“A narcissist is similar to a hoarder in that they collect people not things. They view people as objects, meant to be used, they serve as either a supply, potential supply, or they have no purpose. ” ~Donna Hines
Have you ever heard of a narcissistic harem? Or maybe you’re even a part of one, knowingly or otherwise?
This term was new to me, but one of the lovely people who was kind enough to take my narcissism in relationships survey mentioned it, so I did some research – and boy oh boy, is this a legitimate thing, unfortunately.
So, the term “narcissistic harem” actually means a group or “collection” of friends/admirers (AKA sources of narcissistic supply) that a narcissist gathers up to keep him topped up on his daily supply of love and admiration.
Since no single individual person could ever fill the void that is the hole inside a narcissist’s soul, he seeks to fill it with whomever he can – and often these relationships are interchangeable.
Does a narcissistic harem always involve sex with every member?
No, not at all – in fact, one of your narcissist’s biggest cheerleaders might be his own mother. It can also involve people of the same sex in some situations, even if the narcissist isn’t’ gay.
Put more simply, a narcissistic harem is a group of people who are happy to stroke the ego of the narcissist as needed.
Do the “members” of this harem always know about each other?
In some cases, yes – it’s a matter of who the narcissist considers part of his “inner circle,” such as friends, family members and coworkers.
But these days, it can also involve a number of “virtual” friends in the form of an online harem – and those can sometimes be the most dangerous, because they are the most underhanded and easy to hide – plus, it’s much easier to manipulate a person’s perception if they’re only seeing your world through your eyes – and a smart narc will sniff this out quickly.
The Narcissistic Harem Hierarchy
Of course, every harem has a certain order, and the narcissist’s is no different. Here are the kinds of roles you’ll usually find in a narcissistic harem.
The Leader of the Pack – You guessed it – this is the narcissist. He’s the organizer, the judge, the jury – all of the big bossy parts – those are him. He focuses on gathering up plenty of attention and on reminding everyone how difficult his life is, and how much he needs them to “not hurt him like all the others,” among other manipulative topics.
Among the members are such roles as:
- The Tool – This special member of the harem has an important role. She’s there to not only “get” the narcissist in her own clutches, but also to cause drama for the rest of the members. She lives on a pedestal built by the narcissist and they often claim they “just haven’t met the right person yet.” The narc considers this person a challenge because she, like he, is unlikely to commit, so she seems hard to get.
- Flying Monkeys – In the case of the narcissistic harem, the flying monkeys often mean well, but they end up evangelizing the narc’s message without even realizing it. Flying monkeys are often just other causalities of the narc’s manipulation tactics, but they’re always falling for it.
- The Old Standby – This can be an ex or a person who is just generally “there” for the narc when he needs attention. Generally ends up causing drama, especially when the Tool finds out about her.
- The Wife/GF/Husband/Spouse – Depending on the narc, there’s almost always a partner – a “main” person in the harem. While the partner isn’t always a legal spouse or even the one who gets the most attention in the narcissist’s harem, she’s the one they’re all hiding the secrets from – and maybe the worst role you can be stuck with.
So let’s talk about this narcissistic harem deal – have you seen or experienced one before? How did you deal? Share your thoughts and experiences in the comments below.
Angela Atkinson is a Certified Life Coach and the author of more than 20 books on narcissism, narcissistic abuse recovery and related topics. A recognized expert on narcissism and narcissistic personality disorder who has studied and written extensively on narcissistic relationships since 2006, Atkinson was inspired to begin her work as a result of having survived toxic relationships of her own.
Atkinson offers trauma-informed coaching and has certifications in life coaching, level 2 therapeutic model, CBT coaching, integrative wellness coaching, and NLP. She is a certified trauma support coach and certified family trauma professional. She also has a professional PTSD counseling certification. Her mission is to help those who have experienced the emotional and mental devastation that comes with narcissistic abuse in these incredibly toxic relationships to (re)discover their true selves, stop the gaslighting and manipulation and move forward into their genuine desires – into a life that is exactly what they choose for themselves.
Along with her solution-focused life coaching experience, Atkinson’s previous career in journalism and research helps her to offer both accurate and understandable information for survivors of abuse in a simple-to-understand way that helps to increase awareness in the narcissistic abuse recovery community. Atkinson founded QueenBeeing.com Narcissistic Abuse Recovery Support, the SPANily Narcissistic Abuse Recovery Support Groups and the Life Makeover Academy. In her life coaching practice, Atkinson’s clients enjoy her personalized approach that allows and encourages them to become the best possible versions of themselves and to succeed in doing what they love most. She offers individual and group coaching for victims and survivors of narcissistic abuse at NarcissisticAbuseRecovery.Online and NarcissismSupportCoach.com.