Narcissists try to create relationships with other individuals where they try to control and manipulate them in order to feed their egos. They try to obtain a constant supply of admiration and attention from other people, which is known as a narcissistic supply.
Narcissist in a Nutshell
Narcissistic Personality Disorder (NPD) is defined as a “persistent pattern of grandiosity, fantasies of unlimited power or importance, and the need for admiration or special treatment.”
The study found out that around 61% of all Americans tend to suffer from Narcissistic Personality Disorder.
They try to create relationships with their friends, family, partners, colleagues, or even acquaintances where they try to project a false image of themselves in order to attract people towards them. Narcissists try to protect their false sense of self-image and are unable to make any sort of healthy connections with people. Thus, they tend to seek out vulnerable individuals who can feed their constant need for attention and satisfy their egos.
People suffering from Narcissistic Personality Disorder are unable to trust in the goodness of other people. They are all about projecting a false grand image of oneself, of which they are determined to protect at all costs. Because of this reason, they cannot connect with people in a healthy way. That person uses a type of relationship where they can take care of themselves. This can form a serious psychological addiction, which can lead to the narcissist demanding or requiring admiration, validation, and limitless special treatment in order to fulfill their sense of self-centeredness or self-entitlement. This is essentially known as narcissistic supply.
Read more about NPD here Why Do Narcissists Behave The Way They Do
How narcissistic supply works
People who are narcissistic have a desperate need for seeking attention. This might be because that person might not have got proper love or care as a child. They harbored feelings of aggression towards their parents or caregivers, such as hate, anger, or envy. They start to develop a dysfunctional or unrealistic sense of self-image, self-worth, and low self-confidence. Thus, they tend to form relationships with people where they can use them as ‘objects.’ They start to look for emotions or worthiness which they were lacking when they were a child, which helps to feed their “supply.”
Narcissistic people tend to seek out individuals who hold qualities favorable to the narcissistic like a lack of self-confidence, low self-esteem, and emotional vulnerability. These people often have track records of being in narcissistic relationships, either with their parents, friends, or past partners. They are easy targets of narcissistic people because of their vulnerability and history. The closer these people are to narcissists, the more likely they are going to be used as a means of supply for them. Some people mistake these for strong feelings and often do not accept that they are being used.
Most of these relationships are co-dependent and thus, narcissistic and abusive relationships hardly see the victim, who is also known as the narcissistic supplier, getting any kind of help. However, trained psychologists can see the imprints of a narcissistic person in someone’s life and may be able to provide help.
Types of Narcissistic supply and their sources
People who provide narcissists with attention and fulfill their egos on a daily basis are known as sources of narcissistic supply. These can include any person the narcissist has made close relations with, like their spouse, colleagues, friends, business partners, family or relatives, and so on. However, the first and primary form of a narcissistic supply is attention.
Here attention comes in both private (adoration, applause, adulation, repulsion, fear) and public (fame, infamy, celebrity, notoriety) forms. The attention of any type or kind, be it negative or positive can constitute the primary narcissistic supply. Here the individual considers being infamous as good as being famous or being renowned as important as being notorious. The narcissistic person is satisfied as long as there are people who believe in them.
Some triggers of this kind of supply may come from being famous, having a lot of money or authority, having sex, and deriving a sense of masculinity or femininity from it.
Sources of this kind of supply can be anyone who provides the narcissistic with casual attention on a random basis.