Do you know someone who presents as a shy or introverted person, but who is actually a narcissist? You might be dealing with a covert narcissist. Covert narcissists are those who will often use the “poor me” act – also known as narcissistic injury – as one of their primary ways of manipulating their victims.
What is a covert narcissist?
A covert narcissistis someone who demonstrates a very subtle, but equally toxic form of narcissism that is exhibited by someone with a more introverted personality. Covert narcissism is characterized by grandiose fantasies and thoughts, perception of entitlement, and a general sentiment of being better than others – but unlike grandiose narcissism, those affected by covert narcissism can seem shy and introverted. They may also be self-loathing in a more obvious way than other narcissists. These qualities make it more difficult to identify a covert narcissist.
I’ll offer you a look inside the head of a covert narcissist that might even make you feel a little sorry for him/her – but it’s the truth. The untrained eye might see this kind of narcissist as a pushover or a sweet shy person, but in reality, they’re the hardest kind of narcissist to sniff out – the covert kind. I’ll not only share personal experiences, but I’ll give you the nuts and bolts on how a covert narcissist works and on how to identify one. In this video, I’ll give you the 411 on how to identify a covert narcissist and what to watch for when dealing with one.
Narcissists have a way of really reeling in their victims, and it usually begins the moment you meet them. They’ll work hard to create an intoxicating bubble around you, presenting only false selves. They will do whatever it takes to win you over – and you’ll fall for it, hook, line, and sinker – even and sometimes especially when you technically should “know better.”
But once you’ve committed to this person, it’s usually too late. You’re already found yourself caught in their web of lies that nearly eliminates any chance of you leaving them. Worse, the lies they tell during the “honeymoon” phase can be very strategic – or the narcissist could just be infatuated with you. Either way, they appear as if they care deeply about your welfare. In reality, this is what love bombing is all about.
What is love bombing?
Love bombing is an intense, overwhelming whirlwind experience of being romantically pursued by another that includes overtures of grandiose, idealized love and devotion. These displays may consist of poetry, flowers, cards, and gifts—even marriage proposals or fraudulent offers of “forever” love. Love bombing is also called idealization. It usually happens during the initial stages of a relationship with a narcissist, when they attribute exaggeratedly positive qualities to the self or others. It’s the first part of a larger cycle of abuse.
What is the cycle of narcissistic abuse?
The cycle of narcissistic abuse is a pattern used by a narcissistic personality disorder, psychopathic, or sociopathic person to entrap their victims into giving them narcissistic supply. Unfortunately, the more they are given, the more narcissistic supply they feel they need. And the more intensely they are loved (or hate), the more shame is exposed, triggering greater and greater fears of destruction that ultimately result in narcissistic rage. For the most part, victims will experience four main phases, including the idealization phase, also known as love bombing, followed by the devaluation and discard phases. Thus, this cycle of abuse is a pervasive pattern of alternating idealization and devaluation.
How can I tell if I’m being love-bombed?
Why is it so hard to tell the difference between a love bomber and someone interested in you on a healthy level? The fact is that on the outside, a love bomber and a healthy person who has fallen in love might appear to be pretty similar. But some subtle differences are often overlooked when we are under the spell of new love.
What kinds of things do narcissists say during love bombing?
Below are their answers – as you look through this list, I want you to think back to the beginning of your relationship – do you see a pattern, too?.
53 Lies Narcissists Tell When Love Bombing
Narcissists in love-bombing mode seem to tell some pretty common lies meant to throw us off the scent of what’s happening in the relationship. By learning to spot these red flags, you can better protect yourself from falling victim to their manipulations and behaviors. **Trigger warning: These are actual statements from toxic narcissists shared with me by real survivors of narcissistic abuse.**
“You seem like the type of person I would want to marry someday.”
I never wanted children until I met you.
It’s all you – all the time. (Because I have no friends.)
My exes are all crazy bitches. (The same narc asked at the end of the relationship: “Is it okay to still visit for sex after our divorce?”)
Your mother/sister/father/brother is messed up! I hid out in the other room while they were here because they gave me a bad vibe.
How dare you put your kids before me?
You don’t love me! Only your children.
The day after, he had been drunk the night before. There was never an apology for his bad behavior, but he would always ask, “do you still love me?” And, of course, I would shower him with the reassurance of how much I loved him.
“I just want to be with someone who wants to be with me for the same reasons I want to be with them.”
You’ve never met anyone like me.
“I love you” (a few days to a few months).
“I will die without you.”
“I will do anything to get you back. Please tell me you love me.”
“Can I take the condom off? You know I will take care of you.” (3 days before, he discarded me for his new victim. Probably because I said no and wasn’t going to take him back without him becoming a decent human being.)
“You remind me of my mother.”
“The only way I’ll ever leave you is in a pine box.” (And left three days later, for a month, before coming back.)
You’re all mine now, and I’m not letting you get away!
“God sent you to me.” (a couple of days in)
Oh, I never used to yell this much before my ex-wife… (and other irrational or jealous statements/accusations)
I’ve never loved anyone as much as you before. I couldn’t live without you now.
How much do you love me? (I was asked this almost daily ).
Will, you always love me (again almost daily when he wasn’t giving silent treatment ).
Why do you love me?
You love me more than I do you!
I think you’re a good investment!
I wish I met you 30 years ago. We’d have been so successful.
So, when’s the wedding? (2 weeks in)
I just suddenly fell in love with you (the day after seeing my new house ).
You’re perfect for me.
No one will ever love you as much as me.
I don’t need anyone but you.
You’ve made me happy.
My wife was cold and hated sex.
My wife didn’t talk to me.
My wife has issues.
“I did everything to save my marriage” (I didn’t know about his 2-year affair, which he was still in when he forced himself into my home, saying he’d left his wife for me, and I couldn’t refuse him and make him homeless. So we weren’t even going out together. He was just a friend through work!)
“I know how wonderful it can be when two people truly love each other share the same goals.”
The narcissist made various graphic statements regarding my anatomy.
It could have been anyone, but no, it was me and no one else who was the perfect one for him.
He knew I was his soulmate.
He knew from the first time he saw me that I was the one for him.
He never had as intimate a relationship with anyone before me.
Sex has never been this good with others
“I’ve never been love like this”
“You’re my dream girl!”
“I don’t know what hit me.”
That was the first time I called a woman on my phone. It has been so long.” (7 months to be exact, but with hookers in between that and meeting me.)
“When I went out with my friends, I would not talk to any other women… Until I met you. You’re amazing.”
“I don’t do violence.”
“We are like soul mates, aren’t we “
“Where would I be without you?”
“I’ve never been with a girl as pretty as you.”
Okay, now it’s your turn. How many of these phrases sound familiar to you? What would you add to our list?
In many cases, there was a single moment that became the catalyst for change (often led up to by a series of events that caused growing concern, of course).
With the permission of the people who shared their stories with me in a private group I have on Facebook for research purposes, I’m sharing these true stories with you anonymously (to protect the people who wrote them).
The stories do come from three separate and unrelated individuals, but that’s all I can tell you about their identities.
I’m not sharing these stories for shock value – simply because oftentimes reading about the successful transitions of others from narcissistic abuse victim to survivor can inspire us to take action to make our own situations better.
(Survivor Story #1) The Moment I Knew I Had to Leave a Narc Husband: I realized he was interested in my daughter.
He had no idea how much he was hurting me by looking at porn all day on his phone.
One day I woke up and realized I didn’t care anymore – it was like a light switch went off and I was numb to his abuse.
We went for a drive into town and there was a puppy in the road that had gotten out of their fenced yard. I said, “let’s stop and put him back;” he said, “the dog will be fine,” and kept driving.
We got to town and an old man was pulling out of the store parking lot with an old motor home and one of the side doors was open.
I said, “let’s let him know he has a problem.”
My husband screamed at me to mind my own business.
I said fine, but I knew it was time, I couldn’t keep going on.
A few months earlier he had started to show a big interest in my daughter. I noticed that lately, when she went to say goodbye, he would turn his head.
She’d end up kissing him on the lips. He would sit down so that she would have to bend over and he would get a good look at her breasts.
We lived on a lake and she was taking a shower and everyone else was at their lake, someone needed something and he “volunteered” to go up to the house.
My “mom-bell” went crazy. That’s when I said, “I will go with you.” Of course, he was furious! I don’t know what he thought he was going to do, but I couldn’t take a chance.
(Survivor Story #2) The Moment I Knew I Had to Leave a Narc Boyfriend: When He Gaslighted Me
I knew I had to leave four months in! I’d experienced the love bombing and thought we where failing in love.
But for some reason, I always had concerns and held back. while I kept my own life going.
Over time, I learned that my concerns weren’t for naught – I found out he’d been an excessive cocaine users for years!
Although, according to him, he pretty much stopped when with me, I didn’t agree with it. And then, he credited me for making him deal with life. He drank a lot at first which I didn’t like as I’ve gone out with an alcoholic in the past, but then he seemed to cut down.
He admitted he had cheated on his ex wife several times. That knocked me sick and I pulled him on this and told him how shocked I was. He didn’t seem to have much empathy toward his ex wife at all.
He was always banging on about exes, calling them psychos and worse. Explaining domestic issues and fights they had had. I’d had enough! I was making subtle hits for him to stop.
Anyway, after four months of me playing it cool and kind of cringing a little about the love bombing, I actually started to expect a little more.
He went all distant and became very unreliable with plans he’d made with me. Of course, when I tried to bring this up he became so angry with me. Plus, he used his son as an excuse, and to guilt me.
He was totally unreasonable. I got the silent treatment.
I knew I had to leave. I mean, unless he suddenly showed me he’d had a personality transplant. Well, he never did of course, and we both just stopped talking with each other.
The fall out for me was very upsetting, but I’ve never said a word to him. I knew I could not resolve conflict with him. And looking back, he had hinted about me seeing his bad side and how he’d be heart broken if we ever argued.
Nowadays, I can see how me pulling him up and having a opinion made me not very agreeable in his mind. He wanted me to be his girl and had warned me I couldn’t get my way all the time – this after he cancelled other arrangements. It was just really odd behavior, but looking back, I realize now that I didn’t see it at the time.
(Survivor Story #3)
The Moment I Knew I Had to Go No-Contact With My Narc Family: When my father committed suicide
I left my family for good after my father died and I saw how heartless they truly were. He barely had a funeral and they were 20 times more concerned with getting the money he left.
The only reason they gave the half-assed funeral they did was so their name can be on papers to get his stuff. They felt no remorse what so ever for the trouble they caused him (or even the fact that he was gone or killed himself).
They read his suicide letter (which they had the biggest shout out in) and nothing they spun it around to “he was just crazy.”
My sister got over $100,000 from his death and screwed over everyone else in the end -and when we found out the rest of the family didn’t bother to get him even a $200 tombstone, she said it wasn’t her problem and to let someone else pay for it.
I noticed they only pretended to care in front of me, because in the end I was closer to him. They figured he had told me stuff, I guess.
They completely disregarded my sister as a person while everything was being planned. We used it to our advantage while we were fighting them.
Of course, I got a shout out in the letter too. So at the time, I did say a million times “I didn’t want any of the money.”
In my mind, I didn’t deserve it because I felt like I could have saved him and I didn’t. I was too busy all the time dealing with all the narcissist bullshit.
If I had known … if I had seen that hotel room just a few hours before I did, I never would have left him there.
Anyway, I guess it was then I realized my whole life I’ve most likely been living with sociopaths – it was like, at that moment, I suddenly recognized that I had been at the mercy of sociopaths my whole life.
I guess I should be lucky I only came out with nerve issues and anxiety – because I know for a fact I just barely missed a lot worse. Once everything was done, I went no contact. But every now and then they find flying monkeys – last year was the last time I saw one, I think. I want to get my niece and my brother out now, but it’s hard.
Okay, let’s discuss it. Do you recognize yourself or someone you know in one of these stories?
Tell Us Your Story
One of the biggest things I hear from narcissistic abuse survivors who find this site or my narcissistic abuse recovery videos is that they are so relieved to learn that not only are they not crazy, but that they aren’t alone in the painful and shocking realization that they are being (or have been) abused by a toxic person.
It’s a HUGE part of recovery. And it matters. It’s so important for people who are going through and recovering from narcissistic abuse to truly understand that they are not alone.
When you share your story and your personal experiences with narcissistic abuse recovery, not only can it help you grow and evolve in your own recovery, but it offers you a unique chance to pay it forward and help to encourage and support other survivors who are having or have had similar experiences.