Stages of the Psychopathic Bond — Idealize, Devalue, Discard
The predictable yet completely unexpected and devastating pattern of a relationship with a psychopath is broken down into three stages: Idealize, Devalue and Discard.
This relationship starts out like heaven on earth…but ends in a place worse than hell.
When you’re targeted by a psychopath and deemed a suitable victim for his game of power, control, self-gratification and entertainment, stage one — the idealization stage – begins. You think you’re entering an exciting, romantic relationship and that you’ve met the love of your life…but what you’re actually entering a sick game that you’re guaranteed to lose. The object of the game: He will gain power and control, attempt to destroy you emotionally and spiritually, take what he wants, and leave you an emotional wreck wondering what the hell happened.
The psychopath lures you with charm, attention, and other covert emotional manipulation tactics. He will say anything to get what he wants because he’s a pathological liar, and what he wants at this point is to win your love and trust. His loving persona is based completely upon lies. Even so, you’ll believe that you’re “soul mates” because he’s able to present himself as your perfect mate.
This stage is often called “Love Bombing.” The manipulator will saturate the target in as many ways possible with love and adoration, so they don’t have a moment to come up for air. They’ll spend as much time as possible with the target, and in frequent contact with them through email, text messages and phone calls. There will be many verbal declarations of appreciation and of their feelings about you and all your wonderful qualities, and amazement at all the things you have in common or at how lucky you both are to have found each other. You’ll believe it’s the best thing that ever happened to you, that it’s magical and that you’ve found your soul mate, so you won’t even suspect you’re being played. The manipulator may tell you he believes you’re “soul mates” or say “isn’t this magic?” or tell you that you must have known each other in a past life.
The psychopath is not able to bond with another human, but he is good at getting another to bond to him. The whole idealization stage is a sham the psychopath creates intentionally in order to make you vulnerable to the manipulation and abuse that will follow.
He never idealized you as a person; he only idealized you as an object of his desire, one to use and destroy. He was never interested in you; he was only interested in gaining control over you, manipulating you, intentionally harming you and getting what he could from you. As such, his interest was shallow and short-lived, and he moves on to new sources of diversion and pleasure. It’s too bad that by the time this happens, you’ve already pinned your identity, your expectations and your hopes and dreams onto him.
The perfect “honeymoon” stage lasts until the psychopath becomes bored with you (and he’ll get bored quickly once he knows you’re hooked) and is moving on to new targets. At this point, he has no incentive to hide his true nature any longer, so stage two — the devaluation stage — begins. You believed you were once the center of his life, but you sense he’s pulling away. You might not notice it right away if the psychopath is skilled at what’s known as “dosing,” which is giving you just enough attention or validation to keep you on his hook. He begins to change the game to one of giving you just enough positive reinforcement to keep from losing you, while pushing your boundaries further, gradually and steadily devaluing you and taking you lower. You’ll find yourself tolerating continually worsening treatment, which diminishes your self-respect.
“The more infrequently the crumbs of love are offered, the more hooked you are. You become conditioned, like a rat in a cage.”
As you become less exciting to him, he devalues you even more. You stay because he’s manipulated you into thinking less of yourself and to accept more of his poor treatment, and you stay because you’re still holding onto the memory of your love from the idealization stage. Fearful of losing that completely, you go into denial and tolerate his increasingly worse behavior. You’ll experience cognitive dissonance as the truth about him comes into your conscious mind, but is battled by your denial; your thoughts ping-pong back and forth relentlessly as you try to figure out what’s really going on.
During the devaluation stage, he will continue to use his arsenal of covert emotional manipulation tactics to keep you under his control to keep you doubting yourself, to keep you putting up with his bad behavior and to keep you believing his lies. Learn about these tactics so you have a better chance of recognizing them. No one is immune, especially when strong emotions are involved.
Because your self-esteem has been so drastically lowered, you blame yourself for not being enough for him or for having another woman in his life. He doesn’t take responsibility for his own behavior, and blames everything — including the demise of the relationship — on you. And in your state of mind, you believe it.
“From beginning to end, all this phony relationship can offer you is a toxic combination of fake love and real abuse. He constructs the psychopathic bond through deception and manipulation. You maintain it through self-sacrifice and denial.” ~Claudia Moscovici, PsychopathyAwareness
Now comes stage three, when s/he discards you. He’s gotten everything he wanted from you — including your self-respect, your happiness, your dignity. You may have also lost friends, family, finances and your time and energy as the relationship took over your life.
“The psychopath discards his ex-lovers with a degree of vitriol and hatred that astonishes his victims and exceeds any boundaries of normality.” ~ Psychopathy Awareness
You may be the one who finally puts an end to it and walks away. Either way, you come to the realization the entire relationship was a fraud from day one, and that the purpose of this relationship was nothing more than to use you, control you and harm you.
The stages of the psychopathic bond are what describes emotional rape, which is devastating to victims, and who may find little understanding or support from those who are close to them. But don’t give up. You can become your own strongest source of support.
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