3. Projecting Blame
Robustly projecting blame is closely linked to deflection but maybe more damaging because projections are unfair attacks that detract from a person’s sense-of-self. Also, a projection is usually about the partner who is criticizing, not the person who is being criticized.
For example, say a partner consistently completes all of the chores around the house. One day, he decides to forgo some housework in order to go watch a game with friends. Upon his return, he notices the narcissist did a load of laundry. He thanks the partner and the partner utters, “You do whatever you want. You are so selfish. You only think of yourself.” Obviously, it is the narcissist who is selfish, not the partner.
4. Inflicting Guilt
Continually inflicting guilt is another painful weapon a narcissist wields. This happens when a narcissist does something nice for a person then throws it in the person’s face when attempting to control the person, or when trying to take advantage of a person’s empathy.
For example, say a person conveys to the narcissist that separation is necessary. The narcissist may say things like, “How can you do this to me when I helped you start your own business?”
A projection may follow, “Were you just using me?” The narcissist may also say things to imprison the person in the relationship using guilt. “If you leave, I’ll never be the same.” Or “You will devastate the kids. You are ruining everyone’s life. I hope you are happy.” Exploiting a person’s conscience to manipulate and control the person is never acceptable.
5. Acting Passive aggressively
Routinely acting out in a passive-aggressive fashion is also a tendency of a covert narcissist. This typically transpires when a person doesn’t comply with a narcissist’s wishes.
For example, say a person interviews for a position the narcissist does not agree with. She lands the position, but her new boss mentions that she needs to “clean up” her LinkedIn page. She checks it out and discovers the narcissist messed with it, subtly creating a sloppy and unprofessional appearance. When she approaches the partner, the partner claims he was trying to help her and accuses her of being “ungrateful.”
These emotional manipulation tactics are often unconsciously motivated by insecurity, so the narcissist may be unaware. Reality is also distorted by the narcissist’s unconscious defense mechanisms, which may make it nearly impossible for the narcissist to see. Yet, these narcissistic dynamics destroy healthy conflict resolution, tear apart a person’s self-esteem, and undermine a person’s strides towards success.
They may have a destructive impact on a person’s life over time. Assessing a partner’s motivation to examine these compulsions is necessary and professional help may be helpful. Yet, if a partner is unmotivated to trust a person and honor the request to address the problems, the safe solution may be to exit the relationship.
Covert narcissists are experts when it comes to emotional manipulation tactics and tricking the ones who love them. They know very well how to exploit other people’s goodness and kindness for fulfilling their twisted ego. If you feel that no matter what you do, and how much you try to help them, they will never change their toxic ways, then the best option for you is to leave the relationship and never look back.