What to expect when you call out a covert narcissist

What is covert narcissism, how do we navigate it, and what happens if you devalue a covert narcissist first by calling them out about their behaviour?


Firstly, strange as it might seem, it's good to realise that you were not "chosen" to be with them. Yes, l know you might be thinking, "What do you mean, of course they chose to be with me; they told me time and time again (in the beginning) that l was?"

In my experience, the purpose of the idealisation stage of narcissistic abuse is to:

  1. draw you in
  2. get close to you
  3. discard you

Sadly though, you were "chosen" to be discarded. This is often the end goal. But what happens if you pick up on a slight 'shift' while you are in the good (although faux for them) first flushes of what feels like a heady romance and mutual chemistry? What l mean by this is that the energy changes a bit on the attention they pay you. They might message or call less or say they will do something and then they don’t. There is the red flag of a noticed incongruity. These changes can be very, very subtle, but if you are keen on this new love, you will probably pick up on them.

Actually, this 'bit' of subtle distancing is the beginning part of their "devaluing" process. But they are banking on you being far too wrapped up in the marvellous connection and chemistry, that you don't dare to call it out - let alone police your interactions.

But, what if you are secure enough within yourself to stay authentic? Then the minute you call them out over their change in behaviour, or call them out on something you seem displeased with, then the covert narcissist will internally panic. This may be because their false self feels like it’s withering and dying. They can’t cope with this because it may make them feel insignificant, which is what they planned to do to you.

If you devalue them or call out their negative behaviour (which with them is inevitable), narcissistic mortification steps in. Usually then, with their own well-honed survival radar, they will often quickly tell you they adore you or love you with the aim of re-balancing things between you both - in their favour. And once you are fooled by this renewed ardour on their part, they may then discard you pretty promptly - especially if they feel it might confound you as well as hurt you. Double points for them, then!

Please know that your reaction will be their oxygen, and is what upholds and maintains their false self. Whether it is your joy or your sadness, it will be a job done for them. To some, this might sound hard to take in or believe, but l have both seen and also known this time and time again.

The way forward is to become aware. Your recovery from experiencing repeated entanglement with these unfortunate individuals will be a combination of quite a few things. It will also be a process, so be patient with yourself during it.

The 'discard' may still hurt you for a long while, but you should notice that you get to 'wise up' far earlier than you did before.

Take heart. These things may help:

  • Awareness.
  • Courage to remain true to both yourself and your instinct.
  • Working to improve your own self-worth, and minimise your insecurity and vulnerability - these predators smell this like blood; they prey on empathetic people.

I can help you through this with emotional coaching and tried and true methods. I also treat patients with flower remedies as another added option to fast-track self-confidence and stop repeating the same mistakes. Also, if you are looking for prospective partners for a relationship through dating apps, l do not personally advise you to say you are looking for a long-term relationship on your profile until you are more protected by what you learn - your romantic heart and empathy can be like magnets to predators.

Narcissists of all kinds tend to love empaths and can even appear through faux vulnerability to be in need of your love and kindness; often because they appear vulnerable themselves.

The views expressed in this article are those of the author. All articles published on Life Coach Directory are reviewed by our editorial team.

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London, N8
Written by Gail Berry, Emotional and Relationship Coach
London, N8

Written by Gail Berry Emotional Coach - both a therapist and an alternative medical practitioner who works with healing people’s core wounds and uses Bach Flower Remedies alongside talking and behavioural therapy to make real change and transformation possible.

07771 715072
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