Narcissistic Supply: 8 Signs You May Be Someone’s Narcissistic Supply

Just as we rely on food to survive, narcissists rely on a gratification supply to thrive.

The source of their supply may be one or more people, including family, friends, coworkers, or partners.

According to psychoanalytic theory, narcissistic supply involves a narcissist’s need for gratification from codependents without regard for their victims’ feelings or needs.

It’s a psychological addiction that leads to the narcissist continually demanding importance or seeking attention.

Because narcissists can’t maintain self-esteem without a supply, they’ll keep using and abusing suppliers.

Since covert narcissists can fake sensitivity and humility, they’re especially good at tricking people.

Watch for these signs if you think you may be part of a narcissist’s supply.

1. You have low self-esteem and less self-respect

Through emotional abuse, narcissists drain their suppliers of self-respect and self-esteem.

Even if you had low self-esteem before you met the narcissist, you’d notice that it’s significantly lower than it initially was.

Over time, the narcissist chips away at it. Covert narcissists are especially good at this.

You feel like you let the narcissist down a lot.

Since you’re always the bad person when the narcissist is unhappy, you feel ashamed of yourself.

Narcissists are master manipulators who know how to make themselves look like victims, leaving you feeling like a monster and unsure why you feel that way.

2. You can’t stay away from the narcissist

Just as narcissists are addicted to the gratification suppliers give, people who are part of the supply are often in codependent situations.

Narcissists, especially covert ones, are so good at manipulation that they can make you feel like nothing’s more important than their approval.

You live for the moments when you’re praised or rewarded, but you notice that it’s only when you’re providing gratification or when the narcissist wants something from you.

You get treated better after you offer compliments or do something for the person.

Since the narcissist must always be the center of your attention, you’ll get even more approval when you cancel plans with other people in your life to spend time with the narcissist.

You may look back and realize that relationships with family, friends, or a partner suffered because of your unnecessary sacrifices for the narcissist.

3. You develop new addictions or revert to prior ones

People who have codependent tendencies often gravitate toward narcissists. Some victims are attracted to the charisma they try to show.

Once you’re in the narcissist’s life, that person systematically drains you and leaves you feeling empty and alone.

To cope with the effects of the abuse, you may develop substance or other addictions. For example, you may start shopping or eating excessively to fill the growing emptiness you feel.

If you are in recovery from drug or alcohol addiction, you may relapse.

Since the narcissist drains you of the self-esteem and other strengths you need to beat addiction, you find yourself trying to replace those strengths with something else.

On a related note, if a narcissist’s supply is cut off, that person may also turn to shopping, eating, drugs, alcohol, or something else.

When they lose a supply source, they need to fill the void until they find another person to be a supply source.

4. You have constant feelings of guilt

Since narcissists need to maintain their supply, they do what it takes to keep suppliers close to them.

If a narcissist knows that you’ll give more attention when you feel guilty, that person will find a way to make you feel guilty for just about anything.

When you’re at a gathering with the narcissist, you’ll hear disparaging remarks or get negative looks from the person when you interact with others for too long.

The narcissist wants all or most of your attention.

You’ll probably feel terrible if you ever try to cancel plans with a narcissist.

It doesn’t matter if it’s something important, if your job depends on it, or even if a family member is sick.

The narcissist always comes first, and you’ll always be emotionally abused as a supplier if you make the person feel less important.

5. You constantly feel confused

The inconsistent, contradictory behaviors of narcissists make victims who are part of their supply feel conflicted and confused.

Creating a state of cognitive dissonance for you, narcissists will leave you questioning your sanity.

Again, covert narcissists are especially good at this. They’re experts in manipulating, using gaslighting, and turning suspicion back on you when you start questioning them.

Narcissists say they love you, but their selfishness makes you doubt that. You’re the one doing all the giving. The narcissist has no empathy for you but expects it from you.

You’ll be bad if you point that out or want to discuss it. A narcissist will feel attacked and paint you as the attacker, making you wonder if your important concerns are attacks.

Narcissists often bring up gifts, favors, or other things they do. That person only does those things to keep you in their life as a supply source.

They’ll keep playing the victim and be upset until you retreat and give them gratification.

Meanwhile, they won’t show any regard for the mental anguish and confusion you feel.

6. You feel like you don’t know who you are anymore

Since narcissists are good at projecting their negative emotions and false realities on people close to them, the victims often lose their sense of identity.

Also, they tend to change themselves to suit the narcissist’s needs or demands.

Whether or not you had to work at it, you used to feel more confident. The narcissist made you question your past, actions, morals, sanity, and more.

Now, you feel like you don’t know who you were in the first place or wonder if the wrong values shaped the person you once thought you were.

You may feel like you’re selfish or uncaring. For example, you may feel this way because you don’t talk to the other people in your life much anymore.

However, the narcissist will also make you feel that way if you do the opposite and shift your attention toward others. That would make anyone feel confused.

7. You have new or worsening anxiety, depression or PTSD

Constant emotional giving without reciprocated support can damage any person’s mental health. Until you’re away from the narcissist causing the problems, you may not realize the depth of the damage that person did.

You may feel depressed, severely stressed, or anxious because you desire to make the narcissist happy.

Because that person’s conflicting behaviors and emotional abuse are so confusing to you, this can cause a significant mental health decline.

When you’re emotionally invested, your experiences and the abuse from the narcissist can lead to PTSD.

If you tell the narcissist about your feelings, you may only get sympathy if you don’t imply that the narcissist is the source. You may also detect a hint of sympathy if there’s something for the narcissist to gain in pretending to care about you.

You’ll most likely feel guilty when you work up the courage to tell the narcissist about their emotional abuse.

The narcissist will get defensive and may convince you that you’re the abuser. You may not want to seek professional help for fear of how the narcissist will react.

8. You feel like an empty shell

Think of a battery as a person is a source of a narcissist’s supply. Over time, the battery gives all its power. If it powers multiple high-energy functions, it wears out faster.

A narcissist has this quick-draining effect on a supply source, leaving the person feeling empty. The narcissist may find a new supply source if you have nothing to give.

It’s hard to feel fulfilled when your positivity is usually punished unless directed at the narcissist in the form of compliments or gratification.

If you feel happy that you got promoted at work, the narcissist likely doesn’t share your joy.

You may get a backhanded compliment. The narcissist will only be happy about any possible personal benefits from the promotion, such as more gifts.

If the narcissist thinks something good will make you leave or feel superior, they won’t waste any time dragging you down.

You may even feel forced to turn down a job, lose a professional connection or deprive yourself of something else good that the narcissist sees as a threat.

Remember that you can usually tell if you’re part of a supply by how the narcissist makes you feel or act. As a caring person, it’s easier for you to think about the narcissist.

However, for your good, it’s also critical to carefully analyze how the narcissist affects you.

Can a gifted therapist help you too?

If you struggle with anxiety, depression, high-stress levels, relationship issues, or other specific challenges, one-on-one support from a therapist can help a lot.

You don’t need to go through this alone. There’s no shame in getting help!

Thousands of people get tailor-made support from a kind, empathetic, helpful therapist when faced with difficult life situations.

I recommend BetterHelp, which is a sponsor of Personality Unleashed.

It’s private, affordable, and takes place in the comfort of your own home.

Plus, you can talk to your therapist however you feel comfortable, whether through video, phone, or messaging.

Are you ready to break the negativity cycle?

Personality Unleashed readers get 10% off their first month. Click here to learn more.

Similar Posts