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In this article we will be discussing how to healthfully heal from a narcissist discard, the depression that results from the discard, how to overcome anxiety and depression after a narcissistic discard, reasons why you were discarded, and how long it can take to recover from the discard.
What is a Narcissistic Discard?
There are four broad phases that characterize a narcissistic relationship; the idealization phase – where they put you on a pedestal and you can do no wrong, the devaluation phase- where they start to criticize you and put you down, the discard phase where they drop you cold like a hot potato to seek narcissistic supply from a new, more exciting fuel source, and the hoovering phase where they try to ‘suck you back in’ to their manipulative web of narcissistic supply.
Narcissists see relationships as a vehicle for one single purpose, to provide them with love, affection, and attention. They are like a crack addict who constantly needs a new ‘fix’ of affection and attention. They prefer to receive that attention with love, sex, affection and attention, but if for whatever reason that is not available they will settle for negative attention which they will get by starting a fight with you.
Reasons for Narcissist Discard
The discard phase in the narcissistic abuse cycle typically happens when either the narcissist has become bored with the relationship and feels the need to find a new source of narcissistic supply because they feel they can find someone better than you, or when they see that you have finally begun to see them for who they truly are, and they are no longer capable of manipulating you the way they used to, or they no longer see you as providing them with value to help them accomplish their goals or to better finances. Remember, narcissists operate with a zero-sum game mindset.
The depression after a narcissist discard can be quite difficult to cope with. It can lead you reeling as you try and get your bearings after the floor has dropped out from underneath you because you never saw the breakup or divorce coming.
How common is narcissistic personality disorder?
5% of the population is said to suffer from NPD – Narcissistic Personality Disorder, as per industry experts.  People who suffer from this disorder struggle with feelings of extreme insecurity and as a result develop numerous toxic and manipulative coping strategies that are harmful to both themselves and their interpersonal and intimate relationships.
Signs of a narcissistic personality disorder typically start rearing their ugly head in the teen years and early adulthood. Yet, while only 5% of the population is said to have full blown NPD, many people have toxic narcissistic traits, even if they are not full blown narcissists.
How to Overcome Anxiety and Depression after a Narcissistic Relationship?
The trauma that you endure in a narcissistic relationship can be quite devastating emotionally, physically, mentally, spiritually, and financially. As a result depression after a narcissist discard can be extreme and trigger feelings of despair. It is estimated that 21 million adults in the United States have at least one major depressive episode in their lifetime. 
It is important that during this time that you be kind, gentle and compassionate with yourself. It is very common to beat yourself up for not knowing better and for allowing someone to mistreat you. The reality is that you did the best you could at that time. You made your decisions based on what made you feel safest at that given moment.
And, your subconscious mind and your nervous system were probably attenuated to being treated like this due to your childhood wounding. If you become involved with a narcissist it is very likely that one of your parents was a narcissist and thus your subconscious mind’s definition of what ‘love is’ was based upon the toxic model you saw your parents live out when you were a child.
If you are like many individuals who have become involved with a narcissist you would benefit from exploring whether you’re suffering from codependency issues. No matter what the scenario you have been through, it is always important to examine what part you played in the situation so that moving forward you are empowered with the knowledge of your mistakes from the past so that you can choose differently moving forward. And, in the next relationship you can consciously train people how to treat you properly.
What Happens if You Ignore the Narcissist After Discard?
What happens when you ignore a narcissist after the break-up? More than likely they will try to ‘hoover’ you back up. The hoovering phase is when they circle back to you to try and bring you back into the fold. This can happen right away, or it could take months or even years.
In the hoovering process the narcissist will cycle back to the love bombing phase (which creates the trauma bond)and they will bombard you with beautiful messages saying how much they miss you and your time together. They might buy you gifts or even start stalking you on social media. You’ll find that they may start texting you again and trying to squeeze their way back into your life.
This may be incredibly enticing because you remember how incredible the love bombing phase felt. And, you may find that you fall prey to their hoovering due to the trauma bonding that you experienced during the courtship. Trauma bonding creates a chemical addiction to the narcissist by triggering a combination of both feeling good chemicals in your brain, as well as the fight or flight chemicals of adrenaline and cortisol when they are devaluing you.
You may also find that the narcissist has implemented a smear campaign against you. This can be quite disconcerting as they go around telling all of their friends, and any joint friends that you share how you are an awful person who mistreated them. The narcissist wants to make sure that you are made out to be the bad guy in the situation, and they are painted as the helpless victim that was manipulated by you. Don’t allow yourself to be manipulated by them. Don’t even acknowledge what they are doing. People know who you are and if you try to defend yourself you simply make it look like the narcissist was right. If you are on the receiving end of a smear campaign. Say nothing, move forward, and don’t even acknowledge the absurdity of the smear.
What to do after the Narcissistic Discard?
The most important thing to focus on after the discard is healing yourself. The devaluing and discard phases of a narcissistic relationship can do quite a lot of damage to your self-worth and self-esteem leaving you with incredible feelings of self-doubt about your future.
I highly recommend focusing on detoxing protocols to help you bring your emotional and physical body back into balance. Your primary focus at this point should be yourself. It is not recommended to run out and go find another relationship to distract yourself from the pain because you need to heal.
Jumping into another relationship before you have given yourself time to process the breakup and heal your wounds will more than likely throw you into another toxic relationship that can make things exponentially worse because you become re-traumatized by this relationship.
Remember these key things as you are healing:
1. Give yourself the precious time to heal. Don’t try and rush things by running out and jumping into a new relationship. Seldom does that ever result in you entering a healthy relationship. Heal first then go find your next love.
2. Examine your subconscious beliefs around love. What does love truly mean to you? What if any negative patterns do you have with respect to the partners you choose for your intimate relationships?
3. Don’t fall into the blame game. Identify what traits and attributes that contributed to the unhealthy relationship, but then immediately look at your own behavior and acknowledge where you dropped the ball. What red flags did you ignore? Did you overgive and carry the relationship?
4. Nourish yourself by spending quality time with friends and family that love you. Many people end up isolated from their friends and family during a narcissistic relationship so rebuilding those connections is of the utmost importance.
5. Embrace self-love and practice self-care. This is so important. You have been abused mentally, emotionally, and potentially physically and financially so taking time to love and nourish yourself is key.
6. Focus on rebuilding your confidence. More than likely it has taken a great hit from the harsh criticism and devaluing you experienced from the relationship.
7. Take this time to start learning how to set and maintain healthy boundaries with the people you love. Boundaries are your friend and will set you up to succeed for your next intimate relationship.
8. Make sure to figure out what this experience has taught you. You never want to experience something painful without discovering the key lessons you were meant to learn.
How Long does a Narcissist Discard Last?
The discard phase can be relatively fast, or it could take months or years. It all depends upon the personality of the narcissist and how you handle yourself after the discard. For highly toxic connections it is recommended that you go ‘no-contact’ and cut all ties and communications with the narcissist so that you can truly move forward in your life.
How Long Does it Take to Recover from a Narcissistic Discard?
The healing process is a journey. It’s not like a race to a single destination. Healing comes in waves and layers. Self care is of the utmost importance so that you nurture yourself through this process. More than likely your ego has been bruised and your self-esteem battered so being kind and loving to yourself is key.
Professionals generally place the recovery phase to last several months. Some say 4 months, but in reality everyone’s journey is unique and depends upon the length of the relationship, how many other narcissistic relationships you’ve been in, your personal history with narcissistic trauma from family as a child. There are many factors that impact your healing. It is of primary importance though to make sure that you allow yourself to ‘feel your feelings’
Because as the saying goes “you have to feel it to heal it.”
Just remember to have patience with yourself and embrace self-love as you walk this path of healing.
 Narcissistic Personality Disorder – Cleveland Clinic https://my.clevelandclinic.org/health/diseases/9742-narcissistic-personality-disorder
Major Depression – National Institute of Mental Health https://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/statistics/major-depression