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The Covert Narcissism Podcast

English, Social, 1 season, 239 episodes, 3 days, 10 hours, 1 minute
About
Covert narcissistic abuse crushes one’s soul. This podcast is devoted to understanding covert narcissistic abuse, its effect on the victims, and how to heal.
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Scapegoating and Financial Abuse from a Covert Narcissist

In this episode, our guest talks about the financial abuse she endured in a lengthy marriage with children. No matter how many failures or the depth of the failures, covert narcissists will always find someone or something to blame. Scapegoating accompanies the financial abuse, as they blame you for their financial struggles. They simply cannot carry any of the blame themselves. It is never a shared responsibility. You, their supply at one point in time, are often the main target of their scapegoating and the main victim of their financial abuse.   #Parenting #covertnarcissism #abuse #gaslighting #narcissism #covertnarcissist 
5/23/202431 minutes, 7 seconds
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The Emotional Dysregulation of a Covert Narcissist

I’m mad! So I yell at you, punch the wall, storm off, stomp my feet, shove the chair, and slam the bedroom door! I don’t care that you don’t like it! I don’t care that you now feel bad. In fact, I’m going to wait in my room until you come and apologize to me! Who am I? I'm a 2 year old toddler throwing a fit, or a teenager dealing with hormones, social anxiety, and overwhelming schoolwork, or a full-grown covert narcissistic adult. How do you handle the situation? For the 2 year old, you parent them. You take away their favorite toy, have them take a time out, and let them know that this behavior is not okay. You talk with them about emotions. Help them to learn how to handle being angry, and tell them that you love them. For the teenager, you probably ground them. Take away their phone and the car, can’t spend time with their friends. Cancel their fun events. And encourage them to make amends. You talk with them about how their behaviors affect those around them, trying to help them to see outside of themselves. And you try to connect with them and you tell them that you love them. For the covert narcissistic adult, you tiptoe around them. Figure out what set them off and add that to your checklist of things to make sure never happen again. After countless attempts of trying to connect with them, resulting only in circular conversations, you instead wait for this behavior to disappear, for the abuse amnesia to set in, and you both pretend that it never happened. The problem is this behavior is the same from a 2 year old, to a teenager, to a full-grown adult. Understandable from a toddler, expected from a teenager, and shocking from an adult.  
5/19/202422 minutes, 7 seconds
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Removing Trauma From the Body (Special Throwback Episode)

Dr. Melissa Kalt, M.D. specializes in removing the trauma of narcissistic abuse from the body. She brings so much insight to the topic, and I thoroughly enjoyed interviewing her for our audience. This interview is extremely informative and helpful. Dr. Melissa is a graduate of the Medical College of Wisconsin – triple-board-certified in Internal Medicine, Pediatrics, and Lipidology. She was voted to the US Best Doctors™ list by her peers year over year 2009-2018. While single parenting five children, Dr Melissa was promoted from staff physician to Assistant Clinical Professor to Medical Site Director of three clinics at Froedtert and Medical College of Wisconsin, an academic medical institution. By 2012, Dr Melissa had achieved every goal on her over-achiever to-do list yet was miserable. She began an extraordinary journey that solved her most unsolvable problem. It all started with the question - What if life doesn’t have to be this way? The answer - Connect to the truth of who you are. Dr Melissa got really clear about who she was, who she needed to be, and what needed to change. She identified, then extracted herself from several narcissistic relationships and committed to healing her family’s trauma. By extracting the illusion and getting clear about the truth of who she was – everything changed. In 2018, Dr Melissa made the leap to expand beyond the limits of traditional medicine and left her 20+ year medical career to follow her Why. That same year, she found her forever partner in love and business, whom she married in 2019.
5/17/202422 minutes, 23 seconds
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The Isolating Dynamics of a Covert Narcissistic Relationship

In this chat time with Renee Swanson and Eleanor Marks, these two discuss two questions brought by Covert Narcissism Podcast listeners. They each share their answer to this question, “Looking back, when do you wish you would have left? Is there a time that you “wish” you would have filed for divorce sooner?”   The second question they dive into is “Please discuss the isolating dynamics of a covert narcissistic relationship.” In their answer, they talk about two aspects of this question. Covert narcissists isolate you from others with their tactics of manipulation, gaslighting, blame shifting and victim role. In addition to this, victims isolate themselves out of survival and for their own protection in these antagonistic relationships.   Learn more about the group program with these two ladies here   https://www.covertnarcissism.com/group-course    #covertnarcissism #podcast #abuse #gaslighting #marriedtoanarcissist #narcissist #narcissism  
5/12/202425 minutes, 10 seconds
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Grasping Covert Narcissism (Special Throwback episode)

Covert narcissism is messed up! It is so twisted you feel like you are going insane just trying to get a grasp on what’s going on. It is so hard to pinpoint and impossible to describe. You can’t possibly explain it to someone who hasn’t experienced it themselves. Trying to makes you sound crazy, even to yourself. So now you question your own sanity. It is mind-boggling and exhausting. Many victims collapse into a pile of nothing and give up. I don’t blame them. I have been there many times. I know that pain firsthand. The covert narcissist is a master at appearing innocent, kind, compassionate, generous, sincere, benevolent, and much more. To the world, they look not only normal, but even better. They could convince Mother Teresa that they are the perfect spouse. Yet underneath that, in the most subtle ways, they treat people with contempt, disregard, hatred, condescension, disdain, antipathy, and much more. I felt like one minute I understood and the very next it was gone. It was like I was trying to grasp the wind. One minute it made sense, and the next minute I had no idea. If I was struggling this much to understand it, how in the world could I expect my friends to understand it. So why do we try SO hard to understand? Why do we research like crazy? Googling, reading, listening, watching. I didn’t work this hard when I was in school, and I was a dedicated student. But this? This I was absorbing 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, trying so hard to figure out what was going on and why.
5/10/202421 minutes, 54 seconds
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Our Kids Suffer When We Suffer

Kids desire and NEED to feel safe and cared for. When their parent who is their safety and caregiver suffers, they suffer as well. If you think that you are hiding this abuse from your kids, you are wrong. Our kids see it, and they feel it.   Children put their own defense mechanisms in place. These include living in denial, shutting it all out, disassociating, distracting themselves, putting up harsh boundaries with anger and temper, and protecting you by taking on parental roles. These defense mechanisms are harmful to our kids. They lack of life experience causes them to not see it and to not know that this isn't normal or healthy. Listen to the full episode for ideas on how to help our kids. 
5/5/202421 minutes, 22 seconds
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The World Enables Covert Narcissists Guest episode with Sarene Leeds

"I felt that I was the only one who was uncomfortable with his behavior." In this episode, Sarene speaks of her experience in the work environment of Rolling Stone magazine from over 10 years ago. This individual no longer works at Rolling Stone, and in Sarene's words, "I can't speak for Rolling Stone and its work culture for the past ten years. But I can speak to my experience from 2007 to 2014." She describes the toxic work environment and the effect it had on her. "Jann Wenner fueled the boys' club attitude...The reason that my boss treated me the way that he did was because of Jann Wenner's attitude."   When surrounded with a work environment that ignored the passive aggressive gestures of her boss, Sarene questioned her own perspective and feelings. Her coworkers tolerated and even rewarded the inexcusable behavior of their boss to further their own career. But Sarene simply could not do that. She began putting boundaries in place and was shocked at the fallout. Her story is compelling and inspiring. Hearing her share how she stood her ground and flourished from the choices she made is encouraging in this world of narcissistic abuse.   To learn more about Sarene's work, check out these links. "Emotional Abuse Is Real" podcast: https://emotionalabuseisreal.buzzsprout.com/   Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/sareneleedswrites/Website: sareneleedswrites.com
5/2/202435 minutes, 11 seconds
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How do I move forward? Q&A with Eleanor Marks

“I’m in my second marriage and married almost 2 years. I’m realizing he’s a covert narcissist. I am mad at myself because I didn’t think I’d find myself here again, and now learning so much on codependency. I’m on a roller coaster. I have caught him in so many lies. I don’t know why I try to get him to admit it when I know it’s constant lies. I am feeling so much in my chest, and it’s building. He does nice things for me and when I don’t show appreciation adequately he gets weird, like I didn’t show it correctly. I can’t define this ache in my chest but it’s building. Like a scream that can’t come out. I know I need to leave, but I’m frozen. How do I move forward?   “How did you keep your resolve? I've made steps toward leaving: working with a therapist, saving money, looking for a new place to live, and consulting an attorney. Attorneys advise that if you want to keep your rights to the property DON'T LEAVE IT. Instead, ask the other person how ending the relationship is going to look with the house, child custody, etc first. In keeping with the legal advice, I TOLD HIM a couple of weeks ago that I wanted to separate and asked what dealing with the house and agreeing on child custody would look like. We argued for several hours and then he backed down and essentially changed the subject (not the first time this tactic has been used). Since then, things are going OK - more peaceful and he is acknowledging when he's doing SOME things that perpetuate arguments between us and backing off - and yet I find I don't care and still want out. Is this time of peace a ruse? Another manipulation? How did you stick to your plans once you made them and the covert narcissist started "behaving", for lack of a better word?”   http://www.covertnarcissism.com   https://eleanormarks.net/
4/28/202424 minutes, 18 seconds
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It’s a Yo-Yo Relationship

In this episode, Caryn Dixon tells her story publicly for the first time. Like so many others, she was in that yo-yo relationship. On again and off again. Thinking “this is over” only to give him one more chance. Trapped by hope and the belief that he will change, Caryn dug in to save her marriage many times.  There is nothing wrong with you for choosing to believe in the person you married, for wanting to work things out with them, for fighting for the relationship, for hanging onto hope. These are not the signs that one is broken. The signs that we have been broken by this person are when our hope is gone, when we don’t have anything left, when we just don’t care anymore. That is our breaking point. In sharing her story, Caryn gives a message of hope. She followed her heart and is chasing her dreams now. No matter how isolated you are, you can get through this. It is time to reach out for help and find the support that you need.  From her song, “Here I am,”  “They told me that I couldn’t fly. Gave a million reasons why I shouldn’t try. But I didn’t listen. Well, I stumbled and I hit the ground. Get up and go another round. So here I am.”   https://www.caryndixonmusic.com/    #abuse #covertnarcissism #podcast #gaslighting #marriedtoanarcissist #narcissism  
4/25/202431 minutes, 39 seconds
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7 Ways that a Covert Narcissist Reacts

Have you ever called a covert narcissist out for something they have done? How did it go?  While every situation is different, so many stories from victims of covert narcissistic abuse are the same. It is as though we are all talking about the same person. The similarities are shocking! In this episode, I explore 7 ways that covert narcissists often react when you tell them how you feel about something, especially about something they did or said. These range from instant frustration and anger aimed at you to self-deprecating comments aimed at them. You get everything from narcissistic rage to narcissistic collapse. Throw into this mix gaslighting and silent treatments. This can be quite a roller coaster. And it all began because you asked them to take the trash out!   #abuse #covertnarcissism #podcast #gaslighting #marriedtoanarcissist #narcissism 
4/21/202419 minutes, 54 seconds
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Tackling Tough Questions with Eleanor Marks

In this chat with Eleanor Marks and Renee Swanson, they address somes questions brought to them in the Facebook group, Covert Narcissism Group. One member said that she is wondering about helpful things to know when dealing with an attorney who only understands the general ‘narcissist’ definition but not all the underlying behavior issues that compose a covert narcissist. This is a very tough situation, especially in today's world where courts won't even allow you to say the word 'narcissist.' That word is thrown around too much and this takes away from those who have truly suffered at the hands of a narcissist. How do we address this with our attorneys?   Another member asked about the actual leaving part, especially with kids. She asked for examples of exit plans and what the actual day or week look like. She is also "very curious of the articulate child’s reflection of splitting time between a chaotic covert narcissistic parent and a more stable parent."   This path is a very personal path with a lot of circumstances to consider. If you would like to meet individually with Renee Swanson for coaching specific to dealing with a covert narcissist and for strategies for helping your kids through this, please visit her website to schedule an individual session. CNG Life Coaching Sessions — Community n' Grace   #abuse #covertnarcissism #podcast #gaslighting #marriedtoanarcissist #narcissism   
4/19/202423 minutes, 27 seconds
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Are compassion and empathy the same?

Understanding the difference between compassion and empathy is important for anyone who is dealing with a non-empathetic person, such as a covert narcissist. Compassion and empathy are both in response to the emotions and needs of another person. Both involve some level of awareness of the other person’s needs.  By definition, compassion is the feeling that arises when you are confronted with another’s suffering and are motivated to relieve that suffering. Covert narcissists can have this and often do compassionate acts, especially when motivated by outside factors. When they do however, it seems to be empty and have no substance behind it.   Empathy, by definition, is the ability to sense other people’s emotions, coupled with the ability to imagine what someone else might be thinking or feeling. This is lacking with covert narcissistic people and leaves a trail of hurt, neglect and abandonment.    #abuse #covertnarcissism #podcast #gaslighting #marriedtoanarcissist #narcissism     
4/14/202421 minutes, 25 seconds
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Guest episode with Brandon Chadwick from Narcissist Apocalypse

Today, we welcome Brandon Chadwick as a guest on the Covert Narcissism Podcast. Brandon has his own podcast called, The Narcissist Apocalypse Podcast. In his podcast, Brandon shares a variety of stories from survivors of narcissistic abuse. These stories are raw and unfiltered examples of dealing with this type of abuse and the effects of it. In today’s episode, you are invited to listen in on a conversation between Brandon and Renee about how they each got started on this journey. Both Brandon and Renee share a passion for helping our world in the midst of this narcissistic nightmare and there passion began in different places. We know you will enjoy hearing this conversation. Welcome Brandon!   For more information on Brandon's work, check out these links below [email protected] https://narcissistapocalypse.com/   Instagram - @narcissistapocalypse Youtube - @narcissistapocalypse264 Podcast - Narcissist Apocalypse https://lnk.to/domesticabuse
4/12/202453 minutes, 40 seconds
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3 Effects of Covert Narcissistic Parenting

Covert narcissists are bullies as parents, and their impact on the children is traumatic and long-lasting. For those listening who were raised by a covert narcissistic parent, identifying these effects within you is vital. This allows you to start that process of no longer blaming yourself and healing that internal shame. You do matter! You are good enough! This is not your fault!   For those listening who are parenting with a covert narcissistic parent, please learn the effects this is having on your children. You will see these signs in them. They will need your help in identifying them and working through them. Your kids do matter! They are good enough! This is certainly not their fault!   3 effects of Covert Narcissistic Parenting 1. While the child knows that perfect does not exist, it is still their goal. 2. The child holds others around them to that same level of perfect as well. 3. The child cannot handle criticism.   In this episode, I explore these effects in greater detail. In upcoming episodes, I will give you strategies on how to work through these effects and find healing for the trauma within.   #abuse #covertnarcissism #podcast #gaslighting #marriedtoanarcissist #narcissism #bullying
4/7/202421 minutes, 49 seconds
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Covert Narcissistic Parents are Bullies

When children have a narcissistic parent, they are being parented by a bully. They cannot possibly escape this situation. They cannot make sense out of it. They cannot reach out for help. Dealing with a bully is traumatic and harmful.   Here are three effects that narcissistic parenting, bully parenting, has on their children. 1. While the child knows that perfect does not exist, it is still their goal. 2. The child holds others around them to that same level of perfect as well. 3. The child cannot handle criticism.   If you are parenting with a covert narcissistic partner, your kids are confused and hurting. But one genuine, honest, open, unconditional relationship with you is enough to help them break through that confusion. In the upcoming Sunday episode, I will explore the effects of this bullying in greater detail, as well as give you ways that you can help your kids through this difficult scenario. I wish you so much peace on your journey of healing.   #abuse #covertnarcissism #podcast #gaslighting #marriedtoanarcissist #narcissism 
4/4/20247 minutes, 2 seconds
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Stopping the Self-Doubt to Become Narcissist Resilient

Let’s say I’m a covert narcissist, and I’m looking for a partner. Who am I looking for? I believe that I am the best thing ever, that I am right all the time, that my opinion is all that matters.  So who do I need? I need someone who doubts themselves.   The best victim of gaslighting is someone who doubts themselves. One piece that makes someone quite vulnerable to gaslighting and manipulation is when their own sense of self is too reliant on the opinions of others. When we put too much weight in the belief of others to the detriment of our own belief in ourselves.  What does it look like when our self-image is reliant on other people? Who am I becomes who do people think I am. What do they think about me? Do they like to be around me? Am I helpful to them? Do they think I did a bad job? Do they think I’m too angry, too happy, too emotional, not emotional enough and so on? Turning off this deferment to other people for our own belief in ourselves is a giant step in making yourself more narcissist resilient. Your greatest ally against narcissistic abuse is yourself!
3/31/202417 minutes, 1 second
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Victims Often Join the Abuse Themselves ( Special Throwback Episode)

Not only do victims of covert narcissistic abuse not see the abuse, they often join the abuser in abusing themselves. It’s the perfect storm built by this abuser in your life. Their circular conversations, projection, blame shifting, guilt manipulating, and many other tactics leave you, the victim, in complete confusion. You accept the projecting, blaming and guilting. You defend yourself but the circular conversations convince you that you are wrong. Ultimately, you decide that maybe you are the problem. You blame yourself. You make it all your fault. You do everything you can to fix it. You hold yourself to unreasonable standards and expectations. While the covert narcissist in your life sits and watches. You are brainwashed into hating yourself. You squash your own self-esteem without even realizing what is going on. The self-abuse must stop! You do deserve the help and support! You are worthy of your own love and care.
3/29/202419 minutes, 16 seconds
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The Terrifying Narcissistic Traits in Our Children

In this Q&A session with Renee Swanson and Eleanor Marks, we answer two questions from the Covert Narcissism Facebook Group. How do you deal with the golden child and help them to unlearn concerning narcissistic traits without disparaging the other parent? How do you maintain a relationship with said child when also trying to protect yourself and heal from the narcissistic abuse trauma?   These are tough questions that so many people in our world are struggling with. Whether a child is used as the golden child, the scapegoat, or some combination of the two, these kids do pick up some narcissistic traits of their own. This is a protective survival reaction to not feeling emotional or psychologically safe. Even in homes without a narcissistic parent, kids will still go through phases of not feeling safe to be themselves and thus pick up some narcissistic traits. This is especially true in the teenage years.   We address these questions in this episode. Thank you to our member for the questions and to everyone who is working to make our world a better place. I wish you much peace on your journey of healing!
3/24/202426 minutes, 45 seconds
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Blame Shifting - A Powerful Tool for the Covert Narcissist (Special throwback Episode)

f you don't tell me to do it, then it is your fault that it didn't get done. If you tell me to do it, then it is your fault if it doesn't go right. Have you ever heard these words or experienced these attitudes? Covert narcissists are SO good at dodging responsibility. I used to wonder why he wouldn’t even choose the restaurant for our dinner. Many years later, I discovered that he wouldn’t choose so that nothing could ever be his fault. Why would he not make the plans for our vacation? But yet he would be so mad at me for the plans I made. He would not make the plans so that nothing would ever be his fault. And yet he would be mad at me because everything was my fault. He didn’t help do the chores around the house because he didn’t want to do it wrong and make me mad. So he just did nothing! In his mind, then I could not be mad at him because he didn’t do anything wrong. Blame shifting is a common weapon for a covert narcissist. If you are listening to this today - stop taking the blame for their faults. Stop taking responsibility for their stuff. You are not doing them or yourself any favors. They have their life to live. They have their own to answer for. Don’t let them lay this on your shoulders anymore!!
3/21/202419 minutes, 16 seconds
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Strengthening Your Narcissist Immune System

We all have an immune system inside us. Its purpose is to fight harmful substances that enter the body. It builds a defense against invaders by keeping a record of every germ it has ever defeated so it can recognise and destroy the invading germ quickly if it ever enters the body again. This drastically limits the amount of harm an invader can do if they do manage to get in. In order to function properly, the immune system has to be able to tell the difference between invader cells and non-invader cells. So the system is constantly learning and evolving.   So what if we had a narcissist immune system? An adaptive system that learns about previous exposure and protects us going forward. You already have this type of system. Let's learn how to maximize its potential! It is time to build narcissist resiliency.
3/17/202420 minutes, 34 seconds
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The Narcissism Spectrum (Special Throwback Episode)

Narcissism is not a clear cut issue. It isn’t a yes or no answer. It is an extremely complicated issue. One minute you can feel like you have a grasp on it, and the next minute that grasp simply disappears. You can think you finally understand it and then be at a loss for words in trying to explain it to someone else. “I got it. This makes sense,” you think. The next day you wake up, and everything is all jumbled up again. What really is narcissism? Is this really how he/she is acting? Are they or are they not a narcissist? Yes they are! Well, maybe they aren’t. No, they can’t be. Yes, they definitely are! Around and around we go inside our own heads. Narcissism is not a pass/fail test. It isn’t you either are or you aren’t. It just isn’t that simple. Narcissism is on a spectrum, with extreme codependency on one end and extreme narcissism on the other. In a very simplified explanation, codependency is putting everyone else’s needs far above your own, unable to care for your own needs. Narcissism is putting your own needs far above anyone else’s, unable to care for anyone else’s needs. This spectrum is not static. People fluctuate on it. Just because you see narcissistic traits does not automatically mean your partner or family member is a narcissist. Equally true, just because you see some compassionate moments does not automatically mean that this person is not a narcissist.
3/14/202418 minutes, 18 seconds
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Covert Narcissism Q&A with Eleanor Marks

In this brand new series, I am doing a Q&A session with Eleanor Marks. We are answering questions that come directly from my Facebook group, Covert Narcissism Group. Today we begin with two questions.   John asks for tips and help on recovery in the early part of this journey, for help on how to heal. Self-care is crucial when it comes to healing. Doing things such as journaling, meditating, and educating yourself are all vital steps on this journey. Challenging our own imperative thinking, such as "I should this or that," "I must do this better," and so on, takes the pressure off our own shoulders and gives us the breathing space we need for healing.   Maren asks I would like to know how best to handle a child who is so worried about hurting her father's feelings that she'll lie to not make him feel sad. He apparently feels sad quite frequently and she feels responsible. Our kids go through much of the same confusion that we do. They work extra hard to keep the peace with the narcissistic parent too. Unlike adults, they do not have the life experience to figure out what is going on. Their cognitive dissonance lasts much longer. Finding ways to validate the compassion inside of them while also helping them to not taking responsibility for the manipulative parent is a tricky balance. One that will ebb and flow throughout the developing years of a child.   These are great questions. I hope you benefit from the episode. We will be doing more of these joint sessions. Join the Facebook group to follow the conversations there. https://www.facebook.com/groups/covertnarcissism    
3/10/202422 minutes, 45 seconds
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Story of Hope: Taking Pride in the Little Things Once Again

Today’s guest Dave shares his enjoyment is trimming the bushes in front of his house because now it is HIS house. After going through over two years of the divorce process, he finds peace for himself and his kids. He admits that it is incredibly difficult to celebrate this as he is flooded with sadness at the trajectory of his marriage. At the same time, though, he chooses to embrace the quiet peacefulness of his home.   The CNG group coaching session was pivotal for him. He began these groups just as he was beginning his discovery of covert narcissism and continued through much of his divorce process. During this time, he discovered the incredible value in helping others who are living this. As you are removed from the emotional heaviness of someone else’s situation, gaining perspective on their situation is easier to do. At the same time, it helps you to see your own situation in a new light.   For more information on the CNG group coaching sessions, please visit www.covertnarcissism.com
3/7/202425 minutes, 15 seconds
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Our Kids Need Us

Welcome back. I am again talking about covert narcissism, and in specific, parenting with a partner who is showing the traits of covert narcissism. These kids go through a lot. Everyone has wounds from childhood. This is true. But the more educated we can become about the types of wounds and specific nature of the wounds, the better we are able to heal our own wounds and also the better we are able to help our children.   I cannot express enough how important it is to live a life of growth, recovery, healing, self-reflection, accountability, vulnerability in front of your kids. Children learn by mimicking those around them. They copy behaviors to find what works for them and what doesn’t.  So in this situation, you already have one parent who is manipulative, coercive, controlling, passive aggressive, hyper sensitive, overly reactive, and taking no personal responsibility. Often in these homes, the non-narcissistic parent over-compensates. We try to control what our kids see and experience. We try to fix everything. We try to deny the reality that they are already living with the narcissistic parent in an effort to protect them from it. We try to be “perfect” for them. What we are missing though is that our kids don’t need perfect, they need human!    
3/3/202420 minutes, 34 seconds
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Breaking the Internal Chains of Abuse (Special Throwback Episode)

Memories can absolutely haunt victims of covert narcissistic abuse for years!! They trigger us, causing massive internal reactions. Anxiety, tension, pain in the gut, shaking, twitching, upset stomach, increased blood pressure and heart rate, panic attacks, and so on. All of this from a simple memory that still haunts you today. This is PTSD and can create problems for years, decades, even the rest of your life. December 2nd was a significant day in my world with my covert narcissistic husband, who is now my ex. This year I was purposeful about breaking those memories and turning that date around in my world. Here is my story!! Remember, you are stronger than you know! You can break these internal chains too! I wish you so much peace on your journey of healing.
2/29/202422 minutes, 20 seconds
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5 Effects of Covert Narcissistic Parenting on Our Kids

Covert narcissistic parenting has a massive effect on our children! It leaves gaping holes in their development, which can haunt them for the rest of their lives. And they have NO clue in the early years. They don’t see the abuse in those really young ages, but they certainly feel it. Kids aren’t stupid, They know how they feel. They experience their feelings, even if they can’t verbalize them yet. They know when they feel loved and when they don’t. They know when they feel accepted and validated and when they don’t. But they are missing one key ability, the ability to lay blame where blame belongs. There seems to be a pre-written script that will play out in most of these kids' lives, if not all. They will blame themselves, and this self-blame is so incredibly damaging!
2/25/202418 minutes, 26 seconds
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Stories of Hope: Take a Sabbatical

I'm drowning in a world of narcissism. I think about it the minute I wake up, all day long, and the last thought before I fall asleep. It is all consuming. Never in my life have I ever absorbed as much information as I have on covert narcissism. I have watched every video, read every book, listened to every podcast, talked to anyone who would listen.  I just can't think about this any longer. Not one more thought. I just don't have it in me. I have nothing left! I can’t read another word! I have no room left in my brain. No space for one single thought more. It’s full. I’m full. I’m done. I need a break! But how? I don’t even know how to stop thinking about it, about him, about the abusive behaviors, the why, the how, the kids, the effects. How do I turn my brain off for a while?
2/23/202419 minutes, 44 seconds
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Covert Narcissism and the Parent Label

"I am the mom! I know everything and am right about everything." "I am the dad! I know how to handle life. Don’t tell me what to do."   It is true that parents know more than kids, yes. It is also true that parents have more life experience and thus can reason through things more than kids can. Sure. However, parents don’t know everything. They are not always right. Unless of course, you are a covert narcissist. Covert narcissists hide behind images that they believe give them superiority and status. Becoming a parent simply adds to their label repertoire. They wear that parent label as though it now means they are the dominant ruler of their kingdom, and the kids pay a price for this.    
2/18/202415 minutes, 1 second
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I Married a Salesman

Kathleen bought into the sales pitch of the top notch salesman. He sold himself to her with great sales pitches, carrying the "same" interests, beliefs and values. He seemed so caring and altruistic. She thought, "Wow, this is a prince of a guy." As time went by, she came to the realization that, like his job, she was simply another conquest for him. He was not the guy she thought he was.    The salesman approach continued to infiltrate their marriage as he continued to sell himself to her. His smooth sales pitches repeatedly convinced her that he was right and that his way was best. Kathleen spent years spinning in circles, buying into his pitch over and over.    Until the day, in a 40 year marriage, that she said, "No more!"    
2/15/202425 minutes, 35 seconds
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Can I Have a Healthy Relationship After Covert Narcissism?

“I divorced a narcissist 10 years ago and now I am married to another one! How in the world did that happen??”   I have talked to so many people who have gone from one narcissistic relationship to another. Finally divorced one narcissist only to find themselves in a relationship with yet another one. For some this may even be a lifetime of many narcissistic relationships. The thought of being trapped in another relationship with a narcissist is terrifying! How do I keep this from happening? Do I just need to stay single for the rest of my life? How will I ever know that they are not a narcissist, especially when I never saw the covert narcissist that was right in front of me?    
2/11/202420 minutes, 47 seconds
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Story of Hope: Learning to Protect Yourself Part Two

When dealing with covert narcissism, it is so difficult to give yourself permission to set boundaries, physically, emotionally, mentally, and psychologically. Yet those boundaries are so vitally important! Within those boundaries comes healing and hope!
2/8/202435 minutes, 37 seconds
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Protect Yourself From Narcissistic Mirroring

Learning the signs of narcissistic mirroring gives you the knowledge you need to keep from being hooked by it. Victim switching, inconsistencies in their behaviors, lack of self and fast intense connections are all things to watch out for. Learn what to do when you see signs of mirroring to help build healthier relationships. Build your own sense of self and get back in touch with your own intuition. Prioritize your self care and set healthy boundaries around who you are. Your own strong and healthy sense of self is the beautiful YOU!
2/4/202419 minutes, 53 seconds
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Story of Hope: Learning to Protect Yourself Part One

When dealing with covert narcissism, it is so difficult to give yourself permission to set boundaries, physically, emotionally, mentally, and psychologically. Yet those boundaries are so vitally important! Within those boundaries comes healing and hope!
2/1/202427 minutes, 13 seconds
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Narcissistic Mirroring

How did I get stuck in an exploitative and manipulative relationship?  Entitlement, power trips, jealousy, guilt trips, manipulation, passive aggressiveness, dishonesty, gaslighting!!   How did I get here? How is it that I am living with this on a daily basis, even excusing it, downplaying it, and justifying it? How did I come to accept this behavior as normal?   Narcissistic mirroring is defined as a manipulation tactic used by narcissistic individuals to create a false sense of connection with another person by mimicking their thoughts, feelings, interests, or behaviors. It is a calculated and intentional act to activate the other person's feelings of empathy and cause them to feel connected to the narcissist. It is a manipulation to lure their target in and to earn their trust, for their own self-interest and gain.
1/28/202422 minutes, 3 seconds
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Stories of Hope: From Overt Narcissism to Covert Narcissism

An overt narcissist uses couples therapy to improve on the outside. However, the inner traits of narcissism remain and in fact become more refined. Putting on the mask to hide the narcissism simply shows up now as passive aggressiveness and covert narcissism. Narcissists can appear to be doing the work and getting better. Sometimes this just means they are hiding the entitlement, arrogance, superiority and contempt more effectively. The underlying issues still exist. Therapy often helps them to become more covert, keeping us trapped in the belief that they are getting better for years to come.
1/25/202420 minutes, 1 second
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Covert Narcissists are Chameleons

Chameleons change colors according to their environment or their intentions. They change colors to attract mates and to tell intruders to stay away. They hide from their prey and they hide from their predators.    A chameleon type covert narcissist is one who uses their image as their basis of manipulation on others. Covert narcissists rely heavily on their image of themselves for the different roles they see themselves in.   They create this image in their head of who they are, and they want others to believe in this image. So they change their color to manipulate those around them into thinking certain things about them. This is different from adaptability and needs to be explored in your education about covert narcissists.
1/21/202418 minutes, 55 seconds
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Story of Hope: From the Suffocating Dark Cloud of Narcissism to the Brightness and Peace

In this episode, Jean shares her story of hope. Looking back in her marriage, she sees the beginning of doubting herself. She was squashed and made to feel unworthy over and over. Along with this, she was so convinced that she needed him, the covert narcissist in her life, and that he was her emotional support. In facing this darkness and its internal effect on her, she found her escape from the suffocating and abusive environment. She realized that the emotional support she needed was inside of her. It had been there all along. The voices of doubt lost their grip on her, and she sees positive in herself now. As the heaviness lifts, doors of new opportunities and great potential have opened. Now, her days begin with brightness and peace.
1/18/202421 minutes, 20 seconds
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”You did that ON PURPOSE!” The Hurt Feelings of a Covert Narcissist

I’ve worked with children most of my life in different capacities. One of the things they say that bothers me the most is, “They did that ON PURPOSE!”  One kid swinging his arms around in the room. Another child walks by and gets hit by those swinging arms. They run to the teacher and through their tears declare, “They hit me ON PURPOSE.”   This is what it is like living with a covert narcissist. Except they are an adult still behaving this way. They are convinced that you have hurt them ON PURPOSE and they refuse to allow reconciliation to be easy if at all.
1/14/202417 minutes, 19 seconds
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Story of Hope: Surviving the Crash of a Fairy Tale Marriage

Being raised to be a “good girl” sets many of us up for a manipulative and abusive marriage. This is Kathy’s story today. She approached this marriage with so much love, compassion and dedication. He used all of this against her. In her escape and recovery, she asks, “Why didn’t he see the goodness in me that I believed was there? Others saw it, but he never did. What I needed to do was to see the goodness myself.” A huge part of our healing is embracing who we are and no longer leaning on them for our own validation. With the strength of a support group around her, she got through this crash and is now embracing a new life. Sure there are phases of anger and bitterness. In working through those phases, one can become more in tune with our ability to love and receive love. It starts with loving ourselves! Her story is a Story of Hope.
1/11/202421 minutes, 24 seconds
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Story of Hope

With story after story begin full of pain, confusion, anger and depression, it is time to hear some stories of hope. There is life after narcissism! Peace can be found, not from others, but from within yourself.   I am doing a mini series of guest episodes with Stories of Hope. I start by sharing my own story of hope. After being in the darkest place in my life, I am not living a life full of happiness and peace. I have rich relationships with my family and friends. It isn't perfect, but perfect isn't the goal. I don't want perfect. I want normal!    
1/7/202421 minutes, 39 seconds
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The Narcissist’s Prayer Pt 2 (Special Throwback Episode)

This 2-part series on the Narcissist’s prayer serves a guide through the circular conversations and manipulative tactics of a covert narcissist. Each step expresses a ploy used by the covert narcissist to take the pressure off of them and put it onto you. These tactics include gaslighting, denial, guilt manipulation, passive aggressiveness, blame shifting, victim playing, projecting and a complete unwillingness to have any give. The covert narcissist might not use these exact words, but the attitudes are definitely conveyed. •That didn't happen. •And if it did, it wasn't that bad. •And if it was, that's not a big deal. •And if it is, that's not my fault. •And if it was, I didn't mean it. •And if I did, you deserved it. They will absolutely blame you for what they did and use illogical arguments to persuade you. These are even delivered with such conviction that you will find yourself fooled. They will spin the direction of the arguments so quickly that you don’t even know what is going on. You are agreeing with them to keep the peace and don’t even know what you are agreeing to. You are left utterly confused, while you are apologizing to them! For something…there’s a good chance you don’t even know for what. Whether you leave or stay is up to you. But make the choice with your eyes open. Know your reality and trust your heart! I wish you so much peace on your journey of healing!
1/5/202417 minutes, 59 seconds
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It’s Impossible to Find Normal with a Covert Narcissist

One of the worst things you can say to a victim of covert narcissistic abuse is “every family has their issues. No one is perfect.” Just saying this statement now makes my skin crawl. As a victim of covert narcissistic abuse, when a friend would tell me, well every family has their issues, it completely invalidated everything that I was going through. It was like I now had no room to say anything else about what was going on. I mean what was I going to say, “No they don’t. Everyone else is perfect.” Or - “Oh really? Tell me what issues you have.” And then try to make light of their situation. When these words would come out of someone else's mouth, I felt completely unheard. And that no matter what I said from here, I was going to sound desperate and petty, like a constant complainer, never happy. The message that was communicated to me was that no one was perfect. I wanted to scream, I don't want perfect! That's not what I was after. I did not know the words at the time, but I know them now. I just wanted normal.   Doctor Ramani video referenced in this episode https://youtu.be/Bj5hVoaiKFw?feature=shared    
12/31/202315 minutes, 20 seconds
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The Narcissist’s Prayer Part 1 (Special Throwback Episode)

That didn't happen. And if it did, it wasn't that bad. And if it was, that's not a big deal. And if it is, that's not my fault. And if it was, I didn't mean it. And if I did, you deserved it. This short verse illustrates the inner workings of a covert narcissist’s mind. This sums up all the circular conversations, gaslighting, denial, guilt manipulation, passive aggressiveness, blame shifting, victim playing, projecting, and absolutely no give of a covert narcissist. The truth is simply whatever serves the narcissist at that particular time. This truth changes as needed, sometimes at a very quick pace. This plays into everything we have been talking about on this podcast. You are left utterly confused, while you are apologizing to them! For something…there’s a good chance you don’t even know what for. You walk away in total confusion, feeling completely unheard, and having no idea where things are with this relationship. Are we good? Are we getting better? Are we making progress? Whether you leave a relationship or stay is up to you. But make the choice with your eyes open. Know your reality and trust your heart! I wish you so much peace on your journey of healing
12/29/202318 minutes, 45 seconds
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How to Set Boundaries with a Covert Narcissist

People often come to me and say, “I need to get better at setting boundaries.” Ok, what have you tried so far? I tried telling him/her - I don’t like it when you call me sweetie. I don’t like that name. What happened? He told me, “but it is because you are SO sweet to me and I can’t believe that you have a problem with me showing my gratitude. You know that really hurts.” So now I feel bad for asking him not to call me that. It isn’t that big of a deal. I should be more appreciative. Setting boundaries with a covert narcissist often backfires. They weaponize it against you, causing you to feel guilty for saying anything in the first place. So how do we set boundaries?    
12/24/202319 minutes, 24 seconds
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Episode 5 - How Do We Turn the Survival Skills Off? (Special Throwback Episode)

So how do we build healthy relationships after being with a covert narcissist? How are these trauma responses affecting us still? How do we turn them off? Our trauma responses to an abusive environment are survival skills and natural instincts under threatening circumstances. They range from physical outbursts of yelling and throwing things to internal reactions of shutting down and internalizing everything. These learned behaviors affect our lives drastically and all of our relationships with others. Turning these survival tactics off is crucial to setting yourself up for a more relaxed life and healthy relationships. Learning to relax and trust life again are vital steps to break the cycle of abusive partners and to attract healthier people into your life. Here are some specific tools you need for this journey of healing!
12/22/202322 minutes, 47 seconds
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Why is it so Hard to Set Boundaries with a Covert Narcissist?

Have you ever been around someone who believes the rules don’t apply to them? Of course you have or you wouldn’t be here listening to me. Do not trespass means they must walk here, even just a step or two. Do not touch means just a little, only one finger. Even stop signs mean don't stop all the way. This lack of honoring boundaries is absolutely a narcissistic trait. And if they won’t follow societal rules of wait in line or speed limits, what makes you think they will observe your boundaries? Why would we think they will listen to and honor our boundaries of "don’t make fun of me, yell at me or call me names?" They won’t. They don’t want to. They don’t even want to wait their turn in a coffee shop. Do you really think they will hear your boundaries?
12/17/202318 minutes, 51 seconds
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Episode 4 - The Survival Skills of a Covert Narcissist and their Victim

Have you ever wondered if you are the narcissist in this relationship? Maybe you have even been accused of it by your abusive partner? Have you seen glimpses within yourself of narcissistic reactions? There are very distinct reasons that you see signs of narcissism in you or your children, and they have to do with the survival skills we have been discussing in this series. No, this does not make you a narcissist! I want to explain to you why you see this, what really is happening, and what to do about it. Narcissism is a learned set of survival skills that becomes one’s entire personality and their way of interacting with their world. Let me explain what I mean. This covert narcissist in your life has put you into an environment where you, over time, begin living from your own survival skills. The trauma responses we have been talking about in this series. I will say again - these are normal and healthy responses to an abusive environment. One large problem is that they look an awful lot like the survival skills that narcissists live by. They are just glimpses of it, not your entire being, but these glimpses can leave many victims confused and worried.
12/15/202324 minutes, 34 seconds
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Walking on Eggshells

I heard the phrase walking on eggshells, and I thought, “I’m sure glad that I’m not living that way.” This applied to other people. People who were not at liberty to say what they wanted to say. They had to guard their words. I’m so glad I don’t live like that. This was clearly people who were in manipulative and controlling relationships. I felt bad for them. They should probably get out. I wonder if I should help them. I’m glad I don’t deal with that. I mean I can say anything I want. I have that freedom. I just know that I probably shouldn’t. It certainly isn’t worth the price.  So long as I am just careful about what I say and how, it goes okay. I mean most of the time. Well, at least some of the time. It’s okay though. I know how to handle that. I just make sure that I don’t say anything more about it because the reaction will be strong. But that’s okay. No big deal. At least I’m not walking on eggshells. I’m not afraid of him. He would never hit me or cause too big of a scene, at least not publicly. Maybe a small scene, or even a medium one. But I’m not afraid of him. Well, my stomach does do flip flops.  I really need to work on my stress management and my anxiety level. I’ve been that way for a long time. This is something I have to work on in me. But at least I’m not afraid of him, well, maybe emotionally I am. I mean, I can’t really let my guard down around him. But at least I’m not walking on eggshells. What actually is this walking on eggshells? Maybe I need to learn more.
12/10/202321 minutes, 17 seconds
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Episode 3 Tactical Responses to the Trauma of Abuse (Special Throwback Episode)

Have you ever found yourself to be extremely defensive, feeling the need to protect yourself before anyone even attacks? How about having the burning need to be perfect so nothing ever goes wrong? When you are living in an abusive situation, physically, mentally, emotionally, psychologically, you develop survival tactics. As a human being, you are wired to protect yourself. This is normal! The tactical responses we have come from the drive to take the situation at hand and find ways to make it work. It is driven by the intense desire to fix this! You won’t give up on the relationship for whatever reason and are determined to survive this. You might even feel like you are then making it work. I am fixing this! But it isn’t sustainable!! Defensiveness and trying to be perfect create so many problems in our life and can haunt us as we try to move into future relationships. They work against healthy relationships and can leave you trapped in a cycle of abusive ones. Make a plan for stopping these trauma responses and regaining control of your life again!
12/7/202323 minutes, 53 seconds
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Learning on the Appalachian Trail

Have you ever made a bucket list? Things you want to do in this world. You should! Why not? What would be on your bucket list? Not only are they fun, these adventures, big or small, give us so many opportunities to learn in life. A year and a half ago, I jumped out of an airplane. I never dreamed I would actually do this. My boys really wanted to, and they wanted me to join them. You want me to do what? Hey, this could be fun, this could be exciting, this could be terrifying. With excitement and fear, I agreed. Free falling from an airplane for 60 seconds, dropping 8500 feet and reaching 120 miles per hour is the most intense and utterly terrifying thing I have ever done. But it was amazing!! I learned a lot about myself and about life that day.  Two weeks ago, I started another item on my bucket list - backpacking the Appalachian Trail. Even just the first section hike tied so closely to my life with a covert narcissist. The correlations and analogies are quite eye-opening. When I learn life lessons from time spent in nature, these lessons stick with me for years. I am eager to see where this bucket list, hiking the Appalachian Trail, leads me. As I go through this short story, see if you can see the correlations to life with a covert narcissist.
12/3/202320 minutes, 39 seconds
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Episode 2 - Internal Trauma Responses to Covert Abuse (Special Throwback Episode)

Has your partner ever accused you of pulling away from the relationship? Of shutting down? Of being emotionally unavailable? Maybe you even feel that you are. Then you wonder if this is all your fault for not being engaged with them anymore. This is another example of reactive abuse or trauma response. My husband accused me of pulling away emotionally. I wanted to scream, Of course I’m pulling away! Even a child knows to pull away when they have been hurt over and over again. I was accused of not being emotionally available to him anymore. Of course I’m not! I had peeled open my heart and laid it at his feet repeatedly. And he had stomped all over it again and again. You want me to continue making myself available for that??? You can’t be serious? Do you really not understand this? Can you really not see why I pull away? After all the attempts I made at explaining this to him, I could not believe that he could stand there and tell me that I should be more emotionally available to him! You have got to be kidding me! Shutting down is a normal and common trauma response to an abusive environment. Don’t judge your responses. They are completely justified and understandable. Identify where they came from. An abusive environment. They are survival skills. But you don’t need these survival skills in a safe environment. As you learn more about them, you will begin the process of letting them go.
11/30/202323 minutes, 53 seconds
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The Point of No Return

There is an invisible line, imaginary and yet very real, that once pushed past it, you simply cannot come back. No amount of effort will bring you back from this point of no return.   Brinkmanship is the art of pursuing a dangerous policy to the limits of safety before stopping. The dangerous policy is mistreating others, dismissing them, invalidating them, blaming them, yelling at them, cheating on them. The limit of safety refers to how far can I push them before they leave me. A game that narcissistic individuals perfect. Until the day that they push you too far. That day when the breadcrumbs just don't work anymore.   When they push you too far, they still try their tactics of pulling you to safety. They turn nice again, but it just doesn't work. You don't have any care left. This might lead you to ask, "What's wrong with me? Why don't I feel appreciative? Why am I not happy?" They pushed you past the point of no return, and that's not your fault. Be gracious with yourself.   You just fell off a cliff, and it is time for some serious self-care!       DISCLAIMER: THE INFORMATION PROVIDED BY RENEE SWANSON, COVERT NARCISSISM PODCAST, AND CNG LIFE COACHING IS FOR EDUCATIONAL PURPOSES ONLY AND IS NOT TO BE USED FOR DIAGNOSIS PURPOSES AND NOT INTENDED TO BE A SUBSTITUTE FOR CLINICAL CARE. PLEASE CONSULT A HEALTH CARE PROVIDER FOR GUIDANCE SPECIFIC TO YOUR CASE. THIS MATERIAL DISCUSSES NARCISSISM IN GENERAL. IT DOES NOT CLAIM THAT ANY SPECIFIC PERSON HAS NARCISSISM AND SHOULD NOT BE USED TO REFER TO ANY SPECIFIC PERSON AS HAVING NARCISSISM. PERMISSION IS NOT GRANTED TO LINK TO OR REPOST THIS MATERIAL TO SUPPORT AN ALLEGATION OR SUPPORT A CLAIM THAT ANY SPECIFIC PERSON IS A NARCISSIST. THAT WOULD BE AN UNAUTHORIZED MISUSE OF THE MATERIAL AND INFORMATION PROVIDED.
11/26/202317 minutes, 45 seconds
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Episode 1 - Reactive Abuse: The Physical and Outward Reactions of Victims (Special Throwback Episode)

Have you wondered about your own sanity in all of this? Have you reached the end of your limit and simply exploded. Now you are the one yelling and screaming at him? Am I the abusive one? Should they come take me away? Many victims have had these experiences and thoughts. You are not alone and you are not crazy! What you are experiencing is often called reactive abuse. Have you ever heard of this? Reactive abuse is the survival skills we build in an abusive relationship just to protect ourselves. We want the pain to stop. We have tried so many other avenues. We are exhausted and now we are out of options. So we become aggressive, like a cornered cat. These are simply reactions to our abusive environment and lack of ability to stop it. These can be emotional outbursts, yelling, screaming, even hitting. You have reached the end of your rope, just can’t take it anymore, and you explode. It can feel totally out of control and cause major issues for you as people now see you as the violent one. These reactions can also be much more internal. Shutting down, keeping your mouth shut, unwilling to voice your opinion, giving in, over-thinking, over-analyzing, trying to be perfect. They can even lie somewhere in the middle. Defensiveness, protecting yourself before anyone even attacks, explaining yourself when you don’t have to, anticipating problems way ahead and trying to divert them. All of these are trauma responses and reasonable reactions to an unreasonable situation.
11/23/202323 minutes, 25 seconds
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Narcissistic Relationships are Addictive Relationships

Narcissistic relationships are quite addictive for both individuals. But that addiction looks different for each of them.   The victim of narcissistic abuse is addicted to the peaceful moments and love bombing. Love bombing is when they become whatever it is that you desire in the relationship. Your "perfect match." When these moments come, it is such a huge relief from the blaming, guilting, gaslighting, circular conversations and victim mentality. These moments of relief give the victim a massive hit of dopamine and erase months of bad behavior. Overtime, no matter how small the breadcrumbs get, the target of narcissistic abuse is addicted to them.   The narcissistic individual is addicted to all the effort their target pours in to pull them out of their abusive behavior. They are experts at playing the victim. Whatever you did that hurt them gives them a free pass to now treat you however they choose. Since their bad behavior is all your fault, you now pour massive amounts of time, energy and effort into making them feel better about themselves and about you. They are addicted to those intense efforts. Thus the bad behavior must continue in order for them to get their "fix."
11/19/202318 minutes, 29 seconds
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How to Save Our Kids During a Traumatic Divorce with a Narcissist

Psychologist Dr. Erica Ellis joins us in this episode. She brings wonderful expertise regarding high conflict divorce and how to protect the children. Dr. Ellis is not only a licensed psychologist, but also a best-selling author, and a leading expert on child centered divorce. After working with over 1,000 divorcing families, many of which were high-conflict, over the past 30 years, she has discovered the crucial steps that every parent must take to protect their children and create a healthy future for their new family. For more information on her programs, click below:   https://www.coparentwithanarcissist.com/how-to-co-parent-with-a-narcissist4t8025u4?affiliate_id=3368483&aff_sub=&aff_sub2=&nopopup=false&noautoplay=false&cookiepreview=false   https://www.30daydivorcetriage.com/the-30-day-divorce-triage6qdephss?affiliate_id=3368483&aff_sub=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.coparentwithanarcissist.com%2Fhow-to-co-parent-with-a-narcissist4t8025u4%3Faffiliate_id%3D3368483%26aff_sub%3D%26aff_sub2%3D%26nopopup%3Dfalse%26noautoplay%3Dfalse%26cookiepreview%3Dfalse&aff_sub2=&nopopup=false&noautoplay=false&cookiepreview=false   With her unique approach to divorce, Dr. Ellis has helped countless families navigate the divorce process in a way that reduces conflict, stress, and uncertainty, and sets the children up for a lifetime of healthy relationships, emotional stability, and personal success. The questions addressed in this episode include: 1) From a psychological perspective, why is it important to understand the difference between a true narcissist vs a person whose behavior/emotions have significantly deteriorated during the stress of a marriage ending? 2) Given how important it is to have realistic expectations for your narcissistic ex’s behavior, can you talk about why parenting itself poses such a challenge for them and how this tends to play out in their relationship with their children? 3) All of those challenges often leave the other parent feeling totally hopeless, helpless, and lacking any ability to protect themselves and their children from any further emotional damage. Can you talk about this sense of powerlessness and your thoughts about how to help people get beyond it? 4) I know that your main focus is on helping parents learn how to best protect their children from divorce-related damage. How is it possible to accomplish that goal when dealing with a narcissistic parent? For more information on her programs, click below:   https://www.coparentwithanarcissist.com/how-to-co-parent-with-a-narcissist4t8025u4?affiliate_id=3368483&aff_sub=&aff_sub2=&nopopup=false&noautoplay=false&cookiepreview=false   https://www.30daydivorcetriage.com/the-30-day-divorce-triage6qdephss?affiliate_id=3368483&aff_sub=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.coparentwithanarcissist.com%2Fhow-to-co-parent-with-a-narcissist4t8025u4%3Faffiliate_id%3D3368483%26aff_sub%3D%26aff_sub2%3D%26nopopup%3Dfalse%26noautoplay%3Dfalse%26cookiepreview%3Dfalse&aff_sub2=&nopopup=false&noautoplay=false&cookiepreview=false  
11/17/202325 minutes, 13 seconds
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The Power of Perception and Gaslighting

What is gaslighting?  When someone denies you the right to your own perception.  Telling you that your perception is wrong. Working to convince you that their perception is hard fact. Ultimately causing you to doubt your own sense of reality and sense of self.   The perfect victim of gaslighting is someone who doubts themselves. The smallest glimpse of doubt in you leaves you vulnerable. If you even hold a small piece of fear that what they are saying might be right, then you are hooked by their gaslighting.
11/12/202315 minutes, 37 seconds
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Guest episode on Pathological Lying

The pathological lies of a covert narcissist leave a wake of devastation. Not only do they affect your immediate life and life choices, but they leave deep scars inside you as you unravel all the lies. In this episode, Julie tells her story as she woke up to over a decade of lies that drastically impacted her life.    Lies from a narcissistic person are not only to avoid personal responsibility. They are a tool to gain your sympathy, admiration, and attention. Narcissists build a life full of delusions, and these lies help keep their image in place. The lack of empathy in them allows them to create lie after lie with no care on how it affects you at all. There simply is no recognition of the cost to you.   DISCLAIMER: THE INFORMATION PROVIDED BY RENEE SWANSON, COVERT NARCISSISM PODCAST, AND CNG LIFE COACHING IS FOR EDUCATIONAL PURPOSES ONLY AND IS NOT TO BE USED FOR DIAGNOSIS PURPOSES AND NOT INTENDED TO BE A SUBSTITUTE FOR CLINICAL CARE. PLEASE CONSULT A HEALTH CARE PROVIDER FOR GUIDANCE SPECIFIC TO YOUR CASE. THIS MATERIAL DISCUSSES NARCISSISM IN GENERAL. IT DOES NOT CLAIM THAT ANY SPECIFIC PERSON HAS NARCISSISM AND SHOULD NOT BE USED TO REFER TO ANY SPECIFIC PERSON AS HAVING NARCISSISM. PERMISSION IS NOT GRANTED TO LINK TO OR REPOST THIS MATERIAL TO SUPPORT AN ALLEGATION OR SUPPORT A CLAIM THAT ANY SPECIFIC PERSON IS A NARCISSIST. THAT WOULD BE AN UNAUTHORIZED MISUSE OF THE MATERIAL AND INFORMATION PROVIDED.    
11/9/202329 minutes, 11 seconds
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Narcissistic Rage and Narcissistic Simmer

What sets off narcissistic anger? Anything and everything!! Asking them to help in the kitchen, asking them to pickup a few groceries on the way home - how dare I inconvenience them? Asking them how much gas is in the car - how dare I challenge their expertise in caring for the car?  Chatting about how your day has been, chatting about your kids, telling them about how the kids are doing in school - they can’t be bothered by such mundane aspects of life Minding my own business, not talking but just being, doing my own hobbies - how dare I not center my attention on them, how dare I put my attention elsewhere? Asking them to keep the house quiet while the kids are asleep - how dare I tell them how to be in their own home? Can we leave in 5 minutes for church? (The time we said we were going to leave, asked because he is still sitting on the bed in his pajamas playing on his phone) - “Do you even want me to go? I’m not going if you can’t even appreciate the effort I am putting in” Running my windshield wipers on regular speed in my car - how dare you waste my hard-earned money by running your windshield wipers more than you should Anything and everything is a potential catalyst for their narcissistic anger.  You are scrambling trying to figure out all the ways to interact with them that doesn’t set off their anger. But you can’t ever succeed at this. And that anger has two distinct faces that I want to talk about today - narcissistic rage and narcissistic simmer.    
11/5/202319 minutes, 3 seconds
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I Lost Myself to a Covert Narcissist (Special Throwback Episode)

A Covert narcissist takes over your life. I have heard so many victims so I don’t even recognize myself anymore. I just want to be me again. I feel like I lost myself. One of the problems of living with a covert narcissist is that your mind is constantly wrapped up in the past and the future. The present is NOT safe. Out of the need for survival, we stay in the past and future. One of the pitfalls of covert narcissists is that they are completely wrapped up in their own mind. They are living entirely in the past or the future. Their present moment doesn’t exist. Because you are dealing with them on a daily and intimate level, you are forced into their world of existence. One of the biggest reasons that victims say I don’t even recognize myself anymore is because they are spending so much energy anticipating and dancing around the expectations of this abuser in their life. The absolute first step is to stop playing their game. As you do, you will start experiencing more and more head space freeing up inside you. You will have room to breathe, room to think, room to find you again.   DISCLAIMER: THE INFORMATION PROVIDED BY RENEE SWANSON, COVERT NARCISSISM PODCAST, AND CNG LIFE COACHING IS FOR EDUCATIONAL PURPOSES ONLY AND IS NOT TO BE USED FOR DIAGNOSIS PURPOSES AND NOT INTENDED TO BE A SUBSTITUTE FOR CLINICAL CARE. PLEASE CONSULT A HEALTH CARE PROVIDER FOR GUIDANCE SPECIFIC TO YOUR CASE. THIS MATERIAL DISCUSSES NARCISSISM IN GENERAL. IT DOES NOT CLAIM THAT ANY SPECIFIC PERSON HAS NARCISSISM AND SHOULD NOT BE USED TO REFER TO ANY SPECIFIC PERSON AS HAVING NARCISSISM. PERMISSION IS NOT GRANTED TO LINK TO OR REPOST THIS MATERIAL TO SUPPORT AN ALLEGATION OR SUPPORT A CLAIM THAT ANY SPECIFIC PERSON IS A NARCISSIST. THAT WOULD BE AN UNAUTHORIZED MISUSE OF THE MATERIAL AND INFORMATION PROVIDED.
11/2/202316 minutes, 59 seconds
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The Religious Covert Narcissist

God told me! Scripture tells me. you're supposed to love me! You're supposed to forgive me! I'm the most Christian person you know. You're just letting the devil in your heart. I've got God in my heart! It's not my fault that you don't. If you would just get things right with God, then you would love me again. You know, you really need to pray about it! The spiritual narcissist or religious narcissist is a very dangerous individual. The damage they do runs deep! Before I dive into this episode, I want to say that I'm not talking about any particular religion specifically. Also I am not saying that everyone involved in a religion is a narcissist. There are many really good people in our churches, synagogues, temples, mosques, and other religious institutions. But when you do combine a narcissistic person with a religion, this is a powerful and destructive combination. God is the ultimate trump card! Where else can you defend yourself so strongly against anyone else, believing that you have the ultimate backup. The religious environment is the perfect home for a covert narcissist. When you've got God on your side, you can do anything you want, right? That's what the covert narcissist thinks.   DISCLAIMER: THE INFORMATION PROVIDED BY RENEE SWANSON, COVERT NARCISSISM PODCAST, AND CNG LIFE COACHING IS FOR EDUCATIONAL PURPOSES ONLY AND IS NOT TO BE USED FOR DIAGNOSIS PURPOSES AND NOT INTENDED TO BE A SUBSTITUTE FOR CLINICAL CARE. PLEASE CONSULT A HEALTH CARE PROVIDER FOR GUIDANCE SPECIFIC TO YOUR CASE. THIS MATERIAL DISCUSSES NARCISSISM IN GENERAL. IT DOES NOT CLAIM THAT ANY SPECIFIC PERSON HAS NARCISSISM AND SHOULD NOT BE USED TO REFER TO ANY SPECIFIC PERSON AS HAVING NARCISSISM. PERMISSION IS NOT GRANTED TO LINK TO OR REPOST THIS MATERIAL TO SUPPORT AN ALLEGATION OR SUPPORT A CLAIM THAT ANY SPECIFIC PERSON IS A NARCISSIST. THAT WOULD BE AN UNAUTHORIZED MISUSE OF THE MATERIAL AND INFORMATION PROVIDED.    
10/29/202316 minutes, 52 seconds
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How Does This Get Better (Special Throwback Episode)

How do I fix this? I used to ask that for years. Every day of my life I can fix anything. If I can just help him to see… If I can just find the right words… How does this get better? I get asked this by so many people. Victims who are in the exact place that I used to be. Women and men who are desperate for things to get better. And these are people who are willing to do whatever it takes. People who are dedicated with every fiber of their being. Let me tell you something - Your life gets better when you put yourself back as the main character of your own life. Who is your current main character of your life? What about of your mental life, your head space? If you are in an intimate relationship with a covert narcissist, such as spouse or close family member, then that person plays a very dominant role in your mental world. they have their own life to live. You CANNOT live it for them! This is your life! The only one you get. Be the main character of YOUR story!
10/26/202320 minutes, 13 seconds
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The Power of Destructive Messages

“You're not good enough!” may be the exact words that you hear from an outwardly arrogant overt narcissist. But the covert narcissist won’t say this directly. They in fact will say to you, “you are too good for me,” while they make you feel worthless.   “You’re too good to me,” followed with days of ignoring you. Lost in video games and their phone, paying no attention when we talk to them, ignoring and not answering. You certainly don’t feel too good. In fact, you feel not good enough.   “You don’t deserve me!” yells a more overtly narcissistic person. The covert narcissist - they quietly say, “I don’t deserve you,” triggering our desire to prove to them that they do. That they are valuable and valued. An endeavor that is not achievable, causing us to pour so much effort into them while they continue to feed off all of our energy.   The destructive messages of a covert narcissist are so subtle. You don't see it coming, and often are not even aware of it for quite some time. So we bounce back and forth between “he loves me, he loves me not” or “she loves me, she loves me not.” Along with this, we bounce between “this is their fault, this is my fault, their fault, my fault.” “I’m a good person, I’m not a good person.” Back and forth we go!    
10/22/202317 minutes, 54 seconds
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Covert Narcissists See Their World Through a Filter of Anger (Special Throwback Episode)

Covert narcissists seem to have absolutely no emotional intelligence, inside themselves or with the world around them. The general consensus is that they have no understanding of basic human emotion, especially other people’s emotions. But even their own. They continuously stomp all over your feelings and don’t show an ounce of care about it. They can talk harshly and callously one minute and be confused as to why you don’t want to hold their hand or go to bed with them the very next minute. Even when you try to explain it to them, they seem completely incapable of connecting the dots. In fact, just trying to talk with them about it can quickly start you on a never-ending downward spiral of verbal abuse. And again, the next day, it all just disappears, as though it never even happened in the first place. It is crazy!!
10/19/202321 minutes, 42 seconds
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Why did I Put Up With This for So Long?

Why did I put up with this for so long?? How is that possible? I never even saw it! Are you kidding me? In the words of Debbie Mirza in her book Worthy of Love, “You were chosen to play a role you didn’t even know you auditioned for." What role have you been playing? Maybe multiple roles. Where did you learn to play them? As kids growing up, we learned a way of interacting with our world. For me, I learned to put everyone else before me, that their feelings mattered and mine did not. And I truly took this to heart. This set the perfect stage for me to partner with a covert narcissist.    
10/15/202316 minutes, 41 seconds
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Two Things You Should Never Say to a Victim of Covert Narcissism (Special Throwback Episode)

There are some things that people should just never say to a victim of narcissistic abuse, and specifically covert narcissistic abuse. As a victim myself, I know that It is so hard sometimes to find people who understand and actually know how to provide the unique support that this victim needs. They need to feel heard and validated in a way that most people don’t seem to understand. In this episode, I discuss two things that people should never say to these victims, two things that you don’t want to hear in your world right now, and why they are so problematic. 1 - "Well, marriage does take effort." 2 - "You know, It does take two." Yes, marriage does take work. There are conversations that are hard, but there is a huge difference between conversations that should be hard and those that simply should not. Whether to move or not is a tough decision and should be hard. What do you want for dinner should not be a difficult conversation. Some conversations should be hard, but they should not ALL be hard! Yes, it does take two to make a strong marriage, but it only takes one to destroy it! If you are in the position of offering support to someone who is struggling in a narcissistic relationship, please know that this person feels utterly exhausted and completely overwhelmed. They have been working in overdrive and making absolutely no progress. Please do not add to their feeling of hopelessness by telling this these two things. Instead, help them to see that they are not solely responsible for fixing their marriage. It does take two, and they cannot fix this without some give from their partner too.   DISCLAIMER: THE INFORMATION PROVIDED BY RENEE SWANSON, COVERT NARCISSISM PODCAST, AND CNG LIFE COACHING IS FOR EDUCATIONAL PURPOSES ONLY AND IS NOT TO BE USED FOR DIAGNOSIS PURPOSES AND NOT INTENDED TO BE A SUBSTITUTE FOR CLINICAL CARE. PLEASE CONSULT A HEALTH CARE PROVIDER FOR GUIDANCE SPECIFIC TO YOUR CASE. THIS MATERIAL DISCUSSES NARCISSISM IN GENERAL. IT DOES NOT CLAIM THAT ANY SPECIFIC PERSON HAS NARCISSISM AND SHOULD NOT BE USED TO REFER TO ANY SPECIFIC PERSON AS HAVING NARCISSISM. PERMISSION IS NOT GRANTED TO LINK TO OR REPOST THIS MATERIAL TO SUPPORT AN ALLEGATION OR SUPPORT A CLAIM THAT ANY SPECIFIC PERSON IS A NARCISSIST. THAT WOULD BE AN UNAUTHORIZED MISUSE OF THE MATERIAL AND INFORMATION PROVIDED.
10/12/202323 minutes, 49 seconds
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Emotional Abuse is Physical

At least they didn’t hit you! At least it wasn’t physical abuse! Have you ever heard those words?   You are trying to explain to someone what you have been through. You are trying to explain the situation, the feelings, the thoughts. Covert emotional and psychological abuse is incredibly difficult to explain. Even as the words come out of your mouth, you recognize that you sound petty and trivial. Almost embarrassed at your own words. And they respond, well at least they didn't hit you. At least you're not dealing with physical abuse too. This is yet another hit to your stomach. And today I want to ask you, is there anyone here listening to this podcast as a victim of covert narcissistic abuse that can tell me that this abuse is not physical?
10/8/202314 minutes, 58 seconds
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Interview by Ross Rosenberg, part one

I was privileged to be interviewed by Ross Rosenberg, an internationally known expert in the field of narcissism. It was quite an honor to meet with him and share my story with him and his audience. This two-part series is that interview shared here with you.   Ross Rosenberg M.Ed., LCPC, CADC, is Self-Love Recovery Institute’s CEO and primary contributor. His internationally recognized expertise includes pathological narcissism, narcissistic abuse, and attachment trauma. His advanced education, advanced clinical certifications, and more than 35 years of professional work experience enable him to create, produce and provide compelling and life-changing seminars. Ross's seminars simultaneously resonate with the layperson and professional. He is as much a psychotherapist and professional educator, as he is a fellow traveler on the path of personal, relational, and emotional recovery.
10/5/202327 minutes, 52 seconds
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Out of alignment: Time to reclaim your mental space

Imagine getting all fancied up for a first date. Super excited to be going out with this person. You’ve been waiting for a while for this evening, and now it is here. You change clothes 4 times. Nothing seems to be good enough. You fix your hair just right. You check yourself in the mirror 20 times. Nothing in my teeth, good. How’s my smile? Hair? Make-up? Jewelry? You’ve been prepping for over 2 hours. Ok, time to go. You meet them at the restaurant. They look amazing. They took the time to get all fixed up too. They really put on their best. Time for this first date. You sit down and the first thing you do is pull out a checklist of all the things you don’t want in a relationship. All the red flags. All the reasons to get up and  leave. And you start checking them.  They are too tall. Too short. They don’t smile when I’m talking. They smile too much. On and on this list goes of all the reasons to leave. Is this how your relationship started? Were you already trying to leave before it even started? Or was your checklist a list of all the good things about them? All the reasons to stay? Their eyes are beautiful. They are so attentive to what I’m saying. Their laugh makes me smile. What stood out to you? The reasons to stay or the reasons to leave? Today we are talking about when you wake up one day and realize that you are living out of alignment with yourself, that your system, your body, mind, soul, life are out of whack and you are wondering how did I get here and what do I do now.    
10/1/202319 minutes, 14 seconds
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Interview by Ross Rosenberg, Part One

I was privileged to be interviewed by Ross Rosenberg, an internationally known expert in the field of narcissism. It was quite an honor to meet with him and share my story with him and his audience. This two-part series is that interview shared here with you.   Ross Rosenberg M.Ed., LCPC, CADC, is Self-Love Recovery Institute’s CEO and primary contributor. His internationally recognized expertise includes pathological narcissism, narcissistic abuse, and attachment trauma. His advanced education, advanced clinical certifications, and more than 35 years of professional work experience enable him to create, produce and provide compelling and life-changing seminars. Ross's seminars simultaneously resonate with the layperson and professional. He is as much a psychotherapist and professional educator, as he is a fellow traveler on the path of personal, relational, and emotional recovery.   DISCLAIMER: THE INFORMATION PROVIDED BY RENEE SWANSON, COVERT NARCISSISM PODCAST, AND CNG LIFE COACHING IS FOR EDUCATIONAL PURPOSES ONLY AND IS NOT TO BE USED FOR DIAGNOSIS PURPOSES AND NOT INTENDED TO BE A SUBSTITUTE FOR CLINICAL CARE. PLEASE CONSULT A HEALTH CARE PROVIDER FOR GUIDANCE SPECIFIC TO YOUR CASE. THIS MATERIAL DISCUSSES NARCISSISM IN GENERAL. IT DOES NOT CLAIM THAT ANY SPECIFIC PERSON HAS NARCISSISM AND SHOULD NOT BE USED TO REFER TO ANY SPECIFIC PERSON AS HAVING NARCISSISM. PERMISSION IS NOT GRANTED TO LINK TO OR REPOST THIS MATERIAL TO SUPPORT AN ALLEGATION OR SUPPORT A CLAIM THAT ANY SPECIFIC PERSON IS A NARCISSIST. THAT WOULD BE AN UNAUTHORIZED MISUSE OF THE MATERIAL AND INFORMATION PROVIDED.    
9/28/202334 minutes, 24 seconds
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Gaslighting Our Kids is Damaging

“If I validate my kid's feelings about their dad, then I'm bad mouthing him. If I tell my kids he's not that bad, and he really does love them, then I'm gaslighting them. My kids have picked up on the fact that he is a difficult person to deal with, and often show up at my house and tell me the latest thing he did. When I encourage them to talk to their dad about how they feel, they say they can't because he'll yell at them. Which is totally true. If I tell him how the kids feel, I'm betraying their trust, and he doesn't believe me. I feel like I'm in an impossible situation and there is no right answer.”   This is an impossible situation. It is a complete nightmare and there is no clear cut answer to any of these questions. There is no solution or manual to follow. To top that off, you are working in a constantly changing dynamic. What seems to work one day will not work the next. What is helpful with one kid will not be with the other kid. You are constantly juggling, constantly maneuvering, constantly exploring. There is no precedence set for this, no notebooks to follow, no straightforward and clear answer. No true right or wrong. Anyone who tells you differently than this is sadly mistaken. Parenting with a Toxic Partner | Facebook   DISCLAIMER: THE INFORMATION PROVIDED BY RENEE SWANSON, COVERT NARCISSISM PODCAST, AND CNG LIFE COACHING IS FOR EDUCATIONAL PURPOSES ONLY AND IS NOT TO BE USED FOR DIAGNOSIS PURPOSES AND NOT INTENDED TO BE A SUBSTITUTE FOR CLINICAL CARE. PLEASE CONSULT A HEALTH CARE PROVIDER FOR GUIDANCE SPECIFIC TO YOUR CASE. THIS MATERIAL DISCUSSES NARCISSISM IN GENERAL. IT DOES NOT CLAIM THAT ANY SPECIFIC PERSON HAS NARCISSISM AND SHOULD NOT BE USED TO REFER TO ANY SPECIFIC PERSON AS HAVING NARCISSISM. PERMISSION IS NOT GRANTED TO LINK TO OR REPOST THIS MATERIAL TO SUPPORT AN ALLEGATION OR SUPPORT A CLAIM THAT ANY SPECIFIC PERSON IS A NARCISSIST. THAT WOULD BE AN UNAUTHORIZED MISUSE OF THE MATERIAL AND INFORMATION PROVIDED.    
9/24/202322 minutes, 10 seconds
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Guilt Manipulation: How a Covert Narcissist Uses Your Own Guilt Against You (Special Throwback Episode)

Guilt is such a unique thing. It can be wonderful and horrible all at the same time. Many of us are raised to feel guilty when we do something that we should not or when we hurt someone’s feelings. We are taught that we should feel bad and make it right. This is not a bad thing. Guilt motivates us to apologize. It motivates us to do right and to fix things. Without guilt, we might not make amends. We might not make it right. Guilt leaves this uncomfortable feeling inside of us and pushes us to resolve the issue at hand. We are motivated to get rid of this feeling. We don’t like it. We want to feel good in the relationship again. We want them to feel better about us again. We work hard to clear this all up. When dealing with a covert narcissist, it’s a problem. They are manipulators of this guilt. They will use this good trait against you in extreme ways. They will spin everything in just the right way to fully activate the guilt inside of you. They will do it with just enough truth in what they say to cause you to take full responsibility and work so hard to make everything right. Your own good conscience is used against you!
9/21/202316 minutes, 23 seconds
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Q&A Parenting with a Covert Narcissist

How do you feel in this relationship with a covert narcissist? Describe it. What are your feelings? Confused. Hurt. Angry. Overwhelmed. Like everything is my fault. Perplexed. Afraid. Ungrateful. Confused. Like I can’t do anything right. Guilty. Exhausted. Spent. Depressed. Stressed. Anxious. Sad. Did I say - Confused.  How are your kids doing? They are going through the same feelings that you are. Confused. Hurt. Angry. Overwhelmed. Like everything is their fault. Perplexed. Afraid. Ungrateful. Confused. Like they can’t do anything right. Guilty. Exhausted. Spent. Depressed. Stressed. Anxious. Sad. Did I say - Confused.  Except there is one huge difference. They are completely unable to place the blame where it belongs. They do not have the maturity to see things for what they really are. They do not have the life skills to see things from outside of themselves. To analyze things separate from their emotional reactions.  They are unable to work through that confusion and see clearly. Unable to calm the anxiety within themselves. They are unable to not blame themselves and to not internalize the trauma and self-blame which becomes an internal wound of shame.    
9/17/202321 minutes, 7 seconds
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What Really is a Covert Narcissist? (Special Throwback Episode)

Many people are struggling to understand what a covert narcissist actually is. I recently heard a podcast that was trying to figure out what a covert narcissist really is. They clearly, like so many, did not understand. I was surprised when they said, "Aren’t all narcissists covert because they all do things in secret?" They were talking about secret affairs, abuse behind closed doors, secret communication, private financial endeavors, and so on. They were questioning if all narcissists were covert. I was happy to hear them recognize that they did not understand and were going to have to do further research. Being a covert narcissist isn't about having secret affairs or a double life or anything like that. It isn't defined that way. A covert narcissist is a narcissist that hides the arrogance and the feelings of superiority behind a facade of humbleness. They hide their lack of empathy behind a false show of compassion. Some are so good at it that they truly convince themselves that they are a kind and compassionate person. Nothing you say will ever convince them to even consider that they are not. Covert narcissists often hide behind a facade of shyness, insecurity, introvertedness, and social awkwardness. They hide behind a show of compassion and sacrifice. Covert narcissists really believe in this image that they are portraying. Victims often feel sorry for them and want to help them. This plays a huge role in how we get trapped in these relationships. Covert narcissists are experts at playing the victim role, and I mean experts. I hope this episode helps you to gain a better understanding of what covert narcissism is. Regardless of what type of narcissism you are dealing with, abuse is abuse and abuse is wrong!
9/14/202317 minutes, 5 seconds
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Self-Regulation Skills for Our Kids

When a person feels threatened, physically, mentally, emotionally, psychologically, there will be a response inside them. This will happen. No matter what age. Even a young baby recognizes danger and their system responds.   As a baby that response is very reactive. Crying, screaming, and even being inconsolable. They need outside sources of calm to help them regulate. We hold them, soothe them, feed them and such.   As a child grows, they build ways of dealing with perceived threats. These ways can be very self-regulated responses, giving room for a healthy handling of the situation or they can be dysregulated reactions, filled with survival skills and coping mechanisms. Coping mechanisms that do not address the problem, but rather just distract and shield one from the threat.   In other words, do children build healthy self-soothing skills or not? How do we teach these or encourage these? Is it ever too late for these to be learned and developed?    
9/10/202319 minutes, 43 seconds
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Brinkmanship: The Crazy-Making Skills of a Covert Narcissist (Special Throwback Episode)

My covert narcissistic husband loved the word "brinkmanship." He bragged about how no one knows what that word means and how great he is at it. This should have set alarm bells off in my head!! But it didn’t. Sure, I thought it was strange. This seemed like an odd word and an odd concept. Brinkmanship is the art or practice of pushing a dangerous situation or confrontation to the limit of safety, especially to force a desired outcome, the technique or practice of maneuvering a dangerous situation to the limits of tolerance or safety in order to secure the greatest advantage, especially by creating diplomatic crises. Little did I know, he had been practicing brinkmanship since his childhood. He would push situations to their breaking point. He would push me and our kids to the brink, edge of a cliff to get the outcome he wanted. Make us as uncomfortable as he possibly could until we gave in. We gave in to make peace and to keep our sanity. And once again he got what he wanted, to feel in charge, to feel superior, to get out of all responsibility. Take charge of your life back! The narcissist shows their true colors over and over. Let them. That is theirs to own. Don't let this decide who you are. Don't give them that power over you! You get to choose who you are! You are in control of your life! Not them!
9/8/202314 minutes, 29 seconds
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What About the Kids?

You find yourself married to a covert narcissist. Researching like crazy. You are stunned at the treatment you have allowed and the behavior you have accepted. It’s not okay, and it is absolutely time to put up some boundaries to protect you, so you can heal and find you again. But what about your kids? You have kids with this person! This can be a horrifying and alarming realization. Of course, you knew that you had kids with them, but now you realize that you had kids with a covert narcissist. Now what??   This is a mini-series about what our kids are going through in the households. I am opening an ongoing Q&A with this series. Please send in your questions to [email protected]    
9/3/202318 minutes, 35 seconds
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Taking the Scariness out of the Idea of Divorce: Interview with Eleanor Marks

Today's episode is an interview with divorce coach Eleanor Marks. After living her own life with a covert narcissist and going through a divorce with two children, she now shares her own expertise with others to help on that journey. Whether you divorce or not, taking the scariness out of this option helps us to relax and make healthier decisions for ourselves and our children. If the thought of divorce has even entered your mind, her words of comfort and suggestions will prove to be incredibly helpful to you.   https://eleanormarks.net/
8/31/202321 minutes, 42 seconds
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Devalue Your Abuser

He was my knight in shining armor. The perfect match. My soul mate.  I even said that I feel like he is the male version of me and that I am the female version of him. How in the world did I end up so swept off of my feet like this? So wrapped up in him? What happened? What exactly is love bombing? What effect does it have? How do I break the spell? I recently had a group member say that she wasn’t love bombed and that she doesn’t really understand what that is. She said that she wasn’t smothered with lavish gifts, constant phone calls, poetic love notes, and so on. He just lined up with all the little things I was looking for. Love bombing is whatever language speaks directly to you, and its spell is powerful. To break it, you must knock that abuser off the pedestal.    
8/27/202320 minutes, 12 seconds
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Q&A with Debbie Mirza Part 3 - When Their Image Looks So Good

It is such an honor to have Debbie Mirza on my podcast. She has been a huge part of my own healing journey, and I want to make her part of yours too. She has so much to offer to victims of covert narcissistic abuse.   Debbie is the author of the International Best-selling Book titled, The Covert Passive Aggressive Narcissist. She has also written Worthy of Love and The Safest Place Possible. She is a Restorative Coach, working with people who have experienced CN. Working with men and women on this healing journey.   Her work can be found at debbiemirza.com. We will be recording several episodes together, so stay tuned for more valuable information to come.
8/24/202316 minutes, 42 seconds
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Breaking the Trauma Bond

Why can’t I just leave? What’s wrong with me? I need to get out, but I just can’t. The Cleveland Clinic defines trauma bonding as when a person who is or has been abused feels a connection to their abuser. It’s a situation where we form a strong attachment to someone who is causing us harm. It often fuels a cycle of abuse and affection that can be difficult to break. According to Psychology Today, Trauma-bonding is a hormonal attachment created by repeated abuse, sprinkled with being “saved” every now and then. Every definition I find talks about the cycle of abuse. It is physical or emotional abuse, trauma, followed by positive reinforcement. For covert narcissists, this positive reinforcement can look like abuse amnesia. It’s like the abusive behavior never even happened. They simply return to normal life, whatever that means, as though everything is fine. We are so grateful for the returned peacefulness that we simply move on too, as though it never even happened. Thus the birth of a trauma bond. Today we are talking about ways that you can break that trauma bond that has you stuck in an abusive relationship. I want to give you two tools that you can use, from within yourself, to break this cycle.
8/20/202317 minutes, 23 seconds
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Q&A with Debbie Mirza Part 2 - How to Move On

It is such an honor to have Debbie Mirza on my podcast. She has been a huge part of my own healing journey, and I want to make her part of yours too. She has so much to offer to victims of covert narcissistic abuse.   Debbie is the author of the International Best-selling Book titled, The Covert Passive Aggressive Narcissist. She has also written Worthy of Love and The Safest Place Possible. She is a Restorative Coach, working with people who have experienced CN. Working with men and women on this healing journey.   Her work can be found at debbiemirza.com. We will be recording several episodes together, so stay tuned for more valuable information to come.
8/17/202317 minutes, 7 seconds
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Development of a Trauma Bond

Do you find yourself fighting for this relationship, knowing that it is unhealthy, toxic, manipulative, maybe you even know that it is abusive? But you desperately cling to it out of a sense of fear, obligation or even guilt? The thought of leaving it causes intense anxiety and panic in you. The inability to breathe, to think, to function. This panic is only calmed by the thought of connecting with your seemingly abusive partner. Why is this? What is wrong with me? My feelings feel so irrational. I can’t explain it. I can’t even make sense out of it myself. Just please, don’t take my security away. These feelings are a clear sign of being trauma bonded.
8/13/202316 minutes, 54 seconds
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Q&A with Debbie Mirza - How to Heal

It is such an honor to have Debbie Mirza on my podcast. She has been a huge part of my own healing journey, and I want to make her part of yours too. She has so much to offer to victims of covert narcissistic abuse.   Debbie is the author of the International Best-selling Book titled, The Covert Passive Aggressive Narcissist. She has also written Worthy of Love and The Safest Place Possible. She is a Restorative Coach, working with people who have experienced CN. Working with men and women on this healing journey.   Her work can be found at debbiemirza.com. We will be recording several episodes together, so stay tuned for more valuable information to come.
8/10/202322 minutes, 59 seconds
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Vulnerable Narcissists, a Contradiction of Terms

Vulnerable narcissists? What? Is that really a thing? Can a narcissist be vulnerable? I’ve never seen one that can. I’ve said for a long time that the inability to be vulnerable is one of the determining signs of someone being narcissistic. Their guard is thick, and they just cannot ever be vulnerable. So why would we call them vulnerable narcissists? What do we mean by that?   Vulnerable narcissism is another name for covert narcissism. These two terms are used interchangeably. Vulnerable narcissism is rooted in deep insecurity and this is hidden by extreme hypersensitivity to any form of criticism or rejection (or things they can manage to view as criticism or rejection). So why are they called vulnerable narcissists? One of the things I have said repeatedly about covert narcissists is that they can never be vulnerable? Are they truly vulnerable or not?
8/6/202319 minutes, 22 seconds
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A Grenade Inside a Tank (Special Throwback Episode)

Someone who has experienced covert narcissistic abuse is like a grenade inside a tank. On the inside, you are wound up so incredibly tight, over-thinking everything, over-analyzing everything. Just waiting to explode. On the outside, you are a fortress of steel. You have a wall of protection around you, afraid to say anything, to do anything, trusting no one, letting no one in. A grenade inside a tank. I’m Renee Swanson, your host and creator of the Covert Narcissism Podcast. Today I am talking directly to anyone who is or has been a victim of covert narcissistic abuse. I know your pain first-hand. I have been there, and I want to help. It is a problem when the survival skills from living with a covert narcissist become a way of life for the victim. We struggle because we carry this on with us even after the relationship has ended. We leave the relationship and yet our mind is still over-thinking. We are still finding 100 ways to say something to someone. We are anticipating their reactions and defending ourselves before we even say a word. This is not the way to build healthy relationships, and it will affect our future relationships and partner choices. Please take some time after a relationship with a covert narcissist to become aware of your survival skills. Recognize them as a mode of survival not as a mode of living. As you become more and more aware of this, you will begin to distinguish between survival skills and fully living. You will become more and more in charge of your own life!
8/4/202314 minutes, 11 seconds
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Seeing Your Own Reactive Abuse

So, I want to paint a picture here. Imagine with me. For many of you, this will be incredibly easy to imagine, because you have lived it. You grow up believing in the goodness of others. You believe that others desire peace in life and that they care about those around them. You believe that everyone has a conscience and will feel bad when they hurt someone, especially those that they love. That they will work to reconcile. That they’ll put the effort in to make things right, apologizing for their part and accepting your apologies for your part. You believe that things will be mutually carried in this way.   But in this relationship, this is not what you find. You apologize for your side of things. You work to make things right. You expect that they will do the same. That they will carry their part, own their piece of the issue. After all, it isn’t difficult to apologize and clear the air. But they don’t. They leave things hanging. They don’t make it right. Years and years of bee stings happen. Until one day, you just can’t take it anymore. This has to stop! It has built up inside of you like a volcano. And you erupt! You finally snap back. You tell them that they are insensitive and blind to your feelings. That they have no idea how much they have hurt you over all these years. That this is ridiculous and you won’t take it anymore. You explode with reactive abuse.
7/30/202318 minutes, 45 seconds
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4 Hooks that Covert Narcissists Use to Rope You back in Once Again (Special Throwback Episode)

Covert narcissists are experts at hooking a victim back in over and over and over. They know how to play on your sympathy. They know how to make you feel guilty and responsible for their well-being. They know how to make you feel needed and thus you stay to help them. So many victims of covert narcissists spend years and decades of wanting to leave the relationship only to be hooked back in again and again. Start learning what these hooks look like, how to recognize them for what they are, and how to get out of their grip.
7/29/202324 minutes, 50 seconds
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When I Actually Filed, Part Two

To donate to the Covert Narcissism Podcast click the link below.  https://patron.podbean.com/covertnarcissismpodcast   Ten days! Ten days was the amount of time between me telling him I was filing for divorce and actually filing. The papers were all ready when I told him. I told him on Saturday and planned to file on that Monday. Had the appointment all set up. But he asked if I could give him a week. Why? He wanted time to think about it. I said, “It won’t make any difference. Nothing is going to change.” He said that he just wanted time to let it soak in. That I had had time to think about it, but this was news to him. News?? For two years now, I had been telling him that I was done. For two years, nothing existed between us. This was certainly not a surprise to him. But I agreed to give him one week. So what did those ten days look like?
7/23/202319 minutes, 55 seconds
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The Bone Dry Exhaustion of Life with a Covert Narcissist (Special Throwback Episode)

A narcissistic person cannot even do step A to help a relationship. You can wear the entire alphabet out multiple times, and they still haven't even found step A. Not even a tiny step. Nothing! The level of exhaustion that comes with this is unbelievable. It is a bone dry emptiness. I had absolutely nothing left in my tank. I was on empty! So why do we wear ourselves out so much trying to make the relationship work? Why do we work so hard at it? What if we put all that effort into ourselves? It is time to offer yourself the same effort that you have offered to this abuser. You deserve it!!
7/20/202315 minutes, 34 seconds
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I Want Out! Now What? Part One

To donate to the Covert Narcissism Podcast click the link below.  https://patron.podbean.com/covertnarcissismpodcast   “I can’t live like this anymore. I want out. I’m done.” So you say this to your spouse, totally exhausted and meaning every word. You are done. But then this strange thing happens. Here you are, still in the home with them. You might have said these words and left for a while, or maybe they left for a while. But evening comes, and here you are in the home together. Now what? Do I cook dinner for the family? Are we going to sit at the table and eat? Are we going to watch tv? It can feel like that conversation never even happened. The covert narcissist will often in fact just go back to normal life as though nothing changed. It can feel like you just walked right into the Twilight Zone!!  
7/16/202318 minutes, 27 seconds
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Interview About Covert Narcissism (Special Throwback Episode)

Victims of covert narcissism have so many questions running through their mind. While I do get asked many questions, some questions show up in almost every conversation. How did you realize you were with a covert narcissist? What is a covert narcissist? What does a relationship with a covert narcissist look like? What do I do now? Where can I find help? I was recently interviewed regarding covert narcissism. In this interview, I answer these questions and more. Here are clips from that interview. I think you will find it helpful for your own journey of healing!
7/13/202316 minutes, 39 seconds
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The Wounds from Childhood

Everyone carries wounds from childhood. No matter how healthy and attentive your parents were, you did not get through childhood unscathed. No one does. Everyone has some wounds. That does not make you damaged or bad. It just makes you human. When we have an emotional need that is not met as a child, we often abandon that need in order to survive. Maybe it wasn’t met because our parents were busy. Maybe it wasn’t met because our parents were limited in their own emotional development. Maybe they just didn’t know.  But these unmet needs cause us to form core beliefs about ourselves. Beliefs such as, “I am bad. I’m unlovable. I’m not worthy. I’m not good enough. I’ll be abandoned.” Today I am going to explore how these wounds take shape later in life for both the covert narcissist and their victim.  
7/9/202321 minutes, 18 seconds
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Just Hard to Relax - Living in a Courtroom with a Covert Narcissist (Special Throwback Episode)

Living with a covert narcissist is like trying to live in a war zone or in a courtroom when you are the one on trial. My son is traveling this week with his dad, who is a covert narcissist. I have been nervous about this trip and sincerely hope that everything goes well for them. I texted my son on their second day out and asked how it was going. His words spoke volumes. He said that it is going ok but it is just hard to relax. This is exactly how life is with a covert narcissist. You never feel like you can simply relax. This is because you feel like it is never okay to just be you. You can’t voice your own opinion about anything. Everything is met with resistance and invalidation. You feel like you are living in a courtroom, always on trial, always under attack, always needing to defend your opinions and thoughts. Nothing is ever safe. You remain in a constant state of hypervigilance. Covert narcissists belittle you for having opinions and thoughts. They put you down, make you feel bad, and confuse you to what reality actually is. They expect you to accept their reality. Anything outside of this is likely to be targeted. Your mind is always trying to stay ahead of the conflicts. So you build opening arguments in anticipation of a problem. You see potential problems everywhere! Once in a problem, your mind goes to survival mode. You feel like you are under examination. You try every angle you can to find peace. You might even experience some reactive abuse, where you flare out at your abuser out of desperation. Last, you never find resolution. So you walk away with your mind now making multiple closing arguments, most of which will never be voiced. Yet the cycle starts all over again. Your mind is back on watch, trying to anticipate the next problem. In this episode, I give you some valuable suggestions for finding internal peace after a relationship with a covert narcissist. There is no clear way to do healing, no one right path that fits every victim, no step-by-step instructions. You have to find what fits for you. Taking control of your own healing is one of the valuable steps to taking control of your life again. I hope these suggestions help you find your own path of healing!
7/6/202320 minutes, 54 seconds
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Conditioned to Accept Their Behavior

Today we are talking about conditioning, the process of training someone to behave in a certain way or to accept certain circumstances.  In the Boy Who Cried Wolf, the villagers became conditioned to his cries. Like the boy in the story, covert narcissists set off alarm bells when they are not needed. They stir up drama and trouble when there isn’t any there. Claiming that they hate drama, they are the first ones to create it. It is almost as though they are bored with life unless the drama is there.  They then feed off of your anger and frustration, off your reactions to them. They thrive when you are all worked up and upset. They love it when you are back in your fix-it mode to put all the pieces that they blew up back together again. Like the boy in the story, they sit back and enjoy your reaction. Overtime, you learn to tolerate their behavior and put up with things you should never be putting up with. You have been conditioned.    
7/2/202315 minutes, 59 seconds
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Q&A Session on Parenting With a Toxic Partner (Special Throwback Episode)

Parenting with a toxic partner is the single hardest thing I have ever done in life. It is a living nightmare! You are not co-parenting. You are counter parenting. You are working against the negative energy of that other parent. You spend enormous amounts of energy simply trying to counter the damage that they are doing to their own children. It is exhausting and impossible. Yet for the sake of your own children, it is a task that you will give everything you have in order to be successful. I hope this Q&A session from the Facebook support group, Parenting with a Toxic Partner, will help you on this journey.
6/29/202321 minutes, 13 seconds
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Emotional Childishness of Covert Narcissists

Will they ever grow up?? Am I dealing with a child or an adult? Sometimes I really am not sure. I’ve talked before about the lack of emotional growth in covert narcissists. They grow physically, mentally, even socially and in other ways. But not emotionally. Their emotional growth stopped at some point in their childhood, for various reasons, typically some sort of trauma including emotional neglect. So they can certainly seem like a child when it comes to emotions, but they are trapped in an adult’s body and trying to function in an adult’s world. They look like an adult. At times they act like an adult. They have adult responsibilities. But they are stuck in their emotional development. In this episode, I will give you examples of this emotional childishness that covert narcissists carry into adulthood.
6/25/202316 minutes, 28 seconds
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Shouldn’t I Just Be Grateful that it isn’t Worse? (Special Throwback Episode)

This podcast is audio taken from 2 short video clips that I made just recently. I want to share it here! The first piece is Shouldn't I just be Grateful that it isn't Worse? So many people have it worse than I do. Should I just be happy that I am not in their situation? Just because others may have it worse (and that is a matter of opinion itself) does not take anything away from the pain you are experiencing. If you are questioning this, please listen to this piece! The second part is Everything is on Purpose!! The covert narcissist will accuse you of doing everything on purpose to hurt them. You looked at them wrong "on purpose!" You asked a question wrong and you did it "on purpose!" Everything you do, in their eyes, is purposefully done in order to hurt them. They see it that way because everything they do is so heavily calculated and "on purpose." They believe that everyone functions this way. I am thoroughly enjoying making podcasts and wanted to share with you a glimpse of some of my previous work. I hope that this helps. I wish you so much peace on your own journey of healing!
6/22/202319 minutes, 48 seconds
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How Do You Handle the Guilt?

Why do I feel so guilty? After all they have done to me, what is wrong with me that I now feel guilty?   Guilt is one massive piece of the confusing puzzle when you are dealing with a covert narcissist in your life. If it is your spouse, guilty that you don’t want to be around them anymore. Guilty that you have bad thoughts about them and can’t find any good thoughts anymore. Guilty that you are pulling away when they are in a love-bombing phase. Guilty that you don’t have the capacity to give them anymore opportunities. Guilty that you are considering leaving. If it is your parent, guilty that you don’t want a relationship with them anymore. Guilty that you go no contact and cut them out of your life. Guilty that you don’t wish them happy birthday or let them talk with their grandchildren.   Removing toxic people from your life is painful! It is not the option that we want, but sometimes it is the only choice we have. It can leave you haunted by guilt.
6/18/202321 minutes, 9 seconds
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Clinging To The Breadcrumbs (Special Throwback Episode)

Have you ever said...But we have some good times together. Remember that one day…. Remember that one time…. Are you building an intimate relationship on breadcrumbs? Sure, we would have some good times together. We had evenings that were successful and happy. We had the occasional weekends where his anger stayed in check. But I came to the realization that I was hanging on to those all-too-rare times and pretending that they were our reality. I was desperately trying to build a home and raise kids around that illusion. It wasn't working. These breadcrumbs make the entire situation worse. If they weren’t there, many of us would leave so much sooner. We probably would not even end up in the relationship in the first place. But these breadcrumbs give us hope. They give us positive memories to hold on to. Positive times to talk about and to dream about. They are part of what keeps us hooked in these relationships for years or even decades. After the divorce, I was talking to our oldest son. I had apologized a hundred times to our boys for the environment they grew up in. I apologized for my part in all of it. In this conversation, I told him, “Son, I am so sorry.” He said, “Mom, this wasn’t your fault. You did ABCDEFG….XYZ. Dad wouldn’t even do A. How can this possibly be your fault?” Maybe you are still trying to find that one right approach, that one magical answer. You are working your way through the entire alphabet, maybe for the 10th time. If he won’t even do the first thing, then why are we wearing ourselves out trying to help? He has a job in this too. He has a part, a responsibility, a role to play. Simply walk away! Quit hanging on to the breadcrumbs!
6/15/202316 minutes, 48 seconds
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Learning from a Covert Narcissist

Will you help me? Will you meet with me? I hear this from so many people. And yes, I will meet with anyone who needs that support. What I don’t hear often? Will you help me? I’m a covert narcissist. I now work with hundreds of victims of covert narcissism, both individually and in groups. I have so many who have reached out to me, telling me that my story resonates with them. It is like we have all been married to the same person. In all these years of running all this, I have had only a few people reach out to me that are self-diagnosed covert narcissists themselves. They told me about their own abusive behavior. They have asked for my help and if I would be willing to meet with them. I jumped at the opportunity each time. I have a burning desire to learn as much as I can about covert narcissism. I've read books, listened to podcasts, watched videos, talked with thousands of people, but what an opportunity to talk to a covert narcissist themselves.    
6/11/202317 minutes, 17 seconds
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Why Do I Wonder if I am the Narcissist? (Special Throwback Episode)

Many victims of covert narcissistic abuse wonder if they themselves are the narcissist. Why is this? We finally begin to identify what is going on in our world, and then we are met with an overwhelming amount of doubt. What if I am the problem? Is it me? Covert narcissists often accuse their victim of being a narcissist. They project their own behaviors onto their victim and blame them of many of the things they themselves are doing. They will point out things that you are doing that makes them the victim. They will add just enough truth in what they are saying to make you truly question it or even believe it. They are just as much an expert in making you doubt yourself as they are in playing the victim!! This combination is deadly - to your confidence, your mind, your heart, and your soul. This episode answers the question of why so many victims wonder if they are the narcissist themselves. It will help you so much to see where this confusion and doubt comes from, so you can clear your thoughts and focus on your own healing!
6/8/202317 minutes, 6 seconds
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Complex PTSD and Covert Narcissistic Abuse

I had heard of PTSD, but what is this C-PTSD? What’s the C stand for? What’s the difference between the two? Is it just another form of PTSD? The C stands for Complex. Well, that’s no joke. I’m going to tell you right now that everything about a relationship with a covert narcissist is complex.  Choosing a restaurant is complex. Surviving the meal at the restaurant is complex. Hanging pictures in the house is complex. Borrowing a pen from them is complex. Asking them to pick something up from the store is complex. Going out with your own friend or even family member is complex. Everything! So what is this complex PTSD? Is it created just for the victims of covert narcissism? Maybe. It sure seems to fit.  
6/4/202318 minutes, 31 seconds
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No Reconciliation Ever with a Covert Narcissist (Throwback Episode)

It is impossible to reconcile with a covert narcissist! All relationships have disagreements and misunderstandings. People in healthy relationships help carry each other's blame and responsibility. They both apologize, and they both give each other room for humanness. This is not the case when you are in a relationship with a covert narcissist. You are not allowed to be human. There is no room for mistakes or misunderstandings. Trying to reconcile with them is one of the most infuriating things to go through. It is maddening and impossible! I mean how do you reconcile with someone who throws everything back at you! With someone who has absolutely no give! It is far easier to make excuses for them. This is what many victims do for years and decades. Until one day, you just can't take it anymore!
6/1/202317 minutes, 53 seconds
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It’s a Great Deal For Them

Who wouldn’t want someone who doted over you all the time? Giving in to your every desire? Monitoring your mood constantly and adjusting accordingly? Working overtime to figure out whatever might possibly upset you and running interference before it happens? Doing all the work? Let’s be honest. It’s a great deal, right? Great for the covert narcissist. We spend all of our energy making them happy. We will bend over backwards, stand on our heads, spin in circles, jump up and down, or sit in a corner and do nothing, whatever it takes to keep peace with them. My son said to me, “Mom, you did ABCDEFGH…XYZ. Dad wouldn’t even do A! He didn’t have to. I did it all!
5/28/202317 minutes, 6 seconds
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Why Can’t Covert Narcissists Give In Communication And What To Do About It

One thing you must realize is that the way a covert narcissist interacts with you is not about you. They learned these interaction traits in childhood. Somewhere at a young age, they learned that offering give in a conversation is dangerous and painful. They learned that give equals attack. You can see this is how you react to their attacks. You learn that it isn't safe to offer peace in conversations with them. They learned this as a child and developed a phobia of give. They can't say something as simple as, "I could have said it better, sorry about that, or "You probably didn’t mean it that way, that’s on me" How do you heal from this abuse? Accept that they are never going to agree with your perspective. They can't, that requires give. Understand that this has nothing to do with you, your choice of words, your tone of voice, or anything else you did or didn't do. This is about their past. In this episode, I give you one very effective tactic for avoiding these blow-ups with a covert narcissist when you have to interact with them. Try it out. It works!
5/25/202321 minutes, 8 seconds
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It Would Have Just Been Easier If..

It would have been so much easier if he just would have hit me, just once. But he didn’t. It would have been easier if he had just been a jerk to me all the time. But he wasn’t. It would be easier to see the abuse. It would be easier to talk about it and identify it. It would be easier to explain it to others. It would be easier to leave. It would be easier to not be in the relationship in the first place. It would just be easier if they were an asshole all the time. But they aren't.   There certainly were days where I thought to myself, this would all be easier if he were just mean all the time. But he truly wasn’t and still isn’t. He has good traits too. He is charming at times. He is helpful. He is funny and even pleasant to be around.This is certainly a large part of the problem with covert narcissists. Those good traits can leave a victim in a huge quandary for years or even decades. Even four and a half years out of my marriage, this quandary showed up yet again.
5/21/202315 minutes, 32 seconds
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The Agonizing Lack of Give in a Covert Narcissist (Throwback Episode)

To donate to the Covert Narcissism Podcast click the link below.  https://patron.podbean.com/covertnarcissismpodcast     I am going to try to explain the unexplainable. The lack of give when communicating with a covert narcissist. The absence of the regular flow of give and take that thus makes you feel that you are talking to a void. It is painful, absolutely exhausting, and crushing to your spirit When in regular casual conversation with someone, we often confirm that we are hearing what the other person is saying. We make little sounds, comments, and gestures: such as a nod, a smile, yeah, uh-huh, true, sure, etc. People react to each other in conversation. All these remarks show understanding, agreement or support. At the very least they validate your interaction with this person. You don’t feel like you are talking into a void. This give and take does not happen with a covert narcissist. You are met with the most agonizing silence, so empty and painful. When talking with my CN husband, I would get to a spot in the conversation where people naturally interject something. So I would pause in expectation. Nothing! Silence. Awkwardness. Emptiness. So I go on talking, wondering if I am being heard, wondering if I am making sense When dealing with a covert narcissist, there is no slack, no margin, no benefit of the doubt. There is no give! Trying to understand this is like trying to catch a ghost. As soon as you think you have a grasp on it, it disappears again. We are trying to understand something that is almost impossible to even talk about. It’s hard because it isn’t always in what they did, it’s in what they didn’t do. What they didn’t say. That stone-cold silence and lack of give. Coming soon: Why do covert narcissists have such an extreme inability to offer that give that is so necessary in relationships?
5/18/202319 minutes, 40 seconds
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Signs that They are NOT a Narcissist

I tried so hard to convince myself that my husband was not a narcissist. I truly did not want to accept this about him. At first, when I was researching narcissism, out of desperation and survival, many things lined up. I checked a whole lot of the boxes that applied. But then I would go back and rethink them. Well…maybe not this one. Maybe it doesn’t apply. Maybe that one isn’t true. At least not all the time. It’s normal to have some disagreements and some emotionally heated times. Maybe this is just normal.   Remember, covert narcissists have to be the best at everything. So If they view empathy as something of value, which the world is pushing right now, as something that they are supposed to have, then of course they have it. Not only do they have it, but they have it better than anyone else. They have more of it than anyone else. Like everything else in their life, it is a competition. Don’t forget, covert narcissists don’t ever want to lose…at anything.    
5/14/202317 minutes, 51 seconds
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8 Signs of Circular Conversations from a Covert Narcissist Part 2 (Throwback Episode)

Being trapped in a circular conversation with a covert narcissist is dreadful!! It is the loneliest place on earth. You feel completely destitute and isolated. If you have ever experienced this, you know what I am talking about. In these two episodes, I address and describe 8 signs of these circular conversations. Here is a quick list of those signs: 1. You find yourself teaching an adult about basic communication skills and basic human emotions. 2. You find yourself thinking, “If I could just find the right words, then he would stop treating me this way.” 3. These conversations are antagonistic and combative, verbal competitions. 4. There is no resolution in these conversations. 5. They switch the topic constantly, keeping you on the defense. 6. They play the eternal victim. 7. You walk away thinking, “What in the world just happened?” 8. They use the silent treatment inside the conversation, holding you in an intense silence and in knots. In the episodes, I go into detail explaining each of these signs. Learning what they are and how to identify them helps a victim make sense of what is going on and plan a way out of the entrapment. In a future episode, I will address strategies to avoiding circular conversations, as well as exiting them once they get started.
5/11/202315 minutes, 14 seconds
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Fracturing Ourselves for the Covert Narcissist

To donate to the Covert Narcissism Podcast click the link below.  https://patron.podbean.com/covertnarcissismpodcast     What are some things you stopped doing because your covert narcissist made you feel weird or criticized you for it? I recently saw that someone had posted this question in the Covert Narcissism Facebook Group. If you’re not part of that yet, look it up. Join us! It’s simply called Covert Narcissism Group.   The answers started pouring in! Person after person stated I stopped being myself. I gave up me. I quit listening to music. I quit wearing jewelry. I quit eating what I like to eat. I quit wearing the clothes I like. On and on it went.   What's left is only a fraction of who you really are or even nothing at all. This is called fracturing. Splitting yourself in order to accommodate them and attempt to keep them happy, which isn’t possible.  
5/7/202315 minutes, 48 seconds
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8 Signs of Circular Conversations from a Covert Narcissist Part 1 (Throwback Episode)

Covert narcissists don't use conversations to find understanding, reconciliation, or compromise. They don't see them as a way to connect with a loved one, to spend time getting to know each other better. To them, conversations are about winning. They are for putting the other person down and showing their superiority. Conversations are competitions. One person comes out a winner, and one a loser. This is warfare. It is the single most lonely place on the face of this earth. If you have experienced this, you know exactly what I am talking about. In this episode and the next one, I describe 8 signs of a circular conversation with a covert narcissist. No one has the right to treat you this way! No one has the right to talk to you this way! You will never get them to understand, but you do have the power to walk away!
5/4/202316 minutes
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Single Most Painful Moment in My Marriage

In January, on a cold wet day, sitting in my van in the parking lot of a restaurant, I sobbed uncontrollably. I dialed my dad's number, but when he answered, I could not speak. I just sat there and cried. He knew that I was having lunch with my husband that day. He knew that I was going to try to open up to him in an extremely raw and vulnerable way. And now, I just cried. Not even knowing the details of what had transpired, my dad cried with me. This was the single most painful moment in my marriage with a covert narcissist.   To donate to the Covert Narcissism Podcast click the link below.  https://patron.podbean.com/covertnarcissismpodcast    
4/30/202317 minutes, 25 seconds
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The Subtleties of Covert Narcissism: Guest episode with Thomas

Covert narcissists feel like a trade up when we have been in an abusive relationship with a more overt narcissist in our past. It seems like such a win! Finally you have found a caring, empathic person. They can seem so genuine and real. But yet all the traits of narcissism are still there! They are just so covered and passive. We don't see them for who they are until we are hooked in and trapped. AND...then when we do see them, we still doubt what we are really seeing!
4/27/202325 minutes, 58 seconds
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Reliving Your Teenage Years with a Covert Narcissist

To donate to the Covert Narcissism Podcast click the link below.  https://patron.podbean.com/covertnarcissismpodcast     Escaping a relationship with a covert narcissist is a lot like living your teenage years all over again. You are back in a place of trying to find you…again. You are learning to stand up for yourself…again. Dealing with big emotions… Angry and reactive Who wants to go back and live their teenage years? I certainly don’t. To demonstrate this, we are going to use a Venn diagram. Do you know what that is? We used to use them in school to visually show the relationships between things. It’s circles on a piece of paper. Some of the circles overlap with each other, while others don’t. It depends on what you are demonstrating and explaining. Today, we are going to draw a simple Venn diagram.   To find an example of the Venn diagram visit TikTok or Facebook and search The Covert Narcissism Podcast, and check out our latest episode. 
4/23/202318 minutes, 31 seconds
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Guest Episode with Erin Riley, Author of A Dark Force, 20 Years with a Covert Narcissist

To donate to the Covert Narcissism Podcast click the link below.  https://patron.podbean.com/covertnarcissismpodcast     Erin Riley was born in New York City and attended Trenton State College in New Jersey where she studied as little as possible. At the tender age of 19, she escaped to Los Angeles and quite by accident fell into what would become an exciting and influential 40-year career in the music and entertainment industries, choosing hit songs for Major Market Radio stations and developing new artists, helping expose their music to the world. She led the Philadelphia GRAMMY Chapter and dabbled in repertory theater before opening her greatest professional achievement, a children’s music school called Rock & Roll After School, which taught kids to write and perform their very own original songs. In 2014, Erin delivered a TEDx talk on her work with children. Ms. Riley currently resides outside of Philadelphia with her French Bulldog puppy, Murphy, where she practices yoga, enjoys hiking in Valley Forge Park and is totally rocking life. She serves as Music Supervisor for the Amazon Prime hit series, The Recording Artist and is developing a podcast for WomenWhoRock.com. You can find more about Erin and purchase a copy of her book at her website A Dark Force | 20 Years With a Covert Narcissist
4/21/202325 minutes, 28 seconds
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Gaslighting: Cruel Psychological Abuse

Do you know what the word of the year for 2022 was? According to Merriam Webster? Guess? Right now, what do you think that word was? I would have guessed narcissism or narcissist. Those two words are flying around everyone right now. Nope! Not those words, but yet still a word that we all know all too well. The word of the year was gaslighting! I wasn’t surprised when I read this. All of these words are getting thrown around an awful lot. Gaslighting is certainly one of those words. As popular as the word narcissist itself.   So what really is gaslighting? Gaslighting is an attempt to destabilize someone and their sense of reality. It is a form of psychological abuse that causes you, the victim, to question your perception of reality. It is  psychologically manipulating someone into questioning their own sanity, according to Oxford Dictionary. It is those crazy-making words, "That never happened," among many other phrases.  
4/16/202321 minutes, 11 seconds
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Covert Narcissists Seem So Genuine - Special Throwback Episode

To donate to the Covert Narcissism Podcast click the link below.  https://patron.podbean.com/covertnarcissismpodcast     Even people who are aware of narcissism and victims themselves can still end up in a relationship with a covert narcissist. They seem so real, genuine, open, and vulnerable. Why do they seem so genuine? A covert narcissist is more in love with the idea of being a compassionate person than actually being a compassionate person. They fool us because their desire to be that compassionate person is real. They do WANT to be that. They just have no ability to be that. They are more in love with the idea of being a good husband/wife than actually doing what it takes to be that. This applies to many aspects of their lives. When they fail at being these wonderful things they say they are, they are also experts at passing all the blame to you. Everything is your fault because you were the one putting in all the effort. They did nothing wrong because they did nothing at all!
4/14/202314 minutes, 22 seconds
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Silent Treatment and Covert Narcissism

To donate to the Covert Narcissism Podcast click the link below.  https://patron.podbean.com/covertnarcissismpodcast     What exactly is the silent treatment? For many of us, we experienced this in middle school. Our best friend gets mad at us and stops talking to us. It’s a temper tantrum because we hurt their feelings or didn’t do what they wanted. “I’ll show you. I won’t talk to you anymore.” It’s a form of teaching someone a lesson. You no longer deserve my time, attention, and communication. You don’t deserve to be blessed with my presence anymore. It’s mean, arrogant, and cruel. It takes away the other person’s right to have differing opinions, to say something they could have said differently, and to simply be human.   The silent treatment is a shift from a regular, or at least somewhat regular conversation, to silence that lasts for longer than a reasonable period of time. It is a passive aggressive form of emotional abuse. It is punishing, controlling and painful. It is not blatantly abusive, such as yelling, swearing, throwing things or hitting. As such, it is much easier to deny or make excuses for. “I just didn’t feel like talking. Nothing wrong with that. You shouldn’t take it so personally.” “You are imagining that.” “I was thinking about what I was going to say.”   This painful form of silence can be going for days and weeks without talking to you. You can be in the same room together and be totally ignored. Throughout the day, text messages go unanswered. Phone calls go to voicemail. This can also happen as intense moments of silence, deliberately held within the conversation itself. You feel completely invisible!    
4/9/202320 minutes, 57 seconds
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Guest episode with High Conflict Divorce Coach, Eleanor Marks

To donate to the Covert Narcissism Podcast click the link below.  https://patron.podbean.com/covertnarcissismpodcast     Divorcing a covert narcissist is an unpredictable and terrifying endeavor. It is often full of manipulation tactics, controlling actions, deceitful communication, and much more. The journey is exhausting, overwhelming, and isolating. But you are NOT alone, and you ARE stronger than you know.   Going through this process more publicly now with lawyers, mediators, judges, and family members adds to the exhaustion and overwhelm. Finding the right support around you is crucial. People who will keep you on task, validate what you are going through, and care for you along the way.   Getting more in touch with your own heart, through education and a support system, allows you to listen to your heart once again. You can then become an active participant in your own divorce rather than just following your old habits of over-valuing everyone else's words over your own. Eleanor, on her own journey, divorced her divorce attorney because her heart lead her too. This is your path, and there is a light at the end of the tunnel.    
4/6/202322 minutes, 11 seconds
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What DOES Healthy Look Like?

To donate to the Covert Narcissism Podcast and receive your free copy of chapter one of my upcoming book, potentially titled: Grasping Covert Narcissism, Catching A Ghost, click the link below.  https://patron.podbean.com/covertnarcissismpodcast     Will I ever know it if I have a healthy relationship? I’m finally out of a toxic relationship, again, after a repeated cycle. I think my picker is broken. I’ll never date again. It isn’t worth the risk. Is there a difference between love bombing and the initial excitement of a new relationship anyways? How would I ever know the difference? What does healthy actually look like? These are some of the questions that I get asked repeatedly. I am four years post divorce. Never yet been on a date, and not sure if I ever will. Probably, someday. Maybe, maybe not. I do know this though, I am far healthier than I was the day I left. I am way more in touch with who I am and listening to my heart in a way that I never had before. Could I ever get duped again? Yes. I do believe that could still happen. Covert narcissists are extremely good at what they do. They manipulate, deceive, take advantage of, and absolutely drain their victims. And me? I’m still a giving, self-sacrificing person. Believing in the good of others, willing to give the benefit of the doubt. So could I get duped again? Yes, I could. So how do we protect ourselves? How do we keep from being deceived again? Let’s start with learning what healthy even looks like in the first place.
4/2/202323 minutes, 28 seconds
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Words from My Son, Part Two

To donate to the Covert Narcissism Podcast and receive your free copy of chapter one of my upcoming book, potentially titled: Grasping Covert Narcissism, Catching A Ghost, click the link below.  https://patron.podbean.com/covertnarcissismpodcast     I am absolutely privileged to have my oldest son join me one more time for a guest episode. In today's episode, we address two specific topics: Is there a right timing for divorce based on the ages of the kids? What did your mom do right and what did she do wrong in supporting you?   If even one parent can learn from my journey with my son, then I eagerly share our story. This is a glimpse of 22 years with my boy in a tough home environment. Nothing has taught me more about myself and life than being a mom. May you find awareness, support, hope and peace on your own journey!   Mentioned in the podcast is the video below The Most Powerful Way to Protect Your Kids from Pathological Narcissism
3/30/202324 minutes, 22 seconds
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Hyper Vigilance - Your Mind in Over Drive

My mind has never worked so hard, ever in my entire life. I hit a level of mental overdrive that I did not know existed.  Overthinking, over analyzing, over fixing, overcompensating, over monitoring. Over, and over, and over. This did not happen overnight. It wasn’t day one in the relationship. It was gradual. How did it happen? Early in my marriage, I told him he had toothpaste on his mouth. He blew up and it shocked me to my core. And it never got resolved. So, lesson learned. I’ll never say that again. I hung some new pictures on the wall while he was at work. He came home and trapped me in a circular conversation. I had no idea what was going on, but I certainly did not like it. I’ll never do that again. I asked our son to help him in the kitchen. He stormed off in a silent rage and full-blown victim mode. I believe that our son should help in the kitchen, so I’ll work harder to say it the right way next time. What does that look like? What words work and which ones don’t? I asked him if he could pick our kids up from an activity. Back in yet another circular conversation. So now I’ll work harder to find the right time to ask things. What kind of mood was he in? What non-verbal cues can I find? On and on this went, weeks, months, years, decades. All the while, I just work harder. I’ll never say that again. I’ll never do that again. I’ll make sure I say this at the right time or in the right way.  Always watching for those good moments, while dodging all the unpleasant ones. I became excessively hypervigilant and didn’t even know it.    
3/26/202320 minutes, 50 seconds
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Why Is It So Hard To Explain Covert Narcissistic Abuse To Someone?

To donate to the Covert Narcissism Podcast and receive your free copy of chapter one of my upcoming book, potentially titled: Grasping Covert Narcissism, Catching A Ghost, click the link below.  https://patron.podbean.com/covertnarcissismpodcast     Why can't I explain it to my friends? Why don't they get it? Why does it all sound so petty and trivial? When I’m trying to explain it to someone, I even think I sound petty. But it’s not! There is nothing petty about the nightmare that you are living! It sucks and you need people around you that get it, that understand. Covert narcissistic abuse is a nearly invisible abuse. It is hidden in things that are a normal part of life; little disagreements, a bad mood here and there, a short word out of the blue, a misunderstanding. These events sound petty when describing them because they ARE petty. At least they should be. They should be tiny bumps on the road of life. When you are with a covert narcissist though, they are un passable mountains. In a non-toxic relationship, these are small issues that disappear after reconciliation. In a toxic relationship, they never disappear. They pile on top of each other for years and decades. When you find someone else who has lived it, you know it. You can sense it when you talk with them. Find a small support group and quit trying to explain it to anyone who doesn't get it. Remember, you have nothing to prove to anyone! You don't owe anyone an explanation or reason for what happened!
3/23/202313 minutes, 13 seconds
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The Victim of Covert Narcissism and the Wizard of Oz, Part 2

To donate to the Covert Narcissism Podcast and receive your free copy of chapter one of my upcoming book, potentially titled: Grasping Covert Narcissism, Catching A Ghost, click the link below.  https://patron.podbean.com/covertnarcissismpodcast       Dorothy's journey on the yellow brick road is a journey of a lifetime with a covert narcissist. She firmly believes that this path is the right path to get her home, or back to herself once again. She is convinced that the Wizard of Oz is her rescuer, savior. He will fix everything for her. He is her knight in shining armor.   The three companions that she acquires along the way show the effects that covert narcissism has on its victims. The scarecrow believes he has no brain, which is exactly how a covert narcissistic victim feels after living with years of gaslighting and circular conversations. The Tin Man believes he has no heart, which is true of victims who now feel calloused and mean. The lion has no courage or nerve, which is the trap where the victim of covert narcissistic abuse believes that they could never leave or even stand up for themselves.   In the end, these three companions learn that they have had these elements within themselves all along. And Dorothy learns that she has the ability to return home anytime she wants. No one can tell her this because she has to see it for herself, but it is within her all along. Returning to yourself is the journey of healing for victims of covert narcissistic abuse. You have the ability within you and have all along. It is time to see this and begin that journey. There is no place like home!     Wizard of Oz, The (1939) by Noel Langley, Florence Ryerson and Edgar Allen Woolf. Based on the book by L. Frank Baum. Last revised March 15, 1939. Script used for research, quotes, and content can be found at https://sfy.ru/script/wizard_of_oz_1939
3/19/202320 minutes, 40 seconds
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Hearing Our Kids: Words From My Son

It is my great privilege to introduce to you my oldest son. After living this nightmare in our home for 18 years, he now shares his perspective for the very first time. Here he answers some questions that were put forth from my listeners: When did the light bulb go on for you that something wasn’t right here? Did you carry the weight of this situation? Did you blame yourself? In looking back, is there something you wish you had done or known differently or sooner, for your mental health? What impact has this had on you? Is there a silver lining in what you have experienced? Something that benefits you going forward? What does your relationship with your father look like from here?   When you are young, your whole life is your parents. Everyone’s childhood has an impact on them. No one gets through childhood unscathed. So many kids go through this and then blame themselves for everything that goes wrong, carrying the pain and trauma forward into the next generation. It is time to break this generational curse!
3/16/202328 minutes, 19 seconds
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Covert narcissism and the Wizard of Oz, Part 1

To donate to the Covert Narcissism Podcast and receive your free copy of chapter one of my upcoming book, potentially titled: Grasping Covert Narcissism, Catching A Ghost, click the link below.  https://patron.podbean.com/covertnarcissismpodcast     To sign up for the our new Men's Group Session, click the link below. https://www.covertnarcissism.com/group-session   We’re off to see the wizard, the wonderful wizard of Oz.  Because, because, because, because….because of the wonderful things he does? Who is this wonderful Wizard? He introduces himself to Dorothy as, I am Oz, the Great and Powerful. He says this with smoke billowing, fire flaring, and a dominant image of fear and intimidation. Yet everyone loves him. Why?? Why don’t they see the mean, daunting, threatening, terrorizing wizard that is behind the closed doors? Does no one ever see this side of him? Such is life with a covert narcissist. The Wizard of Oz plays the part of a covert narcissist. Putting on this amazing show of how great and wonderful he is while doing absolutely nothing to help any of these travel companions. Yet everyone is so incredibly enthralled by the Wizard and his supposed greatness that there is no way that Dorothy could ever question that publicly. In fact, Dorothy becomes enthralled with him too. This old classic shows just how easy it is to get roped in by the hooks of covert narcissism.     Wizard of Oz, The (1939) by Noel Langley, Florence Ryerson and Edgar Allen Woolf. Based on the book by L. Frank Baum. Last revised March 15, 1939. Script used for research, quotes, and content can be found at https://sfy.ru/script/wizard_of_oz_1939  
3/12/202323 minutes, 3 seconds
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Living Through COVID with a Covert Narcissist - Special Guest Episode

To donate to the Covert Narcissism Podcast and receive your free copy of chapter one of my upcoming book, potentially titled: Grasping Covert Narcissism, Catching A Ghost, click the link below.  https://patron.podbean.com/covertnarcissismpodcast     COVID had an enormous impact on marriages. Trapping everyone in their homes and taking away other social avenues not only brought out more abuse, but also caused many victims to start identifying abusive behavior that was already happening. Things simply escalated, both with more abuse and more awareness. Without the distractions of regular life, the abusive behavior takes center stage.   Things that had not happened before now were taking place. For some, the abuse was now taking a more physical turn. For others, the verbal and emotional abuse hit new heights. Unfortunately, for many victims, this time just pushed them to work even harder to fix their relationship. A journey that is full of traps and pitfalls. For many, COVID pushed their covert narcissistic abuser to make longer and better changes toward good behavior and growth. While these changes don't stick, they still hook the victim to stay with the marriage once again.    
3/9/202323 minutes, 23 seconds
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The Narcissistic Collapse

To donate to the Covert Narcissism Podcast and receive your free copy of chapter one of my upcoming book, potentially titled: Grasping Covert Narcissism, Catching A Ghost, click the link below.  https://patron.podbean.com/covertnarcissismpodcast     I came home one night to a completely dark house to find my 37 year old husband sitting in a dark room crying, I thought, Oh my gosh, did someone die? What has happened? Clearly something was wrong.   As I talked with him, I learned that he was sitting in the dark crying because he got his feelings hurt. What? This is a full-grown man, father of two children, crying like a child. The more we talked, the more I realized, something actually was really wrong here, just not what I thought. This was a narcissistic collapse, and I had no idea what that even was!   What is narcissistic collapse? When a narcissistic person does not receive the external validation that they believe they should get, resulting in extreme levels of emotional stress and pain, leading to narcissistic rage, either openly or silently. When a narcissistic person cannot maintain their superior and always right image. A self-protection mode when they feel that their self-image is being threatened.  
3/5/202325 minutes, 4 seconds
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Guys Living with a Covert Narcissistic Wife

To donate to the Covert Narcissism Podcast and receive your free copy of chapter one of my upcoming book, potentially titled: Grasping Covert Narcissism, Catching A Ghost, click the link below.  https://patron.podbean.com/covertnarcissismpodcast     Covert narcissism is not a gender issue. This is absolutely affecting both men and women. I talk from my perspective because that is what I lived, but I know there are many men out there who are living this nightmare with a covert narcissistic wife. And it doesn’t stop there. This is affecting the LGBTQ community. It is affecting parent/child relationships, sibling relationships, friendships, work relationships. The reach of covert narcissism is extensive. No matter the nature of your relationship, this abuse is damaging and wrong. Please reach out for the help and support that you need.   In today's episode, my guest, Dave, shares his journey and perspective in dealing with a covert narcissistic wife and mother of his children. I am so happy to be broadening our reach to help so many who are victims of covert narcissistic abuse and living this very same nightmare!  
3/2/202324 minutes, 15 seconds
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The Stages of Grief as they Relate to Covert Narcissism

To donate to the Covert Narcissism Podcast and receive your free copy of chapter one of my upcoming book, potentially titled: Grasping Covert Narcissism, Catching A Ghost, click the link below.  https://patron.podbean.com/covertnarcissismpodcast     When you are coming to grips with the thought that you are in a long-term marriage with a covert narcissist, you will go through the stages of grief. In fact, just living with a covert narcissist, already has you in these stages, and you don’t even realize it!   What are you grieving about? The death of who you thought this person was, of who you believed they were. The death of what you thought your life would be like with them. The death of who you thought you were with them. Actually, the death of yourself. Like so many other victims, I lost me…for years.   And we may think that this grieving started when our eyes opened to reality, and there certainly is some truth to that. When the FOG lifts and we truly really see it, the stages of grief definitely apply. Once you see it, you can’t unsee it. And the emotions that come then are often quite intense. But this actually isn’t when the grieving process began. It began many years before. It began when the abuse began. That is when this death process started, but we aren’t aware of it. I certainly had no idea…at the time.
2/26/202323 minutes, 43 seconds
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A Thousand Bee Stings - Special Throwback Episode

To donate to the Covert Narcissism Podcast and receive your free copy of chapter one of my upcoming book, potentially titled: Grasping Covert Narcissism, Catching A Ghost, click the link below.  https://patron.podbean.com/covertnarcissismpodcast     A relationship with a covert narcissist is like getting a thousand bee stings. Any individual event can seem so small and insignificant, like a single bee sting. No big deal, right? WRONG!! Because it isn't just one bee sting, it is a thousand! One single example from your relationship can seem so petty and trivial when you try to explain it to others. If it was a single event, then it would be. But it isn't. This is not one single event. It is a culmination of a thousand bee stings and none of them get resolved ever. When you add all the stings together, you find yourself in an extreme amount of pain and anguish. Trying to explain it to someone is completely overwhelming. They can't possibly understand what you have been through.
2/23/202313 minutes, 35 seconds
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Their Anger Has NOTHING To Do With YOU

To donate to the Covert Narcissism Podcast and receive your free copy of chapter one of my upcoming book, potentially titled: Grasping Covert Narcissism, Catching A Ghost, click the link below.  https://patron.podbean.com/covertnarcissismpodcast     Covert narcissists go 0-100 over things that just simply do not justify all the anger. Whether the anger shows aggressively or passively, it is still there. Whether it is yelling and cursing, or huffing and coldly staring, that anger is felt by you, the victim. They communicate that you have crossed a line and upset them, and they make you pay for that violation.   Why in the world are covert narcissists so mad about such little things? You borrow their pen and forget to give it back, and you are thoughtless and selfish. You tell a funny story about them to a friend, and you are spiteful and rude. You hug a guy’s neck in public, and you are clearly having an affair with them or want to. You ask them to take out the trash, and you are being insensitive and mean.   Normal, everyday things that are a part of everyone’s everyday life. And yet, for you, it leads to incredibly uncomfortable situations with your spouse. You are now on the receiving end of disdain and contempt. You are put in your place for such rude and selfish behavior. I can’t believe you would treat your partner this way. At least, that’s what they are saying to you.
2/19/202322 minutes, 13 seconds
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Living with Years of Nitpicking - Special Guest Episode

To donate to the Covert Narcissism Podcast and receive your free copy of Chapter 1 of my upcoming book potentially titled: Grasping Covert Narcissism, Catching a Ghost, click the link below. https://patron.podbean.com/covertnarcissismpodcast   The extreme passive aggressiveness of their constant nitpicking is debilitating. You can’t ever be right, about anything. They constantly correct you. You say that your dog is 3 years old, and they correct you saying that he is 3 and a half years old. You say that it is 75 degrees outside, and they correct you saying that it is 76. But you go through years of believing that this is you. "Oh, I must be wrong. They know more than I do. I need to be more specific. I must not have said that clearly enough. I must not have defined that part well. I will keep working on me, and we will be just fine.:   Covert abuse gets inside of you. It results in zero self-esteem and zero self-confidence. You second-guess yourself constantly, and gaslight yourself. Overtime, this affects your other relationships. When you do the healing, it is an intense crash course on discovering you, and there is peace to be found.  
2/16/202326 minutes, 16 seconds
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The EXPERT on EVERYTHING

To donate to the Covert Narcissism Podcast and receive your free copy of chapter one of my upcoming book, potentially titled: Grasping Covert Narcissism, Catching A Ghost, click the link below.  https://patron.podbean.com/covertnarcissismpodcast     If you have ever lived with a covert narcissist, you know that they are the expert on everything. In their own eyes. They know everything. They say everything exactly right. They do everything exactly right. Everything they do is intentional, justified, and completely defendable. They don’t ever make mistakes.   If you ever actually try to call them out on something that was wrong, they will automatically defend it and explain why what they did was intentional and absolutely right. They will make it very clear that you are wrong. Even if you are just asking them to do something differently, they will starchy defend their way of doing everything and give your thoughts and opinions no consideration.   This is everything!! I mean from how you dry your hair to how you load the dishwasher. From how you brush your teeth to how you drive your car. Things you have been doing for years, learned from childhood, and doing just fine before you ever met them. All of sudden you can’t do anything right. Sometimes I wonder how any of us managed to even exist without their amazing expertise.
2/12/202319 minutes, 21 seconds
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Long-Term Marriage With a Covert Narcissist

On today’s show, I have a guest who has been in a long-term marriage with a covert narcissistic husband, over three decades long. She joined CNG group coaching to try to find some answers. As she listened to the stories of the other group members, she found herself thinking that the people she met there deserved better. "That person deserves better than that," while listening to one story. "Oh, this one deserves better too," upon hearing another story. But then her eyes opened, “Oh! Wait a minute! I deserve better!”    Her story of embracing radical acceptance, claiming emotional space, and focusing on changing herself instead of him is a journey of bravery, healing, and inspiration. I know you will find her story to be validating and compelling. May it motivate you to find your own path of healing!  
2/5/202320 minutes, 57 seconds
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Marriage Counseling with a Covert Narcissist

Life with a covert narcissist - those words really hold so much meaning in them, anyone who has lived this knows what I am saying with those simple words. As I have explained many times in these episodes, is not the normal path of give and take, mutual reconciliation, mutual respect and courtesy. It is a very one-sided relationship. One with you doing all the work, doing the work for two individuals, carrying all the weight of the relationship. All the while being blamed for anything and everything that goes wrong and even being blamed for not doing anything to help the situation. While you are wearing yourself out trying to make things better. To say it is exhausting does not come close to describing how you feel. It is impossible to even put the feelings into words.  Bone-dry, nothing left in the tank, exhaustion Completely drained - mentally, emotionally, spiritually Not knowing where else to turn, many turn to marriage counseling. Maybe it is in hope that someone can actually help. Maybe it is one final step of trying everything you can to save the marriage. Maybe it is pressure from the covert narcissist to go. Or even from your family and friends. And marriage counseling can be incredibly helpful and productive when you are dealing with two normal range, healthy, mutually invested individuals. But here you are dealing with one passive-aggressive, manipulative, self-serving individual and one exhausted, internally beaten down, self-doubting individual. This creates a very different scenario, and the marriage counselor may not realize this at all and unintentionally add to the confusion.
1/29/202323 minutes, 6 seconds
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Everyone Around Me is a Narcissist!

Help! Everyone around me is a narcissist! They are everywhere!! Once you start identifying the elements of narcissism that have infiltrated your personal life, it can certainly seem like narcissism is everywhere you look now. My mom, my dad, my brother, my sister, my friend, my coworker, my boss, my neighbor, the stranger in the store, the clerk at the gas station, the lawyer in the news. It’s everywhere! And we want to go screaming into the night! The random red flags that we see all around us remind us of the CN that we have been married to for years, even decades, and we want nothing to do with all of it. We want them all to go away! However, not every narcissistic trait that you see around you makes that person a narcissist. Just because they are confident in who they are does not make them a narcissist.  As I mentioned in my episode two weeks ago, there are some elements of narcissism that are adaptive and productive. Today I want to explore that further to help us to better understand.  
1/22/202317 minutes, 7 seconds
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Covert Narcissism and Hyper-Sensitivity

Covert narcissism is narcissism from a unique angle. The internal characteristics are the same as an overt narcissist, but it plays out differently. Narcissism is not defined in the DSM (Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders) as the loud and boisterous life of the party. It does not list traits of hitting, cheating, and yelling.  Rather, NPD (Narcissistic Personality Disorder) is defined as having a grandiose sense of self-importance, requiring excessive admiration, believing that they are special, having a lack of empathy, jealous of others, and arrogant. These traits and others are present in both overt and covert narcissists. How they show up differs. In this podcast, we explore these differences in order to raise awareness of covert narcissism.  This particular episode addresses the hyper-sensitivity of narcissists and how this displays for both overt and covert narcissists. Overt narcissists react with fear and use intimidation to control of their victim. Covert narcissists react with hurt and victimhood, using guilt and blame to control their victim.
1/15/202315 minutes, 43 seconds
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Not All Narcissism is the Same

Someone recently commented on my Tiktok video, saying that they have been confident that they are married to a CN, but now are struggling bad wondering it they are the narcissist.  I totally understand this! It is actually extremely common that it’s mind-blowing! I want to help you understand why this happens and to describe the different types of narcissistic behavior. Everyone has moments of displaying narcissistic behaviors and traits. And not all narcissism is wicked and evil. There are elements of narcissism that actually serve a productive and healthy role in life. Narcissistic traits that help us through developmental phases in life, such as the transition from childhood to adulthood and the transition from victim of emotional abuse to taking charge of who we are and the life we want to live. Standing up for yourself can feel incredibly narcissistic. And that toxic and manipulative person in your life will be extremely quick to point that out. But don’t be fooled. Educate yourself. Take deep, honest self-reflective looks at your own thoughts, feelings and actions.   Today I am discussing the different types of narcissism and how it is showing up in our world.    
1/8/202319 minutes, 54 seconds
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There is Life Outside of Narcissism

There is a YOU in there that has been buried under this thing called narcissism, and especially covert narcissism. And it is truly like being buried! Buried under the weight of this relationship you are in or have been in. Buried under their judgment, sensitivity, blame, superiority, entitlement, harshness. Buried under your own over-thinking, over-analyzing, walking on eggshells, playing through a hundred ways to say something, being perfect, blaming yourself. But this is a new year! New year, new you! That doesn't quite work.   This is more.. New Year, Come Back to You!   Let’s start this new year with a journey to finding you again! A journey of healing, taking control of your life, and freeing your spirit. If you are in need of group support, we have it for you! This will catapult you onto that journey of healing. My next round of group coaching begins in the middle of January 2023. These groups are the most empowering offer that I have. These groups are life-changing. What a fantastic way to start the new year! Finding you again!! I hope to see you there!   Click here to sign up for our upcoming group sessions!  
1/1/202320 minutes, 8 seconds
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Holiday Time and Narcissistic Supply

Spending any holiday time, vacation time, family time, or even date time with a covert narcissist is an awful lot like pulling a Chance card in Monopoly. If you are an avid player of the game or even a casual player, then you know that feeling of landing on Chance and having no idea if this is a good thing or not. Will it be a reward of something great or a punishment for an imaginary crime? Either way, it has nothing to do with any action on your part. With the CN, this can turn out to be a good time, quite enjoyable, a relief that it stayed peaceful and happy or it can be a total disaster and sheer punishment. Not knowing what is coming and knowing the intense negativity that is always a tiny fuse away makes it incredibly difficult to relax and just enjoy. Even when the environment is positive, it is impossible to trust it.   Whether things are peaceful and calm or explosive and disastrous depends an awful lot on the covert narcissist's narcissistic supply. Whether their bottomless internal pit of emptiness and insecurity, which constantly needs to be fed, is being filled sufficiently right then. Learning about narcissistic supply can help you to make sense out of this crazy-making situation.    
12/25/202219 minutes, 47 seconds
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Take Back Your Holiday Joy

It is so very easy to be consumed by the gloom and doom of life with a covert narcissist. It feels dark, overwhelming and hopeless, and it is. However, there absolutely IS life outside of narcissism! Someone recently reached out to me expressing the need for more episodes with words of encouragement and hope. And what a great time of the year to do so!! So I thank that individual for reaching out to me. I love to hear from you all, so please share your feedback with me. This is your podcast, not mine.   Now let’s talk about these holidays that are right in front of us. The holiday season brings out the child in all of us. For many, that’s great. The childlike mindset of hope and expectations. The eagerness for happiness, presents and great food. Songs about peacefulness and love. Expectations of laughing, smiling, and just feeling content. The escape of a few days with no responsibilities, time to rest and simply enjoy each other. Maybe even some snow to really bring out the child in us.   For a covert narcissist, this child that it brings out is very different. Not childlike, but rather childish. "Look at me and how great I am." "What about me," when the conversation wanders or the spotlight shifts around. Snide remarks and sarcastic stabs when they don’t get their way, though they try to play this off as "I was only joking" and blame you for being too sensitive. Unwilling to share YOU with the festivities of the holidays, so their true colors come roaring out.   The holiday season can certainly bring out the worst in a covert narcissist. But you do not have to let them “steal your joy.” Today, I am going to give you three tactics for taking back your holiday joy.
12/18/202221 minutes, 44 seconds
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Is It Okay To Care About Them and Still Walk Away?

Is It Okay To Care About Them and Still Walk Away? ABSOLUTELY YES!!! I hear so many people questioning themselves about walking away from abusive relationships.  I really care about him/her. I really do love them. Shouldn’t I stick it out? Don’t all relationships have issues? I know they are hurting and need to be loved. I know this will hurt them even more, how can I do that to them? Does the following sound familiar to you? You are in a relationship, and something in your relationship just isn’t right. Something feels off. Maybe you are having a hard time putting your finger on exactly what it is. But you know that you are not feeling good about it, not feeling happy and content. You don’t like the way your partner treats you. His (or her) words are harsh and uncaring. Anytime you try to talk with them, it becomes a problem. Why can’t we even have a normal conversation? Everything is combative. Even conversations that should be simple and easy just aren’t. They blame you for everything and refuse to take any personal responsibility for their own words and actions. You feel like you just can’t do anything right, ever.   My relationship with a covert narcissistic husband is the most confusing thing I have ever been through in life. There is absolutely nothing simple or easy about it. I remember the day when I had a powerful revelation. I don’t have to hate him in order to walk away!! It is okay to care about them and yet to simply walk away.    
12/11/202216 minutes, 48 seconds
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Emotional Dumping

I said to a friend once, “I am afraid to leave my boys at home alone with their father.” She said, “That is quite alarming and not okay. Why do you say that?’” I realized right then how incredibly difficult this is to explain. I was not afraid for their physical safety. He wasn’t going to hit them. He wasn’t going to throw things and scare them.  Most of the time, he wasn’t even going to yell at them.  But he was going to emotionally dump on them. They were trapped victims to this horrible form of emotional abuse. Something I was even struggling to defend against. They stood no chance. Venting is a healthy way of letting our trapped feelings find voice and expression. It releases those feelings so the person venting can begin to feel better and look at things more rationally. This is extremely different than emotional dumping, where no one walks away feeling better. Instead everyone feels beaten down and worthless. Today, I explore those differences so you can see and decide for yourself what is happening in your relationship.   Individual coaching sessions right now are on sale for $99 per hour through the end of December. Cnglifecoaching.com Group sessions are on pause for the month of December and will begin again in mid-January. Covertnarcissism.com  
12/4/202218 minutes, 42 seconds
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You Don’t See It Until You See It

You don’t see it until you see it. You can’t unsee once you see it. One day, all of a sudden, I just saw it. My thoughts were, "hey this is a problem." "Something just isn’t right here."   Before this, I made excuses. I justified everything. He’s not feeling well today. He had a rough childhood. He is stressed at work. He didn’t have siblings. The kids were being loud and frustrating. Our son could have been more obedient. I could have been more understanding. I could have said that better. I should have known that would upset him. Anything and everything except for - he should not talk to us this way. His words are mean and hurtful. His tone is not okay as my partner for life. He is NOT a loving and compassionate person. Why were those not the things I was thinking and saying? I misdirected the fault for what was going on for years, many years. Laying the blame everywhere except where it truly belonged. Until one day….    
11/27/202216 minutes, 58 seconds
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The Ultimate Disconnect Between the Mind and Body

I know this nightmare that you are living. I lived it too. I know the daily pain of trying to matter, trying to be good enough, trying to somehow, magically, find peace in your world. A peace that just doesn’t exist. In this intense nightmare, that beautiful heart of yours separates from your head. It simply cannot take the pain anymore. It is an experience of complete disconnection. Logically, you know a lot of what is going on, but your heart just shuts down. It doesn’t work anymore. This is a level of internal exhaustion that is like no other.  Your heart is so incredibly hurt by the one person who is supposed to be your greatest ally. The one who is supposed to have your back, supposed to stand by your side no matter what. The one from whom you expected the greatest amount of safety and love. The one who said, I do. Yet this is the one that has brought you to me today. The one who has created so much intense pain inside of you. The one who has disconnected your head from your heart, your mind from your body. A large part of the healing journey is finding you again, reconnecting mind and body, and regaining enjoyment in who you are all over again. Take that journey with me and thousands of others right now!
11/20/202218 minutes, 25 seconds
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Pseudo Recovery: A Trap set by Covert Narcissists

Does a narcissist ever change? Can they ever get better? Is there any hope? He/She says that they are working on it, that they are getting help. They even go to therapy. How much time should I give them? How will I know if it is for real? I get asked this all the time. I have talked with so many who are completely stuck because of these very questions. They say things like - I think he/she is getting better. Things have been calmer for quite a while. They are being more cooperative, nicer, giving me more attention. Maybe they actually get it this time. Maybe this time it will stick. Maybe, just maybe. So many victims of covert narcissistic abuse stay for years in an abusive marriage, all in the name of “they are getting better.” Progress, they call it. Only to have the abuse return over and over. Each miniscule step of progress just erases each round of bad behavior. Decades later, you realize that nothing has ever changed, ever. You have simply been trapped by pseudo recovery.
11/13/202214 minutes, 2 seconds
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Mirroring: Absorbing Your Identity to Have One of Their Own

Did you feel like you had the perfect soulmate for you? I remember saying, You’re like the male version of me, and I’m the female version of you. We just had so much in common and connected on so many levels. Mirroring is a manipulative tactic used by covert narcissists to charm you and catch you as their prey. However, mirroring plays out in several ways in these toxic relationships. Understanding this can certainly help you to make more sense out of the crazy nightmare. Mirroring is when one person, consciously or unconsciously, imitates the gestures, speech, patterns, attitudes, beliefs, behaviors, interests of another person. It involves both verbal and nonverbal behaviors. At the beginning of the relationship, covert narcissists mirror you. They like what you like, love what you love, and want what you want. They agree with everything you say, and even talk like you talk. Using words and phrases you use. These instant connections help you to feel safe and secure, cared for and noticed. You let your guard down, and you over-trust. Throughout the relationship, mirror imaging is a factor, but not just in one direction. We often end up mirroring them too, which is why so many victims of covert narcissistic abuse come to me asking if they are the narcissist!! Special offer right now - all individual sessions are only $99 per hour. Sign up today at www.cnglifecoaching.com. I look forward to working with you! I wish you so much peace on your journey of healing!! --- This episode is sponsored by · Anchor: The easiest way to make a podcast. https://anchor.fm/app Support this podcast: https://anchor.fm/covertnarcissism/support
10/30/202223 minutes, 49 seconds
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Being Told You Are Too Sensitive

Have you ever been accused of being too sensitive? Being too emotional? Have you ever told yourself that you should be stronger, less emotional? I want to challenge these questions and judgements. This episode is inspired by the book titled The Highly Sensitive Person’s Guide to Dealing with Toxic People by Shahida Arabi. The subtitle of the book is How to Reclaim Your Power from Narcissists and Other Manipulators. If you have not yet read this book, I do highly recommend it. The world will tell you that your high sensitivity is a weakness, and too often we believe that ourselves. I am telling you that it is an amazing strength! It is a beautiful thing, and our broken world needs it so badly. You need it! We all need it! Never again will anyone ever convince me that being sensitive or emotional is a weakness. It is a beautiful strength, and I will nourish it! I want to let you know about a November special that I am running. All of my individual coaching sessions in November are only $99 per hour long session. I will have it ready to go this week. So if you want to take advantage of this offer, go to my coaching website, which is cnglifecoaching.com. I wish you so much peace on your journey of healing! --- This episode is sponsored by · Anchor: The easiest way to make a podcast. https://anchor.fm/app Support this podcast: https://anchor.fm/covertnarcissism/support
10/23/202218 minutes, 53 seconds
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Hearing from Members of the CNG Group Retreat, October 2022

This is a special treat from Kentucky in the USA. This is my first ever in-person retreat for members from CNG Group Coaching Sessions. These are women who have lived this nightmare and are on that healing journey too. Listen to their words, their feelings, their stories, and their hearts. Just like you, they felt alone, worthless, hopeless, and empty. Now we embraced each other with open arms, sharing laughter and tears in an amazing weekend event. I know you will benefit from hearing from them. I wish you so much peace on your journey of healing! To learn more about the group coaching sessions, visit https://www.covertnarcissism.com/group-session --- This episode is sponsored by · Anchor: The easiest way to make a podcast. https://anchor.fm/app Support this podcast: https://anchor.fm/covertnarcissism/support
10/16/202230 minutes, 13 seconds
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Toxic Shaming: An Intensely Powerful Tool of the Covert Narcissist

Toxic shaming is about obedience and compliance. Narcissistic people use this tool often to manipulate their victims. Covert narcissists have a defining sense of being defective and unlovable. This haunts them all their life. It creates a lifelong fight against shame. Shame is an emotion experienced when one’s flaws and deficits become known or when one is afraid they will become known. They actually get trapped in a cycle of anger when their shame is triggered. Their anger is their way of not dealing with the painful feelings of shame. Instead they just get angry at the person who evoked the shame, whether they intended to or not. They rage at them, blame them, and project onto them. Narcissistic people get stuck in a cycle - feeling shame, lashing out in rage, feeling more shame, lashing out more, and so on. It grows and escalates. Covert narcissists project all this shame onto you, their victim. They make you look and feel inferior to feed their need to feel superior. They control your self-perception, undermining your self-esteem and driving you towards self-destruction. They manipulate you to take blame for their behavior. They use this shame to isolate you from others. Intense shame can lead to intense anxiety, self-hatred, withdrawal, fear, addictions, self-harm, anger, and more. Start learning to speak your truth. Give yourself permission to feel your own feelings and room to be human. It is okay to do things that you could have done better, to say things that you could have said better. There is nothing wrong with this. No one died and made you God that you had to be perfect. You are human! You are allowed to be human!! --- This episode is sponsored by · Anchor: The easiest way to make a podcast. https://anchor.fm/app Support this podcast: https://anchor.fm/covertnarcissism/support
10/9/202220 minutes, 21 seconds
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4 Boundaries to Implement for Yourself

Last week, I talked about where the story begins. With narcissistic people, their story does not begin with how they treated you. Rather it begins with how you react to their treatment of you. Today is part two. I am going to give you an approach to boundary setting that has been absolutely life changing for me. A new perspective that allows you to take charge of your own life and be the person you want to be. Such a simple approach, but one we so often overlook. Highly sensitive people must work extra hard to find ways to implement boundaries. Having to put boundaries in place does not come automatically to highly sensitive people. It is important to know that these boundaries are not for the other person. They are for you. The kind of boundaries I am suggesting here are guided by your own desires in life. Your desires about who you are and who you want to be. What are your personal character goals? --- This episode is sponsored by · Anchor: The easiest way to make a podcast. https://anchor.fm/app Support this podcast: https://anchor.fm/covertnarcissism/support
10/3/202222 minutes, 45 seconds
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Where Does the Story Begin?

I don’t care too much for the word codependent in today’s world. It has come to mean something incredibly negative. It portrays a weak, beaten down individual who has no ability to stand up for themselves. Someone who is emotional and sensitive, and they are told that their emotions are stupid and a waste of time. They are told that they have no self-love and must please others in order to feel adequate about themselves. Codependent individuals are portrayed as carrying a lot of deep internal shame and are looking for external ways to feel better about themselves, to validate themselves. As you learn more about narcissism, this viewpoint can feel incredibly similar to narcissistic people and be quite damaging. However, we didn't start with all the self-doubt and shame. That’s not where the story begins. It starts with the words of manipulative people, telling us that we should be more of this or less of that. Telling us that we are wrong, over every tiny thing. Competitive and combative in even daily conversations about everyday life. Judging us on every issue, every action, every word. Over time, the victim of this loses themselves. You lose your love for life, your motivation to help others, your caring and generous spirit. The story starts with their abusive behavior towards you! --- This episode is sponsored by · Anchor: The easiest way to make a podcast. https://anchor.fm/app Support this podcast: https://anchor.fm/covertnarcissism/support
9/25/202217 minutes, 3 seconds
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Guard Dogging: The Covert Narcissist’s Justification for Their Own Anger

I used to describe my husband as being like a guard dog. Always on high alert, looking for any threat to his territory, just waiting to pounce, eager to attack, hyper-sensitive, hyper-alert, always on the prowl. The first place that I really identified this was regarding our kids. He would sit outside of the room they were playing in, listening and just waiting for them to do something, anything wrong. Then he would pounce on them. He would come boiling in, full steam, so harsh at them, as if what just happened was the worst thing on the face of the earth. Why do they do this? So they can have someone or something to blame for their anger. As I have said, the anger is already there. It is always there. But now they have a reason. And once that reason wears off, they have to have another reason. They watch for that reason, for that justification so they don’t carry the blame for their own anger. Quit trying to do everything perfect for this abusive person in your life. No matter what, they are always going to find a reason to be mad. Remember the anger is already there and actually has nothing to do with you and your actions. They are going to be mad anyways, whether you say or do this or that. It really doesn’t matter. So quit living your life trying to appease that. Quit carrying the blame for their constant anger. That’s not on you!! To join my upcoming group coaching sessions, visit my website at www.covertnarcissism.com --- This episode is sponsored by · Anchor: The easiest way to make a podcast. https://anchor.fm/app Support this podcast: https://anchor.fm/covertnarcissism/support
9/11/202218 minutes, 29 seconds
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Intermittent Reinforcement, A Powerful Manipulation Tool

Why can’t I leave? What is this crazy ride I am on? One minute I want out so badly, but the next I am fighting to stay. Do I want to stay? Do I want to go? Why can’t I make up my mind? What is wrong with me? There is nothing wrong with you! You have been a victim of an incredibly powerful manipulation tool called intermittent reinforcement. I am going to describe that tool today and tell you why it has such a strong effect on you and so many other victims. Intermittent reinforcement is the delivery of rewards at irregular intervals. It is a game of sometimes I validate you and sometimes I don't. Sometimes I reward your positive behavior and sometimes I don't. You, the subject, do not receive a reward each time that you perform a desired behavior. The inconsistent rewards cause us to work harder to get the reward. We pursue it with much more enthusiasm, paying extremely close attention to signs of progress. When it finally comes, the hard earned reward releases huge feelings of relief and success inside of us. And once achieved, the process begins all over again. I’m Renee Swanson, your host of the CN podcast. Thank you so much for joining me today. If you are in need of some guidance through this nightmare, please reach out to me! I offer both group and individual coaching. You can learn more at my website www.covertnarcissism.com. You can email me at [email protected]. I look forward to hearing from you. --- This episode is sponsored by · Anchor: The easiest way to make a podcast. https://anchor.fm/app Support this podcast: https://anchor.fm/covertnarcissism/support
9/4/202222 minutes, 4 seconds
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Your Warning System is Not Broken

I’m so easily upset. I didn’t use to be, but I am now. Is something wrong with me? I’ve become so reactive. The smallest things really upset me now. Am I the problem? I'm on high alert all the time. I feel defensive and easily triggered. Am I the narcissist? We all have a built in warning system. It is designed to keep us safe from harm. This warning system causes us to feel anxious and upset, on high alert, on edge, not trusting the situation, and incredibly uncomfortable. The warning system is designed to keep us safe from harm. It is the bells and whistles to alert us to potential danger. Your warning system is not broken! I meet with so many victims of covert narcissistic abuse. I meet in both individual sessions and in group settings. So many victims ask what’s wrong with them. They ask if they are the narcissist, if they are broken. I am here to tell you now that your system is NOT broken. Your heart, body, soul and mind are trying to keep you safe from danger. You need to learn to listen to your system, to trust it, to interpret its messages, and to communicate with it. If you are in need of individual coaching or would like to work in a group setting with other victims, please reach out to me. You can learn more about what I offer at www.covertnarcissism.com or at www.cnglifecoaching.com You can also email me at [email protected] If you missed the episode on Cognitive Dissonance, listen to it here. --- This episode is sponsored by · Anchor: The easiest way to make a podcast. https://anchor.fm/app Support this podcast: https://anchor.fm/covertnarcissism/support
8/28/202222 minutes, 28 seconds
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How Do I Handle the Triggers

When living in an abusive situation, a victim often becomes reactive. The environment is not emotionally safe. You are walking on eggshells every day of your life. Your mind is in hyper-drive and hyper-alert all the time. You never feel good enough for this abusive person. You can’t ever do anything right. You are constantly judged and blamed. Your thoughts and feelings never matter. You have no space to be human. This is a traumatic environment. It is incredibly damaging and leaves significant imprints in your mind, heart, soul and body. Even when we have left the situation, these imprints are still there. Piles of them. This is a thousand bee stings. These imprints are easily triggered, causing major reactions in us that do not match the current situation. How do we handle these triggers and stop those intense reactions? To learn more about an Energy Burn, listen to my previous episode - Two Tools for Healing from Covert Narcissistic Abuse --- This episode is sponsored by · Anchor: The easiest way to make a podcast. https://anchor.fm/app Support this podcast: https://anchor.fm/covertnarcissism/support
8/21/202223 minutes, 50 seconds
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Covert Narcissists’ Constant Need for Validation

Covert narcissists have an insatiable need for constant validation. It is an addiction for them. They have to be fed ALL the time. And it will still never be enough. Their need for validation is like a cup with no bottom. You pour in all this positive energy, and it just flows right out the other end and is gone. No matter how much you love them, respect them, admire them, care for them, approve of them, build them up, it will never be enough. They only see all the ways that you don’t. Any tiny criticism, disapproval, neutral though, or even just a simple giving your attention to something or someone else. If I’m quiet one evening, maybe I’m tired, have a headache, deep in thought about life or worried about a friend, or even just peacefully quiet, pondering the good things of life. All of this will cause the covert narcissist to go into that “feed me” mode. It’s like a panicked place on their end of - uh oh, what’s wrong? Why are you quiet? Are you mad at me? Did I do something wrong? Are you upset with me? Do you still love me? Are you leaving me? It is always all about them. It is like they are a hawk watching everything you do or say, the look on your face, the way you breathe, and interpreting everything as though it ALL has to do with them. It doesn't matter how much you tell them and show them that you love them. It is never enough! www.covertnarcissism.com www.cnglifecoaching.com --- This episode is sponsored by · Anchor: The easiest way to make a podcast. https://anchor.fm/app Support this podcast: https://anchor.fm/covertnarcissism/support
8/14/202217 minutes, 19 seconds
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Covert Narcissists Rule Their Environment

When you are with a covert narcissist, you gradually and even completely disappear as an individual. You no longer matter in your world. They completely rule the environment. They are the one in charge of the dance that is going on between you and them. Their moves are the ones that decide the direction you go. Today I am discussing two distinct ways that this plays out - their timetable is the only one that matters and their mood sets the mood of the home. These two things, among others, put the covert narcissist in charge of the environment within the home and creates an unstable and hostile atmosphere. You can learn more about the work of Renee Swanson at www.covertnarcissism.com --- This episode is sponsored by · Anchor: The easiest way to make a podcast. https://anchor.fm/app Support this podcast: https://anchor.fm/covertnarcissism/support
8/7/202219 minutes, 59 seconds
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How Do We Raise Kids with a Covert Narcissist?

Anyone who is here listening to this podcast is dealing with an emotionally unavailable person. A person who does not have clearly defined boundaries nor honor your clearly defined boundaries. A person who is not emotionally safe for spontaneous and easy interactions. In all these podcast episodes, I talk through many characteristics of a covert narcissist. If I had to briefly define a covert narcissist, it is a person who is psychologically and emotionally unsafe and damaging to those closest to them in ways that are subtle, passive aggressive, and not perceived from the outside. Think about that definition for a minute. Psychologically and emotionally unsafe and damaging to those closest to them and not visible to the outside world. Now make them a parent to a child. Born completely vulnerable and unprotected. At the complete mercy of their parents’ care. In need of all care begin provided for them - physically, mentally, emotionally, psychologically. This situation is incredibly difficult and painful. I address it in this episode. If you want my book called Parenting with a Toxic Partner, it is available on Amazon. For more information on my group coaching sessions, visit www.covertnarcissism.com/group-session Or email me at [email protected] --- This episode is sponsored by · Anchor: The easiest way to make a podcast. https://anchor.fm/app Support this podcast: https://anchor.fm/covertnarcissism/support
7/31/202220 minutes, 34 seconds
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How Do I Explain Covert Narcissism

How do I explain this abuse to friends and family who don’t get it. How do I tell them? People who I really want to understand it. I want them to know why I’ve done some of what I’ve done. I want to hear my side of the story. I want them to think better of me. I understand that drive to explain it to others. You want them to know you. You want them to hear you. I am going to use a couple of analogies today, one to better explain why they just won’t get it and one that you can use in explaining it to them to a certain degree. I will tell you now that you cannot truly explain this to someone who has never lived it. They won’t fully get it, not entirely. Can they sympathize with you? Yes, if they are empathetic people. But they still won’t entirely understand. And they don’t have to. You have nothing to prove to anyone anyways. Please know that others are not going to get it, at least not entirely. Remember, you do not owe an explanation to anyone. You have nothing to prove and do not need to defend yourself to anyone. It truly does not matter what anyone else thinks of you. Those who won’t show you empathy and compassion do not need your time in that way. That is their problem, not yours. Those who offer that emotional safety to you and give you the space to talk about it or not as you need, those are the ones to lean on. For more information on our upcoming group sessions, please visit https://www.covertnarcissism.com/group-session --- This episode is sponsored by · Anchor: The easiest way to make a podcast. https://anchor.fm/app Support this podcast: https://anchor.fm/covertnarcissism/support
7/24/202222 minutes, 46 seconds
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4 Boundaries for YOU When you are with a Covert Narcissist

How in the world do we set boundaries with a covert narcissist? How do we protect ourselves from all the damage they are doing? The boundaries that we need to set are for us, not for them. The boundaries are for you. Setting boundaries for them is like giving them a challenge. It’s game on, basically a guarantee that this will do it. Here are 4 boundaries for you to consider and work on! Stop explaining yourself to them, defending yourself Stop making yourself vulnerable to them Stop expecting them to change and stop trying to help them change or to fix them Stop making excuses for them In this episode, I explain the need for these boundaries as well as how to implement them. Be patient with yourself as you go through this. It is not a one-time event, and it is not easy. The only people who get upset about you setting boundaries are the ones who were benefiting from you having none. To join my next group coaching session, visit www.covertnarcissism.com/group-session --- This episode is sponsored by · Anchor: The easiest way to make a podcast. https://anchor.fm/app Support this podcast: https://anchor.fm/covertnarcissism/support
7/17/202224 minutes, 45 seconds
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My View on Codependency

In today’s world, the word narcissism is extremely common. It is getting thrown around in many relationships, homes, places of business, schools. All over social media. Victims identify it in their abusers. Abusers throw the accusation back at their victims. The word narcissism is being used by many that have no idea what it means. They get mad at someone and immediately call them a narcissist. They don’t like their opinion or have a disagreement, and the word narcissist comes flying out. Therapists, counselors, psychologists, experts in the field are trying to get on top of this staggering rise in narcissism and the confusion that is running with it. Lawyers and mediators struggle to figure out reality with those they are working with. Judges are so overwhelmed by all this that many of them don’t even allow the word narcissist to be used in their courtrooms anymore. Side by side with this is a rise in the use of the word codependency. Another word that is being thrown around and is often misunderstood and misused. Some lay it all on the victim, saying “It’s your fault that you allowed all this abuse. It’s your codependency issue.” Only adding to the confusion so many victims already suffer from. Others get defensive and label this victim-blaming, standing up for those who have found themselves trapped in abusive relationships, just trying to make the best of it. Some victims relate to the codependency language and find a lot of healing in exploring that path. I would never take that away from them. However, others are powerfully repulsed by it. This all gets extremely chaotic and confusing. I would like to share my view on codependency with you today. To learn more about my upcoming group coaching sessions and to register for your spot, please visit https://www.covertnarcissism.com/group-session --- This episode is sponsored by · Anchor: The easiest way to make a podcast. https://anchor.fm/app Support this podcast: https://anchor.fm/covertnarcissism/support
7/10/202220 minutes, 48 seconds
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JUST Enough Good from a Covert Narcissist

Relationships with covert narcissists often last years and decades. Why? Why did I stay for over 2 decades with this verbally, emotionally, psychologically abusive man? Why didn’t I see it sooner?? Is there something wrong with me that I didn’t see it? Because covert narcissists are experts at giving just enough to keep you hooked!! The Covert Narcissist is Just Enough Just enough good to keep you in, Just enough bad to chase you away Just enough good to make you feel loved and cherished, Just enough bad to make you feel wounded and empty Just enough good to make your heart sing, Just enough bad to destroy that very heart Just enough good to to keep you invested, Just enough bad to leave you doubting Just enough good to give you hope that you are making progress, Just enough bad to leave you feeling despairing and trapped Just enough emotional expression to make you think they are sensitive and vulnerable, Just enough harshness and blaming to guarantee they have no compassion Just enough innocence and baggage to appeal to your sympathy for them, Just enough guilting and blaming to destroy that very sympathy Just enough effort to make you the bad person if you leave, Just enough blame to know the effort is a lie Just enough good to convince you to stay in the relationship, Just enough bad to make you want to run away screaming Just enough good to convince the world they are amazing, Just enough bad for you to know the truth Just enough good to confuse you, Just enough bad to confuse you A covert narcissist is just enough --- This episode is sponsored by · Anchor: The easiest way to make a podcast. https://anchor.fm/app Support this podcast: https://anchor.fm/covertnarcissism/support
7/3/202219 minutes, 26 seconds
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Love Bombing Part Two

Welcome back to the covert narcissism podcast. I’m Renee Swanson, your host. Last week we started talking about Love bombing. What is it? How is it different from genuine relationships? How do I keep from falling prey to this again in my future relationships? If you missed last week’s episode, please go back and listen to that one first. Then pick it up here. People often talk about love bombing that happened at the beginning of the relationship. However, relationships with toxic people don’t always start this way. In fact some relationships with a CN do not begin with love bombing. Love bombing sometimes happens in the middle of the relationship. Adding even more to the confusion. Which is the real him/her? Are they this loving and caring person I thought they were and they just have some bad times or unhealed trauma? Are they a mean and spiteful person and they just have some good times and loving moments? How do we answer this? How do we find the truth? --- This episode is sponsored by · Anchor: The easiest way to make a podcast. https://anchor.fm/app Support this podcast: https://anchor.fm/covertnarcissism/support
6/26/202221 minutes, 56 seconds
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Love Bombing

Love bombing is when one person is overly attentive to the other, absorbed by them, and uses this to gain control and to manipulate the other. They consume you with their love, attention and affection. However once you are under their spell, their behavior turns and the devaluing begins. The cycle of love bombing and devaluing is an integral part of the relationship with a covert narcissist. Love bombing can erase weeks and even months of bad behavior. We talk a lot about the ugly side of covert narcissism, the circular conversations, the blaming, the gaslighting, the projecting, and so on. If that is all we ever got, many of us would have left these relationships far sooner. However, the love bombing confuses us greatly. --- This episode is sponsored by · Anchor: The easiest way to make a podcast. https://anchor.fm/app Support this podcast: https://anchor.fm/covertnarcissism/support
6/19/202219 minutes, 56 seconds
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Interview with Ross Rosenberg

This special extra-long episode is an incredibly helpful interview with Ross Rosenberg. We talk about his book, The Human Magnet Syndrome, the draw that happens between narcissistic people and their victims, a new look at codependency, and how to begin that healing journey. What starts off as the codependent’s dream “soul mate” almost always transforms into their nightmare “cellmate.” Ross Rosenberg, M.Ed., LCPC, CADC, is a psychotherapist, educator, expert witness, and celebrated author. He's a global thought leader and renowned clinical expert in codependency, trauma, pathological narcissism, narcissistic abuse, and addictions. Ross's pioneering codependency contributions are responsible for the sweeping theoretical and practical updates and a treatment program that permanently resolves it. His YouTube channel best illustrates his global impact with 22 million views and 231K subscribers, and his Human Magnet Syndrome books (150K sold in 12 languages). In addition, Ross has been featured on national TV and radio and is a regular radio and podcast guest. https://www.selfloverecovery.com/ --- This episode is sponsored by · Anchor: The easiest way to make a podcast. https://anchor.fm/app Support this podcast: https://anchor.fm/covertnarcissism/support
6/12/202246 minutes, 31 seconds
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Your Rights When With a Covert Narcissist

“You have the right to remain silent. Anything you say can and will be used against you in a court of law. You have the right to an attorney. If you cannot afford an attorney, one will be provided for you. Do you understand the rights I have just read to you? With these rights in mind, do you wish to speak to me?” Now that I have shown how I will treat every word that comes out of your mouth, you better just shut up. I’m better than you at manipulating things, turning things against you, controlling you. This is my territory. This in a marriage! So condescending. So hurtful. It’s no wonder that we quit talking to them. So many victims shut down and go grey rock and don’t even understand why. They don’t even know what that is, but do it out of survival. So what should those rights be? What do they look like in a healthy relationship? I re-wrote them: "You have the right to be you. Anything you say can and will be heard and valued. You have the right to speak your mind. If you do not know how to speak your mind, I will wait patiently and eagerly to hear your thoughts. Do you understand the rights I have just read to you? With these rights in mind, are you open to speaking with me?" --- This episode is sponsored by · Anchor: The easiest way to make a podcast. https://anchor.fm/app Support this podcast: https://anchor.fm/covertnarcissism/support
6/5/202220 minutes, 33 seconds
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Radical Personal Responsibility

I often get asked: Why did this happen to me? How did I get here? How do I prevent it from ever happening again? How do I heal from this? These are excellent questions and they are very related to each other. Why did this happen to me has a whole lot to do with how do I prevent it from ever happening again. How did I get here is tied closely with how do I heal from this. You need to know about Radical Personal Responsibility - Your special weapon that is unreachable for narcissistic individuals. Taking control of your own internal world is absolutely one of your greatest tools and something that covert narcissists can never do!! I want to explain this tool to you and then teach you how to use it. The first step is to become aware of your autopilot! --- This episode is sponsored by · Anchor: The easiest way to make a podcast. https://anchor.fm/app Support this podcast: https://anchor.fm/covertnarcissism/support
5/29/202219 minutes, 36 seconds
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Interview with Debbie Mirza

What a privilege it is to introduce to you Debbie Mirza! She is best-selling author of the book "The Covert Passive Aggressive Narcissist," one of the first books I ever read that opened my eyes to the nightmare that I was living. This book is an amazing resource for gaining awareness and understanding of covert narcissism. Her second book "Worthy of Love' presents a gentle and restorative path to healing after narcissistic abuse. Debbie is a beautiful testimony that healing is possible and thriving is obtainable. She is currently working on her 3rd and potentially final book in this mini-series. I look forward to reading that book as soon as it is available. Debbie has such a gentle and tender heart for survivors of narcissistic abuse. Her gentle spirit and empowering strength are so encouraging and inspiring. She shows us all that it is possible to stand up for and protect yourself and yet maintain that kind and compassionate self that we all desire to be. To learn more about Debbie's work, visit www.debbiemirza.com June 1 is World Narcissistic Abuse Awareness Day. In honor of that day, for the entire month of June, I am offering all individual sessions with at a discounted rate of $99 per hour. We can meet once or we can meet as many times as you want. If you would like to take advantage of this offer, shoot me an email at [email protected] I also want to take a quick moment and remind you that my next round of group sessions is beginning on May 31. I only have a few spots left in these groups. You can choose between Tuesday mornings or Saturday mornings. Each group runs for 6 weeks. We meet for 2 hours on Zoom each week. You receive handouts and worksheets each week. Each group consists of 10 group members, who just like you are struggling through a relationship with a covert narcissist. It is incredibly empowering to work in a group setting where you receive so much validation for the pain, confusion and doubt that you are experiencing. If you want one of these few spots remaining, please do not hesitate to contact me. These groups will fill up. [email protected] or [email protected] --- This episode is sponsored by · Anchor: The easiest way to make a podcast. https://anchor.fm/app Support this podcast: https://anchor.fm/covertnarcissism/support
5/22/202230 minutes, 48 seconds
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The True Intentions of the Covert Narcissist

Have you ever tried to figure out someone’s true intentions? Have you been suspicious of the intentions behind one’s behaviors? Have you ever asked yourself, Yeah but what do they really want? Covert narcissists hide their true intentions. You can feel this when you talk with them. Something just doesn’t feel quite right. It doesn’t feel genuine. Everything they do and say has a hidden agenda. What is that agenda? What are their true intentions? The true intentions of a covert narcissistic person are: to rely on others to build them up, to build their self-esteem to earn compliments and recognition to gain admiration and the feeling of being important to confirm that they are better or higher in status than you to create confusion in others so they can maintain their superior confidence over your obvious inferiority to win your apologies and continue to boost their superiority to validate that they are a good person How do we know this? How can you identify it in your own situation? What do you do about it? To join our upcoming group coaching session, reach out to me at [email protected] or [email protected] For more information on the group sessions, visit https://www.covertnarcissism.com/group-session --- This episode is sponsored by · Anchor: The easiest way to make a podcast. https://anchor.fm/app Support this podcast: https://anchor.fm/covertnarcissism/support
5/15/202220 minutes, 34 seconds
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The Effects of Projections and Expectations

Since you are here listening to this, you have probably done some amount of research into narcissism. By now, you have probably run into the word projection as it relates to narcissism. A relationship that is built on projections and expectations is a relationship that is doomed to struggle. I talk about this a lot in my group coaching program, but I have realized that I have never done a podcast episode on it. It is definitely time! Let’s define what projection is. It is the process of misinterpreting what is on the inside of us as coming from the outside of us. Most people refer to projection as what the narcissistic person does, and they certainly do. However, projection is not limited to them. It affects all of us. Good people project their goodness onto others and bad people project their badness. Good people expect good behavior from others and bad people expect bad behavior from others. --- This episode is sponsored by · Anchor: The easiest way to make a podcast. https://anchor.fm/app Support this podcast: https://anchor.fm/covertnarcissism/support
5/8/202223 minutes, 27 seconds
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My Muck Sweeping Broom

I was SO good at sweeping things under the rug! I could take any huge bad things that happened and just make it disappear. Do you know what I mean? Have you ever experienced this? Maybe you have heard this phrase before and don’t really know what it’s talking about. I am going to explain it right here and give you personal examples from my world. I recently realized that the broom I used the most actually has a title. Here’s what I mean. Sweeping things under the rug refers to all the times that we make excuses for someone’s bad behavior. We don’t hold them accountable for what they have said or done. We push it aside and move on. Some refer to this as forgive and forget. We might try to pretend it never happened. We convince ourselves that this person didn’t mean it or was having a bad day or any other excuse we can come up with. Well, my broom that I recently discovered was that All marriages have problems. I could erase any bad behavior with this broom, sweep it right away. Whoosh, under the rug it goes. What broom are you using?? --- This episode is sponsored by · Anchor: The easiest way to make a podcast. https://anchor.fm/app Support this podcast: https://anchor.fm/covertnarcissism/support
5/1/202219 minutes, 56 seconds
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I Want Out, Now What??

I can’t keep living like this. I’ve tried everything I know to try. Things might get better for a little while, but it never lasts. I continuously find myself right back in the same place. Over and over trying to explain how I feel and everything is always flipped back at me. I’ve been doing this for years, or even decades, and I just can’t do it anymore. I’ve tried everything I can try. I’m damaged. My kids are damaged. I’m done. I want out, now what? That very thought can be intensely overwhelming! Getting out of the relationship can seem impossible. How will I support myself? What about our kids? How will the family all react? How will he/she react? How do I tell them? What am I thinking? I can’t possibly do this. It is very easy to stay in the relationship because it seems like the simpler answer. Even the thought of trying to leave can send us into a whirlwind. Heart racing, stomach feeling like it is trying to turn inside out, body tense, mind racing. How can I even be considering this? I know these feelings all too well. I never thought in a million years that I would be taking those steps. I never saw it coming. But I just could not stay. I had tried everything I could possibly try. I didn’t have anything left in my tank. And I could not continue this way. Do I file first and then tell him? Do I move out first? Do I tell him first? Do I pack bags? Do I tell him to leave? What do I do first? There are so many different ways that all this happens. There is no magical “right” answer. The path is different in every situation and at the end of the day is not the most important piece. The important part is that you found your voice and your strength. They are going to be upset no matter how you tell them. In person, by phone, write a letter. Say it this way or that way. It truly does not matter. Do you really think that you can find the magical way where they will not be angry? So do what feels right to you. You have spent enough time and energy trying to figure out how to not upset them. You have tap danced around them enough. Email me at [email protected] or [email protected] --- This episode is sponsored by · Anchor: The easiest way to make a podcast. https://anchor.fm/app Support this podcast: https://anchor.fm/covertnarcissism/support
4/24/202223 minutes, 13 seconds
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Can You get PTSD from a Relationship with a Covert Narcissist

Can you get PTSD or CPTSD from a relationship with a covert narcissist 100% yes!! Let’s talk about PTSD and CPTSD in relation to narcissist abuse. Post Traumatic Stress Disorder is trauma response triggered from a single terrifying event, such as: natural disaster home intrusion car accident serious injury Complex Post Traumatic Stress Disorder is trauma responses developed from ongoing or chronic trauma. It is prolonged traumatic events, such as: ongoing abuse childhood abuse domestic violence kidnapping, enslavement prisoner of war The majority of people exposed to trauma do not develop long-term post-traumatic stress disorder. It is important to get help and support to prevent our normal stress reactions from developing into PTSD. A vital piece of this is the deep human need to feel safe. You need emotional safety. --- This episode is sponsored by · Anchor: The easiest way to make a podcast. https://anchor.fm/app Support this podcast: https://anchor.fm/covertnarcissism/support
4/17/202220 minutes, 51 seconds
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The Excruciating Pain of Emotional Abandonment

I would never have said that abandonment was a concern for me in my marriage. He was never going to leave me. He would never run off with another woman. I knew that he would always be home in the evenings and on the weekends. Other people talked about the issue of abandonment. Some narcissists do run off with affairs. They discard their victim simply to get another one. But that didn’t apply in my situation. So I really didn’t think that abandonment was an issue for me. Until one day, I opened my eyes and realized I was wrong. I was absolutely dealing with abandonment. He abandoned me within our home every single day. He completely isolated himself constantly. He lost himself in video games and movies for hours on end. This was every evening after work, every weekend, every holiday, every vacation, no matter where we were or who we were with. He disengaged from our lives. He checked out completely again and again and again! --- This episode is sponsored by · Anchor: The easiest way to make a podcast. https://anchor.fm/app Support this podcast: https://anchor.fm/covertnarcissism/support
4/11/202218 minutes, 37 seconds
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Trauma Bonding Part Two

Let’s remember what trauma bonding is - In a simple definition, it is when the one who has hurt you is the one you turn to help you feel better. Trauma bonding feels like, “you’ve broken me into pieces but you’re the only one who can fix me.” The more you reach out to this covert abuser for love, recognition, comfort, validation, support, reconciliation, or closure, the stronger the trauma bond becomes. You could even call trauma bonding a conditioned dependency. You have been conditioned to rely on this person to help you feel relief from your internal stress. They make you hurt by the way they treat you, and they make you feel better because a healthy relationship with them is what you desire. No one else can make you feel better about that relationship. They can talk with you about it. They can help support you and care for you. But no one can take away that deep internal pain that an intimate covert abuser causes. So you continue to do everything in your power to make peace with this person. You dig in so hard because you desire it SO much! So what do we do about it? I’m going to give you 10 strategies. All 10 might not apply to you. All of us are different. Take the ones that feel right to you and start applying them to your life. Later come back and listen again, you might find a few more that will help you in the new place that you are in. For more information on working with me, contact me at [email protected] or visit our website www.covertnarcissism.com --- This episode is sponsored by · Anchor: The easiest way to make a podcast. https://anchor.fm/app Support this podcast: https://anchor.fm/covertnarcissism/support
4/6/202224 minutes, 56 seconds
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Trauma Bonding Part One of Two

Why can’t I actually leave this relationship? I want to! I’m tired of being treated this way. I’m tired of the ups and downs. I want stability. I want peace. I want less drama. Why can’t I actually walk away? Why do I keep coming back? Why do I continue to give them another chance, over and over? What is wrong with me? Am I crazy? If this is you, what you are experiencing is trauma bonding. Trauma bonding keeps us tied to this person, no matter how badly they treat us. How does this work? Trauma bonding occurs when a narcissistic person repeats a cycle of abuse with a target which fuels a need for validation and love from the person being abused. It is a psychological addiction and a survival tactic developed by the victim. Trauma bonding develops due to a cycle of intermittent rewards and punishments and a conditioning of the victim. The victim, you build hope, eagerly awaiting the next positive time together and a reprieve from the suffering. You do everything in your power to help this to happen, just knowing that it will come. That confidence is there because you do consistently get breadcrumbs of very loving and rewarding moments. The more you reach out to this covert abuser for love, recognition, comfort, validation, support, reconciliation, or closure, the stronger the trauma bond becomes. The longer period of time or more cycles that you have lived through with this abuser, the stronger the trauma bond is. For more information on our group coaching sessions, visit www.covertnarcissism.com/group-session or email me at [email protected] --- This episode is sponsored by · Anchor: The easiest way to make a podcast. https://anchor.fm/app Support this podcast: https://anchor.fm/covertnarcissism/support
4/3/202220 minutes, 49 seconds
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Living in the Narcissistic FOG

There is a reason that this word FOG always appears in capital letters now. It is an acronym for Fear, Obligation and Guilt. These words explain the progression of things for the victim of narcissistic abuse, and even more so with covert narcissistic abuse. The internal reaction of, “I’ll never do that again,” or "I'll never say that again," is the beginning of FEAR. Whatever it was that provoked that reaction from them that you just experienced, you will now avoid at all costs. Fear of their anger, their rejection, their judgment, even their silence. Not even aware of the driving force of fear in our lives, it becomes an unspoken mission to keep him/her happy, or at least not angry. It becomes our duty, our responsibility, our job, our OBLIGATION. I "should" make them feel better. I "should" keep peace with them. I "should" be more affectionate. I "should" be more clear with my words. And so on. Living a life out obligation is a sure way to live a life out GUILT. Now I feel guilty for falling short of these obligations. I feel guilty when I no longer want to fulfill these obligations. Covert narcissistic abuse gets inside our very core and leaves deep, deep wounds. We join the abuser in abusing ourselves when we add our own guilt to the dynamic at play. You have been made to feel guilty and responsible for any and every bad thing that has ever happened or ever will happen. In this thick FOG, you cannot see clearly. You are disoriented and confused. Things don’t make sense. It is no wonder that you don't feel like yourself anymore. It is time to get out from under this FOG and find you again. --- This episode is sponsored by · Anchor: The easiest way to make a podcast. https://anchor.fm/app Support this podcast: https://anchor.fm/covertnarcissism/support
3/27/202221 minutes, 40 seconds
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3 Landmarks that Boosted Me Forward

Last night, I was caught off guard with a question I had not really thought about. I was not prepared to answer this question about my journey with a covert narcissistic husband. Here's the question: Name 3 significant landmarks along the way. Three things that boosted me forward on this journey and got me to where I am today. At first, I only thought of external events. Things that actually took place on a specific day and involved people in my life. These events were what I named at the time. But later that night, I thought more about this question. These were the truly life-changing moments for me. Yes, they were a significant part of my journey, but they aren't really what got me to where I am now. The truly life-changing landmarks were internal! These were the moments that really shot me forward. They were the light bulb moments, the A-ha moments. In these moments, the FOG lifted significantly, and I made gigantic leaps in my journey. These were momentous steps towards saving ME, finding ME, and healing ME. These are my true landmarks! To learn more about my group coaching sessions, visit https://www.covertnarcissism.com/group-session --- This episode is sponsored by · Anchor: The easiest way to make a podcast. https://anchor.fm/app Support this podcast: https://anchor.fm/covertnarcissism/support
3/20/202221 minutes, 23 seconds
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Everything you say and do can and will get used against you

I mean everything!! You never feel safe interacting with this person. This is why this particular type of abuse is so exhausting. While the abuse may not be constant, the risk of it is. The potential is always there. You never know with anything you say or do if it will set them off. When you are with a covert narcissist, everything you do gets used against you. Everything you say. Everything you do. Even every kind or compassionate act you do. In this episode, I give you personal examples from my own marriage to a covert narcissist. When you hear how ridiculous these situations are, please reflect on your own experiences. How do they treat you? Are you safe with them, physically, but also emotionally and mentally? When they don’t make it safe for us to talk to them, help them, support them, and so on, we simply quit doing it. When others make it hard to help them, people stop helping! This is completely understandable. Put boundaries in place that protect you, your heart, your mind, your soul. We will be talking more about boundaries in future episodes! --- This episode is sponsored by · Anchor: The easiest way to make a podcast. https://anchor.fm/app Support this podcast: https://anchor.fm/covertnarcissism/support
3/13/202220 minutes, 38 seconds
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Compare the life of a covert narcissist with the life of their victim

Are you trying to decide if all you are going through is "normal," or if it is fair and reasonable? In the last two episodes, I have talked about the codependency traits that so many victims have in common and the eternal victim role that covert narcissists play. These two things get trapped together so incredibly often. On one side, you have a person who does no self-reflection, no self-improvement, and no internal work. Instead they express out all the ways they have been hurt in life. The abuse they suffered as a child. The mistreatment from parents, siblings, friends. The abuse they suffered from previous relationships, leaving them “broken” and insecure. The ways that everything you say hurts them, reminds them of their past abuse, resurfaces their hurt self. The eternal victim! On the other side, you have a person who desires to care for others. To build other people up. To help others become the best they can be. To “fix” them. To save them. Willing to do the extra work. Willing to give the benefit of the doubt. To carry extra blame so the other person doesn’t have to. To carry your own load and half of theirs too. To look at your own smallest faults and blame these over the massive faults the other person displays. To hold yourself accountable for everything, while letting them off the hook for anything. This is NOT a good combination! Works out great for the covert narcissist, who does none of the work and does anything they want all the time. It is horrible for their partner, who does all the work and never does anything they themselves want. --- This episode is sponsored by · Anchor: The easiest way to make a podcast. https://anchor.fm/app Support this podcast: https://anchor.fm/covertnarcissism/support
3/6/202219 minutes, 5 seconds
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The Eternal Victim Role of a Covert Narcissist

I hear so many people who have lived with a covert narcissist describe this person as a victim of everything. They can make everything be an attack on them or another way they got slighted. Covert narcissists love to play the victim role. They see themselves as an eternal victim. They will deny this of course. If you try to talk to them about it, then they will often react with sullenness and despair at how much your words are hurting them. Taking them right back into that victim role. Of course, you can’t say this is exactly what I am talking about because they will just loop it right back around on you. It isn’t always clear as to whether they actually truly see themselves as victims or not. Do they believe they are victims or are they just manipulating the social situation to feed their intense need for attention? This is not always clear. But regardless, the victim mentality fills many of the needs of a covert narcissist. It goes hand in hand with many of the characteristics of narcissism, and we are going to explore this today. This victim role is so damaging when you, as a kind, caring and compassionate person, have a burning desire to help others, to treat others with respect, to care for others. We often go too far in believing that their pain and suffering is all our fault. If you are struggling with this, please listen to this episode today! Join us on Patreon for continued support as you heal from covert narcissistic abuse. The more people we can reach, the more fuel we take away from narcissists. Maybe, just maybe, together we can stop its spread! www.patreon.com/covertnarcissism --- This episode is sponsored by · Anchor: The easiest way to make a podcast. https://anchor.fm/app Support this podcast: https://anchor.fm/covertnarcissism/support
2/27/202222 minutes, 36 seconds
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How My Codependent Tendencies Led Me Straight to a Covert Narcissist

I now know the role that my own codependent tendencies played in creating this match. This match that I was convinced was made in heaven. This match that I truly believed was perfect. This match that was such a disaster. This match that nearly destroyed my own health and the lives of my boys. I realize now how much my own background played a part in all of this. How that very background could cause me to easily repeat this pattern, like so many do. So many victims leave one abusive relationship and walk directly into another one. I get asked so often, how do I break this cycle of toxic relationships? Start by looking, not at those you are with, but instead directly at yourself. Your own tendencies, your own survival skills, your own reactions, your own expectations, your own boundaries or lack thereof. Let’s look at YOU! NO, this isn't your fault in any way!! You didn't ask for the abuse in any way! But these codependent tendencies make us huge targets for narcissistic people, especially covert narcissists. It is time to break this cycle!! --- This episode is sponsored by · Anchor: The easiest way to make a podcast. https://anchor.fm/app Support this podcast: https://anchor.fm/covertnarcissism/support
2/20/202220 minutes, 13 seconds
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Midweek Check In #2

Grasping covert narcissism is like grasping the wind. It is here one minute and gone the next. We think we have a solid grasp on it only to watch that slip away. This only adds to the confusion we have, causing many victims to slip back into the cycle and blame themselves once again. Because of this, I am adding a Wednesday podcast that is a midweek check in. This will be brief reviews of key elements to keep present in your mind. My goal is to help you keep clarity on how you are feeling and why, on what is going on in your world, and to help you stay on a path of healing. Today's episode focuses on two things: Circular Conversations and the Agonizing Lack of Give with a Covert Narcissist --- This episode is sponsored by · Anchor: The easiest way to make a podcast. https://anchor.fm/app Support this podcast: https://anchor.fm/covertnarcissism/support
2/16/202222 minutes, 18 seconds
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Entitlement - Feeding that False Self of Covert Narcissism

The entitlement of a narcissistic person screams, "I am special simply because! I am better than everyone. I am more important than everyone. Everyone knows I am special and should treat me as such." Individuals with narcissistic tendencies expect special treatment. They feel that good things should come their way simply because of who they are. Not because of anything they have or haven't done, but rather just because they "deserve" it. They believe that they are superior to others and thus deserve special treatment. They expect more respect and more attention, often demanding treatment that is different from everyone else and not at all reasonable. In fact, it is often quite shocking behavior from a full-grown adult. Where does this entitlement come from? From a deep internal emptiness. We are going to talk about that emptiness, where it comes from and how it plays out with covert narcissists. Join us on Patreon for semi-weekly nuggets of awareness to keep your eyes open to what is going on and why you feel the way you feel. This is a vital part of your healing journey! www.patreon.com/covertnarcissism --- This episode is sponsored by · Anchor: The easiest way to make a podcast. https://anchor.fm/app Support this podcast: https://anchor.fm/covertnarcissism/support
2/13/202221 minutes, 38 seconds
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Covert Narcissism Podcast Trailer

Hi, I’m Renee Swanson. Host of the covert narcissism podcast! Narcissism is a very common word in today’s world. Narcissists are the arrogant, self-centered, loud life of the party, who only talk about themselves, bragging and over-exaggerating their achievements. Covert narcissists aren’t like this. They hide their narcissism to an insane level. Not only does the world not see it, but the victim doesn’t see it. Even the covert narcissist can convince themselves that they are caring and compassionate people. They carry the same traits of arrogance, superiority, entitlement, hyper-sensitivity and so on. But they hide them behind a facade of humbleness, quietness, compassion, and even insecurity. Learning to see through their masks, their games, their manipulations. Learn to protect yourself from their abuse. Join me and thousands of others today through the covert narcissism podcast. You can find my podcast anywhere that you consume the podcasts that you enjoy. You can also join us in our closed Facebook group, Covert Narcissism Group. I wish you much peace on your journey of healing! --- Support this podcast: https://anchor.fm/covertnarcissism/support
2/6/202258 seconds
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A Deeper Look at Passive Aggressive Behavior

Covert narcissists are experts at passive aggressiveness. They have this down so well. As a victim of the abuse, we are so conditioned that we don’t see it! Cognitive dissonance keeps us blind to so much for so long. I tell you now though, once you start to see what is going on, you cannot unsee it. Once you cross that threshold, you can’t go back. The door behind you closes and locks. Can you put the passive aggressive behavior into words? Can you describe it, define it, explain it? Can you give examples or do they seem to just disappear into the wind? Is it clear in your mind or are you feeling the fog of an abuse victim? Their expertise in passive aggressiveness adds so much to the confusion already happening within a victim’s mind. Covert narcissists often use passive aggressiveness to avoid confrontation, to get their way, to make the other person feel bad, to be able to avoid blame and responsibility. Today, I give you some specific characteristics and examples of passive aggressive behavior. To learn more about our group coaching sessions, visit www.covertnarcissism.com To join us on Patreon, go to www.patreon.com/covertnarcissism --- This episode is sponsored by · Anchor: The easiest way to make a podcast. https://anchor.fm/app Support this podcast: https://anchor.fm/covertnarcissism/support
2/6/202228 minutes, 5 seconds
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Midweek Check In

Grasping covert narcissism is like grasping the wind. It is here one minute and gone the next. We think we have a solid grasp on it only to watch that slip away. This only adds to the confusion we have, causing many victims to slip back into the cycle and blame themselves once again. Because of this, I am adding a Wednesday podcast that is a midweek check in. This will be brief reviews of key elements to keep present in your mind. My goal is to help you keep clarity on how you are feeling and why, on what is going on in your world, and to help you stay on a secure path of healing. Today’s episode is an inside look at 4 specific issues Covert narcissism and hyper sensitivity A Thousand Bee Stings Why it is so hard to explain covert narcissism to others Why do covert narcissists seem so genuine --- This episode is sponsored by · Anchor: The easiest way to make a podcast. https://anchor.fm/app Support this podcast: https://anchor.fm/covertnarcissism/support
2/2/202221 minutes
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The Mixed-Up Emotions as the Relationship Ends

I was so excited for the day that my husband was to move out of our home. I just knew how happy I would be. You could not erase the smile off my face as he was loading his last load. Finally!! This day was here. He would no longer be in my home. My home!! That sounded so amazing. He drove off with his last things. I just knew I would be dancing in the street. But I wasn’t. I was overwhelmed with emotions I didn’t expect. I dropped on my bed and sobbed. I cried for many days. Why? This isn’t what I expected. My heart was heavy. My stomach was a wreck. My mind was numb. My emotions were all over the place. My body simply did not want to function. But I thought I would be rejoicing. I had been looking forward to this day for so long. Why am I not happy? Why am I not relieved and peaceful? Is something wrong with me? Did I make a wrong choice? Was I happier in the relationship? Should I call him back? Is something wrong with me? I’m Renee Swanson, your host of the Covert Narcissism Podcast. Today we are talking about the shock your system goes through when the relationship finally ends. These mixed-up emotions can cause great confusion, leading many victims to break no contact and jump back into the relationship. Learning about them, identifying them, and building skills to handle them is vital to your journey of healing!! --- This episode is sponsored by · Anchor: The easiest way to make a podcast. https://anchor.fm/app Support this podcast: https://anchor.fm/covertnarcissism/support
1/30/202222 minutes, 43 seconds
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First Steps of Healing from Covert Narcissistic Abuse

I get asked frequently, how do I heal from this? How do you ever get over it? How do you move forward? Will I ever trust again? Can I have a healthy relationship? These are excellent questions and they go through the minds of many victims of covert narcissistic abuse. The journey is tortuously painful and can seem completely unending. It feels like it will simply last forever. Not only is there no end in sight, there isn’t even a simple path going forward. If I do this, if I do that, if I go this way, if I go that way. Nothing feels right. Nothing will work. The despair inside the victim of covert narcissism is real! It is deep, overwhelming and suffocating. The day that your eyes first see this abuse was life-changing. That moment of realization that reality is not what you thought. That maybe, just maybe, this isn’t actually your fault. That first hint of realization. This is commonly followed quickly by glimpses of the realization that you also cannot fix this. These glimpses come in and out of awareness in the beginning stages of recognition. But once you start seeing it, you can’t unsee it. Once you start knowing it, you can’t unknow it. But now what do you do? How do you move forward when you feel frozen in fear and uncertainty? --- This episode is sponsored by · Anchor: The easiest way to make a podcast. https://anchor.fm/app Support this podcast: https://anchor.fm/covertnarcissism/support
1/24/202220 minutes, 12 seconds
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This Was Never About You

THIS WAS NEVER ABOUT YOU!! The way they talk to you The way they treat you The reactions they have The looks The silent treatment The circular conversations from The abuse All of it It was never about you. You need to know that. You need to hear what I am saying. If you want to find healing inside of you, this is so vitally important. This experience you have been through, the pain, the anguish, the anxiety, none of it had anything to do with you. I’m Renee Swanson, creator of the Covert Narcissism Podcast. You need to hear what I am saying today! --- This episode is sponsored by · Anchor: The easiest way to make a podcast. https://anchor.fm/app Support this podcast: https://anchor.fm/covertnarcissism/support
1/16/202222 minutes, 23 seconds
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What is Cognitive Dissonance and What Do I Do About It?

Survivors of covert narcissistic abuse feel like they are going crazy. They often tell me that they are losing their mind. They don’t know which end is up, what reality is or what to do next. They are often frozen in self-doubt and confusion. This is because of cognitive dissonance. In this episode, I am going to help you understand what cognitive dissonance is, why it happens, and what to do about it. Cognitive dissonance is when a single individual holds conflicting attitudes or beliefs within themselves. This goes hand in hand with living with a covert narcissist. It creates that fog that you hear so many talk about. Coming out of the fog is coming out of the cognitive dissonance. You have forgotten what life is supposed to feel like. You have forgotten how to relax and enjoy the beauty of life. You have forgotten what it feels like to be you! It is time to remind yourself!! I wish you much peace on your journey of healing! --- This episode is sponsored by · Anchor: The easiest way to make a podcast. https://anchor.fm/app Support this podcast: https://anchor.fm/covertnarcissism/support
1/10/202224 minutes, 15 seconds
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Removing Trauma from the Body

Midweek special episode!! Dr. Melissa Kalt, M.D. specializes in removing the trauma of narcissistic abuse from the body. She brings so much insight to the topic, and I thoroughly enjoyed interviewing her for our audience. This interview is extremely informative and helpful. To further pursue work with her, visit here. Dr. Melissa is a graduate of the Medical College of Wisconsin – triple-board-certified in Internal Medicine, Pediatrics, and Lipidology. She was voted to the US Best Doctors™ list by her peers year over year 2009-2018. While single parenting five children, Dr Melissa was promoted from staff physician to Assistant Clinical Professor to Medical Site Director of three clinics at Froedtert and Medical College of Wisconsin, an academic medical institution. By 2012, Dr Melissa had achieved every goal on her over-achiever to-do list yet was miserable. She began an extraordinary journey that solved her most unsolvable problem. It all started with the question - What if life doesn’t have to be this way? The answer - Connect to the truth of who you are. Dr Melissa got really clear about who she was, who she needed to be, and what needed to change. She identified, then extracted herself from several narcissistic relationships and committed to healing her family’s trauma. By extracting the illusion and getting clear about the truth of who she was – everything changed. In 2018, Dr Melissa made the leap to expand beyond the limits of traditional medicine and left her 20+ year medical career to follow her Why. That same year, she found her forever partner in love and business, whom she married in 2019. Check out her program here!! --- This episode is sponsored by · Anchor: The easiest way to make a podcast. https://anchor.fm/app Support this podcast: https://anchor.fm/covertnarcissism/support
1/6/202221 minutes, 30 seconds
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Grasping Covert Narcissism

Covert narcissism is messed up! It is so twisted you feel like you are going insane just trying to get a grasp on what’s going on. It is so hard to pinpoint and impossible to describe. You can’t possibly explain it to someone who hasn’t experienced it themselves. Trying to makes you sound crazy, even to yourself. So now you question your own sanity. It is mind-boggling and exhausting. Many victims collapse into a pile of nothing and give up. I don’t blame them. I have been there many times. I know that pain firsthand. The covert narcissist is a master at appearing innocent, kind, compassionate, generous, sincere, benevolent, and much more. To the world, they look not only normal, but even better. They could convince Mother Teresa that they are the perfect spouse. Yet underneath that, in the most subtle ways, they treat people with contempt, disregard, hatred, condescension, disdain, antipathy, and much more. I felt like one minute I understood and the very next it was gone. It was like I was trying to grasp the wind. One minute it made sense, and the next minute I had no idea. If I was struggling this much to understand it, how in the world could I expect my friends to understand it. So why do we try SO hard to understand? Why do we research like crazy? Googling, reading, listening, watching. I didn’t work this hard when I was in school, and I was a dedicated student. But this? This I was absorbing 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, trying so hard to figure out what was going on and why. Join us on Patreon. --- This episode is sponsored by · Anchor: The easiest way to make a podcast. https://anchor.fm/app Support this podcast: https://anchor.fm/covertnarcissism/support
1/3/202221 minutes, 6 seconds
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Victims Often Join the Abuse Themselves

Not only do victims of covert narcissistic abuse not see the abuse, they often join the abuser in abusing themselves. It’s the perfect storm built by this abuser in your life. Their circular conversations, projection, blame shifting, guilt manipulating, and many other tactics leave you, the victim, in complete confusion. You accept the projecting, blaming and guilting. You defend yourself but the circular conversations convince you that you are wrong. Ultimately, you decide that maybe you are the problem. You blame yourself. You make it all your fault. You do everything you can to fix it. You hold yourself to unreasonable standards and expectations. While the covert narcissist in your life sits and watches. You are brainwashed into hating yourself. You squash your own self-esteem without even realizing what is going on. The self-abuse must stop! You do deserve the help and support! You are worthy of your own love and care. --- This episode is sponsored by · Anchor: The easiest way to make a podcast. https://anchor.fm/app Support this podcast: https://anchor.fm/covertnarcissism/support
12/26/202119 minutes, 16 seconds
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Blame Shifting - A Powerful Tool for the Covert Narcissist

If you don't tell me to do it, then it is your fault that it didn't get done. If you tell me to do it, then it is your fault if it doesn't go right. Have you ever heard these words or experienced these attitudes? Covert narcissists are SO good at dodging responsibility. I used to wonder why he wouldn’t even choose the restaurant for our dinner. Many years later, I discovered that he wouldn’t choose so that nothing could ever be his fault. Why would he not make the plans for our vacation? But yet he would be so mad at me for the plans I made. He would not make the plans so that nothing would ever be his fault. And yet he would be mad at me because everything was my fault. He didn’t help do the chores around the house because he didn’t want to do it wrong and make me mad. So he just did nothing! In his mind, then I could not be mad at him because he didn’t do anything wrong. Blame shifting is a common weapon for a covert narcissist. If you are listening to this today - stop taking the blame for their faults. Stop taking responsibility for their stuff. You are not doing them or yourself any favors. They have their life to live. They have their own to answer for. Don’t let them lay this on your shoulders anymore!! --- This episode is sponsored by · Anchor: The easiest way to make a podcast. https://anchor.fm/app Support this podcast: https://anchor.fm/covertnarcissism/support
12/19/202118 minutes, 23 seconds
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The Narcissism Spectrum

Narcissism is not a clear cut issue. It isn’t a yes or no answer. It is an extremely complicated issue. One minute you can feel like you have a grasp on it, and the next minute that grasp simply disappears. You can think you finally understand it and then be at a loss for words in trying to explain it to someone else. “I got it. This makes sense,” you think. The next day you wake up, and everything is all jumbled up again. What really is narcissism? Is this really how he/she is acting? Are they or are they not a narcissist? Yes they are! Well, maybe they aren’t. No, they can’t be. Yes, they definitely are! Around and around we go inside our own heads. Narcissism is not a pass/fail test. It isn’t you either are or you aren’t. It just isn’t that simple. Narcissism is on a spectrum, with extreme codependency on one end and extreme narcissism on the other. In a very simplified explanation, codependency is putting everyone else’s needs far above your own, unable to care for your own needs. Narcissism is putting your own needs far above anyone else’s, unable to care for anyone else’s needs. This spectrum is not static. People fluctuate on it. Just because you see narcissistic traits does not automatically mean your partner or family member is a narcissist. Equally true, just because you see some compassionate moments does not automatically mean that this person is not a narcissist. --- This episode is sponsored by · Anchor: The easiest way to make a podcast. https://anchor.fm/app Support this podcast: https://anchor.fm/covertnarcissism/support
12/13/202118 minutes, 46 seconds
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Breaking the Internal Chains of Abuse

Memories can absolutely haunt victims of covert narcissistic abuse for years!! They trigger us, causing massive internal reactions. Anxiety, tension, pain in the gut, shaking, twitching, upset stomach, increased blood pressure and heart rate, panic attacks, and so on. All of this from a simple memory that still haunts you today. This is PTSD and can create problems for years, decades, even the rest of your life. December 2nd was a significant day in my world with my covert narcissistic husband, who is now my ex. This year I was purposeful about breaking those memories and turning that date around in my world. Here is my story!! Remember, you are stronger than you know! You can break these internal chains too! I wish you so much peace on your journey of healing. --- This episode is sponsored by · Anchor: The easiest way to make a podcast. https://anchor.fm/app Support this podcast: https://anchor.fm/covertnarcissism/support
12/5/202121 minutes, 29 seconds
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The Narcissist’s Prayer Part 2

This 2-part series on the Narcissist’s prayer serves a guide through the circular conversations and manipulative tactics of a covert narcissist. Each step expresses a ploy used by the covert narcissist to take the pressure off of them and put it onto you. These tactics include gaslighting, denial, guilt manipulation, passive aggressiveness, blame shifting, victim playing, projecting and a complete unwillingness to have any give. The covert narcissist might not use these exact words, but the attitudes are definitely conveyed. That didn't happen. And if it did, it wasn't that bad. And if it was, that's not a big deal. And if it is, that's not my fault. And if it was, I didn't mean it. And if I did, you deserved it. They will absolutely blame you for what they did and use illogical arguments to persuade you. These are even delivered with such conviction that you will find yourself fooled. They will spin the direction of the arguments so quickly that you don’t even know what is going on. You are agreeing with them to keep the peace and don’t even know what you are agreeing to. You are left utterly confused, while you are apologizing to them! For something…there’s a good chance you don’t even know for what. Whether you leave or stay is up to you. But make the choice with your eyes open. Know your reality and trust your heart! I wish you so much peace on your journey of healing! --- This episode is sponsored by · Anchor: The easiest way to make a podcast. https://anchor.fm/app Support this podcast: https://anchor.fm/covertnarcissism/support
12/2/202117 minutes, 28 seconds
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The Narcissist’s Prayer Part 1

That didn't happen. And if it did, it wasn't that bad. And if it was, that's not a big deal. And if it is, that's not my fault. And if it was, I didn't mean it. And if I did, you deserved it. This short verse illustrates the inner workings of a covert narcissist’s mind. This sums up all the circular conversations, gaslighting, denial, guilt manipulation, passive aggressiveness, blame shifting, victim playing, projecting, and absolutely no give of a covert narcissist. The truth is simply whatever serves the narcissist at that particular time. This truth changes as needed, sometimes at a very quick pace. This plays into everything we have been talking about on this podcast. You are left utterly confused, while you are apologizing to them! For something…there’s a good chance you don’t even know what for. You walk away in total confusion, feeling completely unheard, and having no idea where things are with this relationship. Are we good? Are we getting better? Are we making progress? Whether you leave a relationship or stay is up to you. But make the choice with your eyes open. Know your reality and trust your heart! I wish you so much peace on your journey of healing! --- This episode is sponsored by · Anchor: The easiest way to make a podcast. https://anchor.fm/app Support this podcast: https://anchor.fm/covertnarcissism/support
11/29/202118 minutes, 17 seconds
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Episode 5 - How do We Turn the Survival Skills Off

So how do we build healthy relationships after being with a covert narcissist? How are these trauma responses affecting us still? How do we turn them off? Our trauma responses to an abusive environment are survival skills and natural instincts under threatening circumstances. They range from physical outbursts of yelling and throwing things to internal reactions of shutting down and internalizing everything. These learned behaviors affect our lives drastically and all of our relationships with others. Turning these survival tactics off is crucial to setting yourself up for a more relaxed life and healthy relationships. Learning to relax and trust life again are vital steps to break the cycle of abusive partners and to attract healthier people into your life. Here are some specific tools you need for this journey of healing! --- This episode is sponsored by · Anchor: The easiest way to make a podcast. https://anchor.fm/app Support this podcast: https://anchor.fm/covertnarcissism/support
11/21/202123 minutes, 3 seconds
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Episode 4 - The Survival Skills of a Covert Narcissist and Their Victim

Have you ever wondered if you are the narcissist in this relationship? Maybe you have even been accused of it by your abusive partner? Have you seen glimpses within yourself of narcissistic reactions? There are very distinct reasons that you see signs of narcissism in you or your children, and they have to do with the survival skills we have been discussing in this series. No, this does not make you a narcissist! I want to explain to you why you see this, what really is happening, and what to do about it. Narcissism is a learned set of survival skills that becomes one’s entire personality and their way of interacting with their world. Let me explain what I mean. This covert narcissist in your life has put you into an environment where you, over time, begin living from your own survival skills. The trauma responses we have been talking about in this series. I will say again - these are normal and healthy responses to an abusive environment. One large problem is that they look an awful lot like the survival skills that narcissists live by. They are just glimpses of it, not your entire being, but these glimpses can leave many victims confused and worried. --- This episode is sponsored by · Anchor: The easiest way to make a podcast. https://anchor.fm/app Support this podcast: https://anchor.fm/covertnarcissism/support
11/18/202124 minutes, 5 seconds
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Episode 3 - Tactical Responses to the Trauma of Abuse

Have you ever found yourself to be extremely defensive, feeling the need to protect yourself before anyone even attacks? How about having the burning need to be perfect so nothing ever goes wrong? When you are living in an abusive situation, physically, mentally, emotionally, psychologically, you develop survival tactics. As a human being, you are wired to protect yourself. This is normal! The tactical responses we have come from the drive to take the situation at hand and find ways to make it work. It is driven by the intense desire to fix this! You won’t give up on the relationship for whatever reason and are determined to survive this. You might even feel like you are then making it work. I am fixing this! But it isn’t sustainable!! Defensiveness and trying to be perfect create so many problems in our life and can haunt us as we try to move into future relationships. They work against healthy relationships and can leave you trapped in a cycle of abusive ones. Make a plan for stopping these trauma responses and regaining control of your life again! --- This episode is sponsored by · Anchor: The easiest way to make a podcast. https://anchor.fm/app Support this podcast: https://anchor.fm/covertnarcissism/support
11/15/202123 minutes, 24 seconds
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Episode 2 - Internal Trauma Responses to Covert Abuse

Has your partner ever accused you of pulling away from the relationship? Of shutting down? Of being emotionally unavailable? Maybe you even feel that you are. Then you wonder if this is all your fault for not being engaged with them anymore. This is another example of reactive abuse or trauma response. My husband accused me of pulling away emotionally. I wanted to scream, Of course I’m pulling away! Even a child knows to pull away when they have been hurt over and over again. I was accused of not being emotionally available to him anymore. Of course I’m not! I had peeled open my heart and laid it at his feet repeatedly. And he had stomped all over it again and again. You want me to continue making myself available for that??? You can’t be serious? Do you really not understand this? Can you really not see why I pull away? After all the attempts I made at explaining this to him, I could not believe that he could stand there and tell me that I should be more emotionally available to him! You have got to be kidding me! Shutting down is a normal and common trauma response to an abusive environment. Don’t judge your responses. They are completely justified and understandable. Identify where they came from. An abusive environment. They are survival skills. But you don’t need these survival skills in a safe environment. As you learn more about them, you will begin the process of letting them go. --- This episode is sponsored by · Anchor: The easiest way to make a podcast. https://anchor.fm/app Support this podcast: https://anchor.fm/covertnarcissism/support
11/10/202123 minutes, 20 seconds
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Episode 1 - Reactive Abuse: The Physical and Outward Reactions of Victims

Episode 1 of a mini-series on reactive abuse and trauma responses. Have you wondered about your own sanity in all of this? Have you reached the end of your limit and simply exploded. Now you are the one yelling and screaming at him? Am I the abusive one? Should they come take me away? Many victims have had these experiences and thoughts. You are not alone and you are not crazy! What you are experiencing is often called reactive abuse. Have you ever heard of this? Reactive abuse is the survival skills we build in an abusive relationship just to protect ourselves. We want the pain to stop. We have tried so many other avenues. We are exhausted and now we are out of options. So we become aggressive, like a cornered cat. These are simply reactions to our abusive environment and lack of ability to stop it. These can be emotional outbursts, yelling, screaming, even hitting. You have reached the end of your rope, just can’t take it anymore, and you explode. It can feel totally out of control and cause major issues for you as people now see you as the violent one. These reactions can also be much more internal. Shutting down, keeping your mouth shut, unwilling to voice your opinion, giving in, over-thinking, over-analyzing, trying to be perfect. They can even lie somewhere in the middle. Defensiveness, protecting yourself before anyone even attacks, explaining yourself when you don’t have to, anticipating problems way ahead and trying to divert them. All of these are trauma responses and reasonable reactions to an unreasonable situation. --- This episode is sponsored by · Anchor: The easiest way to make a podcast. https://anchor.fm/app Support this podcast: https://anchor.fm/covertnarcissism/support
11/7/202122 minutes, 54 seconds
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How to Save Our Kids During a Traumatic Divorce with a Narcissist

Psychologist Dr. Erica Ellis joins us in this episode. She brings wonderful expertise regarding high conflict divorce and how to protect the children. Dr. Ellis is not only a licensed psychologist, but also a best-selling author, and a leading expert on child centered divorce. After working with over 1,000 divorcing families, many of which were high-conflict, over the past 30 years, she has discovered the crucial steps that every parent must take to protect their children and create a healthy future for their new family. For more information on her programs, click below: How to Co-Parent with a Narcissist The 30-Day Divorce Triage With her unique approach to divorce, Dr. Ellis has helped countless families navigate the divorce process in a way that reduces conflict, stress, and uncertainty, and sets the children up for a lifetime of healthy relationships, emotional stability, and personal success. The questions addressed in this episode include: 1) From a psychological perspective, why is it important to understand the difference between a true narcissist vs a person whose behavior/emotions have significantly deteriorated during the stress of a marriage ending? 2) Given how important it is to have realistic expectations for your narcissistic ex’s behavior, can you talk about why parenting itself poses such a challenge for them and how this tends to play out in their relationship with their children? 3) All of those challenges often leave the other parent feeling totally hopeless, helpless, and lacking any ability to protect themselves and their children from any further emotional damage. Can you talk about this sense of powerlessness and your thoughts about how to help people get beyond it? 4) I know that your main focus is on helping parents learn how to best protect their children from divorce-related damage. How is it possible to accomplish that goal when dealing with a narcissistic parent? For more information on her programs, click below: How to Co-Parent with a Narcissist The 30-Day Divorce Triage --- This episode is sponsored by · Anchor: The easiest way to make a podcast. https://anchor.fm/app Support this podcast: https://anchor.fm/covertnarcissism/support
10/31/202124 minutes, 41 seconds
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Signs of Abuse Inside the Victim of a Covert Narcissist

Covert narcissism is so well hidden that most victims have no idea that it is abuse until they are many years, even decades, into a relationship. Some never ever see it. This is part 2 of the signs of covert narcissism. If you missed part one, go back and listen to last week’s episode. It is titled It’s About What the Victim Doesn’t See. In that episode I talk about the fact that the victim doesn’t see the abuse. I don’t want to take anything away from the fact that the world doesn’t see it either. They certainly don’t! This is an issue that I will be addressing here in a future episode. So that last episode is the covert narcissism checklist, and I explain how each abusive characteristic is so easily hidden from the victim. Now part 2 is about the signs that are in you, the victim. Sometimes the best way to tell if a person is narcissistic is to look at the thoughts and feelings of those closest to them. You need to take a deep look inside of you to see if the signs of abuse are there. --- This episode is sponsored by · Anchor: The easiest way to make a podcast. https://anchor.fm/app Support this podcast: https://anchor.fm/covertnarcissism/support
10/24/202118 minutes, 37 seconds
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It’s About What the Victim Doesn’t See

So you find yourself trying to answer some questions. Is my partner a covert narcissist? Am I a victim of abuse? What exactly is a covert narcissist? Many people know the term narcissist. We see it as the loud, boisterous person who is always the center of attention. They are arrogant, superior to everyone else, and a know-it-all. They don’t bother trying to hide this and in fact seem to love it about themselves. You might be thinking, “This description doesn’t quite fit my partner. The arrogance is there, but they aren’t loud and boisterous. Their superiority is so covered that no one really sees it. In fact, I’m not even sure that it is there. They seem to carry some aspects of narcissism, but then again, maybe I’m imagining it.” I was once asked, “What makes a narcissist covert? Don’t they all do things in secret? Wouldn’t that mean that all narcissists are covert?” It is true that narcissists abuse behind closed doors. They have affairs in secret and live secret lives. However, with covert narcissists, it isn’t that the world doesn’t see the abuse. It’s that the victim doesn’t see it. The covert part of narcissism is that you, the victim, don’t see the abuse!! The victim does not know that they are being abused, and this makes it so much worse! To make matters worse, you begin to talk with your family and friends. And they blow it off. They tell you that you are over-reacting. That you are making something out of nothing. That he is a wonderful person. So you doubt yourself even more! --- This episode is sponsored by · Anchor: The easiest way to make a podcast. https://anchor.fm/app Support this podcast: https://anchor.fm/covertnarcissism/support
10/18/202122 minutes, 46 seconds
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Two Tools for Healing from Covert Narcissistic Abuse

I hear so many people say, "My therapist doesn't have a clue about narcissism. And especially covert narcissism." They go to therapy for years and seem to make no progress in healing. Therapists, no matter how good they are, if they haven't lived through covert narcissism, then they will not entirely understand. I was blessed to have found a therapist that understood narcissism. In fact, it was the first therapist I went to regarding my marriage. He was such a huge help to me. He had lived narcissism in his past, so he understood what I was going through. Because so many people are struggling to make progress in healing and struggling to find help, I want to give you two tools that helped me tremendously in my healing journey. These tools came from the work I did with my therapist combined with the massive amount of researching I was doing, and they were life-changing! No one learns as much about narcissism as one who is living it. In my situation, this enormous amount of research paid off! --- This episode is sponsored by · Anchor: The easiest way to make a podcast. https://anchor.fm/app Support this podcast: https://anchor.fm/covertnarcissism/support
10/10/202122 minutes, 27 seconds
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Passive Aggressiveness and Gaslighting

I am losing my mind! Apparently everything I do hurts his feelings. I can’t get anything right. I go out of my way to make him feel happy and everything hurts his feelings. I go out of my way to leave him alone and give him space and everything hurts his feelings. One day he says this, the next day he says that. I don’t know what to do anymore. If this is you, you might be dealing with a covert narcissist! Their passive aggressiveness and gaslighting create an environment where you are constantly walking on eggshells around their hurt feelings. You feel totally responsible for their happiness and unhappiness in life. It is not only exhausting, it is impossible! This is a situation where you, the victim/target, are destined for failure. It does not matter how determined you are. It does not matter how educated, experienced, compassionate, or anything else that you are. It simply does not matter! A covert narcissist is the world's greatest victim and passive aggressiveness is one of their most effective tools! Everything you do is capable of hurting their feelings, and I mean everything. It is not possible to know what will and what won't, so you are on guard all the time. And no matter how good your guard is, it will never be good enough! --- This episode is sponsored by · Anchor: The easiest way to make a podcast. https://anchor.fm/app Support this podcast: https://anchor.fm/covertnarcissism/support
10/4/202122 minutes, 54 seconds
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I Lost Myself to a Covert Narcissist

A Covert narcissist takes over your life. I have heard so many victims so I don’t even recognize myself anymore. I just want to be me again. I feel like I lost myself. One of the problems of living with a covert narcissist is that your mind is constantly wrapped up in the past and the future. The present is NOT safe. Out of the need for survival, we stay in the past and future. One of the pitfalls of covert narcissists is that they are completely wrapped up in their own mind. They are living entirely in the past or the future. Their present moment doesn’t exist. Because you are dealing with them on a daily and intimate level, you are forced into their world of existence. One of the biggest reasons that victims say I don’t even recognize myself anymore is because they are spending so much energy anticipating and dancing around the expectations of this abuser in their life. The absolute first step is to stop playing their game. As you do, you will start experiencing more and more head space freeing up inside you. You will have room to breathe, room to think, room to find you again. --- This episode is sponsored by · Anchor: The easiest way to make a podcast. https://anchor.fm/app Support this podcast: https://anchor.fm/covertnarcissism/support
9/27/202116 minutes, 32 seconds
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How Does This Get Better?

How do I fix this? I used to ask that for years. Every day of my life I can fix anything. If I can just help him to see… If I can just find the right words… How does this get better? I get asked this by so many people. Victims who are in the exact place that I used to be. Women and men who are desperate for things to get better. And these are people who are willing to do whatever it takes. People who are dedicated with every fiber of their being. Let me tell you something - Your life gets better when you put yourself back as the main character of your own life. Who is your current main character of your life? What about of your mental life, your head space? If you are in an intimate relationship with a covert narcissist, such as spouse or close family member, then that person plays a very dominant role in your mental world. they have their own life to live. You CANNOT live it for them! This is your life! The only one you get. Be the main character of YOUR story! --- This episode is sponsored by · Anchor: The easiest way to make a podcast. https://anchor.fm/app Support this podcast: https://anchor.fm/covertnarcissism/support
9/20/202119 minutes, 44 seconds
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Covert Narcissists See Their World Through a Filter of Anger

Covert narcissists seem to have absolutely no emotional intelligence, inside themselves or with the world around them. The general consensus is that they have no understanding of basic human emotion, especially other people’s emotions. But even their own. They continuously stomp all over your feelings and don’t show an ounce of care about it. They can talk harshly and callously one minute and be confused as to why you don’t want to hold their hand or go to bed with them the very next minute. Even when you try to explain it to them, they seem completely incapable of connecting the dots. In fact, just trying to talk with them about it can quickly start you on a never-ending downward spiral of verbal abuse. And again, the next day, it all just disappears, as though it never even happened in the first place. It is crazy!! --- This episode is sponsored by · Anchor: The easiest way to make a podcast. https://anchor.fm/app Support this podcast: https://anchor.fm/covertnarcissism/support
9/15/202121 minutes, 11 seconds
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Two Things You Should Never Say to a Victim of Covert Narcissism

There are some things that people should just never say to a victim of narcissistic abuse, and specifically covert narcissistic abuse. As a victim myself, I know that It is so hard sometimes to find people who understand and actually know how to provide the unique support that this victim needs. They need to feel heard and validated in a way that most people don’t seem to understand. In this episode, I discuss two things that people should never say to these victims, two things that you don’t want to hear in your world right now, and why they are so problematic. 1 - "Well, marriage does take effort." 2 - "You know, It does take two." Yes, marriage does take work. There are conversations that are hard, but there is a huge difference between conversations that should be hard and those that simply should not. Whether to move or not is a tough decision and should be hard. What do you want for dinner should not be a difficult conversation. Some conversations should be hard, but they should not ALL be hard! Yes, it does take two to make a strong marriage, but it only takes one to destroy it! If you are in the position of offering support to someone who is struggling in a narcissistic relationship, please know that this person feels utterly exhausted and completely overwhelmed. They have been working in overdrive and making absolutely no progress. Please do not add to their feeling of hopelessness by telling this these two things. Instead, help them to see that they are not solely responsible for fixing their marriage. It does take two, and they cannot fix this without some give from their partner too. --- This episode is sponsored by · Anchor: The easiest way to make a podcast. https://anchor.fm/app Support this podcast: https://anchor.fm/covertnarcissism/support
9/5/202123 minutes, 21 seconds
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Guilt Manipulation: How a Covert Narcissist Uses Your Own Guilt Against You

Guilt is such a unique thing. It can be wonderful and horrible all at the same time. Many of us are raised to feel guilty when we do something that we should not or when we hurt someone’s feelings. We are taught that we should feel bad and make it right. This is not a bad thing Guilt motivates us to apologize. It motivates us to do right and to fix things. Without guilt, we might not make amends. We might not make it right. Guilt leaves this uncomfortable feeling inside of us and pushes us to resolve the issue at hand. We are motivated to get rid of this feeling. We don’t like it. We want to feel good in the relationship again. We want them to feel better about us again. We work hard to clear this all up. When dealing with a covert narcissist, it’s a problem. They are manipulators of this guilt. They will use this good trait against you in extreme ways. They will spin everything in just the right way to fully activate the guilt inside of you. They will do it with just enough truth in what they say to cause you to take full responsibility and work so hard to make everything right. Your own good conscience is used against you! --- This episode is sponsored by · Anchor: The easiest way to make a podcast. https://anchor.fm/app Support this podcast: https://anchor.fm/covertnarcissism/support
8/28/202116 minutes, 37 seconds
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What Really is a Covert Narcissist

Many people are struggling to understand what a covert narcissist actually is. I recently heard a podcast that was trying to figure out what a covert narcissist really is. They clearly, like so many, did not understand. I was surprised when they said, "Aren’t all narcissists covert because they all do things in secret?" They were talking about secret affairs, abuse behind closed doors, secret communication, private financial endeavors, and so on. They were questioning if all narcissists were covert. I was happy to hear them recognize that they did not understand and were going to have to do further research. Being a covert narcissist isn't about having secret affairs or a double life or anything like that. It isn't defined that way. A covert narcissist is a narcissist that hides the arrogance and the feelings of superiority behind a facade of humbleness. They hide their lack of empathy behind a false show of compassion. Some are so good at it that they truly convince themselves that they are a kind and compassionate person. Nothing you say will ever convince them to even consider that they are not. Covert narcissists often hide behind a facade of shyness, insecurity, introvertedness, and social awkwardness. They hide behind a show of compassion and sacrifice. Covert narcissists really believe in this image that they are portraying. Victims often feel sorry for them and want to help them. This plays a huge role in how we get trapped in these relationships. Covert narcissists are experts at playing the victim role, and I mean experts. I hope this episode helps you to gain a better understanding of what covert narcissism is. Regardless of what type of narcissism you are dealing with, abuse is abuse and abuse is wrong! --- This episode is sponsored by · Anchor: The easiest way to make a podcast. https://anchor.fm/app Support this podcast: https://anchor.fm/covertnarcissism/support
8/23/202117 minutes, 20 seconds
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Brinkmanship: The Crazy-Making Skills of a Covert Narcissist

My covert narcissistic husband loved the word "brinkmanship." He bragged about how no one knows what that word means and how great he is at it. This should have set alarm bells off in my head!! But it didn’t. Sure, I thought it was strange. This seemed like an odd word and an odd concept. Brinkmanship is the art or practice of pushing a dangerous situation or confrontation to the limit of safety, especially to force a desired outcome, the technique or practice of maneuvering a dangerous situation to the limits of tolerance or safety in order to secure the greatest advantage, especially by creating diplomatic crises. Little did I know, he had been practicing brinkmanship since his childhood. He would push situations to their breaking point. He would push me and our kids to the brink, edge of a cliff to get the outcome he wanted. Make us as uncomfortable as he possibly could until we gave in. We gave in to make peace and to keep our sanity. And once again he got what he wanted, to feel in charge, to feel superior, to get out of all responsibility. Take charge of your life back! The narcissist shows their true colors over and over. Let them. That is theirs to own. Don't let this decide who you are. Don't give them that power over you! You get to choose who you are! You are in control of your life! Not them! --- This episode is sponsored by · Anchor: The easiest way to make a podcast. https://anchor.fm/app Support this podcast: https://anchor.fm/covertnarcissism/support
8/13/202114 minutes, 40 seconds
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A Grenade Inside a Tank

Someone who has experienced covert narcissistic abuse is like a grenade inside a tank. On the inside, you are wound up so incredibly tight, over-thinking everything, over-analyzing everything. Just waiting to explode. On the outside, you are a fortress of steel. You have a wall of protection around you, afraid to say anything, to do anything, trusting no one, letting no one in. A grenade inside a tank. I’m Renee Swanson, your host and creator of the Covert Narcissism Podcast. Today I am talking directly to anyone who is or has been a victim of covert narcissistic abuse. I know your pain first-hand. I have been there, and I want to help. It is a problem when the survival skills from living with a covert narcissist become a way of life for the victim. We struggle because we carry this on with us even after the relationship has ended. We leave the relationship and yet our mind is still over-thinking. We are still finding 100 ways to say something to someone. We are anticipating their reactions and defending ourselves before we even say a word. This is not the way to build healthy relationships, and it will affect our future relationships and partner choices. Please take some time after a relationship with a covert narcissist to become aware of your survival skills. Recognize them as a mode of survival not as a mode of living. As you become more and more aware of this, you will begin to distinguish between survival skills and fully living. You will become more and more in charge of your own life! --- This episode is sponsored by · Anchor: The easiest way to make a podcast. https://anchor.fm/app Support this podcast: https://anchor.fm/covertnarcissism/support
7/31/202114 minutes, 24 seconds
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4 Hooks that Covert Narcissists Use to Rope You Back In Once Again

Covert narcissists are experts at hooking a victim back in over and over and over. They know how to play on your sympathy. They know how to make you feel guilty and responsible for their well-being. They know how to make you feel needed and thus you stay to help them. So many victims of covert narcissists spend years and decades of wanting to leave the relationship only to be hooked back in again and again. Start learning what these hooks look like, how to recognize them for what they are, and how to get out of their grip. --- This episode is sponsored by · Anchor: The easiest way to make a podcast. https://anchor.fm/app Support this podcast: https://anchor.fm/covertnarcissism/support
7/23/202125 minutes, 2 seconds
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The Bone Dry Exhaustion of Life with a Covert Narcissist

A narcissistic person cannot even do step A to help a relationship. You can wear the entire alphabet out multiple times, and they still haven't even found step A. Not even a tiny step. Nothing! The level of exhaustion that comes with this is unbelievable. It is a bone dry emptiness. I had absolutely nothing left in my tank. I was on empty! So why do we wear ourselves out so much trying to make the relationship work? Why do we work so hard at it? What if we put all that effort into ourselves? It is time to offer yourself the same effort that you have offered to this abuser. You deserve it!! --- This episode is sponsored by · Anchor: The easiest way to make a podcast. https://anchor.fm/app Support this podcast: https://anchor.fm/covertnarcissism/support
7/13/202115 minutes, 48 seconds
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Interview about covert narcissism

Victims of covert narcissism have so many questions running through their mind. While I do get asked many questions, some questions show up in almost every conversation. How did you realize you were with a covert narcissist? What is a covert narcissist? What does a relationship with a covert narcissist look like? What do I do now? Where can I find help? I was recently interviewed regarding covert narcissism. In this interview, I answer these questions and more. Here are clips from that interview. I think you will find it helpful for your own journey of healing! I have an upcoming group coaching session for victims just like you to find healing and support! Email me to learn more at [email protected] --- This episode is sponsored by · Anchor: The easiest way to make a podcast. https://anchor.fm/app Support this podcast: https://anchor.fm/covertnarcissism/support
7/5/202116 minutes, 53 seconds
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Just Hard to Relax - Living in a Courtroom with a Covert Narcissism

Living with a covert narcissist is like trying to live in a war zone or in a courtroom when you are the one on trial. My son is traveling this week with his dad, who is a covert narcissist. I have been nervous about this trip and sincerely hope that everything goes well for them. I texted my son on their second day out and asked how it was going. His words spoke volumes. He said that it is going ok but it is just hard to relax. This is exactly how life is with a covert narcissist. You never feel like you can simply relax. This is because you feel like it is never okay to just be you. You can’t voice your own opinion about anything. Everything is met with resistance and invalidation. You feel like you are living in a courtroom, always on trial, always under attack, always needing to defend your opinions and thoughts. Nothing is ever safe. You remain in a constant state of hypervigilance. Covert narcissists belittle you for having opinions and thoughts. They put you down, make you feel bad, and confuse you to what reality actually is. They expect you to accept their reality. Anything outside of this is likely to be targeted. Your mind is always trying to stay ahead of the conflicts. So you build opening arguments in anticipation of a problem. You see potential problems everywhere! Once in a problem, your mind goes to survival mode. You feel like you are under examination. You try every angle you can to find peace. You might even experience some reactive abuse, where you flare out at your abuser out of desperation. Last, you never find resolution. So you walk away with your mind now making multiple closing arguments, most of which will never be voiced. Yet the cycle starts all over again. Your mind is back on watch, trying to anticipate the next problem. In this episode, I give you some valuable suggestions for finding internal peace after a relationship with a covert narcissist. There is no clear way to do healing, no one right path that fits every victim, no step-by-step instructions. You have to find what fits for you. Taking control of your own healing is one of the valuable steps to taking control of your life again. I hope these suggestions help you find your own path of healing! --- This episode is sponsored by · Anchor: The easiest way to make a podcast. https://anchor.fm/app Support this podcast: https://anchor.fm/covertnarcissism/support
6/27/202121 minutes, 7 seconds
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Q&A Session on Parenting with a Toxic Partner

Parenting with a toxic partner is the single hardest thing I have ever done in life. It is a living nightmare! You are not co-parenting. You are counter parenting. You are working against the negative energy of that other parent. You spend enormous amounts of energy simply trying to counter the damage that they are doing to their own children. It is exhausting and impossible. Yet for the sake of your own children, it is a task that you will give everything you have in order to be successful. I hope this Q&A session from the Facebook support group, Parenting with a Toxic Partner, will help you on this journey. --- This episode is sponsored by · Anchor: The easiest way to make a podcast. https://anchor.fm/app Support this podcast: https://anchor.fm/covertnarcissism/support
6/21/202121 minutes, 25 seconds
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Shouldn’t I just be grateful that it isn’t worse!?!

This podcast is audio taken from 2 short video clips that I made just recently. I want to share it here! The first piece is Shouldn't I just be Grateful that it isn't Worse? So many people have it worse than I do. Should I just be happy that I am not in their situation? Just because others may have it worse (and that is a matter of opinion itself) does not take anything away from the pain you are experiencing. If you are questioning this, please listen to this piece! The second part is Everything is on Purpose!! The covert narcissist will accuse you of doing everything on purpose to hurt them. You looked at them wrong "on purpose!" You asked a question wrong and you did it "on purpose!" Everything you do, in their eyes, is purposefully done in order to hurt them. They see it that way because everything they do is so heavily calculated and "on purpose." They believe that everyone functions this way. I am thoroughly enjoying making podcasts and wanted to share with you a glimpse of some of my previous work. I hope that this helps. I wish you so much peace on your own journey of healing! --- This episode is sponsored by · Anchor: The easiest way to make a podcast. https://anchor.fm/app Support this podcast: https://anchor.fm/covertnarcissism/support
6/17/202120 minutes, 2 seconds
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Clinging to the Breadcrumbs

Have you ever said...But we have some good times together. Remember that one day…. Remember that one time…. Are you building an intimate relationship on breadcrumbs? Sure, we would have some good times together. We had evenings that were successful and happy. We had the occasional weekends where his anger stayed in check. But I came to the realization that I was hanging on to those all-too-rare times and pretending that they were our reality. I was desperately trying to build a home and raise kids around that illusion. It wasn't working. These breadcrumbs make the entire situation worse. If they weren’t there, many of us would leave so much sooner. We probably would not even end up in the relationship in the first place. But these breadcrumbs give us hope. They give us positive memories to hold on to. Positive times to talk about and to dream about. They are part of what keeps us hooked in these relationships for years or even decades. After the divorce, I was talking to our oldest son. I had apologized a hundred times to our boys for the environment they grew up in. I apologized for my part in all of it. In this conversation, I told him, “Son, I am so sorry.” He said, “Mom, this wasn’t your fault. You did ABCDEFG….XYZ. Dad wouldn’t even do A. How can this possibly be your fault?” Maybe you are still trying to find that one right approach, that one magical answer. You are working your way through the entire alphabet, maybe for the 10th time. If he won’t even do the first thing, then why are we wearing ourselves out trying to help? He has a job in this too. He has a part, a responsibility, a role to play. Simply walk away! Quit hanging on to the breadcrumbs! --- This episode is sponsored by · Anchor: The easiest way to make a podcast. https://anchor.fm/app Support this podcast: https://anchor.fm/covertnarcissism/support
6/13/202116 minutes, 39 seconds
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Why do I Wonder if I am the Narcissist

Many victims of covert narcissistic abuse wonder if they themselves are the narcissist. Why is this? We finally begin to identify what is going on in our world, and then we are met with an overwhelming amount of doubt. What if I am the problem? Is it me? Covert narcissists often accuse their victim of being a narcissist. They project their own behaviors onto their victim and blame them of many of the things they themselves are doing. They will point out things that you are doing that makes them the victim. They will add just enough truth in what they are saying to make you truly question it or even believe it. They are just as much an expert in making you doubt yourself as they are in playing the victim!! This combination is deadly - to your confidence, your mind, your heart, and your soul. This episode answers the question of why so many victims wonder if they are the narcissist themselves. It will help you so much to see where this confusion and doubt comes from, so you can clear your thoughts and focus on your own healing! --- This episode is sponsored by · Anchor: The easiest way to make a podcast. https://anchor.fm/app Support this podcast: https://anchor.fm/covertnarcissism/support
6/8/202115 minutes, 44 seconds
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No Reconciliation Ever with a Covert Narcissist

It is impossible to reconcile with a covert narcissist! All relationships have disagreements and misunderstandings. People in healthy relationships help carry each other's blame and responsibility. They both apologize, and they both give each other room for humanness. This is not the case when you are in a relationship with a covert narcissist. You are not allowed to be human. There is no room for mistakes or misunderstandings. Trying to reconcile with them is one of the most infuriating things to go through. It is maddening and impossible! I mean how do you reconcile with someone who throws everything back at you! With someone who has absolutely no give! It is far easier to make excuses for them. This is what many victims do for years and decades. Until one day, you just can't take it anymore! --- This episode is sponsored by · Anchor: The easiest way to make a podcast. https://anchor.fm/app Support this podcast: https://anchor.fm/covertnarcissism/support
6/4/202116 minutes, 30 seconds
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Why Can’t Covert Narcissists Give in Communication and What To Do About It

One thing you must realize is that the way a covert narcissist interacts with you is not about you. They learned these interaction traits in childhood. Somewhere at a young age, they learned that offering give in a conversation is dangerous and painful. They learned that give equals attack. You can see this is how you react to their attacks. You learn that it isn't safe to offer peace in conversations with them. They learned this as a child and developed a phobia of give. They can't say something as simple as, "I could have said it better, sorry about that, or "You probably didn’t mean it that way, that’s on me" How do you heal from this abuse? Accept that they are never going to agree with your perspective. They can't, that requires give. Understand that this has nothing to do with you, your choice of words, your tone of voice, or anything else you did or didn't do. This is about their past. In this episode, I give you one very effective tactic for avoiding these blow-ups with a covert narcissist when you have to interact with them. Try it out. It works! --- This episode is sponsored by · Anchor: The easiest way to make a podcast. https://anchor.fm/app Support this podcast: https://anchor.fm/covertnarcissism/support
5/30/202119 minutes, 46 seconds
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The Agonizing Lack of Give in a Covert Narcissist

I am going to try to explain the unexplainable. The lack of give when communicating with a covert narcissist. The absence of the regular flow of give and take that thus makes you feel that you are talking to a void. It is painful, absolutely exhausting, and crushing to your spirit When in regular casual conversation with someone, we often confirm that we are hearing what the other person is saying. We make little sounds, comments, and gestures: such as a nod, a smile, yeah, uh-huh, true, sure, etc. People react to each other in conversation. All these remarks show understanding, agreement or support. At the very least they validate your interaction with this person. You don’t feel like you are talking into a void. This give and take does not happen with a covert narcissist. You are met with the most agonizing silence, so empty and painful. When talking with my CN husband, I would get to a spot in the conversation where people naturally interject something. So I would pause in expectation. Nothing! Silence. Awkwardness. Emptiness. So I go on talking, wondering if I am being heard, wondering if I am making sense When dealing with a covert narcissist, there is no slack, no margin, no benefit of the doubt. There is no give! Trying to understand this is like trying to catch a ghost. As soon as you think you have a grasp on it, it disappears again. We are trying to understand something that is almost impossible to even talk about. It’s hard because it isn’t always in what they did, it’s in what they didn’t do. What they didn’t say. That stone-cold silence and lack of give. Coming soon: Why do covert narcissists have such an extreme inability to offer that give that is so necessary in relationships? --- This episode is sponsored by · Anchor: The easiest way to make a podcast. https://anchor.fm/app Support this podcast: https://anchor.fm/covertnarcissism/support
5/27/202119 minutes, 33 seconds
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8 Signs of a Circular Conversations from , Part 2

Being trapped in a circular conversation with a covert narcissist is dreadful!! It is the loneliest place on earth. You feel completely destitute and isolated. If you have ever experienced this, you know what I am talking about. In these two episodes, I address and describe 8 signs of these circular conversations. Here is a quick list of those signs: 1. You find yourself teaching an adult about basic communication skills and basic human emotions. 2. You find yourself thinking, “If I could just find the right words, then he would stop treating me this way.” 3. These conversations are antagonistic and combative, verbal competitions. 4. There is no resolution in these conversations. 5. They switch the topic constantly, keeping you on the defense. 6. They play the eternal victim. 7. You walk away thinking, “What in the world just happened?” 8. They use the silent treatment inside the conversation, holding you in an intense silence and in knots. In the episodes, I go into detail explaining each of these signs. Learning what they are and how to identify them helps a victim make sense of what is going on and plan a way out of the entrapment. In a future episode, I will address strategies to avoiding circular conversations, as well as exiting them once they get started. --- This episode is sponsored by · Anchor: The easiest way to make a podcast. https://anchor.fm/app Support this podcast: https://anchor.fm/covertnarcissism/support
5/24/202115 minutes, 8 seconds
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8 Signs of a Circular Conversations from , Part 1

Covert narcissists don't use conversations to find understanding, reconciliation, or compromise. They don't see them as a way to connect with a loved one, to spend time getting to know each other better. To them, conversations are about winning. They are for putting the other person down and showing their superiority. Conversations are competitions. One person comes out a winner, and one a loser. This is warfare. It is the single most lonely place on the face of this earth. If you have experienced this, you know exactly what I am talking about. In this episode and the next one, I describe 8 signs of a circular conversation with a covert narcissist. No one has the right to treat you this way! No one has the right to talk to you this way! You will never get them to understand, but you do have the power to walk away! --- This episode is sponsored by · Anchor: The easiest way to make a podcast. https://anchor.fm/app Support this podcast: https://anchor.fm/covertnarcissism/support
5/22/202115 minutes, 53 seconds
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Covert Narcissists Seem so Genuine

Even people who are aware of narcissism and victims themselves can still end up in a relationship with a covert narcissist. They seem so real, genuine, open, and vulnerable. Why do they seem so genuine? A covert narcissist is more in love with the idea of being a compassionate person than actually being a compassionate person. They fool us because their desire to be that compassionate person is real. They do WANT to be that. They just have no ability to be that. They are more in love with the idea of being a good husband/wife than actually doing what it takes to be that. This applies to many aspects of their lives. When they fail at being these wonderful things they say they are, they are also experts at passing all the blame to you. Everything is your fault because you were the one putting in all the effort. They did nothing wrong because they did nothing at all! --- This episode is sponsored by · Anchor: The easiest way to make a podcast. https://anchor.fm/app Support this podcast: https://anchor.fm/covertnarcissism/support
5/19/202113 minutes, 40 seconds
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Why is it So Hard to Explain Covert Narcissistic Abuse to Someone?

Why can't I explain it to my friends? Why don't they get it? Why does it all sound so petty and trivial? When I’m trying to explain it to someone, I even think I sound petty. But it’s not! There is nothing petty about the nightmare that you are living! It sucks and you need people around you that get it, that understand. Covert narcissistic abuse is a nearly invisible abuse. It is hidden in things that are a normal part of life; little disagreements, a bad mood here and there, a short word out of the blue, a misunderstanding. These events sound petty when describing them because they ARE petty. At least they should be. They should be tiny bumps on the road of life. When you are with a covert narcissist though, they are unpassable mountains. In a non-toxic relationship, these are small issues that disappear after reconciliation. In a toxic relationship, they never disappear. They pile on top of each other for years and decades. When you find someone else who has lived it, you know it. You can sense it when you talk with them. Find a small support group and quit trying to explain it to anyone who doesn't get it. Remember, you have nothing to prove to anyone! You don't owe anyone an explanation or reason for what happened! --- This episode is sponsored by · Anchor: The easiest way to make a podcast. https://anchor.fm/app Support this podcast: https://anchor.fm/covertnarcissism/support
5/17/202113 minutes, 24 seconds
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A Thousand Bee Stings

A relationship with a covert narcissist is like getting a thousand bee stings. Any individual event can seem so small and insignificant, like a single bee sting. No big deal, right? WRONG!! Because it isn't just one bee sting, it is a thousand! One single example from your relationship can seem so petty and trivial. If it was a single event, it would be. But it's not. When you add all the stings together, you find yourself in an extreme amount of pain and anguish. Trying to explain it to someone is completely overwhelming. Here are a few personal examples from my 21 year marriage with a covert narcissist. --- This episode is sponsored by · Anchor: The easiest way to make a podcast. https://anchor.fm/app Support this podcast: https://anchor.fm/covertnarcissism/support
5/16/202110 minutes, 43 seconds
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Covert Narcissism and Hyper-Sensitivity

Covert narcissism is narcissism from a unique angle. The internal characteristics are the same as an overt narcissist, but it plays out differently. Narcissism is not defined in the DSM as the loud and boisterous life of the party. It does not list traits of hitting, cheating, and yelling. Rather, NPD is defined as having a grandiose sense of self-importance, requiring excessive admiration, believing that they are special, having a lack of empathy, jealous of others, and arrogant. These traits and others are present in both overt and covert narcissists. How they show up differs. In this podcast, we explore these differences in order to raise awareness of covert narcissism. This particular episode addresses the hyper-sensitivity of narcissists and how this displays for both overt and covert narcissists. Overt narcissists react with fear and use intimidation to control of their victim. Covert narcissists react with hurt and victimhood, using guilt and blame to control their victim. --- This episode is sponsored by · Anchor: The easiest way to make a podcast. https://anchor.fm/app Support this podcast: https://anchor.fm/covertnarcissism/support
5/12/202114 minutes, 49 seconds
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Welcome to The Covert Narcissism Podcast

This podcast is dedicated to those who are living the nightmare of covert narcissistic abuse. I share my story of a 21 year marriage with a covert narcissist. We will explore what covert narcissism is and how it differs from overt narcissism. I will discuss the deep scars and effects of the abuse and how to turn it into healing. I will include episodes on helping your children for those that are co-parenting with a covert narcissist. In this first episode, I describe how my eyes were opened to what was really going on. How I discovered that I was not crazy and that I was not alone. I introduce differences between overt and covert narcissism, which we will discuss in great detail in the coming episodes. If you are living this nightmare....first I want to say I am sorry. I hate it for anyone who is going through this! Next, I want to say, that there is life outside of narcissism!! You can have healing and peace. You are stronger than you know. If I can do it, so can you!! You do not have to go through this alone though! There is help to be found! --- This episode is sponsored by · Anchor: The easiest way to make a podcast. https://anchor.fm/app Support this podcast: https://anchor.fm/covertnarcissism/support
5/10/202111 minutes, 19 seconds