Understanding Narcissistic Supply: What Is It, Types, And Much More…

Last Update on June 2, 2023 : Published on June 3, 2023
Understanding Narcissistic Supply

A narcissistic supply is nothing but a constant supply of attention a narcissistic person needs. This supply often comes from people that a narcissist is surrounded with. Narcissists are so manipulative that we won’t even know and they’ll extract narcissistic supply from us.

The narcissistic supply of attention that all narcissistic people seek is nothing but a sense of acceptance and love that we all seek from people around us. Narcissistic people rather than requesting this supply, tend to demand it from others and that’s when it becomes a problem.

A narcissistic supply is necessary for a narcissist as it gives their ego a boost. Even though they think very highly of themselves, there is a sense of insecurity in them which is suppressed when they receive a good amount of narcissistic supply.

Let’s learn more about the narcissistic supply…

What Is Narcissistic Supply?

Narcissistic Supply

A narcissistic supply is known to be a type of psychological addiction where one requires a constant supply of attention from people around them. Narcissistic supply is a demand of undying admiration, acknowledgment, attention, etc a narcissist imposes on people they surround themselves with.

Narcissistic supply is a result of attention-seeking behavior exhibited by narcissists. We all need attention and enjoy knowing that we’re heard and our efforts are acknowledged. However, narcissists are in constant need of attention and admiration.

Since it is not possible to pay attention to one single person all the time, narcissists create situations so that people around them get all the attention they need. Even when a narcissist gets enough narcissistic supply, they still keep seeking attention because they are never satisfied.

Also Read: Is Healthy Narcissism A Thing? Check Out The Signs Here!

Why Do Narcissists Need A Narcissistic Supply?

It is very common for a narcissist to constantly demand attention, acceptance, acknowledgment, etc from people around them. But they aren’t born like this, this is a developed behavior, in most cases, it is because of the experiences one has had in their childhood.

It is a high possibility for narcissists to be the way they are because they did not receive needed attention and love in their growing years.  There definitely is a lack and narcissists demand all the attention they missed as a child when they grow older.

This lack can be because of parental neglect or when caregivers do not meet the emotional needs of a child. Such children often grow up demanding attention rather than accepting attention they are already receiving. They become demanding because they didn’t receive emotional attention when they should have received it without even asking.

And now, demanding attention is the only way to know!

Types Of Narcissistic Supply

Types Of Narcissistic

Narcissistic supply can come from various sources. Narcissistic people are very clever, they know exactly how and when to demand a narcissistic supply from others without even letting them know. However, they get really upset when they don’t receive their narcissistic supply.

A narcissistic person gets their narcissistic supply from two different sources – Primary and secondary sources. Let’s explore both the different types of narcissistic supply;

  • Primary narcissistic supply: this type of narcissistic supply can come from public or private sources. It is the attention one receives from friends and family and people outside of the home. It comes from respect, love, fame, etc. that one receives from people around them.
  • Secondary narcissistic supply: this type of narcissistic supply basically comes from the success and progress they’ve made in life. They feel good and their ego is boosted when they achieve goals and reach a higher position.

Signs You Are Narcissistic Supply

If you are friends with a narcissist or happen to spend a lot of time with someone who has narcissistic tendencies, you’re more likely to be a source of narcissistic supply. Narcissists often feel like other people are friends with them only because they don’t have anyone else in their life.

They do suffer from insecurity and low self-esteem deep down but are really good at hiding them. They often choose people who are easily manipulated to be the source of their narcissistic supply.

If you want to know if you are a source of narcissistic supply, here are some signs you need to watch out for;

  • You often avoid getting into an argument with a narcissist, as a result, give in to their demands
  • You can easily be convinced to do things violating your boundaries
  • You enjoy making other people happy, have people-pleasing tendencies
  • You let others lead you and make decisions for you
  • You feel like you must compliment others and make them feel good
  • You allow others to have control over you
  • You do not enjoy autonomy and lack self-differentiation

Also Read: What Does Narcissistic Discard Mean? | Reasons, Impact, And How To Heal

Narcissistic Supply Examples

If you’ve read this far, by now you know that there are two different types of narcissistic supply. These primary and secondary sources of narcissistic supply can be in any form from being complimented by someone or receiving an award for a good performance.

Here are a few examples of narcissistic supply that will help you get a better understanding of narcissistic supply;

  • Receiving an award for good performance,
  • Being famous and known by millions of people,
  • Being considered an influential person in the community,
  • Having friends and family always trying to meet their needs,
  • Having your friends and family fear you, it makes them feel powerful,
  • Being married to someone who is considered a ‘trophy’ wife/husband,
  • Having expensive cars, big houses, luxurious life, etc.
  • Having children with higher abilities achieve their goals,
  • Being associated with people with a higher status, etc.

That’s All Folks!

I hope you found this blog about narcissistic supply helpful, interesting, and thought-provoking. Do share this blog with your friends and family so that we all know when we are acting as a source of narcissistic supply.

Thanks for reading.

Take care and stay safe.

About The Author

Kirti Bhati
Kirti Bhati

I am an English literature (major) and psychology (minor) graduate from St. Bede’s College, Shimla. Postgraduate in Clinical psychology from IIS University, Jaipur. She has published a Research paper on Music therapy in the military population and Workplace stress in a national seminar conducted by Fortis hospital (gurugram) and international seminar conducted by St. Bede’s College, Shimla, Respectively. Authored a dissertation work on ‘effect of social media addiction on the mental and physical well-being in adolescents’ Currently working at calm sage as a writer.

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