Covert narcissism is narcissism under cover. Covert narcissists can be quite lovable and charming. So, beware. What you can’t readily see can hurt you.
Charming narcissists turn on the charm for one of two reasons. They might simply crave your attention and admiration. But they also might just have plans to take advantage of you. In either case, the reason they succeed in manipulating you is the same. Victims simply confuse interest with caring.
Like it or not, we sometimes have to deal with vulgar narcissists. And because they don’t care, we might wonder what good it does to confront them. The answer here lies in the good that can come from outing the truth.
Relationships naturally grow in strength, depth, and wholesomeness in the absence of character disturbance. And when our most important relationships are solid, we can expect the makings of a healthy community. It all starts with character.
Loving relationships can promote character growth, that’s for sure. But when someone has significant character disturbance no amount of loving care alone can fix things.
Everyone has a distinctive way of seeing things and doing things. And we develop unique “styles” of relating to others. That’s what defines our personality. But sometimes a person’s style of relating is in itself problematic. Character disorders always present problems for relationships.
Authenticity is not so much a character trait as it is a state of being. To be authentic, you have to choose to be transparent. Doing so naturally makes you quite vulnerable. But it also opens the door to true intimacy with another.
We become the master of our appetites and aversions when we face and pass crucial tests of character. And the most crucial tests come with temptation, adversity, and power. These tests come early on and often throughout life. We build strength of character by facing and passing life’s little tests in our early years. This prepares us to face the bigger tests later on.
To be of good character, we must become master of our appetites and aversions, our likes and dislikes. We must become master of instead of slave to what has been commonly called the “pleasure principle.”
At a primal level, we are all animals with basic desires, instincts, urges, and raw emotions. And these primal characteristics of ours are not inherently evil. They’re a part of who we are. But because we are more than mere animals, we’re capable of functioning on a much higher plane. Before we can elevate ourselves to that plane, however, we must first “own” and then reckon with our baser inclinations. Of course, this is neither appealing nor easy. In fact the burden of self-reckoning is a “cross” we’re all called to carry if we’re to fashion a better world. Failing to accept this burden and instead lying about the flaws within ourselves that we need to reckon with is the ultimate evil.