Covert narcissists, like most predators, seek power and control. They want to dominate their partners sexually, emotionally, and physically. They do this by exploiting vulnerabilities. This is why they love-bomb you with attention and flattery in the beginning of the relationship—because no matter how strong or confident you are, being in “love” makes you vulnerable by default. Covert narcissists don’t need physical aggression to control you (although sometimes they do). Instead, relationships provide them the perfect opportunity to consume you by manufacturing the illusion of love. This is why it’s so damaging when bystanders say: “Well, why didn’t you just leave?” You never entered a relationship with the covert narcissist expecting to be abused, belittled, and criticized—first, you were tricked into falling in love, which is the strongest human bond in the world. Covert narcissists know this.
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