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5 Weird Things Covert Narcissists Do To Manipulate Their Victims

5 Weird Things Covert Narcissists Do To Manipulate Their Victims

Some of the most common weird things covert narcissists do to manipulate their victims include: hoovering, gaslighting, guilt-tripping, love bombing etc. This post will help you understand the covert narcissist better.

Who Is The Narcissist?

According to the DSM-5 Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, narcissistic personality disorder erepresents “A pervasive pattern of grandiosity (in fantasy or behavior), need for admiration, and lack of empathy, beginning by early adulthood and present in a variety of contexts, as indicated by five (or more) of the following:

1. Has a grandiose sense of self-importance (e.g., exaggerates achievements and talents, expects to be recognized as superior without commensurate achievements).

2. Is preoccupied with fantasies of unlimited success, power, brilliance, beauty, or ideal love.

3. Believes 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).

4. Requires excessive admiration.

5. Has a sense of entitlement (i.e., unreasonable expectations of especially favorable treatment or automatic compliance with his or her expectations).

6. Is interpersonally exploitative (i.e., takes advantage of others to achieve his or her own ends).

7. Lacks empathy: is unwilling to recognize or identify with the feelings and needs of others.

8. Is often envious of others or believes that others are envious of him or her.

9. Shows arrogant, haughty behaviors or attitudes.” 

Related: Narcissist Red Flags: Top 10 Signs You’re In A Narcissistic Relationship (And What Can You Do About It)

5 Weird Things Covert Narcissists Do To Manipulate Their Victims

Who Is The Covert Narcissist?

Narcissism can be overt or covert.

Overt narcissists tend to be extroverts, attention-seeking, and always hungry for praise.

Covert narcissists, on the other hand, are more subtle about seeking attention and praise (e.g., victimizing themselves). They tend to be withdrawn and introverted.

Weird Things Covert Narcissists Do

For a covert narcissist, nothing can be worse than being forced to live without someone to blame for their own problems. They also fear not having someone to praise them and admire them.

They would do anything to avoid being in such position, even if that meant manipulating you.

The following is a list of weird things covert narcissists do to manipulate you: 

1. Hoovering 

The term hoovering is used in relationships to represent the vacuuming up of any happiness or positivity the other person may be experiencing, as these feelings of empowerment constitute a threat to the narcissist’s control.

Hoovering is most used when the narcissists fear that their partner might move on from their relationship.

What hoovering looks like in a relationship?

Possible signs of hoovering include:

  • Reaching out to you suddenly and without warning.
  • Talking about not finding anyone as special as you.
  • Threatening suicide or self-harm if you do not answer your phone.
  • Claiming that their recognize their toxic behavior and have been making dramatic changes.

It is important not to engage when a narcissist uses the hoovering technique so as not to get trapped in a toxic relationship.

2. Gaslighting

Gaslighting is when someone misrepresents an event to convince the other person that they’re wrong and cannot trust their experience.

This leaves the victim feeling doubtful and uncertain about their perceptions.

What gaslighting looks like in a relationship?

Possible signs of gaslighting include:

  • Dismissing your feelings
  • Never letting you talk during a conflict
  • Never apologizing when you express hurt
  • Blaming you for things you didn’t do or had no control over

Related: How To Heal From A Gaslighting Relationship? 10 Steps To Recover From Gaslighting Effects (& Regain Your Sanity)

Gaslighting Recovery Worksheets

3. Love Bombing

Love bombing often takes place at the beginning of a relationship. The narcissist will praise you effusively and let you know how much they adore you.

What love bombing looks like in a relationship?

Possible signs of love bombing include:

  • Sending you romantic messages
  • Showering you with flattering comments
  • Showering you with acts of affection (leaving love notes on your car windscreen, having flowers delivered at your work, etc.)
5 Weird Things Covert Narcissists Do To Manipulate Their Victims

4. Guilt-Tripping

The narcissist might make accusations to provoke you into feeling guilty. This gives them a sense of control and power.

They might accuse you of dating someone else, if you refuse to see them after a breakup.

5. Triangulation

Narcissists spread fake gossip and rumors about you to pull other people in your relationship dynamic, jeopardizing your reputation, relationships, and confidence. 

Related: How To Break Free From Emotional Abuse? (& Stop Attracting Abusive Partners)

How to Respond to Covert Narcissist’s Manipulation?

Narcissist’s manipulation can cause you to feel guilty, insecure, and vulnerable.

Giving in to their manipulation, while might get them to stop for a while, will only give the narcissist validation of their superiority and power, and encourage more manipulation.

The following are some suggestions to help you face their manipulation:

  • Go no contact: avoid answering their calls and messages.
  • Seek support: a therapist or other mental health professionals can help you make sense of narcissistic manipulation and set healthy boundaries.

Related: Can Abusers Change? Top 17 Myths About Abusive Men That Make Women Stay With Abusers

FREE Toxic Relationship Worksheets PDF


How To Communicate With A Narcissist?

Communicating with a narcissist can be challenging, as they tend to have an inflated sense of self-importance and lack empathy for others.

However, here are some tips to help communicate with them:

1. Stay Calm: It is important to remain calm and composed when communicating with a narcissist. Try not to get into arguments or react emotionally to their behavior.

2. Use “I” Statements: Instead of pointing fingers and blaming the narcissist, use “I” statements to express your feelings and concerns. For example, say “I feel hurt when you ignore my feelings” instead of “You always ignore my feelings.”

3. Set Boundaries: Establish clear boundaries and expectations for your interactions with the narcissist. Let them know what behaviors are unacceptable and communicate consequences if they don’t respect your boundaries.

4. Don’t Expect Change: It’s essential to keep in mind that narcissists rarely change their behavior, so don’t expect them to do so. Instead, focus on managing your expectations and protecting yourself from their behavior.

5. Seek Professional Help: If you find it challenging to communicate with a narcissist, seek professional help. A therapist can help you navigate the relationship and provide support and guidance.

Are Narcissists Born Or Made?

The debate of whether narcissists are born or made is still ongoing among psychologists and researchers.

Some experts believe that narcissistic traits may be partly inherited, while others argue that it is mainly shaped by environmental factors such as upbringing, societal influence, and life experiences.

Research suggests that individuals with a genetic predisposition to certain personality traits such as impulsiveness and emotional instability may be more likely to develop narcissistic tendencies.

However, this does not mean that all individuals with these traits will become narcissists.

It also depends on various other factors such as family dynamics, cultural norms, and socialization.

Do Narcissists Feel Regret?

Narcissists may experience regret, but their feelings of regret are often tied to their own self-interests rather than empathy for others.

They may regret actions or decisions that have negative consequences for themselves, such as losing a job or a relationship.

However, they are less likely to feel regret for hurting others or for their lack of empathy towards others.

Narcissists tend to prioritize their own needs and desires above those of others, which can lead to a lack of genuine remorse for their actions.

Do Narcissists Hate Themselves?

Narcissists generally do not hate themselves.

In fact, they have an inflated and grandiose sense of self-importance and believe they are superior to others.

They often have a lack of empathy and exploit others to meet their own needs.

However, their behavior may stem from deep-seated insecurities and a fragile self-esteem that they mask with their narcissistic traits.

It is important to note that not all individuals with narcissistic traits are the same and each one may have different underlying issues contributing to their behavior.

Are All Narcissists Abusive

Not all narcissists are inherently abusive.

However, narcissistic personality disorder is characterized by a pattern of grandiosity, a need for admiration, and lack of empathy, which can lead to behaviors that are harmful to others, including emotional, psychological, and even physical abuse.

It’s important to understand that someone can have narcissistic traits without having a full-blown personality disorder, and not all people with NPD engage in abusive behavior.

But if you’re in a relationship with someone who exhibits narcissistic behaviors, it’s essential to take care of your mental health and set boundaries to protect yourself from potential harm.

5 Weird Things Covert Narcissists Do To Manipulate Their Victims


By Hadiah

Hadiah is a counselor who is passionate about supporting individuals on their journey towards mental well-being. Hadiah not only writes insightful articles on various mental health topics but also creates engaging and practical mental health worksheets.

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