist will abruptly break up with their partner and leave them without any explanation
  • The narcissist will cheat on their partner and then blame them for it
  • The narcissist will ghost their partner and completely disappear from their life


They may do this abruptly or they may gradually withdraw over time. 

Either way, the victim is left feeling confused, hurt, and alone.

Hovering

After the relationship has ended, the narcissist may try to hover their victim back into the relationship.

They may do this by reaching out and being overly charming or loving. 

This can be a very confusing and difficult experience for the victim, as they may still have feelings for the narcissist.

Some examples of how this looks are:

  • "I'm sorry for everything, I miss you so much. I promise to change, just please come back."
  • "I know we had some problems but I can't stop thinking about you. I still love you."
  • "You're the only one who really understands me. I need you."


It is important to remember that the narcissist is only doing this because they want something from you, and they will eventually move on to someone else once they have what they want.

What are the Effects of the Narcissistic Abuse Cycle?

This can have a devastating effect on the victim. It can cause them to doubt themselves, their worthiness, and their sanity.

They may feel like they are never good enough and that they will never be loved.

Some examples of how this looks are:

  • believing you are the reason for all of the narcissist's problems
  • feeling like you can never do anything right
  • feeling like you are not good enough or worthy of love
  • doubting your own sanity
  • feeling isolated and alone
  • feeling confused and unable to think clearly

This can lead to a spiraling of negative emotions such as shame, guilt, and self-loathing.

The victim may also develop anxiety, depression, and post-traumatic stress disorder.

How Can I Break Free From the Narcissistic Abuse Cycle?

The first step to breaking free from the cycle is to recognize that you are in one.

This can be difficult, as the narcissist will have gaslighted you into thinking that it is all your fault. 

However, once you realize what is happening, you can begin to take steps to change the dynamic of the relationship.

One Step is to Establish Boundaries With the Narcissist

One step is to establish boundaries with the narcissist. 

This means setting clear limits on what you will and will not tolerate from them.

It is important to be assertive in this, as the narcissist will try to push your boundaries. 

You may need to get help from a friend or family member to do this.

Seek Professional Help to Learn the Best Methods

You may need to seek professional help to break free.

This is because it can be difficult to do on your own.

A therapist can help you to understand what is happening and why, and they can provide you with the support and tools you need to change the dynamic of the relationship.

You can find great help online in telehealth therapy options with narcissistic abuse counselors.

FAQs

What is the narcissistic abuse cycle?

It is a pattern of behavior that is often seen in relationships where one person has a narcissistic personality disorder. It typically consists of four phases: idealization, devaluation, discarding, and hoovering.

What are the effects?

It can have a devastating effect on the victim. It can cause them to doubt themselves, their worthiness, and their sanity. They may feel like they are never good enough and that they will never be loved. This can lead to a spiraling of negative emotions such as shame, guilt, and self-loathing. The victim may also develop anxiety, depression, and post-traumatic stress disorder.

Disclaimer

This information in this article should be used only for informational purposes. 

This content should not be a substitute for official medical advice. 

If you need help please talk to a licensed professional, such as a therapist or doctor. 

They can help you get the tools you need to navigate your mental health journey.

Conclusion

The narcissistic abuse cycle is a destructive pattern of behavior that can have a devastating effect on the victim.

If you think you may be in a relationship with a narcissist, it is important to seek professional help to learn how to best protect yourself and break free from the cycle.

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