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.
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).
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:
- 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
- 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.
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:
- You are emptied. Beyond exhausted. There is nothing left. No emotions nor reactions left to hand over for supply; or
- 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 you & Narcissistic 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.