This book is an incredible resource and can help you understand that all those things your spouse would ‘forget’ to do, or the ‘teasing’ comments in public that just felt a shade too nasty but you ignored, the constant criticism that made you start believing you were a hopeless failure and they were so amazing to ‘put up’ with you: they are not random things!
They are a package that should tell you that you are in a relationship with a Covert Passive-Aggressive Narcissist. It is NOT you it is THEM!
This can be a moment of true liberation and also despair. It felt like a punch in the gut when A friend read a couple of pages and went wow, she writes like she was living in my marital home! He had said and done almost all the things she writes about. The savage criticism, the random cruelty, the dismissing of my feelings, the flying monkeys and the abandon. It was right there in the book in all its stunning horror! It was not just that he was jealous of my success, or genuinely stressed or having a bad day (or bad decade!). he actually had a personality disorder and despite all my overgiving and trying it was never going to ‘get better’ because the only good relationship you can have with a narcissist is NO relationship!
Once she got over the shock of it, it was actually quite liberating. It was not just her being ‘needlessly sensitive’ as he kept telling her or constantly baffled or hurt for ‘no reason’
She was actually facing emotional and psychological abuse from her spouse, for decades! The fact that he was not doing it ‘on purpose’ in a way is not very helpful because understanding that narcissism is an Empathy Deficit Disorder doesn’t make you all warm and fuzzy towards them because their behaviour towards you is super cruel and hurtful even if it comes from a place they themselves may not be able to control.
Narcissists have such deep damage to their self- image that they desperately crave constant validation from the outside. They are obsessed with money and status symbols and other people’s opinion. All the time.
The DSM-5 (The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders) is what therapists use to diagnose people with personality disorders, and if someone has at least 5 of the following 9 traits, they’re diagnosed with NPD (Narcissistic Personality Disorder)
- A grandiose sense of self-importance
- A preoccupation with fantasies of unlimited success, power, brilliance, beauty, or ideal love
- A belief that he or she is special and unique and can only be understood by, or should associate with, other special or high-status people or institutions
- A need for excessive admiration
- A sense of entitlement
- Interpersonally exploitive behavior
- A lack of empathy
- Envy of others or a belief that others are envious of him or her
- A demonstration of arrogant and haughty behaviors or attitudes
Covert and overt narcissists have the exact same traits, but the overt is more obvious because they don’t care what people think. They can get physically abusive. But the covert narcissists are obsessed with looking good, and they care a lot about their reputation.
A covert narcissist is much more sneaky, and people around you is telling you how lucky you are. It can be super confusing because they behave very differently with you in private and you start thinking maybe something is wrong with YOU.
But the truth is that no matter how hard you try to bring things back to a good place, they will get pleasure in destabilizing you and your efforts. They don’t actually want to get to know you and your feelings or desires. It is always and will always be about them. They are incapable of forming genuine authentic intimate connections because they are not able to make a connection with themselves in the first place. All their energies are always on the outside, seeking other people’s opinions and validation.
Not only that, if they see you being happy anyway, they will get upset and try to upset you or even go into a rage. They will never praise you and never be on your side and protect you. They resent you for being sick and are never capable of genuinely caring for you.
Try as hard as you can but you can never make them happy. Try as hard as you can, you can never get them to do things unless some outsider is watching and will give them validation or make them look good. So they will ‘forget’ things you asked them to do or get. And if you are upset because that puts a damper on your plans or preparation, they will tell you not to over-react. This is really common and it’s a way of playing mind games. It is called gaslighting.
We can think of them like dementors and energy vampires who can literally suck the life and happiness out of you.
If any of this sounds like your spouse/ partner/ significant other, do read the book to know more and understand what you are dealing with! Buy it here:
Remember NEVER to tell them that you recognize who they really are and NEVER tell them you plan to leave them! That can turn switch on all that silent rage and they will shred you with their capacity for cruelty.
Divorcing a narcissist can be a very traumatic experience and they will be vicious and hostile and may sometimes even resort to criminal acts, just to control you through money or children, or both, or in any way they can.
Some useful resources that can offer support in your journey to leave or even live with a narcissist:
Dr. Ramani’s tips on how to protect yourself from a narcissist: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qbFBOAmmu7Y
Melania Tonya Evans’ Narcissistic Abuse Recovery Program https://www.melanietoniaevans.com/
How to leave a narcissist: https://www.developgoodhabits.com/leave-narcissist/