This is a listing of the 15 distinctive phases that I have identified in a typical NS abusive relationship. Please feel free to comment if you think there are others I might have missed. The changes we go through while being brainwashed and abused take us from one high stress period to another. We should be proud that we have survived the turmoil…and if we can retain our empathy and caring for others…..we MUST be wonderful, valuable people indeed!
1. Honeymoon period
The target is basking in the attention of, what they believe to be, the most wonderful relationship they have ever known. Head over heals in love and feeling VERY lucky. Often, the target feels as though they "must be dreaming" or "they do not deserve such a wonderful partner". The target lets down ALL BOUNDARIES and shares their innermost secrets and feelings with the abuser. They BELIEVE that the abuser is, likewise, being open and sharing truths about themselves as well.
2. Idolization Period #1
The target is still on their best behavior and gives, without limit, of themselves and of their possessions. By the end of this period, the abuser has AL needed information to begin to control the target and the target has nearly NO FACTUAL information about the abuser. The target is likely to neglect everyone else in their life and focus ONLY on the abuser. The abuser seems to be doing this as well. The abuser pushes the relationship into very high gear and things progress quickly into a "serious" relationship.The target truly believes that they have found the perfect partner. They have seen few, if any, "chinks" in the armor.
3. The Questioning
Time spent together brings to light some "chinks" in the armor. The target may begin seeing some things that concern them. Usually, these are minor annoyances but even fairly significant things can be ignored based on the overall "perfection" of the abuser. The target may actually begin to question some of the habits or actions of the abuser. This questioning often results in the abuser reacting in anger and using veiled threats of ending the relationship "if the target is so unhappy". This usually results in the target being forced to weight good against bad attributes and trying to hold only the relationship.