Signs and Symptoms of A Covert Narcissist (Part One)

As I mentioned in my previous blogs; when I discovered my husband was a narcissist, I did some research just to find out a lot more about this personality disorder. What I discovered was that there are different types of narcissists. There is the overt narcissist, covert narcissist, malignant narcissist, cerebral narcissist etc. I found out that my husband is a covert narcissist and I’ll share some of the signs and symptoms.

What is a Covert Narcissist?

A covert narcissist is a person who doesn’t exhibit his topic behaviour openly, they operate under cover. Unlike the overt narcissist who does not hide his personality, the covert narcissist are wolves in sheep’s clothing as they pretend to be what they’re not; they are very difficult to identify for this very same reason.

They are considered to be the most dangerous type of narcissist because they will do whatever it takes to keep their real identity secret. They will destroy, devalue and demean the character of anyone who attempts to reveal their true personality even if it means destroying anyone who finds out who they really are. Because of this false persona they put on, it can be difficult to identify, only people who have a personal relationship, such as very close family . It took me a long time before I discovered my husband was a covert narcissist. I think because his toxic behaviour became really more pronounced ( research has established that narcissists worsen over time)in the last few years. And I knew something was not quite right, but I was always told by my husband when I questioned his behaviour, that he was reacting based on my own behaviour ( but he would never elaborate on what aspects of my behaviour affected him, because it was really just an excuse). I believe that’s why it took me such a long time to discover what he was. He was always denying everything, never admitting anything he did (gas-lighting).

It’s very important, once you discover who they really are to not publicly expose them. As this would cause them to go into a rage and they will completely discredit you and initiate a smear campaign against you. I found this the hard way when I tried to expose his lies.They will do this in such a passive aggressive manner. Before you know it, everyone will think you’re the crazy narcissistic one, because they’ll convince everyone that you are. I’m saying all this from experience. After I learnt about narcissism, I confronted my husband and accused him of this personality disorder. He of course denied that he had any problem, it led to all sorts of problems to the point that he even told my mum that I had psychological issues and that I need to see a psychiatrist.He likes to project his faults on me. They will not allow you to blow their cover, they will do everything and anything they can to protect their image and completely destroy yours.

Overly Altruistic

They are overly altruistic, caring, benevolent, self sacrificing persons. There is a strong desire to be seen as a rescuer or a hero. It’s like a messiah complex.

This is one of things I loved about my husband, he seemed to be so selfless, he would go over and beyond what anybody else would do, little did I know that it was all a front, a façade. He projects himself as a really good person, who will do anything to help. It comes with a fake morality and humility. They are usually seen as the pillar of the community and will perform charitable acts. They like being seen as the benevolent altruistic person. They also come across as very charming, charismatic characters, they are liked by everyone. My husband is very charming especially towards the opposite sex, charming and almost flirtatious a thin line between them.

Covert narcissists will go the extra mile for people. They give the impression that they’re empathic, but nothing can be further from the truth. It’s all an act, it’s all a cover.They know if they portray their true colours they will not receive the adulation, admiration, power, recognition they desire so much; which is their real motive and not because they truly care.

Most covert narcissists are normally public figures, teachers, ministers, therapist, politicians, celebrities, personalities etc. Because of their personality, they are naturally inclined to be in positions of authority; which is convenient for them because of the attention and recognition from people those positions attract. They know that if they give the people they are leading what they want which is care, love, attention, they will get what they want power, success, money, influence etc. They don’t really care about people, but they act like they do, to get what they want.

The only way you can detect them is you have a personal relationship with them. They cannot be detected from the outside only from within. Because the person who has a personal contact or relationship (family, close friends) with the cover narcissist will soon discover his real self, because no matter what the narcissist cannot keep up the cover forever the mask will slip and it will be seen by those closest to the covert narcissist.

Extreme Self-Centredness

Covert narcissists are extremely self centred and don’t have time for anybody else, they live for themselves. It’s all about them. As I mentioned above, when they ever do anything for anyone it’s because they expect something in return. Covert narcissists believe the whole world should revolve around them and take offence if the spotlight is not on them.They are actors. If we were going out with friends, my husband would open the door and allow me to enter the room first, obviously to give the impression that he’s courteous. He would never do it when we are alone. He would be the first one to enter building. If we’re going shopping he would never carry the heavy shopping, he would let me do it. Unless of course, there were people around, people he knew personally, then he would carry the shopping. He tries really hard to protect his image. He likes to be admired and respected, it’s unfortunate that he has to pretend.

Playing the Victim Card/Projected False Image

They are very vulnerable to stress. It must be difficult keeping up with the false self. They are the victims of trauma themselves so it is an developmental issue. But they can overplay the vulnerability card. “Oh I’m so stressed, I’m taking medication for high blood pressure. I don’t want to get angry because I don’t want my blood pressure to rise. Your mother’s the reason I have high blood pressure”, says my husband to the children. Most of it is exaggerated. “Mum, you can’t talk to dad because he says you’re always shouting and he has high blood pressure”, says my children to me.

After a confrontation which he initiates he will tell the kids he has a headache, he’s not well, he has high blood pressure. And the kids believe that I’m the reason why he has high blood pressure.

There’s a lot of sob stories, and sympathy parties. Everyone’s out to get him, he’s the only good person, every one else is bad. Everyone else is at fault, except for him. Everyone else has a problem, except for him. Covert narcissists have a victim mentality. Everybody’s always out to get them, or they are so jealous of them. They will project their own insecurities and defects on to their partners. They continue with their toxic and negative and start to accuse their partners of the same behaviour. They will start to call you a narcissist. If they’re cheating on you they will accuse you of cheating

They can often paint the picture of the perfect childhood, but this is normally a false portrait . This was not the case with my husband, he did not have a good childhood at all.

The covert narcissist knows that their projected image is false. Which contributes to the stress and worry that they have, they know that this projected front is not true and it takes some energy to cover it up from the world.

(Will continue with part 2 tomorrow)