What is Narcissistic Supply?

Narcissistic Supply is “sustenance drawn by an individual from his or her environment” that is essential to their lack of self-esteem or Ego.

Most adults are adept at entertaining themselves or keeping themselves busy with or without outside influences. But the narcissist is eternally bored because they are empty inside.

The narcissist is the equivalent of an alcoholic. He craves attention like a drunk needs an endless supply of liquor.

In order to attract attention to themselves, the narcissist, who is usually very attractive, molds themselves into a false image that gullible people are attracted to.

To elicit constant interest, he projects to others a confabulated, fictitious version of himself, known as the False Self. The False Self is everything the narcissist is not: omniscient, omnipotent, charming, intelligent, rich, or well-connected (Source).

The narcissist then begins to extract what he or she needs the most from friends and associates: attention, praise, admiration, applause, adulation, fear and respect.

To get what he or she needs, the narcissist seeks out Sources of Supply to provide those elements that he or she can’t provide for Self, since he or she is an empty shell devoid of personality, compassion or empathy.

Narcissists internalize “bad” objects, typically their mother or father, from their childhood.

[He] “harbors socially forbidden emotions towards this object: hatred, envy, and other forms of aggression. These feelings reinforce the narcissist’s self-image as bad and corrupt. Gradually he develops a dysfunctional sense of self-worth.” (Source)

To repress these “bad” feelings, the narcissist suppresses all emotions. Her aggression is channelled into socially legitimate outlets (compulsive shopping, gambling, etc.).

The narcissist knows she is an empty shell with no empathy or compassion for others. So she protects herself by projecting a beautiful False Self, that gullible people are attracted to.

She then turns those people into objects that pose no emotional threat to her.

She substitutes her “lack of a functioning personality on the inside by importing Ego functions and boundaries” from other people, aka Narcissistic Supply from friends and associates.

1. The narcissist is the Trigger for Narcissistic Supply.

2. The Source is the person who provides Narcissistic Supply.

3. Narcissistic Supply is a substitute for the Ego and Personality that the narcissist lacks.

The narcissist carefully selects her friends from a short list of Primary (continuous) Supply and a larger list of Secondary (interrupted) Supply.

Initially, the narcissist makes herself easily available to her Source of Supply. She constantly bombards her Supply with attention in the form of dozens of text messages or phone calls a day.

She then extorts her Supply for sex, money, or compliments, in exchange for her time. Think of the relationship between a gullible rich man and a stripper or an escort.

What are Primary Sources of Supply?

Primary Sources of Supply are people who provide a constant, uninterrupted stream of Ego functions. They include:

  • A spouse
  • Live-in girlfriend or boyfriend
  • Relatives who live at home
  • Children who live at home
  • Roommate(s)
  • Live-in maids
  • The primary source of supply has no easy means of escaping the narcissist’s rage or silent treatment.

    What Are Secondary Sources of Supply?

    Secondary sources of supply are those who provide temporary supply on a regular basis. They include:

  • Friends
  • Co-workers
  • Bosses
  • Business partners
  • Colleagues
  • Neighbors
  • Social media followers
  • Concertgoers
  • Fans, fan clubs
  • Entertainers such as Beyonce and JAY-Z go out on tour because they crave Narcissistic Supply that they can’t get from each other.

    Social media is a secondary supply source where celebrities go to get a regular stream of supply.

    Secondary sources of supply rarely see the narcissist’s worst side — except when the narcissist can no longer contain his or her rage internally.

    Examples are celebrities such as Bow Wow (pictured below with girlfriend Kiyomi), 50 Cent, Azalea Banks, and Chris Brown — who regularly vent their rage on social media.

    The ultimate kiss off for a narcissist is the Silent Treatment. When a narcissist is injured by your insistence on being respected as equals, they simply cut you off by blocking you on social media or by deleting their social media accounts (that’ll teach you).

    All sources of supply, both primary and secondary, share the same characteristics from the narcissist’s point of view: they are gullible, submissive, reasonable (to a fault), intelligent, and physically inferior to the narcissist (you’re not as attractive as he or she is).

    Why do narcissists lose interest in sex?

    Sex is one of the things that narcissists put up with to appease their Sources of Supply. Narcissists can do without partner sex because it drains them and prevents them from focusing on Self (masturbation).

    Remember Kanye West said one of the reasons he dumped Amber Rose is because she constantly demanded sex.

    The narcissist perceives intimacy and sex as a threat to his uniqueness… The narcissist resents this commonness. He rebels by striking out at the perceived founts of his frustration and “enslavement”. (Source)

    Why do narcissist’s devalue their Sources of Supply?

    The narcissist devalues his or her Sources of Supply for the very qualities that made them such sources in the first place: their gullibility, their submissiveness, their (intellectual or physical) inferiority. (Source)

    The moment the Primary or Secondary Supply attempts to exert control over the narcissist, or demands to be treated equally, the narcissist flees to another source of supply, who is always waiting in the wings.

    In Kanye’s case, Kim Kardashian was waiting to take Amber’s place — and you can be sure that he has someone waiting to take Kim’s place.

    Like the drunkard who hides bottles of liquor throughout the house, the narcissist always has a hidden backup — a sidepiece or another job waiting. In fact, the married narcissist spends most of her time setting up other sources of supply (a secret boyfriend) to run to when her primary supply runs out.

    If you marry a narcissist, just be aware that you are sharing him or her with someone else.

    The narcissist has endless sources of supply.

    This has been your Medical Minute.


    Any medical information published on this blog is for your general information only and is not intended as a substitute for informed medical advice. You should not take any action before consulting with your personal physician or a health care provider. and its affiliates cannot be held liable for any damages incurred by following information found on this blog.

    Photos by, BACKGRID USA, Prince Williams/