Dumped by a Narcissist- Idealization, Devaluation & Discarding


English: Broken heart sewn back together

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After experiencing betrayal by a narcissistic sociopath/psychopath and starting this blog, the first useful website I found on the subject was  ‘Cheating and Narcissism Support’ by a European woman, Maria: http://www.cheating-infidelity.com/.

Maria’s website is extensive. A survivor of a narcissistic betrayer, Maria has arranged her site into the following sections; Recovery After Cheating and Narcissism, Narcissism, Cheating and Infidelity, Emotions and the Brain, Discussion Forum- Surviving Cheating and Narcissism, Stories- Narcissism, Stories- Cheating, and Blog- Cheating, Narcissism, Brain and Mind.

At ‘Cheating and Narcissism Support’, I read about the three phases of being loved by a narcissist. Theses phases so succinctly summed up what I had been through in two and a half years that reading about them felt like having the breath knocked out of me.

1. First, is the Idealization Phase. (I call this the ‘Pedestal’ phase.) The narcissist puts you on a pedestal. Not only does he put you on a pedestal, but also your friends, your family, your taste in music, your likes, your dislikes, your political views. Anything you like he finds wonderful. Anything you dislike he can’t stand. He buys you flowers, calls constantly, texts, emails, sends cards, writes poetry. He clears everything out of his life to worship you. The narcissist in my life even referred to me as his ‘goddess.’ He took photos of me constantly and created an altar of me in his room with photos, flowers and candles. As this man was my childhood sweetheart and my first husband, whom I had not had contact with in nearly twenty years, we assumed a very quick intimacy which I credited to ‘being reunited soulmates.’ I would not have become so intimately involved so quickly with a man whom I was meeting for the first time. Given this past intimacy, I did not recognize the red flags demonstrated by such immediate devotion on his part. I thought that our relationship was a result of spiritual happenings, and belonged on a higher than human plane. Yes, he put me on a pedestal and I began walking on air.

2. Next comes the devaluation phase. In this ‘reunion’ with my ex husband, which spanned thirty months, it is hard for me to pinpoint exactly where the idealization phase ended and the devaluation phase began. I first noticed changes about sixteen months into the relationship. It started with small things. Suddenly, he was unhappy with my wardrobe. “Why don’t you wear something nice when we go out?” Once, he was upset that I wanted to sit close to him and snapped at me. (Often, it is during the devaluation phase that the ‘narcissistic rage’ first rears its ugly head.) About two years into the relationship, all of a sudden he did not seem happy to see me when I came for a visit. (At this point, he was already 12 months into a relationship with another woman, so my arriving was probably a distraction to the newer relationship.) We had words about this. “I’ve driven 100 miles to see you and you don’t seem happy to see me, what’s going on?” I asked him, more than once. But then he’d take me inside and screw my brains out, and so I’d forget about it. Twenty four months into the relationship, he no longer wanted to go anywhere or do anything. Everything I’d ask him, do you want to do this or go here? He’d say no. I was beginning to feel like I was walking on eggshells around him, but it was all so subtle that I did not know what was happening. It made me very anxious and was quite confusing.

3. The Discarding Phase: I experienced The Discarding Phase about three months before the end. (The end was when I discovered that he had another girlfriend and ended my relationship with  him.) During this phase, he ignored me during the last weekend I spent at his house, except during the five times he screwed me. I spent the weekend wondering what the &^* was going on. He  was not interested in taking pictures of me, and he didn’t want to go out in public and do anything. During the weekend, he refused to go out to eat, made fun of me, ignored me to play computer games, and was not pleased when I decided to stay an extra night.  When I tried to talk about upcoming Thanksgiving plans (we have an adult child together) he was suddenly noncommittal. I began to wonder what I was doing there, in his apartment, if he didn’t even want to talk to me. The last night we spent together, laying in bed, he said something quite mean and made me cry. I couldn’t believe that the love of my life, the father of my child, my long-lost love, who had spent so long worshiping me, could say such a mean thing to me in the intimacy of lying in bed together. It broke my heart. I wept and wept, not knowing it would be the last night we’d ever spend together.

When I read about the Idealization, Devaluation and Discarding phases of being loved by a narcissist, I was glad to finally have words and ideas to wrap around what I had experienced.

There is comfort knowing that others have gone through this and survived. I spent too many months feeling like I was all alone in what I had suffered. When one becomes involved intimately with a narcissist, one becomes isolated.

Through reading and communicating about what I have experienced, I have become reconnected with many strong, resilient women. I am grateful to all of them for sharing their journeys.

Namaste,

Ixchel

30 thoughts on “Dumped by a Narcissist- Idealization, Devaluation & Discarding

  1. I have not spent time reading Maria’s website, thanks for the recommendation.

    I don’t know of any experience in my entire life that was as confusing, disorienting and heart-breaking as the Devalue & Discard. That sudden switch from being the love of someone’s life, to the bane of their existence. Narcissists can be heartlessly cruel during this phase of the relationship and truly, unless someone has experienced this, they cannot understand it.

    I described this as my ‘tweety bird’ experience…as if a dozen yellow canaries were circling my head. It’s also the period of time when our self-worth plummets because the narcissist is treating us like disposable objects. Nothing is more psychologically painful than being dehumanized. I still shudder (and it’s been ten years) when thinking about the ‘horror’ of the ‘devalue’. I would never have imagined the father of my children would have such disdain for me as their mother, his wife.

    I think about all the people who somehow got through this nightmare without the benefit of the Internet, a more open access to psychological information, and support groups, blogs and forums. My heart goes out to them.

    Hugs,
    CZ

    • Thanks for your comment.

      I agree- being devalued and discarded was so confusing, disorienting and heart breaking. It was very confusing for me because it was a long distance relationship so it all happened in slow motion. When the devaluing began, it would be one strange emotional moment in the midst of a weekend full of passion and nice moments. All of a sudden, I would feel that this man had changed, was different, or really didn’t like me anymore. Then, the mood would shift and he would be back and I would forget about the strange moment.

      After ending the relationship, I spent several months stringing together all the solitary strange moments into a necklace of dark and sinister beads. I had to put them together chronologically in order to understand that all the strange moments when I suddenly didn’t know who he was anymore were in fact the REAl moments, and all the ‘nice’ passionate moments sandwiched in between were completely FAKE.

      The very last weekend we spent together was FULL of these strange moments, but I was thrown off because we were still having sex. So there was this weird juxtaposition of my head saying, “Wait, there’s something really wrong here” and my body saying, “No, everything is fine, passion is still happening.”

      I don’t know how anyone could wade through all the emotional junk caused by the devalue/discard of the narcissist, along with all the other layers of stuff that goes along with it, without the internet, either. Before I read Maria’s website, I’d never heard of the phrases “Idealize/Devalue/Discard” and now they describe a whole three year period of my life.

      Namaste,

      Ixchel

  2. Pingback: Narcissists want to know about narcissism too | One Brief Moment

  3. My husband Fraser Hopkins displayed all of the above and left me when our twins were only 7 months old, I was discarded as if I was a piece of trash, Still trying to recover after 5 years of going back to him and the him leaving for other women.

  4. Dear Ixchel,

    Your story just happened to me . . Not exactly the same, but very similar. I have recently been discarded. I have been depressed for weeks. Some days just seem worse than others. He has not called me in almost three weeks. I guess that no contact is the best, as it has made me realize this person is a true naccissist. It hurts me deep on my soul. To think that this was going somewhere . . My high school sweetheart and I reuniting. Boy, was I wrong. I have a feeling he is getting his supply from someone else now. I feel as if he just used me for sex, and it feels disgusting. I don’t know how people can live with themselves, but since they lack remorse, I guess it’s easy for them. I am left to face myself, and realize I have a CoDep issue, and that I am a target for Narcissists. My heart isn’t wanting to listed to my head right now. I’m hurt to the core. Will this sinking feeling ever end?

    Thank you . . .

    • It is just amazing reading all the comments on this page – I can so relate to them! Not too many people around me understand what we have all dealt with – it’s all consuming & if all the thoughts, emotions etc ever leave you I don’t know! It’s devastating to say the least! No contact is good, however it does not heal the pain etc & maybe that only comes many years down the line! Stay strong & know you are not alone!

      • Jacquie,
        Thanks for writing. Yes, it can be all time consuming, that’s for sure. Writing about it was the central point of my life for over a year. Looking back on that time now, I have a different perspective, which I will begin writing about soon.
        Namaste,
        Ixchel

        • Hi Lxchel – time has past since my last post & over time & with loads of reading up on this subject, I am doing so much better. I am still amazed at how no one seems to understand the devastation these people cause in ones life!

          All my friends & family tell me to get over it – move on – it’s just not that simple as in my mind he was the perfect partner (that is who he played & he played the part well) – it is so bisaar truly!

          My ex has discredited me to all & sundry & when you needed the so called friends the most, they were just not there as the ex plays the role of the victim like a pro & has them running around him, giving him all the attention & care he can’t live without!

          I am much stronger now & a little wiser too, but goodness it’s been the most challenging, emotional time of my life!

          Love to you all & remember you are worth it & never let anyone tell you anything less! You are not the one with a mental problem, however they are the mental ones!

    • Hello~
      I just came across your post from over a year ago and wondering if you are still active here? I would very much like to talk to you as I too thought “that this was going somewhere . . My high school sweetheart and I reuniting.” I will check back to see if you replied ~ Thank you!

  5. Can someone please tell me ow to deal with a narcissistic ex husband in the Family Court? Out kids don’t want to go to his house but he turns it around to be that I won’t let them!!!!

    I am torn between wanting to make children happy and less anxious (I get sobbing phone calls whenever they have to stay there overnight) and wanting to avoid the anger and abuse when I stick up for them.

    Please help me. The only solutions I can think of are a) run away and leave kids with him just to escape his abuse and drama which shows o sign of relenting after eight years (three since I was sucked in for a second time and had another child); or b) run away with kids.

    At my wits end! Lawyers costs and lack of child support are killing me. Usual pattern is to engage new lawyers and withhold child support to, in effect, starve me out, and get my compliance.

    • Hi there,

      Check out Melanie Tonia Evans’s work and also Kaleah LaRoche. There are also a couple of books on how to divorce a partner with NPD, if you query the topic on the Internet. The NPD and Borderline Personality Disordered person is not normal. Don’t make the mistake of believing he will act with compassion or respect or decency.

      Be strong.

  6. Amazing – thank you for sharing. I was married to a man for 20 years who did all of the above – I finally filed for divorce after he lied and had me arrested so he could bring his married coworker into our home and make me look unfit to gain custody of our 2 children so he wouldn’t have to pay child support. After 3 years of therapy and emerging as the strong women I had once been he came back into our lives – I could believe how blessed we were – he was sorry and I thought thank god I have my family back – it was not to be within 2 years of the reunion the ugly was back – the cheating, the lies and the deceit. He had has many as 10 relationships while he was back with me – I addressed it over and over – he would say “I can’t help what you think in your head” It became more and more apparent and I needed out – he said he was getting darker and darker and made an appointment with a therapy – I was thrilled – however after one visit he stopped stating he couldn’t afford the copay. I was crushed I even offered to pay for the sessions. He said he was depressed etc I later learned he was in relationship with yet another women for the past month and all the things he had said to me were for his own self gain. I am again in therapy and day by day I am getting stronger – I am thankful that I am alive and well. My eyes have once again been opened and this time I didn’t lose my home or my credit score or my reputation. I did however contact an STD from him. I still hope for my children’s sake he gets the help he needs. For myself I need to move forward and heal from this awful betrayal. This website is a blessing and helps me to understand that it wasn’t me. Many thanks.

  7. Thanks for all the sharing. I consider myself bright, sensitve, and professionally successful. Somehow I got involved, again, with a NarcPD. Went through the breakup, distance, swept me off my feet in 5/2012 , wanted to MARRY me immediately, then in 4 months starts with the emotional distance, punishment, I can never do enough for him blah blah blah and wants to just be friends around eachother so he does not have to show me any affection, feels like punishment actually felt like a parent punishing a child and yet I kept showing up trying to fix it. CRAZY. Went on trip to see his family and felt the love they have and normal long term relationship stuff but he was cold as ice, no pictures, affection, slept like a dead man next to me- and he touts himself as a sexual carnivore. Then i get the cold email after 4 years of ‘we can’t date anymore’ after finding out he went skiing with another women even though they were just friends. new supply.
    I am working on no contact, can’t believe i miss him, that is what bother me the most I know i shouldn’t miss him but i do. We talked and ted’d every day for years. I am working on finding me and making sure that IF i ever date again, I will be true to myself and my integrity emotionally. If there is abuse of any kind- I will get out instead of trying to fix it.
    It is so messed up and it is so amazing how similar the stories are that I am shocked how Cliche he is and how i did not see it at the time.
    I guess i had more learning to do. Will move on to self forgiveness and staying away from the perp. He is so classic that there should be no question in my mind what I need to do. I hope i can help others, that is about the best that can come from this.

    • You can get away…it will be tough but its totally possible. Although I didnt tell my friends about my situation i found myself constantly being around them to get my mind off of him. Find things to do that you love or always wanted to do. Most importantly, keep the contact with him mininal to none if at all possible. You’ll only fall back into the trap…as i did many times. Its so hard when you know better and find yourself going back. Thats when i realized no contact would be best for me. Also…dont beat yourself up about. Tell yourself everyday that you are beautiful inside and out and that you deserve better. Its a very slow and painful process so take it one day at a time. Truly love yourself and dont believe the ugly things he says…it is only then will you start to see a happy future that does not include him. Best of luck…you can do it…just believe.

  8. Thank you so much for sharing. Your story mirrored mine. It helped clarify what I endured, survived and am currently healing from. I kept a diary during my time (3 1/2 years) with my narcissist boyfriend… sometimes writing in it every day. I would like to share my writing in order to help others recognize and survive the narcissist. I would love some suggestions as to where I can share this great amount of material I have.

  9. Wow. I went through this exact same thing. Broke my heart. Never heard of these type of people until I’ve been through it. I’m finding out there are a lot of people out there that act this same way. Very sad.

  10. My heart goes out to all of you who have suffered and are suffering from a relationship with a narcissist. As one who has been in the same boat, and had it capsized, I speak from experience when I say it is brutal.

    However, there are life rafts. One idea that was wisely pointed out above is to love yourself because you deserve it. It also helps to focus on yourself and being as kind and gentle with yourself as possible rather than focusing on the narcissist (they do a good enough job of focusing on themselves already and don’t need anymore attention as we all know).

    One of the best healing tactics is to truly discover what it is/was about yourself that led you to become involved with them in the first place. A great book that helped me was “Disarming the Narcissist” by Wendy Behary. It’s loaded with valuable information. The part about our various schemas was particularly useful.

    Finally, I have to admit that in a twisted way I am actually grateful to the narcissist who was in my life because it has helped me to grow. I quit an alcohol dependency, discovered why I was attracted in the first place (Co-dependency), my filters are far sharper now and I can smell these creatures from miles away, and I have extremely clear boundaries now that I enforce.

    Keep your chin up, learn, grow, heal, and enjoy the life that you deserve. It all starts inside with loving and caring for yourself first. The rest will just happen.

    Brad

  11. Thank you! I am one of the victims too, for more than two years of taking care and loving this man I was dumped when I was sick and going to have my surgery, I even question God for the mans heartless decision on me just left me sick and alone. I already noticed the red flags but I love him, I thought he is going to change.
    After realizing about the narcissist behavior im so happy and thankful to God that I was dumped im not going to suffer more.

  12. Wow, Ixchel…I could have written this, except your childhood sweetheart was a guy I had an affair with 15 years ago that I thought was MY soulmate. But we moved a couple hours away, I had a toddler, and the added guilt that I was doing something so shameful caused me to end things. He was devastated. Mutual friends of ours told me how hurt and badly he was doing. I never stopped loving him and because we work in the same industry, our relationship resurfaced 2 years ago. By this time, my children are older, my husband had indiscretions of his own, and really I had no guilt in exploring the possibilities with my ‘soulmate’.

    I put all the effort into this relationship. He wasn’t married anymore, and made it very clear that he couldn’t get into another serious relationship with me because I was married, and I got that. BUT…in the course of two years, we went on two trips to Napa, and several weekend getaways. The ‘I Love You’s flowed freely and for all intent and purpose, he played along very nicely. Because of all my effort, my devaluation started pretty quicky but was very subtle at first. Push me/pull me was pretty constant, and the gaslighting was non stop. There are so many oddities and weird details to mention, but you all know the drill. I put up with all the games for two reasons: I was the married one, and I was the one who hurt him the first time. Looking back, I believe this was COMPLETELY part of the plan. His decision to not put any effort into me was contrived from the very beginning. I saw him last about 3 months ago at a weekend work related convention. I was already partly on my way out, but thought I’d give it one more ‘girl scout’ try. The first night was great, the next day, he was Mr. Hyde. I was the plague. I tried to kiss him at dinner and he turned away and told me to quit loving him so much. 20 minutes later, after he said some very hurtful things, I told him I needed to get out of his life. And he comes back with ‘don’t give up on me, please don’t give up on me’. I was pretty much done, but called him on Thanksgiving, because I knew he didn’t have any plans. He said his friend ‘Steve’ invited him over. He was aloof with me and distant, and when we went to hang up, he told me to “rock on”. He’s 57. Are you kidding me? I found out the next day he actually spent Thanksgiving with his ex-girlfriend and her family. That was the final straw for me. Sia-fucka-nara sweetheart. The last two years have been the worst rollercoaster ride of my life. Excruciating pain to the point of insanity, I swear. And the whole time, I’m trying to hold it together in front of my family. Now, I’m in therapy, trying to put the pieces back together, and trying to decide how to handle my marriage. Oh, the tangled webs we weave. I will be stronger because of this asshole.

    One last note. The first time around with this monster, he kept me in the idealization phase. Why? I didn’t let him in 100%. The second time, I let him in completely….and he destroyed me. He knew he had me. Connection here?

    • Thanks for your comment. Don’t try to make sense of him and his behavior. You’ll only hurt your brain overthinking it because there is no sense to be made. It’s madness. Move on and practice not thinking about him or obsessing on it. The faster you can get him out of your mind the saner and healthier you’ll be.

      Ixchel

  13. I find great comfort in this article. I went through a very lengthy relationship with a woman who followed this pattern. She had done the same with two husbands before me (and on a different level, with every person she disagreed with, which eventually, was everyone) and has done it to another since. She had convinced me (and others) that I was the problem and got others to assist her when I was “no longer of use” and discarded.

    Since then I have encountered the same behavior several times–and thankfully, have been able to spot the red flags, though often it is never a pleasant discovery. I hope this article will come to the attention of many who might otherwise be convinced that the abuse they are experiencing is “normal”. I certainly did, for far too long.

    • Thanks for your comment, John. I am sorry that you went through this experience with a woman who was emotionally abusive and I am glad you were able to end it and avoid future problems by spotting the red flags.
      Namaste,
      Ixchel

  14. I am still in the shock phase of having been discarded around Labor Day. I let … yes, looking back … myself to be emotionally abused by a heartless person. I won’t go into the details of at least two affairs that I know of, along with online voyeurism by her sending nude photos of herself to some guy, along with the constant need to “go out with her friends” instead of focusing on our family. What I have gone through over the last 3 years sickens me when I look back on it because she left me $20k in debt and unable to meet my current obligations. The depression has sunk in that she acquired new narcissistic supply before she dumped me and my gut tells me that she is in the throes of a happy new life without a care in the world for the emotional destruction left in her wake. I am an emotional mess (now on anti-depressants) and have had 2 meetings with my boss at work concerning my performance. I just started this position 3 weeks before she decided to pull this stunt of saying “I need to be single and that’s not fair of me to stay in the relationship with you if I feel that way.” And this is my dream job as an attorney that I spent years of my life devoted to achieving.

    After she dropped that bomb on me, I went into an emotional tailspin and started doing online research and found NPD articles that perfectly describe what was done to me throughout the course of our relationship. I then instituted “no contact” as best I could, blocked her cell phone number, blocked access to social media and blocked emails. One small glitch in blocking the emails in that gmail filters send emails to a “trash” folder. In a moment of weakness, I checked the trash and sure enough emails designed to mindf*** me. The last one said … “I still want to see you and for us to be friends. We went through a lot together. It just got messed up, but we had some really good times. I will understand if you don’t want to see me.” Translation = she needs to gauge if I am still available as a narcissistic source of supply somewhere down the road when the current flavor of the day becomes boring.

    I’m trapped in a strange city while all of her family lives here. All of my friends are married and I can’t constantly bombard them with depression. So, I am fighting this off as hard as I can. I have wavered between complete disbelief that this is happening to kicking myself for not paying attention to ALL of the gaslighting that she did over the last 3 years. What I “loved” never existed … and that is the hardest part to deal with.

    I would give anything to have known about these emotional vampires before I got involved with her. All the classic symptoms are present with her … fake bleach blond hair with fake contact lenses to make her pupils blue. Breast implants, total obsession with looking perfect as she heads out the door to work (to get a daily dose of admiration and “guys hitting on her” which she professed to despise). Telling me that being with me felt like being imprisoned … this being said after 2 affairs that I caught her in.

    And the saddest part if all is that there is a sick part of me that misses her. My question in writing all of this is how do I deal with that part of me? The part that will look in the trash folder to see if she emailed. How do I control that weakness and get my life back? Is it just because I miss the sex — which is apparently meaningless to narcissists. I’ve looked for support groups and can’t find anything for NPD survivors — and I live in a major metropolitan city. Any suggestions? Sometimes I feel like I’m going crazy trying to deal with this. I’m consumed with dwelling on it to the point it is crippling me.

    • hello, I am struggling with some chronic pain issues today but wanted to thank you briefly for writing. I am sorry that you are in so much pain. I am not a medical professional nor a mental health one. What helped me greatly was finding a good therapist. I found one the very day after my life blew apart from discovering the narcissist’s hidden life. A good therapist will know what you are going to.
      It is PERFECTLY NORMAL to miss the person. This may go on for months or even years. It took me at least 18 months to realize, with the help of a therapist, that I was missing the person who I thought he was.
      Narcissists wear masks so that you can never know who they really are. Remind yourself that you were in love with a fantasy person. Be patient and gentle with yourself. Reach out and ask for help from your family and friends.
      Namaste,
      Ixchel

      • Thank you for responding to me. I’m sorry that you are in pain today. I am trying to read as much as I can about NPD to educate myself. Knowledge is some form of power against against the pain this disorder causes. I am seriously considering moving back to be near my family and friends since I have no one here where I am. I will have to give up the career that I worked hard to achieve, but I feel that the only way out of this is to look forward and keep reminding myself that when one door closes another will open. And that it is best for my sanity to keep the door closed that I am leaving behind.

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