Relationship Stages With A Narcissist Or Borderline And Triangulation

So you thought you’d finally met the woman or man of your dreams. Sure, they came on a little strong at first. The compliments seemed a bit excessive and even premature. Ignoring that nagging voice in your head, the relationship developed at a fast pace, faster than most of your other relationships and friendships.

At some point, perhaps you questioned their sincerity and insta-adoration? Maybe you even had doubts about them such as, “Is this person psycho or is it love at first sight?” After all, how can someone really know you well enough after just a few weeks (or a few days) to see all of your admirable qualities in such technicolor magnificence? How can someone who barely knows you seriously love you in such a short amount of time and be willing to commit to you so quickly?

The answers are they don’t and they can’t. You were being drugged with flattery, or love bombed.

A client once asked, “Well come on, what guy wouldn’t fall for a beautiful woman who says you’re the most amazing man she’s ever known and best sex she’s ever had?” Actually, quite a lot of men and women don’t fall for it. In fact, they become skeptical and concerned especially if the compliments are way over the top and they’re being pressured to make a fast commitment (e.g., going engagement ring shopping after only a week or wanting to move in together right away).

Relationships with narcissists, borderlines, histrionics, sociopaths — whatever the DSM classification may be — begin in reverse. Meaning the relationship starts with a really intense, decadent dessert, and by the relationship’s end you’re dumpster diving for the measliest scraps of sustenance. A relationship between two emotionally mature individuals with boundaries and healthy senses of self develops steadily over time and builds up to dessert after pesky little things like friendship, intimacy and trust have been established.

Not so with narcissists and other emotional predators and con artists. They’re like the stereotypical used car salesmen or saleswomen of relationships. For example:

Well hello there, Carl/Connie Codependent, do I have a deal for you today! Only someone as smart, savvy, sophisticated, cultured, traveled, intuitive, honest, loving, handsome, beautiful, sexy, talented, blah, blah, blah as you can see what a GREAT opportunity this is. And because you’re soooooo special to me, I’m going to offer this deal to you and only you (wink, wink, nudge, nudge). Your life will never be the same if you hitch your wagon to my star. Together we’ll create crazy works of genius! What do you mean it sounds too good to be true? I thought you were more intelligent than that? It’s okay, I forgive you for doubting my motives. Now, I’ll just need you to sign here, here and here. Don’t worry about that, it’s just the fine print. Yes, and the devil is in the details.

10 COMMENTS

  1. Enjoyed your article. Thank you. I’m wondering how much work you’ve done or presently do with people formerly tangled up with spiritual gurus and their communities? There is an exceedingly high rate of narcissistic sociopaths heading up these spiritual communities now more than ever, yet it is often quiet subtle in presentation; a signature combination you might say that is becoming more difficult to detect. These types of gurus don’t always fit perfectly into the narcissist/borderline/sociopath profile in many ways (yet it’s there) which only confuses those recovering from these experience more as they are just learning that a profile even exists; it’s extremely painful for them to find out the guru is not as special as they once believed, and the present followers of that guru still believe. I’ve also observed this guru type intentionally created a prolonged courtship, i.e. it’s not always full-on at first, rather they appear to not care whether the potential ‘student’ joins (the opposite tactic you might say). Ultimately, when the student decides to leave extreme exile is punishment; the student is cut off over night from the community they’ve belonged to, some for many years (and their children), and they are shamed beyond imagination (just for leaving). This exile is often followed by the rapid dissemination of a run of the mill ‘backlash story’ used to keep the troops in check, that is, the students’s ego is out of control, they did something dishonest, they can’t handle the energy field, etc. etc. You get the picture 😉
    I am collecting research on this particular profile and subject matter for a book and would be very interested in hearing more of your thoughts and experiences in this field, or references, if or someone reading this has direct experience with this growing phenomenon as well.