Devalue: To reduce or underestimate the worth or importance of.
In my research I found that there’s a common pattern the Narcissist abuse follows. It’s a dizzying whirlwind or “crazy wheel” that includes three stages: idealization, devaluing, and discarding. This cycle can repeat numerous times, spinning a merry-go-round of emotional vertigo for those caught in such relationships.
In the beginning of a relationship with a narcissist or a person affected by a personality disorder, one may describe the initial infatuation stage as the “honeymoon stage.” The emotional high can feel like a drug cocktail as potent as cocaine, heroin, and ecstasy, all rolled into one noxious dose that lasts a few weeks, months, or in some cases a year or more. Targets of narcissistic abuse report feeling as if they have found their soulmate and can’t believe their good fortune that this seductive lover has elevated them to soaring heights upon a pedestal. Idealization or “Love bombing” is a phrase describing this stage, in which the narcissistic person may smother the target with praise, courting, intense sex, vacations, promises of a future together, and essentially, idealization as the most special person ever.
Just when they’ve realed you in, the devaluing starts. Even if you’re perfect, they will find something to nitpick about you because doing so devalues you and lowers your self-esteem. Eventually, there’s a threshold of self-esteem where you begin viewing your abuser as your savior and the best thing to ever happen to you, and this is their constant aim – to keep you below that threshold (check out Stockholm Syndrome).
The ultimate goal for the narcissistic psychopath is power and control over you. They do this because they are secretly afraid you will leave/abandon them – a narcissist greatest fear. When your self-esteem is low enough, you will then eventually fear to lose your abuser even if they were the one who put you down there. Your self-esteem takes such a beating, you feel you won’t be able to do any better; you don’t feel attractive so you might as well stay.
During my marriage it came to a point where I was terrified to leave and start my life over, having such low self-esteem and an even lower self-image. If my husband wasn’t demeaning my intelligence, it was about my physical appearance and weight always making me feel inadequate. Nothing was good enough. Nothing I did was acceptable. I could go on here for pages…..
Once I found the courage to leave, faced with the reality that my life depended on it, I was then catapulted into the discard phase. To say our year of divorce was acrimonious is an understatement. Even now, to this day three years later he continues to make my life a living hell, while using our children as weapons.
(Sorry to digress here….)
I’m convinced, not only in my own personal experiences but also with other women from my divorced wives group and various narcissist support groups online, that it’s nearly impossible to co-parent with a narcissistic psychopath. Hating to be a Debbie Downer, but I’ve heard so many stories with so many women having had the same experiences. A narcissistic psychopath will NEVER take accountability for their actions. A narcissist only thinks of themselves and will use the children as a means of control and contact. It’s a game, one that a narcissist must WIN, no matter the costs. Ok, so I’m done ranting here…… So how does one move on and survive?
Survivors can heal and move forward with the help of psychotherapy and by sharing their story with others through various support groups online. By narrating one’s story and resolving the trauma of the emotional abuse, sharing the dynamics of abuse empowers survivors to lessen any cognitive dissonance remaining as a result of that emotional abuse.
I found this to be true in my case. By sharing my story and learning about the narcissistic emotional manipulative tactics was a huge awakening – like a veil being lifted. It wasn’t me. I did everything I could to save our marriage. In fact, I survived 30 years with a narcissist! More importantly, through my research and in speaking my truth with others who had been down the same path I eventually learned to forgive myself and move forward. Give me a medal and pat me on the back!
My advice to those reading my blog who have found themselves in similar shoes…… Hold on to that inner spark of strength; have faith in your guardian angels; and listen to your inner spirit who will guide you. As Oprah once said, “You don’t become what you want, you become what you believe.” It’s time to break those chains that bound you to those negative and devaluing tactics. Slowly, over time, armed with knowledge of the various emotional manipulative tactics, survivors can understand the relationship cycle they endured and move forward with enough protective armor such that they can jump off the crazy wheel of emotional abuse and be just fine.
Believe in yourself!