6 minute read
So you’re onto the narc, and the reality of your life under their control is finally confronting you. You know the damage they can cause, and you are realising just how deeply they have harmed you. Enough I hear you say! You’ve made the decision to begin reclaiming your freedom and joy – thank goodness and well done gorgeous one. Now you’re onto their game, you want to know how to starve the narcissist of supply.
This piece is going to get you ready to do just that by looking at the two sure fire methods that starve the narc of supply: 1) No Contact, and 2) Grey Rock.
First, we will check out what is supply for the narc, so that the method makes sense, and you are ready for any situation they throw at you because you will know precisely why they are doing it, and what they are trying to get from you.
Here we go gorgeous ones…
The narcissist’s greatest fear
As in all Narc Wise articles, we start out by looking at the cognitive processes to build the context for behaviours.
Let’s make this baffling disorder as simple as we can regarding the issue of ‘starving them’.
Those with diagnosable Narcissistic Personality Disorder (NPD) inhabit a complex and constructed reality.
Pretty sure you are across the fact something wacky is happening, as you’ve lived it, and no doubt you have done a ton of reading to get you to the point where you want to know how to starve the narc of supply.
So, briefly, this is how they roll.
The markers of NPD cover a range of characteristics including grandiosity, omnipotence, and belief in their exclusive superiority over others. A sense of entitlement, absence of empathy, and arrogance, also indicators of the disorder, are the result of the belief-system that clings to the aforementioned ‘qualities’ (see NPD in the Narc Wise Glossary for the full DSM-V criteria).
The pathological narcissist leads a life where they have two selves. The false-self, and the real-self.
These narcissistic characteristics belong to the false-self, whose job it is to protect the narc’s conscious awareness from their real-self.
It works like this: if the narcissist can sustain belief that they are indeed better than all others, more powerful etc., this then negates the possibility that the fragility and weakness of their real-selves is in any way valid.
To avoid the possibility of this, their survival hinges on convincing themselves that the ‘real-self’ does not exist. Which means that they must prove to themselves that those NPD characteristics that are their ‘false-selves’ are indeed, incontrovertible fact.
Through continuous denial of all that constitutes their real-selves, they stave off their very worst fears.
Nothing is more terrifying for the narc than glimpsing the truth of their real-self. It is at the core of their pathology.
Hence their entire existence revolves around ensuring, no matter what it takes, that this does not happen.
What is supply
And now, to supply.
Following on from the crux of the pathology…
The narcissist’s false-self cannot do its job solo.
Partly because, in a sense, the narc is constantly being chased by the awareness of their real-self coming to the surface.
This means that for the narcissist to survive, they necessitate external corroborating evidence of their specialness, power, superiority etc. And this gorgeous one, is supply.
You will need to really appreciate these next points, they are critical to understanding the ‘why’ of what starves the narc.
Supply is not limited to positive feedback like praise, adoration, subservience etc. These types of messages are fairly easily understood within the context of their disordered belief system.
What is less immediately apparent, is that negative supply is just as valuable, and explains many of the pathological narcissist’s seemingly inexplicable sadistic behaviours.
Negative supply is typically the product of any action taken to trigger you. Specifically, your emotional reaction.
The appeal for the narc in this scenario, is that you are confirming their beliefs around omnipotence (a.k.a. power and control), therefore still validating that disordered belief system of theirs.
And this is where your job comes in. To deliver on demand the narcissist’s supply.
How to starve the narc of supply
With this background in mind, it becomes apparent a) what drives their hunger, b) what feeds their hunger, and consequently of interest to you right now, c) what starves that hunger.
Once you are no longer a tasty treat to the narc by ceasing to hand over positive AND negative supply, you are starving them of supply.
Enter the two methods consistently advocated for in the narcissistic abuse recovery community…
1. No Contact
As intended by its title, this is the severing of all contact with the narcissist. It is the complete cessation of communication, both verbal and non-verbal. It means you don’t reach out, and you don’t respond to their attempts to hoover and bait you.
By taking this stand for yourself and removing the pathological narcissist’s access to you in all ways, they are no longer feeding off you. You are starving them of supply.
You can expect that if you are doing this without them having discarded you first, initially the hoovering and baiting efforts will be intense. DO NOT ENGAGE. Eventually, as with any addict, once they understand you no longer deliver supply on demand, they will begin sourcing it elsewhere.
Furthermore, this approach is the ideal way to go because by removing all ties, you give yourself the space and time to begin healing.
As your internal chemistry and cortisol levels return to a more balanced level, the fog of the abuse slowly clears. This supports being able to take full inventory of what has happened to you which fortifies your resolve to never again re-engage with the narc. Or any other narc. For more on this read How No Contact supports narcissistic abuse recovery.
For more on what to expect when you begin reclaiming your power by refusing to hand over supply, read What happens when the narcissist knows you’ve figured them out.
2. Grey Rock
Dear gorgeous ones, you may find yourself in a situation where going No Contact is not possible at this point in time. For instance if you share parenting responsibilities with a narcissist.
Do not despair! There is a path for you.
Grey Rock is a method used when your ideal escape isn’t immediately doable. This approach also starves the narc by denying them narcissistic supply as defined above.
It is the cessation of sharing information about anything personal, such as what is happening for you, or what your thoughts and emotions are. As well as refraining from seeking information about the same from them.
It’s about no longer reacting when they seek to trigger you by deliberately hoovering or baiting you by targeting your vulnerabilities. Focus on neutral, non-emotive, brief communication (for more on this read Reacting vs. responding: Overcoming legacy of abuse and narcissism).
It is no more handing over positive or negative supply. In any form. This is what starves the narc.
This stuff is hard when still in contact because they have programmed you to say how high when they tell you to jump.
But it IS doable.
It just takes practice. Don’t give up when you stumble, just diligently pop yourself back on your path and practice detaching.
If you limit interaction this will help, perhaps by seeking support through intermediaries to undertake this role. If not, minimising contact in every way you can whilst detaching is the way to go.
For more on this read Emotionally unhook yourself & starve the narcissist of supply: Here’s how.
A Narc Wise addendum
I wrote this article because of the demand for it. Now allow me an addendum, dearest gorgeous ones.
Originally, I wrote ‘Emotionally Unhook and Starve the Narc of Supply’ on this topic.
In that piece the focus is on the far more important matter at hand as far as I’m concerned: you.
You will find in it practical tools to work on your inner landscape to set yourself free. The inevitable outcome of this is that you no longer service the narc’s supply needs.
I urge you to place primary importance on you rather than ways of ‘starving the narc’ for the sake of this alone.
Because for as long as your focus remains on them, gorgeous one, YOU ARE CONTINUING TO FEED THEM SUPPLY!
Whether they know your focus is still on them or not (for instance if No Contact is used as a form of punishment and testing, rather than a space of healing), the psychological effect for you is the same.
You are still handing over your power. You remain in their thrall.
Starting from a place where the motivation is centred in your own happiness, rather than their unhappiness (or their happiness…), is what leads you to freedom. This is the only way out.
True words gorgeous ones.
For more tools & knowledge building pieces on this read:
- Proof the narcissist abuses you intentionally and will never change
- Stop feeling sorry for the narcissist now
- Invalidation and narcissism: Why they slowly erase you
- Narcissistic Invalidation: How to stop them erasing you
- Blueprint for recovery from narcissistic abuse
As always, please share your thoughts, experiences, and insights on the issues in this article in the comments below. The more we share, the more we teach & help one another in reclaiming our freedom.