The full title of the book is:-
The Covert Passive Aggressive Narcissist: Recognizing the Traits and Finding Healing After Hidden Emotional and Psychological Abuse
By Debbie Mirza published via Amazon and Kindle December 2017
“A covert narcissist has the same traits of narcissism as the well-known overt type. The difference is when they control and manipulate, when they demean and devalue you, it is done in such a subtle way you don’t notice it.”Debbie Mirza
Here is what Debbie says about the experience of being in a relationship with someone with covert narcissistic traits.
“This type of narcissism is one of the most damaging forms because the abuse is so hidden and so insidious. You can be in a relationship with a covert narcissist that can last for decades and not realize you are being psychologically and emotionally controlled, manipulated, and abused. There are no visible scars with this form of abuse, and you are usually the only one that experiences their destructive and psychologically debilitating behavior.”
This is so true. Something I did not comprehend until after the relationship I was in had come to an abrupt end. This next quote from Debbie sums up how I felt after the discard when he had dumped me for the new (or not so new) woman he had told me he was now in love with.
“Living with a covert narcissist drains your spirit and leaves you questioning your own reality.”
This review is by way of recommending this book as a useful educational resource and also helping you to understand the hidden forms of abuse that individuals can experience in relationships. The author also includes examples of covert passive-aggressive behaviours and provides a chapter on healing and techniques you can use to start to rebuild and change your life and your future.
I read this book at first as a way to comprehend to understand my own experience. Was the relationship really abusive, was I overthinking things, was it all my fault, was I really to blame for how things unfolded post-separation? I was questioning myself.
Although people will have different experiences of emotional and psychological abuse many of the main behaviours and abusive behaviours and narcissistic traits Debbie explores in this book did resonate with me.
This quote for example summed up how I had felt during the relationship, part of what I brushed under the carpet.
“Narcissists are deeply unhappy people. They get jealous of you when you are experiencing life and happiness. They do not want you to be happy and strong as those feelings threaten their ability to control you.”
You see this is how it is. You might be a strong, positive, happy individual, with the ability to go out into the community and start to build up networks and friendships. Whereas the covert narc is unable to really socialise and does not want you to have this happy outgoing type of life.
Here is another snippet. “They put the responsibility on you to make sure they are happy and blame you when they’re not.”
I was even told “You should be anticipating my needs” I didn’t fully understand that phrase when he used to tell me that. Looking back I did see how he was conditioning me to look after his needs, to please him, to make sure that everything he needed was available for him. That phrase was part of the devaluation to make me feel bad, that I was not looking after his needs. Very subtle way of making you feel responsible or lacking in some way.
I found many examples of narcissistic behaviours and real-life stories used as illustrations of how these relationships unfold over the years even decades. There are many examples of manipulation, conditioning, mind games, gaslighting, projecting, cheating, lying, and breaking trust. The author also includes a checklist of the traits of a covert narcissist, although as non-professional individuals we can not diagnose a partner, spouse, or significant other, the checklist provides us with a way to comprehend certain behaviours that might be confusing us, or making us feel bad about ourselves, or conditioning or grooming us to do more for them. This list refers you to Chapter 4 “Traits of a Covert Narcissist” which looks at the behaviours in more detail.
Three Phases Of A Narcissistic Relationship
The author also covers the three phases of a narcissistic relationship, love bombing, devalueing, and the discard. The devalue love bomb stage can last for a number of years, which is the hidden covert abuse. I liken it to, he loves me, he loves me not, I remember writing a text to my then-partner after a very hostile angry stomach churning outburst over a video call, (yes even when not actually in the same house together you can still be verbally abused)
In My Story
In my story the chapter “Confession To My Face” I reproduce the text message I sent to him.
I don’t like seeing you like that. I now feel sick to the pit of my stomach again!!
How does that happen?
I only want to help you. I’m not laughing at you. Please don’t talk to me like that again.
It does you no good and it does me no good either.
I worked through everything you told me and got to a better place in the last couple of days after your outburst at the weekend.
What do you really want?
If you don’t want me in your life, please tell me.
I don’t want a monster, I want a man. Good Night.
Sleep on it. X X X X
You see I didn’t even understand in 2018 that what I was going through at that time was emotional abuse. The reason why I laughed was because he would raise his voice get angry, and say horrible things, it was my reaction, nervous laughter, which obviously did not go down well with him.
Control And Manipulation Tactics
You will discover in ‘The Covert Passive Aggressive Narcissist’, that author covers control and manipulation tactics plus there are chapters that cover covert narcissistic parents, CNs in the workplace, sex with a CN, and divorcing a CN.
The following quote is so true.
“An amicable divorce is not possible when you are dealing with a covert narcissist”
Imagine if you are not married and are in a living together relationship, although the covert narcissist might tell you they want to remain friends and want an amicable ending when they have dumped you or discarded you, their actions towards you will tell a different story.
You can also find three valuable books that cover “Divorcing A Narcissist” that I recommend here on my shop page.
Is the book worth reading?
I purchased the Kindle Version of this book and as I was reading there were many parts of the text that hit home. While reading, I highlighted many parts and added little notes of my own experiences. I found it a very useful and educational book. It really helped me to understand some of my own experiences in the relationships I have had. When you really begin to understand the behaviours of covert narcissists you can begin to protect yourself. Being in a relationship with someone who has such a negative destructive pattern of behaviour can have an enormous effect on your own wellbeing. Not just in the spiritual emotional and psychological but also in your physical health.
The author covers this in chapter 12 “Your Body Knew: Common Illnesses” which although I have understood for a long time about the power of your own mind and how the way you think and behave impacts your health, I did not fully understand that an individual can also pick up health issues in connection with the toxic behaviours of a significant other. Debbie refers to and introduces a book called “The Secret Language Of Your Body” By Inna Segal which explains how intelligent our bodies are. It is well known that stress is one of the biggest factors in ill health and death. Reading about the links between common illnesses and relationships with CN’s certainly gave me insights into some of the episodes of illness that I experienced as well.
Who would I recommend should read this book?
If you are in a relationship where you feel you are being criticised, put down, humiliated, or silenced in any way, then you should read this book. I am an older baby boomer I grew up in the 60’s and 70’s I didn’t have what I could call a good family upbringing. There were lots of stressful situations between my parents, that ended in divorce, unfortunately both of my parents died before they could reach retirement.
If you feel confused or exhausted in your relationship, you question yourself, you are not sure if he really loves you or not, and you can’t figure out what is happening, then I recommend you get a copy of The Covert Passive Aggressive Narcissist, it might just help you to understand that you are in a toxic relationship. Then you can start to make a plan to break free and start to live the life that you really deserve to live.
If you want to follow me on Social Media you can find me on Twitter now X as I share more of the quotes from the books I have read over the past few years.
I also have an Author Page on Facebook where I post about my own journey and hidden emotional and psychological abuse. To educate and raise awareness of this form of abuse.
And if you would like to purchase a copy of my book you can find the Amazon and Digital version here.
“Post Separation Abuse, Betrayal & Abandonment, What Type Of Man?”
by Loren Keeling
Find it on Amazon and Digital ebook Stores