Narcissists Have the Personality Traits of An Addict
Let’s not beat around the bush, Narcissists ARE addicts. Primarily empty vessels but full of shame and envy who make up for their feelings of emptiness through their addiction. What are narcissists addicted to? Supply.
Supply is anything or anyone that gives the narcissist positive affirmation and confirmation of their false identity.
False Identity is “the thing” that narcissists create to give themselves feelings of worthiness and importance. It’s a substitute for true identity, which is based upon realistic positive and negative characteristics that define a person intrinsically and determine the quality of our interactions with others over time.
From there, you can see why its difficult to pin down all the various forms of supply a narcissist can garner to prop up their shanty false image of themselves into one clear cut definition of what narcissists are addicted to.
Where one narcissist might be addicted to fame and fanfare for all their glory, another narcissist will be heavily introverted in the corner watching antisocially as they judge others for being so “flamboyant”. The particular type of supply the narcissist is addicted to is less important than defining firstly that the narcissistic person is in fact, behaving as an addict.
Narcissistic Addicts are repetitive, lazy, creatures of habit.Narcissists will stick to their drug of choice, but will gladly substitute a new one if they find that the payoffs offer them a path of lesser resistance.
For example, take the female narcissist who is accustomed to getting attention (supply) for their body; receiving many years of attention for being in shape and wearing revealing clothing. After seeing the tides of time take over, they’re now aging and gaining weight, they will feel a great deal of anxiety and depression. There’s an overwhelming grief and sense of loss from the morphing of their body into an image that they won’t be able to use for supply.
The one thing they know for sure is that they need the attention to feel ok, so they begin seeking out new ways to get attention for their body that doesn’t have to involve them being a particular “shape”. They could begin seeking to become the “expert” a guru or provide other forms of “consulting” that will allow them to get the same amount of ego strokes for their physical appearance without having to have the 24/7 workout routine that got them attention in the past.
The key is to look for the motivation; the underlying need for attention. The narcissist’s need for outside approval hasn’t changed, it’s just how they go about getting it that has changed.
Spending time with a narcissistic addict may help you recognize certain traits and behaviors that accompany addiction, such as the following:
Making impulsive choices
Constantly seeking excitement and new sensations
Feeling alienated from mainstream society
Valuing deviant or nonconformist behavior (anti-social)
Lacking patience such as having trouble waiting for delayed gratification
Fear of abandonment
Let’s take a closer look at the Personality Traits of a Narcissist as an addict:
Self Medication—Narcissists use supply to fix situations and feel better. Mistakenly, they believe (deny / justify) that they are only using it for “good” reasons but in reality it is “helping” them cope with life and the reality that their inner world is empty.
Numbing-Avoidance of Feeling— Emotions make a narcissist feel vulnerable and out of control. Most likely their family growing up didn’t allow for feelings and so they have no real practice on what to do when they feel a certain way. It was as if the family “feeling thermostat” was set to 55▫ and everyone called it “warm.” When supply comes along, it makes them feel better and comforts them against any unpleasant emotion.
Shame—The term really refers to “toxic shame” which is different from “healthy shame” which helps us realize that we are human and “not God.” “Toxic shame” goes further and dehumanizes us and isolates us from the rest of humanity. We are less than others and instead of making a mistake, we feel we are “a mistake.”
Due to toxic shame, narcissists either admit no problems, where they act shameless, or they walk around full of shame. This manifests itself mainly in relationships where they either act “better than” or “less than.” Shame is responsible for a lot of the arguments in narcissistic, addictive relationships. We’re just trying to talk to the narcissist about their behavior, but they personalize it, hear the message they are “bad” and defend themselves staunchly often using verbal abuse and word salad to deflect and turn the shame back onto us for trying to speak openly about our feelings.
Denial—is the coping mechanism of unawareness. It is really not about lying, but about a total unawareness that there is a problem. Oftentimes, the more severe the problem, the more denial there is.
Minimizing—is the coping mechanism of acknowledging something, but making it “not that big of a thing.” They often feel that people are making “a mountain out of a molehill.” or that others concerns are from a place of “envy” “jealousy” or “being a hater”.
Normalizing—This occurs when the narcissist wants to feel normal, because of the shame they feel. They surround themselves with other narcissists or “addicts” who do the same level of lying, manipulating, cheating, sexing, avoiding, etc. so that they feel normal. They assert that “If so many people are a narcissist/psychopath, it must not be that bad”.
Blaming—The narcissist subconsciously feels that “they might be at fault, but they convince themselves that other people are more to blame” for whatever is happening in their lives. Even when there’s a legitimate complaint, the blame gets them stuck, causing them to not take responsibility and find a solution. The problem is that they don’t look as to how they contribute to the problem and, additionally, this gives them a sense of entitlement to continue to behave in the ways they always have; consequence free and “perfectly” blameless. (In their perfect narcissistic image bubble)
Emotional Avoidance—Narcissists are not good at all at staying emotionally present. One telltale question to determine if you’re dealing with a narcissist is to ask them a direct question about feelings: “How did you feel about your bosses treatment of you in the meeting this morning?” Notice immediately how they will speak to their THOUGHTS or details of what was going on in the room. Anything at all but how they felt. If you press them again for discussion of feelings…You’ll almost get a blank stare or sudden desire to change or divert the subject. Feelings cause narcissists to dig into their emotional depth. They can’t draw on any “emotional reservoire” because it’s just not there.
This avoidance typically creates an “emotional chase scene” where one is emotionally trying to connect while the other runs away and avoids.
The only time they express emotion is when they spontaneously burst into emotion roused by the loss of supply, ie; shame, jealousy, envy, rage, etc. They’ll express those in covert ways. The “addiction” becomes the “trusted source of comfort” rather than anything outside themselves worthy, genuine, or Godly.
Grandiosity—Due to lack of self esteem, shame and the momentary awareness that “they aren’t like other people,” narcissists become grandiose. They inflate their sense of self to help push people away to escape vulnerability. Sometimes their grandiosity is from achievements they have accomplished due to their “needing to be perfect.” Addicts have an uncanny sense of being able to have low self esteem and being the best of everything all at the same time.
Low Self Esteem—This is slightly different than shame in that the person REVEALS their low self esteem to others. This usually can lead to depression, “victim mentality” and a lack of change in behavior.
Controlling—Really, it is about “attempting to control.” Control is somewhat of an illusion. They try to control what people think of them, their environments, spouses, and children. They are like the writer, director, producer and star who wants to run the whole show. If everyone would do as they wish and play the parts they’ve been assigned, the show would be great.
But what happens is the world doesn’t always cooperate. Other people exist in their own right with separate feelings, thoughts and needs. So we exert ourselves more by using kindness or meanness to get them to change. We are a victim of the delusion that we can get what we want out of life if only we manage well.
Codependency—This is an addiction in itself. Codependency is trying to numb ones feelings by fixing, thinking for, reminding, and acting as the conscience of those around us. We can be more in touch with their life than our own. We learn this survival skill usually by growing up in a family that has addiction or is dysfunctional. We had to predict what was going to happen next and be responsible for the feelings of others. Narcissists command that those around them become very codependent in order to “keep the hell down”.
Black & White Thinking--Rigid Thinking—Narcissistic Addiction is not about moderation. Narcissists have trouble being moderate in most things. It’s like their modus operandi kills all the “reasonable brain cells” leaving only the black or the white, the all or the nothing.
Anger and Rage—If there is a feeling that is expressed, it is usually anger. Not having supply makes them irritable and angry. Telling a narcissist no, makes them rageful. Accusing them of being anything less than perfect will result in a sudden burst of anger followed by a long, cold silence. The final parting shot of the narcissist’s rage is the “dead to me” zone. That’s where you will forever be punished by their anger by NOT being able to be graced with their royal presence.
Quick Fix Mentality—Narcissists are used to “fixing” their uncomfortable feelings with their addiction. As a result, they expect change to happen fast and have difficulty waiting for things or progress over time. That is one of the reasons they can’t change is because they are incapable of withstanding the painful/ uncomfortable feelings that occur with withdrawal.
Ego Boundaries—Narcissists don’t have ego boundaries. They have an inflated sense of self. They feel they control whatever is going on around them. They behave as if they have an inordinate sense of influence and power over other people. They think that all they have to do is “talk with someone” (manipulate, lay, shift blame, coerce) to make everything right.
Irresponsible and Unmanageable—Narcissists have difficulty managing their lives. The have trouble with procrastination, following through, and avoiding. They’re lazy and believe the devil is in the details so better leave those to someone else to take care of. They will often continue to maintain a codependent marital relationship as their “primary” relationship because that person serves as supply that serves the narcissist’s daily needs and dirty work.