Narcissists need supply like a drug addict needs a fix, it’s their lifeblood. They need copious amounts of external attention to confirm that they do truly exist and that they are as special as they believe themselves to be.
To a narcissist, a person isn’t a living, breathing entity, worthy of their own needs and desires. No, to a narcissist, other people are either providers of supply or they’re nothing. There is no in-between.
When looking at how narcissists treat old supply, it will always boil down to one thing – their current availability of supply.
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What is Supply to a Narcissist?
To understand why supply is so important to the narcissist’s psychological survival, it’s important to take an energetic look at the personality disorder.
The Makings of a Narcissist
Many of us on this planet have suffered some degree of trauma, which has then gone on to dictate how we interact with the world around us.
While many of us have taken on our trauma in a way that has made us more empathetic towards others, narcissists decided to take the opposite route.
When the narcissist was in their place of trauma, they decided that what they were feeling was just too unbearable and that they simply refused to feel those things. As a response, they subconsciously discarded their True Self, because that was the part of them, which was responsible for making them feel such things.
By discarding their true and authentic self, they also cut off their connection with the divine life force, which is how we all access life force energy.
It was basically the grandest denial of self that they could have performed.
From that point forward the narcissist was left with a gaping black hole inside of themselves, which didn’t actually solve their problem.
Now the narcissist has doomed themselves to a lifetime of needing to pilfer life force energy from other souls who are still whole. This is the only way for them to temporarily abate the inner pit of despair, which is their empty black hole.
When they cut off their True Self, their ego was the only thing left in charge. It’s their ego that has created an entire False Self to go with their false reality, all with the purpose of protecting the narcissist from the truth. That they are a flawed human being, who is not special, superior or any more important than the rest of us.
Extracting Life Force Energy
The narcissist’s need to self-medicate with life force energy is insatiable. They will never be able to fill their empty void, yet it’s the only thing that grants them momentary relief.
The only true way for the narcissist to heal themselves would be to reconnect with their inner being. However, doing that would also mean acknowledging all of their flaws and taking full responsibility for not only their behaviour, but also their deep wounds.
The very nature of narcissism is the very reason that few are able to heal in this lifetime.
There are specific ways in which a narcissist is able to extract life force energy from other people, in order to continuously feed their False Self.
It all comes down to attention, which is simply energy. In other words, they need a steady stream of attention being directed their way, which is what feeds their ego and keeps their false reality inflated.
You see, for their false reality to remain in existence for them, they need constant validation from the outside world that it really is ‘real.’
You can see how narcissist’s are doomed to a life of emptiness and dysfunction.
Narcissism is a spiritual disease whereby they believe that they are more superior, special and perfect than everybody else. In their false reality, they are a god in which the entire universe revolves around.
Narcissistic Supply in their Everyday Lives
There are two types of narcissistic supply – primary supply and secondary supply.
PRIMARY NARCISSISTIC SUPPLY
Primary supply is all based around receiving ATTENTION. When it comes to primary supply, it doesn’t matter if the attention is good or bad, it all feeds the narcissist’s ego.
This type of supply often comes from those who are closest to the narcissist like friends, family, kids, coworkers etc.
Examples of Primary Supply:
- Admiration, complements, flattery
- Creating (or being a part of) chaos and drama
- Playing the victim
- Fame and infamy (even in their small community or friendship group)
- Being in control and controlling others
- Sex (in both gaining it and withholding it as they see fit)
SECONDARY NARCISSISTIC SUPPLY
Secondary narcissist supply all comes down to APPEARANCES. This type of supply is based around the false image that the narcissist shows the world and the energy and attention they gain because of that.
This type of supply must only be positive attention in order for the narcissist to feed their ego. For example, if they want to appear wealthy and successful, they cannot risk looking like a failure or like someone who’s struggling with money.
Those things would actually threaten to bring down their entire false reality. They will go to great lengths to protect themselves from such negative images, even if it means crushing other people in the process.
Examples of Secondary Supply:
- Having the ‘perfect’ family, partner or relationship
- Appearing successful
- Appearing to be financially secure
- Acquiring material items, which help them look wealthy and superior
For more on narcissistic supply, check out the article below.
Once you can understand just how crucial regular supply is to a narcissist, you can see how they’re always on a never-ending treadmill to find more and ‘better’ supply.
When a narcissist does find themselves running low on supply, they’ll begin to sink within, towards that pit of self-loathing, disgust, unworthiness and shame. So, they will do anything they can to stop that from happening!
Narcissists cut off their conscience when they severed their authentic self. Now, not having the ability to feel empathy, compassion and love towards others actually makes them quite dangerous.
People are merely tools for the narcissist to receive attention, resources and validation.
With the narcissist’s god complex, they genuinely believe that the purpose of other people is to provide for them (the narcissist). They do not see other people as fully autonomous beings with their own needs and desires.
How Do Narcissists Treat NEW Supply?
Any new relationship a narcissist is in always looks amazing (especially through the lens of social media). They make sure of it!
The narcissist enters the idealisation phase with the new supply and love bombs the crap out of them. They will be showering the new supply with loads of attention, gifts, experiences and flattery. It will feel altogether intoxicating for the new supply.
Meanwhile, the narcissist will be on cloud nine for a short while as well. They will think this new supply is the answer to all of their problems and will finally be the one who can provide them with all of the things in which they require.
They’ll be putting the new supply up on a pedestal because they think the new supply will be able to fill their empty black hole.
During that initial love bombing phase, the narcissist will be mirroring the new supply and pretending to share all of the same hopes, dreams and desires. This works to instil a sense of trust in the new supply, so that they’ll open up and also share their deepest insecurities.
The insecurities and wounds are the real things that the narcissist wants to get their hands on. It’s through handing over their vulnerabilities that the narcissist is able to collect essential data on the new supply. The narcissist is studying their new victim to see how pliable they are and how easy they will be to control and manipulate.
The narcissist also needs to know that the new supply has precious resources that they can hand over to them. These can come in the form of sex, adoration, money, cooking, cleaning, a house, status, opportunities. Whatever the narcissist deems to be of value.
However, this idealisation stage doesn’t last too long. Some experts say the average narcissist love bombing phase is around twelve weeks, but of course it can be different with every situation.
Eventually, something will happen, which will make the narcissist realise that this person isn’t the amazing fantasy that they thought they were.
The bubble will burst, then the narcissist will begin to devalue the new supply (just like they did with you).
The narcissist won’t be receiving supply from the excitement and the fantasy of their new supply anymore. So, they’ll need to start the devaluation cycle in order to start breaking down the new supply’s identity and self-worth in order to control them.
Or, they may get bored with their current supply and start scouting for a replacement, only to repeat the same toxic cycle with someone else.
Another option here is that the new supply is self-assured enough to spot the narcissist’s red flags and walk away themselves.
Being with a narcissist is never about creating a beautiful, loving relationship built on trust and team work.
A relationship to a narcissist is always about, “what can they give to me?”
How Do Narcissists Treat OLD Supply?
There are a range of different things to consider when looking at how do narcissists treat old supply.
It’d be nice to think that once you extract yourself from their toxic web, that would be it forever. However, it’s rarely that smooth or simple.
For the sake of this post I’m going to assume that you’re the old supply, since you are here doing the research. So, whenever I use the word ‘you,’ I’m referring to the old supply.
If the Narcissist Replaced You with New Supply…
If the narcissist has discarded you for new supply, they will be so occupied with their shiny new toy that they won’t even give you a second thought. You can go from living with them one day, to seeing them walk out of your life the next, as though your entire relationship never even happened.
Here you are, feeling utterly devastated and crushed to not only have been thrown into the trash, but also to have them demonstrate just how little you obviously meant to them.
No matter how much the narcissist abused you, you’ll be feeling absolutely shattered to have been replaced with a new supply. More than likely they either replaced you while they were still with you or within a dismally short time afterwards.
However, your time of being left alone by the narcissist will most likely be short-lived.
If the narcissist realises that their new supply isn’t panning out as well as they’d hoped, they’ll want to come back to you.
Don’t be fooled into thinking that it’s because they genuinely miss you or care about you, although they may tell you those things in order to manipulate you. It’s simply because they already know how to extract supply from you.
Going back to old supply is always easier for a desperate narcissist, rather than having to find someone new to begin the cycle with.
The narcissist will proclaim that they’ve changed or may even pretend like nothing has even happened. They’ll try to waltz back into your life and pick up where they left off, all while expecting you to go along with it.
This is where you need to be strong and set very clear boundaries. If you don’t need to have the narcissist in your life for any reason (i.e. kids, work, family or property), now is the time to execute that split.
I recommend blocking them and going no contact. If they try to contact you and hook you back into their toxic cycle, do not respond.
If You Discarded the Narcissist…
How do narcissists treat old supply if you were the one to have discarded them? You will find yourself dealing with a different set of circumstances compared to if they were the ones to have ended the relationship.
One of the narcissist’s core wounds is often rejection, so they will not take kindly to being discarded by a lowly source of supply (in their superior mind).
When a narcissist is discarded they will flip between trying to hook their old supply back in and punishing them for daring to abandon them. Not because they truly love you, but because they will want to get back into the position of power, then they’ll probably turn around and discard you anyway.
Here’s what the narcissist will do if you discarded them:
- Guilt you into coming back
- Bargain with you to stay
- Threaten suicide if you leave
- Devalue you so that you feel too worthless to leave them
- Pretend to be really nice, so that you’ll forget how abusive they are
- Tell you that no one else will ever love you
- Rage at you because they’ve lost control
- Make threats towards you
- Want to stay ‘friends’ so as to keep you close
- Will take zero responsibility for the relationship break down
- Try to control the information that you tell other people
- Conduct a smear campaign to try and annihilate you
- Replace you extremely quickly, just to reiterate how worthless you are to them
Smear You Publicly
How does a narcissist treat old supply who they can’t control? They will drag their good name through the mud with the intent of totally ruining them.
Just because the narcissist has moved on to a new supply, doesn’t mean that they won’t continue to make your life a misery.
A massive thing, which the narcissist will be worried about, is other people finding out about who they really are underneath their mask. For them to receive that secondary supply through the appearance of being ‘amazing,’ they cannot afford to have anyone counter the false reality they’ve created.
Now that you’re no longer being controlled within the narcissistic relationship, the narcissist will want to make sure that you don’t threaten to bring down their house of cards.
So, the narcissist will make sure to tell everyone who has any connection with you, all about their fabricated version of events. Either they’ll make you out to be the abusive one, or they’ll declare that you’re crazy and that all they were trying to do was help you.
They need to paint themselves as either the hero or the victim at your hands, making you out to be the bad guy.
A narcissist will often accuse you of the exact things that they have done because they don’t want to feel all of the deep shame and pain of their actions. Therefore, they’ll offload it all onto you to carry instead.
The crazy thing is, once they project something onto someone else, they truly believe that the other person is the true perpetrator. Having done the deed themselves also helps them to really illustrate the intricate details of their lies, making people believe that they must be telling the truth if they know so many specifics.
Once a narcissist tells their lies enough times, to enough people, they will actually start to believe their own bs. This all makes them rather convincing to those who are none the wiser.
Smear campaigns are a huge reason why blocking the narcissist, especially on social media, is so important for your mental health and healing.
Keeping your circle small with only those who you wholeheartedly trust is essential.
Pretend Like Nothing Happened
Narcissists have a habit of sending messages or showing up on their old supply’s doorstep as though there was never even an ending. This was all a part of the trauma bonding cycle, which they used heavily throughout the relationship.
They treated you terribly, then replaced you with new supply, only to pick up the connection as though nothing has even gone down. If you try to bring up anything that they’ve done, they’ll proceed to gaslight you and manipulate your perception until it’s in line with their agenda.
If the narcissist tries to pretend like nothing happened after they’ve discarded you for new supply, it’s important to hold firm with your own reality and not let them get into confusing conversation with you.
You know what has gone down, despite the new storyline they’re trying to write. Don’t even let them weasel their way in.
Try to Remain ‘Friends’ With You
Narcissists will quite often pull the, “we can still be friends” card. In fact many narcissists intentionally stay friends with their exes for two reasons.
- They can use the old supply to triangulate the new supply with, making the new partner feel jealous and insecure about the relationship. They do this to put the new supply in a state of anxiety and worry, which keeps them wanting to please and appease the narcissist, just so that they won’t be abandoned.
- They get to keep their foot in the door with the old supply, just in case they ever need to use them for sex, money, somewhere to stay or someone to dump on.
If the narcissist truly cared about you, even enough to be a genuine friend, they never would have gaslighted, manipulated and devalued you in the first place. Don’t fall for the illusion that you can remain ‘friends’ with a narcissist.
Much like all of their relationships, the narcissist is only ever in it for what they can get out of it. The narc just wants to keep you close for the purpose of a future supply and a resource grab.
Keep You From Moving On
Another aspect, when questioning how do narcissists treat old supply, is that they will intentionally keep them from moving on.
They don’t want you moving on from them in any shape or form, even if they don’t want you anymore. The narcissist needs to be the centre of the universe, which includes remaining the full focus of your world, even after the relationship has come to an end.
What the narcissist wants is for you to keep ruminating and pining after them. The narc doesn’t care about anyone but themselves, so they couldn’t care less that their selfish needs can keep you stuck for months, years or even decades.
In fact, it all further validates to them that they must be extremely important and powerful to be having such a hold on you. They fail to see that the hold is only through pure manipulation, as there is nothing genuine about it.
Yet, since the narcissist is nothing but a False Self, they don’t care that the attention coming their way is also false. As long as they get to feed themselves, which is their only concern.
Along with that, the narcissist doesn’t want you moving on with another person. Having another person in the picture means that you aren’t focussed on them anymore, plus a new partner will probably limit their access of being able to use you for supply in the future.
Throw Accusations at You
Remember, for a narcissist, any attention is good attention. Narcissists are notorious for blaming and accusing their exes for all sorts of crazy things because they want to trigger you into reacting.
When you react to the narcissist’s accusations, you walk right into the smear campaign where they’ve portrayed you as the abusive or unhinged person. Along with that, they will actually get off on the fact that they can still control you and your emotions from afar.
As challenging and infuriating as it is, not engaging with a narcissist’s blame-game is actually the best way to respond. Leave them standing there proclaiming all sorts of things without any retaliation on your part, because that’s what will actually drive them crazy.
They are banking on your reaction to feed them supply and prop up their false storyline. When you don’t play into their hand, you actually hold all of the power.
Blame the Entire Relationship on You
Narcissists do not have the ability or desire to ever look at themselves. They will never accept any responsibility for the downfall of the relationship. In fact, all of the things that they did throughout the relationship, which was destructive, they’ll blame you for.
To accept accountability for their own shortfalls would be to admit that they’re not at all the perfect specimen that they believe they are. Taking responsibility would reveal their entire False Self and false reality, which will never happen. They must protect that truth with their life, otherwise life wouldn’t be worth living to them.
On top of that, the narcissist cannot have the new supply (or anybody else) knowing what really went down in your relationship with them. So, they will blame the broken relationship with you to the new supply and make sure to paint themselves in a squeaky clean image.
It’s all a part of the next layer of lies to go with the next person.
Pretend to be Remorseful
If the narcissist is trying to get their foot back in the door with old supply, they will pretend to be remorseful and may even make fake promises for the future.
“I’m a changed man/ woman. Give me a chance and you’ll see.”
“Let’s go to counselling together so that we can work through this.”
The whole idea is to manipulate the old supply with false illusions based on what will trigger their insecurities the most.
That is how they will get you, the old supply, to allow them back into your world, without ever intending to follow through with any of their promises.
When it comes to being on the receiving end of narcissistic abuse, the reality is that we all go from being the narcissist’s new supply to then becoming the old supply.
Little does the narcissist know that through their utter self-absorption, we have been gifted with something so much more amazing than anything they could possibly experience in this lifetime.
Their terrible treatment of us dramatically highlighted our deepest, darkest inner wounds. Now that we have the ability to see and acknowledge each trauma, we can shift each one out of our bodies for good.
Once we no longer have an arsenal of wounds for the narcissist to trigger us with and use against us via fear and guilt, they no longer hold any power over us.
As we shift our wounds and heal ourselves, we elevate to a higher vibration, which the dark soul of a narcissist can never reside in. Our light is too much for their darkness, which will have them subconsciously shrinking away and retreating back into the darkness.
The best way you can move forward in your own life after being a narcissist’s supply is to become your own source of love, validation, security and survival. Once you do, never again will you hand that power over to anybody outside of yourself in search of those things.
Healing From Narcissistic Abuse
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