How the sociopath follows the pattern of idealise, devalue and discard

It is always shocking to the victim who has been in a relationship with a sociopath, when you are ultimately ‘discarded’ leaving you feeling worthless.

You can be left questioning the following:

  • What did I do wrong?
  • Why did he stop loving me?
  • Why did I deserve this?
  • I want answers
  • Why has this happened?


The first stage can feel heady, and like you are floating on air. The sociopath idealises you. Bombards you with affection. Tells you that you are perfect. Makes out that you are the person that he has waited all of his life for.Tells you that you are the love of his life.  He mirrors back to you:

  • What you need
  • What you want
  • What you think is missing in your life
  • Who you would like to be
  • The best side of you

It is the idealisation stage (the seduction) which lures you in. Idealising you, makes you feel good. In your own mind you are being given the message:

  • He likes me for who I really am (who you perceive yourself to be)
  • He sees my good qualities
  • He will encourage personal growth
  • He is just like me
  • I like this person

This creates a false bonding to the sociopath, because it is based upon manipulation and deception.


Once the sociopath has you hooked to the feel good factor, and you are emotionally involved with him, once he has used you for what he wants, you will notice a shift in the behaviour towards you. This is negative attention and words, which will knock you off balance, and take away your own personal power.

He will say now often the opposite of what he said in the initial stages, which will leave you feeling confused.

  • He now puts down your personal beliefs
  • Will make you question things that are important to you
  • Will make comments about how you look
  • Will make comments about your personal connections and who you are close to
  • Will often say the opposite of what was said in the idealisation stage, leaving you confused
  • Will minimise and invalidate whatever is important to you

When the sociopath is in the discarding stage, he is already making plans for exit. He likely has a new source of supply lined up. Everything  is behind the scenes, for he is the master strategist and manipulator.

The message you are left with is

  • This is my fault
  • I am not good enough
  • I have done something wrong
  • I am confused


After the full blown love affair that has swept you off your feet, to the discarding stage, where you are belittled, put down, made to feel small, made to feel that everything was your fault, were blamed, were accused to deflect from their behaviour, suddenly without warning the sociopath will discard you.

This can be incredibly painful to experience. You are treated as if you are worthless, that you mean nothing. The cut you dead attitude, from the full on seducing stage, can feel dramatic and cruel. Perhaps you had felt that when the devaluing was happening that things would return to how they were in the earlier idealisation stage of the relationship?

It is now that the truth starts to emerge. When you really see the true person come through. Now in the final stage of discard, when the sociopath has a new source of supply you are discarded like last weeks newspaper.

The way that the sociopath cuts you dead at the end is heartbreaking as you search for answers. You call but they blank your calls, or put down the phone. If they do pick up  they rant on the phone, and then cut you off mid conversation. You are now nothing to them, and if they do speak to you, it will often be just to tell you how great their life is now. How their new person is nothing like you. How much happier they are without you.

You are left stunned, and often believe the lies that are being told to you. Yes, that is right lies. As that is all that it is. Just as the sociopath lied in the beginning – and the middle he now lies at the end. Both to you (about you) and likely to others about you.

The messages that you receive at the end are

  • This is my fault
  • I am worthless
  • I was used
  • Everything was a lie
  • Nothing was real
  • Confusion

And this is the point where, without answers from the sociopath, you search for answers online. Or wherever you can find answers. You are heartbroken, as you think that you will never hear from this person again.

Will you hear from the sociopath again?

Most likely, yes. The sociopath is also a Narcissist and looks for narcissistic supply. He often leaves a relationship with sudden discard, no explanation, and leaving things ‘open’ with one foot in the  door, so that he  can return, should and when he needs to. Sometimes it might be a year before you hear from them again. Sometimes much less time. It really depends on when he needs additional supply. As rarely can he be on his own. He always needs someone else to give him whatever it is that he needs.

Likely he will return, full of further empty promises. Which will be no more than the empty promises that he sold you in the beginning. And he will return (if you allow him to) back to the cycle of:

  • Assessment
  • Seducing/gaming
  • Ruining

But you should not take him back. Things will not get better and he will not change.

You can never change anybody else, and you certainly cannot change the sociopath. But you can change you. It is now time for you to take care of you. To love yourself. To focus your energy on yourself.


Words ©


18 thoughts on “How the sociopath follows the pattern of idealise, devalue and discard”

  1. You nailed it with this sentence: “You are now nothing to them, and if they do speak to you, it will often be just to tell you how great their life is now. How their new person is nothing like you. How much happier they are without you.”

    Wow! I am completely blow away. This is my Ex to a T!!!!

    1. I was involved with a man (boy, lol) 20 years younger than me. The relationship was not romantic but in fact I more or less took him under my wing for 3 years. He was discarded by his family for what I thought was simply a drug addiction. I now release what the problem actually is. In the past 4 months he has been romancing a 23 year old girl. Love bombing on facebook and putting her on a pedestal. Meanwhile my value to him was diminishing quickly. I have know he was a sociopath about a year before this started happening so I was not surprised by it. However, I am still hurt and still amazed at how easily he discarded me. It seems that she is head over heals in love and ready to marry him as soon as possible. She has a job and of course he does not. LOL. He lives with his father now who he manipulated into believing he was clean and sober (NOT). I am healing from this relationship but the truth is that I don’t think I will be completing healed until I see that she has figured him out as well. I hope it doesn’t take too long. It’s been four months and I am surprised its still holding. I don’t have contact with him or her at the moment, mostly my choice, but there are days that I wish I could be a fly on the wall in their presence. Why do I feel the need to see this relationship fail? I know what his is but it still would feel better to see him crash and burn this new relationship or go to jail for breaking his probation. I live day to day waiting for this to happen and I am starting to obsess over it. I have read at least 15 books and completely understand why and what has happened to me but I still desire to see this relationship fall on its face. Why do I feel this way? lol I have a great husband and 3 very independent children. I don’t have contact with my S but I am not completely free yet in my mind. Perhaps I am being too hard on myself and just need some more time. I thank God everyday for keeping my involvement with this monster at arms length for he tried very hard to turn into something sick so he could control me further.
      These people have no boundaries.

      1. Thanks to therapy, journaling, meditating, seeking guidance from Paula, as well as reading Eckhart Tolle’s The Power of Now, I have finally reached a point where I barely think about my Ex, nor do I care what he is up to because I am living in the Now. I don’t think about the future and I am working very hard to not think or relive the past. I leave fate up to my Higher Power. I cannot control the fate nor do I want to try and manipulate it. Patience is key.

        You must live your life and stop thinking, hoping, wishing or praying that this man will fall on his face. While he’s taking up free rent in your head, he’s off living his life not thinking about you.

        I learned via therapy that my Ex is a pathological narcissist. These people do not think about anyone but themselves… I assure you, this man is not wasting brain matter thinking about you and what you are doing so why are you wasting brain matter thinking about him?

        Remember, “Never let anyone rent space in your head unless they are a good tenant”.


      2. Hey Darling, I was with one for 33 years, married for 26 & I know exactly how you feel. Your best option is to look after you & not give them or he a thought.
        It is only ruining your life more. Move away if you have to. Get on with your life, the pieces will begin to get better, love yourself. Be kind to yourself. They are not worth the effort. Marie

  2. Why do we still want them back after being discarded several times and then learning they are sociopaths? That makes us just as sick as them doesn’t it?

  3. Do people really take them back after they leave a year with no word? I hope by then I am on to another person. I say this because I wasn’t in mine that long. I hope I wouldn’t take him back.. UGH! They are so good at what they do..

  4. @kljstl I hope people would not take a sociopath back after an entire year with no word… I am so thankful for this site, it is really helping me.. I have not spoken with mine for 6 months now.. It took me quite some time to even figure out that he was a sociopath. The last communication that I had with him was an email, describing the deception, lies, betrayal.. I also described his different masks, I described how he was taking love but not giving it..that he wasted my time and my life.. I told him not to do what he did to me, to anyone else. That people will always catch on to his b.s. and lies to stop lying to himself and others. I told him that I did not remember him being this way when we were growing up.. (We knew each other since age 5 in church, church camps, youth groups) We only saw each other here and there after our 20s… We reconnected in early 2012 when I called to give him condolence for his father passing away) When him and I came together, he was wonderful and I could not remember him being that wonderful growing up! He made me feel like I was the most amazing person I met, We had so much in common and it seemed we were soul mates. He said I was the love of his life…This betrayal was so horrible to me, because he was like family, he was someone who had all of my trust, we had a bond since childhood. In this letter, I told him to not hurt anyone else because he has issues. I told him to get help if he needed help. I wrote this 6 months ago, of course I never heard from him again. I cried morning and night for 3 months. For about a month and a half I was kind of ok, I only cried some times. In September, I had a bad week. I lost 9 pounds in one week, because I had no appetite, and was only sleeping 2 hours a night.. I was in a lot of physical pain.. I realized that I did not want to live like this. I am doing everything I can to help myself. He never responded to me and left everything open. One of the last things he ever said to me was that he loved me. He has also told me that he would always be in my life. I am afraid of him still and I keep things on my doors for extra protection. I keep lights on to make it look like someone is awake. When I wrote this long letter to him, I did tell him that the only way I would ever offer any type of friend ship to him, was if he came clean about everything he ever lied to me about. (and that I knew about 90% of all of the lies that he had been told me) I also told him, that I didn’t care if I ever spoke to him again… I knew he would most likely never change, but I was in love with him and had hope. I know he will try again in the future, when things are not going so great for him, when he needs a new source.. its funny because when I wrote this letter to him, I never knew he was a sociopath or anything about sociopaths.. now that I have found out, it is really helping me heal and become strong again. I am so thankful for this site, I know it will help me a lot. And I am not planning to ever let him speak to me again. Because I realize that he does not think like the rest of the world, and as long as I don’t feed into his b.s., he most likely will not bother me.. I hope.

      1. Thank you!! Yes, I read somewhere, their mind is like a goldfish and they are incapable of thinking the way we do. If we don’t feed them, they will go away!! 🙂

      1. Thank you! It has been hard since I have known him since age 5 and I am 41.. his parents were friends with my parents, we had a lot of same friends growing up, etc… It felt like a huge loss for me, losing someone that was a part of some of the best times of my life (my child hood) I am determined never to get involved with someone like him ever again…

    1. This site is a wonderful site and I am so glad it is here. I can only imagine the pain the others have endured because I have never felt this way over anyone in my life and I was with my deceased husband since I was 13 and he died at 33. This crazy man was in my life for only 6 months.. UGH!

      1. I wasn’t grieving over my husband, but I was going through other things. I just moved back from TX and after reading your site find out that my husbands brother which was the person who talked me into moving to TX is a Narc. He was so controlling; I had to move back and I was only in TX for 4 months. So I was grieving over what had happened to my life in the last 6 months. I lost my job, my house; I was in someone else house who was controlling. I find out after all these years that I have known him that he was nothing but a manipulative, compulsive liar. I cant believe I have known my brother in law for 25 plus years and never realized how evil he truly was. His X wife was healed because of me moving there, she thought she was crazy because he made her feel that way and by me moving there and confirming all years of hell, We cried and held each other at night because of this evil butt…..She feels that my husband had me move there to show others how evil he was. I did and I guess i did my deed..
        I feel like I am the one that always has to do the dirty work. I’m tired of being like this.. I could go on.. So.. Yeah I was going through a lot when I met him.

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