Updated: Oct 19, 2021
With any kind of loss people universally go through five stages of grief. These five stages are denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and finally acceptance. When ending any romantic relationship you (as a healthy) person will experience these stages. If however,
you are ending a traumatic love relationship with a pathological person you have another dynamic of grief on top of the usual. This dynamic falls into two stages, intellectual and emotional. This dynamic is what makes getting over these types of relationships/losses so hard and often require professional help to process these two phases of mourning a psychopathic relationship.
The intellectual phase comes first. Its when you begin to learn what is behind the façade or what is commonly refereed to as the mask. You begin googling your partners symptoms and realize they are what most bloggers refer to as a narcissist. They are a low empathy disordered personality that projects a false image or illusion of who they are. That is the person you fell in love with. You start to learn about the phases of your relationship and realize others have experience it and there are names for each phase you experience (i.e. love bombing, devalue, discard). You start to learn and identify red flags and ways you are being punished through the silent treatment and blame shifting. You start to realize you are extremely tired of having circular conversations (Karpman's drama triangle) and he is blaming you for the communication problems. You start to realize that everything is about him and his needs and yours have been pushed to the side and ignores. Your just exhausted.
During the intellectual phase woman/men think they can change the abuser. They believe that counseling will work. The only reason a narcissist goes to counseling is to "fix other people". The narcissist is incapable of seeing that the problem is with him. For example, an alcoholic has to admit they have a drinking problem before they can fix the problem. A disordered personality does not know they have a problem and they will always blame everyone else.
When the relationship ends the survivor tends to go into denial and question what she rationally and intellectual knows to be true. He or she will say things like "I know there is something wrong with him/her but I just cant accept it" or "My mind knows he/she is bad but my heart doesn't". The survivor often recalls the luring phase of the relationship at this time and obsessively recalls who the disordered person pretended to be and does not focus on all that was wrong in the relationship. This is cognitive dissonance. The survivor is stuck between accepting the truth and remembering the luring phase and love bombing phase. The survivor so desperately wants that part of the relationship back that they deny the intellectual truth.
The emotional healing begins when your mind can reconcile that he/she is in fact disordered and accept the fact that you have been manipulated. The person your heart yearns for does not really exist. At this time you can begin to deal with the anger and depression of losing the illusion you loved. You will start to feel contempt for the pathological person and disgusted by their existence.
The take away is learning what you loved about the pathological person when they where pretending to be your dream come true. They knew exactly what you wanted in a mate. This time do not ignore the red flags, and NEVER rush into another relationship.