The narcissistic abuse cycle is a pattern of behavior that starts and ends in the same way. The abuser will start with charm, then move to devaluation and discard. It might sound like this: “You’re so wonderful! I love you so much!” But when things don’t go their way, they say: “I never loved you. You’re such an idiot.” Narcissists offer gifts and promises but these are just tools to get what they want from others. They enjoy making people feel small and unimportant because it makes them feel powerful.
What Is Narcissistic Abuse?
There’s a lot of confusion about narcissistic abuse, partly because it can be difficult to recognize. Narcissistic abuse doesn’t always involve obvious physical or emotional violence. In fact, the most common form of narcissistic abuse is “psychological violence.” This type of abuse is very bad. It slowly makes the victim not know who they are, and it stops them from feeling good. The abuser looks like they are okay though.
Narcissistic abuse is much more than emotional or verbal bullying (although it can be both). Narcissistic abuse is systemic and pervasive; in fact, victims often don’t even know they’re being abused because narcissistic abusers are so adept at hiding their true intentions.
Stages Of Narcissistic Abuse Cycle
The narcissistic abuse cycle has three stages:
- The Tension-Building Phase: This is the phase where the abuser starts to get irritated and angry. They might start making little comments that seem like they’re just joking but really aren’t. The victim usually doesn’t even realize what’s happening at this point.
- The Explosion Phase: This is the phase where the abuser explodes. They might yell, scream, call the victim names, or even hit them. The victim usually knows they’re in trouble at this point.
- The Honeymoon Phase: After the explosion, the abuser will start to calm down and act like everything is okay again. They might even apologize or make promises to change. The victim usually falls for it and forgives the abuser.
But the cycle always repeats itself because the abuser never really changes. They just get better at hiding their abuse.
Symptoms Of Narcissistic Abuse Cycle
Some narcissistic abuse victims never truly realize they’re being abused because the abuser is so good at hiding their true intentions. But there are some symptoms that you can look out for:
Victims of narcissism feel worthless and like nothing they do matters. People might have trouble making decisions. They might have trouble saying no to things they don’t want to do. They may also have problems with boundaries, meaning that they might give in too easily. This can make them feel like they are the victims of other people’s needs and wants. It is as if they have no choice in what happens to them. They are not used to taking responsibility for their own lives.
It is normal for the victim to blame themselves when something goes wrong between them and their partner. They do not blame their partner or the relationship. This keeps them from leaving and can make it more difficult for them to trust future partners.
Victims often feel like they’re not good enough for other people, including their friends or family members. They will try hard to impress others but just end up feeling worse about themselves in the process. Victims might also be unsure of whether anyone really likes or cares about them.
When someone has been hurt by a narcissistic person, they can have a lot of problems. They might feel like they are not good enough and ashamed. They might also become depressed or anxious and have bad dreams, trouble sleeping, or use alcohol or drugs to feel better for some time. Narcissistic abuse can lead to different addictions as well.
Negative Impact Of Narcissist Abuse
Narcissistic abuse can have a negative impact on victims in many ways. Some of the most common effects include:
- Emotional trauma and PTSD: Victims often experience intense emotional trauma as a result of narcissistic abuse. This can lead to PTSD or other mental health issues.
- Isolation: Narcissistic abusers isolate their victims from friends and family members. They do this in order to control the victim and make them more dependent on the abuser.
- Low self-esteem: Victims of narcissistic abuse often have low self-esteem. This is because the abuser constantly puts them down and makes them feel unworthy.
- Depression: Victims of narcissistic abuse often experience depression as a result of the abuse. This can be due to the emotional trauma they’ve experienced, or because of the way the narcissist has taken control of their life.
- Suicidal thoughts: Narcissistic abuse can cause suicidal thoughts in victims. This is especially common for those who are facing extreme financial, emotional, or physical abuse from the abuser.
- Self-harm: Self-harming behaviors are often a direct result of narcissistic abuse and the intense emotions it causes (such as depression). Other reasons self-harm may occur include feeling out of control or like the only way to get back at the abuser.
- Physical abuse: Some victims are physically abused by narcissistic abusers, especially when they try and leave them. Abusers often become very aggressive when threatened with abandonment (even if it’s just emotional). They may threaten to harm themselves in order to frighten their victims into staying.
- Chronic anxiety and panic attacks: Narcissistic abuse often causes victims to have a lot of anxiety and panic attacks. People may feel like they are always being attacked or something is on their back. This can cause some bad physical symptoms.
- Psychological trauma: Narcissism is characterized by an extreme lack of empathy for others; as such narcissists are generally capable of inflicting psychological trauma on their victims. This can include causing them to feel suicidal, making them distrustful of people, or even leading to permanent personality changes.
- Substance abuse: Some victims of narcissistic abuse turn to substance abuse as a way to cope with the trauma they’ve experienced. This can be very dangerous, as it can lead to addiction or other health problems.
- Eating disorders: Many victims of narcissistic abuse develop eating disorders as a way to cope with the emotional pain they’re feeling. This can be very dangerous and lead to many other health problems.
There are many negative effects of narcissistic abuse that can impact victims in various ways. It’s important for victims to understand that they’re not alone and there is help available.
How To End Narcissistic Abuse Cycle?
The only way to end narcissistic abuse is to leave the relationship. No amount of talking will ever change the abuser. You might want to find friends or family members who can help you. Show them you care about them. Here are some people who care about you: Narcissistic Abuse Support.
The good news is that narcissistic abuse victims are almost never stuck in their situation forever. We have helped thousands of people recover and reclaim their lives. You are not alone.
- Narcissistic abuse is much more than emotional or verbal bullying (although it can be both).
- Narcissistic abuse is a system and it happens a lot. People who are being abused don’t know they’re being abused. The abuser does not want the victim to know what they are doing, so they hide it.
Helping Someone Through Narcissistic Abuse Cycle
If you know someone who is going through narcissistic abuse, here are some ways that you can help:
- Listen without judgment. Let them know it’s okay to feel what they’re feeling.
- Don’t try and fix the problem. This is something the victim needs to do for themselves.
- Encourage them to seek help. Narcissistic abuse victims don’t always know that someone is abusing them and may need someone to point it out.
- Stay positive when you talk about the person who abused you. Even if you are angry or have resentment, be nice. Sometimes it helps to think of the good things they did do for you. The victim will be able to pick up on your emotions and might blame themselves for what is happening.
The cycle of abuse that people who are in love with narcissists can go through is not easy or simple. You might think that the person you are with is your soulmate, but sometimes they are not. Once you know this, it will be easier for you to leave. No one deserves to have this type of treatment. If someone tries to make you think that it is your fault, then do not stay silent. You deserve better than being abused by a narcissistic partner!
A Word From Mantra Care
Your mental health — your psychological, emotional, and social well-being — has an impact on every aspect of your life. Positive mental health essentially allows you to effectively deal with life’s everyday challenges.
Also, at Mantra Care, we have a team of therapists who provide affordable online therapy to assist you with issues such as depression, anxiety, stress, relationship, OCD, LGBTQ, and PTSD. You can take our mental health test. You can also book a free therapy or download our free Android or iOS app.