The Addiction Of Narcissistic Supply
Narcissists feed on the feelings of others; they grow stronger by making others feel weak. To them, the only thing that ever truly matters is their own self-gratification, and one of the easiest ways to attain this is by degrading any that cross their path.
Whatever the relationship may be – romantic, family, co-worker, or mere acquaintance – a narcissist will seek to manipulate and dominate you in order to reinforce the grandiose vision they have of themselves.
To them, you are nothing more than a source of attention, adulation, and praise. They need you to supply these things so that they continue to support their inflated, false sense of self.
Alternatively, should positive reinforcement not be forthcoming, narcissists will just as happily settle for conflict because it, too, gives them the limelight they so crave.
Arguments and disagreements provide the narcissist with opportunities to manipulate; they make other people vulnerable to persuasion and more likely to do things they would not otherwise do. If a narcissist can maneuver their opponent into doing or saying something, it gives strength to the belief they have in themselves as powerful and superior beings.
Whichever way it is achieved, attention is a primary source of narcissistic supply and one that a narcissist must have on a very regular basis if they are to function.
The very name “narcissist supply” hints at its addictive properties and it is not hard to see the similarities between it and the need for drugs and alcohol in those suffering from substance abuse.
Indeed, the study linked above makes reference to a level of co-occurrence between NPD and substance use.
What does this mean? Well, to a narcissist, you and the attention you provide are addictive; they have to receive a “fix” every now and then in order to satiate their ego. Without it, they will struggle to maintain their carefully tailored outer image.