Idealise, devalue, discard. What is the difference of this pattern from a Sociopath to a Narcissist? How do they differ?

The difference between Narcissists and Sociopaths (and Psychopaths)






If you are in recovery from either a Sociopath or a Narcissist, you would have witnessed the patterning in behaviour. Many people think that because they have experienced the pattern that it is the same with both the Narcissist and the Sociopath.

This is not true.

The biggest difference is the length of time from Idealise to Discard. The Narcissist fuelled by his/her ego, moves quickly from idealise to discard. Victims of the Narcissist would have experienced idealise, devalue discard, over and over. They could experience it within days, or even in extreme cases within hours.

The sociopath is working to a different time frame. Victims would have experienced the length of time from Idealise to discard much longer.

Why do Narcissists go from Idealise to Discard in a short time frame?

Both Sociopaths and Narcissists are all about the self. However, Narcissists use others to make themselves feel good. Sociopaths do not do this. Sociopaths use others for what they can get from them. Sociopaths do not need anyone else to make themselves feel good. They already feel good, and believe that they are above other people. Sociopaths use others for manipulative gain. This could be gain of money, sex, housing, social networks, anything that they think that the victim has, that is ready for the taking.

Narcissists do not work in this way. They also think that they are superior, but they use others for emotional benefits. To make themselves feel better. Using others to make their fragile selves feel better. Nobody could ever satisfy a Narcissist, as they think they are the best. They think that they deserve the best, and they have no qualms about putting someone else down to make themselves feel better. To a narcissist you are either an asset who makes them look and feel better, propping up their own inferiority complex (that they would never admit, it runs deep), once you stop doing this, or object to their unreasonable behaviour, they drop you, for not being worthwhile.

Victims of Narcissists will experience idealise, devalue and discard within a short space of time, over and over and over. The victim might be shocked that once again, they were lured in by the narcissist, when perhaps their ego was feeling fragile, rejected, scorned, unworthy. During that time, they will be lured in (or back in), by the Narcissist, who will tell the victim just how much they love them. How great they are together. Compliments will be aplenty. The Narcissist is not mentally healthy or stable. When you are so dependent on others to feel good about yourself, it won’t be too long before the narcissist feels bad about themselves, and then deflects how they feel onto you, if they feel bad, then you are bad.It is all your fault. You represent the ugly that they feel within. The Narcissist will then shut you out, cut you off as if you are nothing. Realistically they are projecting onto you their own sense of self worth.

The Narcissist sees you as a reflection of them, and their own self worth. When they lure you in, at a time when they are feeling bad within, you are the amazing person who is reflecting yourself onto them, and making themselves feel better. However this feeling will quickly change with the Narcissist, and soon, they will begin to devalue you, projecting their disdain of you, onto you, until eventually discarding you altogether. Cutting you off, as if you meant nothing.

For you, as the victim, it can feel bewildering, the storm of idealise, devalue and discard, can be so swift, and also repetitive, if you do not leave the relationship.

This is why it can be psychologically so damaging to be around a Narcissist, for never will you fill the empty void that lies within them. Constantly you will feel like you are living on a knife edge, and treading on eggshells, trying not to trigger their fragile, damaged egos.

The Narcissist feeds off the victim. Initially, you are amazing, they are feeding off your energy vibration. But quickly this will change. The narcissist needs to bring you down, to make themselves feel better. Once they have then identified the flaws within you, which they absolutely will, they discard you, like yesterdays rubbish. For you are no longer feeding them with glory.

The longer term idealise, devalue and discard with the Sociopath

Sociopaths are different, and their need for people is very different to the need of people from the Narcissist. While Narcissists need others to provide a band aid to make themselves feel better about themselves. Sociopaths do not use people in this way.

Sociopaths are intelligent, clever, charming and can be very humorous. Sociopaths already think they are amazing. They know that they are without conscience, (Narcissists DO have a conscience), Sociopaths do not have the same range of emotions as neuro typical people. So therefore they exploit other peoples emotions to get what they want.

As the Sociopath is not using a victim for EMOTIONS, while they can and do manipulate the ‘victims emotions’ to get what they want. They are much more clever. The sociopath does not need to use others to uplift how they feel about themselves. Instead,they manipulate a victims emotions, to get what they want. This might sound confusing. Think of how a puppet master manipulates its puppets using strings. The sociopaths uses the victims strings of emotions to pull their strings, to get them to do what they want them to do, for their own manipulative gain.

As the Sociopath is using a person for WHAT THEY HAVE TO GIVE THEM… they can continue in the ‘fake’ idealise patterning for as long as they are getting what they want from the victim. The reason for this, is because they are not operating with any depth of emotions, they are literally using the victim to get what they want.

The Narcissist is using the victim to prop up their own fragile self esteem. The Narcissist needs someone else to feel good about themselves.

Sociopaths can wait for a long time before they discard, simply because why would they discard you when they are getting what they want from you? (your goods, money, sex, roof over their heads etc). When they do discard, the victim is left reeling, as they often have no idea of who the person really is. As the Sociopath is an empty entity simply mirroring whoever is in front of them, so that they can get what they want. The true chameleons of life.


So, lets talk about the difference of the term ‘I love you’ from the Narcissist and the Sociopath perspective.

When the Narcissist says ‘I love you’. What they really mean is ‘Right now you are making me feel good about me’.

When the Sociopath says ‘I love you’ What the Sociopath means is ‘I am telling you what you want to hear, so that you will give me what I want’.

When the Narcissist says ‘I love you’ likely in their own capacity they mean it. It means that right now I feel good about me. You are making me feel good about me. I love you.

When the Sociopath says I love you, it is a lie, as they do not feel the normal range of emotions, it literally means, I am telling you what you want to hear, so that you will give me what I want. Also, by checking that YOU are in love with them, they know that they have you exactly where they want you ‘disarmed’.

People who are in love are stupid. Particularly if they are in love with a toxic abuser. Both Sociopaths and Narcissists are toxic and abusive. If you stay with the Narcissist as you will go through Idealise, devalue, discard, over and over and over again, at lightening speed.

Being with a sociopath,it will likely be more extreme, in terms of damage to your life (as they want your life and what you have within your life) they will literally take over your life and become you. But it might also be a more pleasurable experience, as the time space between idealise, devalue and discard, will be much longer. Sociopaths usually discard only when you no longer are offering or have what they want to take from you. While the Narcissist, it is about you propping up their own fragile self esteem and ego.

One thing is for certain, the Narcissist or the Sociopath will not change. Both are created in childhood (the Psychopath is born that way). But the Sociopath is much more fun to be around. The sociopath is more confusing, more complex. The Narcissist shows who they are, with flash clothes, ego, bragging. The Sociopath plays on your charitable nature. You almost feel sorry for the sociopath and want to help them. You might also feel sorry for the Narcissist, but this would be short lived, as you would quickly see their ego emerge. Sociopaths can keep their egos hidden and in check, if it is beneficial to do so.

When I began writing this website, there wasn’t too much online, that spoke to me. Today there is a lot of information online. I can see sometimes that what is clear sociopathic behaviour is described as Narcissism. To me, the two are very different. While all Sociopaths are also Narcissists, they hide this trait very well, for most of the time. The trickery with the Sociopath is their ability to hide, and appear to be very normal. In fact, you might not have any idea at all, that you are with a complete lunatic, until your entire world starts to fall apart. Sociopaths can do colossal damage to life. To every single area of your life. This makes them feel empowered, they take over every aspect of their life that they can. Many victims talk of losing everything in their lives, in terms of career, finances, social networks, many even losing their homes, and some were framed and ended up in jail.

The other main difference is that Sociopaths are pathological liars. ALL sociopaths are pathological liars. Everything about them is a lie. They are simply mirroring who is in front of them at the time. The Narcissist might be a liar if that is their trait, but they are not defined by being a pathological liar, in the same way that Sociopaths and Psychopaths are.

But perhaps this could be a post for another time.

The one thing that is for sure, is that they cannot and will not change. The Sociopath doesn’t change, why should they? They have no conscience and do not feel bad for their actions. Worse is that they can actually believe their own lies. The Narcissist simply believes that it was all your fault that it went wrong anyway.

If you weren’t fucked up before you met them, you certainly will be when the relationship ends. Psychological damage to victims, is also a different process for victims of Narcissists, and Sociopaths/Psychopaths. Again, perhaps this is a post that I can write about at another time.

It doesn’t matter who they are anyway. What matters is how their behaviour impacts you. If your life is being damaged. If you are suffering with panic attacks, low self esteem, feeling inferior, you are not in a good place. The person that is abusing you, is not the person to help heal you, no matter how much they claim they will (if they are in further need of supply) For the narcissist, a boost to ego, and for the Sociopath, supply of whatever you have to offer, home, money, sex, social networks, personal possessions, decoy to the outside world etc.

Get out, stay out. Go no contact and stick to it. Each day you are away you heal.

Love yourself, you really are worth it.

All rights reserved 2018


7 thoughts on “Idealise, devalue, discard. What is the difference of this pattern from a Sociopath to a Narcissist? How do they differ?”

  1. I finally found an article that I knew in my heart and Mind that there certainly was a difference between my ex-husband and My ex-boyfriend, Who I waited a year and 1/2 to date and this totally makes sense as my husband I dated for 4 years prior to marrying and then we married for 7 years and then the nightmare began and your right he’s taken over my life and he has totally destroyed me financially, he has the kids making me look like the abusive parent and I didn’t understand what was going on at all! Our kids live with him which I feel traumatized every day that they’ve been with him which 5-1/2 years after I left him the damage he did was irriversible! I lost family and friends and my childhood friend will never talk to me ever again for what she heard that I hurt the kids which I never did., my ex smeared me so badly during and after our marriage and for some strange reason since then I lost all my supports and I find even after this took place with the kids weird things that can’t be figured out keeps taking place and Idk how he’s doing it so I’m scared cause I don’t want him to hurt our kids or to pin some more things on to me seeing I never deserved it. So my issue is how do I get my life back if he still doing things to hurt me all over the place! I can’t seem to get employed. I don’t trust him or his girlfriend…they are capable of terrible things and why can’t anyone see this and help me cause I worry for the kids this is crazy why I’m all alone against this evil and everything you described in your article is him.. he didn’t need people to make him feel good and he was very humorous at times too and the stages all seemed to happen towards the end when I finally left him seeing he was accusing me of cheating and smearing me to everyone that would listen and he really doesn’t love our kids and please tell me how can I make sure my jugs are safe I’m so freaked out and don’t trust him . I need someone to help me cause this is more than I can bear. The kids saw the evil and they know what he is and I’m afraid for them. I also dated for 3 years after leaving him a man that I realized was a narcissist and he did those 3 stages so quickly over and over and over again until I was exhausted and he really did devalue me and at first everything was on light speed ahead and it was overwhelming but I thought he was finally sent to me because I finally deserved a nice man and then the nightmare started so for 2 more years I was up and down like a yo-yo he was a moody man too! Also with the my ex the sociopath he used the kids and myself and everyone else that took the bait as string puppets he would tweak out the kids and they in turn would say to me and beg never to go to their dads ever again after all the crazy stuff he did mostly to our son forcing him to drink alcohol at 10 and then driving the kids around so drunk and he also did other things and now he’s brainwashing the kids too to think it’s a nice dad that just had an alcohol problem and now he’s normal. He tells the kids to forget the past and again he must be thinking that they will tell someone’s. He turned all the Dcf investigations on him back at me . I never instigated any of them any he will tell the kids don’t believe your mom she’s the one that was trying to get him into trouble so they couldn’t Ever see him again. That I’m lying and don’t believe your mother . My ex threatened the kids lives to lie to the Dcf workers during the investigations and basically projected his nasty behaviors onto me and I was a great mother and have always done everything for our kids and during the marriage he Could not ever be bothered and it sat with me Back then how little he saw his babies he made sure he was always away from us and then the he would get aggravated that he wasn’t getting enough attention from me. I felt beside myself at times . Does sociopathy genetically go to the kids? I’m worried about my daughter which is something I’ve seen and she things she’s done like she’s killed a snake and a rabbit and lied about the snake she’s fearless and she’s been caught stealing and she has no fear at all. She also was so angry a couple years ago and went to an IOP for attacking me my mother and her brother. Since the kids have been with my ex my son who Always I was very close to and he was a very special boy having an overwhelming feelings toward another that was hurt he Would cry for them and he’s so special. Now he doesn’t talk to me he’s mad at me all the time and he is very close to his dad and never wants to talk to me and my daughter who was quiet and now she’s with me when around always we spend a lot of time with her. I’m also wondering if he is asking the kids about everything when the kids are at my home to visit and he controls them running a dictatorship like my son cries immediately if he misunderstood his father and I think my ex does it on purpose and really is causing this trauma bonding with our son who was did not ever want to see his father again. How do I get my son back he’s like a prisoner to his dad., I know this is happening and I’m so scared this isn’t fair please help with me with this!

  2. I don’t understand why dcf , the family courts and the child therapists aren’t trained in this type of psychology seeing it seems that sociopathy and narcissistis personality and perhaps psychopaths are on the rise in this society. I mean I’ve never gone through such traumatizing, severe mental pain ever in my life and my childhood was terrible. It certainly wasn’t coming home from school and seeing my mother all ready to see me and my brother who has now passed away at 17 and I was 15. Both parents were a mess my dad was arrested and shortly after my brother died my mom was arrested so my brother passed I believe he was drunk because our mom took off leaving us with her mom our grandma and all my brother needed was his mom seeing he ran away from our dad who was on drugs and so was our mom. So my brother whom I miss all the time is gone and my family is tiny.. I got married at 34 and was so happy cause I went to college and I quite drinking at 30 and we had a very happy family accept he was controlling so I went back to Work as a waitress cause my husband never ever gave me any money for me and kids for the week and it was wasn’t good at all. So I was at this place the a respectable country club and out of no where I was being accused of cheating and Before I knew it I was defending myself with family friends parents were looking at me as a bad wife and Terrible mother my husband was smearing me everywhere prior to me leaving him. He denied it when I confronted him and I started seeing the lies but it was amazing how he would lie without flyching and idk why I always fell Victim of his games after the divorce he showed up at my home crying and carrying on about loosing everything and unemployment stopped and he wasn’t working how he was gonna loose his truck and so stupid me took his word about paying me back and he stuck it up my ass. Around $13 grand in one year and he never paid me back ever but told the kids his girlfriend her parents my friends and family that I kept taking from him and I’ll never forget my friend from childhood stating to me yelling at me after my ex has gotten a hold of her ear for 2 weeks when I was away and he brainwashed her she said to me I can’t trust you. You have always lied to me and I can never trust you again and I remember saying I get it you say and had conversations with my ex while I was away and you actuality believed him didn’t you.. I said my son told me already that daddy was saying terrible things about me to you and all the Sudden you made my kids and my ex leave seeing something he said to you Striked a cord. So I am done you know what I’ve been through with my husband and you were scared for me and kids and you have chosen to believe me ex I said fuck you I can’t stand you all. So within the next 4-1/2 years I had primary residence and after the 3rd Dcf case on my ex I lost the kids and I begged the therapist not to call Dcf I cried and everything.. the kids once their dad caught wind of Dcf in his life when the kids went over for visitation. They were threatened scared of their own shadows and verbally, emotionally and mentally abused scared of their therapist who promised to help us and she was gone no where to be found she gets fired from her job and never was there for me and kids. So the kids lives were threatened and they lied to Dcf for my ex and he was not in trouble but my ex because There were 2 more back to back cases on my ex and he would freak the kids out they told their therapists and Dcf would be Called again so each time my life got worse and worse. Case 3 was when the straw broke the camels back . Even though the case was on my ex the Dcf worker didn’t believe my son and he shut down I saw him traumatized and he was fighting for his freedom from his dad who was abusing him by forcing him to drink alcohol and scaring him with dolls actually Tortured him by placing a doll under his fitted sheet and making him lie on this all night in the pitch black and he cried himself to sleep on exhaustion his dad was drunk and laughed at him and then the driving the kids around drunk and the kids were so scared they begged me please mommy I can’t ever go back to dads I’m scared. Well seeing he was able to trick our daughter to sleep over during Xmas break of 2016 that one night he was able to complete my Demise by freakin the shit out of our daughter telling her he will kill her if she doesn’t tell Dcf exactly what he told her to say and basically it substantiated me with abuse and neglect and I lost primary residence of the kids. I found this out a year and 1/2 later and I remember my daughter coming home from visiting her dad she never told me her life was threatened by dad but he was watching a scary show and she saw some of this. The next month she refused to go to school she was Deathly afraid of her dad picking her up and never returning her. My son was getting visits by his dad during the week and our son remained catatonic to his dad he feared him so much and so my ex would talk to him secretly in his bedroom and basically he told me that daddy told him you won’t win this he said I’m better than you and the more you both refuse to come over the worse it’ll be for your mom. It gets worse too. All the sudden Dcf shows up telling me anonymous calls with concerns regarding my parenting and that after that and he forced our daughter to lie to Dcf or he would kill her (she was 8 years old) why can’t there be one person to help me the kids reside at their dads who I know is totally working them especially our son who refused to go to his dads. My trauma therapist believes me finally I was able to get my therapist instead of Getting called paranoid. I’m so afraid for the Kids now. I don’t have the money for legal cousel.. but according to Dcf I was substantiated with abuse and neglect and I never did a thing wrong ever. Everyone thinks my ex is a social drinker and good dad I’m the one that looses the kids after he smeared me on and off for 8 years. The children’s therapists really disappointed me completely why in the world isn’t these therapists trained I bet this is the majority of Dcf and cps cases and the children end up with the sociopath and keep getting tormented behind closed doors. I truly need help I’m doing a lot better but it’s not fair to my innocent children being exposed to this every single day please reach out to me I need assistance support and help with this

  3. Wonderful article. I’ve experienced these differences, it’s nice to have it laid out. I hope that you do write the future articles especially in the different processes of recovery, i’m still trying to recover from both (one diagnosed psychopath 2+ years then promptly to a narcissist who did cycle multiple times very quickly.) I’m out of both but the scars remain and they both are potential Hoover’s that I need to be strong for against their tricks and/or delusions. Or mine lol.

    1. Hi jani thanks for your comment. I tried to think which was the worst the longer term cycle of discard of the psychopath or shorter term repeated pattern of the narcissist. I guess they both are bad. As with the narcissist you go through it again and again and again. Whereas with the psychopath you might have a period of illusion which could be some considerable time before you see reality/damage/discard. This leaves victims with grief of the honeymoon period. I’d there ever was one.

  4. I mean this in the most respectful way: it will never cease to amaze me how emotionally driven people are. I have seen people make the worst decisions in the heat of passion. I will never understand it. To me, it is always so clear and never clouded with feelings. I actually pity others sometimes seeing them make unhealthy choices.

    1. Doesn’t mean to say you have to take advantage/ exploit this though. As that says more about you. Out of interest how was your childhood? What is relationship /was with your parents/siblings?

      1. @positivagirl where did he say he took advantage or exploited them? I did not read that? I as a ‘normal’ human beïng only can envy somewhat this psychopaths characteristic because they will quietly makes descisions which isn’t led by any irrational emotions (however this makes us human). With envy I only mean their temporarary lack of fears and insecurities staying relaxed whatever they meet without any stress because what he forgets is highly emotional empathic people like me will driven by their emotions have the urge to look wider and go deeper and therefore can make better choices and results.

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