The Faces of Devaluation



This period of the narcissistic dynamic is regarded as always part of the dynamic and understandably the worst part of it. Those who consider it as an ever present part of the dynamic however are over-stating its presence because whether devaluation appears at all and if it does, how it will manifest, depends very much on the nature of the dynamic with our appliances.

Commencing with the Tertiary Source, most of the time our engagements with Tertiary Sources do not include any devaluation. There are two main reasons for this :-

  1. The engagement is brief. We either engage with the Tertiary Source once, for a short time and never again or we engage with them repeatedly but it is only ever brief in nature; and
  2. The needs of the façade mean that engaging with the Tertiary Source in a benign way is the most effective method of proceeding.

It is the case however that Tertiary Sources are devalued. They will be insulted, ignored, triangulated with other superior-ranking sources. This devaluation may be because the Tertiary Source has ignited our fury (for instance a bar tender failing to serve us ahead of someone else) but the devaluation may just occur because we regard it as an expedient response. For instance, we see that it would draw amusement or admiration from our friends (Non Intimate Secondary Sources) if we pour scorn on a homeless person in the street or we insult the waitress in a bar. Neither of these people will have necessarily criticised us but we consider them expendable and by devaluing them we gain negative fuel from them and positive fuel from other sources.

Any devaluation of a Tertiary Source is short in duration. It is a burst of negative fuel but it is not hugely potent (indeed the admiration from the secondary or primary source which it brings about is more potent) when compared to other sources and the quantity of fuel provided is low. This is because the Tertiary Source will not be bound to us and therefore after a period of time of responding in a manner which provides this negative fuel the Tertiary Source more often than not will dis-engage.

The period of devaluation for a Tertiary Source may be less than a minute if they provide negative fuel and then back off. Of course if they continue to engage us and provide Challenge Fuel, we will keep provoking them and also asserting our perceived superiority over them in order to put them in their place. We also of course cannot have some upstart Tertiary source making us look bad in front of other superior sources. We are unlikely to keep ‘pursuing’ the Tertiary Source. Thus, if we upbraid a waiter and he retreats to the kitchen, we are unlikely to follow him and keep the devaluation going. Instead, we take the negative fuel from his angry reaction and let him withdraw. We consider it largely beneath us to keep pressing such an individual. Of course, if the waiter returns to us, we will devalue again and keep doing so for as long as he keeps appearing in front of us.

It is unlikely that the Tertiary Source will be smeared as a consequence of this devaluation because ultimately within our fuel matrix the Tertiary Source is not of significant importance and therefore it is not worth expending the energy and time on smearing them.

We may see this Tertiary Source on another occasion and provoke them again or we may engage with them in a benign fashion. It does not matter to us how we treated them on the previous interaction because of the way we compartmentalise.

In respect of secondary sources, devaluation does occur but if and when it does, it is for a reason which is directly linked to the behaviour of the secondary source.

If someone is a non-intimate secondary source, therefore they are a family member, friend or colleague, they will usually enjoy an elongated golden period. Devaluation of the secondary source will only occur where that individual has sought to expose us, challenge us extensively or has turned off the fuel supply completely. The devaluation will be longer than that of the Tertiary Source because the secondary source will be bound more closely to us. This binding will be as a consequence of the nature of the relationship – the person is in our social circle with other people, they work with us or they are in our family circle – but also because we will have put more effort into binding them to us. Accordingly, the secondary source is less likely to withdraw in the same way that a Tertiary Source would. Instead, the secondary source is more likely to want to try to find out why they are being treated this way, to seek to make amends and to gain our favour once again. Sometimes this devaluation occurs as a consequence of needing to send a signal to other secondary sources that they ought not to cross us so that they realise it is preferable to remain loyal to us than cross us in some way.

The secondary source who is devalued is likely to be smeared by us. We will want other secondary sources of the same circle or ilk to turn against the devalued secondary source and complete their isolation and to ostracise them. We are conscious of the maintenance of the façade and therefore we will look to present a reason for why this secondary source has fallen from favour, is no longer invited, is not welcome at certain gatherings and so forth.

The period of devaluation for a secondary source varies in terms of the actual engagement and the period over which the person is regarded as ‘black’. If the secondary source wants to talk to us to find out why they are treated this way, we will keep devaluing them so this might be a matter of minutes or a couple of hours. If they remain proximate to us and keep providing negative fuel, we will keep devaluing and provoking them. If they retreat and try to engage us on another occasion, they will remain ‘black’ until they do something (or there is an external act) which causes us to regard them as ‘white’ and we welcome them to the fold again. For instance, if the secondary source seeks forgiveness and has a residual benefit we want, we will extend our graciousness to admit them into the relevant circle again. If we see no purpose, other than negative fuel, then they remain painted ‘black’ and they will be dis-engaged from and we will find a replacement for them soon enough.

In some instances the secondary source may dis-engage and have nothing more to do with us, thus a friend never socialises with us, the family member withdraws or the colleague moves workplaces or department. Sometimes they may not have such an option and instead they remain in effect a scapegoat for us, remaining ‘black’ for years and are devalued further each time there is any interaction with us. Thus, every time there is a family gathering they will be subject to contemptuous comments, triangulation or silent treatments. Of course, this long-lasting devaluation may be intermittent as we may only see this secondary source at certain events or places. Similar to the tertiary source we will rarely keep seeking out the secondary source to devalue him or her.

Where the secondary source is of an intimate variety, either an IPSS or DSIPSS, then the dynamic alters. There are two potential forms of devaluation.

The first is used as a corrective measure to bring the IPSS or DSIPSS back into line. Thus devaluation and dis-engagement is not a certainty but instead, if the IPSS or DSIPSS responds favourably to this ‘warning’ then the devaluation will halt and the golden period continues. This is because the IPSS or DSIPSS’s fuel is regarded as still valuable and not stale and devaluation is used because they are not complying as they ought to do. This corrective devaluation brings them back into line and thus the corrective devaluation halts.

The second is where the IPSS or DSIPSS does not respond to the warning and thus their failure and treachery means that he or she must now be punished as we head towards dis-engagement. The devaluation in this instance will be more intense than the corrective devaluation but it will not last for long because either the IPSS or DSIPSS stays out of our way or if they do not, we want to turn to a different IPSS or DSIPSS (or find a new one) and therefore dis-engagement comes along quickly.

Finally there is the IPPS. The Intimate Partner Primary Source is the person who suffers the longest devaluation, the harshest devaluation and is the one which is recognised by most people. This happens because

  1. You promised to be The One. Your failure to live up to our ideals mean you must be punished, we are not going to let you off the hook easily;
  2. Your negative fuel is potent, plentiful and frequent and therefore we want to keep drawing that from you;
  3. This negative fuel also provides contrast and the motivation for our seduction of your potential replacement;
  4. You are bound to us and therefore you are far less likely to withdraw from us. This binding is both emotional and non-emotional. Emotionally it arises because you want to return to the golden period, you want to make everything alright, you are a love devotee and want to have love triumph, you may well be co-dependent, you do not want to admit defeat and you are addicted to us. The non-emotional are matters such as finances, children, house, family pressures and so forth. The combination of these factors means that you cling to us and because you most likely live with us your devaluation occurs each day;
  5. We grant you Respite Periods. This takes place within the umbrella of the Devaluation Period and means that you are given renewed hope (so you stick around) and also it means your potential for becoming numbed and unresponsive is reduced by these periods which allow you to gather some strength again;
  6. The IPPS may be the only person in our fuel matrix who is being devalued and this will usually take place behind closed doors to preserve the façade so there is less likelihood of external interference which will disrupt the devaluation.

The devaluation of the IPPS is the most brutal of all the devaluations of appliances, it continues for the longest, it can be years, even decades in some instances and within this devaluation comes a whole host of manipulations and abuses which cover the emotional, the financial, the sexual and the physical.



44 thoughts on “The Faces of Devaluation”

  1. Pingback: Are you with a narcissist? This is how the devaluation phase looks like – Tereza's Health Blog
  2. As the empath I am, I’m sorry I forgot to say thank you. Your words have provided me much insight and calm as I now know it’s not me. That my two year relationship makes much more sense and helps ease the pain and hurt in my heart.

    1. Kim. I have had several consultations with HG. I recommend it – it is the best way to get all your questions answered by the master himself.
      Best of luck😊

  3. HG… I stumbled upon your site while trying to figure out what on earth was happening to me. I listen to your videos daily to understand how I allowed this whole seduction to happen. Just when I think it makes sense and where I stood in his twisted mind and games I listen to another video and question where I stood. I think I obsess over if I was IPPS or IPSS to prepare myself for his wrath. I basically broke up with him via text to not show any emotion or give fuel. But I think he is hoovering his ex wife after a series of horrific devaluation stages. I did have a love bombing phase where he took me on several vacations, dinner every night, lavish gifts .. You name it. But now am currently in a silent treatment from him, one of several that I have been graced with. It was during this time I broke the silent treatment rules and said I no longer want any part of this. During this month long silent treatment I never begged, asked what I did, etc. anything to provide fuel. I sent only one text that I’m done. So that leads to the question was I in the running for IPPS as the devaluation of his ex wife started and am I in for fury, rage and hoovering. Am I safe if I stay head strong with no contact.

    1. Hello Kim and welcome. The best way to gain clarity on your own situation is to consult with me. That way you can give me more detail and then I can respond in detail and with far greater accuracy.

  4. and is stopping contacting her the silent treatment if there is no blocking and it has been over a week or 2 weeks since he last contacted her? What if there is no blocking, how can she know if he discarded her during the silent treatment? It’s hard to tell.

  5. what is a female friend who was being flirted with by the male narcissist and was contacted by him on a weekly basis and then just stopped contacting her because of something she asked him and he might have felt offended?

  6. This is another article which is especially helpful for my particular situation. The narcissist’s illogical irrational and nonsensical behaviour starts making sense. I wish I had had this information and understanding several years ago.

    1. You are welcome EB. Such a sentiment as that expressed by you is one I read repeatedly, but revel in the fact you have it now.

  7. This was a very helpful post for me today.

    I’ve just been discarded by another narcissist- the first guy I was really into after my ex husband (narcissist) discarded me almost a year ago.

    I had no idea this guy was a narcissist. I didn’t know he was love bombing me. He seemed SO NORMAL.
    Then we got in a debate about something benign and not personal- just arguing about a theological idea. I didn’t back down on my point, and suddenly he just shut down and said “okay.”
    I said, “okay?”
    And he said that we weren’t going anywhere with it and I wasn’t being logical, and so there was no point arguing. That he respected my differing opinion.
    Then he ghosted. Never heard from him again. He ignored my calls. My texts. Just disappeared.

    What do you think…was I his tertiary supply? He had me thinking I was the primary, by the way he was forever-faking with me, but I didn’t recognize a devaluation period at all.

  8. My ex narc actually described the devaluation period to me during the discard encounter! Explained how he had been deliberately disengaging from me emotionally for over a year (it obviously took him a long time to find a new target), because I wouldn’t give in to his desire to live together. Thus, it was entirely my fault and I should just get on with my life and let him get on with his. That’s why what HG says about the relationship pattern rings so true to me. I heard it from the horse’s mouth. (Or rather, the horse’s ass.)

  9. He has told me before that if I reach out during his “quite time” I prolong the silent treatment if I dont wait for him to contact me. Is this a corrective measure- assuming that I was/is an IPSS?

  10. Hi HG, I was reading about men regarding their girlfriend/wife either as lover or as becoming their “mother”, when thing cool down and they make demands, criticize, etc. It’s a bit stupid and simplified of course, but I wondered: do you think there is something to it? Do you think you see a woman in the golden period more as a wonderful lover and later on, when you have the need to gain negative fuel and engage in down-putting things, you tend more to see them in the same area as your mother?

    1. I think it is more to do with the provocative nature of such a statement to the IPPS. Labelling someone as the dreaded mother in law or at the very least insinuating that that person is being maternal rather than spousal is a provocation done to draw fuel.

    1. If it hasn’t been answered yet it is because it is in moderation IL. If your comment was posted and the question was not answered, do repeat it and I will address it once I have opportunity to do so.

      1. Sorry, HG! Repeating my question. So even if an IPSS or DSIPSS may have wounded the narcissist, she will not be devalued or at least not subjected to the second type of devaluation you described if she falls back in line, correct? Thank you!

  11. Thank you HG! During devaluation or disengagement, have you ever taken back the expensive gifts you gave during golden period or respite period??

      1. Is this bc the ones you disengaged threw them back at you? Or are you going to add the pc native american giver as an adjective to describe you?

      2. A car? You are my kind of guy! I hope it was a nice one. My ex-husband bought cars for me all the time. This was how he showed me he cared.
        30k miles on it, go get a new one. I always had two cars and he had two.
        He ruined me for anyone else.

  12. Hi Hi.G.,
    Great article! When the IPPS starts to be devalued how soon after this begins do they start looking for a replacement with an IPSS if it is a upper mid range Somatic? Is it right away or can months go by with respite periods before a new IPPS is being groomed as your replacement?

      1. HG, what about a middle mid-range somatic? Also, if he had a shelved IPSS, would he take her off the shelf or look for a new one? Thank you!

  13. As an ipps i know devaluation. As being interpreted as another type, i know how to gauge my emotions. Thank you. Does that mean you are going to devalue and disengaage me?

  14. This is one of the most insightful and enlightening articles for non-primary sources. Thank you, HG, for this outstanding piece! So even if an IPSS or DSIPSS may have wounded the narcissist, she will not be devalued or at least not subjected to the second type of devaluation you described if she falls back in line, correct?

  15. Did you date women of hotter temperaments, from the Mediterranean, or South America? They are much harder to ‘keep in line’ and would give you hell if you tried! Good for them!

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