This is what MY devaluation looked like: documented on my personal blog.
After the idealization stage, the narcissist begins to notice your “flaws” and blames you for no longer living up to his/her unrealistic image of the “relationship.”
For most mentally & emotionally healthy couples, when the honeymoon stage in the relationship wears off, things begin to fall into a predictable routine. You continue to love and value your partner after the initial euphoria wears off and couples learn how to work together as true partners.
However, in the NPD cycle of abuse, the narcissist realizes their partner doesn’t actually fit their image of the “perfect person” they can constantly extract narcissistic supply from, and no longer see them as having any *value.
*For the narcissist, the value of a person is determined by how well they can fuel the narcissist’s self-image.
As such, the non-stop love and admiration is replaced with on/off, hot-and-cold behavior. This is also the stage when the narcissist begins searching for a new source of supply.
The devaluation phase may include behaviors like:
- Increasing criticism and insults
- Annoyed by your qualities they previously loved or found endearing
- Refuse to clearly communicate
- Increased violation of boundaries
- Withholding physical, emotional, and physical intimacy
- Provoking a reaction, then blaming you for reacting
- Invalidate your feelings
- Change in behavior/habits
- Plants seeds of fear that you can be easily replaced
The mask started cracking…
Narcissists lack a functioning personality. This is why they wear many different “masks” that are appealing to different people. They create a special mask for each target to make themselves the perfect, ONLY option for that particular person.
But since the mask is not real, it’s only a matter of time until the mask inevitably begins to crack.
I started noticing these little cracks as early as a few months into our relationship. However, because I was so neck-deep dancing around in our “perfect” relationship, I brushed off those little peeks into his TRUE IDENTITY as, “he must be having an off day”… “that really made no sense at all, but no big deal”… besides, those little things were so insignificant compared to how “perfect” he was for me.
What I failed to see was that if I put those “little things” into one pile, it would bury his perfectness.
Always trust your gut. ALWAYS.
can mislead, but your is never wrong. We are naturally wired to set off internal warning signals and responses to protect ourselves. Many of us flat out disregard our gut feelings, blaming past painful experiences.
We brush them off thinking we’re being unfair to the person whose actions triggered the alarm… don’t make them feel bad… don’t embarrass them. We second guess ourselves and choose to protect another person’s feelings over our personal safety.
Validation for survivors.
At some point, you’re going to blame yourself for staying in the relationship. Other people will also question, “if it was so bad, why didn’t you just leave?”
Listen… you were tricked into falling in LOVE. Love is the strongest of all human bonds. And because you believed you were in love, you were more easily manipulated by the one you were in love with. This person who made himself out to be someone who truly loved you and promised to look out for you… conditioned you to ignore your intuition – your gut feeling.
You have been manipulated. It’s covert emotional and mental abuse. It’s pretty serious… and you are not to blame for falling in love and trusting the person who “appeared” to love you just as much.
Bottom line is… don’t beat yourself up too much for getting suckered in. If this “scam” was so easy to spot, there wouldn’t be so many websites, professionals, recovery groups, and resources to help people heal from a narcissistic relationship.
What I learned from this stage:
- If you feel that something is off – TRUST YOUR GUT. Insecurities and fear can mislead but your intuition is NEVER wrong.
- My gut repeatedly told me there was something “off” about him… from the very beginning ~ *sigh* I never trusted it, but this experience taught me that my internal warning system was SPOT-ON during this ENTIRE relationship.
- The narcissist’s mask begins to crack very quickly… you just don’t see it right away because
- 1) you’re not looking for it and
- 2) you’re already swimming in his love illusion that you will (un)consciously make excuses for his questionable behavior.
In case you missed it…
ALWAYS ALWAYS TRUST YOUR GUT