The Three Horsemen of the Abusive Narcissist's Relationship Apocalypse: idealize, devalue, discard.

Sociopaths, manipulators, psychopaths and narcissists all share the same relationship cycle: idealize, devalue, and then discard (IDD). Instead of being a clean, linear progression the IDD pattern can recycle through the relationship, sending the victim into a vertigo of insecurity, self-doubt, and shame.

Idealization Stage - The narcissist dons his False Self and becomes everything you need him to be. You feel as if you've found your soulmate as you're put on a pedestal. He texts, calls, and sends you sweet Instagrams, meaningful songs, and wakes you in the morning with loving messages. Experts call this "love bombing," because the abusive manipulator knows that you are tired of bad dates, guys who don't call, and working so hard at the relationship game. The manipulator presents himself as the answer to your dilemma. Don't be fooled: the manipulator is NOT interested in you; he or she is interested in you as a Supplier, and wants you to become dependent on his praise, intense sex, vacations, promises of a future together, and designation as the most incredible partner ever.

Manipulators use the tools of operant conditioning to become the puppeteer of your emotions, including shaping, reinforcement, punishment, positive and negative reinforcement, and negative punishment. It is a highly complex set of procedures designed to control behavior, which is exactly the manipulator's goal. Shaping or "grooming" refers to getting you into a position to be manipulated and controlled. He uses positive behavior, reinforcing tools that increase the probability of a behavior (securing your adoration), positive reinforcement (lovebombing), negative reinforcement (removal of his love), and punishment (to prevent you from asking too many questions or leaving).

Devaluation Stage - Like whiplash, you won't know what happened to you. In reality, the narcissist's False Self mask slips and his personality disordered true self emerges. Suddenly, things are horrible. Maybe he disappeared, the texts abruptly stop, he doesn't show up when he says he will. Sex becomes rote or nonexistent. Criticism, anger, irritation, disgust replace the lovebombs. You have lost your luster and he just wants to get out. Perhaps he'll commit some egregious crime against your relationship. You are shocked, devastated, and confused. You are told you are to blame and it is all your fault. Don't try to reconcile this version of the person you thought you knew; that loving, charming partner doesn't exist.

Discard Stage - After crafting your dependency, confusion, emotional vertigo, self doubt, and shattering your sense of self, the abusive narcissist will get rid of you when he feels like it, on his terms. Because you are so emotionally raw, a wounded victim, this stage will be hellacious, horrific, and painful. You must let him go. You will be dumped in the most demeaning, embarassing, soul wrenching way possible. You'll find he's had other lovers, has already moved in with one, has led a double life throughout your relationship, become physically agressive and frightening, and may even become violent.  Let him go. Get away. Block the calls, texts, and delete his phone number. Be grateful it is over, that you survived, and that you can now move on and heal.

Next: Your toxic partner likely has another lover...or two...

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