Are you dealing with a covert narcissist? Did you know that in some ways they are actually the most dangerous form of narcissist? Yep, it’s true. So stay tuned to find out why covert narcissists can be the most dangerous form of narcissist and what the warning signs are.
Now, if you are dealing with a covert narcissist or any kind of narcissist, whether they’re overt or grandiose or malignant, covert, or a combination of any of the kinds of narcissist, then you’re dealing with a hellish personality, a heinous personality. But there are some things about covert narcissists that can make them even more insidious than the other types of narcissists.
I have a personal experience with dealing with covert narcissists, not as husbands, but as people who were close to me, who I became the target of these heinous creatures. So this is the kind of narcissist that I personally disdain the most. So in some ways, this is like my PSA, my public service announcement to warn you, to warn you against this personality type and what to look for in this personality type.
One of the things that you should know about covert narcissists is that they are 100% narcissist. So they have what Dr. Craig Malkin calls the Triple E, which is that they exploit, they feel entitled, and they lack empathy. So they still are all narcissist. The other little dangerous thing about covert narcissists is that they can sometimes be grandiose narcissists that act covert, which is confusing too. Sometimes these different types of narcissists actually vacillate back and forth between the various signs of the types of narcissists they are. But what I’m addressing in this article is actually more of your pure covert narcissist, which is the kind that I’ve actually had to deal with and why I think that they’re so dangerous because if I could be fooled then anybody can be fooled.
I really just had to literally work these people out of my life in the last year, and it was not easy and they still try to pop back up and pop back in because that’s what narcissists do. They never really let go. They never really move on completely. Sometimes it can be years before they pop back up again, but you can minimize it and protect yourself in a lot of ways, and I want you to know the signs of abuse.
Covert narcissists don’t look on the surface like regular narcissists. Regular narcissists, what I call the garden variety narcissist is more of your grandiose varietal that goes around telling everybody how great they are all the time. Covert narcissist don’t do that. That’s one of the things that is so dangerous about them is that on the surface, they appear very nice. They appear like good people. Lots of people love them. They can be politicians; they can be clergy; they can be lawyers; doctors. They’re often in positions of respect because of course they’re narcissists. They want and they feed on that respect.
Remember that the narcissist actually has no inner sense of internal value. They get all of their sense of value from the external. They need endless amounts of what we call supply, which is anything that feeds their ego, anything that feeds their external value or their feeling of external value. So supply can be in the form of money, compliments, prestige. Anything that they think is going to give them more value.
So here’s the problem with a covert narcissist and one of the things that is so dangerous about them, is you’re not going to hear them say, “I’m the greatest. Look at my ratings. Look how fantastic I am. I’m so smart. I’m the number one this. I’m the number one that,” without anything to back it up. They just go around saying all those things because they feed on that, they need to have it.
So what a covert narcissist is more likely to do is put themselves in positions where they’re going to get all of that, but they’re not actually going to have to say it overtly. We’re told that narcissists are brash, braggadocious, loud, assertive. Well, the thing is that covert narcissists don’t come in that format. They’re usually much nicer. They start off by giving you lots of things, that their version of love bombing is often being the perfect person for you, they can put you in positions that you want to be in, or give you speaking engagements that you think that you want, or introduce you to the person that you want to be introduced to, or they’re the perfect cook or the perfect mother or whatever it is that you want. This person just seems so nice and so wonderful and yes, malignant narcissist can do that too.
But the difference with covert narcissist is that they don’t come off that way, where they’re loud and braggadocious and flashy. They come off as really nice, sometimes even quiet, sometimes passive, sometimes demure. So that’s one of the things that I think is super dangerous about covert narcissists.
One of the other things that is really dangerous about covert narcissist says is that they come off looking very successful often on the surface. Grandiose and malignant narcissists can do this too but grandiose narcissists come off as super ambitious, super successful, whereas the covert narcissist is often, they make it look like they’ve had that sort of success. But if you look just beneath the surface, they haven’t actually gotten that success so they have a lot of bitterness and resentment about the fact that everybody else has more success than they do, and that their failures are other people’s faults because something happened with their business, or this person sabotage them in some way. Or maybe they were just getting going and they had to close their business, so they had to move or something happened. And so they have all of these failed ambitions and feeling of emptiness and they often have a tremendous sense of depression and emptiness.
Sometimes they’ll even tell you that they have bouts of depression, but they don’t tell you it’s because of their failures in business. They’ll tell you it’s just that they have these afflictions. Because one of the other things about covert narcissist says is they often are very good at playing the victim. All narcissists do that. But the way covert narcissists do it is that they’re sad and people aren’t treating them well and they just didn’t get a good lot in life and the world is unfair to them and so they end up feeling depressed and empty and they often have sicknesses so that they can get sympathy from people around them, garner lots of pity from people. “Oh, so and so’s always getting a bad deal.” There’s a lot of payoff sometimes for being a victim and a covert narcissist thrives on that pay off from being the victim.
The other thing about covert narcissists that I think is super dangerous is that they’re super passive aggressive. This is the one thing that really was very confusing for me and the two passive aggressive narcissists that I had to deal with, the covert ones, is that they would do these little things that on the surface would seem so nice. “Oh, here I did this for you.” But while they’re there doing this thing for you, they’re crossing a boundary or they don’t do something that they say they’re going to do, and then when you ask them about it, it’s, “Oh, I forgot,” or “Oh, I misunderstood you,” or “Oh, we had a conversation about that, remember? And we decided to do this.” And it’s absolutely not something that we decided to do, but it’s them trying to make an excuse for behavior that they know has been hurtful to you. And so they try to get you to say that basically you went along with that.
It’s little things. It’s that little drip, drip, drip on your forehead, little things. In Debbie Mirza’s book, The Covert Passive Aggressive Narcissist, she gives an example of a husband would go into Starbucks to get coffee and the wife would stay in the car and the husband would say, “Do you want anything?” And she’d say, “Yeah, I’ll have a vanilla latte,” or whatever. And he’d get back in the car and start to drive away. And she’d say, “What happened to my latte?” And he’d say, “Oh, I forgot to get it for you.” But then he wouldn’t go back in to the place to get it. And it was a little thing. If you tell somebody, “Oh, I didn’t get the latte that I wanted,” then you come off sounding petty and you start to think, “Well, do I blow up a whole marriage over that? I mean, that seems so ridiculous.”
But what they’re really trying to do is send you this message, send you this message that they think so little of you or that you’re not worthy in some way. Because that’s how narcissists get supply. They get supply by building themselves up and cutting you down. And so they do these little tiny things that in the surface if you tell somebody about it, it just doesn’t seem like that big of a deal. Very, very passive aggressive and it can leave you feeling confused and after a while abused and actually traumatized because of the way they act.
So while they’re a hundred percent narcissist, but they are really, really good at being manipulative. Very good at hiding their manipulation. Very good at disguising it as something else, disguising it as, I just did this little thing for you, and the hair on the back of your neck is standing up, that’s not something nice.
One of the things that I’ve heard during this, I’m writing this while we’re still in this global pandemic is that the covert narcissist in people’s lives are leaving food by the door. You know that that’s a message of I know where you live or I still have control over you or I know what you want, but the rest of the world is like, “Oh, the person left you a care package. How is that bad? Why is that?” Well, we all know that the person is so nice. We all know that the person is such a good person. So what’s your problem? And so while they’re lining up their flying monkeys and they’re telling everybody how wonderful they are or how long they’ve been by you. Because oftentimes you actually look like a stronger person because they’ve put themselves in this light of being the nice, caring, kind person. So you obviously must be the one that is wronging them in some way and you almost feel paralyzed to, how do you even right that wrong of what people are thinking about you?
The way I’ve just come to deal with it is number one, I have major boundaries. I do not look at what these other people are doing. I don’t look at their social media, I’ve blocked them on my social media so that they can’t see what I’m doing and continue to have access to what I’m doing. I don’t want them to think that I’m interested in what they’re doing at all because I’m not, I just want to look forward, not back. I don’t want their energy in my space. I don’t want to even be thinking about them, when one of them pops into my mind, I pivot immediately because the way I look at it is if I’m thinking about them, then I am not in creation mode. I’m not helping people. I’m not doing things like making these videos and helping you guys so that you can look forward also and concentrate on your now and the rest of your life and creating an incredible future.
I’ve learned how to pivot and create major boundaries because I don’t want these people in my space and you shouldn’t have them in there either. So if you have to continue to co-parent with them or you have to continue to live with them in some way, then figure out a way to protect yourself so that when they do these things, you’re no longer going to be sucked into it, and certainly do not let them see you be upset by their behavior, because then they know that they have you. Then they know that they still have this little modicum of control over you. So here comes more, here comes more. So you know the less you can interact, the more you can show that you aren’t interested and you direct your energies elsewhere, then that vibrational energy of connection that you still have with that person will eventually peter off and hopefully eventually die.
So if you are dealing with a covert passive aggressive narcissist in your life, they can be the most dangerous kind of narcissist because they are the most sneaky, the most insidious, the most stealth and in some ways the most toxic because of how good they are about hiding their narcissism and being under the radar. And so if that is you, I’m sending you blessings, I’m sending you light from one survivor, thriver, to another. You can do this. Just follow the light, get them the hell out of your life and look at your now and look forward.
If you are dealing with a narcissist and you want to know more about how to communicate with them, come join me at my FREE Webinar, the 3 MUST HAVE Secrets for Communicating with a Narcissist. You can sign up for that RIGHT HERE.