3 signs the narcissist is preparing to discard you

10 minute read

Here’s the deal gorgeous one. Looking up signs the narcissist is preparing to discard you, is your biggest sign that this is what’s going down. Sure as anything, what is prompting your need to know are the red flags coming thick & fast, and you feel more confused & anxious than ever.

The war of cognitive dissonance is raging. But your intuition, your gut, they know the deal. Trust in yourself.

Don’t let the narcissist win this battle. Conquer your denial. Prepare your own sweet self. Don’t wait for them to discard you! Reclaim your power & do what you need to do to take care of you.

Set yourself free now.

Understanding your function to the narcissist

Those with Narcissistic Personality Disorder (and with Antisocial Personality Disorder), do not see others as human beings to be valued, respected & loved for their own sake. For all that defines their uniqueness, their strengths & their flaws, their joys & sadnesses…for what makes them alive & gorgeously human.

Rather, people are viewed as objects in that they have function to fulfil as it relates to them & their needs. And that role is to provide supply.

This consists of handing over both positive & negative emotional reactions when triggered, that confirm the narc’s fragile belief system about who they are: a superior, all powerful, entitled uber-beings (For more on positive & negative supply read How the narcissist hooks you: Hoovering & baiting).

‘Supply’ is the drug of choice for the narcissist. They need it in order to survive. And your purpose as they see it, is to hand it over on demand.

When your utility runs out, discard hits

The pathological narcissist repeatedly plays out an entirely predictable abusive pattern within their ‘relationships’. It consists of three phases.

Idealisation

During idealisation you are groomed as a source of supply through a process of love bombing. This period establishes the illusion of the ‘soul mate’ effect to hook you in.

It also serves the purpose of building your trust and programming you to handover supply on demand by incrementally removing your boundaries. In doing so, the risk of losing you as a source of supply when you are introduced to devaluation is reduced.

You are hit with the stun gun of the ‘soul mate’ effect to minimise resistance to the abuse and any possible untimely & inconvenient discovery of what lies beyond the mask which may prompt YOUR discard of them (for more on this read The narcissist’s ‘soul mate’ effect: How & why they do it).

Signs the narcissist is preparing to discard youDevaluation

Following idealisation, you are transitioned to the hell of devaluation where you endure steady abuse interspersed with irregular love bombing & hoovering to keep you hooked.

Precipitating the 180 flip in how they treat you is the dual realisation that:

  1. you are a human being with strengths & weaknesses, hence you are imperfect (as are we all) which is not something the pathological narcissist can cognitively tolerate due to splitting; and
  2. you too begin noticing the narc is less than the perfect ‘soul mate’ they would have you believe.

(For more on splitting read From ‘soul mate’ to worthless: What’s behind the narcissist’s 180? & remember to check out the Glossary  for term refreshers).

Needless to say, the latter is of greater significance to the narcissist than your flaws (though they would have you think otherwise).

The premise that the narcissist’s survival hinges on sustaining belief in their constructed reality & false-self is palpable here.

Whereas supply feeds the narc’s beliefs, any suggestion that you see beyond their false-self is a grave threat to maintaining the fragile system of denial.

Devaluation is your punishment for this. For not adequately mirroring back their false-self with positive supply.

Enter negative supply, the abuse designed to incite emotional reactions that reinforce their power & control over you.

And for as long as you continue handing over supply, your utility to the narc remains.

Discard

However, neither idealisation nor devaluation are sustainable.

Idealisation not so for the reasons detailed. And what of devaluation?

The pathological narcissist’s aim to keep you under control & obediently handing over supply on demand is untenable.

What the narcissist is again incapable of intellectually comprehending due to the disorder, is that you are not to be ‘kept under control’ for the purpose of serving another’s needs.

You are a human being. You have free will. You have your own mind. You have your own needs.

These are facts. You know it (somewhere inside you, you do know this gorgeous one).

And while they don’t know it in terms of having appreciation for your individualism, they DO detect how this plays out…they are unable to keep you under their control.

Not 100% of the time.

The consequence of this is a process of escalation. When previously effective manipulation & abusive tactics fail to control you, their efforts intensify.

Eventually, one of two things happen:

  1. You are emptied. Beyond exhausted. There is nothing left. No emotions nor reactions left to hand over for supply; or
  2. As their abuse heightens, so too does your understanding of what & who they really are, and you learn to stop supplying the narc & set yourself free.

Either way, your utility to the narc has expired.

When you are no longer fulfilling the function allocated to you, you are discarded.

A.K.A.: Thrown out. Tossed aside. Dispensed. Cast off. Abandoned. Ditched. Terminated. Deleted.

No emotionally healthy communication. No sad, yet respectful parting. No closure. Nothing.

This is the measure of a pathological narcissist. This is what really lies behind the mask.

Not pretty huh?

Signs the narcissist is preparing to discard you

Because the narcissist cannot subsist without supply, when they determine your utility is done & dusted, they make the conscious decision to discard you.

But first they must secure replacement supply.

Whilst this is reprehensible, there is an upside (kinda…as far as upsides go in a toxic mess!). In doing this, the narcissist betrays their intent with signs they are getting ready to discard you.

This gives you the opportunity to take back your power & make some decisions of your own.

Let’s check them out.

Evidence they are on the hunt

To find replacement supply, the narcissist begins to hunt.

You are likely already aware of this on some level, hence that gut feeling telling you something’s up.

Clues the hunt is on, range from those you can more or less dismiss with a bit of self-invalidation due to that raging cognitive dissonance; to those that are unambiguous to the objective mind (for more on self-invalidation from narcissistic abuse read Invalidation and narcissism: Why they slowly erase youNarcissistic Invalidation: How to stop them erasing you).

At one end of the spectrum, we’re talking sudden busy-ness with calls & texts at all hours from ‘a friend’, or ‘a business associate’ (often declared with a smirk…), accompanied with newfound secrecy regarding their phone, emails, and social media accounts.

Changes to routine, lateness, frequent cancellations and inexplicable unavailability also pop up.

Then you’ve got the disappearance act for days on end without contact or explanation; OR, the opposite, a verbal vomit of extravagant, over-the-top, storytelling. Of course, if these don’t work, a bit of gaslighting is thrown in to put you back in your place.

You might find puzzling (or perhaps alarming) objects in the home or the car, that don’t belong…well not to you and not to them, but clearly to someone…

Other physical evidence can be found on the narcissist themselves. Their appearance may change. New clothes. New do. New scent. That kinda thing. After all, gotta look good for potential prey!

Not only this, but because grooming new supply includes narcissistic mirroring, they may bizarrely begin displaying new mannerisms, speech patterns, phrases, interests (for more on narcissistic mirroring read The narcissist’s ‘soul mate’ effect: How & why they do it).

The trickier stuff to discount, on top of all the above, are the unaccountable ‘expenses’ similarly responded to with deflection tactics.

And triangulation. Oh triangulation! This little beauty gorgeous ones, is black & white. No denying the truth in this one.

Here, the narcissist openly pits you against the replacement supply with unfavourable comparisons, possibly even directly threatening you to comply with their demands, or you will be swapped out.

Vile.

The mask drops completely

When they decide to discard you, the need to continue to dose you irregularly with love bombing & hoovering, stops. Obviously because they no longer intend on keeping you.

Equally, because they have access to alternative supply during the hunt, mitigating being cut off from their drug of choice is now redundant.

For these reasons, the need to preserve the charade with you is no longer necessary. And, the mask drops completely.

The mask drops completely before discard

Gorgeous one. The person you eyeball at this point. THIS is the reality of who they are.

Attempts to emulate empathy are done. They are cold and cruel. Sadism often comes to the fore.

Intentionally exploiting your vulnerabilities & hitting your trigger points is now the primary form of interaction with you.

Not only does maliciousness amplify, but zero effort is invested in continuing to pretend they are in any way engaged with you.

So, what does this look like?

Plainly & pointedly demonstrated boredom:

  • Looking right through you, being completely non-responsive. For example, not acknowledging your presence, or that you have addressed them; or texting/calling others/watching TV while you are speaking to them.
  • Not answering calls or responding to texts without at the very least substantial delays. If at all.
  • Stonewalling & withholding of information, emotions and/or physical resources.

All of this is done flagrantly. With hubris. If you’re unsure this is fair…maybe it’s not really intentional you think…go back & re-read this article from scratch.

Does any of it resonate with your experience?

In what possible way gorgeous one, can ANY of these actions be executed in any way other than with calculated, deliberate focus.

NONE.

However horrifying and painful gorgeous one, you’ve got to know this is the narc exercising THEIR free will. Pursuing THEIR own mind. THEIR own needs.

Like I said. This is the measure of a pathological narcissist.

What you feel

The zero-care factor is reflected in sloppiness of their concealment efforts when discard is nigh. So, you pick up on the inconsistencies, and the lies are harder to fall for.

Your intuition is on hyper-alert.

And it’s not just the lies. As sure as the sun will rise tomorrow, the narc will have a smear campaign underway. It is par for the course in preparing for discard.

They do it because although the mask has dropped with you, this is not so for the replacement.

The smear campaign is the pre-emptive strike to protect their false persona by painting themselves as the victim & you the abuser. Just in case you should dare attempt to unmask them.

As the slander infiltrates your networks, inevitably, you pick up inconsistencies here too. The behaviour of those you trusted may change, or random bizarre comments may come your way. Some good friends, may even share truths with you (hold onto these precious souls, these are your people!).

Pay attention. Resist the urge to discount or minimise any of these red flags (for more on smear campaigns read Narcissists and smear campaigns: Why they do it & What to do about the narcissist’s smear campaign).

Your intuition is on the money. Your fight or flight response is being activated for a damned good reason.

I get it gorgeous one. Even though you already KNOW all the signs & what they are telling you, you desperately don’t want it to be true.

Because just as they are addicted to supply, you dear heart, are addicted to the narcissist. Well, to the ‘soul mate’ effect you’ve come to believe is the narcissist deep down inside (deep, deep, deep down inside!).

It’s getting so much harder isn’t it? To keep convincing yourself none of this is happening. This is the crux of the cognitive dissonance.

And hon, it’s making you sick isn’t it?

How many of these do you tick off?

Anxious, depressed, self-medicating, self-harming, possibly entertaining thoughts of suicide*, not sleeping/sleeping too much, not eating/eating too much, isolating yourself, panic attacks, intrusive thoughts, obsessive compulsive behaviour, rumination, nausea, rashes, stomach problems, confusion, paralysing fear, rage, restlessness…the list goes on.

Listen to your intuition & set yourself free

How do you FEEL? Tap into this. You already know what’s happening.

More than this, your truest inner self is screaming out THIS IS NOT OK! Discard or not. NONE of this is OK.

Heed that voice. Because until you do, this cycle of abuse doesn’t end.

But when you do, you finally do reach that point where there is NO MORE supply for the narcissist. There is no more re-entering the cycle of abuse amassing more & more damage each time you rotate through.

Because by hearing your truth & taking action, you’ve taken back your power. Rescued yourself. And set yourself free.

Do it gorgeous one. You’ve got this.

* SUICIDE SUPPORT SERVICES:

For support with self-harm or suicidality, please contact your local suicide prevention service. For services near you refer to the resources provided by the International Association for Suicide Prevention. Contact your local emergency services immediately if you or anyone else is in imminent danger.

For more tools & knowledge building pieces on the issues in this article read:

As always, please share your thoughts, experiences, and insights on the issues in this article in the comments below. The more we share, the more we teach & help one another in reclaiming our freedom.

With gratitude,

Maggie x

bir4d

15 thoughts

  1. Thank you so much for this article. I felt so relieved reading your words, it’s as if you’ve written out the verbatim thoughts on my mind.

    I was discarded 3 months ago, and it was exactly as you’ve described. I could not understand why my loving partner of 6 years all of a sudden saw me as a stranger. In fact, I don’t think she has ever treated a stranger or anyone else with that much cruelty.

    At the time I thought something had snapped in her, but I see it’s just her true colors showing. I guess that was the tipping point where I went from regular supply to negative supply.

    I’m finally coming out of denial, and can recognize the red flags throughout our relationship. Yet I’m currently at the cognitive dissonance stage where I know rationally our relationship was toxic, yet unconsciously and emotionally I’m still attached to her.

    I now know all of this will pass, and I will come out stronger. Thank you!

    1. Dear HJS, dear heart. I’m so sorry for where you are at. It hurts, it hurts, it hurts. Of course you are still feeling all the feels, including feeling attached to her. You are not disordered. You love, you hurt, you feel. And you will continue to do so for a while. The magnificent thing is (aside from your gorgeous capacity to be all the beauty that lies in being a human with a true heart), you have come such a long way in 3 months. Coming out of denial after narcissistic abuse can take years. You are doing SO well. Don’t fight the feels. You are grieving. And you must let it happen. You will indeed come out stronger than you can possibly imagine gorgeous one. Dear HJS, you’ve got this. Sending you so much light & love. Maggie x

  2. Omg 😮 exactly what he did to me and now I’m over it but due to we have a little girl together at times I feel guilty bad for setting strong boundaries to him 3 months ago when he insulted curse at me infront of a little beautiful smart daughter, now he claimed that because my behavior he can’t be around me to visit our daughter so therefore it’s all my fault according to him, that’s why he does not visit our daughter so sad breaks my heart and then he demanded me to drive my daughter to him and leave my daughter with him over night, over my dead body I would do that, anyway he is upset because I filled for child support oh you hoy hear how badly he abused insulted when he found out about it, I learned to let go of him, I got professional help and my precious little girl helped me to broke it off when I was pregnant with her I know that I wouldn’t not allow him to just show up when he wanted it and leave desapear whenever he like too I set and knew that the minute I got pregnant, oh how he abused me during the pregnancy as well anyway I also found him over fb with another woman and it’s so much more I like to write but help me from feeling guilty or the urge to text him or call him to ask to see or visit our poor baby girl? I know is for the best he stopped visiting her but it hurt to hear my 2 yeas old asking where daddy go mommy where is my daddy mommy, she talks very well and remembers him well even thou he never lived with us only had visited her or we visited him, please help I’m strong and set my boundaries but at times I feel week because my little girl askes for him dayly and she loooks exactly like him, I adore her thou, thank you in advance for any suggestions

    1. Dear Miriam, this is such a difficult situation, it always is when children are involved. I do believe that when there are children involved troubleshooting and advice should be sought from an appropriately qualified professional near you (who is qualified & trained in domestic violence & preferrably NPD). Having full awareness of the complexities and dynamics is in my view the responsible course of action for nutting things out with you. The most important thing is protecting your child & providing her with a safe & loving environment. Reaching out to someone locally to you to help you put in place strategies in line with this is a great idea. A good place to start to find the right help is through your local Domestic Violence hotline. I don’t know where you are, these links will help you find help: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_domestic_violence_hotlines and http://www.vachss.com/help_text/domestic_violence_intl.html#org. Do reach out Miriam. Take care of yourself and your daughter. You’ve got this. Light & love to you. Maggie x

  3. Thank you for this article. I am feeling annihilated after a 10 years marriage to a narc. I just wished I had known about their existence sooner. He was a text book narc but I did know that such people existed. I am broken and I doubt I will ever recover. Going through a divorce now and it is very ugly.

    1. Dear Kenza, it may feel now like you will never recover gorgeous one, how could you not feel this way with all you’ve endured. Right now, the devastation is surely all encompassing. Particularly if going through a divorce, and revisiting all the hurt endlessly, it makes it hard to see any progress or light. But it DOES happen. Once you do have space from the constant triggering, the leaps of healing begin. Hold out for this dear Kenza. There is much beauty waiting for you, you will not want to miss out on it! Sending you big light & love gorgeous one. You’ve got this. Maggie x

  4. Dear Maggie
    I feel like I’m going through hell! I can’t believe that people are like this!!!..
    I’ve been through 3 years of hell with my narc ( who liked to say we’re just good friends) but i don’t know about you, but their are thing you dont do with you’re freinds! And then told not to say anything to anyone! To keep it to ourselves! His taken my self respect my self worth? My love and i feel completely broken!!! And alone, i cant face any of my friends, i don’t know how may time ive gone to kill myself ( just to drive my car of a cliff into the sea) to stop this pain!! I can’t breathe! It hurts so much i feel Iike i can’t move!! My hair is falling out!..
    Im trying to get better im seeing a relationship therapist and before that I had 4 months of cbt therapy! Who said I’m highly sensitive and referred me to the therapist im seeing now.. I havent spoken to my narc for over 2 months as I’ve senced i was being tossed to one side, and his texts were very dismissive!! after promising so much, who does that!!! Its hurts so much!!
    His my best friends brother.. i thought at first he was so charming! How foolish ive been!!..
    I’d been single for 11 years before, after a bad marriage!.. I had a fear of men and never wanted to be hurt again!
    Yet I’ve never felt pain like this!!.
    It has helped me today reading you’re advise and other experiences! What an awful world we live in!!..

    With love Anna..

    1. Dearest Anna. I don’t agree. We live in a blindingly beautiful world. I’m so very sorry that you have been exposed to the ugliness that undeniably exists in it. This is your time Anna. It is your time to leave that darkness & heal. It is your time to step into the light. Gorgeous one, don’t let the ugliness convince you that is all there is. Keep pushing. Keep reflecting. Keep growing. Keep doing you. You’ve got this dear Anna. Light & love to you. Maggie x

    2. Anna, I disagree. The world is beautiful and filled with many wonderful people. (I know. I just lost one to cancer) I have also experienced narcissistic abuse. It seems odd to me. Dealing with the death of someone who loves you is easier than breaking up with a narc. Don’t give up. There are good people out there

      1. Dear Eric. Eric, I am so sorry for your loss. And, bless you. What a wise & uplifting message. Thank you for responding to Anna. I dare say Eric, you are undoubtedly one of the beautiful & wonderful people out there. There is nothing in your message but human kindness. Again, bless you. Light & love to you Eric. Maggie x

  5. (Please, excuse my English, I’m a non-native English speaker).
    Thanks, Maggie for your article. You have accurately described what happened to me. But I took me two years to figure out that he was a narcissist. I blamed myself at the beginning. In fact, I didn’t even know the word “narcissist” until recently. I have gone through hell, but things get better when you meet people like you that describe your own history and then you discover that you are not alone. We have survived a dire situation and now we have “superpowers” because we can detect those demons. I just want to transfer this knowledge to my children and my children’s children. Perhaps one day I will write a book that tells my own story. People must be able to recognize danger. The only children’s film character engaging in such behavior I think is Prince Hans, in Frozen 🙂
    I wish you all a fulfilling recovery and all the love you deserve, gorgeous beings. Cristina

    1. Dear Cristina, what a beautiful, warm, and humorous message. Thank you for sharing your well wishes with the Narc Wise community – the very same back to you gorgeous one. Cristina you apologise for being a non-native English speaker & yet your words are so very eloquent! Would you consider writing an article for narcwise.com? If you are interested I’d love to hear from you at maggie@narcwise.com. The more we raise up our voices, the more we set others (and ourselves) free! Thank you again. Light & love to you on your healing journey dear Cristina. with gratitude, Maggie x

  6. Dear Maggie, thank you. Every word of this article resonates with me. This is what I am going through right now. What started as the greatest, most romantic, most perfect love of my life has turned into my biggest nightmare. I fought for it for years, went through more cycles with him than I can even keep track of. Every time it was somehow my fault according to him, it was me who made him have yet another affair because I wasn’t giving him exactly what he wanted when he wanted it. I was holding on because I believed if I just loved him more, tried harder, fought for it, gave more of myself, took down another boundary, things would change and these two “soulmates” would find their way home. From the start my intuition was telling me something was not right but I kept ignoring it, telling myself I was just afraid of the intensity that comes from falling in love so hard. Now it has come to this: he is “dating” yet again and I am not even worthy of an honest conversation so we can part our ways as two people who loved each other truly but couldn’t make it work. Silent treatments, abandonment, no closure. There is zero empathy for the pain I am feeling. I am nothing to him.

  7. I have been in this relationship for 6 yrs. I was drawn into it with the love bomb. Never been in a relationship before. I was 36 yrs old when we met online. Charming, interested in me, and a victim of his exes. I was naive so I followed whatever he said. He was perfect and I placed him on that pedestole. A yr ago, I saw inside his phone. My world changed. Everything I’ve read in this article-I went through every single thing that is described. I did not know it was his problem. I figured it out by reading. Now he is about to discard me. God has been preparing me for my departure because it hurts a lot less than it used to. I am ready to dismiss myself. Thank you!
    It was a nightmare and my life’s lesson- Sometimes the heart will do anything for Love!

    1. Dear April – Yes! Do it! You reclaim your gorgeous self! Don’t wait for them to decide the time. You decide what you need, want & deserve and make it happen. You are so right. Until some of us sadly learn through the very harshest & most life changing of lessons, the heart will indeed do anything for love. BUT. Once that lesson is learnt, we also recognise the very precious value of our own love for our selves, which mustn’t be forsaken again. Happily, when this does resolve within our selves, it often leads to others loving us for the right reasons. And if it doesn’t happen, it doesn’t matter, because we still own that most precious & hard won self-love! Well done dear April. Sending you BIG FAT JUICY love & light. Maggie x

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