12 destructive Things Covert Narcissists Say in Guise of Advice


Trying to maintain relationships with people who have covert narcissistic tendencies is like trying to solve a Rubik’s Cube or being blindfolded while riding a unicycle on a tightrope. They may appear helpful, but don’t be fooled! These tricks are all about control, sympathy-seeking, and maintaining their oh-so-special status. From gaslighting to backhanded compliments, it’s like a twisted game of emotional chess. These sneaky pieces of advice can really leave you feeling confused and emotionally drained. It’s like they’re playing mind games while we’re just trying to keep our sanity intact. Hence let’s find out the things covert narcissists say to play with your minds!

1.   Using gaslighting to advice

Gaslighting is an approach to manipulation frequently employed by individuals with covert narcissistic tendencies to induce doubt in others regarding their own real world, perceptions, as well as emotions. Gaslighting is an instrument of deceit that involves discrediting the victim’s experiences, leading them to doubt their sanity or the reliability of their emotions and recollections. The things covert narcissists say in the form of advice include:

  • Can you confirm the accuracy of the information provided? It appears that you may be perceiving things inaccurately. You may benefit from a memory evaluation with a therapist.
  • I am uncertain about the subject matter you are referring to. I do not recall making the statement you mentioned. It appears that what you remember may be inaccurate. It appears that there may be a possibility of experiencing lapses in memory.

2.      Using backhanded compliments to advice

Backhanded compliments are somewhat a form of communication characterized by passive-aggressiveness, in which an individual seemingly expresses praise or admiration but gently includes concealed criticism or arrogance. Negative comments have the potential to cause emotional distress and diminish an individual’s self-confidence. The things covert narcissists say in the form of advice include:

  • I am astonished by your remarkable generosity. It appears that you may have certain expectations or requirements in exchange for what you’re doing.
  • Have you been offered the position? That is unexpected, due to your limited level of expertise.

3.      Using insecurities to advice

The act of projecting insecurities can be observed as a defense mechanism in which individuals engage in criticizing others for imperfections or qualities that they themselves have in common. This behavior enables individuals to redirect focus from their own deficiencies and, in certain instances, even refuse or evade confronting their problems. The things covert narcissists say in the form of advice include:

  • An individual who frequently engages in procrastination may express disapproval towards a colleague’s failure to meet deadlines, stating, “It is necessary that you enhance your time management skills as it is deemed unprofessional.”
  • An individual experiencing challenges with trust may express concerns about their partner’s fidelity by stating, “I find it difficult to fully understand your consistent engagement in flirtatious interactions with others.”

4.      Using passive aggression to advice

Passive aggression is a behavioral pattern in which individuals choose to indirectly convey their frustration, or hostility instead of speaking out about the problems or conflicts they are encountering. Rather than expressing their emotions or apprehensions directly, individuals frequently employ sarcasm, covert insults, or subtle gestures to convey their dissatisfaction. The things covert narcissists say in the form of advice include:

  • Instead of a direct complaint, someone could say “It is noteworthy how you consistently manage to schedule time for hobbies despite the numerous tasks at the moment.”
  • Instead of expressing a lack of desire to engage in a particular task, an individual might use sarcasm by stating, “Oh, that’s awesome!” I am pleased to present another delightful opportunity to complete all the necessary tasks.

5.   Withholding information to advice

The act of withholding information refers to the deliberate action of intentionally refraining from sharing important or pertinent information with another individual. This behavior can result in a scenario where the affected person remains unaware or ignorant about significant matters. This behavior exhibits manipulative and controlling tendencies, as it places the other individual in a disadvantaged position and induces feelings of blame or inadequacy due to intentional concealment. The things covert narcissists say in the form of advice include:

  • “If you had been more attentive, you would have been aware of the facts already.”

6.   Playing victim to advice

The act of playing the victim refers to a behavioral pattern in which an individual presents themselves as a wounded or blameless party in each situation, even though they may bear responsibility or fault for the circumstances. They frequently give responsibility to others to avoid accountability, elicit sympathy or encouragement, as well as manipulate the events to their benefit. This kind of behavior may exhibit emotional manipulation and can be challenging to address. The things covert narcissists say in the form of advice include:

“You consistently portray me in a negative light. I am astonished by your actions towards me.”

7.   Conditioning affection to advice

It includes conditioning affection, acceptance, or validation upon an individual’s fulfillment of specific expectations or requirements. The things covert narcissists say in the form of advice include:

” I will only express my pride in your accomplishments if they align with my expectations.”

8.   Limiting achievements to advice

A person actively minimizes their own accomplishments, reducing their perceived significance or value. This behavior is annoying and demoralizing since it lowers self-esteem. Such behavior often indicates insecurity, animosity, or a desire to control or dominate. The things covert narcissists say in an argument in the form of advice include:

“The situation was not of significant importance as anyone could achieve that”.

9.   Neglecting confidence in advice

Neglecting one’s confidence includes engaging in behavior through which an individual deliberately cultivates self-doubt as well as uncertainty by questioning their abilities, choices, or worth. Covert narcissists frequently behave in this way to acquire control, assert dominance, or foster dependence on the individual who exhibits it. Experiencing emotional harm and detrimental effects on one’s self-esteem and overall well-being can occur. The things covert narcissists say in the form of advice include:

“Can you ensure your ability to handle this task? Perhaps it would be advisable to consider allowing someone else to step into the job.”

10.  Using narcissistic rage to advice

Narcissistic rage is an emotionally charged response that arises when an individual with narcissistic characteristics feels that someone has jeopardized his/her self-confidence, self-worth, or sense of superiority. Criticism, or the dismissal of their suggestions or opinions normally triggers this reaction. Intense negative emotions frequently manifested as anger, vengeance, or hatred in this type of response. The things covert narcissists say in the form of advice include:

“I must express feelings of disbelief at your decision to question me. I believe you don’t have an understanding of the topic .”

11. Martyrdom to advice

The term “martyrdom” within the larger setting of covert narcissism relates to a manipulative strategy wherein individuals portray themselves as self-sacrificing and altruistic. This tactic aims to induce feelings of guilt in others, ultimately compelling them to fulfill the needs as well as desires of the narcissist. The things covert narcissists say in an argument in the form of advice include:

“I understand your desire for personal time; however, it is worth noting that I have consistently provided support whenever you require it, regardless of my fatigue or busy schedule. I would appreciate your support at this time, but it seems that you would like to take a break. That is acceptable. I will take full responsibility for managing everything, as I have consistently done in the past”.

12. Competitive victimhood to advice

Competitive victimhood is a behavioral pattern possessed by individuals with covert narcissistic tendencies, which serves to maintain a perceived sense of superiority and garner attention. They exhibit a subtle form of competitive behavior, using any discussion about someone else’s difficulties or obstacles as a chance to emphasize their own perceived sense of being a victim. By engaging in this behavior, individuals can redirect attention towards themselves, hence prioritizing their own concerns while potentially downplaying or dismissing the experiences of others. The things covert narcissists say in the form of advice include:

“Do you believe that your current work situation is unfavorable? I have experienced a series of events recently that may surprise you. Unmanageable deadlines and a strained relationship with my supervisor have made my workload impossible. Lack of sleep is causing emotional distress and instability. I must admit that you are fortunate in comparison to the challenges I am currently facing”.

Final Words

The behaviors, including gaslighting and narcissistic rage etc., exemplify manipulative and detrimental patterns within interpersonal relationships. Identifying these behaviors is crucial to maintaining strong relationships and mental wellness. Remember that healthy relationships require direct engagement, trust, and respect. Thus, manipulative methods can cause emotional distress and undermine interpersonal relationships. Well if you want to know more about covert narcissists then click here!

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