March 3, 2021

Dear Covert Narcissist, Love is Not a Board Game.


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To the one who enters the dating scene with the knowledge that they are completely unavailable.

The one who is love avoidant, love-phobic, and a (wo)manizer with a deep-rooted fear of commitment/engulfment and an inability to commit but continues to date others who have the desire for a genuine commitment.

Please fix yourself!

This poor unsuspecting person you are gaslighting has no idea who you really are and won’t for a while. And when they finally do, it will be too late.

They don’t know that you are broken, terrified, and deeply troubled. They have no idea that behind the inflated ego and narcissistic behavior lies a very broken, emotionally tortured inner child who gets all its validation from others.

They won’t realize that their strength and independence (which attracted you to them) will eventually be what you use against them. They also don’t understand that, eventually, they will temporarily lose that strength—you slowly rape his or her self-worth.

They don’t know this (yet) because you have not shown your true self; you have not removed the mask.

You, my dear narcissist, have only shown what you want them to see, which is ultimately what solely lies on the surface. Early in the relationship, you are wearing your “great partner” mask. You are so very attentive and loving, strong and loyal, affectionate and romantic. And as luck would have it, you are everything they ever wanted in a lover. 

They probably ask themselves, “Is this too good to be true?” “How did I get so lucky?”

Hold it right there, my friend. It definitely is too good to be true, and you aren’t so lucky.

My dear narcissist, you lay your sob story on real thick. The story is always the same. It always includes how someone wronged you someway, somehow. You are the poor, unsuspecting victim of your life. Your ex is crazy or a monster and “destroyed your world.”

Truth be told, this story makes you so much more loveable because you are vulnerable in everyone’s eyes. 

How could someone hurt you? You are such a great person!

Then others jump on your bandwagon of despise for your ex and anyone else who has wronged you. They become your biggest cheerleader and support system.

You play the game for a while, but slowly the mask starts to slip. That “great partner” starts to show the signs—things may not be what they seem. Maybe things aren’t that great.

The person on the other end starts questioning things silently, in their mind, wondering if they really see what they think they see. They tell themselves that maybe they’re “just overreacting,” although their gut is screaming that something isn’t right.

Sadly, most people ignore it. They pass it off as anxiety regarding work, the kids, their boss—whatever.

It’s anything but you.

As time goes on, things become really clear that you have “changed,” or that is their perception. Things were so great in the beginning. They start to question themselves more. 

“What have I done wrong?” 

The truth is that you, the narcissist, haven’t changed; this is who you really are and always have been. That great human and partner is just a façade, an unsustainable act. So, your partner starts to panic as self-blame kicks in. They are left wondering where that great guy or girl went, and they work harder at trying to bring you back.

As you become more irritable, distant, and start to withdraw, they become super clingy, needy, and fearful. You have successfully triggered their abandonment.

Sadly, this needy behavior is exactly what makes you run far and fast, only they don’t understand that. They feel like if they tell you how much they love you, constantly, and give you exactly what you need (by trying to anticipate your every need), things will go back to normal.

But it never does, does it?

You are a chameleon; you know exactly how to be whoever you need to be for your audience. And your audience is always the same.

The sad reality is that you have no idea who you actually are because you have been wearing these masks for so long. There is absolutely no depth to you, no substance, and all of your relationships are surface-level and empty.

You have no real connection to anyone, not even yourself.

Your love life is like a board game, and the people in it are just pawns—remove one and insert a new one. There is no depth or connection; these people all serve the same purpose.

They validate you. They keep you from being alone and with yourself. They provide you with consistent sex (until you eventually take that away too).

All of this behavior keeps cycling until, eventually, they wake up—on their own or through their support network. Once they recognize your game, maybe they even play the same game with you. (That is what the smart ones do.)

They catch on to your bullsh*t, your sob stories, your addictions, your lack of commitment, and the fact that you are using them with no intention of committing. Eventually, once they have grown tired and bored of your game, they move on (hopefully). It’ll be someone completely opposite of you once (if) they heal from the trauma you have inflicted.

You, however, move on immediately to find the next pawn in your love game. You don’t even look back! Remove one, insert another. The truth is, lovers and people are all the same to you—a means to avoiding loneliness and having to look at your life and how you live it.

You have an intense, crippling fear of being by yourself despite your statement that “you love to be single.” As long as you have a person to latch on to, like a tick, you’ll eventually drain them of their last breath.

Since you are a more “covert” style narcissist, the damage that you cause is repairable, thankfully. Most people can move on after recognizing exactly who you are.

If they are grounded in who they are, they will be thankful for the lesson. They will move on and heal and become even stronger and more vigilant when it comes to relationships. They will have a true sixth sense for this type of person (you).

However, this does not protect your next victim and the victim after that because you truly are so unsuspecting—the perfect covert narcissist.

It’s your turn to fix yourself and become whole and grounded in who you are. Resolve the trauma that brought you to this behavior; begin working on the things that cause you to use others as a tool for your survival.

When you begin to start loving and respecting yourself, you will learn to live without those survival skills by building different coping skills and teaching yourself how to use them.

With some introspection and a true self-evaluation, you can take steps to heal those wounds that are causing you so much pain. Stop clinging to the idea of who you are and looking to others to validate it.

Find out who you are and build on that. The truth is, you know something isn’t right—that your behaviors are deeply troubling—but you don’t know how to fix it. You continue this behavior because you don’t know any other way.

Unfortunately, you created these survival skills because you don’t believe in yourself. You do not love yourself. By controlling every ounce of your surroundings and not letting anyone get through your armor, you feel you are protecting yourself.

My advice is to remove the armor, seek therapy and/or coaching and heal those deep-rooted childhood wounds that told you that you weren’t good enough. Take a much-needed break from dating and all things that validate you.

Do the deep inner work so that you can see relationships as a means of love and support, not a means of control and validation. Start loving yourself so deeply and madly that hurting someone else would ultimately deeply hurt you.

Healing from narcissism is difficult but not impossible.

It takes self-awareness, dedication, commitment, and a whole lot of self-love to get past the root cause of these behaviors.

You are not alone in this!

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