Narcissism FAQ: Exploitation by a Narcissist

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Question:

In his drive for Narcissistic Supply, would the Narcissist be callous enough to exploit the tragedy of others, if this exploitation were to secure a new supply source?

Answer:

Yes. I compared Narcissistic Supply to drugs because of the almost involuntary and always-unrestrained nature of the pursuit involved in securing it. The narcissist is no better or worse (morally speaking) than others. But he lacks the ability to empathise precisely because he is obsessed with the maintenance of his delicate inner balance through the (ever-growing) consumption of Narcissistic Supply.

The narcissist rates people around him. First, he conducts a binary test: can this or that person provide him with Narcissistic Supply?

As far as the narcissist is concerned, those who fail this simple test do not exist. They are two-dimensional cartoon figures. Their feelings, needs and fears are of no interest or importance.

Those persons who filtered through, are then subjected to a meticulous examination and probing of the volume and quality of the Narcissistic Supply that is likely to emanate from them. The narcissist nurtures and cultivates these people. He caters to their needs, desires, and wishes. He considers their emotions. He encourages those aspects of their personality that are likely to enhance their ability to provide him with his much needed supply. In this very restricted sense, he regards and treats them as “human”. This is be his way of “maintaining and servicing” his Supply Sources. Needless to say that he loses any and all interest in them and in their needs once he judges that they are no longer able to supply him with what he needs: an audience, adoration, witnessing (=memory). The same reaction will be provoked by any behaviour on their part, which the narcissist judges to be narcissistically injurious.

If a person close to the narcissist finds himself in tragic circumstances – these are coldly evaluated by the narcissist. Will these circumstances enable him to extract Narcissistic Supply from that person – or from others who witness his interaction with the narcissist?

A narcissist, for instance, will give a helping hand, console, guide, share grief, encourage another hurting person only if that person is important, powerful, has access to other important or powerful people, or to the media, has a following, etc.

The same applies if helping, consoling, guiding, or encouraging that person is likely to win the narcissist applause, approval, adoration, a following, or some other kind of Narcissist Supply from on-lookers and witnesses to the interaction. The act of helping another person must be documented and thus transformed into narcissistic nourishment.

Otherwise the narcissist is not concerned or interested in the person, or in his circumstances. The narcissist has no time or energy for anything, except the next narcissistic fix, NO MATTER WHAT THE PRICE AND WHO IS TRAMPLED UPON.

Sam Vaknin is the author of Malignant Self Love, and runs the website Malignant Self Love - Narcissism Revisited.Sam has served as the author of the Personality Disorders topic, Narcissistic Personality Disorder topic, the Verbal and Emotional Abuse topic, and the Spousal Abuse and Domestic Violence topic, Suite101.

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