Have you ever wondered if you’re someone in your life is using you as narcissistic supply?

If so, you’re not alone. During a support group, a member of Unfilteredd’s Institute of Healing from Narcissistic Abuse asked the following:

“How can I tell if I am narcissistic supply?” 

It’s a great question, so I searched for answers and came up with these seven signs that indicate you are being used as narcissistic supply:

  • Your needs and feelings are ignored or invalidated. 
  • You’re constantly trying to earn their approval. 
  • The relationship feels like an emotional rollercoaster. 
  • Your achievements are minimized or appropriated. 
  • You’re only contacted when they need something. 
  • Your successes lead to jealousy or dismissal. 
  • Your emotional state is tied to their approval.

In this post, I’ll explain these signs to help you understand how they indicate you’re being used as narcissistic supply.

If you have or currently are experiencing narcissistic abuse, visit Unfilteredd’s Institute of Healing from Narcissistic Abuse for help.

1.) Your Needs and Feelings Are Ignored or Invalidated

One sign you’re narcissistic supply is if the person you’re with ignores or invalidates your needs and feelings.1 

For instance, you might express that you’re feeling overwhelmed and need support, only for the narcissist to dismiss your concerns and redirect the conversation to their own issues. 

They might say, “You think you’ve got it bad? Listen to what happened to me today,” without acknowledging your emotional state. 

A narcissist victimizing themselves.

This pattern indicates that your role in the relationship is to bolster their ego and attend to their needs rather than to engage in a mutual exchange of support and understanding. 

Your feelings are sidelined because the relationship is primarily about maintaining their self-esteem and not about reciprocity.

Suggested Reading: What Do Narcissists Want In a Relationship?

2.) You’re Constantly Trying to Earn Their Approval

Another indication that you’re serving as narcissistic supply is finding yourself in a continuous loop of trying to gain their approval.

This might manifest in always going the extra mile to please them, changing aspects of your personality to fit their preferences, or suppressing your own desires to avoid conflict.2 

For example, you may notice that you’re always the one making plans or initiating contact, and they only seem genuinely interested in you when you’re praising them or catering to their desires. 

They might respond warmly to compliments or acts of service but become distant or critical when you stop. 

This dynamic suggests that your value in the relationship is conditional, based on how well you feed into their need for admiration and affirmation rather than being appreciated for who you truly are.

3.) The Relationship Feels Like an Emotional Rollercoaster

Being a source of narcissistic supply often means experiencing extreme highs and lows in the relationship, with little stability or predictability.3 

For example, one moment, the narcissist may shower you with affection and praise, making you feel like you’re the most important person in their world. 

This might happen after you’ve achieved something that reflects well on them or when you’ve given them the admiration they crave. 

However, this affection can quickly turn to indifference or hostility if you fail to meet their expectations. 

A woman realizing that she is narcissistic supply.

You might find yourself walking on eggshells, trying to maintain the ‘high’ periods, but the rules seem to change constantly. 

This emotional rollercoaster is designed to keep you off-balance and focused on pleasing them, reinforcing your role as their supply.

If you need help with anything related to narcissistic abuse, visit Unfilteredd’s Institute of Healing from Narcissistic Abuse today.

4.) Your Achievements Are Minimized or Appropriated

Another sign you’re considered narcissistic supply is when your achievements are either minimized or appropriated by the narcissist.4 

When you share news of your successes, the response might be to downplay your achievement or redirect the conversation to their own accomplishments. 

For instance, if you receive a promotion at work and share the news, they might respond with, “Well, it’s about time they recognized you. I’ve been doing that kind of work for years.” 

Or they might take credit for your success, suggesting that it was their influence or advice that led to your achievement. 

This behavior helps them maintain their sense of superiority and ensures that the spotlight remains firmly on them, diminishing your sense of self-worth and accomplishment in the process.

Suggested Reading: Why Do Narcissists Want You to Fail?

5.) You’re Only Contacted When They Need Something

A clear sign of being narcissistic supply is if the person in question primarily reaches out to you when they need something.

For instance, you might notice that they call or message you frequently when facing challenges or seeking validation but are absent when you need support. 

A narcissist using someone as supply.

This pattern reveals that the relationship is not based on mutual care but on fulfilling their needs and maintaining their self-esteem.

6.) You Feel Drained Rather Than Energized After Your Interactions

Consistently feeling emotionally drained rather than uplifted after interacting with the person can be a telling sign of being narcissistic supply.5 

Healthy relationships tend to be sources of joy and energy, where both parties feel valued and supported. 

However, if you consistently feel exhausted, diminished, or unhappy following interactions, it’s a sign that the relationship might be one-sided. 

For example, after spending time together or even just a phone call, you might feel like all your energy has been siphoned off, leaving you feeling empty or inadequate. 

This emotional depletion occurs because the dynamic is primarily about catering to their needs and managing their ego, with little regard for your emotional or physical well-being.

7.) Your Successes Lead to Jealousy or Dismissal

Another sign you’re acting as narcissistic supply is when your successes or positive moments lead to jealousy or dismissal from the narcissist, rather than genuine happiness or support. 

For instance, if you share an accomplishment—like a new job offer or a creative project you’re proud of—their response might contain competitiveness or criticism. 

They could respond with something like, “Well, don’t get too excited; jobs like that are a dime a dozen,” or, “I guess it’s good, but I’ve seen better.” 

A jealous narcissist.

This reaction stems from their inability to tolerate anyone else being the focus of admiration or attention, even momentarily. 

It’s an attempt to diminish your achievements to ensure they remain superior or the most significant person in the relationship.

Suggested Reading: Why Do Narcissists Get So Jealous?

8.) Your Emotional State is Tied to Their Approval

If you find that your emotional state or sense of self-worth becomes increasingly tied to the narcissist’s approval, it’s a sign you might be their supply. 

This dependency develops because the narcissist has conditioned you to seek their validation above all else, often through a cycle of withholding and then giving approval in a way that keeps you unsure of your standing. 

For example, you might feel a sense of relief and happiness when they compliment you or show you affection, but these moments are fleeting and unpredictable. 

Or their criticism or indifference can plunge you into self-doubt or depression. 

This emotional rollercoaster indicates the power imbalance in the relationship, where your well-being disproportionately depends on their perceptions and moods.

If you are ready to be more than a victim of narcissistic abuse, visit Unfilteredd’s Institute of Healing from Narcissistic Abuse today.


Thank you so much for reading; I hope you found this article helpful.

Now, I’d love to hear from you.

Have you ever found yourself in a situation where you felt like someone’s narcissistic supply?

What steps have you taken to regain your sense of self-worth and independence?

Or perhaps you’re currently navigating a narcissistic relationship and looking for advice on how to break free from being used as narcissistic supply.

Either way, let me know by leaving a comment below.

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About the Author

Hey, I’m Elijah.

I experienced narcissistic abuse for three years. 

I create these articles to help you understand and validate your experiences.

Thank you for reading, and remember, healing is possible even when it feels impossible.

Unfilteredd has strict sourcing guidelines and only uses high-quality sources to support the facts within our content. You can learn more about how we ensure our content is accurate, actionable, inclusive, and trustworthy by reading our editorial process.

  1. Susan Fishman. (2023. October, 30). What is Narcissistic Supply? Psych Central. https://psychcentral.com/health/what-is-narcissistic-supply ↩︎
  2. Nakpangi Thomas. (2023. May, 24). What Is Narcissistic Supply? Choosing Therapy. https://www.choosingtherapy.com/narcissistic-supply/ ↩︎
  3. LaKeisha Fleming. (2023. December, 30). Narcissistic Supply Explained. Verywell Mind. https://www.verywellmind.com/narcissistic-supply-7852699# ↩︎
  4. Noah Williams. (2024. February, 17). Narcissistic Supply: Meaning, Signs, and Ways to Break Free. Marriage.com. https://www.marriage.com/advice/mental-health/narcissistic-supply/ ↩︎
  5. Anna Drescher. (2024. January, 23). Narcissistic Supply: The Fuel Behind Manipulative Relationships. Simply Psychology. https://www.simplypsychology.org/narcissistic-supply.html#How-Do-You-Know-If-You-Serve-as-Narcissistic-Supply ↩︎

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