You would think that a narcissist discarding you would be something to celebrate because they are finally out of your life, but the truth is that being discarded can be incredibly destabilizing because it often causes a tremendous amount of confusion and emotional pain.
The best response that you can have to a narcissist’s discard is to learn about narcissistic abuse, improve your self-esteem, improve your self-confidence, practice self-love, learn how to grow as a person, and learn how to protect yourself from narcissistic abuse.
This article is a thorough exploration of the responses that you should have to a narcissist’s discard and will give you the information that you need to overcome the confusion and emotional pain that being discarded causes.
Learn About Narcissistic Abuse
Your very first step after being discarded by a narcissist should be to learn about narcissistic abuse.
This is such an important step because learning about narcissistic abuse is going to give you the information that you need in order to have a successful healing journey.
For example, do you know why being discarded by a narcissist triggers so many painful thoughts, feelings, and emotions?
It is because being discarded destroys your identity.
Now, we aren’t talking about your true identity.
We are talking about the identity that the narcissist in your life built for you.
You see, narcissists struggle with many painful thoughts, feelings, and emotions of their own.
Behind their superficial exterior, narcissists feel inadequate, unlovable, unwanted, weak, and worthless.
However, they are so emotionally immature that they’re incapable of managing these painful thoughts, feelings, and emotions on their own.
What they do instead is project them onto the people that they abuse.
Projection is a defense mechanism that occurs when someone takes a part of their identity that they find unacceptable and places it onto someone else.
For example, a cheating boyfriend accusing his girlfriend of cheating instead of taking responsibility for his own actions.
One of the ways that narcissists use projection is through abuse and manipulation.
You see, narcissists use abusive and manipulative tactics to break down your sense of self and then fill the void that they create with all of their negative projections.
This is the falsified identity that narcissists create for you and they are very good at convincing you that it is in fact your true identity.
It is for this reason that healing can be such a long and painful journey.
You have to destroy the identity that the narcissist projected onto you and slowly rebuild an identity that reflects the best version of yourself.
When you are the one who ends the relationship that you have with the narcissist, you are able to destroy the falsified identity at your pace.
Unfortunately, this is not the case when the narcissist is the one who discards you.
Their abusive and manipulative approach to discarding you is incredibly destabilizing because you aren’t able to move at a pace that you’re comfortable with.
Grasping a clear understanding of narcissistic abuse and the effect that it has on you in response to being discarded is incredibly important.
The knowledge that you gain will help you make conscious and well-informed decisions that support your healing journey and protect yourself from the narcissist.
Improve Your Self-Esteem
Self-esteem refers to how we value and perceive ourselves. After being discarded by a narcissist, an important first step that you can take is improving your self-esteem.
At the end of this section there will be a link to our article “10 Ways to Build Self-Esteem After Narcissistic Abuse” but the first step that you can take to do this is being kind to yourself.
It is very common for people who have experienced narcissistic abuse to blame themselves for the abuse they experienced.
It is really important that you don’t blame yourself for the abuse because it destroys your self-esteem.
Of course, there may be times during your healing journey where you’ll need to hold yourself accountable for the pain that you are experiencing (i.e. I need to stop looking at our old photos because it isn’t helping me heal).
But this does not mean that you are to blame for the narcissist’s abusive behavior.
Here are 10 of our community’s favorite daily affirmations that you can start using today to be kind to yourself and build self-esteem.
Our article “10 Ways to Build Self-Esteem After Narcissistic Abuse“ has a ton of helpful information that you can use to build your self-esteem after a narcissist’s discard.
Improve Your Self-Confidence
Self-confidence is a feeling of trust in one’s abilities, qualities, and judgment.
It is very common to lose trust in yourself because of the abuse that you experienced but after being discarded it is important to work on regaining that trust so you have the confidence to begin your healing journey.
At the end of this section, there will be a link to our article “10 Ways to Trust Yourself After Narcissistic Abuse” but the first step that you can take to improve your self-confidence is to remove yourself from toxic environments.
After being discarded, you will likely have very little trust for yourself. Of course, there are things that you can do to change that, but you need to remove yourself from the toxic environment first.
This is because the abusive/manipulative people that narcissists create a toxic environment with (flying monkeys and narcissist enablers) are designed to manipulate you into believing that you can’t trust yourself.
If you are surrounded by people who do and say things to make you believe that you can’t trust yourself, the chances of you accepting their lies and falling back into the narcissistic abuse cycle are very high.
A flying monkey is someone who the narcissist manipulates into helping them abuse others.
By removing yourself from the toxic environment that narcissists create, you will be giving yourself the time and space that you need to build trust with yourself.
Our article “10 Ways to Trust Yourself After Narcissistic Abuse” will help you start trusting yourself after being discarded by a narcissist.
Self-love means regard for one’s own well-being and happiness.
It is very important to practice self-love after experiencing narcissistic abuse because it will help you get rid of all the narcissist’s negative projections.
At the end of the section there will be a link to our article “10 Ways to Love Yourself After Narcissistic Abuse” but a great first step that you can take is to practice putting yourself first.
Unfortunately, narcissists don’t view you as an individual with thoughts, feelings, emotions, and needs of your own.
They view as a source of narcissistic supply that they are entitled to having power and control over.
Because of this, narcissists often force the people that they abuse to prioritize the narcissist’s thoughts, feelings, emotions, and needs over your own.
A Quote from One of Our Community Members
“When I found out my grandmother died I was out on a dinner date with my narcissistic ex husband. My ex was furious that I started crying because I was making him look bad apparently. He didn’t care, or even try to comfort me. He was only concerned with how I was making him look.” – Amy
Because of this, it is very common for you to feel uncomfortable with putting yourself first after being discarded by the narcissist.
This is a problem because protecting yourself and healing from narcissistic abuse requires you to put yourself first.
It isn’t selfish. It is a form of self-love.
One way that you could start doing this is by saying “no” to others.
After months, years, or even decades of being forced to prioritize the narcissist’s thoughts, feelings, and emotions over your own, you could feel like you have to say “yes” to people even when you don’t want to.
Over time, this dynamic will destroy your self-esteem, and subsequently, stop you from doing things that support your healing journey, like practicing self-love.
Putting yourself first might feel uncomfortable at first, but remember, your thoughts, feelings, emotions, and needs are just as important as anyone else’s.
You have the right to protect your well-being by putting yourself first.
Our article “10 Ways to Love Yourself After Narcissistic Abuse” has a ton of helpful information about self-love after being discarded by a narcissist.
Learn How to Grow as a Person
Growing as a person means that an individual takes care of their own self-development, tries to advance their skills, and acquires knowledge in different fields to realize what it means to result in personal growth.
This is an important step to take after being discarded by a narcissist because it will help you become the best version of yourself.
At the end of this section there will be a link to our article “10 Ways to Grow as a Person After Narcissistic Abuse” but a good first step that you can take is to identify your core values.
Core values are personal ethics or ideals that guide you when making decisions, building relationships and solving problems.
The abuse and manipulation that narcissists subject the people that they abuse to often disconnects the person being abused from their core values.
For example, narcissistic abuse destroys your self-esteem, and subsequently, the trust that you have for yourself.
When you feel like you can’t trust yourself, you are naturally going to feel like you can’t trust your core values either.
When you feel like you can’t trust your core values, over time, they will fade from your memory.
When you have a clear understanding of your core values, you are in a much better position to grow as a person.
If you are ready to start reconnecting with your core values, click here to download our free guide that teaches you how in four simple steps.
Our article “10 Ways to Grow as a Person After Narcissistic Abuse” has a ton of helpful information about personal growth after narcissistic abuse.
Learn How to Protect Yourself From Narcissistic Abuse
Unfortunately, just because a narcissist discards you doesn’t mean that they are going to stay out of your life forever.
It is very common for narcissists to feel entitled to maintaining power and control over the people that they discard for as long as they see fit.
One of the most common ways that they will do this is through a tactic called hoovering.
Hoovering occurs when a narcissist does or says exactly what you need to see or hear to give them another chance.
For example, imagine that the narcissist in your life discarded you four months ago.
You come home from work and they are waiting for you on your front porch.
When you get out of the car they say, “I miss you so much. My life has been horrible without you. I can’t believe that I let you go. Can we please get back together.”
This would be considered hoovering and it is an incredibly powerful technique that narcissists use to maintain power and control over you.
If you’re interested in learning about the 5 different types of hoovering, click here to download our free guide to start learning!
One of the best techniques that you can use to protect yourself from the narcissist is called the no contact method.
The no contact method involves ending all physical and psychological forms of contact that you have with the narcissist in your life (image below).
This may look like:
Unfortunately, it isn’t always possible to go no contact with the narcissist.
If you are in a situation where you can’t go no contact with the narcissist in your life, please click here to download our free guide that teaches you about the firewall method, which is an amazing alternative to going no contact that everyone can use.
About the Author
Hey, I’m Elijah.
I experienced narcissistic abuse for three years.
I create these articles to help you understand and validate your experiences.
Thank you for reading, and remember, healing is possible even when it feels impossible.
McBride, Karyl. Will I ever be good enough?: Healing the daughters of narcissistic mothers. Simon and Schuster, 2008.
Harrison, Jean, and Melody Dixon. Narcissist Abuse Recovery: The Ultimate Guide for How to Understand, Cope, and Move on from Narcissism in Toxic Relationships. Vol. 1. Bernard Pardieu, 2019.