Any kind of attention negative or positive is Narcissistic Supply. Each makes a narcissist feel power and control. If they feel control over you they feel in control with themselves. If you are involved at all with a narcissist no matter what role you play, you are narcissistic supply. Family, romantic partners, coworkers, if you work for them, postman, grocery clerk, friends, etc. are all narcissistic supply.
People think they can’t be controlled but they may not recognize their emotions can be manipulated in subtle ways.
Intermittent reinforcement is used to trauma bond you (make you addicted) to a narcissist. An example: Not showing up for a very important event knowing how important was for you, (wedding, graduation, school play, birthday celebration, )then giving you an expensive gift. They said they would be there but forgot or did something else they wanted instead. It will be a pattern not a one time thing. You will be upset and then happy when they play the savior after. This process is how you become addicted to the cycles of abuse without even realizing. If you were to mention it to others they may give them an excuse and say how kind they were to get you this amazing gift…. You question your judgement because you are being gaslit by the enablers and the narcissist. It seems so minor but if a pattern, it is emotional abuse. This can cause a person to work harder to gain the approval of this person.
Children can feel this after a toxic marriage has ended. Mom or dad is supposed to come get them for a fun trip and don’t show up. The child feels rejected. When they see that parent again the parent gives them something the child wants or needs and the child feels valuable after all. The pattern continues and eventually their self worth is eroded. The child learns they can’t depend on their parent. Inconsistent behavior patterns can confuse people and those with trauma backgrounds can find themselves chasing for love and affection.
Narcissist’s are inconsistent but know if they play on people’s emotions (vulnerability) they can control them. Codependents seek that validation from that person . Cognitive dissonance is in over drive. They see bad and good behavior which is confusing. Their minds don’t want to believe the bad so they romanticize the good. It hurts to face the patterns and easier to take the bread crumbs because the codependent needs to feel approved of by this person.
All of this comes from a need they had in early childhood they did not receive. They go out in life trying to get what they lacked. The same for the narcissist as the two mirror each other. The narcissist needs to control as they couldn’t control their toxic environments as a child. They need to control other peoples emotions to regulate their own.
It’s complex but their is help and people can change if they want to. DBT and talk therapy are helpful . Finding the right therapist or coach who understands these patterns Is very important.
This page is here for information and to show support to who wants it.
I talk about emotional abuse and the dance narcissistic people and codependents share. Both trigger each other and can’t heal one another . The codependent tries to fix and how they themselves control. Unless the two heal on their own they are doomed to have a chaotic relationship . Unfortunately, the chaos is an addiction for both parties. Unless they heal they would be bored to tears in a healthy relationship. They say they want a stable environment but their addicted to chaos and drama.
Doing work on self takes time. Truthfully years. It’s worth it if you want to find true peace, love and happiness. Both people deserve it and were both abused early in life. There is no quick fix. It takes hard work and a willingness to be vulnerable and look within. You can’t fix someone else but you sure can get tools that help in interpersonal relationships if you want it. These tools are now being introduced even in companies when in training. We can’t fix what we ignore. I believe in hope and love .
Until next time I hope this helps even one person. 💜