The lack of empathy and interpersonally exploitative behavior that narcissists possess allows them to discard their victim without any type of hesitation or remorse. Being discarded can be extremely destabilizing for victims of narcissistic abuse because they’re left wondering what the narcissist feels and whether or not any of the thoughts, emotions, or feelings that stemmed from the relationship were genuine.  

As a general rule, narcissists are going to feel complete after the discard. The discard phase isn’t as simple as cutting ties with someone for a narcissist. No, it often serves a very specific purpose that has to do with helping them manage their suppressed negative emotions.

To get a sense of how a narcissist is feeling after the discard you have to figure out the reason that they discarded the victim in the first place. We created a thorough guide for those trying to determine the reason they were discarded by a narcissist in our article Why Do Narcissists Discard but in this article we are going to shed some light on the different emotions that a narcissist could feel after the discard. 

a victim of narcissistic abuse learning about discard

How Can the Discard Make a Narcissist Feel Complete?

As we mentioned before, the discard is not as simple as the narcissist just up and leaving. Discarding in the narcissistic realm is one of the most complex aspects of narcissism because it has a lot to do with their suppressed negative emotions.

In this section we’re going to guide you through the relationship the discard has with a narcissist’s grandiose sense of self-importance, specialness, and uniqueness, their insecure need for power and control, and last but certainly not least, their insecure need for validation, admiration, and reassurance.

The Discard Reassures the Narcissist of their Grandiose Sense of Self-Importance, Specialness, and Uniqueness

One of the reasons that a narcissist might discard their victim is because they are punishing them for setting a healthy boundary. The reason narcissists punish others for setting boundaries stems from their upbringing in an unhealthy/abusive environment with primary caregivers who were unavailable, unresponsive, and inconsistent. 

These types of primary caregivers don’t mirror their child’s thoughts, feelings, emotions, and needs which means that the child never gets the validation, admiration, and reassurance that they need to develop a realistic sense of self. 

This level of neglect forces children to search their external environment for the validation, admiration, and reassurance that their primary caregivers couldn’t give them. In other words, the child learns to prioritize their external environment over their internal environment because it is where they’re able to get the validation, admiration, and reassurance that they desperately need. 

After an extended period of time of getting validation, admiration, and reassurance from their external environment, the child will develop a belief that the reason that they couldn’t get it from their primary caregivers is because their true identity isn’t good enough. 

A child of a narcissist questioning themselves

This causes them to develop a deeply rooted hatred for their true identity which triggers negative emotions like shame, a fear of abandonment, a sense of being unlovable and inadequate, internalized anger and aggression, and self-hate. 

The problem here is that because their primary caregivers were so neglectful, they had an extremely poor cognitive development that left them with a list of emotional inadequacies longer than train smoke with one of them being unable to regulate their own emotions. 

So, narcissists are incapable of managing all of the deeply rooted negative emotions they have because of their misguided beliefs about their true identity so they’re forced to find another form of emotional regulation. 

What they end up doing is suppressing their negative emotions deep within their psyche and hiding them behind a falsified identity that they’ve built based on their own perception of what society values most because that is what will give them the most validation, admiration, and reassurance. 

Unfortunately, they’re so emotionally inadequate that they’re incapable of looking past society’s superficial exterior so they use the most superficial, trivial, and materialistic aspects of life to build their falsified identity which only makes their sense of self even more fragile. 

The end product of this upbringing is a person with the emotional maturity of a neglected child who has a deeply rooted hatred for their true identity and masks their vulnerabilities and insecurities behind a fragile, scared, ashamed, hypersensitive, insecure, and interpersonally exploitative falsified identity. 

So, any type of authenticity, like setting a healthy boundary with them, contradicts core aspects of their falsified identity like a grandiose sense of self-importance, specialness, and uniqueness, and triggers all of their suppressed negative emotions that they’re incapable of regulating. 

Under these circumstances, a narcissist might very well discard you to regain their sense of self-importance, specialness, and uniqueness to avoid collapsing on themselves like a dying star, which makes them feel very complete.  

The Discard Allows the Narcissist to Fulfill Their Insecure Need For Power and Control

When a victim of narcissistic abuse refuses to have significant interactions with the narcissist in their life, it is called the grey rock method. When the narcissist uses their victim’s vulnerabilities against them, they won’t engage. When they criticize them, they won’t defend or explain themselves. 

A victim of narcissistic abuse using the grey rock method.

Their victim’s demeanor will always be very neutral around the narcissist like a boring grey rock. This technique is designed to get the narcissist to discard the victim but there is a very important aspect of it that we must unpack first.

The grey rock can be used intentionally and unintentionally. When a victim of abuse makes a conscious decision to use the grey rock method, it means they have a level of awareness and understanding about narcissism that is powerful. 

When a victim of abuse accidently uses the grey rock method because their abuser has just worn them down and they don’t have the energy to engage anymore, it is dangerous and counterproductive. 

Moving on, the grey rock method is designed to significantly reduce the amount of validation, admiration, and reassurance that the victim gives the narcissist. A narcissist will quickly take note of this and frantically look for ways to get their victim to engage in significant interactions again.

It’s very possible that the narcissist discards the victim to regain control of the supply, their position of power in the relationship, and to tame their crippling fear of abandonment. By discarding the victim, the narcissist will fulfill their insecure need for power and control and manage a few other negative emotions that they have at the same time. 

The interesting thing about discarding motivated by an insecure need for power and control is that they’re often bluffs. Meaning that the narcissist doesn’t really want to discard their victim, they’re just desperate to regain control over their narcissistic supply to reassure their fragile sense of self.

Under these circumstances it’s possible that once they reassure their fragile sense of self, they’ll try to hoover you back under their power and control. You can read more about hoovering in our article Why Do Narcissists Hoover but hoovering is when a narcissist will say or do whatever their victim needs to hear or see to give them another chance.

A narcissistic man hoovering his girlfriend.

The Discard Could Make the Narcissist Feel Validated, Admired, and Reassured

The most commonly seen reason that a narcissist will discard their victim is simply because the narcissistic supply that the victim provides has gone stale so they found a new source of supply. Remember, narcissistic supply is validation, admiration, and reassurance.

It can be hard for victims of narcissistic abuse to come to terms with the fact that they, and everyone else, are nothing more than a tool a narcissist uses to regulate their own emotions but it is true. Narcissistic relationships are purely transactional, nothing more and nothing less. 

The feeling that a narcissist gets from acquiring a new source of supply is exhilarating. They get to have all of their suppressed negative emotions tamed for the time being but they also get to put on a show. 

What we mean by this is that the narcissist gets to chase their fantasies of the “ideal love” so they are going to put the new supply through the same love bombing, idealization, and/or mirroring phase that they did with you. 

The narcissist is going to feel admired, validated, and reassured because of the intensity of the beginning stages of a narcissistic relationship. And to top it all off, if they realize that their new supply isn’t going to be enough, they are just going to come circling back to the victim they discarded to see if they can hoover them back into the narcissistic abuse cycle. 

It is so important that victims of narcissistic abuse seek the guidance of a qualified professional when they’re discarded by a narcissist because it is a golden opportunity to finally start the long process of breaking free from the narcissistic abuse cycle and you have to make sure that you get it right.

Suggested Reading: Why Does the Narcissist Look So Happy With Their New Supply, Should You Warn the Narcissist’s New Supply

What Should You Take Away From This Article?

Even though you shouldn’t really care about how the narcissist feels after the discard, learning about narcissistic abuse is one of the best thing you can do to ensure that you have a successful healing journey. When you dive into the hidden aspects of narcissism you’re going to find answers for a majority of the question one may have when escaping the narcissistic abuse cycle.


This article has been reviewed by our editorial board and has been approved for publication in accordance with our editorial policies.

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