Signs to help you recognize a covert narcissist:
- Emptiness; seems to have something missing that you can’t quite put your finger on.
- Stubborn, rarely apologizes unless they want something from you; in which case the apology is a lie. Remember they are professional liars.
- Ability to make you feel guilty, even when something is not your fault. The saddest part of this is that you may believe you are guilty.
- Entirely self-centered; they are the center of their own universe. Me, myself and I mentality.
- Expert liars; charming, hypnotic, a master of manipulation. You may know 100% they are lying; yet if you sit an hour under their spell/lies you will believe them and wonder how you could have ever thought they were lying or how they did the bad deed.
- Projecting their insecurities and defects onto you. Think of it as them talking to themselves in the mirror but bouncing the reflection/words onto you. This goes two ways. If you confront them about an issue they will mirror the issue back on you; it’s your fault-you’re the one who did it.
- Sensitive to constructive criticism. Compliments can never be grand enough to satisfy their ego so you can imagine they cannot tolerate constructive criticism.
- Inability to form intimate relationships. Here is the problem: They are grand actors so by the time you figure out they don’t love you and can’t bond with you; you are likely already married to them. If not; RUN and NEVER look back!
- Inability to feel genuine remorse. The best you will receive is their justification for treating you the way they did; or their spin/explanation of what happened. “I’m sorry,” is not in their vocabulary unless followed by, “But I don’t know why it bothered, offended or hurt you.” Lack of remorse also allows them to continue being an abuser.
- Blaming others for their problems. After all, if someone didn’t interfere with their idea, time, space, money, or relational need they would not have had the problem.
- Low emotional intelligence. This does not interfere with their ability to lie. It does however give you leverage in that you can keep a journal to track the lies and prove a pattern. This is for your sanity and to prove that you have grounds to leave the relationship.
- Highly materialistic. They tend to desire connections with people of position, power, and/or money.
- Extreme lack of empathy. They care for the rug, the chair, or the T.V. the same as they care for you because you are nothing more than an object. So don’t expect understanding or empathy. Does a rug need empathy? The chair is only pulled out from the kitchen table when needed for a seat. You exist to serve their need and there is no reciprocating.
- Superficially charming. They may seem mentally disabled in the home, but put this person in front of a crowd and they will likely ooze charisma.
- A victim mentality. Since they have no reference point beside themselves, they suffer from the stupid needs of others. Even if the covert is proved wrong or guilty they will NEVER admit to it. When caught the covert explains that even though they did it; it’s not who they are—no matter how bad the words, actions or crime. They may even cry but the tears aren’t about their remorse; the tears are because of what you are doing to them—the victim. (Remember the mirroring technique they regularly employ.)
- Low self-esteem. They may project calm, patient, loving, giving, serving, loyal and kind so the truth doesn’t hinder the path of power and recognition they seek.
My next Toxic Tuesday post will discuss the differences between a covert and an overt narcissist.
If you qualify I highly recommend you seek the help of a licensed, professional, Christian counselor.First ask them if they are capable of being tough, consistent, and in your face with the truth and practical application. Anything else will be a waste of your time and money. You need a therapist who will be concrete and to the point. They need to LEAD you, and not with gentleness and empathy. You desperately need to learn empathy skills and since your chance of recovery is 2%, or less, you need someone who will go beyond talk therapy.
You are responsible for your own life. You are also responsible for the way you treat others. Seek help and accept it. Learn to absorb and cherish a tough love approach and believe what you are being told. They are not lying to you; they are tying to save your relationships and possibly your soul. After all, most narcissists don’t need saved since they are perfect and do no wrong.
The Bible says, “for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” Romans 3:23
“And he said to them all, ‘If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me.'” Luke 9:23
“For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— not by works, so that no one can boast.” Ephesians 2:8-9
“Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” John 14:6
So dear covert narcissist, you are not perfect, you must deny yourself (which is next to impossible for you), you cannot save yourself, and Jesus is the only way to the Father.
I say this, not to mock you, but to utilize the tough love approach. Please open your eyes, mind, and heart. You need help.