Thoughts on this post? Share them with me on Facebook, join the SPANily or Tweet me at @angieatkinson. ~Angie

There are three main phases that people who are in relationships with toxic narcissists can expect to experience.  Narcissistic Abuse Recovery Devalue and Discard

Often the narcissistic cycle of abuse is repeated over and over again throughout the relationship.

You might also like to read Take Back Your Life – a guide to overcoming gaslighting and narcissism in relationships.

We discussed love bombing recently, and that is also known as the idealization or courtship phase. 

Here’s more info about the idealization phase.

Today, we are going to dig into the emotions and specific kinds of behavior that happen inside of the last and most painful part of the cycle: devaluation and discarding.

Devalue and Discard: The Painful Part of the Narcissistic Cycle of Abuse

You’ve been walking on eggshells for awhile now, but it doesn’t seem to matter to your narcissist.

The narc is no longer even polite to you, much less kind. You often wonder what happened to the person you first met.

Nothing you say, do, think or feel is acceptable and he makes sure you know it.

Everything you do elicits the same kinds of responses: anger, irritation, “justified” rage.

If you call him on his bullshit or you prove him wrong, watch out. That’s when he will go ballistic, pulling no punches, digging deep to find a way to hurt you.

He will insult you, pick at your most painful psychological wounds, make sure you know that not only is it your fault, but that you DESERVE the treatment he’s been dishing out.

He may even say it to your face – that you are so bad/lazy/fat/whore-like that you deserve the way he’s treating you.

He’ll make it clear that you’re not important, not worth his time. He will say he doesn’t respect you and he will minimize anything that really matters to you.

Meanwhile, you teeter on a precipice somewhere between emotional numbness, deep-down anger and hope.

You hope that this soul-crushing phase will end soon. But every time you get your hopes up for more than a minute, you’re quickly brought back to reality when he next spits his venom at you.

You learn to stop being as directly affected by this narcissistic abuse by finding a place to go, in your head at least. You literally zone out when he starts raging on you.

Related: Understanding narcissistic rage and narcissistic injury

If the threats and fear tactics don’t work, the narcissist may shift to behaving like a victim.

That’s when he will stop being actively aggressive and switch to a more passive way to manipulate.

This could involve gaslighting and a bunch of other sneaky forms of manipulation.

Related: 44 ways a narcissist might be emotionally abusing you

This often leads to the silent treatment – one of a narcissist’s go-to tools. He will ignore you, withhold affection and call you crazy for trying to fix it.

In the end, he may leave you, temporarily or permanently. Or, the cycle may begin again – many narcissists go back to the courtship phase following the discard phase.

Related: Portrait of a Codependent

You are left reeling. The first several times you experience this part of the cycle, you’ll come out feeling like you were the one who was wrong. Maybe you WERE expecting too much/overreacting/otherwise wrong. Maybe he DID have a point.

Related: Top 10 Warning Signs You’re Being Gaslighted 

But over time, as the cycle repeats again and again, you find yourself doubting everything. You begin to notice that nothing ever changes, you just continue the toxic cycle.

Related: Inside a Gaslighting Attack

And it’s then when you’ve got a choice to make. Do you stick it out, or not?

Related: Look inside the toxic, twisted mind of the narcissist 

In your head, you know a narcissist can change his ways about as surely as a zebra can change his stripes. (Highly unlikely.)

But your heart may be arguing with you. Because your heart finds something deep within the narcissist that is loveable.

Related: Why you are still in a relationship with a narcissist 

The most important thing to remember is that you’ve got every right to be truly happy.

If your narcissist cannot allow you to do that, or if he negatively affects your ability to find your bliss, you need to decide if you can live with it forever.

And then comes the hard part. You’ve got to take action. 

Get more resources for survivors of narcissism in relationships right here.

Do you recognize yourself or a loved one in the above situations? Share your thoughts and experiences with the QB community in the comments.

Need help getting through it? Take my free, life-changing email course. It’s five days of simple but amazingly effective lessons, delivered straight to your in box – no strings attached.


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4 Responses to Toxic Abuse in Relationships: Inside the Narcissist’s Devalue and Discard Phases

  1. What’s interesting to me is after I was idealised I wasn’t devalued, not to my face just a sudden quiet period of not replying to my text. He then abruptly ended our whirlwind romance. After I had told him I’d had feelings for him he just simply replied “did I mean a feeling” I replied no I meant I had feelings for him. No reply nothing, never spoke to me again. I felt so hurt that someone could make me feel so special and then so worthless. I guess I should be glad he left me alone. Shocking at how malipulative a person can be to another that just wanted to be loved. I questioned myself but I hadn’t been clingy, needy nor did I chase him. Never get my head round it!

  2. I am past the nightmare – no contact. He was 68 when he left to love bomb his next supply victim. I don’t think any victim ever fully recovers and certainly never forgets. I know he will never change. I take solace in reading somewhere since that the older the NPD narc grows, the worse they become, even more abusive. Is that true? Either way I pity his future unknowing victims.

  3. What sick people these are. Why would anyone trick someone into loving them and then just walk away? How sick I s that.These predators are not worth your precious time,your consideration,and most importantly your love.They will not change not for you not for anybody. Leave them to their own devices and feel sorry for the poor women who have yet too be tricked. I left the narcissist months ago I left him and I have been hoovered constantly.I do not answer any emails or texts. He can go to he’ll where he will feel at home with the other sickos . Melx

  4. I had a very weird thing happen after the silent treatment, gaslighting etc the entire devalue stage. When I finally got to speak with him I said I am getting hurt during this process and then you will leave me. I kind of turned it around and said it hurts too much to stay. In his answer his voice became almost robotic and sadistic, scary and he said leaving would be a mistake. When I asked him why, he said I want you to stay. I’m assuming as part of emergency supply. To which I relied no, it would hurt me too much. With that, I went no contact I held my ground and left with some integrity but only due to my new awareness of reading and listening to everything I can get my hands on. Angie, thank you. So are a soul saver love you. Deb

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