Living with a family member or a spouse/significant other who is narcissist often will really throw you off your bearing, because you go through extremes – from idealization down to being discarded.
My search to understand narcissism and the codependents (who stay by the narcissists side) lead me to this article that i thought was right ON TARGET describing the phases i went through when i was in a relationship with a narcissist:
Phase 1: Idealization
During this phase a narcissist is very loving and is often in his or her best behavior. A narcissist can be extremely charming and lovely, which often makes one to fall head over heels in love with them. If a narcissist is cheating on his or her present partner with a new lover, it is often more due to the actions of a narcissist than the Lover that the secret relationship started in a first place. While pursuing a new Lover, a narcissist is often claiming that they are very unhappy in their current relationship, are about to get a divorce/separate, have never felt as strongly towards anyone else as they are now feeling towards the new Lover, etc. A narcissist knows how to say all the right things to disarm the other person and to make the other person fall for them.
We all want to be loved and adored by the person we love. During the idealization phase a narcissist is fulfilling this need and is making us feel special, this is why it is so difficult to resist them. Unfortunately this “honeymoon” period never lasts for long. A narcissist soon grows bored and restless and starts to look for another provider of a narcissistic supply. This is when a narcissist enters the devaluation phase.
Phase 2: Devaluation
During this phase the behavior of a narcissist changes, they may become cold and uncaring almost overnight. A narcissist no longer tells you how much he or she loves you, but instead becomes increasingly critical towards you. Suddenly a narcissist finds all sorts of flaws in your behavior and possibly also in the way you look. You start to feel increasingly unhappy and depressed, because you have no idea what you have done to deserve such treatment. You may try to please your partner and try to “make him or her love you again”, however nothing you do seems to be good enough.
During this phase a narcissist may start to look for another provider of a narcissistic supply and may end up cheating or having an affair, however still keeping the current spouse “available”, in case the new relationship does not work out the way they are expecting. A narcissist is often getting “kicks” when he or she is thinking that two people (the current spouse and the secret lover) are “madly in love” with him/her. This feeling serves as the source of a narcissistic supply.
Phase 3: Discarding
During the phase of discarding a narcissist becomes totally indifferent to the needs and wishes of their (soon-to-be former) spouse. A narcissist is ready to move on after either finding another source of a narcissistic supply or simply having drained the current source (the current spouse) dry. The current spouse no longer serves as a source of a narcissistic supply and therefore the current spouse is no longer useful for a narcissist. When a narcissist reaches this phase, there is usually no chance to reason with them. If you try to beg them to get back together with you, you are only feeding their ego and providing them with a transient source of a narcissistic supply as they feel you are now devastated after loosing the Perfect Being.
Narcissists are not pure sadists
As I stated above, the purpose of this website is not to mock narcissists since they are considered to be mentally disturbed individuals. It is important to keep in mind that a narcissist is not a pure sadist. A sadist is a person who experiences pleasure when he or she is acting emotionally and physically violently and sees the pain this behavior is causing to others. For a sadist, this pleasure serves as motivation for violence. Narcissists do not experience similar pleasure when they see other people hurting. In this regard their motivation for abuse is different from a “pure” sadist.
One of the main problems with narcissists is that they are extremely self-centered and unable to put themselves into the position of another person. A person who is not narcissistic can relate to the people around, and due to this a normal person is usually not behaving in a way that is making other people feel bad.
A narcissist, however, often cannot understand that his or her behavior is making the other person feel sad and depressed. Due to this a narcissist often gets angry when he or she feels that the other person is “making a huge thing out of nothing” or cannot forget their misbehavior in just 5 minutes. The spouse of a narcissist perceives this total lack of empathy as cruel and cold-hearted behavior.
A Narcissist and cheating
A typical example of the inability to put oneself into another person’s position is when a narcissist has been cheating on his or her spouse, but has returned back together with the cheated spouse after the cheating took place. A narcissist cannot understand that it takes a long time for another person to get over the negative memories related to cheating. The process of getting over cheating in a relationship can take years. A narcissist does not understand that the other person must process the matter for as long as it is needed and during this time one must ask the same questions over and over again in an attempt to rebuild the trust. On the contrary, a narcissist may get upset and angry, even revert to a narcissistic rage, if the cheated spouse cannot get over the betrayal relatively soon. Sometimes a narcissist expects the recovery process to happen in just a matter of days, even though in reality the process takes on average 1-2 years.