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The Narcissist's Discard Phase Shows the True Nature of the Disorder During Virginia Divorce

In my opinion, the narcissist’s discard is the clearest sign that your spouse or significant other suffered from narcissism. I use the term “narcissism” interchangeably with every other Cluster B psycho-pathology, which includes narcissistic personality disorder, psychopathy (anti-social personality disorder), borderline personality disorder, and histrionic personality disorder. I personally believe that all of these Cluster B (Axis II) disorders include narcissism at their very core.

Let me explain. Typically, when a client comes to see me for an initial consultation after a referral or after reading one of my many blogs on narcissism, she will often ask me if it sounds like her spouse suffered from narcissism. Obviously, I can’t diagnose someone, but chances are, if she was reading my blogs and landed on my site, my answer just confirms her initial suspicions.

He/she will describe the various complaints his/her spouse had, he/she wasn’t attentive enough, didn’t show her enough affection (and he is the only one showing true affection in their relationship), he wasn’t active enough. Simply, he just “wasn’t enough.” The devaluing is obvious here, although, in the beginning, she swore he was the best man in the world, he says. He is confused. It is also very typical that he will say that he thought the silent treatment she often meted out was just her “being in a mood,” and he wanted to “keep the peace.” The narcissist is an injustice collector: the narcissist holds grudges, and sometimes, he does this silently. Until you’re divorcing a narcissist, you may not even know anything was wrong or that she kept score of every small slight.

Then one day, my client says that his wife just decided to end the marriage, sue for divorce, and he didn’t realize that she fell out of love with him. It’s so hard to see that the narcissist was never in love, but he will soon understand this, as he continues to heal. The narcissist may believe she was in love with you, but you did so many things to change her feelings, but the sociopath cannot love in the same way that we understand love.

The Narcissist’s Discard Stage is Proof of Her Inability to Properly Bond

Why a psychopath’s intimate relationships are always marked by a predictable push-pull pattern of idealize and discard is probably beyond the scope of a legal blog, but I can share a few thoughts.

According to Dr. Rhonda Freeman, a psychopath’s initial idealization or love-bombing tactics, which include grooming, manipulation, and exploitation, coupled with lying and secrets, are linked to her [broken] reward system of her brain. Without a real ability to bond with an intimate partner, the psychopath becomes easily bored and full of negative feelings about her partner, and sometimes, this happens without her partner even knowing anything was wrong. Without dialog and an inability to discuss normal problems or issues in a relationship, the narcissist views you as an inconvenience and chooses to discard you, instead of growing in the relationship. You may be victim to his constant criticisms, silent devaluing of you, and his need for more control, but instead of realizing anything was really wrong in the relationship, you mistook his silent treatment as a sign that everything was okay because you’re normal, and well, because adults typically outgrow the need to ignore people when they’re five or six years’ old.

You Can’t May Make Sense of the Discard Phase, But You Will be Able to Heal

You are not disordered, so of course you will not be able to make sense of a narcissist’s discard phase. Just know that you can heal with distance, time, and therapy. Experienced trauma therapists may be able to help you process just how abnormal the situation really was. An attorney with experience in divorcing a narcissist can help you redirect the blame to the narcissist, and help you understand that although people can fall out of love, it doesn’t happen so abruptly and silently, as it does in a marriage to a narcissist.

Fairfax Family Law and Divorce Lawyer: If you’re looking for an experienced Virginia family and divorce law attorney, contact Keithley Law, PLLC, PLLC today by calling (703) 454-5147 and schedule an initial consultation in our Fairfax law office.

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