My Secret Garden

my-secret-garden

Would you like to know what my garden is like? Before I tell you, why don’t you stop and close your eyes and picture in your mind’s eye what you think my garden looks like? That’s right, conjure up the image that forms when you think of me and what my garden might be like. Take your time, move around it and ensure you have given it due consideration as you generate the image. Have you done it? Did it take you long? I suspect you managed to envisage it rather quickly didn’t you, after all, you are well-known for your amazing imagination aren’t you? I often find I have to apologise for your fantastic tales and over the top comments, but that is to be expected of somebody like you. Anyway, let’s leave your behaviour to one side for the time being (although I will return to it when nobody is looking, you can be assured of that) and let’s consider what you created in your mind.

I should imagine that the landscape you have formulated is one of two outcomes. I expect that some of you will have pictured nothing but concrete. All plant life and flora banished by a solid slab of grey cement that has solidified into an impenetrable barrier that stretches in all directions, lifeless and uninspiring. Once there might have been a flourishing and verdant garden but it has been banished by this concrete covering which has extinguished anything that grew or blossomed. If the concrete carbuncle is not what you saw in your mind then you will have opted for the alternative. You will have pictured solid, barren and lifeless soil which will not sustain anything of beauty. A toxic and poisonous stream flows through the centre of it, dead fish floating on their backs as they drift lifelessly along. Not even algae grow on this polluted stream. The few trees there are in this garden are dead. The bark grey and lifeless, forlorn limbs stretching into a dark grey sky, where there is always cloud. The branches and twigs are leafless. The bushes consist of brambles which hinder anybody who might try and move through this uninviting place. There is no grass and there a few brown, dried-out husks which suggest they might have once been something greener and vibrant. There are no sweet smelling flowers here, only the awful stench which rises from the slow-moving stream which looks more like treacle that water. Even the weeds are few and far between, struggling to find any sustenance from the sterile soil.

Is this what you saw?

Come and follow me as I take you into my secret garden. I produce a key from my jacket explaining that very few people ever get to see my secret garden but I am letting you inside because you are special and I like you. I open the thick gate and usher you inside. You do not see me hurriedly lock it behind you since you are busy staring at the beautiful garden that rolls out before you. Capability Brown must have laboured long and hard here. The lawn is flat and even, the grass has been rolled so that stripes have formed and there is not one blemish to be seen amidst the green, green blades. The edges of the lawn have been carefully cut so that no grass overhangs so that there is a distinct line between the lawn and the flower beds. The soil looks fertile, well-nourished and is free of weeds. A dazzling array of flowers grow from this well-tilled soil. Strong stalks reach up towards the azure sky, shiny leaves sprouting from the stalks before the injection of colour appears. Every shade of the rainbow is represented amongst the many varieties of flower that flourish in my secret garden. Brilliant blues, fiery oranges, ruby reds and sunshine yellows abound. The flowers have short petals, long petals which move in the gentle breeze, there are bell-shaped flowers, trumpet shaped flowers and others shaped like stars. White, purple, scarlet and ochre all combine to create this tapestry of beauty. A stream gurgles as it passes through the garden, cutting across the magnificently manicured lawn, so that an intricate bridge has been created allowing one to traverse from one side to the other. Bushes ring the flowers, an expert in topiary having crafted them into sensational shapes. Beyond the bushes are the trees, tall and trimmed so that they form a fence around this paradise. You stand on the edge of this magnificent garden utterly transfixed. The scents waft from the roses, from the lilies and the sweet William combining to create a heady concoction of fragrances. You are over awed by this display.

“Do you like it?” I ask.

You are dumb-founded, unable to speak. All you can muster is a slow nod as you feel a tear trickle down your cheek from your left eye as you are overtaken by how beautiful it all is.

I beckon to you and you follow me to a nearby apple tree which is festooned with fruit. The red and green apples hang from the branches and I pluck one and pass it to you. You smile and take a bite anticipating how fresh and crisp the apple will be. Your teeth easily sink in as you are surprised to find the flesh of the apple soft. You taste bitterness in your mouth and instinctively spit out the piece of fruit.

“What’s wrong?” I ask as I select an apple too.

“It is sour,” you explain. I take a bite from my apple and you hear the crunch as I take a chunk from it. I chew and through the mouthful explain that mine tastes fine. I hand the apple to you and you bite into it. It is soft and again tastes sour. Confusion rises inside you as you look at the apple and see a maggot wriggling beneath where you have bitten into the apple. You hurl the apple away as I invite you to sniff a magnificent rose nearby. You lean in and inhale its perfume, pulling the petalled head towards you. There is no scent and instead you sneeze. As you let go of the rose you give a short cry of pain and find that a thorn is wedged in your finger, the blood already spooring from the wound and trickling down your finger. You sneeze again,your nose irritated by something and you keep sneezing as your eyes water. You stagger away from the rose still sneezing and into a bush but it is not the sculpted creation you saw moments earlier. Instead, you feel a prickling sensation as you are stung and realise you have stumbled into a bed of nettles. Pain rising you stagger away, eyes streaming and make for where you recall the stream is hoping to use the cool, clear water to wash away the irritation you have suffered. You can just make out where it is through your blurred vision as you drop to your knees only to cry out again. You have knelt on some thistles.Where did they come from? This lawn was flawless before. You reach out flailing for the stream but there is nothing, The water has gone and the stream has dried up. You feel something wrap around your left wrist and as you try to wipe away the tears from your eyes with your free hand, you feel pain as a vine begins to tighten about your wrist. You pull trying to free yourself from it and twist around to call to me for help.

The smooth lawn is no longer there. Gone is the rolled grass. Instead you are looking at a mountainside, rugged and steep. You yank your arm as the vine is trying to pull you and look upwards. You can see me standing there smiling at you, looking down from my lofty position atop this mountain which has sprung out of nowhere. A cold wind begins to blow as you shout for help, another vine beginning to snake towards you. I tilt my head as if I cannot hear you, a smile still plastered across my face.

“Help me, what is happening?” you shout.

“Nothing,” I call back, ” I don’t know what you are talking about.”

“This. The garden, it has changed,” you yell above the gathering wind. You see that I am shaking my head.

” Not it’s not, everything is just the same, Beautiful isn’t it?” I reply.

You frown. How can I not see what has altered? The beautiful glade has become a hostile and hurtful place. How has this happened to you? You try and crawl forward and I stand watching you, offering no help as more vines snake towards you, the ground beneath you hard and stony. The vines wrap about you and threaten to pull you into the abyss below you. All the while I stand and watch smiling.

Welcome to my secret garden.

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Eyes Wide Shut

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Will you ever recognise me as I walk towards you, rictus grin fixed across my face, eyes ablaze with love, passion and desire? Will you notice the way I keep you in my sights as my charm flows over you, seeping into your every pore and orifice? Will you take heed of the sugar-coated words as they spill from my mouth, telling you so remarkably all the things that you want to hear? Will you take note of the phrases which have been recycled again and again and possess the novelty of a cliché? Will you look deep into my eyes and see past your reflection or will you remain transfixed by what shines in these dulled, dark eyes? Will you question how is it that I know so much about you, where you live, where you work, your hobbies and your hates? Will you feel the chill down your spine as I appear once again without warning at a location you frequent or will you regard it as the tingling sensation of excitement and the thrill of my alluring personality? Will you question the platitudes that I issue, like confetti sprinkled on the breeze or will you smile and nod and savour the warmth that rises within you as I tell you how wonderful you are and that we belong together? Will you frown at my declaration of love within a day and a night and a day of meeting you or will you accept and swallow those carefully crafted words without a moment’s consideration? Will you wonder how my hands and mouth became so skilled or will you submit to their heady application and give breathless thanks that they are laid upon you? Will you query how this golden light continues to shine and wonder why you were chosen above all the others? Will you see through the veneer of scathing hatred for those who have gone before you or will you become co-conspirator and sneer at her or at him, disgusted by their lack of dignity in the way that they behave? Will you not ask yourself whether their words ring with truth and why they look as if their very essence has been sucked from them, leaving naught but a fractured shell? Will you wonder why the gifts keep on coming? Will you question the forbidden fruits that have been laid before you or will you gorge on them, delirious with desire and elated by the ecstasy of our largesse?

Will you recognise me when I turn my face from you when you try to kiss me? Will you know what is happening when you are left in a tearful heap on the floor for the third time in a week or will you flagellate yourself for your shortcomings? Will you notice as the triangles are weaved around you and your best friend becomes your supposed enemy, but by whose say so? Will you fight back against the control that is exerted on the way you look, what you choose to do and who you interact with or will you accept it and allow your sense of self to evaporate? Will you understand what is happening to you as you crawl alone into that ice-cold bed, this once haven of sexual congress that now lies like an empty tomb ? Will you realise what is going on as you blink back tears as the clock shows 3am and you have no idea where I am?  Will you stand up for yourself when you are labelled whore, slattern, idiot and fool or will you bow your head and retreat, thankful that your injuries are only verbal. This time. Will you remember what you once were ? Will you remain bound by the chains of confusion or will you break them across your knee and free yourself from your cruel bondage?

Will you recognise me as my hand grips your throat and my bile-infused words rain down on you, spittle flecked hatred peppering your face? Will you dial my number for the fiftieth time in two hours as you desperately try to hear my voice and ask me, beg me, plead for me to come home? Will you wince as another dinner set falls prey to my savage fury ? Will you kneel and pick up the pieces, fingers shaking as you fumble for the broken shards that lie scattered across the floor? Will you know what is being systematically done to you each and every day or will you obscure the reality by praying for that golden light to come back and dispel the darkness? Will you recognise me for what I truly am or will you make yet another excuse, wondering what will happen when you run dry of the excuses and hastily constructed explanations for my reign of terror?

Will you recognise me as I cast you aside, shoved into the dirt and sneered at? Will you look up from the smouldering ruins of what we once had and see her (or is it you?) looking back at you with disdain writ large across her made-up features? She seems so familiar, do you know her, there is such a fog now and it clouds so much. Will you understand why you have been forgotten about as your numbed fingers compose another searching e-mail, asking for explanations that will not come, expressing tearful anger that will be smiled at, detailing your abject hurt which will only ever receive a dismissive shrug?

Will you recognise me for what I am when I reach out a hand and lift you from your broken existence? Will you know what truly is going to happen as I lead you once more towards the brilliant, burning golden light? Will you feel the prick of caution in your mind or will you gladly race towards the promised land once again, concern and hesitation thrown to one side? Will you notice the rictus grin once again as you race ahead of me? Will you pay attention to the darkened glint in my baleful gaze or will you charge headlong towards the paradise,  addicted to its warmth and glorious sensations? Will you recognise me as I close the door behind us, bolt it and turn the heavy iron key in the lock as the thick drapes are pulled across the dirt-smeared windows? Will you notice the sharpened dagger that I have produced and hold behind my back?

Will you stop and glance in the shattered mirror that dominates this place and if you do, will you recognise yourself?

Who Won’t He Tell Me What Is Wrong?

why-wont-he-tellme-what-is-wrong

Something is wrong.

The fact that something is wrong has many manifestations in the narcissistic dynamic. You may experience a sudden eruption of temper, the instigation of a silent treatment as you follow us around the house trying to draw from us what on earth is the matter. It might be that you plead with us to explain as all we do is fix you with a malevolent glare and say nothing. It may escalate into you being accused of various transgressions which make no sense and certainly cannot be what is truly wrong since the allegations have no bearing in fact. You are faithful yet accused of having repeated affairs. It makes no sense. You are told you never listen, but that is all you ever seem to do. The subject matter of the vitriolic accusations is clearly not what is really wrong.

We may vanish, subject you to a bewildering word salad, drag you into a circular conversation, triangulate you with the angelic other person but still you are none the wiser as to what is actually wrong.

Repeatedly you exhort us to explain, to elaborate, to detail what is causing this behaviour, just to talk and help you understand. Surely it is a reasonable and sensible request? Whether it is silent treatments, triangulation, verbally abusive accusations, a beating and so many other manifestations they will all have a common thread; we will not tell you what is wrong.

Why is this so troubling? Leaving aside the unpleasantness of being hit, called names and all the other effects of the various manipulations which are used against you, the simple fact is that people do not like not knowing things. Being in the dark is perplexing and causes anxiety. Not knowing something unsettles people, has them uncertain and bewildered. Just like not knowing whether you have secured a promotion, got the grades from your exam results, where your youngest child is when you are in a supermarket or what the outcome of a life-changing decision will be, the sensation of not knowing is one which causes anxiety for most people.

This becomes especially problematic for empathic individuals. Not being told what is wrong by a significant other, a family member or a friend, is even worse for an empathic individual because this offends many empathic traits.

  1. You want to help. When you see that somebody is troubled by something it is an instinctive reaction on your part to want to help them and you cannot but help but try to assist. If you are not told what it is, you cannot help and the increases your frustration.
  2. Your propensity for self-examination. If you are not told what the issue is, you will then spend a considerable amount of time trying to work it out as you replay conversations, analyse recent events as you seek a third party influence which has caused our behaviour and then ultimately you will examine whether you have caused the problem and if so how.
  3. You capacity for self blame. Without being furnished with the details of what is causing our behaviour, you indulge in the behaviour at two above and eventually all roads lead to a moment of mea culpa as you self-flagellate and decide you must have done something wrong. After all, nobody becomes upset for no reason do they?
  4. You are a truth seeker. Accordingly, you need to know the truth of what is making us furious or causing us to sulk.
  5. You are a love devotee. The person you love is upset, angry or tormented and this pains you. You suffer the emotional contagion arising from this and feel our pain as your own and with any pain you want to make it stop.
  6. You expect honesty in all dealings and especially from those close to you. You expect us to be honest and tell you what is annoying us.
  7. You are a problem solver and you need to fix the problem which is so apparent in its appearance.
  8. You are a good listener. You want to listen and if only we would explain what it is that is upsetting us so much, you will readily sit and listen, but please, please just tell you what it is.

All of these factors means that our failure to tell you what is wrong offends so much of what is important to you with the result that you become concerned, confused, hurt, anxious and even angry. This naturally leads to one place; fuel.

From your perspective, you know that if you talk about a problem you feel better. A problem shared and all that. You also know that you have the skill set and the tools to make everything okay. You have that selfless willingness to attend to the needs of others and remedy the ill. You want to collaborate, resolve the problem and that way we will feel better and in turn so will you. You cannot walk away from not knowing what it is. You have to know.

This near inescapable desire to know what it is that is wrong results in people falling into traps in terms of finding a reason why we are not talking about it to you. This is because the victim does not know what they are dealing with. He or she does not understand that they are dealing with one of our kind so instead, they will become ensnared in one of the many misleading traps. These are propounded by popular and incorrect reasons as to why some people will not talk about a problem and arise from ignorance about our kind. In such an instance you will hear comments such as

“He is the strong, silent type.”

“She has trouble trusting people, that is why she says nothing.”

“He feels silly admitting to having a problem.”

“He wants to sort things out for himself.”

“She won’t rely on other people. It is pride.”

“He has always learned to deal with things on his own.”

“Stiff upper lip I guess.”

“He doesn’t do feelings.”

Whilst there may be a kernel of truth in the applicability of these comments to the situation they are not the whole and sole reason for the failure to communicate the problem to you. The reason that someone who is of our kind will not tell you what is wrong goes beyond these comments.

The Lesser

If you are entangled with a Lesser Narcissist he will not tell you what is wrong because he does not know what is wrong. His less well-developed ability to control his environment means that the slightest disruption threatens his control as a whole. You are not doing what he wants but he does not know what he wants. All he realises is that something is wrong, but he cannot identify it. He cannot articulate what it is and this manifests as his increased irritation and annoyance. Indeed, the restlessness he experiences from the sensation of feeling like he is losing control is what is behind his need to lash out at you.

Your desire to help only serves to annoy him all the more. As you keep asking what is the matter, you are actually reinforcing the shortcoming and repeatedly reminding him of the problem that he cannot identify. Accordingly, his skewed logic will readily conclude that you are the problem. You are the problem and your repeated reminders of this shortcoming constitutes as criticism. The fury is thus ignited and it will erupt as heated fury. You still try to ascertain what is wrong but all you are then doing is pouring fuel (in both senses) on the fire that rages inside of the Lesser.

The Mid-Ranger

The Mid-Ranger reaches the same conclusion as the Lesser, namely you are the problem. He does so far quicker as a consequence of his increased cognitive ability. He cannot put his finger on what it is that you are doing that is causing his sense of dread, that feeling of instability and vulnerability, but he recognises that it is something to do with you. It has to be you. He will not say however that it is you because the attention which is generated by you keep asking him is making him feel better, because of course it is fuel. He senses that you are the problem therefore it make sense to keep you guessing as to what his problem might be. After all, you should be able to work out what is wrong without him needing to tell you if you truly love us. You should be able to ascertain the problem and remedy it because we expect this level of telepathy and second-guessing.

The Mid-Ranger cannot tell you what is wrong, because just like the Lesser, he does not know, but he knows straight away that it is something to do with you. Therefore he wants you to work it out and resolve the problem and he will not provide you with any input, why should he? He may talk in vague terms in order to keep the guessing game going so you are lead down dead ends and blind alleys and all the while fuel is obtained.

The Greater

As you would expect, the Greater knows full well what is wrong. He knows you are at fault (because of course everything has to be your fault) and this is because you are failing in your role. If you were performing as an effective appliance he would not feel this way. You are clearly not functioning and therefore you need to be punished until you eventually start to function again. Note this does not mean that you actually identify a problem and solve it, but rather that you start to provide fuel, comply with the Greater’s demands and submit to his or her control.

The Greater is never going to tell you what the problem is. To do so would be furnishing the enemy with secret information and that cannot happen. To tell you that you are not functioning and you are eroding his sense of control would be tantamount to ceding further control to you. Our sense of wariness will prohibit us from disseminating such information. Instead, as part of regaining control, the Greater knows that having you flow with fuel and pleading for him to talk to you is all part of the game which must be played. He is superior and not in the business of giving you any insight into his dark mind. You are  there to have your strings pulled and he will delight in doing the same keeping you in the dark, upset and begging for him to talk to you. He may embark on lengthy but ultimately meaningless monologues, grandstanding and pontificating but all this is done purely to tie you up in further knots.

What do you do?

Recognise it is happening and now understand why that is.

Ask once what is wrong. Don’t expect to receive an answer or if you do, do not expect it to be meaningful or helpful. You have however discharged your obligation by asking us what the problem is.

Understand that repeatedly asking us what is the matter is only providing us with fuel and allowing us to regain control. If you keep asking, we will just keep going with the game of not telling you. Once we see fuel flowing we want it to keep flowing.

Instead, ask and if you receive no answer or a meaningless answer just state

“Okay, I am sure you will tell me when you are ready.”

Then walk away.

You are not giving fuel, so we have not scented ‘blood’ and thus there is no feeding frenzy. Your comment is not a criticism however because you have allowed power to vest in us by leaving the decision with us. You can then get on with what you want to do. Yes, you will be accused of not caring, but do not respond. Yes, you are likely to face further pressure to draw fuel from you, but move away from us or if you cannot engage in a different task and if you feel the need to say something, just state in a neutral fashion.

“I have asked and I understand you will tell me when you decide you want to. That is fine.”

By asking once, leaving the decision with us, re-stating that position (if need be) not encouraging a fuel-frenzy and not wounding us, the particular manipulation that is being allied with not telling you what is wrong will fizzle out. You will then have saved yourself worry, energy concern and anxiety.

Nobody is Listening

nobodys-listening

Go on then, tell them all what has happened to you? Go on, here, take my phone and ring my parents, my family and my friends. Ring my colleagues too. Telephone the golf club in fact why don’t you take out an advertisement in a local, no, make it a nationa lnewspaper and tell everybody about how badly you have been treated? Climb on the roof and shout it to the neighbourhood, tell everyone who calls at our door and bellow it to strangers as they walk past. Do it, go on, tell them about. Announce it, broadcast it, transmit it, send it out by mail, e-mail ,message and radio signal. Have it blaring from the radio, repeatedly playing on television, hell I will even let you strap a message to a flock of pigeons and you can let them deliver the news that way. Scrawl how badly you have been treated by me on a piece of paper and wrap it around a brick and hurl it through the window at the police station. Scream it long and loud until you are hoarse. Go on, tell them, tell them all.

Tell my parents about their successful son who has studied hard, achieved brilliant results and now excels at work about what I do? Why don’t you gather all my friends around here and announce to them what a bastard I am? I am sure they will be intrigued to listen to you saying that about their loyal and dependable friend who always makes time for them and has helped them out in repeated ways through his largesse and influence. Pop next door and bang on their front door, explain to them with your wild eyes and even wilder hair what has really been happening? After all, I only every show them friendship and politeness don’t I? I don’t think they have heard me shouting at you (I wait until they are away before I raise my voice) but I know they have heard you ranting and bawling. Go to the local shopping parade and mention to the pleasant lady at the bakery what I really get up to behind closed doors. I am sure she will love to hear you tell her all about the charming man who is her best customer and has arranged for her to supply the restaurant of two of my friends. Call my brother and give him chapter and verse. Oh you can’t because he won’t answer the ‘phone to you anymore will he? I know, head down to the gym and see if you can interest any of the regulars with a hysterical rant about the chap who they all say hello to and who works out quietly and regularly. Type out a memo for my colleagues and circulate it to them. I am sure they will be interested to read all about their boss who holds the keys to their future. Declare it to the group I attend football with, they will want to know all about what I do won’t they? What’s that? These are all my people. At last you have recognised the truth of the matter in between your vile outbursts and hateful comments. I know then, ring up your sister and see what she has to say, mind you, I daresay you won’t want to give her the satisfaction after the way she came on to me would you? Tell your friends all about it. Oh wait, they are now my friends and all they have ever seen is how happy I have made you, the gifts, the trips, the presents and the love. What about the vicar? He will listen to you I am sure. It is what he does after all although what he will make of such slander against a regular attendee at his sermons and generous charity donor remains to be seen.

Do it, grab a loudspeaker, create a banner, haul a message behind an aeroplane and write it in the sand on the beach. Do it in this frenzied manner with words spilling from your twisted mouth, a word salad which makes no sense. I am sure the staccato way you spit out your accusations will be well-received. Make sure they look deep into your crazy eyes when you are talking to them, I want them to see who they are really dealing with. Tell your father will you? Ha, he has put up with this for years and was glad to see you leave home, he told me himself. He knows what a drama queen you are and as for your mother well she hates confrontation and she adores me since she knows just how much I have done for you.

Go on, beat your tiny fists about that façade, see if you can punch some holes in it although I know you will not be able to. Shout and stamp and holler all you like. I will enjoy watching you do that and there will be no favourable outcome for you. You are the crazy one and you are trying to unseat the stable, rational, dependable and ultimately far more likeable me. But you keep trying, it amuses and fuels me as your bloodied hands slap against the façade with no effect and your voice becomes no more than a rasp. I will watch as the hope fades in your eyes to be replaced by fear and incomprehension. Keep trying though, keep going and reinforce what I have already indoctrinated them to believe. They believe me. They won’t believe you.

Weeping With the Frenemy

 

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You will be familiar with the concept of a frenemy. One of the applications of this oxymoronic portmanteau is to describe a person who pretends to be your friend but is actually your enemy. The frenemy makes several appearances in the narcissistic world. The most obvious one is us. We appear as friend but we are really the enemy. If you are an intimate partner who is the primary source you witness this first hand as love turns sour. As a secondary source you also experience the narcissist as frenemy. It is not always obvious because as that secondary source you may experience a lengthy golden period but even if you do, we are your enemy because we are taking from you, taking your fuel, acquiring your attributes for our own use and drawing on your resources by way of residual benefits, such as using your car, borrowing money, blagging invitations to events and so forth. The same applies to tertiary sources who are more likely to witness the charm turn to malice as a consequence of a delayed serving or giving attention to someone else instead of us in the store. Our kind are the frenemy incarnate. If we are not plain using you for fuel and other benefits as we smile, charm and compliment, we then turn rogue on you, lashing out and devaluing you.

With that stated however let us turn to another type of frenemy. The Lieutenant. The loyal and obedient puppet that not only provides us with fuel but supports us and carries out our wishes and wants without hesitation or complication. Every narcissist has at least one lieutenant, usually more and the lieutenant performs a range of actions on our behalf. The lieutenant will naturally provide fuel, praising and admiring, being a great audience to our witty repartee, providing a sympathetic ear when we complain about the behaviour of others and ensuring as a dedicated secondary source that we can always rely on them. The lieutenant can be relied on to acquire information for us in respect of the targeting of a potential victim. The lieutenant will form part of our façade and will welcome you with characteristic smile and warmth to be part of the coterie and as soon as the command is given by us, turn his back on you and pretend that you never existed. He or she will do favours for us, ever eager to gain our trust and praise and outperform other lieutenants. This is especially so if the Lieutenant is earmarked for potential recruitment to intimate partner. It is not just the victim who receives some future faking. A lieutenant will be promised jam tomorrow – whatever it might be, promotion to intimate partner, that promotion at work, the membership of that club we can secure, a weekend away with us – whatever lies within out gift will be dangled before this lieutenant in order to secure loyalty and their commitment to us. Of course the rewards will be delivered from time to time, so long as we have extracted a sufficient price from our part of view, but future faking plays its part in keeping the Lieutenant ready, willing and wanting. The Lieutenant will also be used in our post escape and post discard campaigns. They will assist with hoovers, they will hoover on our behalf, prove receptive to our smearing of you and indeed assist in plastering mud about you far and wide.

How then does our kind go about identifying and maintaining these Lieutenants? Naturally it depends on the nature of the relevant member of our kind.

The Lesser

The Lesser Narcissist operates with fewer Lieutenants than the other two schools. This is because he lacks the charm and ability to acquire them so readily but also given his low control threshold he also runs a greater risk of his devaluation of them proving too much and resulting in them no longer remaining loyal and thus they are either discarded or they escape the narcissist. The Lesser has very little trust and his inherent paranoia makes it difficult for him to create a wide network of those he can call on. Instead he often relies on family members to be his Lieutenants. Parents, siblings, extended family and adult children are common Lieutenants of a Lesser Narcissist. In terms of friends, he may have one or two friends who are longstanding. These individuals are often childhood friends who have known the narcissist all his life and feel a sense of duty and obligation towards the narcissist borne out of when the narcissist put his furious temper to good use in giving a bully a hiding and thus earning the ongoing gratitude and admiration of the Lieutenant. This Lieutenant is also frightened of the narcissist, as he knows what he is capable of and consequently aims to stay on his good side and therefore is very loyal. The Lesser makes no conscious decision to recruit people to assist him but rather, owing to his sense of entitlement, he expects those around him to do what he wants. Owing to his low sense of trust, he feels he can only rely on those close to him either from blood (family) or longstanding friends. The Lesser ensures that those who are Lieutenants do his bidding through a combination of guilt-tripping (“We are family; you should have my back on this”) or intimidation (“If you don’t do it I will kick your teeth in”). It is rare to find a Lesser able to recruit a Lieutenant from your own ranks and therefore your vigilance should be maintained primarily in respect of those people you know who are his friends and family.

The Mid-Range

The Mid-Range Narcissist is an extensive user of Lieutenants because of his generally passive aggressive nature he would rather have other people doing his dirty work for him (the Greater is similar but his rationale is different – see below). The Mid-Range possesses sufficient cognitive function and pleasant charm to recruit suitable people to do his bidding. He will have a circle of dependable friends from whom he will draw a few Lieutenants. He also makes extensive use of family and colleagues as well. The Mid-Range also recognises the benefit of having a Lieutenant from within your ranks He will do this on the basis of wanting to curry favour with you by cosying up to your parents, a sibling or a good friend in order to inveigle his way into their affections. He will not necessarily possess the out and out charm of the Greater but rather be regarded as a “good egg”, “a decent person” and “pleasant and likeable”. The Mid- Range will ensure he has numerous lieutenants because he will need them to be used extensively when he hoovers and smears at a later juncture. Master of the Hard Done To, he will tell his sob stories about how badly he has been treated by you in order to have those Lieutenants propagate this position to others through a smear or to convey to you how much the narcissist is hurting and needs you back.

The Mid-Range usually maintains his Lieutenants by doing two things. He does not future fake extensively (with Lieutenants) and whilst there may be occasional rewards he does not rely on this to any great degree in order to keep his Lieutenants loyal. He instead relies on being liked and also for people to feel sorry for him and thus they will do what he wants. He will use emotional blackmail extensively in order to ensure that his Lieutenants act on his behalf.

“I am in a bad place right now and you need to help me.”

“I knew you couldn’t stand by and see me be treated like this.”

“She has said some horrible things about you, naturally I defended you, so I know I can rely on you to do the same for me.”

“It just isn’t right for someone to behave like this.”

“You are better at dealing with people like this.”

“I am on the edge here; you need to help me out.”

“I know she is your friend but I don’t think someone as decent as you would want to be associated with someone who behaves like this.”

“I appreciate she is your daughter but she is letting down your family with what she has done.”

The Greater

The Greater has many Lieutenants. He recruits them from friends, colleagues, family and even acquaintances. The Greater makes its aim to have at least one (but usually more) from your ranks. His huge reserves of charm ensure that people are made to feel so special to be associated with him that they want to do his bidding. They want the Greater’s approval, favour and largesse. A master at future faking, the Greater will not only reward those who carry out his commands but he will also ensure that larger rewards are repeatedly on offer. These may be material in nature but they are often based on elevation. Promotion from outer to inner circle friend. Advancement from colleague to outer circle friend. Potential to move from inner circle friend to intimate partner. The Greater is no fool though and will ensure that rewards are provided, not only to maintain the loyalty of the recipient but to act as an incentive to the others who have not been rewarded on this occasion. If your narc seems to know when you leave home and arrive do not be surprised to find that he has even recruited a neighbour minion as a Lieutenant.

The Greater will use a varied range of techniques to ensure that his Lieutenants remain loyal and willing to assist him: –

–         Reward

–         Threats of devaluing behaviour/ expulsion from the clique

–         Emotional blackmail

–         Smearing the victim so the Lieutenant is motivated to “do the right thing”

–         Threats of exposing or exploiting a vulnerability of the Lieutenant.

Of all of the three schools the Greater is the only one who engages in calculated behaviour to recruit and maintain his Lieutenants. The Lesser has a limited range to choose from and thus there is no consideration given. He expects loyalty anyway. The Mid-Range does it by making himself likeable and then playing on a sense of obligation and loyalty. The Greater will scrutinise who will have something to lose and who will want to gain in order to use this information is his advantage in due course. These Lieutenants will then be subjected to the love-bombing charm (adjusted appropriately depending on status) and brainwashed (along with the presence and effect of the façade) into believing that the Greater is better than anything else, is to be worshipped and can do no wrong.

Keep in mind that you as an intimate partner may well be recruited for Lieutenant purposes as well as against the primary source that you have replaced. Think how often you have witnessed the incoming primary source join in on attacks against you once you escaped or have been discarded. Indeed, using the primary source as a Lieutenant in such circumstances takes them beyond the sphere of Frenemy and into total enemy territory, but that person remains a Lieutenant nevertheless.

We use Lieutenants extensively. We ensure we maintain their loyalty and you should always exercise caution in your dealings. You may think we are off the scene and we have disappeared but there are Frenemies lurking all around you ready to continue our campaigns against you.

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Read and understand all about narcissists from the best source possible. A narcissist himself.

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