How Narcissists Survive

Narcissists create destruction all around them. They treat people horribly. They use people. They lack empathy. You are probably wondering if they even have a conscience. Any normal person would have to partake in extreme coping mechanisms to live with themselves all while engaging in the things that narcissists do. Narcissists are no different in that regard, really. Narcissists’ entire livelihoods are centered around coping with the fact that they have no inner sense of value – they do everything that they can to try and fill the bottomless pit that is their need for narcissistic supply. Narcissists survive off of narcissistic supply and when they are in survival mode, their coping behaviors and quest for narcissistic supply gets amplified and often result in devastation surrounding sex, addiction, and violence. Each of these can occur independently of one another but they are often combined into an even bigger toxic stew for themselves and the people in their lives. 

Devaluing.

All narcissists devalue. Devaluing is one of the biggest ways in which narcissists get supply. However when a narcissist is in survival mode, their devaluing tactics will be magnified. Similarly to your middle school bully, devaluing and putting others down is one of the ways the narcissists can cope with who they are and the lives that they live. Devaluing is just one of the ways that they can deal or cope with their path of destruction, the things that they do, and who they are. They devalue people to make them feel superior and valuable. If you are a victim or target of a narcissist, you have been told that you are stupid, worthless, or not good enough. This is all done in an attempt to make themselves feel smart, valuable, and better than you.  

Sex. 

Narcissist have a complicated relationship with sex. Although narcissists can get narcissistic supply from sex alone- they can also get supply from devaluing their sexual partners. Many narcissists can also experience sex addiction- in addition to other forms of addiction that will be covered next. What happens in sexual experiences with narcissists is the same thing that’s happening with narcissists at all times. Whether in a sexual relationship with someone or not, narcissists will look for opportunities to satisfy their ego, exploit, and devalue others. Their sexual relationships are no different. The narcissist may not feel like they are getting enough validation and attention from their primary partner- so they go and find other sources of supply to fill that void. The narcissist will likely not meet your needs in the bedroom unless you are in the love bombing stage. Narcissists often have devious sexual behaviors as well from fetishes to disordered sexual behaviors characterized by violence and the lack of consent. Similarly to other things, narcissists will find ways to weaponize their targets and victims. If a narcissist is in survival mode, it is likely these other traits will come out. Beware. 

How Narcissists Survive

Addiction. 

Because narcissists have no inner sense of self, they have no proper means of fulfilling their hearts and souls. Narcissists tend to use substances to try and fake the feeling of fulfillment- similarly to alcoholics and drug addicts. I am certainly no specialist in addiction; however, there is definitely a correlation between narcissism and those in active addiction. The difference between addicts and narcissists is that addicts can recover because they have empathy whereas narcissists are less likely to because of their lack of empathy. Many narcissists, especially covert narcissists, also struggle with depression which is another reason why many turn to alcohol or drugs or other forms of addiction to cope with life. 

Violence

Some narcissists, especially the malignant narcissists have a co-occurring mental disorder such as psychopathy or sociopathy. It’s important to remember that narcissistic personality disorder is, in fact, a mental disorder. Something in the narcissist’s being is different which makes them unable to operate the way normal people do. Malignant narcissists have an extreme version of this that disables them from reacting to situations in a balanced way and lack empathy to the extent that they will do anything to get what they want- including physically hurting others. Although this behavior can be premeditated, you will often see it occur when the narcissistic injury is triggered. When a narcissist’s injury is triggered, they immediately enter survival mode. If a malignant narcissist’s injury is triggered, it can be a very scary situation to witness and/or experience.

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