Tag Archives: narcissistic supply

Creative Ways Narcissists Get Narcissistic Supply

My overtly narcissistic mother always likes to look pitiful in front of my husband.  She has turned on the tears in front of him,  complained about how hard life is now that she & my father are older & other such things to look pitiful.  As a result, he has offered to help her in various ways.  When he does, she always hugs him tight, thanks him profusely & sometimes gives him money.

 

When my mother asked my husband about his parents, & he told her how they were doing & things he’s done for or with them, she responded by giving my husband a big bear hug & kiss on the cheek.  Granted, she always hugs him before leaving, but it’s different after he’s discussed his parents with her.

 

These two things have bothered me for a long time, but I didn’t know why.  It felt wrong somehow but I couldn’t put my finger on it.  God showed me exactly what was wrong with these scenarios a few minutes ago…

 

My mother has it in her head that my husband takes complete care of me.  She thinks he works, takes care of the yard, repairs our vehicles, does all the housework while I do absolutely nothing but spend his money (don’t even ask- I have no idea why she thinks this, but she also thought the same thing of my ex husband.).  She also knows he’s helped out his parents a lot over the years, especially once they started getting older.  Keeping these things in mind, it’s natural she assumes he takes care  of anyone in need.  She pretends to be pitiful to get his attention.  She wants his attention because she is impressed by my husband & his family (my husband is a very attractive guy, & his family gives the appearance of being a big, close, happy family).  Having the attention of someone who is a part of that AND good looking AND if she can get him ignoring me for her?!  Talk about narcissistic supply!

 

Regarding my mother basically “rewarding” my husband when he mentions doing for his parents, God showed me that my mother is trying to accomplish two things with that conversation with my husband.  1- she is trying to hurt me.  My mother knows my mother in-law has hated me since we first met & I stopped speaking to her in 2002.  Showing she cares about her hurts me, especially knowing she does this on purpose.  She also knows that if I confronted her on it, I would look mean, unreasonable & possibly even crazy since she was just being polite (or whatever excuse she would use).  2- by “rewarding” my husband & praising him for helping his parents, my mother is showing me what can happen.  If I would just do more for them, I could get this reward too.  The sad fact is though, that when I have done for my parents, it really wasn’t ever enough.  Sure, my parents thanked me & sometimes even gave me money I didn’t ask for, but my mother in particular made me feel like I was the hired help, just doing the job I get paid for.  Or, like I was disappointing her by not doing enough.  Sometimes, I wasn’t doing a task good enough.

 

Isn’t this incredible?!  But, thinking about it, it makes perfect sense to me.

 

Narcissistic supply is a precious thing to narcissists.  Everything they do boils down to getting their supply.  They will do anything to get it, period, no matter who it hurts or what they need to do.  Sometimes, they have to get creative, & they definitely can be creative when it benefits them.  Just look at the above examples- my mother got her supply in extremely creative ways!  She hurt me, she put me in a place where I couldn’t confront her without looking bad, she tried to control me, & sometimes, she even got my husband’s focus off of me & onto her.  It’s like she hit the narcissistic supply jackpot!

 

My point in sharing all of this with you, Dear Reader, is because you need to be aware that whatever narcissists do is about supply.  Even seemingly innocuous things like I described in the above examples are about procuring narcissistic supply.  Never forget that!  Even things that appear innocent but give you a bad feeling can be about supply.  If you have a bad or strange feeling about something the narcissist is doing, even if it looks totally innocent, listen to that feeling!  Go to God, & ask Him about it.  (I wish I would’ve done it years ago in those situations I mentioned- it could’ve saved me a lot of frustration & wondering what she was up to!)  And, ask Him what you should do about it.  Narcissists may be very creative, but God is much more so!  He can show you effective & creative ways to deal with the narcissist in your life!

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Filed under Abuse and the Healing Journey, Complex Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, Mental Health, Narcissism

Ins & Outs Of Narcissistic Supply

When dealing with a narcissist, especially a narcissistic mother, you need to know about narcissistic supply in order to avoid narcissistic rage.  Chances are, you already know quite a bit about it, even if you never put the name to it before.

Narcissistic supply is anything that makes the narcissist feel good about themselves. Everyone needs a little narcissistic supply, but narcissists are desperate for it & will do about anything to get it, including hurting people.  Complements are great, as is actively listening whenever the narcissist wants to talk & going along with whatever she wants.  All of these things make the narcissist feel important & good about herself, which helps her to believe that she isn’t the terrible person she believes she is deep down.

If you openly deny the narcissist that supply, she may go into a narcissistic rage.  Screaming, cursing, cruel words intended to hurt you aren’t above a narcissist during a narcissistic rage.  My mother used to tell me terrible things about myself when I was a teen & refusing to tolerate her control anymore.  She would lecture me (as I called it, but actually it was screaming at me) about what a horrible person I was on a daily basis, often a few times a day.  Now that we’re both older, her rage has changed into very quietly & pleasantly said scathing criticisms, always in a public place so if I say anything or walk out, people will witness me treating my sweet, innocent, elderly mother badly.

While it may seem at first like it’s just best to give a narcissist her supply so you can avoid her rage, it’s really not.  Providing consistent narcissistic supply is like a green light for the narcissist to continue treating you terribly.  You need to minimize the amount of supply you provide as much as possible if you are to continue a relationship with a narcissist.

And, while many think ending the relationship is your only solution to this problem, often it isn’t possible for various reasons.  I know- I’ve received countless emails from women who wish to end the relationship with their narcissistic mothers, but aren’t strong enough to do so yet, or they live with their mothers & can’t afford to move out, or they simply don’t want to end that relationship with their mother.  It is for people like them that I am writing this article.

Thanks to the narcissists in my life, I learned the value of becoming boring to narcissists.  What I mean is I learned to deny narcissists their supply in a subtle manner & refuse to give them the satisfaction of seeing me upset.  There are several ways to go about doing this..

  • When the narcissist wants to spend time with you, don’t be available every time.  Don’t always answer the phone.  Ignore it & only answer when you feel able to deal with her.
  • Narcissists love to hint.  Ignore the hints.  It will discourage the hinting.  If she hints for anything, play dumb.  Pretend you didn’t notice. It will force her to outright ask for what she wants if she wants a favor (like an adult would do..) or stop hinting.  Giving into hints gives her control, which gives her supply.  Don’t give that to her!
  • Act bored when she talks.  You probably are anyway- let it show.  Look at the clock.  Yawn.  Look around the room.
  • Change the subject to talk about something other than the narcissist.  The weather is a good topic.  Bonus- this can be fun if you enjoy rainy days & she prefers sunny or something like that.  It’ll annoy her that you feel differently & it can be funny watching her try to convince you how wrong you are because you prefer rain to sun or whatever the case is.  I have done this with my mother & found it funny how irritated she gets with me I prefer cool, rainy days.  She tries hard to convince me something is wrong with me for not preferring sunny, warm days.
  • Provide as little information about yourself as possible.  It gives her less ammunition to use against you later.  This one used to infuriate my mother in-law to no end, but she couldn’t say anything & maintain her false image of a good person.  Admittedly, I probably enjoyed it too much, but I found it hilarious the lengths she would go to trying to pry information out of me..
  • Remember, if your narcissistic mother tries to ask you questions, she isn’t asking you because she cares about you.  She is only asking in order to get information on you that she can use to hurt you with later.  Hurting you provides her that narcissistic supply.
  • Always maintain a peaceful, calm, maybe even a bit cold demeanor when in the presence of a narcissist, no matter what.  Narcissists can’t handle that!  They want you upset- it feeds them, somehow making them feel better about themselves.  Failing  to show that you’re angry or hurt will be denying her narcissistic supply, & she will have to look for it elsewhere.  Once you leave her presence however, vent!  Get the hurt, anger, etc. out of you for your own physical & mental health.
  • As you do these things more & more, your narcissistic mother will become frustrated & angry.  Chances are good you’ll get the silent treatment as a result.  Enjoy the reprieve!  Do NOT call her to find out why she’s angry with you!  Never!  She will use that opportunity to blast you about whatever horrible thing it is she thinks that you have done.  Instead, let her contact you when she is done pouting.
  • If your situation gets bad enough for her to want to end the relationship with you, continue to maintain the calm demeanor where she is concerned.  If she sends her flying monkeys to “talk sense into you” about how badly you treat her, refuse to engage in the conversation.  Ignore her emails, texts or calls.  Narcissists hate apathy- love them or hate them, fine, but act as if you don’t care, & they can’t handle it.  Eventually, she’ll get bored & leave you alone.

At first, applying these techniques may be kind of hard to do, but you will find the more you do them, the easier they get.  They also will make your life easier since your narcissistic mother will want less contact with you.  My mother used to call me almost daily & stay on the phone for a long time each time, often around 45 minutes or more.  Now?  We speak every few weeks & rarely for more than 15 minutes.

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Filed under Abuse and the Healing Journey, Mental Health, Narcissism

Sometimes “Less Wrong” Is Your Best Option When Dealing With A Narcissist

When dealing with a narcissistic parent, often there are no right answers, only “less wrong” ones.  This is because narcissists are masters of creating a situation where you can’t win no matter what you do, but they will win.   One example in my life that comes to mind is if I don’t answer the phone when my parents call, they will either call back repeatedly until I do answer, attempt to make me feel guilty for not answering the next time we speak or manipulatively demand to know where I was that I couldn’t answer the phone.  I am left with some poor choices here:  answer the phone & deal with whatever games they are playing at the time, or don’t answer the phone & later deal with guilt trips (which don’t work, but really tick me off!) or their anger & especially nasty treatment because I didn’t bend to their wishes by not answering when they called the first time.  Not nice choices!  So, often times I answer the phone, even when I don’t want to, because it’s the lesser of the evils.  While the phone is ringing though, I am weighing my choices & deciding what I can & can’t handle before I pick it up.

It’s frustrating, but this is often the position you are forced into.  And, equally frustrating is others who don’t understand the situation, tell you what you’re doing is wrong & firmly believe you need to hear their opinions on the matter.  I don’t think most people are aware of how incredibly frustrating it is to be forced into these no win situations with a narcissistic parent.  They just see that you are doing something wrong, & that you should do something else, without realizing that their solution would have even more disastrous results than yours does.  They don’t grasp that you are doing what you are doing because it is going to create slightly less disastrous results than what they think you should do.  Or, if they know about narcissism, they may say you’re giving the narcissist that narcissistic supply they crave so desperately, which is why what you’re doing is wrong.  They aren’t seeing that while yes, sometimes you do give that supply, it’s better to give only a small amount of it than a ton of it.  The times when I do take my parents’ calls?  It seems to give them less supply than when they treat me poorly for not answering the phone right away.  Those times after they’ve given me sufficient grief, they seem happier & lighter by the time they hang up the phone.  I feel like I have chosen the lesser of the two evils when I take their calls immediately.

However you choose to handle situations with your narcissistic parents, choose wisely.  Sometimes your best answer isn’t going to be good or even right, but only less wrong.  Unfortunately that is normal.  Don’t listen blindly to the advice of others- listen to what they say & see if it would make sense  in your situation.  Hopefully others will give you a new & helpful solution, but sometimes they don’t, which is why you must consider carefully what they said. After all, no one knows your specific situation better than you do.  Just make sure you pray about what to do & weigh your options.  Do what you feel is right (well, less wrong) in your heart, & you will be doing the best thing you can do in your particular situation.  And, don’t forget to take care of yourself too.  If you end up frustrated, hurt or angry, vent your feelings in a healthy way.  Be good to yourself, too- dealing with a narcissist, especially a narcissistic parent, is very trying.  You need plenty of self-compassion & self-care after having dealt with a narcissistic parent.

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Filed under Abuse and the Healing Journey, Mental Health, Narcissism