The narcissist is a ghoulish and sinister hybrid, an adult grafted onto a child.
The narcissist is often described as a "men child", but he is actually neither.
The reason he appears so outlandish, so eerie, so creepy and weird, the reason he provokes the famous uncanny valley reaction, as if he were some kind of almost human, an android, a robot.
The reason he provokes these emotions in his human surroundings is because he juxtaposed wrongly.
He becomes an adult where he should have been childlike and he becomes a child in adult situations.
And this misappropriation and misallocation of roles render him monstrous or freakish and very frequently both.
But gradually the narcissist is shunned by one and everyone, by one and sundry.
He is left alone, he is avoided, he is ignored, he is mocked and ridiculed and derided, he is exposed, he is confined.
And so in this situation the sources of narcissistic supply are depleted to the point that they cannot be recovered or reconstructed.
And it is then that he resorts, however reluctantly, to self supply.
The more of a man child the narcissist is, the more likely he is to end his life totally self-reliant, self-contained, self-subsisting and self-supplying.
A solipsistic atom drifting in the world with zero interactions.
The narcissist's mental age is anywhere between two years and at the maximum nine years. Nine years is a high functioning narcissist.
The vast majority of people with narcissistic personality disorder get stuck at age two when separation, individuation from mother fails.
Imagine that's an infant, not even a toddler. That's the mental age, the emotional age of the narcissist.
Cognitively the narcissist is capable of the most amazing deeds and feats.
But then when he has to process the consequences of his actions, reactions by people, input, feedback, attempts to interface with him or to relate to him, he lacks the most basic apparatus, the most basic instruments and he doesn't know what to do.
And then he chooses to become an overbearing, coercive, sadistic, threatening, controlling adult.
The parody of a man, an imitation of some kind, a simulation, gun or eye, artificial intelligence which consists only of a hallucination.
Therefore he regresses, he regresses at the speed of light, it's disorienting and infantilizes, becomes a baby in order to avoid responsibility and to broadcast, to signal to the environment, "I'm a child, don't hurt me."
In both situations, self-supply is critical.
Today I'm going to touch upon the eight or seven or eight techniques that narcissists use to self-supply.
All narcissists go through schizoid phases. All of them withdraw from a world that had become injurious or mortifying. All of them process, lick their wounds, process trauma. All of them get re-traumatized, narcissism is a post-traumatic condition, a form of CPTSD.
So all of them get re-traumatized pretty easily, they're triggered.
And so they go through schizoid phases.
Self-supply is a critical component in the armory of the narcissist.
So it's a prime tool for self-regulation.
In the narcissist's case, regulation is usually external. The narcissist does not have a self.
He is selfless, so he doesn't have a sense of self.
But he has a sense of self-worth. And his self-worth keeps fluctuating to stabilize it and regulate it and monotonize it, if you wish.
He resorts to outsiders, to sources of narcissistic supply.
So the narcissist is very much like a borderline. Or to some extent, like a codependent, there is external regulation going on.
When this fails for objective reasons and sometimes for subjective reasons, the narcissist undergoes a mental health crisis or develops a kind of micropsychosis.
So these are subjective, it's a subjective background for avoiding people.
Whenever the narcissist is incapable of extracting narcissistic supply from people, at that point, he becomes his own audience, his biggest fan, a member of his own cult, his god and the only worshiper. Becomes a one-man society, a one-person culture and the totality and entirety of history compressed into a single body.
And that's the narcissist.
Today's topic, how the narcissist men child sells supplies.
And a proper man child, my name is Sam Vaknin. I'm the author of Malignant Self-Love, Narcissism Revisited. I'm a former visiting professor of psychology in Southern Federal University or Stav on Don Beth's thriving Russian Federation and I have been a member of the faculty of CEPS for many, many years now, or a decade.
CIAPS is the Commonwealth for International Advanced Professional Studies and Outreach Program. It has campuses or offices in Toronto, Canada, Cambridge, United Kingdom and another thriving location, Lagos, Nigeria. That was a mouthful, wasn't it?
Okay, yeladve, yeladot, look it up. Let's delve right in.
Self-supply is the ability to generate narcissistic supply, attention, adulation, admiration, affirmation, applause, self-congratulation, etc.
So the ability to generate supply from the inside while convincing yourself that the supply is actually coming from the outside.
So clinically speaking, self-supply is a delusional disorder. That's a clinical term. It's a delusion and it involves a suspension or impairment of reality testing and a host of defense mechanisms.
And I refer you to my video on defense mechanisms that I've made about a few days ago. And so they're all in action in the case of self-supply.
But there are ways to engender, harvest and consume self-supply. There are techniques developed early on in life by the narcissists.
And I'm going to discuss these techniques today.
Trick number one, reframing reality, rewriting the narrative, reinventing the story in a way that buttresses, upholds, affirms and confirms the narcissist's inflated, fantastic, grandiose view of himself.
Reframing reality involves filtering out, countervailing, negating and challenging information and data on the one hand and taking in elements of reality which can be profitably recombined into a plausible sounding story or narrative that convinces the narcissist himself that his false self is not false.
So the narcissist treats reality as a kind of raw material. And then he processes this raw material to produce narcissistic supply in house.
It's like Moonshine Factory making whiskey at home during the prohibition period. So he generates narcissistic supply inside, but he does use elements from reality.
The reason he needs to use realistic elements is because the narcissist is not actually clinically delusional. He is partly delusional, but he's still very much in touch with reality through representations of reality in his mind through internal objects.
So he internalizes reality. And then of course he photoshops it, idealizes it, devalues it, processes it, reframes it, falsifies it and everything else.
So while the psychotic raw material is his internal world, the narcissist raw material is the external world and he converts it into a 100% internal representation, internal tableau.
So the narcissist reframes reality in a way that helps him to admire himself, to pay attention to himself, to adulate his own accomplishments, to be old, awestruck and speechless faced with his own grandeur, magnanimity, charity, intellect, etc, wherever the locus of control may be.
So this is a reframing of reality, mechanism number one.
Now we all, to be clear, we all reframe reality very frequently, but we usually do it in order to avoid hurt and pain, unpalatable outcomes, in order to protect ourselves from dissonance and the anxiety that ensues.
And so these are practical functional reasons to reframe reality.
The narcissist reframes reality needlessly, absolutely needlessly, just in order to support a narrative or a story that is counterfactual mostly, not fully, but mostly.
So in this sense, the narcissist's behavior is very similar to the generation of an ideology.
Narcissists are ideological, they have an ideology and they are religious.
Narcissism is a form of private religion, when narcissist is God, and the only worshiper in the body of the church.
So this rigidity, because religions are rigid, ideologies are even more rigid, ideologies are secular religions.
So this rigidity is what forces the narcissist to constantly rewrite reality, because reality is not rigid.
Reality is surprising and flexible and unpredictable and indeterminate and uncertain.
And that's not helpful. That's not helpful because the narcissist's only defense against disintegration, against the compensation, the only defense is the belief that some things are immutable, unchangeable, forever.
No, not God, the narcissist.
Or more precisely, his view of himself. That is for eternity.
The second mechanism is to create an inflated counterfactual self-perception in a way that no longer requires external input.
So to kind of augment, ossify, rigidify, fossilize the narcissist's perception of himself, which is, as I said, often counterfactual, always inflated and fantastic.
So to cast this self-perception in stone and marble so that it becomes a work of art for the ages.
So once this is done, there is no need for narcissistic supply from the outside.
The only thing the narcissist needs to do is to regurgitate, recycle, rehash old supply, narcissist becomes his own secondary source of supply, his own recording mechanism, recording and replaying mechanism, a reenactment of his days of glory, his accomplishments, the reactions from the environment, etc.
So he sits there convinced of his own grandeur self-perception, convinced of his own divinity, convinced that he's a deity.
And he recycles memories, essentially, also refrained, also falsified, but what he perceives as memories, he recycles them to constantly buttress and support this self-perception.
So if the narcissist, for example, has an image of himself as a good, helpful person, if he has an image of himself of someone who is always victimized, or if he has an image of himself as someone who is constantly at the center of conspiracies and malign attention by others because of envy or hatred or whatever, these are examples of self-scripts, self-narratives that no longer require input from the outside.
The narcissist could commit any and every conceivable reprehensible moral act, anything from stealing to, I mean, you name it, narcissist would do anything and then he would say, I'm a good person. I've done these things because I had no choice. I had no choice because I'm traumatized or because I'm victimized or because I was forced to do it or because I was manipulated or because I was misled or because I am a people pleaser and I just wanted to please others or because I'm codependent and I'm mentally ill and I can't help it.
And so this is an example of self-supply.
Similarly when the narcissist constantly casts himself as a victim, he can do no wrong. He's never responsible for his choices and decisions and everything is coming from the outside. All his intimate partners are evil and corrupt and horrible and tormented the poor thing and he couldn't help it.
It's just that's an example of self-supply.
And of course, paranoid ideation is a major instrument of self-supply.
Paranoia by definition requires secrecy, requires isolation. You isolate yourself because you're at risk, you're under a threat, you're threatened.
So you isolate yourself but you can perceive the act of isolating yourself as an aggrandizing act.
You're isolating yourself because you're a very important person. You are the butt of conspiracies at the center of conspiracies. You are of interest, I don't know, to the CIA or to some group of people who are gangstalking you.
So paranoia is the flip side of the narcissism coin. It's a grandiose reaction, a grandiose cognitive distortion.
And when you develop paranoid ideation, it's a double yummy as far as self-supply because it legitimizes your isolation and it convinces you that you are a very, very crucial person, a person of import.
And so paranoid ideation is very common in self-supply.
The next technique is to reassign weights to sources of supply.
So you rank certain sources of supply as low and others as rich, poor and rich, negative and positive, fake and real. So you assign weights to sources of supply and it is your power as an arbiter, as a judge, as a referee to decide which source of supply would count and which one would be discounted or discarded. It is this power that constitutes self-supply.
So the narcissist who self-supplies this way sits at home alone and ticks off boxes.
This source of supply is meaningless. This source of supply is important, but I got all the supply I needed.
And so he kind of rearranges the narcissistic supply space, the pathological narcissistic space in a way that all sources of supply become extensions of the narcissist under his judgment and control. He decides their destiny in fate, in hierarchy, in ranking and gives him a feeling of being godlike.
The next technique in self-supply is to convert negative to positive supply.
When the narcissist receives negative supply, for example, when he is criticized, when he is attacked, when he is ridiculed or mocked, when he is threatened, when he can take this and convert it into positive supply.
One way of doing it is via paranoid ideation. They are threatening me because I mean a lot to them. They are stalking me because I, to this very day, I'm a very important person in their emotional lives. They can't give up on me. They're sad, they're heartbroken that I'm out of their lives. They are threatening me because they're desperate and there's nothing else they can do. They're helpless, helpless because I'm omnipotent. They are ridiculing me and mocking me because they're stupid. They're getting it wrong. They can't understand certain things.
And so ultimately they are. They are the derizori figures. They are worthy of derision and so on and so forth.
So taking negative supply and converting it into positive supply by reframing the situation, making many assumptions and creating many hypotheticals and then constructing a coherent, divisive, self-consistent narrative around these assumptions and figments.
And so the negative supply suddenly becomes proof of importance, proof of meaningfulness, proof of significance.
So narcissists very often would brag about having enemies. They would share the threats they're getting. They would be gratified by how important they are, how important they still are to the people who are attacking them, threatening them, berating them, mocking them, etc., because this is exactly like paranoid ideation.
The narcissist is still the center of attention. This is one way of self-supply.
The next technique of self-supply is future or past orientation.
The narcissist can tell himself, "I will be recognized only in the future. I am so ahead of my time. I am such an incredible genius that only future generations will adulate me, admire me and appreciate my contribution."
And these future generations become real to the narcissist because the narcissist interacts only with internal representations.
And so he basks in the glow of his future glory, yet to be realized, actualized and accomplished.
Another way is to go back to the past, to develop a past orientation and to say, "Well, I have changed the world. I have been meaningful. I have done this and I have done that.
And then to assume that you are still present in the minds of those generations in the past somehow.
So it's to impute presence, influence to people in the past or to people in the future.
That's one way of self-supply.
The next way to self-supply is very similar to paranoid ideation, but not exactly.
It's self-aggrandizing referential ideation, ideas of reference.
It's to assume that any post made on Instagram is about you. Any video or video snippet has to do with you. They are hidden messages. They are occult signals.
There is an attempt to communicate or beg you to communicate.
So the belief that other people's speech acts, behaviors, choices and decisions revolve exclusively around you is known as referential ideation and is a major form of self-supply.
But narcissism develops theories, multiple theories as to why people behave the way they do, especially if they do it in public. Why they behave the way they do?
Because of him. It all has to do with him. They are processing grief. They are threatening him. They're making a promise. They are attempting to communicate. You name it. It's going to create a theory of why they behave the way they do, which has to do with him.
Because in the vast majority of cases, these theories are wrong. referential ideation is often wrong.
And finally, another method of self-supply described by scholars who worked with narcissism, with narcissistic mortification.
It's the delusional revenge fantasy.
Delusional revenge fantasies, especially after mortification, are major ways to self-supply.
The narcissist goes into extreme intricate, fine detail in planning revenge upon his enemies, real and perceived.
He leaves the revenge. This is known as imagery. It's like an imagery exercise.
His revenge becomes like a theme park and he enters the theme park and he cultivates and nurtures and waters and thinks about and contemplates and considers and analyzes and sitarizes everything. It becomes a full-time job. It becomes a pastime, a hobby.
And the revenge fantasy fulfills him with a sense of omnipotence and even omniscience because he knows what he's planning. They don't. He knows what's coming. They don't.
And this asymmetry of information gratifies him, no end, and caters to his sadistic side as well.
This is a form of self-supply.
Now, there are many other forms of self-supply, but these are the most common strategies.
Self-supply is a crucial maintenance phase in the narcissist cycle of existence.
Narcissists often run out of narcissistic supply and they have to self-supply or perish.
And so they self-supply.
Additionally, self-supply is a mechanism of self-regulation that appears to be external regulation.
So it's ego congruent. It doesn't disrupt the narcissist balance, equilibrium.
The narcissist experiences self-supply as a natural continuation of external supply because he makes no distinction between external objects and internal objects. Everything is happening in his mind, in his head.
So self-supply is perceived as external, especially if the self-supply is linked intimately to specific internal objects, which represent people out there, real external objects.
Internal objects in his mind are infused with the energy of the self-supply. They are affected with self-supply.
And so they attain, these internal objects attain an existence of their own and are misspeculated as external.
As a narcissist, classic confusion between internal and external objects.
In many ways, what I'm describing is a bit psychotic because it involves elements of hyper-reflexivity.
And this is what Könberg, this is Könberg's observation. That's why he called borderline, borderline on the border between erotic and psychotic.
Subsupply is the purest form of supply and the crystallization of the narcissistic disorder of the self. It is true self-supply through the prism of self-supply that we can study pathological narcissism better than any other way.
Isolate the narcissist on an island and his narcissism would transition smoothly and seamlessly from external supply to self-supply.
The narcissism will continue unhindered.
The narcissistic personality structure and organization will not be disrupted or interrupted.
But the supply would become internal into a very large extent, delusional.
The narcissist's men child is on the border between men and child, undecided, in limbo, borrows elements from both.
And because it's a very young child, self-supply is very, very reminiscent of certain dynamics in childhood such as primary narcissism.
And yet it involves adult, adult elements such as revenge fantasies.
And so again, we see the chimeric nature of the narcissist, the hybrid nature of the narcissist.
It is a man or a woman, of course, not fully formed, half baked, disrupted in a process, a human being interrupted.
Similarly, magical thinking, which is typical of childhood, is an integral part of self-supply.
The narcissist confuses the reality of his internal world with the reality of the external world.
Consequently, events and dynamics that are happening inside his mind are misperceived to have occurred or to be occurring in the outside, externally in the real world.
Gradually, the narcissist comes to develop superstitions and believes that he is capable of affecting the outside world by merely altering his internal landscape, by merely thinking about something or wishing something to happen, or imagining something or believing in something he induces in his mind, he induces change in his environment, both human and inanimate.
This is very typical thinking in childhood.
People have this more or less until age 36 months, but it survives into adulthood in pathological narcissism and is at the core of self-supply.
The narcissist projects his supply onto an unsuspecting environment, but because to his mind there is no distinction between in and out, internal and external.
This act of projecting the supply outward is misperceived as receiving supply from the outside.
Actually, the supply is 100% internal, but perceived or misperceived is 100% external.
Internal thinking is another example of the men-child hybrid in narcissism.
There is also the issue of the action of primitive defense mechanisms, such as projection, but also splitting, project identification and so on. These infantile regressive defense mechanisms no longer operate in adulthood in the vast majority of healthy and normal people, but with a narcissist they still very much dominate.
Narcissism or pathological narcissism is a failure at developing adult defense mechanisms.
So the childhood ones, the childlike ones or the infantile defense mechanisms survive.
The supply relies on these mechanisms.
For example, the narcissist splits everyone into all good people and all bad people, and the old bad people are after him, they are out to get him.
This fosters paranoid ideation, but of course paranoia is a form of grandiosity.
Similarly, the narcissist divides the entire world into good and evil, black and white, hot and cold, loving and hating and so on and so forth. This splitting mechanism creates the equivalent of a morality play.
The narcissist is on the side of good versus evil, he is on the side of good people versus evil people, he is being persecuted and prosecuted and threatened by really bad characters.
Now this is a form of rewriting the world as a theater play, rendering the world a theater play. The cinematic aspects of the narcissist's mind and life are undeniable in self-supply. That's why I keep saying that self-supply is the purest form of pathological narcissism.
One reminder, locus of grandiosity, the narcissist is grandiose, he distorts reality, refrains it so as to support an inflated and fantastic self-image. Grandiosity therefore is a cognitive distortion.
But there is a misperception of grandiosity, as usual, among self-staffed experts online.
Grandiosity is not about being the best, the fastest, the greatest, the most amazing. Grandiosity is about being special, unique, one-of-a-kind, sui generis, unprecedented.
So listen well, even negative input, even scurrying feedback, even the most extreme criticism, humiliation, put-downs, you name it, even these can constitute narcissistic supply.
Sometimes you attack the narcissist, you go at the narcissist, you try your best to humiliate the narcissist, to expose the narcissist, to deride the narcissist, to laugh at the narcissist, to mock, to ridicule and so on and so forth, only to discover that all this time you have been providing the narcissist with narcissistic supply a plenty.
Thank you very much.
So if the attack or the criticism or the humiliation, if they are sufficiently extreme, they constitute narcissistic supply.
So if you tell the narcissist, you are the biggest abuser ever, you are the most accomplished con artist, you are the most egregious failure, you are the most unprecedented waste.
These are forms of narcissistic supply. They will not lead to narcissistic injury and they will not result in mortification because they aggrandize the narcissist.
They render the narcissist special, unique, fascinating, amazing, the center of attention. It's the wrong way to go about it.
Okay, so this is the first point, the locus of grandiosity.
A narcissist could be very proud of his failures, of the fact that he is a loser, of his abuse, of his misconduct simply because they are unprecedented. They are special and unique and amazing and egregious and extreme and radical that renders him, renders him one of a kind, hence narcissistic supply.