The Stepford Devaluation

 

The form of devaluation of our appliances depends on a variety of factors. For instance, what type of narcissist is applying the devaluation, what is the nature of the appliance (IPPS, IPSS, NISS, TS etc) , what is the status of the narcissist’s fuel matrix, what is the position of the façade and other matters beyond that also.

With a Tertiary Source, there is no long lasting relationship to begin with and therefore any devaluation which takes place will be short and effective and is often done in the context of triangulation, for instance making the narcissist look good in front of say a new target (IPSS) or a group of friends (NISSs) by putting down the Tertiary Source as part of the devaluation.

Secondary Sources have two types of devaluation. Corrective and Dis-Engagement. The Corrective Devaluation is short in nature but can be rather savage and is designed to bring the malfunctioning secondary source appliance back into line. Thus, it might be ostracising a friend (NISS) by inviting everybody else to a BBQ but not the offending appliance. Recognising that he or she has offended the narcissist in some way, the NISS apologises, makes amends and ceases the troublesome activity which led to the Corrective Devaluation. Thus the Corrective Devaluation has proven effective and the NISS enjoys the golden period once again and is welcomed back into the fold. Should the NISS not respond to the Corrective Devaluation (or commits a particularly treacherous act at the outset) then a short Dis-Engagement Devaluation occurs and the secondary appliance is then dis-engaged from. The DED does not last for long because the narcissist and the secondary appliance will not see one another repeatedly (unlike the IPPS) and also because the narcissist can dis-engage from the secondary source readily and either turn to other pre-existing secondary sources (dependent on the size of the fuel matrix) or recruit a replacement with relative ease.

The phase of devaluation really earns its stripes when applied to intimate partners (IPSS or DLS) but especially the IPPS. The devaluation of the IPPS is the one which most commentators focus on and is usually the one which contains abusive treatment and the full horror of nasty manipulations from the narcissist. There is no denying that such an unpleasant devaluation occurs, but it is but just one of several forms of devaluation that is deployed against the IPPS. Other forms include The Stranger Zone, The Oblivious Mis-Treatment, The Full Horror and others besides. Within the devaluation of the IPPS there is also the Stepford Devaluation.

You may be familiar with the novel (and film) The Stepford Wives. Ira Levin’s novel follows the premise whereby a new arrival at the idyllic neighbourhood of Stepford begins to suspect that the wives who live there and are frighteningly submissive are actually robots created at the behest of their privileged and controlling husbands. This resulted in the term ‘Stepford Wife’ being used in the English language to describe a submissive wife (or partner) who appears to conform blindly to a stereo-typically old-fashioned subservient role in the relationship with her husband or partner. It may also refer to an accomplished woman who has sub-ordinated her life and/or career to her husband’s interests and who has affected submission to him even in the face of his own disgrace and poor behaviour.

A Stepford Devaluation is one form of the devaluation of the IPPS. Often, the relevant victim fails to recognise that she is being devalued because of the nature of this devaluation. The following traits are applicable to the Stepford Devaluation.

  1. It only ever applies to the person who is the Intimate Partner Primary Source of the narcissist.
  2. The IPPS is likely to have an almost idyllic lifestyle. The narcissist is usually Mid Range or Greater in nature (possibly Upper Lesser also). There is financial security and a superior lifestyle encompassing good house, clothing, dining out, gifts etc.
  3. The narcissist and IPPS are regarded as having an excellent marriage/relationship by external observers such as family, friends and neighbours.
  4. The narcissist and IPPS are regarded as having an enviable lifestyle by external observers.
  5. The IPPS may work, but this is not always the case. The IPPS does not need to work because the narcissist’s financial firepower is sufficient to avoid the financial necessity of the IPPS having to work (and in turn remove financial independence and create isolation). If the IPPS does work, their work will be regarded as unimportant and unnecessary by the narcissist who will take little interest in it and refer to it rather patronisingly. The narcissist will expect the IPPS to fulfil other duties (see below) on top of the IPPS’ professional commitments. The narcissist whilst varying between disparaging and dismissive about the IPPS’ job in private, will hold it out as an admirable element as he seizes it as a character trait to draw fuel from secondary and tertiary sources and to use as part of the façade. More usually, the IPPS will be ‘allowed’ a ‘window dressing’ role as occasionally helping out a charity shop, or sitting on a couple of infrequent ‘good works’ committees. The narcissist regards these as acceptable since they contribute to the façade and do not interfere with the IPPS’ other duties (see below) to the narcissist. The narcissist prefers that the IPPS does not work.
  6. The IPPS has or had an accomplished position of employment. If retained it is treated dismissively by the narcissist as explained above or more likely the narcissist will have engineered the giving up of this position. This will have been achieved through apparently benign reasons but is done in order to create submission, remove independence and remove distraction and support networks.
  7. The IPPS is expected to be a superb home-maker. Whilst domestic assistance may be permitted, the narcissist expects a pristine residence of show-home proportions. The home would not look out of place on the front cover of Interior Design or Elle Décor. The IPPS prides herself on such an achievement and strives to ensure that nothing is out of place in the home.
  8. The IPPS is expected to always be presentable. She will be beautifully dressed, hair done, make-up worn, nails manicured and will never be seen slumming it in track pants and sweat top. Any slight deviation from picture perfection will be picked up and commented on by the narcissist. Similar to the situation concerning the home, the IPPS will ensure that she presents as elegant and refined at all times.
  9. The IPPS is expected to play the role of convivial hostess at dinner parties, encouraging mother at school events and loyal housewife putting up with the narcissist’s demands for perfection.
  10. The IPPS is expected to be wholly submissive to the needs and demands of the narcissist in creating this idyll and portrayal of domestic privilege and bliss to the outside world. No dissention is accepted by the narcissist.
  11. The IPPS ‘enjoys’ a gilded existence. She wants for nothing in terms of money, prestige, acknowledgement by external observers, admiration and friendship by third parties. She gratefully accepts that she is a ‘lucky girl’ to have what she has and does not like to complain. She may have done so to begin with, but the irrepressible force of the narcissist’s demands brings about the desired submission.
  12. The narcissist’s demand for perfection means that part of the Stepford Devaluation manifests through the imposition of this desire for perfection and adverse response if it is not achieved. However, such is the nature of the relevant narcissist and also the extent of the compliance, that the narcissist does not have to devalue in any savage way. It will either be a remark (“I see the children have been active”) when referring to the house appearing untidy or the imposition of a silent treatment (Present or Absent) to express disapproval at a failing on the part of the IPPS. The usual range of manipulations applied during devaluation will be absent.
  13. The narcissist generally treats the IPPS ‘well’ in terms of engaging in conversation, doing activities together and maintaining the façade of the enviable home life.
  14. Whilst you may see this existence as demanding, you may also see that it has its rewards and the extent of the devaluation whilst unacceptable to you is nowhere near as bad as it could be. This is where the second strand of the Stepford Devaluation applies. The narcissist repeatedly engages in infidelity with IPSSs and has an extensive ‘stable’ of those he turns to. He will repeatedly have ‘golfing weekends away’, ‘business trips’ or a ‘late meeting which necessitates staying over in town’. The IPPS knows that the narcissist is engaging in repeated affairs and one-night stands. The IPSSs or IPTSs are never, ever brought to the marital home (that would damage the façade). The IPSSs and/or IPTSs may even contact the IPPS to try to expose the narcissist and the IPPS will listen to these tales of infidelity and poor treatment of the IPSSs and/or IPTSs.
  15. The narcissist will hold the IPPS up as a shining example of the good wife/partner and will often be disparaging about other women, picking fault with their behaviour, looks, occupations and so forth. Comments are made such as

“Thanks goodness I have you, yes darling?”

“I was right to pick you.”

“They disgust me, such whores and lowlifes.”

  1. The narcissist reveres the IPPS because she has created the stable and enviable home, she contributes to his impressive façade and he is allowed to do as he pleases through extensive engagements outside of his marriage. He may have long standing affairs, short affairs, intermittent Dirty Little Secrets, in fact all types and forms of extra-marital liaison but he will never leave the IPPS. None of them ever compare to the IPPS.
  2. The IPPS is expected to be totally compliant, never complain, always be supportive, always be presentable, always put the narcissist first and in return she is largely treated ‘well’ (in the eyes of the narcissist and third parties) but her devaluation occurs through two main strands
    1. A very high standard of compliance; and
    2. The total acceptance that her husband/partner is engaging sexually with various other appliances and will always do so.

 

  1. How does this Stepford Devaluation operate in terms of fuel for the narcissist? This is where there is something of a peculiarity. The IPPS will provide negative fuel (at first) when the devaluation first begins and she learns of the affairs and is also subjected to the controlling behaviour vis a vis appearances. She will initially fight back, rebel, be hurt etc and thus provide negative fuel. However, once the narcissist has effectively ‘broken’ her in, by achieving compliance, the IPPS provides positive fuel to the narcissist through her striving to maintain the idyllic appearance, her support in his endeavours and the maintenance of the façade and it is the IPSSs and IPTSs who will suffer horrendous treatment at the hands of the narcissist. The narcissist, being usually a Greater, or an Upper Mid Ranger most of the time in this arrangement (although it can occur with MMR and UL) has no problem in ensnaring mistress after mistress, booty call after booty call and so on and it is here that they are treated to the malice (with the Greater) and also the devaluation in order to gain negative fuel from them, in contrast to the (largely) positive fuel now provided by the IPPS. The Stepford Devaluation is part of the Madonna-Whore concept. The narcissist may engage in intimate relations with the IPPS still but it is not often and the IPPS may actually be cold sexually and be perfectly happy to be left alone in that respect, content for the IPSSs/IPTSs to bear the brunt of her husband’s devaluing perversions.
  2. Only a particular type of empathic individual is able to perform this role and endure it, which comes as a consequence of their own particular traits, their susceptibility to the overtures of the type of narcissist who engages in this behaviour and the fact that she is ultimately conditioned to see her position as one which ‘could be far worse if I was honest’. She is brain-washed, controlled and ultimately the automaton which was so desired in the Stepford Wives.

28 thoughts on “The Stepford Devaluation

  1. cb says:

    “Only a particular type of empathic individual is able to perform this role and endure it, ”

    Yes Definitely!
    Being raised to always smile, look good, read, not actually contradict either, beautiful handwriting, 3 men have tried this with me (later on succeeding very well, living picture perfect, Elle Décor-lives with their smiling humble spouses). The longest relationship lasted nine yrs for me, among these.

    One evolving clash was my reluctance to adapt my musical taste and taste in films, and friends, to this ‘clean-ness’.
    It just didn’t work.

    Entertainment is entertainment.

    I can’t pretend to like only Bach & other calm beautiful suits/dresses music & calm non-noisy non-dirty synthesizer music.

    Because it simply isn’t me.

    Jazz, blues, salsa, Jimi Hendrix & hardrock gotta be there too!
    Or I’m not me, just a robot.

    The Stepford highbrow shiny clean Ns hated this.

    Their current spouses all seem to have their taste & artwork adjusted to be only decorative, 2 of them worked as models when younger.

  2. WhoCares says:

    I’ve actually neglected, in the past, to carefully read this article because I thought “Stepford Devaluation” didn’t apply to my situation…now having reread it with a clearer purpose; I realize that, for the most part, I received a weird, drawn out form of Stepford Devaluation.

    It’s very bizarre, HG, how your work answers questions that we didn’t even realize we had.

    1. SMH says:

      Great way of putting it, WhoCares. HG answers questions we did not even know we had.

    2. A Victor says:

      I had the same experience, it didn’t seem possible that it could’ve been used on me, I am not high society, neither was my ex. But, I now believe it was. And it was horrible.

  3. WhoCares says:

    Bubbles,

    “I challenged myself and have managed to separate my thoughts and look logically at the behaviour”

    I agree with you that this is possible – and even necessary, if we choose to continue to engage with the narc. Or if we have no choice otherwise: talking/reading here helps to keep it all in perspective.

    “It hasn’t been easy
    I talk to my mum everyday and see her a couple of times every week … so I needed to deal with all her truth/lies…made up stories…”

    Wow Bubbles, that takes a lot of strength and resolve I’m sure – I cannot deal with my mother right now and so choose to go no contact at the moment.

    1. Bubbles🍾 says:

      Dear WhoCares,
      I’m sorry about the status with your mother …. but if no contact works right now … it gives you time …. “time” is one of the biggest assets we have on our side …. to think …..not emotionally …..but logically
      My mother had nothing to do with me for 21years
      This has been massive for me
      I know what to look for in people now … what I want and what I don’t want
      I got rid of everyone I knew on Facebook …. I had the biggest cleanout and implemented changes
      I allow what is beneficial for me …. particularly mentally
      If I feel threatened, uneasy or uncomfortable …. I either leave, reassess and evaluate, non responsive, change the subject, say nothing or make excuses …..otherwise it increases my anxiety
      I have a plan of action I work to and it helps “me” immensely
      Mr Bubbles is in on it too …. haha
      Mr Tudor really hit home with me regarding emotional thinking
      I have a good handle on it now and I’m able to “switch off” where I was never able to
      I hope this may be a little food for thought
      Hugs to you lovely
      Luv Bubbles xx 😘

      1. WhoCares says:

        Thank-you Bubbles – yes, no contact works for me. Really sounds like you have revolutionized how you interact with people as a result of your learning here – that’s great that Mr. Bubbles is ‘aware’ as well.

        I’m good at implementing my education here – with regard to my two personal narcs but I’m still working on ‘practical application’ in the real world – socially and otherwise…I still want to go hide under a rock sometimes instead of engaging the world…but I do grasp what you mean by being able to ‘switch off’ – and how much of a blessing that can be…

        I learn much from everyone’s comments here and enjoy reading yours Bubbles.

        Hugs.

      2. Bubbles🍾 says:

        Dearest WhoCares,
        Thank you gorgeous one
        I forgot the most important …. I don’t second guess anymore and I now use my female intuition …. always
        I don’t “fix” people either
        “Switching off” for me is being in the present moment …I no longer dwell on the past …. overthinking things I have no control over, the whys n wherefores
        I’ve drastically withdrawn socially….. however, it’s being content and comfortable in ones own skin that’s helped me enormously
        Validation of ones self is paramount ….because we then don’t “need” it from others anymore and hence don’t get caught up in association with undesirables …..checklists are mandatory for me now
        How ironic we need a “greater narc” to point all this out to us
        Thank you Mr Tudor
        Double hugs and thank yous to you WhoCares
        Luv Bubbles xx 😘

        1. WhoCares says:

          Yes Bubbles – self-validation…so important. I guess that is partly what I’ve been lacking over the holidays…I’m so used to being (in years past) that person who would ‘kill herself’ trying to accommodate the needs and expectations of others – for some sort of sense of ‘validation.’ I refuse to fully engage those behaviours anymore – but then I still end up beating myself up (internally) because those messages are so deeply ingrained. I know it will pass; it is just symptomatic of the season and I forced myself to focus on the positives (HG’s moderation of this site over the holidays has helped much – and talking to people here.)

          And yeah; I hear ya on the “undesirables” …got a couple of those whose behaviour I now understand for what it is and their particular provocations just slide off my back like water because that kind of behaviour is about *them* and not about me.

          Finally, I also see the irony that it takes a greater narc to make us see these things…

          Take care dear Bubbles!

    2. Bubbles🍾 says:

      Dear WhoCares,
      💋Mwah
      Luv Bubbles xx 😘

  4. trocadero says:

    Thanks to all of you for replying! I see what each of you is still getting from the blog and I can understand. I am probably different, I was sick of talking about my narc mother with whom I am NC for several years now and I wasn’t even thinking about her or her abuse over the years. Until I obviously transferred the pattern to the Narc I currently want to erase from my memory for good. And I have the impression that as long as I keep talking about him he is still here,occupying my mind :/ Best wishes to you all!

    1. Bubbles🍾 says:

      Dear trocadero,
      Thank you as well precious
      I get what you’re saying totally
      Talking about it constantly is still in ones head and one is trying to get over it and move forward and one doesn’t want to be constantly reminded

      I have been like that … but I needed to get over that hurdle and stay and keep talking to help me strengthen my emotional thinking
      I challenged myself and have managed to separate my thoughts and look logically at the behaviour
      It hasn’t been easy
      I talk to my mum everyday and see her a couple of times every week … so I needed to deal with all her truth/lies…made up stories
      whatever
      I take it all with a grain of salt now

      You must do what is best for for you
      All my best to you lovely one …l wish you well
      Luv Bubbles xx 😘

    2. WhoCares says:

      Best wishes to you, trocadero!

  5. SMH says:

    This describes what I know of MRN and IPPS to a T.

    A couple of questions, HG:

    Does narc get bored with Stepford Wife? Is that part of the reason he turns to other fuel sources?

    Also, is the Stepford Wife a Doormat?

    1. HG Tudor says:

      1. Yes.
      2. Possibly, but not always.

      1. SMH says:

        Thank you!

  6. trocadero says:

    I am still reading the blog with hunger,even tho it’s been 2 months since complete NC. I have 2 questions,one for you HG,and the other one for anybody who wishes to share.
    1. HG, would a midranger who idealizes you (since online relationship mostly and only a few face to face encounters where I looked at my best,which is not the whole time reality of course),disengage or discard immediately if this idealized source has suddenly skin problems? Which may be temporary but still ruins the perfection he has in his head. I am facing some.currently and was wondering how he would react (just another thing I could add in my mental arsenal of why it’s good that I escaped)
    2. All of you people who already successfully healed from the narc abuse,even years ago from what I understand through your comments,why are you still here then? No offense HG,it’s a piece of art what you are doing,but I imagine if I ever really heal from it (and the ever presence) I wouldn’t feel the need anymore to keep actively participating. It’s like if you keep taking the medicine even when you are cured. I am just really curious because I would like to be in a place where I don’t even remember the guy and not still having the need to talk about him for years (from my current point of view it means I am not really healed then). Or it’s just that you made friends here and like to keep interacting? I really hope it’s the later, for my own sake 🙂
    Happy holidays everybody and Mr Superdry legs in the first place!💟💟💟

    1. HG Tudor says:

      1. If the other empathic traits, class and special traits significantly outrank this one issue, it is not a problem. A Victim or Cerebral Narcissist is unlikely to be concerned, the Somatic and Elite more so, but the fulfilment of other traits could well override this issue. However, it will be used against that person when there is devaluation.
      2. Many wish to understand more about the dynamic from an interest point of view, others want to know more about my journey and my story/background etc, others like to know more about other people’s experiences, others enjoy my writing, others see it akin to maintaining their no contact regime by being reminded of what they escaped from so they do not become complacency – there are many different things to take from being here.

      1. trocadero says:

        Many thanks for your answers! I will indulge myself by reading the book Fuel for the holidays, instead of hanging out on the blog this time. May the force of Empath be with you this year! 🙂

        1. windstorm says:

          Trocedero
          For myself I am still here on the blog for three reasons:
          1. I love to learn and enjoy picking up new info about narcissism. I didn’t just have one narc, I have a family full off them – all different schools and cadres and there is always more to learn.
          2. I have formed friendships here on the blog and enjoy interacting with them.
          3. I view this blog as a support group. I remember asking my MIL why she still went to AlAnon when her husband had been sober for a very long time. She said that when she was hurt and confused in the beginning, the ones in AlAnon who’d been through it all and healed were a tremendous support and help to her. Now that she understood and had healed it was her turn to help the new ones. Maybe sharing my experiences and things I’ve learned might help others or at least keep them from feeling alone.

    2. NarcAngel says:

      Trocadero
      To add to what HG has listed.

      Intelligent and humorous conversation with people who understand and can relate to the struggles of the subject matter, unlike many close in our physical lives.
      To witness the experience of life breathing into others when they realize they are not crazy or imagining things and that there is a way forward.
      To provide support in whatever way they can, or another perspective as we are not all alike.
      To reinforce that it can and does happen to anyone and that you are not alone.
      To share the joy when you see that they don’t really need it anymore, but they stay to pay it forward and ensure that others always have a place to turn.
      To witness humanity in all its many forms and foster understanding.

      Just a few of the many things.

      1. windstorm says:

        NarcAngel
        Eloquently said!

      2. Caroline R says:

        NarcAngel
        True!

    3. WhoCares says:

      Trocadero,

      I could list many of things that have been previously mentioned by HG, NarcAngel and Windstorm but some further reasons why I’m still here is because I have a great interest in human nature, personality theories and psychology in general – plus, the role of narcissism in culture. I have learned much here and continue to find this to be a very stimulating learning environment.

    4. Bubbles🍾 says:

      Dear trocadero,
      I totally agree with NarcAngel, Windstorm and WhoCares,
      I don’t believe one ever truly successfully heals from narcissistic abuse
      … we try to cope, manage, understand, learn and grow
      I don’t mind talking about the weasel and my mother …. if it relates to someone in healing … then that’s a good
      I choose to be here because I want to and continue learning and growing, as my weakness…. are people
      This has been my best therapy and best therapy group ever
      Your cold may be cured for the time being …. but you can never stop getting the sniffles again.. and again …and again
      One never forgets people who did you wrong as they are your greatest lessons
      Luv Bubbles xx 😘

    5. Jenna says:

      Hi trocadero,

      I like being here, though I think I have healed, due to the reasons hg, windstorm, NA, and Whocares pointed out. I love HG’s writing. He is always coming out with new articles, new polls, and he is always answering new questions. I like interacting with hg and bugging him! If I catch him moderating, I like to bug him in real time, which is all the more fun! I like interacting with my friends here. Only people here can really understand what I have been through so I value these back and forth comments very much. I am interested in the Grand Design, what it is, how it will be revealed, etc. There are many reasons to be here!!

    6. K says:

      trocadero
      Although I am low contact with my MMRN, I have been drawn into the fuel matrices of a married mid-range couple (my daughter plays with their daughter) and the mother tried to get negative fuel from me recently, plus, I got a hoover from my ULN. Staying here helps me deal with them in a logical fashion.

      1. Bubbles🍾 says:

        Dear K,
        Not the Hoover from the ULN…….how did you handle it ?
        Also, we forget we come in contact with not only friends n rellies but outsiders like your daughters friends parents …. they’re everywhere they’re everywhere….haha

        I had one of those when my daughter was young …. the mother, she was so manipulative …she had me agreeing to things I never said yes to
        Mr Bubbles n I saw her about 6 months (we were out having a coffee) and she wanted to join us ……I was “grey rock” big time… I observed her behaviour …. biggest manipulative narc behaviour ever
        I said … “were leaving in a tick” and put my handbag on the seat so she couldn’t sit down …..it worked….haha
        You’re one smart cookie K…. you know the drill now ..go get em girl 🤣
        Luv Bubbles xx 😘

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