From Charm to Harm: Unveiling the Tactics of a Female Covert Narcissist

We often think of narcissists as arrogant, boastful, and self-absorbed individuals. However, not all narcissists fit this stereotypical image, as is the case with the female covert narcissist.

Covert narcissists use a subtle approach to manipulate people and often remain hidden in plain sight, making it difficult to spot them.

female covert narcissist

The Female Covert Narcissist

A female covert narcissist is indeed a fascinating character, marked by a grandiose sense of self-importance, a lack of empathy, and an unending need for admiration.

However, unlike her overt counterparts, she does not display her narcissism in a blatant, obvious fashion.

Instead, she masks her traits behind a façade of charm and manipulation, making her more insidious and challenging to identify.

These women are masters of deception, able to present themselves as shy, quiet, and even insecure, contrary to the arrogance and entitlement typically associated with narcissism.

Their ability to mimic emotions while lacking emotional depth and warmth can make their interactions with others feel eerily disingenuous.

The Main Characteristics of A Female Covert Narcissist

The complex nature of a female covert narcissist is often shrouded in subtlety and secrecy, making them difficult to identify.

Their traits are far less conspicuous than those of an overt narcissist, yet equally impactful.

Grandiose Sense of Self-Importance

A female covert narcissist carries an inflated sense of self-importance.

She believes she is special and superior to others, even if her achievements do not justify such a belief.

This characteristic is often hidden behind a mask of humility or self-deprecation.

Lack of Empathy

Despite her ability to mimic empathetic behavior, a female covert narcissist lacks genuine empathy.

She struggles to understand or share the feelings of others, making her interactions feel superficial and insincere.

covert narcissism in women

Manipulative and Controlling

Covert narcissists use manipulation and control as tools to manage their relationships.

They subtly influence others’ actions and decisions to suit their own needs, often at the expense of the other person’s well-being.

Craving for Admiration

While she may not openly seek admiration, a female covert narcissist craves it nonetheless.

She desires constant validation and reassurance of her superiority, often fishing for compliments or creating situations where she is the center of attention.

Passive Aggressiveness

Unlike overt narcissists who are typically direct and confrontational, a female covert narcissist tends to be passive-aggressive.

She expresses her hostility or discontentment indirectly through subtle insults, silent treatment, or backhanded compliments.

female covert narcissist

Fear of Criticism

Despite their outward confidence, female covert narcissists have a deep-seated fear of criticism.

Any form of critique or rejection is seen as a personal attack and is often met with defensiveness or retaliation.


Female covert narcissists tend to be perfectionists.

They set unrealistically high standards for themselves and others, leading to a constant sense of dissatisfaction and frustration.

Their need for perfection often stems from a fear of appearing flawed or vulnerable.

female covert narcissist

The Tactics Used By A Female Covert Narcissist

Female covert narcissists employ a range of subtle tactics to manipulate, control, and maintain dominance in their relationships.

These tactics are camouflaged and subtle, making them difficult to recognize until it’s too late.

Playing the Victim Card

One of the most common tactics used by female covert narcissists is playing the victim.

They have an uncanny ability to twist situations and manipulate others into believing that they are the ones being wronged, even when they are the instigators.

This tactic serves two purposes – it distracts from their own manipulative behavior and elicits sympathy and support.

covert narcissist signs

Subtle Sabotage

Covert narcissists are experts at subtly sabotaging others.

They will hinder your progress in professional or personal endeavors without you suspecting anything.

This could be through spreading rumors, undermining your confidence, or creating obstacles in your path.

Their goal is to keep you dependent on them and under their control.

Emotional Manipulation

A female covert narcissist uses emotional manipulation as a tool to control others.

They will use tactics such as guilt-tripping, gaslighting, or emotional blackmail to make you conform to their wishes.

They are skilled at detecting your emotional vulnerabilities and exploiting them to their advantage.

covert narcissist signs

Passive-Aggressive Behavior

Female covert narcissists often resort to passive-aggressive behavior when they don’t get their way.

This could include giving you the silent treatment, withholding affection, or subtly criticizing you.

This method allows them to exert control and express their displeasure without openly causing a conflict.

False Humility

Unlike overt narcissists who openly boast about their achievements, covert narcissists use a tactic known as false humility.

They will downplay their accomplishments while subtly ensuring that others are aware of them.

This creates an illusion of modesty, making them appear humble and unassuming.

covert narcissist signs

Idealization and Devaluation

This tactic involves putting you on a pedestal one moment (idealization) and tearing you down the next (devaluation).

When a covert narcissist idealizes you, they shower you with attention and praise.

However, once they feel threatened or bored, they begin to devalue you by criticizing, ignoring, or belittling you.

This rollercoaster of highs and lows can leave you feeling confused and emotionally drained.

Smear Campaigns

If you cross a female covert narcissist or try to expose her true nature, s he may launch a smear campaign against you.

This involves spreading lies or half-truths about you to ruin your reputation.

By discrediting you, she aims to protect her own image and turn others against you.

recover from smear campaign

Why Are Their Tactics Effective?

The tactics employed by a female covert narcissist are remarkably effective, and their potency lies in their subtlety and psychological manipulation.

These women have a deep understanding of human psychology and exploit this knowledge to their advantage, manipulating our inherent needs for validation, approval, and our innate desire to help others.

Subtle Manipulation

One of the reasons these tactics are so successful is because they often go unnoticed until it’s too late.

The art of manipulation used by a female covert narcissist is discreet and shrouded in ambiguity.

They are adept at presenting themselves as caring and empathetic, thereby gaining trust and creating a façade that obscures their true intentions.

female covert narcissist

Exploitation of Validation and Approval Needs

Another factor contributing to the effectiveness of their tactics is the exploitation of our need for validation and approval.

A common method is the use of false compliments or flattery.

By making us feel good about ourselves, they create a sense of indebtedness, subtly coercing us into fulfilling their desires.

This strategy not only feeds their need for control but also leaves us susceptible to further manipulation.

Emotional Blackmail

Emotional blackmail is another prevalent tactic in their arsenal. They skillfully induce guilt and fear, manipulating us into acquiescing to their demands.

By threatening to withdraw their affection or approval, they make us fear the potential loss of the relationship.

This fear of abandonment or rejection, coupled with the guilt of disappointing them, often compels us to comply with their wishes, despite our better judgment.

covert narcissist husband lack of empathy

Playing the Victim Card

Lastly, they are masters at playing the victim card.

They portray themselves as the wronged party, eliciting sympathy and diverting attention from their manipulative behaviors.

This tactic allows them to evade responsibility for their actions and places the burden of their happiness on others.

Safeguarding Yourself from a Female Covert Narcissist

Interactions with a female covert narcissist can be emotionally draining and psychologically damaging.

Here are some strategies to protect yourself:


Establish Boundaries

Boundaries are essential in any relationship, especially when dealing with a covert narcissist.

Covert narcissist women blur the lines of personal space and manipulate situations to their advantage.

By setting clear boundaries, you assert your needs and limit the extent of their influence over you.

Ensure that these boundaries are firm and non-negotiable.

Practice Emotional Detachment

Emotional detachment involves stepping back from the situation and evaluating it objectively.

This can be particularly useful when dealing with emotional blackmail or guilt-tripping tactics.

By separating your emotions from the situation, you can better assess the narcissist’s intentions and avoid falling into their manipulation traps.

stay calm

Foster Self-Confidence and Self-Worth

Covert narcissists often prey on individuals with low self-esteem, using their insecurities to control and manipulate them.

Building your self-confidence and affirming your self-worth can make you less susceptible to their tactics.

Engage in activities that boost your self-esteem and surround yourself with positive influences that reinforce your worth.

Tips on How to Improve Your Self-Esteem

Seek Support

Dealing with a covert narcissist can be isolating and overwhelming.

It’s important to seek support from trusted friends, family, or a mental health professional.

Sharing your experiences and feelings can provide much-needed perspective and validation.

It also helps to know that you’re not alone in this struggle.

support group men

Educate Yourself

Knowledge is power.

The more you understand about narcissism and the tactics used by covert narcissists, the better equipped you’ll be to recognize and counter their manipulations.

Read books, attend workshops, or consult with professionals to gain insights into their behavior.

Prioritize Self-Care

Self-care is crucial when dealing with the stress and emotional turmoil that a relationship with a narcissist can cause.

Make sure to prioritize your mental and physical health.

Exercise regularly, maintain a balanced diet, get enough sleep, and engage in activities that bring you joy and relaxation.


Final Thoughts on the Female Covert Narcissist

The female covert narcissist is a complex character, often disguised by a veneer of charm and vulnerability.

Her manipulation tactics are subtle yet powerful, exploiting our innate desires for validation, approval, and connection. She weaves a web of control that is difficult to escape from, largely due to her ability to manipulate emotions and perceptions.

Navigating relationships with a female covert narcissist can be challenging, but with knowledge, awareness, and support, it’s possible to mitigate their influence and reclaim one’s autonomy.

Frequently Asked Questions about Narcissism

Frequently Asked Questions About The Female Covert Narcissist

What is a female covert narcissist?

A female covert narcissist is a woman who exhibits traits of covert narcissism, such as a strong sense of entitlement, lack of empathy, and a need for admiration, but does so in a more subtle and hidden manner than a typical overt narcissist. They often appear vulnerable and sensitive to gain sympathy or manipulate others.

How do you identify a female covert narcissist?

Identifying a female covert narcissist can be challenging due to their subtle and manipulative tactics. Some signs include a tendency to play the victim, a sense of entitlement, passive-aggressive behavior, the inability to handle criticism, emotional blackmail, and exploiting others’ kindness and empathy

How do you deal with a female covert narcissist?

Dealing with a female covert narcissist involves setting firm boundaries, practicing emotional detachment, fostering self-confidence, seeking support, educating oneself about narcissism, and prioritizing self-care. If the relationship becomes abusive or harmful, it’s important to seek professional help.

What causes covert narcissism in females?

The exact cause of narcissism, including covert narcissism in females, is unknown. It’s likely a combination of genetic, environmental, and psychological factors. Childhood experiences, such as excessive pampering or extreme criticism, can also contribute to the development of narcissistic traits.

Can a relationship with a female covert narcissist be healthy?

A healthy relationship requires mutual respect, empathy, and open communication, traits often lacking in a narcissist. While it’s possible for a narcissist to be part of a healthy relationship if they recognize their behavior and are willing to change, it’s often challenging and requires professional intervention.

Sharing is caring!

Leave a comment