Christine Regan Lake

13 Effective Responses to Being Discarded by a Narcissist

being discarded by a narcissist
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Christine Regan Lake

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Being in a narcissistic relationship can be one of the traumatizing experiences of your life, depending upon the level of narcissistic abuse. And, when the relationship finally implodes  — being discarded by a narcissist it can feel like your entire world has been ripped out from under you. Like a trick floor that literally just opens up beneath your feet and leaves you tumbling into a dark abyss of confusion, rejection, overwhelm, anger, and despair.

How do you know if you have been dating or married to a narcissist? Understanding the key traits of a narcissist can help you discern whether you have been with a full blown narcissist or just someone who has a lot of narcissistic traits.
In a 2020 study[1] it was found that a person with narcissistic personality disorder will exhibit feelings and beliefs of grandiosity thinking they are better than others, exhibit extreme vulnerability to any kind of constructive criticism, and a pathological nature toward antagonizing behavior to others.

Narcissist’s as a general rule need a never ending flow of attention. And, given that they will take either positive or negative attention they have a propensity to start arguments when they are in need of an energy fix. Narcissists feed off your energy.  

So what are the signs of narcissistic abuse?

  • Sarcastic put-downs meant to destroy your self-esteem
  • Humiliating you in front of your friends or family 
  • They engage in trauma bonding behavior
  • Body shaming you 
  • Screaming and yelling at you 
  • Isolating you from your friends and family
  • Controlling your finances 
  • Violating your personal boundaries of privacy by reading your diary, emails, or phone messages
  • A grandiose sense of self-importance [2]

13 Tactics on How To Respond to a Narcissistic Discard

Being discarded by a narcissist can be humiliating and traumatic depending upon how harshly and cruelly the narcissist has discarded you once they no longer see you as a viable source of narcissistic supply.

Whether it is the breakup of a relationship or a divorce, one thing that I always recommend to anyone going through this process is to take this journey with a lot of patience, kindness, and compassion for themselves. More than likely you’ve been through a lot mentally, physically, emotionally, and financially so making sure to embrace solid self-care rituals is of paramount importance. 

1. Pause and Reflect

The first thing you should do after a discard is to pause and reflect upon your situation and the past relationship. It is very easy to idealize a relationship after it has ended and only focus on the good that has now been lost and to let the bad things drift to the back of your memory.

It’s important to look at your past relationship objectively. You want to take a moment and ask yourself – what is good about my present situation? What is the upside of this relationship ending?

The ending of a relationship creates an energetic space for new things to enter into your life and let this be an opportunity to level up your life.. Think about some exciting things you’d love to experience in the now open spaces in your schedule from your newly single status.

Also, take a moment and honor all the blessings and good experiences you had from that relationship. Did you have some amazing vacations? Great sex? Nice dinners, fun adventures. Be honest. It wasn’t all bad. 

Photo by Ginny Rose Stewart on Unsplash
Photo by Ginny Rose Stewart on Unsplash

2. Cleanse Your Space

The second thing you should do is cleanse your space. You want to sage the entire house, to wash away the old energy. You might consider throwing out your old bed sheets and buying new ones. Those sheets hold the energy of your past lover. That is not something you will want to bring into your next relationship.

This gives you the perfect excuse to go buy some new luxurious sheets to pamper yourself with. This is a symbolic gesture to both yourself and the universe saying ‘out with the old, in with the new.’ This allows you to make a conscious choice not to hold onto the past.   

3. Return Their Personal Items

Sooner, rather than later you want to return any of their personal items. It is very typical for a narcissist to want to circle back and hoover you back up at some future point and reaching out to come by and pick up some of their things gives them a great excuse. You want to remove that potential future option for them by returning everything you have that is theirs. 

You also may want to give away any items that they have given you that you no longer want, and put away any items they gave you that you still want to keep like expensive jewelry, and etc. Having it laying out will make it harder for you to move forward.  

4. Take Time to Journal

Journaling is a phenomenal way to explore your emotions after being discarded by a narcissist. You’ll want to ask yourself some key questions as well, such as;

– Why did this relationship fall apart?
– What did this relationship teach me?
– What if any parallels are there from this relationship and other relationships I’ve had?
– Was I codependent in this relationship?
– What were the best things about this relationship?
– What were the worst things about this relationship?
– What if anything would I like to have in my next relationship that I experienced in this relationship?
– What part did I play in any dysfunction that existed in this relationship? Did I allow my personal boundaries to be violated? If so, why did I allow that to happen?
– What will I do in my next relationship to honor my boundaries?
– What did I do right in this relationship?
– How would I like to be treated in my next relationship?
– What are my standards for my next relationship? 

5. Embrace Self-Care

It cannot be stated enough how important it is to embrace solid self-care rituals. If you have been on the receiving end of narcissist abuse and manipulation it has more than likely done a job on your self-worth, self-esteem, and general sense of self. It can fill you with self-doubt after they have been gaslighting you for some time. Take extra special care of yourself. Take walks in nature, take a hot bath, get a manicure or pedicure, get a massage. Do things that reinforce to yourself that you are worthy of love, kindness, and respect.

6. Speak to a therapist or counselor

You may find that you need to speak to someone to understand what you are feeling to help you heal after this narcissistic discard. There is no shame in seeking help when you are hurting. Go online and review people’s websites or profiles. Look at their photo, read what they have to say and go with whomever you feel you resonate with. Speaking to a counselor or therapist is a very intimate affair. You will be opening yourself up and sharing your vulnerabilities. You want to make sure you speak to someone who will make you feel safe, seen, and heard. 

7. Take a Much Needed Vacation

Now would be a great time to take a vacation, mini-vacation, or even stay-cation depending upon what your budget can afford you. Taking yourself out of your everyday surroundings is a great way to give you some perspective, as well as give you a nice healthy distraction to stop you from ruminating and obsessing about the break-up because it will fill you with a sense of excitement as you explore a new place that you have never been before. 

8. Do energy healing / clearing work - reiki, semi, acupuncture

Being discarded by a narcissist can trigger a lot of old wounds. Invariably past unresolved trauma will come up to be resolved. The  trauma bonding that can happen in a relationship is incredibly powerful and can have lasting impacts. Feelings of abandonment and feeling unworthy will more than likely surface. One of the most powerful ways to handle this is to embrace energy healing work to release trapped emotional trauma from your body. 

9. Embrace Daily Meditation / Prayer

The healing power of prayer is well known and has been used by people all around the world for thousands of years. The emotional and spiritual relief that can be achieved through the simple practice of daily meditation and prayer is deeply profound. It is in the quiet moments alone where one can achieve some of the deepest healing. 

10. Nestle Closer to God / Creator

There is tremendous solace that can be found when we nestle closer to God / Creator through community. Joining a church, synagogue, temple, or other center for spiritual center of devotion can offer you a community of loving people to support you as you embark upon your healing journey. Surrounding yourself with people who share your love of God / Spirit / Creator can be nourishing on a soul level.

Photo by Alex Shute on Unsplash

11. Forgiveness

Forgiveness is a critical step in your healing.  And, the forgiveness must extend to both the narcissist(s) and yourself. When you hold onto anger, rage, resentment, and bitterness from the past it will literally make you physically sick over time. It is not healthy to hold onto your past. If you want to move forward with love in your heart and a passion for life you must release the trauma of the past so that you can open up to a healthy future. Ruminating and holding grudges against people from your past will only rob you of future love and joy. Does that really sound like an intelligent strategy? As Elsa sings in “Frozen” — let it go! 

12. Do a Sexual Cord Cutting

When a relationship ends it is important to do a sexual cord cutting from your ex-partner. When you engage in sexual intercourse sexual soul ties/cords are created between the two of you. Unless you cut those cords you will be forever connected to your past lover. This is not something that will positively influence your new relationship and it will make it harder for you to move forward healthfully from your past lover or spouse. 

13. Spend Time With Friends and Family

Take time with friends and family members who can support you as you move through your healing journey after a narcissistic discard. They can help remind you of how much you are loved and cherished. 

Do Covert Narcissists Discard You Permanently?

Will the Narcissist Worry About You After Discarding You?

This will depend upon the narcissist and how your relationship went down. If they feel that you are moving on without them and finding happiness they may resent that. So, it’s not so much about worrying about you, as much as worrying about whether or not you are still pining over them. In their eyes, the ideal situation for them is that you are still in love with them and unable to move forward with your life. They want you to stay stuck on them, while they ignore you and move on with their new lover. It’s all about their ego. 

Narcissist Discard and Silent Treatment

The narcissist will give you the silent treatment after discard as a way to punish you. Ignoring someone is the most effective way to hurt someone. What that implies is… “I don’t think about you, because you don’t matter to me.” The healthiest thing you can do is acknowledge to yourself that you deserve a healthy love that is balanced and reciprocated, not a toxic love that is riddled with lies and manipulation. If they are ghosting you and going silent, take it as a blessing and easy way for you to maintain ‘no contact.’ 

How prevalent is narcissistic personality disorder? How likely are you to meet another narcissist after this past relationship has ended?

According to Pubmed,“It is estimated that NPD is present in 0.5% of the general United States population…  20% of the military population (the actual disorder as well as narcissistic traits)… and it is more commonly found in males than in females” [3]

The best defense is a good offense. The more you understand how and why narcissistic relationships unfold as they do, the better prepared you are to see any unhealthy signs and end a relationship that is toxic before it really gets off the ground.


[1] Living with pathological narcissism: a qualitative study by Nicholas J. S. Day, 

Michelle L. Townsend & Brin F. S. Grenyer

[2] Narcissistic Personality Disorder – By: Sheenie Ambardar, MD; Chief Editor: David Bienenfeld, MD

[3] Prevalence, correlates, disability, and comorbidity of DSM-IV narcissistic personality disorder: results from the wave 2 national epidemiologic survey on alcohol and related conditions – National Library of Medicine

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