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To understand the narcissistic abuse cycle one must explore the definition of narcissism. We often hear the term or variations used to describe a person who is self absorbed. Though that might be true a it's a little deeper than that. Narcissism refers to a personality trait characterized by a grandiose sense of self-importance, a constant need for admiration and validation, and a lack of empathy for others. It is named after the mythological figure Narcissus, who fell in love with his own reflection.  Individuals with narcissistic traits typically have an inflated self-image

and believe they are superior to others. They often have an excessive sense of entitlement and expect special treatment and attention. They seek constant admiration and validation from others and may engage in attention-seeking behaviors to fulfill their needs. They often have a deep need for control and may manipulate others to maintain their sense of power. According to the Cleveland Clinic, "between .5 and 5% of Americans have this disorder. 

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It's important to note that narcissism exists on a spectrum, ranging from healthy levels of self-confidence and self-esteem to pathological narcissism, which is a personality disorder known as Narcissistic Personality Disorder (NPD). NPD involves a pervasive pattern of grandiosity, a need for admiration, and a lack of empathy that significantly impairs a person's functioning in various areas of life.

verbally and physically abusive. They aim to exert control and maintain power over their target.  

The narcissistic abuse cycle refers to the pattern of behavior exhibited by narcissistic individuals in their relationships. It typically involves a repetitive cycle of idealization, devaluation, and discard. Here's a breakdown of each phase:

  1. Idealization: In this phase, the narcissist puts their target on a pedestal, showering them with excessive admiration, attention, and love. They may appear charming, charismatic, and perfect during this stage, often making their target feel special and valued. The narcissist seeks to create a deep emotional bond with the target to gain their trust and loyalty.

  2. Devaluation: Once the narcissist feels secure in the relationship or their needs are not met, they begin to devalue their target. They may gradually undermine their self-esteem, criticize them, belittle their accomplishments, and engage in emotional manipulation. The narcissist may display erratic behavior, become emotionally distant, or even verbally and physically abusive. They aim to exert control and maintain power over their target.

  3. Discard: In this phase, the narcissist abruptly ends or withdraws from the relationship. They may discard their target without any warning, often leaving the victim confused, hurt, and devastated. The narcissist may switch their attention to a new target or seek validation elsewhere. They may also engage in smear campaigns, spreading false information about the victim to further damage their reputation.

  4. Hoovering: After the discard phase, the narcissist may attempt to hoover their target back into the relationship. They may use various tactics, such as manipulation, guilt-tripping, promises of change, or love bombing, to regain control and ensure the victim's continued involvement. This phase aims to reel the victim back in and restart the cycle from the idealization phase.

It's important to note that the narcissistic abuse cycle can vary in duration and intensity depending on the individual and the specific circumstances. Victims of narcissistic abuse often experience emotional and psychological trauma, which may require professional support and healing.

Narcissistic Love Bombing Cycle: Idealize, Devalue, Discard - Simply Psychology -  (2023)

9 Signs of Narcissistic Personality Disorder - Duke Health (2023)

The Complete Guide to Narcissistic Abuse Recovery - Very Well Health - (2022)

arcissistic Personality Disorder - Cleveland Clinic (2023),as%20%E2%80%9Ccovert%20narcissism%E2%80%9D).

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