Narcissistic Supply

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Narcissistic supply is the name for the driving force behind the behaviours of a narcissist. This driving force is their shaky, unstable self-esteem of which they are largely consciously unaware. This is because it is well defended against by their ego/consciousness and suppressed into their subconscious.

The narcissist has an inflated false self. This can be compared to a leaky balloon which needs to be constantly inflated with ‘narcissistic supply’. This supply consists of others admiring the narcissist or mirroring back to them the false self which they present.

Narcissists like to feel powerful over others, have control over others, get attention, praise and admiration, and elicit negative or positive emotional energy.

Supplies are activities and relationships which fuel and reinforce the grandiosity of the narcissist.

It is all based on a fantasy and the purpose is to reinforce grandiosity in order not to feel depressed. The false self of the narcissist views itself as perfect and therefore is entitled to whatever it wants without having to work or struggle on a personal level (they will often be workaholics in their job or career).

If mirroring from the environment is inadequate the false grandiose self will feel frustrated and then the underlying anger and depression will start to emerge.

The successful narcissist is one whose defences remain intact and they never need to question their importance. They must be creative and imaginative to create a lifestyle which supports their grandiose view of themselves and fuels their narcissistic needs. They deny weakness in themselves. Other people exist in a narcissist’s life to reinforce their image of themselves.

Narcissists can be said to be addicted to narcissistic supply.

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This Post Has 5 Comments

  1. sugar

    hi there, good people!
    I’m very grateful to have to have found you!
    my recovery started 3 years ago .
    when my therapist asked , “what’s your mother like ?”
    – “oh , people flock to her side , because she’s nice to them , & they like her & all .
    “but” , I continued , “I don’t want to have anything to do with that .”
    with a look of concern , my therapist asked , “why is that ?”.
    without even thinking , my response was , “because, it’s phony & fake”. – I couldn’t believe, I said that out loud .
    it was the 1st day of my recovery.

  2. Saskia Huis

    Hi sigaar,
    How are today, all well with recovery.
    I got a new psychiatric since two years and she destroyed everything I accomplished, feeling empty, just a shell and I,m done, but I,m glad that some survivors find the right therapist and their healing can begin , but some of us are still misunderstood, judged, misdiagnosed and feeling that after going in no contact and reach out for help, what a hard dissission was, as the scapegoat/ helper child you learn not to ask for anything, and when we do ask for help and end up with someone who seems to have simular traits as my mother, brought everything back, feels like starting all over, but to exhausted to fight, but I,m so happy for you and wander how you are doing, one year later?
    And Sarah, thank you for this great website you build with so much usefully information, just read the blog post about growing up with a narcissistic parent and the damage , chronic stress and in going fight or flight due to trauma, thank you so much and god bless that you are doing this for us, will be back tomorrow to read the next article.
    I wish everyone all the love and good health for 2023!!!
    Love me

    1. childrenofnarcissists

      Hi Saskia,
      Thank you for your lovely message. I am so glad my website has been helpful to you. I wish you all the best for this year. May it be your best one yet.

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Sarah Graham

Sarah Graham

I am a Counsellor, based in Bournemouth in the UK, with specialist knowledge of Narcissistic Personality Disorder. I am trained in treating Complex Trauma. I work online and am insured to work in most places in the world.

Link to my Counselling Website Here