Ninja Narcissists: How They Torment You With Their Sneak Attacks

Ninja Narcissists

You must have heard of narcissists and might even have dealt with one at least once in your life. But have you ever come across ninja narcissists?

This is going to be a far more personal blog post than I normally write. I enjoy challenging myself to write in a strictly scholarly tone, but I have found that a more casual and conversational tone is needed for some situations. And in other conundrums, it is just best to lay oneself raw.

Like millions of divorced women, I find myself juggling many responsibilities: career, school, primary custody of my children, family obligations, care of the pets, management of the house, etc. There are a million little details and decisions to be made every day and the current COVID-19 pandemic hasn’t made life any easier.

I now add “homeschool teacher” to my resume as well as a short-order cook and counseling expert in sibling relations. Most of the time – pandemic aside – I can handle the juggling gracefully and smoothly, like a veteran entertainer. Other times, I am the most uncoordinated clown in the circus.

Although it can be said that the divorce rate in America has steadily declined over the years, so too has the marriage rate (Leins, 2020). It’s a basic and direct correlation: The higher a state’s marriage rate, the higher the divorce rate; likewise, the lower the state’s marriage rate, the lower the divorce rate. Divorce is not easy for anyone involved.

However, when children are involved, it is overwhelmingly more challenging for women. In 2016, the United States Census reported that only 19.6% of fathers were the custodial parent yet had a much higher remarriage rate than custodial mothers.

Single mothers with primary custody of their children generally have a much more stressful, busy, and challenging home life. Despite the failure of our first marriages, many of us still believe that we will find a man who doesn’t just love us but will also love our children and be willing to create a new family.

Related: 5 Good Reasons To Leave a Narcissist

Even without a quarantine and shelter-in-place orders, it can be tough to meet new people; hence the popularity of dating apps. Dating apps are really just a jazzed-up version of job interviews, albeit interviews that require much more makeup and vulnerability.

Love – good or bad, right or wrong, short term or long term – makes us vulnerable. Vulnerability makes us prime targets for sneak attacks from discreet narcissists that I call “ninja narcissists.” They not only have a smooth way of getting through our defenses, but they find our most raw and sensitive parts to attack.

Those with narcissistic tendencies or personality traits have an inflated ego and feel superior to others. When they feel threatened by another person’s success or confidence, the narcissist must bring the person down.

I recently matched with a seemingly nice, stable man on a dating app. Meeting in person is practically impossible with the current isolation orders, so more time is spent over text and video chats. We had given each other access to our social media accounts, including Instagram and Facebook. Things were going swimmingly well, and we were looking forward to meeting up when quarantine orders were lifted…until the ninja-narc attack.

For context, my grandmother is currently at the end of stages of dementia, and my family and I share the 24-hour care duties. I had just completed a “shift” of over 15 hours with one hour of sleep; I got home, showered, and fell into bed for a few blissful hours of shut-eye. Later that day I was cooking dinner and texting with the guy from the dating app when he asked me for a photo to see what I was doing. 

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Kristy Lee Hochenberger

Kristy Lee Hochenberger is a doctoral student of psychology at Capella University and a member of Psi Chi, the international honor society in psychology. A graduate of prestigious Wells College, Kristy Lee is also a licensed funeral director and co-founder of Salt City Legacy Scholars, Inc, a 501c3 nonprofit organization that awards scholarships and financial assistance to young women across New York State. In addition to her Bachelor's degree, Kristy Lee has an Associate's Degree in Occupational Services as well as a Master of Business Administration. A native of Queens, NY, she currently resides in upstate New York where she is an adjunct faculty member at Syracuse University School of Information Studies (iSchool) and University of the People.View Author posts