Why the Narcissist Always Turns from Idolizing you to Utter Contempt

Unfortunately, once a Narcissist is victorious and secures your love, the idolization phase of the relationship passes and his true colors emerge. You begin to see the pathology of his personality and realize he merely put on an act in the beginning of the relationship to win and secure your love. He becomes demanding and angry, unaware that you have needs or a separate self at all. He simply finds it impossible to see you as an independent entity.

“Women know intuitively when they are being devalued."
~ Robyn Silverman

Trying to understand how you went from being idolized and put on a pedestal to being completely discarded is baffling. Suddenly, you can’t do anything right and nothing you do is good enough for him. By understanding the inevitable Devalue & Discard (D&D) behavior of a Narcissist, you will finally realize what happened and know that you did NOTHING wrong to cause such a drastic change in his behavior.

It is important to understand when in a toxic relationship, you are viewed as nothing more than an extension of your Narcissist. Narcissists seek out relationships in order to ensure someone is present to cater to their needs, stroke their ego and make them look good. Men often select a trophy wife. Beautiful women are the ultimate status symbol for men…proof of their masculinity and virility. On the other hand, female narcissists are typically attracted to wealthy men who can support their obsession with image and status.

A Narcissist will eventually devalue and discard you with no remorse. It is inevitable in any relationship with a Narcissist. At some point, he will emotionally and physically withdraw from you and leave you wondering what you did wrong.

In some cases, it may only take months, but in more intense situations, it could take years, especially when they desire to marry you. Ultimately, you have a choice to leave or endure the abuse. When I finally woke up, I chose to leave my marriage, but Narcissists make this extremely hard to do by manipulating you into believing you are the one who caused the relationship to fail. Read "Crazymaking Behavior" (link below) to understand how they turn everything around so we feel we are always to blame.


You must remember, you did NOTHING wrong. The end of this relationship has NOTHING to do with you. A Narcissist is unable to attach in a healthy way to anyone. Ultimately, he will pull away no matter what you do.

A Narcissist has a lot of built-up resentment toward his significant other. He knows he is reliant on you for validation. However, he craves variety and is easily bored. As a result, he blames you for tying him down to a monotonous and mundane lifestyle. This creates in him a great deal of anger towards you because he does not want to rely on you, yet knows he must in order to get the validation he so desperately needs. He does not respect you because he knows you put up with a lot of abuse from him. You have done nothing wrong but be overly giving and nurturing. Yet he is angry with you and blames you for all of his unhappiness.

He is urgent, preoccupied with himself and always trying to right his chronic imbalance. While some Narcissists do not feel the emptiness in their lives, their behavior causes major suffering and angst among those around them. Once a Narcissist feels he has obtained control of you, you will see a completely different side of him you never knew existed. Once in control, a Narcissist becomes demeaning and cruel.

Narcissists are oblivious to others and how their behavior affects people close to them. They dismiss the feelings, ideas, and opinions of others. They are condescending in their nature. They belittle, criticize, judge and put others down.

A Narcissist can be blatant about it or quite subtle in his approach. He has a way of putting you down in such a way that you don’t even realize you have been insulted until you reflect upon the conversation later or someone points it out to you. Other times, he can be brutally offensive. They have no shame.

While Narcissists do not always realize how hurtful their behavior is, it doesn’t mean at times, they are not deliberately abusive. A Narcissist is purposefully abusive when his relationship with you changes in a way that is not to his liking. This occurs whenever he starts to feel too close to you. Intimacy terrifies a Narcissist, and he will respond by being abusive in order to push you away.

Another example of when a Narcissist is intentionally abusive is if you voice your displeasure or threaten to leave the relationship. A Narcissist cannot be alone. He is terrified of being alone and must always have someone present to validate him. By asserting abusive behavior, he is attempting to maintain his dominance and control over you.

A Narcissist has a way of turning everything around so you begin to question yourself. He will do something terribly mean or cruel. You will talk to him about it, and by the end of the conversation, you are the one apologizing for some reason. A Narcissist knows how to manipulate better than anyone.

A Narcissist eventually becomes sarcastic and belittles you constantly. You begin to feel you can do nothing right in his eyes and your presence is hardly tolerable. You’re baffled. You wonder what you did wrong to cause such a drastic change in his feelings toward you. You struggle desperately to return things to the way they were in the beginning. Unfortunately, as hard as you try, things will never be the same again. He is not the man you thought he was. It is a maddening and precarious way to live and can drive anyone to the edge of their sanity.

When a Narcissist feels he is in control of you and is not threatened by any fear that you will ask for too much from him or leave the relationship, he will engage in escapist activity and appear as if he hardly knows you exist the majority of the time. You are merely present to validate him should he not get enough attention from the outside world that day.

You are treated with indifference by the person who once showered you with love and affection. His “silent treatment” is his way of devaluing you. If you begin to pull away, he will lay on the charm again. A Narcissist knows when to engage his false self to ensure you never leave him. He is always reminding you that he understands you like no one else can or ever will. It is essential that he makes you believe only he can understand you. By constantly telling you that you have problems and quirks only he can understand, he believes you will become dependent on him. By telling you he loves you despite your flaws, he hopes you will begin to feel unlovable in some strange paranoid way. This is his way of ensuring you will never leave him. It is narcissistic manipulation at its finest and it is important that you recognize it.

A Narcissist will always ensure he has someone present and available to him at all times to validate him. Unfortunately, he will give you no warning when he decides to leave in pursuit of validation from someone new or something new. Some do not have affairs, but engage in sexually deviant auto-erotic behavior. This is when we must remember we did NOTHING wrong and this outcome was inevitable.

A Narcissist will simply discard you when he becomes convinced that you can no longer provide him with sufficient validation. Keep in mind, this evaluation of his is totally subjective and not grounded in reality at all. Suddenly, because of boredom, a disagreement, an act or a failure to act, he swings from total idealization to complete devaluation.

He then disconnects from you immediately. He needs to preserve all of his energy in order to obtain and secure new sources of supply. He sees no need to spend any of his precious time and energy on you, whom he now considers useless.

You must accept the fact that you were not an object of love to this person, but a pawn, a mere source of supply to feed his fragile ego; nothing more, but certainly nothing less. Once you understand how he must constantly change his source of supply, you will realize his rejection of you has NOTHING to do with you. He will repeat this cycle in every relationship he enters. It is inevitable. Be grateful this toxic abusive man is out of your life and never let him back.

I just read an excellent article on this topic, which led me to blog about this today. Please take a read as I believe it is incredibly helpful in understanding their behavior.

Source: http://www.gettingpastyourbreakup.com (http://s.tt/17qOI)

My favorite quote from the article is this:

"The pathological narcissist will anticipate receiving tribute from others and may for a time be very charming to them. But once the tribute is given, he quickly becomes restless and bored. Then he treats his admirers with contempt. In general his relationships are exploitative or parasitic, although this may be masked behind a surface which is often engaging and attractive." ~ Susan Elliott

April 27, 2017 - 11:53pm


Months into relationship w/ Narc, living in different continents. He's married. Went through love bombing/ idealization. It was the best feeling ever to be adored and told how beautiful you are everyday and that he's a tortured soul and he finally found his soulmate. Then after 2 months, he tells me how awful his wife is and she has a mental condition and the awful things she says in front of the kids. Talk to him around same time each night because my certain time, she's upstairs and he's downstairs. Enough about them . I've now experienced devalue stage, Narcissist injury and rage, his constant need for attention 24/7 but never reciprocated and he has zero empathy. He labels me: sensitive, needy, too romantic, short sighted, impatient, etc. I've seen the massive mood swings and how he can switch within a second and basically annihilate me with his words. It is an awful, lonely, paralyzing feeling -- and I am an attractive, smart, outgoing, happy, positive woman .... and sometimes I don't even recognize myself. My friends who know say the same. The latest is he can't let anyone get "too close" or he pushes them away. He also doesn't like anyone telling him what to do. This must be what he means by him and his wife never interacting and barely being in the same room and they only talk when it concerns the kids. Aside from that, he is out and drinking with friends until about midnight during a work night and then until 3 am on weekends. But he boasts about taking his kids to birthday parties on weekends and attending school functions and having them over the house for sleep overs.

I was in denial for awhile because I've put my heart and soul into this, basically neglecting everything else. I wanted to be everything to him, but he still treats me poorly and he tells me he does this to everyone, but he "can't help it." What adult says these things? It's sad and maddening and devastating and confusing all at the same time. He always comes back around to apologize and makes promises to try his best not to be like this anymore. Says he loves me and wants a future with me and to please give him time and be patient.

Not sure how to get out of it......

January 12, 2016 - 6:18pm


It's like reading about my life......
I've just given myself a big apology. I can't believe I let myself down so much.
Being dumped 5 times in 3 years, being told I had depression by him, that I don't sound very secure. To being threatened of being videod on his iPhone when I'm upset to show it back to me in the morning. Oh and the fact I was saved as loopy laura on his mobile.
Since leaving him I no longer feel depressed, my anxiety has gone and a weird twitch I had in my eye has gone.

And hallelujah I'm done with it all, I'm more important...... good luck to his new girl friend, ....she's gonna need it!

October 15, 2013 - 7:54am

Not Me

I have read this blog a few times at different stages of my recovery. The first time I was still in the heavy fog and reading that it's not my fault did not compute since I was still programmed to believe all bad is because of me.

The next time I read it I felt empowered since I had learned more about narcissism and realized it was outside of my understanding and control.

This read all I can do it nod my head. I have learned a lot about myself by realizing what I tolerated through the seven years of marriage. I learn even more about myself when I feel pangs of wanting to return, only to self-correct by remembering what I had become while enduring his abuse.

I am standing a little straighter every day. I am keeping the focus on me. Blogs like this reinforce the need to keep putting one foot in front of the other as I journey away from the fog and into the clear, wonderful blue sky of reality.

October 15, 2013 - 6:44pm (Reply to #13)

Good for you, MyTurnToBeFree!

Thank you for sharing the stages of your progress! It helps members know that it's all a process. It takes time, but every day is a journey away from the fog, like you said.

So glad you're finding "the great, wide open, under them skies of blue," as Tom Petty says in one of my favorite songs! ;)

June 13, 2013 - 4:50pm

Another great read that

Another great read that helped me to understand the cycle and realize how lucky I was to get out when I did. The fiance is the one who experienced the full cycle once, then the idealization and devalue and probably another discard had I not ended it. Really opened my eyes to help realize there is no way they will have a happy life but I have the power to heal with this knowledge and move forward amd focus on me.

November 9, 2012 - 7:20pm

What is the name of the

What is the name of the article on the http://www.gettingpastyourbreakup.com/ site?

August 2, 2012 - 11:48am

killing me softly.

Women know intuitively when they are being devalued."
~ Robyn Silverman

This quote is so true we know it our gut tells us ...even though he may use very subtle techniques to do it. My exN was never overtly abusive never physically violent.
He was very clever knew just how much to say almost undetectable ...but your Gut tells you otherwise .Listen to it.
He would let me know ..."so and so doesn't like you at all"....(someone I didnt even know!)...."but I defended your name told them you were a good person"
"Our friend thinks I should get back with my ex wife as we get on so well and have children together" ......"I told him it was a ridiculous thing to say!"

I give him advise healthwise ( I am a qualified nurse) "I'll ask my ex wife (a Doctor) for her opinion!"

Drip drip drip very subtly done just enough to undermine you but not enough to alert you out right!
But even the most subtle of put downs became obvious to me as they were coming thick and fast ....sometimes followed by shows of affection....but now I understand it was all a game to him to keep me on his puppet strings!

March 26, 2012 - 4:03pm

Idealise, demean and discard

This is a brilliant blog ..I can identify with it all ..my ex boyfriend of 3 days has just done it all. Out of the blue started saying negative things about me ..of course I reacted ..was blamed for reacting and he then he announced he was leaving. This was after a fantastic weekend together ...spoke about me being his long term partner, being in love with me etc. When I tried to talk to him after him leaving and sort things out ..his attitude was cold, callous and totally demeaning. How someone could turn so suddenly is beyond my comprehension ..but thank goodness I found this blog as it makes sense of the whole thing. I have no contact in place now and I pray I am strong enough that if he does come back that I will be able to remember his abuse and slam the door shut.

March 24, 2012 - 9:20am

Awesome article and links. I

Awesome article and links. I have been reading it over and over since you posted it. The narcissist in my life was so subtle in his D&D at first but very gradually it got worse. And, holy cow, it lasted FOREVER. He is a comedian/actor and was very witty in his devaluing. It would make me laugh at first and then it would eat at me later. It started off as joking with a cruel bite to it. He got more cruel as he tested my tolerance. If I'd get mad, he'd talk about how cute I was when I pouted. Later it was how disgusting I was when I pouted. And for the record, I was pissed...I do not believe I ever pouted in my life. He got meaner and meaner. He would act as if he didn't have time for me where in the idolizing phase all his time was mine. It got to the point where he only had time to text and could not be bothered with talking on the phone or ichat (long distance thing). Texting takes more time than calling BUT is ambiguous and noncommittal. He was very cruel and when I would confront his cruelty, he would definitely turn it around onto me as if I had a sick problem (lots of projection). I don't understand why he couldn't just say, "This isn't working for me anymore...I'm bored *or whatever* instead of eating at me little by little like a piranha in order to kill me. I just wanted him to rip the bandaid off quickly and that would be that. But he had to torture me instead. One more analogy: I was like a mouse a cat bats around until the mouse dies. After twenty years of this off and on abuse (which I'm furious at myself for letting go on), he has never "ended it." Closure would be so nice, but, thanks to you, Lisa, I now understand why that won't happen. You're a blessing. Thank you so much for being here and for writing your books and blog.

March 26, 2012 - 4:14pm (Reply to #7)

Hi Monarch ...just read your

Hi Monarch ...just read your experience ..such a cruel person to try to demean and devalue you and using humour, sarcasm to do it!! the thing I hold on to is 'You did NOTHING WRONG' ..this is about them ..nothing to do with us. ..best of luck to you in a new future ..I pray you will in time get a wonderful partner who will be your true love ..

March 21, 2012 - 10:07am


I read this article and it felt as if you had spent the last 2 1/2 years with my XNBF! You described him and his behavior perfectly!! You are absolutely right--women know when they are being devalued. I called it my "little voice inside my heart"--and it would scream at me, telling me that I needed to run away from him. However, his manipulation caused me to believe that I was partially at fault for our problems, so I stayed and tried to be "better".

Despite the pain I endured, both with him and without him, I know I saved myself when I left him, and the little voice that screamed so desperately is now silent. My heart is safe, and I am at peace.
Thank you for this article!!!

March 19, 2012 - 12:03pm

I have to keep reminding

I have to keep reminding myself of this, so it's helpful to read this article. I still find myself slipping into "if only I had been more this, or less that" or if I'd played hard to get (forever?!?) he wouldn't have D&D'd me. It's hard sometimes to stop those thoughts. Thanks Lisa.

March 19, 2012 - 9:01am


This was great to read since my Narc is in the middle of the "re-charm" phase. He knows I'm different... but he can't figure out why or what it means for him. So suddenly where he would have been putting me down or giving me the silent treatment, suddenly he is being nice. It was good just to read that I can't read anything more in his "good" behavior than I can in his "bad". Neither means it really has anything to do with me, or who I am as a person. I am working on acceptance of myself outside of his opinion. and what I've figured out is this: I don't want to be with a person like this. I do not want a marriage like this. And if I stay another 16 years in this ridiculous relationship, I will officially have become my own mother.

March 18, 2012 - 12:17pm

So true and really women know

So true and really women know when they are being devalued, however subtle the devaluation and even though it may seem as a compliment.
Examples I have experienced personally are an exagerated admiration and continuing insistance on a physical item in the body such as ungainly body fat (still credible as some men like chubby women with "love handles") or even worse a large pregnancy-related scar (claiming it was "so beautiful" that he absolutely loved it). Sounds wonderfully loving if one were to believe it, except it is rationally not possible for anyone to "absolutely love" a scar (kinky folks excepted I guess). While one normally might not mind a scar or not see that it removes much or anything from the other's beauty, insistance on the fact that it is so beautiful and so lovable in itself just does not ring right.
While I first tried to dispel the strange feeling and treat the matter as an attempt at putting me at ease, the awkward unsollicited insistance despite attempts at having this stopped once and for all slowly makes the realisation seep in.
We all come to terms with our beliefs and disbeliefs eventually yet our intuition is thankfully there to guide us right from the beginning. What we choose, we must choose in an informed way, never by inadvertence or ignorance of the facts.

April 23, 2012 - 11:46am (Reply to #2)

So true...

I am in good shape for my age (47), but my ex-N would not touch parts of my body when we made love,(e.g. my slightly flabby thighs and abdomen, less than huge breasts...it felt very very odd compared to past lovers). He would tell me; nonetheless, how "very attracted" he was to me but almost seemed repulsed by much of my body. Would throw his arm over my shoulder as we fell asleep. Just seemed like, at age 51, he was still hoping to be with a centerfold.

March 25, 2012 - 10:25am (Reply to #1)

I liken it to 'death by a

I liken it to 'death by a thousand cuts'.

Log in or register to post comments