Narcissistic abuse is as real as it can get. Often the victims are not even aware of what they are being subjected to. That is how tricky it can be.
When you’re the narcissistic supply, one of the most vital things for you to remember is the intense yearning of the narcissist for attention. A narcissist wants your attention and that of everyone they come into contact with. The trouble starts when they don’t get this.
The attention you give a narcissist makes you the narcissistic supply. A host of malformed narcissist traits makes a narcissist addicted to narcissistic supply. Just like any addiction, if you deny the narcissist their narcissistic supply, the consequences can be devastating for you.
This means if you want to keep a narcissist happy and content, you need to provide them with adequate quantities of narcissistic supply. Then the question is how do you know you are giving enough attention to keep them satisfied? When a narcissist isn’t happy with the attention they get, you can recognize this through tell-tale signs.
This article explores the convoluted world of a narcissist and offers you a sneak peek into their mental makeup. Here you will find hard-to-miss signs a narcissist wants your attention.
How to recognize that a narcissist wants your attention?
An uncontrollable ego and high levels of emotional immaturity make a narcissist crave attention all the time. They are always trying to find a victim to meet their needs. Though they can project their negative emotions onto others, they may not find this satisfying enough. They would still prefer your attention in the form of a narcissistic supply to fill up the vacuum.
Attention, admiration, and validation are most crucial to the happiness of a narcissist. Their attention-seeking behavior is hard to miss. As long as they are getting enough of these, you can keep them content, quiet, and comparatively harmless.
Because of their emotional immaturity, they follow the norms of society without thought or analysis. Self-reflection is an alien concept to a narcissist. They tend to live in a make-believe world of their own in which they fit in perfectly.
As society values money, success, and power, a narcissist also gives these aspects much importance in their lives. Unfortunately, when things don’t happen the way they expect in the real world, a narcissistic person will go out of control. Or when you deny them a narcissistic supply, it can lead to narcissistic abuse.
Here are the signs a narcissist wants your attention as they aren’t getting enough of it.
1. Narcissistic rage
When a narcissist’s ego is hurt or they are denied narcissistic supply, it can lead to uncontrollable narcissistic rage. To a normal person like you, the events leading up to narcissistic rage may seem trivial. Such as constructive criticism.
However, for a narcissist, these trivial matters are enough to dent their ego. They may perceive your actions as an effort to reject their identity. They fly off the handle and explode.
If you aren’t familiar with the narcissist trait, you may fail to recognize this behavior as an indication of their need for attention. Because normal people also seek attention and validation and get angry. So, you may take this as one of those instances and fail to spot the sign.
A normal person may feel this level of anger only on rare occasions, but for a narcissist, this is common enough. Because of the fragility of their ego, narcissistic injuries happen almost daily.
Even when hurt, a normal person may be able to prevent their emotions from running amok. But for a narcissistic person, this is out of the question as they are incapable of reining in their feelings and thoughts.
The only thing that acts as a balm to soothe a narcissistic rage is your attention. A narcissist uses rage to get the attention they want.
2. Silent treatment
This is going a step further with narcissistic rage. When a narcissist is angry and you intentionally or unknowingly deny them the narcissistic supply, their rage may progress to the next level. The silent treatment is much more passive-aggressive than narcissistic rage though the narcissist may appear calmer on the outside.
When you ignore their need for your attention or purposely deny them your care, a narcissist may resort to silent treatment to get what they want – your attention.
You may be aware of the relationship between narcissism and anxious attachment style. The reason for narcissistic rage and silent treatment can be understood by knowing this narcissistic relationship pattern. One of the basic manifestations of an anxious attachment style in an adult is the fear of being abandoned.
A person with narcissistic personality disorder experiencing the fear of abandonment tends to oscillate between narcissistic abuse and reassurance of love. A narcissistic person needs constant assurance that you won’t leave them.
When you fail to give them what they want, they will use the silent treatment as a means to get their fill of narcissistic supply. It is their way of punishing and controlling you, both part of narcissistic abuse.
3. Intermittent reinforcement
As narcissists suffer from an anxious attachment style, they are always plagued by the fear of abandonment. Even as they demand your attention, admiration, validation, and love, they are crippled by this fear of rejection.
Those suffering from narcissistic personality disorder have a variety of manipulative tactics to combat and calm this fear. Each one of them is designed to draw your attention and ignore their emotional vulnerability. When you have a good grasp of how a narcissistic mind works, you have a good chance of defending yourself and surviving the ordeal unhurt.
Intermittent reinforcement of one such narcissistic tactic. In simple words, it involves the delivery of rewards at erratic intervals. Here, the reward means attention, empathy, compassion, and intimacy.
A narcissist will deny you the rewards when they feel aggrieved and offer them when you follow their rules. They use this strategy to gain complete control of you.
Often people with a narcissistic personality disorder use love bombing to gain your attention at the beginning of the relationship, portraying themselves as the manifestation of perfection. They will shower you with attention, overwhelm you with intimacy, offer you thrilling intimate moments, and drown you in their largesse.
The narcissist will also use the mirroring technique to give you the impression that no one knows you better than themselves.
Hoovering is a form of mirroring that happens later on in the relationship. By then, the narcissist knows you inside out and is in the best position to control and manipulate you. When you fail to satisfy the needs of the narcissist, they will use hoovering to suck you back into the relationship.
For instance, if you’re planning to leave the narcissist, they will offer to go for therapy to resolve their shortcomings. You need to realize that this is a form of narcissistic abuse as they have no intention of following through with their promises. Once you fall for this scheme, you’ll find yourself back to square one.
Hoovering is often used by narcissists to retain your attention.
Someone with a narcissistic personality disorder is very good at grasping the workings of your mind within a short span of knowing you. When none of their other tactics work, they use this information to bait you and get their way with you.
Their dependence on the narcissistic supply is the biggest weakness of a narcissist. They will ensure its availability by hook or by crook. However, when you try to break free using any of the known techniques like the no-contact rule, setting boundaries, or the gray rock method, you are challenging the core of a narcissist’s identity. They will not tolerate this under any circumstances. They will take out the last arrow in their quiver, which is baiting, to keep you trapped.
Baiting involves the narcissist using your own insecurities and vulnerabilities against you. When you stop giving a narcissist attention and put up resistance to this as well, they will twist the narrative in such a way that you are portrayed as the one with issues.
This is a narcissist’s last-ditch attempt to gain your attention, thereby ensuring unhindered access to a narcissistic supply.
Final thoughts on a narcissist want your attention
It may look as if a person suffering from narcissistic personality disorder is in full control of you, but the real story is entirely different. They are the ones who are dependent on you for your attention, admiration, and validation.
If you know this simple truth, you can regain control of your life without shedding a single drop of blood.
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- 7 Things Narcissists Do When You Go No Contact