Narcissists don’t always do their own dirty work. They’re far too clever for that. Instead, they work through a kind-of intermediary. A henchman. A puppet.
From Flying Monkey…
The narcissist’s Puppet may begin life as one of the narcissist’s Flying Monkeys. Swallowing their Narcissist-Centric Paradigm pathological lying hook, line and sinker. Fawning and fanning their ego.
Then it’s taken to a whole new level.
In time, the narcissist comes to trust this particular Flying Monkey , perhaps more than the other “sycophants” in their circle. They may even normalize the relationship in some formal way. BFF. Partners. Husband/wife. Co-parents.
Once the chosen Flying Monkey is tested, tried and securely within the fold, the narcissist “kicks it up a notch.” They finally have someone they can act through. Someone who will carry out their narcissistic agenda with warmth, empathy and a smile…something a narcissist can’t convincingly do for themselves.
Is It Affective?
The devilish cleverness of the Puppet / Puppet Master dynamic makes it extremely effective.
Where the narcissist is cold, the Puppet is warm, codependent, ingratiating.
Where the narcissist is calculating, the Puppet is empathic.
Where the narcissist has ulterior motives, the Puppet has (almost) convinced themselves of the inherent “rightness” of the agenda at hand.
Where the narcissist will become angry enforcing their will, the Puppet will shed tears which is much more effective in bending others to their will.
The Co-Parent Puppet
Nowhere is this dynamic more blatant and painful than when a Puppet is trapped into co-parenting with a narcissist. Because the Puppet has submitted to being thoroughly brainwashed, they may not consciously realize that the orders they are carrying out on behalf of the narcissistic parent are NOT appropriate parenting at all, but actually second-hand narcissistic abuse…and of their own child!
The other night, I had a dream about someone I knew who co-parented with a narcissist. “I know how difficult if must’ve been for you,” said I to the Puppet. In my dream, she hung her head sadly, so different from the woman I knew who with her smile, her warmth, her love, her empathy could make her child submit to any weird, cruel or extreme edict handed down from the narcissist.
It’s not easy, y’know, being a narcissist’s Puppet. The Puppet comes off very badly and often has their reputation severely tarnished when in actuality their words and actions are not organically their own. Certainly, they bear responsibility for everything they said and did under the Narcissist’s string-pulling, but their chief failing was allowing themselves to be brainwashed in the first place. Their first mistake was abandoning their intution and ignoring whispers of doubt.
In all probability the Puppet was probably raised by a narcissistic parent and were “sitting ducks” for being duped by yet another Puppet Master. The ego-boost of being the Chosen Puppet results in lost friends, estranged family members and No Contact children.
Some Puppets wake up and smell the, well, not roses. But for many, the pain of facing the truth is simply more than they can bear. It takes tremendous courage to accept that years, decades, a lifetime have been lived wrongly, devoted to someone who used you to abuse others, keeping their own hands “clean.”
How painful to have given up family and friends for the narcissist. Worst of all is the realization that you abused your own children at the narcissist’s behest. Few Puppets have the nerve to swallow so bitter a “Red Pill” and hats off to the Puppets who do.
We should all pause for just a moment and ask ourselves, “Am I a narcissist’s Puppet? Have I ever been?” If the answer to those questions is “yes,” we may have amends to make. I’ve made mine.
Have you made yours?