Covert narcissists are incapable of forming and maintaining genuine relationships. So often I speak with clients who have unwittingly married a covert narcissist. (This post refers to male and female narcissists.)
There is no way the innocent party could have known that this individual is a narcissist. In the case of the Covert it is exceedingly difficult to discern the true nature of this wolf in sheep’s clothing.
The covert narcissist is masterfully clever at concealing his malicious, dark, cruel traits. The Covert is an expert at presenting himself as charming, giving, kind, genuine, empathic and psychologically grounded. The charm offensive of the Covert is acted out with perfection: a Broadway level performance.
The Covert is above all, Secretive. These individuals lead several lives at one time. You have been chosen by them to provide the maximum in narcissistic supplies. You offer an excellent external image. You come from a fine family, are well educated, physically attractive, are socially adept, professionally successful– and the long list goes on and on. You are the perfect “catch” for this person who has calculated your value to him from the beginning.
Soon after the marriage, trouble begins with the narcissist’s drumbeat demands, devaluing, demeaning manner. He picks away at your “faults.” These are manufactured by the narcissist to weaken your sense of self, to lower your self respect, feelings of optimism.
The Covert narcissist knows who you are and exactly how he will tear down your psychological and emotional reserves. He must extract the maximum amount of narcissistic supplies out of you before he discards and replaces you with someone else.
All the while the covert narcissist is plotting and scheming to control, manipulate and eventually bring you down emotionally, financially, psychologically and physically. Some of those who are married to Coverts develop chronic illnesses as a result of the accumulated stress, fear, depression and trauma that they have internalized over many years. At these times that the covert narcissists doesn’t want to deal with you anymore. When you are at your lowest ebb, he is tap dancing with high energy and a complete lack of care or concern for your well being.
After the narcissist has taken everything from you and more, you are left alone, discarded, disheartened and in some cases, physically ill.
The covert is so secretive and clever that the victim remains unaware of what has happened to them. Some of those who contact me even say that it was all their fault. Never blame yourself for marrying a covert narcissist.
Know that you can heal from this dreadful series of ordeals, that you will recover fully: emotionally, psychologically, physically, spiritually.
Begin by putting yourself first. Start getting the sleep you need and deserve. Eat in a balanced way that works with your biochemistry. Exercise in the way that works best for you. As you recover, always remember to pay close attention to your intuition–it is the voice of the absolute truth. Some healing modalities are acupuncture which balance the body, mind and spirit, restorative yoga, gentle walking, being in Nature, finding people who respect you as an individual and whom you trust. Take time each day to put yourself in the calming part of the nervous system through some form of meditation, prayer, affirmations, etc. You decide what opens the doors to being calmer, more comfortable and gentler inside of yourself.
You are entitled to heal fully and to use your many creative gifts. You have turned on to a new pathway: one of hope, health, beauty and a source of continued evolution and transformation.
Linda Martinez-Lewi, Ph.D.