Covert Narcissists – Ruthless Chameleons

The grandiose narcissist stands at stage center on all occasions. If a party is being given in someone else’s honor, the narcissist will steal the show, making sure that he/she is noticed, applauded and praised by every guest. He goes through his current life rundown— recent business successes, excellent decisions that have put him on top, his adoring perfect family. I have heard narcissists speak about the special pedigree of their pets, which is always very rare and precious. God forbid that they would have a mutt or a shelter rescue pooch.

On the other end of the spectrum but possessing the same corrosive personality structure is the covert narcissist. The manner is often very polite and subdued. The covert narcissist is playing up your ego with a worshipful voice and endless compliments. They’re throwing you off the scent, disarming you. You can go several rounds with a covert narcissist without realizing who they are and what they want. Their pseudo humility and low key personality style is clever camouflage. If you are working with one of these disguised narcissists, beware of their cunning. As they play up to you and earn your trust, they are talking behind your back, spreading lies about your personal life and your professional shortcomings, so they can leave you in the dust when promotion time arrives. This often happens when men or women are competing for partners. A covert narcissist thinks nothing of gaining access to your husband or wife, making herself/himself irresistible and destroying your marriage and family. When you look back you recognize that this person was always playing a role. There was no exchange of empathy. These clever predators move in and out of our lives. The numbers of narcissists are growing within a society that rewards them so handsomely. In some venues if you are not ruthless and amoral, you can’t get ahead. The media and entertainment often applaud the narcissistic character, focusing their lenses on the perfection of the image rather than the solid individual who can be trusted, is honest about himself and who is deeply empathic. To learn about every facet of the narcissistic personality disorder, visit my website:

Linda Martinez-Lewi, Ph.D.
Telephone Consultation: United States and International
Book: Freeing Yourself from the Narcissist in Your Life
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