Prince Charming has successfully love bombed the hell out of you making you feel worshipped and adored beyond your wildest dreams. You’ll do anything for him and he starts demanding it from you. As the idealization buzz wears off, you discover another side to this person you’re now fully invested in. His “dark side” is addicted to filling his own endless supply, whether it be through drugs, alcohol, sex, or attention from external sources. You have entered the second phase of Narcissistic Abuse.
Stage 2: Devaluation
To conceal their perceived “badness”, narcissists have an insatiable appetite for positive attention and are always on the hunt for external things to fill this supply. In the beginning, it’s you. Your adoration for him was well earned through the love bombing phase and you pour it out for him every chance you get. But as the relationship naturally progresses and you become complacent, he sees it as rejection. While emotionally healthy people know that this is a natural part of any relationship, Narcs need that constant supply and start looking in other places to find it.
You cannot fulfill your independent needs, or maintain healthy boundaries if you are constantly filling their supply, but he will push you to keep trying, and you will… until you break.
My Breaking PoiNT
I remember laying next to him in bed one night, thinking, it’s got to be either him or me… and I’ll never choose me as long as I’m with him. I knew nothing about Narcissism back then, but two years into my marriage, this is what I wrote:
There is another side to my husband. A side that he embraced before I came along. A side that is over indulgent and compulsive. From sex to substances, it’s as if he can never get enough. He tells me I’m enough but we continue to argue over my boundaries. Over time, drunken nights have corroded our relationship. He’s shown this side to some of his friends and family who have voiced concerns, but I’m the only one who has seen the truly dark side. This side of my husband comes out when he is blacked out drunk and he never remembers it. This side seems to have an extreme hatred and it began to turn on me.
Not only do I not know how to love both sides of my husband, I’m losing myself once again in trying. Each time, I offer solutions and I trust that it won’t happen again, that things will change, it happens again. Each time worse than the last. I start to blame myself. Have I been too cold? Too controlling? Not enough? This unconscious side of him seems to be getting back at me. When this happens it destroys me for days, sometimes weeks. It impacts my job, my role as a mom, friend, daughter. It has infected me and I don’t know how to be his wife in the good times while waiting in fear for it to happen again, worst than the last. 12/6/2016
When I tried to communicate my feelings, he’d give a sincere apology and say he just wanted me to be happy. The love bombing would once again commence and I’d feel guilty for not being happy in my marriage. Behind the scenes, he continued the behavior that was tearing us apart. I never knew when the next bomb would drop and therefore, no longer felt in control of my own life. I quit my job, went on Xanex, and continued to try to make him happy.
destroying the dream
- Narcissists build who they are based on who you are, while making you feel bad for the same qualities they seek to possess.
They desire the genuine qualities you possess, such as empathy, responsibility, stability, and want to project that to others. The outside image of who they are, is actually a mirror image of yourself. Since this is not who they truly are, their mask starts to crack, revealing emptiness and deep unhappiness within themselves. When this happens, they will work tirelessly to make you feel like the unhappy, desperate one and you will start to believe it.
2. Narcissits blame and deflect their negative qualities onto you as they fight to conceal their perceived badness.
They might lie to you, cheat on you, steal from people, and then label you crazy or controlling for having a reaction to it. They’ll call you needy as they withdraw their time as they search for other means to fill their supply. They’ll break major promises and then claim your expectations were too high. They continuously hurt you and violate your trust, then blame you for being unhappy. They demand loyalty, but give none in return. Their love for you, which once felt bullet proof, will now be the bullets that destroy you.
3. Finally, the Narcissist will demand more of you, yet never feel fulfilled as you empty yourself to try to meet their endless needs.
This intolerable mix of extremes is impossible for most of us to process, but this chaos brings comfort to the narcissist. He baits you with his words; apologies and promises that keep you feeling loved. Then, he destroys you over and over again with his actions. You’ll make excuses for why he does it. You’ll decide you’re the only one who truly understands him. You’re the only one who can help them. You’ll try to rescue someone who doesn’t want to be saved, instead of saving yourself. Your needs no longer become important. Your boundaries are ignored. He controls everything in your life, to the point where you change to meet his needs, sacrificing everything, all the way down to who you are.
The Beginning of the End
By the devaluation phase, the narcissist has already mentally moved on. You’ve exposed them, and they don’t want to live in that negative world. They want to live in a plastic world where they look like a hero and someone is always filling their supply. They don’t want to face their true self because they’re scared of that person… they hate that person.
Since he can’t discard himself, he’ll discard the person that made him feel exposed, you.
Read Phase III: Discard: https://expertlyflawed.com/2020/07/setting-you-free-stage-3-narcissistic-abuse/
If you missed Phase I: https://expertlyflawed.com/2020/07/selling-fairy-tale-narcissistic-abuse/