We hear these words “narcissistic supply” a lot, and we may have even realised that narcissists need it and orient their lives around it.
But what does it really mean?
The truth is quite chilling and it’s essential to understand.
Narcissistic supply is a drug – it provides an emotional life force for the narcissist.
Like all drugs, “narcissistic supply” is chased for pain relief.
Like all addictions it’s the relief from pain that is addictive.
Addictions are a short term answer to being able to relieve oneself from emotional or physical pain.
The truth is emotional pain is often the most horrendous of all pains. Emotional pain is felt somatically in the body – and is usually more painful than physical pain, due to the self-annihilating beliefs about oneself that accompany it.
I discussed this in my article: How to Deal With Your Emotional Pain: The Right Way In Order To Grow and Expand.
Traditionally, all addictions are used to escape emotional pain and the horrendous accompanying self-definitions of, “I am worthless, defective and no good.”
Any energy that is sought from the outside to escape the fear of “self” is unwholesome, and generates more pain.
Such is the truth of a sex addict – who procures sex to avoid inner pain, or an alcoholic or a gambler, or a person engaged in any other addictive pursuit.
Like most addicts, the narcissist has to “mask” the addiction in order to get the supply. He or she doesn’t express to people, “I can’t stand being alone with myself. I need you to provide me with something / anything that takes me away from my inner self-annihilating self.”
In stark contrast, the narcissist strives to create a persona of confidence, charm and empowerment in order to groom others for narcissistic supply.
1.Why the Narcissist Has to Frenetically Avoid Self
The narcissist’s inclination towards addiction is horrific. All addicts have a reduced threshold to self-soothe – meaning to be with self to process emotional disruption and insecurities.
The ability to self-soothe requires emotional maturity and an “inner solidness,” which is reliant on healthy emotional development. Emotional intelligence is granted from healthy role models as a child, or self-created purposefully as result of inner emotional resolution and development work as an adult.
The narcissist is emotionally stunted – somewhere between the age of 3-7 years of age. Even though he or she may even be mentally brilliant in certain aspects, emotionally he or she is severely immature and has never developed. At a young age the narcissist “killed off” his or her inner self, deciding it was unacceptable and unable to get needs met, and developed a False Self replacement.
This False Self, because it is a false self is not real, authentic or stable. It is a childish fictitious character ever reliant on outside approval or attention. Because it is childish it is dependent, precarious and easily emotionally triggered. It does not possess the mature integrity of love, truth or loyalty.
The False Self is dependent on gaining validation that confirms its existence. This external validation is sought to avoid the narcissist sinking inside him or herself and feeling the truth of how the narcissist really feels about his or her existence,“The real me is a defective self that I despise and need to avoid at all costs.”
The narcissist’s inner being (the True Self) is damaged. When the cracks appear and the insane behaviour begins, this is the real person you meet. The inner self has trapped within it the festering accumulated wounds that the narcissist has tried to divorce him or herself from, by procuring narcissistic supply as the distraction.
The narcissist is engaged in constant self-avoidance.
These are original wounds that have never been healed. The literal abuse, neglect and mixed messages from childhood. The ineffective parental mirroring that did not allow the child to grow up with a sense of connection, safety, dependability, accepting and understanding limits, learning the ability to be resilient and self soothe, and learning how to delay gratification – which also created the inability to understand a peripheral of others, have a conscience or empathy, or know a reverence and love for self, others and life itself.
This is the basis of all addictive behaviour – a separation from self-worth, self-love and the ability to inwardly emotionally navigate life healthily.
If an individual does not have the inner resources, then they believe a sense of “self” must be provided by the outside world.
The narcissist pays the ultimate price of the disowned inner self being replaced by the False Self (ego). When the emotional going gets tough, the narcissist discovers he or she has only a shriveled inner being at the helm. This ineffectual inner being is defenceless when trying to fend off the self-annihilating Inner Critic, who confirms the narcissist’s gravest nightmare, “You are totally defective.”
The narcissist does not feel connected to, and loved and accepted by “existence.” He or she is suffering the ultimate spiritual starvation – which is the basis of trying to seek “self” in the wrong places. The wrong places means “the outside.”
This always brings about a feeling of unworthiness, scarcity mindedness, and the need to compete – the need to outsmart and the desire to win at the expense of someone else losing because of the beliefs of “not enoughness” “I am not enough” and there is “not enough” – therefore I have to be someone inauthentic and manipulative to try to win – and everyone else does this in a “dog eat dog” world.
That is the orientation of narcissism.
In the quest for narcissistic supply, people are reduced to objects. People are not individuals; they are just a drug to relieve inner torment. The pathology of maladaptation to avoid the narcissists’ inner wounds are so severe that these wounds are projected onto anyone else who is a target of supply.
The narcissist honestly believes these people are in fact the ones using the narcissist for narcissist supply.
Such is the twisted brain wiring, which acts as a buffer to preserve the narcissist’s False Self, and to continue avoiding his or her inner self.
“My bad feelings are always someone else’s fault.”