The Stepford Devaluation



The 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.

13 thoughts on “The Stepford Devaluation

  1. lidija87 says:

    This article hits 100%.the sad truth is that this woman never realise what is happening, or they do but they accept it because of financial benefits. It’s a very lonely life to live.

  2. Violetta says:

    Sounds like a lot of society wives used to accept this deal: Jackie Kennedy, Babe Paley. People who threatened the facade (Marilyn Monroe, Truman Capote) were silenced, one way or another.

    1. lisk says:

      Note to self: read up on silencing of Truman Capote

      1. Violetta says:

        The following story got Capote ostracized by the socially registered SDs and their cheating husbands. He had been warned by a friend this might happen if they recognized themselves in his thinly disguised portraits, but he had replied, “Nah, they’re too stupid”:

  3. Bekah B says:

    I think this is the type of devaluation my ex’s new primary source will face.. She is of very high status.. She has a Masters degree in a health industry, makes a lot of money, lives in a metropolitan area, is a member of a prestigious sorority, has no children, and is a world traveler.. He will never leave her and the manipulations and devaluation he will enact against her will be very minor, compared to the ones he has enacted against me in the past and the other sources he currently has, I’m sure.. I guess it’s safe to say the relationship will certainly never end.. Only if she gets fed up with his continuous lies and cheating, and finds somebody else, will their relationship come to a halt.. Just knowing my ex as I do, he considers her a golden goose with waayyy too many residual benefits to risk losing.. He’ll never give up his golden goose..

    1. HG Tudor says:

      It does sound like a potential SD, Bekah B. Of course there is no guarantee the relationship will continue as escape may occur and there may be a disengagement trigger, although that is less likely with a Stepford situation compared to other ensnarements with the narcissist and IPPS.

      1. Bekah B says:

        Hey, HG! It’s good to hear from you! Thanks for your reply and confirmation of my speculations, and for bringing in the logic required for me to note that there is no guarantee the relationship will continue.. There’s always at least a slim chance something will occur that either triggers escape or disengagement..

        I do have a random question.. Is there a way any of your work (whether it be an actual, physical book or something electronic) can be anonymously sent to a narcissist’s target and/or victim so they can gain knowledge about who they are ensnared by?

        1. HG Tudor says:

          Yes, of course you can send something anonymously.

    2. NarcAngel says:


      The fact that he will likely not give up his golden goose is good news for you, so I hope you are viewing it in that way. Still, you need to remain vigilant about hoovers and staying no contact (or the lowest contact possible, because if I recall correctly, you have children with him). You seem to know a lot about her, so I hope you are not sleuthing, which as you know, is not beneficial to you.

      1. Bekah B says:

        Thanks for your reply, NarcAngel.. I appreciate your candidness, always.. I am trying to stay as low contact as possible.. I’ve needed to contact him this week to ask for funds for help for our kids.. His reply was, “Of Course I Can Help, But You Didn’t Need To Ghost Me Last Time, Although I Understand Your Reasoning, By All Means..” He doesn’t understand the full extent of my reasoning, but it does appear he was offended (wounded) by my lack of reply to his messages last month.. He had asked that we remain “good” no matter where we ended up in life, and with whom we ended up with..

        I know a lot about his new girlfriend because I used to attend school with her and she’s a mutual “friend”..

      2. WhoCares says:


        I recently had an opportunity to ‘sleuth’ my narcissist’s ex-partner (before me.), first opportunity in over a decade.
        Admittedly, I had the passing desire to reach out to her. But the information wasn’t on a social media page, just a business profile page of a particular organization that she works for.

        Yes, it made me emotional – but not in the way I thought it would. Her profile had an image and a list of her experience and qualifications.
        She looks healthy, she’s beautiful and she is successful. It confirmed for me that there is life beyond this experience – that’s what made me emotional, but in a good way.

  4. Ashley says:

    That’s what happened to me . I had to look perfect, cook perfectly, clean perfectly, don’t complain, & be completely submissive. Whatever he said I was like a robot yes honey 😍 And he liked me to speak like a little girl.

    1. A Victor says:

      This was how my marriage was also, and be a perfect mother, daughter in law, sister in law etc. And the little girl thing, ugh, he called me Baby-J, I hated it, it was not a term of endearment but a put down to keep me beneath him. By the time I started allowing myself to see the reality of his secrets I was 100% dependent on him (yet I couldn’t depend on him for anything, he wouldn’t allow it), worn down to a shell and still trying to make him happy. I have a very strong super element so it took a long time and I did fight him for a while, but at the end only over the kids. And then you buy into the thinking that you could have it worse etc, which also makes it difficult to justify complaining. And he made it so I couldn’t question him, it was scary to do so, very risky, though he never laid a hand on me or even threatened to, until right at the end once when he raised his fist to me. I think that was when I was waking up and beginning to ask questions even though I was afraid of the answers. I don’t know what the best empath for this role is completely but this devaluation was used on me. Had he not started taking drugs I’d probably still be there, guess I can be thankful for them for that at least.

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