Why Does the Narcissist or Psychopath Keep Coming Back?

Narcissists cultivate sources of narcissistic supply in an all-consuming life-long effort. This is why they keep coming back for more.

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By: Dr. Sam Vaknin


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I keep dumping my narcissist - and he keeps coming back for more. I accept him (can't resist him when he is his charming self). But then things go awry and the cycle repeats itself. Why does he keep coming back?


Narcissists are addicted to a drug known as "Narcissistic Supply". Attention (good OR bad), adulation, applause, fame, celebrity, notoriety - are all narcissistic supply. The people who supply these consistently, reliably, and predictably, are called "Narcissistic Supply Sources".

Why should the narcissist look for another source of supply if the current source of supply is available and always accepts him back?

Cultivating a source of secondary narcissistic supply is a VERY time consuming and energy depleting affair. The narcissist always prefers the path of least resistance (reverting to old sources).

The old source has the advantage of having witnessed and "recorded" the narcissist's past grandeur. Her very repeated "surrender" and "yielding to his charm" IS the narcissistic supply he seeks.

(continued below)

This article appears in my book, "Malignant Self-love: Narcissism Revisited"

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More generally, the narcissist sort of pushes the envelope, trying to ascertain and map the outer limits of his potency as an irresistible male and desirable mate. The more tortured the relationship - the sweeter the recurrent "victory" (reconciliation). This is doubly true when the narcissist is in the throes of life crises such as loss of a job, divorce, serious illness, etc.

He then tends to derive self esteem and a sense of self worth by proxy, by being associated with a successful woman

You may wish to refresh your memory regarding libidinal allocation in pathological narcissists:



To summarize:

Your narcissist keeps coming back and remains fixated on you because he has no free libido to employ in the pursuit of alternative sources. And because you keep accepting him back.

Also Read

 Narcissists, Narcissistic Supply and Sources of Supply

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