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The Steps of Loving a Narcissist

* I generally write using the pronouns he/him when referring to narcissists, but females are just as likely to be narcissists or exhibit narcissistic traits. So please don't think just because article uses the word him or he that it could not be a woman in that same role.

Trauma Bonding

The beginning. A period of sweet, honeymoon like idealization. Narcissists will put you on a pedestal. They’ll make you feel a love you’ve never felt before. They’ll compliment you, flatter you, buy you gifts, and seem to give you the world. They’ll promise you forever.

This is a form of grooming you. 

But you won’t see it. You’ll be blind in love. They may leave clues and red flags but you’ll ignore them because you’ve never felt so good about anything. No ones ever treated you this good. You’ve never felt SO important. They’ll appear to be very interested and to want to know everything about you. They’ll want to know your fears, your insecurities, your deepest secrets. You’ll feel so close to them when they share these things with you and you exchange them back.

The bond is formed. 

They’ll start to target your insecurities, in a way to slowly break you down and make you feel lesser than. They’ll find out what you’re most proud of and they’ll target those areas so that you have nothing. They want you to feel so little. They’ll make you feel like your positive qualities are what they hate about you – so that you’ll tuck those far away.

They’ll change you. 

You’ll turn into a person you don’t even recognize in order to shape yourself to fit their needs. And why? Why not just walk away when it starts going south?

They’ll be incredibility manipulative.

You see they don’t just turn bad one day. This is a slow process of devaluing you as a human. They’ll make you believe that the things they did to you were a direct result of what you did wrong. That if you only loved them more, if you only were a better partner, this wouldn’t happen.

You’lll try harder. 

You’ll give it everything you have. You’ll invest every ounce of yourself into making them happy until you have absolutely nothing left for yourself. No love. No self respect. Nothing.

Hoovering Mood. 

When you’re about ready to walk away, when you’ve had just enough to break, they will start hovering to regain control. They will pretend they have changed. They will promise to never hurt you again. They will spoil you with that love and attention they gave you in the beginning. They’ll start building you back up with compliments.

This will feel so good coming from someone that made you feel so worthless. 

Psychologically speaking, they’ve now created a trauma bond. This is a real, and very addictive cycle. Your brain will start to crave pleasing them because their love and approval of you becomes like a drug.

And now you wait.

You’ll spend a lifetime waiting. Waiting for them to change. Waiting for the kindness to show. Waiting for the right time to end the relationship. It’s only when you stop waiting and start walking away that you begin to process and truly see how disgusting the cycle is.

You never understand how toxic something is until you breath fresher air.

I started taking videos at the end, when I knew I was ready to leave because I knew the hoovering stage would pull me back in. Your brain teaches you to forget the things you go through because it craves the praise and love so much. These videos help serve as a sick reminder of the amount of years I gave to someone who used and abused me. I watch them all the time. Anytime he sends me a nice text. Anytime he sends me flowers. Anytime I feel any empathy towards him.

It’s not over.

What some people forget is that after you leave this type of relationship, it’s still not over. It takes years before it’s really truly over. The cycle continues. They just use other forms. Social media put downs. Slander. Hateful text messages. Anything they can do to get back under your skin. To regain control. And then back to the hoovering stage to try to win you back.

And even with little to no contact, and zero physical interaction – it’s a constant battle everyday to remind myself that their words mean nothing. Their slander means nothing. And I am stronger, fiercer and braver than everything they ever did to me.

This is trauma bonding. 

But they won’t win.

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