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3 Sneaky Techniques Covert Narcissists Use to Disarm and Demean You

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We’re all familiar with loud, bold, and overly confident overt narcissists. These types of narcissists are visibly grandiose, aggressively posturing their superiority for all to see. They may be vain and somatic, overly focused on their appearance, or they may be on the more cerebral end, contemptuously putting down anyone and everyone who threatens their so-called intellectual superiority.

Fortunately, overt narcissists are usually easy to spot and hopefully easier to avoid investing in. Covert narcissists, on the other hand, present new challenges; they can appear meek, innocent, charitable, even humble at first glance. They can be disarmingly seductive, even loving, personable and gracious.

9 Comments to
3 Sneaky Techniques Covert Narcissists Use to Disarm and Demean You

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  1. Dear Shahida,
    Hello again. I’ve just read this article and am blown away by the accuracy and preciseness of how you captured the narcissist’s MO. I was married to a most abusive, pathological, narcissist predator for 17 years. Every example you gave was like dialogue extracted right out of my life with this man. It’s so crazy making, so mind bending, for me, a university educated, accomplished mom, teacher, chef, writer, friend, compassionate woman to understand how this happened to me. I want to thank you again ( I also reached out to you on IG) for your writing and for your blog. I would love to meet you one day to talk more deeply about this topic over a pot of tea, perhaps? Til then, many blessings to you. -Elizabeth

  2. Thank you for sharing great thoughts regarding in this matter. Keep posting.

  3. Great Article! Thank You! Sincerely Yours, Eddie A. Ramirez

  4. I’ve been reading up a lot about narcissism after suspecting that certain people who were in my life and treated me horribly might be narcissists. When I read articles describing their manipulative ways I am always a little shocked that these people seem to do it so effortlessly. Are they at all self-aware? It sounds so calculated and like they really have to think about what their saying to get the necessary effect, but it doesn’t seem like it’s effort to them at all? If I think of having to manipulate someone in the same way, it seems like something I’d really have to practise and use on someone I genuinely dislike, and I still don’t think I’d succeed. Does it make sense what I’m trying to say? Do people who aren’t narcissists or psychopaths just have empathy and compassion that keeps us from this level of manipulation?

    • I think you hit the nail on the head! I, too, have often thought that it probably takes a lot of energy and time to manipulate a person for the desired effect. But with no empathy, they probably do it almost mechanically…yeesh! 🙁

  5. This is true. The narcissists in my life certainly did this and then some. Of course you also have the highly narcisstic types who aren’t actually ‘diagnosable’ yet they pull some of this crap ocassionally as well.

    Regardless it’s unfortunate. If you happen to be an empathic and wounded person it hurts. However thats a part of our journey here. Once we find the strength to recognize and overcome few possess the emotional strength and awareness that we do. With all gifts comes some form of pain.

  6. Thanks for your article, this will help many of my patients who have been tortured by covert narcissitic parents…..and continue to wonder why still today after 40-50 years

  7. Together for nearly 20 years, divorced over 30, just now (thanks to you) understanding what happened!
    Each point and paragraph brings an aha moment that enlightens me as to what she was really about!

    Thank you,

  8. “Deflect and criticize” was the favorite phrase of my now ex-husband, who I believe is a covert narcissist. I was young when we met and didn’t understand how his personality would end up affecting me. So many of your articles have just been so spot on – their tactics, my responses, etc. Oh that the internet and all this information had been at my fingertips 21 years ago…


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