What’s really happening with these initial infrequent incidences? The narcissist is testing your limits — in other words, how much of their shit are you willing to tolerate? What and where are your boundaries? Will you defend and enforce your boundaries? Or will you capitulate to keep the peace and the narcissist’s “love” no matter the price, including your dignity? Eventually, the narcissist will stop blaming outsiders for their bad behavior and start blaming you. Cue the devaluation stage.
What goes up (you being hoisted atop the narcissist’s pedestal) will eventually be torn down (by your narcissist, of course). Why? Because you disappointed your narcissist, silly!
You didn’t provide an endless supply of love, adoration and nurturing. You didn’t make them an overnight success — you held them back all those years by providing a stable home life! You took askance with being raged at and called names. You began to see your narcissist more clearly and realistically. You wanted the love and support to be bidirectional in the relationship.
Asking or expecting reciprocity from your narcissist is the kiss of death. She or he will occasionally give, but only if it makes them feel or look good to do so, and it always comes with a price. Narcissists don’t give without the expectation of getting, and they expect to get more than they give. It’s narcissist math.
The narcissist may also begin to devalue you simply because she or he is bored. Stability is boring. Coziness? Contentedness? Comfort? Boring, boring, boring. If the narcissist isn’t distracting themselves with some drama, conflict, lawsuit, affair, self-aggrandizement or swindle they might actually have to look at and deal with themselves. Then they might just realize that they and they alone are the architects of their misery and they can’t have that. Therefore, if they’re feeling bored or disappointed with life or themselves someone needs to be blamed.
Once the devaluation stage begins, the discard is inevitable. It may take a few months, years or, in some cases, decades, but it will happen. There’s no going back to the idealization stage once you’ve seen behind their mask and their all too human feet of clay — no matter what empty promises and lies your narcissist tells you. You might get some love bombing in the form of a Hoover if she or he isn’t quite ready to discard you. This is usually because the next source of narcissistic supply hasn’t been secured yet.
Second, you must also unflinchingly accept their abuse. And don’t ever tell them that their behavior is abusive. Doing so makes the narcissist feel bad about her- or himself. Remember what happens when the narcissist or borderline feels bad about themselves? They blame someone else (i.e., you). Plus, labeling their behavior abusive means you’re not accepting them for who they are. Got it?
You may not get discarded right away if you tolerate the abuse and look the other way when your narcissist seeks fresh supply elsewhere, but there is no equal, mutual, healthy adult relationship to be had with this person. If you accept these conditions please understand that your narcissist won’t appreciate you or think, “Wow, husband/wife/boyfriend/girlfriend must really love me to give me such free reign and to accept me as I am.” Quite the opposite, in fact. Your narcissist will have even less respect for you as you further degrade and humiliate yourself in order to maintain the relationship at any cost (e.g., staying in the relationship while she or he openly has affairs or becomes physically violent).
Your narcissist won’t see you as loving and committed to him or her. This is when your narcissist will become more sadistic than you could ever imagine. Why? Because you have shown your narcissist there is no limit she or he can violate that will cause you to withdraw your love. Please don’t do this to yourself. Take whatever shred of self-esteem you have left and get out. If you have no shared children or assets, go ghost. Complete radio silence. Don’t take the bait and respond to angry messages or feigned remorse. Narcissists and borderlines don’t feel genuine remorse. They feel sorry for themselves once they finally reap the consequences of their bad behavior, but that’s not the same as feeling remorse for having hurt others. As Rhett Butler said to Scarlett O’Hara in Gone With the Wind, “You’re like the thief who isn’t the least bit sorry he stole, but is terribly, terribly sorry he’s going to jail.”
But, but your narcissist seems really sincere when they say how much they miss you? Okay, there may a grain of truth to that. However, it would be more accurate to say that your narcissist misses the ease you brought to their life and the supply you provided. That’s not love and you deserve better. Continuing to engage with your former narcissist in any fashion allows her or him to continue to feed off of you. It’s time for you to take back your power and resources for yourself. Let the narcissist siphon resources elsewhere, or, heaven forbid, finally do for themselves.
In the end, once a new source of supply (e.g., ass kissing, financial support, novelty sex, someone who believes the narcissist’s false self is the real self) has been secured, you will be discarded. New supply is tastier, juicier and more robust than old depleted supply who has seen behind the narcissist’s mask. Whether you realize it or not, you’ve probably never been à deux in your relationship. Narcissists and borderlines triangulate. It’s important to understand this because a narcissist typically won’t discard until she or he has a new source of supply, a third party with which to replace the old supply. As the devaluation stage progresses, the narcissist seeks out and grooms fresh supply. Once they’ve found their new hero-angel, that’s it.
Given that narcissists are insatiable, needy vortexes of suck, there’s never enough attention, love, comfort, emotional breast milk or any resource that he or she desires. Like an alcoholic who hides vodka bottles around the house, narcissists require back-up emotional supply.
In Karpman’s drama triangle there are three roles: the Victim, the Persecutor and the Rescuer. Two versions of the triangle exist; the narcissist’s version and the objective reality version. The narcissist sees her- or himself as the Victim, the person they’re abusing and exploiting (the old supply) as their Persecutor and their new supply (e.g., the mistress/manstress) as their Rescuer. In reality, the narcissist is the Persecutor, the new supply is their enabler/accomplice (unwittingly or wittingly) and the old supply is the Victim. At the beginning of your relationship with your narcissist, when you were the new supply/Rescuer, you probably aided and abetted your narcissist in hurting your predecessor. You were once the hero or angel, and now you’re the big old meanie who doesn’t appreciate your Narcissist anymore. The new supply is the answer to the narcissist’s problems just as you once were. Rinse, wash, repeat.