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July 9, 2020

The 4 Phases of F*cked Up “Love” with a Narcissist.

I know it feels so damn good in the beginning.

But let me tell you how it will play out:


This is the part that feels like a euphoria-inducing drug—potent as f*ck. It’s the luminescent reflection from the sand, sun, and sea’s surface. The alluring beauty that comes right before the tide begins an insidious game of cat and mouse.

The warmth swaddles your heart—the impurities of your worn-out soul are rinsed clean by saltwater. Their love shoots out from behind your clouds of doubt. It casts an array of cherry and vermillion hues along a horizon of promise.

The love-bombing stage of a narcissistic relationship is essentially a campaign of admiration. It is a recycled package loaded with declarations of adoration, positive reinforcement, and red-hot intimacy. It may manifest as intricate dinners cooked “just for you,” expensive gifts, and promises of serious future endeavors (early on in the relationship). It is a facade in an attempt to mask the toxic behavior that will inevitably ensue.

These extravagant gifts of “love” are merely props— setting the stage for your utter disbelief. When the actor ultimately betrays you. Yet, in the moment, it doesn’t feel like a manipulation tactic. It feels sincere, loving, and exhilarating.

The Eggshells

Then, they carefully weave insults and back-handed compliments into the fabric of your “love.” It starts with subtly implying that you are indebted to them in some way. They will remind you how much they spent on dinner the night before (even though they were happy to do so because they love you)

They repeatedly suggest that the costly excursions—concert tickets and planned vacations you both look forward to—can only be enjoyed because of what they bring to the table. (Because they are such a great guy.)

This leaves a nauseating blend of rust and salt on your tongue; the way the ocean’s foam unexpectedly meets your mouth. Isn’t it funny how once the taste fades, and you are met with the beautiful sight of turquoise waters, you feel silly for ever condemning the sea?

Similarly, you feel foolish for questioning their love for you, even for a single second. So instead, you begin to question your own thoughts. 

Am I just being too sensitive? 

Am I being too soft? 

In an attempt to not “screw up” the relationship, you begin to tiptoe stealthily around their needs. Their demands are made of razor-sharp sea glass, but you won’t get hurt as long as you walk delicately enough.


The definitive line between love-bombing and conventional honeymoon feelings is the lightning-quick switch from hot to cold. 

One moment you are worshipped like a Greek goddess, but in the next moment, you are catapulted from that pedestal and left to thrash about unruly water—gasping for air.  

Suddenly, everything and anything is more important than you. The dates abruptly come to a stop. When you need their warmth the most, they are conveniently busy. They become angered or annoyed if you ever become stressed or upset by life’s many challenges. 

Remember when they used to play with your hair? Now they play tit-for-tat with your heart. 

And God forbid you speak up and ask for some respect. 

They will trivialize every thought.

Question the validity of your memory.

Poke holes in your arguments.

And call you crazy for stumbling upon the cold, hard evidence of their deception.

They will ultimately blame you for being the unstable element that capsized the boat.


The discarding stage might seem like the most painful part. But, in hindsight, this is the stage where a f*cking life raft saves you from a goddamn sinkhole of despair.  

The narcissist will try to get rid of your love in the most painful, degrading way. And you know what? Let them.  

They may have led you to mistrust your own instincts and intuition during the relationship, but now it is your time to heal.  

You have already suffered incredible pain during your time with them. So now, going forward, you can choose that the only things you will ever drown in again are your own words of affirmation and self-love. 


Another good read: Three Little Words that Kept me Hanging On—and they weren’t “I Love You.”


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Raquel Pena  |  Contribution: 4,005

author: Raquel Pena

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Editor: Kate Force