The Cycle of Narcissistic Abuse

The Cycle of Narcissistic Abuse

It’s only at the age of 53 that I actually understand what a healthy relationship is. Although sometimes it still shocks me when friends talk about what their partners do for them and how they take an interest in them and the fun they have when they are together all without any emotional abuse, violence, threats to harm the partner and threats of suicide(to harm themselves).

I missed out on so much of this as I was in what you would call a narcissistic abusive relationship for 14 years. I knew this relationship wasn’t what others would call normal, I was so gaslighted by my ex-partner I didn’t really recognise how bad things were or how much danger I was actually in until I was away from the situation. The numerous times I had to flee for my safety and stay at premier inn hotels or the times I turned up at work with my life’s belongings in the back of my car because I was scared to go home.

Narcissistic Personality Disorder (NPD) is a cluster B personality disorder with a long-term pattern of abnormal abusive behaviour with a lack of empathy for others. Most people with NPD won’t be diagnosed as in order for this to happen they would have to admit there is a problem and their behaviour is at fault.

There are different stages to a relationship with someone who fits the profile of narcissistic personality disorder.

The first stage is love bombing (Idealization)

I remember this first period well, I was blown over by the man I had met who persuaded me to move into his house after 3 weeks of dating, declaring his love for me and how he wanted that future with me. I was overwhelmed by the intensity of it all, the happy home life with a good-looking strong man, the future I had always wanted was within my grasp. The thought of playing house, cooking romantic meals together and planning our amazing future filled me with excitement. I had met him online and it was full on from the first telephone call with him. The meet was the next night and he drove to see me every night after that for the next 3 weeks. “He must really want me” I used to think, flattered by his attention. He was invested in our relationship, I felt so lucky to meet him.

The crazy ex!

This was a man who told me his ex-partner was crazy, she had left him whilst he was at work and taken his daughter. She had even had the cheek to report him to the police for harassment when all’s he was doing was trying to find his daughter! I felt for him and wanted to take care of him, so I supported him in fighting through the courts for his daughter. I actually believed him that his ex-partner was crazy, I would look at her with pity at court thinking I was the lucky one.


The cracks started to show quickly in our relationship, he regularly blew up and shouted at me making me feel confused at to what I had done wrong. The feisty side of me would stand my ground at the beginning and tell him I wasn’t putting up with that. I still stayed though as I would fall for his half-hearted apologies and his blame of how he was so stressed with dealing with his ex-partner.  The tensions would continue to build and when he wasn’t pleased with me, he would punish me by removing fuses out of the heating, so I had no access to heat in winter, damaging my belongings, stealing money out of my bank and hiding things from me so I believed I was going mad.

The Discard

I found messages to other women (bisexual couples) and a profile of him on a site for married men looking for sex (Yes, I had married him by this point, he was going to change when we were married he promised me!). He denied it all and told me I was crazy. I left numerous times but each time I was sucked back in.

The Hoover

He hoovered me back so many times, telling me he couldn’t live without me. He knew he was wrong, and he would get help, counselling would help him!

The cycle continued, love bombing, devaluation, discard, hoover. All that changed was that the abuse increased. He developed a role of playing the victim and at one point he cut his own face and called the police and said I had done this. He stood gloating whilst I was handcuffed and taken away. I was charged with assault, and I had a police escort back to the house to collect some belongings later that night before I went to stay with a friend. The victim (his new role) was sat in the lounge with a bottle of Budweiser and a large chocolate cake I had bought having the time of his life! He didn’t even look embarrassed. In fact, he looked at me with pure evil in his eyes as he told the policewoman he was keeping my dog and I couldn’t take her with me. The narcissist doing what they do best, withholding the things they know mean a lot to you!

The hoover continued straight after, his stalking began, and he wore me down again. After a couple of court appearances for me to answer the assault charge, he admitted he had lied and the love bombing started again. Charges were dropped and I again entered the cycle of abuse.

Have you ever stopped to think about what red or green flags are in a relationship? RED FLAGS                                                                                     GREEN FLAGS Fast moving relationship                                                             slowly getting to know you. Mirroring (liking what you like)                                                 Having their own identity Lacking empathy                                                                          Showing genuine care for others Playing the victim                                                                         taking responsibility for their actions Angry – lashing out at people                                                    Being able to control their emotions I recognise that my childhood and upbringing left me wide open to narcissistic abuse due to lack of stability as my mum was an alcoholic and my possibly narcissistic dad abandoned me. I had no personal boundaries, and I had no role models to show me what a healthy relationship was. Through my own counselling training and personal counselling, I have developed boundaries and self-worth so that I can help myself and others who I meet through my work to end an abusive relationship and take back control of their life. Counselling can give you the space to explore your relationship and work with you to give you the tools to make these changes and to help you keep yourself safe and away from this abuse. Further information about narcissistic abuse can be found on the following website