Narcissists: Insidious Ways They Plot To Steal Your Friends

They want to turn your friends against you and leave you with nothing.

Paul Ryburn, M.Sc.


the narcissist’s mask
Image by abi s from Pixabay

Today I want to take the topic of narcissistic abuse in a focused direction. Much has been written about the relationship between a narcissist and their victim. I want to expound on the relationship between a narcissist and the victim’s friends.

I will introduce you to what goes on with friends in each of the three phases of the relationship: love-bombing, devaluing, and discard. I will also discuss the groundwork the narcissist puts in place beforehand.

Then I will discuss what to do when you find that a narcissist is attempting to tear you apart from the people and places you love. I will also offer ways to avoid getting trapped in such a situation in the first place.

Phase 0 of the relationship: The narcissist watches you from afar, learns your network of friends

In her book The Gaslighting Effect: A Revealing Look at Psychological Manipulation and Narcissistic Abuse, author Reva Steenbergen notes that narcissists watch their victims from afar for months, if not years, before making the first contact. They want to learn their victim’s

  • Likes
  • Dislikes
  • Habits
  • Routines
  • Places they spend their free time

They also want to learn who their victim’s friends are. They want to have a good idea of the victim’s social circle well before making the first approach. Unfortunately, this is easier than ever to do in this day and age. They look at public Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram feeds, as well as the victim’s blog and YouTube presence if they have one.

There are particular qualities the narcissist notes as they pull up the profiles and public posts of the victim’s friends:

  • Who is single and of the gender the narcissist is attracted to? These are possible sources of future narcissistic supply, once the narcissist discards the current victim and is ready to move on. Also, the current victim and the next one can be triangulated against each other to…



Paul Ryburn, M.Sc.

I write about writing, ideas, creativity, intuition, spirituality, life lessons. Ex-college teacher Twitter: @paulryburn