When a narcissist gets caught in a lie, or when he’s done something he considers unacceptable in any way (or at least in a way that he can’t somehow blame someone else), something interesting happens: he begins to look for something to take the attention off his mistake and elevate himself back to his “rightful place” – you know, right on top of your head. Above you and anyone else in his life, specifically.
Why do they do this?
In part, it’s because a narc can’t stand to imagine he might be at fault for anything that isn’t positive, especially when he can’t find a justification for it.
Why do we keep putting up with it?
There are, of course, the obvious reasons we tolerate it and keep sticking around, walking on eggshells.
But there’s also another aspect here – one you might not have considered.
We put up with it because we are addicted to the narcissist and his abuse on some level. When it comes to being in a relationship with a narcissist, you’re both the drug AND the addict.
And because, as people with integrity, it’s unfathomable to us that the narcissist isn’t capable of accepting responsibility for his actions. We want to teach him to be accountable for his behavior – we think he should be like a normal human who learns and evolves.
Wait, what? We’re addicted to those jerks?
We are addicted in part because we believe we can help him change and grow – and we keep trying because we are the sort of people who do the right thing.
But what we all need to realize is that a narcissist isn’t capable of evolution. He can’t accept responsibility for who he is, because he sees himself in a distorted mirror.
So how do you deal? You go gray rock. And sometimes it works – but sometimes the narc can’t stand to see you at peace, and if you don’t have a spine of steel, you might fall for his manipulative tricks again.
Addiction and Narcissistic Abuse: How It Works
So, the narcissist sees himself as sort of untouchable – better than everyone else. In fact, he sees other people not as individuals in their own right but as simple extensions of himself – and he needs to keep people around him who enhance that vision he clings to.
But when his “extensions” turn out to be real people with real thoughts and feelings, the narc can’t take it.
This threatens to knock him off his self-constructed pedestal, and that leads to his seeking additional attention, drama and eventually a new narcissistic supply source.
So how does this resemble addiction?
When a drug addict is seeking his drug of choice, no one is safe – he will steal from his own mama to get what he needs – literally.
Well, like a drug addict, when the narcissist needs his unconditional validation fix (in which he is absolutely absolved of his responsibility for the situation in his life), no one’s as important as the fact that he needs to have his fix.
He will take anything and everything from you without reservation to get it – starting with your self-worth, your sense of security, well-being – you name it, he wants to take it. He needs to see you as that extension of himself in order to feel good about himself.
Bottom line: both a narc and a drug addict always put their own needs first, without fail, when seeking their drug of choice. And without realizing it, many victims of their abuse become addicted to it as well, making the narcissist and his supply both the victim and the drug.
What do you think? Can you see how the narcissist and his supply can both serve as drugs as well as addicts? Share your thoughts and experiences in the comments section.
Angela Atkinson is a Certified Life Coach and the author of more than 20 books on narcissism, narcissistic abuse recovery and related topics. A recognized expert on narcissism and narcissistic personality disorder who has studied and written extensively on narcissistic relationships since 2006, Atkinson was inspired to begin her work as a result of having survived toxic relationships of her own.
Atkinson offers trauma-informed coaching and has certifications in life coaching, level 2 therapeutic model, CBT coaching, integrative wellness coaching, and NLP. She is a certified trauma support coach and certified family trauma professional. She also has a professional PTSD counseling certification. Her mission is to help those who have experienced the emotional and mental devastation that comes with narcissistic abuse in these incredibly toxic relationships to (re)discover their true selves, stop the gaslighting and manipulation and move forward into their genuine desires – into a life that is exactly what they choose for themselves.
Along with her solution-focused life coaching experience, Atkinson’s previous career in journalism and research helps her to offer both accurate and understandable information for survivors of abuse in a simple-to-understand way that helps to increase awareness in the narcissistic abuse recovery community. Atkinson founded QueenBeeing.com Narcissistic Abuse Recovery Support, the SPANily Narcissistic Abuse Recovery Support Groups and the Life Makeover Academy. In her life coaching practice, Atkinson’s clients enjoy her personalized approach that allows and encourages them to become the best possible versions of themselves and to succeed in doing what they love most. She offers individual and group coaching for victims and survivors of narcissistic abuse at NarcissisticAbuseRecovery.Online and NarcissismSupportCoach.com.