Narcissistic relationships are characterized in phase one with the target being showered with excessive attention or compliments – anything to sweep her off her feet and lay in the hook. The narcissist becomes hyper-vigilant and does anything it takes to win her over. She thinks for a moment, and recalls that’s exactly how it was in the beginning. The more she pushed him away, the more relentless his pursuit.
He sized her up from the very beginning. He knew her vulnerabilities. She shared her desires and fears with him. She had everything going for her in life, and the only thing missing was someone to share it with – a family. He learned early to mirror himself to be what she wanted. He made himself to be a great family man with custody of his kids. He was the victim of a devilish woman, a raging addict who chose drugs and sex with strangers in the local bar parking lot over her husband and family. He told her he was abandoned by his father as an infant, and he wanted to be the best dad he could be to his kids. “How could this amazing man still possibly be single?” she asked herself.
She was hooked, and it was time for him to knock her off the pedestal.
The devaluation of her – the second stage – began within a month. The mask of the lamb was slowly starting to vanish and the sharp teeth of the wolf started to bite. It happens as fast as one can flick a light switch. She recalls an early incident. When she told him she was going to her friend’s house one Saturday night to watch a movie, he responded, “Are you going out whoring after?” She was shocked by the comment, not really sure how to respond. Just the night before he was texting her pictures of his fireplace and telling her to come cuddle. The next night she is a whore for going to her friend’s house to watch a movie. When she confronted him later, he denied saying it. “I would never say that to you, and if I did, it was just a joke.”
Slowly, he started to instill doubt in her, making her believe conversations never happened and invalidating her feelings by making her out to be too sensitive. It would only continue to get worse.
She remembers the first time she confronted him on a lie. She was leaving on a business trip and had plans to see him, getting blown off at the last minute so he could spend time with his sister. She was not that stupid, and knew that was a lie from the start. He denied and denied, and then brazenly posted a picture on Facebook of himself out with his friends. When she confronted him on the lie, he continued to deny it. “You posted a damn picture on Facebook,” she screamed. “If you’re going to lie, at least be smart about it.” But he quickly threw it back on her – he went at the last minute, he claimed, and did have plans to watch movies with his sister. Then he tried to make her feel bad for being upset by saying his sister had just battled breast cancer, and he was just trying to spend time with her.
The blame shifting had started. He was projecting his guilt for lying on to her, making her feel like a monster because he wanted to spend time with his sister who almost died of cancer. But he had plans all along with his friends – and had it right on his Facebook page. She baited him further into his lie, “You blatantly lied to my face on Friday about your sister because you knew before then you were going out with your friends.” He paused, and then turned the blame to his ex-wife, saying she would get mad at him for doing anything he enjoyed. He had to hide his fishing poles at his friend’s house and leave work in the middle of the day if he wanted to fish for a couple of hours without getting in trouble. “I guess I got scared you would be mad if I went out with my friends because I wasn’t allowed to when I was married.”
Always an answer for everything, and never are they at fault. The lies are someone else’s fault, maybe even your fault – or so goes the life of a narcissist.
Her mind, her sanity, her reality – the destruction of it all was just getting started. He had only thrown a hand grenade. She was about to get a bomb.