My name is Lauren, and I’m a recovering covert narcissist.

Hand of a child opening a cupboard door

This is the hardest blog post I’ve ever had to write.   But it’s time to out myself.   What other choice is there?

I have NPD (the covert, vulnerable form).

I also have BPD, C-PTSD, Avoidant PD, SAD (seasonal affective disorder) and GAD (generalized anxiety disorder).  I’m an extremely introverted INFJ and prone to periodic black depressions, occasional dissociative episodes, panic attacks, and debilitating feelings of emptiness.

I’m a mess.

Before you hit the backspace key, please let me explain.

My therapist, who hates labels and took a long time to come to this conclusion (and even laughed at me when I first told him what I suspected over a year ago) finally agrees with me about the diagnosis. However, he also believes I’m not high on the spectrum  (I only *just* qualify).  He has also told me he believes I am at heart an empath.  We are working hard together to re-claim those abilities (as a child I was definitely an empath), and it’s beginning to bear some small fruit.  I still have a long way to go, but being self aware and practicing mindfulness helps me immensely.   I do not want to be this way anymore; have not wanted to be this way since I began this blog (started because I self diagnosed as a covert narcissist).  Well, I was right.

I wrote a guest post “outing myself” two weeks ago, on Healing From NPD’s blog (which I wrote about in earlier posts).   I’ve been terrified of sharing it here though, because of how stigmatized this disorder is, but mostly because I’m afraid of being abandoned or negatively judged (something borderlines and narcissists are both terrified of) or even mobbed.  But why should I be so afraid?   People who would judge me negatively, stop reading my blog, and not give me a chance aren’t the sort of people I’d want to stick around anyway.   I don’t think my real friends will abandon me.

So far, I have shared the post I’m about to link to with two other people in private emails, and both were very supportive and did not judge me for it.   Since one of my passions is the de-stigmatization of Cluster B disorders and a more nuanced, realistic view of them, I think “coming out” actually helps my case.

Also, I started this blog because I believed I had NPD, but at that time it was only self-diagnosed.  Over time, I began to deny I had it at all (especially because of my therapist’s doubts and reluctance to give me such a label) but deep down, I still knew I did.   There’s no denying or sugar-coating it anymore.

I developed the narcissism as a self-protective overlay over the overwhelming  and turbulent emotions of BPD.   I was never aware I was doing this so it was never a choice, as some believe.    It was easy enough to admit I have BPD, but NPD is a whole ‘nother ball of wax and much more vilified.   Admitting you are one is scary as hell.

But I feel like not admitting the truth would be dishonest. This is probably the hardest blog post I’ve ever had to write, but I know I’ll feel better when it’s over and done with.

So, here it is:  the article I wrote two weeks ago, describing my entire journey, from a newly No Contact narcissistic abuse victim (which I am!) to a self aware covert narcissist who desperately wants to heal.    It was narcissistic abuse that made me this way.  It’s only by the grace of God I didn’t become malignant or incapable of seeing myself the way I am (or believing it’s a good thing to be – it’s definitely not).

http://healingfromnpd.com/content/guest-post-falling-down-rabbit-hole

I hope you read the whole thing with an open mind and try not to judge.

I’m relieved but also scared. Once I hit the publish button, there’s no going back.

Some of you who are empaths or just good at putting two and two together might have guessed I was working up to something like this.

Deep breaths.

But I feel like this is the wisest choice and in the long run, the one that will be of the most help to others as well as myself.

Finally, for those of you who opt to continue reading this blog and following my journey to wellness (I won’t ever give up), thank you! Your support means everything to me and encourages me to keep going, no matter what.

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44 thoughts on “My name is Lauren, and I’m a recovering covert narcissist.

  1. I take my hat off to you. You are incredibly brave and you should be proud of yourself, for “coming out” on a public forum. I wish you the best of luck in your journey and recovery. Xx

    Liked by 1 person

  2. So proud of you for taking this step! You’re doing a wonderful thing by becoming self aware and sharing that journey with others. Your honesty is going to help people who may not have had the courage to question their own behavior.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I thought about this a lot and two things made me make this decision (1) I wanted to be honest and what’s the point of blogging if you’re not going to be honest? and (2) in the long run, it will be more helpful in promoting more understanding of NPDs and less stigmatizing. It might also encourage others like us to take that step

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Well, you won’t get any negative judgment from me. I don’t judge narcs. I’m sorry it was so hard for you to disclose this. It was kind of scary when I “came out” as a psychopath but nothing compared to what you seem to be going through. Congratulations for your courage.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It would have been less hard if I hadn’t started this whole blogging journey writing about being a victim of narcissistic abuse. There’s a lot of cognitive dissonance that is difficult to reconcile and overcome. Plus the us vs them mentality that makes NO allowances and never acknowledges that very often, a person can be BOTH!

      Maybe it was easier for you because as a psychopath, you don’t suffer so much from the shame and guilt that people with other cluster B disorders often struggle with. I’m not judging, but you have said yourself psychopaths have no conscience (even though they’re not all antisocial).

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I linked this to my blog and tried to access On the idea that all narcissists are hellbound demons and the blog seems to be changed. I couldn’t find the article. Do you know where it is?

        Like

  4. I really am beginning to identify my own narcissism, too so I can really relate. I don’t think we should beat ourselves up, of course you started writing about being a survivor of a narcissistic childhood, we are a result of our conditioning, no shame there. But we can feel sad for how we have hurt others (and I feel this way often) for being so self involved or wounded on an unconscious level and so incapable of a true and deep intimacy. Its a bitter pill to swallow but once we ingest it we can learn to change I believe or hope. Thanks for this post. ❤ Sending love and acceptance your way,

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you.
      You know what. I think you might be interested in the resources page I just put up (click on the widgets icon to access the pages)– there are two Facebook groups at the bottom you might be interested in requesting to join.

      Liked by 1 person

        1. Please do. Do you have a FB account? I’d like to follow you if you do, and I’ll get you in. Email me with your account info and I’ll give you mine (I don’t want to put my real name here)

          Like

        2. I’m not a big fan of FB either, and I find it annoying and shallow too. I joined these 2 groups because they are closed groups and there’s a lot of thoughtful discussion and exchanges within the groups. But fb in general isn’t something I’m a big fan of and never was.

          Liked by 1 person

  5. Your honesty is amazing and inspiring. That’s the first thing I want to say.

    The second thing I want to say is that I feel really confused now. Because you just don’t seem like any kind of a narcissist to me.

    I’m just having a hard time wrapping my head around this.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It was hard to wrap my head around it too, but it wasn’t a surprise because I already knew, so I was prepared for the bomb to drop. I could write so much more about what this feels like but I won’t because it’s 3 am.
      Anyway, I suppose you could think of this as a “twist in the plot”, haha.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. I just read your guest post on Healing From NPD and I am still confused. Maybe because I am sick right now, with either a sinus infection or possibly an infected tooth, and also because Christmas is a triggering time for my PTSD… I don’t know, I just can’t think very clearly right now.

    I feel sad. But most of all, I want you to be OK. Because I care about you.

    One thing is for sure: on your blogs you have never been even 1/10th as narcissistic as the narc-hating bloggers that bashed you so bad a couple of years ago. Not even 1/100th as narcissistic as them.

    Liked by 1 person

        1. It’s very strange — instead of getting abandoned or attacked as I thought I would, I’ve got several people now wondering if they too are narcissists. I don’t think you are one, but what do I know? No one thought I was one either. Besides, I can’t diagnose anybody. I can’t even diagnose people I am SURE are narcissists. 😉 (If you catch my drift).

          There is a statistic that states that 70% of children of narcissistic families are narcissists themselves, and that obviously would include a good many people who blog about abuse. That’s a HUGE percentage — the majority! If you are, it’s not the end of the world. I can tell you right now you aren’t AT ALL malignant. I’m not either (I don’t think!) Yikes! 😮
          Read some psychological articles about covert narcissism (not the ones on the victim sites, which are biased) by bona fide professionals. Don’t go by the DSM — it’s only an overview and only describes the grandiose type. Read Yara’s blog. Then if you want (and dare!) you can always go get a professional diagnosis. You might not be! Either way, things will be clearer to you if you know.
          I don’t recommend the online tests, because they only test for the overt or grandiose form of narcissism, something I am not.

          Liked by 1 person

  7. That’s it, I’m outta here…Lol…totally kidding.

    I just read through the whole article and just as I read the part of how your therapist ‘spilled the beans’ I started laughing. Then I felt kinda sick for doing that and then as I read further I saw that you laughed too so I felt better.

    I know what you mean about the cog dis. Even at the beginning when listening or reading about the abuse a narc did, there were times I’d think, “Oh god, I’ve done that (or something similar.)”

    I’ve been confused for a long time and I’d hear/read repeatedly, “If you’re questioning, then you’re not one.”
    But I still suspected and didn’t think it was that black and white. I mean geez, isn’t that part of the problem?

    I am still in victim mentality though and that is really making things worse. I feel really stuck. I’ve been realizing how stuck I am in my anger toward my family for the last incident. That seems to be the forefront of my mind. It exhausted me and really caused a lot more trauma. So I’ve been struggling with just treating myself like crap.

    I think maybe we need to see the hurt they caused, get angry about it, rant about it and get that out of the way before we can really look at ourselves, especially when we’ve been so wounded.

    Nice going on the article and thank you for your courage.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It’s okay to still be angry. I am often still angry too, actually a lot. I’ve moved past the “I hate all narcs” phase, but I still hate the things my narcs did to me to make me this way. I am still NC with the two that made my life a living hell (my mother and my ex, who were both very malignant). My dad was a covert NPD himself but I never went NC with him and he died in June this year. You can’t ever forget. You have to be mindful of the red flags. You can forgive though, but that takes time. I wrote a post on LOH the other day about the 5 stages of recovery from narcissistic abuse, in which I explain all this in more detail.
      https://luckyottershaven.com/2016/12/21/the-5-stages-of-narcissistic-abuse-recovery/

      But you are right, you can’t move onto the next stage (acceptance and true healing) until you burn out on the anger. Most people do. Some take longer than others. The problem is, some people hold onto their hatred and black and white thinking like a trophy–it’s like it becomes an addiction and eventually turns them into what they hate (narcissists). Only they can’t see it. To do so would cause too much cognitive dissonance, as stuck as they are in hatred and rage.

      It’s not black and white. Ns became Ns because they were abused. Pete Walker says it’s the Fight response (the four F’s of c-PTSD — yes, he does say narcissism is one manifestation of C-PTSD). BPD is the fight/fawn response. The others are Freeze (dissociation) and Flight (anxiety). Fawn means codependency. Have you read his book? It’s great.

      Conversely, many if not most people who had abusive parents are on the N spectrum. Yara found a statistic that says the percentage is 70%! It’s also not true that just because you suspect you might be a narcissist means you aren’t one. Many are self aware, and I think more are becoming so, due to narcissism being such a discussed topic these days. More than a few people who initially identified only as victims of narcissistic abuse (like me and Yara) read the victim sites or articles written by psychologists and finally saw their own narcissism. It can be shocking and upsetting when you realize you’re one of “them.” But that’s when you also realize it’s not a black and white issue. There aren’t any “sides” really. It’s all mixed up together. Narcs are victims who became abusers to cope (not consciously though usually) and many victims are narcs themselves and don’t even know it. That doesn’t condone what narcissistic abusers do, but you begin to understand that narcissism is contagious — it’s the “gift that keeps on giving.” Confusing? Hell, yes. People forget (or deny) that narcissism is also on a spectrum and there are many shades of grey.

      The only narcissists that I think actually can’t be cured (and rarely become self aware) are the malignant overt type. Even if they do become self aware, they are perfectly happy with being the way they are and don’t want to change. Thank God I didn’t cross that particular boundary.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. “Pete Walker says it’s the Fight response (the four F’s of c-PTSD — yes, he does say narcissism is one manifestation of C-PTSD). BPD is the fight/fawn response. The others are Freeze (dissociation) and Flight (anxiety). Fawn means codependency.”

        Good break down. It was Pete’s book that initially started chiseling away at my thought process that I was likely narcissistic. I have a strong Fight response in some instances. (Although I have the other responses too.)

        One really frustrating thing is that when I’m in emotional flashback or otherwise triggered via my roommate (Mr. B) even as I’m yelling or “whining” in circles, or barking at him, I can feel the awareness that I’m not reacting/responding in a healthy way and I should just stop and walk away, go be alone and calm down. But I keep at it until I’ve completely said my piece or I otherwise feel the resolve.

        At one point this year, I learned this is normal (or typical I should say.) I was watching a video from Lisa A. Romano and she was talking about this. The title is something about Crazy codependent.

        She’s not being mean or derogatory, she’s a recovering codependent herself. In this video she explained this exact thing. She seems to think it’s part of codependency and that if you are aware of your self you aren’t narcissist.

        But I disagree as you do, however, I do think that narcissists, particular the coverts are also codependent. I know I am anyway.

        Also, my empathy is all over the place. I don’t always have it. It really depends and I’m not even sure what it depends on.

        I also think that codependency is narcissistic in and of itself because we try to control the situation or the person’s feelings, etc.

        Liked by 1 person

        1. I am not sure who said it, but some psychologist or expert on narcissism also believes codependency is actually covert narcissism. I don’t know whether that’s true or not, but it’s absolutely true that many covert narcissists were/are codependent. I know I was! My reactions to the abuse meted out on me were unhealthy and abusive in themselves, much like yours. And my empathy was sometimes there, and sometimes not. More often not, until recently. But I actually think that I have a lot of untapped empathy that I haven’t been able to access yet. My therapist thinks so, too. It comes out in indirect ways — for instance, I can’t watch animal rescue videos without bursting into tears, and movies always make me cry. So do books, music, and sappy TV commercials. It’s in one to one relationships that I have a problem and that’s because I have to hold myself back emotionally because being too empathetic in those cases becomes way too dangerous.

          Liked by 2 people

  8. I would never have guessed that you have NPD. I’m an empath also. I realized all the ways I was co-dependent. I have often questioned if I had NPD because my mom does, and I was afraid it would have been inherited. I then dated a man who has NPD and have PTSD from them both. I have done years of research on NPD and healing. My therapist said I don’t have NPD because people with this disorder do not seek change. They don’t see anything wrong with themselves, or wrong behavior, to seek change for. Both were true for my experiences. She said NPD wouldn’t always be aware of my wrong doings or mistakes and striving to learn and be better version of myself. A person with NPD wouldn’t extend olive branches, apologies, try to work through problems to have a more peaceful outcome. So, with all that said. I still don’t believe it is something you have. I believe people can do and say mean things and not have NPD. The difference is one person acknowledges it was mean and grows from it and the other doesn’t. A tip I learned recently is epsom salt baths for grounding. I absorb so much energy. Good luck on your journey of healing. It is painful but so worth it.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. My therapist took a long time to come to this conclusion about me. But he doesn’t think I’m high on the spectrum and I have no sociopathic traits. Maybe it’s just a little beyond having a case of fleas.
      I wasn’t too shocked, because I already knew. He didn’t believe me at first. Maybe I convinced him!
      He also could be wrong, but I don’t think he is.

      It’s a myth that NPD’s can never become self aware or never want to change. It’s also a myth it can’t be healed. (An exception can probably be made for malignant narcissists, who are usually “happy” being the way they are and have no interest in changing or treating others better).
      I have empathic qualities and always did, and I’m learning to retrieve them again. Narcissists can also be empaths. Yes, it’s true. They actually have much in common which may be one of the reasons why they attract each other. Here is a fascinating article about “empathic narcissists” or “narcissistic empaths.”
      https://lonerwolf.com/are-you-an-empathic-narcissist/
      You might want to take a look at this website:
      http://healingfromnpd.com/
      As many as 70% of children of narcissists develop some form of narcissism themselves. In my case it was a protective cover over a borderline core, but thankfully, I think it’s a thin one.
      God, I have so much more to say about this, but I won’t here today. It would be a book, LOL!

      Thank you for your comments, and I’m grateful to be on this healing journey. Yes, it can be painful, but it’s never boring! I like to look at it as an adventure. 🙂

      Like

      1. I scored 0 out of 40 on the are you a narcissist quiz. Thank you for that information. My ex fit about all those categories in the diagnostic criteria. I have a close friend with BPD also. Please don’t let that label dictate who you are. Everyone these days has labels. We are all beautiful one of a kind human beings with a unique gift all our own to bring to the world. Thank you for putting yourself out there to give others a person to relate to.

        Liked by 1 person

        1. I actually failed that online test! That’s because it only measures overt, grandiose narcissism. I have the covert, fragile type. There are other tests that measure for inverted, covert, or fragile narcissist traits and I always pass those with flying colors. It’s not as well known as the arrogant, grandiose type though. If you were to meet me, you would think of me as shy and somewhat insecure, hanging back in conversations but sometimes acting a bit aloof or “superior.” I used to be VERY codependent! I can be friendly and open when I get to know someone. I have to be mindful though, not to manipulate or act out selfishly, and it’s hard because I’m not always aware when I do it. I’m often “catching” myself now though. In a way it makes me feel even more socially awkward because of always having to watch myself. It’s getting easier though, and I feel like I’m learning some good relational habits where there is normal give and take and I’m learning to listen to others without always thinking about what I want to say next, and worrying less about what other people think of me. It’s not easy work, but its worth it! It was scary to put myself out there about this, given how bad the stigma is, but i felt like I had to because it would be dishonest not to. I also think it helps others, both narcissists and their victims.
          No, I don’t let the label dictate who I am. It’s only a part of me. I’m a human being and complex like everyone else, with many facets to my personality. People can’t easily be put in a box, but with a stigmatizing label, people like to try to put you in a box. We are all a lot more complicated than that.

          Liked by 1 person

  9. Thank you for this blog post. It has really challenged my idea of npd. After being raped by a narcissist.. I guess I developed a prejudice. But now I am trying to educate myself about personality disorders and understand that there’s no one-size-fits-all

    There is too much hate towards narcissists on the Internet from ‘so-called empaths’ and there has always been something that has felt quite wrong about it.

    You are so incredibly brave to admit to the world something that is so heavily criticised. Thank you for being here 🙂 x

    Liked by 1 person

  10. I am so lost for words, I don’t even know where to begin… How bang on this is… I realized and discovered what a covert narcissist is today, and realized that I am on myself… Feeling like I’m having an existential crisis;( I searched Google in search of hope and help and saw a post with my name by it Lauren, and felt a pulling. Honestly, it sounds like you’re describing my life….!? Also an INFJ, with a cluster of mental baggage.. I…am so lost for words… So thankful I clicked on this… You describe everything I’m feeling, and your extensive blog post, just shook me so fucking hard.. I can’t stop crying.. and I … Just don’t know where to begin or what to do.. everything you’ve said!? Has been so… Completely… True…me.. i… Am just so lost for words. I’ll be reading up on your blog, it’s been so helpful. Out of all the negativites out there that you read, this was such a breath of fresh air. And reassurance; the stigmatized painted picture has me believing that I am fucking ruined forever.. thank-you… For writing this, for sharing your story .. I can’t imagining being so public …. I’m fucking dying thinking about talking about this with anyone I know…;( So fucking scared.. I… Just wish I knew where to go from here.. I have so much clouding my mind already, this is overwhelming and unbearable…

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Lauren i read your blog and i feel your pain. i hope your well. i too am a covert narcisist and feel alone even though im surrounded by people i call friends. Nobody understands what i an going through. email me to update me how your getting on.

    Liked by 1 person

  12. There is a fine line between NPD/BPD/an being an empath. I identify as all three. And I think all three reside within me as a result of being a victim to NPD/BPD. Across the board, these identities hold a certain power. A certain intensity that simply draws others to us. And all three explosively push others away. We just use different mediums to communicate. The majority of my most important relationships have been with other BPD/NPDers. We all fall on the spectrum, just depends on the severity which I believe is due to Biopsychosocial factors. Narcissism gets a horrendous rep. Borderline gets a terrible rep. Yet, we are more open-minded and more in tune than “normal” people. There lack of intensity frightens me. Every person who has ever been dumped is a covert narcissist for a period of time. My ex was a covert narcissist. You sound like you are suffering from covert narcissism (for now) but you do not seem like a covert narcissist to me. Please don’t take this as a judgment, and I certainly don’t mean to invalidate your feelings. I am just speaking from my experience and from my educational background.

    Covert narcissists victimize themselves non-stop. You call attention to being a victim-yet accept your responsibility. A covert narcissist doesn’t act this way. They are exactly like overts, too self-absorbed to be able to be self-aware. I’ve read a lot of the comments on here and I do not agree with the general idea the overt narcissists are the bad kind and coverts are a result of dealing with narcissism.. I reject this idea. A narcissist is a narcissist. Both most likely develop as a result of unresolved wounds left behind by extensive childhood trauma– like BPD/PTSD/OCD/DID, etc. A VICTIM of narcissistic abuse will come off as a narcissists, we take on traits of our abusers to preserve/protect ourselves. We, in fact become like narcissists– but we are not narcissists (even writing this, a voice tells me in my head that I am) But I know that I never use another person to inflate my own ego. I don’t lie about people in order to isolate them. I don’t put my people down to break their will so that they only have me to rely on. Covert and overt narcissists do this, just in different ways. For example, my covert ex-narc told me that she did not support my choice to go into an adult partial hospitalization program when I was suicidal and out of control. She felt like it would make me more upset and that I would push her away. She would hide and sulk in our bed for hours until I went to her and ended up consoling her because she felt that she wasn’t good enough for me because I needed hospitalization…….. This is the gas lighting of a covert narcissists… There is no attacking about what I allegedly said/didn’t say.. remember/don’t remember like with my overt ex… It was all about her. My visible pain and suffering. My rock bottom, spiraling out of control, begging for help was pushed to the back burner because of her feelings of not feeling “good enough” because I was seeking professional help….

    It is different. And at the end of the day, I still fear I am a narcissist, because I have narcissistic characteristics.

    Liked by 1 person

  13. Thank you Lauren, it takes alot not only to recognize and admit these dynamics to ones self but also to express it here to complete strangers. Again thank you, My situation is very much like yours. . . .I strongly believe I am a covert narcissist which protects me from BPD. When I was younger (around 7-10 ) I was terrified of being left alone or abandoned…to the point of irrational delusions and dissociations which overwhelmed me to say the least. I was “abandoned” 1 year ago by a emotionally manipulative female and have been studying cluster A B C since…. which eventually lead me to realize I was reading about me. Thanks again and good luck.

    Liked by 1 person

  14. I can’t express into words the feelings I feel right now running through my soul from reading your blog. I recently discovered I’m a covert narcissist and since realization, have been researching the internet on how to heal from it. I don’t like being this way. It’s affecting my relationships, family, my future, and there’s not much out there to help me. I can’t open the link to your story. I’m hoping you read this and contact me with it. I want to thank you for being candid and writing your story. It has brought confirmation and hope for my journey. I wish you the best. Lisa

    Liked by 1 person

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