When you think of the “honeymoon” phase of a relationship, we usually think of the beginning. Everything is new and fresh. We look our best and we are smitten with one another. We are thoughtful, kind, patient, and up for anything. This stage is fun and stress free. The sex is amazing and all we want to do is spend every waking minute with our significant other.
This fun phase is a normal process in starting a relationship with someone. Everything is new and exciting because we have not gone through any hard times together. We have not lived with each other or experienced real life as a couple yet.
The start of a relationship with someone who is emotionally and mentally healthy may look similar to the start of one with a narcissist. The healthy adult may be smitten with you, but they do not give themselves away too soon because they know they have to build the foundation of a relationship first. They know that in order to have a long lasting relationship, they must take their time and build a strong foundation of trust and friendship.
The charming and “too good to be true” narcissist does not see the honeymoon phase in the same way a healthy adult would. They are using this beginning stage to groom their victim for abuse. It is still up for debate on whether they do this consciously or not, but in my opinion, this is an unconscious behavior.
HONEYMOON / IDEALIZE PHASE
This is where the narcissist will promise you the world. They are in awe of you because they want you to fall in love with them. In many ways, these narcissists want you to become addicted to their presence so they have more power to abuse you later on. This is where the abusive cycle starts.
DEVALUE / TENSION PHASE
This is where they use emotionally abusive tactics on you to lower your self-esteem and self-worth. These tactics include gas-lighting, projection, passive aggressive behavior, put downs, criticizing, sarcasm, picking fights, ignoring, withholding affection, isolating you from family and friends.
DISCARD / VIOLENCE PHASE
In this phase, you have begun standing up for yourself and establishing boundaries. Perhaps you have ended the relationship yourself. Maybe you have found out the narcissist did something hurtful or bad in your relationship. This usually is when the narcissist and attempt to start the honeymoon phase again. This is also called “love bombing”, a phase of the cycle that is often used to win you back over.
Sometimes the narcissist will discard you because they have found another source of narcissistic supply.
As you can see, the cycle can go around and around if you are not aware of the abusive circumstances in your relationship. In order to free yourself of toxic relationships with narcissists, you must have enough self-worth and love to get off the ride.