In Depth on the Devaluation Phase of Narcissistic Abuse
by: Todd Doyle, International Author of Healing the Shattered: Surviving Narcissistic Abuse
The devaluation phase is the second phase of a narcissistic abusive relationship, during which the abuser begins to devalue and belittle the victim. They may criticize, dismiss, or belittle the victim’s feelings, thoughts, and accomplishments, and they may begin to manipulate and exploit the victim for their own gain. The abuser may also engage in tactics such as gaslighting, triangulation, and blame shifting to manipulate the victim’s reality and to keep them emotionally invested in the relationship.
During the devaluation phase, the abuser may begin to withdraw their affection and attention and may start to criticize and belittle the victim. They may also engage in emotional manipulation and psychological manipulation to control and manipulate the victim’s thoughts, feelings, and behaviors. The victim may start to feel like they are walking on eggshells, constantly trying to please the abuser and avoid their criticism and anger.
The devaluation phase can be especially difficult for the victim, as it often follows the intense emotional connection and feelings of love and adoration during the idealization phase. The victim may feel confused, hurt, and betrayed by the sudden change in the abuser’s behavior, and they may struggle with feelings of worthlessness and self-doubt.
It is important to recognize the signs of the devaluation phase in a narcissistic abusive relationship, such as:
A sudden change in the abuser’s behavior, from affectionate to critical or cold
Emotional manipulation or psychological manipulation
Gaslighting, triangulation, or blame shifting
A sense of being constantly criticized or belittled
A feeling of walking on eggshells or constantly trying to please the abuser
A sense of worthlessness or self-doubt
If you suspect that you or someone you know is experiencing the devaluation phase of a narcissistic abusive relationship, it is important to seek help and support. It is important to set boundaries and to recognize that you do not deserve to be treated poorly or to be belittled. It is also important to seek help from a trusted friend or family member, a mental health professional, or a domestic violence resource center. Remember that no one deserves to be abused, and it is never too late to seek help and to break the cycle of abuse.