Narcissists Need Attention. The narcissist may have seen as though they are spoiled or entitled from when they were children. And while this may be true, they also didn't have their emotional needs met. They were viewed as extensions of the narcissistic parent, rather than separate individual people. Because of this, they may have felt as though they were neglected as children. They received attention and admiration for what they could accomplish, which then supported the narcissistic parent's image. But they never received attention and admiration for who they were as a child.
The narcissistic parent didn't even recognise them as being separate. Narcissists believe that their children are meant to serve them and make them look good. But no matter how much the child achieved, it was never enough for the narcissistic parent. They had unrealistic expectations, which put a lot of pressure on the child. The child would often be punished by the narcissistic parent for not meeting their unrealistic expectations. Or the narcissistic parent would unconsciously withhold their care and attention from the child, giving the indirect message that they were not good enough.
The child of the narcissistic parent then grows up defending against their feelings of low self-esteem and tries to avoid shame and humiliation. The child may develop offensive characteristics, which is a defense mechanism against unresolved traumas, disappointments and insecurities. This developed from them not feeling loved and accepted by the narcissistic parent. The child later develops personal strengths or standards which are an attempt to conceal their feelings of inadequacy. They couldn't get the proper care, love or support from their narcissistic parent. This made them feel as though they were not good enough or not deserving.
To defend against this and hide from their feelings of inadequacy, they constructed an attitude or mindset to feel that they are not only worthy, but they are more worthy than anyone else. They believe that they are entitled to certain privileges or special treatment. This attitude or mindset, which was constructed to defend against and hide from their feelings of inadequacy, is what created their tendency to devalue, deceive, cheat, lie and steal. It is an exaggerated compensatory response. These behaviors are often unconscious and are used to regulate the narcissist's emotional state or boost their self-esteem, often at someone else's expense.
Narcissists crave attention, they need it, they can't live without it. They are on their knees, begging for attention from anyone who will give it to them. They constructed a false self from their false attitude or mindset, which was designed to defend them from feelings of inadequacy. Likewise, they have a need for their idealized false self to be validated. They need people to demonstrate or support the truth or value of their false self. If they don't have people around to constantly do that, they will feel as though their false self doesn't exist or doesn't hold any value. This is why they need people around them to constantly attend to and validate their false self.
If they are idealizing someone, they will be manipulating them to respond positively. They will use this person to see their own idealized view of themselves reflected back to them. This is why narcissists crave positive attention. It makes them feel admired, respected, special, important, superior, which validates their idealized view of themselves. If they are devaluing someone, they are manipulating them to respond negatively. This gives the narcissist the opportunity to project their feelings of inadequacy on to someone else, which then regulates their emotions and boosts their self-esteem.
It validates their idealized view of themselves, it confirms to them that they are powerful and superior, because they influenced the desired negative response. Narcissists often have problems with anger or rage. They perceive that they have difficulty controlling their anger or rage. This often makes them feel inferior to people who do not often experience such negative emotions. They will push and provoke their target to become angry and if they succeed in doing this, the negative response they receive makes them feel as though they are superior, and their target is the one with the problem.
This makes the narcissist believe that they cannot be the one who is inadequate. In their minds, it makes them feel powerful, because they were able to control their target by provoking a negative response from them. Narcissists do not like all forms of attention. They don't like being confronted or questioned on their behavior. They don't like being criticized. But they will often engage in dangerous and reckless behavior to get attention. They will have no concern about how their behavior will endanger or harm the surrounding people. They are not thinking about how their behavior will affect other people. All they care about is what they want at that moment, and that is attention.
They cannot regulate their own emotional state or generate their own self-esteem. Because of this, all of their attention and validation must come from other people. They have a constant, desperate need for attention and validation, because they lack self-confidence, and they have very low self-esteem. The narcissist receive attention first hand, by receiving a compliment or witnessing a person's reaction. Or they can receive the attention indirectly, by just knowing or assuming that a certain reaction is likely to have occurred.
An example of this could be a post on social media or a text message. Narcissists always have to be the center of attention. They need to be constantly admired and respected for their achievements. They need ongoing compliments and praise. Not only that, but they have to lead the conversation and be the center of it, the conversation always has to be about them, or it has to relate to them in some way. They cannot accept their feelings of being insignificant or unimportant.
They will cause drama just to force people to engage with them. If they are not receiving any attention, they will start drama, deliberately annoy or taunt you. They need to feel as though they have some level of significance or importance in people's lives. They will often do things just to provoke a negative reaction from you. Likewise, they will do things that they know you don't like, or that they expect to annoy or irritate you, just in the hopes that they will receive a negative reaction from you. While this type of attention might be undesirable or uncomfortable for you, the narcissist loves it.
They love it when they can provoke frustration or annoyance in people by creating inconveniences or unfortunate events. They love it when you express pain or distress for something they have said or done to you. It makes them as though they are something significant or important. It makes them feel as though they have the power to control you and your emotions. If they can provoke a negative response from you, in their minds, that means that you are the one with the problem. You are one who is inadequate. It is a defense mechanism against their own feelings of worthlessness and insignificance. Their own feelings of inadequacy. That is why they have such a desperate need for attention.