Love-bombed By A Narcissist: What To Do When They Start Playing Games

by Stephanie Conroy

In my last post, we talked about the first stage of Narcissistic Love, which is sometimes called idealization. This is where they love-bomb you, have the same interests as you, and they get you all high on love. You are called a soulmate. They have never met anyone like you. You have never been so in love. So, why are you now feeling a little put to the side?

The second phase of Narcissistic love is devaluation. Devaluation is exactly what it sounds like: you have lost your value to the narcissist. You were never a human, you were an object, and now they need something shiny and new to move on to, and you just want to feel that emotional and chemical high again.

How To Spot The Signs

Just like love-bombing does, devaluing also has some tell tale signs. Here are a few:

1. Gas-lighting. Gas-lighting is a form of very cruel and very deliberate emotional abuse that narcissists use to change their victim's perception of reality. They will take facts and memories the victim has and tell them they are wrong, to make them feel insecure and like they cannot trust themselves and their own judgement anymore. They will change the perception in small ways, and gradually get bigger, just trying to confuse their victim. I was in a relationship where a man did this constantly, and I was confused by it all enough to not leave him. He would tell me after he saw me mop the floor that I had not mopped the floor. I knew I did, at first, but by the end of it, I no longer knew.

2. Criticizing. They may start with the things you wear, things that are outward – Perhaps they don’t like your hair that way – or start comparing you to people you either said you do not like, or that you may be jealous of. If you are concerned about your weight, they may start telling you that you look like you’ve gained some; or call you stupid and question your decision-making skills. Whatever it is, they will pick at you until your self-esteem is eroded and they think they have you – that you’re theirs to control forever now – telling you ‘no one else would want you, anyway.’ It’s not true. Other people will and do want you. But at the time it’s very easy to believe.

3. Overreacting. This is when they start to jump the gun and overreact to any situation. Perhaps they’re constantly on edge and take everything you say as challenging them. Sometimes this leads to anger and volatility, especially if you catch them lying or cheating. 

This brings us back to stage 1: gas-bombing. When the narcissist feels like they’ve been caught out, they’ll attempt to gaslight you.

4. Projection. At the same time, when they feel like they’ve been caught out lying or doing something else they shouldn’t be, they flip the tables and accuse you of doing it. Essentially, they project their own actions on you. E.g. if they are angry or lying, they could say that it’s you who is angry or a liar.  

It’s a tough lesson – and hard to see at the time – but by being prepared now, you can spot the situation before it gets too deep, and leave. 

All of this is done to break you down and make you feel like you can have no one else to support you. As soon as you reach this low, the next move they make is to discard you. I have been in relationships where immediately after the devaluation stopped, the love-bombing started again. I don’t know how common that is, but it does happen. Just be very aware of everything going on, not just parts of what is happening around you, and you will get through it.

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