Attention and Praise Seeking Narcissism

For some Narcissists, their "supply" is just attention, perhaps praise, and possibly affection and comfort. They might actually be simply still trying to get acknowledgement from a parent who was cold or abusive to them. When that very basic, very important need was not fulfilled during childhood, either by the parent or by someone else, a person can become fixated on "filling the hole", and seek out people who might fill it.
They probably aren't paying attention or respect to their "supplier", because they don't see the other person really as a "peer", they're trying to just get them to give them the attention. That's all they really want, to RECEIVE attention, praise, and often affection.

FLAGS may include:
Making announcements about themselves, but not responding to things you say either in speech or in messages.

Fidgeting and apparently feeling uncomfortable when you're talking about yourself.

Looking around the room when you're talking instead of at you, walking away, doing other things,

Not acknowledging either that you spoke or messaged, or what you said, as if you didn't say anything at all.

Not remembering much if anything about you, or things you've said.

Not remembering your experience, skill, knowledge, capability.

Not seeming to remember what you do or have done for work, education, or interests (and they're supposed to be a close friend, partner, or close family member.)

Explaining things to YOU that you've explained to them, especially if it was more than once, and especially if it's directly related to your main focus of work, study, or interest. Or explaining rudimentary things about a field that they should be aware that you are well-versed or experienced in. (Like explaining how casts are made to an orthopedic doctor or student, explaining what acrylic paint is to an artist, or explaining why child advocacy is so important to a child advocate.)

Explaining things to you that you've said or done, because they heard someone else say them (someone "important"... i.e. male, famous, or in a position of authority), so now it's "true" or "real". Apparently when you said or did it, it wasn't important or real, because it was "just you" who said or did it.

Not making plans with you till the last minute.

Expecting you to make more of an effort than they do, overall.

Refusing to do activities with you that they didn't think of. Veiling it as "compromise", but it's really just refusal and control.

Not standing up for you when others disrespect you. Not wanting to 'hear it' when you're upset about being disrespected, or about anything else, really.
(They aren't actually IN the relationship with you, they just want attention FROM you, so they have no feeling of protection or loyalty toward you, or empathy.)

Seeking attention and praise from other supply people as well, and when they find another attractive source (whether it's a sexual attraction or not at all), they suddenly aren't around; they don't need your supply at the moment, they have another one. And they probably don't invite you, because again, you're not actually "IN" a relationship with them, you're a source. 


Like a child with a parent, it doesn't occur to them to reciprocate. Children don't return the same kind of care, praise, validation, and attention to their parents until they're much older. So while they're playing the part of the child seeking attention, recognition and praise, they're doing all kinds of things and making announcements about their lives, both good and negative, in order to RECEIVE reactions and attention. But they aren't making any effort to GIVE the same kind of attention, care, or effort TO the person they have cast in playing the parent role.

Occasionally it might occur to them to make a show of paying attention, giving credit, praise, or making an effort, but it's usually because they suddenly realized that the person in the parent role is slipping away, losing interest, getting fatigued by the one-way relationship.

This kind of Narcissism can be non-malignant; it can even be a relatively safe relationship in certain cases (their other behaviors would show whether it was dangerous). But it will never be a mutually beneficial relationship, a HEALTHY one. It can be absolutely exhausting, spiritually depleting, and mentally confusing. The only way it will change is if the person with the N. traits realizes what they're doing, and makes a concerted, long-term effort for recovery, which includes making serious effort, no matter how difficult it seems at first, to GIVE the attention, respect, and support that they're trying to GET. 

Some individuals simply don't have the capacity to see it, or to do this. If one is aware of the other person's N. traits, then one can make informed decisions and plans about how much time to spend with the person, and how to interact with them, without expectations of a genuine two-way connection. More like a caregiver/client relationship than what the relationship is 'supposed to be'. One's boundaries need to be healthy for this to work, otherwise it's easy to get caught up again, and forget the nature of the relationship.  
(Intimacy with such a person is probably not a good idea, for the sake of one's emotional health and quality of life.)

The person who is being cast in the "parent" role can become so depleted that they fall ill, and then may begin to break down, especially if they don't become aware of what's happening soon enough. Even without "abuse" going on, or intentional emotional assault.
(Actual abuse may or may not occur in such 'relationships'; if and when t does, it's often due to Narc. Injury when the "parent role" person either brings up the disparity, or stops giving in to the one-way-flow of attention and effort.)