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Covert narcissist

Covert Narcissist.

Angela is 63 years old; she’s a mother of 3 children, 2 girls and a boy. The boy is her middle child. She is divorced and re-married. Her youngest daughter and her son both are married with children, her oldest daughter is not married but has 2 children she is raising alone.

Angela does not work, and hasn’t ever worked apart from a few admin style posts, which she left because the people there were mean.

To people outside of her family, Angela appears quiet, timid and shy. Angela doesn’t like confrontation, and is easily upset by criticism. When someone criticises her, Angela becomes very defensive towards the criticiser, but then aligns herself with someone to discuss how horrible the criticiser is, and how it isn’t her fault she got something wrong.

Angela secretly believes that she should have had a better life, and regularly fantasises about living a wealthy lifestyle. Angela likes the finer things in life but plays down how much she spends or enjoys things, projecting an unaffected attitude to the high value belongings she has. Angela does not boast or brag, but enjoys it when others admire the things she has.

Angela’s house is well presented, and she is irritated when others disrupt her order, although she won’t say so openly, but will make passive aggressive comments to communicate her distaste. If anyone confronts her about her behaviour she will be offended or move quickly into a position of victim, suggesting the confronter is attacking her. Angela will let all those around her know about the confronter’s behaviour, which she will consider to be outrageous. This will be the same response to any behaviour she finds unacceptable.

Angela views her children as extensions of herself. Her eldest child is a disappointment because she is a single mother. It doesn’t matter to Angela that her daughter is both working and raising the children, because her daughter has bought shame on the family. Angela may use religion as a justification for her attitude, saying God disapproves of unwed mothers. Angela may even attempt to get custody of her daughter’s children, especially if her daughter withdraws regular or total contact.

Angela’s son is her golden child. She thinks he is everything that a human should be. She will ignore any bad behaviour, even if she would correct it in her other two children, and in fact probably enable it. Her son’s children are the apple of her eye, and she regularly buys them gifts or offers to look after them, which she doesn’t do for her other grandchildren.

Angela will not understand why her other children find this hurtful and will accuse them of being selfish and unfair.

Angela will dismiss protestations of hurt, upset or anger from her children as silly and overreacting. Angela will deny any event that makes her look anything less than the perfect parent. Angela will have often ignored her children’s emotional, physical and practical needs if they conflict with her own. For example if her children needed to be taken to school and she was tired she would make them walk at an inappropriate age.

If Angela’s children complain of inappropriate behaviour towards them by a partner or friend, Angela will likely deny their experiences and not take action to protect them.

Angela will be intrusive and use inappropriate boundaries around her children’s privacy, especially as they become older and sexually active. She may even try to attract her children’s partners.

Angela may have behaved promiscuously in the past, or maybe even in the present. If Angela is caught cheating she will likely deflect and deny, blaming others for her behaviour.

Angela enjoys forging fast and firm new relationships with people, only for the person ‘not to be the person she thought they were’, blaming that person for the failure of the relationship. Angela likes to be around people who tell her how wonderful she is, and if she is in a group, she will quietly bring the conversation back around to her without others really noticing at first.

Angela’s relationships are short lived, although it is always they other person’s fault for the relationship breakdown. Angela is still furious with her ex husband for leaving her, despite having remarried a quiet and acquiescent man. She blames him for not having a wealthy lifestyle, and the problems in the relationships with her children.

When Angela is criticised by her children, she will either fly into a rage, or she will play a victim role. It is usually only with her husband and children that she will demonstrate anger.

Angela is critical of anyone and anything that does not measure up to her standards, or who takes any spotlight away from her. She will actively tell lies and stir gossip against those who threaten her image of perfection.

Angela will seem quiet and unassuming, all the while manipulating everyone around her into submission through her victim behaviour. Angela will never accept responsibility for any wrongdoings, and will avoid any discussion of conflict by deflecting and bringing in old arguments or offenses against her.

Many people feel sorry for Angela, until they have spent enough time around her to become aware of her easy shift into a place of victimhood that results in her manipulation of a situation to an outcome favourable to her.

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