Narcissist Relationship Patterns

It’s never a good idea to get involved in a relationship with a narcissist.

In fact, you’d most likely avoid it if you could. In general, most narcissists follow similar patterns in the development of their relationships.

If you know what to look for, you can spot these patterns early to get out before the narcissist can do you harm.

Since narcissism has its foundations in shame, those with this disorder are emotionally damaged and don’t feel like they can have a relationship based on their own merits.

Because of this, the narcissist will manipulate you as a way to control you to stay in that relationship.

You can’t change a narcissist, so if you notice any of these signs in your relationship, it’s important to get out quickly and to cut off all contact to keep yourself safe.

Just remember that anyone can fall for a narcissist. No matter how clever or perceptive you may be, a narcissist is very smart and will not show any red flags, at least not at first.

The Idealization Stage

This is the time when the narcissist will make you feel special, different, and worthy of love.

The narcissist is special

Larger than life, this person portrays a uniqueness that is quite captivating. He or she stands out from the crowd in some way.

This individual may have a special feature that is used like a bait to hook you and drag you in.

Whatever it is, the narcissist will have you wondering how you got his or her attention, but you like it. You may notice character flaws at this point, but they may seem insignificant or changeable.

A slight vulnerability will throw you off so that you only focus on what this person is trying to show you.

During this stage, you may notice that this person has an inflated sense of self-importance, a sense of entitlement, and a need for constant admiration from others.

No matter how good this person may seem otherwise, if he or she shows these signs, you can avoid the heartache of a painful relationship by walking away at this point.

He or she puts you on a pedestal

When the narcissist is pursuing you, he or she will make you feel special.

This individual will try to be in constant contact with you, wanting to know everything about you, both good and bad.

He or she will seem to always say the right thing at the right time.

The narcissist will tell you the things that you’ve been missing in every other relationship that you’ve always longed to hear.

He or she may give you gifts or show up at your workplace just to say hi.

These little tactics work very well but are simply forms of manipulation designed to draw you in and make you vulnerable.

Be wary when the narcissist wants to know all of the bad things that have happened to you in your life.

He or she will either use this information as an opportunity to help you overcome these issues to be the hero, or he or she will use this knowledge against you later on in the relationship.

Additionally, while the narcissist will treat you like royalty, watch how the individual treats others. If he or she treats others poorly, you’re most likely dealing with a narcissist.

The relationship progresses quickly

A narcissist will say “I love you” fairly quickly into the relationship.

While you may not be completely sure how you feel at this point, the relationship is so good that you’ll reciprocate to avoid hurting the narcissist’s feelings or to make sure you don’t lose this person.

He or she may talk about your future together or may claim you’re his or her soulmate.

The narcissist will love bomb you constantly, making you believe that you’re perfect.

It’s at this point that everything may seem too good to be true. This, in itself, should be a red flag for you. If you feel that things are moving too fast, then they probably are.

At this point, you may want to step back though the narcissist won’t take things slower. If this is the case, you should walk away from the relationship instead of making yourself uncomfortable.

The narcissist is vulnerable

One of the ploys that the narcissist will use to keep you in the relationship is vulnerability.

He or she will tell you stories of how this individual was abused or traumatized in the past that make this person the way he or she is in an effort to give him or her a pass on any bad behavior that may creep up during this point.

The Devaluation Stage

Once the narcissist knows that he or she has you hooked into the relationship, the changes will begin.

The narcissist may actually warn you

As a part of the narcissist’s game, he or she may give you subtle warnings about what’s to come.

This person knows what he or she is doing and may feel that if you stay despite these warnings, then you deserve what you get.

However, because they’re generally phrased as a way to make you look better than this person, these phrases may seem endearing or make the narcissist look a bit insecure.

While many people say things like “you’re too good for me” or “you can do better,” these are probably the truest statements that you’ll hear from a narcissist.

If you hear these or similar phrases quite often, don’t give this person constant reassurance, but take them as the warnings that they are, and get away.

He or she will pull away

You’ll begin to spend less time with the narcissist as he or she starts to disappear from your life more and more.

This will seem to happen literally out of nowhere. It may begin to appear that this person has broken up with you without telling you when, all of a sudden, he or she will reappear in your life.

The narcissist may act like nothing is wrong or that he or she had some things that needs to be taken care of.

In the alternative, this person may beg your forgiveness and promise you the moon before abandoning you yet again.

During this time, many narcissists will pursue other love interests while stringing you along when the excitement of the new conquest fades.

Remember, if this person wanted to spend time with you, then he or she would. By this point, the narcissist has no intention of fully going back to the way things were.

The on-and-off nature of the relationship will keep you longing for more, just like an addict. This might be a good time to count your losses and let go before more damage can be done.

You feel like you did something wrong

You’ll long for the attention that the narcissist once gave you.

By now, your self-esteem may be affected, and you may believe that you must have done something wrong in order for your partner to treat you this way.

You’ll spend time pursuing the relationship, trying to regain what you once had.

You may even promise to change or be better to make this person stay, but the more you pursue him or her, the more he or she will avoid you.

Take a look at your relationship.

It’s likely that you haven’t done anything wrong. At this point, you need to recognize that you’ve been played by a narcissist. No matter how much it hurts, it’s time to let go before more abuse occurs.

The belittling and blaming begins

The narcissist may begin cutting you down and blaming you for his or her behavior.

This only validates the wrongful belief that you have that it’s all your fault. This person may make you think you’re overreacting, being too sensitive, or going crazy.

The individual will claim that he or she wouldn’t have to act this way if only you’d be different. This is just a tactic that a narcissist will use to avoid taking responsibility.

By now, you’ve probably caught the narcissist in several lies. The relationship will never be the same because this person will no longer be able to fool you like he or she once did.

Once the narcissist’s thrill is gone, the relationship is basically over.

The Discard Stage

Whether the narcissist actually leaves you or makes the relationship completely miserable for you depends on if this person feels that he or she can gain more from being with you or if he or she would do better finding a new victim.

The abuse may intensify, all while you may be clinging to the image you had of this person in the beginning. At this point, you need to know that the image you hold is a person that never truly existed.

This was a mask, a fake image designed to get you into a relationship with this person.

If you’ve stayed this long with the narcissist, it’s time that you take a good look at who this person really is and know that the relationship is toxic and harmful.

You need to get out and cut off all contact to prevent the narcissist from using his or her manipulation tactics to try to get you back or keep you hanging on.

Can a gifted therapist help you too?

If you struggle with anxiety, depression, high-stress levels, relationship issues, or other specific challenges, one-on-one support from a therapist can help a lot.

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