How Work, Family and Social Groups Suffer from a Malignant Narcissists need for Narcissistic Supply

In a social group, family or workplace group members can support one another and create a magical bond. But, sometimes a group can have one or more toxic members that create group drama. In my work, I have situations where the one group member has created an enormous amount of pain.
Have you ever been in a family, group or workplace and experienced group drama? The pain of a good group changing and people attacking and taking sides keeping secrets and forming cliques? Malignant Narcissists feed off of drama. Research, including the use of the brain scans, shows that their brains operate differently. MN’s don’t feel the normal human emotions of love, bonding and empathy. Those parts of their brains simply don’t light up. Instead, their brains light up when they are admired, and when they see and or create strong negative emotions like drama, fear, pain, and discord. These emotions create the MN’s "Narcissistic Supply."
Because they lack those loving bonding emotions they often feel empty. In fact, When they are not “fed’ with their supply they describe feeling like they are in a deep dark endless void. So they work fervently to keep and create their supply. They typically have more than one more romantic relationship to feed them and when they are in a group, especially if they without a romantic partner, they create this supply by sowing discord. One method in their playbook is to triangulation of group members. Strangulation cuts off a victim’s oxygen, triangulation isolates the MN’s victim from the respect support and membership of the group. It pits group members against each other and can eventually kill the group itself.
Their "Target"/Victim in this "Triangulation" is the person or people who see through their charming "Narcissistic Mask" to their true evil selves. The targets may have information about them such as abusive behavior, stalking, infidelity, crimes, cruelty, unethical behavior money issues, etc. This makes the targets dangerous to the malignant narcissists and they must destroy them. MN’s go through many relationships and many groups and they follow the same malicious game plan over and over.
They start the game early. "Grooming" the group members. They seem so charming, so unusually generous. They will typically give “Goodies” such as food, compliments, favors, gifts, exclusive social activities, jobs, business deals. These are goodies create a tit for tat and loyalty bond and especially if the group members have difficulty repaying in kind they feel beholding to give greater loyalty to the MN. They can even not like the MN’s talk about them negatively behind their back but, enjoy the goodies and not want to lose them.
Sharing secrets is a favorite method on an MN to create imbalance and erode trust. They also start forming relationships with some group members to the exclusion of the target, as in, “Lets’ not Bob about our conversation,” and "Seeding" the group against the target with small lies about the target behind their back over time. They may start seeding the group when the target is still close and in favor with the MN and has yet to unmask them publicly. MN’s have been unmasked before. They are prepared to turn against those closet to them. No one in their group is ever truly safe, even those closest to them.
They will also test the waters to see whether the group member or members will let them say something negative about the target and if they do they know they can attack the target even more brutally later without fear of retribution or exclusion from the group. That way, when they need to launch outright "Smear Campaign" attacking the target’s credibility the group is ready to side with the MN. (Healthy groups will catch this malicious gossiping before it escalates)
In the smear campaign the MN may accuse the target of horrible things, all lies of course. Often, according to experts they accuse their targets of displaying their own unhealthy behaviors. The very behaviors their target had discovered about them. To save themselves they feel they have to totally discredit and destroy the target and may call them crazy, dangerous or in a bad place.
For example, if the target has been victimized by the MN that was unethical or cheated or lied in a business deal and or did following through on promises or contracted services they will accuse their target of those very actions. The MN will always claim they are the victim, that they are the good guy or gal. Their (false) image is everything to them. They may even try to look like they are good guys a a confusing backhanded smear too look empathic and say of their target, “Oh poor guy he was in a bad place that’s why he did this to me.” Or poor thing, she was messed up and we didn’t know.”
The MNs’ will stir the pot, pulling members off for private conversations, emails and texts, shared secrets, meetings, social gatherings where the target is excluded, and the subgroup feels special in their alliance with the MNs who they perceive as the victim. Above all they need to isolate, discredit, and destroy their target. MN’s thrive on the drama and conflict they create. Having set out coals and the gasoline in an unhealthy group they may have to do very little to get group members to join their attack and help isolate the victim. Like arsonist MNs love to start a fire.
Because they have already created cliques and secret alliances with members in the group members will find it hard not to stay with the in crowd. Even in situations where they feel the MN has done something wrong those that side with the MN may feel a special connection in their understanding and forgiveness of the MN. They may also be called on by the MN to attack anyone who doesn’t side with him. The MN will often say that it’s the target, not them that is hurting the special group bond that they had before the targets supposed actions.
There may also be people who don’t want to take sides or join the attack for whatever reason but their inaction or giving only their secret support of the target inevitably ends up adding to the MN’s power. Devilishly, the MN’s will attack without mercy and attack anyone else that threatens them. If there are people who publicly align with the victim those people of integrity are likely to suffer. They will not get the “goodies” and they may, like the target, suffer the pain of separation from friends or colleagues who they valued and trusted and be fired, shunned, and losing the bond of group membership.
Remember the MN creates this drama and feeds off of it.
MNs love to see the pain they cause the separation and destruction of the target and if need be of the group. If the group was extraordinary or in any way special and members have cared deeply for one another it creates the destruction of the group creates even more supply for the MN. MN’s can never fully trust anyone, they can’t feel real connection they can only curry favor with goodies and demand loyalty. When they see what they can never really have, they enjoy destroying it. They love to “win.”
We saw this drama in the recent sexual harassment cases, the drama created by Harvey Weinstein and the teen molester Roy Moore and on many other media stories. When they are unmasked MN’s smears and attacks escalate. In fact, one way to tell if you are dealing with a true victim or an MN’s is to see how someone handles what is happening during narcissistic abuse or launch a smear campaign. For example, someone who has been abused will typically be suffering. True victims of malicious lies often need to be alone to heal. They may need to regain equilibrium. It may take them time to marshal the energy and bravery to fight an abusive MN.
A MN is fed by drama, they are destructive rather than constructive. In fact, one way to recognize an MN early on is to listen when they speak about people and groups in their past. They will almost immediately at the beginning of any new possible relationship describe their exs as crazy, and or speak ill of past business people who could tarnish them as bad guys and they often have past business relationships with truly shady characters. MN’s love to use labels rather than names. So they’re ex-boss (who unmasked them) is the crazy red head, their coworker (who unmasked them) is that pink tie geek.
A victim will seek counseling, read books, educate and support other victims, create art that expresses their pain and insights, be a good supportive group members in other groups. They will shine the light on attackers so that others don’t suffer. Notice what they do with their pain. They simply do good in the world.
Know that healthy people, people with integrity are all around you. Look for them. They are strong people. Seek them out. Look in the mirror and be that person who does the right thing.
For more information, you can put any of the italicized words in this article and my name into the Facebook search and google to find my articles and blog posts on Narcissism. You also can look up Group Think, Apaths, Minions, Narcissistic Abuse, and Group Narcissism. If you have stories of Malignant Narcissistic Abuse please comment, message or email me. I can offer assistance to anyone experiencing this pain. And if you wish, i can include your story in my new book on the topic, anonymously of course. 

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Patti Wood, MA - The Body Language Expert. For more body language insights go to her website at Check out Patti's website for her new book "SNAP, Making the Most of First Impressions, Body Language and Charisma" at