People with narcissistic personality disorder have a toolbox full of tactics they use daily. One of their tools, covert intimidation is multi-faceted.
I think I could write about 15 books on narcissistic personality disorder. I’ve lived through so many of the symptoms, been fooled, and then learned the hard way how to defend myself against these symptoms.
You think you have them figured out, then you turn the corner and run into another strange statement or action that dumbfounds you. It’s like you’ve run smack dab into a brick wall of confusion.
Indicators of covert intimidation
You see, the narcissist uses obvious tactics like manipulation and overt abuse, but they also use these little covert intimidation moves that can catch you off-guard if you’re not careful.
So, here are a few signs that you’re “being played” and you just don’t know it yet. And I bet they have you scared too.
I’ve talked about projection before because narcissists use it often. Pathologically lying narcissists use this sort of tactic to defend themselves against confrontations.
Let’s say you confront your narcissistic husband about his constant lies, and he says,
“I’m not lying. I don’t lie. You just don’t trust me, and you never will.”
Hmm, have you heard that mess before? I know I have.
The reason this can be intimidating is that you can never get out of the cycle with them. They will never be honest when you confront them unless of course, you have proof. And if you show them the proof, it’s not going to be covert anymore. They’re probably going into a flying rage.
This means, they’re trapped, and no form of narcissistic protection can help them. All they can do is rage. Intimidating enough for you?
While some people are controlling, some of them just set boundaries according to what they believe. There are just things that people will and will not tolerate. A person has a right to set boundaries and offer the other person to be around them or not.
So, if a narcissist chooses to be around you even though he or she doesn’t like or respect your boundaries, they will try to change those boundaries or do away with them. When you say no, and put your foot down, they will call you controlling.
I remember telling a narcissist that if he didn’t like my boundaries, he didn’t have to be around me. He insisted that he wanted to be with me, but that I was controlling.
You see, they twist your standards and stick to you like glue, draining you all the while. Sometimes you must peel them free. All this manipulation used to break your boundaries can be extremely intimidating.
3. Paranoia planting
Pay careful attention to the ways your narcissistic friend talks. Can you hear the threats underneath his simple statements? You see, those who use covert intimidation try to fuel your paranoia by talking about what you would lose if you cut contact with them.
This is especially prevalent with married couples. A wife may threaten to keep you from seeing your children if you get a divorce, but she won’t just come out and say it this way. Maybe she will say,
“It’s a shame. The kids are going to suffer the most. They may not get to see one parent as much as the other”.
That, my friend, is a veiled threat. Watch out!
We’ve talked about this before as well. I really hate triangulation because it works well for the narcissist.
You see, those with narcissistic personality disorders can put on this super sweet persona to other members of your family. You may have a girlfriend who is rather good at hiding who she really is, and then showing you the monster when you’re alone.
For example, the way it works is she becomes friends with your sister, gets your sister to like her, gives her gifts, tries to relate to her, and even discusses your personal life with her. At some point, she has your sister thinking negative things about you and positive things about her, the narcissist.
It’s intimidating because if you’re the only one who knows the truth, your whole family could turn against you. After all, she manipulated them, and she lies.
5. Fake empathy
While all these things may seem scary, nothing is as intimidating as fake empathy. Empathy is when you can feel for others, and even relate to their pain.
Someone who has no empathy, due to narcissistic personality disorder, can sometimes fake feelings. They can pretend to be happy for you, or pretend to feel bad for what they’ve done, but it’s not real.
The only thing real is their own happiness or sorry. And that’s questionable. I know someone who I’ve never seen cry even once. I’ve known them for 6 years.
The inability to feel emotional during an obviously emotional time is intimidating to REAL people. Because without emotions, you never can tell what they will do next.
Covert intimidation is frightening
This type of abuse may be one of the scariest types, in my opinion. Yes, getting beaten by a spouse is downright terrifying, don’t get me wrong.
The thing I’m saying is, with covert intimidation, there may come a time when you are getting beaten by a spouse. The Narcissist can be physically violent too, and it usually grows worse over time, starting with mental abusive tactics.
You see, when they realize their mental tools aren’t working against you, they can get physical. So, always be careful.
I hope this handful of signs can help you weed out the covert intimidator in your life so you can always surround yourself with a healthy support system. Always make sure you have at least one person who can see the truth.