How the Narcissist Devalues Different Victims

How The NarcissistDevalues Different Victims


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.


40 thoughts on “How the Narcissist Devalues Different Victims

  1. DebbieWolf says:

    “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.”

    Is it admiration?
    Some people laugh momentarily out of complete embarrassment. And it momentarily covers up their surprise and lack of knowing what to do or say or where to look.

    It isn’t admiration sometimes and it isn’t true amusement.
    They are embarrassed.

    1. HG Tudor says:

      No it is not embarrassment.

      1. DebbieWolf says:


        I see.

        However, in some cases, some people do laugh out of embarrassment and that’s a fact.

        I know this to be the case because somebody told me once that they laughed when they shouldn’t have laughed at something because they were embarrassed. In fact it was a terrible circumstance and a bit of an admission to be honest.

        However in your particular circumstance I’ll have to take your word for the fact that it isnt/wasn’t embarrassment and understand that you was probably sat with another narcissist.

        I conclude this because at the end of the day a kind and decent person does not admire or laugh at the humiliation of another.

        Perhaps they would agree with voicing a concern over a service and be glad you spoke up but not with mis treatment or abuse.

        I have been in circumstances where the service was bad and the food wasn’t right and a person respectfully drew attention to this and I liked the way it was handled and the problem sorted out.

        Nobody decent admires and respects somebody humiliating somebody else finding it amusing. There are people who laugh out of embarrassment.

        As you say though, in your kind’s case, and possibly in any personal incidence that you refer to, it isnt/wasnt the case and no one was embarrassed. It is/was just funny and amusing and admirable to you and yours.

        Thank you for highlighting the behaviours for us so that we recognise it further and consequently reject.

        Better to not have dinner with a table full of narcissists. When they go around admiring things that the rest of us don’t.

        1. HG Tudor says:

          I know they do and I know the difference.

          1. DebbieWolf says:



            I know that you know the difference.
            So do I.
            That is why I wrote in the first comment I that I posted the word ‘sometimes’within the context of my point.

            *”.It isn’t admiration ‘sometimes’ and it isn’t true amusement.”*

            In some instances….sometimes.

            It is good to clarify. Thank you.
            Always food for thought and interesting to ponder various angles.

          2. HG Tudor says:

            You are welcome DW.

        2. windstorm says:

          I understand what you’re saying and that’s how I always feel, too. But there is a phenomenon where people get enthralled by a strong narcissist and sort of suspend their empathy. I’ve seen lots of codependents do this and other empaths too. Normals will do this, also.

          It’s like they let their personality and natural perspective get subsumed by the narc and just view abusive things he does to others as part of his power – a desirable power that they wish they had. It seems almost like they’re wanting to be part of that power and part of the narc more than they want to be their own authentic selves. At least that’s how it seems to me.

          1. MB says:

            WS, you described that very well. It’s part of being under the spell of the narcissist. I think it goes back to being in the shelter of his construct. He can take care of things that you never could and you are in awe of that moreso than in the shoes of the minion. You feel more powerful just by being associated with him.

    2. Valkyrie says:

      I think narcs also ask you to participate in things they know are morally wrong as a test. To see how far you would be willing to go for them. To deny your own character and perform an act you wouldn’t normally do because they ask.

      I think it is a power trip and also a way to see how attached to them you are.

      I’m done doing the wrong things to make someone feel good. The right person wouldn’t ask in the first place. Trust your gut, if it feels bad, it probably is.

  2. Valkyrie says:

    “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.”

    Merlin’s beard! Who the fuck are these friends? And who the fuck would insult a homeless person or waitress/waiter?

  3. DebbieWolf says:

    Walking across a minefield would be easier than understanding the rules or pitfalls of devaluation.. or trying to work out what it was that was done wrong or not.

    Also I cannot imagine how these secondary sources are that superior as that they would throw admiration towards somebody who was treating somebody else such as a waiter like a piece of dirt.

    it’s a well-known piece of advice that they give to people on dates these days that if you are with somebody who mistreats bartenders or waitresses or the like that it’s a massive red flag and you should never go out with that person again – nevermind give them admiration for being so horrible.

    I would suggest it isn’t a very ‘worthy’ secondary source or decent human being at all that would admire such behaviour…. not a very good empath at all is it?! That would admire and laugh with Delight at the mistreatment of someone else.

    In fact I would go so far as to suggest that the narcissist was with another narcissist and had made a mistake in their choice.

    And in that instance it isn’t going to work out for either of them… and clearly they are both unaware of each other as ‘personality types’ as they are too busy laughing at the humiliation of another.

    Who really gets the last here?
    Everybody in the know that’s who… Everybody in life who doesn’t carry on like a twat for no good reason…
    For What? An underdone steak?

    Once again all short term and in the moment flash in the pan of supposed pleasure..

    Any empath worth their salt should leave the table.


    1. DebbieWolf says:

      Of course it could just be two narcissists at a business meal.

      It would still be momentary pleasure having a go at somebody for some transitory admiration.

      It’s still wont fill up the emptiness.

  4. wounded says:


    I cringed at the “standing up” bit because I knew it would make no difference and in fact make the behaviors worse. You cannot fix toxic which is why getting out is the only option. A normal relationship has ups and downs where people talk things out and if the other person truly cares will take full accountability and chose to change. A narc cannot change because in their mind they are not the problem, everyone else is. I would suggest deleting him completely. Going, going, gone. Take some “you” time.

  5. Leslie says:

    Empaths are rising and rebelling.

    1. HG Tudor says:

      Time to let them feel the smack of firm governance then!

      1. NarcAngel says:

        A firm smack is hardly a deterrent when a large number are still looking forward to a spanking.

        1. HG Tudor says:

          Ha ha very good. A firm smack is somewhat euphemistic however.

  6. Fuel on the Shelf says:

    “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.”

    I have a question re: the above paragraph.

    If the corrective deval has a favorable response and the devaluation halts how can the golden period continue if ghosting and being ignored follows? Ghosting and being ignored does not exactly fit in with the golden period. Am I to assume that if ghosting continues that the corrective deval is essentially “continuing” too?

  7. wounded says:

    This is fascinating. One of the peculiarities of his relationship with his DLS is they were friends with benefits for a total of four years and she spent huge chunks of time with him almost in the role of a girlfriend but without the title. His outer circle knew of her but not the inner circle and because of the boss/employee relationship she was extremely isolated. Her devaluation fit more of the role of IPPS. Because she confided in me I knew a fair amount of what was going on. He would purposely forget her birthday, started kicking her out of bed, with holding sex, subtle insults, triangulation (with me, other women he slept with, in one case another guy) even doing this while she was visiting out of state and included causing her to have altitude sickness. In her mind she was starting to stand up to him (I remember cringing at this) which caused the abusive behavior to worsen. He started slapping her, not an actual slap but a repetitive tap that got under her skin and he continued despite being told to stop. I don’t know if he had an IPPS during his time with her or not but I know he has a rather extensive fuel matrix. I often wonder if she was fulfilling two roles at certain points in time under the umbrella of friends with benefits.

    1. Fuel on the Shelf says:

      My situation is not entirely the same as DLS. (no physical abuse, no constant time together and I have met 2 people from his outer circle and no one from the inner circle)…but many of the other things you write I HAVE experienced as a DLS like friends with benefits (but then withholding sex), forgetting my birthday, subtle insults and triangulation. I am/was a long distance DLS though.

      I did stand up to him recently (via email) and it was only met with more ghosting, avoiding, ignoring and shelving. (with occasional cave man text replies)

  8. Christine says:

    What kind of people do you hang out with that admire you for insulting a homeless person or a waitress? Either you’re misreading their appalled reactions (entirely possible), or they deserve you.

    You are wrong about family members having a prolonged golden period. For me, it was a constant devaluation-adoration seesaw, to the point that once I was in kindergarten, I knew not to trust my father. Full awareness of what he was came later. This mistake you’re making is likely because of your obsession with the myth that narcissists always have a sexual relationship with their primary source.

    1. HG Tudor says:

      People under my spell.

      Some have prolonged golden periods, not all.

      1. windstorm says:

        I’ve got to go with Christine on this one. I’ve often been in the presence of narcs when they abused/mistreated people around them from waitresses to strangers. I was always appalled by the narcs behavior and disgusted with other people present who laughed and agreed.
        Maybe because I could always feel their pain, anger and embarrassment and identify with them. In situations like that I always think how I would feel if it happened to me.

        1. HG Tudor says:

          Such a bloody empath WS!

          1. windstorm says:

            Thank you!

        2. MB says:

          WS, I would be the same way re the mistreatment of minions. I would spew negative fuel at the narcissist and try to keep the peace with the minion and undoubtedly make excuses for narc’s behavior. (There is an article for that.) Why can’t we all just get along? I HATE conflict.

          1. windstorm says:

            I’d apologize to the minion and make excuses for the narc, too – like: “I’m sorry, he’s just a real jerk! Thank God he’s not in your family!” 😝

          2. MB says:

            WS, I’m sure my insubordination would be “dealt with” at a later juncture. I cannot even imagine what punishment would await for admonishing the narc in front of a minion! I’m so lucky I’ve never been with one. As I’ve said before, he’d mop up the floor with me.

          3. windstorm says:

            I’d only admonish an immediate family member. If he got angry, I’d say something like. “You were the one who acted like a jerk in public.” If it were a friend, I’d point out how their behavior seemed to those around them, but point it out gently. If it were a boss or someone I didn’t know well, I would speak to the waitress privately, say nothing to the narc and never go out in public with them again.

            Unfortunately I have found myself in all three of those scenarios over the years. My reputation as being unsociable and somewhat crazy tends to placate the narcs and allow them to vent to others and smooth any ruffled feathers without any hassle for me. If anything, it keeps the unwanted narcs away.

      2. MB says:

        But HG, you told me there was no spell!?! Now there is. Must be Narc Opposite Day!

        1. Fuel on the Shelf says:

          LMAO MB!
          I thought I was the only one who used the term “narc opposite day”. But yeah, it always is!!!

          1. MB says:

            Yep FOTS, it’s like HG said on the GPS/sat nav comment, he’d have us doing u-turns because that’s the narc favorite. Narc Opposite Day, all day, every day.

    2. K says:

      My MMRN rudely told a muslim woman: Take that rag (hijab) off your head!

      I was mortified and profusely apologized to her for his disgusting behaviour and I told my MMRN he was a fucking asshole. That poor woman! (he got some double-dipping fuel action)

      Once when we were in the city, he yelled out his car window: HEY! THIS ISN’T FUCKING BEIJING, CHINA! GET OUTTA THE FUCKING WAY!

      Again, I was mortified.

      1. MB says:

        Good Lord K! It is times like these you need a vanishing spell. I wouldn’t want them to know I even knew the jerk, much less am married to him!

        1. K says:

          He was a pain-in-the-ass! He needed a hit of negative fuel and he got it.

  9. Michelle says:

    Hmmm, none of these patterns seems to fit my situation. I suspect I was IPSS to begin with, then caused injury by exposing the narcissist to himself. When he commenced the silent treatment, I backtracked on my allegations and agreed to let the whole thing go, as I have been trained to do by previous narcissists. I thought sure he’d take it. Apparently I did not show the appropriate contrition, or the wounding was too deep, because the silence has lasted about seven weeks now. Last I checked (and I haven’t checked in a while, because, why?) he hadn’t blocked me and he was still reading my messages. I’m dangling in this grey area between disengagement and punishment, not sure which is really going on. I’m sure he’s wary of being wounded again because I held my cards close to my chest last time and didn’t let on how much I knew of his misdeeds, but I was good supply, really really good, so I have a feeling it’s just a matter of time before he returns.

    1. Fuel on the Shelf says:

      Michelle, this is pretty much where I’m at too. The gray area between disengagement and punishment. 3 weeks ago I sent him an rather blunt email about his bullshit ghosting behavior . He texted me to say “I’ll reply to your email soon and we will talk about this”.
      A week went by and I didn’t hear anything. No reply no follow up. Nada. Then when I finally called him I got his voicemail. I allowed a message to record of me hanging up. 1 minute later my phone immediately rang back and it was him. He said he was “on the phone” but then his other call just ended! 🙄 at that point he told me that he had drafted an email to me to discuss the issues but he didn’t send it because it was “nothing that has not already been said before” … I am starting to think he just withdrew rather than argue.

      I remain in the gray territory where I’m not blocked and my messages are getting through but I’m still met with ghost like silence or 2 to 4 word intermittent text replies. Aka: cave man style answers.

      Yep. Gray territory.

    2. WriteItOut says:

      After seven years why are you still thinking about this person? I truly don’t get people who can’t let go even after not hearing from someone for years.

    3. WriteItOut says:

      My previous reply thought you’d said seven years, just noticed it’s seven weeks. Never mind! Although after not hearing from someone for seven weeks I’d still probably write them off as being an unsuitable love interest. No contact for seven weeks to me = not enough interest in me.

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