Narcissistic abuse has the power to hold its victim for long periods of time. There are phases of this abuse which alternate between rage and peace, which confuse and bewilder.

I was married to a narcissist for over 20 years. When someone finally saw the truth of my abusive relationship, they would urge me to leave. When I didn’t leave, these friends and family members grew angry at me. They just didn’t understand how hard it was to leave.

Let me explain why it’s so difficult to get away from narcissistic abuse.

Phases of narcissistic abuse

There are stages of abuse used by the narcissistic individual. After all, narcissism is really a mental illness, sometimes uncontrollable and debilitating. These stages make it extremely difficult to see the truth behind the behavior of narcissistic abuse. Here’s a secret, however. You can stop this narcissistic abuse during any of these stages.

The honeymoon phase

When you first enter a relationship with a narcissist, you will have no clue who they really are. Truth be told, the narcissist will seem like your soul mate, the perfect partner. He will shower you with attention and gifts. He will compliment you on your beauty and personality.

If you are a young adult, you will all be head over heels for him. If you are an older adult who is unaware of this phase of narcissism, you may also be easily fooled.

The honeymoon phase is so skillfully crafted to fulfill the needs of the narcissist, that it will seem legitimate. For a moment, the narcissist will truly be in love and fill a deep void within. So, it’s no wonder why the honeymoon phase can seem like a dream come true.


Remember, never give too much of yourself during good times. Yes, it is important to let your walls down with someone who truly cares about you, but be careful. There’s nothing wrong with protecting your emotions and your mind by limiting how much you choose to give away.

The fading phase

Over time, the interest of the narcissist will fade. You will notice they aren’t as attentive as before, and they even stop giving compliments. Soon, the narcissist will become distant and you will find yourself becoming clingy.

After all, you were once spoiled by the lavish treatment you received before, and it’s hard to adapt to sudden changes. The closer you get, the more they will pull away.


Make sure you retain those interests you had before you met someone. Spend time with family and friends so that the fading phase will not damage you as much as it could. This treatment is wrong, but you don’t have to become a victim by falling into its trap.

The emotional phase

By this time, emotions are heightened from the push and pull of the changes occurring the narcissistic abuse. The strength of the relationship has faded and anger and loneliness begin to take their place.

The narcissist grows even more distant leaving their mate confused and hurt. During the phase, the narcissist will continue to pull further away as you try harder to mend what’s broken.


Stop! Right now, just stop trying to pull them closer. Let them grow as distant as they please and they will notice how you aren’t chasing them. This will further reveal who they really are. I guarantee they will accuse you of being the one who grew distant. This blame game will prove their serious mental illness to be true.

Anger and fighting phase

You may now start to make attempts to mend the relationship by confronting the narcissist. Unfortunately, confrontation never works with this type of personality.

Fighting will start and then the silent treatment will be used to keep you from forcing the narcissist to look at the truth of their behavior. Before long, this silent treatment will force you to be the one to apologize, leaving you back where you started, with no answers and feeling alone again.


This will be hard, but no matter how much the narcissist uses the silent treatment, do not give in. You will feel lonely and hurt, but you should remain strong.

Self-blame phase

Now, we are convinced the whole breakdown of the relationship is our fault. Our self-esteem starts to take a hit and we become obsessed with trying to fix the problems.

We lose ourselves to the narcissist as we try desperately to make them happy. They have already lost interest and this effort is ignored. Now we start to think we are crazy and we wonder who the person is that we once loved.


When you start to blame yourself, make a list. List all the actions and words used by the narcissist. Then you will see that none of this breakdown was ever your doing.

The end game

Whether the narcissist ends the relationship or you do it, it will be a gift. Sometimes the narcissist, although they have lost interest in you, will keep you around for certain satisfaction that you do provide. Some narcissists will get rid of their mates as soon as their interest has faded. It varies from person to person.

If you feel you are being dragged along and there is no hope for release, you will have to end the relationship yourself. This will be difficult because your self-esteem has suffered so much. Sometimes the narcissist has convinced you that no one else would love you.

This is a lie and a desperate ploy to keep someone by their side for distraction.


It’s best to leave the relationship unless a serious effort has been done to get help.

The trap

If you stay, there is a small chance that the narcissist will seek help. If they do not seek help, they will trap you in a cycle of rage and peace. What this means is the narcissist will grow furious about something in which you are to blame for, in their eyes.

They will taunt you, call you names and accuse you of being the source of their unhappiness. Since this rage is so intimidating, you will give in and apologize for things that aren’t really your fault.

The rage will quiet and the narcissist will go through the cycle of a few weeks of extremely good behavior. He will compliment you again and spend time with you. This doesn’t last, however, and after a few weeks, the rage will return.

Some people in this position find it worth the rage to get the peacetime efforts. This is a trick, a trap, and you should consider getting out of the ordeal for good.

Narcissistic abuse and why it happens

There is no set reason for narcissistic behavior. Sometimes these traits can be partially genetic. Other times, they come from severe childhood trauma and abuse. Unfortunately, abuse can repeat itself in the form of narcissism because the adult survivor of the abuse has a void that cannot be filled easily by normal behavior.

If you are dealing with a narcissist, whether it’s a family member or a life partner, please seek support. It can be difficult to protect your sanity and health when dealing with an individual of this sort.

It’s important that you stay healthy and remember your worth. I wish you well and hope you can escape any phases and cycles of narcissistic abuse or traps set by narcissistic behavior.



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This Post Has 8 Comments

  1. Leslie53

    That was a really good article Sherrie. It is also good advice for anyone in a new relationship to follow. And I think it applies to other problems such as the other person seems too needy, manipulative or controlling.

    1. Sherrie


      Thank you for reading. A person cannot improve themselves until they see the truth of who they are. Maybe this can help both victim and abuser to grow and become stronger and better people.

  2. Renei

    Thanks Sherrie, this is awakening. I have been discarded and pleading with him for “mercy”. Now I know the devil I’m dealing with. Feels like it’s a along road ahead :divorce, co-parenting. Thanks for the insight

  3. Darcelle Norville

    Thank you so much i am dealing with one right this moment an i need to get out

  4. Neena

    Hiya hun! A great article written here. So clear and the advice given is spot on! Thank you for sharing this.

  5. Claire Masters

    Thanks for shedding light on narcissistic abuse and how rage and peace can be a constant cycle when you are in this kind of relationship. I would understand how someone who is affected may not even realize being one. So it’s important that we do not become bystanders to people who are experiencing this and always help them seek therapy.

  6. Rodney Shapiro

    This is always a great help. Narcissistic abuse is a highly complex and deeply troubling issue that affects countless individuals worldwide. It’s a type of emotional and psychological manipulation that can leave victims feeling isolated, confused, and utterly alone. However, thanks to the tireless work of experts like Sherrie, we now have a better understanding of the stages of abuse used by narcissistic individuals. By shining a light on these behaviors, we can help victims recognize the signs of abuse, break free from toxic relationships, and begin the healing process. Let’s continue to raise awareness about narcissistic abuse and work together to create a world where everyone can thrive, free from the damaging effects of this insidious form of control.

  7. Lavinia Araujo

    The reasons behind why it happens are complex and varied but often stem from deep-seated insecurities and a need for validation. It’s important to remember that if you’ve experienced narcissistic abuse, it’s not your fault. You deserve to be treated with respect and kindness, and there are steps you can take to stay healthy and remember your worth. One way is to practice self-care and prioritize your own needs. This might mean setting boundaries with the person who has been abusing you, or seeking support from a therapist or support group.

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