This past Saturday, I received a text from Veronika. You may recall Veronika was briefly mentioned in What Happens When a Narcissist Falls for a Narcissist? In essence, Veronika texted stating she’d just witnessed my narcissist, Julia, and Veronika’s ex-fiance, “Artie,” on a romantic stroll in a local park. Veronika relayed to me that Julia and Artie were no more than 15 feet away when Julia saw her. It was then that Julia stopped, turned, and kissed Artie in an obvious effort to assert her ownership of Veronika’s ex. They then continued their walk, hand-in-hand, smiling. As predicted several weeks ago, the narcissist would most likely promote a secondary source of narcissistic supply (SSNS) to a primary source (PSNS) – i.e. Julia has begun dating Artie.
I can very vividly recall Julia first telling me about Artie back in May. They met after she’d begun working at the hospital as a nurse in about January 2019. At the time, she and I were, you guessed it, on a break. Julia and Artie quickly began doing a number of activities together outside of work – going on walks, dinners and movies at his or her place – “But,…” Julia emphasized, “…they were never dates. And once I found out he dated Veronika, that was it. I was no longer interested.” I observed, “It sounds like you were interested until then.” She emphatically denied any romantic interest. “We’re just friends.”
Julia’s going into great detail about adding Artie to her reverse harem is a common tactic the narcissist employs called triangulation – wherein a person’s insecurities concerning the relationship’s (in)stability are cultivated and manipulated to garner a greater position of power and control by nurturing feelings of jealousy and or fears of being replaced. This is a talent at which Julia had become remarkably adept over the years. As we’ve already asserted, the narcissist is constantly working to keep their harem, or reverse harem active and well-stocked for two main reasons. Firstly, to supplement their fragile egos with an incessant influx of praise, adulation, and worship. Secondly, and more to the point, all of these people who comprise their [reverse] harem are there as potential candidates for when the inevitable occurs and the narcissist needs to “promote from within,” making a secondary source, a primary source. This generally occurs when the empath has had enough of the narcissist and his or her egotistical self-centeredness, and they leave the relationship. After a period of time, when the narcissist becomes fairly certain that their PSNS is not going to return, they will very often begin pursuing a romantic relationship with one of their SSNS (assuming they haven’t surreptitiously been doing so whilst involved with their PSNS).
This is evidenced if we simply flash-forward approximately nine months from when Julia first met Artie in January, to September where we witness Julia and Artie walking hand-in-hand on the Greenway, exchanging smiles and kisses, even after repeated assertions that Artie was nothing more than a friend. As discussed in our September 11th entry, Milked for All They’re Worth, a narcissist will commonly have a [reverse] harem that they are constantly working to build and maintain as a source of control and power in the relationship, as well as to provide a steady stream of unsolicited accolades and adulation to bolster the narcissist’s ever-weakening self-esteem. If you are, or have ever been, involved with a narcissist, you will often see these [reverse] harems being carefully created with professed “friends” of the opposite sex, especially friends the narcissist has, “…just met.” These purported friendships are cultivated and maintained not only while you and the narcissist are “on a break,” but also well after the narcissist returns to the relationship and begins the hoovering phase. The narcissist will tell you things such as, “They’re just a very dear friend I met while we were apart. But don’t worry, it’s you that I love. After all, isn’t it you I climb into bed with at night?” (My narcissist’s words the last time she was hoovering me.) In the end, it’s all about control and manipulation.
In short: If the narcissist tells you they met this new “friend” the last time you were apart, perhaps there is some validity to the chronology; however, be aware that the crux of the narcissist’s pursuit of this new “friendship” is two-fold: chiefly, for this new “friend” to feed the narcissist’s ego, reinforcing their ever-eroding sense of self-worth, as well as keeping their new “friend” in stand-by, so to speak, most likely adding them to the [reverse] harem in preparation for when the inevitable comes to fruition and you are no longer in the picture.