Sunday, August 06, 2006

Attention is the drug

You are the fix...

The narcissist is an addict. Their drug of choice? Attention. If you can really lock onto that word and understand how it defines the very core of the narcissist then you are well on your way to understanding what the hell is going on. What kind of attention, you ask? Any kind. Positive attention works. If that commodity is in scarce supply, then negative attention works just as well. Examples of positive attention would be: hanging on their every word, looks of admiration, adulation, attending to their every need preferably without ever being asked. All these reflections in the mirror affirm the narcissist's need for grandiosity. But the flip side of the attention currency would be: looks of fear, intimidation, obsequiousness. This also proves to the twisted mind of the narcissist that they are powerful and god-like. This negative attention just as adequately fulfills their need for grandiosity as the positive attention does. Any and all attention must prove to the narcissist that they are indeed still god.

The narcissist isn't satisfied with getting some attention, either. They must suck all the attention out of the room, or die. Withhold their next fix from them and risk psychic or bodily harm. They will rage, sulk, threaten, sing or dance in order to vacuum up every vestige of attention in any particular setting. If those tactics don't work they will stomp out of the room. Better to be alone rather than have to see anyone else getting some of their drug. Which is saying something since one of the greatest fears of the narcissist is being alone. When they are alone they risk having to confront who they really are. It can initiate a spiral into suicidal depression. This should give you some idea of the importance of them owning every bit of attention in any situation. They will risk being alone with themselves rather than sharing the milk of human kindness, regard, validation with anyone else. The level of selfishness we are talking about here is breath-taking in its scope when one really understands it.


Anonymous said...

Wow. You totally nailed it when you said the N needs ALL of the attention. They'll do whatever it takes to get it - "rage, sulk, threaten, sing or dance". I've see one person do that all in ONE NIGHT! Yes, sing and dance!

I'm just recently realizing an ex-friend (I ended the friendship almost three years ago over her N personality traits) is a N! I didn't realize her personality traits were N traits. For years I thought it was ME! I was the one with the problem. I wasn't being a good enough friend. I was the one who always needed fixing. I'm not a perfect person and I make mistakes like everyone else, but I don't intentionally try to hurt people. Yet she accused me of this so many times. But when I look back at the past, I can see her hand intentionally trying to hurt me and others. And the one thing she repeatedly accused me of was trying to get all the attention and that's not me at all.

Her mother is an N also and I think she learned if from her. They were constantly battling for the title of Queen Bee. And my ex-friend would tell me how her mom was always seeking attention, but sadly she couldn't see this about herself.

I have learned quite a bit from reading others stories and maybe someone can learn a bit from one of my N stories. This was years ago and I was brought up thinking something was wrong with me, so it makes sense that I was in a relationship like this. Anyway, my ex-friend and her grandma were laying on the bed looking at pictures. I just got back from a car ride with her cousin and was just going to drop by in her bedroom to say goodnight and goodbye (I had just dropped her cousin off who was sleeping over at her house). I walked in the bedroom and her grandma looked up at me and said, "Jenny!" She was happy to see me. I don't think that's a crime. My friend looked up at me and if looks could kill, I would have died in 1991. I could tell she was pissed at me for something, so I said a quick goodnight and got out of there quick. Now here comes the kicker. The next day she called me up and accused me of trying to steal the attention away from her! Huh?? She went in to say she was looking at pictures with her grandma and then I came into the room and her grandma was all smiley and "Jenny!" and I was taking attention away from her. Huh????!!!!

I was brought up that it was rude to leave and not say goodbye, so that's all I was doing. Say goodbye for night and to say I was going home. That's the God's honest truth.

So hear I was dumbfounded, but you know what I did? I was so stupid and insecure and always felt like I was doing things wrong, so I apologized for coming in her room to say goodnight and for stealing the attention away from her.

Now of course there are about a 100+ more stories to share, but this one's more clear that it's all about getting ALL of the attention. And it also goes to show you that the N's perception on life is all wrong. They don't see things the right way. They don't interpret situations the right way. They look at life through their N glasses and everything is distorted.

I thank God for showing me the truth about the N's in my life, but it's still hard. It's hard to see what a tool I was all those years. It's hard not quite being healthy enough to have healthy relationships (I think we only attract healthy people when we are healthy ourselves), so I'm pretty lonely right now. But I'd rather be lonely then have people using and abusing me.

Thanks Anna, for your blog and for all the fellow posters who are sharing their lives and troubles with everyone. There is certainly healing when we share with each other our wounds.

Anna Valerious said...


Thank you for describing your experience because it is an excellent illustration of the point. You are right about how we attract healthy relationships when we ourselves are healthy. You are also right that it is better to be lonely than to be with someone who uses and abuses you.

I think I'll blog about that soon.

Anonymous said...

Thanks, Anna. I'm looking forward to reading your thoughts about healthy relationships. It sure is tough to become emotionally healthy. I read a book written by Matthew Kelly called The Rhythm of Life and he's all about "making the next best or right choice" for you to become the best version of yourself. I apply that to my relationships and say to myself, "Is this person good for me? Will they help me become a better version of myself or will they do just the opposite?". Those people, the N's, never ever help us become better people, because they are AGAINST us! Thanks for listening and I can't wait to hear what you have to say on this subject matter! :-)

Unknown said...

Hi Anna, It's Jenny again. Guess what? I was married to a N. Not diagnosed by a professional, but all the traits were there right from the beginning. Our relationship followed the typical course of love-bombing, devalue and discard. This was my reality for over 20 years, but didn't finally discard me like garbage until I FINALLY caught him cheating (went out for a drinks date until 1:30am with a newly divorced former co-worker - I have no doubt he was planning on having an affair with her as all the signs were there just like when he cheated when I was pregnant).

I've been binging on narc videos and books for the last couple of years. I had a hard time believing at first that he was a narc (all three healthy professionals I went to said, "He sounds like a narc) as I couldn't believe after all I knew about narc's ten years ago; I was living with one!! I've seen his mask slip so many times over the years, but chalked it off to him going through a rough time or thinking I did something wrong for him to treat me so mean, cold and cruel. He is such a great actor and has so many people fooled, including people at the church I used to attend. He even did the narc smear campaign against me by telling everyone I was "crazy". And he started the narc smear campaign at the same time we were in Christian counseling and he was acting all nice and sweet to my face. It's sickening when I think about it. HE truly is a wolf in sheeps clothing!

So, I'm back to reread the wealth of info you have written out. You were my "first" narc blog website and yours is the best one in my humble opinion. :) I'm happy you are no longer blogging, because that means you are living a good life! Thank you again for all you have done. You have helped many people, that's for sure. :)