Covert narcissists are as the name implies. Covert. In other words, these people can abuse others in such a stealthy, sneaky way that the abuse can go unnoticed. Innocent probably best describes the impression they give. The victim of a covert narcissist often feels badly after dealing with them, but doesn’t even know why. They think the covert narcissist is innocent, because whatever they do, they appear innocent. If the covert narcissist is confronted, they claim they didn’t realize what they said or did would hurt anyone. They also cry victim & make people feel sorry for them. Their behavior makes them appear naïve & always innocent. Yet the truth is, they are cruel & incredibly toxic.
Consider the first narcissist, Satan. When in the garden of Eden with Adam & Eve as described in Genesis 3, the way he approached Eve reeks of covert narcissism. Rather than scream & rage, he simply asked questions that sound innocent, but created doubt in Eve’s mind. He also sounded as though he wanted what was best for her. Genesis 3:1-5 in the Amplified Bible says, “Now the serpent was more crafty (subtle, skilled in deceit) than any living creature of the field which the Lord God had made. And the serpent (Satan) said to the woman, “Can it really be that God has said, ‘You shall not eat from any tree of the garden’?” 2 And the woman said to the serpent, “We may eat fruit from the trees of the garden, 3 except the fruit from the tree which is in the middle of the garden. God said, ‘You shall not eat from it nor touch it, otherwise you will die.’” 4 But the serpent said to the woman, “You certainly will not die! 5 For God knows that on the day you eat from it your eyes will be opened [that is, you will have greater awareness], and you will be like God, knowing [the difference between] good and evil.””
This is how covert narcissists work. On the surface, they sound like they may be naïve, but they’re good people with good intentions. They may have started their lives that way, but they no longer are. They learned somewhere along the way that this type of behavior got them what they wanted, so they have continued using them, even employing new, similar behaviors.
It is possible to protect yourself from covert narcissists. First you must acknowledge that their behavior is evil. Since their behavior is similar to the serpent’s behavior in the Garden of Eden, that alone should be a sign to you that it’s evil.
You also keep your distance from them. The Bible says in Proverbs 22:3 & 27:12 that a prudent (in other words, wise or shrewd) person recognizes evil & hides from it while the naïve continue in that way & are punished for it. There isn’t a lot of repetition in the Bible, so when something is repeated, to me that says it is worth paying extra attention to.
It is also vital to pray. Ask God for discernment so you recognize these people quickly, to show you the truth about their behavior, ways to deal with it when it is impossible to avoid & to ruin their efforts to hurt & abuse you. His guidance & assistance is invaluable & you absolutely use it!
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