Watch out for the following covert manipulation tactics when you’re dating someone or in a relationship:
1. They’ll be on their worst behavior (without you even knowing it).
Narcissists and those with antisocial traits tend to subject romantic partners through three phases within a relationship: Idealization-Devaluation-Discard.
The IDEALIZATION phase (which often happens most strongly during the early stages of dating or a relationship) consists of putting you on a pedestal, making you the center of his/her world, being in contact with you frequently, and showering you with flattery and praise.
This is a technique known as “lovebombing” and it is how most victims get sucked in: they are tired of the “games” people play with each other in communication and are flattered by the constant attention they get from the narcissist.
You may be fooled into thinking that this means a narcissist is truly interested in you, when in fact, he or she is interested in making you dependent on their constant praise and attention.
The DEVALUATION phase is next, and this is when you’re left wondering why you were so abruptly thrust off the pedestal. The narcissist will suddenly start to blow hot and cold, criticizing you, covertly and overtly putting you down, comparing you to others, emotionally withdrawing from you, and giving you the silent treatment when you’ve failed to meet their “standards.”