How to Defend Yourself Against Narcissistic Devaluation

If everything was great with a person and suddenly they have started to put you down and pull away from you, you may be suffering from narcissistic devaluation. Find out more about it here.
How to Defend Yourself Against Narcissistic Devaluation

Last update: 19 September, 2022

Narcissism is still an unknown term for many people. However, many around us can identify with it. They are people who believe they’re superior to others, who use others for their own benefit, and who can initiate narcissistic devaluation when we least expect it.

Following what the MSD Manual explains, a narcissist lacks empathy and needs praise from others. However, despite appearing self-confident and with a lot of confidence, in reality, they have a significant and unhealthy lack of self-esteem.

This is a diagnosis that is known as narcissistic personality disorder in the field of psychology.

In this article, we’re not going to focus so much on delving into this disorder, but rather on narcissistic devaluation. We will take a look at what it consists of, when a person sets it in motion, and the consequences it can have for those who have become its victims. Therefore, we will also offer some advice on how to protect oneself against this sort of psychological mistreatment.

What is narcissistic devaluation?

Narcissistic devaluation often begins suddenly, without warning. However, it’s true that it can be done subtly in the beginning. As the Royal Academy of the Spanish Language (RAE) explains, devaluing refers to “lowering the value of a currency or something similar by depreciating it.”

Therefore, in the case of narcissistic devaluation, the person seeks to devalue the other person by detracting merit from anything they may accomplish or any goal they may achieve. But why does the narcissist usually do this? Well, they do this because they’ve already achieved their goal.

In fact, they’re usually really charming at first. They may reel you in and spark an attraction from which very few manage to escape. However, once in their hands, they use the other person until they get tired of them, and the devaluation kicks in.

Going out with a narcissist
A narcissist often generates a lot of attraction and doesn’t reveal their true intentions at the beginning.

The cycle of narcissistic devaluation

To talk about narcissistic devaluation, we first have to remember that it’s a cycle. It’s like a tide in which these types of people submerge their victims and which always runs in the same way.

To begin with, everything is wonderful. It’s a good friend or potential partner who’s there, cares, and doesn’t seem to have a single flaw. In addition,you likely may even share many things in common.

The narcissist usually molds him or herself to the other person, knowing exactly what he or she likes and dislikes so that their friend or partner lowers his or her guard. Then, the idealization begins.

After a hook-up or some relationship initiation occurs, the narcissist then takes control of the situation. The other person isn’t his or her priority anyone. The narcissist instead offers them crumbs, but the idealization has already done all the work. Now the next phase is that of narcissistic devaluation.

In this phase of devaluation, they may make excuses, say obvious put-downs, and show a disinterest that increases over time. The victim of the narcissist often doesn’t understand anything or why everything has changed so suddenly and may ask for explanations, get overwhelmed, and pursue the narcissist even more. Ghosting and manipulation are common techniques that people with this personality disorder like to use.

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How to prevent and defend oneself from narcissistic devaluation

To prevent narcissistic devaluation, it’s advisable to avoid idealizing anyone. Trying to keep your feet on the ground at all times is fundamental in any type of relationship. No one is perfect; there’s always a flaw. Having this clear is crucial.

However, in the cases in which the devaluation has already begun, there are some tips that can help so that the situation doesn’t affect your self-esteem and self-confidence. Here are some of them:

  • Practicing zero contact: This is a decision that you don’t want to have to make, but it’s often the best one. Blocking and cutting all contact with a narcissist who insults, devalues, belittles, and is causing you harm is the way to take care of yourself.
  • Keep doing the things you love: Practicing that fun hobby, reading, meeting friends, focusing on your work…. Life doesn’t stop because a narcissist is playing with your emotions and manipulating them.
  • Set boundaries and stick to them: Stop picking up the phone, cut off the relationship, and speak up so as not to be manipulated. These are some of the best ways to communicate to a narcissist that he/she is messing with the wrong victim. This isn’t easy, so psychological help can always help.
 Narcissistic Devaluation
Exposing a narcissist isn’t easy, but we must make it clear to him/her that we will not be his/her victims.

When to see a psychologist

One should go to a psychologist when one has detected in oneself any of the behaviors or behavioral patterns that are similar those we spoke about when discussing the cycle of narcissistic devaluation. However, this isn’t easy.

Therefore, even if you’re a victim in these circumstances, therapy can help you to get out of the relationship and rebuild the damaged parts of your self-esteem. The MSD Manual estimates that 6.2 % of people living in the United States suffer from narcissistic personality disorder. So, we must assume that there are, unfortunately, quite a few of them in the world.

Knowing about this personality type and being cautious is essential to avoid getting hurt. Sometimes, this happens almost without us realizing it. Avoiding idealization is key.

All cited sources were thoroughly reviewed by our team to ensure their quality, reliability, currency, and validity. The bibliography of this article was considered reliable and of academic or scientific accuracy.

This text is provided for informational purposes only and does not replace consultation with a professional. If in doubt, consult your specialist.