STAGE THREE: DISCARD
IF YOU FEEL LIKE YOU’RE REACHING THE END OF YOUR ROPE with nowhere to turn, call the 24-hr National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1.800.273.8255 or the 24-hr Crisis Text Line by texting “HELP” to 741-741. In an emergency, call 911 or go to your nearest emergency room.
1. During idealization, he quickly became your best friend, soulmate, and a partner so perfect, the only possible explanation was you were born to find and take care of each other. He loved and adored you above all… and only saw flawless because even your flaws were perfect in his eyes. Your guard has been completely lowered for him and you trusted him with your life forever.
2. Then you found yourself dragged through a series of mental and emotional obstacle course during devaluation, where your heart and head was constantly being thrown around in all directions. By this time, you’ve become so desperate for the idealization stage that you’re grateful for any scraps of “goodness” your abuser throws your way.
3. And here you are… DISCARDED like your relationship never happened. Whether it lasted a week, a few months, 2-3 years (this seems the average), or a full-blown 10+ year relationship complete with marriage vows and kids… you are now worthless in his eyes and you discover he’s already moved on to his new target, sweeping her off her feet through the idealization stage.
Many victims begin doubting themselves and ask, “How can my best friend and soulmate replace me with another person like our relationship didn’t even exist? Did I fail him to the point where even HE – the person who loved me MOST – could no longer tolerate me?” (No… You are NOT to blame.)
The fact that he can have something so seemingly deep, meaningful, and serious with you… then INSTANTLY have those same things with someone else, is only possible because of their inability to emotionally bond with another human being.
This is my reason for sharing the texts that I have saved… to give you an idea of the declarations of love shared through all forms of communication. We were making future plans… getting to know each other’s children… I thought we were two adults in love, so I trusted what he gave me as truth based on substance and commitment. And just like that, those sentiments were being felt for someone else. ~ this is the illusion that is the narcissistic relationship
THE BLAME GAME
Some of the stories of discard that were shared with me were filled with such frightening degree of hatred that far exceeds the boundaries of comprehension.
Victims suffered from public humiliation… being told they are pathetic and useless… having a restraining order put on them by their abuser… HORRIBLE physical abuse… I’m constantly counting my blessing for not having to experience more pain and suffering than I had to.
After the idealization stage, the narcissist blames his victim for no longer living up to his unrealistic image of the “relationship.”
THE REALITY IS… he “recruited” you to play a “role” in his fantasy of the perfect couple. He never saw you as your own separate person with your own thoughts and feelings because narcs see everyone as an extension of themselves. (It’s just how individuals suffering from narcissistic personality disorder are wired.)
His fantasy is made up of all the supply he imagines you can provide him with… the approval and admiration he’ll gain from being in a relationship with you. All the good and the bad reactions he can draw from you and everyone around him… day in and day out… all to validate his self worth. But because it’s just fantasy, the novelty always fizzles out within a few months to a few years. (In long-term relationships, spouses, partners, and family are left with only a detached shell of a person due to the narc’s inability to emotionally bond.
That time he was busy IDEALIZING you and telling you how perfect and flawless you are? He was simply agreeing with the “idea” in his head about how perfect you are for that role. THAT IS HIS EQUIVALENT OF TRUE LOVE. But because narcs cannot emotionally bond, their “connections” to the objects around them are fleeting. He begins to notice your “flaws” and realize you don’t exactly fit his perfect fantasies… and blames it all on YOU.
There must be something wrong with YOU. It must be because you’re no longer as smart or beautiful or sensual or fun as you used to be. He’ll spit out a whole crap-load of nonsense – and in the end, he will CONVINCE YOU that YOU are the reason the relationship ultimately failed.
As a matter of fact, why should he bother to stick around when you’re not even the same person you used to be anymore (… let’s totally disregard the fact that it’s because he worked overtime to suck out all your happiness and energy during the devaluation stage.). And you know what? You agree with this completely.
THE TRUTH IS… The rise and fall of this fantasy romance is not the least bit your fault. How could it be? You weren’t even really a part of it.
I believe my discard came unexpectedly – even for my “special man.” He wasn’t planning to throw me out at that moment…
But I caught him in a terrible lie and declined his fantastically asinine request to keep both his new local relationship while he and I continued with ours. Keeping me around would be more trouble than not, and because he’s found a potential, shiny new target, I was no longer worth the effort…
That’s how the narcissist’s brain is wired: no emotional bond… no real connection… no guilt. I was thrown out like an empty gum wrapper…
So what potentially TRIGGERED my Devalue & Discard?
I started questioning his intentions… I told him I missed all the declarations of love… having him gush all over me – and only me. How uncomfortable I felt finding myself not as confident and carefree as I used to be. It made my heart ache thinking of how many women I “hated” – even without knowing them. Why do I feel more anxious and insecure? Can we please figure this out and work on it together so I can be better for all of us? ~ all of this and more before I was even aware of the narcissistic relationship cycle.
I inadvertently caught a peek at the “wizard behind the curtain”… I no longer saw him as a “perfect” and in the world of narcissists, I broke the #1 RULE.
THE FINAL CHAOS
10.25.2017 – I discovered that my “best friend, soulmate, and love of my life” had been lying to cover up his cheating… just minutes after calling me for our daily prayer thanking God for the “privilege of our relationship.” He sent me a text about an appointment with his accountant and asked to Facetime before we both headed out to begin our day as usual. I thought nothing of it until he mistakenly sent me a text asking his “accountant” if he should stop at the store.
I asked to see the entire conversation thread and he eventually called me on Facetime to admit he met someone at his children’s school he felt a connection with and just HAD TO see where it goes…
What I wasn’t expecting was the most frustrating and ridiculously confusing dialogue I’ve ever had with anyone… who was this man?
Carmen: You LIED. You are CHEATING on me. You PROMISED you will NEVER do that.
Him: I know, baby. I’m sorry. I feel terrible.
Carmen: We’ve been planning a life together… preparing our kids to meet each other… just yesterday we were talking about celebrating your birthday here in Vegas… how can you do this to me?
Him: I’m not doing anything to you, baby… but I definitely felt a connection and I need see where it goes. I’ve never done anything like this before… this is the first time I’m meeting her like this…
(1. First time meeting her like this? Didn’t he JUST admit to his infidelity? 2. He doesn’t believe he’s doing anything “to” me because everything is ultimately about him getting what he wants. Nothing more.)
Carmen: So you just met her and now you’re so in love with her you’ll throw us away.
Him: No, I don’t love her and I’m not throwing you away, baby. The time apart is just too hard for me and I want someone who can be here all the time.
(… of course, you don’t love her… you are unable to love anybody as a human being… ~ I’ll understand what he means soon enough… )
Carmen: We had an understanding about our distance. We knew what we were getting getting into. You said you were having a hard time the last week but you were OK now…
Him: I thought I was…
Carmen: We’re in a committed relationship – yes?
Him: Yes, we are.
Carmen: People in committed relationships work things out together… not stray off to see if someone else is better…
Him: I guess…
(… he guess???)
Carmen: What is wrong with you all of a sudden?
Him: Nothing… I just think there might be a real connection… so I want to see where it goes…
(…said like it’s the most ordinary thing a man announces to the woman he’s committed to…)
Carmen: That’s what you said about us…
Him: Yeah, but we got together right after my divorce… you’re my first relationship after the divorce.
(… like a kid making excuses. “Yeah, but I got milk because I didn’t know they had soda.”)
He asked to Facetime after I returned from J’s school and for our usual “good-night” video. I was in disbelief… he expects me to continue looking at him after he goes out to pursue another woman?
Him: Because I love you and I want to see your face and talk to you. I still want to have our good-night videos like we always do. I still want you to come out in December to spend time together.
(… I was beside myself… is he on drugs? did he fall and hit himself in the head?)
Carmen: Then wait for my next visit… if you feel you need to move on after our time together, you’re free to go do what you want with anyone you want.
Him: I think I just need a break for now… some time alone without anyone.
(… lol is he serious?)
Carmen: Yeah, I don’t think so. You already told me you’re interested in another woman… I’m not going to wait on the side while you see if things work out with her.
Then a sudden shift…
Him: Only two weeks together in a month is too hard. You’re not here with me everyday! This is NOT normal, baby. It’s not a normal relationship! And the weeks I visit you in Vegas, I’m away from the kids! How is that fair to them? I want someone here all the time…
Carmen: No… this is a normal long-distance relationship… and we help each other through while we’re apart until our goal date of June 2019. Is this new to you? And you have the kids every other week…
Him: I see them every day!
(… every day? It’s the first I’m hearing about this. But then again, he’s proven himself to be a liar, so whatever…)
I asked if he forgot that we’ve been in a long distance relationship for almost two years because we went all in knowing what we were getting into. We agreed to visit more often until my son and I relocate to Houston after he graduates in a year and a half. Joshua already started contacting colleges and med schools there because Mr. I-Will-Never-Cheat encouraged him to do so…
Him: I know… but this is just too hard for me.
Carmen: And your babies… I love them so much and they love me. How can you tear us apart like this?
Him: I know… I’m sorry.
(… it was the shallowest, most insincere apology I’ve ever heard)
Carmen: And you wanted me to play the piano for your mom… and become friends with your sister… and meet your nieces…
Him: I know, baby…
(… it was like talking to an empty cereal box.)
As my last-ditch effort, I asked him to pick a date in November for me to fly out and see him before he leaves for his Disney trip. If our time together doesn’t change his mind… if he still needs to “supplement”, we will end it and he can go his merry way.
Him: Ok, I can make that work. How about two weekends from now?
Him: But what about play dates? She has little kids to play with mine… yours is already in college.
(… he’s just realizing this? He wanted someone with kids older than his own… but apparently this no longer meets his needs.)
Him: If we stay together how am I going to do the play dates?
(… so your kids can’t have play dates without you screwing the moms? )
Him: … and even if we stay together and visit more often, there will still be nights I go to bed alone…
(… no words.)
Carmen: We have to end it. There is nothing OK about this.
Him: But I don’t want to break up. Baby, I love you. You’re so beautiful and sweet and we’re perfect for each other.
(My head could NOT grasp this. He doesn’t want to break up… but he wants me to be OK with him chasing after other women?)
He looked directly into my eyes while saying this like there’s nothing unusual about his request. This was NOT the man I fell in love with. What happened to my best friend, soulmate, and protector of my heart? Then it hit me… if I didn’t insist on seeing the entire message, we would’ve simply gone off with our day and returned tonight for our usual video dates. Omg… to think of the number of his “oops!” texts I’ve brushed off in the past…!!!
Carmen: Just wait two weeks. Don’t cheat on me.
Him: I can’t wait that long, baby. This is something I feel I have to do. ~ I’ve heard this so many times during our relationship, it was only a matter of time, I guess. #pattern
Carmen: Having other relationships while you’re with me is not acceptable. That is CHEATING… something you promised me you will NEVER do.
Him: I know, baby… I’m so sorry.
Him: I should’ve ended it sooner with [ex wife], but I didn’t and it lasted too long. I want to be happy, but not with you… so this is what I have to do.
Carmen: No… Please please please don’t do this… we’ve come so far… please don’t…
Him: I’m sorry, I have to baby…
Carmen: No… please…
(… shifts eyes to read incoming text from new target)
Him: I’m sorry, baby. I really have to go. I love you.
And that was it. After dragging me through the most mind-wracking, heart-shredding, soul numbing roller coaster conversation I’ve ever had in my life, my best friend and the man who loved me more than anyone was gone.
I was in such shock, I couldn’t cry… or think… or feel. I only felt numbness. I shared what just took place with a few close friends… and prepared to take my son to school. There I tried to communicate to a friend what was crashing around in my head… still unable to feel or understand anything that just happened.
It felt like my heart was submerged in cement.
Later that evening, I went to teach my religious education class as usual. The next day, I volunteered to help the “Trunk or Treat” Halloween event at the local elementary school. The babies in my class still made my heart smile… I had fun with the kids, parents, and staff at the school event… ~ Ok, good… I’m still alive.
It was much, much later… while J and I watched a show together, that I was finally able to discover and feel what I was too stunned to feel. It was a suicide scene… a man was about to jump off a building – making his last call to his best friend who was at street level… begging and pleading with his friend not to jump.
THAT is EXACTLY was what I was feeling.
Barely breathing and grasping at shadows, I begged and pleaded with the love of my life not to throw us away… our love, laughter, discoveries, sharing, learning, planning, dreaming, butting-heads, resolving, growing…
Because he PROMISED to love and protect me… to always honor our relationship… to never ever let me go. My heart was constantly hurting from being away from him… but I cried, trusted, and hung on… because he said we’re worth the fight. During my time of weakness, I always reminded myself, “It has to be HIM… he’s my person.” … because God has something huge planned for us.
“No… Please please please don’t do this… we’ve come so far… please don’t…”
That helpless, very final feeling of defeat in your chest… the one who was supposed to fight for me, forgot about me like I never even existed…
My love… best friend… soulmate… and hero… wiped out our past, present, and forever.
Writing about this in such detail – trying to articulate my thoughts and feelings here… still brings me feelings of my chest slowly being sliced open with a dull knife. I continue to find myself asking, “How is he really gone from my life?” “How did I go from being his everything to nothing?”
LIKE A PREDICTABLE, LOW-BUDGET HORROR FILM …
I realize now that he was NOT planning to discard me just yet. He was going to string me along for a while longer… perhaps until he was certain this new target could provide him with everything he wants for now.
I was warned that after the “Discard”, the narcissist will do whatever it takes to 1) convince me the breakup was my fault 2) flaunt just how insatiably happy he is with his new “source of supply” in order to draw approval and admiration to validate his self worth… and 3) secure the new victim’s unconditional adoration. (as explained here by a diagnosed narcissist)
If there is any truth behind this…
I figured since he was clearly not prepared to throw me out at the time of our breakup, he will go “above and beyond” to rub his happy life all over my face because I tampered with his plans.
I was supposed to fly out to visit him on 10/19… I asked to reschedule because it was my dad’s birthday & my son was notified of several last-minute tests at school that week and I was helping him prepare. We postponed my visit for December 2nd (after he returns from his family’s Florida trip). So… I speculated he would announce something significant around that date with his new victim. Mutual friends informed me the following week that he changed his FB status to reflect his “new relationship” for 10/19 (or sometime around that date).
I’ve since asked my well-meaning friends and contacts to STOP reporting back with any info about him or anything related to him (unless it affects our safety). He lied and cheated on me… I don’t need that in my world.
It would be interesting (no, not really) if he announced another “significant event” during what was supposed to be my next trip to Houston around December 2nd. We made plans to explore Galveston TX. Maybe they’ll go exploring somewhere too? Perhaps Vegas or Chicago? #thatwillshowme
This is why NO CONTACT is vital to your recovery. Block him from everything… Facebook, all social media, email, phone… smoke signals… EVERYTHING. You NEED this space to clear your head, educate yourself about this disorder, and repair your broken heart.
VALIDATION FOR THE RECOVERING:
IT’S NOT YOUR FAULT.
You have been MANIPULATED… and you are NOT to blame for falling in love with and trusting the person who “proved” to love you just as much.
How could you have known that you ONLY existed in his life to fill a need? Loving, caring, WHOLE human beings don’t work like that! You were responding exactly how a person with real feelings… who loves and cares is supposed to.
Unfortunately, we weren’t dealing with WHOLE human beings with REAL emotions. And as such, we played a role… we had a purpose. Like an appliance. When we no longer fit that role to which we were assigned, we were discarded.
And think about it… since the entire relationship was based solely on the narc’s fantasy with him imagining you fitting perfectly into a fantasy role… you weren’t even really a part of it. So there is NO WAY you are to blame for the failed relationship.
Love doesn’t enter the narc’s decision making process. They are neurologically unable to connect… no emotional bond… no love.
It LITERALLY is NOT you… it’s all them.
IT’S NOT YOUR FAULT.
WHAT I LEARNED FROM THIS STAGE:
I spent so much time twisting my brain trying to figure out what the heck happened. He was the love of my life… my protector and hero… we were making plans for our family’s future up until the night before.
I fought so hard to hang on, no matter how sad and lonely I felt because I missed him so much… I DEPENDED on his strength and confidence in our love and future together.
But in the end, (apparently) the distance and time apart was too much for him and he ran straight into the arms of someone who is more convenient. Just like that, he’s living life with someone else in my place like nothing happened?
Is that even possible?
- For someone who is unable to emotionally bond, it is.
- For someone who looks at others around them as objects, it is.
- For someone who is unable to keep memories of genuine feelings, it is.
- For someone whose brain is programmed as such that the world revolves around only him, it is.
In his head, if he’s happy, that’s all there is to it because nothing exists outside himself. That is the lonely, empty reality of the narcissistic personality disorder.
YOU are a real, feeling and thinking human being. I am thankful that you and I are able to experience genuine, lasting emotions… love, pain, happiness, sadness… and share in them with other human beings. We are never empty inside because we have the ability to cherish long-lasting memories in our hearts. I am thankful I’ve been put together exactly as I am.
IT’S NOT YOUR FAULT.
If you feel like you’re reaching the end of your rope with nowhere to turn, call the 24-hr National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1.800.273.8255 or the 24-hr Crisis Text Line by texting “HELP” to 741-741. In an emergency, call 911 or go to your nearest emergency room.
P.S. Lemme know what you think!
Carmen is a mom, life strategist, religion teacher, best selling author, advice columnist, foodie wannabe, and advocate for victims of narcissistic abuse. She is currently living la vida loca in Vegas with her not-so-little human… prepping him for med school while pseudo-adulting, Tahitian dancing, and exploring the delicious world of bubble tea *woo!*