Tag Archives: overt

When One Parent Is Abusive & The Other A Bystander

So many times over the years, I’ve gotten comments on my blog or by email from people who recognize they had an abusive parent.  They discuss how cruel that parent was, often explaining terrible tales of brutality that no child should have to face.  At some point, they mention their other parent.  From their description, you would think that parent borders on sainthood.  They say things like, “Mom knew Dad was a monster, but she gave me pointers on how to stay out of his way & not make him angry.”  “Dad was such a good guy.  He wouldn’t see the bad in anyone, even Mom.  He dealt with things by telling me that’s just how Mom is, she can’t help it, & encouraged me to forgive & forget what she did to me.”

Stories like this just break my heart.  These people truly believe what they say, & don’t realize that a passive parent is just as bad as an abusive parent.  Long ago, I was one of these people.

My mother was an overt narcissist.  Her abuse was undeniable.  It was loud, obvious & cruel, especially when I was in my late teen years.  I cried on my father’s shoulder about it many times.  The majority of those times, he turned the situation around to how painful it was for him & how helpless he was to stop the abuse.  Those times ended with me trying to comfort him.  Other times, he simply didn’t care.  I remember one time he gave me a pat on the knee & walked off.  He didn’t say anything but his attitude was one of “Wow.. glad I’m not you!”

For years, I thought this behavior was ok.  Normal even.  He was a great guy, & simply a victim of my mother like me, which is why he couldn’t (well, wouldn’t) help me.  In fact, I felt it was my duty to care for & protect him.  Yes, I am serious.  I honestly believed that it was my duty, as his child, to take care of & protect my father while not expecting him to care for & protect me.  Disturbing, isn’t it?

Sadly, many other adult children with abusive parents grew up believing the same things I did, which explains the many comments I’ve heard from adults who believe the same faulty way I once did.

The problem is this thinking is incredibly dysfunctional.  It’s not facing the truth, & the truth really will set us free!

Believing that one parent is good while the other abusive in these situations creates distrust & confusion about love & loyalty in children.  They think love & loyalty involve sacrificing not only your identity & beliefs, but even your children if need be.  If you’re unwilling to do that, you must not love that person.  This sets the stage for very dysfunctional & even abusive relationships in that child’s life. 

It also makes a child question themselves.  It’s normal for that child to grow up excessively angry at the overtly abusive parent because they simply don’t have the courage to be angry with the passively abusive parent.  One day when they realize this, they wonder what is wrong with them for not being able to accept both parents were abusive.

This type of thinking also happens a lot with people who can accept that their fathers were abusive, but not their mothers.  Admitting a father is abusive is easier than a mother.  Many mothers in such situations play up the appearance of being helpless victims who need their children to protect & coddle them.  Their children get so caught up in taking care of them, they seem to forget that it isn’t their job.  It’s their mother’s job to protect & care for them instead.

The first step to healthier thinking is to recognize both the good & bad aspects of both of your parents.  Writing these things out may be especially beneficial since written words have the ability to bring clarity that the spoken word often lacks.  Seeing your parents realistically is a healthy thing to do, & sets the stage for your healing.  This isn’t “wallowing in the past” or “blaming parents for everything.”  It is a legitimate & healthy step to take towards healing.

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Common Myths About Narcissism

There are many myths about narcissists.  This post addresses some of the common ones & why these myths are wrong.

“Narcissism is a disorder.  They can’t help their behavior.”  While narcissism is listed as a personality disorder, it isn’t a typical mental disorder.  Personality disorders describe dysfunctional behavior rather than a physical problem with someone’s brain.  If you doubt this, watch any narcissist around someone they want to impress & their victim.  Their behavior will be extremely different with each person.

“Narcissists don’t know what they’re doing hurts people.”  Yes they do know.  They know that what they are doing causes pain & suffering, but they don’t care.  This is because one of the hallmarks of Narcissistic Personality Disorder is a complete lack of empathy.  If you have doubts, watch a narcissist’s reaction when they hurt you.  Chances are you will see a sign of satisfaction the moment they realize how badly they hurt you.  A slight smirk, smug facial expression or glimmer in their eyes are the most common signs.

“If you tell a narcissist that what they’re doing hurts you, they’ll change their behavior.”  That lack of empathy thing?  That is exactly why this is wrong.  Narcissists do NOT care about any pain & suffering they cause.  In fact, if you tell them that something they have done hurts you, chances are excellent that they’ll do that behavior again because they know how much it hurts you.

“He/She has been abused.  That behavior is all they know.”  Maybe this is true.  Many narcissists have been abused & because of that, they don’t know how to behave in a healthy way.  That being said though, anyone knows that if something hurts them, it will hurt someone else.  That should be a sign that they shouldn’t do certain things!  Even if they don’t really know what to do, they absolutely know what they shouldn’t do.

“Narcissists aren’t so bad.  They’re just selfish.”  Narcissists aren’t your average, garden variety selfish jerk.  Average selfish people simply don’t think of others as much as they should.  They aren’t necessarily out to cause pain, but rather it is a consequence of their lack of consideration of others.  When they learn they have hurt someone, they apologize & try to change their behavior.  Narcissists enjoy causing pain.  They also care only about what they want, so hurting others to get those things won’t upset them.  They won’t apologize sincerely or change their selfish behavior no matter how much pain they cause.

“No one can be a narcissist & be active in the church/a teacher/a doctor/a police officer/a therapist.”  Narcissists are attracted to the so called “helping professions.”  People admire, respect & obey those in helping professions.  Narcissists crave that sort of treatment from others like oxygen.  They also enjoy being in control, & those positions offer them some degree of authority over others.

“Narcissists are all alike so it’s easy to find ways to deal with them.”  Lots of no in this statement!!  While many narcissists behave much the same way, that doesn’t mean they’re all alike.  Not only are there different types of narcissists, but each one is also an individual with their own unique personality, likes, dislikes, quirks & more.  Also Narcissistic Personality Disorder is a spectrum disorder.  Someone who exhibits almost all or all behaviors of NPD is known as a malignant narcissist.  They are impossible to deal with & are much more dangerous than someone who exhibits only a few traits.

“Narcissists are easy to identify.  They brag about themselves & their accomplishments.”  There are overt narcissists who behave this way but that doesn’t describe all narcissists.  Covert narcissists are the opposite.  They are often meek, quiet, appear very unassuming & even not very intelligent.  They appear selfless & even martyr-like.  People admire them for being such good people, which provides them a lot of admiration.

This is hardly an all inclusive list of myths, but I hope this short list helps you anyway.

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One Thing You Can Expect After Going No Contact With A Narcissist

Some abusive people are relentless.  They abuse their victims for years, sometimes their entire lifetime or their victims’ lifetime.  When their victims finally sever ties, this should mean the end of the abuse, but often it doesn’t.  Abusers are notorious for harassing & even stalking their victims, sometimes for years after the victim ended the relationship.  Not all abusers do this however.  Sometimes, they send out their evil minions to do their dirty work.

Flying monkeys is a commonly used term used to describe the evil minions who help narcissists abuse their victims.  They are quick to tell victims that they need to fix the relationship with the narcissist because the narcissist is such a wonderful person.  They not only sing the narcissist’s praises, but they use guilt & shame to try to manipulate victims into tolerating the abuse.  They say things like, “He is so miserable without you!”  “Your mom isn’t getting any younger..”  “You only get one set of parents!”

You would think once the relationship is over, the flying monkeys’ jobs would be over too, but sadly, that’s not always the case.  These mindless cronies still take their work seriously & can amp up their dysfunctional tasks.  Sometimes they will try contacting victims even years after the victim removed the narcissist from their life.  Sometimes they do it because they think now that time has passed, the victim has had the time to “get over” whatever the narcissist did to them, so now they’ll listen to the flying monkey’s logic about why they should resume the relationship.  Other times, they are on fact finding missions for the narcissist, hoping to find out whatever the narcissist wants to know about the victim.  Most times it seems they are hoping to find the victim is utterly miserable & destitute without the narcissist.  Still other times, these flying monkeys do it just to harass the victim while telling themselves they’re simply trying to help, which, in true covert narcissist fashion, enables them to think they’re good people.  Whichever the case, their behavior boils down to creating strife in the victim’s life, & that is something that the Bible speaks against very strongly.

Strife means to create discord, clash with or to antagonize another person.  Naturally strife can lead to other problems such as anger, hatred or thoughts of revenge, which is probably why the Bible speaks so harshly against it.  Galatians 5:19-21 in the Amplified translation of the Bible says, “19Now the practices of the sinful nature are clearly evident: they are sexual immorality, impurity, sensuality (total irresponsibility, lack of self-control), 20 idolatry, sorcery, hostility, strife, jealousy, fits of anger, disputes, dissensions, factions [that promote heresies], 21 envy, drunkenness, riotous behavior, and other things like these. I warn you beforehand, just as I did previously, that those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God.”

People who are willing to start such strife do so for various reasons, none of which are good.  Proverbs 15:18 describes the type of person who starts strife in various ways in different translations.  Hot tempered, quick tempered, wrathful, & hothead are some of the words used in that particular Scripture.  Proverbs 16:28 also describes this type of person as a troublemaker, perverse & even evil.  Another motivation for some people is hatred, according to Proverbs 10:12.  Pride is yet another motivation which is mentioned in Proverbs 13:10 & 28:25.  The pride aspect proves my theory that many flying monkeys are covert narcissists.  They interfere because not only do they enjoy abusing, but they think they look like good people just trying to help fix a damaged relationship.

The best way to deal with flying monkeys is not to deal with them if at all possible.  No matter who they are, there is Biblical evidence that there is no need to have a person like this in your life.  Proverbs 22:10 says, “Drive out the scoffer, and contention will go away; Even strife and dishonor will cease.”  A scoffer is someone who mocks others or treats others with contempt.  That is often the perfect description of not only narcissists but their flying monkeys as well, so I believe this Scripture applies to them all.  Protect yourself & remove these dreadful people from your life if you can.  There is no good reason to tolerate such awful behavior from anyone!

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Real Evil Relating To Narcissists

I recently read an article that discussed real evil.  It claimed real evil doesn’t hide, it is fearless, it makes its plans known & basically shows them off.  As I read this article, I thought how completely inaccurate the statement is.  Real evil isn’t always so easy to spot.  If it was, life would be much easier because everyone would recognize evil & could avoid it.

In truth, real evil hides its true motives.  Considering what I believe are some signs of real evil, that confirms to me what I’ve suspected for many years, that narcissism is evil & even demonic in nature.

It can come across as naivete, as if someone truly has no idea their actions are less than good & pure.  Covert narcissists are prime examples of this.  They often come across as simple, not very intelligent people.  While their overt counterparts cringe at the thought of someone thinking they are anything less than super intelligent, covert narcissists love to be underestimated.  This helps them to do whatever awful deeds they wish to do & get away with it because people think they truly don’t know any better.  

Real evil also hides behind a mask of pretending that all abuse is done for the ultimate benefit of the victim.  My mother used to claim that her abuse wasn’t abuse at all.   It was done to help me.  In fact when her abuse hit its peak when I was in my late teens, she said she was “trying to save me from myself,” & it was merely “tough love” done because she was trying to help me.   That so called tough love involved raging at me daily, often multiple times a day, berating me & more.  Many narcissists do the same thing to their victims, abuse them while claiming the abuse is done to benefit their victim somehow.

Real evil denies & excuses bad & abusive behavior, rather than accepting responsibility for it.  A functional & healthy person may not like to do it, but they’ll admit their bad behavior & accept responsibility for it.  They try never to repeat it.

Real evil also blames victims for making someone abuse them.  This is incredibly low & wicked, in my opinion, because it abuses a victim twice while absolving an abuser of blame.  First, the victim is initially abused, then abused again by receiving the blame for making someone hurt him or her.  The abuser is exonerated of all guilt for their cruelty by putting all blame unfairly on a victim.

Real evil never apologizes.  A truly evil person may say the words, “I’m sorry”, but they won’t mean it.  In fact, they’ll give what I call a non apology.  This means rather than saying, “I’m sorry I hurt you.  I was wrong.  What can I do to make it up to you?”, they will say something like, “I’m sorry you feel that way.”  “I’m sorry I did that, but I wouldn’t have done it if you wouldn’t have done what you did.”  or,  “I said I was sorry… what else do you want from me?”  The only reason they say the words “I’m sorry” is to appease their victim so they can resume their awful behavior.

While real evil can be obvious, such as in the case of serial killers, it most often is very subtle like in the examples I have given.

When dealing with a narcissist, if you start to believe their lies, I pray you’ll remember these points.  Real evil is subtle & manipulative.  Narcissists use it to their best advantage while tearing down their victims.  Being aware of their tactics can help you to avoid further narcissistic abuse in the future.

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Common Myths About Narcissistic Abuse

There are many myths about narcissistic abuse.  This post’s purpose is to debunk some of the more common ones.

“You let him/her get away with treating you that way.  That’s why he/she does what they do.”  Narcissists aren’t normal people who respect boundaries.  They don’t care that their actions cause pain & problems for others.  They only care about what they want.  No matter what consequences you give a narcissist, chances of them respecting your boundaries are slim to none. 

“Narcissists only abuse the weak & stupid.”  Anyone can be abused by a narcissist, no matter their intelligence, personality, religious beliefs, social standing or gender.  Narcissists are incredibly good actors & can convince anyone of whatever they want them to believe.  Even people who know a great deal about Narcissistic Personality Disorder can be fooled temporarily.  Someone who doesn’t know about it can be fooled much easier & for a much longer time before they realize something is very wrong.

“You must have done something to attract this type of person.”  This is nothing but victim blaming & shaming, & is incredibly cruel!  Do you know the kind of person narcissists are attracted to?  People with kind, loving & gentle spirits who have a great deal of empathy.  It is wrong to make people like this feel badly for being this way, especially when these are all wonderful qualities!

“You just need to learn how to stop making him angry or stay out of his way.”  No one is responsible for another person’s abusive behavior beyond the abuser.  Nothing anyone can do can prevent any abuser from abusing, period.  Narcissists are also incredibly toxic people who enjoy torturing their victims.  One way they do this is to keep their victims in a constant state of high alert by changing what angers them & what they want.  No matter how much a person may want to avoid angering the narcissist in their life or stay out of his way, it’s impossible.

“You need to fix this relationship!”  One of my aunts told me this regarding the relationship I had with my parents.  She is far from the only person to think in such a dysfunctional & foolish manner.  The problem is no one person can fix a relationship.  While one person can destroy a relationship, it takes two people to fix one.  Not to mention, in the mind of narcissists, their relationships are fine.  They don’t need fixing, at least so long as the victim does whatever the narcissist wants & tolerates the abuse.

“If it’s so bad, just walk away/go no contact.”  Anyone who says this most likely lacks empathy.  Ending relationships is always hard.  Ending a relationship with a narcissist is even harder, especially if that person is someone you love a great deal such as a spouse or parent.  Chances are the person who says this also has no concept of trauma bonding.  Trauma bonding is common among narcissists & their victims.  This is when the narcissist interjects some kindnesses in with their abuse.  They also destroy their victims’ self esteem, making them think they can’t survive without the narcissist.  There is also the fact that many narcissists financially ruin their victims so they are dependent on their narcissist.  Narcissists also isolate their victims from friends & families, so they have no one they can trust to help them.  Leaving narcissists isn’t as simple as “just walking away” for these reasons & many more.

“You’ve been away from the narcissist for a while so you should be over it by now.”  Narcissistic abuse often creates Post Traumatic Stress Disorder in victims.  This disorder as well as the tremendous amount of psychological warfare waged against victims by narcissists mean there is no “getting over it”.  It takes a lot of time to come to any sort of terms to what happened & if you have PTSD, to learn to manage your symptoms.

These are only a few of the myths about narcissistic abuse, but even so, I hope my debunking helps you. 

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When Your “Good” Parent Is A Covert Narcissist

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Tactics Of Overt Narcissists

Since it’s impossible to avoid all narcissists, I thought I would write a post to help people easily recognize their abusive actions.  This post will be about the actions of overt narcissists, the next, about covert.

Overt narcissists are the most commonly discussed type of narcissist.  They are known to be very loud, brash & bold in their abuse.  They are the easiest narcissists to identify simply because of how obvious they usually are.

Overt narcissists rage.  Loudly.  When their victim causes them a narcissistic injury by failing to provide them with their narcissistic supply, overt narcissists will be furious & let their victim know it.  If the victim fails to complement the narcissist, disobeys the narcissist or commits some other supposed horrific sin, that victim can count on the narcissist punishing them harshly for it.

Overt narcissists like to brag.  When dealing with an overt narcissist, it won’t take long before this person regales you with stories of their great accomplishments, their unique talents or the masses of people who admire them.

If an overt narcissist isn’t the center of attention, he or she will find a way to return to the center of attention.   An overt narcissist will do whatever it takes to gain attention, good or bad.  They will start to discuss highly inappropriate topics such as the details of a recent murder or even body functions.  They will make noises such as clapping their hands or even a loud burp.  I remember my mother once breaking into song when my father & I were talking & she wasn’t interested in our conversation.

Overt narcissists also have no problem interrupting other people.  If a person is talking about something that doesn’t interest the overt narcissist, they have no problem interrupting or talking over that person to change the conversation back to them.

All narcissists lack empathy, & overt ones are very obvious about it.  If you have a problem, an overt narcissist will be sure to let you know that your problem isn’t important to them.  They will change the subject or say invalidating things to make you feel so badly for being upset, that you don’t discuss this topic again.

Overt narcissists must be in charge of every area of the relationship, period.  Overt narcissists are like dictators in a relationship.  They will use shame & fear primarily to keep their victim under their control.  Many also have a thing for using cars to help them dominate.  They must drive, because that way they have their victim trapped where they can’t escape & they are in control of where they go.

Overt narcissists are incredibly opinionated.  Whatever the topic is, overt narcissists will have an opinion on it & believe that everyone must hear said opinion.  If the opinion is something about the victim, you can guarantee it will be a negative opinion.

All narcissists are envious, but overts are very obvious about it.  Anyone an overt narcissist believes to be more talented, successful or attractive than they are is going to be judged & criticized VERY harshly, & usually behind their back in an attempt to turn other people against the person they envy.

Overt narcissists have double standards.  Whatever an overt narcissist does is great, but if anyone else does that same thing, it’s bad.  For example, if an overt narcissist lied to you, that would be ok because, according to them, something about you made them lie.  Yet, if you lie to the overt narcissist, that is completely unacceptable & there is no reason whatsoever for you to lie to them, ever!

Obviously this isn’t a complete list of the behaviors of the overt narcissist, but it should be enough to help you see such behaviors as a red flag.  Recognizing those red flags will help you to protect yourself from such toxic people.

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About Accepting A Covertly Narcissistic Parent Is Abusive

Overt narcissists & covert narcissists often marry because this creates a perfect, dysfunctional union.  The real problem begins when they have children.  Overt narcissists are not only able to be the center of attention in this family but also abuse the child without interference from the covert partner who refuses to defend the child.  The covert narcissist is able to look like the martyr, the long suffering spouse.  People wonder how this wonderful person can put up with being married to that  awful spouse.  The covert narcissist is also able to convince everyone, including the abused child, that there is no way for him or her to protect the child.  In fact, often, the child becomes protective of the covertly narcissistic parent & comforts that parent when the overtly narcissistic parent abuses them rather than the parent comforting the child as it should be.  The covertly narcissistic parent appears to be the true victim in this scenario, not the child.

Once that child grows up though, she usually learns first that the overtly narcissistic parent was abusive.  She accepts that truth, as painful as it is.  She may even change her behavior to be healthier such as setting boundaries.

The problem adult children in this situation often have is the covertly narcissistic parent.  Accepting that parent was equally if not more abusive is a very hard pill to swallow.

I wondered why this is for a long time, & came up with some ideas.

When you compare an overt & a covert narcissist, the covert doesn’t look so bad.  That person isn’t the one who beat you, cussed you out, tore your self esteem to shreds or destroyed your identity like your overtly narcissistic parent did.  It was much harder to deny that your overtly narcissistic parent was abusive when that parent did such awful, hurtful things to you.  Your covertly narcissistic parent probably seemed normal or even loving by comparison because of not doing those terrible things.

Chances are, your covertly narcissistic parent also was nice to you sometimes, maybe doing nice little things for you that your other parent didn’t know about.  Nice behavior mixed in with abusive creates a great deal of confusion, especially in a child.  No one wants to believe that a person who can do such nice things can be abusive.

And, that parent made you feel as if you needed to care for him or her instead of he or she caring for you.  That created a strong bond to that parent that wasn’t created with your overtly narcissistic parent.  Caring for another person naturally creates a bond.  Look at mothers who care for their children or adult children who care for their elderly, frail parents for example.

When discussing this topic with a friend of mine some time ago, she also added that she thinks part of the reason it’s harder to accept that the covertly narcissistic parent is abusive is because that means that neither of your parents truly loved you, which is incredibly hard to face.  That is an excellent point.

Accepting one parent was abusive & didn’t love you is hard enough, but BOTH parents?!  That is incredibly painful.  No one wants to feel they aren’t loved by one parent, let alone both.  Even if you know about Narcissistic Personality Disorder, realizing both your parents didn’t love you can be devastating to your self esteem.  It can make you feel unworthy, because you think if your own parents don’t love you, you must be unworthy of love.

Dear Reader, if you’re in the position of having one overt & one covert narcissistic parent, please know you aren’t alone.  This sort of situation happens more often than you might think.  And if you’re struggling coming to terms with it, you’re definitely not alone.  Many, many people have been there, including me.  As painful as it is though, you need to find a way to come to terms with the fact your covertly narcissistic parent is also abusive & not the good parent you thought he or she was.  It’s hard, but you can do it!  It will help you to accept the truth.  After all, the truth sets us free!  xoxo

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About The Consummate Victim

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Accepting Your Parent Is A Covert Narcissist

I remember when I first realized that my mother was a narcissist.  Although it was painful, I was glad finally to understand why she treated me as she did.  The raging, the silent treatments, the manipulation & control.. suddenly it all made sense.  She blamed me for all of it, but the truth was it wasn’t me.  It was her!

It was another few years before I realized my father was a narcissist as well.  It took me so long because he was a covert narcissist.

My mother being an overt narcissist made it obvious something wasn’t right.  Normal mothers didn’t keep their daughters from getting to know their extended family.  They also didn’t scream at their teenage daughters daily, often multiple times in a day.  They didn’t accuse their daughters of completely uncharacteristic behaviors, such as having sex with their entire high school football team, especially when there was no evidence to support this wild claim.

My father was nothing like this at all.  For most of my life, I was convinced he was my one nice, normal parent.  I was wrong.

While my father didn’t scream at me or accuse me of outrageous behaviors, he abused me nonetheless.  He didn’t protect me from my mother.  In fact, when I told him of some of her abusive behaviors, he would tell me how hard this was on him, & how there was nothing he could do to protect me.  In spite of my pain, I often ended up comforting him after my mother abused me.

Compared to my mother’s constant criticisms & rages, I didn’t think this was a problem.  He told me he loved me, unlike my mother who stopped saying it when I was in my teens.  My father also complemented me, & bragged about me to other people.  My mother didn’t do either.

As an adult, married with my own home, I finally noticed some subtle changes in my father’s behavior.  He became critical.  Nothing obvious like my mother at first, but still critical.  He became more critical over the years.  He also became more controlling in subtle ways.  If I didn’t answer his call immediately, the next time we spoke, he would tell me how he thought I must be mad at him since I didn’t answer the phone.  If I said I wasn’t home at the time, he didn’t believe me.  Or, he would call folks we both knew, asking them to contact me & have me call him immediately because he was worried about me.

Eventually, I realized my father was a covert narcissist, & that fact truly hurt.

My situation is quite similar to that of many adult children of narcissistic parents.  Accepting the overtly narcissistic parent is abusive is difficult, but it can be done.  Accepting their covertly narcissistic parent is abusive is a much more difficult task, & can be impossible for some people.

The nature of a covert narcissist’s abuse is what makes the abuse so hard to comprehend.  There is no obvious abuse.  They don’t hit or scream.  Their abuse is so much more subtle.  They use guilt, disapproval, silence & portraying themselves as innocent, naive, in need of saving or protection.  They also can turn a situation around to where they look like the innocent victim instead of the abuser, rather than the other way around as it should be.

This creates a cognitive dissonance in victims.  In other words, the victim often may see the truth, but doesn’t want to accept it because it’s so painful.

There is also the fact that it’s hurtful enough to accept that one parent didn’t love you.  Accepting both parents didn’t is even more so.  Even when you understand it’s because they’re narcissists, knowing both of your parents didn’t love you can make you feel unlovable.

If this describes your situation, I’m so sorry, Dear Reader.  You are in an extremely painful situation.  Pray, journal, talk to safe people… do whatever you have to do to help you face this ugly truth & to heal.  It will help you in the long run to face this awful situation.  You can do this!

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Covert Narcissist Flying Monkeys

Clearly not all flying monkeys are narcissists.  There are some well meaning people who are genuinely fooled by the narcissist you know.  We’ve all been fooled by narcissists, so it’s understandable this happens.  It’s hard to be too mad at them when you see their eyes begin to open & they realize that the narcissist isn’t that great person they thought they were.

 

Unfortunately though, I believe there are many flying monkeys who are covert narcissists.  They enjoy torturing you on behalf of the narcissist while at the same time, making themselves look like the good guy who is just trying to help.

 

A huge red flag that you’re dealing with a covert narcissist flying monkey is when someone claims to care for or love you, but they don’t show any interest in you.  They don’t care about what is happening in your life, what you’re proud of, what struggles you face, your needs, feelings, likes or dislikes.   They only want to talk about the narcissist or what you need to do to fix that relationship.

 

When you try to talk to this person, they shut you down quickly, no matter the topic.  They can accomplish this through interrupting you, making jokes at your expense or making you feel foolish for whatever it is you’re talking about.  Or, this person may listen to you or read something you’ve written only to tell you that you’re wrong.

 

If you try to talk to this person about the narcissist in your life, you can guarantee this person will shut you down quickly & in whatever way they believe will make you feel the most ashamed.  One of my parents’ flying monkeys was my Facebook friend for quite some time.  She had a lot of confidence online, saying things she would never say to my face.  She butted in on a conversation I had with someone else regarding my parents to say, “You need to get into therapy to figure out how you can fix things!  Don’t you dare tell me it won’t work!”  In a completely different conversation, I mentioned to someone else that although my father & I had virtually nothing in common, we did share a love of classic cars.  The flying monkey said, “Honey, you need to figure out some things you two can share!  You need to start finding things you two have in common right now!”  I deleted the comment, & a few days later, she commented on another post with, “I know you don’t want to hear anything from mean old me, but I think you should….” (I forget what the topic was she felt she needed to advise me on).  I knew what she was about by this point, so her behavior didn’t manipulate me.  It only made me angry she said the ridiculous things she did.

 

Covert narcissist flying monkeys also play dumb very well.  They may claim that they don’t know why you’re angry with the narcissist.  They try to get you to confide in them about the problem, saying it’s because they care for you, when the truth is they’ll only run to the narcissist with anything you say.  And, if you sever ties with this person, they may ignore the fact you’ve blocked their phone number, email address & social media & find other ways to contact you “just to say hi”.  Their message most likely will appear sickeningly sweet.  The flying monkey I mentioned earlier?  Her message like this called me “sweetie” & was signed, “love you.”  She never called me sweetie any other time, so yes, I took that as a red flag.

 

So why do these covertly narcissistic flying monkeys act this way?  I think they have what they consider to be excellent reasons.

 

They want to prove to you that narcissistic behavior is OK, & there is something wrong with you for thinking otherwise.  If they can convince you of that, they can control you as can the narcissist for whom they’re the flying monkey.

 

Also, if they can convince you that narcissistic behavior is acceptable, then they think they can convince you that you should do all the work in the relationship with them & the other narcissist.  If you feel obligated in that way, a narcissist has it made.  They can get you to do anything at all they want.

 

These flying monkeys are extremely devious & convincing.  You need to be fully aware of what they’re up to in order to protect yourself against their mental warfare.

 

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Flying Monkeys

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Ways To Frazzle Narcissists

Sometimes avoiding narcissists is impossible no matter how hard you try & how much knowledge you have about Narcissistic Personality Disorder.  When that happens, there are some ways that you can fluster them enough to where they will want to leave you alone.

 

If you have & enforce good boundaries, narcissists won’t like you.  A good victim has weak or non existent boundaries.  If you have & enforce your boundaries, a narcissist won’t know what to do with you.  They may try to make you feel stupid or wrong for having them, but when you are secure in the knowledge what you are doing is right, their gaslighting won’t work.

 

Having healthy self esteem is a huge turn off to narcissists.  The lower a  person’s self esteem, the easier that person is to control.  Similarly, the healthier a person’s self esteem, the harder that person is to control.  While narcissists often enjoy the challenge of controlling a person with healthy self esteem, they will give up when they see that person isn’t going to tolerate their abuse.

 

Knowing about NPD is also a huge turn off to narcissists.  Even if you don’t explain the ugly details of narcissism to them or call them out, so long as you know what these people are like & what they are capable of, it will be a problem for them.  Narcissists don’t want anyone to figure out what they are doing, because a person who understands their games cannot be controlled or manipulated, & won’t create any narcissistic supply.

 

Self validation is a powerful weapon against narcissists.  They want their victims to look only to  them for validation.  A person who doesn’t need the narcissist for validation won’t provide any narcissistic supply or be controlled by a narcissist.

 

Understanding that no contact is a very viable option gives you strength when dealing with a narcissist, & they can’t handle that.  Narcissists want to be the ones in charge at all times.  If you know that you have options, & don’t have to let the narcissist make all decisions in the relationship, you will become a problem to a narcissist.

 

If a narcissist knows you don’t need him or her, you become a threat.  Narcissistic parents & spouses in particular like to make a victim completely dependent on them, preferably financially or emotionally.  If they see you are well aware you don’t need the narcissist, can leave the relationship anytime & still survive just fine, you won’t be a good victim to the narcissist.

 

Avoiding all narcissists seems to be impossible, unfortunately.  However, if you can implement some of these tools, you will be able to handle yourself very well when you must deal with them.

 

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Narcissists & Feigning Ignorance

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The Pain Of Having A Covert Narcissist Parent

Last night, I had two extremely vivid nightmares about my parents.  I woke up anxious & afraid from both, but especially the second one.

 

I got to thinking & praying about the dreams, I realized they showed me something.  It is incredibly hard to accept a covert narcissist parent as the evil, abuser that they are!

 

Over the last couple of years, I’ve had a LOT of dreams about my father & when I prayed, God would tell me to pay attention to them- they are showing what he is really like, as He did when I asked about last night’s nightmares.  Yet in spite of the many warnings, I was still shocked when he did certain things like calling the police twice on me for “welfare checks” after I stopped speaking to him, accused my husband of keeping me from him or sending several flying monkeys after me.

 

When you’ve been raised with an overt narcissist & a covert narcissist, it is hard to accept the covert narcissist is bad.  After all, compared to the overt, the covert doesn’t seem so bad.  The covert doesn’t scream at you or hit you or shred your self-esteem.  Plus, it’s incredibly hard to accept that both of your parents didn’t love you.  One is hard enough, but two?  Incredibly painful.  So, many people tell themselves that their covertly narcissistic parent isn’t so bad.   Sure, that parent has flaws, but it could be worse, right?

 

Wrong!!

 

I firmly believe covert narcissists are way worse than overts.  At least with overt narcissists, you know where you stand & what they’re capable of.  Not so with covert narcissists.  Due to their subtlety, they can abuse so discreetly, a person doesn’t even realize it’s happening.  They also give such a good appearance as a victim that on the off chance you recognize they’re behavior is abusive, you don’t have the heart to upset them by confronting them.  They also love to appear naive & innocent.  This makes you doubt they know what they’re doing is wrong.  It also means if you tell people you both know, you won’t be believed.  Covert narcissists also make you feel sorry for them, which is another guarantee that you will let them get away with anything they want to do.

 

If anyone meets my father, they get the impression he’s a simple country boy- laid back, good sense of humor & a pleasant person.  And, now that he’s pushing 80 & has Alzheimer’s & other health problems, they also feel bad for him.  They don’t realize the incredibly evil, twisted things he is capable of because they only see the way he presents himself.  They don’t believe that when my mother abused me, he not only failed to protect me, he also turned the situation around so I would comfort him because he said he was upset she hurt me.  They wouldn’t believe he expected me to apologize to him for breaking a wall when my mother threw me into it when I was 19.  Yet, these things are absolutely true.

 

Dear Reader, if you have a covertly narcissistic parent, please pray about your situation.  If you’re maintaining that relationship thinking that parent isn’t as bad as your overtly narcissistic one, you’re probably wrong.  I thought that myself & I certainly was.  It’s taken me a lot of painful events, & long time to see my father for the wicked narcissist he is.  It took many nightmares & painful events to realize it.  I would love to spare you the kind of pain that I have had to experience because I didn’t want to accept the truth, so please, please pray about your situation.  Ask God to show you the truth about your parent, to enable you to handle it & what you should do about it.

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Scapegoats In The Narcissistic Family

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Two Types Of Narcissists, Part 2 Covert Narcissists

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Two Types Of Narcissists, Part 1 Overt Narcissists

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About Covert Narcissists

One thing about narcissists is that they are extremely good at hiding how vicious they truly are from everyone except their victims.  Covert narcissists are even better at this than their overt counterparts.  Coverts can be so skilled at hiding their abusive actions that even the victims don’t consider it abuse.  Often, if they tell others about what the covert narcissist is doing, they aren’t believed.

People often make excuses for the covert narcissist…

 

  • “She just doesn’t know any better.  She didn’t even graduate high school, after all…”
  • “He’s getting old- he probably just didn’t even remember/think about….”
  • “Well, he was diagnosed with Dementia.. he can’t help himself.”
  • “Everyone loves her.  She helps so many people.  I must’ve overreacted.  She wouldn’t have knowingly hurt me like that.”
  • “Just look at what she puts up with from that awful husband!  She was probably just stressed & didn’t mean to hurt me..”

 

If any of these excuses sound familiar because you have heard them or said them, then chances are you are dealing with a covert narcissist.

 

Are you still wondering?  Here are some other clues…

 

  • Does this person act innocent, even slow or naive, but you know for a fact they aren’t that way?
  • Does this person act incompetent, unable to take care of herself or himself?  Maybe relying completely on their spouse to make household decisions, pay bills, etc.
  • Does this person come across as in need of protection?  As if they are too weak to protect themselves?
  • Do you feel as if you shouldn’t confront this person because they are too fragile to handle your confrontation, no matter how gently you approach them?
  • Does this person offer looks of disapproval more than saying critical things?
  • Does this person not give the disapproving looks when you both are around other people?  Perhaps even complementing you in the presence of others?
  • Does this person expect to be taken care of?  For example, elderly parents with plenty of money who refuse to call a lawn care service, instead, expecting their adult son with his own home to maintain their lawn.
  • Is this person married to an overt narcissist, & never stands up to him or her?
  • If married to an overt narcissist, does he or she leave parenting to the overt narcissist, never protecting the children from that parent & appearing as the real victim of the overt narcissist?

 

Covert narcissists are much harder to spot than overts since they are so much sneakier & more deceptive.  This is what I believe makes them even more dangerous than overt narcissists.

 

Dealing with covert narcissists is even more of a challenge than dealing with their overt counterparts.  You still have to have & enforce strong boundaries, refuse to provide them with supply, limit your time in their presence, etc. like you do with overts.  The problem is with coverts, they will slip into the victim role extremely easily & quickly.  It can be VERY hard not to apologize or give in.  The more you stick to your guns, though, the easier it gets.

 

Another thing I’ve found to be helpful is being cold & logical with them.  Show them no emotion.  If you do, they will try to squelch your joy or provoke you when they know something makes you angry.  Instead, show them no emotion.  Walk away if you feel emotions reaching a boiling point if you must, even if it appears rude.

 

Change the subject as needed.  Since covert narcissists are pretty passive in some ways, this tactic works quite well with them.

 

Limiting or even ending contact with them is your best bet.  The more time you spend with a covert narcissist, the worse they seem to get.  At least that’s been my experience.

 

And lastly, never forget- just because a covert narcissist isn’t screaming in your face doesn’t mean they aren’t just as vicious as overt narcissists.  In fact, many strike me as being even more vicious.  They are simply better at hiding their viciousness under the guise of whatever works best for them- naivete, being helpful or innocence.

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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

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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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Pity, Sympathy & The Covert Narcissist

When narcissism is discussed, often it is the behavior of the overt narcissist.  Very little is discussed about covert narcissists.

 

Covert narcissists are much more devious & sly in their actions, yet they are just as abusive if not moreso than overt narcissists.  Because their actions are so covert, their victims are often very hesitant to admit what was done to them was abusive.  They often doubt what was done to them was done out of maliciousness, taking the blame on themselves for being over sensitive or reading too much into things.  One way this is accomplished is by the covert narcissist using pity & sympathy.

 

Pity & sympathy are tools covert narcissists often use.  If they can make you feel sorry for them, chances of you calling them out on their actions or setting boundaries are very slim.  If you do either, you are going to feel very guilty for being so mean & unreasonable.

 

One way covert narcissists acquire that pity is by acting as if they aren’t very smart.  Whether or not they are educated is beside the point.  Covert narcissists like to give the impression that they’re very naive & innocent.  Do NOT be fooled by this act however!  There is absolutely no way a person can be stupid & extremely devious at the same time.  Someone who is genuinely not very smart won’t know how to abuse people while appearing innocent.  They also wouldn’t know what they are doing is wrong & it needs to be hidden.

 

Another way they acquire sympathy is by being married to an overt narcissist.  Very often, overt & covert narcissists marry.  It’s the perfect dysfunctional match.  The overt narcissist can do anything, gaining all the attention, without anyone standing up to him or her.  Meanwhile, the covert narcissist is able to abuse quietly, behind the scenes.  No one really notices because the overt narcissist is gaining all the attention.  The covert narcissist enjoys this because compared to the overt narcissist, the covert narcissist doesn’t look so bad.  In fact, they tend to play the role of the good spouse very well.  They look long suffering, patient, even martyr-like in the fact they can tolerate so much from their spouse.

 

Because of this appearance, many people, particularly empathetic ones, are extremely hesitant to set boundaries with or confront covert narcissists.  I was the same way with my late mother in-law who was clearly a covert narcissist.  I noticed she was especially mean to me after a disagreement with my father in-law.  I felt bad for her- sometimes he said some really hurtful things to her.  I thought, naively, maybe she was just getting out her frustrations.  And, I didn’t have the heart to say anything to her because she had enough to deal with.  As time went on though, I realized she got meaner & meaner, whether or not they had a disagreement.  Not saying something wasn’t helping her or me.

 

Most people like getting a little sympathy or pity periodically.  If you have a bad cold, doesn’t if feel good if someone says they’re sorry you’re sick & brings you some soup?  Covert narcissists take that normal thing to an extreme, though, using it to get away with any abuse they can.

 

Overt narcissists may use sympathy & pity too, but not nearly as much as covert narcissists do.  Plus, their methods are much easier to spot.  They often can turn on & off their tears as easily as most people flip a switch, for example.  I’ve seen that with my overtly narcissistic mother.  She has back problems, & uses that for sympathy.  If she isn’t getting enough attention, she has burst into tears, claiming to be in pain.  Yet interestingly, when I didn’t rush to her side, after a moment she stopped crying & went on with her activities.

 

If you notice someone in your life constantly wants pity or sympathy, be forewarned, chances are, you’re dealing with a narcissist.

 

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Covert Narcissists, aka Introverted Narcissists

Periodically, I like to post about the signs of a covert narcissist.  Everyone knows about overt narcissists, but there just isn’t much information on their covert counterparts.  Today, I want to share some warning signs of covert narcissists.

 

They are terrible listeners.  When having a conversation with a covert narcissist, it is painfully obvious they want you to shut up so they can resume talking.  They look bored.  They pretend they’re going to talk as you start to talk, then obviously stop talking, acting as if you interrupted them.  They try to hurry your conversation up.

 

They create a false image of themselves.  Covert narcissists are not as obvious in their delusions of grandeur like overt narcissists.  They may even say depreciating things about themselves such as “I can’t do that.. I’m not talented.”  “I’m not very smart.”  This false image of modesty often makes people complement them & provide narcissistic supply when they make such comments.  Some pretend to be stupid, when in fact they are quite intelligent, so people will take care of them & protect them.  Others do for the people in their life to create the image of the self-sacrificing martyr who never thinks of herself.

 

They are smug.  Narcissists look down on other people, whether they are covert or overt, but coverts are quieter about it.  They may not tell a person flat out that they are better than the victim, but the victim knows this is how that person feels anyway.  Covert narcissists have a look that conveys the message well.  Or, they compare you unfavorably to someone else.  My mother in-law told me how disappointed she was my husband married me instead of someone he used to date, which left me feeling not good enough to be a part of her family.

 

Covert narcissists have no empathy.  Like their overt counterparts, covert narcissists have zero empathy.  They don’t care about your pain unless it directly affects them.  If you cry in their presence, they will look at you blankly.  If there is a witness, the covert narcissist might offer you a hug or some kind words, but that is only to make the witness think well of them.  They really don’t feel any empathy for you whatsoever.

 

Always the victim.  Covert narcissists are always the victim.  If they hurt you, & you confront them, you are mean/unreasonable/abusive/etc.  They’ll even bring out the fake tears to attempt to make you feel guilty.

 

Covert narcissists fake apologize.  On the off chance you get an apology from a covert narcissist, it is obviously fake.  They don’t understand why what they did was wrong, but they feel forced to apologize to appease you & keep you providing their narcissistic supply.  When there’s no way to get around that apology, it can be either passive/aggressive (“I’m sorry you feel that way”) or by saying things they think you would want to hear.  Chances are, they’ll be dead wrong on what they think you want to hear, too.

 

They are extremely sensitive.  Narcissists are all sensitive to any criticism, real or imagined, but covert narcissists are the worst.  Any slight from you can have them crying about how cruel you are.

 

 

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