In order to understand the idealization, devalue, and discard phase of the relationship one must understand how narcissist energy is acquired and maintained throughout a relationship.
When one enters into a mutual relationship it’s based on two healthy adult individuals who have one common goal in mind to be together, through unconditional love, mutual understanding, commitment, honor, respect, loyalty and trust. However for a narcissist a relationship involves a source of supply which is seen as an exciting new “investment”.
Normal relationships often provide a new sense of excitement, being with someone can enhance one’s emotions and sense of self normally.
For a narcissist this is taken to the extreme, as they know they need their own needs met, they must sustain their sense of grandiose imagery, and they must satisfy their grand egos. The most important of these emotional needs is to be the subject of attention in order to support self esteem and self worth. This creates an interesting dialogue between the false sense of self and the true sense of self. The ego is working overtime between being nothing and being something.
Therefore, the quality and reliability of the supply or target becomes paramount, because this makes up the identity and provides a pivotal point upon which the narcissist feeds off of their own self to create a new illusion, a mirror image, while projecting what they think others wish them to be.
How a narcissist represents themselves to the public is different than how they view themselves from within and behind closed doors. They feel destroyed, they feel worthless, they are constantly struggling with this internal struggle of sense of false self vs reality. Therefore, the supply provides them an outlet to feel worthy, to feel valued, and to be able to attempt to sustain these emotions that constantly play over and over in their minds.
The supply or target is there to nurture their every need, to provide whenever needed, and to be a source for which he or she can once again feel important, powerful, and in control. A narc needs supply like a human needs food for mere survival. The narcissist has to value this supply because it’s truly all he has, it’s the lifeline for his existence, for his ability to move forward from one relationship to the other. The narc must convince themselves that their supply is omnipotent, beautiful, worthy, and perfect in every way in order to continue in life.
According to Dr. Sam Vaknin ~ Narcissistic Allocation- The mechanism behind the cycles of over -valuation and devaluation in the narcissist’s life:
The narcissist has to idealise his Supply Sources in order to highly value the supply that he derives from them. This leads to over-valuation. The narcissist forms a fantastic picture of his sources of Narcissistic Supply.
The fall is inevitable. Disillusionment and disappointment set in. The slightest criticism, disagreement, or differences of opinion are interpreted by the narcissist as an all out assault against the foundations of his existence. The previous appraisal is sharply reversed: the same people are judged stupid who were previously deemed to possess genius, for instance.
This is the devaluation part of the cycle and it is very painful to both the narcissist and the devalued (for very different reasons, of course). The narcissist mourns the loss of a promising “investment opportunity” (Source of Narcissistic Supply). The “investment opportunity” mourns the loss of the narcissist. Sometimes, the narcissist idealizes a new source of supply or a source of superior, hi-grade supply by comparing it unfavourably to another source (“comparative devaluation” of an “idealization-devaluation couplet. Courtesy of Dr. Sam Vaknin ~ Malignant Self Love Narcissism Revisisted
So then the obvious question why such extremes exist, why can’t the narcissist use a different coping mechanism?
Just imagine being a human being void of approval, attention, self worth, self esteem, and having to seek everything you need to survive from an external environment and other sources to fulfill your every needs , desires, and wants for self sustainability.
For a narcissist so much energy and time is spent securing a supply , and acquiring their needs be met, that the energy needed to sustain this is overwhelming. Therefore, they must make good use of their time and energy by maximizing every opportunity or benefit that they can exude and or take away from the supply. It’s quite unbelievably a case of supply and demand, the more the supply gives out the more the narcissists takes to fulfill their own selfish needs and what they lack from within is replaced by what is taken from others who are not knowledgeable that this is even occurring to them. This is why you often hear victims say they feel lost, they don’t recognize who they are, because they truly gave of themselves to the relationship to please the narcissists not knowing about the void that exist. A narcissists is a bottomless pit, a black hole, void of any and all emotions.
Most normal couples enter relationships not for what can be taken from it, but what is freely given. Not for what can be used but what can be provided. Who can ever imagine getting involved with someone only for the benefits or gains of the ONE~ The NARC. Keep in mind the new supply need not be human as even inanimate objects, groups, loyal harems, followers can provide supply for a narcissist. Groups that might include church groups, political affiliations, governmental organizations, etc..
Yet, sadly when you enter a relationship with a narcissist this is what you in fact entering into, a relationship with just one~ in essence you are in a relationship with yourself. You will give, you will lose your own sense of self, you will be degraded and broken down to a lesser form than when you started because in order for a narcissist to get this supply they need to make you feel pity , sympathy, and sadness for them. They prey upon supplies who exhibit these traits of compassion, love, empathy, kindness. They use this to their advantage only to then discard them later on.
As the relationship progresses the narcissist will evaluate the potential content, quality, and source of supply. They want to get the most benefit, the most cost vs reward, and the most for their money. Surely after examining the relationship if the narc deems the target worthy to continue than the over evaluation begins which is known as infatuation. Shortly thereafter, the love bombing , smothering of gifts, and attention seeking signs will be exhibited. To the target they will feel like being on cloud nine having attention coming from everywhere around them. Feeling that things couldn’t get better, they begin to lower the boundaries, become more comfortable , and look forward to hope for more to come. Yet it’s in this hope for more, that the narc knows they have the supply where they want them. The empty promises soon come out, the mask eventually falls, the real narc is now revealed. Perhaps it’s subtle, perhaps small disagreements that are dismissed as simply having bad days, perhaps it’s small petty issues that arise or perhaps a dose of narc rage was exhibited unexpectedly.
The process of courting has begun, the charmer, the don juan, the chameleon, the pro con , then is introduced. Narcissists are smooth talkers, believable, and appear very successful full of worth and value to others from the outside world.
Dr. Sam Vaknin notes: During this phase of narcissistic courting or narcissistic pursuit, the narcissist is full of vitality, of dreams and hopes and plans and vision. And his energy is not dissipated: he resembles a laser beam. He attempts (and in many cases, succeeds to achieve) the impossible. If he targeted a publishing house, or a magazine, as his future Source of Supply (by publishing his work) – he produces incredible amounts of material in a short period of time.
If it is a potential mate, he floods her with attention, gifts and inventive gestures. If it is a group of people that he wishes to impress, he identifies with their goals and beliefs to the point of ridicule and discomfort. The narcissist has the frightening capacity to turn himself into a weapon: focused, powerful, and lethal.
He lavishes all his energies, capabilities, talents, charms and emotions on the newly selected Source of Supply. This has a great effect on the intended source and on the narcissist. This also serves to maximise the narcissist’s returns in the short run.
Once the Source of Supply is captured, preyed upon and depleted, the reverse process (of devaluation) sets in. The narcissist instantaneously (and startlingly abruptly) loses all interest in his former (and now useless or judged to be so) Source of Narcissistic Supply. He dumps and discards it.
He becomes bored, lazy, slow, devoid of energy, absolutely uninterested. He conserves his energies in preparation for the attack on, and the siege of, the next selected Source of Supply. These tectonic shifts are hard to contemplate, still harder to believe.
The narcissist has no genuine interests, loves, or hobbies. He likes that which yields the most Narcissistic Supply. A narcissist can be a gifted artist for as long as his art rewards him with fame and adulation. Once public interest wanes, or once criticism mounts, the narcissist, in a typical act of cognitive dissonance, immediately ceases to create, loses interest in art, and does not miss his old vocation for a second. He is likely to turn around and criticize his erstwhile career even as he pursues another, totally unrelated one.
The narcissist has no genuine emotions. He can be madly in “love” with a woman (Secondary Narcissistic Supply Source) because she is famous, or wealthy, or a native and can help him obtain legal residence through marriage, or because she comes from the right family, or because she is unique in a manner positively reflecting on the narcissist’s perceived uniqueness, or because she had witnessed past successes of the narcissist, or merely because she admires him.
Yet, this “love” dissipates immediately when her usefulness runs its course or when a better “qualified” Source of Supply presents herself.
The narcissists is inhumane, lonely, and lacks a true sense of self. Regardless of gender narcissists devalue and discard leaving victims far behind, as they didn’t see it coming, had no idea they were involved with a personality disordered person, and have no idea the years of recovery it will take to proceed forward after a relationship with a narcissist.
The narcissist however, since he or she was not truly invested fully in the relationship simply moves on without remorse, regret, guilt, or feelings of any type. They simply walk away and say “good luck to you”. Whether kids are involved or not it doesn’t matter, as kids become simply extensions of themselves that can be groomed for equal attention and benefits to the narcissistic parent. Narcissists are like the famous movie line …Gone with the wind.
It’s the victims who must then pick up the pieces and try to repair the damage that has been done. Often times the victims have been subjected to extensive trauma, abuse, and mental mind games so severe that they require therapy and years of counseling to overcome.
Some common types of victim trauma can be: Stockholm syndrome, Battered men or women’s syndrome, Cognitive Dissonance and Disassociation, PTSD ( Post Traumatic Stress Disorder) as well as many stress related illnesses.
For narcissists it’s all about power and control. Malignant narcissists are the most dangerous as they are predators who hunt their prey. They are able to violate the rights of others because they are incapable of feeling empathy. Viewing others as mere objects , as puppets, while they are masters of their own mind games is sickening yet it’s the only way they know to exist. They will cross the line into physical and sexual violence when they know they can get away with it, and feel that they are always above the law. Rules don’t apply to them is there motto.
There is no real success in treating people with NPD. Those who commit the most heinous offenses are repeat offenders.
According to Pamela Kubarsh ~ Malignant Narcissist :
As a law enforcement officer you will deal with more than your share of people with NPD. From the know-it-all, ” I don’t take paper” beat partner; to the command climber who will steal your ideas while belittling you on your evaluation. From the dv suspect who claims she deserved it to the traffic stop with the guy telling you to catch a real criminal; to the male shooter holding hostages after a dispute with his employer. Recognizing malignant narcissistic traits will help allow you to prepare yourself accordingly. Malignant narcissists should be considered as potentially dangerous.
What you can do is to help yourself by walking away from these toxic individuals and personality disordered people. The courts, the legal system, and professionals in the system still have not fully addressed NPD disordered individuals for the damage they are capable of causing or have caused upon their victims. The trail of destruction is real, the victims are real, the years of recovery and healing is real. Education is key to making others more aware of this disorder. I hope in time, the legal system can catch up to these predators before it’s too late. For many victims they have already lost their lives to these monsters, and I’m here as living proof they do exists, they are dangerous, and much more needs to be done for their victims who continue to suffer at the hands of their abusers.
Never stay silent, keep telling your story, and never ever give up. Smear campaigns are common to keep victims silent. Heal from within, use professional services if need be, but put yourself first. Keep moving forward on your journey in life after narcissism.
About the Author:
Donna Hines is the Founder of the Lost Self Life After Narcissism. After graduating with her MPA (Public Administration/Criminal Justice) she married a Malignant Narcissist who was abusive in every form including physically, emotionally, verbally, psychologically, and financially. She divorced after an 11 yr marriage and 13 yr relationship with 3 minor children one medically disabled. She struggled through the legal system for 4 yrs to obtain her divorce. After hiring 3 attorneys and living off credit cards for over a year to survive she filed bankruptcy. She was left with very little having to pick up the broken pieces and rebuild. She found herself unemployed and homeless. She was a homemaker for 13 yrs w/o any prior work experience. All the property acquired through marriage was sold off, mortgaged, & all savings bonds and college funds for kids were cashed in. She had no assets ,savings, or credit. She had no foundation upon which to build so she began to look inward. Focusing her energy upon helping others has been her guiding light. She has over 14 yrs volunteering experience and currently works for 9 non profits while searching for employment. She donates her time to helping others and that extends to helping victims of domestic violence and abuse in promoting inner healing, wellness, and recovery in an effort to recover and rebuild in life after narcissism. Much of her work can be located on Facebook, Twitter, WordPress, and LinkedIn. She has told her personal story to anyone who will listen including local FBI office, local tv shows, journalist, news reporters, state senators, and even her state’s attorney general’s office. She continues to speak up on behalf of all victims of domestic violence and abuse. She has plans to write a book in hopes of helping more victims of abuse to come forward and not be afraid to tell their stories of survival in hopes that the broken legal system can be changed.
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