The Narcissist and His Addiction to Excitement

This video tells the story of my life.

Sam Vaknin: “Narcissistic supply — admiration, adulation, and attention — is exciting. When narcissistic supply is available, the narcissist feels elated, omnipotent, omniscient, handsome, sexy, adventurous, invisible, and irresistible. When narcissistic supply is missing, or deficient, the narcissist first enters a manic phase of trying to replenish his supply. If he fails, the narcissist shrivels. He’s deflated. Withdraws. He’s reduced to a zombie-like state.”

“Some people and all narcissists are addicted to excitement, to the adrenalin rush, to the danger that inevitably accompanies reckless behaviors. They are the adrenalin junkies. Narcissistic supply is the narcissist’s drug of choice. Originally, in early childhood, narcissistic supply was supposed to help the narcissist regulate his volatile sense of self and of self-esteem, but narcissistic supply, regardless of its psycho-dynamic functions, also feels good. The narcissist grows addicted to the gratifying effects of narcissistic supply. He reacts with anxiety when constant reliable provision is absent or threatened. Narcissistic supply is pleasurable. It always comes with excitement on the one hand and anxiety on the other. Excitement because it is pleasurable and anxiety lest it be withdrawn. The narcissist is afraid he won’t be able to secure narcissistic supply in the future and therefore he’s constantly anxious. When unable to obtain normal narcissistic supply — recognition, fame, celebrity, notoriety, infamy or mere attention — the narcissist resorts to abnormal narcissistic supply. He tries to obtain his drug…by behaving recklessly, by succumbing to substance abuse or by living dangerously. Some narcissists, faced with a chronic state of narcissistic supply, become criminals or race car drivers or gamblers or soldiers or investigative journalists or police. They defy authority. They avoid safety, routine and boredom. No safe sex. No financial prudence. No stable marriage or career. They become peripatetic. They change jobs or lovers or vocations or avocations or residences or friendships. Anything to generate excitement. But sometimes even these extreme [swings] are not enough. When confronted with a routine life, these narcissists respond by inventing thrills where there are none. So they become paranoid, full of delusional notions and ideas of conspiracies or they develop phobias. Fear is a good substitute for the excitement that eludes them.

“Anxiety leads to the frenetic search for narcissistic supply. Obtaining the supply causes a transient sense of well-being. This cycle is addictive. Anxiety, manic search for narcissistic supply, reduced anxiety, sense of well-being.”

About Luke Ford

I've written five books (see My work has been covered in the New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, and on 60 Minutes. I teach Alexander Technique in Beverly Hills (
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