7 Stages Of An Emotional Abuser’s Trap


, ,
Stages Of Emotional Abusers Trap

Being on the other side of emotional abuse is a painful and devastating place to be. Falling into an emotional abuser’s trap can change the way you feel about yourself and how you perceive life. But what is an emotional abuser’s trap? And how does it work?

Psychopaths, sociopaths, and narcissists are pros when it comes to manipulating and tricking people into doing their bidding. They know exactly how to behave when it comes to making you fall into their trap; it’s really no surprise why they are known to be dangerous and toxic.

Such individuals tend to go for people who are empaths, or those people who have codependent tendencies. This is because this gives them the power to manipulate and control them any way they want, which includes exploiting their insecurities, compassion, and trust.

Emotional abuse doesn’t just pop up on you, it’s a gradual process that creeps in slowly with its poisonous nature, and eats you up from the inside. And the sad part is, you don’t even realize it is happening until it’s too late. It’s dehumanizing, to say the least.

In order to understand an emotional abuser’s trap, you need to know the signs and steps of it. This way you will be able to recognize their games and tricks and protect yourself from them.

Related: Covert Verbal Abuse: Passive Aggressive Behavior That Aims to Control You

7 Stages Of An Emotional Abuser’s Trap

1. The ‘Idealization’ phase starts, where they pamper the hell out of you.

The idealization stage is the very first stage of their trap. This is the stage where they shower love, attention, special treatment, and flattery on you. They will make you feel like you are the center of their Universe and the apple of their eye, and they just can’t imagine their lives without you.

Emotional abusers do all this, so that they can create the perfect and idealized image in front of you, which will make you fall head over heels in love with them, and that too very fast. This stage is all about winning your trust and proving themselves to be the most perfect person to walk on the Earth.

This stage is also known as the love-bombing stage and is all about leading you on and making you think that you have finally found ‘The One’.

7 Stages Of An Emotional Abuser's Trap
Emotional abuser’s trap

2. You start to see them in a positive light only; they are absolutely perfect in your eyes.

Now, after all their pampering, you are finally in their clutches. You start to see them as the most perfect person you have ever known in your life; someone who ‘understands’ you, ‘loves’ you, and is everything you have been looking for, for all these years.

They are absolutely flawless in your eyes and the ideal partner for you. You feel lucky to have them in your life, and you can’t wait to tell the world, how fortunate you are to have met them. Slowly and steadily, you start getting attached to them, and before you know it, you have become mentally and emotionally dependent.

This stage is all about baiting you into the trap and then locking you in it for good. And this is done by making you emotionally dependent on them by gaining your trust and respect. At this point, you’ve fallen in love with them completely and trust them blindly.

Related: Emotional Abuse Assessment

3. Now, they slowly start to pull away from you.

Once you are finally in the emotional abuser’s trap, and you trust them 100%, they gradually start to pull away from you. And this pulling away happens very stealthily, so much so that you don’t even realize that it’s happening. Be it narcissistic abuse or emotional abuse, this stage is bound to happen.

Your intuition will be hinting at this to you, but you dismiss it as anxiety and overthinking. You start to notice that their calls and texts have reduced, they ignore your attempts at getting in touch with them, they seem distant and uninterested, and you start feeling like a burden on them.

That ‘unconditional love’ and ‘passion’ dwindles away, leaving you to think about what is going wrong, or what could you have done wrong. You hold yourself responsible for this change, and try your best to bring those happy days back.

You keep on giving them second chances, forgive them, and make all sorts of excuses for them. Whatever they need, you give it to them without any complaints and questions (understanding, space, love, support, etc.). You keep convincing yourself that they genuinely love you, and this is just a rough patch you both are going through.

4. You keep telling yourself that the relationship has a future.

Once you realize that it’s not just a rough patch you are going through, your relationship is actually going down the drain, you constantly look for ways to repair it. It becomes hard for you to accept that they might not be ‘The One’. You ignore your needs and keep on sacrificing and compromising your happiness just to make sure that they are happy.

And this is exactly what they want you to do. When you’re in an emotional abuser’s trap, you don’t know what the truth is, rather you refuse to see what their real truth is. They will make you feel like everything’s your fault, and that you are the reason why the relationship is going downhill; in other words, you’re not good enough for them anymore.

5. The changes in your relationship start to break your heart and spirit, bit by bit.

The abuse starts to become more prominent, and the mistreatment is not subtle anymore. They are insensitive, disrespectful, and mean to you, and they don’t care how it makes you feel. They insult you and put you down for having the bare minimum expectations from them, they call you selfish if you try to talk to them about your feelings, and last but not the least, they resort to name-calling.

They accuse you to be over-sensitive, psychotic, crazy, and problematic. Blame games, excessive criticism, and gaslighting becomes a regular part of your life. If you try to call them out on their negative actions, they resort to denial and gaslighting and hold you responsible for everything that’s wrong with the relationship.

No matter how desperately you try to save the relationship, you are always met with sarcasm, insults, and abuse. Your abuser disregards all your feelings, and your begging and crying do nothing to their cold, icy heart. You refuse to accept that the person you love is treating you like this and that you deserve better.

You refuse to give up on them and the relationship, and you keep on unknowingly breaking your heart and spirit in the process. The emotional abuser’s trap has finally broken you.

Related: Are You In An Abusive Relationship And Don’t Even Know It? 4 Identifying Signs

6. Gradually, you start seeing the truth and start to put the pieces together.

Slowly, you start to see the kind of relationship you have with them. You gradually realize what kind of person they are, and what they have been doing all this time. You discover that the ‘love of your life’ has been exploiting you and has been playing with your emotions for so many days, and blaming you for everything.

They have been manipulating the truth along with you and making you believe that it’s all your fault; they wanted to portray you as the crazy one, and themselves as the saintly victim. Now that you finally realize that it was all a dirty game for them, you feel rage and anger within you.

And not just anger, you feel insulted, humiliated and heartbroken for being treated like this by the very person who you loved so much. But the good thing is that you finally see the emotional abuser’s trap for what it truly is.

7 Stages Of An Emotional Abuser's Trap
Emotional abuser’s trap

7. Unfortunately, nobody believes you and the horrible things you went through.

When you got into a relationship with your abuser, the people who supported you and were excited for you, those same people are now discrediting your experience. They don’t believe what you went through and make you feel like you are the one who made a mistake.

To them, your experiences are ‘not a big deal’, and you are just ‘playing the victim’. To make matters worse, they accuse you of being resentful, bitter, and angry because you can’t handle your breakup. They take your abuser’s side because your abuser has always presented themselves as perfect, and there’s no way they can ever treat you badly.

Their irresistible charm and treachery have turned your own people against you, and now all you are left with are the broken pieces of your heart and soul, which only you have to put back together, without any love or support whatsoever.

In order to move on from all the pain and disrespect, you need to cut off all contact with your emotional abuser. Now that you know the characteristics of an emotional abuser, you need to make sure that you never make the mistake of falling into an emotional abuser’s trap again.

Related: How Abusers Trap You Into Staying In Abusive Relationships With Them

Remove them from your life forever, and focus on rebuilding your trust bit by bit, one day at a time. Give them no access to your life, and if needed, even block them from your social media. Focus on yourself, and focus on your healing.

You are a remarkably strong person, and you have the power and strength to move on from this. Always remember these emotional abuser traits and how the emotional abuser’s trap works, so that nobody else can ever play with your heart and feelings again.

The Emotional Abuser’s Trap
7 Stages Of An Emotional Abuser’s Trap
Stages Of Emotional Abusers Trap pin
Emotional Abusers Trap Stages

— Share —

— About the Author —


  1. Kenny Knox Avatar
    Kenny Knox

    Absolutely spot on. They always have an excuse and have no care of the damage caused to others. They also see themselves as victims and seek validation from others while saying you are the cause of the problems despite everything you have done for them. When you are done, broken and left alone they have no use for you anymore.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Up Next

The Psychology Of Narcissistic Injury: How It Wounds A Narcissist’s Ego

Narcissistic Injury Recognizing and Managing the Impact

We all know that narcissists just love to abuse and hurt others. But what happens when a narcissist feels hurt or abused? What happens when their self-esteem and ego gets wounded? Narcissistic injury refers to the emotional trauma a narcissist experiences when they are devalued, rejected and criticized. 

And this can seriously scar the narcissist’s pride, self-worth and self-esteem. In fact, the damage can sometimes be so severe that the narcissist can never actually recover from it, leading to what is known as narcissistic scar.

Note: As narcissism lies on a spectrum, by using the term “narcissist” we mean to refer to individuals with narcissistic personality traits. However, the severity of

Up Next

Breaking Free: The Ultimate Checklist for Ending a Relationship With a Narcissist

Point Checklist For Ending A Relationship With A Narcissist

Ending a relationship with a narcissist is not a very easy thing to do, to be honest. However, ending a narcissistic relationship is important if you want to live a happy and sane life.

In order to achieve this goal, it's crucial to know the steps for leaving an abusive relationship. Let's find out how to end an abusive relationship and how to leave a narcissistic relationship.

Key Points

Leaving an abusive relationship is often the most dangerous time for a victim, as it is when the abuser fears they are losing control.

While not all people with NPD are abusive, if your abuser has narcissistic traits, they could be capable of post separation abuse.

Up Next

Coping with Dysfunction: Understanding the 10 Unspoken Rules of Dysfunctional Families

Hidden Dynamics Unspoken Rules of Dysfunctional Families

Have you ever noticed certain patterns in your family that have made you think, "Maybe my family is dysfunctional"? This post delves deep into the signs your family is dysfunctional and the unspoken rules of dysfunctional families. Let's find out more about how to tell if your family is dysfunctional or not.

Key Points

All families, as with all social systems, have some level of dysfunction. It does not mean they are all unhealthy or abusive, but some are.

Growing up in unhealthy environments can set children up for unhealthy or unsafe relationships down the line.

Developing and maintaining boundaries can help decrease trauma

Up Next

6 Stages Of Healing For Survivors Of Childhood Family Trauma

Childhood Family Trauma Stages Of Healing For Survivors

Experiencing childhood family trauma is without a doubt, one of the most painful things a human being can go through. However, overcoming family trauma and healing from family trauma is also possible.


Due to their history of normalizing unhealthy behaviors, trauma survivors often do not realize their families were dysfunctional.

Unmet needs in childhood may manifest in adulthood as shame, causing many survivors to blame themselves for their trauma history.

If we do not do the work of growth, these behavior patterns can continue long into adulthood. But healing is possible.

Up Next

The Impact of Family Trauma: 20 Common Personality Traits Among Survivors

Common Personality Traits Of Family Trauma Survivors

Experiencing childhood trauma and family trauma are two of the hardest things a person can go through. This post is all about childhood trauma in adults, the signs of family trauma, and some of the most common personality traits found in family trauma survivors.

In childhood, children lack the tools to understand when something bad or dysfunctional is happening, only that they have to endure the trauma.

As a result, they develop coping skills and mechanisms to deal with it, which leads to adult pathology. “Childhood experiences literally impact the biology of the brain.” (Perry, 2021). More therapists now are aware of the link between childhood trauma and adult personality traits.


Up Next

What Is An Exhibitionist Narcissist? Breaking Down The Anatomy Of The Attention-Seeking Narcissist

What Is An Exhibitionist Narcissist Traits and Behaviors

Ah yes, narcissists! What a fun bunch of people who abuse you and ruin your relationships and life. While narcissists are horrible to be with as they are, it can be even more difficult to be around an exhibitionist narcissist. But what is an exhibitionist narcissist? 

Let’s take a deep dive and learn how to spot one and protect yourself from their dastardly mind games.

What is an exhibitionist narcissist?

Narcissism is a personality trait and it can manifest in different ways such as the vulnerable narcissist, the closet narcissist, the toxic narcissist, the exhibitionist narcissist and many others. So exactly what is an exhibitionist narcissist?

Up Next

Breaking the Cycle: 7 Strategies To Avoid Falling Into A Narcissistic Relationship Pattern

Narcissistic Relationship Pattern Tips To Break The Cycle

Have you ever been in a relationship with a narcissist? If your answer is yes, then you know how toxic, unhealthy, and emotionally draining it really is. And if you find yourself falling into a narcissistic relationship pattern every time you open up your heart to someone, then this article might be able to help you.

Falling into a narcissistic relationship pattern can be a devastating experience, leaving you feeling depleted, anxious, and helpless. Narcissistic relationships are characterized by an imbalance of power, with one partner seeking constant validation and attention, while the other is left feeling unheard and unimportant.

Dating someone with narcissistic personality disorder is probably one of the most traumatic things you ca