Narcissism Phase 1 – Idealization A.K.A. Love Bombing

Typically, a romantic/committed relationship with a Malignant Narcissist (MN) has three phases: Idealization, Devaluation and Discard. If you are involved with a MN, you will be able to determine what phase you are in after reading this 3-part article. It would not be unusual for these phases to repeat over the course of the relationship and many victims suffer through multiple cycles of these phases.

IDEALIZATION is the best part of of the Narcissistic relationship and the best way to describe it is as the “Honeymoon Period” and this phase is what makes it so difficult to know whether your new interest is a Narcissist at first meeting!

We all put our best foot forward when beginning relationships; this is true of both platonic and romantic. The MN is no different and seems to have an innate ability to know just what it takes to hook and reel someone in. Their favorite type of victim is someone who is kind, caring, nurturing and empathetic.

Idealization becomes very addictive and will serve as the benchmark for the remainder of the relationship. In this phase, the MN will find everything about you to be perfect! The attention paid to you will be over the top, their support undying. MNs will be your greatest ally and will always be empathetic and understanding to whatever struggles you may be having. MNs move fast and their interest in a new victim is intense. It usually doesn’t take long before the victim is convinced the MN is the one, and clearly the MN feels the same way.

A favorite tactic that some MNs employ is to portray themselves as victims. They have no problem sharing everything about themselves, and they know the hard luck stories seem to be the best way to further endear themselves to a victim. All things considered though, MNs who use the victim card not only elicit sympathy but often leave the victims surprised at how well put together they are, having overcome so much adversity. The sad stories run the gamut of childhood neglect and abuse to failed relationships with cheating partners, or never having the fortune to find the “right” one.

MNs will often pump up their accomplishments (even when they have none). A prep cook might be a Chef. A receptionist might be an Executive Assistant. Victims have no reason to disbelieve anything a MN tells them. It can be easy enough to double check at least some of the things MNs tell the victim and as such, victims take MNs at face value. It is also interesting to note that MNs don’t have any issues with lying or getting caught, for that matter so they are not above relating things that are somewhat unbelievable, but still plausible.

Empaths will always respond to a MN with kindness, interest and a genuine desire to show the MN that the world isn’t always a cold, harsh place.

Here are a couple of examples of the tactics MNs will use ..

Tony and Joslyn met online. As they began to spend time together, Tony was very upfront about his lack of a relationship with his mother. Well into his 30s, Tony despised her because as a child, she had let Tony’s father abuse him and she herself engaged in psychological mind games with Tony. As an adult, he went to her house one day and took an umbrella, alarm clock, and jar of peanut butter. She had him arrested and he sat in jail for three months, unable to post bail. His mother refused to post bail for him either and that was the final misdeed on his mother’s part that caused Tony to have nothing further to do with her.

The true story was there was no one who corroborated the abuse. Tony, a golden child, was the first born. His mother had doted on him and had proudly told everyone what a smart little boy he had been, having a vocabulary of 100 words by the age of one and knowing the planets in the solar system by the time he started kindergarten. As an adult, he was a lazy, shift-less alcoholic. He had broken into his mother’s home before and she warned him she’d have him arrested if he did it again. He had spent a single night in jail, not three months. When Joslyn mentioned asking his mother and relating her version, he shook his head with disgust and refused to talk about it further.

Maria and Lynnette were Facebook friends. Lynnette was friends with Priscilla. Priscilla was married to Maria’s cousin Lon. Priscilla thought Maria and Lynette would enjoy being friends on FB as well, so she suggested they friend each other, which they did. Maria was always checking in with Lynnette and they wrote a lot of private messages to each other. Maria’s life was horrendous; her first husband abused her and ended up in jail for it. She bought a gun for protection and remarried. Her second husband committed suicide in their bed with the very gun she bought. Her first husband got out of jail and was stalking her. All of this while she was battling cancer!

Lynnette felt awful for all Mary had gone through. Their common bond was their love of football and they each were loyal to their home teams. About a year into their online friendship, Maria mentioned she’d like to visit Lynnette. Lynnette didn’t really want company, but she didn’t have the heart to say no since it was the year anniversary of Maria’s cancer surgery and she’d had no recurrence. Not too mention their teams were playing each other a few days before Christmas.

Maria related things to Lynnette that seemed a bit far-fetched. At one point, Maria mentioned having Leukemia as a child, and Lon (Priscilla’s husband) had been her bone marrow donor. Lynnette thought it strange that Priscilla had never mentioned it, but it was easy enough for Lynnette to ask Priscilla, so she felt Maria was being truthful. After a few more things that really didn’t sit right with Lynnette, she contacted Priscilla about the Leukemia and was told Maria had been a healthy, vibrant child and Lon never donated marrow to her or anyone else for that matter.

Once Maria went home, Lynnette emailed her and terminated the friendship, telling Maria she couldn’t tolerate liars and to never contact her again. She mentioned the Leukemia as a horrendous thing to lie about. Maria responded and said she would respect Lynnette’s wishes. A year later, Maria again contacted Lynnette, said she was not sure what had ended the friendship, but she’d like to be friends again.

These are two classic examples of part of the victimization MNs will use to hook people.  Extraordinary sounding experiences are easily woven into the Idealization phase (and throughout the relationship), and as you can see, getting caught doesn’t bother them.

As mentioned earlier, it is next to impossible to weed out a MN superficially, but you can be mindful of what your intuition is telling you. If your gut starts prodding you for attention, listen to it! We all have a built-in warning system that goes off when something isn’t right. Sadly, we have learned to ignore it altogether or make ourselves feel like we are overreacting to something. If it doesn’t feel right, it’s not. You can always change your mind later. All that glitters isn’t gold.

Written by: Joy Dalcoste

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