The abuse cycle in a toxic relationship begins with the toxic person (usually a narcissist) idealizing their chosen victim during the honeymoon period before devaluing them and completely breaking their heart and destroying their life.
The abuser will first start putting the victim on a pedestal. They will lovebomb them with text messages and expressions of love. They will idealize them, making them feel like they are something special, something the abuser has never seen before.
The abuser will share secrets with the victim, thus strengthening the bond between them and making the victim feel comfortable around them. The abuser’s only goal during this stage is to make the victim vulnerable and to make them share their insecurities and weak spots so that they can manipulate them later to gain control.
During the phase of idealization, the abuser reels the victim in and makes them completely dependent on them and their approval. Why? Because the victim has never felt better: more understood, more desirable, more worthy than they feel when the abuser idealizes them. The toxic person, however, mirrors the victim’s deepest desires and acts them out, making them think they have found the love of their life.
After this phase, the abuser starts devaluing the victim i.e. removing the victim from the pedestal they have built for them. The abuser will slowly start criticizing the victim, making the victim feel unworthy of them. The abuser will combine this with occasional love-bombing to confuse the victim and make the victim walk on eggshells around them.
The devaluation phase happens when the toxic person targets both the victim’s insecurities and their strengths. If the victim tells them about something that they are insecure about, the abuser will sneak in a snide remark about it at some point. Also, if the victim tells them of something that they are proud of, the abuser will find a way to make them feel unworthy and diminish their pride.
The abuser relies completely on the victim’s need for approval and validation as well as the feeling of not being enough that they have evoked in them throughout the cycle of idealization and devaluation. That’s how the abuser hooks in their victim, making them unable to remove the shackles that keep them bound to the abuser.
The abuser gives the victim the minimum amount of attention and effort needed to keep the victim by their side and making the victim wishing that the abuser will go back to the idealization phase when everything was perfect. Of course, this never happens. Only the abuse gets worse and worse. The victim then is not able to leave the abuser because they feel that they have invested so much in the relationship that ending it would mean having to part ways with a part of themselves.
This cycle will repeat many times until the ultimate ‘discard’ which is only temporary. During the discard, the toxic person will abandon their victim in a moment of rage only to reappear again in their life and try to regain the control over them by pretending that he or she has changed.
Sadly, victims spend a lifetime waiting for the abuser to change. They wait because they want the abuser to be like they were in the beginning during the idealization phase – loving, caring, and kind. Of course, that will never happen. That’s why it is essential for the victim to remove themselves from the abuser entirely. They must cut all contact with them if they want to start a new life and heal.
If you are a survivor, I applaud you. What you have gone through is devastating and it leaves scars and wounds on a person’s heart. The pain is real. The agony is real. But we can support each other and through sharing our experiences we can feel better and lucky we have walked away for good.
I am currently writing my first book titled “Inside The Narcissist’s Psyche: His Ability To Make Victims Stay With Him Even Though The Pain They’re Feeling Is Unbearable” If you are interested to take a glimpse at it, follow this link and tell us whether you like the subject so that we can send you a free chapter after we publish it.