What kicks off the 'devaluation' stage with a narcissist?

Now, I'm guessing that if this title caught your eye, you might either be:


In a new relationship that seems wonderful and your new love has been telling you that you are everything they have ever wanted, but maybe you have heard of love bombing or idealisation or read about it through the media in some way or another? Or maybe a concerned friend is wise to it and thinks that your new relationship all seems like it might be a bit too full-on to be healthy, and they have got you aware.


There has been a whisper of a shift in their adoring focus and, because potentially being thought of as your new love’s end game, the dopamine hit you were getting all the time has altered and feels lowered. The pattern has changed with them and they are calling less, being less focused on you and, understandably, you start calling them out.

This is the kiss of death for them. Once they know that you know, devaluation will always follow. And if they feel you are not as on board because you have questions about this change, they might skilfully promise you the earth or act all vulnerable and tell you that they love you. l have mentioned this before in a previous article, 'What to expect when you call out a covert narcissist.'

Either way, however you got here, do read on because awareness is a huge part of self-care and the beginning of healing and wholeness.

The change in the dynamic - explained

The narcissist will become convinced that you are so on board with them that they have control over you now, as the satisfaction they get in having power over you surpasses them treating you as a valued individual.

Also, if you shared any vulnerabilities that they could interpret as a flaw, then they may decide that your initial imagined perfection, in their eyes, has been corrupted. If you express the need and desire for mutuality in affection and support, this reciprocity will be an expectation and you will be considered less valuable to them.

If it is boredom that might set in for them, narcissists don’t do calm. It’s your elation or deflation – the drama and havoc they create – that feeds them. This is termed as their "supply."

If they suspect that you are beginning to question them or that there isn’t something that rings true about them, they will think it might just be a question of time before you discover who they really are. They like to bail first.

Narcissists are also given to black-and-white thinking. Something is either good or bad. So anyone who has revealed flaws, in their eyes, has to be discarded because, to them, you are no longer the fantasy they had about you in their head. Your autonomy is a huge threat to them, as well as the perceived paragon of the person they wish you to be, which they have wrapped around you and your identity.

They will actually become confused and you definitely will be, too. They absolutely will not see you as the victim, they will feel this is happening to them because of you! The truth puts accountability onto them and they don’t do accountability (unless, of course, it is faux.)

Their devaluation will be their found justification and they can find this in anything. It doesn’t have to be real or make any kind of sense.

When their feeling of emptiness starts to surface again, they will be blaming you and project this onto you, no matter what – even if they have to invent something.

The devaluation stage begins

This is when devaluation starts. They imagine the shiny perfection they initially thought you embodied as if its promise has been somehow broken by you; that you tricked them.

This dance with them will trigger your:

  • abandonment issues
  • feeling of helplessness
  • feelings of low self-worth
  • obsessing about what you might have done to deserve this or cause this
  • rumination
  • over-thinking
  • grief
  • feeling guilty and also questioning your own needs 

Although, as l have mentioned in other articles l have written, some of the devaluation is obvious but some of it isn’t. 

Find out more about what to do in the aftermath of a covert narcissist's discard.

Here are some of the more subtle signs of devaluation:

  • exclusion
  • they forget things that matter to you
  • they take a long time to respond to a message or call
  • you might tell them about something difficult that happened to you and they don’t say anything at all
  • no acknowledgement
  • plausible deniability 

Basically, although summarising is difficult because of the endless variations of devaluation that can occur, none of these will be because of you or what you did. You will just believe they are and if you have self-worth issues, these blows and nagging doubts they awaken in you will be occupying most of your thought and time.

Devaluation is always going to be a part of a relationship with a toxic person. Please don’t make excuses for them either or for staying with them, whether they are a friend a family member or a lover.

Read all you can; listen too. There are so many valuable YouTube videos out there, and if your budget allows, do get some coaching.

I have lived through so much of this and, because of this and what it taught me, l have been able to offer emotional coaching that really does work and stops the repetition of falling again and again into what might look and feel different at first but ends up being the same experience.

Alongside my coaching, as a practitioner for over 30 years, I also use Bach flower remedies to re-align the weaker patterns that allow predatory people in, and by strengthening our autonomy and self-confidence and allowing our own healthy instincts to flourish.

The views expressed in this article are those of the author. All articles published on Life Coach Directory are reviewed by our editorial team.

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London, N8
Written by Gail Berry, Emotional and Relationship Coach
London, N8

Written by Gail Berry Emotional Coach - both a therapist and an alternative medical practitioner who works with healing people’s core wounds and uses Bach Flower Remedies alongside talking and behavioural therapy to make real change and transformation possible.

07771 715072
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