Is there a way to tell if the narcissist is just settling with their new supply and would rather be with you?
If you are trying to break free from a narcissist or if you were recently discarded by one, then you may be hearing stories of how he or she’s not happy with their new supply. They may say they’ve made a mistake and want to be with you, but they can’t figure out how to break things off with the new supply.
Does the narcissist prefer you over the new supply? What does it mean and how should you respond? How can you tell if the narcissist really wants to be with you, but they can’t break away from the new supply?
Does the Narcissist Regret the Discard?
The narcissist might be telling you they made a mistake. Or, maybe they convinced you to be friends after the two of you broke up or after they discarded you, and now you’re hearing all about the new supply, how things aren’t working out, and how they’re trying to figure out a way to get back with you.
Perhaps they’re stringing you along by implying they’re not happy with the new supply and they haven’t even said anything about getting back together with you, but you’re hoping that might happen.
In your heart, you may want very much for the narcissist to prefer you over the new supply but, the fact is, narcissists don’t really miss any of their former supply sources. Narcissists don’t stay in relationships because they emotionally bond with their partner(s).
Narcissists typically have what is called an avoidant attachment style. So, though you have bonded with them and you’re very much in love with them, they never bonded with you. They may have felt a little differently at the very beginning of your relationship when they were love bombing you. That’s because narcissists also become addicted to the biochemicals they receive when they’re engaging in the love-bombing phase. This is generally because you don’t know who they are yet.
When the narcissist is love bombing you, typically you are reflecting back to them things they want to believe about themselves. You don’t yet know that they’re a pathological liar. You don’t know they’re a flaming cheater, you don’t know that they are going to be getting credit cards in your name. You are falling in love with them, whispering sweet nothings in their ear, and making them feel good about themselves.
But with narcissists, these love chemicals wear off rather quickly. Because they’ve been doing this over and over, the honeymoon phase is a lot shorter for them than it is for us. And unlike you and I, where we get through the honeymoon phase with a partner and our feelings develop into something deeper, narcissists don’t do that. Once the honeymoon phase is over for them, they’re done. The only reason they end up staying in the one-sided relationship is that they have determined what you can offer them. This might include money, security in the form of letting them live with you, or maybe they convinced you to quit your job and move in with them.
Often, they can be very convincing about these things when it’s all just a scheme to control you long-term, not because they have emotionally bonded. Therefore, when the narcissist says things aren’t working out with the new supply and that they made a mistake, you’re feeling that maybe there’s something about you that the narcissist prefers.
This is a story we make up in our minds because we haven’t yet accepted that the narcissist simply cannot emotionally bond with anyone. Not with you, me, or anyone else. Not even the new supply.
Being the Narcissist’s First Choice is a Curse
We generally don’t give thought to the fact that it’s not good to be the person the narcissist settles down with. When you’re thinking about the narcissist settling down and creating a life with someone else, you’re going by your own history, your own ideas, beliefs, and fantasies about what a long-term relationship consists of. You trick yourself into thinking they found a way to overcome their narcissism for the new person. That they’re able to control it and are giving back to the new person in a reciprocal way, but that’s not what is happening at all.
Typically, when a narcissist settles down in a long-term relationship, it’s because the new supply has passed the narcissist’s litmus test. This means that they are more willing to tolerate the narcissist’s lies, their infidelities, their leaving their job all the time, or whatever it is that a particular narcissist does. So being the one who the narcissist settles down with is by no means something to strive for or be jealous of.
When a narcissist does reach out to you after they have secured new supply, it’s important to remember that it’s not because they’re missing you or that they feel your absence in their life. When a narcissist starts reaching back out after they have secured new supply, it’s because they are feeling some kind of insecurity in the form of not knowing if the new supply can support them financially, perhaps the new supply hasn’t quite passed their test yet, or maybe they thought the new supply could give them a really good image by association and then they get into the relationship and the narcissist realizes that the person isn’t as “enviable” as they originally thought.
Another reason the narcissist might reach back out is that although the narcissist might be considerably happy when they start love bombing a new person, they also understand that all relationships (involving them) are doomed from the very start. They can go into the new relationship and enjoy the love-bombing phase, but even while they’re experiencing that, they understand that it won’t last. They’re getting out of it what they can in the moment.
When the New Supply is a Downgrade
Perhaps you feel that the narcissist has ‘downgraded’ with the new supply. In these moments it’s really important to understand that while some narcissists might enjoy being associated with someone of ‘high caliber’ such as a manager of an establishment, a professor, or someone who they believe has a lot of money, this can only hold the narcissist over for so long.
I hear from a lot of people, “Well, I feel like the narcissist downgraded. How come he or she doesn’t want me back? I can’t even wrap my mind around why the narcissist is even attracted to this new person. Certainly, they’re going to get tired of them really soon and come back to me. They’re going to realize that I was the better partner or the best supply!”
Too often, we make the mistake of assuming that narcissists think as we do. This keeps people confused and spinning their wheels indefinitely. Trying to figure out what a narcissist considers to be ‘amazing qualities’ in another person is a dark trip down a rabbit hole.
Narcissists don’t find it hard to replace anyone.
I’ve seen narcissists discard brilliant, self-sufficient, highly educated folks for someone who is the exact opposite.
I’ve seen beautiful people, including those who are models, who’ve been brutally mistreated and discarded like yesterday’s trash.
Narcissists have been known to leave someone who is wealthy and take up with someone on government assistance.
Don’t try to analyze the narcissist’s motives and mindset against your own. You cannot make sense of the situation by believing they will think or act like you. You can only gain an advantage by thinking as THEY do.
What matters most to them is having someone who will tolerate their ways. Even then, it’s important to understand that you can tolerate them until you’re blue in the face, but it’s not going to guarantee that you are going to be the one the narcissist prefers because honestly, narcissists don’t prefer anyone.
Clickable Survivor Tip: Will a narcissist go out of their way to devalue harder someone they truly cared about?
Narcissists have an extremely low threshold for boredom. The very things they say they love about you in the beginning soon become the bane of their existence. They are going to be extremely aggravated by these things as time goes on because their whole agenda is to tear you down. Therefore, once they get bored and the love chemicals start wearing off and they see that you are a real person and not some movie character they made up in their mind, that’s when things start to unravel because they haven’t formed any bond with you.
Even if they’re with the new supply and start getting bored, it doesn’t mean they miss you or truly want you back. It’s simply because they have discovered that perhaps the new supply can’t offer them what they originally thought, the new supply has started to see them for who they really are, or maybe the new supply has flat-out told them they’re not going to pay the narcissist’s rent or make their car payment.
So, they come running back to you. And if they do that, they might make you believe that they’re going to change their ways. You may believe they’ve agreed not to cheat or lie. They may seem sincerely on board with all of that. And it’s only going be minutes flat after you take them back that you realize they were just lying again.
It’s important not to believe that the narcissist prefers an older supply over a new supply. This is typically just a result of our fantasizing that they miss us as much as we miss them. This is what gets us into trouble, especially if this is not the first go-round with the narcissist in your life.
Moral of the Story: Narcissists don’t recognize or appreciate a person’s unique and admirable qualities. They only analyze people according to whatever conveniences or “supply” they can get from them, which can turn on a dime. One minute, they might want someone they can take advantage of financially. The next minute, they want someone who will make them look good by association. And in the next breath, they want a slave and emotional punching bag.
So, unless you’re okay with shapeshifting every moment of the day to appease the psyche of such a dysfunctional person, the best thing you can do is stop trying to figure out the narcissist. Cut that anchor and sail away…
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