While many people throw around the word, “narcissism” to describe vain people or talk about our “narcissistic society,” there are many co-dependent people dealing with the anxiety of narcissistic abuse. Men are more likely to receive the diagnosis of a narcissistic personality disorder, while women often serve as the co-dependent in the relationship. Some experts call the co-dependent an “inverted narcissist, but inverted narcissists exclusively choose narcissists for relationships. They often feel the world becomes alive and colorful when they are in a relationship with a narcissist. Without a narcissist, they feel dull like they are living a life in black and white. Invariably, a narcissist causes his prey anxiety. Some co-dependents develop post-traumatic stress disorder after years or decades of abuse. By receiving counseling or dealing with anxiety, you can identify whether there are abusive people in your life. If you feel as though you are walking on eggshells around a narcissistic husband, son or boyfriend, you are not alone. Consider some tips to cope as well as make sense of the situation. With narcissistic relationships, the patterns and behaviors are often extremely predictable. Yet, the specifics as far as what your particular narcissist will do with you is not at all predictable. Such confusion and uncertainty leaves many women with extreme anxiety.
The Idealization Phase
The first phase in a relationship with a narcissist is the idealization phase. Some experts call it “love bombing.” It’s when the narcissist shows you an amazing level of devotion and attention. He is full of complements. During this phase, he treats you as though you are his ideal woman and soul mate. You feel amazing fireworks even if the relationship became serious almost overnight. Sex is amazing during the idealization phase.
The Devaluation Phase
During the devaluation phase, your partner becomes cold and distant. Because narcissists tend to lie, you are probably used to his white lies and exaggerations when talking to strangers. However, now you feel as though his lying is more damaging. You often lose trust, wondering whether he is cheating. The man who was open during the idealization phase is now aloof, mysterious and secretive. During this phase, it’s important for women to seek counseling. A trained counselor not only helps you understand how a narcissist behaves, but helps you work through the grief of losing the person you used to know.
The Discarded Stage
After devaluing you, the narcissist makes it clear the relationship is all about him. When he discards you, he typically ignores your text messages and calls. The danger during this stage is that co-dependents have trouble letting go. Although you might not become a full-fledged stalker, it’s likely the narcissist will consume your thoughts. In order to move on and learn from the situation, it’s key to have a good counselor who understands the patterns. If you don’t figure out what led you to become involved with an abusive partner, you will fall into the trap again. In many cases, the narcissist will come back for more attention. It’s up to you to resist.
A narcissist feels addicted to a drug called narcissistic supply or attention. Their primary source of narcissistic supply is attention in the form of fans, strangers who find him charming or sexy and one-night stands or flings. His secondary source of narcissistic supply includes his mother or relatives, long-term girlfriends, children and wives. Although it sounds strange, the narcissist craves attention from strangers more than he wants a relationship with his spouse or children. When a spouse puts up boundaries that prevent him from getting the outside attention he wants, the narcissist often leaves. After several months or even years later, you could receive texts, calls or visits from him. The narcissist then starts the same cycle over again. He has re-idealized you in his head after having decided there was something wrong with you.
People with narcissistic personality disorder often cause anxiety in others because they are pathological liars who are controlling, manipulative and emotionally abusive. In some cases, they become physically abusive.
My goal is to help co-dependents and others who want help dealing with anxiety. Whether you experience anxiety after a spouse cheats or want to get out of a negative relationship, I can give you hope. Call me at (215) 297-8361 or send me an email and we can discuss your situation and ways for you to find happiness again.