How to defend yourself from narcissistic devaluation?

If everything was great with a person and suddenly they started to put you down and distance themselves from you, you may be suffering from narcissistic devaluation. Find out more about this here.

Last update: 12 September, 2022

Narcissism is still an unknown term for many people. However, many around us can identify with him. They are people who think they are superior to others.who use others for their own benefit and who can initiate a narcissistic devaluation when they least expect it.

Following what the MSD Manual explains to us, the narcissist also lacks empathy and needs adulation from others. But even though he seems sure of himself, with great confidence, he actually has a significant lack of self-esteem.

It is a diagnosis that, in psychology, is known as narcissistic personality disorder.

Now we are not going to focus so much on delving into this disorder, but on narcissistic devaluation. We will see what it consists of, when a person starts it and the consequences it can have for those who have become its victims. Therefore, we will also offer some tips to protect yourself.

What is narcissistic devaluation?

The narcissistic devaluation begins suddenly, without warning, although it is true that can be done subtly at first. As the Royal Academy of the Spanish Language (RAE) explains, devalue refers to “to lower the value of a currency or something else, to depreciate it”.

Therefore, in narcissistic devaluation, the person tries to put the other down, detracting from any act performed or objective achieved. Why does the narcissist usually do this? Because he has already achieved his goal.

In fact, they are really charming at first. They catch you and generate an attraction that very few manage to escape. However, once in his hands, he uses the other until he gets tired and devaluation makes an appearance.

The narcissist generates an attraction that does not reveal his true intentions at the beginning.

The cycle of narcissistic devaluation

To talk about narcissistic devaluation, we have to see it as a cycle. A tide in which these types of people submerge their victims and that always passes in the same way.

To begin with, everything is wonderful. It’s a good friend or potential partner who is there, cares, and doesn’t have a single flaw. In addition, he shares many tastes.

The narcissist usually molds himself to the other person, knowing exactly what he likes and what he doesn’t, so that he lowers his guard. Then begins the idealization.

Then there is a hook, in which the narcissist takes control of the situation. The other person is not his priority; offers you crumbs, but that idealization has already done all the work. Now yes, the next phase is that of narcissistic devaluation.

In this devaluation there are beginning to be excuses to stay, there are obvious slights and a lack of interest that increases over time. The victim of the narcissist does not understand anything, asks for explanations, gets overwhelmed and goes after. The ghosting and manipulation will be techniques that you will love to use.



How to prevent and defend against this devaluation?

To prevent narcissistic devaluation, idealization should be avoided. Trying to keep your feet on the ground at all times is essential in any type of relationship. No one is perfect, there is always a flaw. Being clear about this is crucial.

However, in those cases in which the devaluation has already begun, there are some tips that can help so that the situation does not affect self-esteem and self-confidence. Here are some of them:

  • Practice zero contact: It is a decision that you do not want to make, but it is the best one. Blocking and cutting off all contact with that narcissist that insults, devalues, belittles and is causing harm is the way to take care of oneself.
  • Keep doing things: practicing that fun hobby, reading, meeting friends, focusing on work… Life should not stop because a narcissist is playing and manipulating.
  • Put limits: stop picking up the phone, cut off the relationship or speak up so as not to be manipulated are some ways of communicating to the narcissist that he has made the wrong victim. This is not easy, so psychological help will always be a stronghold.
Exposing the narcissist is not easy, but we must make it clear that we will not be their victims.


You should go to a psychologist when you have detected in yourself a behavior similar to that exposed about the cycle of narcissistic devaluation. However, this is not easy at all.

Therefore, even if you are a victim in these circumstances, therapy can help you get out of the relationship and rebuild the damaged parts of your self-esteem. The MSD Manual estimates that 6.2% of people living in the United States suffer from narcissistic personality disorder. So we must assume that there are many more in the world.

Knowing this type of personality and being cautious is essential to prevent us from ending badly. Sometimes this happens almost without us noticing. Avoiding idealization is key.

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