1. Did your relationship reach a critical point because:
    1. You discovered they were cheating
    2. They attacked you physically
    3. After a particularly horrible fight they leave or you ask them to leave
    4. They leave without any explanation
    5. They leave to “clear their head”
    6. They leave you for another person
  2. At the time of the discard did they blame you for the fight, affair, emotional or physical violence, or lie, deny and refuse to take any accountability for their actions or behavior? blame shifting gaslighting  pathological lying
  3. Do you feel as if your entire life has imploded? Do you then begin to discover and uncover things about them that they had lied about for weeks, months or even years? pathological lying
  4. Had they been having a long term affair, multiple affairs, or using sex workers? Did you discover that these things had been occurring for weeks, months or even years and that they had been lying to you, putting your health at risk, and creating a fantasy world that is not based in any reality? gaslighting entitlement
  5. Do you begin to piece together your life with them with this new information and start to see that your life with them was never what you thought it was and more importantly, that they were NEVER who they pretended to be? Do you begin to question everything about your relationship, about their past, about things they said and did, and start to see that the way they had been treating you for the majority of the relationship was actually ABUSE? Do you begin to understand that verbal, emotional and psychological abuse is abuse and that all the ways they used those tactics of power and control were to keep you as powerless as possible so that they could continue to abuse and control you?  power and control  emotional manipulation narcissistic supply
  6. Do they attempt to reconcile with you with more lies and fake promises? Do they
    1. Promise they will change
    2. Agree to go to counseling even though you had begged them to before
    3. Agree to (stop drinking, stop using drugs, go to AA, stop going out, will never lie again)
    4. Guilt you and make you believe it is your fault for giving up on them
    5. Use your children as weapons or pawns
    6. Triangulate you with the other partner (or partners)
    7. Claim he will stop seeing the other partner but you catch them in more lies
    8. Tell you that they have realized you are the “one” and asks you to marry them
    9. Cries, begs, pleads and other assorted attempts at emotional manipulation
    10. Threatens to “destroy you” if you don’t do what they want
    11. Refuses to accept any boundaries you try to instill and continues to call, text, show up at your house or job in an attempt to force you, manipulate you or scare you into reconciling. They may even stalk you to the point you are in fear or have to seek police intervention. Hoovering
    12. Enlists the help of “flying monkeys” to either tell you how much you hurt them and how sad and pathetic they are or to emotionally berate or batter you into coming back. If that doesn’t work they immediately begin a “smear campaign” telling everyone who will listen what a terrible person you are and what a victim they are.
    13. When all else fails, they immediately block you on social media and pretend like you never existed while riding off into the sunset with their new supply.
      Are you emotionally reeling every minute trying to understand how someone you thought you loved and who you believed loved you could treat you as cruelly and terribly as they have? narcissistic abuse
  7. Do you have fantasies that if you take them back that somehow they will change? Do you vacillate back and forth in your mind believing that it wasn’t “that bad” and that deep down they really do love you? Do you feel a huge void inside yourself that nothing seems to fill? Are you anxious, stressed, crying all the time, unable to eat or sleep, unable to concentrate at work, emotionally absent for your children? Do you feel hopeless, helpless or maybe even suicidal? co-dependent addiction
  8. Do you crave talking to them or seeing them even though you know deep inside it is toxic for you? Do you slip and see them or sleep with them or attempt a reconciliation even though they refuse to respect you or your feelings, keep any of their “promises,” or change anything about their behavior? co-dependency narcissistic abuse cognitive dissonance
  9. Do you feel as if you are paralyzed and unable to make decisions as if you are in a fog? Do you start to realize that your fear, obligation and guilt are keeping you trapped in an abusive situation? Do you start to do research online, discover blogs and on-line support groups for survivors of narcissistic abuse, and recognize yourself among the people who are speaking up and speaking out about the abuse they suffered? Narcissistic FOG
  10. Do you start to realize that the only way to heal from narcissistic abuse is to go no contact, or modified no contact (grey rock) if you have children? Do you begin to take the steps forward necessary to separate from your narcissist? You contact a therapist, you contact an attorney if needed, you found yourself here, on this website, asking yourself all the right questions and taking all the necessary steps to leave your abuser and begin to heal from the trauma of narcissistic abuse.

***Recovery from narcissistic abuse is a long and difficult process. Learning about narcissistic personality disorder and other Cluster b disorders is only the first step. We hope that this illustration of the CYCLE OF ABUSE, and what it feels like and some real-world examples of what to look for during the IDEALIZATION, DEVALUATION, and DISCARD phases has been helpful for you in understanding what you have been through and the effects that this kind of trauma has on people.