The above questions have to be the most commonly asked by survivors of narcissistic abuse, period. And for good reason.
We know the steps, but for the uninitiated, I’ll give a recap:
- First, the Idolize phase
- Then, the Discredit phase
- Finally, the Discard phase
- Bonus! the Reset Button phase
In step 1. they place their soon to be victim on a pedestal. The better they do at this section here, the more likely it is that they will have a lifetime source of supply from this victim, because most people who are unaware of narcissistic individuals will spend a lifetime trying to return to the glory days of the beginning idealization phase.
In step 2. they begin a subtle campaign to knock the wind out of your sails. To undermine your self confidence and self esteem and make you begin to see how lucky you are to be with them. This move is actually pretty ingenious because they just spent however long putting you on a pedestal making you think constantly about how lucky you are to be with them.
Warning: Depending on how healthy your self esteem is you may not see that much of a phase 1 at all.
In step 3. they toss you aside as if you never existed. It’s as if a switch is flicked. You’re simply deleted from their world. This is one of the most disorienting, crazy-making, and cruel experiences a human being (with a conscience) can endure.
In the Bonus! phase (it’s not a good bonus) if you are chosen to experience this phase, you will be reengaged as if they never discarded you at all. As if someone has simply pressed a ‘reset’ button and restarted your association.
Now, once you’ve been discarded, your ex may move on almost immediately. Most often, they have been grooming a new victim during the relationship they had with you. So, without skipping a beat, they are off gallivanting with the new target.
You may be wondering, “Why are they so happy with their new partner and why so soon?”
Listen to me when I tell you this. I’m serious, now. You with me? Okay. I’ll tell you.
It’s not real. None of it.
Now sure, if you want to torture yourself looking at their Facebook feeds and photos and Instagram accounts, then that’s your choice, but I wouldn’t, because then you are letting them win. Win what? Control over your emotions. Dominance over your happiness.
For example, let’s *imagine* (and I really do mean imagine, because I don’t know any of these people personally) that Brad Pitt is a narcissist. So, he cheats on his wife Jennifer Aniston and discards her most cruelly for Angelina, right? He marries Angelina and has 8 kids with her..they’re rich, starring in movies left and right (Salt, was a really good movie if you ask me) and every appearance on a red carpet is covered ad nauseum by paparazzi and mainstream media. If you’re Jennifer Aniston, you could honestly say…”Wow, they look happy. Why is he happy with her?”
Until you fast forward 12 years and get to September 2016: Brangelina Armageddon. Was it real? Was the happiness real? I’d say no. But hey, what do I know, I’m on the outside like everyone else, but…
If I had to make a wager, I’d bet a $1 to a donut, he’s got some issues. I’m no doctor, but serial infidelity can’t be good.
The upside: If you don’t look, you won’t know, won’t be bothered and you’d have the added bonus of keeping your eyes on your own paper. Delete and block your ex and their new flame and anyone that reminds you of either of them so that you can heal.
Gray Rock Strategy: The thing about being with the wrong person is, they are not only a negative in your life, but they are robbing you of the time you should be spending with the right person. Delete and block.
Homework: Try to calculate all the time you spent with your narc. Then try to imagine what beneficial things you could do with that time instead. For example, did you know that the average American adult spends 15.7 years of life watching television? In that amount of time, I could have a PhD in rock climbing, I could volunteer at least 5 years worth of time, I could develop a few new patents, etc. You try it and let me know in the comments how you would spend your reclaimed time.