They will keep doing that as long as it takes to hook you in.
And entangle you into the relationship.
They’ll keep love-bombing you and making you feel amazing within yourself.
They keep acting the part of the perfect partner.
As long as it takes for you to be really enmeshed in that relationship.
If you at any point are still questioning their bad behavior when they let that mask slip for a second – which they do at the start – then whoosh! the mask will come back up and they’ll reel you in again.
That mask will stay on until they know they really have you.
If you are somebody who immediately sees through them and calls out that that behavior is unacceptable and put boundaries in place, they’ll probably disappear.
They’ll read the signal that you are somebody they can’t manipulate.
They don’t want someone like that.
They need someone they can manipulate, whom they can use you as a source of supply.
Signs of narcissistic abuse
What I mean by supply is they are looking for someone who will supply things that make them feel great about themselves.
Inherently, they don’t feel good about themselves inside, as, despite the bravado and grandiose sense of self-importance, they are deeply insecure.
So, they look to you for things like status. Do you have an apartment they can quickly move into? Do you have money they can tap into?
That sort of thing.
They give you this hard luck story:
I’ve fallen on hard times.
I do have money, I just can’t access at the moment.
I’ll pay you all back.
You know, that sort of story.
You might be really attractive and look good on their arm which gives them social status.
But they can’t keep that mask up for very long because they don’t have the ability to really feel these feelings.
They’re acting the part.
They’ll compulsively lie to you and others and they can’t remember all the lies they tell and to whom.
So, at some point, the mirroring will stop.
And then you go in search of that person you first saw.
You wonder where that perfect partner has gone, so you keep looking for them and as time goes on it becomes a desperate and futile search.
They’ll blame you for that mirror shattering.
I’m only like this because you’re doing X.
You’re making me feel like Y.
In other words:
I got angry because you provoked me.
It will be your fault the mask has dropped.
But you’re not to blame.
We need to see them – not as that fantasy perfect partner – the dream person they’ve reflected back to you – but the real them.
The one who remains after the mask has slipped, when they start to show you the real them.
It’s not just intimate partners who might wear narcissistic masks.
It could be your boss or colleague at work.
A family member.
Don’t be fooled by a mirror that actually is a reflection of you and your hopes, dreams, and desires.
If they cannot be part of those in the sense that they are not somebody who is aligned to who you truly are – your goals, your passions, your beliefs, and your core values – then let them go.