Covert Narcissists—Doing their Dirty Work in Secret

When we think of narcissists the grandiose, man or woman of the hour, magnetic figure comes into our minds. Certainly there are many highly successful narcissists who fit this description.

There is another kind of narcissist I call covert whom most people would never think possesses the same fixed and destructive psychopathology as his extroverted relative. Coverts are always under cover. They appear to be meek. We see them blending into the background–always at our service. Some of them drip with compliments to us. They become instant followers. They are full of compliments They ask us questions that make us look very smart. Their body gestures are humble and self-effacing. They appear to be embarrassed by their own presence.

Covert narcissists are very sneaky. They get as much inside personal information they can about you.. They put this in their back pocket so they can use it on you later when they decide to make a power move and wipe you out. They thread themselves closer and closer into your life. This happens in many romantic relationships. The CV has done some research and realizes quickly that you are a great catch—short or long range–a week, a month or even a marriage. Coverts like to see their plans become successful. This is all done with deliberately. Narcissists don’t love anyone–always remember, they are incapable of any real real feelings for another human being that denotes affection, love, caring, etc. With their quiet ways, they draw you in. You may even feel sorry for the CV who is making a play for you He or she is awkward and you think this is innocent and charming. Finally you fall hard, especially if the intimacy card is well played. If you are just coming off of a painful divorce and breakup, all the better for the CV. You are very vulnerable.

The CV treats you like royalty–Anything you want honey? I’m here for you 24/7. This is so appealing to most women. “What a selfless kind person this is?” “Finally, someone I can trust.” None of this is true but you don’t know that yet. Months go by and everything is wonderfully intense and exciting. Not long and the marriage plans are made. After you have been together for a while you start to notice that the sarcastic remarks are pointed at you more frequently, the accusations are coming more rapidly; you see his lips curl more often. But then he’s all sweetness again and you are thrown off. He tells you a story that you believe. He has been having a rough time financially—some bad breaks due to unscrupulous people that took advantage of him. You believe him and give him access to your private bank accounts. They are placed in both of your names. He has already researched your family’s monetary worth and becomes very chummy with your parents. They trust him completely as well. Time moves forward but the nature of the narcissist does not change. You are being betrayed and keep making excuses for his lack of attention to you, his dismissiveness. One day when you least suspect it, he decides you are causing him too much stress and the answer is a divorce. You can’t believe it but it is true. You have been set up all of this time. He hires a very tough attorney and fights you cunningly. As a result he ends up with half of all the assets. Weeks later in the aftermath while you are wiped out from the horror of this experience, he has flown out of town on the winds–of course with the goods he intended to take from you minutes after he met and seduced you. This happens frequently with CVs. They have such great cover and a masterful act. To protect yourself from the covert narcissist, research the narcissistic personality. Visit my

Linda Martinez-Lewi, Ph.D.
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Book: Freeing Yourself from the Narcissist in Your Life