Narcissistic Cycle of Abuse: 5+ Ways to Stop it

What is the Narcissistic Cycle of Abuse? How to free yourself from the cycle of abuse? Narcissists are manipulative beings who constantly abuse and manipulate people around them for seeking personal benefits. They are often termed mean and selfish.

Narcissists are often characterized by their boosted sense of self-importance, self-pride, and self-needs. With a narcissist, everything is just about them. Narcissists thrive upon the attention, adoration, and validation that they receive from others, and what makes them distinguished from others is the way they think and the way they behave, which is totally selfish and mean.

The cycle of abuse in a relationship follows a pattern that includes, a damaging incident, followed by hurt, accompanied by reconciliation, a smooth period of calm again followed by tension, and lastly followed by settlement between both partners. In this case, the hurtful or damaging incidents are caused by the abusive partner, and the victim is always the other partner, who might bear the consequences of the derogatory nature of their partner.

Abuse or repetitive abuse is always followed by an insincere or feigned apology in some cases, justifications, blame shifts, a period of pause of calm, and acceptance of abuse and thus this becomes a cycle of abuse for the abusive partner and the cycle of acceptance and apologies for the other partner in the relationship. People usually accept the abusive behavior and start feeling okay with it and also adjust to the same to keep the relationship going. They might even start to ignore the abusive behavior in the eventual hopes of working out things in the relationship. This is what a normal cycle of abuse might look like generally in a relationship.

But with a narcissistic partner, the cycle of abuse is a bit different. The Narcissistic cycle of abuse may have a similar approach to abusive relationships but with an extra touch of love bombing, insulting, devaluing, and discarding. Narcissists have altogether different perspectives when it comes to dating or loving. Narcissists are extra with everything they do, meaning they are extra affectionate in the initial stages of the relationship, then it gradually comes down to devaluing and hurting their partners and with the final stage of discarded. Narcissists never settle or adjust they just discard their partners and move on to their next partner within no time. This is what dating a narcissist would look like.

What is the Narcissistic Cycle of Abuse?

Once the narcissist feels that they no longer need you, or you have served their purpose, and there is no longer supply left in you, that is when the Narcissistic Cycle of Abuse begins. Once a narcissist feels there is no longer availability of the “narcissistic supply” (Supply here refers to giving them attention, praising their accomplishments, providing a sense of entitlement and validation whether it is positive or negative, providing special treatment due to their sense of entitlement, and meeting their needs and demands) they leave you without any signs or even a warning.

In a relationship with a narcissist, you constantly feel that they overpower or sabotage the relationship already. But as if this was not enough, they also decide to discard you without giving much consideration to your feelings and your perspective. The narcissistic Cycle of Abuse usually includes three phases that are discussed below,

To understand the Narcissistic Cycle of Abuse better, let us know the phases of dating a narcissist as presented by mental health experts, psychologists, and knowledgeable therapists;

1. Attraction or Idealization Phase

The first and most menacing phase of dating a Narcissist is this phase. Attraction or Idealization is the step where they spot you and grab your attention, like spotting a target for obtaining their supply. This step feels like you are on cloud nine as they make you feel so special with the technique called love bombing. They would make you feel so special and out of the world, that you would think, you have found the love of your life.

What is Love Bombing?

Love Bombing is a love attack on a particular target victim. It is an act of extreme display of love. It is an exaggerated display of love which is usually considered toxic and unhealthy for a successful relationship. In an unhealthy relationship love bombing technique is often taken into practice to cover up mistakes, to recover the lost relationships, or when anything goes wrong, or to manipulate the partner with the help of lovey-dovey or cheezy words, actions, and loud effective gestures.

Little do you know about their ill intentions in the later dating phases! During the Attraction or Idealization dating stage, they would shower you with excessive love, compliment you, would want to be around you all the time, and make you extremely special. They will play all sorts of love tactics to manipulate you and your thoughts just to make you fall in love with them.

There are some possible ways a narcissist would show their love or love-bombing you with their tactics,

  • They might take you to your favorite restaurant and say all kinds of cheesy things so that they can win you or lure you into a relationship. But remember this is just temporary, this would all fade away once they know you are into them and no longer you can be of much use to them.
  • They might also do things like buying expensive presents, going shopping with you, might choose a PDA(Public Display of Affection), and many more such means to lure you.

For avoiding falling into a narcissist love trap, let us know some peculiar traits of a narcissist with the help of which you can avoid such a person as your partner,

  • This person might try to win over you with excessive love which is not normal that it almost seems unreal
  • Would stalk you in every possible way
  • This person would need constant attention and are desperate to gain it.
  • They lack sensitivity and empathy.
  • They would not listen to you, would just try to keep their point and make everything about them.
  • They merely care for your feelings unless it involves them.
  • They have high levels of self-importance, self-esteem, and overconfidence.
  • They always need praise, appreciation, and entitlement.

How to keep yourself aloof from getting influenced by narcissists? – How to avoid getting stuck in a relationship with a narcissist?

Controlling your emotions around the narcissistic person, we know you would be having all kinds of mixed feelings but not showing your emotions around them might make a big difference and make them want to stop hitting you for starters. When you do so, they might try to trigger your emotions, but not get carried away. Keep your distance in order to avoid all that future trauma that you would get by falling into their trap!

2. Devaluation Phase

The Devaluation phase begins as soon as a narcissist is able to completely lure you in. Once they gain your complete trust, this is when they start playing with your feelings and thoughts by using their manipulative tactics. They start showing their true face, gradually. To make their grip even firm on you and establish complete control over you they would try to isolate you from your friend group, relatives, and anyone you can rely on emotionally.

They would only want you to depend upon only them and nobody else. This is the phase when they would suck the positivity out of you and drain you. They would make you feel emotionally exhausted by insulting you when you do not agree with them, abusing you when you avoid them, making you feel guilty for not appreciating them, demanding money or love from you, keeping high expectations, fulfilling all their desires with you on their side, they would be mean to you, be sarcastic and crack jokes on you, humiliate you and even threaten you about breaking up.

This is the phase when you really realize what trap you are into! They would easily commence fights with you with the slightest inconvenience, or if you don’t give enough attention to them they would not let go of any chance of humiliating you, they would isolate you mentally and physically from others so that your attention can be completely on them and you can be their supply only.

The devaluation Phase is a grey phase, where you cannot bear them but cannot even let them go due to their manipulative tactics like love bombing along with insulting you or creating self-doubt in your mind, you would not be able to see the red flags as you would be in love them by the devaluation phase. Your self-doubt would be to the fullest and your self-confidence would have hit rock bottom by this phase. Thus devaluation phase is all about isolating you from others and using you for their benefit only.

3. Discard Phase

The Discard phase begins when the narcissist feels that the charm and chase are over, the excitement and lust are gone, and the purpose (whatever they have been using you for like money, physical intimacy, just to cop with their former breakup or a fresh supply) is over, and they finally can no longer use you for their gains.

This is the last and final stage where a narcissist would completely use you and when you are no longer available for them or become emotionally unavailable to them, emotionally drained, have no longer supply left, and start ignoring them; this is when they reject you and end the relationship abruptly.

The Discard phase is the time when a narcissist uses you completely until their satisfaction like a pawn, and when they no longer need you or find someone else they just discard you like something unimportant. They just end things abruptly without any established reasons.

As you know the details of the narcissist abusive dating cycle, let us know the details of the Narcissistic Cycle of Abuse;

How Does the Narcissistic Cycle of Abuse Work?

Narcissists are super greedy and they cannot cut ties easily with their exes, so they would keep coming back until you realize the toxicity and deny them with strong actions. Unless you are headstrong about denying them to enter your lives again, they would keep coming back to you after discarding you a number of times. It does not matter to a narcissist how many times they dump you and come back to you because they do not have any intimate bond with any of their dating partners.

Narcissists have a tendency to use people for their needs and desires. They just seek attention and control. They believe the world revolves around them and they are entitled to have whatever they desire. Hypocrisy is their go-to trait. Selfishness is in their true nature, and they would do anything to seek benefit from you. They ought to keep in touch with their exes even and also do not hesitate to lure them into new relationships.

When you end a relationship with a narcissist, it is just not over there. You would finally be taking a breath of relief, as you are out of the narcissist’s toxic and abusive relationship cycle, but get ready to be burdened again by the narcissist’s manipulation and persuasion as the relationship is just not over yet. Narcissists use this persuasive tactic called hoovering, where they lure their victims. The one and ultimate goal of narcissistic Hoover is to tempt or persuade their ex-romantic partners, back into the relationship by manipulating them, abusing them emotionally, and guilt-tripping them about ending the relationship.

Why is Narcissistic Abuse so damaging?

The narcissistic cycle of Abuse leaves the person experiencing emptiness, deep scars, and a long-lost connection with the world. Narcissists have a very negative impact on their partners and thus their partners find it hard to recognize genuine feelings once they are out of the toxic narcissistic cycle of abuse.

What does Narcissistic Emotional Abuse look like?

Gaslighting – Narcissists gaslight in order to have a sense of control by making others dependent on them. Gaslighting is also used to establish authority. Some narcissists use gaslighting to boost their ego by proving others wrong even if they are not or to escape some unwanted situation too.

Withholding Love – When a narcissist wishes to keep a hold over the partner, they would withhold their love and just keep on seeking love from you. They would adjust take but not give back.

Telling Lies – When a narcissist feels that their ego is being damaged, they would manipulate you with all sorts of lies or half-truths.

Ways to Stop the Narcissistic Cycle of Abuse

Escaping a narcissistic cycle of abuse is really difficult, but there is nothing impossible if you have a strong will. Setting free yourself is clearly in your hands. Here are a few ways to help you break free from the Narcissistic Cycle of Abuse,

1. Understand that you are being abused by the abuser

Understanding that you are being abused by the abuser needs some time as you would realize it sooner or later depending on the abuser’s treatment. Realize that they are a narcissist and they would be treating you the same way as they did while you were dating which is toxic. Narcissists do not change and their core personality and traits would remain the same, and also the changes can be only surface level. Most narcissists are deliberate abusers. They would gaslight their victims on purpose. Gaslighting is a completely cyclical incident. It does not just happen once, it is a repetitive abusive cycle of multiple events for which you are a victim.

2. Set Boundaries

Another important step to stop the Narcissistic Cycle of Abuse is to set up clear and firm boundaries. This means being clear about what you will and will not tolerate from the narcissist. It is important to communicate these boundaries clearly, both verbally and in writing, and to stick to them consistently. The first step is taking your power back by setting boundaries. Narcissists can be demanding and take up a lot of your time and energy. Setting boundaries helps you protect your time, space, and mental health. Narcissists tend to cross boundaries frequently. Being firm and assertive about your limits and holding them accountable if they violate them is also one of the best to set boundaries.

3. Try to seek support from friends and family

When you are coming out of the Narcissistic Cycle of Abuse, seeking help from others can you a lot. Being alone in such a phase is risky and not good for your mental health also, as you would be healing from all the trauma that the narcissist had put you through. So do hesitate to reach out to friends and family for emotional support and also join some prayer groups, visit any worship place, if you are a believer, or join some communities or therapy groups that help in healing and dealing with trauma.

4. Take time to work on yourself after the breakup

Emotional, Mental, and physical Healing becomes very important when you depart ways with a narcissist. A narcissistic relationship tends to deteriorate your mental, physical, and emotional health along with decreasing your confidence, willpower to live, and the simple joys of life.

Try to give yourself time to heal yourself after all the manipulation, trauma, and abuse. Here below are some signs that you are healing from a breakup,

  • You look happy and healthy
  • You can reminiscence your good old habits
  • You start enjoying your own company and your attitude toward life changes
  • Your life starts seeming carefree
  • You become more confident with life
  • Physical and mental health issues tend to disappear
  • You start feeling all the emotions

5. Consulting a professional

Seeking help from professionals like therapists, taking healing therapies, consulting, and discussing the issues with experts can help out a lot in such matters. Sometimes if the abuse increases certain limit and reaches violent measures, do not hesitate to include law-enforced measures or consulting experts for that matter.

6. Get out of the relationship and do not return

One should carefully plan their exit from the toxic relationship with the narcissist if they are planning to do so as it seems one of the best and safest ways to say no to narcissistic abuse. Getting out of such an abusive relationship is one of the best ways to handle the abuser and the manipulation. Just look at all the red flags and seek your way out of the abusive relationship. Do not endure the pain and manipulation and hurt just let go of the relationship and be happy.

How to make yourself free from Narcissistic manipulation and trauma?

By the time you realize that you had a troublesome and traumatic relationship due to a narcissistic partner, you would be able to understand the below-provided points. If you realize that you are a narcissistic partner or have gained narcissistic traits from your narcissistic parents or anyone with narcissism, then also these points will help you. So please keep reading further,

  • Learning about your truths and conducts, while keeping aside all the falses that you have created, and acknowledging them can be the initial step.
  • Look after your physical health with the help of exercises, yoga, meditation, and any form of physical workout.
  • Look after your mental health with the help of meditation, reading good books, seeking help from your loved ones, listening to music, and doing more things that keep your interest at its peak.
  • Consult a mental health expert, a therapist, or anyone who can guide you for that matter.
  • Try connecting more with nature by hiking, swimming, jogging in the fresh air, and any possible means which can get you closure to nature.
  • Give appropriate time to yourself to heal internally; do not force healing upon yourself.
  • Find things that keep you away from negative thoughts, negative people, and a negative atmosphere.
  • Learning new skills, meeting new people, and visiting new places also play a crucial role in freeing yourself from narcissistic characteristics.


The narcissistic cycle of Abuse leaves the person experiencing emptiness, deep scars, and a long-lost connection with the world. Narcissists have a very negative impact on their partners and thus their partners find it hard to recognize genuine feelings once they are out of the toxic narcissistic cycle of abuse.

Thus to sum up this article, it is recommended for the readers that they should carefully plan their exit from the toxic relationship with the narcissist if they are planning to do so as it seems one of the best and safest ways to say no to narcissistic abuse. Ending a relationship with a narcissist requires careful planning, boundaries, and support. Remember that you deserve to be in a healthy, respectful relationship, and do not let anyone convince you otherwise.

Yes! Breaking up the toxic cycle of abuse by a narcissist can be a cynical and delusional process, but once you gather the strength it is not impossible.

Ella Carrillo

Ella Carrillo

Hey Reader, I am Ella, an Online and Offline Therapist holding an experience of 6 years in this field. From Relationship, Depression, and Personality Disorder to Narcissistic problems, I have helped a lot of people find their solutions. Upon gathering a number of common problems that people face, I decided to put the information on this blog so that anyone can get their answers easily.

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