The Most Dangerous Of All Narcissists- Covert

When people first learn about Narcissistic Personality Disorder, the almost always learn about overt narcissists.  They read that narcissists are always loud, brash, braggarts who openly use & abuse people.  Which is mostly true.  Overt narcissists are absolutely that way.

 

What is equally true is not all narcissists are like that.  Some narcissists come across as insecure & passive, even offering apologies sometimes which overt narcissists don’t do.  They make you feel sorry for them.  If you’re romantically involved with one, he may not even be someone you were attracted to at first.  Somehow though, he acted in a way that gained your attention.  He pretended to share your values while also gaining your sympathy, thus making him attractive to you.  He probably says things like he’s never loved anyone like he loves you, he’s waited for someone like you his whole life & other lies.

 

Over time, the mask slips & a much more devious & sinister person comes to light.  Yet when you have believed that this person was good, believing that they are cruel doesn’t compute.  You think the abuse can’t be real.  You must be paranoid.  You must be imagining things or reading too much into it.  After all, when you approach this person, he blames you & says he is the victim of your cruelty.  Someone so good wouldn’t abuse you..

 

Or would they?

 

Covert narcissists are extremely good at hiding their abuse.  So much so even victims don’t always consider it abuse.  They make excuses- “she just doesn’t know any better,”  “He was just kidding!”  “She was just trying to help…”

 

Confronting a covert narcissist never goes well.  They tell you that you’re crazy, wrong, reading too much into things, they never said or did what you believe they did & more.

 

In this position, victims often submit to the twisted beliefs of the covert narcissist, losing their self-esteem in the process & doubting their sanity.  Some try harder & harder to please the narcissist, never being able to do so.  The narcissist constantly changes what they want so you aren’t able to please them.  The victim’s self-esteem continues dropping, & they try harder to please the narcissist, & the cycle continues.

 

If the covert narcissist is a parent, the parent will do their best to gain their child’s sympathy.  They commit emotional incest on a constant basis, treating their child as a partner rather than a child.  They burden their child with their woes about their failing marriage or other inappropriate topics.  If still married to the other parent, they expect the child to get involved with marital problems or protect the parent from the other parent.  They portray themselves as the real victims of this dysfunctional situation, not the child, nor do they care that they & possibly the other parent abused that child

 

Covert narcissists are a thousand times worse to deal with than overt narcissists, in my opinion.  At least with an overt narcissist, you know what you’re getting.  They are bold & “in your face” with their actions, leaving you no doubt what they’re like.  Covert narcissists keep you guessing.  They use your natural instincts of kindness against you.  While overt & covert narcissists both can make you feel like you’re crazy, chances are you will figure out that you aren’t much sooner with an overt narcissist.  Coverts are not only great at manipulation but also using pity to get what they want.  Victims don’t want to think the covert narcissist is trying to make them feel crazy, & they’re afraid of upsetting him, so they are less likely to question what they are told.

 

Covert narcissists are everywhere.  The mother in-law who won’t let go of her adult son & quietly treats her daughter in-law like dirt when no one is around.  The father married to an overtly narcissistic wife who fails to protect his child, instead wanting her to comfort him because his wife abuses his child & it’s hard for him.  The husband who everyone thinks is a good guy, but behind closed doors, criticizes his wife in every area possible, compares her unfavorably to other women & makes her feel guilty for not measuring up.  The parent who sexually abuses their child.

 

These people are incredibly dangerous!  Covert narcissists should NOT be underestimated!  Be aware of what to look for with covert narcissists, & protect yourself accordingly!!  Have good, strong boundaries.  Pay attention to their words & actions.  Don’t let your guard down around them.  Keep conversations very superficial.  Most of all, pray.  Pray lots!  Ask God for wisdom on how to deal with this person.

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24 Comments

Filed under Abuse and the Healing Journey, Christian Topics and Prayers, Complex Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, Mental Health, Narcissism

24 responses to “The Most Dangerous Of All Narcissists- Covert

  1. “If the covert narcissist is a parent, the parent will do their best to gain their child’s sympathy.  They commit emotional incest on a constant basis, treating their child as a partner rather than a child.  They burden their child with their woes about their failing marriage or other inappropriate topics.  If still married to the other parent, they expect the child to get involved with marital problems or protect the parent from the other parent.  They portray themselves as the real victims of this dysfunctional situation, not the child, nor do they care that they & possibly the other parent abused that child.”

    That is a description of my NM, a covert N. She was abused by our overt MNF, but she used that to demand our sympathy and emotional and financial support. She didn’t address the damage done to her kids by living in the toxic environment that was our home. She did nothing to escape her hellish marriage and expected us to mitigate the damage done to HER. And she wasn’t even grateful! She still triangulated and manipulated us, gossiped about us and criticized us to our face. She has been a very destructive force. Having been born to one of each type of N I can’t say which one is worse, but it is much easier to recognize an overt N.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. kavyag

    Hi Cynthia,
    I just wanted to ask how Covert Narcissist Son will treat his parents?Will he cheat them?Will he look after his parents in their old age?

    Liked by 2 people

    • Hi there!

      It’s hard to say with absolute certainty since all narcissists are different, even though they share a lot of similarities. That being said, they may look after their parents in their old age, but do so grudgingly or with passive/aggressive behaviors (being late, “forgetting” to do things, stuff like that). If they do, they are terrible caregivers- the lack of empathy all narcissists have prevents them all from being good caregivers. If they’re married, they also may say their wife won’t let them help the parents or say they have things to do, & hint at the wife being the reason they can’t help.

      Hope this helps!

      Liked by 2 people

    • I know of a situation like the one you asked about. A NM had 3 daughters but favored one. This GC grew into a MN, but the NM made her principal caregiver and gave her medical and financial POA anyway. She also made her the executrix of her estate. Toward the end of her life when she had severe medical problems and needed help, the GC was careless with her mothers medical needs and verbally and emotionally abused her. She complained about the work load but wouldn’t allow her sisters to help (she didn’t want to give up control). She also stole from her mother and blamed others. At her mothers funeral she threw tamper tantrums and was rude to everyone. Then came the estate settlement. She stole from her sisters share of the estate and threw fits and faked a heart attack when she was challenged. It’s shocking but sadly all too common. A NP will almost always choose the child who is least qualified, by virtue of their character, to take responsibility for their care at the end of their life. And naming another N to administer their estate is a way to hurt others from the grave.

      Liked by 2 people

      • kavyag

        Hi Suzanne,
        I am in a relationship with a Covert Narcissist I am planning to go no contact with him.He said to me that parents love their children because they want their children to take care of them at their old age,I disagreed with him,so I wondered will he bother about his parents

        Liked by 2 people

        • A N seldom does well by others, even their own parents.

          Liked by 1 person

          • From what I’ve noticed, they go to one extreme or the other, but usually not taking care of them. Take my parents as an example. My mother was abused & neglected by her mother. When she needed help after her husband went into a nursing home, my mother jumped in & did a lot before I somehow ended up her primary caregiver. I honestly think she was trying to get her mother’s love & approval. Then there’s my father- he was spoiled by his parents. When my grandmom was dying, he never offered to help. It was like he just assumed that was someone else’s problem. 7 years later when my granddad was dying, he wasn’t even speaking to him so never even called to talk to him. Didn’t attend his funeral either.

            Liked by 2 people

            • I’ve observed that it’s the children who never came out of the fog of abuse, and admitted to themselves that their parent was abusive and their family dynamic dysfunctional, who take great care of the ill or dying NP. It’s as though they must do this one last thing to prove that they grew up in a normal and loving family, a one last act of denial. This is not to say that it’s not, to one degree or another, virtuous to care for someone who is ill and helpless. Intent of the heart and mind is the determinant. But I’d never counsel anyone to tolerate abuse while doing this care-giving. If it’s going to cause further harm to a victim who has already suffered enough, arrangements can be made for care by a third party and from a distance.

              Liked by 2 people

              • That makes a lot of sense. My mother was out of the fog for a few years when I was a teenager, then suddenly went back into the fog & stayed there. Sad.. it’s great taking care of someone in need, but what a sad motivation for doing so.

                Liked by 2 people

            • kavyag

              That’s very sad to hear

              Liked by 2 people

  3. If the covert narcissist is a parent, the parent will do their best to gain their child’s sympathy.  They commit emotional incest on a constant basis, treating their child as a partner rather than a child.  They burden their child with their woes about their failing marriage or other inappropriate topics.  If still married to the other parent, they expect the child to get involved with marital problems or protect the parent from the other parent.  They portray themselves as the real victims of this dysfunctional situation, not the child, nor do they care that they & possibly the other parent abused that child”

    All I could say was wow. This has happened and has wrecked my relationship with my siblings for a long time. It has also wrecked my ability to do my job corr frog because I’d carrry this baggage to work with me.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I’m so sorry! It is a terrible situation to grow up in for sure, & does a tremendous amount of damage

      Liked by 1 person

      • It’s crazy, I’m only starting g to realize it now. She talked very negatively about what my father had been doing t her while I was away at school and I couldn’t understand it. It was really inappropriate of her to not see boy ring me in on the situation but expect me to help her resolve it in more hands on ways. She did the same thing when she talked poorly about my brother’s girlfriend at the time. This planted a very. We seed in my and I really made both my brother and his girlfriend at the time very uncomfortable while they lived there (her house) it was so badly dad had to step in and mediate. My mother was manipulating the situation the whole time. It drove a terrible wedge between my brother and I. He is t with the girl anymore because that girl treated her poorly it it seriously wasn’t my. Style to pick. Yet my mother insisted I pick it, at the time. It seemed tone a way to let her anger out vicariously through me. I get all the blame and sh sits back quietly watching. I am considering going to the storage unit and grabbing her luggage, leaving it outside her door and writing a note on it saying pack up and find your own place. I keep putting more of this puzzle together and I am really hating what I see.

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        • Wow. I’m sure you do hate what you’re seeing. It sounds like there is a lot to hate. You’re just starting to learn about narcissism, I assume?

          Like

          • I am. I am starting to learn about a lot and at first it was really hurtful, then disappointing. Now, as I start to realize the progression of my childhood and now my previous and current interactions with her. I am really angry about it. I spoke to another person who experienced the same thing and it’s a co siste t pattern. So I realize wait I’m not nuts,she really is doing this. My daughter is showing negative signs from it and I’m very unhappy about. I am working hard with myself not to replicate the.ñ behaviors I was brought up with. Just because she wasn’t loved and says she can, and has t really, doesn’t mean I can not love and do right by my husband and daughter. I dunno it’s how I see. I sat inthe living room today to read more if your articles and she just walked past me without even a glance. It’s hurtful to be ignored but it doesn’t mean I i should go on tolerating it. At first with this situation I would stay in my room to make her more comfortable but to m it felt like I was giving her more power over me and my place. H staying in my room. Also, it’s my family’s house. Why can’t I begin my day in the living room relaxing. I was making myself uncomfortable and ackward to suit her selfishness. Anyway its awful and to me it should not and will. It continue here. I feel if this is how she wants to be the it has to happen outside of here so I, least can heal.

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            • It’s very normal to be angry & hurt when you first learn about narcissism. It’s very abnormal, painful & destructive!

              You do have every right to ask her to live somewhere else. She isn’t good for you or your family, so there is nothing wrong with that! It’s your home & it should be a safe & peaceful place

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              • I one million percent agree. I had to deal with this from each oh my family members, and it’s terrible to relive it just when it seems like I have the opportunity to pick myself back up. I am currently unemployed. I was previously a teacher. Her calling me frequently to drain me caused me to carry the worry,stress and fatigue to work with me. It cost me dearly and now I feel like I’m unhireable. I am still working through those feelings. In addition to the fact that carrying her emotional baggage has cause me to focus more on her and less on my family. I feel regretful for not only missing out on some beautiful moments with my child in a depressive state it I see that I suckthejoy outof her too. In dealing with a narc I become one to my five year old. To that I say that is flipping enough of that. I already stated this to my mother and I feel less and less feelings for her situation. I understand she is diagnosed with depression and anxiety but she refuses to follow doctor’s advice or prescription. And resolves on more holistic herbal measures to cure herself.
                I recently learned how contagious depression is and I became very frightened by that. If she is here being depressed and behaving this way then I will. Then my husband will because he sees the life draining for his wife regardless of what he tries to do. I am afraid he will become depressed. Two depressed parents and a young female child and the cycle of abuse begins anew. I told my mother how this cannot happen. That she will not threaten me to leave but I invite her to. I don’t get my bluff called on. I AM personof action. You say what you mean and do it.
                I have a hightened feeling that I must protect my daughter me husband. If it costs my relationship with my mother, i am willing to pay that price. I cannot honor my mother or father if they cannot honor me. I am a child of God just like they are. He is in all of us and therefore should be respected equally. I must respect the ,,God in my husband and Daughter and therefore I must honor them. If my mother wants to be part of this family she is welcome and I told her that. She is always welcome but h r behavior is not.

                Liked by 2 people

  4. And says she cannot love* sorry about all the typos.

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  5. Aww thank you. This is me sorting out my feelings and experiences. This is very hard for me and I have tried journaling several times. I feel I’m that type of person that journaling works but in need the back and forth discussion sometimes to keep me progressing in my journey towards healing. I have found your blog most informative and cathardic. I guess more so because it helps me realize that I’m not crazy and I’m not alone. I also believe that this is something I need to sort out for my family’s sake and wellness.

    Like

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