After taking a lengthy respite from writing about my experiences with my narcissist, I am now diving headfirst back into the murky waters. Looking through my old posts, I just realized I never wrote an article solely about narcissistic supply. I am glad you are wondering what this common phrase encompasses, because it is essential to understand what it means and what role it plays to the narcissist. It is quite simple but complex at the same time.
As I described in a previous blog post, due to the very nature of Narcissistic Personality Disorder, the narcissist must at all times be in a state of idolization. They achieve this delicate state by absorbing other people’s emotional reactions to what the narcissist either says or does. Narcissistic supply is fundamentally these very emotional responses and feedback the victim gives the narcissist during and oftentimes after their toxic relationship ends.
Supply can be either positive or negative, it does not matter in what form it takes, as long as it is provided. The “supply” is the narcissist’s drug and if they miss a dose, they will go to great lengths to unearth some. Narcissists need a constant stream of narcissistic supply in order to function and boost their insecurity and feelings of ultimate control over other people. Without their supply, the narcissist goes into crisis mode and their whole world shuts down. They are incomplete.
The reason the narcissist needs this form of supply is because narcissists are missing the empathy component. They do not have the ability to really care about another human being’s wants and needs, therefore they are incapable of truly loving anyone other than themselves. The narcissist only cares about what he or she wants and needs. Because they have no ability to have authentic emotional responses, they feed on the emotional responses of others. This strangely resembles the Death Eaters in Harry Potter that sucks the life out of their victims.
If the response is positive, the narcissist soaks it up and revels in the praise and adoration from others. However, if the response is negative, the narcissist still rolls around in it deriving sick pleasure because they see that their actions or words are negatively affecting others. As a result of inflicting torment, the narcissist witnesses his control of those around him. This power goes straight to their ego and they thrive on it, as sick as it sounds. So when you retaliate against a narcissist, you may feel good that you got a jab in at them. However, to the narcissist, you are feeding them the supply that they crave. They are not hurt, to the contrary, they love seeing you so upset that you say or do something that they can take and twist and use against you. “See, look at yourself! You are acting crazy!” In turn, it validates them.
There you have it, narcissist supply is a hell of a drug. Deprive them of it at all costs and they will be quicker to slink away and leave you alone.