What happens with the original self that we sacrifice, basically, for the most?
Does it ever come back or it disappears? It doesn't disappear, but it doesn't come back. It has no, in the mental economy, if we compare the psyche, if we compare the soul to some kind of energy-consuming machine, so in the mental economy, the true self is a part that no longer contributes or consumes energy. It's a dead part. And so it's there, it's ossified, it's fossilized. It's like a fossil, ossified fossilized. You can see the contours, you can see the contours of how it used to look, but it does not contribute or participate in functioning of any kind, in any psychodynamic process, whatever. Everything has been transferred to the outside.
And narcissist is a person whose inside is externalized. It's like a person whose intestines are outside, not inside. All his insides have been externalized. So all the processes that normally are regulated from inside, he uses the false self to regulate and other people. So that's why narcissists need other people. They need other people to regulate their internal environment. They cannot do it by themselves. So they have the false self and they interact with the false self. The false self is like external, yes?
So the false self tells them what to do, how to behave, who they are. It's an external entity, god-like entity that interacts with them.
But to regulate the sense of self-worth, self-confidence, self-esteem, to form a coherent identity, they need other people. So they approach other people and they solicit narcissistic supply. They can solicit narcissistic supply peacefully, but if they don't get it peacefully, they become very aggressive and they can even become violent because they need the supply to survive. Narcissistic supply is attention of any kind, could be positive attention, like adulation, admiration, could be negative attention, like being feared or being hated. Attention. If the narcissist doesn't get attention, he cannot regulate his internal environment and he falls apart. He falls to pieces.
There's a famous painting by Salvador Dalí, Galatea, where she starts off as a face and then the face disintegrates into molecules. That's the narcissist. Without narcissistic supply, the narcissist will suddenly disintegrate into molecules. And that's how the narcissist experiences himself. He experiences himself as a kind of a loosely-head coalition of molecules.
And the glue is narcissistic supply. And you have to renew the glue all the time. Otherwise the molecules will drift away and the narcissist will vanish gradually. Nothing will be left.
I can't begin to describe to you how terrifying this sensation is. I don't even know if you can imagine how absolutely terrifying it is on a second by second basis. Not generally, but second by second basis.
So the narcissist is addicted to narcissistic supply just in order to feel that he exists. His very sense of existence critically depends on input from the other side.