Perhaps you have just gotten out of a relationship with a Narcissist. Perhaps you’ve been away for a while. Perhaps the Narcissist is a parent. In any research you may have done, you might have come across the term Covert Narcissistic Abuse. What is it? Why is it so insidious?
The word covert is defined by Merriam-Webster in several ways:
So by those above definitions, we can understand that Covert Narcissistic Abuse is when Narcissists use stealth methods to unleash their cruel and vicious behavior on us. They are very careful at hiding their abusive ways. (This is why it’s so difficult to pinpoint just what it is they are doing to us!)
Traits of Covert Narcissists
The traits of covert narcissists greatly overlap with those of the narcissist-psychopaths (also called narcopaths). Info Self Development lists the many traits of a covert narcissist (all of which apply to my NX), but for the sake of brevity, I’ll just list the several traits that stand out to me the most, mainly because my NX embodies these traits to a tee.
1. Expert liars; charming, hypnotic, a master of manipulation
My NX never batted an eyelash when it came to lying. He would lie to save his own skin. I remember the first time I got in trouble with the law because of him. We had just moved far away from family in February 2007. He had just become active duty military. My daughter was only 8 months old at the time. We had gotten into a very large argument that unfortunately resulted in me hitting him to defend myself. We were living in a state that had a zero-tolerance policy when it came to domestic violence. The police had arrived (a neighbor had apparently called them). Although, I admitted to the physical nature of the argument, my NX never offered up any reason why and let them handcuff me. I subsequently spent the next 3 and a half days in jail.
My NX had been quite the charming person towards the policemen. This, no doubt, cast a very bleak shadow on my psychological state. As I was hysterically crying while being put in cuffs, I could hear my NX say that I had just “gone off” and I did happen to notice how calm he remained while still holding my daughter in his arms.
2. Very sensitive to constructive criticism
All Narcissists can’t stand any kind of criticism at all. The wiring in their brain interprets it as being told they are wrong. Whenever I would suggest any kind of constructive criticism at all, he’d take it as a huge insult. The first thing that comes to mind is when I would continually ask him to not leave his military uniform in the middle of the living room when he came home at night. I worked hard at trying to keep a clean house, and I would constructively suggest that maybe he could hang his stuff up or at least sling it over the back of a living room chair. Oh boy, did that unleash a barrage of rage! He had a hard day at work and all he wanted was to come home and relax, so he didn’t need me badgering and nitpicking, he would yell.
3. Blaming others for their problems
I would always be the scapegoat on this one. No matter what happened, I would be to blame. If he had a bad day at work, it was my fault because he couldn’t concentrate since he had to yell at me the night before. If he couldn’t find part of his uniform, it was my fault because I had done the laundry and didn’t put anything back the way he had it. It didn’t matter what did or didn’t happen. He would find some way to turn it back onto me and blame me. If he got a speeding ticket, it was my fault.
4. A victim mentality
Narcissists are all very adept at this one! His covert tactics would never be seen. Even in public, he would make me the butt of his jokes (and his buddies would laugh). When I protested, he’d say “lighten up” or “geez, someone’s sensitive.” These small incidents would build up until I would crack. Then, he’d play the victim. There have unfortunately been a few times I had gotten in trouble with the law because of him. He would keep at it with me for days and days until I cracked. When I cracked, he’d go running to his chain of command to get it down on paper. He cried victim. The longer this went on, the more he was able to build up against me. Until the day he kicked me out in May 2010 and he took my kids away from me. He had the authorities thinking that I was the threat!
Covert Narcissists are extremely dangerous. Because they are so stealthy, you will never see them coming. Once their tactics are unleashed on you, you will have the wind knocked right out of you. It’ll take your breath away – and not in a good way. Their purpose is to suck the life from you, drain you until you have nothing left.
Have you dealt with a Covert Narcissist? Comment below. And as always, I appreciate you for sharing your stories with me.
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Greetings, my warrior survivor friends! Welcome to my blog. I'm Julianna, the owner and creator of this site. Check out the My Story section to read about why I started this blog. Thanks for stopping in. And feel free to comment on any post, share your own thoughts and stories. I would love to hear from you!
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The content of this site is told from the blog author/owner's personal experience of dealing with a male Narcissist. Narcissists, psychopaths and sociopaths are both male and female, and come from all walks of life. Furthermore, the content contained herein is not intended to be a replacement for medical or legal counsel. This blog's sole purpose is to provide support to those who have endured Narcissistic and Emotional Abuse.