Stages of Narcissistic Abuse

The three stages of Narcissist Abuse are Idealize, Devalue, and Discard. They can cycle around and around until YOU get it and stop the cycle.


Narcissists choose a target for many reasons but to qualify as a ‘great target’ they look for your vulnerabilities that will show them what you have tolerated before. Often targets are chosen based on their status, jobs, attractiveness, popularity, success, and wealth. The greater the status or quality you offer, the higher value you have to them, first to conquer and then destroy.

Once they have decided you hold a value of ‘supply’ to them, they will become vigilant in their pursuit, showering their target with loving attention and compliments, quickly sharing that you are different from anyone they have ever been with.

The language of the Idealize cycle

  • I always dreamt of someone as perfect as you. You are the best thing that ever happened to me.
  • I knew right away that we were Soul Mates (or Twin Flames).
  • Your ex was crazy to let you go, you are amazing. I will never leave you.
  • No one has ever been this good to me.


Victims of abuse are often unaware this stage has begun. Their intuition may have started niggling them that something has changed but it’s often hard to put a finger on it.

Narcissists concurrently play a public and private game which makes it harder to understand. If you express concern, suddenly you are the ‘jealous’ one and they will make you doubt yourself. He/she becomes cold and uncaring almost overnight; this is when the “mask falls” and you see the real person. Excuses are made and if we don’t accept them, you become the ‘crazy’ one. They are managing down your expectations from constant contact to crickets. This verbal and emotional abuse hurts.

The language of the Devalue cycle

  • The more I get to know you, the more I don’t like you. My exes were much better/nicer than/prettier than/smarter than/more responsible than you.
  • You were never good enough for me. I can’t believe you fooled me into believing you were someone else.
  • I can see why everyone leaves you. You never listen to anyone and you always need to be right.
  • You are an emotional mess; I can’t keep picking up your pieces.


Many victims often say the ‘discard’ came out of the blue. Everything was fine… and then they get a phone call, text, or Facebook message dismissing them in a cold and hurtful way. In the devalue stage, the narcissist went hot and then cold, seemingly in a blink of an eye. In this phase, the victim is labeled the ‘crazy X’ or ‘psycho bitch’ sending their head spinning at these false accusations. It’s important to know that the narcissist will target your strengths and call them your weaknesses. This is called a smear campaign and the goal is to ruin you, make you curl up into a little ball, and not be able to educate yourself that this was them, not you. Many victims are thrown into CPTSD and suffer greatly as they try to pick up the pieces and repair their shattered lives.

The language of the Discard cycle

  • I have never cheated on you; you are the cheater and I am not waiting around to be abused anymore.
  • I am honest and everyone knows it. No one will ever believe your lies because you are a pathological liar.
  • I was never like this before you came into my life. I hate drama and you thrive on it.
  • You are crazy and you need help.

OK, time for some terminology! Next Read “Narc Speak”

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