Covert personalities are troublesome individuals. These folks are not who they appear to be. They often have good “impression management” skills. So, they might know how to come across well. But they inevitably do harm. It’s one thing to know how to look good. But it’s quite another to actually care about being good.
I first exposed a major type of covert personality in In Sheep’s Clothing. These covert-aggressors are determined to dominate and control. But they know how to appear benign. Worse, they know how make you doubt your intuitions about them. That’s how they succeed in manipulating you! That’s why I wanted to expose them and their tactics!
In recent years, we’ve come to appreciate just how many covert personalities there are. Covert narcissists are one such type. Moreover, as I’ve often asserted, the narcissism spectrum is vast. So, there are many types of narcissists. While some are less toxic than others, all are problematic. But the covert types among them are particularly probematic. That’s because you don’t know who they are until it’s too late.
The Varieties of Covert Narcissists
Narcissists are always trouble in relationships, no matter what type they are. It’s because of the way they operate. They can’t help being egocentric and uncaring about others. But when they’re covert about it, it’s easy to be fooled.
Charmers are among these covert personalities. So are “Emotional Romeos” and amorous narcissists. These folks will have you thinking it’s all about you. But you eventually learn that it’s always really about them! Too bad it takes time to see them for who they really are and what they really want. And too bad that by that time you’ve alread invested plenty and much damage has been done.
A Problem with Honesty
Covert personalities are inherently dishonest people. They lie to others about who they are and what they’re up to. And they lie to themselves as well. Make no mistake, this behavior is not unconscious, protective denial. (See: pp. 204-205 in Character Disturbance.) It’s deliberate, albeit, habitual, “automatic” tomfoolery. And it’s part of what’s seriously wrong with their character. I have a lot to say about this in Essentials for the Journey.
I’ll be talking more about all covert personalities on my Character Matters podcast. Tune in by following this YouTube link. And look for information next week on interviews I’ve given other podcasters.