What Does Narcissistic Discard Mean? | Reasons, Impact, And How To Heal

Last Update on December 14, 2022 : Published on December 14, 2022
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We can define narcissism as a condition where a person believes that they are superior to all and feel the need for constant attention and admiration. A person who feels like they need to be the center of attention in every room or every conversation they walk in or engage in can be termed as a narcissistic personality.

You can see people often use the term “narcissism” or “narcissist” casually. Nowadays, you can use this term to describe anyone selfish or self-absorbed. There are times when self-love can be confused with narcissism.

However, a narcissistic personality disorder is a mental health disorder that can make it harder for an individual to maintain healthy relationships with their loved ones, coworkers, and friends.

But today we’re talking about a condition that stems from a narcissistic personality disorder but does not necessarily affect the individual. I’m talking about narcissistic discard. A narcissistic discard is when a person with NPD abruptly ends the relationship and gives no closure to the break-up, leaving you feeling used or discarded.

Let’s understand what narcissistic discard is, the signs, reasons, impact, and how you can heal after narcissistic discard.

What Is a Narcissistic Discard?


When you’re in a relationship with a narcissist and they, one day, abruptly end the relationship, it can result in you feeling some conflicted feelings. In abruptly ending the relationship, the narcissist would offer no closure and no resolution as to why they decided to end the relationship. This kind of ending might make you feel used and discarded. This is how narcissistic discard can be defined.

In a narcissistic relationship, there are four phases;

  • Appreciation
  • Devaluation
  • Repetition
  • Discard

All narcissistic relationships begin at an affectionate level. The narcissist would charm you and make you feel like you’re one of the most loved ones in their lives. They’ll come as your prince/princess charming and would make you feel unique. In a professional or a social relationship, they would be the ones charming their way into your life and the relationship would move quite fast.

Then, eventually, the next stage would come; Devaluation. During this stage in the relationship, the narcissist would pick apart your faults and find mistakes even in the smallest things. They would begin comparing you to others until you begin to believe that you’re not special.

At the same time, they’ll admire you to make others feel inferior. It is during this stage that a narcissist would resort to gaslighting by distorting your reality. They’ll also blame you for the fallout.

The next stage is repetition. Here, you will feel confused and depressed. You’ll keep working to become good enough again. If you try to leave or walk away from the relationship, the narcissist is likely to respond with rage and hurt, starting the cycle of appreciation and devaluation, again.

Once you’re there, the next stage of narcissist relationships comes; Discard. During this stage, the narcissist is likely to use you for their own advantage and when you and your abilities are of no use to them and their gains, they will end the relationship without giving an appropriate closure, leaving you feeling discarded and used.

Signs Of Narcissistic Discard

Here are some common signs of narcissistic discard that you should be aware of;

  • The narcissist in your life has a “wandering eye”, meaning that their interests are fickle and change frequently. In romantic relationships, it could mean infidelity or emotional cheating. In other relationships, it could mean that they develop an interest in others quite quickly.
  • The narcissist is making less and less effort or energy to resolve a conflict. They are also interacting less with you and are cold instead of warm towards you.
  • Narcissists can be possessive and can exhibit jealousy. If your narcissist partner is getting less possessive or does not get jealous anymore, and if they are disinterested in knowing what you’re doing, then it could be a sign that they are thinking of ending the relationship.
  • If the narcissistic partner is suddenly apathetic or indifferent towards you, then it is also a sign of narcissistic discard. It can also mean that they have found someone else useful and are thinking of discarding the relationship with you.
  • The narcissist in your life has begun stonewalling you or ghosting you. Narcissists might refuse to share their plans with you or tell you where they are going. In simple terms, if they begin to ignore you and your plans, then it’s another sign of narcissistic discard.

What Are The Reasons For Narcissistic Discard?

In a 2017 study, it was found that people with NPD often struggle with maintaining healthy long-term relationships. They use others to feel better about themselves or boost their self-esteem. However, because of their lack of empathy and affection towards others, they begin to think of others as an object that they can discard after they stop becoming useful.

Here are some potential reasons why a narcissistic person might discard you;

  • You are too hard for them to control or manipulate
  • You are easily manipulated by the narcissist
  • You refuse to feed their ego more
  • You don’t help them with their life goals (this could be something that the narcissist alone thinks)
  • They feel like they can find someone better than you to further their goals

Other reasons could include;

  • Narcissists have a short attention span and might lose interest in you quickly
  • Narcissists struggle with narcissistic rage and struggle with regulating their emotions
  • Narcissists are hypersensitive to criticism and can end the relationship because they feel criticized
  • Narcissists have unrealistic expectations from others and can become tired when those expectations aren’t met

The Impact Of Narcissistic Discard On Your Mental Health


If you have a partner with narcissistic tendencies, then you’re likely to be affected by their actions. A narcissist may make you dependent on them for emotional support, and they often try to define you instead of letting yourself define you.

When your narcissistic partner abruptly ends your relationship, making you feel discarded, it can affect your trauma response. This kind of abrupt end might trigger the response because you feel you’ve lost the person who defined your worth and identity.

Because narcissists not only make you depend on them emotionally, they do it in other ways too, including financially. So, when you experience narcissistic discard, you go through financial trouble and stress too, which brings a setback to your progress.

All these experiences can be traumatic and can leave you feeling depressed after the narcissistic discard. Feelings of shock, grief, and anger usually surface after a narcissistic discard, and it can make it hard for you to find closure.

Other negative impacts of narcissistic discard can include;

How To Heal After Narcissistic Discard?

If you’ve been discarded by a narcissist, then here are things you can do to heal after narcissistic discard;

  • Try to understand your self-identity and self-worth. Also, figure out what you wanted before you entered the relationship. Instead of leaving your needs to be fulfilled by others, try to pay attention to them and take care of them on your own.
  • Learn the ways of healthy relationships and how to achieve them. It could take time to fully understand how to navigate a relationship that doesn’t have a narcissistic partner but with patience and communication, you can do it.
  • Surround yourself with supportive people and a healthy support system. A narcissistic relationship can leave you socially isolated and can make you question who you can trust. Try to spend time with supportive people who can help you improve your well-being, understand different perspectives, and regain your sense of self.
  • Try to adopt emotional regulation techniques to help you manage the trauma of narcissistic discard. Reflect on what brought you into the relationship in the first place. Is there a pattern that attracts such people? Or is it something else you need to address?

What Next?

Being in a toxic relationship – yes, narcissistic relationships can be toxic too – can be hard. It can leave you floundering to find your footing with someone who has no plans to let you do so in the first place. Narcissistic relationships, when meeting an abrupt end, can make you feel used and discarded.

Try to find the reasons why a narcissistic discard happened and how it affected your sense of self. If you need help, seek professional help. A mental health professional can help you address the issues you face and aid in your healing after narcissistic discard.

I hope this article helped you understand narcissistic discard. For more, you can write to us at info@calmsage.com or DM us on social media. You can also share your thoughts with us in the comments section below.

Take Care!

About The Author

Swarnakshi Sharma
Swarnakshi Sharma

Swarnakshi is a content writer at Calm sage, who believes in a healthier lifestyle for mind and body. A fighter and survivor of depression, she strives to reach and help spread awareness on ending the stigma surrounding mental health issues. A spiritual person at heart, she believes in destiny and the power of Self. She is an avid reader and writer and likes to spend her free time baking and learning about world cultures.

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