Understanding the Phenomenon of Narcissistic Supply with Regard to Narcissistic Personality Disorder

Do you understand the phenomenon of Narcissistic Supply?

Understanding the phenomenon of Narcissistic Supply is critical to understanding the narcissistic personality disorder and the narcissist’s behavior.  Narcissists are addicted to “attention”, and they get their fix through their narcissistic supply.

Basically, there are two categories of narcissistic supply,  Primary Narcissistic Supply and. Secondary Narcissistic Supply:-

Primary Narcissistic Supply provides all of the attention that the narcissist addict craves.  The nature of the attention can be experienced in either a public form (such as fame, celebrity, notoriety, or infamy etc.), or in a private form (such as admiration, flattery, acclaim, fear, repulsion etc.).  As you can see, it does not matter whether the attention is positive or negative, as long as the narcissist is centre stage; one is as powerful as the other to him.

Secondary Narcissistic Supply alludes to those people or things that provide supply on a regular basis (such as a spouse, children, friends, colleagues, partners, students, etc.).  This particular form of supply allows the narcissist to lead a more normal existence, it provides him with pride,  financial safety, social distinction and the alliance that he needs.

However, narcissistic supply is not confined to people only, it can be applied to any inanimate object that has the ability to attract attention and admiration to the narcissist, (for example, a flash car, property, clothes, being a member of a church, cult, club, or a business).  In short, anything that acts as status symbols for the narcissist is narcissistic supply.

When deprived of Narcissistic Supply (primary or secondary) the narcissist experiences symptoms similar to the withdrawal symptoms of a drug addict:  he becomes delusional, agitation, helpless and emotionally unhinged, he disintegrates and crumbles, and may even experience a psychotic episode.  He engages in “magical thinking” because he believes that he is authoritative, omniscient, omnipotent, therefore he will always win.  This makes him fearless and relentless in pursuit of his revenge, a revenge that, in his head, will be triumphant (The God Complex).   All these aspects together make him highly dangerous when his source of supply is threatened.

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