They suck you into a 'drama triangle'. Just when you think that you need to walk away, they say sweet nothings to pull you back in.
At first, it may seem like a whirlwind romance, then it feels like a rough patch. And eventually, it starts to feel like you're gasping for air in the relationship. A narcissistic partner will go to any extent to win you over and show you that they're the best partner you can have. And once they've lured you in, their true colors start surfacing. Here's what a narcissist does in the name of love.
Whey you first meet them, they will turn on their charm and show you their most charismatic side. "Being admired by others is like a drug for narcissists", as pointed out by Scott Barry Kaufman, author and researcher, for Psychology Today. But once they gain your trust, see that you've fallen in love with them, and know that you're disarmed, their colors start changing to the point that you wonder who you're in a relationship with.
Their secret weapon is making you feel flattered before they start manipulating you into doing the things they want. And then when you start suspecting something, they switch back to saying sweet nothings to you.
"If you’re feeling that something just isn’t right about the person or your relationship, these constant reminders of 'how good you are together' — when you suspect that you really aren’t — can be an effort to keep you tethered. It’s often the first line used by a potential abuser," wrote Suzanne Degges-White, professor and licensed counselor.
Narcissistic partners have their own tools of portraying themselves as the right partner for you. They pay close attention to your likes and dislikes, your fears and your vulnerabilities, and then they use it against you. Their controlling side starts to come out. They may start becoming possessive when you give your attention to friends or family, and expect you to give in to their every whim and fancy but never do the same for you. And they will justify it with their sweet-talking because they know how empathetic you can be.
They compliment you, show you grand gestures, and make you feel so loved. And then they start crushing your self-esteem to exert their control over you. Eventually, they convince you that this is the kind of love you deserve and the relationship you're meant to be in. "They devalue you, so you're always on high alert and you never want to do anything wrong," said therapist, Perpetua Neo, according to Business Insider. "Because of that your standards are lowering, your boundaries are getting pinched upon, and you lose your sense of self."
They suck you in to what's known as a 'drama triangle' where they switch from different roles and know the exact words you need to hear to keep you trapped in the relationship. Perpetua Neo told Insider, "Be very aware of the drama triangle where they flip between being savior, 'I'm going to save you,' persecutor, 'you are so stupid, you're worthless, nobody's ever going to love you,' and the victim, 'how could you abandon me, I need you to support me, without you I'm dead.'"
Just when you think that you need to end the relationship, they will switch back to being the romantic partner who sends you love-notes and showers you with praises. But it'll only be time before you're back in the cycle of toxicity once again.
When you see that they don't listen to your perspective and always have an excuse for their behavior, it could be a red flag. After repeated attempts of asking them to change and seeing that they never keep their word, it might be time for you to take a step back and take a good hard look at the relationship.