Have you ever been puzzled by how easily a narcissist can walk away from a relationship as if none of it ever mattered?

If so, you’re not in this alone. A common question we get from new community members is, “How can they discard me so easily?”

So, I looked into it, and here’s what I came up with.

The reason narcissists can discard people so easily is because they:

  • Have a transactional view of relationships.
  • Lack empathy.
  • Fear abandonment.
  • Need a constant flow of narcissistic supply.
  • Always want to come out on top.
  • Want to feel powerful and in control.

In this post, I will guide you step-by-step through these reasons to help you understand why narcissists can discard people so easily.

If you have or currently are experiencing narcissistic abuse, visit Unfilteredd’s Institute of Healing from Narcissistic Abuse for help.

1) They Have a Transactional View of Relationships

Narcissists can discard people so easily because they see relationships as transactions, not connections built on mutual respect and affection.1 

Imagine if someone treated friendships like business deals, where they’re only interested in what they can get out of it. 

Four people in a business meeting.

Once they feel like they’re not gaining anything valuable from the relationship anymore, they’re ready to move on to the next “deal.” 

For a narcissist, once the emotional, psychological, or material benefits they receive from someone diminish, they see no reason to continue investing in that person. 

This transactional approach means that emotional attachment or loyalty doesn’t factor into their decision to discard someone. 

It’s all about what serves their needs and boosts their ego.

Suggested Reading: Why Do Narcissists Get Into Relationships?

2) They Lack Empathy

Another reason narcissists can easily discard people is their lack of empathy.2 

Empathy allows us to understand and share the feelings of others, but for narcissists, this is a missing piece.3 

Imagine watching a movie and not feeling any emotion for the characters, no matter what happens to them. 

Similarly, narcissists don’t genuinely feel for the people in their lives, making it easy for them to end relationships without remorse. 

A woman crying and the narcissist on the background waving goodbye because they are ending the relationship easily and without remorse.

Since they can’t fully grasp or value the emotional pain their actions might cause, discarding someone when they’re no longer useful becomes a simple, unburdened decision. 

This absence of empathy means they can move on quickly, unaffected by the hurt or betrayal the discarded person might feel.

3) They Fear Abandonment

Ironically, one of the reasons narcissists discard people so easily is their own deep-seated fear of abandonment.4 

You might wonder how fearing abandonment leads to discarding others. 

It’s like preemptively quitting a game you think you’re going to lose to avoid the shame of being the loser. 

Narcissists, fearing that they might be left first and feel vulnerable or rejected, often choose to discard others before there’s a chance they themselves could be discarded. 

This behavior is a defensive strategy, allowing them to maintain the illusion of control and superiority. 

By being the one to end the relationship, they avoid confronting their insecurities and the emotional turmoil associated with being left, keeping those feelings of abandonment at bay.

Suggested Reading: 7 Things Narcissists Fear Most

If you need help with anything related to narcissistic abuse, visit Unfilteredd’s Institute of Healing from Narcissistic Abuse today.

4) They Need a Constant Flow of Narcissistic Supply

Narcissists also discard people easily because they require a constant flow of narcissistic supply to feel emotionally stable and validated.5 

Think of it like being addicted to a drug; when one source runs dry, they immediately seek another to maintain their “high.” 

People are seen as sources of this supply, which can be attention, admiration, or emotional energy. 

Once a person stops providing this supply—perhaps by no longer admiring the narcissist uncritically, challenging them, or becoming emotionally depleted—the narcissist views them as no longer valuable. 

A woman refusing to be the narcissist's puppet anymore.

In their quest for an unending supply to feed their ego and maintain their self-esteem, discarding and moving on to new sources becomes a necessity. 

This relentless pursuit of validation drives them to cycle through relationships without attachment or remorse.

5) They Always Want to Come Out on Top

Narcissists have a deep-seated need to always come out on top in every situation, including their relationships.6 

This drive is like a player in a game who must win at all costs, not just to enjoy victory but to avoid the perceived shame of losing. 

In relationships, this means that narcissists often discard people when they feel like they’re losing control or not getting the upper hand.

This means they might end a relationship if they sense that the other person is gaining too much influence, becoming too independent, or not admiring them as uncritically as before. 

By discarding the person first, the narcissist ensures they “win” by maintaining the illusion of superiority and control. 

This need to always come out on top prevents them from engaging in healthy, balanced relationships where power and vulnerability are shared.

6) They Want to Feel Powerful and in Control

The desire to feel powerful and in control is a core trait of narcissism and deeply influences their approach to relationships.7 

For a narcissist, relationships are arenas where they exercise control and reaffirm their power, not genuine connections based on mutual respect and love.

Imagine someone using a chessboard to assert dominance, moving the pieces to capture and control rather than to engage in an enjoyable game. 

When a narcissist feels this sense of control slipping—perhaps because their partner starts asserting their needs or questioning the narcissist’s behavior—they may discard the person to reassert their dominance. 

Discarding someone abruptly and without regard for their feelings is a way to reestablish their sense of power, reinforcing their position of authority and control in the relationship dynamic.

If you are ready to be more than a victim of narcissistic abuse, visit Unfilteredd’s Institute of Healing from Narcissistic Abuse today.


Thank you so much for reading; I hope this article has helped shed light on why narcissists can seem to discard relationships so effortlessly.

Now, I’d love to hear from you.

Have you or someone you know ever been abruptly discarded by a narcissist? How did you navigate the aftermath of that experience?

What steps have you taken to heal and protect yourself from similar future encounters?

Or perhaps you’re looking for advice on how to deal with the pain of being discarded by a narcissist.

Either way, let me know by leaving a comment below.

Our Latest Articles

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.

Unfilteredd has strict sourcing guidelines and only uses high-quality sources to support the facts within our content. You can learn more about how we ensure our content is accurate, actionable, inclusive, and trustworthy by reading our editorial process.

  1. Darlene Lancer. (2019. January, 5). Why Narcissists Play Games With Your Heart. Psychology Today. https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/toxic-relationships/201901/why-narcissists-play-games-your-heart ↩︎
  2. di Giacomo, E., Andreini, E., Lorusso, O., & Clerici, M. (2023). “The dark side of empathy in narcissistic personality disorder.” Frontiers in psychiatry, 14, 1074558. ↩︎
  3. Sheldon Reid. (2024. February, 5). Empathy: How to Feel and Respond to the Emotions of Others. HelpGuide.org. https://www.helpguide.org/articles/relationships-communication/empathy.htm ↩︎
  4. Therapist Uncensored. (2021. March, 30). TU143: Fear of Abandonment and Narcissism, with Dr. Ramani Durvasula. Therapist Uncensored. https://therapistuncensored.com/episodes/tu143-fear-of-abandonment-and-narcissism-with-dr-ramani-durvasula/ ↩︎
  5. Anna Drescher. (2024. January, 23). Narcissistic Supply: The Fuel Behind Manipulative Relationships. Simply Psychology. https://www.simplypsychology.org/narcissistic-supply.html ↩︎
  6. Seth Meyers. (2018. July, 3). What Makes Some Narcissists Mean, Competitive, and Jealous. Psychology Today. https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/insight-is-2020/201807/what-makes-some-narcissists-mean-competitive-and-jealous ↩︎
  7. Linda McSweeny. (2018. May, 2). IT’S OFFICIAL: POWER CREATES A NARCISSIST. The University of Melbourne. https://pursuit.unimelb.edu.au/articles/it-s-official-power-creates-a-narcissist ↩︎

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.