3 Revealing Signs The Narcissist Is Preparing to Discard You

It’s disheartening thinking of the signs the narcissist is preparing to discard you. But then, navigating a relationship with a narcissist is in itself daunting. Their manipulative behavior, emotional withdrawal, and callous disregard for your feelings can inflict severe emotional trauma.

Recognizing the narcissist discard phase can prepare you. These signs often range from increased criticism to emotional distance and outright hostility.


Equip you with the knowledge and tools to anticipate a narcissistic discard. That way you can emerge stronger from the experience. Remember, you deserve respect. And understanding these signs can be a critical step toward safeguarding your mental health.

What is a Narcissist Discard?

In the context of narcissistic relationships, a narcissist discards the person they are in a relationship with. Hence, narcissistic discard refers to whenever the narcissist no longer sees their target as a valuable source of attention, admiration, or whatever else they are getting from the relationship.

They treat the person they are discarding as an object they no longer need or want. The narcissist discard can be abrupt and cruel, leaving the other person feeling confused, hurt, and worthless.

How Does the Narcissistic Discard Happen?

Narcissistic relationships are never regular romantic relationships. So, they have an inevitable end. Before we talk about the signs the narcissist is preparing to discard you, let’s look at the phases that most narcissistic romances go through.

Phase 1: idealization

Here the narcissist will idealize their partner to gain trust and control. They paint a perfect illusion of what you want in a partner. They make their target feel special and loved, entrenching their hold.

signs the narcissist is preparing to discard you

Phase 2: Devaluation

Once they are confident of their control, the narcissist moves to the devaluation phase. This is the beginning of the narcissist discard event. Here they are sure they feel they no longer have any challenge with their partner. Hence, they move to exert devaluation through regular abuse.

This involves consistent abusive behavior that slowly brings down their partner’s self esteem. You might notice a sudden switch from kindness to cruel behavior. Direct insults, passive-aggressive comments, insane jealousy, or a sharp decline in their affection could all point to this discard phase.

Phase 3: Discard phase

At this stage, the narcissist feels they can no longer manipulate or extract emotional responses from their partner as they used to. You might notice that they suddenly ghost, or behave indifferently to you. This marks the outright end of the relationship.

Bear in mind that narcissistic tendencies come with behavior patterns that are often predictable, especially when they are preparing to discard you from their life. Yet, recognizing the onset of narcissistic abuse helps a lot more, especially before the discard stage begins.

Signs the Narcissist is Preparing to Discard You

Generally, there are three major signs of a narcissist discard phase. Each of these signs also has varying levels of narcissistic abuse.

Shifting behavior

One of the first signs a narcissist discard is changing their behavior significantly towards you. This sudden shift often manifests as an increase in emotional distance, and they may grow cold or indifferent. You may also notice that they criticize you more frequently than before.

Sometimes the criticism is subtle. But often they might outrightly mock you. Their end goal is undermining your self esteem, so that when the narcissistic discard finally, they make you feel like you were not worthy of them in the first place.

Cruel treatment

The second sign of the narcissistic discard phase is cruel treatment. This again involves emotional manipulation or outright hostility. Here they might start accusing you of the very actions they are guilty of. This tactic known as gaslighting, makes you feel guilty and doubt your reality.

Again the narcissist discards because he’s done with the narcissistic relationship. It’s no fault of yours. But this treatment they met out is meant to erode your self esteem so that you become embroiled in thoughts of how you would have been better to them to avoid it when nothing was ever your fault.


Next, the narcissistic discard demands isolation. They subtly encourage you to become more emotionally dependent on them. They try to be everything to you while constantly withdrawing and then returning their love to you to keep you on the edge. This act of manipulation allows them to instill in you a false self image devoid of self compassion.

narcissist discard

They gain control over your life and still prepare for the narcissist discard phase because that’s all the relationship was to them. This is why you shouldn’t try building romantic relationships with a narcissist.

A narcissistic relationship only ever serves to meet their lust for control. And when they’ve gotten that, the narcissistic discard phase begins. The fact that the narcissist discards is an inevitable phase.

Long Term Psychological Effects and Trauma of a Narcissist Discard

A narcissist’s discard can be a blindsiding and brutal experience. Unlike a typical breakup, it’s often devoid of closure. It often leaves the discarded person questioning their reality and self esteem. Here are some of the long term effects of having a relationship with someone with narcissistic personality disorder.

  • Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) Symptoms: Narcissistic relationships are often unpredictable and abusive. So the experience is traumatic. That’s why victims often have symptoms like flashbacks, nightmares, and hypervigilance.
  • Depression and anxiety: The constant criticism and devaluation can erode self-esteem. This leaves the discarded person vulnerable to depression and anxiety.
  • Confusion and difficulty trusting others: Gaslighting, a tactic often used by narcissists, can leave the discarded person questioning their own perceptions and memories.
  • Isolation and loneliness: The narcissist may have isolated the target from loved ones. So when they leave, you’ll feel disconnected from your friends, and entire identity.
  • Difficulty making decisions: The constant need to manage the narcissist’s emotions can leave the discarded person with a lingering fear of making decisions or speaking their mind.

How to Protect Yourself from Narcissistic Abuse

Narcissistic discard happens regardless of what you say or do to them.

If you’ve noticed any of the signs or phases we talked about in your present relationship, there’s a chance you are in a narcissistic relationship. If you do find that the signs are present, you need to act quickly to protect yourself.

narcissist discard

There are two principal things you can do:

Seek professional help

Only a professional can help you gain a perspective about narcissistic relationships. They know how dealing with someone with narcissistic personality disorder can be confusing, mentally and emotionally exhausting. They will work with you to build your self esteem and get out of that toxic fallout of the narcissistic discard phase. Consider working with a psychologist, therapist, or at least a friend who has mental health nursing practice.


Narcissist discards because it’s fun to them. But yet, it can be heart-wrenching dealing with it. You need self care activities that can improve your physical health, nurture your emotional well-being, and foster your sense of self-worth. Practice self compassion.

Equip yourself with the knowledge and tools to anticipate a narcissistic discard. That way you can avert the pitfalls of witnessing a narcissist discard to emerge stronger and healthier from the experience.

Beware of Hoovering

Often after a narcissist has successfully discarded the relationship, they try to keep it on the horizon. Hoovering is this common strategy where they may return and attempt to reconnect with the individual they’ve discarded after a certain period has passed.

You must know that this move isn’t because of self compassion or some sort of narcissistic admiration. It does not also reflect remorse or desire to amend their mistakes. It’s simply a manipulative tactic designed to pull you back into the toxic relationship.

The goal is to further cement their control and dominance over you. This method is named after the ‘Hoover’ vacuum cleaner. It metaphorically depicts their attempt to suck you back into the tumultuous relationship.

Bottom Line

When you do get out, be deliberate about investing in healthy relationships. Remember happy and healthy relationships don’t try to suck you back into misery. And you deserve a beautiful romance. So, recognizing these patterns of narcissistic tendencies is vital. That way you can be more intentional about protecting yourself from further emotional harm.



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