Narcissist's Objects and Possessions

Uploaded 10/7/2010, approx. 6 minute read

I am Sam Vaknin, and I am the author of Malignant Self-Love, Narcissism Revisited.

Narcissists have a complex relationship with objects in general and with their possessions in particular.

First, there is the accumulator. This kind of narcissist jealously guards his possessions, his collections, his furniture, his cars, his children, his women, his money, his credit cards.

Objects comfort the accumulating narcissist. They remind him of his status. They are linked to gratifying events and thus constitute in themselves secondary sources of narcissistic supply.

These objects attest to the narcissist's wealth, his connections, his achievements, his friendships, his conquests, and his glorious past. They are kind of trophies.

No wonder that the accumulator narcissist is so attached to his objects. Objects connected with failures or embarrassments have no place in his abode. They get cast out.

Moreover, owning the right objects often guarantees the uninterrupted flow of narcissistic supply. A fleshy car or an ostentatious house help the somatic narcissist attract sexual apartments.

Owning a high-powered computer and a broadband connection or a sizable and expensive library facilitate the intellectual pursuits of the cerebral narcissist.

Sporting a glamorous wife and politically correct kids, he is indispensable in the careers of the narcissistic politician or show business or diplomat.

The narcissist parades these objects, flaunts them, consumes them conspicuously, praises them vocally, draws attention to them compulsively, brags about them incessantly.

When they fail to elicit narcissistic supply, when they fail to provoke admiration, attublation, marvel, awe, the narcissist feels wounded, humiliated, deprived, discriminated against, the victim of a conspiracy, in general, unloved.

Objects often make the accumulated narcissist what he is. They are an inseparable part of his pathology.

This type of narcissist is possessive. He obsesses about his belongings and collects them compulsively. He counts his money incessantly. He brands his objects as his own. He infuses them with his spirit and with his personality. He attributes to his objects his own traits.

He projects onto them his thwarted emotions, his fears, his hopes.

Objects and possessions are an integral part of the accumulated narcissist, inseparable. They provide him with emotional decor.

Such a narcissist, an accumulator, is likely to say, my car is daring and unstoppable or how clever is my computer or my dog is coming or my wife craves attention. All these are of course his own properties, qualities and traits.

The narcissist often compares people to the inanimate. Himself he sees as a computer or a sex machine. His wife he regards as some kind of luxury good.

The narcissist loves objects. He relates to them. Things he fails to do with humans, he does with objects. This is why he objectifies people. It makes it easier for him to interact with them.

Objects are predictable, they are reliable, always there, they are obedient, easy to control and manipulate, universally desired and they never talk back.

A long time ago I was asked if objects or pets could serve as sources of narcissistic supply.

Well the answer is of course yes. And especially so with a second type of narcissist, the discarder. Anything can serve as a source of narcissistic supply providing that it has the potential to attract people's attention and be the subject of their admiration.

This is why narcissists are in a morgue of status symbols. In other words, objects which comprehensively encapsulate, concisely convey a host of data regarding their owners. These data generate a reaction in people. They make them look at a narcissist, admire him, envy him, dream about his possession, compare him to others or aspire to beings to be him.

In short, these objects elicit narcissistic supply.

But generally, discarder narcissists do not like souvenirs and the memories they bring. They are afraid to get emotionally attached to these objects and then get hurt if the objects are lost or stolen or expropriated or taken by creditors.

Narcissists are sad people. Almost anything can depress them.

A tune, photograph, a work of art, a book, a mental image or a voice. Narcissists are people who divorced their emotions because their emotions are mostly negative and painful, followed by their basic trauma, by the early abuses that they have suffered.

So objects, situations, voices, sights, colors, they all can and do provoke and evoke unwanted memories in the narcissist.

The narcissist tries to avoid these pains and hurts and memories.

The discarded narcissist callously discards or gives away hard-won objects, memorabilia, gifts and property.

This behavior sustains his sense of control and lack of vulnerability.

He says, I'm not attached to anything. I'm in control. I can always give up.

It also proves to him that he is unique, not like other people who are attached to their material belongings. He is above all this. He is not as base and primitive as others.

Still, not all narcissists are accumulators or discardants. Accumulator narcissists take to objects and memorabilia, to voices and tunes, to sights and works of art as reminders of their past glory and of their potential future grandeur.

Many narcissists collect proofs and trophies of their sexual prowess, of their dramatic talent, of their past wealth, or of their intellectual achievements. They file these objects away almost compulsively. They have huge archives, huge shrines to themselves.

These are narcissistic handles. Narcissistic handle, the object that reminds the narcissist of his past, operates through the mechanism of narcissistic branding.

An example, objects which belong to former lovers are stunned by them and become their full-fledged representations. They are fetishized.

By interacting with these objects, the narcissist recreates a narcissistic supply-rich situation within which the objects were introduced into his life in the first place. This is magical thinking.

The part represents the whole and the whole represents the positive gratifying experience of narcissistic supply.

Some clairvoyants claim to be able to extract all the information regarding the present, past, and future states of the owner of an object by holding it.

It is as though the object, the memory, or the sound carry the narcissist back to where and when narcissistic supply was abundant.

This powerful combination of branding and evidencing is what gives rise to what I call narcissistic contagion.

This is the ability of the narcissist to objectify people and to anthropomorphize objects. He treats people as objects and objects as he should have treated people.

This whole process of objectifying people and humanizing objects is simply a way of optimizing or actually maximizing narcissistic supply.

The narcissist is kind of pathogen. He transforms his human and non-human environment alike.

On the one hand, he invests as much affection and emotions in an inanimate object as healthier people invest in other human beings.

On the other hand, he transforms people around him to functions or objects.

In their effort to satisfy the needs of the narcissist, his nearest or dearest very often neglect their own needs, wishes, preferences, and priorities.

They feel that something is seeking wrong in their lives, but they are so entrapped, so much part of the narcissist's personal mythology that they cannot cut loose.

Manipulated through guilt, leveraged through fear, they are but a shadow of their former selves. They have contracted the disease. They have been infected and poisoned. They have been branded. They have become the objects of the narcissist.

If you enjoyed this article, you might like the following:

Narcissists Hate Women, Misogynists

Narcissists view women as objects and use them for both primary and secondary narcissistic supply. They fear emotional intimacy and treat women as property, similar to the mindset of European males in the 18th century. Narcissists frustrate women by teasing them and then leaving them, and they hold women in contempt, choosing submissive partners whom they disdain for being below their intellectual level. The narcissist projects his own behavior and traits onto women.

Narcissist's Romantic Jealousy and Possessiveness

Narcissists experience anxiety when they become aware of their possessive and jealous tendencies. Anxiety characterizes all their interactions with the opposite sex, especially in situations where there is a possibility of rejection or abandonment. The narcissist's envy of their female mate is a result of an unconscious conflict, and they exercise their imagination to justify their negative emotions. Narcissists often strike an unhealthy balance by being emotionally and physically absent, which drives their partner to find emotional and physical gratification outside the relationship.

Inanimate Objects as Sources of Narcissistic Supply

Narcissists can find inanimate objects as sources of narcissistic supply, as long as they have the potential to attract attention and admiration. Narcissists often use objects as status symbols, which can elicit admiration, envy, and aspiration from others. However, narcissists can also become attached to objects and memorabilia, which can provide emotional support and remind them of their past glories and potential future grandeur. Narcissists can objectify people and anthropomorphize objects to derive maximum narcissistic supply from both, leading to a shared psychosis and cult-like behavior among those closest to them.

Narcissist Re-idealizes Discarded Sources of Narcissistic Supply

Narcissists keep discarded sources of supply in reserve and seek them out when they have no other supply source. They frantically try to recycle their old sources and re-idealize them without admitting to having been mistaken in the first place. To preserve their grandiosity, they come up with a narrative that accommodates both the devaluing content and the re-idealized image of the source. If you are an old source of narcissistic supply, simply ignore the narcissist as indifference is what they cannot stand.

Self-destruction as Narcissistic Supply: Narcissist's Self-denial and Self-defeat

Narcissists frustrate others to satisfy their masochistic tendencies and sadistic urges. By withholding love, sex, and intimacy, they torment those around them while obstructing their own gratification. Self-denial, self-destruction, and self-defeat buttress the narcissist's sense of superiority and uniqueness, as they prove to themselves that they are the strongest and can overcome powerful desires and emotions. These behaviors and choices engender narcissistic supply, as they demonstrate the narcissist's independence from society, nature, and even themselves.

Issues in Narcissistic Supply

Narcissists devalue their sources of supply for the very qualities that make them sources of supply in the first place. The narcissist resents his dependency on narcissistic supply and perceives intimacy and sex as a threat to his uniqueness. Narcissistic supply includes all forms of attention, both positive and negative, fame, notoriety, adulation, fear, applause, approval. Narcissists frantically try to recycle their old and wasted sources when they have absolutely no other sources of supply at their disposal.

Negative, Fake, Low-grade Narcissistic Supply

Narcissists crave attention, both positive and negative, and use it to regulate their sense of self-worth. They construct a false self and project it onto others to elicit admiration, adulation, and fear. Negative supply can become narcissistic supply when positive supply is scarce. Narcissists also crave punishment, which confirms their view of themselves as worthless and relieves them of the inner conflict they endure when they are successful.

Narcissist: I want it ALL and NOW! (Delayed Gratification and Entitlement)

Narcissists cannot delay gratification and are creatures of the here and now. They cannot form stable relationships, maintain a job or career path, or accumulate material wealth. The narcissist's life is characterized by jerky, episodic careers, relationships, marriages, and domiciles. The narcissist is possessed of a low self-esteem and is unable to love himself or others. The narcissist's interpersonal relationships are deformed and sick, and he recreates conflicts with his primary objects in his marriage.

Narcissist Imagines Himself Through YOUR Gaze (Attributional Delusions)

Narcissists idealize themselves through the gaze of other people, known as narcissistic supply, and make assumptions about how others perceive them. They react strongly to their assumptions about the gaze of others, attributing thoughts and beliefs to them without checking if they are correct. This idealization is two-faced, as they idealize others to gain their power to idealize them. Narcissists transition between states, but their desperate need for the gaze of others and their self-love and sexual attraction to themselves remain constant. This self-love is not genuine, but rather a form of limerence, infatuation, or lust.

Narcissist: Star of Own Theater of Conspicuous Existence

Narcissists engage in conspicuous existence, a form of conspicuous consumption where the consumed commodity is narcissistic supply. They stage-manage their every movement, tone of voice, posture, inflection, poise, text, subtext, and context to garner the most attention. Narcissists are excess embodied, and their constant invention of self is not limited to outward appearances. They are incessantly engaged in energy draining, gorging of other people and their possible reactions to him, and their exhaustion is all-consuming.

Transcripts Copyright © Sam Vaknin 2010-2024, under license to William DeGraaf
Website Copyright © William DeGraaf 2022-2024
Get it on Google Play
Privacy policy