15 Weird Things Covert Narcissists Do in Relationships

Intimate relationships can present a range of experiences, that involve both positive and difficult aspects. However, when one partner displays covert egoistic characteristics, the dynamics within the relationship can become notably complicated and emotionally stressful. Covert narcissists exhibit a significant ability to hide their authentic character by presenting themselves as humble, reserved, or vulnerable. Consequently, their partners often encounter challenges in identifying the subtle tactics of manipulation and control used by these individuals. So, get ready to dive into the wacky world of their peculiar behaviors, like their emotional rollercoasters, secret squirrel actions, and their love for playing mind games since these are all the weird things covert narcissists do in their relationships!

1.   Subtle form of manipulation

One of the weird things covert narcissists do is to utilize subtle strategies to exert control over their partners, as opposed to resorting to overt manipulation tactics. Individuals may utilize tactics such as guilt-tripping, employing passive-aggressive remarks, or avoiding affection as a means to manipulate and achieve their desired outcomes. In certain instances, individuals with covert narcissistic tendencies might use passive-aggressive remarks to indirectly express their desires. For instance, they might state, “It appears that my significance in your life is not on the same level as that of your friends.”

2.   Violations of invisible boundaries

Covert narcissists have been observed to have an impact on their spouse’s privacy by engaging in activities such as monitoring their cell phones, emails, or private belongings, all the while presenting themselves as reliable and considerate individuals. Without obtaining explicit permission, individuals may engage in the unauthorized act of accessing their partner’s private emails or messages, thereby engaging in covert surveillance of their online activities.

3.   Silent Treatment

The silent treatment may be utilized as a method of emotional punishment, through which the individual withdraws affection as well as communication to exert control and promote feelings of insecurity in their partner. Following a disagreement, individuals may exhibit emotional withdrawal and refrain from engaging in communication with their partner, leading the latter to question their actions and seek reconciliation.

4.   Discriminatory vulnerabilities

One of the weird things covert narcissists do is to disclose vulnerabilities to evoke empathy, although these vulnerabilities are usually exaggerated or effectively timed to control their partner’s emotions. In response to their partner’s confrontation, a covert narcissist may exhibit a sudden display of vulnerability, shedding tears and expressing disbelief at the perceived unkindness, stating, “I find it difficult to understand your unkindness towards me, especially when I am already experiencing emotional distress.”

5.   Projection

Covert narcissists often engage in the psychological defense mechanism of projection, where they attribute their own flaws or qualities to their partner, despite denying these traits within themselves. In certain cases, an individual exhibiting covert narcissistic traits and displaying financial irresponsibility may engage in the behavior of accusing their spouse of being unproductive with money. This behavior can be seen as a projection of their weaknesses onto their partner.

6.   Gaslighting

Like individuals with overt narcissism, those with covert narcissism can engage in gaslighting tactics. This involves controlling their companion’s opinion of reality, leading them to question their own thoughts and feelings. In situations where confronted about a rumor, individuals may assert that their partner’s perceptions are mistaken or deny having made explicit statements, leading to a state of confusion and self-questioning.

7.   Love on Condition

One of the weird things covert narcissists do is to provide love and affection with conditions, typically as an act of reward for fulfilling their requests or as a motivation for compliance. They might refrain from expressing feelings until their partner consents to their desires, as exemplified by the statement, “I will only demonstrate affection towards you if you commit to reducing the amount of time spent with your friends.”

8.   Triangulation

Covert narcissists may engage third parties, such as friends or family members, in their relationship interactions, manipulating others against each other to exert control and foster conflict. One of the weird things covert narcissists do is to employ subtle tactics to influence their partner into seeking counsel from a third party, such as a relative or close friend, with the intention of manipulating them to be consistent with their perspective during conflicts.

9.   False sense of humility

One of the weird things covert narcissists do is to frequently exhibit a tendency to present themselves as modest and self-effacing, while inadvertently revealing their inherent arrogance as well as superiority complex through subtle behaviors. Individuals may choose to minimize their accomplishments in public settings yet exhibit a subtle tendency to boast when they believe they are not being observed. For instance, individuals may choose to discuss their achievements with a trusted confidant, while simultaneously downplaying their importance.

10. Image Consciousness

They exhibit a heightened level of attention towards their public perception and might value the preservation of their public image over the health of their partner. They will uphold the facade of an ideal relationship while disregarding emotional factors. Individuals may choose to share photographs of their bond on social media platforms, even during times of difficulty in their personal lives, to uphold a positive public perception.

11. Communicating in a Passive-Aggressive Manner

Covert narcissists frequently use indirect means to convey their dissatisfaction, such as sarcasm, hidden insults, or passive-aggressive remarks, instead of openly addressing the fundamental concerns. In the middle of a disagreement, individuals may decide to use sarcasm or deliver a backhanded compliment as opposed to directly solving the matter in their relationships. Consequently, this approach can leave their partner feeling emotionally wounded and perplexed.

12.   Withholding Emotions

Individuals in manipulative and controlling relationships may employ tactics such as withholding emotional support as well as affection, which results in their partner feeling undeserving. A covert narcissist could use the tactic of withholding physical love as well as emotional assistance as a means of punishment, hence inducing feelings of inadequacy of affection and attention in their partner.

13.   Narcissistic Rage

Covert narcissists may exhibit abrupt and intense episodes of anger or rage when their self-perception is challenged or when they perceive criticism. Such reactions can potentially evoke fear in their partner. In instances where their partner raises concerns or offers criticism regarding their behavior, individuals may exhibit intense anger, resorting to aggressive actions such as forcefully closing doors and engaging in loud verbal outbursts. Consequently, this behavior can instill fear and a sense of helplessness within their partner.

14.   Absence of Empathy

Covert narcissists, despite their outward display of empathy, struggle to authentically comprehend or empathize with the emotions and demands of their partners. Their capacity for empathy frequently appears to be superficial and motivated by self-interest. In certain instances, when faced with their partner’s expression of sadness over an intimate tragedy, one of the weird things covert narcissists do is exhibit a lack of empathy by responding with indifference, stating, “I fail to understand the significance you are attaching to this situation.”

15.  Self-pitying behavior

One of the weird things covert narcissists do is to present themselves as individuals who consistently find themselves in a victimized position, actively seeking sympathy as well as attention. Individuals in certain situations may tend to amplify their challenges and consistently adopt a victim mentality, hence inducing feelings of guilt in their partner for perceived inadequate support. In certain instances, a partner may frequently express dissatisfaction regarding the challenges they face in their professional life, consistently presenting themselves as a victim and actively seeking sympathy as well as attention. Some individuals may express sentiments such as, “There is a lack of understanding regarding the extent of my professional challenges.”

Final Words

Managing relationships with individuals exhibiting covert narcissistic traits can present a complex and emotionally draining experience. These individuals utilize a variety of subtle strategies to exert authority over their partners, such as assuming the role of the victim, denying affection, and using passive-aggressive communication. It is important for individuals involved in such relationships to acknowledge these behaviors, establish, and maintain acceptable limits, as well as seek appropriate support when necessary. To safeguard one’s mental health and potentially go on a journey of recovery and wellness, it is crucial to gain an in-depth knowledge of the weird things covert narcissists do in relationships. Besides, if you want to know about 6 Effective strategies for exposing narcissists in the workplace then click here!

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