Requires excessive admiration – DSM IV
The need for attention and admiration is really at the crux of Narcissism. A Narcissist’s low self-esteem, insecurity and a fear of abandonment mean that they are always seeking validation from outside sources.
The term “supply” has become synonymous with those aspects that a Narcissist is after, namely, attention, affection, admiration, praise, compliments, sex, money, or any other desirable resources.
The term, “emotional vampire,” has often been used to illustrate the Narcissist’s style of taking and using others for their own advantage.
Not all supply is created equal, however. They are always seeking supply through proxy. If their partner is attractive, possesses a skill, is famous or wealthy, the Narcissist will easily glean supply from the achievements or accolades of others and will even try to take credit for it. If a Narcissist can make you cry or hurt you this too is a potential source of supply.
The more supply you give the greater the Narcissist’s need of you, but don’t get too comfortable. Once a Narcissist has grown a tolerance to your supply, your usefulness is on the decline and you run the risk of being discarded and eventually replaced.
Like a drug addict they are high off the initial hit of a new target’s supply, but after repeated doses of the same supply they become accustomed to it and are no longer getting the same satisfaction that they once did.
It’s as if the void inside of them is filled momentarily by their obsession with someone new. But as always, the void, an internal construct, returns and the Narcissist, lacking insight into their own thoughts and behaviors, realizes that you must not be so special after all. For if you were, the void would be gone and they would be happy.
Filling this void by obtaining supply is all consuming. Day and night, night and day they are always looking for a new source. This takes precedence over all things. Your needs, thoughts and hurt feelings are all just collateral damage on their quest to find something, anything, that would make them feel special and important.
This is, in tandem with a narcissist’s inability to form attachment bonds, why they view others as objects, or chess pieces, to be moved around at their will and to suit their needs. Their needs are all-important – yours don’t compute. They don’t care if the supply you give them is sincere. All they concern themselves with is whether or not it’s consistent and valuable. They will lie, cheat, steal, use, punish and manipulate to get their needs met. For without their supply, it’s as if they go into a type of substance withdrawal. They get angry, depressed, withdrawn and contemptuous. If a narcissist doesn’t feel special and important, they will take it out on those closest to them. It will be your fault for them feeling this way and they will make sure you suffer for it.
They have learned how to play the supply game very well. They better know, if their entire sense of well-being is linked to it. To victims and outsiders, it seems unfathomable that anyone could be so detached and so cruel. From a self-preservation aspect, it’s perfectly logical. You have what I need and I am going to do whatever I must to get it and I lack the characteristics that would me to make feel bad about it, so I won’t.
Oh what’s that over there? Does it like me?
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This website really saves me from thinking I’m going crazy. I just left for the 20 something time from a 11 year marriage, I mean hell sentence.
Yes, in the beginning I thought and was treated like I was a queen. But, little did I know, I meant nothing to this man. I have been attacked verbally, emotionally, abused financially so all the independence that was so important to me, to where i started working at the age of 12, was destroyed. I still keep trying to think of one thing he said I did right to try and think of what kind of job and career to start but he really did make me feel like I can’t do anything right. Not one thing. And, insulted all my family members but calls them to relay anything I confided in him that I only confided in my husband. He’s hired private eyes to track my license plate, tracks all my credit cards, left me financially screwed to where , thank god my family is still alive and I never moved away because I have to depend on their kindness now or I’d be in a shelter. He scared all my friends away with his behavior and family. It’s been nothing but hell. I admit, I really loved him and went back because I believe in marriage and am old school in my beliefs of sticking it out. But, now my health is declining and I literally was panicking about his mood swings. I’d wake up to him slamming things if he believed I was sleeping too long, I get migraines and have real health issues with MRIs and drs to back it up, not that you should have to prove your illness to your own spouse because they think it’s all” fake” so I can just lay on my lazy ass. But. Really, he just hates anything and anyone that gets in the way of his day. I raised a kid that was not mine for him. Loved him as a baby and insisted on doing everything a mom would and even helped his real mom out. Sacrificed my own dreams and im still considered the source of all his issues and I just get told im useless, worthless, ugly, old, noone will ever want my old skeleton self. He threatened to make me dissapear on our anniversary over his breakfast not being there. I went to 4 grocery stores for the specific food he wants and he just minimizes it by saying he can just user an app , get a chef that really knows how to cook, hire a hooker that is way hotter aand younger than me,a housekeeper that is way better than my retarded self and now that his child is near the age where I’m no longer needed, I’m just a speed bump in his life. He even called other woman to come over while I was there packing my things and threw it on my face that they are so much hotter and he’s just happier than when I do leave. He has taken every last bit of dignity away from me to where noone thinks im mentally sane for going back to him anymore. I have to keep strong and I just keep listening to his recordings making fun of me to his friends and any gifts I ever bought him, he said an idiot would pick out. I did everything for him out of the goodness of my heart. Im just still the pea brained loser that stood by this man that has nothing but drama with everyone and everywhere we go is a nightmare. He makes fun of me real valid fears. Claims that when I sexually assaulted as a young adult was all my faultfor being so dumb to trust a friend and stay at their house to avoid driving while drinking. Thinking I was doing the responsible thing. He believes only poor people believe in god so degraded my family and myself. He is successful but is very careful to make sure that I’ll never share his success unless I stay in his prison since I was presented a one sided pre nup a week before our wedding that was supposed to be only about his shared co and I made it known that i didn’t think it rwas fair but it was one day before the wedding and had guests flown in already and everything paid for so I reluctantly signed it. Now, he just throws it im my face that im nothing but a ” cockaroach he will crush with a team of lawyers whenever he wants”. Nevermind that I married him for nothing but love and had nothing but gain and all to lose, dreams, freedom, family, having my own children since he literally told me he hated his own kid and would rather have had a Ferrari than pay for his” mistake kid”. I could go on and on. He also stold all my valuable belongings he gave me, and sends me pictures of other hookers wearing them. I went no contact yesterday but he is still tracking my car and calls and I have to be careful about money I spend too defend myself because he already said in his pre nup, that wasn’t even notarized in front of me and was done after the wedding by god knows who, that i’ll be stuck with all his legal bills if I challenge it. I even had to give away 3 animals that I loved dearly aand then he replaced them with others because I was so distraught and now , of course, he wants my pets too. They will do anything and stop at nothing to hurt you. I just want to live in peace and don’t care about his lavish lifestyle because I am always the scapegoat. If McDonalds messes up his order, he throws tantrums worse than a 2 yr old. That’s just the cliff notes on my biggest mistake I ever made. I’ll never get those years back but I do want to get hypnotized or something because I have a hard time dealing with the aftermath of never trying so hard and being called a failure so much. I don’t think i’ll ever be in another relationship. I even doubt the friends I try to reconnect with now. I feel like I just don’t trust anyone, even my own choices. He never saw me as a person, just an object and since I’m ugly now and older, I’m no longer useful and he brags now that he’s dating an old friend of mine and everyone sees her as an upgrade. I know we are all supposed to just let this go but its still raw , eventhough I know it’s for the best, it’s rough.
8 years now. In spite lf knowing, from reading articles like this. I thought I could keep a friendship with him, this is not friendship. His critisms, moodiness and irritation have me walking on eggshells. His reminders of other supply in fresh relationships keep me questioning my value, and knowing that I was rejected before, rmaking me question my desireability. He’s a monster, an emotional vampire, there is nothing worth saving, it all just sucks me down again.
Like being swept out to sea in an undercurrent, and being too exhausted to save myself.
But, I am saving myself, I have to start over with cutting contact, and never ever let that leech in again.
Thank you for these articles Savannah. You know this subject matter so well.
Having a lack of empathy to me is like its own hell. It is also almost impossible
for me to imagine a human being this way. It is like these individuals are
another species. Even though I have had the misfortune of first hand experience
with such dysfunctional individuals, I still find it hard to believe they exist.
I made the mistake of thinking I could provide the care they required or the trust
they appeared to be seeking. Haha. That was a BIG mistake on my part. I wrote a spiel
about my experience with a narcissist on your last blog post. He is extremely wealthy
(but hides it) and is still sucking in and spitting out people. It is all very clear now and
reading these articles so accurately defines their exact behaviour and reminds me
of how fortunate I am to have escaped their toxic and cruel world.
Excellent post! Much of what I read now after no contact kind of read the same, but this is a very meaningful way of getting the point across as to how those snakes work. I believe his father had some doing in how the narc is and I now saw it in the narc’s son, but didn’t realize it at the time. So sad that it can go through generations like that. It has been three years since no contact, but I keep reading things about narcs because I still find myself remembering how amazing I felt in the first few months of that relationship so I come back here to remind myself of all the horrible things that happened for three years after those first months and this article is exactly what I need. The women that date his son will need it too so keep up this fight Savannah we need you! Thank you very much.
I could relate because I had a narc father. It took me being with a Narc for five years for me to realize what was wrong with my father…which was a backward kind of gift because now I am healing from a lifetime of narcs and borderlines — Cluster B types — and am finally experiencing true inner peace for the first time. As I was reading the post above I realized that my father used buying a new house and moving us every year (to new towns, cities, states) as his supply. It was useful to him because it was all brand new and full of potential; he was a workaholic who couldn’t relate to his own large family and it kept my mother, who was a brilliant artist and writer and very attractive, always off-balance and unable to bond with anyone; and the chaos a yearly move created kept everyone upset and he was obscured. It really helps to understand this because I never understood why my father, who seemed so lonely and inept at relating, didn’t just stop and see the treasures before him. He had a wife who tried very hard to relate and love him and 7 children who would have loved even a drop of true attention. As the oldest I was particularly perplexed because I thought he would at least see and recognize me, as the firstborn. But, years later, when we had adult conversations, he never even knew I was an artist or that I got straight A’s. I am gradually, with the help of time, journaling and therapy, starting to see what a sad scared person was under all that cruelty, rage and chaos. He has passed on and I am amazed at what a huge wash of relief has swept over my entire family. We joke more. We relate more. All of us seem a bit lighter and happier. Two of my sisters married decent men after long runs with terrible abusers and mind-game players. As perhaps the most codependent one in the family (my mother had elements of Borderline Personality that worsened as her marriage went on and the devastating yearly moves took away her tiny sliver of grounding) I know very little about how to be a person without someone abusive to respond to. Its all new ground. I am moving on but it is surprising how rereading what a narcissist is keeps teaching me something. Its as if I can’t fully believe, still, to this day, what they are. When I read this post I am reminded and feel reluctant acceptance of how very very surreal and crazy living with my father was. On some level I knew that being perfect was never enough. Getting straight As and taking care of everyone was never enough. The grass was always greener somewhere else. And somehow I knew on a gut level that he lived off the upset and pain he incited. I used to call it the “cruel gleam in his eye.” It was like he was feeding. Glad you are writing for all of us, Savannah. Thank you.
As always, Savannah hits the nail on the head…. thank you for all your wisdom and for sharing here with us. You have helped me to get away from my narcissist and I am forever grateful.
“Oh what’s that over there? Does it like me?” You nailed it Savannah. You can see the little gleam in their eye as they head towards the Supply. No Contact will give you Clarity and you will reach indifference if you stay away. Thank you for your articles. You help so many people.
I lived with this feeling my whole childhood growing up with my Mother. This constant feeling of not being good enough, her not being satisfied enough, something lacking, something is wrong, something is not fulfilled inside her. Then I repeated that same relationship with my ex-boyfriend over the course of 9 years. Never knew what the hell I was doing until I woke up to the realization when he discarded me 2 years ago. Lucky for me, the discard was so severe the police had to be called and now there is a restraining order that kept him from me, and me from him. 2 years in therapy has helped me understand all this disfunction and wounding I grew up with. Now I spot a narc from a mile away and nothing in me wants any part of such an individual anymore beside me. I’ve grown to love who I am inspire of the abuse I went through and the great lack of love and care I endured. I no longer abandon myself by engaging with broken people. Everything is here to teach us. Thank you for sharing your wisdom with us.
This article is a keeper. To be printed out & kept nearby. Staying focused & centered in normal reality keeps me calm & moving forward. I grew up in crazy land with a narc mother & I had a long term narc partner. My father showed me a better way of being human which was a life saver but my mother was intrusive & domineering & kept us all overwhelmed. I did not know how to organize my thinking since I was in nightmare survival mode all the time. Articles like this help me to change my paradigm & find my own life. Priceless.
Are narcissist typically drug users