Trying to explain covert narcissism to someone who has not lived it is enough to make you feel entirely crazy! As if living the nightmare of the relationships isn’t enough!
The conversation with that friend usually goes something like this:
- Me: I am having a really tough time communicating with him.
- Friend: Why?
- Me: He is SO hard to talk to.
- Friend: What do you mean? Give me an example.
I struggle to find the words to describe it and an example that shows it. The infinite number of situations ran jumbled through my mind. Choosing just one feels overwhelming.
Feeling a little more Crazy
- Me: Ok, I asked him to scoot the car over in the garage last week, and he exploded, crying because I hurt him SO bad..
- Friend: Maybe he was just in a bad mood. He’s usually not like that.
- Me: He told me that I was being insensitive and selfish. I just asked him to move the car over.
- Friend: Maybe the way you said it came out poorly. He’s such a great guy normally.
- Me: But I have to work so hard to say everything as nice as I possibly can because of how easily he goes off.
- Friend: Maybe you’re just being too sensitive.
Too sensitive?? My insides scream. You’re telling me that I’m being too sensitive?!?!?
Yet a bit more CRAZY now
My friend has no idea how hard I work to keep peace in my home. My brain is in constant overdrive to find the calmest, most agreeable way I can say or ask anything. And still it is never good enough.
- Me: You don’t understand how hard it is to keep peace with him.
- Friend: Is it really that big of a deal? Then let him be mad. Go on about your own business. He’ll get over it.
- Me: But he doesn’t. He brews on it, sulks around the house, and makes everyone miserable. And he just adds that to his myriad of reasons for being angry. I can’t talk to him about anything anymore without worrying about him going off.
- Friend: I think you just need to work to get better at communicating with him.
REALLY???!!!?? Why haven’t I thought of that?!? Oh, I’ll just go work on it right away.
CRAZY has taken over in full force!
Your friend has NO idea of what you are going through. They have no comprehension of how hard you are working to make this relationship survive. They have no idea that it is on your mind 100% of the time and that you go through a thousand ways to say everything before you dare open your mouth to him. They don’t get it because they have never been through anything like this, ever.
Do yourself a favor and quit trying to explain it to them. People who have never dealt with a covert narcissist on a daily basis, being a part of their daily life, have no idea what it is like. They aren’t going to get it, and you are going to go crazy trying.
This is why, when dealing with a covert narcissist, it is so crucially important that you find a support team that understands. Even one person who has lived it can make all the difference in the world. Without that support you feel isolated and crazy. You will convince yourself a thousand times that it is all your fault and all your responsibility. This is NOT true!!
Find some support. A personal friend or family member that gets it is wonderful. But if you don’t have that, try online support groups. We offer various options. See the links below.
You will get through this!! You are not crazy!! And you are certainly NOT alone!!
Covert Narcissism Group – for victims of covert narcissistic abuse
Divorcing a Covert Narcissist – for victims going through or considering divorce from a covert narcissist
Parenting with a Toxic Partner – for victims who are counter parenting with a covert narcissistic or otherwise toxic partner
Finding Life Again After Narcissistic Abuse – for victims who are ready to move forward in their life and no longer be victims
If you are trying to make sense of the crazy-making abuse of a covert narcissist, check out this link of useful articles regarding their emotional abuse.