How to spot a covert narcissist elexonic static electricity how it works

What makes it even more confusing is that they don’t all act the same way. Certain patterns of behaviour are consistent, such as when they idealise, devalue, then discard their romantic partners. But there are actually three distinct types of narcissists who act very differently on the outside, according to therapist Elinor Greenberg.

One of the toughest sub-types to spot is the covert narcissist, becuase they blend into the background much of the time. They aren’t a cliché of a grandiose, self-obsessed, “look at me” narcissist, Greenberg said. Instead, they are quietly cruel and behave in a much more passive-aggressive way.

People with dark triad personalities thrive off other people’s chaos, so a common game of theirs is to set their romantic partners up for failure all the time, then punish them for doing so. Sometimes they make empty promises, then get a kick out of the reaction when they don’t deliver.

You may wonder why anyone would be in a relationship with a covert narcissist in the first place, and the answer is complicated. According to Perpetua Neo, a therapist and doctor of psychology, one reason is covert narcissists are highly skilled at sucking their victims in with sob stories. This, she said, is a very effective trap for people who are high in empathy.

“Think about it like the covert narcissist has wormed their way into your heart,” she said. “There tends to be a string of misfortune, like every single ex is a jerk, every single friend they have is unhealthy. Always ask yourself what kind of circle of friends this person has. If they have zero friends, that’s an alarm bell, becuase the whole world cannot be that unhealthy.”

Spinning tales about their abusive childhood, or their battles with addiction, leads highly empathetic people down a path where they start to feel sorry for the covert narcissist. Further down the line you’ll develop a sense of responsibility over them, Neo said, because you feel “tethered to their potential.”

The problem is, whether the covert narcissist is a colleague, friend, or partner, if you are their chosen victim, you will already know about their alleged problems. And often they can be hard to ignore. Some even claim they are suicidal, meaning walking away feels essentially impossible for the victim.

“This will be a way to condition you into a sense of fear and walking on egg shells around them, so next time you are not going to hold them accountable,” Neo said. “They may even say this very common statement: ‘I’ve never felt this way about someone before.’”

“People who are above them in any way, in terms of their assets, or their career potential, or their talent, it’ll be ‘privilege,’ or the government’s fault,” Neo said. “Everyone else is just a rich w****r. They had rich parents. There’s always a way of blaming another person. And someone’s fortunes or talents are attributed to something external from them.”

They may appear to root for the underdog, but it’s just a way of making them look better, Neo said. By supporting liberal parties, or defining themselves as a feminist, they essentially trick people into thinking they have morals, when really their integrity is in the gutter.

They commonly tell other lies about their past, like beautiful or famous people they have slept with, or amazing job opportunities they’ve turned down. It’s all lies, Neo said. She added that covert narcissists tend to watch a lot of television because they are trying to mimic behaviours they see, such as empathy (which they are incapable of.)

It’s not until the covert narcissist is gone that the victim finally realises what they were going through wasn’t normal. But hopefully they do, and then they can start the process of healing, realising it wasn’t their fault, and putting healthy boundaries in place to never be a covert narcissist’s resource again.