Understanding the Narcissist's Cycle of Idealizing You to Devaluing & Demeaning You

Being in love with a narcissist is a confusing state of affairs, to say the least. In the beginning, a narcissist makes you feel incredibly loved and valued. He appears to be head-over-heels in love with you and worships the ground you walk on. He writes you poetry, takes you out for romantic dinners, and finds all your little quirks endearing and adorable.

Once a narcissist feels he has obtained control of you (through marriage or moving in together), you will see a completely different side of him that you never knew existed. Unfortunately this is the REAL him. Narcissists have often been described as having a Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde personality. Once in control, a narcissist becomes demeaning and cruel.

Narcissists are not normal and completely oblivious to others and how their behavior affects people close to them. Unfortunately, this doesn't make their behavior any less hurtful. Narcissists dismiss the feelings, ideas, and opinions of others. They themselves are unable to 'feel.' They are condescending in their nature. They belittle, criticize, judge, and put others down. They can be blatant about it but are often quite subtle in their approach. They have a way of putting you down in such a way that you don't even realize you have been insulted until you reflect upon the conversation later.

While narcissists are oblivious to the fact that their behavior hurts others, it does not mean that at times, they are not deliberately abusive. They often enjoy hurting others and get off on it. A narcissist is purposefully abusive when the relationship with his significant other changes in a way that is not to his liking. An example of this would be when a significant other becomes too close or needs intimacy. Real intimacy terrifies a narcissist as they have no clue what it is, and he will respond by being purposefully abusive in order to push the person away.

Another example of when a narcissist would be intentionally abusive is when a significant other voices her displeasure or threatens to leave the relationship. By asserting abusive behavior, a narcissist believes he can maintain his dominance and control over his significant other. Control is the name of their game. They control everyone to protect their rock solid delusions.

A narcissist has a way of turning everything around so you begin to question yourself. He will do something terribly mean or cruel. You will talk to him about it, but by the end of the conversation, you are the one apologizing for some reason. A narcissist knows how to manipulate better than anyone. They trauma-bond you to them through mind control & coercion.

In my experience, a narcissist eventually becomes sarcastic and belittles you constantly. You begin to feel you can do nothing right in his eyes and your presence is hardly tolerable. You're baffled. You wonder what you did wrong to cause such a drastic change in his feelings toward you. You struggle desperately to return things to the way they were in the beginning. Unfortunately, as hard as you try, things will never be the same again. This is because everything he did in the beginning was a planned seductive lure done by profiling and mirroring you to secure your obedience, nothing more. It is a maddening and precarious way to live. It can and does drive anyone to the edge of their sanity.

When I did take any real steps at ending either relationship, if verbally abusive behavior did not work to force me into submission, the false self would be the next weapon of defense in their artillery. I think a narcissist believes if his false self worked once to win you over, it will work again to keep you around or win you back. This is also called HOOVERING and HONEYMOONING. Don't believe it.

At this point he will lay on the charm. A narcissist knows when to charm and is sure to remind you that he understands you like no one else can or ever will. He's been profiling you for a while and he know precisely what buttons to push to keep you in line. It is essential for a narcissist to make you believe only he can understand you. By constantly telling you that you have problems and quirks only he can understand, you start to believe him and begin to feel unlovable in some strange paranoid way.

By telling you he loves you despite your flaws, he makes you dependent on him. This is a narcissist's way to ensure you will never leave him. It is narcissistic manipulation at its finest, because the dependent one is truly them.

When a narcissist feels he is in control of you and is not threatened by any fear that you will ask for too much from him or leave the relationship, he will engage in escapist activity (cheating, disappearing, confusing statements) and appear as if he hardly notices you exist the majority of the time. You are merely present to dispense secondary Narcissistic Supply (i.e. attention) should his current primary NS fail to meet his needs for the day.

This is when we must remember we did nothing wrong. It is all about him, ladies. A narcissist will simply discard people when he becomes convinced that they can no longer provide him with sufficient Narcissistic Supply. Discard like a used tissue. You are not stupid, gullible, naive or clueless. You were targeted, lured and brainwashed by a master.

Keep in mind, this evaluation of his is totally subjective and not grounded in reality at all. These men are delusional and you mustn't forget that. Suddenly because of boredom, a disagreement, an act or a failure to act, the narcissist swings from total idealization to complete devaluation. It has zero to do with you or anything you did. Zero.

He then disconnects from you immediately. He needs to preserve all of his energy in order to obtain and secure new sources of Narcissistic Supply and sees no need to spend any of his precious time on you, whom he now considers useless. But please remember, he will repeat this same cycle with his new source of narcissistic supply. It is inevitable. Be grateful this toxic abusive man is out of your life and never let him back in. NEVER.

Apr 16 - 11AM
Angels's picture

I know this post is old and

Jan 29 - 7PM
Amazed's picture

Bump Up,,,read Lisa's post

This is great to remember,,,pls read
May 10 - 9PM
Amazed's picture

Idealizing and Devaluing

Been there!!!!! This is how they pit innocent people against one another,,,they get so much crap going in their lives,,they leave you in the "drop of a feather" and it has nothing to to do with what you did, said, didn't do, or didnt say. You can NEVER please them. No matter how hard you try, you will never ever get them over to the human side. They are NOT capable. They do this inadvertantly, and behind your back..However, if you catch them devaluing you to your face, that is one thing, you have something easy to go on,,however,,the sly Narcs will devalue you to others,,,,,and when you catch wind of it,,,it is shocking,,,and contrary to the way they have been treating you ,,,,often times for months,,years,,and go right back to "valuing you" again. It is said the Pathological Narc is superficial,,this means,,,,what they want in the now. They are never EVER thinking about a future realtionship with you,,,,or otherwise....they may TELL you that,,,it is what you want to hear. They have NO PROBLEM telling you what you want to hear. However, the Pathological Narc, lives for themselves....Themselves....is not about a FUTURE...a dream,,an aspiration,,,or a vision,,,,,, They live to get through the day,,and will put off anyone who gets in the way to that goal for them. They will put you off, put you off, put you off,,,put your children off,,,,,,,they are way into DELAY of what YOU need. They tell you to make it through another day (,,you are thinking,,,,that is when they will change) however,,they spread it out,,,want you to wait, and wait, and wait,,,they prolong time,,,until you never ever get what you are seeking from or with them...their patience at first with you seems a virtue,,,,,ultimately you realize in the end,,,it is their stall,,,just keeping you hanging on,,,to them,,,,,their futility,,,at a real, straightforward relationship with you,,,,it is a fine line,,,and you begin to see it when they don't deliver the results... So this I would say,,,the cycle,,is inevitable....it is NOT NORMAL!!!!! Most people do not funciton out of this frame of jealousy...the Narc,,,the Pathological Narc,,I believe is all the time jealous...... They are all they time wanting,,,,,they cannot appreciate others,,,applaud them for what they have attained,,through hard work, sweat,,aspiration,,and living.... They are all the time looking through people,,,to only being a "number one" of something,,,some organization,,, If you feel valued by them....it is a wonderful experience,,,realize that you were their lifeboat,,,and that they eventually leave that lifeboat to be carried by another and another,,and never learn to swim....with them,,you only sink....
Jun 17 - 10PM (Reply to #15)
Leah2's picture

WOW--this really is my story...

Thank you, AMAZED, for this post. As well as LISA. My now ex-husband seemed to be perfectly happy just before he left, but once he was gone, he told me that in the five years we were together we had had "some happy moments"??? What? This from a man who called me 10 times a day when we first met and then at least 5 times a day while we were married; who called me his best friend; who said that he could not see life without me. Then, towards the end, he would say things like "I wonder how life would be without you....hard to imagine" (but I began to wonder why he was saying this...it seemed to have two meanings) or "I really will love you forever, you know" (only to hear him say now that I mean nothing to him). It is absolutely unbelievable that this innocent, angel-faced man is entirely lacking in empathy and has reduced me, a once incredibly independent, strong and fearless woman, to a quivering mess. Yes, he always spoke of the future but took no action--either to plan a holiday or buy a home. And he often sounded like he was reciting something he had read in a book. Or told me stories about things that had happened to his friends (that they had told him) as if he was actually there. He even told me stories that I had told him, forgetting that those were things I had said and getting the facts wrong. When I told him once that I had told him that story a few days earlier, he got flustered and confused...and said No, No you didn't. He was often like a little child; rocking himself to sleep, or asking me to strong his hair. I wondered how much of this was from lack of love from his mother (she is very superficial but when she sees him, she treats him like a golden child??) but accepted that he was just a gentle, caring person. In the end, he is not obviously cruel, but has treated me like I do not exist (would be easier to explain to people that he was a monster if he beat me or cheated on me, but no, he comes across as a "wounded man whose married just collapsed"! And, finally, AMAZED, I now know that he has told all of his friends ridiculous stories about me; lies after lies. And when he has found out that I spoke to those same friends, he simply no longer calls them and ignores their attempts to reach him. Like they are now also D&D.
May 17 - 3PM (Reply to #14)
CarolKittyGale (not verified)
Anonymous's picture

So true

They have NO PROBLEM telling you what you want to hear When we broke up he told me he didn't think he had ever loved me so I asked him why he told me he did and he said "I suppose it was because it was what you wanted to hear" And you are right you can NEVER please them....
May 7 - 4AM
CarolKittyGale (not verified)
Anonymous's picture

No Contact really does work

As I have comment on this post before this was my exN in carbon copy.....and so much from what other members post is the same even down to comments their N have said to them, it's almost the same word for word...it's eerie. Have had NC for over three months now and it really does work, I'm just going in and out of it rather then sitting on the sofa like a blubbering mess in-front of the PC all the time. Have read and read and read about this stuff and have started to spoiled myself with small pleasures(bubble bath, chocs, funny films,long walks, swimming, yoga, home beauty treatments). To be honest this site has helped me with a whole lot more then helping to deal with the how the exN made me feel, I have also dropped out from people that I felt weren't nice to be round or have using tendencies or at least keep them at arms length. Now I am grateful he has gone and know there is a light at the end of the tunnel even if on and off I feel like hell and start to miss him. I just keep reminding myself what he really is and if I'm honest he didn't treat the couple of friends he had very well at all so that should have set off alarm bells but he always had an excuse. I was reading Sam Vaknin and come across this site by chance. People don't really understand about N's unless they have experienced it and I can come on this site and read and comment to my hearts content and not even have to mention it when I get together with friends, which is part of my NC not talking about the N. Thank the Lord for this site it really has helped me understand and deal with so much in the aftermath of the N. Please persevere with NC if you possible can because it really does work.
May 6 - 8AM
spinning's picture

being honest

spinning Susan32 you may be writing about the N I know. I am currently being 'frozen out' for bringing up something that was troubling me. This is a repeat of many freeze outs, but like the blog states I feel responsible, confused, bereft, crazy. Can't sleep. Mind racing. Have been through six years of hell. Have been sucked dry and feel no paralyzed. I know NC is good, have been reading here for a year. I feel a strong need for some sort of closure I know will never come. N has a key to my house; knows everything about me; has pared down my life to dust. Even posting now feels a little frightening. Any advice would be most appreciated.


May 6 - 9AM (Reply to #11)
Susan32's picture

Punished for Being Human

One of my friends said that my ex-N was "punishing me for being human." It's difficult to be self-confident when the Narc punishes you for simply telling the truth and sharing your feelings. A normal person WANTS to be honest, WANTS to talk about their feelings. When I declared my feelings, my ex-N claimed to other people I was "hitting on him" (cognitive dissonance for some of my classmates who assumed he and I were having sex,thought of us as a couple anyhow) and played the victim role. Yet he knew if he had taken me to the Dean's office and I repeated what I said to him... it would've been like a house built on sand. Since when was asking another person about their father's profession counted as "hitting on" someone? He acted the victim, but he was the one who reduced me to tears IN PUBLIC and IN FRONT OF MY FRIENDS. My ex-N froze me out when I'd ask him questions about our relationship,and asked subtle questions whether he had a Significant Other (turns out he had a serious girlfriend in LA,and his body language betrayed him) He didn't want to talk about our relationship. He didn't want to talk about how he had hurt me when he D&D'd me.
May 6 - 7AM
Klarity Belle
Klarity Belle's picture

Fits my ex perfectly

I truly hate the narcissistic parasite - he sucks the very life blood out of his own offspring. ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ "The deeper that sadness carves into your being, the more joy you can contain." ~ Kahlil Gibran

"The deeper that sadness carves into your being, the more joy you can contain." ~ Kahlil Gibran

"That which we do not confront in ourselves we meet as fate" ~ Carl Jung


May 6 - 4AM
Susan32's picture

So sad and true

I totally understand the part about the bafflement, and the desire to return things to the way they were. I had declared my honest feelings of love for my ex-N,and he went from Dr. Jekyll to Mr. Hyde. I felt unlovable, and afraid of my ex-N's temper. While he wasn't physically abusive, he could be incredibly verbally abusive. All I had done was be honest ("inappropriate" in his eyes),and I was punished for it. "You are the one apologizing for some reason"-When I declared my love, my ex-N said he was "embarrassed, offended, and disappointed." I DID find myself constantly apologizing for "hurting" his feelings,while he NEVER apologized. He had gone from idolizing my writing, admiring me... to publicly humiliating me for my "impropriety." In the end, I gave him a test of his own medicine, sarcastically telling him "You're always right, I'm always wrong" in a sing-songy kindergarten teacher sort of voice. In the end, it was all about control. He thought he could control my feelings. Since I no longer admired him, but saw him as a flawed, hurting human being--he decided he could command me to despise him. And I wouldn't give him that satisfaction. I saw him as a delusional, wounded, wounding, abusive, unhappy man. Hating him would've let him have power over me.
May 5 - 8PM
Amazed's picture

When they disconnect from you immediately,,and delusional

Yes, my exN disconnected from me immediately, and went on the charm rampage with the live in OW when he was exposed ,,,leaving her letters with his cologne on them on her front porch. (spare me),,,, Hallmark notes from the drug store that he wrote that he wanted to continue the "fairtale life" he was planning with her (she read me the card to me,,,and now in retrospect, I see what a button pushing piece of crapola he is). He disconnected from me,,his only comments were "do you want to talk". "It seems like you don't want to talk". I am not sure what delusional is, but I have grateful for this post, I have it saved, and will read it when I need perspective. It gets so hurtful, for me, it is especially around the seasons, I thought I was going to grow old with this person, and share the rest of my life with them. It is not like a normal break up, it is so hurtful.
Apr 14 - 6AM
CarolKittyGale (not verified)
Anonymous's picture


OMG!! that is my ex to a tee...thank you so much for this site it is helping me so much. I have been reading everyday and so much is carbon copy of my ex's behaviour.
May 6 - 10AM (Reply to #1)
The Girlfriend ...
The Girlfriend of Dr Jekyl's picture

They are All CLONES !!

This entire article is SOOOOOOO my pathological N BF... Not one word or deed of difference between these guys in so many ways! They say and act so alike...the cycle of iealizing then D&Ding...all so much the same and predictable...unless yours also happens to be MORE than just an NPD...and is abusive and violent too...then you have even more to deal with... Being in my Psychopathic N BF's 'reality' is like stepping on the stage at a Jerry Springer Show with the Mob on Meth...never in my life knew such dysfunctional dramatic people....OMG! My wonderful loving family appears positively professional and almost 'boring' in camparison. Can't wait to leave this raging nightmare man...(carefully & safely...backing away slowly with a freindly smile...) "Forget love - I'd rather fall in chocolate!"
May 6 - 11AM (Reply to #2)
Susan32's picture

Lack of accountability

My ex-N thought he didn't have to apologize for hurting my feelings, for his emotional/verbal abuse, because he was the professor, I was the student (mind you,I wasn't enrolled in any of his classes when he D&D'd me) He thought that being a teacher exempted him from treating his inferiors with respect. He constantly played the victim... and I caught him in it in the end. When I told him he was responsible for his actions, that he had indeed devastated me, he said I had "lowered him to my level." How dare I say I was hurting, how dare I tell the truth, how dare I BE HUMAN! He couldn't bear it that at the fundamental level--we're equals. We're humans. We have feelings. He couldn't stand it. The fact that I was emotionally hurting conflicted with his own view of reality. A normal person would say "I'm sorry I hurt you feelings, I treated you shabbily"--but no. He wasn't man enough to do THAT.
May 7 - 4AM (Reply to #3)
CarolKittyGale (not verified)
Anonymous's picture


Susan32, mine would only apologize when there was something in it for him. And that was before D&D. If you call them on there behavior they just shrug it off or use it to be spiteful...because as Barbara keeps saying: NOT HUMAN NOT NORMAL When I asked my N why he had treated me so badly he said he didn't know...but he didn't really care because I was on to him and there was nothing left for him to use anymore so he will move on to use other people, whether they are lovers, friends, family members or work colleagues...I'm so getting it all now. I went through all that 'what a normal person would do' stuff but realize they are not normal/human or on our level....and they are certainly not our equals...far from it....which is very sad for them. I'm beginning very slowly to learn not to take it personally and realize I wasn't singled out because they treat everybody the same sooner or later if they get the chance.
May 8 - 9AM (Reply to #4)
Scooters Mom
Scooters Mom's picture


when we would fight, I would tell him how I felt and he would always say "why to you always assasinate my character?" I would tell him that he was verbally hurtful and he would always say "would you like to appologize?" Or "you never build me up" or "I have to ask my friends if Im a good person because you tear me down"
May 21 - 9AM (Reply to #6)
Hangman11's picture


My STBXHN would say that too! "Assasinating his character" ...What character? Liar didn't have any character or conscious either...A##wipe!
May 8 - 5PM (Reply to #5)
Susan32's picture

"I'm sorry you feel that way"

That's what my ex-N said if he hurt my feelings. Never any accountability. No "I'm sorry I hurt you." Even in the end, I'd ask him,"Why don't you apologize? Why do I always have to apologize?" His response was that HE was the teacher;I had been "inappropriate" and I had to pay.