Are Covert Narcissists Dangerous? Yes, Here's 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 terms may seem pretty harmless, but the reality couldn’t be any more serious. The truth is covert narcissists present themselves to the world as anxious, socially uncertain, sullen, and withdrawn, yet, in actual fact, they share the same grandiose and unemphatic traits as their exhibitionist counterparts 😱.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. Learn here why they are so dangerous, what they do, and what they say.

Are Covert Narcissists Dangerous? Yes, Here's 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…

>>> Read about female covert narcissists here

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) Covert narcissists are dangerous because 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) "You're crazy"

Narcissistic manipulators use gaslighting, a form of mental manipulation, through a series of verbal statements aimed at minimizing a victim's feelings. Manipulators tend to label their prey as crazy. If you've ever heard a man say his ex was crazy on the first date, flee.

2) "You're overreacting"

This is another way to silence you, and stop you in your tracks. By accusing you of overreacting, the covert narcissist is essentially portraying you as the drama queen, telling you that you're making a mountain out of a molehill. Similar to patriarchy depicting feminists as hysterical.

3) "It was just a joke!"

Sometimes, to sow doubt in your mind about a situation and play hot and cold, narcissistic manipulators may convey their message as a joke, even though they were serious.

4) "I'm telling you this because I love you"

Manipulators justify their hurtful phrases by the feelings they have for you. This makes it much more challenging to set boundaries or trust your own feelings. Respond with, "I'm glad you love me, but I disagree with how you're talking to me" or "That's not how I want to feel your love."

5) "It's your fault"

Once again, the blame is shifted onto you. A manipulator may accuse you of hurting yourself when they are the only one causing harm. Examples of responses are: "I'm sure I'm not making things easy in our relationship, but you are too. We both need to change if we want it to work," or "I'm ready to take responsibility for my actions, but I won't do it for yours."

2 Of the weirdest things covert narcissists do 😈

You probably understand by now that covert narcissists display some weird behavioral traits that ultimately contribute to destroying their victims. Here are some of the stranger things they do to win people's trust.

1) The first weird thing covert narcissists do is that they never truly love anyone 😬

A manipulator always praises their "victim" at the beginning of a relationship. Beware, because this serves only to better reach you later and create a surprise effect. Their goal is to cast doubt and confusion upon you. Covert narcissists will use their charms to impose themselves and become indispensable in your life. When the manipulator becomes aggressive and changes behavior, you are left bewildered. Most of the time, forgiveness will be granted because they know how to make amends, make themselves likable, blowing hot and cold. Their behavior will be considered a temporary mistake blamed on fatigue or stress. As it is often said, nobody is perfect!

2) Secondly, they use psychological harassment 🙈

The manipulator often reverses roles, portraying themselves as the victim instead of the perpetrator. For instance, during separations, they become the poor abandoned victim, enabling them to quickly find another partner willing to "console" them.Manipulators often target sensitive, nurturing women who wish to care for this "lost soul." This is just an illusion to better control and manipulate you as they please. The perversion lies in establishing a dependence of the other on them. They will have demands that their partner can never satisfy. The request often exceeds the capabilities of the partner, who will then be viewed as incapable, someone who cannot be relied upon.

📍 FAQ - Juicy details on covert narcissists 📍:

- 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.

- Are they lazy? -

No, covert narcissists aren’t lazy because they are constantly on their toes in an attempt to cover their own tracks. Covert narcissists spend their time dissimulating their actions and their bad behavior, which by the way, requires lots of effort and dedication. Keeping up a facade is tough work and isn’t a task for the faint-hearted. When you have a very controlling and manipulative personality, making other people believe that you are completely harmless is very time-consuming.

- Are they cruel? -

The narcissist in all their splendor needs their victim to suffer. They naturally get a real kick out of seeing their victims struggle to make the relationship work. In short, these manipulators love to see people breaking down in tears in distress. Their ultimate, unacknowledged goal is to drive their victim toward a breakdown and a serious lack of confidence. This would signal their omnipotence and their intimidating influence. Narcissists are ultimately cruel and merciless. When they come back after abandoning one of their prey, it's for the pleasure of raising their hopes, then disappointing them again, and so on.

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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Article presented by Katie M.

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I have been married to a man whom I believe is a covert narcissist, since I have experienced it for many many years. Covert narcissists to attack you with physical abuse. I have experienced it in my marriage. So please the section you mentioned that they never do physical abuse, only do emotional and mental abuse is incorrect. Covert narcissists are very much capable of physical abuse. I have experienced it, they are capable.

Kathy 2 months ago

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