On Being Dismissed

Mega Supreme-nessEvery month this blog gets visited by souls who search, “Why did he dismiss me?” or “Why have I been dismissed?”  or “She dismissed me, does she love me?”

In all these years of writing, reading and learning about narcissism, I’ve seen many differing opinions on why the narcissist chooses to dismiss.

  • The narcissist dismisses you when you stop being her source.
  • You’ve been dismissed because he has found a more enthusiastic source.
  • She dismissed you because you no longer buy into her grandiosity or her Mega Supreme-ness.  (Good for you!)
  • You were dismissed because he hired a younger, hotter secretary.
  • You might have been dismissed when the kids got old enough and provided a better source than you ever did.  They don’t argue with him.  They are easily swayed by his lectures about your inadequacies.  They fear his wrath, so in order to survive, they become his minions, focusing all their energies on pleasing him.
  • Or, you had the nerve to get older, lose your waistline and your interest in being his arm candy.
  • You may have been dismissed because, after years of believing her charade, she’s completely lost all respect for you because she knows, deep down, how despicable she is, and there you’ve been, all along, keeping her up on that pedestal.  The narcissist begins to think that there must be something wrong with you, if you bought into her bullshit, therefore, she has no choice but to dismiss you, because you are so obviously inferior to her.
  • You might not realize you’ve been dismissed.  You’ve been going about your day, dusting his pedestal, sweeping his floors, caring for his minions, and he comes home to you every night.  When was the last time he took interest in you?  When was the last time he asked of your needs or desires?  If it has been awhile, you’ve been dismissed.  He keeps you there to take care of the mundane while he makes the rounds, convincing others of his greatness.


All of these reasons have merit, and none of them make sense.  These reasons don’t make sense to one who is kind and compassionate.  These reasons are illogical to one who feels empathy.

You are dismissed because of the narcissist’s lack of empathy.

I know it doesn’t feel like it, but the narcissist has done you a favor by dismissing you.


Now go!

Run in the direction of your healthy future.

Don’t look back!

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  1. This is a wonderful continuation of your last post “Keep Moving.” Being dismissed might be the logical impetus to Get moving – and keep on going down the road…

  2. Pat,

    Weird to think “they” do us a favor by dismissing us, but it’s so true.

  3. I have been meaning to thank you. It was through your blog I realized I had been raised by a BPD/narcissistic mother. I decided to go to therapy and it is one of the best choices I have made in my life. I still have some fears and quirks, but I am learning to recognize them and be in control. Being raised by a narcissist somehow robbed me of my identity, because you know, nothing we do is ever right or passes their approval.

  4. SM,

    Thanks so much for writing. It sounds like you found a therapist who SEES you. I’m so glad.

    If I could, I’d reach through your screen and give you a hug.

  5. Inside, I knew he wanted me out of there. I didn’t have the knowledge of what an N was at that time & they “discard”. Just an “urging” to run. We refer to those things as intuition. Yet, I knew I had time to make plans.

    What amazed me was that he revealed his behavior toward me in front of others. In what I’ve learned about N’s since my leaving, I’m surprised those incidences happened. Why didn’t he keep those hidden?

    Perhaps the out-of-control behavior was so strong an overload to his system, it was out of his control…he could no longer hide from others.

  6. Kay,

    I can only speak from my experience. I can remember my ex revealing bits of his narcissism in front of others. It was usually an attempt to put me in my place so as to appear superior. He might say something disparaging about women (revealing his misogynistic nature) but it was because he was feeling insecure about something. For example, I might know something that he didn’t. *gasp* Putting me in my place was his attempt at getting back up on the pedestal.

    I think they forget to hide their narcissism when they feel they are losing control.

  7. Jesse, I was wondering if you had an opinion on this…when we fall in love or have children, the brain releases hormones to help you bond with your partner/ children. I assumed this was kind of involuntary. Do you think narcissists are low in these bonding hormones? Or does their brain somehow override them? Just wondering how they fail to bond with others in the natural way we are all programmed to do? A bit scientific, but just curious if you’ve thought about this?

  8. Elliott,

    I have thought about it in relation to parenting. I hadn’t planned on having kids. I wasn’t one of those people that needed to hold babies. I’d been married a couple years and (biological clock?) thought, “Is this it? What’s missing? I felt a desire I couldn’t explain, and didn’t have a reference point to that desire being fulfilled by having a baby. Not to sound cliche, but when Will was born, my life changed. For the better. For the best, really. Something changed in my brain. It flooded with those bonding hormones you mentioned. And then Jen, and well… Now I’m one of those people that gets all gushy over babies. I guess once those hormones kick in, they stay for as long as you’re a parent. Thankfully.

    I don’t know why it seems that some brains in parents don’t flood with those hormones. Maybe it’s a little trickle? Just enough to get the baby fed and the diapers changed and then, “Whew! What’s next? Are we done here? When does this kid leave?”

    Is it lack of empathy? Maybe the “empathy gene” is closely linked to the bonding hormones? I don’t pretend to know about the biology of narcissism. If it is, indeed, a biological thing, but I see a pattern in Ns not particularly caring about the whole bonding thing. Maybe they lack the hormone that makes them connect with others, including their own kids. Because they lack empathy, they simply cannot bond. It’s not in their nature. sadly…

    They can fake it, tho. They are very good at faking it, when there’s an audience.

    I hope you are doing okay. Sounds a bit like maybe you are still wrestling with the “whys.”

    Sending a hug.

  9. Thanks Jesse, your perspective really helped! I think sometimes trying to figure other people out can become a bit of an obsession – in my case not always a healthy one. I think I have this need to understand everything (I have a scientific background where I’m usually seeking a right or wrong answer!).

    I’ve always wondered why a narcissist can hurt someone they supposedly ‘love’ or care about? I’d lose sleep if I thought I’d genuinely hurt someone’s feelings! But they don’t…infact (as you know!) they are usually completely unaware of doing it. But if you even slightly hurt their feelings….beware!

    I think i need to crossover from trying to analyse the narcissist too much & focus my energies on my own healing! That’s what I like about your blog – you present both sides – the crazy behaviour of the narcissist and the steps you’ve taken in dealing with him & improving yourself.


  10. Elliott,

    Ha! I am so like that – the middle-of-the-night ponderings on why someone says or does whatever.

    When I read your comment I remembered a comment made by a woman in a chat site for narcissism. It has stuck with me over these years of writing the blog. She suggested that co-dependents (not suggesting you are co-dependent, but I have worked on trying not to be) are rather narcissistic in their own right. It pissed me off when I read her comment, but I couldn’t quit thinking about it. And these many years later, I’ve not forgotten it. I think she’s right. Co-dependents are so convinced that they can help, or be what the other needs, or solve all the issues or create the perfect environment. Isn’t that a little bit narcissistic, too? There’s certainly some ego involved in that.

    Do you wonder if there’s a bit of ego involved in our desperate need to understand why someone behaves the way they do? I’m wondering as I write. I don’t know what drives this need to know or fix or make better… (Could it be rooted in our ego feeling bruised when we start thinking that we aren’t good enough to please this partner? We erroneously believe that we aren’t capable of behaving in a way that brings out the best in the narcissist. So that gets us to focusing on why they behave the way they do, because, certainly, it can’t be MY behavior.)

    Who am I to think I know the better way for one to act? It goes without saying that one should care for her child or his partner, but beyond that, I don’t have the market cornered on the best way to approach life, so why should I be so concerned about why others behave the way they do?

    It’s better to stop touching the hot burner. Stay away from the person that hurts you. Move toward the people who leave you feeling good about yourself, and away from those who leave you feeling deflated.

    I’m rambling here. I have a feeling this is more directed at me than you. ;) How’s that for being narcissistic!! Ha!

    Now when I get my feelings hurt by them, I’m spending less time wondering why they did what they did, and more time looking for the thing or the book or the friend or the music that feels good. I don’t believe we will learn, any time soon, what motivates their behavior other than some insatiable desire to fill a hole in their soul. Sad. Very sad. I know I’ve tried to fill those holes. I’m working on myself, instead.

    Geez, I’m afraid I got off track.

    Thanks for reading on the blog and commenting. Your comments always get me to thinking. :)

  11. Oh I can definitely identify with the codependent label – no offence taken! There have been times when I’ve considered if I’m a little self obsessed in relation to my problems. I can go over & over a problem & immerse myself in my own feelings although I tend to keep them to myself . I’m also quite sensitive (as a narcissist usually is). Probably the difference with a narcissist is that they don’t see that they are being self indulgent and are likely to blame their problems on someone else! I (hope) I’m aware of myself doing this & I tend to be introspective & put a lot of the onus on myself. I’ve read somewhere that codependency & narcissism are 2 sides of the same coin. It can’t be denied that there are some similarities.

    The healthiest thing to do is disengage from the ‘why’ as you say and focus on what makes me happy – it’s hard to change the habit of a lifetime!

    I’m trying mindfulness as a way to break negative thinking patterns but I’m only at the start of the practice.

    It’s nice to read your stories & draw parallels with my own!


  12. Elliott,

    Not sure what you’ll think of them, but the Abraham Hicks tapes on Youtube are a treasure trove of good words and ways to focus on feeling good.

    Esther has been instrumental in my healthier attitude.

    I’m gonna manifest attending one of her seminars one day.

    Wishing you fun. That’s what we should be doing – having more fun.

  13. “When I read your comment I remembered a comment made by a woman in a chat site for narcissism. It has stuck with me over these years of writing the blog. She suggested that co-dependents (not suggesting you are co-dependent, but I have worked on trying not to be) are rather narcissistic in their own right. It pissed me off when I read her comment, but I couldn’t quit thinking about it.”


    I have often wondered why my mother stayed with my narcissistic father for so long, or why she had married him in the first place. Only after their separation, when I was in my mid-twenties, did she tell me that it made her feel special to think that she was the only one who could understand him or cope with his difficult nature. She could deal with horrible fights, name-calling, total lack of support, threats etc., but what finally broke her was the evidence that he had been cheating on her for many years. That she was not the only one. That she had never been as special as she thought she was.

    Even now, many years later, she is always pleased when she is told something that nobody else knows.

    Maybe this need to feel special also influences the way she interacts with her grandchildren. My two are outgoing and approachable, they are easy to get to know. Their cousins on the other hand are shy and withdrawn, they don’t warm up to everyone. I get the impression that she finds it more rewarding to interact with my sister’s kids than with mine.

    And the “narcissism of the co-dependent” is probably what made me an easy target for other narcissists I met later in life. The last one was someone I met at the office, an external consultant I had to work with. He had his own start-up and would always tell me how brilliant I was and how much he would like me to join his company. At first I was flattered, but after a while I noticed that he had begun to treat me as if I already was his employee and not his customer. I had to be very confrontational and more aggressive than I like to be to get him back on track.

    That was when I finally understood that my need to be recognized as special was my Achilles’ heel. Since then, I have discovered how rewarding it can be to just embrace being ordinary. It is like a protective shield, and it leads to a more relaxed, happy outlook on life. I wish I had realized this sooner.

  14. Jul,

    Oh, the devastation those Ns can cause. Your mom…. that’s so sad. And what a way for you to learn to navigate this world.

    I just had a convo with a fellow who told me of the mess in his family. We agreed that sometimes folks put up with lousy behavior if it means they are needed. Being needed is so important, that we’ll allow ourselves to be mistreated.

    Maybe your mom feels like your sister’s kids need her, since yours are so outgoing. ?

    I believe I have the same Achilles’ heel. Yuk. Not a pleasant thought. But I know what you mean about the relaxed/happy outlook when we aren’t desperately looking for someone/something to prove that we are special.

    Thanks for being here, Jul. Your insights help others, too, you know.

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