The cycle of an abusive narcissist who is controlling, manipulative, and emotionally, psychologically, and/or physically abusive follows a similar pattern of abuse as a classic abuser. The skin and bones change, but the stories are very familiar. It is extremely frightening and mind numbing to be in the grips of a classic abusive narcissist.
The cycle of the abusive narcissist is as follows:
- Adoration, Love bombing, compliments galore, showering with gifts. We really feel like a princess. We feel like we are joined with our soulmate.
- Tension starts to build. Subtle “suggestions for improvement”. Name calling. Criticism. Public humiliation disguised as joking. Provoking arguments. Simmering anger/explosions. We start to walk on egg shells.
- More exertion of control and abuse. Outrageous behavior that we may attempt to mitigate and control (flirting, gambling, addictions, abusive treatment). Blaming everyone and everything. Isolating the victim. No personal responsibility or accountability for any actions. Threatening to leave. No empathy. Silent treatment as punishment. Gaslighting. We start to think we are going crazy.
- Calm. The abusive narcissist apologizes. Makes excuses and says “It won’t happen again – you just provoked me.” Makes promises. May pretend the abuse did not happen. Brings gifts. We start to feel relief and justify his actions. “I need to help him. I need to act better. I need to save him. I need to be more responsible. I need to love him more.”
We go to great lengths to avoid the truth. We often ignore the reality of what is literally staring us right in the face. The truth is we think if we don’t acknowledge the reality and don’t listen to our inner voice – we think we can trick and fool ourselves into thinking it isn’t actually happening.
It is called denial. We make excuses. We justify the unjustifiable.
The final breaking point for me came when the spaces between each stage in the cycle of the abusive narcissist began to get shorter and shorter. The phases started to come closer together and it became more difficult for my mind to trick the voice inside of me that was screaming for my full attention and trying to save me.
This is when I finally decided I needed to save myself. Freedom and peace. There is nothing like it.