A narcissist needs his supply like we need the air we breathe.
(By the way, I am using the pronouns he, him, and his in this article to make it easier for the reader. Any of these pronouns can be interchanged with she, her and hers as needed, because women can be narcissists, too.) The narcissist feels like he cannot live without his narcissistic supply, which is your admiration, constant attention, and validation, all obtained through controlling you. He’s the big, bad wolf in the story Three Little Pigs. He needs his supply, and he gets it by blowing your house down.
This narcissistic supply fits right in with the narcissist’s high control and low empathy. The narcissist doesn’t care if you are sick because he needs you to be by his side at an event. Or, the narcissist doesn’t care if you are late for work, because it’s more important for you to choose the tie he will wear to an important meeting (one that is much more important than your menial little job, he will tell you.)
I thought when my divorce from the narcissist was final, he would leave me alone…
Despite having numerous girlfriends, he was hurt that I had moved on to peace, joy and financial independence. So, he kept coming back. He would first show up at my house to call me names. So, I called the police and they told him it was considered trespassing. Then, he began to call instead, since he had learned I meant business. His phone calls were one-sided, with him yelling and criticizing my parenting skills. I blocked his number. I told him to email me. He would still go on a tirade in emails until he realized those weren’t read if the first sentence was threatening or mean. Finally, he resorted to cornering me at basketball events for my son, until I wisely began entering, exiting and sitting with a whole posse of parents. He didn’t want to tarnish his self-actualized “perfect image” with them, so I was able to watch the games in peace. I still do, even though every few months the cycle above starts over. This is not much different from when we were married. What is different now is me.
Here’s 3 ways to extricate yourself from being the narcissistic supply (or at least diminishing its effects on you.)
- Put strong boundaries in place
For example, if you tell the narcissist you will call the police if he puts one toe on your property, do not back down. Call them. 911 works day or night. For many months or years, you may have been like me and really failed to follow through. Not now, sister. Stick to your word. He’s wrong. You’re right. You mean business.
- Don’t open lines of communication that aren’t absolutely necessary
I had a client tell me recently that she had unblocked her ex-husband for communication. Guess who sent her an ugly text when she was out to dinner with friends? You got it. The ex-husband did. My client was trying to start her new life with new friends, and her ex-husband wrecked her entire night by a text. DON’T FALL FOR THE NICE PERSON WHO SUDDENLY APPEARS. They wait until they can really destroy your day or night, and then they’ll do it. Don’t fall for that trite effort when the narcissist says, “We really need to have a civil conversation. You just need to unblock me. There are things that we must talk about live, not through email.” NO. THERE IS NOT ONE THING THAT CAN’T BE SAID ON EMAIL.
- Believe in yourself
The more things you do on your own, the more I’d like you to pat yourself on the back. You were just fine before the narcissist, and you’ll be even better after. Many people couldn’t get through what you’ve been through. You are stronger than you give yourself credit for.
Life isn’t perfect, even after the narcissist exits your world. But, there’s beauty in the struggle. You see sides of yourself that you didn’t know were there. Strength that appears out of nowhere. I laugh out loud these days when the narcissist tries to hurt me. One day, I looked at the narcissist and said, “You really need to get over me. It’s been almost five years.” He huffed and puffed, but guess what? He didn’t blow me or my little house down. I survived. And you will, too.
Narcissistic Abuse Recovery Coach