Narcissistic abuse is not new, but recognizing and understanding it as a true epidemic is becoming more important. Narcissistic abuse can happen in romantic relationships, friendships, between parents and children, and between co-workers. I help victims and survivors of narcissistic abuse in therapy identify what is happening in their relationship and figure out what they want to do in order to move forward into peace and self-love.
The narcissistic abuse cycle is IDEALIZE, DEVALUE and DISCARD. At the beginning of the cycle, the idealization phase; we are love bombed, and it can feel deliciously intoxicating. Our person gets us, and we feel we have met our match. During the idealization phase, the narcissist will mirror us and seemingly knows exactly what to say and how to be. This is the phase where we are hooked. In the next phase, they will begin to devalue us.
In the devaluation phase, they may withdraw their love and attention, be unkind, give us the silent treatment, gaslight us, and fail to take responsibility for their actions. Emotional abuse is standard with devaluing, but physical and sexual abuse can also happen. At this point, we are often trauma bonded—this occurs when we have intermittent bouts of abuse mixed with kindness and affection. And, this keeps us caught in the cycle and in the relationship.
The neurotransmitter dopamine influences your mood and feelings of reward and motivation. The reward from narcissistic abuse is intermittent, and we become addicted to the cycle and our narcissists. The dopamine is released in the good moments of love bombing—this keeps us stuck in our addiction to our person. During discard, we leave, or they do. It is mind-boggling, excruciating, and devastating. Even though we were abused, we often want them back. The trauma bond keeps us hoping they will change and come back and be better.
I provide a safe and understanding space for this material as I am also a narcissistic abuse survivor and recovering codependent.
Please follow me on TikTok for videos on narcissistic abuse and other mental health issues.