The Passive-Aggressive Covert Narcissist.

Passive-Aggressive behaviours of a covert narcissist.

Covert narcissists often use passive-aggressive ways to even the score with those they believe in having criticised them or to gain advantage and exploit those around them for their own gain. To use and abuse others in underhand ways.

Most narcissists like to do their abuse, covertly hidden, in secret, under the radar, so all narcissists are capable of using passive-aggressive manipulation to undermine those around them, some by calculated means, a thought out plan, others do so on impulse, instinctively programmed into their fight survival response, yes they can control their behaviour, that’s why they will act one way around one person and another way around someone else, why they can behave if they fear consequences to their actions, why they can lie so well, often as they can not self-reflect, once they’ve told a lie over and over they believe their own lies, once they’ve blamed the other party, to the narcissist, it is the other person’s fault, often why you’ll not receive a Genuine Apology, as a narcissist does not believe they have anything to apologise for.

While we have the Overt Grandiose narcissist that hits us with “You can not do that.” We have the Covert narcissist that hits us with. “I wouldn’t do that if I was you.” Both methods are to cause us self-doubt, and while not every person who says these things is a narcissist, they do need at least five traits from the DSM-5 diagnostics to have the disorder. Not all narcissists will use these tactics.

If you feel off around someone, if they put you down, make you feel bad, then you have the power within your mind to walk away from those people, whoever they are, a parent, friend, partner, boss. We don’t have to allow others opinions of us to define us. We all have a little self-doubt, and when those around are telling us we can not, it’s our job to show ourselves we can. Some narcissists are dangerous, so always stay safe. However, the best revenge is your success in your own happiness.

Passive-aggressive Manipulation tactics.

1. They will Invalidate you, often hidden when we don’t know what we are looking for, as a Covert narcissist will say things like. ”Are you wearing that? I’m not sure I trust that friend of yours. You imagine things, ” and the Overt, although they can say those things are usually more obvious in yet subtle ways. ”You look awful in that. They don’t like you. You’re too insecure. ” also, the. Covert ”I wouldn’t do that if I was you.” and then once they belittled your choices, your beliefs, your friends, so you have some self-doubts forming within your mind, they add insult to injury by gaslighting us with words such as. ”I didn’t mean it. I was only joking. Don’t be so sensitive.”

Why do they do this?

They put others down so they can take charge and feel superior, trying to control other people’s lives, thoughts and feelings, often leaving us with little self-worth, full of self-doubts and very little confidence with our own decisions making.


Be who you want to be, those who judge you are not for you, build on your confidence, we all make mistakes it’s how we learn, find the things you enjoy doing for you and keep practising, even when we get something we can still slip up, tune into your instincts, they often know what they are telling us without us even knowing.

2. Breaking Promises. A narcissist will promise us the world to leave us with anxiety and CPTSD. They will say they will do things then not do it. They will say they’ll not do something that would hurt us, to hurt us anyway. Then they will gaslight us with,” I never said that. That didn’t happen. If only you hadn’t, then I wouldn’t.”

Why do they do this?

To maintain control of those around them, to give people a glimmer of hope, making life difficult for others, getting people to work harder to please them as part of their disorder is a need for attention, and they’ll do what they can to get that attention.


Someone who continues to hurt you, lie to you and breaks promises are not for you. No matter who they are, you deserve better, write down what they say, so they can no longer gaslight you into questioning yourself.

3. Stubborn. They can be very stubborn and not back down, they can also be very persistent into guilt-tripping people into doing what they want, so we end up people-pleasing to calm the atmosphere down.

Why do they act stubborn?

They want to win, one of the characteristics is preoccupied with their idea, they need that dominance that power and control over others, preoccupied with obsessive thoughts of power and success drive them forward into wanting to win at all cost, and they don’t have the emotional empathy to care for who gets hurt along the way.


Let go of any guilt for things you have done for which, in hindsight, you would not have done, that’s in your past, don’t let it eat your future. No contact is always best, so they can not guilt-trip you. If you can not do no contact, boundaries, say no and stick to your no.

4. Blame-shifting. The classic narcissist tactic, pass all the blame onto someone else to escape accountability and like breaking promises to avoid any form of responsibility. They will shift the blame onto anyone they can. ”I didn’t because you wouldn’t. I forgot because you failed to remind me.”

Why do they do this?

To Gaslight those around them into believing their behaviour is the problem and not the narcissist, so people work harder to please the narcissist. A narcissist will play the hero or the victim, yet they will never be the villain.


Yes, we are responsible for our own actions, provoked or not. However, we have to pass responsibility back to the rightful owner for theirs.

5. Silent treatments and Sulking. The way they cause us deep psychological pain, without leaving any marks, the present silent treatment or where they disappear, those where they just sulk for days on end, leaving us to try and figure out what’s wrong and how we can make it up to them.

Why do they do this?

Often to put us in our place, as they believe they are superior, part of their disorder is to seek attention from others, or if they feel criticism or things not going their way, they shall gain attention with the silent treatment as well as often getting their own way. They exploit others by whatever means they can.


If they’re a grown adult, leave them to it, you are responsible for you as they are themselves. You did not cause it. You can not change it, nor can we control it. That’s who they are. They have a disorder which is the reasons behind their behaviour. However, it is never an excuse for their hurtful ways.

7. Isolation. They will isolate people from support often through Triangulation, ” I don’t trust that friend of yours.” And in all honesty, when we suffer from the effects of Cognitive Dissonance from being around a narcissist where our realities and beliefs just no longer match up, and we begin to doubt our every move, we can succumb to isolating ourselves, especially from those who tried their best to warn us as our pride can hold us back.

Why do they do this?

They want to control and gain our attention. When we have no one else to go to, our go-to person becomes the very person we should not and often can not go to, the narcissist gets our time and attention, yet will quickly Discard when another person takes their fancy, only to reappear if they believe we have something to offer them.


Reach out to old friends and family for support, especially those who tried to warn you, trust within your own instincts, look for new hobbies and activities to join, learning new skills and meeting new people.

8. Sabotaging other. They will undermine people, they will withhold Financial resources, they will make it so you can not go out to work, or so you have to work all hrs to scrape by, not for you, for them, they will put you down, withhold information and resources, withhold affection, just when you need a narcissist the most poof they are gone, only to come back playing the hero, so we doubt ourselves again, with their intermittent play nice, we then question ourselves. They can not be a narcissist, can they? And we doubt ourselves again if they have five traits, yeah they can. Even if they’re not, Abuse is Abuse, and there is no excuse. If they continue to hurt you, they are not for you.

Why do they do this?

Often as one of the traits of the disorder is envy, they will try to sabotage those who they believe might do better than themselves.


We all hit rock bottom. We all lose ourselves now and again. Now we need to drop the harmful narcissists from within our lives and climb back up step by step, day by day.

Most people might have used one of these passive-aggressive methods on another at some point within their lives, often without even realising what we were doing and not to harm someone. A narcissist, Covert or Overt, uses them as part of the disorder as the fact is that they feel entitled to do as they please. They don’t have the emotional empathy to care for those the hurt along the way. They also believe they are superior and above those around them. With that dominance, they think they are in control of all others and not just themselves. They are also extraordinarily Envious and believe they are entitled to sabotage others that the narcissist believes are doing better than the narcissist themselves.

There is no winning with these people. The only way is to know ourselves so well that no other can make us question who we are, our values, our beliefs, our boundaries are for us. If they’re not the same as another’s, we can respect that. If they respect ours, we can walk together, if another person doesn’t respect us for who we are or change us into someone we are not, we have the right to walk away from those people kindly.

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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.

Fight, flight, freeze and fawn.

Why a narcissist will not say sorry.

The narcissist’s fake apology.

Silent treatment.

Blame shifting.



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