The Covert Narcissism Podcast
The Covert Narcissism Podcast
Om The Covert Narcissism Podcast
Covert narcissistic abuse crushes one’s soul. This podcast is devoted to understanding covert narcissistic abuse, its effect on the victims, and how to heal.
Who wouldn’t want someone who doted over you all the time? Giving in to your every desire? Monitoring your mood constantly and adjusting accordingly? Working overtime to figure out whatever might possibly upset you and running interference before it happens? Doing all the work? Let’s be honest. It’s a great deal, right? Great for the covert narcissist. We spend all of our energy making them happy. We will bend over backwards, stand on our heads, spin in circles, jump up and down, or sit in a corner and do nothing, whatever it takes to keep peace with them. My son said to me, “Mom, you did ABCDEFGH…XYZ. Dad wouldn’t even do A! He didn’t have to. I did it all!
One thing you must realize is that the way a covert narcissist interacts with you is not about you. They learned these interaction traits in childhood. Somewhere at a young age, they learned that offering give in a conversation is dangerous and painful. They learned that give equals attack. You can see this is how you react to their attacks. You learn that it isn't safe to offer peace in conversations with them. They learned this as a child and developed a phobia of give. They can't say something as simple as, "I could have said it better, sorry about that, or "You probably didn’t mean it that way, that’s on me" How do you heal from this abuse? Accept that they are never going to agree with your perspective. They can't, that requires give. Understand that this has nothing to do with you, your choice of words, your tone of voice, or anything else you did or didn't do. This is about their past. In this episode, I give you one very effective tactic for avoiding these blow-ups with a covert narcissist when you have to interact with them. Try it out. It works!
It would have been so much easier if he just would have hit me, just once. But he didn’t. It would have been easier if he had just been a jerk to me all the time. But he wasn’t. It would be easier to see the abuse. It would be easier to talk about it and identify it. It would be easier to explain it to others. It would be easier to leave. It would be easier to not be in the relationship in the first place. It would just be easier if they were an asshole all the time. But they aren't. There certainly were days where I thought to myself, this would all be easier if he were just mean all the time. But he truly wasn’t and still isn’t. He has good traits too. He is charming at times. He is helpful. He is funny and even pleasant to be around.This is certainly a large part of the problem with covert narcissists. Those good traits can leave a victim in a huge quandary for years or even decades. Even four and a half years out of my marriage, this quandary showed up yet again.
To donate to the Covert Narcissism Podcast click the link below. https://patron.podbean.com/covertnarcissismpodcast I am going to try to explain the unexplainable. The lack of give when communicating with a covert narcissist. The absence of the regular flow of give and take that thus makes you feel that you are talking to a void. It is painful, absolutely exhausting, and crushing to your spirit When in regular casual conversation with someone, we often confirm that we are hearing what the other person is saying. We make little sounds, comments, and gestures: such as a nod, a smile, yeah, uh-huh, true, sure, etc. People react to each other in conversation. All these remarks show understanding, agreement or support. At the very least they validate your interaction with this person. You don’t feel like you are talking into a void. This give and take does not happen with a covert narcissist. You are met with the most agonizing silence, so empty and painful. When talking with my CN husband, I would get to a spot in the conversation where people naturally interject something. So I would pause in expectation. Nothing! Silence. Awkwardness. Emptiness. So I go on talking, wondering if I am being heard, wondering if I am making sense When dealing with a covert narcissist, there is no slack, no margin, no benefit of the doubt. There is no give! Trying to understand this is like trying to catch a ghost. As soon as you think you have a grasp on it, it disappears again. We are trying to understand something that is almost impossible to even talk about. It’s hard because it isn’t always in what they did, it’s in what they didn’t do. What they didn’t say. That stone-cold silence and lack of give. Coming soon: Why do covert narcissists have such an extreme inability to offer that give that is so necessary in relationships?
I tried so hard to convince myself that my husband was not a narcissist. I truly did not want to accept this about him. At first, when I was researching narcissism, out of desperation and survival, many things lined up. I checked a whole lot of the boxes that applied. But then I would go back and rethink them. Well…maybe not this one. Maybe it doesn’t apply. Maybe that one isn’t true. At least not all the time. It’s normal to have some disagreements and some emotionally heated times. Maybe this is just normal. Remember, covert narcissists have to be the best at everything. So If they view empathy as something of value, which the world is pushing right now, as something that they are supposed to have, then of course they have it. Not only do they have it, but they have it better than anyone else. They have more of it than anyone else. Like everything else in their life, it is a competition. Don’t forget, covert narcissists don’t ever want to lose…at anything.
Being trapped in a circular conversation with a covert narcissist is dreadful!! It is the loneliest place on earth. You feel completely destitute and isolated. If you have ever experienced this, you know what I am talking about. In these two episodes, I address and describe 8 signs of these circular conversations. Here is a quick list of those signs: 1. You find yourself teaching an adult about basic communication skills and basic human emotions. 2. You find yourself thinking, “If I could just find the right words, then he would stop treating me this way.” 3. These conversations are antagonistic and combative, verbal competitions. 4. There is no resolution in these conversations. 5. They switch the topic constantly, keeping you on the defense. 6. They play the eternal victim. 7. You walk away thinking, “What in the world just happened?” 8. They use the silent treatment inside the conversation, holding you in an intense silence and in knots. In the episodes, I go into detail explaining each of these signs. Learning what they are and how to identify them helps a victim make sense of what is going on and plan a way out of the entrapment. In a future episode, I will address strategies to avoiding circular conversations, as well as exiting them once they get started.
To donate to the Covert Narcissism Podcast click the link below. https://patron.podbean.com/covertnarcissismpodcast What are some things you stopped doing because your covert narcissist made you feel weird or criticized you for it? I recently saw that someone had posted this question in the Covert Narcissism Facebook Group. If you’re not part of that yet, look it up. Join us! It’s simply called Covert Narcissism Group. The answers started pouring in! Person after person stated I stopped being myself. I gave up me. I quit listening to music. I quit wearing jewelry. I quit eating what I like to eat. I quit wearing the clothes I like. On and on it went. What's left is only a fraction of who you really are or even nothing at all. This is called fracturing. Splitting yourself in order to accommodate them and attempt to keep them happy, which isn’t possible.
Covert narcissists don't use conversations to find understanding, reconciliation, or compromise. They don't see them as a way to connect with a loved one, to spend time getting to know each other better. To them, conversations are about winning. They are for putting the other person down and showing their superiority. Conversations are competitions. One person comes out a winner, and one a loser. This is warfare. It is the single most lonely place on the face of this earth. If you have experienced this, you know exactly what I am talking about. In this episode and the next one, I describe 8 signs of a circular conversation with a covert narcissist. No one has the right to treat you this way! No one has the right to talk to you this way! You will never get them to understand, but you do have the power to walk away!
In January, on a cold wet day, sitting in my van in the parking lot of a restaurant, I sobbed uncontrollably. I dialed my dad's number, but when he answered, I could not speak. I just sat there and cried. He knew that I was having lunch with my husband that day. He knew that I was going to try to open up to him in an extremely raw and vulnerable way. And now, I just cried. Not even knowing the details of what had transpired, my dad cried with me. This was the single most painful moment in my marriage with a covert narcissist. To donate to the Covert Narcissism Podcast click the link below. https://patron.podbean.com/covertnarcissismpodcast
Covert narcissists feel like a trade up when we have been in an abusive relationship with a more overt narcissist in our past. It seems like such a win! Finally you have found a caring, empathic person. They can seem so genuine and real. But yet all the traits of narcissism are still there! They are just so covered and passive. We don't see them for who they are until we are hooked in and trapped. AND...then when we do see them, we still doubt what we are really seeing!
To donate to the Covert Narcissism Podcast click the link below. https://patron.podbean.com/covertnarcissismpodcast Escaping a relationship with a covert narcissist is a lot like living your teenage years all over again. You are back in a place of trying to find you…again. You are learning to stand up for yourself…again. Dealing with big emotions… Angry and reactive Who wants to go back and live their teenage years? I certainly don’t. To demonstrate this, we are going to use a Venn diagram. Do you know what that is? We used to use them in school to visually show the relationships between things. It’s circles on a piece of paper. Some of the circles overlap with each other, while others don’t. It depends on what you are demonstrating and explaining. Today, we are going to draw a simple Venn diagram. To find an example of the Venn diagram visit TikTok or Facebook and search The Covert Narcissism Podcast, and check out our latest episode.
To donate to the Covert Narcissism Podcast click the link below. https://patron.podbean.com/covertnarcissismpodcast Erin Riley was born in New York City and attended Trenton State College in New Jersey where she studied as little as possible. At the tender age of 19, she escaped to Los Angeles and quite by accident fell into what would become an exciting and influential 40-year career in the music and entertainment industries, choosing hit songs for Major Market Radio stations and developing new artists, helping expose their music to the world. She led the Philadelphia GRAMMY Chapter and dabbled in repertory theater before opening her greatest professional achievement, a children’s music school called Rock & Roll After School, which taught kids to write and perform their very own original songs. In 2014, Erin delivered a TEDx talk on her work with children. Ms. Riley currently resides outside of Philadelphia with her French Bulldog puppy, Murphy, where she practices yoga, enjoys hiking in Valley Forge Park and is totally rocking life. She serves as Music Supervisor for the Amazon Prime hit series, The Recording Artist and is developing a podcast for WomenWhoRock.com. You can find more about Erin and purchase a copy of her book at her website A Dark Force | 20 Years With a Covert Narcissist
Do you know what the word of the year for 2022 was? According to Merriam Webster? Guess? Right now, what do you think that word was? I would have guessed narcissism or narcissist. Those two words are flying around everyone right now. Nope! Not those words, but yet still a word that we all know all too well. The word of the year was gaslighting! I wasn’t surprised when I read this. All of these words are getting thrown around an awful lot. Gaslighting is certainly one of those words. As popular as the word narcissist itself. So what really is gaslighting? Gaslighting is an attempt to destabilize someone and their sense of reality. It is a form of psychological abuse that causes you, the victim, to question your perception of reality. It is psychologically manipulating someone into questioning their own sanity, according to Oxford Dictionary. It is those crazy-making words, "That never happened," among many other phrases.
To donate to the Covert Narcissism Podcast click the link below. https://patron.podbean.com/covertnarcissismpodcast Even people who are aware of narcissism and victims themselves can still end up in a relationship with a covert narcissist. They seem so real, genuine, open, and vulnerable. Why do they seem so genuine? A covert narcissist is more in love with the idea of being a compassionate person than actually being a compassionate person. They fool us because their desire to be that compassionate person is real. They do WANT to be that. They just have no ability to be that. They are more in love with the idea of being a good husband/wife than actually doing what it takes to be that. This applies to many aspects of their lives. When they fail at being these wonderful things they say they are, they are also experts at passing all the blame to you. Everything is your fault because you were the one putting in all the effort. They did nothing wrong because they did nothing at all!
To donate to the Covert Narcissism Podcast click the link below. https://patron.podbean.com/covertnarcissismpodcast What exactly is the silent treatment? For many of us, we experienced this in middle school. Our best friend gets mad at us and stops talking to us. It’s a temper tantrum because we hurt their feelings or didn’t do what they wanted. “I’ll show you. I won’t talk to you anymore.” It’s a form of teaching someone a lesson. You no longer deserve my time, attention, and communication. You don’t deserve to be blessed with my presence anymore. It’s mean, arrogant, and cruel. It takes away the other person’s right to have differing opinions, to say something they could have said differently, and to simply be human. The silent treatment is a shift from a regular, or at least somewhat regular conversation, to silence that lasts for longer than a reasonable period of time. It is a passive aggressive form of emotional abuse. It is punishing, controlling and painful. It is not blatantly abusive, such as yelling, swearing, throwing things or hitting. As such, it is much easier to deny or make excuses for. “I just didn’t feel like talking. Nothing wrong with that. You shouldn’t take it so personally.” “You are imagining that.” “I was thinking about what I was going to say.” This painful form of silence can be going for days and weeks without talking to you. You can be in the same room together and be totally ignored. Throughout the day, text messages go unanswered. Phone calls go to voicemail. This can also happen as intense moments of silence, deliberately held within the conversation itself. You feel completely invisible!
To donate to the Covert Narcissism Podcast click the link below. https://patron.podbean.com/covertnarcissismpodcast Divorcing a covert narcissist is an unpredictable and terrifying endeavor. It is often full of manipulation tactics, controlling actions, deceitful communication, and much more. The journey is exhausting, overwhelming, and isolating. But you are NOT alone, and you ARE stronger than you know. Going through this process more publicly now with lawyers, mediators, judges, and family members adds to the exhaustion and overwhelm. Finding the right support around you is crucial. People who will keep you on task, validate what you are going through, and care for you along the way. Getting more in touch with your own heart, through education and a support system, allows you to listen to your heart once again. You can then become an active participant in your own divorce rather than just following your old habits of over-valuing everyone else's words over your own. Eleanor, on her own journey, divorced her divorce attorney because her heart lead her too. This is your path, and there is a light at the end of the tunnel.
To donate to the Covert Narcissism Podcast and receive your free copy of chapter one of my upcoming book, potentially titled: Grasping Covert Narcissism, Catching A Ghost, click the link below. https://patron.podbean.com/covertnarcissismpodcast Will I ever know it if I have a healthy relationship? I’m finally out of a toxic relationship, again, after a repeated cycle. I think my picker is broken. I’ll never date again. It isn’t worth the risk. Is there a difference between love bombing and the initial excitement of a new relationship anyways? How would I ever know the difference? What does healthy actually look like? These are some of the questions that I get asked repeatedly. I am four years post divorce. Never yet been on a date, and not sure if I ever will. Probably, someday. Maybe, maybe not. I do know this though, I am far healthier than I was the day I left. I am way more in touch with who I am and listening to my heart in a way that I never had before. Could I ever get duped again? Yes. I do believe that could still happen. Covert narcissists are extremely good at what they do. They manipulate, deceive, take advantage of, and absolutely drain their victims. And me? I’m still a giving, self-sacrificing person. Believing in the good of others, willing to give the benefit of the doubt. So could I get duped again? Yes, I could. So how do we protect ourselves? How do we keep from being deceived again? Let’s start with learning what healthy even looks like in the first place.
To donate to the Covert Narcissism Podcast and receive your free copy of chapter one of my upcoming book, potentially titled: Grasping Covert Narcissism, Catching A Ghost, click the link below. https://patron.podbean.com/covertnarcissismpodcast I am absolutely privileged to have my oldest son join me one more time for a guest episode. In today's episode, we address two specific topics: Is there a right timing for divorce based on the ages of the kids? What did your mom do right and what did she do wrong in supporting you? If even one parent can learn from my journey with my son, then I eagerly share our story. This is a glimpse of 22 years with my boy in a tough home environment. Nothing has taught me more about myself and life than being a mom. May you find awareness, support, hope and peace on your own journey! Mentioned in the podcast is the video below The Most Powerful Way to Protect Your Kids from Pathological Narcissism
My mind has never worked so hard, ever in my entire life. I hit a level of mental overdrive that I did not know existed. Overthinking, over analyzing, over fixing, overcompensating, over monitoring. Over, and over, and over. This did not happen overnight. It wasn’t day one in the relationship. It was gradual. How did it happen? Early in my marriage, I told him he had toothpaste on his mouth. He blew up and it shocked me to my core. And it never got resolved. So, lesson learned. I’ll never say that again. I hung some new pictures on the wall while he was at work. He came home and trapped me in a circular conversation. I had no idea what was going on, but I certainly did not like it. I’ll never do that again. I asked our son to help him in the kitchen. He stormed off in a silent rage and full-blown victim mode. I believe that our son should help in the kitchen, so I’ll work harder to say it the right way next time. What does that look like? What words work and which ones don’t? I asked him if he could pick our kids up from an activity. Back in yet another circular conversation. So now I’ll work harder to find the right time to ask things. What kind of mood was he in? What non-verbal cues can I find? On and on this went, weeks, months, years, decades. All the while, I just work harder. I’ll never say that again. I’ll never do that again. I’ll make sure I say this at the right time or in the right way. Always watching for those good moments, while dodging all the unpleasant ones. I became excessively hypervigilant and didn’t even know it.
To donate to the Covert Narcissism Podcast and receive your free copy of chapter one of my upcoming book, potentially titled: Grasping Covert Narcissism, Catching A Ghost, click the link below. https://patron.podbean.com/covertnarcissismpodcast Why can't I explain it to my friends? Why don't they get it? Why does it all sound so petty and trivial? When I’m trying to explain it to someone, I even think I sound petty. But it’s not! There is nothing petty about the nightmare that you are living! It sucks and you need people around you that get it, that understand. Covert narcissistic abuse is a nearly invisible abuse. It is hidden in things that are a normal part of life; little disagreements, a bad mood here and there, a short word out of the blue, a misunderstanding. These events sound petty when describing them because they ARE petty. At least they should be. They should be tiny bumps on the road of life. When you are with a covert narcissist though, they are un passable mountains. In a non-toxic relationship, these are small issues that disappear after reconciliation. In a toxic relationship, they never disappear. They pile on top of each other for years and decades. When you find someone else who has lived it, you know it. You can sense it when you talk with them. Find a small support group and quit trying to explain it to anyone who doesn't get it. Remember, you have nothing to prove to anyone! You don't owe anyone an explanation or reason for what happened!
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