What Is Narcissistic Manipulation by Proxy?

What Is Narcissistic Manipulation by Proxy? what is narcissistic manipulation by proxy?
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When ensnared within the intricate web of narcissistic deceit and manipulation, the experience can be likened to walking through a labyrinth with no clear exit. You may never truly grasp the angle from which they will strike next. Their elusive tactics and masterful ability to manipulate can leave victims you feeling bewildered and vulnerable. One of the tactics they use to get to you is manipulation by proxy.

Narcissistic manipulation by proxy is a sophisticated and covert tactic employed by narcissists to exert control over others indirectly. In this article, we explore the concept of proxy and how it serves as a powerful tool for narcissists to maintain dominance and achieve their self-serving agendas.


The Proxy Dynamic

In narcissistic manipulation by proxy, the narcissist enlists the help of a third party, often unsuspectingly, to carry out their schemes and continue their control. The third party, known as the “proxy,” becomes an unsuspecting pawn, manipulated into doing the narcissist’s bidding. This allows the narc to distance themselves from direct involvement, avoiding accountability for their actions while still achieving their desired outcomes.

Role of Proxies

Proxies can be anyone from the narcissist’s social circle. These individuals can be family members, close friends, coworkers, or even casual acquaintances who have access to the target or victim. A narcissist can be compared to a chess grandmaster who strategically positions their pawns.

Like a skilled strategist, the narcissist carefully handpicks their proxies based on specific qualities and vulnerabilities that make them ideal for carrying out their manipulative agenda.

The narcissist targets individuals who are easily influenced, seeking those who are susceptible to their charm and manipulation. They look for people with a strong desire to please others, making it easier for the narcissist to exploit their need for approval and validation.

Additionally, the narcissist may choose individuals who feel indebted or loyal to them. They leverage any past favors, assistance, or emotional ties to gain allegiance and use these individuals as willing pawns to execute their plans.

Furthermore, the narcissist preys on those who are unaware of their manipulative tendencies. By selecting individuals who lack insight into their true nature, the narcissist can maintain the illusion of charm and charisma, effectively hiding their darker motives behind a façade of likability.


In this calculated manner, the narcissist establishes a network of pawns that they can maneuver strategically to further their dominance and control over others. This sophisticated manipulation tactic ensures that the narcissist can continue to exploit and victimize those around them while shielding themselves from direct responsibility.

Common Tactics of Narcissistic Manipulation by Proxy

1. Smear Campaigns

Through the use of proxies, the narcissist cunningly disseminates false or harmful information about their target, intending to tarnish their reputation and create social isolation. By manipulating others into believing negative narratives, the narcissist gains control and undermines the victim’s credibility and support system.

2. Triangulation

Narcissists cleverly employ proxies to fuel conflicts and rivalries among their targets, purposefully diverting attention from their own behavior. By sowing seeds of competition and discord, the narcissist ensures that the focus remains on the victims’ disputes rather than their own manipulative actions. This calculated strategy strengthens the narcissist’s hold over the situation, perpetuating a chaotic environment that further serves their desire for control and power.

3. Flying Monkeys

Flying monkeys, some fully aware of the narcissist’s intentions, willingly become their enforcers and messengers. They serve as instrumental tools in intimidating, harassing, and pressuring the target, executing the narcissist’s harmful agenda with unwavering loyalty, and further amplifying the victim’s distress.

4. Indirect Emotional Manipulation

Emotional manipulation is a potent weapon in the narcissist’s arsenal, and they skillfully wield proxies to achieve their aims. They may manipulate these individuals into guilt-tripping or shaming the target, effectively coercing them to comply with the narcissist’s wishes or conform to their expectations.

The proxies, unwittingly acting as conduits of emotional control, may engage in tactics such as using guilt-inducing language, emphasizing the target’s perceived shortcomings, or undermining their self-worth to foster emotional isolation.

How to Protect Yourself from Manipulation by Proxy

Being a victim of manipulation by proxy can have a detrimental effect on your life, leaving you feeling confused and betrayed by people you once trusted. The sense of isolation and the belief that your narcissistic ex is winning all battles can be overwhelming. However, there is hope, and there’s light at the end of that dark tunnel. To protect yourself, consider the following:

1. Set Boundaries

Setting clear personal boundaries is a crucial first step in protecting yourself from manipulation by proxies. Knowing and communicating the behaviors you can tolerate will empower you to recognize when those boundaries are crossed. By understanding your limits, you can confidently decide when it’s time to walk away from situations involving proxies, preventing further emotional harm and preserving your well-being. Establishing boundaries empowers you to take control of your interactions, making it more challenging for proxies to exploit or manipulate you.

2. Limit Exposure

The second thing you can do is to consciously reduce the time spent with these individuals, which provides you with a shield against their harmful influence. Limiting exposure can involve minimizing contact, both in person and online, and setting limits on communication.

When you limit your exposure to proxies and narcissists, you decrease the opportunities for them to engage in manipulative tactics and emotional exploitation. Stepping away from toxic relationships allows you to regain your emotional balance and focus on healthier interactions and connections.


In conclusion, navigating the treacherous world of manipulation by proxy is undoubtedly challenging, but it is crucial to prioritize your well-being and mental health throughout this journey. Working on yourself and establishing healthy boundaries are essential steps in breaking free from the clutches of manipulation. Remember, you may lose friends or family members who have become proxies, but do not let that deter you from valuing your self-worth and asserting your boundaries.

It is natural to desire validation and support, but don’t sacrifice your own authenticity and happiness for the approval of others who are entangled in deceit and manipulation. Hold on to your true self, for you deserve to be surrounded by genuine connections and loving relationships. Embrace the belief that you deserve better than being caught in the web of manipulative games.

Remember, you are worthy of love, respect, and genuine connections, and you deserve to be treated with kindness and understanding. Embrace your strength and resilience as you break free from manipulation by proxy, forging a path to a more fulfilling and authentic life.

Note from the Author

If you’re ready and you’d like my help with healing, finding peace in life and breaking free from these subconscious patterns for good (in less than 2 months) using Mind Shifting, then you can book a FREE BREAKTHROUGH CALL with me HERE. Happy healing 💙💙. Feel free to share and comment! Use this information with caution, it comes from my own thoughts & bias, experiences and research😊.

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Edwin Bii
Edwin Bii

I'm Edwin Bii, a trained advanced conversational hypnotherapist (ACH) and Mind Shifting Coach from Kenya offering mental health support, and life coaching to help you crush your goalsand overcome your problems. Together, we'll navigate challenges, build self-awareness, and create a happier, healthier you. Let's unlock your potential.

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