What to do in the aftermath of a covert narcissist’s discard

What do you do in the aftermath of a narcissist ending their relationship with you? 


Firstly, please know that this painful experience can really affect your mental health. This is not just a relationship break-up – Lord knows these are, indeed, hard enough. No, this is a run-in with a predator. You will definitely be feeling several of these emotions listed below, or even all of them.

Emotions felt in the aftermath of a narcissist's discard:

  • sadness
  • disappointment
  • grief/loss
  • low self-esteem
  • like it was something you did
  • like it is something you are
  • shame
  • unable to trust your own choices
  • foolish
  • hopeless (most especially if you are beginning to see a pattern in your own situation)
  • depressed
  • bewildered 

And, strangely, also maybe wanting them to come back...

The discard phase also actually exists during and at the same time as the devaluation stage. They are not necessarily linear – like you are in "this bit" or "that bit".

A huge clue to help you when you are even in the early idyll 'lovely' stage is that you will already somehow be aware of feeling a little anxious or scared or, maybe for some, unsettled. 

This is like a gnawing feeling in your stomach.

Logically, you might square away this uneasiness you are feeling as the radar of your own self-care or self-protection if you have had a previous hurtful break-up history with someone. However, this unsettled feeling is in fact your own instinct that is trying to tell you, "This person isn’t who or how they seem".

Take heart. A marvellous change is possible. 

I have had this experience myself, and also heard of it with many people l have coached. It is distinctly different from healthy caution and far more pervasive.

Another identification clue: The covert vulnerable narcissist can be moody, and have no problem showing and sharing their vulnerability with you. They can say "sorry", even apologise, but this will only be a strategy weapon to have power over you. 

So you will likely be confused. This will leverage your pity or care. You are also far more likely to give them the benefit of the doubt and far less likely to put boundaries in place. Further down the line, even after discard, you may still be wondering if they were the wonderful person who first rocked up. After all, their 'story' will likely have been about their difficult beginnings in life, evoking your care and support.

Their moodiness will likely have punctuated their identity – sometimes they were amazing, then other times really touchy. The end result is you are not really sure who they actually are. This makes your resolve to walk away much, much harder. 

Your doubt might make you reevaluate through guilt even and unblock them just in case they want to come back. You can end up doubting even your own reality because you have no idea or true clarity about their true identity (most especially if you are highly empathetic, which is why you were chosen by them in the first place). 

This is their leverage which is far more damaging because there is so much cognitive dissonance.

They are not your saviour!

Try to remember your experience with them, not their distortions. The way someone behaves again and again is a choice they made.

Starting your journey of healing

There is, for some, a need for a therapeutic reset in the aftermath which has its place and can be hugely beneficial on the journey of your healing. But it is more about changing your own perspective through new skills, which make you strong and happy and focused – not obsessed.

As well as my coaching, I use the Bach flower remedies to strengthen confidence, the ability to say "no" when necessary, and some to process the shock and protect and provide a path forward where you can shine within your own authenticity and raise your radar against predators.

This is a skill, that can absolutely be learned.

Take heart. A marvellous change is possible. 

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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