Updated: Jun 15, 2020
Most of us are able to spot overt narcissists fairly quickly. You can usually see them coming from a mile away. They have the common three E's of narcissism: Entitlement, Empathy Impairment, and Exploitation. These type of narc's are fairly obvious with their tactics but what about the 'wolf in sheep clothing" the covert or vulnerable narcissist? These folks can come across as lovely, shy, vulnerable, gentle and even particularly kind. They may even start the relationship with you by saying "I am a nice guy, or I am a nice girl". They also operate in the three E's but are much more devious and cunning about it.
They may listen intently and find out all the little details about your life. They can seem to be genuinely interested in you and they may appear to have a higher level of integrity, decency and honestly than "normal" people. They may act completely incapable of Infidelity. They may act like an "honest boy scout". You may believe the mask. These neglectful/vulnerable narcissists are chameleons who can mimic those close to them. These people have no ability to form a true partnership with another human being. They are very good at tricking others.
If you have encountered a covert narcissist they can be very difficult to detect. Don't beat yourself up if you were duped by one of these character disturbed individuals they are master manipulators and incredibly good at "pulling the wool" over others eyes. Normal people can't even imagine using others in this way. But you just have to understand that these folks have either very little or no empathy. They don't care how their behaviors affect partners, friends, or even their children. They can't connect to the harm they cause others because they have an impaired emphathetic response. They cannot understand or feel other's pain.
My you tube channel has quite a few videos to help you see the Red Flags and avoid emotional manipulators.
some signs to look for
The relationship feels shallow and surface (even after many years). This is how their friendships are, their relationships with family members. Look at their friendship's: are they deeply connected, long term, and emotionally intimate? Or are they all surface relationships?
They are incapable of emotional intimacy and bonding (they don't bond)
You intuition tells you something is wrong you just can't quite put your "finger on it"
They seem to have a limited range of emotions even a bit robotic or "doll" like
They can appear childlike. With the Covert narcissist this can come across as sweet, vulnerable, shy and almost fragile.
They are secretive or overly "private" (they may hide phones, computers etc. to hide their affairs and double lives).
Love bombing: In the begining they love bomb their victims, they may talk abut marriage, and wonderful future plans (future faking). They may "shower" their target with flattery and adulation. They appear to be great listeners and really engage with their target. This may be so they can learn all they can to later manipulate.
Only a handful of people in this persons life know the truth about them. These are usually past relationship partners or children who experienced the cruel and drastic discard that came out of the blue. They discard their own children or step children they may have spent a decade with. Again they DO NOT BOND.
They are MASTERS at hiding their true nature, their true character.
They have NO moral compass.
They are highly sophisticated manipulators
They might use lies of omission and then accuse you of "making assumptions" when they gaslight, withhold information, lie and manipulate using salad communication. These are "crazy makers"
They seem too good to be true. Be very WARY of anyone who seems to good to be true. They are likely "love bombing" you
They wear a mask of perfection
These are only a few of the possible RED FLAGS and/or behaviors to look for.
LISTEN VERY CLOSELY TO YOUR INTUITION. If it tells you something is "slightly" off about this person really listen to that. If there is a strange emptiness, coldness, or vacancy inside this person listen to that. You early intuition was likely telling you the truth. Learn to trust yourself. Learn to listen to that small, still voice as if it is screaming in your ear. You deserve freedom, real bonding, love and light as you are warriors who are overcoming a horrendous kind of abuse (emotional and psychological). You are not alone.
Heal, thrive and find your power!