Signs you are narcissistic supply include:
- Constantly seeking validation from others
- Feeling a sense of entitlement
- manipulating and exploiting others for personal gain
- lacking empathy
- and having an excessive need for admiration.
Additionally, you may struggle with forming genuine and healthy relationships and tend to prioritize your needs and desires above others.
Narcissists rely on a steady stream of supply for validation and ego satisfaction.
They can use anyone or anything to source their supply, but they often turn to relationships to attempt to fulfill this overwhelming need.
People in the narcissistic supply role often feel anxious, frustrated, and insecure.
They want to make the narcissist happy, but they’re constantly second-guessing themselves.
You may feel that nothing you do is good enough if this is you. You might also worry that, at any given moment, you’re about to be replaced.
In this article, I will talk about the signs YOU are the Narcissistic Supply. I will also try to explain how it feels to be the Narcissistic supply and answer a few more questions you might have.
11 Signs You Are Narcissistic Supply
Not everyone realizes they are a source of narcissistic supply. If you don’t know you’re in a relationship with a narcissist, you might dismiss certain behaviors as simply being “weird” or “unhealthy.”
And if you do recognize that you love a narcissist, you may blame yourself for causing them to act in specific ways.
Here are some telltale signs you’re a source of narcissistic supply:
#1 They Love-Bombed You Hard
Of all the signs of narcissistic supply, love bombing is one of the most obvious. This stage can last for weeks, months, or even years, but it always has an expiration date (and when it happens, it hits victims hard).
During the love bombing phase, narcissists shower their supply with excessive praise and adoration.
They will make it seem like you’re perfect and that you’re perfect together. Even if the victim senses something might be off, there’s also a sense of excitement and desire. They ignore that gut feeling and tell themselves they’re overreacting.
Love bombing also consists of high levels of attention. It’s not uncommon to receive messages or calls throughout the day.
The narcissist wants to know everything about you, and they want to maintain continuous contact.
#2 The Narcissist Threats You When You Try to Leave or Set Boundaries
You may be the supply if the narcissist reacts poorly when you create limits within the relationship.
This can sound like, “Why would you treat me this way? All I’ve done is love you!”
Other times, narcissists may become outwardly hostile or aggressive. They will likely challenge your rules or make it seem like you’re punishing them.
Sometimes, more covert narcissists punish their partners for boundaries. They might, on the surface, accept your limits openly. But their actions always tell a different story.
They might become passive-aggressive or tell you you’re overreacting or accuse you of being harsh or overly critical. They will also find ways to test your boundaries while making it seem like you’re the punitive one.
#3 You Sense (Or Know) They Mirrored You
All humans mirror other people to some extent- it’s a way we connect and build relationships with others. But narcissistic mirroring is far more insidious and manipulative.
When this happens, it feels like the narcissist totally gets you and has known you your entire life. You may feel amazed by how much you two have in common.
This results in people feeling truly seen, even though it’s unreal. Getting to know someone takes time, even in trusting relationships, and mirroring aggressively and quickly is just a way to accelerate a false sense of closeness.
Narcissists use mirroring as a weapon. For example, if you confide that you struggle with depression, the narcissist might openly share their own experiences with depression and validate your vulnerable feelings.
But later, in an argument, they might say, “This sounds like you’re in a depressed episode.
You’re clearly not acting like yourself.” As you can see, mirroring becomes the perfect fuel for gaslighting.
#4 You Feel Guilty for Having a Life
Narcissists often use a range of subtle and apparent tactics to keep their supply close to them.
They will try to isolate you from others, even if that’s only emotional distance.
They might also make off-handed comments about you being too busy for them.
That said, the experience generally isn’t reciprocal. Even though a narcissist has no problem guilting you for having other relationships or needs, they have no problem having a full schedule.
They don’t hesitate to cancel your plans when something better comes up.
#5 They Only Treat You Well After They Messed Up
Narcissists generally follow a predictable cycle of emotional abuse. First, they tend to love-bomb people by showcasing extreme forms of affection.
Then, once they realize the other person is only human, they start devaluing them.
The devaluing phase often feels like a constant hot-and-cold tango. You never know if you’re going to be on their good side.
After they inevitably make a mistake, however, they may try to shove it under the rug by showering you with affection or gifts again.
This might feel so good that you actually do forget what happened. But the kindness never lasts for long- it’s all about getting you back into their familiar orbit.
#6 You No Longer Know Your Own Identity
Narcissists are skilled in convincing people that their opinions, needs, and values trump everyone else’s.
In many ways, they will make you question the way you think. Over time, this can lead to a merging of identities. You take on their preferences and sacrifice your own.
Many victims of narcissistic abuse feel like shells of their former selves. They no longer even know who they are. This is a clear sign that you may be a form of narcissistic supply.
#7 You Feel Like They’re Upset When You’re Happy or Succeed
A narcissist uses relationships as a form of emotional leverage. They source people to fulfill their own needs and desires.
Narcissists also value power and control above everything else. Your own achievements, which may have been attractive to them at the onset of your relationship, now become threatening.
You being “better” than them feels unsafe. They might no longer feel like they can call all the shots, which puts them in a vulnerable position.
As a result, they will react by putting you down, trying to sabotage your success, or smearing you to others. They will do this all while gushing about how much they love you.
Watch out when the Narcissist starts to lose control.
#8 Everything Feels One-Sided
Relationships with narcissists are far from healthy relationships’ balanced, take-and-give nature.
Loved ones often feel like they’re always rescuing, validating, and caring for the narcissist. It can seem like your own needs are entirely disregarded.
When the attention is on you, it’s often short-lived, and that effort may be used against you later.
In addition, narcissists often want immense praise for doing the bare minimum in a relationship.
#9 You Feel Like You Always Need to Validate Them
Because narcissists depend on external sources for validation, they turn to their relationships for praise and acceptance.
They can’t give it to themselves. As a result, they’re constantly sourcing positive feedback from you.
And when they don’t get enough attention, they may lash out or fake a crisis to solicit some emotional response.
#10 You’re Always the One Apologizing
It’s healthy to take accountability for your wrongdoings and genuinely apologize when you make a mistake.
But it’s a red flag if this feels lopsided. Think about it- when was the last time the narcissist authentically told you they were sorry for something? Without any prompting or drama?
And better yet, did they follow up and show you they were willing to make positive changes?
It’s a myth that narcissists don’t apologize, but many dole out fake apologies to sidestep personal responsibility and restore your trust in them.
#11 They Always Remind You How Nobody Else Understands Them
You can tell you’ve become a source of narcissistic supply when they comment on how disconnected or misunderstood they are from others.
Your relationship is special! You see them for their true self! They will never meet someone who gets them like you do.
At first, these comments can be flattering, which is why they are often used during the love bombing phase.
But after time passes, you will recognize how manipulative and controlling they are. It’s as if you are the only source of love and meaning in their life, making it much harder to cut ties.
What Does Narcissistic Supply Feel Like?
It generally feels like a whirlwind. The stakes are high, and you don’t know how to get off the ride.
You may feel responsible for the narcissist’s behavior and worry about what they will do if you try to end things.
Being the narcissistic supply also feels draining. No matter what you do, it never seems to be enough.
The narcissist could tell you exactly what they want you to do, and even if you follow their instructions completely, they could still become angry or disappointed.
How Does a Narcissist Act When They Lose Supply?
Narcissists respond differently when losing their supply, depending on what’s in their control. For example, if the narcissist voluntarily leaves a relationship, it means
Other times, losing supply triggers immense depression and anxiety. The narcissist might even go through a state of withdrawal that mimics other forms of addiction.
They often have high cravings for supply, and they may try every trick to lure you back in.
Consider reading: How Do Narcissits Treat Old Supply?
How Does a Narcissist Act When They Have a New Supply?
Narcissists are willing to trade one supply for another, mainly when the new supply seems more promising.
But narcissists are always chasing a moving target. No sustained satisfaction exists because they fall in love with projected fantasies of what their supply can provide.
The narcissist will start with idealization and love bombing. This next person or next thing suddenly answers all their problems.
At this point, they’ve essentially moved on and start using all their tricks to connect with the new supply.
However, the cycle continues repeating itself time and time again. Narcissists can rarely- if ever- hold onto one supply source for long.
Even if they stay in a monogamous relationship, they will seek supply through many other sources, such as fame, status, compulsive behavior, or validation from other friends or family.
How Do You Stop Being Narcissistic Supply?
If you think you’re being used as a source of narcissistic supply, you’re not alone and didn’t do anything wrong.
Anyone can be a victim of this frustrating dynamic, and it can feel very challenging to change the situation when you’re in it.
Learn more about narcissism: Educate yourself on narcissism and its common traits.
While knowledge doesn’t excuse a narcissist’s behavior or fix how you feel, it can give you a greater context into understanding the situation.
Keep building your own self-worth: Prioritize your self-esteem and ensure you keep your identity intact.
If the narcissist can’t respect this, it’s time to draw new boundaries.
Stop validating problematic behavior: There’s a fine line between love and codependency, and you can tell if you’re too enabling if you keep praising someone’s toxic decisions or smothering behavior.
Try gray rocking if necessary: Narcissists love validation and will eventually disengage once you stop giving into their emotional drama. Remember that even negative attention can be just as beneficial as positive attention.
Reevaluate your relationship: If you feel used or disrespected, it’s worth reassessing what this relationship brings to you.
You may need to reduce or eliminate contact with this person, especially if they continue making you feel worse about yourself. You deserve to prioritize your wellness.