The Covert (Closet/Stealth) Narcissist - Malignant Self-Love/Narcissism (NPD)

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The new book about covert narcissists - available to download now at
The new book about covert narcissists - available to download now at | Source

Narcissists (Full Documentary)

Question 1

Have you ever had the misfortune to deal with a covert narcissist?

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Question 2

If yes, how long did it take you to realize they were a narcissist?

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Question 3

After you found out they were a narcissist, how much longer did it take you to escape?

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NOTE: Narcissistic Personality Disorder (NPD) is strongly characterized by complete and utter self-centeredness combined with outright denial and forms an invisible and virtually indestructible protective psychological barrier which defends the inflicted person's true inner emotions.

Covert/Closet Narcissism

Undeniably and unequivocally, the most damaging, daunting and severe form of Narcissistic Personality Disorder (NPD) that exists is covert narcissism - otherwise known as closet or stealth narcissism. Covert narcissists can seem highly defensive and extremely hostile whilst masking beneath their facade a highly insecure sense of emotional vulnerability; this vulnerability they will do absolutely anything within their ability to prevent being exposed, even if it means going to extreme lengths (desperate times call for desperate measures).

Although a typical covert narcissist generally possesses the same traits as an overt narcissist (the need for attention, approval, adulation and grandiose fantasies), these traits are not regularly expressed in their overt behavior making covert/closet (or stealth) narcissists all the more difficult to be able to recognize.

For some people it can be several decades before they recognize the narcissist in their lives.

How Is Covert Narcissism Different?

In addition to the standard symptoms of Narcissistic Personality Disorder, the covert narcissist is also susceptible to stress and worry. They have a tendency to function inefficiently (i.e. they are dysfunctional) whilst their inner expectations and desires remain unfulfilled.

Closet/stealth narcissists repress awareness of their narcissistic traits due to inner conflict; deep down inside they find their fantasies embarrassing and unacceptable. Deep down inside they realize that their fantasies are ultimately self-centered and are to solicit goodness and power to one's self; to put one's self up on a pedestal, above all others.

Symptoms Of Covert Narcissism

Covert narcissists are usually too afraid to exhibit any of their accomplishments to others and they commonly underestimate their own capabilities. Their overt behavior projects an innocent, angel-like, good as gold persona which builds them a credible and a faultless reputation yet they fail to reach their true potential due to their own self-doubt. Some covert narcissists end up losing all interest in their hobbies and desires and end up deciding to do nothing with their lives - they seem to have no real interests - yet they are extremely self-entitled and expect other people to do all the running round for them.

Why Is Covert Narcissism So Bad?

The most damaging aspect of covert narcissism is the controlling and manipulative behavior that covert, or stealth, narcissists impose on the people closest to them. If in a relationship this is often solely their partner (though this is not always the case). They show a very real lack of empathy towards their partner and in many cases also towards their children, if they have any.

A female covert narcissist may have children with their partner in order to tie them down and to secure them as nothing more than sources of narcissistic supply, they may even manipulate the children out of him by failing to adequately use or intentionally damaging contraception or perhaps even by committing paternity fraud.

A male covert narcissist may try to tie their partner down in the same way by purposely not using or damaging contraception and exploiting the emotional bond between mother and child.

Why Is Covert Narcissism So Bad?

In a typical case the only person who realizes that there is a problem is the person who is closest to the covert/stealth narcissist, who is usually unwillingly forced to suffer covert narcissistic abuse (very subtle emotional blackmail, mental abuse and psychological manipulation). Narcissists end up obscuring the truth and twisting literally every little detail back round onto the victim. They expertly mix the truth with a lie in order to distort the truth in their favour.

This abuse is so well hidden within the communication dynamics of the relationship that the victim often doesn't pick up on it and is left scratching their head wondering "is it me?"

When a victim of this type of abuse eventually begins to develop awareness of the manipulation it gradually dawns on them that they have already been ostracized long before they anticipated and the people that they turn to for help have already been made to believe it's them who is the problem - they've already been turned against the victim. The victim has been ostracized.

The covert narcissist makes their victim feel like they are the one with the problem whilst projecting an innocent angel-like persona to everyone around them. They make their victim look bad and do their best to destroy their reputation in order to protect their deluded false sense of self and their distorted viewpoint of the world. Narcissists have no empathy and therefore have an invisible secret, an advantage over everyone around them.

The narcissist attains the trust, respect and belief of everyone around them and anyone close to their victim who they are likely to turn to for help. The victim feels like they are suffering alone, no-one around them can see what the deceitful, deceptive, manipulative and controlling covert narcissist is really up to.

Covert narcissists use very cleverly hidden emotional blackmail, mental abuse, suggestive techniques and manipulative linguistic patterns to force their partner to question their own sanity; behaviors which people that know them would never ever dream of them of ever being capable of. They have everybody around them fooled by their pathological self whilst wearing down at the psyche and soul of their victim who, over time, becomes depressed, loses self-esteem and feels like their soul is being worn down until they eventually seemingly become devoid of emotion themselves - this then further backs up the narcissists claims that their victim is the one with the problem. If the victim of a narcissist does happen to discover the truth it will always be denied by most people around them and they often end up going into a state of cognitive dissonance.

Covert narcissism is all about reflection, projection, denial and suppression.
Covert narcissism is all about reflection, projection, denial and suppression. | Source

When arguing with a covert narcissist, a victim will usually be left at a dead-end. Their logic appears to be incompatible with that of the narcissist and they always get outwitted. If a relationship partner, then the narcissist will go on to state how they took that partner into their life and 'saved' them when they needed it and will make the partner feel like they are forever in debt to them. The narcissist makes the victim believe that anything bad that happened was all in their imagination and that they are paranoid; it wasn't real.

Covert narcissists are the sort of people who have multiple partners, secret affairs (sometimes within their own family) or sometimes even a complete secret life with someone else. They recruit friends and family who are fooled by the innocent persona they project to defend their false self by convincing them that their discovered secrets are just a result of paranoia or suspicion, yet they use special occasions such as Valentine's Day or even while their partner is away at funerals in order to get away with their infidelity; times when the victim least expects it.

When a narcissist's deceit has been discovered literally every little detail gets twisted back round on to the true victim. They are then the one being accused of the abuse, lies and/or cheating. It's a plain and simple defense mechanism which offers no logic or information on the subject and has to be kept secret in order to uphold the covert narcissist's pathological self.

Narcissists come up with one-line defense mechanisms rather than offering any logical explanation for their behavior (e.g. "it's all in your head", "you're paranoid", "that didn't happen", "I think you need to see a doctor", "I don't know what you're talking about", "I never said that").

Statements like these are an instant sign of guilt and make it clear that they're not willing to even talk about it; they are not willing to take the risk of slipping up. However, on certain occasions (in private) the narcissist's attitude towards their partner may change to "either let me get away with it or get out of my life" although this is usually short-lived and denial and repression kicks back in. They make it clear, intermittently, that everything is about them whilst their partner's feelings, needs, wants and desires are completely disregarded and they will discard their partner in the process with no empathy whatsoever, seemingly being heartless and sadistic. However, covert narcissists are usually nowhere near as sadistic as malignant narcissists who tend to have a very nasty sadistic streak.

Anyone who knows about a covert narcissist's secret life is sure to be blackmailed or manipulated into keeping quiet, often by-proxy. Even when a narcissist does slip up, they may claim that they have a communication problem and that they didn't mean to use those words, they will deny their secrets until the day they die even if they've already been discovered, even if you present them with 100% factual evidence and even if you know for a fact they are lying - they will attempt to make you question the evidence.

It's also important to understand that a covert narcissist also suffers. Although on some level they must be aware of some of their abuse, mind-games and manipulation or they wouldn't hide it from everyone, it has become their way of getting through life and is ultimately deep-rooted in their subconscious - it's pathological. They must control their victim in order to continue to uphold their false self to everyone else around them.

However, narcissists ultimately still know the difference between right and wrong and good and evil but deep down inside they just simply don't care - protecting their true (and self-denied) emotions is essential.

A covert narcissist may make it clear to the person closest to them that they understand they have a problem, that they simply don't care that they have a problem and that they are not willing to do anything about it even if that means losing the people closest to them in their life. Again, this is usually an intermittent behaviour. Narcissists have no empathy but seem to go through intermittent (but rare) phases of self-reflection and self-acknowledgement - these phases are also short-lived.

How Do I Recognize Narcissistic Abuse?

Covert narcissists can be extremely flirtatious if a in party setting, though they often use occasional shock tactics whilst any further promiscuity is kept under cover - they pretend that they were too drunk to know what they were doing and were not in control and then blame their behavior on the alcohol. They make further arrangements in private and keep their sexual endeavors and 'love' affairs secret in order to uphold their angelic false self-image.

A covert narcissist attempts to tie their primary source of narcissistic supply (their partner) down early on in a relationship. They ultimately suck up all the finances within the relationship, cut off their partner's contact with family and friends and damage or lose their partner's official forms of identification claiming it was an accident leaving them without money or proof of who they are. They manipulate them into a situation whereby they don't have the resources to leave the relationship or have any control over their situation before then going on to wear down their partner's sense of self-identity - there can be very serious health consequences for the victim.

Narcissistic ideology shines clearly through such a relationship to the narcissist's partner, they are usually the only person that recognizes the problem (eventually) though they are left with no escape route - when attempting to seek help, family and friends accuse them of twisting around everything that the covert narcissist has already told them back on to them in the process of ostracizing their partner - it's a double-blind consisting of nothing more than projection and reflection.

Covert narcissists attempt to make their partner believe that they have mental health issues and that they are insane, they will misbehave and tell their partner it was all in their head, they imagined it, it wasn't real. Show them that you are not willing to be manipulated and they will discard you as though you mean nothing. Of course, this is what everyone around them already believes, the narcissist has already built their army of support forcing the victim to repeatedly keep questioning their own sanity.

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What Problems Does Narcissistic Abuse Cause victims?

Ultimately victims of long-term covert narcissistic abuse can experience severe bad health symptoms such as post-traumatic stress disorder - they experience nightmares and flashbacks whilst their mind is subconsciously piecing the parts of the puzzle together. This is the brain's way of healing itself and, in extreme cases, it can be decades before this realization happens.

When this happens the victim may begin to figure out just what has been happening for all the years (or decades), though they usually still have to suffer the consequences of the abuse alone - their friends and family still believe it's them that's the problem, their life may have fallen apart and they have probably been left devastated and as feeling as though their soul has been worn down to it's very core.

In extreme cases the victim may have even been left with physical health symptoms such as a heart murmur or an anxiety disorder. Stress-related illnesses resulting from extreme narcissistic abuse can sometimes result in death of the victim (e.g. heart attack) - stress can be dangerous.

When a narcissist can see that their victim is tired, worn down and in a weak vulnerable state then they know the victim is exactly where they want them, it offers a chance for more emotional and mental abuse to be perpetrated and the narcissist will inevitably kick their victim while they're down.

Narcissistic abuse feels cruel, cold, calculated and extremely twisted for the victim. The most significant concern of this personality disorder is that victims of narcissistic abuse could be twice as likely to suffer with stress-related medical problems including depression, anxiety, post-traumatic stress disorder, heart attacks and strokes (amongst others). Narcissistic Personality Disorder is not something to be taken lightly and can sometimes result in what I refer to as psychological murder.

* The author of this article was a victim of narcissistic mind control for over ten years and aims to create awareness of (malignant) narcissism and to dispel many of the myths and misconceptions about Narcissistic Personality Disorder and it's various subtypes.

eBook by this author: Know Your Enemy: Reflections Of NPD, is available to download now from - alternatively, you can show your support by liking the Facebook page for the book here or by visiting the Covert Narcissism blog.

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Comments 122 comments

GmaGoldie profile image

GmaGoldie 6 years ago from Madison, Wisconsin

Oh, I am writing on this topic - will be sure to link back! Excellent!

gidtset profile image

gidtset 6 years ago

Thanks for sharing. Wasn't aware of such a term "covert narcissist".

Christine Louis de Canonville 6 years ago

Very informative article, thank you, you really have done your research. So much is written about the Overt Narcissist, but little about the Covert Narcissist. You would be surprised as to how few people are aware of this form of narcissism, even therapists. For that reason many families suffer without any form of support or help. And for those family members who end up going to therapy, they are often failed again, because their therapist may not be trained to recognise the symptoms of narcissistic abuse. This particular type of abuse is now recognized as a new syndrome that is coined Narcissistic Victim Syndrome.

I came through a childhood with such a sybling who created havoc with his narcissistic behavior and rages. I was probably his first victim. As he got older, his behavior became even more distructive. He made his family's life a misery, they were actually living in a hell that could only be described as a "war zone". The problem is, in order to survive, the victim enters into what is termed the "the narcissists dance". This is an unconscious defense mechanism which helps to keep the victim safe, but in so doing they almost loose themselves by placating, complying, and appeasing. This becomes part of their way of being, a great pleaser with everybody. Unless this unconscious dance is exposed in therapy, and the victim educated about narcissistic behavior, they are actually left vunerable to becoming Narcissistic Supply yet again. The reason is that they are conditioned (like Pavlov's dogs)in a way that makes them a a target for other hungry narcissists, who are always on the hunt for new supply, and are quick to spot those primed already.

The narcissistic epidemic has infiltrated into every aspect of modern life. The narcissistic personality traits can be found in every strata of society, with a marked shift especially amongst the normal population, and in the numbers of women presenting with narcissistic behaviours. For that reason it is vital that therapists educate and familiarize themselves with all that is involved in narcissistic behaviours so that they can recognize the destruction and long-term consequences that is inflicted on society at large.

dracaslair 6 years ago

i want my father to read this.this topic is a good one.

secretmemoir profile image

secretmemoir 6 years ago from Australia

excellent hub - will link to my hub on being disowned by narcissist "family"

vocalcoach profile image

vocalcoach 6 years ago from Nashville Tn.

Very good hub - need to read it a few times to fully understand, but I am understanding more each time I read it. This would be excellent for my sister to read. I will forward it to her. Thanks so much for all the work you put into creating this hub.

kimh039 profile image

kimh039 6 years ago

Interesting hub and discussion sparkster. Thanks.

shirley 6 years ago

this made me cry with such deep emotion, ive been ostracised and made to feel im so bad and crazy.

Helen 6 years ago

wow interesting reading. I am doing research on the motivations of counsellor - why they enter the profession and was struggling with narcissism as a reason, The covet narcissist fits the description very well. Thanks

Sir Camel 6 years ago

I have been in a relationship and married to a person like this for 15 years. She has done to me exactly what is written here. What makes it even worse is she's a LCSW, (license clinical social worker). She is from a wealthy fanily, I am not. She has a great (free), education, I do not. Also when we met she was just 22 years old and I was 37, there is a 15 years age difference. That hasn't helped either. I am still struggling, trying to get the truth out. I have divorced her and have sole custdoy of my two daughters. However, I am still afraid of her, more for the lies she tells people about me, than the physcial abuse, and raging.

doctor abroad 6 years ago

Dear Sir Camel.

Your describtion of your troublesome relationship made me a bit worried. First a bit about myself. I work as a family doctor (GP) in Scandinavia. My experiences from many consultations with suffering people have lead me into an interest in trying to find a pattern/system of understanding- that can help me help other people. The last 4-5 years I have read quite a bit about narcissism as a major cause of problems within relationships.

I take it you are living with your ex-wife now?

I would like to reflect upon some of the things that you wrote. It seems to me that you would like your ex-wife to really understand how you feel about your relationships. And that you would like to give collateral information to her therapist.

My experience with this is the following; a) if your ex-wife really wanted to understand you- you wouldn`t have been in this situation in the first place. People do not change unless they really want to do it themselves. b) Your ex-wife is consulting a colleague.. There may be nothing wrong with this therapist, but I don`t think her focus will be on you and your problems. Why? Your wife most probably hasn`t asked for that service. my experience is that people in general will seek understanding and support for Their view whenever visiting a therapist. Considering your wife`s previous behavior I think it would be a wise thing not to expect anything at all.

as I am writing this (in a bit broken English :-)), I can\t help thinking that these advices are just that, advices.I guess you`ve had quite a few of those..

But if I should really give you my best advice, it would be the following,

- what would you recommend your best friend if he or she told you the same story? Your recommendations probably also is correct for you.

- If you feel scared, nervous, jumpy, self-critical, uncertain and depressed- when you live with your ex-wife- OK; then you do that, emotions do not lie. Let them point you the right way away from your current situation. The really brave thing to do is to demand respect from her- if she doesn`t give that to you, find other people to be with.

- find a good therapist or a good friend, go searching until you find the right one

Good Luck!

Sir Camel 6 years ago

Doctor abroad-

I can appreciate your concern. However, let me assuage your fears, if I may. What I can tell you; is very soon after my oldest daughter made accusations about things she says accrued during visitation at, “Mommy’s house”, I set up medical and psychological appointments for both girls. At this juncture my daughters have been in my, “sole custody” for 20 months. They have just had their second, “well check” doctor’s appointment, and third dental appointment. They are both in great health and their teeth are beautiful (perfect). I am a good father, and have also raised my oldest son as a single parent from age 26, months old.

As for my ex-wife and I living together, that isn’t quite accurate, yet. I have allowed her to move back into the house the girls and I were living in. We live some 140 miles away, in another house that I own. Visitations are spent together with the girls and me, at “Mommy’s” house. This way I don’t need to find a hotel or drive back only to return two days later. It also allows my ex-wife and I time to see if living together again is what we actually want. Lastly, it affords me one more PRICELESS benefit, I have piece of mind. Sending my daughters off to visitation was one of the most excruciatingly painful things I’ve ever had to do. Even though I certainly needed the break, however, it was no break worrying about them for the next 72, hours.

True, people don’t get help unless they want it. I will take it a step further and say; as with addicts, and I believe narcissists too, they don’t get help unless they hurt bad enough “hit bottom.” When my ex-wife left the house she was at that point. However, many people, mostly her family gave her everything she needed to set up, “shop” again, i.e. a late model Honda, dental work $1600.00, furniture, eating utensils, food, computer, scanner, fax,….She also spent at least a $1000.00, on new clothes. She got a new hair style she actually walked right by me and the children when we went to meet her at work for lunch. The woman I’ve always told how beautiful she was, the woman I’ve known for 15 years, who I could spot in Time Square at midnight! Not only did I not recognize her, it was as if she were a totally different person. Everything about her was “new”, different. It was actually very sad. It is as if the person I had known for years was gone! With that being said, although it may be difficult to achieve, even, “covert narcissist” I believe can “learn” how to be better and productive people, possibly even empathetic people. I view her therapy as being for herself, for the most part. If I receive any cathartic effects from her getting better (and I believe I will), that would be wonderful. I think her therapist wants her to focus on a few different areas one of those, is helping my ex-wife to understand why she had the affair, partly so she can tell me. However, I believe I already know why, she’s a “covert narcissist” and that’s their nature, put very, very, simply.

Like you, I’ve been interested in NPD, for sometime, and have read a number of books and countless articles on the “disorder” dating back to the late 1980’s. Recently I’ve delved into the subject looking for answers, possible treatments, and solutions. I am not speaking from a totally lay perspective. My ex-wife and I met when we were both social workers. She continued her education and acquired her LCSW licenseture. I am a QMHP (Qualified Mental Health Professional), and also a CADC-II (Certified Alcohol & Drug Counselor II).

I truly believe this person; the person I’ve known for 15, years, the mother of my two children is worth it. However, I don’t believe it should be at my daughters, and/or my expense. I know it is going to be challenging, but not only do I have a huge interest in seeing her get better and being successful. I truly believe that she has something very special and valuable to offer human kind. I believe she has yet to realize even a fraction of her potential.

The children are loved by many people, and are being taken very good care of.

Sir Camel

Sir Camel 6 years ago

...who I could spot in Time Square at midnight on New Years Eve! That is.....:)

Doctor abroad 6 years ago

Having read your text I can clearly see that you and your children will have a good future, and hopefully your ex-wife, too. The way you have taken control of the family`s situation is very impressive. Your attitude towards your ex-wife also shows that you avoid contempt and wanting to punish her for what she has done to you. So many people ends up living av bitter life after the same experiences.

Thank you for sharing your story with me. Listen to your heart. All the best

Sir Camel 6 years ago

Thank you for your seldom heard, yet kind and encouraging words. I will think of them on those rough days.

Peter 6 years ago

This is typically my wife. Everything I understand now.

My brother in law and I are the victims of two covert narcissistic sisters.

Only my brother in law and I recognize everything and nobody else understand.

Hard women to live with !! Escaping in not possible, because we both are men,

who love our children too much. The sisters probably choose us for this reason!

Very sneaky and manipulating women, who tied us up completely !!!

Sane Man 6 years ago

I can understand if children are involved, but I don't really understand why people stay with narcissistic partners. Obviously they fooled someone in to having feelings for them with a false front, but for me when you get to see the real character underneath and it's ugly or even twisted and evil, the attraction fades and dies pretty quickly. So when one person stops being attracted to another person surely that's when the relationship ends, I know it's usually more complicated than that but in essence isn't it that simple? I was attracted to a narcissistic women in the past and began to get close to her, and as soon as she started to reveal her 'true colours' I realized the way she was acting around me at the beginning was false and I got the hell out, because I'm sure like most people I don't find extremely negative character traits to be attractive in any way whatsoever. Anyway great articles on the subject and great comments, I empathize with you all entirely, my father has NPD and the years growing up unaware of this were very painful, by the time I was 15 years old I was taking drugs and suffering with depression with occasional suicidal thoughts. My Mother has Stockholm syndrome and would always think I had problems unrelated to the family (thanks to my Fathers whispering in her ear), and my sister has BPD and was almost as bad as my Father, so I was completely isolated and kept all the pain internalized where it festered as mental and emotional disease. It still fascinates me to watch my father operate, he's so damaged, there's almost a robot like quality, like he's not quite all there (even though he has an IQ of 142), he seems so calculated and cynical with his manipulation, but also seems completely unconscious at the same time if you get what I mean, because no one conscious or thoughtful could behave this way. I know I've been rambling but I just want to add one more thing, that is now my life is amazing (I'm 24 years old), because I was so messed up by this upbringing I had to study it all, go back and restructure everything. Using stuff like hypnosis, cellular memory release, mind control, psychology, consciousness frequency technology etc I healed all the pain and all the toxicity in my mind, body and soul, and I'm now far more happy and grounded than I ever would have been with a regular upbringing, plus I now have a good level of awareness of things that are never talked about such as emotional intelligence. That's what I feel about Narcissistic abuse, if you fully heal from it you end up becoming much more than you ever were before it took place, because you’re forced to address fundamental issues that effect all humans but are just greatly exaggerated in abusive situations. So in that regard I think Narcissistic abuse was just the 'necessary evil' I had to endure to fulfill my destiny as a human. Good luck to everyone, you have my admiration.

Peter 6 years ago

Sane man, you are completely right. You know, I am already 23 years living with my wife, and I only found out 5 years ago that my wife is a covert narcist. She has an angel-like face and nobody would ever believe me. I am very sure that only the 5 years my wife was sometimes engaged in masochistic relations with some narcists. Denial of her masochistic character is outright by her !! I do not mind masochists, but why being so damned denying about it to me ? Outright denial is typically everything about my wife !!! But children from such a relation, I have to protect, because they are also my children !!! But here in Holland, there is also the problem that woman are protected in everything and allways the men are blamed. My wife is very pretty and has an angel-like face and besides as a real neurotic, she is a work-aholic !! Who will believe that my wife is a covert narcist, except me ?? Okay, only my brother in law !! But if there are no children and you are sure your friend is a narcist, you must leave her or him immediately !!

bubbles 6 years ago

Mr Peter, that is the way they operate. My ex actually sits and tells the most outrageous lies and accuses me of things that in fact he has done. Their illness prevents them from admitting what they do. They are very exhausting people to be around and constantly claim that black is white. It is very difficult to deal with them in fact it is impossible and they never change. One is left absolutely stunned they are manipulative and tell endless lies, normal people cannot understand them.

Bubbles 6 years ago

To Sir Camal

Actually you are lucky that your brother in law understands and is on your side. I have been told that PN's covert or not never change, they can't. We waste endless years trying to understand them but we can never really understand as it is so completely foreign and distaseful to a normal person. They break our hearts endless times and then say they don't undestand why we can't live with them. Their parents can also have personality disorders and they have often had disturbed childhood's, no one knows if it is an inherited disorder or not. If you can find Atika posts, on Sam Vaknin, it might help you to understand more. Maybe she could drive your children back or maybe she could see them just one day in a hotel near you and drive herself there and back. If you let her stay be careful, I narrowly avoided several 'domestic accidents' which would have been fatal. It could be safer and healthier for everyone if she moves back out as the situation will cause so much tension and can exhaust you. Good luck.

Solomon 6 years ago

In my opinion and experience if you want to remove a narcissist from your life you need to change your inner reality, because then and only then will your outer reality change to match. Changing your inner reality will take effort but if you're willing to put the effort in it can be easier than you'd think. I learnt through the psychology of emotions and beliefs that to a large extent we create our own reality by unconsciously projecting on to the world around us. We have repressed subconscious emotions that the mind and body want to release due to the fact that they inhibit good health when they stay trapped, and the mind/body will always naturally want to be in a state of good health. The only way to release repressed/subconscious emotions is to bring them into conscious awareness (something we've been taught to avoid all our lives). Once you do this and just allow the feelings and sensations of the emotion to be, they will eventually dissipate. Think about how quickly we burn through good feeling such as joy, ecstasy or laughter, because we give them our full conscious attention and allow and enjoy the bodily sensations, they pass quickly, we never try to choke these sorts of feelings down or avoid feeling them. Where as undesirable emotions such as pain, loneliness or fear seem to linger on much longer with us because we reject them, we try to push them away from our conscious awareness and avoid feeling them, resulting in them staying with us and eventually being pushed into the subconscious, where they affect us without our awareness. What's interesting is the way in which these subconscious emotions effect human behavior, you could write a book on this subject alone (and some have), and it would go a long way to explaining some of the insanities of the modern world. So the body/mind wants to be cleansed of these emotions, and in order to do this a person will be unconsciously drawn in to a situation that will give them the opportunity to project these feelings and therefore release them. So if you have a lot of rage repressed in your subconscious completely outside of your awareness, you may be unconsciously drawn in to an abusive relationship because this is the necessary situation that will bring your trapped emotion into your conscious awareness, ready to be released. The only problem with this is most people have no understanding of these psychological principles, so when the negative emotions arise they are re-suppressed due to a lack of understanding of how to deal with them in a healthy manner. And the cycle continues, the situation is manifested, the emotions come up, they are rejected and pushed back down, and we are drawn on to the next situation that will bring them up. People refer to this as ‘luck’, some people seem to just draw bad luck situations like a magnet (I know I used to). If you actually release the rage, you’ll stop being drawn in to situations that make you angry. I could go on and probably bore you to tears talking about this subject, but it’s the understanding that led me to heal the damage and walk away from a narcissistic abuser. I will post the name of the two books that explained all this to me in great detail at the bottom of this post, they were the books that opened my eyes and helped me change my situation, and I would highly recommend anyone who has been through narcissistic abuse to read them. Thanks for spreading awareness of this subject sparkster.

Memory In The Cells – Luis Diaz

Emotional Clearing – John Ruskan

Newdawn 5 years ago

Sir Camel, I read with interest your posts regarding your ex being in a "helping" profession. I'd like to read more about this. I'm involved with someone who is an MCSW and was an AODA therapist, as well. After only six months of intimate involvement, I was nearly destroyed. I am now seeing a therapist and psychiatrist, taking antidepressants, and planning my exodus from this maddening situation.

WHY do these people end up in the helping professions? Any insight into this from anyone?

Mr A Nonymous 5 years ago

Ok what I'm about to say is a touchy and unpleasant subject so if you don't want your stomach to turn please stop reading now. Does anybody know how common it is for men with NPD to molest their chilrden? Does it happen frequently? Is it just a regular part of this condition such as manipulating and telling lies? I ask because it appears my sister has boderline personality disorder, and whilst doing some research on this subject I read that it's not unusual for this condition to be caused by being molested as a child. I'm starting to fear that my Fathers abuse of her was not just physical and emotional. Sorry to ask such an unpleasant question but I need answers.

Shelia 5 years ago

I was married to a man like this for almost 20 years, am recently (and permanently) separated and suffering from PSTD like symptoms from his verbal/emotional abuse and manipulation. Though I knew something was wrong early in our marriage, I had not even heard of covert manipulation at that time and was too gullible and eager to believe his lies. I did not know PSTD like symptoms were a symptom of covert narcissistic abuse until I read it in your article.

As you described, he made me out to be the crazy one to family and friends - all under the concerned guise of a caring husband. He could demean me in front of the children and any attempt on my part to defend myself was immediately 'turned around' and successfully played to appear that I was the one that was being insensitive. When I was seriously ill, he successfully convinced my kids that the problem was ‘in my head’ and I was not as involved in their lives as much as I simply did not care about them. Meanwhile, he would tell me that the kids did not want to have anything to do with me.

To make matters worse, he has succeeded in turning oth my son and daughter against me and am constantly told that I was 'mean' to dad. When the kids were home, he would act the part of the caring husband, but when we were alone he would call me a f***ing bitch if I did not comply. Another trick he used when the was to say a hurtful or derogatory comment quietly so that only I could hear him, and then if I would react, raise his voice so our children could hear, lie and accuse me of not wanting to do things for the them, being unkind to him or tell me I was crazy.

My husband was also a 'mama's boy' and my mother-in-law as well as his siblings are propagating these lies as well. Like my ex, they are very skilled at dropping 'hints' or making a seemingly innocuous comment with a certain 'tone' in their voice to manipulate my children.

For years I was beginning to feel that I was loosing my mind. Only now that I am free of him do I realize how much of a con artist and manipulator he was and am beginning to heal. Thank you for the article.

Sir Camel 5 years ago

Newdawn, I feel for you and your situation. It can be an extremely difficult and challenging task ending a relationship with somebody who suffers from NPD. Here are a few books that I've read that have helped me to understand and deal with ending my marriage to a narcissist; the book, "Surviving The Storm" by Richard Skerritt, this book was my marriage, and everything that happened after the devorce. It was very helpful in knowing what to expect and gave some, "strategies" in dealing with the devorce. I assume they will apply in ending a relationship as well. Also, the book, "The Betrayal Bond" it is about, "trauma bonding" and was very helpful in understanding things about myself, it is by, Patrick J. Carnes, PH.D. He is considered by many to be the, "guru" of psychology. I reread a book I had read many years ago, called, "Narcissism, Denial Of The True Self" by, Alexander Lowen, M.D. I hope these are helpful to you and your situation. I wish you all the luck in the world. Stay strong, Sir Camel

The Watcher 5 years ago

Covert narcissists are the worst, because they are very skilled at appearing "normal". From my observations the covert narcissists are people with NPD but are more aware of their insecurities, and are torn between the false aggrandizing self image and the false weak inferior self image. So they only abuse when they feel safe to do so or feel they can dominate or manipulate someone. If they feel threatened or weaker than someone they will act normal and pleasant or sometimes even nervous to their face, but then behind their back the character assassination and back stabbing takes place. It took me many years to realize a family member is a covert narcissist, because some of the time it would appear as though he really did care, and I think this is why some people struggle to let go, it’s too hard for them to admit that this person never cared and when they appeared as though they did it was only to solicit narcissistic supply. When I was a child my father was brutal and abusive, but when I became old enough to beat him up or out smart him mentally, he became a different person, he put on this horrible fake 'nicey nice' attitude and saved the abusive words for other people when talking about me. He knows if he tried to treat me like he did when I was a child, I would beat the shit out of him. I've made it clear to him without actually saying so that I know about the constant two faced back stabbing, and his behavior has been fascinating to observe. I tend not to talk to him, not as a passive aggressive thing but just because I can't even be bothered to make small talk. This has sent his world spinning, he acts incredibly nervous around me I think because he knows I don't buy into his false image, and he knows he can't control me. So the less I talk to him, the more paranoid, uncomfortable and threatened he becomes, and then he starts his pre emptive strikes against me with vicious lies and back stabbing. Then I would make him aware I heard his back stabbing by sneaking up on him whilst he was doing it, and he would become even more agitated, he wouldn't even be able to look me in the eye if he spoke to me, his eyes would just be darting around the room and I would just be stood there staring right at him holding eye contact as he squirmed in front of me. It reminds me of a child that has been caught stealing sweets, but the parent doesn’t punish or say anything about it, the child ends up punishing itself with guilt and wondering what the parent will do. I think that would be a cruel thing to do to a child, but in the context of the situation with my father, I think it’s acceptable because it wasn’t something I did intentionally, I just said nothing and observed. I guess when he was hitting me in the face when I was a child he never envisioned that one day I would turn in to a man who remains unshaken in the face of adversity. This is what amuses me though, I wouldn’t even have to do or say anything except for be silent and observe, and his behavior would just play out until he became a train wreck in front of me. So there would be absolutely no way he could blame me for what was happening to him because I didn’t do or say anything, there were no accusations he could turn around or deny, he was just left with his feelings. I sometimes wondered if he ever acknowledged to himself that his actions were wrong, but I don’t think these people are capable of logical introspection. The one positive thing that would happen though is that he would start acting very nice towards my mother, I believe out of fear that I would somehow expose his behavior to her, so if I told her about his horrible behavior it would conflict with her own experience of him. After clearing all the pain and resentment towards him, it became very easy to deal with my father, because I am no longer triggered by his behavior, I just feel calm, composed and detached in his presence, which means it’s very clear to us both who has the mental and emotional issues and who doesn’t. So if I’m relaxed and unshaken it is impossible for him to project on to me without making himself look irrational and foolish, something that we all know narcissists seek to avoid, so he is powerless against me. This feeling of powerlessness of course makes him feel very vulnerable and he will start to display very erratic and somewhat bizarre behavior, it’s like he starts to self destruct. Non reactionary detachment is like kryptonite to these people. I will admit it’s not easy to pull this off, I only manage it now because I used powerful mind control techniques in the form of guided meditation to reprogram myself. But now I no longer hate my father, and I can’t say I love him because I don’t, but I accept him for what he is, occasionally I just feel pity for him. Sometimes I’ll see a flash of fear or confusion across his face, and I’ll think to myself ‘Yeah, you’re just a scared little boy aren’t you, life is difficult for you’, and it makes me feel sad for him, because I know he will never try and help himself.

Leila 5 years ago

Mine not only separated me from my family he has threatened to have me put in jail by planting drugs in my vehicle. He is well connected through his jobs and yes I said jobs. Sad part is my brother gave him the way to get away with it.

KAC 5 years ago

This article describes my husband so accurately it's scary!

gugu 5 years ago

thank you the wachter,

you have helped me mush more than you can imagine

thank you.

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brightforyou 5 years ago from Florida

As you were raised by, and have the DNA of, someone with the Narcissistic Personality Disorder, you may well have noticed traits in yourself, especially perhaps the covert variety? (which I hadn't heard about until now... This may have driven you to learn all you can about it so as not to continue the pattern of abuse. Children of Narcissistic parents often go on to have many problems of their own; sometimes the victim becomes the victimizer and remains in total denial - and some become psychologists! (Joke).

Others may unwittingly attract a Narcissist as a spouse or lover to continue the subconscious desire to 'win over' the love of the emotionally unavailable parent/s. Its not uncommon to raise Narcissistic children so that the whole family is devoid of the real warmth of family love.

I expect you have fought many 'inner demons' yourself in order to stop the patterns of victim/abuser. Thanks for sharing your insights.

science boy 5 years ago

Hey Sparkster, you should check out Bruce Liptons work on epigenetics and his book 'The Biology of belief'. It would appear that out genetic heritage is much more maliable than scientist have previously realised.

Alastair 5 years ago

The word "malign" accurately describes the effect of personality disorder on lives. Unfortunately, it also encourages the idea that PD sufferers are also "malign", that they are self-conscious, that behind the narcissistic "false self" there is another, conscious self, manipulating things. I appeal to readers of this blog, which has attracted thoughtful comments, to consider that there is no self-consciousness in NPD sufferers (whether of the "closet" or "overt" kind). The damaging thought-feeling-behaviour patterns are sub-consciously driven. In total they are geared towards maintaining self-esteem, getting external validation/love/admiration of a false-self-image. The false self emerges in response to unempathic parenting (usually a mum who has her own un-met narcissistic needs). Disordered individuals lack real self-esteem, lack self-love, which is the same thing as lacking authentic "self" - something virtually unimaginable if not directly experienced. Personal setbacks, contradicting the false-self-image of the NPD sufferer, may drive the individual to seek psychotherapy. It's only in the therapeutic environment that the individual can achieve (with great pain) self-awareness, i.e. awareness of the disorder.

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sparkster 5 years ago from United Kingdom Author

Thanks for the comment Alistair, although I would have to say that covert or stealth narcissists do have some conscious sense of self-awareness which has become evident after many years of experience dealing with them.

If you were living a double life or cheating on your partner and lying to them would you not realize that it's morally wrong? Would you genuinely believe that your partner was the one with the problem? Would you not remember cheating on them?

Covert narcissists are aware of their traits but choose to repress them out of denial which is one of the main characteristics of the disorder.

Personally I think that saying they're not conscious or aware of themselves being narcissistic basically gives them an excuse to keep being like it and therefore is actually encouraging them to keep up their bad behaviour.

Alastair 5 years ago

Hi Sparkster,

I'm sorry for the long reply, but here goes..

You are right to say that cheating on one's partner and maintaining a double life could not appear to an individual as anything other than wrong, whether they have a narcissistic personality disorder or not. (I would encourage anybody whose partner cheats to not tolerate the behaviour in any way. The same goes for any kind of "narcissistic" abuse - "passive-aggressive" or anything else - in a relationship. Don't put up with it!).

The denial and stress and tears and overall defensiveness, when challenged, reflects the anxiety induced when the N's false self-image is threatened.

(I would say that in "overt Ns, this image is typically of superiority or "greatness", in "covert" Ns, it is typically of perfection or saintliness. See V. Tonay at )

The intense anxiety is because there is nothing "behind" that self. If it goes, then there is nothing. For such a person, the false self has been a way of surviving childhood that has continued into adulthood. That self cannot be simply discarded, because no other (empathic) ways of relating are known.

You are right that CNs (and ONs) are aware of their traits. But the manner of speaking suggests the kind of awareness of a person who knows he is vain, or a perfectionist, or big-headed.

Thus, I would say, such a person, if he or she is an N, is aware of the traits of the false self.

But that, I would say, is very different to awareness that the self is a disordered or false self.

To put it another way, I am precisely saying that the N is unaware of the behaviours as narcissistic in the special sense of their being pathological.

Such self-awareness can only come through breakdown and psychotherapy.

I realise this sounds like I'm splitting hairs and I acknowledge that to highlight the lack of self-consciousness in Ns appears to "give them an excuse" to carry on or even encourages them to keep up their bad behaviour. I certainly don't intend this. But neither do i think it makes much sense to speak in those terms.

When I see a mum constantly using her children like objects to win admiration for herself, I might say to myself "Hm. Narcissistic abuse of the children". But I would be pretty sure that the mum feels, and would say, she is loving the children, and is precisely unconscious of the underlying compensation going on (i.e. her lack of self-love that compels her to derive others' admiration from things around her that she can say are "hers"). With that kind of lack of self awareness, the individual would not perceive some anonymous writing in a blog about narcissists' lack of self-consciousness as an "excuse" to continue the abusive behaviour. The N mum simply continues to "love" (pathologically). My point is that there is no conscious abuser there, but a person who thinks and believes her behaviour to be "normal".

My aim, in contributing to this blog, is to empower people in narcissistic or co-dependent relationships to not put up with abuse. Little children who are treated unempathically by parents can't not put up with it, they have to adapt to it in order to survive. The people who tolerate narcissistic abuse in a relationship, but stay in the relationship, must be getting some sort of compensation to make it worth while. Both partners, in this way, collaborate to maintain the status quo. (I'm saying that that's what goes on in co-dependency and other forms of damaging love relations. It might be asked here: to what extent would the abused partner of an N accept that he or she was self-consciously enabling the abuse?). If the abused partner has the strength to leave, or to challenge the abuse, that is a very powerful and potentially empowering act. (It might even bring about a change in the N). It is predictable, and understandable, that those who have been abused should demonise the abusers. But we should recognise that this reaction may itself be a form of denial of the part we have had to play in enabling (or, if you like, "excusing") the abuse.

I do not wish to excuse abuse, or let Ns off the hook. My aim is to shift the tone of discussion away from "good" and "bad" polarisation, towards a point of view that sees pathological narcissism as something that occurs in a thousand small ways (not just in violence and infidelity, though these are the extreme and horrible manifestations of abuse), and as a function of socialisation, in which we are all, to some degree, involved.

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sparkster 5 years ago from United Kingdom Author

Thanks Alistair, you have provided a lot of insight into the underlying subconscious mechanisms that contribute towards the behaviours caused by this disorder and I don't think I could have put it any better.

It's difficult to explain in logical terms how deep-routed this disorder is without completely contradicting yourself which is simply another ingenius way that a narcissist can manipulate - you state one thing about them, then state completely the oppositte and even though both may be true to some extent you're the one who's left looking like the liar.

In terms of psychology the sub-conscious mind feeds the conscious mind and vice versa, it's the way the human mind works and it has to happen. However, in narcissists the sub-conscious has usually taken over and they go through life on 'auto-pilot' so to speak but this doesn't change the fact that all thoughts and behaviours must be held in a person's consciousness at some point in order to be processed or acted upon. Sure this may be pulled direct from the subsconscious without awareness but the mechanisms must have been planted in the subconscious in the first place via direct consciousness.

In terms of personal experience, my (covert) narcissistic partner made it clear that she is well aware of her traits although 99% of the time she displays denial which is one of the main characteristics of the disorder therefore denial of their traits and denial of awareness of their traits are inevitable. This is simple because they are so ashamed of them, deep down inside they know exactly what they are so they create a false angelic self-image that they can be proud of.

However, upon threatening to leave a narcissist they become so obsessed with upholding this self-image to others who haven't figured them out that they commonly admit and accept their flaws and claim 'I can change' seemingly and suddenly becoming consciously aware of their traits. They were aware all the time, they were just in denial.

Sane Man 5 years ago

I agree with a lot of what you say Alastair, but I often hear people allude that those with NPD aren't really self aware or conscious of what they are doing. After having had the unfortunate experience of being raised by someone with NPD I can tell you they are absolutely aware of what they are doing. Perhaps they don't know why they are doing it, but they are not automatons, they are sovereign beings just like everyone else. I think people sometimes want to think that the NPD has a lack of awareness due to the fact that their actions are so disturbed it seems impossible to think they could be consciously behaving this way. But to a large degree everyone’s behavior is built on subconscious patterns that create a false self, this doesn’t mean people are unaware of what they are doing and the consequences of their actions. The simple fact is if there wasn't a clear and conscious knowledge that the NPD behavior was in some way unacceptable, then they wouldn't try and hide behind an 'angelic persona', they would just display their behavior and not understand what the problem was. To say that their created false self is only something they conform to consciously as a survival mechanism, would mean that all the time they spend acting atrociously and against this image they would have to be in some sort of unconscious trance, where they were behaving like a drone on auto pilot and have no recollection of what they were doing. I suffered through a lot of physical, emotional and psychological abuse as a child, however almost all of this happened in secret and was saved for when no one was around. My father wanted narcissistic supply so would act like the good parent in front of people, obviously to garner support for his false image, but in these actions he has to be consciously aware that what he was doing to me was deeply inappropriate and would not align peoples view of him as a saintly figure. The very fact that they modulate their own behavior to gain narcissistic support of their grandiose false self image means they have to be aware of what people consider as grandiose, or saintly or perfect and what people consider as against these principles. In fact they are so obsessed with how people perceive them you would have to say they are hyper aware of their actions and behavior, because everything is calculated to a much higher degree when attempting to control or manipulate a situation. I would say they are hyper self conscious in terms of what they are doing. I’ve actually seen my father’s persona shift depending on who walks into the room whilst he’s mid conversation, such was his level of awareness at how he was being perceived. My first memory of him was when I asked if I could smell his deodorant he sprayed it in my face, getting it in my eye. He once hit me in the face because I was sat somewhere where he didn’t want me to be sitting. These were all conscious actions and are the sort of behavioral modalities that encourage people to demonize and call these people evil. But the fact is these were conscious actions with a clear and calculated outcome in mind, he wanted to intimidate and dominate me as a way of controlling me, which amongst it’s benefits would include giving him a masochistic sense of power. So why? And how is this possible to be a conscious behavior? I recently read a scientific study which helped to explain the rise of tolerance towards the atrocities in Nazi Germany. In this paper it showed that if a baby is violently struck the first time it cries, brain scans reveal that the structure in the brain that allows people to empathize will fail to develop properly and can be as much as 70% smaller than in people with healthy brain function. What this means is an adult who simply doesn’t care about others, doesn’t care about causing pain or suffering, doesn’t care about lying to people, doesn’t care about cynically manipulating people, because they don’t feel any empathy or have the ability to care about others, all that’s left is complete self preservation and self gain without any of the constraints that act as a fail-safe against this type of selfish behavior. Unfortunately for the Germans the leading author on parental management in the late 1800’s and early 1900’s advocated this treatment of children as he claimed that hitting the baby once straight away would stop it from crying in the future. 40 years later they have a nation full of people willing to commit crimes such as genocide, and they adopt belief systems such as being the superior master race, so we have a complete lack of empathy towards others and a superiority complex, just like the narcissist. The Nazi’s knew exactly what they were doing, they just didn’t care and saw a chance for massive gain, just like the narcissist. I would consider a narcissist to be one level below a psychopath, psychopaths are fully aware of what they are doing, but they are wired up differently so don’t feel the same way about the horrible things they do as healthy people do. So in my experience and opinion, it’s not that the narcissist isn’t fully aware that their false self is dysfunctional, it’s just that they don’t have the built in inhibitors that stop most people acting this way, such as empathy. They know what they are doing is wrong, they just don’t care because for them it doesn’t feel wrong, and therefore they only care about the benefits they can obtain by acting this way.

Alastair 5 years ago

It's appalling, what you suffered, sane man.

I agree, there is a consciousness of transgressions, of boundaries crossed, of behaviours that are not acceptable, in those with narcissistic personality disorder. I know I am fortunate in not having suffered vindictive physical abuse as you have.

And I'm sure that what you write about the impact of violence on children, in terms of their lack of development of empathy, is true. (I'm sure you're aware of Alice Miller's account of Hitler as abuser and abused).

My struggle has been coming to terms with covert (or closet) narcissism in my mum, and a generally highly narcissistic family, in which humiliation and shame were visited on adults and children alike.

But the transgressive behaviours were (at least from my recollection) not obvious, but framed in ways that made them appear reasonable. This is why, I suppose, I focus so heavily on language and everyday pathology. Challenging the hurtful behaviour, which I did as an adult, involved personal breakdown. I know that I have a chance of overcoming disorder, but for my mum there will be no change.

My line of thought in all the above is that real self-awareness in a person with narcissist personality disorder is awareness that one has the disorder.

I maintain that such self-awareness can only come through breakdown and therapy. Of course no individual one suspects of having NPD (overt or covert) that hasn't achieved this degree of self-awareness is going to admit that they have the disorder. And clearly many who are disordered go through life never achieving it, that is, never facing the void and pain of loss of self that underlies this disfiguring mechanism for regulating self-esteem.

Pathological narcissism is compensation for lack of love, lack of real self-love. The proper response to it, after rage and anger and despair, is compassion.

Take care, sane man.

Sane Man 5 years ago

True Alastair, they will always make their behavior seem reasonable, they are masters of manipulation and deception to such a high degree. To them I don't think they see the world in terms of disordered behavior or being aware of it, life is just a game of survival and gain by any means, appearing saintly, being abusive, it's all the same to them, the truth and lies are just different methods of trying to obtain a desired outcome. So I believe they could become fully aware of their disorder, and still they wouldn't care or desire to change, because they don't feel their behavior is a problem or else they wouldn't do it in the first place. In fact I've heard of Narcissists using their personality disorder as an excuse when confronted about inappropriate behavior. When I first started doing self work and clearing all my repressed subconscious emotions from my childhood, sadly it was after I cleared away guilt that my relationship with my family changed. Because it was guilt, not love as I had previously thought, that kept me linked with them, guilt at what it meant to be a decent human being and a good son. Once the misplaced guilt was gone it became a lot easier to detach myself from them, because their child like behavior of not taking responsibility for their words and actions whilst expecting me to, suddenly didn't trigger anything inside me. So I no longer felt guilty about treating them how they deserved to be treated, and stopped catering to their child like irresponsible behavior. Actually I just found them irritating to be around. This did sadden me, but I guess you can't really love someone who has caused you so much pain, I think this is something to bear in mind, it's not love that keeps a person in an abusive relationship, it's something else, something specific to that relationship. You can very much heal from narcissistic parenting, but you absolutely must identify the subconscious patterns and beliefs you adopted from them as a child, or you will be destined to repeat and project dysfunctional behavior throughout your life. I think some form of breakdown is inevitable if prolonged contact with a narcissist is maintained, as long as the person is unaware that the narcissist has a disorder and instead thinks them to be a well person. I would also say not to get too caught up in trying to understand why they are how they are, from experience I can say you can almost get engulfed in this issue and then start to define yourself in terms of what happened to you, just accept they don't love you and focus on healing yourself so you can move on. I would absolutely recommend cutting off all contact with a narcissist, I know this difficult if there are children involved or whatever, but at least very limited and formal contact is the only way forward, because frankly, what’s the point in being around someone who’s just going to slap you in the face? I agree compassion is very important, and forgiveness, these are very disturbed individuals after all. In fact I find pity is the most common feeling I have for my father, probably the only time in my life I have experienced true pity, because there’s almost a feeling of looking down on him, but not in a judgmental way, more in a way that feels like complete sadness for what he is. Anyway there's so much good stuff in life, dealing with a narcissist is like stepping in shit, it's unpleasant but you don't have to walk around with it all day, just admit the shoes are a write off and buy a new pair, because the smell of shit will always always always be in the air if you keep them hanging around. Good luck.

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sparkster 5 years ago from United Kingdom Author

I'd also quickly like to point out that despite common beliefs, there are many different types of narcissist (covert, inverted, somatic, cerebral, spoilt, etc) who display different tendencies caused by alternative variations in the spectrum of abuse.

Peter 5 years ago

The main characteristic thing about my covert narcissistic wife is that she is completely self-centered, completely selfish, but always could hide this, even for me ! Yes, she has a double life the last 6 years. While at home she was always sexually cold to me (except in the very beginning of our relation), she is having anonymous sex with different men and couples. I like swinger-partys and should like to operate as a couple with my wife with other couples. She told me, she never was interested in this. Until I found out she is doing this all by her own. She is that terrible selfish that she has in fact no real relation with anyone. She is completely busy with her own lusts . I am not jalouse, because in fact she has only physical contact to other people, without any real intimacy. She uses herself as a kind of sexual object to others, without being emotionally involved. In fact she kicks on sexual humiliation, which looks very contradictionary to her very selfish charactar.

Peter 5 years ago

What I forgot to notice is that covert narcissists are indeed the living Zombies on this earth. Only it takes decades to find out that you are married to a Zombie and that she tried to Zombify you as well. And even their own children. I am so very terrified that one of my children will commit suicide after some years, because I see that my son is getting Zombified too. But relation-therapy does not help, because most psychologes are terrible fools and can't look in the soul of a covert narcissist. Okay, I admit it is terrible difficult, because they are extremely closed. Only terrible lyes will escape from theirs lips and once during one session with a psychologe, the psychologe wanted to send me to a psychiater. Nobody can help my family and I am that terrible afraid for my children. The covert narcissistic knows to fool the whole world and especially when they are that pretty as my wife, with her innocent angel-face. Only I know what is behind that very pretty face. She is really charming to anyone, but be careful. She will stab her knife in your back and secretly laugh, while seeing you starving !

Sane Man 5 years ago

"I'd also quickly like to point out that despite common beliefs, there are many different types of narcissist (covert, inverted, somatic, cerebral, spoilt, etc) who display different tendencies caused by alternative variations in the spectrum of abuse" - I agree with this, and also that to some degree most people have narcissistic like tendencies, although I believe they come from a very different place and are usually due to a subconscious fear of death, which triggers survival consciousness, and is not related to the desire for personal gain. I have a friend who has narcissistic qualities, but not to the degree of a personality disorder, and it saddens me because he's essentially a good guy but is very insecure, so hides behind a false bravado, his wounded ego's defence mechanism. But what I will say to Sparkster and Alistair is please don't waist your life being sucked in by a narcissists deception, they will make you believe they love you without a second thought. I've noticed that my father is terrified of losing my mother, because she is his main source of narcissistic supply. She owns two pet chickens and adores them, and I've witnessed my father kicking them like a football when he thinks no one is around, but when he's in front of her he is all super caring and coochy cooing them, and pretending he's concerned about there well being and will even come up with possible reasons and solutions for health problems they have (not mentioning that he's been kicking them up and down the garden). When I observe this, his deception is so convincing, if you didn't know what he'd done you'd never believe in a million years he could harm these chickens. It's just total cold hearted and ruthless manipulation for personal gain, please don't waist your time convincing yourself that deep down they do really care about you, they don't. Find someone who will show you the love and respect you deserve.

Peter 5 years ago

Sane man, you are completely right ! In the beginning of our relation I wanted to end the relation and I tried many times after. She did not want and I had to much pity for her to send her away. Instead, she wanted marry with me. Finally after 6 years of living together, I agreed. She was always a very hard working woman and not lazy. We got two children and some years after the birth of my second child, she secretly had sex with other man. I told her she had to stay with someone else, she had sex with ! She does not want. She wants sex with anonymous men and I think she already got anonymous sex addiction.

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Aremelle 5 years ago from NorCal

Thank You for this research and clear explainations. I've read Sam Vaknin's work in the past. I like how you laid out the info here.

A bit of confussion for me is the difference(?)between OVERT and COVERT Narci's. Can they be both or some degree of one or the other along with the main malfunction?

The person I was tangled up with for half my life ='o( exhibited both types; though was MOSTLY the Covert type--which was mainly noticable at home, in private with just me there. EGADS

He seldom went out with any friends, he seldom left the house (is disabled too), He didn't speak to neighbors unless pressed to do so, he tried to control the inside, the home and mostly had me doing the "step n fetch it" routine.

The OVERT side, if I should call it that, was when he felt well enough or balanced enough to pull it together He' go to meetings, attend His clubs, and became involved in (volunteer/unpaid) civic programs--He did pretty well at these. Metro Transit task forces where the disabled and elderly's bus riding issues were addressed, bus routes to places that seniors et al could access. His work was appreciated and "Positive", as far as I could tell; won awards and had many folks praising him. He was liked by most, as far as I can tell this way too. I watched people praise his work and his volunteer spirit of giving/helping for years and years. He did not become "close, chummy friends" with most, however, those tiny few that he did like being around KNEW not to just drop by the house; mostly he met them away from the home or tolerated a short visit with those few and infrequently. He didn't like "company" or any people coming to the home too often. If people did come, I could see him STRAIN to maintain a friendly upbeat attitude (dying for them to go home so he could "relax") He hated my adult kids and MY family and/or (very few by then), ladyfriends coming over. But in public, he was Mr. Golden Boy.

At home, IN PRIVATE, is where his Public Mask came off. He parked himself in from of his TV (and telephone) in the middle of house, had me bringing him things and reading things and writing things and working the bills and cleaning and errands ALL THE TIME; and gave me NO privacy. If he was in a bad mood or hurting, he acted out terribly but I NEVER knew on which day he'd be going nutso..some days he was calm...(recently I began taking pictures (for his doctor and shrink) of his bizarre behavior--when he found out, he was very ANGRY. He's also an UNtreated Bi Polar (OMG) so readers can "imagine" the hell I was stuck in for 30yrs. In last 3yrs the intensity of his bizarre (manipulating, paranoid, angry, overdosing, name calling) behavior had me reaching out for help--it didn't come, some came too late. I didn't KNOW the terms to use, such as ABUSSIVENESS, or EVEN THAT I was in an abussive relationship with this man and needed help, just spoke of his bizarre all night sometimes weird activities. No One Came--except to say I should find my own apt.?? Um, why not REMOVE HIM? I am painfully disabled now too (which also peeved the narci as now I cant stand up and cook and rush around for him anylonger)He isn't AS Mobility challenged as he lets on. He milks that condition for all it's worth. He's mostly a fraud. You know the type: The person that goes into court wearing a neckbrace after an accident to gain pity from the court in his favor, but his neck is just fine? Yes, well in this one's case He uses a POWER CHAIR for the same effect. Anyone who doesn't know him at home, personally, THINKS his whole world is bound to that chair. It's NOT, not at all.

I'm out of there but the legal wrangling continues.I will never be the same. I'm ruined at 62.

My abuser is a certifiable PSYCHOPATH--has all three of these: Narcissistic PD, Borderline PD, and Anti Social PD.

Thanks again for the article/hub. The thing that caught my eye first, in your piece, is the subject of UTTER self absorbtion by the Narci's. BINGO...I've NEVER seen any human being anywhere as self centered and cold, as this one I just escaped from.

Be well A

sparkster profile image

sparkster 5 years ago from United Kingdom Author

Thanks for the comment Aremelle, you raise some interesting points and seem a little dubious about what the problem actually is. My response is an in-depth one so I'm going to go back through what you said and I'll post here again when I'm done.

Aremelle profile image

Aremelle 5 years ago from NorCal

Thank You Sparkster for the review and consideration.

I know that he is a Psychopath but was "curious" about the two points you made regarding overt and covert NPD. I'd never heard it before..It's very interesting. I can use all the prof. information I can find to help build my case in court next month. >I< would ADORE to go on with my life, what's left and LEAVE him sink to the bottom of the ocean--IF HE would leave ME alone. He will not. It's a NIGHTMARE Sir.

Thank You, A

Aremelle profile image

Aremelle 5 years ago from NorCal

Thank You Sparkster;

Much appreciated. He is definitely a "Sociopath", but they don't call them that much anymore, via my research, they use the term PSYCHOPATH and from what I've read they typically have a "measure" of each of those PD tendencies to qualify; tho' one of them is likely to be the Dominant trait. (Not all Psychopath's Murder people, btw)

If interested, See a couple publications: (1) "Meaning from Madness" Richard Skerritt: ?Understanding the hidden patterns that motivate Abusers; Narcissists, Borderlines, and Sociopaths"? et al. (2) Magazine: ?"Secrets of Your Brain"--Special Edition U.S.NEWS? Pages; 45-47 Very Interesting stuff in general.

I started to write out my entire history with this person; it's too long, too painful, too aggitating to me. Suffice it to say; I LOST HORRIFICALLY while trapped (with AND after leaving my own home) by this sick twist. I will never be the same.

Much good will and good luck to You and thank you for taking the time to share these things with me/us..

Be Well, Aremelle ~~

Sparkster 5 years ago

Yes, a sociopath and a psychopath have been merged into the diagnosis of Antisocial Personality Disorder. However, I don't feel that this name describes is accurately at all, it's quite misleading. Especially with the ASBOs (Anti Social Behaviour Order) being handed out in the UK to those that cause trouble in public, generally bored youths.

Aremelle 5 years ago

Greetings again Sparkster,

Got a notice in my email. TY. You know (blush) I didn't bother to notice where You originate from, yikes! I HAVE noticed the differences in criteria of diagnoses between US and UK.

My former son in law is a classic Narcissist; that why narcissim became an interest to me years ago. The BEAST I lived with was BORN the way he is. He is not a youth either; he is 63yrs old and has been a pain in the neck to everyone, I now realize, since a child. Pyro, rape, dishonorable discharges from military sent to Federal Prsion, In and out of state prisons, mental hospital I NOW FIND OUT..omg!!

This one is what we used to call: THE BAD SEED. His brain (the amygdala is my guess) is not functioning well...

He Mirrored, split, and Parroted and glommed onto others to SUCK THE LIFE out of them as in ?EMOTIONAL VAMPIRE?..He EXPLOITED people for personal gain over and over and throughout the years got MUCH SLICKER AT IT until today, folks downtown THINK he is just a cute, wonderful guy---------in a wheelchair. NOT.

He's dangerous and eventually he will work himself into a situation where he destroys himself........again. Woe unto the next female (or close friend) that finds herself/himself ensnared by that animal.

Beware the Public Glandhanders ala Ted Bundy who ran a suicide hotline, lets not forget..

Be Well and ty again ==?== A

PJO 5 years ago

Very interesting and insightful, I thought for a while I may be married to a narcissist but your article of covert narcissism hit it right on; it was as though you were writing about he and I.

Peter 5 years ago

It seems to be that covert narcissism is more frequent in former East-Europe and overt narcissism in West-Europe, I read. I think this is correct, because my wife is Polish and I am Dutch. I am not narcissistic, but my wife is a typically covert narcissist and she is totally the character as you described in your article.We are together for 23 years now.

Better standard of living in West-Europe seems to be not working with covert narcissists from East-Europe and I am convinced that they were much more happy under the old communistic regimes. Covert narcissists love "strong" leaders and men. People like good old Stalin. Not softies, like me. I like to talk about things and problems, but covered narcissists more prefer to obey orders from "strong men".

Yes, my wife has secret relations with other men and I find out all about those relations. Most strikingly is that those "strong" men humiliate her totally and treat her very sadistically. When I would slap her face once, she would immediately call the police. Those "strong" men can do anything to her. Stalin would be the right man for her.

Peter 5 years ago

For everyone who is interested in covert narcissism I recommend to buy the French movie " La belle du jour " to buy on DVD. Covert narcissism is also known as a typically female form of narcissism.

Laine 5 years ago

Is my husband a narcissist? he does not make friends, is very critical and negative yet can charm the pants of people with his humor, but rarely laughs at anyone else's jokes - even his kids ones! We have 3 boys 18,19,21(he is my 2nd husband, I have two children to my previous husband) and I have tried everything from when they were little to get him to show them affection, he never wanted to play with them, help with homework etc, i have taught all of them how to drive and I have spent the last 20 odd years arguing with him about how he was their role model and one day hey may be dads too but he never cared enough to even try, often saying if I don't like it "there's the door" if I got upset he'd tell me to "stop sooking" I can't ask anything of him as he gets annoyed, his father shook hands with the boys when they were toddlers-no affection- and his mother did not condone public displays of affection - all their family photos were in the spare room - none on display in the main rooms.His sister (older) was an A grade student but even though my husband is pretty intelligent he has done nothing with his life, I feel he was compared to her but really don't know because he's very defensive of his family and won't talk about it. he has been seeing a counsellor for a while(he had depression a couple of years ago) but I'm not sure what about as our relationship has deteriorated, he's not interested in doing anything with me and can be very lazy, I'm lonely and tired of being responsible for just about everything, he he doesn't care are how run down things getso in frustration I go and fix things (what I can anyway) He's been faithfull to me and a good worker but I'm tired and confused, sometimes I wonder if it's me that's the problem. I've told him I want to separate, he's agreed but I really don't think he thinks it will happen. Give me strength....

Waiting 5 years ago

This describes my husband to a T. Been together for over 30 years. Don't know what to do. Financially - heading for bankruptcy (his third, second I've been taken through), on the verge of foreclosure, no source of income for myself. Am caring for a medically,physically disabled daughter and cannot work. (I can't leave her with him while I work as he won't care for her needs.) Worry at times about what he's capable of. Waiting for a parting of the Red Sea.

Peter. 5 years ago

Can I divorce my wife or leave her ? It all will be to difficult and expensive. I am afraid she will make me totally bankrupt and she will blackmail me with the children. So I do not intend to divorce her. But I know she has secret affairs with other men, while at home she allways was and is frigide. I am certainly not an ugly man, but rather attractive. We can go to swingerclubs, but she does not want with me. She secretly does this with other men. Secrets, secrets and secrets !! I intented to do the same as she does and have affairs with other women. When she found out about this, she gives me the silent treatment. It is lasting already for 4 months. I do not mind and I have nice love-affairs with other women. Okay, I am a family-man and in fact I do not like with what I am doing, but what else I can do ?

sparkster profile image

sparkster 5 years ago from United Kingdom Author

@Peter, usually the CN makes it impossible for you to do the same but clearly not in your situation. Behaving that way yourself gives your wife an easy opportunity to point the finger at you and lay the blame on you to all of her family and friends. Focus that energy on doing something about the relationship and getting out of there, at the end of the day divorce can wait until a more suitable time.

@Laine, your husband certainly displays many of the characteristics associated with this disorder. All I can suggest you do about it at the moment is read as much as you can and determnine for yourself. Maybe have a chat to your doctor or GP about it.

womanatthewell 5 years ago

Wow! wonderful.

Nady 4 years ago

I finally got a job!!! I start tomorrow and it will go for 2 months. What a relief! What's funny - sort of - is that Friday I got rejected for one job and got hired for this one within a half hour of each other. I am so relieved and happy. MANY THANKS FOR YOUR HELP Dr.(!!! Especially for the extra time - very nice and very appreciated...

rasta1 profile image

rasta1 4 years ago from Jamaica

Some time ago I opt to live with a sexy girl in an isolated location. She was an overt narc. Everything went well for the first couple of days. Then she started to use my isolation and lack of not having a car against me. She also used money against me, she had just landed a good job. I was having problems sourcing money from my paypal and other accounts.

Things got really bad. She started to complain that my money was too slow and I had to bring more to the table. She had a veracious sexual appetite. So she started to break me down for a second.

However, what she did not know was that I had an escape plan. I have been dealing with narcs all my life.

1) I found out her behavior was influenced by a conflict she had with her mother at 16 and use it against her.

2) Had infiltrated her friends and preconditioned them to see me as the good guy before she started trashing me.

3) Occasionally hide her tools of narcissism like iPhone and credit cards. So there is no distractions when initiating counter-psychological techniques when she is in panic.

4)Find out any pharmaceuticals taken. She was taking a prescribed drug that has meth (most pills do)

4) Pretended to be in hurt, so that she would punish me with more money and sex.

5) Had an exit strategy, had a friend who lived down the road so that I could leave anytime, but I had to let her think I was trapped.

Basically she could not have had me. I was too experienced. I was also upset that she tried to exploit me when I had opened up. When she found out that I was not stranded and she was being played. She became very docile and subordinate. I then just exited.

womanatthewell 4 years ago

Love your story, rasta!

sparkster profile image

sparkster 4 years ago from United Kingdom Author

I also love your story rasta1, you obviously had one major advantage having already learnt how to deal with the abuse. Knowledge is power.

Kim Costanzo 4 years ago

Nice to know (sic) why I had the heart attack.

Pam 4 years ago

I'm curious to know if there is a high incidence of incest between NPD and their parent? I lived with a NPD for over four years and his elderly mother also resided in his home. It was subtle but it seemed to me that there was some underlining sexuality in their relationship. But as most victims of NPD I always questioned my own powers of observation and wondered if it was "just me". Thanks

SandyMcCollum profile image

SandyMcCollum 4 years ago

Wow, just the comments taught me stuff! Thanks for the great read, I did learn from this. Never thought of Covert Narcissism before.

sparkster profile image

sparkster 4 years ago from United Kingdom Author

Thanks for the comment Sandy,

I'm glad you learned from both this article and the comments - That means my hub is doing exactly what I intended it would do.

savedbyJesus 4 years ago

This is very interesting. I just found out tonight about NPD. Now it all makes sense about my very recent ex fiancé. I couldn't ever explain why I couldn't talk to him anymore. Now I know why. I recently had a mental breakdown. My body and mind totally shutdown. I couldn't take it anymore. I was down for almost a month. Praise be to God my mind is sound again.

SparrowMinistries 4 years ago

Very helpful article.

krillco profile image

krillco 4 years ago from Hollidaysburg, PA

Well written, good stuff!

Bedbugabscond profile image

Bedbugabscond 4 years ago from United States

Wow, this is a really interesting Hub. I think I know a covert Narcissist. If I am right, then it would be almost impossible to get this person to go and get the proper diagnosis and help they need.

However, I hope anyone who is trapped in a relationship with a covert Narcissist can find a way to break free. Being in a relationship like that would be very unhealthy.

SparrowMinistries 4 years ago

Bedbugabscond-It is very unhealthy and trapped is a very good word. the partner feels like they are the crazy one because everyone else thinks the N is such a great person, so saintly and angelic. Only my family knows the truth, and among those who know the N and don't know my family, they just think my family are terrible people out to destroy my marriage. It's so twisted and really hard to get free.

sparkster profile image

sparkster 4 years ago from United Kingdom Author

So true, it's confusingly frustrating for the victim, they can never seem to quite put their finger on what's actually going on, it's so well disguised.

Adrijan 4 years ago

I seem to be covert narc, cerebral all the time and somatic in phases. I diagnosed myself and went to the psychiatrist to talk to him about. No pressure from anyone. Everyone thinks I'm a nice, smart, capable and hardworking person that never did anything wrong to anyone(that means I'm a successful covert narc, heh). I had a lot of depression symptoms from work stress(narcs get really upset about setbacks and stupid people making decisions that influence their lives greatly) and started exploring neurochem and then stumbled onto NPD. Every word seemed to match and explain my behavior perfectly.

And the way NPD describes me is very... hard to read. for a narc that believes he is good to the world.

I want to be a good person. I have always wanted this - honestly. I have an older brother, probably an overt narc who abused me. Parents are probably both cerebral narcs, family of coldness that I feel nothing good about. On the outside we seemed like a perfect family.

Since I was a kid I have felt the entire NPD arsenal on me including blackmail and manipulation and outright agression from older brother, beatings from father and conditional love from both parents(only when good boy, had to have all straight As bla blah). I have recognized and felt these malignant behaviours as a kid and decided never to make anyone else feel like that. I am pretty intelligent and I drew a very rigid and correct moral line that disabled most of my NPD weaponry with high amounts of anxiety, probably installed into me during childhood. It made me a bit of a solo act(lots of social anxiety and avoidance, low self-esteem, unable to form good friendships, been on the computer for most of the time practicing my cerebral stuff) for the most of my life but I have, for the most part, been good to people.

My moral standard strictly does not allow me to "win" in any situation of "trade". I always have to give more to feel good about myself. This actually occurs even in simple sales of my old used car or something(I have to blurt out all that is wrong with the car and possibly could go wrong and lower the price). I have nothing from this. Some random person that I sold the car thinks that I'm nice(infact an idiot) and I'll never see them again. But I feel good about myself. Well not really, I feel like an idiot because I often lose more money than I should that way. Buy the anxiety of being a bad person is worse than losing money.

I am married and have noticed that I have manipulated my wife into certain things that I wanted really bad. These are subsoncious manipulations, my subcosnscience first has to create a nice picture for my conscience to make it ok for me to do something that I would normally not want to do or consider immoral(I could never demand something just because ... I have to earn everything and double even ). The way this happens for me is usually I try to cause a certain "debt" by doing everything in my power to make the other person feel VIP and then expect to get what I need. This is not conscious. I honestly enjoy doing things for her. Maybe because my subconsicous enjoys it because it knows that it will enable it to ask for what it wants. I get emotionaly upset if my needs are then not met and obviously have lots of arguments in my favor - evertything I did for her. Then some passive agresssion and I usually got what I want. However I noticed this pattern after I had gotten what I wanted(usually how it goes, the consciousce can resolve what really happened only after the subconscious is done with the dopamine dumping)

I really have to struggle with this as the subconscious me does the "magical thinking"(dopamine thinking, that is why we are prone to substance abuse, dopamine will make even crap smell and taste good) and persuades me. I noticed that I like to comment her friends for example, often derogatory. It took me a few months to figure it out but I managed to recognize and stop it. I recognize it because I have to(and can't really stop obssessing if everything is perfect in my life) introspect a lot. I do not consider my wife not having friends a perfect life, I am not stupid. Even though the narc in me is possesive obviously. I realise I have to kill that trait in order to get the perfect life.

Anyway, in time, all these self-installed rules, apprehensions become somehow normal and more automatic and I feel like I'm growing up. Infact I think this whole disorder is basicly people not growing up when they should.

It took me the initial 6-12 months of the relationship to work out all my bad moves and eliminate them. Most of them were kept inside me anyway providing me with endless sleepless nights in selftorment - does she love me(oh yea, the subconscious project the feelings of rejection too, and you can't stop it). This is what got me work stress as I was unable to think from the obssession of me being rejected but also from the conscious effort not to act on it - it takes a lot out of a man.

This is how I live. It is not easy. Constantly introspecting and trying to get some more perspective out of everything so you can recognize your bad moves(sometimes unfortunately after the deed is done and the dopamine rush is gone) and slap yourself on the wrist.

You could say I'm faking to be good person. I wouldn't have to try so hard if I was "normal". But maybe I'm really better than everyone. Who else would try so hard? And why? Why indeed. I can't answer that. The desire to be fair to people was in me since I remember.

I know my brother put his ex into the shrink for 4 years PTSD. I don't want to do that to my wife. I really love her. Maybe that's an overstatement for a narc. Maybe I'm lying to myself. But she is happy and smiles all the time and has her friends and family. I honestly love the sight of her smile and the sound of her voice. I have never said a bad word to her. I didn't even want to. It may be that I'm idealising her, whatever.

But I am a narc. I am the smartest person in the world - and smart enough to recognize my own disability and smart enough to draw a rigid moral line for me . I stray from time to time but still do better than the next normal person.

I'm sure there are narcs like me out there and I don't think we deserve all this bad rep. Reading about this disorder while realising you suffer from it has been a horrific experience for me, made me anxious and queasy. Made me doubt the purpose of my existance and I wanted to kill myself. Even if everything I do is driven by some "selfish bad engine" I think my actions on the world sum up as really positive and you should not make me want to kill myself. In the end, what then makes you better than me? (aren't I manipulative?)

goldenprince13 4 years ago

I have to say, considering it was only yesterday i spoke to the author about the almost zero treatment and recovery of 'covert narcs' as you put it, then today a "self-styled" and self diagnosed one appears saying that he cannot win all the time as he is a good person with a strict moral code, has sent my instincts ringing like a bell at st pauls cathedral,

And the fact you have chosen to write as much as you find on any hub just to "explain" yourself, again seems totally at odds with ANY covert malignant narcissist, and you talk far more like a pseudo overt than a covert ever would, and you are painting a false image in text that is clearly meant to be truth about a 'real' covert, who must be the first to ever self diagnose and seek treatment for it with a psychiatrist, your story is exactly that...a story

i smell shenanigans and notice your little sly dig at the author in there, and you have clearly appeared with an agenda and it is as transparent as your false moral code.

That is all you will be hearing from me.

Adrijan 4 years ago

Then again, I may be deluding myself even now... that I'm a good person...

desert safari 3 years ago

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Matt 3 years ago

Hello this is an exact dicription of my ex she along with her p father had a plan to take my assets and destroy me ,luckily my family have supported me ,not that she hasn't tried to manipulate them against each other ,why do they do exactly the same things the cn stole my wallet and birth papers set about becoming close to my children's teachers ,she uses anything to gain attention even munchausens by proxy with our asthmatic son all set up to blame me ,she has intentions of doing charity work to gain attention,always running around for the school helping out teachers doing scrap booking for them if they leave.when finally I left I saw a two different people one was crying saying that she loved me and she was going to kill herself ,then she was smile talking saying that I was paranoid and the things that I was accusing her off weren't true ,this was the site that rang all of the alarm bells thanks so much for all your work ,realizing what I been in has helped me start healing .she has taken almost all I've worked my life for but really she has nothing because without your health what have you really got, she has already turned one child against me and is capable of anything without remorse , I have got over the anger stage and now want to regain myself ,after walking out a complete ghost and suffering PTSD and anxiety , thanks again

GinaBina 3 years ago

This describes my marriage of over 20 years! You nailed it!! I have been divorced for over a year now. I am trying to heal and make sense of all his lies...and the lack of empathy he had towards everyone.

When I walked into my attorney's office, I was a basket case. My Ex called me crazy a lot. I am so thankful I had an attorney who could see what I couldn't see.

Thank you for such valuable information.

imran 3 years ago

Thanks so much for writing about NPD, I'm currently on my way out of an abusive relationship with a covert narcissist and I finally know what was going on through all these years... Talking to a counsellor helped a lot as well. I'm so glad I can see clearly now but still I can wake up in the middle of the night all covered in sweat and wanting to run away

JHR333 3 years ago

It's been probably 2weeks now, since I first started reading up on this. Honestly, I had to close this & take this long to digest what a mess my life is in, almost too afraid that I'm left with such little strength to think I could ever turn my whole life around, & get out. I'm SO isolated that my husband even LIVES upstairs in our house, in his "room", as if he is the 4th, and worst behaved child in the house. No rules apply to him, he's entitled to everything, now spends approximately $10-15,000 a month on his 5 personal credit cards, (w/nothing to show for), & when I ask who or what he is supporting, I'm told things such as, 'maybe I'm getting scammed'? (But he keeps PAYING this amount not ever questioning?!), or, he'll "research it & get back with me". He's even gone so far to say, "maybe it's YOU who is using my cards for purchases "??! (He accuses me of confiscating the mail, said he's actually MISSING a card?!) Its impossible to have a real conversation about ANYTHING, much less emotions. If I ever do attempt to talk about anything hurtful to me, then I'm always accused of "trying to pick a fight", or "there you go, with your lists". We even went to a counselor once who told me my husband would be perfectly fine with me being a Stepford wife. Just like I read, even the counselor would wink at me, as a reminder of him suggesting that we just "go along with him", when everything was manipulated and turned on me?? I felt like I could trust no one. So let down. What hurts me the most, is the way he has treated our children. Calls them every name in the book, for something like leaving shoes "in his room", so he sits them out in the hallway, as if in a hotel to be picked up by housekeeping. (Aka ME). I feel so much guilt, for not being able to offer my children a stable functional home. If I was the rational, level-headed, better parent, then I keep asking myself...couldn't I have in the past, or in the future, muster the strength to get away??? He's managed to strip away everything, everyone, who was ever in my life...1 at a time, over years. I'm basically left without any support system that was ever familiar to me. I'm just left constantly questioning myself, thinking that I've always been a good judge of character, but the one person I MARRY, was possibly just a facade, like a character, so I didn't really fall in love with a real person that even exists? All I know is that somewhere, very slowly, without my knowledge or full understanding, is that my husband died along the way, because I now feel trapped with a man I really never knew. I'd like to not feel invisible anymore, or to not feel like I'm a hostage who is safe with his secrets. Thank you so much for writing about NPD, and giving validation to my every thought and experience.

Johnny 3 years ago

Another interesting aspect of a Covert Narcissist (CN) is the way that friends can be treated by them. Basically: here today and charming when they need us, gone tomorrow and rude when they no longer need us.

I had been friends with a CN for over 20 years and did not realize it until the last year. He is very typical of the type, extremely charming, everyone loves him, he's almost "perfect", never gets mad, always says the perfect thing in every situation, women love him, etc. etc. Over the years, I had supplied him with clients, work, food, free trips, etc.

He was married to a woman who supported him financially and also fed him clients (he was in the creative field) as she was very well connected and when they divorced suddenly his world fell apart and he was nearly homeless with no clients and no work. At that point, he leaned on his friends very heavily for support, myself included. He was living in an apartment that another friend had given him as long as he would do remodeling on it while there. Needless to say, the remodeling did not happen very quickly and that friend decided to evict him. He was on his way to couch surfing and living hand to mouth when...

He was introduced to a woman who had lost her husband the previous year. After a whirlwind romance, within 3 months he was living with her and within 8 months they were married. This woman is extremely wealthy and has two children. All of her friends told her to slow down and not marry him, and at first they were not going to be married, just live together. But without warning, they planned a wedding within the next few months. This woman has been manipulated into paying off his debt, buying him a car and even buying him a space in a new building for his creative endeavors. The woman was very vulnerable (needing a husband, needing a father for her kids) and also very easily manipulated. She was putty in his hands and will surely be a victim in the future if not already.

Once he was firmly entrenched into his new life, with her and her money... POOF! All of his old, non-rich friends were cut off. He no longer needs us and has pretty much cut us out of his life entirely. He's become extremely buddy-buddy with all of his rich new friends that are in his new wife's circle.

Keep in mind this was a man who I got together with on a bi-weekly basis for over 20 years to talk, enjoy music, eat dinners together, etc. (most of the time on my dime) and now suddenly we're no longer friends. What was really telling was how (at the wedding) he had almost nothing to do with his old friends, barely spoke to us. Why? He had a new rich life, a wife with loads of money... he knew it didn't matter any longer, he no longer had to be charming - to us. And he wasn't. But you can believe that he was extremely charming to his new friends and circulated with them at the wedding. What was really telling? The fact that not ONE Of his old friends were in the wedding party. They were all new people who had money.

The last few times I talked to him, he was cocky, rude, arrogant and very off-putting. This was an entirely different person than I'd known for over 20 years previously. This man was one of my best friends and his personality had changed so much that I could barely stand him.

The friendship is basically over and I'm still stunned that I never knew the real person behind that mask until now.

So, beware, you can truly be a victim of CN - even as a friend of the covert narcissist.

sparkster profile image

sparkster 3 years ago from United Kingdom Author

This hub has had 3 questions and a new video added. If you can, please take the time to answer the 3 questions in the right column (in grey) - people may find the answers useful.

Adam Cov-Narc 3 years ago

Poorly informed text on stereotypical "bad guy" narcissists. Mentioning personal experience is an obvious tell of how personal and emotional this post is.

Though covert narcissists do exist, we are way to uncaring about the matters of the world around us to steal your money. We are the self-aware kind of narcissists. We often come with a slightly higher than average intelligence, an extreme fear of failure in all respects, and incapable of normal social interaction. Altough we may sound cold and aloof about matters of ethics, we do develop very good ethics during young adulthood. You don't have to drag our label in the dirt, we haven't done anything. Most have done nothing with our lives and will continue to due so until we're dead. Considering our high ods of committing suicide because of severe depression caused by aforementioned lack of general activity and awareness of how little we do with life, you needn't worry about anything other than your 'sociopath' ex-boyfriend.

sparkster profile image

sparkster 3 years ago from United Kingdom Author

Adam Cov-Narc,

You are clearly talking about inverted narcissism, also known as co-narcissism, not to be confused with covert/stealth narcissism. See:

Some people have been misinformed on this issue. Sam Vaknin being one person who has confused the term. See:

sparkster profile image

sparkster 3 years ago from United Kingdom Author

By the way, I am male and do not have an ex-boyfriend! Also, I have spent years researching the disorder with GP's, therapists, victims, etc aswell as having many years direct experience - as you can see from the comments, I know what I'm talking about and this article has become one of the most popular on the internet on this topic.

Raymond 3 years ago

Thanks for the indepth explanation. I might even see a few of those traits in me. I didn't realise but there are people I know in relationships that have seriously suffered from their partner's NPD.

tomAgillmon 3 years ago

I was suggested this web site by my cousin. I'm not sure whether this post is written by him as nobody else know such detailed about my difficulty. You are wonderful! Thanks!


sparkster profile image

sparkster 3 years ago from United Kingdom Author

Hi Tom, this post definitely wasn't written by your cousin (unless we happen to be related somehow - but it wasn't me that told you about it). Thanks for commenting.

3 years ago

Great article. The person I was involved with was a covert narcissist. Or so it may seem. 3 weeks now since we broke up. We were together long distance for 8 months. So I think I got out of it lucky. I am extremely sensitive and codependent at times too but am adept at noticing when things go wrong. Now recovering. Keep having dreams about her which hurts because the dreams encompass the good things we shared. I feel very messed up in the head over this plus lived with 2 narcissists who housed me before and discarded me. So am in need of a lot of recovery and counselling I think.

anewday 3 years ago

Really informative post. I had been struggling to see my ex-narc in the light of all the general info I have been reading. Certainly holds all the criteria, but is a self-depracating person, pessimistic, and often resorting to bouts of severe self critique. Very seldom grand-standed, although the grandiosity was always in the background. But on the surface, a very mild mannered, cautious, shy person - but under the hood - a whole different story. Really appreciated your insights on covert narcissism - makes a whole lot of sense from a situation that was anything but sensible.

eosesd 3 years ago

I've been with my covert narcissist for 5 years (after having been married 25 years) and would like to share my story if it helps someone. We are both highly educated and both approx 50 years old. At first I thought he was the way "he was" because he went to Harvard & is a Rhode's Scholar and owns a bunch of companies and is extremely handsome and fit. Heck, you'd expect him to have some narcissism - right? But then I realized that what he had went way beyond healthy narcissism. He lied about even the most trivial things - like where I lived when talking to strangers - and went out of his way to give people money - even those that knowingly were stealing from him! If a taxi cab driver was supposed to charge a flat rate of $15 to bring us to the airport (it's clearly marked in the cab) and the driver charged us $40 I would speak up - and he would tell me the man deserved the extra $$ and would hand him $50! It was the craziest thing. As if he is constantly buying attention. If the conversation sways my way (I also am pretty successful and have a PhD) - within minutes he'll sway it back to him and all his greatness. If his company loses money it's always due to the ineptness of staff. If they make money it's always because of his brilliance. He'll pass out his business cards to women hitting on him - right in front of me - claiming it's for business purposes! Quite the charmer. And he will never plan more than a few days ahead. He is like a vagabond with no real home - he usually lives out of a suitcase (although he has multiple homes) and risks his life by doing things that could kill him like flying his private airplane (he has 3) in bad weather. I think he actually believes he is indestructible. But the last straw was his going away on vacation a few months ago with his ex-wife and kids - without telling me or inviting me (she stayed on his family's island in a separate cabin but he paid to get her there and has routinely stayed at her home when visiting his kids so he thinks nothing of having her along. I don't think there is anything sexual between them (she is close to 70 years old and a drunk) - but she provides him with the narcissistic supply he needs when I'm not around and takes care of their two teenagers who are pretty horrible spoiled children so he can focus on himself. I confronted him when I found out she was there and he denied, denied, denied. He said she was NOT with him on vacation but when given evidence otherwise he said he was not WITH her but yes, she was on the island. Semantics?? Are you kidding me. Any way, I threw him out of my home. Then he insisted I not throw "us" away and asked me to go see a therapist with him. Big mistake. That's where he went into his first narcissistic rage and grabbed me by the collar nearly strangling me. I had "outted" him in front of an outsider. Narcissists hate it when we figure it all out and fight back. He later went back to our home and did not sleep for the next 72 hours and started staring at the stars and talking crazy - blaming ME for everything I had done to him (things which he had actually done!). He was definitely in the middle of some sort of psychotic episode. He told me how upset he was with ME and that he'd have to consider taking me back. Huh??? That's when I (again) asked him to get out. He's had no long term relationship (longest was 5 -7 years) - married the first time to a woman who was old enough to have been his mother - but she was also filthy rich - and she refused to have his children because it would cause stretch marks - so they paid someone in California to carry their children. Talk about insanity. Then after the twins were born she left him because of his "problems". Wife #2 was a doctor, 55 years old and never married. Another great pick. He said she was, of course, the "best" doctor in her field and she introduced him as her "Rhode's Scholar" husband. Again, another narcissist. Then after a few years she tried to have him committed. Hmm... If only I had known all this. Any way, now that I threw him out he has offered to buy me a vacation safari and trying to buy my affection. I guess that's the only way he knows how. Sad story all around. But at least I recognized it before it was too late. I know I'm not perfect - not as smart or rich as he is - but I deserve so much better and I'm so happy and relieved to be rid of him. If anyone out there would like to compare notes, I'd love to hear from you. eosesd @ yahoo

mb 3 years ago

After finally leaving the hole I was in with a malignant narc mother/brother/father and moved into shared accommodation I met the land owner, he seemed real awesome until I realized it was simply projecting an image of me. The first few days I received a mental impression of who it was I saw instantly a pathetic inferior jealous self centered fool. I assumed it was because of its prior 8 year heroin addiction but I now see that it was an excuse for its extremely narcissistic behavior. The peeps I live with are in its thrall, one woman in particular literally moves around the house in a quite very quick manner and looks scared and acts avoidant most of the time. She has alienated her poor cat. Narc abuse no doubt.

Yet when I express my anger via singing a bit too loud (albeit a bit over the top) I feel as if I am being scapegoated like crazy, for instance the other day I asked how the woman was and she copied what i said as if narc abusing, probably she was trying to protect herself even though there was nothing to protect against and left me feeling pissed because she turned the convo on me in a way, you guys know what I mean. Another annoying thing that occurred and its so silly like honestly... I have 2 necklaces which make metallic-impact noises as I walk around like a bell I suppose. I haven't worn these necklaces for a long time for narc related reasons, I decided that I was kidding my self and begun wearing them then it dawned on me there is a correlation in her mind between the sounds her cats collar makes and my necklaces hence creating a ridiculous situation where I scapegoated myself in her eyes. She of course took off the cats collar in 'retaliation' honestly its so ridiculous I am going to confront her about this before I move out within this week (thank god) tho I am worried that the house I am moving into now is occupied by narc parents their kid. I sense it, the dynamics are strange, the father acts really childish or at least very youthful/energetic, the mother came off as distant and penetrating, the convos they had between each other was like a mother/son relationship where in this case the mother seemed very uptight, strict, self centred even. I didn't pay much attention to her.. there was a moment where she asked a question and she was staring rather intently in an uncomfortable way, they did NOT come off as genuinely friendly even though the father seemed alright albeit childish.. The mother seems to be the main dominant figure in their relationship, the way they spoke to each seemed interpersonal for sure but cold, the father seems optimistic and was engaging the mother in a playful convo while the mother replied in a cold manner, not returning that enthusiasm. I told them I come from a very bad place which was replied with that the father too has a difficult background... narcissism?

It all sounds like narcissism, maybe its the mother who has virtually infantalised the father hence it acts childish. I senses contempt from her tho I cannot be sure because of other circumstances in my life currently making my reality not solid. The kid seemed too quiet for a 4 - 6 year old as if trained. I am a scorpio and possess a very piercing gaze which I noticed intimidated the father he literally looked like a scared child.. while the mother returned that stare I suppose (mirroring?).

Life is a gift it really truly is something to look forward to, the light at the end of the tunnel exists. When I first moved into the current hole I am in I had real peace and started to let go until the abuse.....

spiritheart67 2 years ago

Thank you SO MUCH for this informative article. I am a child of a parent with severe NPD and while I am aware of the narcissism that has been present in all of my partners, i am recently coming out of a very difficult relationship with someone I've only just recently recognized as a narcissist. I had No Idea until now that this form existed and that this is the source of the abuse I've been experiencing from him. Everything in this article was spot on and I am definitely experiencing all of the physical and mental affects/damage as a result of being subjected to this form of Covert Narcissism. I'm fighting for my life right now and trying to figure out how to regain control of and move forward in my life. It helps so much to know I'm NOT the 'crazy' 'bad' one, that someone else understands and has experienced these things. that I'm not alone and all of this is a legitimate 'thing', not just me being unreasonable, demanding or unfair. Any insight or advice is greatly appreciated!

ugotstahwonder 2 years ago

I can relate to the patterns set up by your family of origin. It is positively freaky how repeating situations just seem to magically come about. It's given me a deep appreciation for things metaphysical. I am at a make it or break it stage, unable to keep cycling through the same old shit, not sure if I can stop it and ready to pack in most all hope of further relationships if not. Just done!

Dylan K. 2 years ago

It is painfully clear after reading this article that my mother is a covert narcissist. She psychologically murdered my father and I have suffered from c-ptsd since I was in my teens. Thank you for explaining this condition so clearly.

Seebifman 2 years ago

Thank you for some enlightenment. And the lady Serafina above is somewhat right because she was dealing with a person who knew his limitation of his narcissism;you were the hearth of your family. My children expect that from their mother. Their mother is an "iceberg" closet/covert narcissist, and my children now are suffering. Let me explain a little.

I live in Cornwall in England. I am separated from a covert narcissist who for twelve years controlled my like an orb or web spider...increasingly controlling me by entwining me to believe that my ex spouse to be, thought I was "wonderful" when all the time she was using my empathy and laid back attitude to total control but allowing me a long enough leash-lead to allow me some furtive or defensive freedoms.

Since May 2010, she became so confident in her manipulation that she wanted to own her little clothes design shop (she left education totally at 19 years of age as a moderate painter with no college education at tertiary-university level)....does this ring a real achievement but in the mind and using her limited talent to preach to others that she was a wonderful artist but would not train professionally! Her design shop was really a seamstress shop. This was good for the small town she had a little shop did not have a seamstress at all for years and if she had followed a business plan written for her which was confirmed by a professional body she would still have this now....But NO. We have two lovely boys; now 13 and 9 years. They were 10 and rising 7 when she "lived" in her shop for up to 18 hrs a day...No contact with the children apart from an obligatory five mins phone call before bedtime. She could have brought work home; she was self employed and capable of this. At the time she began working her shop we agreed to separate when we had the money; I had just retired from teaching and was the primary carer for the boys and had been for years prior to her shop times too. She was their mother ...but not an interacting mother and this was when the subversion stories began....Eventually I was caring too much for the boys and they got bored at visiting and staying at her shop on a Saturday or Sunday to "help" her . On a few occasions they made a few items from fabric which was good but this was not really developed at this time. They were boys their mother directed girl things...Still in July 2012 she and her oldest son, (she and her two oldest sons were from Lithuanian and were sponsored immigrants (2000) to the UK by me before Lithuania became an EU member in 2004.) So they then decided it was about time they distanced me from the boys and started to psychologically terrorise them and make them fear me by lying about me. She attempted sexual abuse which was denied by my eldest son and me (I have 4 kids; have been a safeguarding officer to over 850 other minor children in a 25 year teaching career which was exemplary). In August that year Children's Services were brought in to "investigate" and rather than investigate empirically, they took on gossip, (you do not know how biased British Social Workers are; the most aggressive feminists in the world, and even without penises!) They acted criminally as such. I was indicted with totally unfounded child and domestic abuse and had to leave my home when the only substantive evidence was "marital disharmony"...affecting how many such homes in the English speaking world???? Yes the Court transcripts tell this. The lead SW not only lied in Court but perverted the course of justice and should be in prison indefinitely....Now my children who wanted to live with me when their mother did not interactively care for them, have been "psychologically raped" and in Gardner's Eight categories of parental alienation relate to all eight including not wanting to see their half sisters who were far better role models as women than their covert narcissist mother.

Let us examine some examples. Allegations on an affidavit that I was having sex with an under age girl at a school I was not teaching at this time and that on three further occasions up to fifteen years later when she was still a supposed minor (she was 33 yrs old!) For the record my relations with this young lady were platonic. I have written testimony of this from her as she has been a Consultant Psychotherapist for twenty years and a devout Christian. But not only this but that I lost my job as a teacher in 1980 when I purposely dropped acid on the foot of an 11 year old boy. Twenty two years later I was still teaching having undergone 20 further annual Department for Education and Police Vetting procedures for working with minors. My report of my professionalism in beyond repute!

So as you can see, my boys have not had nor wanted any contact with their father; although empirical evidence is to the contrary right up until the day of their untimely separation.

In one way you are correct. Attacking a covert narcissist may be difficult. Attacking rogue children services public servants is not. I have written to the Chief Social Worker of the UK Government for a response and she and her tribe are going to be "gravelled" . Those barges which brought your brave boys with my uncle and his friends to Normandy Beaches from 06/06/1944...are not far from the action against nefarious public servants as these who have up until now destroyed our family....Soon they will know what they are having to face.

FYI, in the UK, equivalent to the population of California, Washington State and Oregon in population, about 3.8 million minor children are alienated from one parent and half their families. I do not know what equality laws you have in these three states but in England and Wales (Scotland may be independent as a nation this Friday coming??????) there is as much equality in parental rights as it was in the Neolithic Period! Only good things can happen but only by action. And the best things that could have happened to sanity and balance went out with the baby as is said the day the Pilgrim Father's sailed for the New World (but without the harassment and denigration of your native peoples and the ecosystems of N America!)

Covert narcissists are responsible for domestic abuse and alienation of children. It is a scandal of the civilised world. They have to be punished in this case for their psycho-terrorism of minors be they female or male. Maybe it could be part of their rehabilitation whilst serving a 5-10 stretch in the chokey!

Chauncey St Clair profile image

Chauncey St Clair 2 years ago from New York City

This was an exceptionally informative article. Like many of the comments above, I too had no idea about "covert" narcissism. It's a very interesting topic. When I was reading "Children of the Self-Absorbed" about children of narcissists, I remember learning how narcissism is a spectrum--meaning we all have it. Now, I think it's great that, collectively, we are getting serious about looking at what happens when people take their narcissism to extremes. This article teases out the specifics, which is why it's so helpful! Thank you!

Celestine Robinso 2 years ago

Thank you for this definition of CNPD. Very accurate to my experience, and I'm still dealing with the fallout and deception of this insidious disorder at the hands of my ex-husband. While I can now move forward knowing I'm not willing to enable the problem, the question becomes how to inform the children. They are conditioned to their father's behaviour, and have distanced themselves from me, having watched me go through a huge range of emotions, time and again, in response to the incredible frustration and futility of trying to reason with an unreasonable human being. I'm encouraged by this information. Thanks again.

SparrowMinistries 2 years ago

Celestine, I empathize with your plight. The more upset we become, the more calm they become, making us look like "the one with the problem." I read back through some of the comments here and saw where I had said I am so glad it's over, and then I had gone back to him again. then I came back again and said I am out now. I am truly out now, the divorce is almost final, and thankfully there are no children from this hideous union. I wish I had some advice for you regarding the kids, but I don't. Perhaps when you follow some links here you can connect to others that are dealing with this. Actually, there is one thing that was somewhat helpful to me. It is a website by Melanie Tonia Evans. She also has a Facebook page, I believe. You might find some good advice and support there.

Matt 2 years ago

Melanie saved my life with her work she is our angel ,something that I've not read a lot about is how narcs work with each other to get supply from there victim, both the narcissits that I've been in relationships with work in tandom with friends and family with narcissistic personalitys to destroy me ,the covert ex that i had experienced was so clever and ten times more destructive on my mental state than the ultruistic narc that I meet after ,they usually always win there plans are so cleverly executed and it's hard to imagine these frauds ever had a soul

ologsinquito profile image

ologsinquito 23 months ago from USA

These are the types of narcissists with whom I've had the most experience. In my own estimation, they are also potentially the most dangerous and most manipulative.

MarleneB profile image

MarleneB 22 months ago from Northern California, USA

This is such a well-written article, filled with a ton of research and sharing of your expertise through experience. These type of people are not to be taken lightly because in many cases, the sheer nature of their personality makes them care less if, and, or when they hurt someone. Thank you for creating this level of awareness of such a dangerous personality type.

Matt 22 months ago

Ive recently meet another covert narcicissist I had a instant gut feeling about this particular women in regards to her body language very scuttle stuff until this slight flicking of hair that was almost identicle to my ex nwife it was instantly then I new my gut was right I've since confirmed that this women is a covert narc because of her ex husbands experiences ,has anyone else noticed this trait with covert n women my ex did it when ever she spent money at the checkout she would flip her hair in this egoic shuttle way as if it was a rush of ego coming to the surface ,the women I meet recently did it when asking about my career and money earning potential has anyone else noticed this seems like very big coincidence .

bill 21 months ago

Darren Erman

Chuck Fasst profile image

Chuck Fasst 21 months ago from Portland, Oregon

The poster above asks about Narcissistic traits. Oh, there are a ton of them. In many ways, they are cardboard cutouts of one another. But what a great article here, thorough. You capture that stealth N in all of its inglorious glory.

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melissae1963 20 months ago from Tennessee, United States

This is such an interesting hub. I had never heard of this until recently.

TisSheilah profile image

TisSheilah 20 months ago

Thank you for the article. It is incredibly hard to get away from someone like this. At least I have a better idea of what is going on.

Chuck Fasst profile image

Chuck Fasst 20 months ago from Portland, Oregon

The subject of my Hub sure was covert. Absolutely nobody could comprehend what he did. The questions remain to this day.

Chuck Fasst profile image

Chuck Fasst 20 months ago from Portland, Oregon

I might add that I am writing about a N his victims could not get away from. Narcissism can be deadly.

I made a short vid on the stealth N as well.

Michelle Benton 19 months ago

An excellent article. The most thorough and understandable one I have read yet on this subject. I am married to my high school sweetheart now for two years. He was a victim of narcissism growing up (parent), a malignant narcissist(young and short marriage) and a covert narcissist(ex wife 12 yr relationship). I've been a victim to but not to this degree or for nearly as long. His children, of course, were and still are. From his experience, I can say that the covert is THE WORST. He is doing leaps and bounds better than when we first got involved 3 yrs ago (again) and married. But , no surprise, this has done so much damage it seems it could take his lifetime to fully comprehend and recover. The best progress has been made in his relationship with his dad, but of course this is due to a partial change in his dad, a heart to heart talk years back, and my hubby learning to speak up for himself to him and distance himself on an as-needed basis. My question there any support online or elsewhere for me in this help him, to deal with how I feel about his two children's mothers' treatment(no contact with first one but she also alienated him from his daughter who is now grown) and the issues ongoing with his ex and their child? Bless all of you that have been affected by these evil people and thank you for this great article. Please, if you know of any information or support for the men and women in my position, share it with me. Let's attack this from every angle!!!

Matt 18 months ago

Hey Michelle there's a fellow called spartan life coach that is spending a lot of time working on this particular form of narcissmn he has some programs available ,also Melanie tonia Evans , quantam freedom healing helps to take away effects of years off abuse ,the pain covert narcs inflict can I believe also open doors to a great life ,nearly losing ones soul can be a great catalyst for self growth ,it certainly has been for myself,I found spiritual books are helpful ,it's really now a chance for discovery ,I'm sorry that your husband has lost his relationship with his children this has also been done to me through alienation ,hope my suggestions are a help keep strong and the right answers will come .

Liz 17 months ago

Hey, good information in this article, but it's a little troubling that the premise seems to be that "covert narcissists" are terrible. It's not them, it's their (genetic and environmentally-inflicted) disorder that is terrible. The attitude that people with NPD themselves are abusive implies that they can control their disorder. They cannot without proper therapy (which isn't always effective). In the field of mental health, it's really important to distinguish between the person and the disorder, otherwise it just perpetuates hatred toward people with mental illness, which will not solve any problems. Other than that, good article.

sparkster profile image

sparkster 17 months ago from United Kingdom Author

What about rapists, murderers and paedophiles? Is their behaviour justified by the fact they suffer with mental health issues and they cannot help it? All rapists and murderers are narcissists but not all narcissists are rapists and murderers. Sympathy for the devil!

Blake 14 months ago

This is exactly the type of female I dated off an on for 3 years. I cant simply pass her off as sociopathic thats too broad, this person was very quiet around me and I talked alot simply because she hardly conversed. At the end of our relationship I told her she was too quiet and lo and behold 5 minutes later she tells me Im too quiet lol. The "relationship" was always like this, whatever she said about me was actually the complete opposite of what I was and always the thing that she really was. She put me through hell, she started arguments often over nothing would pack up her stuff and leave frequently, I always took that as she wanted to go fuck someone else. If I ever had a key to her place she would get the locks changed immediately but a couple days later she text back and we'd be back again. I never felt the need to change my locks but of course I had nothing to hide and was cheating. Hell I went through which causes anger which makes me want harm done to her. I was nothing but good to her, this person is horrible with money, filed bankruptcy twice and would often talk about her bills hoping I would offer to help, I never did, if she had asked during those times I would have but she didnt have the courage or whatever, I always thought it was out of guilt for the things she knew she'd done behind my back, but that was it, she didnt straightforward ask because she simply was waiting on me to come around to doing it naturally, never happened. I met this person online, Ive met many people online and have come to know some other females have been the same, I just never had long relationships with them to experience all the idiocy as this one. This person also got pregnant, not by me, yet tried to blame it on me. I knew it wasnt mine as I had proof it wasnt, but she didnt know I had proof. At first I said I know it wasnt mind, she said emphatically it was mine so I said get an abortion, she was against it. So I played a game with her, I said ok we will make this work then, but when you deliver I will take a DNA test, after hearing that she ran to get an abortion, drove 500 miles out of state to do it, lol what a whore. You have to stay away from these people, its hard to understand for the victim how a person can so cold and put on a facade, I had to realize that just as I dont understand how a serial killer's mind works yet know they exist, that people like her exist also. I have many, many stories like this and much much more to say but Ive written enough, God bless you all.

Mary Anderson 12 months ago

I can really appreciate all these comments . But it is my daughter that is the narcissist. She is bi polar, and has been treated for years and has been told by doctors , psychologists, psychiatrists, counselors, that the problems in her life are caused by her and her alone . She cant hold a job down ever (she is 47 years old) married twice, 3 kids in trouble all the time. I try to tell her when she goes to any meetings to bring up that she is adopted and when she found her birth mother a few years ago the woman laughed as she told her and me she did drugs, smokd drank and when she finally got pregnant she gave her away because a different man wouldnt marry her unless she gave the "bastard" baby up. We raised her in a good , loving home but I am the mother that is being shunned , actually she threw rhe entire family away , siblings, father ,me aunts, uncles, cousins fsmily friends to go to her birth mother. Sometimes some women put the blame on the wrong mother.....I just wanted to state my particular case in case thete are pther mothets our there in my shoes

DoveFreexrolo 12 months ago

Woah this blog is magnificent i really like reading your posts. Keep up the good paintings! You realize, many individuals are searching round for this information, you can help them greatly.

C M Dyson 12 months ago

Fascinating article. I had the misfortune to work with someone like this who was my immediate line manager. 'Bullying' only just hints at what it was like. Blurring the rules: encouraging colleagues to leave early because he/she wanted to do this 'normalising the irregular. Stealing money was frequently used to try and get colleagues in trouble, hiding medication which she wd then dramatically find, setting up fake facebook accounts to 'prove' she was a victim of bullying. When she was caught out for leaving work early she turned around and claimed to have 1000s of photos of her colleagues abusing a vulnerable adult. The only way we coped was by following rules to the letter so she cdnt use the most minor issues as leverage.

Sharon B 7 months ago

Thank you for the clarity I've been searching for... I have been trying for over a year to understand what happened to me and much of the time still unsure and confused....I know that it's time for me to heal.. I know what he is I am no longer ashamed that it took me over 22 years to really see him.. I just want to be me again

Rambo 7 months ago

This rings so true with my ex boyfriend. I finally got out after almost 2 years of abuse. He is an covert narcissit to the T. But unfortunately for him he is physically unattractive with bad acne all over his body. He truly is a monster inside and out. He tired to cover up his grotesque appearence with stylish clothes. But even in society he was somewhat of an outcast, always trying to be like the cool kids. When people noticed me, he always had to put me down. He even cut my hair boy short when I asked for a tiny trim. He targeted me when we were in hair school together. At the time he was sizing me up. When he got his hooks in me, it was downhill from there...I feel pretty angry knowing the truth now cause I feel stupid for not seeing the signs, but I'm also thankful cause now I know the signs of a covert. Also at the end of the day he is ugly inside and out, and I am not. He thought he could somehow make me ugly like him, but he failed. You can't rob someone or take away something from someone if they are bioglocially born that way. Even in old age I will still be pretty and nice, and he will age horribly because of genetics and continue to be a horrible person.

Gabrielle 6 months ago

This exactly describes my ex friend! I have been upset for a whole year and am trying to understand her behaviour! I was also blaming myself but now I realise I have made a lucky escape though I still do feel sorry for her as it must come from her childhood and she can't really help it but I am going to stay escaped!! Phew!

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letstalkabouteduc 4 months ago from Bend, OR

For us who have a narcissist in our lives, you bring understanding and relief. Your articles are so choked-full of valuable information that I need to re-read them several times and ponder or journal the information. My mother is the covert narcissist in my life and, yes, I have suffered from depression and social anxiety for decades. I'm wondering if it's common for a narcissist to create a special relationship with God. My mom has always said that God ( she actually says the "Holy Spirit") comes to her and delivers messages (coded) on what she should do with her life. How can you argue with someone who says her life choices are determined by a Higher Power? How can you feel any self-esteem when a Higher Power is constantly contacting your parent but never you?

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sparkster 4 months ago from United Kingdom Author

Great comment, letstalkabouteduc. Thank you. You mentioned a narcissist's relationship with God or a higher power and that's something I've been wondering about and looking into recently and I think this ties in with Jungian/Archetypal psychology more than anything else and also quantum physics. Each of us are co-creators of our own reality with God/Universe/Source or whatever you choose to call it. We are connected to it through our Higher Selves and when we arw in touch with our Higher self we can manifest whatever we choose in life. This is the power of the Holy Spirit - it does not judge and does not care if your desires are good or bad. It's the power of the Collective Unvonscious - i.e. subconscious programming, coercive persuasion, subliminal suggestion, etc. This may very well be how many narcissists manage to maintain control over their victims for so long - they recognize the true power of thought and emotion (Law of Attraction/Cosmic Ordering).

CovNarclover 4 months ago

So glad I found this! This comment thread is like a support group for people affected by the narcs in their lives. Can anyone else spot at least one narc in the comment thread? It stands out like a beacon to me. I can only imagine the person was pointed to this hub by someone else only to take everyone else's experiences as personal attacks. People should be careful when directing the narcs in their lives to information...they feed upon the very people that seek out this topic.

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