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  • Lynn Catalano

Are you stuck in the Narcissistic Abuse Cycle?

Narcissistic abuse has a cycle where people who suffer from narcissistic personality disorder exhibit a pattern of abusive behavior in their relationships characterized by three main stages.

Stage 1 – Idealization

  • Love bombing

  • Future Faking (moving too fast)

  • Fairy Tale Feeling

I wrote about this in my book Wrecking Ball Relationships: How to Identify, Live With or Leave the Narcissist in Your Life.”

“Beth believed her compassion and strong sense of empathy attracted him. He had a story of woe and she bought into it – hook, line, and sinker. She wanted to help him and be his friend. He continued his mission of love bombing, purchasing gifts for Beth, and providing special things well beyond her budget. He made her feel like a princess. She felt his adoration. He even accompanied her to a work event where he obsessively watched her the entire time. Beth found his behavior kind of cute. Never before had a guy paid so much attention to her. Beth bought into the whole package.”

Stage 2 – Devaluation

  • Gaslighting

  • Triangulation

  • Withholding

The devaluation stage often begins slowly with some casual insults, barbs, and criticism. Then suddenly it’s much more. They humiliate, embarrass and ridicule you in front of other people. They love to use gaslighting to make you feel like you are going crazy.

Gaslighting is a technique of manipulation narcissists use to distort our perception of reality. They use this to control, both the situation and the other person for their own needs. The term “gaslighting” originated from the film of the same name in 1944.

The constant back-and-forth, arguing with a narcissist is exhausting. Once you recognize the symptoms of gaslighting, you’ll need to break the cycle and stop the madness. Gaslighting is common with narcissists since their issues are deeply rooted in insecurity and low self-esteem.”

Stage 3 – Discard

  • Rejection & Betrayal

  • Blame-shifting

  • Emotional, mental and even physical abuse

Narcissists need to feel superior, dominant, and powerful to everyone, especially their victims. Discarding you makes them feel this way. They also need you to know that you aren’t good enough for them and by discarding you it validates their sense of feeling better than everyone else.

How to break the Narcissistic Abuse Cycle

1. Set boundaries

2. Surround yourself with friends and family who support you

3. Practice self-care

4. Seek professional help – narcissistic abuse recovery coach or therapist familiar with narcissistic personality disorder.

5. Go no-contact with the narcissist.

If you’ve suffered this type of relationship, it helps enormously to talk to someone. When you're in a toxic relationship, you need to talk to someone about your emotions and your trauma. I’m a survivor of narcissistic abuse and now I coach people on their healing journey. I give people clarity, validation & comfort.

Learn more about me here:

Click here to book a free session with me. We’ll figure out if we work well together.

You can find my book “Wrecking Ball Relationships” on Amazon and

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