The honeymoon phase of the relationship lasts anywhere from a handful of weeks to about six months (but for more experienced narcissists, they could keep up the act for years), and after this threshold is approached the good graces of the narcissist start to dwindle swiftly.
Complements and catering to his new love have been replaced with gaslighting and correcting, and she takes the criticism because she believes that he loves her and that he knows what’s best for her. If she argues with him, he will convince her that she is wrong, and because of her weak self-esteem and trust in him, she will slowly start to adopt his mindset and become the image that he wants her to be.
She holds on, hoping for things to get better, and hoping for things to go back to the way that they were before; she hopes that after a period of time her partner will finally start to understand her real needs instead of critiquing her over and over again.
She doesn’t know that he doesn’t have the ability to truly empathize with people. She has been trained to withstand the pain, and to power like she did when she was growing up. Her whole dysfunctional life has led her up to this dysfunctional relationship and she executes it beautifully.
In a sense, the narcissist is never completely whole without a partner to dote over his every need.
As she is compulsively corrected by him, she starts to become a memory of herself for the sake of him, their relationship, and for her own survival. Any deviation from his plan is met with aggression and sometimes violence.
His partner, always seeking the love that he had given her at the start, is forever confused. She doesn’t know what is false or what is true anymore. She will believe cunning lies that come from his lips because he is a master gaslighter who is able to whip up verbally abusive concoctions that cause her to believe that she ‘needs to be corrected’.
The narcissist will isolate her, and start to cut her off from the rest of the world, including her own friends and family. She will become completely dependent upon him for every need, and she clings to him for safety.
Her gauge of reality is so warped that she wouldn’t even know what to do without him because she has completely lost herself and her ability to make decisions without his direction. She doesn’t want to make him angry by moving in any direction other than what he has designated for her.
She will adopt the image of the type of woman he is attracted to, she will eat like him, she will absorb his political and religious beliefs, she will consult him on what she should wear, how she should talk, what job she should take, what she should and shouldn’t approve of, what friends she should have, what family members she can’t be around, how she should be in the bedroom, and how their home should look.
She becomes a tool for him to use so that he can create an environment for which he can impress people, not an environment where she will feel comfortable.
Narcissists are rarely faithful to their partners. If the relationship does not end with the narcissist cheating on her and leaving her, it usually ends when she starts to discover her real self, and when she starts to find her own independence. He needs to be with somebody who obeys him at all times. Unfortunately, most codependent people are deep into a dysfunctional relationship when their eyes start to open.