Covert Narcissists use

“5 Phrases Covert Narcissists Use during Arguments and How to Counter Them”

As Andre Maurois says, The difficult part in an argument is not to defend one’s opinion but rather to know it.”

You would come around pugnacious people who love to argue about everything, but you will also encounter people who argue with great satisfaction and with not an ounce of shame or guilt. We bring you in this article the common phrases Covert Narcissists use during arguments to deflect blame, guilt-trip, or manipulate the situation.

Covert Narcissists are the Picasso when it comes to the art of arguing, without feeling guilty or regretful of anything they have said. It’s a safe bet to find someone as Narcissistic, but an arduous attempt to recognize a Covert Narcissist.

To identify the signs of them and the deleterious things Covert Narcissists say in an argument, To save you from the hidden form of Narcissistic Abuse, we are offering practical tips and strategies to disarm Narcissists during arguments.

  • Who are Covert Narcissists?
  • Why Do Covert Narcissists Love To Argue?
  • 5 Phrases Covert Narcissists Use During Arguments
  • How to Disarm Covert Narcissists to Counter Them

Who are Covert Narcissists and What Covert Narcissists Say?

Narcissistic Personality exhibits the traits and tendencies of higher self-grandiosity, higher sense of self, envy of others, flamboyant presence, and lack of empathy. These traits hold a very strong emotional and behavioral projection of the personality but not every type of Narcissist shows it externally Overt Narcissists, some Narcissists internalize these traits such as Covert Narcissists.

The sweet and subtle form of Narcissistic Personality is Narcissists, their internalized sense of entitlement, envy of others, and lack of empathy transfuses itself into greater insecurity, need for attention, fragile ego, and hypersensitivity to any form of criticism. And you know that arguments do end up in criticism for the Covert.

Covert Narcissists

Hold on! Now you might think if Covert Narcissists are sensitive to criticism why would they love to argue and how can they play smart during arguments? So, Here is the answer then…

Why Do Covert Narcissists Love To Argue?

What makes Narcissists panicky is not their vulnerability in the argument but their underlying self-grandiosity and disrupted ego, which entails them holding the right to argue and to insult with extreme meanness. The things Covert Narcissists say during an argument will shock you since you’ve known them as helpless and dependent.

The apathetically pugnacious Covert come from their traumatic childhood and personality development. Narcissists come from a family where parental figures share Narcissistic tendencies, and are highly critical of the child, shattering their ego.

They believe their trauma is special to them and the rage they have been holding during all their negative childhood experiences enables them to impose pain on others via different modes of hidden abuse, and one of those is provoking arguments.

Now you know the science behind Covert Narcissists’ liking for instigating arguments, but how do you spot if someone is a Covert Narcissist based on argument?

We’ve got you, let’s check the 5 phrases Covert Narcissists use during arguments to unmask their hidden motives.

5 Phrases Covert Narcissists Use During Arguments

1. Undermining Phrases:

As Covert Narcissists argue to satisfy their egos, the grandiose ego demands to win the arguments by all means. They minimize the complaints of other people by attacking them with undermining statements during arguments, this strategy helps them in disarming their opponents.

To play smart, Covert Narcissists also undermine the intensity of the event that has led to an argument, or sometimes even deny the occurrence of the event. The things Covert Narcissists say during an argument are meant to downplay your emotional needs.

  • “Oh you are just making things up”
  • “Duh! It’s not that serious, get over it”
  • “If I were at your place I would have never thought about it”
  • “Other people have it far worse than you, look at them”
  • “It’s not that big of an issue”.
  • “Do you want us to fight over such petty issues?”

2. Deflecting Blame:

Research on Covert Narcissists’ role in an argument states that those people with Narcissistic Personality tendencies have limited self-awareness and a reduced ability to attune to others.

Covert Narcissists find the blame unwarranted and gaslight you to question your stance about them. When they sense that you are confronting them with facts such as screenshots, messages, emails, etc. and there’s no way to negate that, they become the victim.

The things Covert Narcissists say in an argument are to shift the blame on you and mislead you to see yourself as the perpetrator. Their self-victimization is not to feel sorry but to gain control over you by subtle means.

  • “You intentionally create drama out of everything”
  • “It would not have dated her, if you were loving and supportive”
  • “Oh just for once accept that you are wrong”
  • “Didn’t mean to target you but you are overreacting”
  • “Your criticism over everything has led us to this”
  • “You always try to find the fault in others”
  • “I’m not normally like this, you created a situation that has made me like this”
  • “There’s something wrong with you”
  • “Nobody understands me, not even you”.

3. Guilt-tripping Manipulation:

Soft words make hard arguments.” – Thomas Fuller

Covert Narcissists as partners, family members, or friends often depend on your opinion about them, slight disturbance or criticism blows their ego and low self-esteem. Then, they start targeting your role in the relationship, your contribution in the workplace, or bringing irrelevant altercations of the past to change the reality.

Their favorite tactic during arguments is to say things that are guilt-tripping the victim. People who sincerely invest in relationships and are empathic get easily upset when their efforts are being questioned. Covert Narcissists take great advantage of inducing guilt and shame during an argument.

  • “What about me?”
  • “I’ve spent my life savings on you, what have I got in return?”
  • “I no longer find my relationships rewarding”
  • “Have you ever thought about me? what would happen to me if you left”
  • “You are not like you used to be”

At the workplace, they argue with employees of lower ranks and positions to satisfy their need for dominance. Covert Narcissists will criticize your work and when you counter them, they will start targeting your progress and loyalty to the company.

  • “I think you don’t take the work seriously”
  • “I trusted you with this role, otherwise nobody would have hired you”
  • “You should ask experts like me, before working on something all alone”
  • “This company has invested a lot in you, what have you done for it?”

Gaslighting during arguments can also come under personal attacks, the things Covert Narcissists say in an argument to gaslight could make the victims delusional about everything. Covert Narcissists create situations that support their stances. The victims may feel invalid about their instincts and refrain from bringing their narratives to the argument.

  • “I think you need therapy”
  • “Have you gone mad? I haven’t said that.”
  • “Oh! I think you are not in your senses.”
  • “You are mixing up things, I don’t remember what happened.”
  • “I don’t think you’re mentally fit to carry on this conversation.”

4. Withholding and Indirect Projection:

Covert Narcissists withhold responding during arguments to create confusion. They provoke you by instantly shutting off their emotions and refusing to understand the scenario. The things Covert Narcissists say in an argument is to make the victim responsible for their reactions such as deliberately going for silent treatment.

  • “I won’t listen to another word, this topic is closed now.”
  • “I don’t see it going anywhere you are confusing me.”
  • “This crap goes on and on, I’m tired.”

Covert Narcissists’ top two defense mechanisms are denial and projection, deflecting blame is denial while projecting their negative emotions on others is projection. They project their internal hypersensitivity to criticism, envy of others, and lack of empathy for their victims.

Covert Narcissists say things in an argument to prove that the other person has hurt their feelings and very often accuse them of cheating or betrayal.

  • “I would never do this to you”
  • “You are accusing me of the things you’ve done wrong”
  • “Stop filling my mouth with your words”
  • “You are the one who always feels superior, I can manage things on my own”
  • “Who asked for your advice?”
  • “Every mother does that, what’s so special about you?

5. Passive Aggressive Phrases:

Narcissists express their disapproval and disregard through being passive-aggressive. They not only argue extensively to show their repressed aggression, but also they will throw stuff and break some of your valuable belongings to distract you.

It won’t be wrong if we say they’ lingua franca is about criticism, judgment, abuse, and sneering. They express their aggression in subtle ways by taking a jibe at others, mocking them, and talking behind their back. Some of the examples of the things Covert Narcissists say in an argument are:

  • “If you didn’t want it you better not act that way”
  • “I should’ve trusted somebody else”
  • “If I am so mean why don’t you just leave”
  • “Your friends told me about how selfish you are”
  • I didn’t hit that intentionally”
  • “Oh! You look so different I failed to recognize you”
  • “Lol, I was just joking”.

If you think continuing the arguments could lead you anywhere with them, then unfortunately you are wrong.

The Covert Narcissists’ rage could change into emotional and physical abuse very quickly, for this reason, you have to stay extra vigilant while arguing with them.

Related: What Covert Narcissists Say to Gaslight You: Recognize the Signs

Here are the tips and strategies to encounter Covert Narcissists during an argument.


How to Disarm Covert Narcissists to Counter Them

All you have to do is be mindful about practicing each step to disarm they during arguments;


1. “Your rage is not my responsibility”:

Show assertiveness by setting boundaries and do not become prey to their provocation during arguments.

2. “I understand what you are saying but you can try to understand my opinion too”

Prevail the idea of mutuality, and ask them to count on your opinion and statements in the arguments.

3. “I don’t want to argue anymore”

Replace You statements with I, They hate direct offenses so go for the indirect means of using “I statements”

4. “Let’s take some time off, collect the proofs then talk”

Focus more on the factual part of the arguments, don’t let your emotions take over your intellect, even when they manipulate you to give sympathy.

5. “Nonverbal Communication”

Maintaining eye contact with them, sitting or standing in an upright posture, so they know you are speaking with certainty.

6. “Flat Affect”

Straight-up face with displaying less to no emotions, focus on yourself before reacting.


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