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NARCISSIST SUPPLY AND THE SOURCES OF NARCISSIST SUPPLY

Narcissists perceive others as part of himself/herself that will enhance or enrich his/her image and status.

They use spouses, partners, their own children, siblings, business and social acquaintances as supplies to feed their unquenchable need to fill the over-inflated ego. (e.g. praise, high social status, wealth, beauty, ect.)

The Narcissist will choose only certain people to come into his or her life – to act as ego boosting supplies. Thus, her false elaborate image will score higher points within her world.

It’s important to note that the severely disordered narcissist has no loyalty to anyone who doesn’t provide a source of “supply” needed to fill the void of emotion that is cloaked by the false facade, or mask.

…..in extreme cases, cause a “tear” or distortion in the psychological and emotional health of the child. This tear is what is called “Arrested Development”, and is thought to be a cause of lack of empathy and human feelings of genuine emotion that is a leading criteria in sufferers of NPD and ASPD (psychopathy, sociopathy).

During the course of studying and researching the maladaptive personalities of the Cluster B anti-social disorders, which include Narcissist Personality Disorder (NPD), the term “Narcissist Supply” was prevalent in many clinical studies as well as from countless survivors of Narcissist Abuse.

But, what is narcissist supply and why does the narcissist need a fill of re-enforcement in order to satisfy her/his existence?

History of Narcissist Supply

Narcissist supply is a concept introduced into psychoanalytic theory by Otto Fenichel in 1938, to describe a type of admiration, interpersonal support or sustenance drawn by an individual from his or her environment and essential to their self esteem.

The term is typically used in a negative sense, describing a pathological or excessive need for attention or admiration from codependents or such a need in the orally fixated that does not take into account the feelings, opinions or preferences of other people. In other words, without empathy or conscience.

Psychoanalyst Otto Kernberg considered the malignant narcissist criminal to be coldly characterized by a disregard of others unless they could be idealized as sources of narcissistic supply.

Self psychologist Heinz Kohut saw those with narcissist personality disorder as disintegrating mentally when cut off from a regular source of narcissistic supply. Those providing supply to such figures may be treated as if they are a part of the narcissist, in an eclipse of all personal boundaries. 

Personal Boundaries

To many recipients of the narcissist’s invasion of personal boundaries, they may have a “gut” instinct that something isn’t quite right with the narcissist’s entitlement. The narcissist who comes off as sanctimonious and self-serving, will be noticed as such, by those who have the sensitivity to trust their instincts and “gut”.

Because good people are rarely suspicious, they may not be able to “put their finger” on the the suspicion, and may have a difficult time explaining his discomfort and instincts. For the reason that many people are naturally drawn to the narcissist for reasons of their unwillingness or inability to look beyond the surface of the superficial charm that narcissists coyly exude, the person to doubt the narcissist will be gaslighted in to doubting his own instincts.  See this post HOW SOCIETY ENABLES NARCISSISTS AND GASLIGHTS THEIR VICTIMS

 

Those who provide narcissistic supply to the narcissist will be treated as if they are part of the narcissist and be expected to live up to those expectations. In the mind of a narcissist there is no boundary between self and other. Plainly put, the narcissist feels no shame in exploiting, using, and manipulating even the closest of relatives, friends and associates to meet her/his ends.  Those who “catch on” or no longer provide a viable source of supply for the narcissist (fail to appreciate, supply positive feedback) will be quickly discarded from her inner circle, irrespective of blood or maternal bond. 

What is Narcissistic Supply?

Narcissistic Supply is anything that builds the narcissist’s ego up and re-affirms his feelings of superiority, grandiosity, and entitlement. Examples include:

  • adulation
  • compliments
  • admiration
  • attention
  • subservience
  • being feared
  • respect
  • approval
  • applause
  • affirmation
  • money and wealth
  • celebrity status
  • social status
  • sexual conquest
  • media notice

In essence, any accumulation of sex, money, power and influence is a source of fuel to supply the narcissist.

When the Narcissist No Longer Needs “Supply” from you

If and  when a “target” refuses to go along with the manufactured pretentiousness, the narcissist will then look for ways of punishing you for not showing admiration or believing in their narrative. Because a narcissist is devoid of human empathy and emotion, she/he studies and emulates the normal for cues on how to respond/react to a given situation.

Psychoanalyst Otto Kernberg considered the malignant narcissist criminal to be coldly characterized by a disregard of others unless they could be idealized as sources of narcissistic supply.

In this same manner, a narcissist will study you to find weaknesses and faults that can be exploited and/or manipulated for future punishment should you stray from fulfilling the narcissist’s needs. (supply)

You may be discarded immediately, or the discard may take place directly or indirectly over time through covert sly manipulations of those around the offender.

Why does the Narcissist need a never ending supply?

Somewhere along the path of emotional development, an event or events occurred that severely traumatized a child or adolescent. The trauma that the subject experienced could, in extreme cases, cause a “tear” or distortion in the psychological and emotional health of the child. This tear is what is called “Arrested Development”, and is thought to be a cause of lack of empathy and human feelings of genuine emotion that is a leading criteria in sufferers of NPD and ASPD (psychopathy, sociopathy).

In essence, it is a separation, or disconnect between the head (thought, reasoning) and the heart (empathy, emotion) that causes the child to lose her ability to feel healthy emotion. The healthy human emotion (love, happiness) is replaced by the negative emotion (anger, fear).

Carrying anger and fear throughout life is a burden that no person would enjoy on a continuum, so as a survival instinct, the narcissist learns to manifest false emotion by studying people around them, thus, emulating the healthy emotion of others. This is the reasoning and cause of the “mask” or “false self” that replaces the “true self” that harbors pathological anger and fear.

Because of the emptiness or void of true healthy emotion, the narcissist now will demand adulation from others, in order to feel good about themselves, and to create a false image of being liked and admired. 

Their need to fill themselves with supply becomes a never-ending quest to distinguish the emptiness and anger that resides within. Their need is constant and unquenchable.

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