Narcissistic Supply (or “Supply”)
By Dana Morningstar
This is a term that is used to describe what feeds a narcissist’s ego. Narcissistic supply can be a person, a reaction, attention of any kind, money, power, social status, sex, or admiration.
Example: Jorge was an actor at the local community theater and had a long-standing habit of sleeping his way to the top, or as one of his fellow actors sarcastically remarked, “Jorge doesn’t just sleep his way to the top, he sleeps his way into getting whatever he wants.” To no one’s surprise, Jorge’s latest boyfriend was the new director and producer of the musical West Side Story, in which Jorge got the starring role. For those who had known Jorge long enough, the only type Jorge had was someone who had something he wanted. He had his last boyfriend buy him a car, his partner before that to pay off his student loans, and another partner to introduce him to some of the biggest actors in the area.
Example: Jane has had no contact with her ex-boyfriend, John, for six months. Out of the blue, he came back saying he’ll give her two months to make things work, and that he’s willing to forgive her for everything she’s done to him. This text message enrages and confuses Jane, as John has been the one who was abusive to her. She really wants to text him and tell him that he is a jerk, and remind him of everything he did to her. However, Jane also realizes that John is most likely trying to provoke her into reacting, and she doesn’t want to give him the satisfaction of seeing her upset. Instead, she decides to block his number and vent about him in her support group.
It can be really hard to walk away and say nothing when a person who has wronged you continues to harass and provoke you, but it’s essential to realize that you can’t set them straight, and that letting them know how hurtful they are will only feed their ego.
Dana Morningstar is a former psychiatric nurse turned domestic violence educator who specializes in abuse awareness and prevention. Her passion is working with survivors of abuse to reclaim and rebuild their self-esteem, boundaries, confidence, and identity. She is an author of multiple books on the subject, and also has a blog, podcast, and YouTube channel, as well as several online support groups, all of which you can find under the name “Thrive After Abuse.”