Narcissistic Supply: How You Provide Necessary Ignition for the Narcissist’s Fuel

Narcissistic Supply

Do you think you are a narcissistic supply?

Fuel (n.)  a substance that can be consumed to produce energy. 
Synonyms: diesel oil, gasoline, kerosene, coal oil, coal gas, fossil fuel, illuminant, combustible material, lamp oil, petrol, charcoal, fire, butane, gasoline, nuclear fuel, propane

Fuel (v.) provide with a combustible substance that provides energy
Synonyms: render, supply, provide, refuel, furnish, gas up, take up, take in

Survivors of narcissistic abuse are often caught in the crosshairs of dismantling cognitive dissonance in the aftermath of recovery. Part of the process of healing is acquiring a deep understanding and psychoeducation of the nature of narcissistic abuse.

Survivors read about Narcissistic Supply (NS), or the “ego fuel” that narcissists require from their relationships to maintain their precariously fragile psychological innards.

Related: The Empath, The Narcissist And The Brutal Reality Of Their Toxic Relationship

As mentioned in other articles, we know that extreme narcissists exist without a solid core identity due to factors that, in many cases, stem from childhood abuse and lack of a consistent, nurturing caregiver. In order to fill their psychic void, narcissists spend the vast majority of their day- time energy mining for emotional reactions from the people in their lives.

Emotional fuel can be positive, as in admiration, adulation, praise, empathy, compassion, attention, kindness, physical affection, and validation. Or it can be negative, as in an emotional response that shows anger, hurt, tears, humiliation, shame, yelling, embarrassment, and jealousy.

Extreme narcissists use both forms of NS to top off their gas tank of ego fuel, although the negative emotional reaction is actually a more potent and high-quality form of emotional propane.

Part of the healing process for survivors of this form of psychological abuse is the understanding that their narcissistic abuser actually did not feel empathy towards the survivor’s pain and suffering.

In fact, it is the sadistic extraction of NS as a result of causing emotional pain to the survivor that generates the most ego fuel for the abuser.  

Related: Narcissus And Echo: The Heartbreak Of Relationships With Narcissists

An extreme narcissist feels powerful and in control when they can simultaneously bolster up their love object on a pedestal and then subsequently wallop them off with abusive words.  For extreme narcissists, the love relationship is not about love. It is about acquiring and extracting prime grade NS, or ego fuel, even at the expense of their love object’s well-being. To an extreme narcissist, relationships exist for that reason alone.

The extreme narcissist actually seeks out high-empathy individuals to supply this delicious, exceptional quality ego fuel. If you are an individual who happens to be intuitive, empathic, compassionate, authentic, and a person of integrity, often extreme narcissists will target you for high-grade premium combustion.

Related: 20 Narcissistic Terms: A Glossary of Terms for Understanding Narcissism

Whether in work, love, or family relationships, it is the reaction of a caring individual that fills the psychic void of the extreme narcissist parasite, because the abuser lacks those very qualities and is, in essence, seeking to absorb the exquisite emotional fuel from their host.

Those abusers who tend toward the malignant end of the scale of NPD (Narcissistic Personality Disorder) deliberately seek to cause harm in a sadistic fashion so as to extract the NS of their love objects/subordinates/family members.

They actually take pleasure in emotionally abusing a supply-source after a period of seduction/infatuation/love-bombing. Those abusers who are more garden-variety narcissists may not operate consciously to cause intentional harm but nonetheless, if emotional reaction fuel is available, then it will be taken and lapped up eagerly should the opportunity present itself.

What can a high-empathy, intuitive individual do to protect themselves from the seduction and mesmerizing advances of a pathological emotional vampire?

First off, know your worth. Any relationship that is healthy takes time to gradually build with mutual vulnerability, reciprocity and trust-building.

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Andrea Schneider

Andrea Schneider, MSW, LCSW is a licensed clinical social worker in private practice in San Dimas, CA. She received her MSW from the University of Michigan (the top-ranked social work program in the country) and her B.A. in Psychology from UCLA (#2 in the country).View Author posts