Charmers that cut with the tongue. We’ve all known someone like this.
I’d like to start with saying it’s not your fault. But you can do something about it. Narcissists look for targets and find them often in the most empathic people. We are willing to give. That’s a good thing. The problem with Narcissists is they suck you dry and spit you out. Their emptiness is an eternal search for Narcissistic Supply.
What is Narcissistic Supply?
Narcissistic supply is attention. Any sort of attention. The Narcissist starts the relationship with Love Bombing to hook you. Love bombing is showering you with sunshine and light. Intense adoration makes you feel like you’re the center of the universe. It’s disarming and brings down your natural defenses. We don’t expect abuse when someone is treating us this way. Once you’re convinced of the special bond between you, the sun shines elsewhere. It’s confusing and you miss it. You try to get back to how things were. If you don’t succeed, you might start to wander. The Narcissist sees this as a threat and is compelled to pull you back in. If their effects don’t succeed with the sweetness of “hoovering” (or they don’t feel like it), they’ll get any kind of attention they can manage to extract from you. Making you feel crazy by gaslighting, turning an argument back to your fault, and cutting you down then lifting you up are all tactics. The supply is your reaction. It’s validating to the Narcissist. It proves they matter. Reactions, especially strong ones, reinforce the Narcissist’s value, worth, and existance.
Starving the Narcissist with the Grey Rock Method
I’m simplifying this process on purpose to get across the point. Once you realize who you’re dealing with, the only way to manage it is to starve the Narcissist of attention. This is called the “Grey Rock” method. You cease utility to the Narcissist by cutting them off from your supply. If you must stay in contact with the person, keep your outward reactions as bland and curt as possible. Don’t give them anything to work with and they will move on. Though, as long as you’re still in contact, they’ll keep trying.
Signs of Narcissist Abuse in Relationships
Our friends at How to Kill a Narcissist offer some great advice. Here’s a preview:
- It’s unbalanced: The other person seems to have the upper hand and the final say, and you have to struggle to get an equal footing with them. Their problems get top priority. When you try to express or assert yourself, the other person finds a way to subdue you and bring the focus back to them.
- It’s manipulative: Like being under a spell, the other person seems to have an uncanny ability to pull your strings and get their way with you. Often you don’t want them to, but it just happens. When you try to influence them in any way, you’re met with so many obstacles you give up.
- It’s intrusive: They have a permanent place in your mind. There doesn’t seem to be any psychological separation between you and them, and they enter your emotional space effortlessly. You find yourself craving some separation and psychological ‘air’, but end up feeling enormous guilt. Being a distinct individual in control of your destiny does not feel like an option with them in your life.
- It’s rigid: You don’t experience much growth from the relationship, and it doesn’t go anywhere fast. It feels ritualistic, and you wish there were more to it.
- It’s exhausting: You walk on eggshells around that person. There’s no particular reason. Simply being around them makes you anxious, like you don’t quite stack up and you have to prove yourself to them.
Narcissists are our spouses, friends, and family members. Whether you’re ready to leave or are recovering from Narcissistic Abuse, here are a few resources to help.
Start Here: A Crash Course in Understanding, Navigating, and Healing From Narcissistic Abuse by Dana Morningstar
Stop Walking on Eggshells: Taking Your Life Back When Someone You Care About Has Borderline Personality Disorder by Paul Mason MS and Randi Kreger
How To Kill A Narcissist: Debunking The Myth Of Narcissism And Recovering From Narcissistic Abuse by JH Simon