It’s Narcissist Friday!   


The narcissism literature talks a lot about narcissistic supply.  “Supply” is sustenance, that which the narcissist needs and wants to get from you.  For the narcissist, supply is just as practical as you getting “supplies” from the grocery or hardware store.  He/she will pay whatever it takes to get what is needed.

But just what is the supply of the narcissist?  We usually speak in terms of adoration, loyalty, service, attention, etc.  Yet, under all of these is a common factor.  The narcissist needs life.

An idol has no life.  I believe the primary reason God hates idols and idol worship is because the idol, or false god, draws its life from its worshipers.  It gives them nothing, but takes everything.  The more they serve it, the more the idol draws from them.  A piece of wood or stone or precious metal cannot provide life.  It has none to give.  So its servants must give it life from themselves.

Let me explain this.  How do the worshipers of an idol know what the idol wants?  They look into themselves and pull out ideas of what true worship would be.  If cutting themselves would make it appear that they are fervent in their faith, then they would cut themselves.  If making a great sacrifice would be true worship, in their own eyes, then the worshipers would make great sacrifices.  And what kind of blessings would the idol give?  None, except what the worshipers would either do for themselves or manipulate from others or twist from the normal series of life events.  Their creativity and effort provide what the idol gets credit for.

Now, here’s the point: the image the narcissist has created has no life either.  It is a phony, just like an idol.  The only problem is that the only worshiper it has is the narcissist.  The image needs more.  It needs you.

It isn’t quite enough that the image provides a distraction from the broken and frightened child hiding in the corner (which is the real narcissist).  The narcissist needs to make the image real.  He/she must reject the reality they see and substitute the image.  The narcissist is not content for you to believe the lie; you must give life to the image.

Worship is the process of investing our lives into that which we worship.  What the Bible teaches us is that we come to the Lord and receive life from Him in order to worship Him and receive more life from Him.  I know that sounds complicated, but we understand that we were all the broken child hiding in the corner.  When we found Jesus and His love for us, we received His life.  He filled us with Himself.  He lives in us and is our life.  The only way we can worship Him is if we take from His life to connect our hearts to His.  This is why Jesus said that those who worship God “must worship Him in spirit and in truth.”

The narcissist draws life from his victims for the worship of the image.  “Did you see what a great job I did?”  You are supposed to give life to the lie and say, “Oh yes, how wonderful you are!”  You know it wasn’t the narcissist who did the great thing or that the thing wasn’t really all that great, but you are supposed to worship anyway.  And, every time you do, you take a little more from yourself to give to the image.

This is why victims of narcissists are so drained.  It’s why they feel so confused, so negative about themselves, and so compromised.  It’s why many of them feel depressed and suicidal.  It’s also why victims of narcissists often become narcissistic.  In order to replace the life they have given, they try to get something back from others.  The cycle runs through families and in organizations as each tries to get what was taken by others.

It is difficult to stop this process in a narcissistic relationship.  Yet, the important thing is to understand what is happening and to find ways to prevent the loss of identity that comes with this giving of life.  Find sources of life and energy apart from the narcissist.  Find ways to be healthy and alive.  And don’t give yourself away as your narcissist pushes you to worship the image.  Hold onto who you are.

Of course, the ultimate answer is to find your life source in Jesus.  He will fill you with love and affirmation and purpose.  He will lead you in dealing with your narcissist.  I believe with all my heart that Jesus is the only real source of life and that He loves each of us.

Life.  It’s pretty much the bottom line, isn’t it?  And the narcissist wants it.  He/she needs it.  It is the basic supply that answers all the longings, the one drug that hints at satisfying.  But they have to get it from you.


Filed under Narcissism

9 responses to “Supply

  1. Dee

    What hurts so much is to see your child in this relationship and seeing what all it is doing to him. There is seemingly nothing we can to to improve the situation. Don’t like to see what it does to grandchildren.

  2. Lauren

    I can’t help thinking of vampires sucking the lifeblood out of you when I read this and reflect on my own experiences with the narcissist in my life. They find their delight in using you all up. I don’t see how to reconcile things with a narcissist this side of heaven. One thing I’ve been pondering is how my N got his ideas about Christianity from Bill Gothard, & now I see that Gothard’s “ministry” is imploding. I’m wondering if my N’s behavior was reinforced through this organization.

    • Laurie

      Lauren, I don’t believe you can be reconciled to something that never existed in the first place. Forgiveness is key. Try to learn that forgiveness is a gift for you. Forgiveness is not reconciliation. Reconciliation is a bilateral agreement. It takes two people. I believe the N’s recognize you only as an extension of themselves…. they don’t recognize boundaries. It is my prayer that my N gets saved, then we can have a true relationship in heaven. That is my hope and prayer.

  3. Jennie

    Your post is all too familiar to me. Even before I had a notion that my husband was a narcissist, I had noticed something. Forgive me for mentioning this, but I only do so in the hope that perhaps somebody else reading this will recognize the feeling and know they are not alone; but whenever my husband and I were intimate, I could NOT look into his eyes. He would sometimes ask me to, and the moment I did, was the moment I felt like I was being eaten alive and losing a part of myself.

    It was when I noticed my newly engaged daughter looking lovingly into her darling’s eyes, and him into hers, that it struck me that what I was going through was not normal. My counselor of 4 years reaffirmed to me that looking into the eyes of a narcissist could indeed be a life draining experience, and what I was probably doing when keeping my eyes closed was retaining a last vestige of myself in that intimate situation. :/

    I remember when I finally left him, I literally said to him, “R——, there’s nothing left in my to give anymore. I’m drained. You’ve drained me dry.”

    It’s as if they have an eternal emptiness inside, like a black hole of the soul, and it can never be filled by anything human; and I’ve wondered sometimes if even God could fill that emptiness. I’ve known one too many “Christian” narcissists, and if they cannot give, it is because they cannot love; and if they cannot love, how can God be in them?

    • E


      I understand exactly what you mean about looking into the eyes. The N is my mother, but the emotional intimacy she expected, even ragfully demanded, was finally something I just couldn’t abide any longer and expect to be sane.

      One of her last complaints before what she calls “the big falling out” and what I call “my blessed escape” was that I wasn’t looking her in the eye or even AT her at all. I couldn’t. I just could not look at her. Her gaze was absolutely draining and filled with a million evil messages I wanted to silence. She could destroy me with a look and I wasn’t going to allow it.

      She noticed. At a dinner in front of my in-laws, husband, father, and sister she snapped “Are you going to look at your mother?!” Not “at me” but “at YOUR MOTHER” as if desperately reminding me of her place in my life. Over me. I’m 32 years old.

      • UnForsaken

        E, this sounds very familiar. It is the only way I can deal with my N, and haven’t bothered to look him in the face – let alone the eyes – for a long time. It smooths things over when they are used to it, and I get the same reaction you do when I am too straight forward and do look him in the eye. Like finally he has my attention. But he can also act flattered if I do it say, on his birthday. It’s all about how it makes him feel at the time.
        I think you were wise to do what You Needed at that moment to give you space, even if it was uncomfortable. SOOO glad you have had a “blessed escape”! Now you can focus on a million Caring messages to your own kids. What a blessing!

  4. Recovering

    I can’t help but reflect on my ex husband and how I was his island of stability. He never put anything into our marriage but made withdrawals for 21 years. He had been desperately abused and abandoned 3 different times as a little boy. I never in a million years thought he would abandon me because of that. When he found a new NP supply in his ego-octane job environment he jumped ship and never looked back. All the times he told me he loved me and needed me amounted to just be his current supplier.

  5. Repol

    That’s how I feel.
    Completely consumed.

  6. joy

    I told my ex I felt like I was a pitcher full of love and attention, and for years I’d been pouring that out on him, and never receiving any thing back to help fill the pitcher. I had good relationships with my parents and with my God, but my marriage was being drained dry by his need for adoration, and his need to never show any in return. He had an actual need for things to be unbalanced.

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