The Cheating Covert Narcissist.

Signs of a covert narcissist.

A covert and an overt narcissist can cross over in personality types. However, they will lean more towards one, overt or covert, are both selfish, and both manipulate for their own goals. They kind of have a split personality. Coverts, like most narcissists, are hard to spot, especially when we don’t understand people like this exist. First, You need to define what you’re dealing with, then move on with your life. If someone is abusive, lacks empathy, acts as though they are entitled, exploits others, lets you down and continues to hurt you, whatever they are, get out and stay out.

Most narcissists tactics are hidden, yet covert narcissists don’t always match what you read about narcissist personality disorder.

The narcissist personality disorder is on a spectrum. We can all have a trait or two of narcissism, meaning someone can be confident and achieve success in life, yet they’ve not destroyed others to get there. They care for others and are not a narcissist, some people can have quite a few, but it doesn’t make them a narcissist, more a toxic person, fool, idiot or just a twit.

Overt v’s covert.

Not Vulnerable v’s vulnerable, although most narcissists can play the victim card if it meets a need of theirs at that time.

Arrogant v’s shy.

Grandiose v’s Victim.

What a covert narcissist can be like.

You meet them, and they seem ok. Some are well mannered, well dressed, and some are polite.

Then as time goes by, something just doesn’t seem right. You just can not seem to put your finger on it, not be able to effectively communicate with them.

Sometimes people can have that self-centeredness that’s not as harsh as you’d think when you look at narcissism in the media. Coverts are not loud in your face charge.

In the beginning, they don’t tend to be argumentative, but over time, you notice they seem to have a sense of entitlement, and superiority, just not as in your face as you’d expect a narcissist to be. You feel like they are approachable after the idealisation stage, but you are not overly sure.

The more you get to know them, you notice, they hate feeling vulnerable and hate any weaknesses been known to others. As you get to know more about them, they don’t tell you too much about themselves. When you see any humanity or flaws in them, they go on the attack with blame and shame towards you and your faults.

They shut down and withdraw. You just suddenly get the silent treatment out of nowhere, often leaving you wondering what just happened. There’s a lack of empathy with them, they come across as cold and not interested in you like they just don’t care about you, and they don’t.

Lots of passive-aggressive behaviour, you’ll more often get the silent treatment, sulking off, cutting you mid-sentence, making promises and failing to deliver, you will walk on eggshells around them.

They seem almost smug, it’s their way or no way, they come across as a very misunderstood, special person, who knows what others think or feel, and you just don’t understand them,

Everyone who manipulates tries to do it without being noticed, so even an overt narcissist is sly with it. Coverts are basically the shy narcissists.

If you have doubt, there probably is no doubt, and they are a narcissist if you are doubting if you are because you’d reacted, and it takes two to tango, no because you have empathy, you loved hard, you hurt hard. Reactive Abuse is not the same as abuse, and even the best of people have their limits. Still, they would most often feel guilt after reacting. No one deserves to be manipulated, abused or hurt, you are a good caring person who likes to look for the good in others, and there’s no wrong in that, just learning behaviour, you will and will not accept from others. From now on, so when people do things you don’t like, leave them to it and find people who love you for you. 

Also, you never used to think anything was wrong with you, and you never used to question if you were a narcissist. Being around a narcissist, was what got you questioning yourself. Almost everyone that has been around a narcissist will at some point question themselves when they look for answers.

The covert narcissist can come across as shy, empty, depressed, low energy. You’ve probably got people saying they’re not quite right, some things, not all their with them, yet most people will offer them support, they can have grandiosity on the inside, but they feel ashamed about it. If they get stressed, they might even have some anxiety.

They can be very vulnerable in front of you, gaining sympathetic attention from you. They will want you to feel sorry for them. They might look very dramatic when they are looking for sympathy.

They believe they have a right to everything, are self-entitled, and do believe they are special. They have no empathy, think they are better than all around them, yet at the same time, believe they are not good enough.

Extremely self-centred.

Extremely stubborn,

No respect for boundaries,

Hypersensitive to criticism,

They are very arrogant and will not apologise, only if it’s twisted around onto you.


They are people who try to come across as perfect, who are morally superior.

Coverts will guilt trip others as much as they can.

Things like. “ I’ve got no money, but I really, really need to get this, that or other.” They might not directly ask. If they are ill, they’ll want a tone of sympathy. Often making those around them, feel guilty for not doing enough, yet if you’re ill, they’ll often offer you little to no sympathy.

They will play the victim. Even if there is evidence, they will twist, so they are the victim.

They pass all their, insecurities onto their primary partner. 

Covert are the ones who will say. “Are you really going to wear that. ” or “I wouldn’t bother doing that if I was you.” They rarely directly have a dig at you. Most often, it’s underhand and extremely hurtful. 

The cheating Covert Narcissist.

When you date someone or marry them when they came into your life, they literally swept you off your feet, the idealisation stage, when they match all your likes and dislikes, you’ve met someone who truly understands you, and you believe you understand them, life just couldn’t get any better.

When you’re dating someone new to discover they had a boyfriend/girlfriend or wife/husband behind your back throughout your entire relationship. The person you married has been having an affair after, some you might have known and forgiven them, with others you are married for years before you find out about the first affair the truth, then once you discover they have one other partner you might find they had two or three more at the same time or crossing over.

Narcissists are con artists they sell you a dream and deliver you a living nightmare. Not only are most narcissists con artists, but they are also pick-up artists. The narcissist is renowned for not only physical cheating on their intimate partners but also emotional cheating with the classic lines of. ” It’s not cheating. It’s only a message.” or ”Don’t be so sensitive. We are only friends.” To play down their behaviour. To the. ”If you showed me more attention, I wouldn’t need to chat to others.” and ”why have you looked at my phone? Don’t you trust me.” which is done to blame-shift their hurtful behaviour onto you so they can escape accountability. The narcissist is often serial cheaters, always on the lookout for their next target, always using others, always exploiting and hurting those around them.

Whether the narcissist has sexual satisfaction within their primary relationship or not, extramarital affairs, emotional or physical is common with a narcissist and nothing you did or did not do caused it, they have the narcissist personality disorder, empathy towards others feelings are often none existent, and they are also lacking in respect or morals towards others as they feel entitled and exploit others to meet a need of their own, they are simply not interested in your wants, needs or feelings, it’s all about themselves.

Emotional cheating or physical cheating, if you’re not happy, it’s cheating, and they do not care for you or your feelings.

People can cheat who are not on the narcissist spectrum, and those will often be after a cheap thrill, not think of the consequences, and they will often feel remorseful. A narcissist is always on the search for attention to fill an inner void they are unable to, as true happiness starts from within. They are always chasing external happiness, healthy people can not have found their happiness from within themselves, yet as they have empathy towards others, they often try to help those around them to feel better within themselves, a narcissist is exceptionally negative, so they destroy others to make themselves feel better.

What all of us need to realise and work on is finding out own emotional stability and our happiness from within, when we create this happiness from within, then we will no longer try to help those who only seek to destroy us, yet we will help those with empathy who do need the support.

A narcissists ability to gaslight others and manipulate those around them, often causing cognitive dissonance in those close to them, is what makes them such convincing storytellers and con artists. As they are such compelling con artists, they not only fool intimate parents, but they can also fool friends, family and the community around them.

As they are so grandstanding in the idolisation stage meaning, they will be able to attract attention and influence the opinion of those who are listening. The covert narcissist will talk about and play on how others have hurt or let them down in the past (the pitty play.), often describing what they did to others, yet twisting the story around to suit the narcissist, they will talk about their wisdom and how they value respect, honesty, integrity, and would always be faithful as they would never want to cheat or hurt someone in that way, which healthy people can have that conversation, with a narcissist your instincts most likely told you that they protest too much, so what they are claiming that they would never do such a thing over and over again, this often means they have or will do.

They might even say they’ve been promiscuous in the past, and have learned the error of their ways. “They were young.” Or “The Ex was crazy.” While saying that they’d never lie to you, when we listen carefully, instead of discounting our instincts and wanting to believe them, we see the red flags of just how contradictory a narcissists words genuinely are. And healthy people can be contradictory as their opinions and beliefs adapt and change to self-love and inner happiness.

If you’ve just got into a relationship with someone who is forever cancelling plans, going away for long business trips, they are always late and always letting you down, or if you are a few months or years in and they are giving you the regular disappearing act silent treatment, they are often with at least one other target, if not circling around a few.

When they lie constantly, they do this to protect themselves, not protect your feelings, because they have something to hide when you ask healthy people where they are going or where they’ve been. Healthy people see this as a two-way conversation. The narcissist sees this as criticism that they are not allowed to do what they want, and you are trying to control them, so they either spin a tail of where they are going or have been. (Which isn’t what they were doing or where they were.) and your instincts might think that something just doesn’t ring true, or they’ll provoke an argument, often so they can then hit you with the silent treatment and disappear on you, or they’ll take you off topic and twist the conversation onto where you were six months ago, even though you were where you said you were, they will get you to defend yourself, to downplay what they are doing and exaggerate what you are doing, all call you “insecure, crazy.” And the others, so you’re left with self-doubt.

When the narcissist is claiming that all their exes are stalkers, crazy, in need of help, obsessed with them. Due to that trauma bond and being left with no closure, the ex usually matches the narcissists smear campaign words, so the exes are often suffering from CPTSD and looking for answers, the narcissist lies about them often matches the exes behaviour, making the narcissists lie all the more believable, yet when those crazy exes come warning you, they’re not doing it because you win the prize, they are doing it because they know everything they have just lived through and how they feel, even if they don’t have all the answers right there. Then, they know you’re about to live it too, and they are trying to save you all the pain they have just been through.

It’s never your fault that a narcissist targeted you. They came after you because they saw something in you that they wanted, a kind, caring, forgiving, loyal person. No one asks to be abused. Narcissists are like vultures going after one target to the next. Unfortunately, they have probably been through some form of trauma that’s sent them on this crash course life pattern of destruction, not only for those around them, often without them realising to themselves also. Yet as they are always blaming all others, they never see themselves as the problem. To see what they need to change within themselves, they have to learn from the mistakes they make. As they are unable to do this, the narcissist never finds their true happiness.

You can feel sorry for them, and you can hate them. You can pity them. However you feel, after all they put you through is for you. However, you need to break the trauma bond, leave them in the past where they belong, and start focusing on and living for you. The more you focus on them, the more you bring that past reality into your mind, the more you focus on yourself and a much happier future, the more you’ll work towards that future and start taking the steps in your reality to make those future dreams your reality.

You can, and you will.

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Elizabeth Shaw is not a Doctor or a therapist. She is a mother of five, a blogger, a survivor of narcissistic abuse, and a life coach, She always recommends you get the support you feel comfortable and happy with. Finding the right support for you. Elizabeth has partnered with BetterHelp (Sponsored.) where you will be matched with a licensed councillor, who specialises in recovery from this kind of abuse.

Click here for Elizabeth Shaw’s Recommended reading list for more information on recovery from narcissistic abuse.


Cognitive dissonance.


Trauma bond

One thought on “The Cheating Covert Narcissist.

  1. That was really great. Thank you, Ms. Shaw.
    you never know what you don’t know until you read things you’ve never read before

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