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How does a covert narcissist act in marriage?

Covert narcissists in marriage can be quite challenging and complex to deal with. This personality type is characterized by a hidden and subtle form of narcissism, making it difficult for the partner to recognize and identify their behavior. Unlike the more overt form of narcissism, covert narcissists often present themselves as charming, humble, and even selfless, but they are still driven by the same underlying need for admiration and validation.

In a marriage, a covert narcissist will often manipulate their partner using emotional blackmail or silent treatment, often to control situations to their advantage. They may also use passive-aggressive behavior to get things done their way. For example, they might agree to do something, then intentionally forget or not follow through, causing their spouse to do it themselves.

They might use emotional manipulation to make their partner feel guilty, like they are not doing enough or not giving them the attention they need.

Covert narcissists in marriage may also have a tendency to gaslight their partner, making them question their own reality and beliefs. This can be an extremely damaging behavior, causing the partner to feel confused, insecure, and vulnerable. Covert narcissists will often belittle their partner and make them feel insignificant, while at the same time, making themselves out to be the victim.

They may also have a tendency to be highly critical and demanding, setting impossible standards for their partner to meet.

One of the biggest problems with a covert narcissist in marriage is that they often lack empathy, making it difficult for them to understand or respond to their partner’s needs or feelings. They may pretend to be supportive and caring, but in reality, they are only interested in getting what they want.

This can lead to feelings of neglect, isolation, and loneliness for the partner.

If you feel that your partner may be a covert narcissist, it is important to seek help and support from a trusted therapist or counselor. This can help you to understand the dynamics of your relationship and learn strategies to cope with the difficult and challenging behaviors of a covert narcissist.

if the behavior continues to be harmful, it may be necessary to consider ending the marriage for your own well-being and peace of mind.

What happens to the spouse of a covert narcissist?

Living with a covert narcissist can be an incredibly challenging experience for their spouse. Unlike other overtly narcissistic individuals, the covert version tends to be much more subtle in their control and manipulation tactics. They often display qualities such as charming behavior, flattery, and intense emotions to gain the trust of their partner.

However, underneath this facade lies a deep need for control, power, and admiring attention. Covert narcissists tend to exploit their partners’ vulnerabilities to increase their own sense of importance and self-worth.

The spouse of a covert narcissist can experience a range of emotional and psychological effects due to their partner’s manipulative behavior. It is common for the spouse to feel confused, frustrated, and even depressed as they are consistently subjected to the narcissistic abuse. The covert narcissist may regularly dismiss their spouse’s concerns, invalidate their feelings, and make them feel irrational for expressing their concerns.

This can lead to a cycle of self-doubt and anxiety, with the spouse feeling like their emotions and intuition are wrong.

Moreover, the covert narcissist’s demand for admiration and attention combined with their efforts to control their spouse can lead to a sense of emotional isolation. The narcissist may limit their partner’s interactions with family and friends, control their financial resources, and isolate them from hobbies or activities they enjoy.

This can leave the spouse feeling incredibly alone and unsupported, even if they have a network outside of the relationship.

The long term effects of living with a covert narcissist can be devastating for the spouse. The constant manipulation, lack of emotional support, and invalidation can cause long term emotional trauma that they may carry into future relationships. In order to cope and heal, the spouse may require counseling or therapy that can provide them with the tools to rebuild their self-esteem, regain their sense of self-worth, and develop healthy relationships in the future.

How do you survive being married to a covert narcissist?

Being married to a covert narcissist can be an extremely challenging and emotionally draining experience. Covert narcissism is often characterized by a pervasive sense of entitlement, a lack of empathy, a constant need for validation, an obsession with self-image, and a tendency to manipulate or exploit others for personal gain.

These traits, when combined with marriage, can be very difficult to handle and can lead to significant emotional distress for the spouse.

One of the most critical aspects of surviving being married to a covert narcissist is to recognize and acknowledge the behavior patterns of the narcissistic spouse. It is essential to understand that narcissists are unlikely to change their behavior, and it is not possible to alter them. Still, it is possible to change your own reactions to their behavior.

An essential step is to establish boundaries with your partner. This involves setting limits on the narcissistic behaviors that you can tolerate, such as manipulation, gaslighting, and emotional abuse. It is crucial to communicate your boundaries firmly and consistently, and to enforce them when they are crossed.

This will help you to establish a degree of control over your life and to protect yourself against the harmful behaviors of your partner.

Seeking therapy can also be incredibly helpful. Working with a therapist can help you to process the complex emotions that arise from being married to a covert narcissist. It can also provide you with tools and strategies for coping with the unique challenges that come with the relationship.

Finally, it is essential to take care of yourself. This means focusing on your own physical, emotional, and mental well-being through practices such as exercise, healthy eating, meditation, or self-care activities that you enjoy. Building a strong network of friends and family members who can offer support and encouragement can also be helpful.

Surviving being married to a covert narcissist is a challenging and complicated process, but it is possible to manage and overcome the difficulties that come with it. With a combination of self-care, boundary-setting, therapy, and emotional support from loved ones, it is possible to maintain your own sense of self and happiness while navigating the complex dynamics of the relationship.

Do covert narcissists love their spouse?

Covert narcissists tend to hide their sense of superiority, entitlement, and lack of empathy under a facade of humility, insecurity, or victimization. They may struggle with feeling vulnerable, unworthy, or unlovable, which can lead to a constant need for admiration, attention, and validation from others, including their spouses.

Their love for their spouses may be conditional and primarily focused on meeting their own needs and desires, rather than truly valuing and respecting their partners’ autonomy, feelings, and well-being. They may use various manipulative tactics, such as gaslighting, blame-shifting, or love-bombing, to control and dominate their spouses, while also avoiding any criticism, conflict, or accountability themselves.

In some cases, covert narcissists may genuinely care for their spouses but struggle with expressing their emotions, being responsive to their spouses’ needs, or taking responsibility for their own flaws and mistakes. They may also idealize their spouses as an extension of their own superiority or success, rather than appreciating them for who they are.

Whether or not a covert narcissist loves their spouse depends on their individual personality, behavior, and mindset, as well as their willingness to seek professional help and work on their narcissistic patterns. It is important for spouses to recognize the signs of covert narcissism and seek support and guidance from trusted sources, such as therapists, friends, or family members, to maintain their own well-being and boundaries in the relationship.

What do covert narcissists want in a relationship?

Covert narcissists are individuals who possess the characteristic traits of narcissism, but they tend to hide their true self behind a veneer of false modesty or shyness. In a relationship, covert narcissists seek admiration, attention, and adoration from their partner without demonstrating explicit demands for it.

They want their partner to recognize their intelligence, achievement, and superiority without overtly requesting it.

Covert narcissists usually believe they are unique and special, and therefore, they expect their partner to treat them accordingly. They might seek out a partner who they believe can enhance their image, status, or reputation in front of others. They desire someone who will validate their sense of self-importance and build up their self-esteem.

They are unlikely to seek out a partner who is their equal; they prefer someone who is subservient to them and can provide them with the attention they crave.

In addition, covert narcissists tend to lack empathy, which makes it difficult for them to create deep and meaningful connections with their partners. They may struggle to understand their partner’s emotional needs and may be dismissive or critical of their partner’s feelings. They often use emotional manipulation to get what they want from their partner, such as playing the victim or making their partner feel guilty for not meeting their needs.

Despite their self-absorbed nature, covert narcissists still long for intimacy and connection with their partner. They want someone who will be devoted to them and will provide them with the admiration they crave. However, they struggle with the reciprocity needed in a healthy relationship because they are more focused on their own needs than their partner’s.

Covert narcissists want a relationship that provides them with validation, attention, and admiration without requiring them to give much in return. They seek a partner who will fulfill their emotional needs without expecting much in return. Unfortunately, this type of relationship is not sustainable as a healthy relationship requires mutual respect, understanding, and reciprocity to thrive.


  1. How Does A Covert Narcissist Act In Marriage?
  2. 10 Signs of a Covert Narcissist and How to Respond to Them
  3. How does a covert narcissist act in marriage? – Quora
  4. Covert narcissist red flags to look for in a marriage – Kidspot