The Narcissistic Dictionary: Terms That Describe Narcissistic Behaviors

The Narcissistic Dictionary: Terms That Describe Narcissistic Behaviors

NPD Meaning:

The term hoovering has now been extended to refer to a narcissist’s attempts to suck a discarded mate back into a relationship by saying and doing things that the ex would find irresistible.

Example: William and Betty.

When narcissistic William first met Betty, he saw her as the special woman that he had been looking for his entire adult life. Betty was beautiful, educated, and from a higher social class than William. When their relationship started, he treated her like a queen. William moved fast, asked Betty to give up her job, marry him, and move with him to another state where she knew no one.

After they had lived together for a while, William got bored and lost interest in Betty. There was no more talk of marriage. William started devaluing her and picking fights. After one particularly vicious fight in which he blamed Betty’s supposed selfishness for the death of their relationship, William packed his things, moved out, and left Betty heartbroken in a strange town with a new expensive apartment that she could not afford to keep.

Betty was stunned, deeply depressed, and had no idea what had happened to their once wonderful relationship. She cried on and off for a year, tried to contact William to get closure, but he never answered her texts, phone calls or emails. Eventually, Betty asked her family for help and went into therapy.

A year goes by.

All of a sudden Betty gets a sweet text on her birthday from William, “Thinking of you. I hope you are having a lovely day.” Betty is stunned to hear from him but decides that her best course of action is to ignore him completely.

William is determined to hoover Betty back into a relationship with him. In addition to sending her cute flirty texts every day, he has a beautiful bouquet of her favorite flowers delivered to her house. When Betty still refuses to speak to him, William’s next move is a classic hoover technique: he sends her a letter apologizing for all he has put her through:

I love you madly. I know you must hate me. I deserve every bad thing that you think about me. I was crazy to treat you the way I did. I realize now that I made the biggest mistake of my life when I let you go. (Notice how he just re-characterized his running out on her as “letting her go”). You are the only woman that I have ever loved. Please give me one more chance to prove that I have changed. I will do anything you ask to prove how much I love you. You won’t regret it. I promise.

Related: 22 Things The Injured Narcissist Says and What They Really Mean

6. Narcissistic Supplies

Source: According to, the term narcissistic supply is a concept that was introduced in 1938 by the psychoanalyst Otto Fenichel to describe the various ways that we use other people to prop up our self-esteem.

NPD Meaning:

The term narcissistic supplies, or supply for short, describes anything and anyone that narcissists use to regulate their self-esteem. The purpose of narcissistic supplies is to enhance the narcissist’s sense of being special.

Example: Edward the Philanthropist.

Edward is what I call a “pro-social” exhibitionist narcissist. Edward is extremely wealthy and chooses to use his wealth to support his public image as someone who cares deeply about other people. This is particularly ironic because Edward totally lacks emotional empathy. There is a huge difference between the face Edward shows the public and how he behaves towards those close to him. He is known for publicly humiliating anyone he dislikes. At home, he is a tyrant and his wife and children fear him, as do the people who work for him.

Edward’s main source of narcissistic supplies is to give millions of dollars to high profile charitable causes that display his name and face. He endowed a pediatric wing of a local hospital that is now named after him and he also supports a local library. His favorite charity is public television. He loves knowing that every time someone watches one of the television shows that he sponsors, his name and face are prominently displayed on the screen in recognition of the money that he has given the show.

1 thought on “The Narcissistic Dictionary: Terms That Describe Narcissistic Behaviors”

  1. When I got married, I was confined to a room but had to go downstairs to help my mother in law in the kitchen. After I got married, she made the maid stop assisting in the kitchen especially in what I was given to do.
    Kitchen was downstairs, everyday she would bring tea in the morning, check my things, and remind me to come downstairs. Morning and afternoon. In the afternoon, if she caught me studying, she would begin to poke and goad me about my studies, force me to explain anatomy, physiology, endocrinology. It wasn’t her cup of tea but I couldn’t deny it. Everyday she would go downstairs and make big fuss about her studies and I was unable to understand. I would try my best to explain her but everyday she would bring about some drama. She would come to my room and tell me, she doesn’t have detergent soap, shampoo etc. And her son i.e my husband is not paying heed to it. I didn’t quite get her drift. I assumed she wanted me to convey it to him but when I informed me about it, he got infuriated that she’s getting everything, and she started blaming me, crying and yelling. It continued almost every single day. A new drama. I started avoiding them, then another drama. She would definitely come to poke and goad no matter how much dramas were delivered yesterday and then whatever I ‘said’, just said there had to be another drama. Then I had no knowledge of emotional abuse or such thing take place or countless such examples are present in domestic violence cases.
    Sometimes she would plan bigger dramas, she would sit back and begin pricking her nose for hours until it starts to bleed. Then she will start hollering, abusing, tear her cloths, go out and wallow in dust, crying, abusing us. It was all shit. Now when I am living away, she has come. And within two hours when I was studying, she made such a big fuss. Wherever I have lived ( in the rented house) she and her son never left a stone unturned to make it a hell. Intially, I thought that my husband wasn’t involved in this. But actually it had always been his plan.

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