STAGE ONE: IDEALIZATION (Part 2)
IF YOU FEEL LIKE YOU’RE REACHING THE END OF YOUR ROPE with nowhere to turn, call the 24-hr National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1.800.273.8255 or the 24-hr Crisis Text Line by texting “HELP” to 741-741. In an emergency, call 911 or go to your nearest emergency room.
INITIAL 14 WONDERFUL MONTHS WITH MY BEST FRIEND, SOULMATE, HERO, AND PROTECTOR (Cont’d)…
Picture the PERFECT relationship where you and your partner PERFECTLY FIT in every single way possible… physically, mentally, emotionally, spiritually. THIS was THAT relationship. While it’s normal to connect with people where there are weaknesses and shortcomings that you “accept” because that person’s wonderful qualities outweigh those things… THIS was NOT THOSE “normal” relationships. It’s so insane… you and your partner fit without compromise…. you’ve found your SOULMATE.
I was so happy to SUPPORT him in whatever he was doing…
Whether it was in business, faith building, health, parenting, and personal improvement… I was so very proud of him and did whatever I could to support and encourage him. I loved him to heaven and back.. and wanted him to feel free to show up as his very best.
He did the same for me… he loved the contributions I made through my business & the projects we worked on together… he loved how I gave back to my church community… he admired how I parented… and he loved my heart.
The BUSINESS we will build together…
He wanted to start a couple’s food blog… he’ll be the behind-the-scene nutrition genius while I made the food look pretty. We were going to build a business centered around our faith. He always said were meant to do big things together.
Our beautiful & fun blended FAMILY…
Often discussing how we’ll raise the kids… oh gosh, they’ll love each other to pieces! His two young children will look at my teenager like he hung the moon (esp. his little special needs boy who was convinced Joshua was a detective on one of his favorite TV shows!)… and my J will be a fun & protective big brother and a wonderful role model for them.
Just the thought of J being unable to walk around the house without the two little ones hanging all over him, demanding his attention always cracked us up. This was my favorite, sweetest, happiest, image that I looked forward to…
I was in daily contact with his BABIES A 30-minutes Facetime video when they got home from school and another before bedtime (on weeks he had them). They shared stories… put on shows for me… and included me in their games.
His adorable little girl was obsessed with making me laugh… occasionally running off to another room with the phone so we can “girl talk”… or to ask me to help pick out an outfit. Her excitement when we made “Japanese ice cream cookies” together… patiently waiting for me to explain the next steps, melted my heart. And when we watched shows together… she’d unknowingly aim the camera at a blank wall and ask, “Isn’t this SO funny? Don’t you LOVE it?” lol.
And his little boy would steal his dad’s phone, find my photo in the contacts, and Facetime… “HAAAI MUMMYYY!” (Several times during breakfast, about 5am my time! lol). He eventually figured out how to call me on his iPad so these independent video calls increased! … even asking to see me when his dad went to have lunch with him at school.
OMG… the two went INSANE whenever my teenager made an appearance during our calls! I couldn’t wait to spoil them!
He shared his plans on how he will begin spending time with JOSHUA, my 16 year old… Classes at the UFC gym… take him fishing… to the shooting range… watch “Deadpool” with him because mom won’t allow him and this can be their rebellious “Dad / teen son” movie … lol… Joshua was so excited!
And my amazing son who started college 2 years early, contacted Rice University in Houston regarding courses and admission (ex found the school for him)… as well as Baylor College of Medicine (Houston)… because we were going to relocate to Houston after he finishes this program on June ’19. My boy was looking forward to visiting the schools on our next visit because his mom’s boyfriend said we were.
Our Beautiful children were going be the HAPPIEST, Most Loved kids with the Most Amazing lives in the history of EVER…
~ Although it was all through video calls, his babies and I quickly bonded. They constantly asked for me and I looked forward to seeing them after school and before bed time… day in… day out. Now they’re gone. Just like that.
I SAVED HIM…
He told me he’s been unhappy and feeling so empty for a long time. He’s been treated so badly by his ex wife/relationships… Until I Came Along.
I showed him how wonderful it is to love and be truly loved… I made him smile like no one ever could… and he finally knew what it meant to be genuinely happy. I was the one who saved him.
I was the ONLY ONE in the whole world who made him feel so loved and happy. I was special. I felt so privileged.
This seems to be a common theme here. The new target is praised and thanked for “saving” the narc, showing him what true love and happiness is about and changing his life. I’m sure they mean it at the moment… due to their lack of emotional empathy, they’re unable to hold on to loving feelings and emotional bonds… leaving them empty & miserable.
He was always excited to LISTEN to what I had to share…
Whether they were silly flashbacks from when I was just a little girl in Japan… my challenges in understanding a teenage boy… family conflicts… business ideas and concerns… food I want to cook and the ingredients I need… my goals, my dreams, my fantasies. He just listened… and somehow, he was able to relate to everything I talked about by either being personally familiar or simply “feeling” for me…
Narcissists observe their new target with laser focus… while we’re being swept off our feet by all this attention, he’s learning everything he can about us in order to mimic and mirror to appear as the perfect soulmate.
When we have a MISUNDERSTANDING…
He was always ready to talk things out and find solutions to the issue. I LOVED that… it made me feel heard – that I matter. When he just couldn’t understand why I was so hurt (looking back, pretty often…), he would say, “Baby, I’m just a big dumb guy… what do YOU need me to do to make this better?” That blew my mind… I have a boyfriend who will do what’s needed to make things better! I felt so blessed.
Because they lack the ability to relate to another person’s feelings, narcs are unable to solve emotion-based problems without being told what to do.
He QUIETED my insecurities about the women who gravitated towards him…
He was quick to reassure me that he only had eyes for me. He’s never given his heart to anyone… I’m the only one he’s ever given it to. That there’s no one else he would trust his kids with… and they’ve grown to love me. He reassured me that he always conducts himself as if I was right there with him… and even offered to give me access to his social media accounts so I can see for myself that he’s being faithful.
(~ I never asked for access. I know now they’re all “supply”.)
He PAID ATTENTION to things I liked. He took mental notes about things I got excited about and even browsed through my Pinterest boards… (I couldn’t believe I had a boyfriend who did this!)[foogallery id=”12260″]
(Some of the photos I posted on social media to show off how sweet my mystery soulmate was… my friends who are connected will recognize these…)
Netflx MOVIE DATES!
He made time for movie night with me and my son. We watched Kung-fu movies… anime… and lots of documentaries … lol. “Stranger Things” was “our show” and we couldn’t wait for season 2!!! Our together time was always so much fun…
We Were CONNECTED All Day…
From our good morning texts, morning prayer calls, and FaceTime after I crawled out of bed to shower… to calls when he drives to the store (and while he shops), work break video, videos while prepping dinner… and our goodnite video.
Being far apart was tough on my heart, but he made certain I always felt his heart right here with me.
He was MY ROCK…
When my heart ached so much for him, I depended on his confidence in us… “I’m here, baby. We can get through anything together. We are worth fighting for.” … I missed him but I always fought through it… we’ve been decided by God… it “has to be” us together. #teamus
~ Ironically, this is the very reason why he said he had to lie and cheat… I felt betrayed beyond words.
I stuck through the hard times because I trusted him… but as soon as he found someone more convenient, he was gone. All the “soulmate” and “chosen for each other” wiped out because … “distance and time apart was too much.”
Who would’ve thought a man like this even existed! And he was looking for someone exactly like ME!!! This is what finding your soulmate must feel like! I’ve repeatedly told him, “If I were to design a perfect man for me, you would be it… except you’re much better… it’s like you were created just for me.”
~ This perfect person was in fact, CREATED just for me. And new “perfects” will continue to be created for those after me…
LOVE BOMBING IN PERSPECTIVE
Partners of narcissists are CONSTANTLY showered with laser-focused love, affection, attention, and validation during this idealization stage which lasts between a few weeks to several years. Day in – day out of only soul awakening praise and goodness. When you feel insecure… when you’re disappointed in yourself, the manipulator is right there telling you just how perfect and wonderful they think you are regardless.
This becomes your “standard”… it’s what you’re groomed to EXPECT from this wonderful person who truly loves you. It’s the initial stage of the covert brainwashing… preparing the victim for the most painful and horrendous mental and emotional (sometimes physical) experience they’ve ever had to live through
The diagnosed narcissists I’ve spoken to claimed that in the beginning of the relationship, they’re motivated by “genuine” attraction – based on how they can benefit. However, they lack emotional empathy so they only idealize their target as objects to benefit from, and not as human beings with feelings. And because they do not bond emotionally, they inevitably grow bored with their object of focus and passion, leading to the devaluation & discard stages.
VALIDATION FOR THE RECOVERING:
The intense showering of love, affection, and appreciation during the love bombing HAPPENED. You are not imagining anything… you are not losing your mind
Narcissists discard their targets and pick right up with the next one like the previous relationship never happened, leaving the victim feeling confused, betrayed, replaced, abandoned, and asking, “What the hell just happened?”
What you were getting… the incredible rush of wonderful emotions and sensations… was nothing more than role play. The narc lived out his fantasy of the “perfect couple”, with you playing a “role” in it. He is unable to acknowledge you as your own separate person, so he was simply agreeing with the “idea” in his head about how perfect you fit the role.
But because he did NOT see you or loved the REAL you (as much as he claimed he did)… and because every human being has flaws… he eventually noticed something in you that didn’t fit his “perfect fantasy”, started resenting you for failing him, and immediately resumed his search for another actor. (devaluation)
It’s virtually impossible for most of us to truly understand their lack of empathy BECAUSE we have empathy. It’s natural for us to emotionally bond with another person… especially those we feel strongly for.
Narcissists cannot emotionally connect… no matter how kind and loving and patient you are. No one is “special” enough to “change” them because THIS IS HOW THEIR BRAIN IS WIRED. They see you nothing more than an object… an appliance… to fill their need for approval and admiration (social status, company, chores/errands, sex, business, distraction from boredom). And when they’re done, they leave without feeling guilt because they CANNOT emotionally bond with anyone.
I know you’ve asked yourself… “How can someone who truly loved and adored me replace me with another person without skipping a beat? How can he so easily transfer all the love and affection he gave me to another? Surely it’s because I failed him to the point where even HE – the person who loved me MOST – could no longer tolerate me.”
Nothing is further from the truth. He did NOT transfer anything to the new target because he did not give you anything of genuine substance to begin with. It felt like he put a lot of effort into making you feel loved and happy during this idealization stage… this is because he convinced himself that you were perfect for a role in his fantasy of a “perfect relationship.” He didn’t see you or admire you at all. He wasn’t even infatuated with you… he was INFATUATED with the “idea” of a perfect you who fit some “made up story” in his head.
This entire thing is just so insanely eff’d up… the more I think about it, the more ridiculous it becomes. Almost two years… invested in HIS fantasy life that “the real me” wasn’t even a part of…
And NO… the next person DID NOT suddenly change his entire life in a matter of days, weeks, or months… and no, she DID NOT suddenly become “the one” to finally make him love, smile and feel true happiness… he was still thanking YOU for being that person, wasn’t he? Mine was. All he’s doing is living out his fantasy relationship all over again… setting her up for that desperate one-way bond… just like he did you. Narcissistic relationships follow the same pattern… they work off the same playbook.
Take Note: If your ex is waving his new target around… if he’s doing things with her that he didn’t with you… keep this in mind: the more effort he puts into parading how happy he is with the new “relationship,” the more he’s trying to confirm to HIMSELF that this new person is the better choice… and he’s trying to get a reaction (negative or positive) out of YOU. This ensures that you are still bonded to him. (as explained here by a diagnosed narcissist)
Also remember… this next person will get REHASHED words & actions… with a little upgrade from behavior learned from his interactions with you… just like you got the rehashed stuff from whoever was before you… and the person after her will get rehashed garbage also.
- AND SERIOUSLY… Regardless of whether he’s a narcissist, psychopath, sociopath, or just a lying/cheating jerk… parading his new relationship around and flaunting he’s been unfaithful to you shows his lack of integrity and reveals low-quality character. What loving & respectable human being would intentionally do that?
THIS IS WHY GOING NO CONTACT IS IMPORTANT. I immediately BLOCKED my ex from all social media sites (he actually beat me to it on FB), email, and phone… even changed my address (we’ve been planning to move and this motivated me to take action). I’ve also asked my well meaning friends and connections to STOP relaying to me any info about him (or anything remotely related to him – unless it’s a threat to our safety)… and so should YOU! This will give you some space to heal…
REMEMBER: Anyone who thought nothing of manipulating and treating you with this level of disrespect is NOT capable of suddenly loving and genuinely appreciating another person.
This, I PROMISE You.
WHAT I LEARNED FROM THIS STAGE:
- Having Personal Boundaries and maintaining them is CRITICAL. It’s not only OK to protect your personal space, but your responsibility to do so. Don’t feel like you’re going to miss out on anything by backing up a step or ten to see if the person you’re dealing with really is deserving of your love and trust.
- Stopping it BEFORE it starts is your only chance to PREVENT any mental and emotional abuse that results from a relationship with a narcissist. Because once they hook you in, they move swiftly to make certain you’re addicted to and defend with your soul, all that they “appear” to be and offer you. It’s almost impossible to walk away from your “soulmate” who treats you like a queen… you’re the one person who finally made them feel true love and happiness… just like his “soulmate” before you, during you, and after you.
- Also keep this in mind: If he cheated on his previous partner *with* you, he’s showing you how he does things. If you willfully disregard this, don’t be surprised when after YEARS of building a life with him (including marriage and children), he cheats *on* you – like mine did.
- I should’ve stopped communication after the first contact. But he just seemed like such an honest and wonderful human being, I kept making excuses for his behaviors I didn’t agree with. Plus, when you’re already being fed this ridiculous amount of love, fun, kindness, and attention… You’d have to be crazy to miss out on someone who is clearly your soulmate…
When you’re placed high on a pedestal, the ONLY THING you see is the amazing, shining person who put you there to worship you.
- Anyone can fabricate a false image Just because a person presents themselves as “person of faith” or a “devoted parent” it doesn’t automatically make them worthy of blind trust.
- Mine was both… but ended up lying and cheating on me on several occasions.
- People need to earn your trust – I’m a very devoted mother and try my best to live by my faith… but it’s still important that you get to REALLY know me before giving me your heart and soul. Practice this with everyone – NO EXCEPTIONS!!!
- Narcissists are unable to establish emotional bonds – and have no deep friendships. When I told mine that I was an introvert, he said he was one too. Difference was, I have long-time friends who can vouch for my character. I have people who PERSONALLY KNOW ME outside of social media and business connections.
- I always found it strange that he didn’t have any deep friendships outside the guys from his prayer group that he joined shortly after the start of our relationship.
- He often told me he knows I’m the one for him because he enjoys everything about me while he can’t stand anyone else. When you objectify people, you can’t “enjoy” those who do not serve a purpose for you.
- You don’t need deep friendships if all you’re looking for are “sources of supply” to shower you with praise… or disposable connections you can walk away from once you’ve gotten what you want.
- Offering to show you his texts and messages means NOTHING. Messages and entire discussions can be quickly deleted. Anyone can have secret accounts.
- It remains quite horrifying seeing the number of women who come pouring out of the shadows revealing how intimate and connected the narc has been with them… there are women willing to make themselves available even if they see he could very well be in a committed relationship… because nobody understands/makes him smile/listens to him like they (all of them) do.
- Listen to their CONFESSIONS. Narcissists mirror other people’s personalities, interests, and fears, making them seem like the perfect match for any given person. But because it’s manufactured, the “truth” accidentally leaks out every once in a while… WATCH FOR THEM!
- I told him I was surprised he was so miserable with his wife, when just recently, he posted beautiful photos of them on a dinner date (captioned, “dinner with my love”)
- His response, “That’s just Facebook… it’s not real. You give people what you want them to see. What they expect to see.”
- I asked him why his ex-wife kept harassing me on social media… claiming he is her “husband”… accusing me of preying on “vulnerable men”… and how wrong it is that I want her life so badly.
- He told me she’s crazy, selfish, and delusional and I should just ignore her. He doesn’t know why she’s still calling him that or why she thinks I want “her” life. All that matters is I finally found true love in you.
- This didn’t sit well with me… but I didn’t trust my gut at the time. Now I suspect he made HIMSELF out to be the victim, possibly telling her that I was the one pursuing him. (Note: she really was very mean and hostile so I had no reason to doubt him or respond to her.)
- He raved about a book, “The Game” by Neil Strauss. Turns out the books is about NLP (neuro-linguistic programming – power of suggestion and subliminal messages) in the world of pickup artists (men whose goal is seduction and sexual success).
- But he “reassured” me that he only use NLP Seduction for sales in his business.
- I told him I was surprised he was so miserable with his wife, when just recently, he posted beautiful photos of them on a dinner date (captioned, “dinner with my love”)
- Badmouthing/dismissing an ex or other women to YOU means NOTHING. My ex and I split on 10.25.2017 because he was cheating on me… but after the breakup, he was still calling me “baby”, telling me he loves me and he will “always be my puppy”. What would this next “dream girl” think of that?
- I wouldn’t be surprised if he did the same about his ex wife… saying the nastiest things about her to me while continuing to embrace her with affection. Why else would she claim he’s “vulnerable”?
- FUTURE-Planning does NOT GUARANTEE a future. At the end of 2016, we started planning family events for the following year (2017)…
- going out to the bridge to see the bats!
- fishing trip to catch loot so I can make lots of yummy dishes with…
- a “family costume” for Halloween in Houston…
- he invited us to Disney World over Thanksgiving with his family…
- the “BEST Christmas ever!!!” with our blended family: decorating the tree, full stockings and presents for the kids, baking and cooking as a family, going on the Polar Express train ride…
- He encouraged me to share these plans with my Joshua… and took them away without thought. This has to be one of the WORST parts of this experience. To see my son disappointed… and grow cynical of others.
RAISE YOUR AWARENESS
- Boundaries After a Pathological Relationship (Book) by Adelyn Birch
- Neuroscience Behind Idealize, Devalue, and Discard by Dr. Rhonda Freeman of Neuroinstincs
- The Psychopath’s Relationship Cycle: Idealize, Devalue and Discard by Axl Salvator
- Psychopath Free (Book) by Jackson MacKenzie
- The Sociopath Next Door (Book) by Dr. Martha Stout
- Can Sociopaths Love or Even Fall in Love? by Tanya J. Peterson at Healthy Place
This idealization stage was amazing. I felt so loved and adored… like the most beautiful girl in the whole world who finally found the man of my dreams. He will love and protect me for the rest of our lives… our kids will be the happiest, most adored children ever. But there’s more… I would find what happens next very fascinating, if it weren’t so excruciatingly painful and confusing…
[ Stage 2: Devalue (Time to BREAK Carmen…) ]
If you feel like you’re reaching the end of your rope with nowhere to turn, call the 24-hr National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1.800.273.8255 or the 24-hr Crisis Text Line by texting “HELP” to 741-741. In an emergency, call 911 or go to your nearest emergency room.
P.S. Lemme know what you think!
Carmen is a mom, life strategist, religion teacher, best selling author, advice columnist, foodie wannabe, and advocate for victims of narcissistic abuse. She is currently living la vida loca in Vegas with her not-so-little human… prepping him for med school while pseudo-adulting, Tahitian dancing, and exploring the delicious world of bubble tea *woo!*