What Is The Narcissistic Supplement?

Narcissists take it for granted that their “supplement” should feel, think and act like them. In their minds, this supplement has no identity of its own. Instead, they are just there to please them anytime.
What is the Narcissistic Supplement?

What exactly is the narcissistic supplement? Before defining it, let’s first analyze the concept of narcissism. What does it mean to be a narcissistic person?

The DSM-5 defines narcissistic personality disorder as a dominant pattern of grandiosity (in idealization or behavior). Narcissists need constant admiration from others and lack empathy.

Beginning in the early years of adulthood, in various contexts, it essentially manifests as feelings of grandeur and beliefs about being special and unique, with an inordinate need for admiration.

It’s worth noting that, according to psychiatrist Otto Kernberg, a narcissistic personality is a spectrum that goes from normal to pathological (narcissistic personality disorder, according to the DSM-5).

Therefore, not all people with narcissistic traits suffer from the condition. It actually depends on the degree of these personality traits. Let’s explain some aspects to consider when it comes to the narcissist and the narcissistic supplement.

The narcissist’s primary goal is his own well-being

Narcissists take advantage of their interpersonal relationships. This means that they always get what they want from others. They don’t care about how those people feel. Their main goal is their own well-being. All others are just a tool for them.

In principle, they don’t care whether their ‘supplement’ is struggling or whether it needs its own space. Narcissists only think about meeting their own needs, even if that means overlooking the needs of the other person.

Narcissistic man looking in the mirror

What do we mean by the narcissistic supplement?

The narcissistic supplement is a psychoanalytic concept first introduced by the Austrian psychoanalyst Otto Fenichel, to describe a type of admiration, interpersonal support, or sustenance taken by an individual from his environment that becomes essential to his self-image.

In that sense, according to the author’s definition, narcissists need a person to become their supplement or supply. A source of the things they cannot get themselves. This source of ‘provisions’ turns into an extension of the narcissist himself. Or in other words, he becomes part of him.

For this reason , there is no boundary between the self of the narcissist and that of the ‘supplement’. This means that the narcissist believes that his or her supplement should feel, think, and act like him or her. In short, their supplement has no identity of its own. Instead, they exist to please the narcissist.

Narcissists look for a supplement to regulate their low self-esteem and as a way to maintain their ‘self’. Therefore, they constantly need reassurance for the image they portray:

  • magnificent
  • superior
  • unique and special attitude

Actually, behind that facade, there is an insecure person with low self-esteem who needs the other person for support.

Narcissists want to get reactions from others

In an article by Mitja Back, published in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, he makes a very interesting claim: “What attracts us to social partners at first glance is not necessarily what makes us happy in long-term relationships.

Even if narcissists have that bright, charming side, it’s often just a matter of time before the clouds show up. In short, there are two distinct character traits: grandiosity and vulnerability (or reactivity).”

In other words, narcissists are likely to show their more charming side to get what they want. If people don’t behave the way they expect, they will show their ‘uglier’ side. When they eventually get what they want, they may act disinterested, aloof, or angry.

Their change in attitude is aimed at getting a response from the other person. A reaction that leads him to behave as the narcissist expects.

For example, if he arranges a meeting with someone on a certain day and the other person cannot go, the narcissist becomes distant. He doesn’t get exactly what he wanted from that other person. His own needs are always above those of others.

Are you someone else's narcissistic supplement

Are you someone else’s narcissistic supplement?

Sometimes the narcissistic supplement is completely unaware of what is happening. Therefore, if you suspect that you or someone you know is becoming a victim of a narcissist, it’s a good idea to ask yourself the following:

“Is it really important what I think and feel in my relationship with this person? Are my partner’s needs above mine? Does he or she act aloof or angry if I don’t do what he or she expects of me?”

Perhaps these questions will help you realize whether you are a narcissistic supplement or not. If you feel that your needs are not that important, you may need to set some boundaries with that person to protect yourself from any kind of abuse. Above all, remember that you and your needs are just as important.

Related Articles

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Back to top button