For those of you who think your narcissist is happy now......

Many scholars consider pathological narcissism to be a form of depressive illness. This is the position of the authoritative magazine “Psychology Today”. The life of the typical narcissist is, indeed, punctuated with recurrent bouts of dysphoria (ubiquitous sadness and hopelessness), anhedonia (loss of the ability to feel pleasure), and clinical forms of depression (cyclothymic, dysthymic, or other). This picture is further obfuscated by the frequent presence of mood disorders, such as Bipolar I (co-morbidity).

While the distinction between reactive (exogenous) and endogenous depression is obsolete, it is still useful in the context of narcissism. Narcissists react with depression not only to life crises but to fluctuations in Narcissistic Supply.

The narcissist’s personality is disorganised and precariously balanced. He regulates his sense of self-worth by consuming Narcissistic Supply from others. Any threat to the uninterrupted flow of said supply compromises his psychological integrity and his ability to function. It is perceived by the narcissist as life threatening.

I. Loss Induced Dysphoria

This is the narcissist’s depressive reaction to the loss of one or more Sources of Narcissistic Supply – or to the disintegration of a Pathological Narcissistic Space (PN Space, his stalking or hunting grounds, the social unit whose members lavish him with attention).

II. Deficiency Induced Dysphoria

Deep and acute depression which follows the aforementioned losses of Supply Sources or a PN Space. Having mourned these losses, the narcissist now grieves their inevitable outcome – the absence or deficiency of Narcissistic Supply. Paradoxically, this dysphoria energises the narcissist and moves him to find new Sources of Supply to replenish his dilapidated stock (thus initiating a Narcissistic Cycle).

III. Self-Worth Dysregulation Dysphoria

The narcissist reacts with depression to criticism or disagreement, especially from a trusted and long-term Source of Narcissistic Supply. He fears the imminent loss of the source and the damage to his own, fragile, mental balance. The narcissist also resents his vulnerability and his extreme dependence on feedback from others. This type of depressive reaction is, therefore, a mutation of self-directed aggression.

IV. Grandiosity Gap Dysphoria

The narcissist’s firmly, though counterfactually, perceives himself as omnipotent, omniscient, omnipresent, brilliant, accomplished, irresistible, immune, and invincible. Any data to the contrary is usually filtered, altered, or discarded altogether. Still, sometimes reality intrudes and creates a Grandiosity Gap. The narcissist is forced to face his mortality, limitations, ignorance, and relative inferiority. He sulks and sinks into an incapacitating but short-lived dysphoria.

V. Self-Punishing Dysphoria

Deep inside, the narcissist hates himself and doubts his own worth. He deplores his desperate addiction to Narcissistic Supply. He judges his actions and intentions harshly and sadistically. He may be unaware of these dynamics – but they are at the heart of the narcissistic disorder and the reason the narcissist had to resort to narcissism as a defence mechanism in the first place.

This inexhaustible well of ill will, self-chastisement, self-doubt, and self-directed aggression yields numerous self-defeating and self-destructive behaviours – from reckless driving and substance abuse to suicidal ideation and constant depression.

It is the narcissist’s ability to confabulate that saves him from himself. His grandiose fantasies remove him from reality and prevent recurrent narcissistic injuries. Many narcissists end up delusional, schizoid, or paranoid. To avoid agonising and gnawing depression, they give up on life itself.

by PainPal

November 14, 2012 - 11:42am

No they can't b happy

My ex N first wife actually said those words to him when they broke up 'you'll never be happy'. And when he dumped me he said those words, 'maybe ill never be happy'.
By the time we broke he'd already moved onto the OW, I did know this until 6 weeks later after I'd expressly asked him there was anybody else & he said no. He seems to be happy now, but I can similarities as how we first started. I think he cycles. He's lost weight, the OW works with him, I worked with him originally, he also lost weight when we got together. Hell be charming & helpful but as reality & shininess wears off hell go back to his old ways. The OW is a single mum to, so hes now responsible for 4 children, i think eventually this will be the sticking point, hes very lazy & irresponsible. I think it's the honeymoon period. Time will tell.

He used to depend on me to keep him happy, it was exhausting especially after 3 years. Sit in house with blinds drawn, depressed. Moping, comfort eating, no exercising are all his traits. Played the victim, blames everyone else for his problems. Having to constantly be the counsellor killed our relationship in the end. I felt like his mother, counsellor & he had the hide to say to me I don't want another child or mother. He had no recognition of how his behaviour affected our relationship. Complete denial. So I see he will do the same with any OW after me & the one after that. Looking for something that doesn't exist, when you ask him what thesis he can't even put it into words.

June 28, 2010 - 3:21am

Glad to know he hurt...

It sounds like when I deprived my ex-P of his beloved supply, he fell into a deep depression... well, for someone who suffered from PTSD, it's nice to know (albeit several years late),that I inflicted SOME wounds on him!

I assumed he'd be happy with the OW... but only now I realize he can never be happy. He used me;he used her (not even acknowledging her existence) I feel for her. He was cruel to me when my grandfather died;at least I never knew the H*ll of bearing his children!

It sounds like ex-Ps/ex-Ns only come back if it looks like there's supply.

It's a good thing I went NC with him... because I'd dangle the supply, then take it away, like dangling candy in front of a child. Then devouring it and saying "Yummy!"

As I said in a postcard 7 years ago, he doesn't need me to punish him. He's his own da*n punishment. There's nothing I need to do. He alienated a former student, someone who could've been his friend. Someone who once admired him and worshipped the ground he walked on. Now he's a mere mortal.

June 27, 2010 - 6:15am

this is exactly why i both

this is exactly why i both loath him and feel sorry for him...

i experienced it first hand. now i have mild depression and have since i was a kid, i am used to understanding and dealing with it and recognizing it for what it is... which made me extremely compassionate when my exN got depressed.

he was bipolar i believe. he would be elated one moment and the next, based on something he thought, something that happened (in reality or in 'his head' more likely) he would get SO depressed he was practically comatose. i would try to help him out of his "funks," but mostly he would want me gone. he was so sadly ashamed of his own negative feelings. he never wanted anyone to know he had issues with depression, even me.

if i was the supply he was "needing" (in whatever way he needed me) and i wasn't supplying, i.e. catering to his specific needs, i.e. reading his mind and being his puppet)... he would become angry with me, say awful things, and then finally sometimes become his depressive comatose self, after which emotionally abusing *me* he would expect me to act the part of almost "mom" to him, and coddle him, hug him till he cried, make him "feel loved" unconditionally.

i always felt like a dog he was kicking around. if you kick the dog around a bit, the dog will still come back to you. god help him. it gives me goosebumps.

June 24, 2010 - 8:28am

--- think your narcissist is happy now

Hi Lisa,
This was an interesting read, most of which I agree with. I have a couple of questions though.
"Any threat to the uninterrupted flow of said supply compromises his psychological integrity and his ability to function. It is perceived by the narcissist as life threatening."
So true -- I am quite sure this is why the N I knew isn't trying to see me anymore. He couldn't take me telling him that I saw through his games and didn't buy into any of it. I'm sure now that my refusal to submit to him once I found him out caused him a "Grandiosity Gap." He admitted as much. In fact, I wonder--
Do you think it is possible that someone could fake being a narcissist? And if so, then what does that make that person?!

One thing I've read a little about lately, I can't recall exactly where, is about the notion of narcissists having low self worth. (I'll remember and come back and share it with you guys). Anyway -- the article was saying how N's actually have high self-esteem, truly believing they are smarter than any other human being.
What do you think and has anyone read this too?

And are they happy? I wonder if any 'happiness' they experience is not real and instead from a source of illusions and a false view of being better and smarter than others?
Thanks for some good reads.

My Blog

My Blog

June 28, 2010 - 11:50am (Reply to #3)


Great questions. Yes, I absolutely believe that once a narcissist knows you see him for who he really is, he will disappear. He doesn't want to be around you anymore because instead of reflecting back an adoring perfect image of him, you represent the truth. He knows you now see him for who he really is and he wants no reminder of that. He is only interested in being around people who provide a positive reinforcement of how great he is. Anyone that reminds him that he is a fraud will be avoided at all costs. You represent the truth and he wants nothing to do with that.

Narcissists have low self-esteem, but they overcompensate for this by projecting an inflated puffed up ego. They may actually believe they are smarter than others, but down deeep they are lying to themselves. Their whole world is a made-up fantasy land of their own creation. They tell others and themselves that they are better than everyone. Like I said, they may believe this on the surface, but down deep they're very insecure. They just would never admit that.

This is why they can never be happy. They know they are a phony and a fraud. To put on an act every day with the fear of being caught is an unnerving and stressful way to live. They live in fear every moment and never can relax. They cannot experience any emotions, but fear and rage. The emotions that make us uniquely human, such as love and compassion, are foreign to them.

So no, they are not happy. They think their behavior works for them (manipulating others)so they have no real desire to change. However, this isn't because they're happy. They simply know no other way to behave.

Hope this helps.

July 2, 2010 - 9:12am (Reply to #4)

narcs self-esteem

Thanks for the replies. This is pretty much what I thought about their self-esteem.
I recall the second date I had with my ex-N. I'd recently met a nice man, a really nice man, and told him I had a date with him. Well, the narcissist couldn't wait to get back to my house after my date with the nice man.
He sat down, imploringly, asking me to describe in detail what I liked better about him than I did the nice man I had just met. I told the N he was exciting and passionate. He wanted more. I did not know what a narcissist was, not really. So I gave him more. He seemed satisfied. He smiled and said good, that's what I wanted to hear. And I stopped seeing the nice man so I could have the rel. with the N! Sigh...
The N bragged about being in that club, which I never recall the name of, for people with high IQ's. The last time I saw him I asked him if you could join at Walmart. (In the '70's when people couldn't drive well, we would say, "Where'd you get your license, Sears?") So, I figured Walmart was the modern-day replacement. He got angry and for the first time cursed me in my home. And it was the last time too.
I continued to joke about it that night though as I could see this bothered him.

"To put on an act every day with the fear of being caught is an unnerving and stressful way to live. They live in fear every moment and never can relax. They cannot experience any emotions, but fear and rage."

This quote is exactly what the N told me after we broke up. He tried to get my sympathy, saying to me, "Can you imagine what a hard life I live not being able to experience emotions?" I told him no. I had no sympathy for the man.

Sometimes, because of his admitting this to me, I have wondered if the man made it all up. Once during our time he told me his ex was a narcissist. I asked him what it meant and he told me! I find this very odd.

What if he did make it up? What would that make him? Do they sometimes admit to being a narcissist?
I guess, I still have a lot of why?'s.

One thing I would like to share here is that I finally stopped missing him. I finally stopped missing the love I thought we shared, but surely, the love I had felt.
So thank God for that!

My Blog

My Blog

June 24, 2010 - 11:22am (Reply to #1)

Lots of good questions. I

Lots of good questions. I would like to know those answers as well.
my take
For the self esteem issue. I really do not believe that they have high levels of self esteem. Most people that i have seen with high self esteem are very comfortable in their own skin. They do not feel the need to seek out others for validation. They do not create fantasy worlds filled with lies and manipulation to achieve target goals. Ns have a wonderful ability of mimicking certain behaviors to make it appear as if they do have high self esteem. It is very deceiving to all. I thought this of my N for a long time. I believed he was so strong and secure with himself until one day i made a comment about his legs being skinny. He had an absolute melt down. the comment was very minor but he held it against me till the day i left. Now that is sensitive in a strange way.
I believe their happiness is dependent upon the supply. They do not experience real love. The supply simply validates their existence. Because they they are aware that they live in a life of illusions they are in constant fear of the truth being exposed and loss of supply. They get bored easy and know that they must always be looking for supply because everything will end eventually.

Once they know that you have figured out the real person behind all the masks, you are dead to them. They may completely disappear or they may harass you but either way they have made it clear in their minds that you are the looser and they can no longer associate with you. (even though it is the reverse) If they do it is only to manipulate and use you some more for their own gains. It is all just one big mind f*ck game.

only one way to go...Forward (tm?)

July 2, 2010 - 12:56am (Reply to #2)

They fake self esteem...

Thats the thing.. They come off as being very confident, and high self-esteem... but its fake... In reality, deep down, they are sooo insecure. So this is why, they need the supply.. to be praised always and constant attention because they "appear" to be something they are not.

My N would speak in front of 500 people,to meet him, he had confidence overload... everyone including myself thinking "wow" look at him ... but he was the most insecure person I ever met in my life. And I know, he is TERRIFIED of being alone in life...

They are a big fraud!

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