Narcissism and the Addiction to Narcissistic Supply

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Narcissism And The Addiction To Narcissistic Supply

The Narcissists Addiction to Narcissistic Supply:

Lamb to the Slaughter

Narcissists are addicted to a drug known as “Narcissistic Supply“, and it does not matter whether the supply is good or bad, what matters is that the supply brings adulation, fame, and celebrity that is constant, reliable, and predictable.

Narcissistic Supply really refers to those people who provide a constant source of attention, approval, adoration, admiration, etc., for the narcissist. The attention they receive from the “Supply Source” is vital for the survival of the narcissist, without it they would die (either physically or metaphorically), because their weak ego depends on it in order to regulate their unstable self-worth and self-esteem. The narcissist perceives themselves as being very independent. They could not deal with the fact that they need anybody, because needing someone would imply some boundary to their power or imply that they are incomplete. Furthermore, they cannot tolerate any sign of independence and autonomy from their “supply”, this only serves to enrage them. The narcissistic supply is there to serve them, so they try to cement their source of supply into the role they have made for them, and there they remain under the narcissist’s control. Any deviation from this position on the part of their supply will end in punishment for the transgressor. So, like the Queen Bee, the narcissist is surrounded with a hive of worker bees, all in service to their needs, which ironically make them totally co-dependent on others for their survival.


Get an in-depth understanding of Narcissistic Personality Disorder (NPD)

The narcissist’s pattern of behaviour is driven purely by their addiction for admiration and respect from others, it fills their thoughts, actions and deeds, and the source of that supply is not particularly important. As with all addictions, there are good and bad sources of supply, and to the narcissist, any source is better than none. However, given a choice, their first choice would be to pursue the finest sources possible. The best source would depend on how they view the Supply in the first place. If they can get the admiration from a source that they find superior themselves, then that would be even better. So if they admire someone, for whatever reason, for example, their intellect, their knowledge, their wealth, their position, etc., then these people would be really welcome trophies to have notched up on their belt. Of course, they would only respect those people who they would acknowledge as being on a higher social status than themselves anyway.

If they manage to gain admiration from a high ranking, high status person, they will ingratiate themselves to that individual with a clear intention to extract any “greatness” they perceive that person to have. This may be by way of getting information, skills, knowledge etc., which they will then go on to model, as all of these attributes are a further source of power to the narcissist. If they can gleam that which they admire in the other, then they in effect become just like the object of their desire, they are elevated (in their own eyes) to a higher social status themselves. In the meantime, they will continue to extract as much admiration for themselves from the relationship as possible; this bolsters their confidence while they model their new status to the world. However, the narcissist knows that this honeymoon period will be short lived, because once they have exhausted the relationship, and they get all that they wanted they will become bored. Once bored they will be unable to keep up the pretense of being a mutual caring cohort, the false integrated self they presented begins to breakdown, along with their patience to keep up their act of being an ally. Then, quite abruptly and inexplicably, they decide it is time that it is all over, and a quick as the changing wind, the narcissist becomes cold, uninterested and devious.

The narcissist then starts his vicious attack whereby he sets about devaluing his dismissed Supply. The very things that had once attracted them to the Supply in the first place (their innocence, amenableness, humbleness, wisdom, warm-heartedness, knowledge, energy etc) they now despise, and so they use these same qualities against the individual with a hardness and razor-sharpness befitting a warrior’s Samurai sword…. instantly killing them dead without any remorse.

Part of the reason for wanting to kill off the individual is because in order to con them into giving them what they wanted, the narcissist it required to reveal some things about himself. This brings a sense of intimacy which is very unsettling because it makes them feel vulnerable, therefore fearful. After having, what felt like an intimate relationship, naturally the source of supply (the victim) is utterly confused by the sudden change in behaviour toward them. Being treated in this fashion is a very personal thing to the victim, however, to the narcissist is not that personal at all, for they would have reacted absolutely the same way to any other source because, to him, all sources are transposable.

Now that it has been decided that this particular narcissistic source of supply has reached its end, the narcissist behaviour becomes angry, the exchanges become bizarre, lies and punishing behaviour ensues. Because the narcissist is unable to be truly intimate or have empathy, it would not be long before the other person realizes that something is seriously very wrong with how the relationship is going. And as in any healthy relationship, the Supply person, believing that they are both good friends, begins to fight for the relationship and so challenge the narcissist as to what is actually happening between them. When this begins to happen, the narcissist feels rebuffed, and unable to handle the rejection and conflict, they become even angrier. Because they have been through this process many times before, and recognize that the other person is no longer their source of supply for admiration, they want to quit. Also, rather than risk being rejected further, the narcissist wants to move on, so rejects before being rejected. Leaving the other unsuspecting person totally confused. The more hurt and confused the Supply person becomes, the more the narcissist’s sadistic tendencies are rewarded.

Once again the narcissist goes looking for a new narcissistic source, and if necessary they will resort to a lower social network of victim in order to feed the addiction for admiration. They will not be happy that they were rebuffed by their once superior supply; they will feel that having to resort to a lower status supply an insult to their inflated ego, therefore they rationalize that their treatment for the victim was justified. Sometimes the feeling of hitting “rock bottom” makes the narcissist put a stop on their narcissistic pattern, but it is only likely to be a temporarily stay of humility until they recover. Then once someone walks into their sights that interest them, the cycle is likely to begin again.

Like all addicts, the narcissist has to continually replenish his supply. For that reason he has two sources of Narcissistic Supply to draw from; one is known as Primary Narcissistic Supply (PNS), the other as Secondary Narcissistic Supply (SNS) (Vaknin). Primary Supply is all about anyone or anything that wins him “Attention”. This attention may come by public means, such as fame or infamy, or by private means, such as admiration or hate. The supply comes on a casual and random basis, and it does not necessarily matter whether the attention is positive or negative; positive would make them happier, but in the long run, one is as good as the other to the narcissist. The source of Secondary Narcissistic Supply comes from those people and things that provide that supply on a regular basis; spouse, family, friends, colleagues, partners, business etc., all of which give them a feeling of security and pride, and the appearance of leading a well-adjusted life. This form of supply needs to be positive if it is to survive, any show of negativity would end in a killing off of the individual, regardless of whom they may be. It is this form of supply that is also the source of reserve for when the primary supply runs short. However, both are used in much the same way by the narcissist.

Narcissists go through two cycles where they are either euphoric, which creates a feeling of exaggerated elation and well-being; or dysphonic, which generally creates feelings of sadness, anxiety,irritability, and restlessness. These states are related to the absence or to the presence of Narcissistic Supply. With the loss of either the Primary or Secondary Sources of Supplies, the narcissist will experience a cycle of dysphoria that will be overwhelming and inescapable for them. When the dysphoria sets in, the narcissist will display mood swings, especially rage, and he will feel (and look) out of control. He is then likely to turn to one of his other classical addictions, for example, excessive shopping, food, drugs, etc., and he becomes even more detached into a world of fantasy and refuses to deal with anybody, instead uses messengers to do his communication for him. At its height his feelings of isolation and self -loathing, he turns inward, and this may well lead to feelings of suicide, he then turns in desperation to his family (his secondary source of supply). Now in a rage, he punishes anyone who he thinks is adding to his pain. At this point he is anti-social, and dangerous, and in some cases, possibly even psychopathic. He will then withdraw into life, what Vaknin calls, narcissistic hibernation (this is the depressive part of the cycle). After some time in this space, the narcissist begins to feel a change, a change that will promote self-healing, and once again the narcissist feels in control and looks to the next achievement. Like a high-energy firework, the whole tiresome business of finding a new source of narcissistic supply begins all over again, and he is energized until the next paranoid disaster comes around. According to Vaknin, this reactive pattern, which he calls the Reactive Repertoire, is the physical dimension of the narcissist’s constant evasion of life and reality.


Goodness and Moral Courage

It isn’t always easy to do the right thing. If it was we wouldn’t make a big deal out of it when someone does. Fortunately most people can see truth when it’s in front of them. This quote pretty much says it all. Moral courage. Wow that’s a big one. Some might say we live in a society that rarely rewards moral courage and rarely condemns its lack there of for that matter either. Few people want to get involved in things they feel are not any of their business. Few people will stand up for what’s right and wrong in a marked manner. Few people want to “choose a side” as if somehow that was a bad thing. Some would rather just look the other way. It may be an inconvenient truth for them or worse yet, some may choose a side based on evaluating perceived personal gain and convince themselves their actions and behavior is valid and justified. Sometimes they do choose to get involved (hopefully from a place of goodness) and stand up for what’s right. Sometimes it’s after the fact, leaving one to think, gee that might’ve really been helpful information to me a while ago. However, even delivered late it can still be meaningful, appreciated and of great value for clarification and discernment. It’s one thing to do that when it truly isn’t any of your business, but to do that when it’s someone close to you, well, that is a bit more complicated and with complex ramifications. It’s impossible to play both sides of a field at one time. Herein lies the struggle of remaining “neutral” as people often like to say. As if that is somehow an admirable quality. Ignoring reprehensible behavior without accountability for actions, is thereby condoning the behavior. The real admiration goes to those who have the moral courage to do and say something when it’s clearly, absolutely abhorrent and not pretend something is acceptable when it isn’t, or even worse pretend it didn’t actually occur altogether. That’s why they call it courage. It isn’t always easy, but it’s always the right thing to do.

Friendship Defined

There’s an old saying, “You can’t pick your family, but you can pick your friends.”

The word friend can mean different things to different people. And of course, there are different types of friends; neighbor friends, work friends, childhood friends, casual friends, social friends, couples friends, family friends and the best of all, the jewels of friendship, the close friends. Defining friendship is something we do throughout our lives especially at the times when we need them the most. This is when we separate the men from the boys so to speak, or in female terms, the women from the girls. When any type of difficulty or tragedy occurs in someone’s life the one thing they need the most is to be loved unconditionally, surrounded and supported by those they know they can trust and count on, that they know value the friendship between them and care enough to say, “I’m so very sorry for your pain. I wish I could do something to take that pain away but I’m here without judgement or ill motives, and I’m not going anywhere.” That’s the time when we separate the women from the girls, the boys from the men. This is when those old and lifelong friends you’ve lost touch with reach out and rally around you with love and support. Of course we all know there’s nothing anyone can do to take away pain and suffering when it’s pain from a loss or devastating situation or betrayal of any kind, but the friendships that surround us when these things occur in life, see us through. Never allow anyone to be cruel or bully you into hurrying up or “shutting up” about what you’re feeling or “healing” on their time for their own agenda because it’s inconvenient or uncomfortable for them. This time is yours. Never allow them to devalue or minimize your pain. No one has the right to do that to another. It is real and it is yours. No one knows your pain as well as you and a true friend will not make judgements about you, how quickly you’re healing, or attempt to minimize or devalue your pain during this difficult process for their own selfish, judgmental and unfeeling reasons.

Sometimes we find friends in the most unlikely places and the ones we expected to see us through and be true through the terrible storm disappear from view or betray the friendship all together. Sometimes people appear to assist that you never expected to be in your corner. Perhaps they’ve been through a similar pain, or simply reach out to you from a place of compassion and kindness. Perhaps you never knew how much they thought of you as a person and now is the time to tell, support and show you. The reasons for disappearing may vary, not wanting to see the truth of matters because it’s inconvenient, perhaps it brings about memories of their own that are too painful to face or reconcile with, or perhaps they were not a friend for honest or the purest of reasons to begin with. Either way, it’s sometimes a necessary chore to “clean house” of the people who bring you further pain and more negativity in your greatest time of need. This allows for more time focused to celebrate the ones in your life who positively lift you up, encourage you, and allow you to grieve at your own pace and in your own time without judgements or cruelties. For they know this is temporary and time heals, or at the very least allows more time for the scar to form over. When that time has come and the metamorphosis of healing has completed, the bonds of friendship will be even stronger and have more value than ever imagined. As another old saying goes, “Make new friends but keep the old. One is silver and the other gold.”

The Tragedy of Mental Illness, The Destruction of Substance Abuse, and The Divine Parting of Clouds.

Someone you trusted for years is untrustworthy.

Someone you knew to be honorable is dishonorable.

Someone you believed was faithful is faithless.

Someone you knew to have integrity, has none.

Someone you knew to have class, is classless.

Someone who made promises to you did not keep them.

Someone you knew to be a Christian does not follow Christ.

Someone who constantly claimed how much they loved you, did not.

Someone who was your priority was unappreciative of all you did.

Someone who was judgmental, is actually trashy.

Someone who was accomplished, created a myth of successes.

Someone you thought was just moody, was mentally ill.

Someone you believed was just under work pressures, had an addiction.

Someone you loved deeply was a complete and total stranger.

Someone who intended to erase you, released you.

Someone who discarded you, unchained you.

Someone who attempted to crush your spirit, helped it flourish.

Someone who wished to destroy your joy out of spite actually pushed you toward instantaneous good fortune, and more love and support than you ever knew you had.

Someone with envy, jealousy and coldness in their heart, sent you out to where God was waiting all along to embrace, reward, and lift you up to where you belonged.

Sons and Daughters

Parents, teach your sons to be kind. Show them what it means to be honorable, ethical, moral, generous, trustworthy, principled, to have integrity and accountability. Teach them how to properly give and receive love. Let them learn and understand what it means to be truthful, loyal, respectful, and to always communicate with honesty. Teach them to always be gentlemen, to open doors, to be thoughtful, helpful, selfless, grateful, generous, and appreciative. Show them how to walk alongside a woman, not ahead and in front of them. Teach your sons how to be a good man, and teach your daughters to accept nothing less.

Blessings vs Greed

“You can spend all your time making money. You can spend all your love making time.”

“Take it to the Limit” by The Eagles (1975).

At some point, we should stop ourselves for a moment and feel grateful for the gifts and blessings we’ve been given in life. Not just for any financial or career success we receive, (or have been given) but the gifts of family and friendship as well. If we were to constantly obsess over the accumulation of wealth by chasing more and more of it without end, we miss out on seeing and appreciating what we already have achieved. Like what’s it all for anyway? When is it enough? This is just one of the extremely significant indicators of Narcissistic Personality Disorder. The never-ending need to accumulate, save and hoard their money, in order to be admired and revered as better than others. They will however, spend it generously when attempting to impress someone. What really matters most to mentally healthy persons on the other hand, are the people in their lives. Money to a healthy person serves a purpose to survive comfortably, to afford the ability to live a good life, perhaps to travel and live well, be able to be generous and charitable by giving back, and for being able to enjoy life and those special people in it. Money isn’t made for the purpose of admiration and gaining respect of others they feel are beneath them in order to feel superior, or to connect with those on a higher income level hoping for an opportunity to do business with them to accumulate more money as someone with this disorder will often do. For a healthy person, their financial state is not a purposeless purpose of lifelong saving and accumulating. A healthy person isn’t having the people closest to them spend more of their own money on things as frequently as this can be covertly done. A narcissist will do just that. They will also avoid it being made obvious to others around them. This is something a narcissist is very good at doing. Subtle avoidance of spending. There’s more to life than constantly comparing yourself to others success and obsessing over continuous financial accumulation. No matter how much there is, there will never be enough of it to fill their private emptiness. Be aware of this behavior and its significance. It’s key. Always be grateful and appreciative. Let it be enough because one day, when you least expect it, it’ll have to be.

Emotional Abuse

Quite often when I hear someone use the words “emotional abuse” I immediately cringe. Two words that pack a powerful punch when joined together. The thing about emotional abuse is, most of the abused don’t consciously realize they’re being abused at the time it’s occurring. It often isn’t until the person is removed from the abuse, whether by their own choice or by the abuser themselves–possibly and frequently by having moved onto another “narcissistic supply” (we’ll discuss that more ahead), that it becomes crystal clear, over time, what was actually happening. It can be extremely subtle but powerfully painful. From stonewalling, a common technique used by some abusers to “punish” the abused for some perceived wrongdoing, to a simple “I love you baby” after each devaluing statement is made. This creates doubt and causes questions and confusion to one’s own perception. It may be that the person didn’t have time in their day to make it to the gym, or pick up flowers, or go for a run as they had unwittingly stated previously was in their plans. Perhaps the abused victim forgot to do something or had a change occur within their day. Either way, there’s now an opportunity here for the abuser to use the other person’s own feelings of disappointment in themselves for not accomplishing all they planned for that day, (primarily from previously planted seeds of doubt by the abuser) and intensify those feelings into perceived guilt or wrongdoing. The abuser knows their abused’s weaknesses. After all, most of these “weaknesses” they themselves helped manifest and create. It’s subtle, often confusing and contradictory, and over time, it begins to break the spirit of the victim of the abuse into coping mechanisms of complete denial and total blindness to what has occurred. Believe it or not, it is sometimes possible for the abuser to not be consciously aware or cognoscente of their abuse (another thing we’ll get into later) of the abused. What is at the heart of all this you may ask? Good question. We will answer that ahead…