10 Red Flags That You Are Married to a Covert Narcissist

marriage empathy

The covert Narcissist is by far the worst type of Narcissist.   They are also known as invert Narcissists.  When you search the internet you will not find very much is written about them because those few people who experience the wrath tend to get damaged in such a way that reliving the story for other peoples benefit is not viable.  Being married to a covert narcissist is a personal hell.

Unlike most other narcississt’s you will not experience any loud, angry or energetic outbursts instead there will be a relentless barage of veiled psychological operations heading your way with the aim of destroying your self-esteem and gradually eroding your mental health.

My previous post titled Marriage Help for Men was the inspiration and the starting point of this topic.


# 1 – Moving cups, and cutlery around the kitchen (Gaslighting)

This might seem like a completely innocent little mistake but a constant and relentless stream of little tiny head games like this one will eventually wear you down into a withering mess.  Here is how it goes:  every now and then you will go into the kitchen to the regular cupboard where you normally get yourself a cup to have a drink, low and behold no cups.  You ask where the cups are and you get met with a snarly comment like “in the corner cupboard where they always are, if you ever washed up you would know that,” but in reality what has just happened is that you have been gaslighted (that is lied to purely for the purposes of messing with your head).

Note the term gaslighting comes from a stage play. See the 1940 movie adaption in the window below.  You have to see the manipulation in practice to truly understand the powerful nature of it.

# 2 – Clean up after you when you trying to do a job

Red Flag number two is another seemingly innocent little occurrence but if it is part of a large master plan to undermine your mental health it can be just as sinister.  For instance you trying to something as simple as empty the dishwasher but every time you turn you back to put a plate in the cupboard, what do you know the dishwasher gets closed and no one knows what you are talking about when you ask the question.  It makes you start to question your sanity after a thousand times or so.


# 3 – Passive Aggressive Control of your Time

covert narcissistic time controlTime is the one asset you have that is more valuable than money itself because once it gone you can never get it back, no matter how hard you work.  Your friendly neighbourhood narcissist knows this and uses it to slowly wind up your stress levels to 11.  When you have no free time of your own to clear your own head each day become another time window of pressure building on top of the previous days.

Again it will be a myriad of little tiny seemingly innocuous situations like being told that you had other plans which don’t involve your friends or planning your weekends without your input ( with activities you never would have chosen for yourself).

# 4 – Passive Aggressive Control of Finances

It is no secret that women love to spend money, especially someone else’s.

She may even get to the point where she will claim that she “Just can’t help it.”

These are tests to see just how far she can push you and just how much abuse you are prepared to take.  The stupid thing about behaviour like this is that if you stop the flow of money you will probably get more respect from her and get the associated rewards.

# 5 – Clearly bought new clothes but responds with “These are just something old I pulled out of the cupboard I haven’t worn in ages.”

Believe it or not women, every man knows that this is an outright lie and it wouldn’t surprise me if every woman who tells it also knows that her husband knows.  Nevertheless this lie continues on passed down from one generation to the next, never being challenged.  If your wife continues lies like this one what else is she capable of lying to you about.

Systemic lies like this one need to be called out and shown fro what they really are, a betrayal of your trust.  There is no such thing as a little white lie between people who are supposed to be in a relationship.

# 6 – Passive Aggressive Control of Intimacy

covert-narcissistAs I mentioned in my post about HERE women tend to control the game of mating between the sexes.  Read the article if you want to understand why.

The control of such an importance aspect of a man’s life can quite easily turn into a power game if things turn bad or even if she just gets bored and thinks she is having fun with it.

Every man has heard it before, “I can’t tonight,  I need to get up early in the morning or I am washing my hair or some other inane excuse.”

You have probably never noticed this but now I mention it I hope this behaviour stands out to you.  Just after sex she will ask you to do something that you don’t want to to, get you to agree to it, then forever hold you to it.  This is a classic act of soften him up then hit him hard when he is vulnerable.  Learn to say No.


# 7 – Passive Aggressive Control of your time with your kids

If you are unfortunately enough to have the type of Narcissist who operates at a greater level of nastiness than discussed before you will be familiar with concepts like not being able to plan time with your own kids.

Sometimes more commonly referred to as the fun police, your narcissist will gladly give you dozens of reason why the kids already have plans and sorry it just can’t happen.

This act can easily be combined with #4 (control of finances) by taking the kids out to expensive outings on a regular basis and covering two bases at once (alienating one parent whilst inflating the others ego).

# 8 – Control of the household duties

Does your spouse have impossibly high standards that just can’t be met, ever.

This is how one gets to use control tactics to shame you but also throws fuel on the victim claim.

couple-disputeWhat results if the dominant party doing all the housework (because no one else is willing or in their eyes capable) and using it as a weapon to claim themselves as perpetual victims that have to do all the housework without any help.

These types of tactics are not hidden and once you wise up to them you can clearly see that plenty of external sources such as the media will encourage such behaviour and even teach it.

# 9 – Control over what you eat

Have you ever been put onto a diet you didn’t want to do?

Are you told you are a bad cook and no one wants to eat your food then shamed for it even though you are quite happy to eat your own food (it’s just that other peoples standards are way higher than your)?

These are both just typical ways that the domestic chore of cooking can be turned into a tool used against you in a war that you never signed up for.

Again you may respond by saying this happens in every house.  Just because manipulative and dishonest behaviour is common it doesn’t make it acceptable.

# 10 – Control over your doctors appointments

I made you a doctors appointment!

When you are what for, you will get told about something that is wrong with you that you didn’t even know was wrong with you.

Getting a third party involved in the battle is a particularly nasty trick because it means that the target spouse is led into regurgitating the narcissists lies giving them more traction and truly taking the mental anguish to a new level.


The Silent Treatment

silent treatment man caveThe silent treatment is very common and it is also in my opinion very abusive.  This is one red flag that every man should be on the lookout for early on in a relationship.  It will be a leading indicator of future behaviours.  If you are seeing a women who is showing early signs that she favours using the silent treatment, call her on it – tell her you won’t accept it and give her once chance to stop it then if she doesn’t comply immediately cut your ties and move on.  Most long term married men will tell you that lack of communication like this builds tension which doesn’t get resolved.

Covert Narcissist

4 Replies to “10 Red Flags That You Are Married to a Covert Narcissist”

  1. The worst thing about narcissism is that you don’t even know it exists until you’ve had to run the gauntlet and deal with one. They should hand pamphlets out at the altar and registry office detailing what you have written here, so people can look out for early signs (because obviously a narcissist is just WONDERFUL until they have you locked down). I lost 15 years of my life to a toxic narcissist, who had me completely convinced there was something wrong with me, until I became completely socially withdrawn and completely depressed.
    All good now… I learned the word ‘narcissist’, broke free and live a happy and positive life, thanks to articles like this. He found a younger thing within 2 weeks who dotes him, and I only have to deal with it every 3 months or so when he pops up and feels like having his children adore him for a couple of hours at McDonalds, where he is obviously the perfect Dad.
    I hope this post is read by many, and more people understand this personality type. Knowledge is everything… I wish I had known sooner!

    1. that’s right kirsti but then once you have made it out the other side isn’t it scary just how common narcissists are? It is almost like we are living in a society that breeds and encourages narcissism in it’s occupants.
      It is very useful for those of us with the knowledge to share with younger people and make sure the risks are well known.

  2. Hi Remy:

    It sounds like you have had first hand experience with this kind of narcissist. If so, my heart goes out to you.

    If you have had this experience, are you still with this person? If not, what steps did you take to end the relationship?

    Thank you for describing the signs of narcissism. I know these people are out there. The funny thing is that they are often so nice and charming until you really get to know them.

    You probably have found that narcissists are completely self-centered and lack compassion and empathy.

    Thank you!

    1. No I am not married any more Chris.  

      I was fortunate that my ex decided to end the marriage.  I assumed it was just another way to ratcheting up the control but in hindsight now I am going to make it backfire on her. Dunno how.

      Now you know what to look for Chris i would surprised if you don’t start seeing these people everywhere.

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