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.

41 thoughts on “Weeping with the Frenemy

  1. Mrs Linton says:

    Until I read your blog HG, I was always jealous of my Narc bosses lieutenants. I used to think that they must be more talented, efficient, more of what the company wanted. These are the people that get the special projects (they don’t realise that these are soon forgotten in the scheme of things) I would like to think that they are just better at brown nosing. What is the truth HG? why as a boss would you pick a brown nose over an empath? I know we are rubbish at sales and generally cannot walk over everyone without a conscience, but what else is there when I too am damn good at my job?

  2. michellemunt says:

    Thank you, for a while there’s someone I thought was a narcissist but they are too inept at making friends to fit the common profile so I was confused. But reading about the lesser has finally confined it for me.

    1. HG Tudor says:

      You are welcome.

  3. 1jaded1 says:

    This is why I have two friends…

    one with whom I’d trust with life.

    Eyes in the back of my head…

    constantly watching for knife.

  4. Teal Crayon says:

    Thanks for the info on Luitenants 🙂

    1. HG Tudor says:

      You are welcome.

  5. Incredible article!

    1. HG Tudor says:

      Thank you Tamara.

  6. OH MY! I think every single line in the mid range was used by DN on friends and family at some point. It was creepy reading it bc I pictured exactly when he said those things and exactly who he said them to.

  7. RMG says:

    Thank you HG I now understand why he backed off.

  8. Persephone says:

    Alright I have a vague memory of addressing someone with this title…hmmmm. i guess i am the muse 1J1.
    Anyways, N6 was Greater Elite. Owned International companies. His chief lieutenant is actually the one that recruited me into the relationship with N6. I was in a high level position and dealt with his lieutenant as he was the corporate liason between our companies. He and I had lunch and he suggested that I meet his friend. I said maybe. I started to ask who he was and everyone knew him and his family. These ones were impressed and even my V.P. was like yes date that guy. My V.P. actually drove me to our first date which of course was at the yacht club. He probably had some chick on the Tiara Yacht. Thats why i had to meet him. WTF? red flags or are those matadors? I couldnt tell…blinded by lieutenants telling me what a great guy and family he has. Main lieutenant was the right hand man of many more lieutenants who infiltrated my life at work and home. After 1st month I had a visitor stop by my office and said he was looking for someone who worked for me. This person was on vacation I explained. He sat down and started asking me about pictures on my desk, my family, if I had a boyfriend, where did I go to college…I said this feels like an interrogation. He laughed and said, oh I used to be in the CIA. Showed me a picture of himself and POTUS. I was like what are you doing here? Oh I retired from that now and wanted to come visit so & so. Hmmmm. Fast forward 1 year later. N6 is drunk one night and tells me how his family had to check me out so did I have a visitor who was ex-CIA? I was like that was you?…oh yes…Cheshire cat smile. I had to make sure you weren’t a gold digger. God do I have so many stories. But HG is right….lieutenants will do or say anything to remain in the good graces of the N. They are people u work with, family and yes your neighbors. Shit just got real didn’t it? I think I have a sado masochistic relationship with this blog…it’s like a car wreck sometimes, I can’t look away. Is that a tendril? Naw, couldn’t be.

    1. 1jaded1 says:

      That term reminds me of Paris Hilton and Nicole Ritchie (sp).

  9. alexis2015s says:

    Yup when the MN got a new fuel source, she was a frenemy. I recall her saying to me (I don’t even know why as I never spoke about him and never displayed any signs of being destroyed by him), ‘if you want to play with the bad boys you’ve got to expect to get hurt’. I’m guessing he must have filled her head with crap. Anyway, two years on and she is a shadow of her former self. I feel sorry for her but she keeps going back for more.

    His other lieutenants, his best friend and another close friend both tried to ‘befriend me’ I let them, I knew their game, never said anything bad about him and just knocked away their advances.

    Your articles HG make everything have rules and it’s all clear now rather than fumbling through a hazy fog.

    Your work is invaluable.

    1. HG Tudor says:

      Thank you Alexis.

  10. He has 5 little lieutenants and they march lock step to what daddy says….or else.

  11. Cara says:

    Well there’s my good friend who had a baby earlier this month, HG. To her face, I agree with her that the baby is cute & that her relationship with the baby’s father will work out (they’re both recovering addicts, he was still using when she got pregnant), and behind her back I say the kid is not so cute and the relationship won’t work.

    1. HG Tudor says:

      Would you consider such behaviour to amount to being a Frenemy?

      1. Cara says:

        I’m her friend to her face, and not so much a friend behind her back.

      2. Cara says:

        Just because I haven’t all-out stabbed her in the back YET doesn’t mean it’s not coming

        1. HG Tudor says:

          Next Narc Club meeting is coming up, I will put your name down because kitty has claws!

          1. Cara says:

            Thank you

    2. mlaclarece says:

      I read your thread to HG on this but could only reply to your 1st comment. Do you have this opinion though because in the past and being an addict, had she ever been remiss with your friendship?

    3. steeviann says:

      Cara, this is not a frenemy. You never talk behind their back. You sit in silence and watch. Never show your hand. You play along like a nice girls always. You watch with your 3rd eye. This is how you treat them. They know but they can never put their finger on it exactly what it is. You use them to your advantage and they never know.

  12. nikitalondon says:

    Dont have any experience with frenemies ..
    excellent as always and as everything you do. ☀️☀️☀️

    1. HG Tudor says:

      Thank you Nikita.

  13. Fool me 1 time says:

    Fool me 1 time

  14. Maddie says:

    Frenemies… jealous womens of me being happy…being me… but You learn how to be “friend” with them…it’s frenship lol

  15. Kerri says:

    Well they don’t do anything by halves do they . I need to know what narc the evil in my life was? So i can focus my research and gain more understanding and insight into that particular type . although eventually I need to know about every type , as to never make the same mistake again with any type ov narc , an fall for their bullshit …false persona , lies and manipulation …. Lesser? mid? greater? HG suggested lesser . I done some more reading and agreed! Now I’m beginning to wonder… .What would you need to know about him HG ? traits , etc to distinguish the type of narcassist that I endured and still have to deal with in the future because I’m determined to get so much knowledge , strength, determination , and then comes the REVENGE! I’m gonna show that evil fucker who tried to kill me (because I seen him for what he REALY is) he’s messed with the wrong person this time! I give him my all for over 2 years . I loved him with everything I had . (Glad I never give him 20 years and 2 marriages like his ex…..phew!!) Now I’m experiencing HATE for the first time in my life . He’s repulsive an the love i had for him left the night he did. And Thank fuck he did! I didn’t know 3 months ago what i do now and that I put my life at massive risk telling him I didn’t want to be with him anymore . Home alone just the 2 of us . .well I survived!! I will never forget the shock on his face/mask when I gained consciousness an got back up! Now I want to destroy him. Do most of us feel like this? Or is it the severity of what we endured? Although just being involved with them kind is an endurance test beyond all measure

  16. Poetic_Me says:

    I would never be a minion or a lieutenant, or seek Favor to do anyone’s bidding to cause harm to another. I am an independent free thinker. NO one can control me in that manner. I should consider my blessed I do not know, nor have ever been engaged with a GN. The MN wanted to turn me against his ex wife and sister, I refused to do so.

    Why did you only give examples for the mid range? ‘MCN never did anything thing like this, he never once asked me to defend him or act against anyone. He had many fuel lines. Who I am sure would act this way for him, if asked. Women who fawned over him for attention. The volunteers. I have offered to defend him, but that was because several people unwarrantedly did Verbally attack him.

    Now it makes total sense why the minions and lieutenants do the dirty work for the GN, he bribes and pays them off with attention, affection and rewards. The greater appeals to the ego of others. NO wonder it won’t work with me then, I operate from the prespective of Empathy, not ego. i do not require reward to do the right thing.

    This was interesting article, HG? Helps me see more clearly of that and those around me. The way people can mask their true attention and betray you at the whim of another.

    1. Poetic_Me says:

      To add to this, I have had women befriend me on behalf of the Narcissist or a normal man. They always thought I didn’t know. So I played along with them. One tried so hard to blacken his name And to get me to do so. I loved him so of course I wouldn’t do so. Others try to make me see how wonderful he was, despite abuse. Others waited for us to end relationship. Others just tried to get information from me to take back to him, because he was too cowardly to ask for the information himself. It quite boogles ones mind, the ways and whys of people’s behaviours, In relation to themselves and their bidding of others.

    2. HG Tudor says:

      I gave examples for all three schools, there were just more spoken examples for the Mid Range. Maybe MCN did not ask you as he realised you would not be effective in this capacity and he used others for that purpose.

      1. Poetic_Me says:

        He used some of them with me, to convince me of how wonderful he is and much he loves me et cetera…you are correct though, he knew I wouldn’t do it. If he asked me. He never smeared anyone to me either, I wonder why?

  17. Cara says:

    Of course I know what a frenemy is, I’m a female. I have a long list of frenemies.

    1. HG Tudor says:

      Let’s see them then Cara, no names no pack drill, but other details.

      1. Cara says:

        Well there’s a cousin I grew up with (she’s 6 months older than I am and we lived around the corner from each other)…we were close as young children, and she’d look for me as a teenager when she needed someone to alibi her the time she cheated on her boyfriend, or the night she went to the dance club and didn’t come home. But when she didn’t need me, she’d have no trouble ignoring me, talking about me behind my back.

        There was a co-worker who was my “best of friends” when she needed me to finish her work (lazy thing) but loved to tell the boss I was the one who couldn’t get things done. Turns out she wanted me gone so she could have a raise. I ultimately did get canned, but not before I peed in her coffee mug.

        And there’s a good friend of mine who had a baby earlier this month. I SAY she’ll keep off the booze (to her face) and that her relationship with the baby’s father (he didn’t want the child) will work (also to her face) but when she’s not in earshot I say otherwise, and also say the kid’s not so cute.

        1. HG Tudor says:

          Thanks for fleshing it out Cara, the membership is in the post!

          I am pleased I don’t drink coffee.

          1. Cara says:

            Hey, she crossed me and I fixed her

          2. HG Tudor says:

            Cara, I do that more or less every other day and people seem to think that I am some kind of dangerous individual. Go figure!

          3. Cara says:


          4. Cara says:

            I do such things when they NEED doing

          5. HG Tudor says:

            So do I Cara,so do I.

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