What Happens When a Narcissist Discards You

Updated on November 15, 2017
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The Little Shaman is a spiritual counselor, hypnotherapist, and a specialist in Cluster B personality disorders.

We talk a lot about leaving the narcissist before they can discard you, and this should be done if at all possible. Sometimes it isn't possible though, and discarded partners are often left devastated, both financially and emotionally.

The Why

Why do narcissists discard people? Narcissists get bored very easily. Initially, they are intoxicated by the chase and the conquest of a new partner, and they are prone to magical thinking and idealization, which means they often believe all of their problems can be solved by "the right person." It has nothing to do with you or how great you are, though. Their goals are all selfish. They aren't looking for a partnership or trying to build a life with someone or anything of the sort. They are looking for a person who will do things - solely for them. This is, of course, not reasonable, or possible, or realistic in any way. No one can fix another person. Dating or marrying someone does not make a psychological disorder go away. It does not magically erase the past or turn a person into someone else. Of course, the narcissist is in total denial of any of these problems in the first place. They simply believe that the problem has always been the other person or people in their lives. Indeed, the "line" they often use to hook a new victim is baited with story after story of themselves as victims of horrible cruelty, indifference and malice at the hands of previous significant others.

Idealization & Devaluation

When narcissists meet this "new soulmate," their hopes are very high that this new person is "The One." This is the person who will be the perfect accessory, the perfect glue to hold the narcissist together, the perfect soft place to fall, the perfect servant, the perfect reflection of how wonderful the narcissist is, the perfect fit for the narcissist's yawning empty space inside... whatever the narcissist is looking for. This person is themselves seen, at first, as perfect.

Unfortunately, no one actually is perfect, and the narcissist's expectations and goals are totally irrational and completely unreasonable, besides. When this new soulmate reveals that they are nothing more than a regular person with flaws and problems and shortcomings and -- worst of all -- needs, the narcissist often becomes disillusioned and disappointed. This person is not the perfect soulmate the narcissist thought they were, and obviously, that's because the person is a failure and a liar and a fraud. How dare you misrepresent yourself as perfect?! You tricked the narcissist! This is where the devaluation starts.

You've betrayed the narcissist by not being perfect, by being nothing but a regular human being and make no mistake about it, that is exactly how they feel: betrayed. As far as they can see it, you lied and manipulated and tricked them, so they are within their rights to tear you down about that - and everything else. And they will. You were supposed to tend and cater to every one of the narcissist's needs and wants but you didn't because you are obviously an evil, selfish, inconsiderate monster who does not care about others.

Narcissists see other people's needs -- even basic needs, as a direct threat to their own. How can such a self-centered, scheming individual be their perfect partner? Worse, you actually expect things from them!? How selfish can you possibly be?? This is not the relationship the narcissist thought it was, you are not who they thought you were, and rather than realizing that their perception of people as well as their ideas about what relationships are all totally wrong and warped beyond recognition, they blame you. You lied. You tricked them. You are a fake and a manipulator. On and on and on. Until of course, you do something that suddenly wins their admiration again (like winning an award they can vicariously receive some praise or recognition for by being associated with you). Or until they want something from you. Then the seduction campaign begins anew, until they again tire of it and decide you're a lying evil manipulator once more.

This idealization/devaluation cycle can go on for a very long time; in some instances, it goes on for years. Empaths in particular have a seemingly inexhaustible well of emotion the narcissist can sponge off of, thus keeping the narcissist engaged for quite a while. It's a match made in hell.

The Truth

Narcissists don't actually want a relationship. They don't want to build anything with anybody and they do not desire to share anything. They don't want a partner. It is not a relationship when one person exists solely to cater to the other person with no needs, wants or expectations of their own. It's slavery. That's not a partner. It's a slave. More correctly, it's an object. We do not have a reciprocal relationship with objects. We use objects and we discard then replace them when they are no longer useful. This is how narcissists deal with other human beings, except that generally when we use an object, the object is not harmed by the usage. The narcissistic relationship would therefore be more parasitic than anything, because the narcissist uses other human beings to that human being's detriment. They cause harm, in other words. Like a tapeworm. No matter how much you eat when you have a tapeworm, you are still always depleted because the tapeworm is getting most of it. When the tapeworm becomes too powerful, you begin literally to starve. This is the relationship with a narcissist. They take everything and there is nothing left for you.

Some say that narcissists are intimidated by commitment, but this is really a sugar-coating of how they feel. They have a pathological phobia about it. It's life and death for them. Their existence literally depends on their needs being not just first but only. In their minds, caring about someone else's needs would be the same thing as saying their own don't matter. It would be emotional suicide. This can even lead to actual suicide. Narcissists are not just "selfish people." Their entire existence is predicated upon this point. This is why they are unable to understand that in a relationship, there are two equal partners: because to them, the only thing that matters is their own needs. The other person is simply seen as a way to get these needs met. There is really nothing more to it.

This cannot be changed and it cannot be fixed, because in order for the narcissist to change this, they would first have to understand and acknowledge that the other person's needs are equally as important as their own needs. Again, this would be the same as committing emotional suicide. They cannot do it. Their pathology initially formed out of a need to protect the narcissist against this exact thing, and it has grown to take over their entire life. Therefore, this realization is not happening.


After devaluing the partner, which can take many forms such as gaslighting, insulting, demeaning, humiliating, smear campaigning, disappearing and cutting off contact, cheating, physical abuse and much more, the narcissist will often simply discard their victim and walk away. This is usually because either:

A. The cycles (and the victim) have ultimately become so boring or pathetic or weak to the narcissist that they don't care to engage anymore

B. The victim is so burned out and emotionally bankrupt that they no longer react to the narcissist's endless provocations, which causes the narcissist to lose interest

c. The narcissist has found a new partner that isn't wise to their scam yet

Whatever the reason, victims are often left shattered and unable to understand what went wrong. Not only have they been put through the emotional wringer for no reason, they've been blamed and told that they are wrong, selfish and evil for just having feelings, needs and flaws. This can be very damaging. Narcissists put a negative connotation on everything the victim says, thinks and does, so consequently victims are left with the idea that even having normal feelings or engaging in normal, every-day activities is selfish and somehow abusive or wrong. Add to this the fact that the narcissist simply up and left, essentially abandoning the victim, and this leaves people in a very fragile state.

Which is of course, exactly where the narcissist wants them.

People who are in this state will be receptive should the narcissist need to come back if their new perfect victim does not work out. People often feel they've "won" in this situation if the narcissist returns, but in reality, the narcissist has come back only because they know their manipulations and fraudulent claims will be successful. This is not a prize you want to win.


People who are discarded feel very hurt and abandoned. You can help yourself by really trying to understand and realize that truthfully, you've have lost nothing but your own illusions. The person you fell in love with literally -- literally -- does not exist. They are not real, like being in love with a character from a TV show or a movie. This is painful but it should also be liberating, because it means you did nothing wrong, and because nothing was truly lost except for possibly time. There's nothing wrong with you. There's something very, very wrong with them. No matter what, narcissists are stuck with the person they truly hate the most: themselves. That is the worst punishment possible. This sounds trite and unsatisfying, but rest assured, it is not. These people are absolutely eaten up with pathological, delusional self-hatred. It's a painful cancer within them. They are not getting away with anything. They are miserable, envious people who will never know peace or happiness on any scale. This is not just lip service, either. It is the absolute truth. These are not happy people and they never will be. In many ways, narcissists suffer more than any person even should, to be perfectly honest. They're not suffering on their victims' behalf, but does that really matter if you've gotten away?

When The Narcissist Doesn't Discard

There are cases where the narcissist does not leave. These are usually relationships that seem to stay in the devaluation (abusive) part of the cycle most of the time, and the narcissist's reason for staying often seems to be to have a person to blame and/or abuse. It often seems to be either a constant power struggle, where the narcissist does not get bored because they have not conquered and defeated the partner yet, or a situation where the narcissist has so completely dominated and conquered the partner that they can now do whatever they want and the partner will put up with it with no question or comment. This person has usually ceased to be a person at all, for all intents and purposes, and is simply an accessory in the narcissist's life that does not cause trouble or problems in the narcissist's wholehearted pursuit of any- and everything they want.


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    • profile image


      2 days ago

      There is no future in a relationship of lies. Narcissist cannot change. They are like a 5-year old boy in an adult body.

    • profile image


      3 days ago

      After 7 years, and several discards, I've finally had enough. I didn't want to end things on bad terms but he went out of his way to destroy any positive feelings that I had been holding onto. I have absolutely no interest in hearing from him again. I've blocked his number and I'm doing my best to move on. I've lost my car. I'm about to be evicted. My utilities will be shut off any day now. I have no where to go and no one to turn too. But I'd rather be where I am now than with him. He's a monster. I deserve better than that.

    • profile image


      4 days ago

      I was "tested(behaviour)and then discarded after 7 months. It was a long distance relationship. I was love bombed. I trusted him completely. My devaluation stage happened when I was not with him. He came met my parents. We never argued. I met him online, however I deleted my profile and he reinstated his(without me knowing) grabbed his next supply or a few. Then dumped me the minute he set up his new supply. He cancelled my 40th birthday weekend to spend it with his new supply. He's 59years old and has 5 failed previous relationships. I'm very badly hurt and I can relate to all your pain. Its sad to think people like this actually exist

    • profile image


      3 weeks ago

      He left because I was drained and had other family and personal issues. I began to figure him out and was putting my needs first. So I was walking away from him and not letting him control me. I also got a promotion at work and that took more time away from his bullshit. When he got upset when I helped my ill parents and me spending time with my son; a sign of mental illness. Also, gambling and drinking away rent money when I'm hard at work. I also took care of all bills, cooking and chores, while working overtime. What a sad person to live with. Oh, I'm the bad egg, as he tells his so called "bar friends". I do love him, but he left nothing left for me; emotionally, physically and depleted all money, leaving behind on rent and bills. Toxic relationship with a narracist!

    • profile image


      5 weeks ago

      I think its possible they also discard you because you are too stressed out by the cycle to continue playing cat and mouse and you want something "real" from the narcissist.

    • profile image


      8 weeks ago

      Girlx, I feel you. I am recently discarded too. I could have written your post because I know I'll take him back if he comes back. 3 years, for us. I think he got bored with the cycling, and then a month ago I had a personal crisis and I NEEDED him and he couldn't run away fast enough. We've been fighting ever since, that was a few days more than a month ago, and he says he is tired of the drama. All my friends beg me not to go back, and tell me it's because he couldn't handle me needing him. After reading this article, I realize they're right. I still love him though and it sucks. 3 years, no I love yous, no kissing or hugging, he doesn't like if I touch him, like you know when you just out your hand on someone's arm or something while you're talking? No, he stops whatever he's saying and just says "stop touching me!" or actually tells me to get my hands off him. I'm rambling but the point is he's a horrible person and I deserve 500 times better and yet idk why I can't let him go. Maybe someone can offer some hard-won wisdom that will help me. In the meantime I just keep hoping he'll come back and I can't stop begging him to give me a reason why he's just turning his back on me with no explanation after all this time, and I can't stop myself. Pathetic.

    • profile image


      2 months ago

      Girl X, I know the pain your going through as I had the exact same. Except the man I loved and cared about after a month has totally changed form with his new source and despite me caring for him for a year he now slags me off behind my back and doesnt feel guilt at all for cheating. put your head up high and dont let this person win as your worth more !

    • profile image


      2 months ago

      First off, I need to thank The Little Shaman for so many of the videos in YouTube she has made in addition to such spot-on articles like this one!

      I am very freshly discarded. In fact, this happened merely a week ago. In many ways, I am still reeling. Throughout my 2 year “relationship“, the term "narcissist" came to mind a handful of times, but I didn't give my conscience the attention I should have. I had never learned what a malignant narcissist truly is. I was going off of the too commonly held belief that they merely have inflated egos. I wasn't aware of the actual PREDATION that occurs with malignant narcissists. I think that's a major reason I walked—or RAN—right into his trap.

      I don't know what I am going to do at this point. Honestly, I think I will probably end up trying to make him love me again only to end up right back here in even worse condition. A part of me even doubts he is a narcissist and that is CRAZY.

      Maybe I will try a different approach and actually love myself instead while he withers from no contact.

    • profile image


      2 months ago

      Yes. Excellent article. Many thanks to the author. Isn't it beyond a nightmare to go through. Very few people in my life can relate. Which has added to the isolation of my recovery. Shared, online information about the topic has been my best friend through it all. Sadly but true. I know I am will will be stronger than ever through it all. If it weren't for this wicked man entering my life, I wouldn't be so propelled to finally live out a dream of mine. I am angry that he destroyed my life in the place I was born and raised and love, but, I leave in just 4 days to Thailand to live and work for a year. I am hoping that the new focus will aid in my healing, and help in my ability to be a more whole person again when I do return home.

    • profile image


      2 months ago

      This was extremely insightful and very true, Excellent article.

    • profile image

      Jean Cardin 

      2 months ago

      This article is spot on and I have just been discarded again!!! However this time I am going to go total 'no contact' as it is the only way forward.

    • profile image


      2 months ago

      Wow! I can relate to every last part of this article, this is exactly what happened to me over the past 18 month untill i was discarded 3 days ago. Not sure how Im going to get through this but will read this article whenever things feel impossible. Thanks

    • profile image

      Iris Atwood 

      2 months ago

      This is one of the best articles that I have read on the narcissist’s discard. Thank you fr writing it.

    • profile image


      2 months ago

      Great article

    • profile image


      3 months ago

      I cannot believe I’ve done this twice. Being discarded is painful. All I wanted was healing and acciuntability. I still can’t get why narcissists cannot change.

    • profile image

      Karen Hollingsworth 

      3 months ago

      I absolutely love you! I have reached out and searched for answers and finding you has clarified so much. I feel i may be able to move forward. Ry

    • profile image

      A nony mouse 

      4 months ago

      Although the discard is not nice, the only thing that can be said is lucky escape.

    • profile image


      5 months ago

      Heartbreaking! Whether you are discarded, the new target aka "supply" or the narcissist who has Narcisstis Personality Disorder from some childhood trauma. I can't imagine not having the capacity to be happy, love, have empathy, feel remorse, etc.

    • profile image


      7 months ago

      Could you do a segment on Covert female narcissist with children and the effects it has as well as how the narcissist female uses them for their own selfishness? Will be much appreciated. Recovering from narcissist relationship of 5 years thank you very much


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