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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Christine is a Psychotherapist, Educator, Author and Supervisor of mental health professionals for over 28 years. She was part of a team in the Trauma Unit of St. Brendan’s Psychiatric Hospital, Dublin, and has worked specifically with victims of pathological narcissistic abuse in her private practice for many years.
Her books, “The Three Faces of Evil: Unmasking the Full Spectrum of Narcissistic Abuse” and “When Shame Begets Shame: How Narcissists hurt and shame their victims” set out to to help those who have been affected by a narcissist and also to address the shortfalls in a therapist’s education, so that they become better equipped to work with survivors of narcissistic abuse.Much of her knowledge has come from her post-grad studies in Criminology and Forensic Psychology, and it is through these disciplines that she has gained her understanding of “The Dark Triad”, (Narcissism, Machiavellianism and Psychopathy).
These three faces of evil are vital information for understanding the full spectrum of narcissistic abuse and the dire effects on the victims.It is her vision that narcissistic abuse becomes part of the curriculum of all Mental Health clinicians.
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