Do not be surprised or angry with yourself if you have been fooled by a Covert Narcissist. They are among the most clever of beasts. Their image is impeccable. They can be charming in an arresting manner, unlike the grandiose narcissist who is over the top with his/her delusional visions, bombast and extreme demands of self entitlement. No, these Coverts are so slick they suck us in quietly with their pseudo authenticity. They have been practicing this and perfecting it all of their lives. This is how they survived--- by being fake but very believable. They are convinced of being genuine with their pseudo humility, truthfulness and fake empathy that feels so real.
I have found that it can take some time to identify Coverts. I have been fooled by them. I was shocked later when I realized their true natures. One man, an acquaintance, struck me as very talented, truly magnetic, even spiritual. He was very handsome to boot. He looked you straight in the eyes and you began to immediately feel that he cared deeply about you as an individual. I have had only a few direct interchanges with him. I came away at first very impressed with his "character" and "empathy." Had I been in contact with him more often, it is likely I would have seen through him sooner. I made an inquiry about finding a referral to help me with a project. He was very enthusiastic and signaled affirmatively. A bit later he adroitly pulled himself out of the matter. I registered this shift but let it go. The clincher for me came later when I discovered that he revealed his true nature. As part of an investment negotiation the CN cleverly and ruthlessly strong armed the other person involved and threatened to expose some of his personal secrets if he didn't go along with the Covert's agenda. The other person was sufficiently terrified and capitulated to this Covert's treachery.
I have permanently crossed him off my list. No avenging angel will swoop down and deliver him a mortal blow. It is very likely that he will go about unscathed---manipulating most people with his arsenal of magnetism, brightness and irresistible charm.
Those who are closely involved with covert narcissists have a very difficult time. I understand and I am sorry about the pain that you have and do endure. Never blame yourself for not recognizing the true nature of these individuals sooner. When you do, pay very close attention to what your intuitions and observations are telling you. Remember---self care is essential. Visit my website:thenarcissistinyourlife.com
Linda Martinez-Lewi, Ph.D.
Telephone Consultation: United States and International
Book: Freeing Yourself from the Narcissist in Your Life