Grieving Covert Narcissistic Parents Is Often Harder Than Grieving Overt Narcissistic Parents

Learning about Narcissistic Personality Disorder is an amazing thing.  It gives you answers you’ve always wanted & shows you that you were lied to- not everything was your fault.  It’s a wonderful thing in that way!


Yet at the same time, learning about NPD also means you grieve.  You realize that your narcissistic parents never will be the kind, loving, caring parents you always wanted & hoped they would be.  It destroys that hope that one day, they’d see the error of their ways & start treating you well.  Thank God, grieving does get easier, but I’m not sure it ever goes away entirely.


In my experience, I’ve realized something else about the grief process.  For me, it was easier to grieve when I learned my overtly narcissistic mother was a narcissist than when I learned my covertly narcissistic father was one.  Her actions were so obviously wrong, that there was no denial she was that way.  There was no questioning that she was out to hurt & control me.  I knew that even before learning about NPD.


My father, however, was a different story.


My father always acted naive, even though he’s very intelligent.  He can play the victim or pitiful card well, too.  When I went to him with problems about my mother, he would act sad & tell me he couldn’t do anything to help me.  It was hard on him knowing she was hurting me, he said.  I ended up comforting him when he should’ve been comforting & protecting me.  He’s also very subtle at his manipulations, so it’s easy to miss what his true motives are unless you’re very familiar with narcissism.  For example, there were times when I didn’t answer his phone call or didn’t call him when he thought I should.  He would tell other people he’s so worried about me- he doesn’t know why I haven’t called him in a while.  If they talk to me would they mind have me call him?  Sounds like a concerned father, doesn’t it?  Yet, it’s about making me do what he wants, not concern or love for me.


Because my father is so good at being subtle (the opposite of my mother), it’s been really hard to accept that he’s a covert narcissist.  I always thought of him as the good, loving parent.  He never called me names, verbally tore me down, or screamed at me like my mother did, so he had to be the good parent.  Or, so I told myself.


Besides, having two parents who don’t love you is a very painful thing to accept.  No one wants to believe neither of their parents care about them.  It’s easier to deny that the covertly narcissistic parent is that way.  Their actions are so subtle anyway, it’s easy to miss their abuse, unlike overt narcissists.  Compared to an overt narcissist parent, the covert seems like a tiptoe through the tulips.  At least until you learn about covert narcissists & how diabolical they truly are, hiding behind the mask of the good parent.



If you’re having a tough time accepting that you have a covertly narcissistic parent, please don’t feel bad.  It’s tough to accept!  It really hurts & is very disappointing when you realize the one parent you thought loved you really didn’t.


You need to grieve & get your hurt out to come to a healthy place of acceptance.  As you do, you may find yourself going through an angry phase.  I have.  Angry about being fooled, angry at being manipulated into thinking he was the good parent, angry about being manipulated & guilt tripped.. lots of anger.  I think this is very normal.  Covert narcissists work even harder than overts do to fool people.  Most overts worry about fooling those they want to impress, while not caring about their victims.  Coverts, however, want everyone to think they’re good people, including their victims.  Since we do buy their “good guy/good girl” act, it’s incredibly maddening to find out how badly we were duped.  So, when the anger surfaces, just know- it ain’t gonna be pretty, but it’s OK.  Get it out however works for you- pray, journal, talk to someone safe.


The anger also may come back even when you think it’s all gone.  Nothing wrong with that so long as you’re dealing with it when that happens.  Anger isn’t always easy to process.  Sometimes it takes a long time.  Sometimes, you’re only able to deal with it in small doses, so God hides some things from you until you’re able to cope.  All you can do is deal with it in whatever ways help you the most.


Never forget, God will help you get through it all.  Ask  for help & wisdom on how to do what you need to do.  Listen to what He tells you.  Trust Him, & you will be just fine.  xoxo



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

13 responses to “Grieving Covert Narcissistic Parents Is Often Harder Than Grieving Overt Narcissistic Parents

  1. Cindy

    Excellent!! Thank you!! I didn’t have a covert npd parent but my husband was. Devastating to say the least. I’m so glad we are divorced!!


    • You’re welcome! Thank you!!

      Devastating for sure! Divorce is a sad thing, but sometimes, it’s really for the best, especially when your spouse is a narcissist! So glad you were able to get away from that! ❤


  2. Katy

    This is so true. The other way round for me. My father the overt narc, I grieved our relationship a decade ago. My mother the covert narc, she betrayed me and sold me out. I was left with the blame for something that had nothing to do with me. And vilified for standing up for myself. There was at this point no getting away from the fact I was and always have been a scapegoat in my family. This all happened 2 years ago. And I’m still grieving. Some days so angry and others sad. But moving forward at least. I have found the revelation that she’s covert very hard to deal with as I’m nearly 40 and I can’t believe I didn’t realise before. I always saw her as a victim of my Dad. But her/their behaviour this time leaves me with no option other than to open my eyes. I’ve got flying monkeys attacking me from all angles because I won’t apologise to her/them. Apologise for what though I still don’t know as no one will tell me. They just like turning others against me by making out I’m a horrible person. I’m truly not that person. It’s the hardest thing I’ve ever had to deal with in my life. Thank you for your blogs and insights. They help me so much….

    Liked by 1 person

    • Wow.. I’m so sorry!! But please don’t beat yourself up! Covert narcissists are even better actors than overts- they can fool anyone, especially those closest to them. They also use their standing as the long suffering spouse of the overt narcissist to keep people feeling bad for them, which makes people excuse their bad behavior. It’s no wonder so many people are duped by them for so incredibly long.

      If you’re interested (no pressure of course!), I have a facebook group. It’s full of good, caring, supportive people. It might help you to have a safe place to talk & get advice. The link is below if you’d like to join. And also, thank you so much for your kind words about my blog. I truly appreciate that! ❤

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Lucky us. It seems we have the same mother & the same father, urgh……………. The funny thing is, this article got me thinking that I have never felt a need to grieve over the father I deserve or the loss of a genuine father-daughter relationship. Maybe what remains between my nf & me is simply apathy… He never intended to build a relationship with me, so there’s nothing to grieve over. I think since very early in childhood, my father has turned his back and imposed his parental responsibilities on me, including comforting my mother’s erratic emotion & taking care of my younger siblings. As far as he’s concerned, gaining admiration from outsiders is much more important than caring for the scapegoated daughter. His responsibility was fulfilled as long as he provided enough money for my daily necessities & tuition. Anything beyond that, he just didn’t care & seemed totally apathetic.


    • Oh yes. We’re so lucky! lol

      Considering your father, it makes a lot of sense you feel apathy for him. My father idealized me for most of my life, until I started pulling away. It fooled me into thinking he was this great guy for a long time. It’s been harder for me accepting that he’s abusive because of that. Your father, you always knew wasn’t some great guy, so it makes sense to me you wouldn’t grieve where he’s concerned.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Sommer Davis

    I am having a horribly difficult time. I am just recently learning what NPD is. My mom was a covert narcissistic who used emotional incest. My father left when I was 3. She was always “all that I had”. Ruined every relationship I ever had. I slept in her bed an absurd amount of my life, for Pete’s sake. I am struggling to really GET that she was that way. I mean, I know it, logically. But I can’t make myself really FEEL it. I have just went through the most hellacious two years of my life. And I struggle with feeling as if GOD can’t actually love me… Idk. I’m not even sure why I’m writing this or what to write now. I have got to stop this internal dialogue that is constantly invalidating how I feel. Please help


    • I’m so very sorry Sommer. When you first learn about NPD, it can be incredibly freeing when you learn you aren’t the problem, but it also can be incredibly hard. It’s very hard to accept for sure. especially with a parent who pulled at your heart strings, making you feel sorry for her, & using your good heart against you. I get it. It’s been rough on me accepting my father is a covert narcissist too, but I’ve finally accepted it.

      You need to know that God does love you. You are worthy of His love! It’s hard to believe when your own parent can’t love you, but it’s true. He is nothing like our earthly parents- He is love, real love, not this warped view of love we learned from having narcissistic parents. You can ask Him to show you He loves you, yanno. He will!

      I have a facebook group that may be very helpful for you. The members are wonderful- intelligent, caring, supportive. Many have been in similar situations to yours. If you like, look up “Fans Of Cynthia Bailey-Rug” & join us. I’d love to join! I think it could be very helpful for you. Whether you join or not though, I’m praying for you. ❤


  5. This helped so much ! Thank you! Can you also check out my blog?

    DearEmpathLoveAlwaysYourself – Letters To MOM, From A Daughter of A Narcissistic Mother


  6. wow, what a great blog, thank you so much! I’ll be reading here awhile…. I wonder if we are related LOL


  7. Mind. Blown.
    It’s like you spied into my life and saw my childhood.
    My father was covert, and by being gone can claim innocence. It was all my mother’s fault you know.
    Thank you for your words.


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