signs of narcissism

9 Secret Signs of Narcissism You Can’t Miss Once You Notice Them

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Sometimes the signs of narcissism aren’t so obvious and narcissists fly under our radar.

Not every narcissist is a puffed-up gym rat or a Mean Girl like Regina George. If they were, we could see the signs from a mile away and steer clear.

No, plenty of narcissists are sensitive, thoughtful, and generous – until the charade wears off, of course.

That’s why it’s so important to understand the subtle signs of narcissism that you might not notice until it’s too late and they’ve sucked you into their black hole.

What’s the Difference Between an Overt and Covert Narcissist?

Many people tend to think of narcissists as having extroverted personalities. They’re flamboyant and demand to be the center of attention – how can you miss them?

The truth is, introverts can also be narcissists. These are the ones who fool us into their web of manipulation.

“They’re not self-absorbed – they’re just sensitive!”

“They’re not a bad friend – they’re just misunderstood!”

After forming a relationship with a covert narcissist, you realize that this sensitivity and isolation were, in fact, signs of narcissism. Since the signs weren’t so obvious, however, you completely misjudged the situation. 

Related Video: 

9 Secret Signs of Narcissism You Can’t Miss

Since the covert narcissist is better at hiding their abusive behavior, it’s important to understand the subtle cues that give them away.

1.     They’ll Never Utter the Phrase “I Don’t Know”

I once knew a narcissist who was so averse to this phrase that he would rather give someone dangerously incorrect answers than admit to not knowing something. He was confident in his woefully wrong answers, too.

Why do this?

Answering a question with “I don’t know” deprives the narcissist of vital attention. The person seeking an answer will simply move on to someone else who might help them. That’s a huge ego hit.

That’s why you’ll often find narcissists rambling on about topics they have no business speaking on.

2.     They’re a Bad Friend

The narcissist is generally a bad friend but you’ll typically find them playing the victim. Make sure to get all sides of the story if you’re not sure.

What are some red flag signs of narcissism that indicate the suspect is a narcissist?

  • They get irritated when their friends ask for help or advice.
  • They don’t bother to call or text their friends on birthdays or holidays.
  • They don’t return borrowed items. (A sign of entitlement.)
  • They owe their friends money. They may downplay this as “not a big deal.”
  • They embarrass their friends in front of others.
  • They seek out or flirt with their friends’ partners or love interests.

3.     They Have to Insert Themselves into Every Story

A covert narcissist may not demand everyone’s attention. They will, however, still find a way to make everything about them. A large part of this strategy involves inserting themselves into every story.

Is a coworker talking about their experience with homelessness? The narcissist, too, has a story about being poor.

Is a friend talking about his amazing trip to Vietnam? The narcissist also had a friend who went to Vietnam. And guess what? She heard it wasn’t so great.

No matter the topic, the narcissist has a remarkable skill for turning the attention their way – no matter how innocuous it might seem.

4.     They’re Sensitive

At first, you may appreciate their ability to freely express emotions. This is an excellent tactic narcissists use to lure empathetic people into their trap.

Maybe a fast-food worker got their order wrong and the narcissist hasn’t shut up about it all day. Maybe their boss asked them to stop playing on their phone so much and now the narcissist is crying about it over dinner.

As time goes on, you’ll realize that the narcissist isn’t vulnerable and sensitive: their fragile ego can’t handle honest mistakes and valid criticism. To the narcissist, these are personal attacks.

5.     They Treat Waitstaff or Service Workers Poorly

This is a dead giveaway. Run for the hills.

Anyone who disrespects waitstaff or service workers views people as “beneath” them. Soon, you’ll be part of the inferiors as well.

6.     They Form Relationships Based on What Someone Can “Do for Them”

If you’re at a party and the suspected narcissist suggests you talk to someone because they can help with your career or financial situation, don’t ignore it. They aren’t trying to help you: they’re letting you in on their game.

Narcissists tend to form shallow friendships based on what people can do for them. You’ll often find narcissists make friends with horribly toxic people just because these folks have money, own bars, or can offer career opportunities.

7.     Their Stories Don’t Match Reality

Both the overt and covert narcissist has an inflated sense of self. The thing is, they truly believe their own lies. As a result, you’ll often find they recall stories much differently than the situations actually played out.

If you notice that the suspect constantly reframes stories to make themselves the hero or victim, back away fast – this is one of the many signs of narcissism. By changing the story to fit their own narrative, the narcissist is gaslighting everyone else involved.

It’s not cute or funny to constantly have to correct them. Sooner or later, they’ll start gaslighting you, too.

8.     They Observe and Judge

“There’s no way she can be a narcissist. When we’re out with friends, she barely says ten words!”

I hear it all the time. By sitting back and observing everyone, however, the covert narcissist is silently taking notes and judging. I’m sure you heard all about her observations on the car ride home.

The narcissist needs to feel superior to everyone around them. This is easy to do when you don’t open your mouth to engage in conversation and instead sit back to take notes about everyone’s shortcomings.

9.     They Only Hear Bits and Pieces of Your Stories

Does it feel like the suspected narcissist just. isn’t. listening? They’re probably not. And if they are, they don’t care.

Maybe you spent ten minutes venting to your mother about how you didn’t get that promotion at work because you showed up late one solitary time with a valid reason. How did she respond? “Well, maybe you’ll remember to show up on-time from now on.”

You can’t be the victim. Only the narcissist can be the victim.

You see this a lot with narcissist parents or partners who listen just enough to throw something back in your face later.

How to Turn the Tables on a Narcissist

Perhaps you’ve gone on a few dates with someone or a new coworker joined your team. You suspect they may be a narcissist but you aren’t entirely sure.

After all, the covert narcissist is particularly cunning at hiding the more obvious signs of narcissism. Here’s how to turn the tables on a narcissist and get them to expose themselves.

  • Play along. Don’t give the suspected narcissist room to adjust their manipulation tactics – play stupid and pretend you completely believe them. Use this opportunity to document their behavior.
  • Remain indifferent. If you must continue dealing with an overt or covert narcissist for reasons out of your control, act indifferent to their behavior. The narcissist wants to use your emotions against you. If you don’t give them anything to work with, they’ll seek their fix elsewhere.
  • Find Support: This may only include one or two people you trust. Confide in someone who will validate and believe you.

At the end of the day, the only way to truly turn the tables on a narcissist is to cut them off completely. If they had any real intentions of changing, they would have done so already.

The narcissist will not suddenly see things your way. If they ever do, it’s – a) for a fleeting moment and b) to use against you later. Don’t believe the conflicting information you might see from other websites or therapists – the narcissist will never change.

Studies suggest that over 6% of the population has Narcissistic Personality Disorder. Personality disorders are much different than mental illnesses.

With a mental illness, a chemical imbalance in the brain may cause different disturbances that manifest as depression, anxiety, and many others. Although complex, mental illnesses tend to respond well to medication because it targets the physical root of the problem: such as a chemical imbalance.  Though, it’s been determined that many mental illnesses such as depression and anxiety are frequently caused by unresolved emotional trauma, often dating as far back as childhood.

Personality disorders occur because of a repetitive stimuli-reward environment. At some point in their life, the narcissist realized they could elicit specific reactions and emotions from people – and it felt good and helped them achieve their self-fulfilling agendas.

Anything less than cutting them out of your life will give you a mental and emotional breakdown.

No Contact is the Only Way to Shut Down a Narcissist

Many narcissists have always been this way – even as far back as their teenage or childhood years. If you’re dealing with a narcissist, you cannot and should not expect them to change their behavior now or ever.

Treatment for narcissistic personality disorder often involves things like cognitive behavioral therapy. In many cases, a narcissist may also suffer from other mental illnesses like depression or substance use disorder. (You’ve probably heard extensively about these problems, too, when the narcissist needs your sympathy or someone to blame.)

Despite this, there is little evidence to suggest therapy actually works for narcissists as personality disorders are notoriously difficult to treat. The first step to getting help is to admit a problem exists – the narcissist will never believe they have or are a problem.

No Contact is the only option.

Trust in yourself and your support system. Because once you get to the other side and stick to No Contact, you’ll be amazed by all the amazing things you can accomplish.

Kim Saaed CoachingConsulting and Coaching with Kim Saeed, B. Ed.

Kim Saeed helps individuals to break free from unhealthy relationships. With over a decade of experience, she specializes in guiding women and men through the process of leaving abusive relationships and recovering from the trauma. Her approach combines emotional support and goal-oriented outcomes. If you’re ready to take control of your life and heal, visit the Schedule a Session page to work with Kim via telephone or Zoom.


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Lynda says February 10, 2024

This is how I was lured in. He was SO kind and helpful to everyone. They seem to lack self-esteem and you feel bad for them. Years down the line, you realize they have strings attached when helping. They will go on and on about what a good person they are and how everybody uses them.

Belinda Fulton says November 15, 2023

My husband and I are full time carers to his mother
She had a stroke and is on a hospital bed in our living room
She can’t move or talk
It’s almost been a year now…

We are bombarded withtext, emails and phone calls from my husband narcissist sister constantly making demands and only visits for a couple of hours once a week… she lives in the same city as us and has been unemployed for a year
I’m writing this to let you know how many times I’ve read your work over and over again and it’s helped us so much
I just wanted to say thank you and I’m convinced that we are getting are heads around it now we know what the problem is

Dee says October 14, 2023

My daughter I believe at 45 married one not one year ago. She can’t see what he has done and continues to do to her. I don’t know how to help her.

Brenda Erickson says September 5, 2023

To the point. Very informative.

wanda says October 26, 2022

Narcissists also try and sometimes successfully make empaths think they are the narcissist in the relationship with their actions and verbage. How does a empath conquer that? My ex narc tried that with me and I’m so glad for Quora and emails like this that explained his actions toward me and how to be a survivor and not a victim. He’s a great actor and pretended he was the empath in the relationship after we parted. But I could tell his “Acting ” was so false during my observations before I left. His associates and mine, friends , family etc. however buy everything he spews out. I’m healing and doing good. So I’ve gone from ok to good now…I see Great around the bend!

Karen says January 2, 2022

Firstly anyone involved with a narc has to feel well within their own mind. If you have a history of hurt or you have an illness or vulnerable through trauma it is hard and takes time to understand a narc and your own head even feel sorry for them and it can be difficult if you are deeply involved. Once you get better either through sites like this or kind from helpful people who have always supported you through the years then you can start to read up on what you are seeing. It all then becomes so clear that a narc is controlling unkind and frankly at times mad in an addictive mad way. They love drama and trouble just nasty I truly believe it is ingrained. After a good long time cap our family has found that the narc has not changed and will not because they cannot. I truly now see a sort of insanity with them so how do you cure sanity. Is a narc aware of their greed/control/no empathy/self in flicked misery not only on themselves but others. It is truly heartbreaking to see people you love change look tired worn out and so unhappy. Sadly as a parent I now understand these people /narc gives everything but love but some times nothing they maybe dead inside emotionally but are filled with envy and nasty hell within them or do they enjoy childish upsetting games again an addiction to them.

David blunt says November 15, 2021

My fear is that they’re growing in numbers everyday. Another thing they do is they don’t help you but expect you to go out of your way for them

Rae Norris says November 9, 2021

What if the Narcissist is your son? I had an argument with my son and pointed out his drinking problem. He said that I would never see my Grandson (his son) again. It’s been two years.

    Lilly says October 29, 2023

    My daughter has done the same thing to me she has turned her daughters against me and I can’t see my gr8 grandkids the lies she tells and the emotional abuse has taken its toll on me I’m 76 and she gets in my face and yells at me doesn’t stop til her husband comes back from the store or wherever she sent him it’s too much like walking on egg shells when she is around

Melanie Bartels says May 26, 2021

Hi, I’m no therapist but, unfortunately I know a lot more about narcissism than I should lol. Most communities in every state have some sort of community counseling center, and if you have no insurance they will see you on a sliding fee scale. Now, you CAN beat this without it by educating yourself….knowledge is power and is crucial to recovering from Narcissistic Abuse Syndrome (C-PTSD)! First thing you need to look at is the trauma bond, To explain why it is you feel like you can’t live without this person ! You also need to learn that the narcissist never loves you it is not possible they cannot love anyone but themselves! You also need to take a look at your family life because the fact that you are in a relationship with a narcissist is kind of a red flag that you were raised by one. Anyway those are the things that I would start with… and good luck to you! I’ll keep you in my thoughts and prayers I know what you’re going through!

Anonymous says February 23, 2021

Useful article

Ann Larsen says February 14, 2021

Thank you Kim. When I met new neighbors in the duplex I was open with them. Then they went NPD and I went ballistic. Birds of a feather do flock together, they become roommates and draw in and then take turns ripping and tearing, manipulating even to the point of trafficking their females. Not all, of course, but some. In one case the covert narcissist, the general, runs the house and found in high school the NPD and the sociopath. Together they party and manipulate, or market to other toxic people. When I came home with my puppy the sociopath moved out. The others still try but I don’t see them like that anymore. I can’t hate them as I have figured out I come from generations of toxic people, parents, grandparents that twisted my parent(s) etc. Shadow work is constant to relive my life in awareness, kids can’t do that. We just survive. Your work helped me and so did professionals. Thank you. Good luck to us all.

lottie says January 29, 2021

Spot on with all of this! So easy to spot once you are aware of their tactics, and the worse part is they think they are so clever! They are predictable in their attacks if nothing else.
Thank you for sharing x

Atlas Leigh says November 4, 2020

What about those who will have to co-parent with a narcissist?
We don’t really have the option to go no contact. Ive been trying to figure out if leaving would truly be better. The situation is too bad to stay but too good to leave.

Maree King says September 12, 2020

Kim, That you for Sharing, And Challenge accepted! As I send this I’m taking the Step of Blocking forever& finalizing the Divorce. Your Sharing pulled me through as I have no Idea what Im Dealing with ,I’m Encouraged & Inspired Thank you Kim

    Kim Saeed says September 13, 2020

    Wishing you the endurance to see this through, Maree! Sending hugs 🙂

Pam Royal says July 8, 2020

Kim, ive recently split up with my ex and im having a really hard time moving on to the point in literally sick. I miss him so bad and when he ignores me it makes me crazy as I feel rejected and I have a hard time dealing with rejection. It’s killing me mentally, physically and emotionally. Im on disability and my income is small. I really really need help in not contacting him and in why i feel the way i do. Why I obsess over him and what he’s doing or who hes with. It’s driving me insane. Please please allow me to make small payments beginning the first of August so that i hopefully can finally have some peace of mind and not constantly obsessing over him. Please help me

KG says June 26, 2020

Wow, after listening and reading several of these, I have realized my ex husband was in fact a narcissist. He truly mastered the art of flipping back and forth between covert and extrovert, mostly covert, in order to impress others. Although we were together 20+ years, I’m so happy I am now free and can now see this so much more clearly.

Anonymous says June 21, 2020

I have been totally destroyed by a covert narcissist. He stole about 1 million in assets and about $500,000.00 in my family money. He got me drugged on lithium & other antipsychotic drugs for 22 years. He then divorced me

Annonymous says June 19, 2020

This is so true. My ex husband used and still uses the chemical imbalance one. I recently discovered a close friend of mine is a narcissist.

Peacebrother says June 18, 2020

“With a mental illness, a chemical imbalance in the brain causes different disturbances that manifest as depression, anxiety, and many others. Although complex, mental illnesses tend to respond well to medication because it targets the physical root of the problem: a chemical imbalance’.

This paragraph is fundamentally incorrect. There is no such thing as a chemical imbalance in the brain and statements such as the one above only serve the drug companies and encourage people to become addicted to their dangerous chemicals. There is no blood test that will detect this ‘chemical imbalance’ and that is because there is no chemical imbalance in the brain. Selective Serotonin Re-uptake Inhibitors were designed to correct the Serotonin imbalance. However with Serotonin in the body there is only a small amount in the brain—around 6% and the rest is in the heart and the gut. More about the damage and ineffectiveness of these drugs can be found in Medication Madness and The Emperor’s New Drugs. And I was put on a heap of these drugs, because I was living with a highly manipulative narcissist and the drugs added to my harmful situation. I used to call the drugs my living with **** drugs.

    Cindy L Patterson says June 19, 2020

    Narcissistic personality disorder is not a mental illness like depression which is a mood disorder. It is as stated a personality disorder. So your comment is why??

    Kim Saeed says June 21, 2020

    Not sure how you determined there is no such thing as a chemical imbalance in the brain. Neurochemicals play a large part in a person’s mood and outlook. When there are too many or too few of these neurochemicals, mental conditions such as depression and anxiety do transpire. I’m not an advocate for Big Pharm, but if a person’s neurochemicals are off-balance, they may need help getting them back to a state of equilibrium.

      carol says February 16, 2021

      Kim I now have thyroid through possible stress on meds so yes stress from bad relationships . In my case putting up with bad behavior until it broke me. I had so much patient but thyroid made me numb to what was going on was it a benefit no because eventually I exploded with so much grieve only then was a diagnosed . I sadly started thinking I was a narc when my personality changed but the difference in my head meant I always said sorry and truly meant it even when I was ill and I was determined to get treatment to not only help me but to help the people I love. Reading up on your opinion of narcs they cant improve or don’t want to get help because they see in black and white and are not in tune with their inner self.

Cathy says June 18, 2020

20 yrs with a narc. 4 years Great. After that not much love or affection. Very little sex. Had sex with prostitutes. He was sexually abused at a very young age. I thought that was the reason. Don’t know?????

Rhonda Rauh says June 18, 2020

In my situation. Every time I tell him what he did to upset me. The answer is. “I don’t remember “. Easy way out. I’ve confronted him a million times. It’s always I don’t remember. I said what? You have a brain tumor? It’s ok. I outed him and now he’s moving out!

    Melissa Rose Rauh says October 20, 2021

    if this is my mother, quit playing the victim, your the narc.

Huey says April 27, 2020

Hi…thanks for the article…very informative. After reading the signs..I suspect that my immediate supervisor is a covert narcissist. She would text angry messages on the group chat and very condescending. On my first day at work…she was all nice and supportive. But all those faded away after 2 weeks. She even used the word f@#$%&g useless to describe our company’s CEO. I think she is torturing me mentally and there will be times that I pray hard that she doesn’t text or call or send email to me.

Shelley says April 24, 2020

I was married to a narcissist for 4.5 years…I knew he acted what i thought was “privaledged” and spoiled. I never heard of narcissism!!! I thought i could love him enough to get him to balance out a little. (Of course I was so wrong!) He could pretend to put me first, he could pretend to enjoy my company…but it was a disaster as you all know. I finally left him after 2 years of marriage. He did not shed a tear and totally acted like he didnt care. In fact he said to me…”if u think I’m going to beg you to stay, your wrong!
What a delightful man…NOT!!!!!

Anonymous says February 25, 2020

I was in a “relationship” for over 12 yrs with a narc. WE moved to another apt where i did all the efforts to create a home. Well, guess what? I asked him to leave one day, as he was getting on my nerves. So “I threw him out” is what he told ppl. He was the victim. 13 yrs I am in the same apt where I am not comfortable. I pay 60% of my income on rent & THAT doesn’t include utilities. Now, he is with a prostiture junkie & he uses hard drugs himself. Even with this one who is street smart, he is again the victim. I used to be afraid of his temper tantrums, but I know better now. Still, it is debilitating. I am 63 with health issues of chronic pain/moibiltiy. This new woman gets away with knocking his teeth out, etc she is street smart. So, I hope there is karma & it backfires on him. He never has a kind word or appreciates anything! Tks for being here!

Liz says February 21, 2020

To be honest, the mentioned signs tick only a few boxes in my experience with a fullblown covert narcissist partner – just the latter three were very evident in his case. Secret narcissists are so skilled at hiding their inner thoughts and motives – even to themselves for that matter, that I find it a little confusing/misleading to cherry pick as such.

    Ronda says May 9, 2023

    Ive been married to my narc for almost 40 yrs and planning my exit. I would say he is covert but sometimes overt. The first points in this article didnt click for me either. I think narcs are the same on the main traits, but they are unique in the details

      Kim Saeed says May 10, 2023

      They can shift their personality traits, just as anyone else. That’s why I no longer focus on ‘types’ of narcissism. But, unlike us, their shape-shifting is based mainly on manipulation. At any rate, I am very glad you are planning your exit. There is so much more to life than living in that kind of nightmare. Best of luck with your liberation.

Joanna says February 21, 2020

Hi Mike,
I am in the same situation. Can I please ask you what are the signs you are observing ? My kids are only 2 and 4, but I am really afraid of what is coming… 🙁

Storm says January 31, 2020

Send me ALL u got b on this subject: Narcissist, psycho/socio paths, border line, ect. The WHOLE CLUSTER B THING.

Malka Ringel says December 19, 2019

My x I tried to make a life with, not knowing any different. It is only when i had a tablet I learned through you tube, all the behaviors that I hadn’t understood. 25 years and he is still in my life-to provide such services as a ride to shop, etc. He is not a friend. Especially when it comes to health issues. I find him very negative. Give him a soft drink-it is “old” ….negative about everything. He hates every race and is vocal about it. I cannot spend a minute more than needed as he is confrontational at shopping places, with the staff. He found a drug addicted homeless woman, who now lives with him, as he is unable or unwilling to do for himself. At the same time, he loves me and wants a kiss! It is madness and I want to go no contact, but require some services still. I think one of us has to die before I can get away completely. And I have been on my own now 12 yrs. He walked away from the situation-left me paying 60 percent plus on my rent, etc. He says “I threw him out” so he went to live with mama, who later died. I live a life of poverty and making do. I need to go no contact for my benefit, but that is not likely to happen. he is a stalker type. Nothing is straight forward or simple or logical. my advice-dont get involved, and run for the hills because it is impossible to get along with this type of person who will never admit that he has anything about him that might be improved!!!

    Anonymous says December 19, 2019

    ps every man I was ever with, was a narc. I suspect my mother was as well, as I have reviewed things she said and did. She abandoned 3 kids. her partner abandoned 5. They made another together. So, 9 lives ruined.

    Malka Ringel says December 19, 2019

    ps I suspect my mother was a narc. I realized this from things said and done. She abandoned 3 kids, her lover 5, and they made another=9 lives ruined. They are deceased but I review in my head. Also, every partner I ever had was a narc-I see from looking back. I am a psychic empath and must protect my sensitive soul. I deal with homeless cats, rather than people.

Breyton Benjamin says December 18, 2019

How do I co parent my 2 year old daughter with a highly toxic narcissist

Olivia says December 18, 2019

This is a very useful list, thanks. The mistreatment of waiting staff has been the behaviour of my narcissist mother for a good few years now. She never used to be like that, it’s been a shock to see her attitude lately. Poor people! I always try and make it up to them by being extra nice!

It also dawned on me why people may be suspicious of me too (I was brought up by a single narcissist mother so I had no other influences). No. 3- I probably got the idea that talking about my own experiences was a way to identify and empathise with the person- if they had a holiday in Spain, talking about my own holiday in Spain showed we had similarities. Is that true? I don’t know.
No. 9- because I’m cautious and introverted, I often sit quietly in gatherings, overwhelmed, and maybe people think I’m observing and judging. I am in a way but just so I can follow the conversation, not put people down on the way home. Maybe I learned this growing up too?
Food for thought!

    Liz says June 18, 2020

    @Olivia. I thought those two things also. I have social anxiety and my Mother who is likely a covert narc told me that if I’m quiet people will think I’m a snob and judgmental. That just made me even more self-conscious. She was probably just projecting because when she would play shy and quiet amongst strangers thats what she was doing.

Liz says December 17, 2019

Excellent article!! Getting over the narcissists! ?

Everything You Need to Know About the Narcissist's Biggest Fear - Kim Saeed: Narcissistic Abuse Recovery Program says October 20, 2019

[…] this describes your relationship, you are dealing with a narcissistic individual and you’ll need to get to a point where you decide whether you’re going to stay and get […]

Cindy says September 15, 2019

Why does my narcissistic daughter show me and me only, this horrible rage? She even threatened to kill me July 4th, I went no contact after that. 20 yrs. is long enough.

Marcelle says August 1, 2019

They piss all over your good news or accomplishments. My narc brother once sent me a You Tube video of a choir doing a great a cappella rendition of a popular song. When I saw it, I told him that was the choir I used to sing with. He ghosted me. It would have KILLED him to say something like’ “Wow. That’s so cool. I didn’t know that about you.”

    Lake says December 16, 2019

    That’s lame. Bet you sang your heart out.

    Brenda Marlena says August 24, 2020

    Wow Marcelle, that’s awful. It sounds exactly like my older brother. It used to drive me crazy all through childhood and adulthood, but now I realize how incredibly insecure he is underneath the facade he’s created.

Geraldine says July 30, 2019

The covert I knew favourite ploy was to stonewall and not answer me or other people if he didn’t feel like and then just leave the room. This had the desired result of us all feeling bad that we had upset him. Oh and yes being embarrassingly rude/over pally with the staff seemed to be the main enjoyment of going out for a meal. I refused to go out in the end as I would just cringe all the time.

Anonymous says July 30, 2019

Under “They’re a Bad Friend”

They don’t return borrowed items. (A sign of entitlement.)
take things back they gave you

They owe their friends money. They may downplay this as “not a big deal.”
they constantly look for ways to borrow money, spend it irresponsibly then complain they’re broke

They seek out or flirt with their friends’ partners or love interests.”
they flirt with everyone, I mean everyone

Alexandra D says July 30, 2019

You are so right about covert narcissists. I had a thirty-year “crash course” in overt narcissism with my husband. When the relationship went “no contact” I moved back to the Northeast. I bought a new house and made some new friends. Just as I had once no idea of what an overt narcissist was, I had no idea of what a covert narcissist was. After “no contact” with my husband I was exquisitely sensitive to any kind of narcissism. In fact, I entered back into therapy with the sole purpose of avoiding any future narcissists in my life. This one friend of mine kept giving me this weird vibe. I couldn’t put my finger on it. She was clearly a manipulator and a social climber and she would make up facts and statistics just to “win” her point in a conversation. But when I would ask her to email me her source for her quoted statistic, it never came. Later when I asked her once again to send me her source she made me sound petty for asking her to prove her point. She put me down and said she couldn’t possibly remember with all she had to do where exactly that quote came from and why on earth was I asking her for it again NOW? It soon became obvious that she would outright make up statistics and facts to “win” any disagreement and to make herself “right”. One famous argument we had was about the Hudson River. I claimed the Hudson River was an estuary and rose and fell with the tides and she vehemently said no, I emailed her the definition of the word “estuary” and she twisted it around to make herself sound right. I finally got so incensed with her refusal to admit she was wrong that I drove to a certain river that had a New York State sign claiming the river was a part of the Hudson River ESTUARY and took a photo of that official sign with my phone and showed it to her at our next dinner. She immediately changed the subject and when I pushed the phone with the photo back at her she called me a bully and changed the subject once again. She absolutely refused to admit she was wrong even with photographic evidence from the state of New York in front of her face. And the other not so charming characteristic she has is never saying “I’m sorry”. Which is basically just another form of not admitting she’s wrong. But never ever, ever has she ever said “I’m sorry” to me. Finally last December after a huge faux pas that she made, rather than admit it and say “I’m sorry” she tried to blame it on me. That was it for me – covert narcissist – no contact.

Mike says July 30, 2019

Hi What about if you cant go no contact? Mutual kids for instance.
I have a 8 year old daughter with a narc. I already see her effects on the kid. I only see her everyother weekend. You know the story…
Thanks for you input.

Gwendolyn Stewart says March 4, 2019

The narc is not going to change because they don’t see anything wrong with them to change for…if you’re not married, why waste your life with someone, that you’re going nowhere with….sad. I wished I’d known about this toxic relationship or just even heard of the name (narcissism). I’ve gone NO CONTACT for 1 1/2 years, but I still deal with and suffer a lot of trauma.

Helen says March 4, 2019

I do not drive. Sometimes my mother has picked me up for things. I usually avoid this now. She has a trick which I believe is narcissistic. She is very late when she picks me up. I will give an example. My grandmother had a stroke and she was paralysed down one side. She offered to pick up my husband and I to visit her. We could go on the bus but it took about an hour and a half to get there by bus. We asked her to pick us up at 12 noon. She came to my house at 12.50pm! This also meant that we were too late to have lunch there. They had a cafe which closed about 1.30pm. She did this about three times. I rang her up and asked her nicely to pick us up on time. She said that I am taking you and you just have to put up with it! I spoke to my husband about this. I rang her back later and said that we would catch the bus there.

LaSheka H says March 4, 2019

Kim, all of your points are dead on. My ex-Covert Narc would lie just to lie, but I didn’t realize it until everything came together like a puzzle. Also, they form relationships with supply just to have a place to live or just to get sex or drugs. Narcs will judge their prey all the time, and they don’t care for anyone, ever.

Debra says March 3, 2019

Why play games ? Get out

Karen says March 3, 2019

Hi Kim. Excellent article as always. Spot on. The only place where my ex-covert-narc differed was that he ALWAYS called his friends and family on their birthdays and at Christmas. He just usually “forgot” mine. One year for Christmas he got me a robe like his mother’s. Ugly. Another year he got me a black see-through nighty (as if we had a sex life) and pressed me to hold it up to show our grown kids and their wives! I refused. Crazy making. Kim, keep telling us it gets better. NO CONTACT is the best gift I’ve ever given myself and it’s bringing me unexpected laughter every day now. Thank you for all you do!

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