when the narcissist downgrades after you

What to Do When the Narcissist Downgrades After You

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If you’ve left an abusive relationship and gotten rid of the narcissist in your life—first of all, congratulations! You are no longer the narcissist’s supply and can begin living a full and free life.

But sometimes people get out of a relationship and start seeing the narcissist with someone else, either online or in person. And maybe you perceive them to be a downgrade. These thoughts and opinions can make you feel self-doubt and confusion—what’s wrong with me? What does this new supply say about me?

This kind of talk is common on discussion forums online, with people expressing confusion about when the narcissist downgrades in their next relationship. Since it’s a common discussion, I explored it in-depth in a YouTube video. Check it out or read on here to look further at this idea and how you can respond.


Why Are They a Downgrade?

When we look at someone, we automatically make judgements based on things like their appearance, how they dress, their career, or their possessions. This is part of human nature and natural observation.

The problem is when we assign value to someone because of those things. At the end of the day, those external things do not determine a person’s worth.

So, when people talk about someone else as a “downgrade,” it is making a quick, unfair judgement about a person without really knowing very much about them. When you see the narcissist with someone else you consider a downgrade, you don’t know their full situation or story. Automatically looking at someone as a downgrade is a judgmental place to be in, rather than an open and compassionate place.

The Narcissist and Their New Supply

Instead of looking at someone as a downgrade who’s with a narcissist, we should consider that they are actually just the next source of supply for a narcissist.

For a narcissist, there is no “downgrade” or “upgrade”—just supply. Because they don’t care about what someone looks like, much less who they are as an individual. Instead, they are looking for something else, like:

  • Money, property, and other possessions
  • Sex
  • Power and control
  • Connections and networking

And these things don’t have to be correlated to looks or something else. In fact, many narcissists will date models and celebrities, parading them around like arm candy at a party. But after the party’s over, there’s no special treatment towards them.

There’s nothing that will “keep” a narcissist except for the supply they’re after. It’s just about the supply.

A Cautionary Tale: You Could be the Downgrade

Looking at someone as a downgrade comes from a place of judgement—you don’t know their story. The reality is that many people have lost everything from a previous toxic relationship with a narcissist. Because of toxic relationships, people often lose their jobs, turn to drugs or alcohol, or lose custody of their children. These things might be considered “downgrade” qualities.

But here’s the thing: that could be you.

If you stay in a toxic relationship with a narcissist, you could also lose your job, family, looks, or anything else. And perhaps the next person the narcissist ends up with will look at you as the downgrade.

So, let’s have compassion and empathy—we don’t know people’s stories and what brought them to the current place they’re in. And if they’re in a relationship with a narcissist, they’ve likely experienced trauma and toxicity that led them to a negative place in their life.

You can’t know the person’s full story, but you do know that a narcissist will do anything for a fix, for their supply. Upgrading or downgrading is not an important concept to them as long as they are getting what they want from a relationship.


If you are looking at the narcissist’s new supply and considering them a downgrade, first ask why? What are you perceiving that makes you think this way?

Then come to a place of compassion and understanding—you don’t know anything about them and their story, and it’s judgmental to make quick assumptions about their value because of their appearance of other external factors.

More than this, it has no reflection on you—you’ve escaped the narcissist and are no longer their supply. So, they’re going elsewhere to find it. But if you continue down the same road with a narcissist and keep them in your life, you could be the “downgrade” and you could be the one struggling.

Instead of spending too much time thinking about the new person, focus on avoiding narcissists and building back your own life.

Personally, when I left my last toxic relationship several years ago, I forced myself to be alone for a long time.  During this period, I did lots of healing work that I outline in THRIVE.  I surrendered and accepted that I hadn’t been willing to walk away when red flags began popping up. I began the next thrilling chapter of my life, and gave myself permission to be ME.  I did energy healing, both alone at home and also through energy healing practitioners.  I restored my shattered identity and sense of self…and became a better version of myself than ever before

If you’ve recently left a toxic relationship, it’s recommended that, in addition to protection practices, you also seek a program that can help you deprogram yourself from the devastating effects of toxic relationships and limiting beliefs.

THRIVE will help you bring forward your higher self, deeper truths, untapped potentials, and life purpose.

The true beauty of THRIVE is that it can be completed whether or not you’ve detached from toxic relationships. You will begin to stop reliving your disappointments, losses, setbacks, and failures. You will accept and internalize that true change cannot be achieved by analysis, argument, or intellectualizing. You will stop feeling compelled to engage in fruitless conflicts with toxic people because you are ready to create new habits that will propel you toward a healed self-image and increased confidence.

You may even reach a point where you are no longer terrified by the prospect of leaving your abusive or toxic relationships for good.

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Leave a Comment:

Ana M says January 4, 2024

Wow!! I was married to one for 12 years & left, now am dealing w/a close family member. Your article answered many questions I had. Is there any hope for a narcissist to be “normal?”

M says July 31, 2023

Also, I just want to share one more thought on this. I think that when somebody is feeling hurt at being used/abused/discarded, we have to understand that they might say things that aren’t always kind.
So perhaps we shouldn’t criticize them for how they express their feelings about the new supply. You have to understand that it is difficult to feel sympathy for the new supply in some cases.

I think that if the new supply is perceived as a “downgrade” (whether that is real or imagined) that’s just how somebody may feel and they have a right to express that. I myself have had those thoughts. It doesn’t make me judgmental, it makes me human. Where it would be wrong is if I were to say those things to a person who doesn’t deserve it and could be hurt by it.

I think this was a well-intentioned post, Kim…but now I respectfully disagree just a bit. Part of how I healed through that part of my life was by venting about that other person (new supply). Was it kind? Maybe not. Did I view her as a “downgrade”? In some ways, yes.
I never contacted her or said anything to her. But I had a right to my feelings. I owed her nothing at all. As long as there is no bullying or cruelty, people have a right to feel the way they do. I was not in a place to show understanding to somebody who (from what I saw at the time) was complicit with my ex in hurting me.

Calling the new supply names is mean, but it’s also unfair to expect compassion from a person who is deeply hurting.
Allow people time to heal and work through trauma. If that means that they need to vent about the new supply, please try to understand.

We all have a story. That is true, but it doesn’t excuse another person’s hurtful actions. So calling somebody else a “downgrade” is sometimes the truth and it is also a way to process the hurt.

Ellen says July 27, 2023

I was fired after being threatened by a Manager he yells at everyone and follows women to the bathroom and yells at them. The manger /owner lost her cool and sat there and kept threatening me after i was already fired i put on my coat to leave and she jumped up and ran around table and kept saying I will be seeing you. I had taken calls from people who no longer worked there and Could here the fear in there voices as they tried to get there last paycheck . I had planned on going in and picking up my check and one day it arrived at my door with signature required. She Forced people with other manager to sleep in there cars. It hurt my moral sense of right and wrong to see so many emmagrants worked so hard. She told me there was a war going on and And than accused me of being ‘European”, Oh last I checked my passport and my Birth Certificate say I am born on American Soil. It floored me how she had to claim i was some how European when i am born in the Good old Bronx, New York City. She beleiving my Northern roots ment I am a European Opressor?She was a trip in her politics and yeh my tire was slashed just two day befor. This was litterly forced labor when i wanted to eat and use bathroom day befor Thanksgiving I was followed and told to go back to work. I guess her European car does not bother her. That day she kept getting more and more angry so i just shut up and said Ok i am fired , I will leave. She had to sit there and continue to go on after I had excepted defeat gracefully and stood and started to put on my coat. This was the point she ran over to side of chair and stuck her face next to my ear and said we will see each other again as though it was a threat I though she would be violent so i left quickley. It was really like a movie.

Shirley says March 21, 2023

I have read a few of your articles. You described my ex’s to a T! I was married to the first one for 20 years. A year ago, he wanted to see me so he could ask for “forgiveness”. Well he had no idea how strong I had become after marrying a second narcissist and drawing the line on that marriage. So I agreed to see him in a mutual place. The first thing he said to me was “Boy, you look old!” I couldn’t help bursting out laughing. It had been 30 years since we had seen each other. Anyway, I told him he didn’t have to ask me for forgiveness because I had already forgiven him for ME, so I could move on. He was so uncomfortable that he had to leave. So even after 30 years they don’t change.

Tim says March 15, 2023

32 yrs I took it she was 74 and still put my foot firmly down your leaving . And she went I am free . Now I ask will I feel real love when if it happens or am I damaged goods,and not worth a second chance.?

MEA says January 27, 2023

Although it was obvious to anyone that she was less attractive and less classy than me, I maintained compassion and I never judged my ex’s new wife until she abused our daughter. They both abused our daughter. My ex lost his parental rights over this abuse.
So, I think in my case, it’s fair to say the ex made an extreme downgrade.

    Stephanie says November 7, 2023

    So sorry to hear about your daughter. God bless

Anonymous says January 15, 2023

Very enlightening. Confirms the research I did as well. I’m no longer in that awful marriage
On e question: why am I attracted to men of this type?????

Judy says November 16, 2022

Thank you!!

Beth says November 6, 2022

I could have written that myself..

M says October 15, 2022

Also, to add to my point…my ex’s new supply is unattractive (just being honest) but I’ve come to see that she is actually a nice person.
She has a good job in the medical field, she is a good mom to her daughter, and she seems to have a kind heart.
I think my ex (and his toxic army of followers) fooled her with lies about me, because otherwise she is somebody I wouldn’t mind being friends with.
I can see now that like myself, she is a good person who fell in love with a bad guy. She seems to have been unaware of his real character (he died in 2016).

So my views on her have definitely changed for the most part. Now a few years back? Let’s just say that my words about her would have been more harsh and scathing.
But it stemmed from a place of hurt. It wasn’t her fault that my ex and his family/friends abused me, or that she was the new supply, but hating her (although I didn’t know her) was the only way I could deal with my pain at the time.

I don’t think this is wrong or judgmental, per se…it’s normal to vent and to make observations about the new supply.
Where it becomes a problem is if we become obsessive about it, or if we bully the person in some way.
Me personally, I never confronted her or said anything to her. But I did check her social media often (don’t recommend doing that) and I’ll admit…my thoughts about her were not kind back then.
I would look at how fat she was, how bad her teeth were, how unappealing she seemed overall. I think I was just trying to understand how and why he would discard me for somebody like that. So I was guilty of seeing her as a “downgrade” and that was wrong…but for some people, it’s part of healing.

I’m happy to say that I don’t see her in that way anymore. I have a more neutral and indifferent attitude about her now.
She is just a person who is trying to live her life. She didn’t do anything to hurt me…it was the narcissist using her to make me feel bad.
And to some extent she went along with it, but I don’t blame her anymore. I think she wanted love and she was thrilled that he made her feel special, and she didn’t see him for who he was because he didn’t show her that side of himself.

M says October 15, 2022

Agreed, Kim. You shared lots of wisdom in this post. I think that as people, we all tend to compare ourselves with others in terms of “better” vs. “worse”.
To do so is perfectly natural…but as you said, it’s not always kind to do that.

I also think people tend to do it from a place of hurt. Not to be malicious, but more from hurt and trying to make sense of why the narcissist devalued or discarded them for somebody who doesn’t (outwardly) seem to have much to offer.
Because a narcissist will tell their victim (the old supply) “you’re bad, you’re stupid, you’re ugly” etc…only to move on to new supply that actually DOES fit that description (as cruel as that sounds).

But you’re absolutely right. Maybe the key is to realize that the new supply isn’t the problem, and that it is only a matter of time before the narcissist hurts them too.
Because of that, we shouldn’t hate them or focus on them. I’ve done that from a place of hurt and anger, but it wasn’t healthy.
I don’t think we owe them compassion, so we differ slightly on that. But I think maybe if we can arrive at a more neutral feeling about the new supply, it might work.

Like maybe this person does have redeeming qualities that are not immediately obvious, or maybe they have been fooled by the narcissist also.
Maybe if we frame it in that way, it can be a bit more healing.

Olivia says September 5, 2022

Or you could just say, ‘oh well, I was obviously too good for them’ 😉

    Gale says December 4, 2022

    Olivia I love your answer and your attitude!

Olivia says September 5, 2022

Or you could just say, ‘oh well, I was obviously too good for them’ ?

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