Narcissistic Relationship Pattern: 10 Way To Break Free Now

Are you in a relationship where you always feel lonely, drained, trapped, belittled, and unsure of yourself? You are not alone. Everyone in a narcissistic relationship feels the same.

According to Psychology Today, this has affected millions of people all over the world, with 60% of them being men and 40% being women.

Dr. Ramani Durvasula, a narcissistic personality disorder expert, said that “narcissistic relationships are like a hall of mirrors—you can’t tell what’s real and what’s not real.

A survey by the National Library of Medicine also states that in the US alone, 1 in 25 people is estimated to have narcissistic personality disorder (NPD). However, there are millions of people exhibiting narcissistic characteristics without showing the full traits of NPD.

If you are seeking guidance on how to break free from a narcissist or you just want to learn the signs of a narcissistic relationship pattern, this blog post will give you valuable support and insights

Let’s take a ride into the complex dynamics of narcissistic relationship pattern and you’ll be empowered to take control of your emotional well-being again. First, let’s look at what the relationship pattern of the narcissistic means.

What Is A Narcissistic Relationship Pattern?

This type of relationship is a toxic, damaging dynamic which develops when one partner or both show some narcissistic personality characteristics like entitlement, lack of empathy, etc.

This pattern is characterized by control, imbalance in power and emotional manipulation and leads to anxiety, emotional stress and depression for the partner.

Below are a few of the key characteristics of a narcissistic relationship pattern:

They Are Self-Centered: Narcissistic partners often prioritize their needs, feelings and desires above others. They also lack empathy and usually struggle to validate or understand their spouse’s emotions.

  • Lack And Don’t Respect Boundaries: These narcissistic people always struggle to respect their partners boundaries, both physical and emotional. They are not afraid to disregard their partners wishes, invade their privacy, or become overly possessive.
  • They Love Manipulate And Control Their Partners: One of the weapons the narcissist frequently use to maintain control over the partner is manipulation. This can include guilt-tripping, gaslighting, or exploiting their partners vulnerability.
  • Emotional Abuse: This behavior can be emotionally abusive, and they use manipulation, verbal attack, and gaslighting to crush their partners self-esteem and confidence.
  • Devaluation And Idealization: In the beginning of a relationship, a narcissistic person may shower their partner with attention, affection, and compliments. As the relationship progresses, they will devalue their partner, demean, criticize and disregard them; they will stop serving their needs.
  • Isolation: The narcissist also always wants to isolate their partner from their friends, family, or support. They do this to exert control over them and prevent them from getting help when needed.
  • Reconciliation: The relationship with a narcissistic person follows a pattern of conflict, tension, and reconciliation. After discord, the narcissistic spouse may apologize and promise to change, just to win the party back.
  • Dependency: Irrespective of their apparent self-assurance, narcissists rely heavily on their spouse for attention, validation, and admiration. This dependency can cause a power imbalance in a relationship.
  • Unable to End the Relationship: Because of their desires to maintain control, feelings of attachment, and fear of abandonment, both partners may want to end the relationship even when it becomes harmful or toxic.

Stages of the Narcissistic Relationship Pattern:

The stages of a narcissistic relationship typically involve some predictable trajectory, which can be broken into 4 parts. We will be looking into those four parts in a minute.

1. Idealization (Honeymoon Phase). In the beginning, the narcissistic spouse will shower their partner with so much attention and flattery to make the partner feel loved.

Those flattery and attention will make the partner feel special, valued, and desired, and they will be lured into the relationship.

2. Devaluation: At this point, the narcissist will begin to belittle, criticize, and humiliate their partner, subtly at first. This will make the partner feel hurt, confused and unsure of the cause of the whole issues

3. Discard: Now, the narcissist has withdrawn the effects, emotional support, and attention, and the partner has started feeling unimportant and abandoned.

The partner may try everything to regain the lost attention from the narcissist, whether through a change of behavior or appeasement. That will keep the narcissist in control and power.

4. Hoovering or re-idealization: This is when narcissists use a manipulative tactic to regain control over their partner. At this phase, the narcissist will resurface after a period of absence and begin to shower their partner with charm apologies and affection.

Their aim is to lure the partner back into the relationship and present themselves a changed person, exploiting the partner’s emotion and vulnerability to maintain power.

How To Handle Narcissistic Relationship Pattern In A Relationship:

1. Set Your Boundaries:

number one step to handling narcissistic relationship pattern involves clearly setting boundaries I’m your relationship. This means to assertively and clearly communicating your needs, expectations, and limits to the narcissist. 

Setting your boundaries means that you’ll let your narcissist partner know what behavior is acceptable, such as gaslighting, disrespect or manipulation. You will also need to make it clear to them that they will not be tolerated.

It is important you stick to these boundaries, even when the narcissist tries hard to violate or push. It might involve you to calmly reinforce your boundaries, state the consequences for violating boundaries and priorities your self-respect and well-being.

Sticking to your boundaries will help you preserve your autonomy, dignity and emotional safety in your relationship.

 2. Focus On Fixing Your Relationship:

I will ask you to first try to solve the problem in your relationship. This is all about shifting your attention away from all the negative behaviors of your narcissist and concentrating on addressing the problem constructively.

Instead of getting caught up in trying to change the narcissist or blame games, try to concentrate on what you can control and how to improve your relationship.

It might involve setting clear communication channels, establishing specific agreement to effectively manage your conflicts or seek therapy

Focusing only on the solution will empower you to take action and make good changes, irrespective of the narcissistic’s attitude. It will foster a sense of resilience once again in your relationship.

3. Focus on Your Needs:

Focusing on your needs means recognizing your own worth and making your well-being your priority instead of giving attention to the narcissist.

Try to acknowledge that your desires, boundaries, and feelings matter to you just as much as theirs.

Practice self-care, set aside time for all activities that bring you joy, nourish your soul, and seek support when necessary. By prioritizing your well-being, you have established a foundation of resilience and self-respect, which enables you to deal with your challenges with clarity.

Additionally, making yourself first doesn’t mean you are selfish; it is an important aspect of maintaining your emotional and mental health.

4. Practice Detachment:

To deal with the narcissistic relationship pattern, you may have to create emotional distance from the narcissistic behavior just to protect your well-being. That means controlling your response to the narcissist since you find it hard to control them.

Detachment allows you to keep away from their manipulation and drama to maintain a sense of stability and inner peace amidst the challenges.

This might mean setting boundaries and focusing on self-care, personal growth, and your expectations. By detaching emotionally, you have prevented the narcissist from controlling your emotions and maintained resilience and a stronger sense of self-awareness.

5. Don’t argue with them:

Avoiding arguments with your narcissist spouse can help you win them. This is because they love to use conflict to control or manipulate their victims.

So, when you refrain from engaging in power struggles with them, you have prevented them from feeding on drama or gaining superiority.

Wherever they do, maintain your composure and never be provoked, as this prevents them from getting a reaction. Change your conversation from a contentious topic and focus on constructive communication to prevent tension.

If you succeed in avoiding arguments, you have preserved your emotional energy and prevented the narcissist from controlling you. This will create a healthier dynamic based on boundaries and mutual respect.

6. Be calm:

Being calm when dealing with narcissistic people will give you an upper hand, as they need to elicit emotional reactions to thrive. They use their manipulative tactics and provocative behaviors to incite strong emotions in their partners.

When you fall prey to their tactics, they will gain more dominance and control over you. When you remain composed and unruffled, you prevent their attempts to provoke you, and your plans will fail.

Note that staying calm does not mean suppressing your emotions or pretending that all is well. It means you acknowledged your feelings while choosing not to react defensively and impulsively to the narcissistic behavior.

When you remain calm, you will retain agency and power in the situation, which will make it difficult for the narcissist to control and manipulate you.

7. Educate Yourself Better:

Take time to learn more about narcissism to understand the complexities of their relationship. By learning about their behaviors, traits, and patterns of narcissistic personality disorder, you’ll understand why they behave like that.

That little knowledge will help you recognize their manipulative tactics, like love bombing and gaslighting, and the impact they have on your emotional and mental well-being.

Armed with this understanding, you have gained the power to set your boundaries, seek out support groups or therapists, and manage your expectations.

8. Limit Your Time With the Narcissist:

The narcissist will have more time to inflict their manipulation on you if they are with you. That is why I will advise you to limit the time you spend around them.

It’s like distancing yourself from them to protect yourself. This can also involve setting your boundaries on how often you stay with them or avoiding situations where they will have the opportunity to harm you.

By avoiding contact with them, you will give yourself space to avoid getting caught up in their game and also get healed from their previous abuses.

You are putting your well-being first and not submitting yourself to unnecessary pain or stress. Most times, limiting contacts with them is the perfect way to care more about yourself from a narcissistic relationship pattern.

9. Seek Help:

You can also navigate your narcissistic relationship pattern by reaching out to trusted friends and family members or a therapist. Having someone you can confide in will provide you with emotional guidance, validation, and perspective.

Whether through professional therapy sessions or heartfelt conversations with your loved ones, seeking support is a wise decision. Those friends will help you feel supported, understood, and less alone in dealing with the challenges in your relationship.

10. Know the Best Time to Get Help:

If your relationship with the narcissist is becoming extremely harmful to your well-being, then it is time to get help for yourself.

Whether it is physical abuse, emotional abuse, or manipulation, your best bet is to prioritize your happiness. Therefore, seek professional help from counselors or therapists to be guided and supported in navigating the complexities of leaving a toxic relationship.

Ultimately, understand that you need help, and taking proactive steps to protect yourself is a brave and empowering decision when you want to deal with a narcissistic relationship pattern.

Rounding Up:

As I conclude this post, I want you to note that breaking free from a narcissistic relationship pattern requires focusing on self-care, setting boundaries, and seeking support.

Firstly, you have to recognize the signs of it and then take proactive steps to regain control of your emotional health. You deserve to be happy and gain support as you navigate this challenging journey.

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