New Quora Space for Narcissism and Narcissistic Abuse Recovery Information, Support and Answers

New Quora Space for Narcissism and Narcissistic Abuse Recovery Information, Support and Answers

The QueenBeeing Team is pleased to announce the launch of a brand new way to get support for understanding the narcissist in your life and facilitating your own recovery from narcissistic abuse.

Introducing Decoding Narcissism

A New Quora Space for Narcissism and Narcissistic Abuse Recovery Information, Support, and Answers

This new space offers a new platform for survivors of narcissistic abuse to connect and to get answers to their questions related to their toxic relationships, the psychology related to their own struggles along with the psychology and makeup of the toxic people in their lives. It is a place where we collect, curate, and create a comprehensive collection of the best questions and answers on narcissism, narcissistic abuse, narcissistic abuse recovery, and all of the related topics. Additionally, the Decoding Narcissism Quora Space offers support from our narcissistic abuse recovery experts, coaches, and support team, along with fellow survivors of narcissistic abuse.

What is Quora?

In case you aren’t familiar with it, Quora is a popular interactive Q&A site that also offers a really solid app for your favorite device. Here is a bit more information from Quora’s about page:

Quora’s mission is to share and grow the world’s knowledge. A vast amount of the knowledge that would be valuable to many people is currently only available to a few — either locked in people’s heads, or only accessible to select groups. We want to connect the people who have knowledge to the people who need it, to bring together people with different perspectives so they can understand each other better, and to empower everyone to share their knowledge for the benefit of the rest of the world.

How It Works

Our Quora Space offers a simple and easy place to ask and answer questions related to narcissism, narcissistic abuse, emotional abuse, psychological abuse, psychology, codependency, and other related topics. To join, just join and/or sign in to Quora and go directly to our Quora Space, Decoding Narcissism. 

Is the Decoding Narcissism Space a Support Group?

While there is a support element since you can ask questions and get answers, our Quora Space cannot be considered a support group as it is not private and is focused more on knowledge and information than emotional support.

Please note: This is space is public and questions cannot be made private. We suggest that you use a pseudonym if you want to hide your identity on this site. Unlike our other support groups, you are not required to apply for membership and your questions and answers can be seen by anyone. Still, you are also welcome to just join and follow the space so you can keep up with the latest in decoding narcissism. 

Prefer a private online narcissistic abuse recovery support group?

Check out the SPANily Narcissistic Abuse Recovery Support System, which includes our SPANily narcissistic abuse recovery support groups and Angie Atkinson’s YouTube community, along with our off-Facebook support site, MySPANily.com, and now, our newly launched Quora Space Decoding Narcissism.

What can you expect when you join Decoding Narcissism on Quora?

Quora offers a clean, simple interface that can not only be easily used on your computer but your favorite device as well. It is super-easy to search and find what you want to know, and if for some reason your specific question isn’t already on Quora, you can just add it and get the answers you need. PLUS: if you feel so inclined, you can answer questions asked by others.

Visit our Decoding Narcissism Quora Space and try it out here.

What You Need To Know About The Narcissist’s False Self

What You Need To Know About The Narcissist’s False Self

If you’ve ever been in a relationship with a narcissist or a toxic person of any sort, you might have some experience with seeing the narcissist’s false self – and with being aware that there is a difference between the person the narcissist shows to the world at large and the one that lives at home behind closed doors.

Prefer to watch/listen? See Narcissism: False Self on YouTube.

Narcissists can be really tough to spot – and there are a number of reasons for it – one of which is the fact that they’re not really showing you their true selves – at least not at the beginning of the relationship during love-bombing (also known as the idealization phase).

But if you stick around long enough for them to become comfortable with you, a shocking and upsetting thing happens: their mask comes off and you see the true face of the narcissist. And believe me – it’s not pretty!

Today, let’s discuss the narcissist’s false self, how it develops and exactly what you are supposed to do with this information.

The Narcissist’s False Self Begins in Childhood

When you are born, you express yourself through instinct. On so many levels, that is your true self. Your instinct is to live which means you need to be fed, changed, and cuddled every few hours. There is no such thing as a perfect parent, but if your parents did the best they could and cared for you properly, then you would be showing your true self or authentic self.

But narcissists never show their true selves. In fact, they are living through what I’d call their false self.

Now don’t get me wrong here – just like you, the narcissist was born expressing themselves through instinct as well. But if they were not nurtured properly and were denied the things they needed, then they’d develop their false self and that is how they show themselves.

That happens because when an infant is not given what they need and are not nurtured the way they need to be nurtured, they are on their way to not being authentic in any way at all.

It is possible that one of their parents was a narcissist and in that case, their needs would not be met. They would be given responses of disapproval over and over again. If the child attempted to show their authenticity, it would be shot down.

On the flip side, maybe they were too indulged and never had proper discipline and balance. That can be damaging as well. Either way, along the way, their authentic self was replaced by an artificial persona. As they grow up, they begin to build a false set of relationships that are all based on a facade they show.

Learn more about how a narcissist develops and what attachment style has to do with it. 

What Purpose Does The False Self Serve?

The false self is a protective mechanism that protects narcissists as children from feeling their dependency needs that were unmet. So, the false self blocks feelings of shame that the narcissist had from only having conditional love from their parents. It is also a way to prevent them from remembering any trauma or shock that is associated with being abandoned, neglected, or abused.

What Are The False Self Characteristics?

Those who are living through their false self can appear charming, well-mannered, and polite. Some part of you may see through this as their facade does not reveal who they really are – but it is easy to fall for this facade, even for the most intelligent people. Their false self had stopped them from feeling any type of empathy at all as all they cared about was having their own needs met, which never happened during childhood. And you can see how narcissists show their false self. That is because their authentic self is dead, empty, and there is nothing to offer.

Now you have an understanding of why narcissists have an inflated ego and can be abusive if they don’t get what they want and need – as in if they don’t get narcissistic supply. Now you also can see how the narcissist goes into fits of narcissistic rage when they are threatened with having their supply taken away or are rubbed the wrong way. And now you understand why they are insecure and how they would never allow their true selves to come out because it puts them to shame otherwise.

Why There’s So Much Confusion in Toxic Relationships

Because the narcissist nearly always hides behind this sort of “armor” that is the “false self,” they manage to fool you from very early on.

Your first impression of the narcissist was likely a very good one; that’s because he or she showed you only the best parts of themselves when you met – they constructed a series of qualities and traits that are those they present to the outside world.

This, along with their grandiosity and need for attention, can make it very difficult to see who they truly are – you’re stuck deciding whether you’ve really got the sweet and charming love you signed up for, or whether the wool was pulled over your eyes and the real him or her is actually the toxic, abusive, insulting and manipulative narcissist you’re dealing with in real life.

Of course, this leads you to a serious kind of mental torture that causes you to literally be at odds with yourself – we call that cognitive dissonance.

Cognitive Dissonance in Narcissistic Abuse

Cognitive dissonance is form of psychological stress or discomfort that happens when you simultaneously hold two or more contradictory beliefs, ideas, or values. Often affects narcissists as well as their victims at different times and for very different reasons. So basically, when you’re dealing with cognitive dissonance, you are, for all intents and purposes, actively trying to reconcile the illusion you were initially presented with the person you have now got to deal with.

Here is a free cognitive dissonance toolkit I put together that will help you work through this if it is happening to you.

How Cognitive Dissonance Works Against You in a Toxic Relationship

In a lot of cases, in order to cope with this mess, you start trying to improve your SELF. Instead of recognizing that you’re dealing with a toxic person, you find yourself desperately trying to change yourself into something the narcissist seems to want and need. You blame yourself for their bad behavior – and that’s partly because they tell you it’s your fault. On the other side of the coin is the simple fact that some part of you KNOWS you can’t change the narcissist, but you care about them and you want to make it work. You DO know that you can change yourself, and so you go about the business of doing that.

Here’s the thing. In reality, some part of you must also recognize that you’re not the problem here. In fact, you’ve done nothing wrong and if you did, it was probably simply a reaction to the narcissist’s abuse. All you’re doing is trying to keep your relationship together, and on some level, you’re just subconsciously trying to uphold that initial impression you had of the narcissist – the image of his or her false self that is challenged during the inevitable devaluation phase.

Narcissistic Abuse and the Discard Phase

By the time you get to the discard phase (which, sadly is also inevitable with a narcissistic person – the cycle, like the beat, goes on), you’ll be treated to glimpses of the truly ugly face of the narcissist – the one that spews out the cruel and painful poison that causes you to lose all faith in yourself faster than you can say boo.

You become painfully aware of the coldness, the callous indifference that leads to what feels like absolute torture to you.

While your first reaction is that everyone has a bad moment and this can’t be who they really are, the truth is that this is probably the closest you’ll come to actually seeing the narcissist’s REAL self.

This is about the time you recognize that the amazingly charming or engaging or otherwise awesome person you got involved with in the first place is gone – and suddenly you see this horrible contempt that they seem to have developed for you. And when you realize they felt that way all along, your heart breaks a little more, if that’s possible.

But what you have to realize here is that none of this is your fault. In reality, narcissists are not capable of feeling genuine love or empathy for anyone else – they just use people to meet their own selfish needs. Once they exhaust one source of supply, it’s on to the next.

Don’t let yourself believe in the magical connection you once thought you had – it was just a part of the whole narcissistic abuse cycle – an illusion, just like the narcissist’s identity.

How to Deal with the Narcissist’s False Self

So now that you know all of this, what do you do with it? Well, you start picking up the pieces of yourself, and you begin the healing process.

In this video, you’ll also find a portion of a previous video attached to help you do exactly that. Remember this: You aren’t to blame – you were simply used as a pawn in the narcissist’s game. You are going to go forward, and when or if you can, you might want to go no contact (or low contact, if you’re forced to deal with them – say at work or as a co-parent).

Additional Resources for Understanding the Narcissist and the False Self

If you are looking for a deeper understanding of the narcissists’ false self and how it develops, watch: 4 Attachment Styles (How Attachment Theory Explains Narcissists and Codependents in Relationships) 

And a few more videos that you might also find helpful!

Question of the Day: What have your experiences been when it comes to the narcissist in your life and his or her identity? Share your thoughts and experiences with me in the comments section below this video. Let’s discuss it.

 

The #1 Thing a Narcissist Will Never Do

The #1 Thing a Narcissist Will Never Do


What is the #1 Thing a Narcissist Will Never Do? Validate You. Watch Video.

One of the most difficult parts of dealing with a narcissist for me was the constant invalidation of my feelings, my thoughts, and my emotions. Since my first narcissist was a parent, I would develop some serious personal issues as a result of it. I remember feeling like anything I said or thought or felt was somehow less relevant or less real than what other people said, thought or felt. I literally felt like I was not even a “real person” – or at least not as real as everyone around me.

In fact, if I’m being honest, it wasn’t until about 10 years ago that I really, fully recognized myself as a whole person rather than a watered-down extension of someone else. Yes, it sounds silly, but it’s true. I really think that the hardest, most painful part of growing up that way (and later, marrying another narcissist) was that constant invalidation.

Just to be clear, when I say invalidation, I mean emotional invalidation, which is when someone rejects, ignores or judges everything you say, think or feel. For example, when I was in second grade, I noticed that I could draw better than some people. I told my mother that I wanted to grow up and become an artist, and she told me in no uncertain terms that I could not do that because artists don’t make any money. Of course, this is just one of many examples I could share, and it probably sounds pretty harmless.

But here’s the thing – when we’re talking about narcissistic parents, this is an ongoing issue that starts pretty much the minute you can talk. And even when you’re involved in a romantic relationship with a narcissist for years, it can deeply affect you. See, despite what a lot of people think, invalidation is actually one of the most damaging forms of emotional abuse, and this is especially true when it is happens repeatedly over the course of time. Not only can it make you feel like you’re not a real person or like you’re a little crazy, but it’ll leave you feeling constantly confused and full of self-doubt.

On the other end of the spectrum here is validation, or accepting and recognizing that someone’s thoughts and ideas are worth hearing, understandable, and legitimate. It doesn’t mean unconditional acceptance of ideas or thoughts – it means that you don’t automatically assume that someone has nothing of value to say. It means accepting someone as a real person who is not less worthy or valuable than yourself.

And, even though someone who isn’t a narcissist (a “normal” person) may disagree or have a difference in opinion, they can still recognize the value in the thoughts and opinions of other people. Plus, a “normal” person is likely to make an attempt to understand people. They will try to look at even “abnormal” behaviors from a place of empathy – it’s basic human nature to try to see the other person’s side of things.

However, when there’s a narcissist involved, we’re not exactly dealing with “normal,” are we? Instead, we’re stuck with a walking, talking human-like being who seems to have a giant hole in their soul. A narcissist isn’t capable of true empathy, so it only makes sense that you can’t expect them to validate you.

Invalidation is a Hallmark of Narcissistic Abuse in Toxic Relationships

In fact, as it turns out, invalidation is one of the hallmarks of this kind of emotional abuse.

Sadly, there’s a simple reason, in my opinion: the narcissist sees you as a possession, an object – a thing. You are simply an extension of the narcissist, according to them. If they saw you as equal to themselves, it would shatter their grand illusion (the way they deceive themselves into thinking they’re better or more important than everyone else in the world).

Well – that, and because it’s yet another way the narcissist gaslights you and keeps you tightly in place in the narcissistic supply chain. Between the gaslighting, the narcissistic rage and narcissistic injury, and the flying monkeys of it all, you can become overwhelmed to the point that you completely lose yourself. And the truth is that all of the name-calling, verbal cut-downs, and narcissistic control that you deal with could all be placed under the umbrella of invalidation.

How do you recognize invalidation from a narcissist?

If you haven’t ever taken the time to watch for it, you might not even recognize that you’re being invalidated by a narcissist. If you’re anything like I was, you’re likely to assume that YOU are the problem, rather than your abuser. But it’s so important to recognize when it’s happening because it is essentially the #1 way that narcissists actively tear down your core self in order to keep you feeling off-balance, confused, and plain old not good enough – all of which, sadly, makes you easier to control. It is my goal to help you to take back your life, though, so I want you to see it when it’s happening, or at least to be able to recognize it in hindsight because essentially, it is one more way the narcissist lies to you and gives you the wrong idea about who you are – one of the most difficult parts about going through narcissistic abuse. If you want to recover, you first have to recognize it, right?

Signs a Narcissist is Invalidating You

So, in order to help you recognize it in your own life, here are some examples of what invalidation looks like.

1. During a Conversation

If you’re having a conversation with a narcissist, you might notice that when it’s your turn to talk, you get only grunts or a couple of words in response. Nothing that actually indicates the narcissist has heard you or understood you. Maybe even just a pause and a breath. You might even notice that they are just waiting until it’s their turn to talk again. They could care less what’s happening inside your head – they only want you to hear what they have to say. It doesn’t matter what you think or feel, as far as they’re concerned, because they see you only as an extension of themselves with nothing of value to share.

2. How the Narcissist Feels About You

Have you ever asked a narcissist how they felt about you? More specifically, have you ever asked what they like or love about you? Or did they ever volunteer that information to you? If you think back, you might remember that they always said things like:

  • I love the way you make me feel.
  • I love how you always listen.
  • I love that you’re always there when I need you.
  • I love how you take care of me.
  • Etc.

See how there wasn’t really anything about YOU PERSONALLY there? Rather, the focus is all about what you DO for them, not who you are. That is because the narcissist only cares about what they can get from you – what you do for them – not who you are as a person. As always, it’s all about the narcissistic supply.

Here’s the hard part – and it seems counterintuitive – but you have to figure out a way to not take it personally. Don’t get me wrong – I know it hurts, and it certainly IS a personal attack. But it’s not ever really about you. It’s really about the narcissist’s own shortcomings.

I want to tell you that you shouldn’t really care or even feel offended – I mean, it’s just the narcissist’s “way.” That is how they treat everyone, right?

Well, that would be the case if you didn’t seem to catch the narcissist appearing to genuinely connect with other people when they’re more of a brick wall when it comes to understanding YOU. That brings me to my next point, number 3.

3. Connections to Other People

I can’t tell you how many times, in tears, I literally asked my ex-husband, “Can you please just be nice to me?” Being with a narcissist can feel very lonely at times. And it is so frustrating to watch your abuser be nice to other people when they can’t even be polite to you, much less kind. Worse, they will seem to have empathy for them, while being completely heartless to you. And if you dare to even bat an eyelash the wrong way in regard to those people? He will tell you HOW THEY FEEL! And still, when it comes to you, the narcissist seems to hold tightly to this apparent blind spot, as far as you can tell.

But then you start to wonder. What’s so bad about me? Am I really as (insert insulting lie here – crazy/lazy/ugly/bitchy/stupid, etc.) the narcissist says I am? Do I really deserve to be treated this way? No one else in my life seems to think I’m that bad. Why this person? If you’re there, you’re on the right track.

Why the Narcissist Invalidates You

See, by devaluing and disregarding you with those subtle little behaviors, the narcissist gets something out of it: you, emotionally devastated and behaving like the good little narcissistic supply they need.

But if you think this is going to improve how you’re treated, you are sadly mistaken. See, once you’ve been properly molded into the ideal person the narcissist wants, you’ll hope that they will finally be happy with you. And while you might not notice that you’re more concerned about their happiness than your own (which is a problem in itself), you figure if you don’t make any “mistakes” and you do what they want, it’ll all be okay. But sadly, the happiness you hope for will never quite arrive – and if it does, it’ll be fleeting. That’s because the more you try to become perfect for a narcissist, the more they lose respect for you.

Narcissists Want to Devalue and Destroy You

Over time, they will have you believing that you’re not even an actual human who even deserves to be treated with even the most basic dignity. And you will find yourself acting in kind as you desperately seek to justify it to yourself with thoughts of personal change and self-sacrifice.

You rack your brain on ways YOU can change in order to elicit change from them. But here’s the thing – none of that will matter unless both people are willing to give.

You can only change so much without any reciprocation at all. Compromise means two parties come to a mutually agreeable resolution in which both parties get what they want. Otherwise, it’s just you giving and giving and them taking and taking until they completely drain you.

And my friend, you deserve better. You are just as important as anyone else in the world. Your thoughts, your ideas, your experiences – they are valid, they matter and they are worth hearing. Please, don’t forget.

Question of the Day: Is validation one of the biggest things you’re missing when it comes to your relationship with a narcissist? Are you forgetting who you are? Share your thoughts and experiences in the comments below this video, and let’s discuss it.

Narcissists and the Karpman Drama Triangle

Narcissists and the Karpman Drama Triangle


See Video on Narcissists and the Karpman Drama Triangle – AKA The Narcissistic Drama Triangle

A male narcissist I used to know once admitted something to me that left me a little shocked: he said that whenever he felt like he was being shown up in a conversation, he would quickly change the subject. He would start talking about something he knew he could use against them – something that could hurt that person. It was his way to sort of take back the attention or “win” the conversation. I found this admission shockingly insightful and sadly stereotypical of narcissists in general.

Karpman Drama Triangle and Narcissistic Manipulation

Let’s talk about the Karpman drama triangle, what it is, how narcissists use it against you, and what you can do to cope.

We all know that narcissists love to create trouble and drama in the lives of the people around them. They enjoy watching you squirm in the wake of their emotional destruction because it makes them feel like they’re able to control and manipulate you. They twist things to their own advantage, and this is true whether we are talking about someone you work with or someone with whom you’re in a romantic relationship. It’s even true for your parents if they’re narcissistic.

Narcissists are odd in that they crave your attention, even though as far as you can tell, they don’t seem to like you very much. While the level of attention they require might vary from person to person, and depending on what type of narcissist they are, in most cases, they are happy when they have the spotlight. Ths is true whether they’re getting attention for positive or negative reasons, unfortunately.

At times, the narcissist will intentionally create drama in order to get you to react to them. Your reaction offers them narcissistic supply. Of course, there are times that they’ll be kind to you one minute and cruel the next. They suddenly become someone you don’t recognize – that whole Jekyll & Hyde thing.

What is the Drama Triangle?

The drama triangle is a concept first documented by Dr. Stephen Karpman back in the 1960s. At its most basic level, the drama triangle outlines three different roles, including the victim, the persecutor, and the rescuer.

Here’s another area where narcissists are especially interesting – at any given moment, they can and will play any of these three roles interchangeably as it serves them to do so. That means that you’ll never know exactly which role they’re going to play in any given moment. It means you don’t know what to expect from them. And, since you’re so used to walking on eggshells, you might not even really know how to respond at all.

All three roles will exhaust you, but the narcissist will find them strangely exhilarating. The entire dynamic of this kind of drama is incredibly toxic. Whether you’re healthy, you’re codependent or you’re a narcissist, it can be difficult to get out of the cycle once you’re in it. Certainly, you will feel the need to escape, but you won’t always feel like you can do that – and this is especially true when there is a narcissist involved.

Most narcissists have a tendency to hold onto drama and negativity like a dog with a bone. This is demonstrated in the Karpman drama triangle.

Karpman Drama Triangle: Definition of Roles

The Victim

The victim will see the situation at hand as though everything is happening to them. They will feel helpless and like they have no power. They think they have no ability to change their own circumstances. They need someone to rescue them. They desperately want validation of the fact that their problem is unsolvable, and they are not looking for actual solutions. They just want you to feel sorry for them.

The Rescuer

The Rescuer seems like they really do want to help the victim feel better, do better, and solve the problem at hand. But what you’re really dealing with here is someone who is acting as if they want to help, but who is really more concerned about everyone being aware of the fact that they are rescuing the victim. The narcissist plays this role because it gives them plenty of attention and narcissistic supply. Unfortunately, they’re not always actually helping – rather, they’re putting on the mask of a helper in order to get attention.

So within Karpman’s drama triangle, the rescuer position is always held by someone who is letting people know they’re trying to help, but they’re really there for that attention. By being the rescuer, the narcissist also holds a certain amount of power over you. Anytime they do (or promise to) solve a problem for you, it will be done with strings attached. This way, the narcissist gets even more benefit from the situation.

The role of the rescuer seems to focus on the anxiety of the victim. It is problem-focused, rather than solution-focused. It is specifically geared at keeping you powerless and preventing you from getting your needs met. It keeps you from actually getting the solution to your problem, so while you might initially feel relief when the offer of help comes through, it’ll be short-lived.

The Persecutor

The Persecutor could be a person or even a situation that is actually causing the problem to the victim in the triangle.

How to Deal with the Karpman Drama Triangle When a Narcissist is Involved

Your primary goal is to get out of the triangle, so that begins with awareness – being aware that it’s happening and that you’ve become involved. Then, you have to recognize your own role in the triangle, which in most cases, you chose or were assigned without realizing it.

Often, as codependents and narcissistic abuse survivors we all into one of these roles unintentionally. Most likely, we do this because we have experienced this ongoing cycle throughout our lives, often beginning in childhood. It’s like an old habit, almost.

The drama triangle will leave you feeling confused and lost.

Once you’ve gone through the idealization or love-bombing phase of a relationship with a toxic narcissist and you’re in the devalue phase,  you’ll find yourself spinning into one of these situations.  You’ll have no idea what you did to deserve this or what you’ve done wrong, so you’re always trying to get back to what you thought the relationship was in the beginning. When you can’t, you blame yourself – because as far as you know, you might be the problem. You don’t know that you’re dealing with a narcissist (until you do), so you just think you’ve done something to upset or anger them.

Karpman Drama Triangle and Narcissist Manipulation Tactics

The narcissist uses certain tactics around the drama triangle, such as guilt-tripping and even pretending they’re going to save you, but then persecuting you for actually asking for help. They might also act like they’re your victim and that somehow you’ve negatively affected them by needing help.

All of this is then combined with the intermittent reinforcement that keeps us hooked on the narcissist – alternating verbal abuse and praise, comfort alternating with tearing down and devaluing you. Before you know it, you’ll find yourself making excuses for the narcissist’s behavior.

More details on the Karpman Drama Triangle are included in this video. 

 

 

What is a covert narcissist?

What is a covert narcissist?


Prefer to watch or listen? See video here to learn more about identifying a covert narcissist

When I was younger, I had a thing for a certain type of guy. I was seriously into these “dark and disturbed” types. The rebel without a cause. The guy who wrote poetry, who was probably a starving artist of some kind, and who hated the whole world and like 99 percent of the people in it. He would always have some cause he was super passionate about, and often called people “zombies” or “sheep.” He wasn’t super friendly and being the codependent I was, I would take pleasure in finding this kind of guy in dark corners of parties or other gatherings, and sort making it my mission to get inside his head and make him like me. We would end up having these deep, intellectual, and philosophical conversations that left me feeling like I’d had some sort of religious experience. I’d always be all googly-eyed, thinking that he “saw me” and that we were connecting on some deep level. The only thing was that after an initial couple of meetings, I’d always be left feeling like I’d been duped, but I couldn’t quite figure out why.

Can you relate? Let me ask you: Have you ever met someone who seemed to be sort of an introvert – they might have been a little shy, and might have even talked about how they were a highly sensitive person or even an empath, but the more you got to know them, they also seemed to kind of show a weird sense of selfishness and low-key egocentricity?

If so, you might have been dealing with a covert narcissist. This is what we call someone who is sort of an “incognito” narcissist. They might act like an introvert as far as most people can tell. People who don’t live with them might even assume they ARE an introvert – just a little shy, maybe a bit too sensitive.

Think you’re dealing with a covert narcissist? Take the covert narcissist test and find out.

How do you Identify a Covert Narcissist?

So, how can you tell someone is a covert narcissist? What are the signs and how are they different from introverts and “regular,” more overt narcissists?

Well, that’s exactly what we’re talking about – how to identify covert narcissism. And, we’ll cover the traits you will see in a covert narcissist.

Covert narcissists are also often referred to as vulnerable narcissists, closet narcissists, and introverted narcissists. This is likely due to the fact that they don’t appear to have much self-confidence, as opposed to their overt counterparts. They are the eternal damsel in distress or the martyrs of some oh-so-noble cause.

What is a Covert Narcissist?

In a nutshell, a covert narcissist is someone who has narcissistic personality disorder (or might, if they’d ever go see a psychologist for a diagnosis), but who doesn’t seem to have the obvious grandiosity factor. They don’t always seem to act as self-important as the more overt narcissist. They don’t appear to feel like they’re better than everyone – at least not before you know them well.

They appear to be vulnerable and oversensitive, which will often manifest in their behavior as hostility and defensiveness. They will be the one who is quietly looking down their nose at you, judging you and everyone else around them harshly and often unfairly.

Covert Narcissist vs. Overt Narcissist: The Similarities

They do have a few things in common with overt narcissists, including:

  • A huge sense of (often unearned) entitlement
  • Grandiose fantasies about their life
  • Willingness to exploit others to get what they want
  • Seeking power and control
  • And of course, the trademark lack of empathy.

But how does a covert narcissist differ from an overt narcissist?

Covert Narcissist vs. Overt Narcissist: The Differences

Unlike the overt narcissist, the covert narcissist will not necessarily display narcissistic behavior that is immediately recognizable. You might even think they’re an empath because they seem so modest, so sensitive and so very unsure of themselves.

While they will have the standard grandiose fantasies for their life – all of which are sure to be unrealistic and self-centered, not to mention ridiculously over-inflated, they will believe that their dreams are unrealistic and unattainable. They will blame the world for somehow holding them back, but secretly believe they are a fraud. You see a lot of “imposter syndrome” in people like this.

Ironically, the covert narcissist will even feel guilty for wanting what they want, and somehow this inner conflict leads them to suppress most of their true feelings.

This leads to the inevitable for a covert narcissist: their inner conflict translates into outer behavior, such as:

Covert Narcissists Play the “Poor Me” Game

Your average covert narcissist spends a lot of time feeling sorry for themselves. They practically invented narcissistic injury. But why do they do this? Why does the “vulnerable narcissist” play the “poor me” game so well?

It all comes down to one thing: covert narcissists hate themselves. In fact, they seem to believe that it is possible to hate yourself BETTER.

Though they continue to demonstrate the behavior they loathe, the covert narcissist is powerless to control their thoughts – and their deep inner conscience is NOT okay with the person they are (or have become).

Unlike their more overt counterparts, covert narcissists actually judge themselves more harshly than anyone judges them. And on a deep level, more harshly than they judge other people (at least those outside of his immediate inner circle).

Either way, while they seem to be outwardly unconcerned with the world, they certainly have quietly high standards for their lives. But these may be outside of “normal” high standards. For example, the covert narcissist might be broke, but he might claim that this is because he doesn’t believe in capitalism, and then he will feel superior to anyone who he considers a sort of “servant to their jobs” or who wants and obtains things of monetary value.

So, they will quietly stick to this unreasonable standard to the best of their abilities, happy to secretly look down their nose at the people they deem “lesser” or otherwise inferior to themselves.

For example, let’s say the covert narcissist is a passionate but broke musician who plays exclusively in basements and backrooms, and who does so because they claim they want to stay true to their art and they don’t want to “sell out.” And one evening after a gig, a record executive comes up to them and asks if they have a demo because they think they might be able to get a recording contract. The covert narcissist at that moment is likely to jump at this opportunity – because who doesn’t want a chance to be rich and famous?

But then, once they take the time to put together a demo and send it to the record exec, the guy either never respond or realizes he was more intoxicated than he thought that night and tells the narcissist that the deal is off. This sends the narcissist into a spiral of self-loathing.

And, of course, anytime the covert narcissist fails to meet these so-called “standards” and behaves in any way that their inner critic deems bad or not desirable (by, in this case, agreeing to “sell out” and sending the demo, rather than snubbing the commercial industry that they’ve always claimed to hate), they’re back to square one: hating both themselves and the “zombies” or “sheep” who caused them to fall off-track.

Now, they hate the industry, and especially the music executives who they say always want to commercialize everything. They even justify their rejection by saying that the exec in question just didn’t get their music because it is somehow above their level of understanding.

Later, they might even make up stories about how they were offered a record deal and turned it down because they wanted to avoid becoming a sellout. 

Why the Covert Narcissist Lives with Self-Hate: Distorted Self-Awareness

It all boils down to one thing: a covert narcissist understands on some level that their self-inflating ideas are not quite realistic – at least on some level.

So, though they continue to have narcissistic thoughts and even occasional external behaviors, they are always holding himself to a very high standard. They spend their lives competing with the one person they’ll never be able to beat: themselves – or some version of that.

At the same time, they are incapable of openly accepting blame or responsibility for anything that isn’t positive, and in fact they relate any such admission to weakness and “badness” of other people – which, most likely, is because of the angry kind of envy that psychologists say is involved in the creation of any narcissistic behavior.

The Covert Narcissist is a Perpetual Victim

The covert narcissist is often mistaken for an introvert or a shy person because to the untrained eye, they appear to be a pushover who is generally unassertive. They see themselves (and others see them) as victims or as people who aren’t able to obtain what they should have or deserve. People who don’t really know them may say things like, “oh, they’re just a big teddy bear” or “oh, their bark is worse than their bite!”

They will also:

  • Have outrageously adolescent daydreams about being a big famous something-or-other
  • Have feelings of being worthless, countered by feelings of being different, separate or “better” than other people
  • Have a somewhat questionable grip on reality, leading to personal guilt and self-hate.
  • Claim to be “a little OCD”
  • Call themselves a perfectionist

What do you think?  Any of that sound familiar to you?

Are you concerned that you might be a covert narcissist?

If you’re worried you might be a covert narcissist, but you thought you were a highly sensitive person (HSP), please check out this video: Covert Narcissist vs Highly Sensitive Person (HSP) Being Sensitive – The Psychology. It will explain the difference.

Question of the Day: Have you ever met a covert narcissist? How could you tell? What characteristics do you think most clearly identify the covert narc? Share your thoughts and experiences in the comments section, below this video.

158 Signs You’re the Victim of Narcissistic Abuse

158 Signs You’re the Victim of Narcissistic Abuse

Could you be the victim of narcissistic abuse? If so, what can you do and how can you tell? Well, that’s exactly what we’re talking about today  – signs that you’re the victim of narcissistic abuse (see video on YouTube).



 

What is narcissistic abuse?

Let’s begin today by briefly defining narcissistic abuse. In a nutshell, narcissistic abuse is officially defined as the intentional construction of a false perception of someone else’s reality by an abuser for the purposes of controlling them. It involves a sort of constructed reality in which the narcissist manipulates you emotionally and psychologically over a long period of time.

It can be difficult to figure out that you’re dealing with narcissistic abuse because it can be very subtle and pervasive. It took me personally 35 years to recognize it. So how do you know if it’s happening to you? Well, I’m here to help you with that. Please grab a pen and a piece of paper, or open up a note on your phone. As you read through the signs that you’re a victim of narcissistic abuse, go ahead and make a tick mark for each one that resonates with you.

Signs You’re Dealing with Narcissistic Abuse

Find out if you are being emotionally abused by a narcissist by asking yourself the following questions.

Does someone in your life:

  1. Act like you don’t matter to them?
  2. Act like you’re faking it if you’re sick, or even say it out loud?
  3. Act really jealous and possessive sometimes?
  4. Always expect you to take care of their feelings, but never concern themselves with yours?
  5. Always heart or love photos and videos of people of the same or opposite sex (whatever they’re into) on social media?
  6. Always hide their phone from you?
  7. Always make you wonder if you’re crazy?
  8. Always push and cross your boundaries?
  9. Always seem to kick you when you’re down?
  10. Always threaten to end your relationship?
  11. Become angry or sullen if you don’t go along with their demands?
  12. Become excessively pushy or forceful about sex, or even hurt you during sex?
  13. Become overly critical of everything about you when you don’t do what they want?
  14. Behave in ways that cause you to make excuses to others for them?
  15. Belittle your accomplishments?
  16. Blatantly lie to you about yourself and expect you to go along with it?
  17. Call you lazy when you’re not feeling well and can’t keep up with your usual schedule?
  18. Cause damage and/or give away/steal your personal property?
  19. Cause you to apologize for things you shouldn’t apologize for?
  20. Cause you to become anxious about confronting them about literally anything?
  21. Cause you to lose interest in life?
  22. Cause you to not want to do things you used to enjoy?
  23. Compare you to others?
  24. Compete with you over silly things?
  25. Completely ignore you when it’s convenient for them?
  26. Consider themselves the “boss” and insist on making all the decisions in your relationship/family/life?
  27. Constantly threaten to abandon you?
  28. Disappear for hours, days or longer without explaining why?
  29. Dismiss your pain if you’re hurting (emotional or physical)?
  30. Do things they know make you uncomfortable?
  31. Drink excessively or take drugs, and then blame their awful behavior on alcohol, drugs or their own history of abuse or tragedy earlier in their life?
  32. Embarrass you in front of friends or extended family?
  33. Expect more of people than is appropriate? (For example, getting upset if the mailman forgets their birthday?)
  34. Expect you to ask for permission to do stuff, as though you’re a child?
  35. Expect you to get over it when any tragedy happens in your life?
  36. Feel entitled to spending your money?
  37. Feel entitled to your attention and UNCONDITIONAL respect, regardless of how they treat you?
  38. Feel like they have the right to control your money?
  39. Forbid you from doing things?
  40. Force you to account for your time when apart from them?
  41. Get angry at you for things you can’t control, such as someone liking your photo on social media?
  42. Get excessively angry without warning or over tiny things?
  43. Get upset if you need to spend money on things for yourself, your kids or the house when they want to spend it on themselves or their own needs?
  44. Ghost you sometimes?
  45. Give you the “silent treatment” when you don’t do what they want?
  46. Go “dark” and not answer you or return your texts when they’re away from home?
  47. Go into your social media accounts and question everything?
  48. Go through your mail, hack your email or Facebook account or go through your personal belongings?
  49. Harass you when you’re away from them because you have to be somewhere (such as work or school)?
  50. Have a lot of so-called friends on social media they seem to flirt with?
  51. Have rules that you’re required to follow, even though they never told you this and you’re an adult?
  52. Have secret dating profiles or social media profiles you’re not supposed to know about?
  53. Have the whole “Jekyll and Hyde” deal happening – where one side of them seems charming or even sweet and loving, while the other is mean, spiteful and downright hurtful?
  54. Have weird sexual issues?
  55. Humiliate you in public or in groups of people?
  56. Isolate you and prevent you from spending time with friends or family members?
  57. Leave you hanging when you’re counting on them?
  58. Lie about you to others?
  59. Look through your phone at will?
  60. Make a point of telling you how unattractive you are or of pointing out your flaws?
  61. Make everything “all about them?”
  62. Make excessive and unreasonable demands for your attention, even to the detriment of your other responsibilities?
  63. Make threats about how they will “ruin you” or otherwise cause trouble for you at work, to your family or to others?
  64. Make you afraid or unwilling to talk about yourself?
  65. Make you afraid to make a decision without getting their approval?
  66. Make you afraid to tell them your feelings, or to express your feelings at all?
  67. Make you do things that you feel are unethical or morally wrong?
  68. Make you do things you don’t want to do?
  69. Make you doubt your sanity?
  70. Make you dread spending time with them?
  71. Make you feel completely worthless?
  72. Make you feel guilty for anything and everything?
  73. Make you feel jealous by complimenting and flirting with others in front of you?
  74. Make you feel like hurting yourself sometimes?
  75. Make you feel like you need to always prioritize them above yourself?
  76. Make you feel like you need to earn their love or loyalty?
  77. Make you feel like your opinions are not worth hearing or expressing?
  78. Make you feel like your reality is twisted?
  79. Make you feel like you’re always sort of “on guard” and hypervigilant of their moods?
  80. Make you feel like you’re constantly on edge?
  81. Make you feel like you’re living in limbo?
  82. Make you feel like you’re not allowed to say no?
  83. Make you feel terrible every time you spend time together?
  84. Make you feel ugly, stupid, or otherwise unsavory?
  85. Make you feel uncomfortable about spending time with friends, other family members or anyone else?
  86. Make you feel unheard?
  87. Make you forget who you are?
  88. Make you go without things you actually need, like food and personal care items?
  89. Make you hate going on vacation?
  90. Make you regret your accomplishments instead of lifting you up when you do something good?
  91. Make you responsible for maintaining the relationship while also making it feel impossible?
  92. Make you the scapegoat for all the arguments or problems in the relationship?
  93. Make you wish you were dead?
  94. Make you wonder if you’re even a real person?
  95. Make you feel like you’re always “walking on eggshells” or living with constant stress, anxiety or generally in fear?
  96. Manipulate you with the constant threat of mood changes and impending rage?
  97. Minimize your feelings or act like your feelings aren’t important or don’t matter?
  98. Never apologize to you unless they’re trying to get something from you?
  99. Not concern themselves with your needs, ever?
  100. Pick you apart?
  101. Play games with your head? Tell lies in order to confuse you or blame you for something you didn’t do?
  102. Play the “poor me” game anytime they don’t get what they want?
  103. Pressure you to use alcohol or other drugs, even when you say no?
  104. Refuse to admit wrongdoing, or if they do, it’s only if they can blame it on someone else?
  105. Refuse to allow any privacy?
  106. Refuse to allow you to access your money or family money?
  107. Refuse to allow you to work, if you want to?
  108. Refuse to be nice to you?
  109. Refuse to get a job and require you to pay for everything while they do nothing?
  110. Refuse to make plans with you or if they do, cancel them at the last minute?
  111. Refuse to post photos of you together on social media?
  112. Require you to do things for them, such as housework, laundry or other kinds of support without reciprocation of any kind?
  113. Ruin all the holidays for you?
  114. Ruin your birthday every year?
  115. Ruin your day when they’ve had a negative experience outside of you?
  116. Ruin your plans every time?
  117. Say overly critical things about your body and appearance?
  118. Say really mean things to you and when you get upset, claim they were joking?
  119. Say they know what you’re thinking, even when they clearly do not?
  120. Say things that don’t make sense and get angry when you point this out?
  121. Say things to intentionally confuse you?
  122. Say you’re mad at them when you’ve shown no indication of this and then get mad at you for not admitting you’re mad?
  123. Seem to find reasons to rage at you even when you do everything right?
  124. Seem to have double standards – as in, they’re allowed to do what they want, but you aren’t allowed to do what you want?
  125. Start arguments with you and others in your life through gossip or other forms of manipulation?
  126. Steal or hide money from you and/or your family accounts?
  127. Take control of everything in your life?
  128. Take credit for anything you do that’s good or that’s recognized by someone else?
  129. Take out their anger about other things on you?
  130. Take your paycheck?
  131. Tear down your friends?
  132. Tell or imply to others that they are interested in them when they are in a relationship with you?
  133. Tell or imply to others that they are sexy or otherwise attractive?
  134. Tell you how to dress, directly or indirectly?
  135. Tell you no one else will love you or that you’re unlovable?
  136. Tell you that you’d be nothing without them?
  137. Tell you they know you better than you know yourself?
  138. Tell you you’re too sensitive all the time?
  139. Threaten to hurt themselves or YOU if you threaten to leave?
  140. Threaten to hurt themselves when they don’t get their way?
  141. Threaten to take your children away from you, if you have them?
  142. Threaten you with physical harm or make you feel afraid of how they will react when you speak or act in general?
  143. Triangulate you with other people in your life, pitting you against one another?
  144. Try to control every second of your day?
  145. Try to get revenge on you if you make them angry?
  146. Try to pit your kids or other family members against you or each other?
  147. Try to steal your thunder (as in steal your spotlight anytime the attention is on you)?
  148. Use religion to belittle and/or control you?
  149. Use your insecurities against you?
  150. Withhold affection in order to punish you?

Question of the Day: How many of these signs resonated for you? What would you add to this list? Share your thoughts, share your ideas and share your experiences in the comments section below this video, and let’s talk about it. 

More Resources for Survivors of Narcissistic Abuse

 

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