Is A Covert Narcissist Dangerous? Yes, Here Are 10 Reasons Why

Last updated by Katie M.

The concept of covert narcissism, or as it’s also known, ‘vulnerable narcissism’ is a fairly recent one. Now, these adjectives may seem pretty harmless, but the reality of these significations couldn’t be any more serious. Indeed, covert and vulnerable provide cloaks of invisibility for textbook narcissists. The truth is covert narcissists present themselves to the world as anxious, socially uncertain, sullen, and withdrawn, yet, in actual fact, they share the same grandiose and unemphatic traits as their exhibitionist counterparts. That’s right, these folks are just as equally skilled in the dark arts of manipulation as overt narcissists, although, they tend to hide their true intentions with more finesse, making them even more dangerous.

Is A Covert Narcissist Dangerous? Yes, Here Are 10 Reasons Why

Now, covert narcissists are slippery characters and like to believe that their superior intelligence sets them one step ahead of the others. Although, don’t let this scare you, because, with a little analysis, it’s possible to pick up on their traits, no matter how well they believe they dissimulate them. Even though they might not seem overly arrogant, their grandiosity transpires in a more backdoor manner, for example, they’ll attempt to discredit people’s achievements or claim that thing certain things are beneath them. Plus, they won’t hesitate to play the victim and will always claim that everyone is against them and out to get them. The fact they manage to hide their true intentions makes them even more menacing and threatening…

Why are covert narcissists so dangerous?

Here are 10 reasons why these folks terrify me, and why they should put you on edge too.

1) They are difficult to spot

Just like any ill-intentioned people, when the spotlight isn’t on them, they wreak havoc and really go to town. With them switching on the victim persona and being able to turn on the waterworks on cue, these folks really do believe they can blend in and get people to feel sorry for them. Plus, for them, the idea of being unsuspected validates their intelligence, which gives them a huge boost of adrenaline.

2) They take deviousness to the next level

Compared to typical textbook narcissists, the coverts are even scarier because they have even less empathy, feel more entitled, and are even more passive-aggressive. Coverts make the typical narcs look harmless, which does truly take some doing. The truth is they are capable of absolutely anything, plus they have no regard for anyone’s mental health, making them a completely toxic combination of pent-up insidiousness.  

3) Their goal is to get you hooked

From love bombing to intense flattery on social media, a covert’s mission is to get you to fall under their spell. Having control over people is what they desire most, and also gives them confirmation that they are powerful and important. In actual fact, they don’t even consider those they sink their teeth into as people, instead, they see them as their little minions.

4) They move at lightning speed

There’s no hanging around where these folks are concerned. When they have a goal in mind, they lay the groundwork necessary to achieve it in no time. Although this may sound like a quality, in reality, they never actually use their work ethic to do anything constructive or good, no, these guys only believe in destroying and breaking things down…

5) They sap your energy

Their constant whining about their lives and how they are always picked on are carefully created narratives used to pull the wool over their victim’s eyes. If a covert narcissist can get someone to feel sorry for them by playing the poor me act, then they’ll seem utterly inoffensive and be free to do whatever they please.

6) They are vindictive

By persistently playing the downtrodden victim, certain coverts eventually start to believe their own lies and therefore want revenge on people they deem to be dismissive towards them. When they have a grudge against someone, the level of danger they pose flies off the chart.

7) Gaslighting and manipulation thrill them

Whilst most people get their dose of serotonin from food, sex, or even sport, these guys get their kicks from toying with their victims.

8) They fail to recognize their wrongdoings and don’t care about them either

If there was ever a lack of empathy contest, then I’d happily place a huge bet on these skilled manipulators coming in the first place.

9) They use your weaknesses against you

Like any self-respecting manipulator and gaslighter, these folks know exactly how to analyze people in a flash, and are therefore able to spot even the slightest weakness within them. 

10) They are true chameleons

Above all, what makes covert narcissists so dangerous is their ability to manipulate the narrative surrounding them. Their acting skills are so fine-tuned that they fool people into a false sense of security by making them believe they ought to feel sorry for them. In the blink of an eye, they can slide into the role of anything necessary to win them sympathy credentials.

8 Things covert narcissists say

We’ve all heard of covert narcissists before, but the truth is they can be very hard to identify. This is an individual who has a demeaning image of himself and who values himself by belittling others. This person gives himself the appearance of being superior to others and feels an exacerbated need to be admired. Here are some examples of things covert narcissists say

1) "It's only in your head"

He seeks to make you believe that you are crazy and take control over what you think.

2) "Without me, you are nothing"

If you decide to leave your partner, he will try to dissuade you by making you believe that you are too weak to get by without him.

3) “But I never said that”

He will always try to clear himself of a situation by not assuming his past words or behavior.

4) "I understand, but…"

The narcissist will be sympathetic while trying to turn the situation around, so that you don't resent him.

5) “You always see the bad side of things”

For him, no matter what he does, it's never serious, and if you don't like it, it's because you're overreacting.

6) "I can't ask you anything"

The covert narcissist will always try to devalue you, make you lose your self-confidence, and gain control over your thoughts.

7) "I told you so"

In a family or friendly conflict, the covert narcissist will always make sure to divide in order to conquer better. So, if he always denigrates a person with whom you had a dispute, it is to further distance you from this person.

8) "You don't understand what I'm trying to tell you"

He will try to turn the situation around and manipulate you into believing that you never understand his intentions.

Are covert narcissists violent?

As a rule of thumb, whilst covert narcissists aren’t typically physically violent, they act in passive-aggressive and manipulative ways. Now, they probably won’t ever lose their minds and openly hit out at their victims, but they will torture them emotionally and mentally. These folks operate in underground ways in order to go undetected they’ll never inflict physical harm on anyone, to avoid leaving marks that could incriminate them. However, they take pleasure in destroying people’s mental health and get their kicks out of gaslighting and denigrating their targets. Their emotional insensitivity is just as painful as being physically attacked, and unfortunately, their victim’s mental scars never fade away.

Editor’s note - Never drop your guard

Narcissistic personalities are extremely dangerous and toxic for our mental health, which means they should never be underestimated. If any of the points above have set alarm bells off in your head with regard to someone in your friendship group or family, it could be time to cut ties with them. In any case, your gut feeling on someone will rarely ever lead you astray.

🤗 Understand yourself, accept yourself, be happy... Let’s do it here and now!


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i spent over 10 years under the control of a person who used all of the above and more. as i saw my life , my soul, my personality, my confidence, my sanity, everything and everyone ive ever known or had slowly disintergrate and fade into total non existance. yet the one who was always there to pick me up after devastating after devastating events , was the covert narc. i was gratefull to her for being the only onewho would ever stand by me. over time on a cycle of destroy-let fester-pick up-let recover- destroy- letfester and so on. but each recovery would only very slightly alter your perception. but over time i have been completely re-proggrammed. i have no idea who i am? or who i was?. i cant be deprogrammed because my origional operating sysem is no longer in existance. i will need to be returned to a 5 year old child so i can redevelop myself in order to heal.its not possible. i have experienced evil and nastiness that people cant even comprehend, nobody will believe my story even though it is all truth. everybody thinks im a total nutjob who cant tell the difference between real and imaginary. im turned away by everybody. sometimes someone will listen to me, but only to then publicly mock my insanity. i live in a total nightmare everyday and there is no way out. that is the power of covert narcissism. im to scaered to go outside, to scared of people

My son married a covert narcissist. She was always the victim. She kicked it into high gear just before he married her and began isolating him. Her family is like a cult and he has been indoctrinated. All friends and family have been blocked.

I have been with my covert since 1998. We have a 4 year old daughter together. He has become so unbelievably cruel towards her. She doesn't want to come home and her preschool teacher noticed. People are starting to notice. I now look back and can see why his first wife left with their kid. Because he discards you by making YOU LEAVE. This way he isn't responsible and can say "She left me". I am ready to leave and can see why there should be no contact.

Everyday take a step in the direction you want to go- and remember to be your own cheerleader

You should leave! Why do you stay? Your daughter deserves better than a dad who makes your life and her life miserable. You are damaging her.

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