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

Uploaded 8/28/2016, approx. 3 minute read

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

Narcissists often frustrate other people. Frustrating one's nearest and dearest has a double advantage. It has the dual advantage of simultaneously satisfying the narcissist's masochistic tendencies and his sadistic urges.

So, two birds with one stone frustrate your nearest and dearest, and you satisfy your masochism and your sadism.

How is that possible?

Well, by withholding love, withholding sex, avoiding intimacy, avoiding the fulfillment of other people's desires and needs, the narcissist torments these people. He taunts them, he tortures them, even as he obstructs his own gratification.

Think about it. If you don't have sex with your wife, you frustrate two people, your wife and yourself.

When you frustrate your wife, you are a sadist. When you frustrate yourself, you are a masochist.

Self-sabotage, self-defeat, self-denial and self-destruction, the martyred victim stance.

All these serve to prevent the forming of attachment and intimacy and the potential for ultimate hurt, ultimate pain as they dissolve.

But self-denial, self-destruction, self-defeat, self-sabotage, all these also buttress the narcissist's sense of superiority, of uniqueness, of omnipotence.

Why is that?

Because only the strongest, only those with a method can overcome and vanquish strong desires, powerful urges, needs, emotions that easily overwhelm lesser mortals.

So by overcoming and vanquishing these desires and urges and emotions, the narcissist proves to himself that he is the strongest, that he is unique.

The narcissist adheres to his idiosyncratic brand of ascetic religion in which he is both God and the worshiper.

The narcissist's inner monologue goes like this.

I reject everything that matters to other people. Everything that is deemed valuable, worthwhile, meaningful and desirable is nothing to me.

And I hold the weaklings who succumb to their emotions and drives. I hold these people in contempt.

Nothing they have or anything they can possess or attain, none of it is of value to me. It is all meaningless and worthless.

So the narcissist devalues the commoners, the hoi polloi, the great unwashed, the average joe, the pedestrian, the routine, the animalistic sex and the socially conformist.

And so self-defeating, self-denying and self-destructive behaviors and choices actually engender narcissistic supply.

Because when you self-deny, when you self-defeat, when you self-destruct, you uphold and demonstrate and prove the superhuman nature of the narcissist. This proves that the narcissist is a superman above humanity and humanity's needs and humanity's emotions and humanity's drives and humanity's desires and humanity's preferences and wishes and priorities is above the free.

He's a bubble. He doesn't need sex. He doesn't need intimacy. He doesn't need other people. He doesn't need society. He doesn't need.

He denies his needs. He denies his drives and urges and desires and wishes.

This self-denial proves to him, demonstrates to him and to others a kind of utter and titanic independence of society, even of nature, because it doesn't need sex, kind of independence of others in interpersonal relationships.

It's a form of counter-dependence. It's a defiance of the world, of the universe, of God, of nature, of himself.

This overcoming, this elevating oneself to a higher plateau, this is the essence of the narcissistic supply.

When narcissistic supply is a short supply, embarking on the path of self-negation is actually an efficacious way, an efficacious shortcut to obtaining and securing narcissistic supply.

At the very least, he draws astounded attention to the narcissist.

Look at him. He is without sex for decades. Look at him. He just turned down the best job imaginable. Look at him. He doesn't need other people.

He abuses and discards them.

There is some shock and awe in observing the narcissist, especially the psychopathic narcissist.

He inspires a kind of intimidation, not to say fear, in others that puts him over and above his audience, makes him a kind of malevolent entity, the type of alien that we all scream at in a good horror movie. The horror movie is the narcissist's life.

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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.

Narcissist Has No Friends

Narcissists treat their friends like Watson and Hastings, who are obsequious and unthreatening, and provide them with an adulating gallery. Narcissists cannot empathize or love, and therefore have no real friends. They are interested in securing narcissistic supply from narcissistic supply sources. The narcissist overvalues people when they are judged to be potential sources of supply, and devalues them when no longer able to supply him, ultimately leading to the alienation and distancing of people.

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.

Narcissist's Objects and Possessions

Narcissists have a complex relationship with objects and possessions, with some being accumulators who jealously guard their belongings and others being discarders who give away their possessions to sustain their sense of control. Objects provide emotional decor and elicit narcissistic supply, and the narcissist often compares people to the inanimate. Narcissists collect proofs and trophies of their sexual prowess, dramatic talent, past wealth, or intellectual achievements, and these objects operate through the mechanism of narcissistic branding. The narcissist is a pathogen who transforms his human and non-human environment alike, objectifying people and anthropomorphizing objects to optimize or maximize narcissistic supply.

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.

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 Certain Losses

Narcissists are obsessed with securing sources of supply, but once they have them, they lose interest and take them for granted. Many sources of supply eventually break free from the narcissist's grip, causing the narcissist to feel abandoned and lose control. However, when the loss is tangible, the narcissist regains his former zeal and embarks on a charm offensive to reacquire what was lost. Once the targets are reacquired, the narcissist reverts to his abusive and indifferent behavior until another round of losses and reanimation.

Can Narcissist Truly Love?

Narcissists are incapable of true love, but they do experience some emotion which they insist is love. Narcissists love their significant others as long as they continue to provide them with attention, or narcissistic supply. There are two types of narcissistic love: one type loves others as one would get attached to objects, while the other type abhors monotony and constancy, seeking instability, chaos, upheaval, drama, and change. In the narcissist's world, mature love is nowhere to be seen, and their so-called love is fear of losing control and hatred of the very people on whom their personality depends.

Recluse Narcissist

Narcissists do not have friends in the usual sense of the word, as they are only interested in securing the provision of narcissistic supply from others. They overvalue people when they are judged to be potential sources of supply, but discard them nonchalantly when they are no longer able or willing to supply them. The narcissist's behavior, choices, acts, attitudes, beliefs, interests, and life are curtailed by their sensitivity to outside opinion, and they avoid situations where they are likely to encounter opposition, criticism, or competition. The fear of flying is at the heart of narcissism.

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.

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