The Faces of Devaluation



This period of the narcissistic dynamic is regarded as always being 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.


13 thoughts on “The Faces of Devaluation

  1. shantily says:

    Hello HG. Would it be safe to assume…that when you hold an IP in high esteem and sorry I just don’t have a better word for it…perhaps she has lineage a mile long,born with a silver spoon in her mouth, world traveler etc. educated, whatever the case may be for you…would the devaluation start sooner than the with the others? The barbs the, back handed compliments would you start them sooner? Given that you’d want her to stick around you’d have to smooth them over quickly with some flowery genuine sounding compliments…am I correct in my assumption? Are you more likely to knock her down a peg or from the get go?

    Maybe I have this all wrong maybe that’s all part of the testing…the will she take it part? Just why lay it on thick in the beginning for some and not others

    Sorry I’m still not seeing it from your perspective …


  2. Insatiable Learner says:

    Dear HG, I trust your weekend is going well. If an intimate partner secondary source did not experience malign behavior from a narc other than future fakes, not hearing from the narc for a long time, does this mean there was no devaluation? Is it possible not to hear from the narc for a very long time and not be discarded? When I contacted him several months after we last spoke to wish him a happy birthday, he responded a couple of days later, thanked me, said he was doing well, and promised to call the following week to fill me in on his life but did not. That was a few months ago. I believe he has been with a new primary source for over a year now. Would appreciate your insight. Thanks a million!

    1. HG Tudor says:

      Yes, it is called being placed on the shelf.

      1. Insatiable Learner says:

        Thanks so much, HG! I really appreciate your response!

  3. gatorsmom says:

    Your blog is the most accurate description I’ve come across. I read so much that Narcs cheat but is it possible for platonic friends to be secondary for the narc to get their fuel? I’m a little confused on the roles or more my role? I’m the girlfriend who is currently going through devaluation? He again told me no communication and he was “done”, of course he has said this on numerous occasions only to come back and the cycle starts all over. Since this is a mental health issue I’m trying to understand and anytime I am being “punished” I always beg, plead and text constantly and eventually we start all over. This time because I want to be done I have started no contact and we haven’t spoken in 35 hours which is a lot for us. Or maybe he is completely done this time and I’ve been discarded for good since he possibly has found a new source. However I don’t think he is cheating although we are technically broken up. I just don’t think there is another intimate source.

    1. HG Tudor says:

      Thank you Gatorsmom. I can understand how this situation is confusing for you. There are several possibilities here :-

      1. He has an IPPS you do not know about;
      2. You are in devaluation and he has Shelf IPSSs which he is engaging with and when he places them on the shelf he engages with you again;
      3. You are an IPSS and he keeps putting you on the shelf and issuing Corrective Devaluations.

      In order to precisely state what is happening I would need more information and the appropriate forum to do that so you get the accurate analysis is through a consultation.

  4. K says:

    My devaluation was so bad that I told my ex in the fall of 2015 that I would rather be beaten and raped. “Beaten and raped,” I repeated, because I would be better off.” He didn’t know what to say. He looked confused and a bit taken aback.

    If I had been beaten and raped, his ass would be in jail.

  5. Penny says:

    So Mr HG… I have been devalued by my narc as his IPPS for years… I escaped for a brief time but returned as I cannot help myself… as he is feeling me escape again he has decided to have my portrait tattooed on his chest and has done so… why would he do this?

    1. HG Tudor says:

      To demonstrate his apparent commitment to you so you respond favourable.

      Further, when later tracking you down, he can just reveal his chest and ask “Have you seen this woman” rather than carry a photograph around.

  6. Ali S says:

    So, HG is it possible that the narc I dated 17yo daughter was his primary source and even though I was his intimate partner I was secondary? He pretty much kept her from her real mom who lived far away but seemed as though even at 17 had no friends or did activities only sat at his beck and call. I was not really devalued but I did hear him constantly shaming/making fun of her. When he went silent she did as well, even though we had gotten close. It’s really sad, I used to worry that he was going to treat me like that eventually but I was too smart, started pulling away cause I knew something was wrong with that man and the strange relationship he had with his daughter! That’s when I found your writings and realized what he was.

    1. HG Tudor says:

      Hello Ali S, I would need to know more about the dynamic between all of you to give you a definitive answer, but from what you have described it seems to me likely that the daughter is the NIPS and you will have been a Shelf IPSS. He will have used her to triangulate with you also. You’ve done well working that out.

  7. gabbanzobean says:

    I still feel like I never really had a devaluation. It was all done so charmingly. But I guess the first one listed of the DLS (keeping us in line) would apply then. He wanted a break and that is exactly what I gave him. Meh.

  8. Miss Teri says:

    Wow! Sir HG Tudor. You are ‘Magnificent’! Loving on ‘You’! Thanks for such a ‘Wonderful’ Post. On ‘Guard’ for ‘Your’ Kind here! Perhaps they might become ‘My’ Next ‘Meal’! Thanks so very, very ‘Much’! Love Ya Sir HG Tudor…Oh My!

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