Many people have asked me what to do to survive a Narcissist relationship. I always feel sympathetic for them because I can imagine the torturous life they are living. 
An emotionally abusive relationship is one where the individual’s emotions and feelings are not respected and are frequently undermined. Surviving an emotionally abusive relationship is usually an arduous task. This is because the element of love or initial attraction usually interferes with any attempt at detaching from the abusive partner. 
Many of the emotionally abused people when interviewed, usually confess that they are still in love with their partners or exes. Irrespective of the amount of hurt that they have received, they are willing to give love a second chance! 
Surviving this form of abuse is something you must do if you must regain your health, calm your troubled mind and regain your self-worth. The attempt at freedom or detachment is even more demanding for people who circumstances make it unavoidable that they will still maintain howbeit minimal contact with their abuser. This is sometimes because of the kids, where they attend the same school or work in the same organisation, however survival is obtainable. 

Let's explore the phases of narcissistic behaviour and how they can impact relationships.  

Phase 1: Idealisation 
The first phase of narcissistic behaviour is an idealisation. During this phase, the narcissist will put their best foot forward and present themselves as the perfect partner, employee, or friend. They will shower their target with praise and attention, making them feel special and important. This phase often draws people in and creates a sense of intimacy and closeness. 
In a romantic relationship, the narcissist may shower their partner with gifts and compliments, create elaborate plans and experiences, and make the other person feel like they are the centre of the universe. In a professional setting, the narcissist may flatter their boss or co-workers, take on extra work, and create the impression of being an exceptional employee. However, this behaviour 00is often designed to manipulate and control the target. 
Phase 2: Devaluation 
Once the narcissist has drawn their target in, they will move into the devaluation phase. During this phase, the narcissist will begin to criticise, belittle, and undermine their target. They may become more demanding, controlling, and dismissive, and may use insults, gaslighting, and other manipulative tactics to maintain their power and control over the relationship. 
In a romantic relationship, the narcissist may become more critical of their partner's appearance, behaviour, or intelligence. They may become jealous or possessive and may try to isolate their partner from friends and family. In a professional setting, the narcissist may become more demanding and may start to blame others for their own mistakes. They may become less collaborative and may try to take credit for others' work. 
Phase 3: Discard 
The final phase of narcissistic behaviour is the discard phase. During this phase, the narcissist often abruptly ends the relationship or cut off contact with their target. This can be incredibly traumatic for the target, as they may have believed they had a deep and meaningful connection with the narcissist. 
In a romantic relationship, the discard phase may involve the narcissist suddenly breaking up with their partner or cheating on them. In a professional setting, the narcissist may quit their job or lash out at co-workers, causing tension and conflict. 
It's important to note that not all narcissists will go through all three phases. Some may stay in the idealisation phase for extended periods, while others may move quickly from idealisation to discard. Additionally, not all narcissistic behaviour will be visible or noticeable. Some narcissists may be able to hide their true nature for extended periods, while others may be more overt in their behaviour. 
Additionally a 4th phase tends to occur too! 
Phase 4 - Hoovering phase in narcissist relationships 
The hoovering phase is a critical component of narcissistic relationships and is often used by the narcissistic partner to regain control and power over their victim. This phase is named after the Hoover vacuum cleaner, as the narcissistic partner will attempt to "suck" their victim back into the relationship. 
During the hoovering phase, the narcissistic partner may reach out to their victim with apologies, promises of change, gifts, and other tokens of affection. They may express regret for their past behaviour and try to make the victim feel guilty for leaving the relationship. This behaviour can be confusing for the victim, who may have believed that the relationship was over or had ended for good. 
One of the primary goals of the hoovering phase is to undermine the victim's sense of self-worth and independence. The narcissistic partner may try to convince the victim that they are better off together and cannot survive without the narcissist's love and support. This can be especially effective if the victim has already suffered from low self-esteem or feelings of worthlessness due to the abuse they experienced during the relationship. 
The hoovering phase may also involve gaslighting, a form of psychological manipulation where the abuser makes the victim doubt their own perceptions of reality. The narcissistic partner may try to convince the victim that the abuse never happened or that it was not as bad as the victim remembers. They may also try to make the victim believe they were at fault for the abuse or overreaction to the narcissist's behaviour. 
It is essential for victims of narcissistic abuse to be aware of the hoovering phase and to understand that it is a common tactic used by narcissistic abusers. While it may be tempting to believe that the narcissistic partner has genuinely changed or is sorry for their past behaviour, it is essential to remember that this behaviour is likely part of a larger cycle of abuse. 
Victims may also benefit from seeking professional support and guidance to help them navigate the hoovering phase and make informed decisions about their future. This may involve working with a therapist, support group, or other resources to help the victim heal from the abuse and develop healthy coping strategies. 
In addition to seeking support, victims of narcissistic abuse may also benefit from setting boundaries with their abuser. This may involve limiting or ceasing contact with the narcissistic partner or establishing clear expectations for how they should be treated in the future. By setting and enforcing these boundaries, victims can help protect themselves from further abuse and regain control and agency in their lives. 
As you can see, the hoovering phase is a common component of narcissistic relationships and is used by the narcissistic partner as a means of regaining control and power over their victim. This phase may involve apologies, promises of change, and gaslighting, all with the goal of undermining the victim's sense of self-worth and independence. It is crucial for victims of narcissistic abuse to be aware of this phase and to seek support and guidance to help them navigate it and make informed decisions about their future. By setting boundaries and seeking professional support, victims can protect themselves from further abuse and begin to heal from the trauma they have experienced. 

Triangulation in narcissistic relationships 

Triangulation is a common tactic used by narcissists in relationships and is a form of manipulation designed to make their victims feel jealous, insecure, or unsure of themselves. This tactic involves the narcissistic partner bringing a third person into the relationship through direct involvement or by talking about them frequently. 
In some cases, the third person may be an ex-partner, friend, or family member. The narcissistic partner may spend time with this person, talk about them frequently, or even flirt with them in front of their victim. This behaviour can make the victim feel jealous and insecure and may even cause them to question the validity of the relationship. 
In other cases, the third person may be an idealised version of the narcissistic partner. The narcissist may present themselves as the perfect partner but may then compare their victim to an imaginary person who is more attractive, successful, or accomplished. This can make the victim feel inadequate and may even cause them to try to change themselves in order to meet the narcissist's idealised standards. 
Triangulation can have several adverse effects on the victim of a narcissistic relationship. It can cause them to feel anxious, depressed, or insecure and may even lead to anger or resentment towards the third party involved. It can also make it difficult for the victim to establish trust in the relationship, as they may feel their partner is not fully committed or invested in the relationship. 
In addition to the emotional impact, triangulation can also have practical consequences for the victim. They may find themselves constantly competing with the third party for their partner's attention or feel like they are regularly playing second fiddle. This can be exhausting and may even interfere with their ability to focus on other areas of their life, such as work, family, or hobbies. 
If you suspect that you are the victim of triangulation in a narcissistic relationship, it is vital to take action to protect yourself. This may involve seeking professional support, such as therapy to help you develop coping strategies and regain control over your life. 
It may also be helpful to set clear boundaries with your partner and let them know that triangulation is unacceptable behaviour. This may involve establishing clear expectations for how you should be treated and enforcing consequences if those expectations are not met. 
In most cases, it may be necessary to end the relationship altogether to protect yourself from further harm. This can be a difficult and painful process, but it is essential to prioritise your own well-being and safety 

The Impact of Narcissistic Behaviour on Relationships 

Narcissistic behaviour can have a profound impact on relationships, both personal and professional. The idealisation phase can create a sense of closeness and intimacy that is difficult to break, while the devaluation phase can cause confusion and self-doubt. The discard phase can leave targets feeling abandoned and hurt, with little understanding of why the relationship ended so suddenly. 
In personal relationships, the impact of narcissistic behaviour can be particularly severe. Targets may experience emotional and psychological abuse, including gaslighting, manipulation, and coercion. They may struggle with their own self-esteem and self-worth, feeling like they are never good enough for the narcissist. They may also struggle to move on from the relationship, particularly if they have been isolated from friends and family. 
The effect of narcissism in professional settings 
Narcissistic behaviour can significantly impact professional settings, including the workplace. In a work environment, a narcissist may prioritise their own needs and desires above those of the organisation, co-workers, or customers. They may be more focused on gaining recognition, promotions, and accolades for themselves, rather than working towards the common goals of the team or the company. 
One of the most significant impacts of narcissistic behaviour in the workplace is the effect on team dynamics. Narcissists often demand attention and recognition for their achievements and may belittle or criticise others they see as competition or a threat to their own success. This behaviour can create a toxic work environment, with team members becoming defensive or resentful towards the narcissistic individual. 
Narcissistic behaviour can also have an impact on communication in the workplace. Narcissists may dominate conversations, interrupt others, and refuse to listen to opposing viewpoints. This can lead to a breakdown in effective communication and collaboration, which can ultimately hurt the success of the team and the company. 
Furthermore, narcissists may not be able to take constructive feedback or criticism, making it difficult for managers or colleagues to provide them with guidance or support. They may also blame others for their own mistakes, refuse to take responsibility for their actions, and become defensive when challenged or questioned. This type of behaviour can undermine the team's effectiveness and create a sense of mistrust and hostility between colleagues. 
Narcissistic behaviour can also impact the productivity of the workplace. A narcissistic employee may spend more time focused on self-promotion and less time focused on the tasks at hand. They may refuse to delegate tasks or work collaboratively, leading to inefficiencies and delays. Additionally, they may not be able to handle failure or setbacks, leading to a lack of resilience and adaptability in facing challenges. 
Finally, the impact of narcissistic behaviour on the workplace can extend beyond individual teams or departments. A high-level executive with narcissistic tendencies may prioritise their desires and goals above those of the organisation as a whole, leading to decisions that may benefit them personally but ultimately harm the company. This can have a ripple effect on the entire organisation, impacting morale, productivity, and finally, the bottom line. 
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