Opinion: The Cycle of Idealization, Devaluation, and Discard in Narcissistic Relationships

Stacy Ann

Photo byMansado Louis/Unsplash

Narcissistic relationships are characterized by a cycle of idealization, devaluation, and discard. This cycle is a pattern of behavior that is used by narcissists to manipulate, control, and exploit those around them. Understanding this cycle can help you to recognize when you are in a relationship with a narcissist and to take steps to protect yourself and your well-being.

The cycle of idealization is the first phase of the narcissistic relationship. During this phase, the narcissist will present themselves as the perfect partner, showering you with attention, compliments, and affection. They may make grandiose promises and tell you that you are the only one who truly understands them. They may also make you feel special and unique and feel like you are the only person who can make them happy.

The second phase of the cycle is the devaluation phase. During this phase, the narcissist's true nature emerges, and they start to criticize, belittle, and undermine you. They may make you feel guilty, ashamed, and responsible for your problems. They may also begin to withdraw their affection and attention, making you feel unimportant.

The final phase of the cycle is the discard phase. During this phase, the narcissist often ends the relationship with little or no warning. They may blame you for the problems in the relationship or make it seem like it was your fault. They may also quickly move on to a new relationship, making you feel replaced and forgotten.

The cycle of idealization, devaluation, and discard can be incredibly damaging and have a lasting impact on your mental, emotional, and physical well-being. The constant manipulation, control, and exploitation can lead to feelings of low self-worth, self-doubt, and anxiety. It can also lead to depression, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and other mental health problems.

It's important to understand that this cycle is not your fault and that you are not to blame for the problems in the relationship. Narcissists have a distorted sense of self and a lack of empathy for others, which makes them incapable of maintaining healthy relationships. It's essential to seek professional help and support and to understand that leaving the relationship is not a weakness but a sign of strength and resilience.

Take steps to protect yourself from falling into the same pattern as someone else. This includes learning about narcissistic personality disorder, healing from past traumas, and identifying red flags in relationships. It's also essential to seek out healthy and fulfilling relationships and to surround yourself with people who respect and support you.

The narcissistic cycle is a behavior pattern. Understanding it can help you recognize when you are in a relationship with a narcissist and take steps to protect yourself from falling in the same situation with someone else down the road.



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