The Coterie


A coterie is a group of people with shared interests. In this case, that shared interest is our kind. We have two groups of supporters; Lieutenants and the Coterie. The Lieutenants are our most loyal supporters, they are dedicated and are manipulated, usually on the premise of reward although sometimes with the prospect of punishment, to do our bidding. They have been convinced of our legitimacy which ensures their obedience and compliance when we call on them. Our control of them will often be subtle, so they are unaware of the true purpose to which they have been applied and other occasions it is patently obvious but they share our sense of direction and therefore do as we instruct. Lieutenants are deployed when specific action is required.

The Coterie is less directed but instead is more of a constant, a backdrop of support that feeds us fuel, lends credibility to our pronouncements and can be relied on to accord with our views. They laugh when we deliver an amusing anecdote, they praise readily when we engage in our boasts and they become the quagmire in which you, as our victim, becomes stuck.

Who constitutes this Coterie? In the main, it is compiled of secondary sources, thus you will find friends, colleagues and family members in its ranks. There will also be the occasional tertiary source in amongst them too, perhaps a neighbour, a teacher, somebody who recognises us from our regular attendance at their shop or restaurant. Those in the Coterie need to be physically proximate to us. Whilst an outer circle friend might be supportive of us generally, the fact he lives three hundred miles away means that his distance excludes him from the Coterie. Those within the Coterie are those secondary and tertiary sources which we interact with on a regular basis, who we will see or interact with at least once a month and more likely more often. Those in the Coterie invariably know one another, thus those inner circle friends are known to our family members and the chosen colleagues socialise with our inner circle friends when both sets are invited to come for drinks. The group has us as the connecting interest, the common denominator.

How is the Coterie created? As with all those that become our appliances these people will be seduced, usually not in an intimate sense (although that is not excluded) and are drawn to us. We paint the illusion for these secondary sources, exaggerating and emphasising our positive points. It is of course not done with the intensity by which we seduce somebody to become our primary source, but the effect is the same. The glittering and shining construct is polished up for them so they are drawn to us, whilst the creature within is kept hidden for fear of driving them away. The expectation of fuel, the provision of character traits by these secondary sources and the key residual benefit – the creation of the Coterie  – enables us to exhibit what they wish to see. Through mirroring, we create the image  of the good friend who is a rugby enthusiast too, the practical neighbour who is available to tackle the occasional home improvement task, the industrious colleague or the polite and respectful son. What those people wish to see, we show them and thus they are drawn to us. Built from those who we see regularly, who are physically proximate to us and often from those we have known for some time, the Coterie takes shape.

The Coterie is strengthened by the cross-pollination between its constituent parts. Thus, a colleague when invited a BBQ will remark to our parents how hard-working we are. This is what our parents wish to hear and reaffirms their own view of their diligent son. One friend will explain to a newly introduced friend how we have been helpful to them when they have some difficulty. The other person agrees and adds their own plaudit based on their experience of us. Back and forth, like the shuttle in weaving, these compliments and accolades create a backdrop on which we rely.

What then is the effect of the Coterie? It serves several purposes. As mentioned, rather than it necessarily be dynamic in nature, it is more of a constant, a barometer of our credibility, an undying source of support. The Coterie serves us in the following ways:-

  1. It is a significant part of the facade we create;
  2. The Coterie can be relied on to turn its back on you when we commence your devaluation or discard, we need only give the word;
  3. It provides corroboration to our words when we are seducing you. We direct you to it if you want further evidence of our reliability, our integrity, our determination or our bona fides in wanting you;
  4. It is a key device for triangulation. If you challenge us, we will invite you to ask members of the Coterie knowing they will disagree with you, support us and diminish the strength of your assertion against us. We will tell you that the Coterie thinks ill of your behaviour (even though it has not) or that the Coterie would be disappointed in the things that you do.
  5. The Coterie will provide us with information about you. With several members, it becomes our eyes and ears and will tell us what you have been doing. The members are not enjoined to specifically watch you, that is a role for our Lieutenants, but rather they are pervasive so that if a friend bumps into you, they will report back on the encounter;
  6. The Coterie will readily accept the smearing of you when we decide that this has to be done and it will be propagated by them within the Coterie. Lieutenants are used to extend the sphere further afield;
  7. The Coterie is greater than the sum of its parts. Since it is bound by a common interest in us, the members invariably all know one another and their ever present loyalty to us is unquestionable, the cumulative effect of these people means that our word is taken over yours, we are supported instead of you and they will reject any attempt by you to convince them otherwise. The herd mentality prevails. Even if you might think one member of the Coterie might side with you, the weight of other members all supporting us will drown you out and convince any potential waverer to continue to back us.

So, whilst you know which people the Coterie is drawn from, how can you spot those people who are actually in it? There are essentially six groupings that are drawn from the secondary and tertiary sources. These groups accept us, for different reasons and motivations, which are explained below.

  1. The Simply Wonderfuls

This group might be equated to performing seals. If we tell a joke, they laugh without hesitation, braying and hooting. They praise us repeatedly, bowled over by how handsome we are, how amusing we might be, how urbane and erudite we behave. Every achievement of ours is met with enthusiastic applause and admiration. These people truly do regard us as simply wonderful and see no wrong in what we do. They regard our behaviours as positive, endearing and magnificent. Always quick to praise, always ready to hear about our latest endeavour and do so in rapt delight. They are genuinely thrilled by who we are. These people are happy for us even though they have no vested interest themselves in the outcome, a state of mind which I find truly alien albeit I readily accept the outcome of their mindset.

2. The Hangers On

These members of the Coterie are hangers on in the sense that they find some gratification in being tolerated as member of our gang. It might be because we allow them to join us at places they would otherwise have no hoping of ever gaining entry to, it might be that they perceive a benefit will be conveyed to them by remaining in our sights. They feel they gain by being associated with us and hope that this will also translate into some improvement of their own position – money, promotion, acknowledgement – and accordingly they remain hanging on to our coat tails, ready to provide a sycophantic compliment or curry favour with us. The very fact we tolerate them gives the more pathetic elements of this group reason alone to look up to us and provide the necessary support which Coterie membership demands.

3. The Pick Me Brigade

This group contains those members of the Coterie who jostle for position to bask in our benevolent light. From those who want to spend the evening with me and me alone, allowing them to crow about it other members of this brigade, to the friend who wants to embark on a run together or go to the cinema to watch a film. The Pick Me Brigade operate on the basis of exhibiting support in such a way that means that they hope they will occasionally be granted an exclusive audience with us in order to inveigle their way into our favour even further. It will come as no surprise to you that some of these individuals will have narcissistic traits and may even be Lesser or Mid-Range Narcissist collected by us. They feel a need to ensure that their praise of us is better than anybody else’s, that they know us best, they are our best friend and supporter. In a non-intimate sense, the Coterie member wants the kudos of being a trusted confidante. Of course they fail to realise there is no such position available for them. In an intimate sense, this Coterie member hopes for elevation to become our intimate partner in a formal relationship and spends their time hoping that they are noticed in that respect. Invariably they are kept in line through comfort crumbs and future faking.

4. The Pride Collective

Usually this element of the Coterie consists of family members, but it is not an exclusive position. These Coterie members are proud of our achievements, the decent human being they foolishly believe us to be. Their belief in our humanity, our kindness, our charity and goodness is unshakeable. They may know of troubled behaviours but consider this to be as a consequence of external factors which heartlessly picked on us and that we are not to blame. They always see the best of us and are immensely proud of whatever we do. Their own desire to have the son or grand daughter, niece or cousin, brother or friend, who is talented, interesting, cultured, hard-working, creative or whatever it may be, causes them to seize on anything we do or say which may accord with this pre-conceived notion. They have created their own idea of what we should be and they will always regard what ever we do to be in line with this expectation, placing a positive spin on our accomplishments and behaviours, trotting out excuses to ameliorate any criticism of us. Their desire to see us become what they want us to become invariably blinds them.

5. The Always Been Fine With Me Society

These members of the Coterie tend to have their head in the sand. Mainly concerned with getting through life without conflict or disruption, they adopt the position that if we have always been okay with them, then that is all that matters. They neither have the time or the inclination to hear you badmouth us. This does not accord with what they have witnessed. They fail to grasp that just because we have always been civil to them that we could be awful to someone else. All they care about is that their life trundles along with no drama or aggravation, so take your complaints elsewhere because these members of the Coterie just do not want to know.

6. The Harpies

You might be forgiven for thinking that these would be Lieutenants. They are not because Lieutenants usually operate in a singular capacity for us. The Harpies are people who think well of us but they really come in to their own when they are granted permission to smear. Cousins of the Pick Me Brigade they see their value in attacking anybody who draws our disapproval. Ordinarily they will be supportive of us, albeit not to the simpering extent of the Simply Wonderfuls or the blinded Pride Collective, but when they are told that you are now on the black list then they leap in to action. They will smear you, delight in rubbishing  your complaints about us and look to pick you apart through nasty insults. The Harpies will not actually do anything. They are not proactive in that sense, their area of operation is words and gossip and they will enjoy nothing more than discussing you amongst themselves, picking over your faults and vulnerabilities and should you encounter them when you have been designated by us as the enemy, you will feel the force of their toxic tongues and malicious mouths.

Accordingly, we will build our coterie from secondary and tertiary sources and those who are admitted will belong to the groupings described above.



  1. I’ve been a silent spectator of this site for last few months. It has been very helpful in my recovery, so thanks to that. I always wanted to share my story, but never got the time. Today I just thought lets just start to write, then can share the story any time. I get the feeling that I’m being smeared for the third or fourth time who knows in my work place by my narc. Why third or fourth time? I’m a stronger person and got out of it every time and proven to be stronger. But this afternoon, again got the sensation because I slowly see my friends who I trusted are getting annoyed at me with no reason (well the only reason I can think of is that they are mutual friends of me and narc). So I guess that explains it. I come to this site whenever I feel alone in this world. I’m not alone. There is a comfort in all this misery. That we are all there for each other to share our story and comfort each other. We all can understand each other, only we can understand each other. We will come out stronger and live to tell the story.

  2. Good morning!
    I have been interested in reading more about all the people surrounding you and this was great.
    Having many people who supported my ex’s facade was what was the most convincing. I couldn’t imagine that if so many people loved her that she should be anything but a good person. Not one person said anything bad about her and no one went against what she said. All of the members at the gym loved her and this is what I saw.
    They made a great supporting cast for her. And I’m sure you and yours would win at the Oscars.
    Are you writing a separate article about the lieutenants?

    1. Hi Snow! My ex narcs all had a large posse, and always one best friend (aka lieutenant). I also thought they had to have a good heart to be so well liked. But I realized they bought their friendships. Lending money, providing allibies, doing favors, picking up the tab. They showed kindness and generosity to get something in return. As Mr. Tudor mentioned, empathic traits are not required in a coterie. The friends were users as well. Birds of a feather flock together.

      1. Hello Love!!!
        I believe my ex also kept one around all the time and it was her lieutenant. He was a good guy who was as blinded as me. There was a huge blowup between them and she told him she hated him and never wanted to see him again but that changed and he ended up her best man. He will be around awhile unless his new girlfriend catches on.

        She had me fooled because all the old people at the gym said they looked forward to coming on because she was there and she helped them. Of course I didn’t know about fuel then. Lol… now I know why

        She told me frequently that she didn’t have friends ( she didn’t like to let people in) but many many people that she could hang out with in a second. She loved her contact list.

        When you when out with your narcs was there always some else with you?

        I wanted to tell you that I ventured into the sauna today because it was empty, Lol

      2. Omg Snow! My last narc used the ‘can’t let anyone in’ line. Blukh 😝
        And yes, the majority of my narcs always brought along their entourage. I think my only purpose was to babysit the crew’s wives and kids…. Which was a blast! Not!
        If there was a trip that included their family members, I already knew it would be non-romantic. Somebody would be spending the night in the room with us.😕
        Good for you for venturing to the sauna area. I’m proud of you! The best discussions happen there. You will have fun, I promise. ❤

        1. Same stupid lines Love!!! I thought they were real. Blukh and yuck is right.

          That’s terrible that you were the babysitter!
          You sound like way too much fun to be sitting around with kids while everyone else was carrying on with nothing to worry about.

          Whatever perks her girlfriend and I were getting it wasn’t always worth the spoiled dates and nights ending in tears.

          If I need sauna talk desiphered I will ask you Love! Lol ❤️🍎❤️

  3. HG the IPPS and IPSSs are they separate from your coterie?
    You have 1 IPPS and several IPSSs correct or am I misunderstanding?
    Do your IPSSs know of each other and compete for your attention and wait for the fall of the IPPS?

    Sorry about all the questions no sleep, changing locks and what’s worse imaginary drama or actual drama, I don’t know how you keep it all straight HG just trying to imagine a day in your life and I am in need of a vacation.

  4. Do the coterie serve as Lts. also? His sister and brother in law(& best friend) seem owned lock, stock & barrel, serving as ministers of procurement, lie reinforcers & sources of fuel also. They adore you when he says, fill his emotional voids with their words & actions towards you & with a snap become cruel & disdainful. I have labeled them his flying monkeys.

    1. No. As the article states, there are two groups – The Lieutenants and the The Coterie. The people you describe are Lieutenants as they have a pro-active role on behave of the narcissist. I know people use the term flying monkeys but this is too broad a description – plus they aren’t real!

  5. Oh dear, it all makes sense now.

    I think I have been used by Narc siblings in one way or the other, but its because I believed what they said.

    I didn’t think they were the evil one or that they could tell such horrible lies about someone else who they considered a friend before, or another family member.

    But thank God my blinders are off…

  6. A big circle of friends and admirers is another MASSIVE RED FLAG!

    The Coterie makes you look good, and gives the victim a false sense of security. Like the serial killer with (false) family portraits in his car to lure the trusting to their deaths. The Lieutenants will do your dirty work later on! And you are laughing at her, washing your hands of responsibility. One can only hope that you get a taste of your own medicine some day, it might be the only way you learn.

    1. MATILDA
      I cant stop laughing. Serial killers luring people to their cars with family portraits! Like some kind of macabre mobile photo booth. I shit you not-I am currently wiping away tears of laughter.
      *exits vehicle to approach woman on park bench*
      Serial killer: lovely day!
      Victim: why yes it is! Join me on this bench and enjoy the sun.
      SK: well that sounds lovely but I was wondering if youd like to come to my car to take in some lovely family portraits I have there.
      V: Do I! Why I havent seen a good Grandpa Jack in a while!
      SK: I have a Grandpa Jack! We were meant to be together.
      *both stroll to car*
      SK: Get a load of that portrait of Aunt Mary hanging from the rearview mirror while I fetch the others from the trunk.
      *returns with other portraits*
      V: Heeeey…..wait a minute…..Aunt Mary looks suspiciously like the same woman I saw in a frame at the department store……
      SK: Heh heh….well its nothing to lose your head over….
      *cue scary music and pan to knife behind his back*

      Serial Killers luring victims to their cars with family portraits. Matilda youre the best!. I havent laughed that hard in ages. I think I peed a little in my pants.

      1. NarcAngel,

        Huh, what are you talking about?! :-D

        Lovely, that I sparked your imagination ;-) . I probably should have worded it differently: I was referring to hitchhikers who accepted rides from serial killers, deeming these people trustworthy because they presented themselves as family men, doting husbands and fathers… and one of the tactics they used was the display of (fake) family portraits in their cars. I don’t remember the killers’ names, but it happened. And reading about the coterie triggered the memory.

  7. HG,
    Thanks for explaining that. I pictured you saying it like a PowerPoint presentation. I have met all of these people. One in particular that stands out is a guy I will call JFK. He was my ex narcs right hand. This guy cleaned up every mess, smoothed over numerous people and catered to this narc like he was the king. He is the one who set me up with the Narc. He is the one that would be like, “come on ABB don’t be like that, he loves you…etc..etc. Hang in there. Accept him”. He came running after me literally on behalf of my ex narc when we broke up at Narcs Father’s funeral. He brought another girl after calling me and telling me to come with my son to his father’s funeral because he needed people he loved with him and he knew now that his Father loved me and I should get back together with him. Another Girl!!!! What was this guy thinking HG? I really would like to know. I mean the narc not the lieutenant. Oh and do you have a right hand man HG?

    1. In the mob world, we like to call the left/right hand man ‘the cleaner’.
      By we, I mean them. And by them, I mean the ones I’ve seen in movies 😀

  8. Its a question I asked this morning (hope you have time to answer, in the Pretend post)…. I sense from you in all of these categories, a sort of disdain and contempt for the characteristics of all these people. Despite the fuel, do you still hold these group members in some contempt for how easy they are to manipulate, how hypocritical they are, and how well, “stupid” they are to not really see you or even sense what they see when it is staring right back at them? To not be able to check their own reactions to you and challenge their own acceptance of you even when you know those people hear of your awful deeds?

    I guess I am a bit of his enemy then in that I never fit into one of those groups with any sort of solid membership, even before he hooked me. I never “found” my place. I did not perform very well, I guess. Broken appliance?

  9. Thank you. This was very informative. What would you say is the percentage of narcs vs empaths vs norms in your coterie? You wrote the Pick Mes and assumingly Harpies are lower level narcs. Are Waterfalls mostly codependents?

    1. I assume you mean Simply Wonderfuls and not Waterfalls. No they are not necessarily co-dependents. The Harpies and Pick Mes need not be narcissists but those with strong narcissistic traits. In my coterie it is 20% normals, 10% narcissists, 30% narcissistic traits, 40% empaths.

      1. Thank you! I love numbers ☺ interesting that empaths are a minority in your group in comparison to the sum of others. Why do you think that is? Are the ones who are more empathic lined up as a potential intimate source?

        1. The IPPS and IPSSs are the main fuel sources. They are not part of the Coterie. Thus the fuel producing empathy is required there most of all.

          Those in the Coterie are there to provide some fuel, but to be used in the ways that I have described which does not require masses of empathic individuals.

  10. Respetado Sr. Tudor:
    Escucho los posts del blog en YouTube.
    La voz suena didáctica y profesional: dicción clara, correctamente modulada, dando el sentido preciso a cada frase.
    La voz adecuada para un profesor.
    Adiós. Un abrazo.

  11. What about when the coterie consists of other narcissists who are all mid-Rangers? How is the leader of the coterie, the top dog ,picked? Or is there some tacit understanding amongst you that you will all take turns fake giving a shit about and oohing and ahh-ing each other’s accomplishments?

      1. Thank you. Just seeing your comment. My internet skills can’t keep up with your website changes. The leader of the coterie to which I was referring is a mid-ranger but I will tell you this I would put this snake-in-the-grass covert against almost any greater any day. She is a master manipulator and totally controls her flock.

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