What Is Narcissistic Supply?

Whenever there is any discussion about narcissists, the word narcissistic supply is always highlighted and referred to in almost every article, book research, and study about narcissists. So what is Narcissistic Supply? Why do narcissists yearn for it?

What is Narcissistic supply?

Narcissistic supply can be referred to as a psychological concept, that is related to Narcissistic Personality Disorder and people suffering through it. Narcissistic supply is a need or an indirect demand from narcissists to acquire attention, validation, and admiration from others.

A narcissistic supply is everything that helps a narcissist to make their life fulfilled. It is that one thing that a narcissist always craves even if it is in its negative forms. It is a term that is often referred to in a negative format or sense, as it may be referred to as a pathological problem that may persuade people suffering from it to demand attention for their own reassurance and existence.

One can even say that a narcissist is only able to fulfill their life purposes based on supply itself. They feel handicapped without their sources of admiration, attention, validation, importance, and everything that makes them feel special. Narcissists seek supply more than anything, and they can do everything to obtain their dose of supply.

Narcissists obtain their narcissistic supply from people around them which may include family members, partners, children, colleagues, friends, or anyone associated closely with them who may serve some sort of purpose for them in the given circumstance of their life.

Narcissists are supply junkies. They are so dependent on the source of supply for validation that they are ready to compromise their self-opinionated self.

Supply is everything that makes them important like control, praise, worth, ego boost, and everything that makes them feel superior.

Narcissistic supply is one of the prime reasons for them to commit to a relationship. They do not have love as the priority, their priority is obtaining their supply, once they drain their partners completely out of supply they would leave them or might still have them as their backup source of supply. Narcissists also have backup sources of supply in the form of ex-partners, long-distance friends, or anyone from their past.

Narcissists linger around their exes to check up on them even after breaking up. They never completely cut ties with their exes until they have completely benefitted from them. They do not feel guilty or repent after breaking up but they fear abandonment and a lack of supply. They tend to stay in touch with their exes or even try to get back together, to satisfy their ego.

They tend to keep a stock of supply, from potential suppliers like their exes, old friends, or even family members. It is an addiction, that can not be cured completely even with the help of therapy. Narcissistic Personality Disorder is a psychological mental health condition where an individual is subject to facing such urges of obtaining admiration, validation, importance, or anything that makes them feel superior to others.

Narcissists have a sense of entitlement which they fulfill with the help of the supply. They do not consider the needs of others, or form any sort of emotional attachment with them. They first view them as their source of supply, weigh their positives and negatives, and then may consider them as someone with substantial needs. Everybody craves attention, but in the case of narcissists, they crave constant and undivided attention.

Narcissists seek constant attention or create situations where they would easily obtain attention, to hide their true toxic selves. They hide their abusive selves behind the mask of fake, loving, and dependable beings so that they can maintain the fake personalities that they have created to impress others and seek praise, validation, and attention.

Narcissists are afraid of confrontations, being alone, or being abandoned, and thus they have different sources for obtaining their supply. When they are done with the person they are dating they might also cheat and obtain admiration, attention, and validation from their new partners.

A narcissist is an incorrigible person who is not able to acknowledge their wrongdoings and considers themselves spotless and perfect. They try to be perfectionists and idealists and claim veneration. Thus it may become strenuous to continue the relationship with them, as narcissists are so difficult to handle.

Why do Narcissists need Supply?

We all have that urge as humans to hear positive, admirable things about ourselves occasionally, or receive that unprecedented attention. This is what makes humans go into tough situations and these praise and compliments serve as positive reinforcement.

However, the need to receive praise, admiration, adoration, and validation loses its integrity when associated with narcissists. Narcissists have an undeniable, exaggerated, and distorted need for praise, attention, validation, and adoration.

A drug addict is addicted to drugs, in the same way, narcissists are addicted to narcissistic supply. Narcissists are supply junkies. They are so dependent on the source of supply for validation that they are ready to comprise anything in exchange for the supply.

Narcissistic supply is like an indirect compensation for low self-esteem, lack of self-confidence, and childhood trauma that resulted because of a narcissistic parent or somebody narcissistic that might have affected their lives greatly in the early phases of life.

Narcissistic supply provides an ego boost, a boost of self-confidence, and self-esteem. It is a defense mechanism for narcissists to protect themselves from unwanted opinions, criticism, hostility, and unjust and unpredictable behavior from people.

Narcissists struggle to place themselves correctly with proper conduct in social arrangements due to their childhood trauma where they always had to face emotional unavailability, scapegoating, trust issues, love-bombing, flattery, giving in control, toxicity, and much more. Thus they use the supply that they obtain from other human beings as a defense mechanism, shield, or protective layer to survive in society by losing or hiding their real selves behind their masks.

Narcissists have either been in such a toxic atmosphere so they do not change and opt for the same cruelty, or they consider the toxic behavior as normal as they have never experienced anything better.

Ultimately all human beings are good at the core, nobody is born that way, but it is the ways or pursuits of life that are fitted in their lives. They are forced to pursue those pursuits and they forget the line between the good and bad.

Ways in which Narcissists seek or gain their Supply

Narcissists have many manipulative tactics in their bag, through which they may emotionally abuse their victims to obtain their narcissistic supply,

Receiving constant Attention, Compliments and Praise

Receiving praise, compliments, and attention satisfies a narcissist’s ego and fuels their grandiose self-image. Admiration may also help them to hide their narcissistic tendencies and make them acceptable in social arrangements.

Exploiting others

Narcissists use their charm, manipulative tactics, and power of conviction to force people to surrender and give in to fulfilling the narcissist’s unreasonable demands.

Physical Intimacy

Sex with Narcissists may not be out of love or genuine affection, but it is a mere portrayal to assert control, influence, and hold power against their partners. They do not form intimate relationships based on genuine feelings, but they simply get into a physical relationship just to gain something.

Being Aggressive and Abusive

When a person responds to the narcissist’s outrageous and argumentative behavior it fuels their need to obtain a narcissistic supply.

Dominating and Controlling others

Narcissists always feel powerful by demotivating, dominating, devaluing, and controlling their victims. They may act like someone dependable. but it is just for the sake of obtaining their supply. They thrive by controlling others.

Examples of Narcissistic Supply

  • Being the center of attraction at social events and social collectives.
  • Dominating conversations.
  • Provoking others intentionally to get a reaction from them.
  • Controlling other people’s emotions and emotional responses.
  • Only associating with groups or individuals that have a high status in society.
  • Expecting loyalty and devotion from partners.
  • Seeking public recognition and receiving awards.
  • Having a physically attractive partner making others jealous. For instance, having a trophy wife or a trophy husband.
  • Manipulating and convincing others to receive results as one pleases.
  • Being in authoritative positions and having leadership.
  • Expecting a desire to be liked by others.
  • Belittling and criticizing others.
  • Having a large social circle.
  • Receiving compliments.
  • Receiving gifts and favors from others.

Types of Narcissistic Supply

There are two types of narcissistic supply,

  • Primary Narcissistic Supply
  • Secondary Narcissistic Supply

1. Primary Narcissistic Supply

This form of narcissistic supply is completely centered on obtaining attention and solely attention, whether it is positive or negative, private form or public form, good or bad. Closest people that are intimately related to a narcissist like dating partners, life partners, family members, friends, kids, or acquaintances all of these people make it to the list of the primary source of gaining a narcissistic supply.

A few examples include,

  • Being a part of the drama may help in gaining supply, or creating unwanted drama to gain supply
  • Flattery and false validation
  • Being awarded publically or privately
  • Being the one that everyone fears in the family
  • Beingoverpeoweing with resources like money, fame, or personality
  • Being viewed as one of the most overriding members of the community, even though there is no such accomplishment
  • Never listening to others, always putting up personal points of view to overpower the situation

2. Secondary Narcissistic Supply

This form of narcissistic supply is all about coming out as or looking nearly perfect, that fits in the world more appealingly. This supply is all bout the character, the image, and the idolization that a narcissist has to build to look all lustrous and high profile. In the narcissistic view of normalcy, a perfect image that looks all eye catchy from the outward view in the name of a successful human and an all glamorous appeal which makes them the best falls under secondary narcissistic supply.

A few examples include,

  • Having a perfect life that seems all planned.
  • Having a perfect house and a desired car
  • A job that pays well or at least looks worthy and makes them look all brainy and smart
  • Being a part of a community that is socially upwards
  • Having a perfect relationship that seems spotless and is eyed by many
  • Having adequate luxuries to make everyone envious

Signs You Are The Narcissistic Supply

The closer your bond with the narcisist, the more likely you are to be used as a source of narcissistic supply. Signs you may be a narcissist’s supply include,

  • You can be easily persuaded into violating your boundaries
  • You are slowly losing your sense of individuality
  • You always do as others wish
  • You do not wish to get into an argument with the narcisist
  • You like to serve them and be helpful ignoring your own needs
  • You feel obligated to praise and compliment the narcissist
  • You feel like they have a control over you
  • You walk on eggshells around them to avoid conflict

The Narcissistic Supply Cycle

Below are the steps of the narcissistic supply cycle,

Seeking the Supply Source

A hunt for a victim that may supply them with whatever they desire.

Idealizing the Source

They may present themselves as the ideal partners or an ideal person others could ever find in the form of a partner, child, friend, or colleague to obtain as much attention as they desire.

Being frustrated with their source

Over a period of time, nobody can keep up with such unreasonable needs and desires of the narcisist. Thus this may frustrate them.

Devaluing the source

The victim of narcissistic abuse may be evaluated once they serve their purpose for the narcisist.

Discarding the source

Once the narcissists obtain a new source of supply, they may discard their old supply source.

How to Break the Narcissistic Supply Cycle?

A few ways that can help you save yourself from being exploited and manipulated by the narcisist are presented here below,

  • Going “No-contact” with them
  • Allowing yourself to grieve the relationship after breaking up
  • Learning how to heal from the trauma and forgive yourself
  • Considering Therapy
  • Improving your self-esteem
  • Acknowledging your self-worth

Important Takeaway

To deal with Narcissistic behavior, the readers may need to understand the narcissistic supply cycle and ways to deal with such situations. Recognizing the narcisist, their cycle of supply, and being the target are the most important to acknowledge the narcisist abuse pattern.

Narcissists tend to use people for their needs and desires. They just seek attention and control. They believe the world revolves around them and they are entitled to have whatever they desire. Hypocrisy is their go-to trait. Selfishness is in their true nature, and they would do anything to seek benefit from you.

Find ways to escape the abuse and manipulation and free yourself from the narcissistic abuse.

Ella Carrillo

Ella Carrillo

Hey Reader, I am Ella, an Online and Offline Therapist holding an experience of 6 years in this field. From Relationship, Depression, and Personality Disorder to Narcissistic problems, I have helped a lot of people find their solutions. Upon gathering a number of common problems that people face, I decided to put the information on this blog so that anyone can get their answers easily.

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