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What is discarding?
Discarding for narcissists refers to the abrupt end of a relationship, whether romantic or social, after a phase of ideation and devaluation. The narcissist will simply ignore or avoid the discarded individual until or unless he or she finds some new value that the discarded person can provide. In other words, once the narcissist has become bored or tired of you, he or she will play a series of mental and emotional games with you before just simply walking away.
Why do narcissists discard people?
Narcissistic individuals are typically driven by their own desires and needs, giving little cause for concern for others in their social or personal lives. A narcissist will take advantage of any opportunity that presents itself to them. If they see an opportunity to use you to achieve an increase or boost to their professional career, social status, financial gain, or even just their self-esteem, they will often lure you in with a charming personality before slowly and surely draining your energy like a slow-leaking faucet. However, once you no longer provide this benefit to them, it is not uncommon for the narcissist to simply discard you like a piece of used tissue paper.
Discarding in Romantic Relationships
In romantic relationships, the expectations from the narcissist can be infinite and exhausting for the romantic partner. He/she may expect to be waited on, emotionally and physically, hand and foot by their romantic partner. Narcissists tend to fall for a “new soulmate” very quickly, seeing only the potential for their own selfish desires to be fulfilled by this perfect new companion (also known as the ideation phase).
However, when reality sets in and, like all relationships, the new wears off to reveal the minor dents and dings in their romantic partner, the narcissist will feel betrayed. They will convince themselves that you lied to them or misrepresented who you were to gain access to their supposed superiority.
This sparks the narcissist to engage in the games of devaluation (or breaking their partner down). This can include emotional warfare where the narcissist will use their knowledge of your own fears, hopes, dreams, and insecurities to destroy your confidence and self-esteem. Another popular tactic is gaslighting. However, before long, the narcissist has grown bored of this game like a spoiled child, and simply walks away from the relationship.
3 Signs to watch for
Narcissists are opportunists by nature. Trying to pinpoint when a narcissist will discard someone from their life can be difficult. However, there are three signs to determining if a narcissist is on the verge of a social discard.
- New Obsession – When a narcissist finds another person to fulfill their insatiable emotional and physical needs, he or she will often discard the current placeholder. A narcissist is typically not interested in a long-term relationship or fostering a real intimate connection. Instead, they simply seek the pleasure of satisfying and gratifying any and every need that comes to mind. If you are in a relationship with a narcissist and they aren’t satisfied, he or she will most likely seek out a new source of fulfillment and discard you once they have found a replacement or they may triangulate you with the new partner.
- Relationship tendencies – While there are a set of common traits shared by most narcissists, they are as diverse as any other social group. Their tendencies in relationships can be a clue to determining if a narcissist is going to discard an individual. This may be observed through a repeated cycle of running through the same group of people at different times or they demonstrate a tendency to become easily bored in life overall.
- You – Some people in relationships with narcissists can begin to see their disruptive and destructive behaviors, leading them to distance themselves from the narcissist slowly. However, a narcissist is typically intelligent enough to notice even the slightest change in your behavior, especially if you stop meeting their needs.
How do I stop a narcissist from discarding me?
Unfortunately, there is no steadfast rule for helping a narcissist to overcome their behaviors and tendencies, despite how much you may love or care for them. Therapy options can help them to recognize their own behaviors and avoid them, but the narcissist must be aware and willing to seek out professional treatment for their disorder.
Discarding can become a repetitive cycle for those involved with a narcissist. They are charming, manipulative, and very convincing. When you have been discarded by a narcissist, they may try to weasel their way back into your life by claiming they have changed or that they see things clearly now. However, it is up to you to decide if you want to jump back into the whirlwind of chaos and insatiable need that surrounds the narcissist.
What to do if you have been discarded?
No one likes feeling rejected or abandoned, particularly by those who we’ve come to love and care for. If you’ve been discarded by a narcissist, you might feel as though you are to blame or that you are not good enough. However, it is important to remember that most often narcissistic behaviors have nothing to do with anyone but the narcissists themselves. They are motivated by an almost primal need for the gratification of their own needs and will seek all means necessary to achieve this satisfaction, regardless of who they hurt in their wake.
If you are experiencing depression or anger as a result of being discarded, there are a number of therapy services and professionals who can help you to mitigate this pain and move forward with skills to avoiding future scenarios like this.