Have you ever noticed how some people will throw their hands up, reach for their toys and go home when they are not getting their way…yet their exit is administered as a poison dart, rather than a reprieve?
It’s not that they seek to insert an intermission, or a safety break, or even a time-out. What they are actually doing is a discard.
The “discard” is a term that refers to the way people with narcissistic features and/or a narcissistic personality disorder act when their narcissistic supply is not forth-coming. If the object of the narcissistic supply is not producing as expected, it must be annihilated. It must be removed from the conversation.
We see these dynamics again and again…and all too often, they occur only to enhance the glue that binds the dysfunctional behavior.
Violence through Discard
You can think of the discard phase of the narcissistic abuse cycle in the same way you understand the violence/assault phase of the cycle of violence. It’s the blow that says, “You are not cooperating in giving me as I demand, therefore I’m reaching for a bigger bat…You do not exist. You are dead to me,” said in actions and/or words.
It’s an escalation in the control dynamics…just as the domestic assault (physical, emotional, verbal, sexual) is the batterer’s effort toward re-gaining perceived lost power and control. The discard is the narcissist’s way of saying, no-one ever says “no” to me. Therefore, when you don’t support their faced and deliver as expected, you cannot exist—from their point of view.
When used in the courting of the relationship, they think it is a strategy to reel you back in… and it can often work with those unaware. When you look closer in, it is delivered to hurt… There is a malicious quality wherein you even sense and/or observe that their action is bringing satisfaction to them.
Point of Wisdom and Power
This is also the point in which the other partner has the greatest and purest inner strength. It’s the time in which you are driven solely by your natural wisdom. It’s the moment when his/her dysfunctional grip loosens and one makes choices in the interest of their highest good, rather than as part of the narcissist’s manipulation.
Just as in the cycle of violence, victims taste their greatest power right after the blow… because in that moment they say, “No more!” And they really mean it. This is the ONE point in which the victim is the strongest to break through the chains that bind the dysfunctional abusive relationship.
If you are in a narcissistically abusive relationship, see the discard for what it is and it will be felt differently. Doing so can be your ticket to well-being with respect to a toxic relationship. It can be the door that opens wherein you see this very important fact: it is not about you.
For more information on partner narcissistic abuse dynamics, visit http://www.enddomesticabuse.org/narcissistic_abuse.php. Dr. Jeanne King, Ph.D. helps people worldwide recognize, end and heal from domestic abuse.
For a wealth of information and real-life insights on abusive relationships, visit https://innersanctuaryonline.org and start your Free 7-day trial today. Inner Sanctuary Online is designed to help you with the challenges of abusive relationships, from identifying them to influencing change within them to healing during and after them.
© Dr Jeanne King — Domestic Violence Prevention and Intervention
This is interesting to give this dynamic a label. Discard. Also rejection? Thank you.
Thank you! My father dismissed me from the family when I told him I would no longer be available to be lied about to my face and accused of doing things which I never had, or would. I made it clear that I saw what was happening (my brother would make the accusation and my father would do the clobber) and that I wasn’t playing. I also made note that I had not been playing for about 40 years, and couldn’t believe that no one had noticed. His “read” of this was shock, horror, and further accusation, now of “mistreatment” and “abuse” of him, as I had said that which was un-say-able. A few months later he announced by email that because I wasn’t willing to take abuse from either my brother or him, or my step-mother, I was out of the family. Hurrah!!
I’m so sorry to hear that. This can happen. I applaud your strength! Blessings to you. Dr. King
My daughter is in a toxic relationship. Her husband completely controls her every move. He will not allow us to even come to the house. How can we help if she continues with this?