5 Dark Truths Behind the Dreaded “Discard”

By Kim Saeed | Contemplating No Contact

Aug 15
Why a narcissist leaves you

Anyone who knows anything about the phases of a relationship with a narcissistic individual understands, all too well, the dreaded “Discard” stage.

If you’re just learning about narcissistic traits, the ‘discard phase’ is where you seemingly fall from grace in the narcissist’s eyes and they begin telling you all that’s supposedly “wrong” with you, why you’re not good relationship material, and where they begin playing the field or returning to one of their Exes (sometimes both).

For someone who’s deeply in love with the narcissist by this point, the discard can feel utterly devastating.  So much so that it often destroys lives, literally.

Many people who feel they’ve been discarded truly believe that the narcissist will never give them the time of day again…indeed, that the narcissist can barely stand to be in the same room with them or even the sight of them.

To add insult to injury, they believe they’ll never see the narcissist again.

And in some cases, the narcissist does leave…never to be heard from again. 

But that’s not what usually happens.  If you are in the process of a seeming discard, then follow closely, because the truth is, most discards are not what they initially seem.

The Truth behind Most Discards

1 – Most discards are the beginning of the triangulation phase

…and the narcissist isn’t really ‘done’ with you yet. 

In your mind, everything was going along swimmingly when out of nowhere, the narcissist became disenchanted with the relationship. 

Suddenly, all the little things they first loved about you became the bane of their existence. 

Then, the narcissist started dropping hints about other people who were interested in them.  Perhaps a co-worker, someone they met at an AA meeting, or even an Ex.

Before you knew it, the narcissist began ramping up their Silent Treatments or started showing complete indifference toward your relationship.  Try as you did, you could not gain back the narcissist’s affections.  You became “damaged goods”, completely unredeemable in their eyes.

This is one of the blueprint routines of narcissistic individuals.  As personal as it seems to you, it really is just a page out of their playbook.  It’s narc code 18.2-248: the only way they can make you understand what a good thing you’ve lost is to make you feel like a total dud.  Discarded people who feel like duds will most likely try to win back the love of a former partner because bad love is better than no love, am I right?

Tip – There is nothing more empowering to an injured narcissist than to have two people vying for their affections.  Not because the narcissist cares about either of them, but because it makes the narcissist feel commanding and elusive…a real catch.

2 – The seed of discards is the narcissist’s partners inevitably expressing disappointment or displeasure in something the narcissist does or says. 

Maybe the narcissist started going dark on you, not answering your calls, and ignoring your text messages.  Maybe you caught them cheating.  Perhaps you grew tired of their ever-growing unemployment status.

Whatever it was, the narcissist couldn’t be bothered…and they needed to remind you of how valuable they are, especially since you pointed out one or more of their shortcomings. 

Plus, they needed to remind themselves of how “valuable” they are, hence the newcomer in their lives.  Someone who will give them unbridled attention, praise, and unsullied admiration. 

But, don’t be fooled by appearances.  The narcissist may be convincing, insisting that their new partner is all that you could never be, but the truth is, all the narcissist wants is someone who will fall for their fake charm while gaining a new (or recycled) admirer. 

Since you know what the narcissist is really like, you no longer fall into that category – even if you want to. 

But, to take advantage of your crushed heart, they will want to remain friends with you.  This is so they can tell you all about their new “love”, make you pine for them, and fall at their ankles in exchange for a crumb of their attention.  If you’re really lucky, you and the narcissist can cheat on the narcissist’s new partner together. 

Tip – Don’t be shocked or confused by the narcissist acquiring a new partner and then wanting to see you on the side.  This is not a deep mystery.  There’s no possibility of the narcissist choosing one of you over the other.  There won’t be any a-ha epiphanies.  It’s simply a matter of triangulation. 

3 – Narcissists don’t need people they can attach to or form strong, emotional bonds with. 

What they need is constant, unswerving, unblemished validation.  Preferably from someone whom the narcissist believes is intelligent, successful, and most of all…diplomatic.

But, don’t believe for a second that if you give these things to them, your relationship can be salvaged.  The irony is if you give up your entire identity to placate the narcissist, they will become bored and repelled and seek new supply, anyway. 

Tip – Do not believe that once they “discard” you, you’re no longer intelligent or successful.  You might be distracted or unfocused due to emotional manipulation, but having been narcissistically abused is not a gauge for intelligence.  It’s not a cognitive matter. 

4 – By the time the discard happens, the narcissist has typically already groomed new supply.

The tiniest perceived insult drives the easily offended narcissist to seek out other supply who is naïve as a young lamb.  Don’t try to make rhyme or reason of it. 

A simple comment such as, “Whew, I can’t seem to get caught up with house cleaning, I think I’ll look into hiring someone a couple times a month” is interpreted by the narcissist as, “You’re a lazy good-for-nothing who never helps” (even if your comment was innocent, they know they’re a lazy good-for-nothing who never helps and took your comment as a direct verbal attack). 

The other alternative is that they don’t want you to spend money on a cleaning person, they want you to continue doing all the work so they can spend that money on themselves – and they want you to keep quiet about it.

Either way, while you’re on Care.com seeking a qualified housekeeper, they’re on various dating sites lining up your replacement. 

Tip – replacement ≠ true love or fairy tales for the narcissist.  Replacement = unlimited supply in the form of admiration, money, sympathy, and oodles of second chances.

5 – The narcissist hasn’t had The Divine Epiphany after having been apart from you

Each of us who’ve been caught up in the vicious cycle of abuse has fallen for narcissist’s Divine Epiphany.  You know, where the angels parted the clouds and instilled divine insight into the center of the narcissist’s brain that he or she is losing out on their only chance for true love.

And we fall for it…despite all the disastrous hoovering stints, the bait-and-switch games, and the failed attempts we’ve made at being a savior.  We truly believe the narcissist has seen the light and has come back to us a completely changed person.

As good as it feels in the moment, it’s simply another page out of their playbook

The Answer to Your Burning Question

…which is the same as everyone else’s who has been thrown out like yesterday’s meatloaf.

How do you know if the Narcissist’s discarding of you is permanent or temporary?

There is no way to know for sure.  If the narcissist in question is a grudge-holder, then you probably won’t hear from them for a long time, if ever. 

The grudge-holding, disappearing narcissist is not the most common scenario, though.  And it’s hard to tell if your Ex falls into this category as they may fall off the grid for weeks, months, or even years, making it seem that the discard is permanent, and that’s why it’s so unpredictable.

The more common outcome is that the narcissist will triangulate, eventually want to be friends (with benefits), and offer a false confession that they’ve made the worst mistake of their lives.   

And if you take them back, it will be the worst mistake of yours. Whether the discard is “permanent or temporary” should be up to you, not them. Their motives are intrinsically unstable. You need to determine if you are willing to be someone’s emotional punching bag and second choice for the rest of your life or if you believe you deserve better.

I hope it’s the latter.

Copyright 2017 Kim Saeed and Let Me Reach

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About the Author

Kim Saeed is a narcissistic abuse recovery expert on a mission to help abuse survivors to heal, find purpose, and live joyfully after No Contact. She also hosts a podcast called Heal, Grow, Evolve, where she aims to help people create meaningful lives and relationships after emotional abuse. Listen and subscribe at www.healgrowevolvewithkim.com

Leave a Comment:

(12) comments

Gina August 26, 2017

I’m baaaaccckkk! I just fell for another narcissist. Yup, can’t believe I did this. I’m so pissed. I need to reread my materials on this disorder and really look harder and deeper within myself of why I always tend to fall for them. With this guy, I actually had a hunch that he could be very early on but ignored the flags. I was hell bent on proving that this one was truly a genuine guy. All the signs were there yet this one was what you call a Covert Narcissist. They are basically a wolf in sheep’s clothing. They do not display outward signs of narcissism. They don’t brag about their boats, cars, money etc. Coverts are even more evil in my opinion. My covert love bombed in the beginning but it wasn’t so aggressive like my exes. Mr. Covert was assertive enough yet through in random hot and cold behaviors just to make sure I was always on my toes. I would always be confused and wonder if he really liked me or if he was really a douche bag. I found myself visiting the same damn sites as I did with my last narc. Sites about why is he hot and cold, why does he act like he cares yet one day, gives zero fucks. But, I ignored and a huge part of that was that one neon red flag..SEX. The sex was beyond anything I ever experienced and I’m 40. It was passionate, intense, he spent time touching me, pleasing me, he knew every curve of my entire body. He is a very attentive man in general. He always asked great details of my daily life and would purposely repeat details to me to make sure I knew that he was really listening. Another red flag. His sociopathic behaviors turned the friendship into me chasing after his love and attention. The more he blew cold, the more I chased and the more he was winning at his game. He would only go so far until he threw those delicious breadcrumbs at my feet. That random sweet text, the wonderful weekend together etc. I hung onto those brief “good” moments and ignored all of the garbage moments. I felt the devalue come on last month. He stopped initiating texts for the most part, unless he needed something. He frequently had no money and didn’t have a car so I did like taking care of him. But, it was recently, he really didn’t want to hang out that much. Just two days ago, I gave him a ride home from work and had amazing sex. I left to go to work and didn’t hear from him all day and night. I sent him a text and he ignored it. Feeling used and I’m now 100% sure he’s a covert narcissist now. He finally did throw a crumb that night and said “I’m just busy, sorry.” But, he wasn’t that busy because I tested him. I had one of our mutual girl friends text him earlier that night and he responded to her in lightening speed. Well, last night was the big red flag. He blew me off which was fine. At that point, I already knew in my heart what he was and was already starting to make changes in my mind to move on from him for good. However, my friend and I ran into him at a bar last night…with his new supply. He had money last night (shocker) because I saw him pay for their drinks. He looked me dead in the eye across the bar and acted like it was no big deal. I also acted like it was no big deal by socializing with my friends, laughing, drinking and having a good time. Inside though, I was a complete wreck. I was a level 10 on looks and his new supply was at best 2. She was overweight, no makeup, lots of face piercings, crazy orange flat frumpy hair and she was wearing a damn jogging suit! Here I am with my Prada bag, skinny jeans, heels and makeup done and I’m nothing to him at this point. I’m discarded! What? Me? This dude is a legit scrub. No car, a cheap 1 bedroom ratbox apartment, no college education, a crappy job and here I am drooling over him. When he was leaving, I stopped him in his tracks. He said “I’m going home with her to smoke weed. Let me do what I want to do.” Fine, of course, I went there and tried to bust down the door like I don’t know any better. Later, I sent passive aggressive texts and he was actually responding! With her in the bed beside him! He said “I never had and will never have sex with her. Just let me do my thing. Don’t be like this, we can still have fun together.” He then goes and CALLS my phone. I ignored and sent him a farewell text. Hours later today, he’s now playing the block game of facebook. I know this game so well from my two ex narcissists. Block you for hurting you and wonder why you are upset and continues to live his day content with his new supply by his side. All is fine with him until he starts to devalue her and look for yet another supply. In the span of the three months I met him, he’s done this to three girls!

Anne August 22, 2017

All of this happened to me exactly as it is described in this article! I feel so much better now that I understand what happened starting with the triangulation. He has had a string. It was only when I started to get strong that he started to discard.

Kim August 21, 2017

This is a Great read. I just found out this weekend my X narc got married. He has come in and out of my life so many times, I just cant believe he got married. I think to myself he will finally stop contacting me, but my friends remind me he may still try and bother me. It just hurts so much.

Paraja August 19, 2017

This article is very clearly written. It’s empowering, especially if one is already emotionally detached. Emotional detachment is the only way to see things clearly. Whether there is no contact or not. I see photos of him and his ‘new love”, she looks so happy and “glowing” and all I see is myself. I have nothing but compassion for her. A part of me “thinks of” warning her. But, l know that first of all she is so infatuated she wouldn’t want to listen and second of all it’s not my cruel lesson to be learned – it’s hers. She is actually a therapist.

In your opinion or in your experience how long does is it on average that his true self begins to emerge, just curious.

In my case the red flags were there within 2 months, but in our situation we began to live together within 5 weeks, he wanted me to immediately, however l was in transition so it was easy for me to agree at the time. With his new supply they live too far from each other to be together all the time, more like 2-3 days a week. Here is the clencher, we are residing together as roomates until our lease is up in a couple of months. I feel free to be myself and he neither one of us desire eachother any more at all, so lm fine with it. I just have a very curious mind and l wonder – how long til she recognizes he’s devoid of true emotions and there is a monster lurking.

    Kim Saeed August 19, 2017

    Hi Paraja,

    Thank you for stopping by and commenting. How long it would take for him to show his true colors depends on her personality, what her triggers are, and how much denial she’ll have to dig through to see the truth.

    For your own well-being, I would suggest letting it go and figuring out how you will heal from this relationship and so you can move forward.

    Kim XoXo

Amy Burdsall August 17, 2017

I am 56 years old. I have been caught up in narcissistic abuse for 45 years. I have always left the narcissistic abusers only to find myself in another narcissistic abusing relationship.
It started when I was 9 with my parents. My dad was a successful business man who became an alcoholic.
The last 3 in life were the very worst!!!
2 are in prison. 1 for murdering the woman after me. Another who got a Dui and probation. He split town twice and the probation ended up prison time. His attitudes and rebellion took him from a dui to 23 be lockdown in prison.
I was praying to God one night asking Him why I knew His love but at times I treated Him as a liar? When I got done praying I got on YouTube.
The first video that popped up was on narcissistic abuse. God answered my prayer!
I have been lacking the knowledge all these years. The No contact I didn’t know!
My ex who will be getting out of prison sometime between September 2017 to Feb 2018. September 2017 is his parole hearing.
Feb 2018 is his mandatory release date. I would have been suckered in yet again!!! By the let’s be friends and I would have been right back in it again!
He has been blowing my phone up to reach me. The last time I talked to him he asked me if he could do his probation here and I shocked him when I said No. I don’t miss him. I don’t think about him. I know how he is and I want no part with him!!! I’ve had decades more than enough.
When I found out about narcissistic abuse I put a post up on Facebook. I said it was the greatest knowledge God had ever given me about myself.
An old high school friend of mine contacted me. She had had 1 dealing with a narcissis. It had brought great damage to her life and family. It was her son and she was engaging no contact!
When I told her every serious relationship I’d ever had was with a narcissist starting with my parents and my brother. She was in shock!!!
All she could say was OMG!!!
I’m making preparations for his release. I know he’ll come here! He knows where I live!
I live in the Rocky mountains in a little rural mountain community. I live on a mountain in a pine forest with dirt roads in a little 3 room cabin. I am somewhat secluded on my street!
I need to change my deadbolt and my locks, put my ladder outside my house in my locked shed along with other items in my yard that can be used against me! I’m in the process of notifying the closest women’s shelter which is 45 minutes away and notifying my local police. I am getting an alarm system with a camera this time.
I know this guy is coming back and I know he is capable of murder!
One time I actually thought there was hope. I was living in the city and he was living in the mountains at hat time. He had a Drs appt and I told him he could stay the night when he came to the city. He was having this discussion and I said something I know now was a smack in the face to him. I told him what was the worse was that he had been going around telling everyone he was single. Immediately he transformed!!! When I saw his change I was afraid!!! I asked him to leave when he told me No and I knew he wasn’t leaving I blacked out! This was somewhere between noon and 2pm. During the course of my severe beating I became semi-conscious at this point. I couldn’t feel anything. I saw my head being beaten into the wall. 5 times he paused and hit it 3 more times. I blacked out again.
The next thing I was aware of he was pulling my right arm frantically!!! He was telling me I was alright and to get up! But I wasn’t alright!!! It was somewhere around 10pm at this time. I had been blacked out a very longtime!
I made my painful journey to my room. I was going to go to the hospital but he had hidden my car keys.
I never got checked out after this and haven’t till this day! I was left with crippling in my body and fibromyalgia which progressed over the next 5 months. In one month my body became completely racked with ungodly pain!!!
I was basically bed-ridden for a year! I couldn’t drive and I even ended up selling my car. I thought I would never be able to drive again. I had no support though I called on family & friends. No one even bothered to come check on me!!!
He called me again over a year later. During this interaction he told me Amy if anyone ever attacks your head they are trying to murder you!
I talked to an old friend of the family. He’s advising to leave my home temporarily.
After thinking about it I’m wondering if I just need to move for my safety & well-being. He’s one of the ones who would “check back” in on me the rest of his life and is capable of murder.
Any insights? I live alone with my 2 dogs.
I don’t have any resources to move but my old family friend is willing to help me.
Thanking God continually for this knowledge!!!

Sharon August 17, 2017

This article is spot on. I was discarded last year after one of my ex’s girlfriends (who pretended to be my friend) couldn’t wait any longer to move into the house with him-into the home I had created. Within 3 weeks of me moving out (after almost 8 years of marriage), she was in. To say I was devastated is an understatement. When he came over to my place a few weeks later under the false pretense of delivering mail, I had been doing enough research on narcissism to have my wits about me, so I asked him, “If I had worshiped you more, would our marriage have worked out?” Unflinchingly, he answered “Yes.” And I know that to this day, that is what he wants. Worship. The discard phase for me, I now realize in retrospect, began a long time before he forced me out of the house. Once I started questioning him, disagreeing with his answers about his whereabouts and challenging him on why he had not terminated the “work relationship” with his other girlfriend, he got really nasty. Because I had a younger son in the house with me, I persisted in trying to “work” on the relationship. Turns out, I was the only one doing any “work,” which was effectively contorting myself to try and please him. Leaving was the most painful thing I had ever been through, but now, 18 months later, I see it as a gift. I am healthy, happy, whole and loving my new life. I encourage anyone out there who is in one of these twisted, sick relationships to find a way OUT soon. You will never “help” them and will only drown yourself while they push you further down trying to get what they want and what matters to them…and sadly, it is never you-no matter what they say. My ex, after answering that question, even said to me as I was sobbing through a disagreement about attorneys, “come on, cheer up, we need to stay friends so I can still date you.” NEVER!
If you have not yet, GET OUT NOW. Your life is waiting for you. Get a good therapist and get to work on healing. There is life after a relationship with these sick characters…I promise.

Alice Chapman August 16, 2017

I went no contact before I knew what it meant. It’s hard especially if you have children. It’s tough to make decisions when every time in the past you have been put down for your opinion. However, I can now do what I want, talk to who I want to, and go where I want without being given the 3rd degree, put down, harassed, or made fun of. The friends I used to have are still there even though I was led to believe otherwise. When they start looking for someone else-LEAVE. You can’t go back to the way it was,it will only get worse. Once the trust is broken, you can’t get it back.

ThePinch August 15, 2017

This article reminds me of an event back before time began, when I was young. Both my sister and I got a crush on the same guy. The acrimony that followed taught us both a valuable lesson.

Respect the other woman! She’s a sister, too! She’s innocent, and quite possibly in love – the same way we were. Why hurt a total stranger? Nasty, and frankly, beneath us.

If a man, even a narcissist, has made a decision to have a new woman in his life, we need to live with it, and to get out of the way (no contact).

It’s going to hurt, and we will be sad. But bargaining for leftovers to stop that pain is self defeating. Go no contact, face the pain, and heal.

Pain and sadness suck. Healing sucks. When he dropped the “new woman” card, I was sad. I’m still sad. And I’m thinking less than noble thoughts.

But it’s also a get out of jail card. He has no claim on me anymore. He’s can’t stalk me, accuse me of flirting, or have a hissy fit anymore. I can see, talk and flirt with whoever I want and there is absolutely nothing he can do about it.

I got my life, my dignity, and my self respect back.

There are 7 billion people on this planet. We are breathing. Let’s roll.

    Kim Saeed August 15, 2017

    Thanks for commenting, Pinch! Intriguing and delightful, as always.

    I’m glad you got yourself back 🙂

    Kim XoXo

      Debra August 17, 2017

      Thanks so much Kim, I feel like you are saving my life every time I read your writing.

        Kim Saeed August 17, 2017

        Hi Debra,

        So happy to know I’m helping you in your journey.

        Kim XoXo

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