The Narcissist at Work

Narcissistic Supply is More Addictive Than Heroin

Narcissistic Supply is more addictive than heroin, cocaine and any drug on the market. But what is “Narcissistic Supply” anyway?

If you read any half-way helpful article or book about narcissists, it’s a term that will pop up repeatedly because “supply” is the nugget that defines, depresses, delights, drives and destroys narcissists.

Narcissistic supply is any attention, energy, life, help, support, acknowledgement or approval anyone gives a narcissist for any reason, positive or negative, that FEEDS their pathetic, obsessive, craving for attention.

Narcissistic supply can come from a job, profession, skill set, organization, talent or lifestyle, but it  most often comes from another person: spouse, child, employee, friend, co-workers who interact with the narcissist.

According to Wikipedia:

“The term “narcissistic supply” was used by psychoanalyst Otto Fenichel in 1938 in describing the way in which a narcissistic individual “requires a ‘narcissistic supply’ from the environment in the same way as the infant requires an external supply of food”.[1]

If you happen to be the person the narcissist draws that attention from, know that they will do anything to ensure it keeps coming in, and will fly into a narcissistic rage if it is removed, diminished or cut off for any reason. If you’re thinking you must be special to be able to supply something the narcissist needs so badly, think again.

The narcissist does not consider the person who is his/her supply as a person at all. If you’re supplying your narcissist you may find yourself being treated as if you are a part of the narcissist. “In the mind of a narcissist, there is no boundary between themselves and other people.” You have no identity, reason or purpose other than to feed them what they want. They’re the leech and you’re the host and they are out to suck every ounce of life out of you that they can.

Who is most likely to be a narcissistic magnet? Co-dependents seem to be very attracted to narcissists and vice-versa, but:

  • Anyone, male or female, who expresses awe, wonder, gratitude or praise for the narcissist’s accomplishments and performance, looks, skill set, talent or anything else
  • Anyone who expresses unending gratitude for anything he has ever done for you, said to you, or told you (if you don’t remember, he’ll remind you)
  • Anyone who expresses sympathy and agreement with his self-perception that he is God’s gift to an undeserving world
  • Anyone who puts the narcissist’s needs ahead of their own
  • Anyone willing to join “his team,” and show righteous indignation for his suffering, which is far greater than most and always undeserved no matter what
  • Anyone who shows adoration and compliments for his brain, body, spiritual health , job, car, home, clothing, style, and wisdom, etc.
  • Anyone willing to give up their time, money, attention, life or needs in order to meet all the needs of the narcissist
  • Anyone who shows tacit agreement that he or she is special, misunderstood by the masses, under-appreciated and special
  • Anyone who will acknowledge that the narcissist is entitled, special and above the common people and who should not be subject to normal rules and regulations
  • Anyone willing to overlook the occasional, or repeated violations and exploitation of them for any reason
  • Anyone who fails to recognize or acknowledge the narcissist’s narcissistic behavior in any way will also make a great narcissist supply.

Don’t get us wrong. It’s not like the narcissist will cling to you forever. The second they find someone with more supply than you, they’re gone. They will leave you in a heartbeat and never look back. Heaven help you if you leave them first tho! You’re likely to experience a narcissistic rage that will cool only after they’ve “punished” you for leaving them!

Narcissists are always looking for someone better than you. And by “better,” that means someone who is more exciting, better looking, richer, higher on the social scale, or who possesses any traits or things the narcissist believes will make THEM appear better.

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30 Comments to "Narcissistic Supply is More Addictive Than Heroin"

  1. David says:

    It is apparent that this is wrote by a Women because there are many reference’s to just Male’s in this as the narcissist. Not Male / Female so you as the writer of this blew any unbiase to your writings which therefore makes it a bogus thought.

    • admin says:

      David, the fact is, the vast majority of narcissists are MALE. There are indeed female narcissists, but the majority are male.

      • christine says:

        Nonsense – what about Narcisstic Mothers??? who creates narcisstic sons – the problem is that the most of the time this wonderfull mommies are never exposed!!, and I am a woman myself, who was raised as a scapegoat by a very intelligent Narcisstic Mother who keeps herself very much in tact and who keeps up her angel face for the world!

        • admin says:

          My mother was a narcissist. They are the worst, for sure. No one ever seems to see the evilness as they’re so busy being distracted by that angel face. I feel your pain and am so sorry you had to be raised by her. You didn’t do anything to deserve it, for sure!

          • L.T. says:

            admin, why don’t you respond to christine’s observation that narcissistic mothers–who are women…female…–undoubtedly add to the underestimated/skewed figure of 75% male/%25 female?

            That way of “answering” is pervasive and inauthentic. It’s really just reiterating your assumption. It’s as though you really didn’t hear her or aren’t interested in challenging your own ideas–only bypassing a very good point brought up by christine and patting her on the head–giving her something she clearly did not ask for but that you wanted to give and that was supposed to distract (?) her…

            Your adding(elsewhere) that the number of females is rising does not address the fact that there are many older women–now in their later years–who are narcissists and that at the time of the births of their children motherhood was considered sacrosanct and not popularly criticized as in later times…that influence skewed the numbers directly and indirectly.

          • admin says:

            LT, Women are indeed narcissists!! My mother was a brutal narcissist whom I allowed to destroy my life for years before waking up and moving away. Narcissistic women with children do more damage than fathers I think. As far as not responding to Christine’s observation, I’m not sure which post you’re referring to, but I’ll look again. You’re right. Older women are indeed narcissists (as is my mother). And motherhood was rarely attacked in the 50’s through the 90’s…The issue is not men vs women. It’s that ANY narcissist is toxic and destructive and that the rules are the same – ignore, avoid, leave and set and enforce strong boundaries and admit you are never going to have the relationship you dreamed of with this person, so salvage what little you can and get on with your life.

  2. carter says:

    I have a narcissistic father with passive aggressive behavior and a traits of asperge, which all seems to overlap, his mom did not give him enough affection while growing up and he didn`t get respect and individualism from him family.

    I also have a a narcissistic cousin, who grew up without a father and his mom didn`t care much about him. so I have suffered greatly from both these relationships, with all the lack of self esteem and self worth, ” I am always wrong, useless, retarded and never ever right, and I must agree to everything they say or they get angry, especially my father”

    its actually very frustrating, I said suffered because once you realize where the problem is and that NOTHING is wrong with you, you feel a sense of relief and happiness, yes it is still challenging living with them especially my dad who I see everyday, but now you understand the hidden attention behind everything they do, and you learn how to not put their needs before yours, and never get with them into any arguments because NO MATTER WHAT they will always twist the conversation to where they proof a point and get credit for it.

    I thank god that I am a Pharmacy Dr and I have the means to learn and understand, otherwise I would have been a total mess.

    I have developed anxieties, self esteem issues and lack of worth. but now I am much better after learning all about this destructive illnesses

    • admin says:

      I’m so sorry for your family situation growing up. You didn’t deserve it. Remember, they attack you because they don’t feel good about themselves. If you feel worthless, they feel 10 times that, which is why they are so hard on you. I’m glad you see that. You managed to go beyond all they said and do something amazing with your life…and thrive in ways they hate I’m sure. However, it still lingers. Glad you’re still looking and growing. Hang in there!!

  3. Joanne says:

    I don’t know about the vast majority of narcissists being male. In my experience, the vast amount are female.
    And worse, all of them (the ones i know) are mothers. I feel for the children living with mothers who smother or abandon them and have no boundaries.
    I’ve met male narcissists but they haven’t been as malignant.
    Rather, as persistently malignant.

    • admin says:

      Thanks Joanne, statistically the majority of narcissists are male, but women are rapidly catching up with them. I agree, the narcissist mother is a nightmare…mine was one. Both are horrible and destructive and persistently malignant. We tend, as a society, to believe mothers have the best interests of their children in mind. Unfortunately many don’t and it’s less painful to ignore the signs than to remove the children. Thank you for posting. I think you’ve got some great points!

    • Shar says:

      I agree Joanne, I’ve seen plenty of women Narc’s..mine is a weird one, as my parents died 2 wks before I turned 11, & my sister took me in as my guardian. So she basically was my “mom”, & she is no doubt a #10, malignant narcissist! It seems that women narc’s are more cunning & do such evil underhanded evil things to hurt people! They calculate their every move! I was her cinderella & her narcissistic supply, her mouth piece if anyone dared said something that she didn’t agree w/ or felt was a hit on her grandiose ego…As I look back I’m ashamed on how I’d call her victims up & let them have it! By the time I was an adult, you didn’t know where she began or where I ended, it was like we were enmeshed into one person! It is so sick! She’d tell me how we were so special, & we weren’t different, not like other people! Looking back she flipp’n acted like we were celebrities! It is so ironic she claims to be a Christian, but she feels only love for herself, she feels NO empathy for others! When people meet her she oozes w/ charm, she’s pretty “Physically”, (though her looks are fading w/ age), & the people who don’t live w/ her have no idea that when the door to her house shuts, she take’s off her mask & she become’s who she REALLY is-my “sister satan”! I’ve studied narcissism for years just trying to make since of it all…& their are even psychiatrists that are Christians that question if these people aren’t plain EVIL! Look up 2 Timothy 3:1-7, it describes narc’s to a “T”, in fact their are sooo many scriptures about narcissism, just google it! I find it strange how narc’s are virtually non treatable! They divide families & are out to destroy, cause pain & envy..yet they envy everyone around them! I’m writing a book about it in hopes of helping those who have been through it. It took me 12 yrs. to get through it & come out on the other side. I know it sounds strange, but she was like my “god”! Ironically that is one of the symptoms, is they think they are “God like”, even though they would NEVER admit it. Actually, they are so the opposite, it’s like a soul w/ no foot prints! It’s like u think u have this close relationship, when really it’s all one sided, they use u & when ur not inflating their empty ego, & since your just an object to them, & if your no longer useful they just toss u away like a piece of garbage! Like ur dead & u never existed…& in reality that is just how they feel-u never really did exist it was one big fat LIE! Just like the book written about narc’s, the title say’s it all, “The people of the lie”! I have a few tapes of my sister leaving voice mails on my phone in a narcissistic rage…. & those who have heard them who know her-seriously can’t believe their ears! The sister who they met who gushes w/ scripture’s & how happy, happy, happy her life is blah, blah, blah…finally get to hear the REAL her…every other word is F’ing this & F’ing that! Screaming at the top of her lungs letting me know I’m dead to her, & her signature words when she’s in a rage to anyone she’s killing off is… “shame on you, shame on you”! Which is also ironic, as we all know that narc’s are filled w/ shame & yet to not feel their shame they live out & put on ths fake persona to outsider’s! My!…it must be exhausting to be them, playing the lead actor! If I could go into detail of all she’s done to me & to others…she almost caused my death because she was so worried how it would reflect on her! Almost caused the death of a lil’ boy she wanted to adopt, because if she told the authorities she may “not be able to get his mother to sign him over to her”! Because is she couldn’t have him…than no one would! I’ve gone on & on, but when I get on this subject I just want goodness for those who fall victim them…I want to warn others before they fall victim & tell them if u see these symptoms run don’t walk, & never look back! As a “believer”, I think only a miracle can save them, or change them. Just a lil’ shout out…I’ve got several possible titles written down…which I can always use for chapter titles…if anyone out there want’s to throw me one they have thought of I’d sure appreciate the help. I love, “Why is it always about you”, but that’s taken. Anyway, if you reach me & I will throw out to you the several I’ve thought up & would love & would appreciate any feedback. Happy healing you all! : )

  4. Leigh says:

    My husband is a narcissist.

    Living in this marriage can be heaven or hell- there is no in between. When I’m “feeding the beast” there is peace and harmony…… But the second I disagree with something, I’m made to believe that its me who is wrong and the problem. My husband is emotionally detached and I believe that’s what allows him to be as unkind as he can be. That’s what allows him to take and take from me without guilt.

    Sadly, I’m financially dependant on him and we have a young child together so leaving isn’t an option.

    I honestly don’t even know who I am anymore or what I want in life because he has made it all feel so unattainable.

    I often feel I’m just not good enough to be loved by him.

    Thank you for posting this.

    • jacqui says:

      Leigh – You are NOT financially dependant on him! The state will help you until you get back on your feet. I was in the same situation with two young children and believe me, you must get out now – before he bleeds you dry and exhausts you beyond redemption. It is your ONLY option. Do not stay one minute longer than you have to!!!He is slowly killing you. Be strong and know there is support out there – please please please do not think you have to stay – it will be better for you and your child to get out now while you still have time to find yourself again and your child is not too damaged by this toxic relationship. All this i say with love – i understand – please save yourselves!

    • CH says:

      Wow, I can relate to your situation and emotional stress.
      The best thing is to agree and then just do it your own way…
      Also, go find a hobby even if it is feed the birds at the park, go a few times a week to the same park around the same time, and make it yours.

      Best Wishes
      Your a strong gal

    • Amanda says:

      I left my N Husband of 14 years. And 18months on I am still learning about behaviour traits. . Unfortunately I got involved in a relationship with another one and it has taken me months to see that he also has traits which mean I am currently being shunned. But I am thankful I am wise to this and hopefully can start to see traits before I date again.

      • admin says:

        At least you’re paying attention and seeing what is happening! Now, the next thing to do is learn to set personal boundaries and to become a person who respects themselves enough to say “NO” immediately when you start attracting these men. When we are confident in who we are and about ourselves we don’t rush in to a relationship because we are needy. When you take your time, like 1-5 years, to get to know people, you’re less likely to end up with a loser. Most people can only hide their true selves for 6-months to a year. Good luck and be patient as you start dating again. Give yourself a lot of TIME before committing to a relationship. Narcissists will out themselves if you give them time. They can’t help it.

    • Amanda says:

      And leigh.. you are good enough to be loved just honestly understand it will never be by him.. do what you can ask him to seek counselling and drag him there. He has no idea how he is killing you in the relationship. Do it for the sake of your kid.. mine are much happier without him being actively involved with him.

  5. jacqui says:

    Leigh – You are NOT financially dependant on him! The state will help you until you get back on your feet. I was in the same situation with two young children and believe me, you must get out now – before he bleeds you dry and exhausts you beyond redemption. It is your ONLY option. Do not stay one minute longer than you have to!!!He is slowly killing you. Be strong and know there is support out there – please please please do not think you have to stay – it will be better for you and your child to get out now while you still have time to find yourself again and your child is not too damaged by this toxic relationship. All this i say with love – i understand – please save yourselves!

  6. Marlene says:


    I thank you for posting this as it greatly helps me in my healing and validates things for me. I wish more people would be thankful to people that post info that the general public does not know enough about. Males females…narcissism more dominant in males. Thank you for your post!! Keep it up!

  7. Louise Weaver says:

    I love I am now educating myself so I can finally be free !!!!!!!!! I have called my Mother EVIL as I didn’t know what was going on ….it was just negative !destructive cruel and horrific …… She groomed me and I was her unloved slave she had a mission to break me ,and she did but I didn’t die ,I survived and now I have a voice …. I have just had my recent Leech removed from my home by police ….. Relief and freedom !!!!! I had gotten incredibly sick physically ….she wanted to make sure I believed I needed her ,now I’m recovering ,I truely believe I was been poisoned ….. I’m stronger than the criminal Narcissts has any idea of . Xxxxxxx

  8. […] ‘Narcissistic supply is any attention, energy, life, help, support, acknowledgement or approval anyone gives a narcissist for any reason, positive or negative, that FEEDS their pathetic, obsessive, craving for attention.’ ( […]

  9. […] The Narcissist at Work: […]

  10. mah says:

    I am “married” to a text book narcissistic supply. He gets overly involved with narcissists and gives them his attention adoration and money. When I object he becomes infantile in his retaliation. Years of eye rolling and self-pity because I just don’t get how wonderful his special people are. The latest is capable of murdering me for cutting off his “supply”. I should have been rid of this ass-licker years ago.

  11. Nicki says:

    I grew up with a NPD Mom, and brother. Many N relationships and have been married to a N for 25 years. I really think it is physically unhealthy for me, as well as emotionally. He won’t agree to separate. How can I get him to leave? I realize he needs another source of supply .
    Any suggestions?

    • admin says:

      Betsy Wuebker just published a new book on Divorcing the Narcissist. You can find it in the store section of this website. She has lots of suggestions! It won’t be easy to divorce him unless he already has another supply. If he won’t agree to separate you need to decide what’s best for you. Unless he’s got you tied up in the basement, you’re an adult and can pick up and move out without his permission. See an attorney for legal advice, or contact your local women’s shelter. They can help!

  12. Ivy says:

    In my own experiences, I have actually come across far more female narcissists than male. Although of course, I’ve come across them too.

    My mother was an N, my sister and brothers are Ns. I am currently ending a friendship with a covert N. And yes, I left her first, and I’m sure the fallout will be entertaining as hell. In fact, the smear campaign has already begun. But I’m prepared for it, because in essence, I don’t care. It’s incredibly freeing to be able to say, “Do your worst. You’re gonna talk about me behind my back? Gee, why should now be any different than before? Go ahead, talk away. Anyone who believes you is basically as bad as you are, and thank you for culling the herd for me.”

    • admin says:

      OMG! I feel for you! Being a narcissistic magnet is so emotionally draining! Sounds like you know what’s going on. Now to just move on and get the best revenge you can – LIVING HAPPILY WITHOUT THEM!

  13. Will Notbe says:

    Most women under 35 are situational Narcissists. The constant attention from men creates an ego bubble which bursts at about the same time her fertility and attractiveness fades.
    narcissism has doubled in the last generation with now 30% of college students being clinically narcissists.

  14. Pat says:

    I am on my fourth marriage to a narc. I swore never again but I jumped in again. I have only learned what I was dealing with a few weeks ago. Always knew something in me was the common denominator. Now I know that being an empath is why I am so attracted to narcs. I am elated that I finally understand what has been going on and am reading, praying and pondering the subject to get it cemented in my brain. I so appreciate the stories here and finally have got some truth and perspective. I am ending this relationship asap. Thanks for the support!

  15. Barbara says:

    I feel the need to comment after reading many of these responses that say women are the worst narcissists. Male narcissists are indeed extremely covert just like the females. They do not allow most people to see this aspect of themselves. They seem to have a different use for each person. Just because you know a male narcissists doesn’t mean you “know” him. They wear different masks depending on who they are using. They only reveal their true evil self to those they are hell bent on destroying. Male narcissists are extremely dangerous to the ones they are targeting and consuming.

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