Sunday, August 18, 2013

Covert Narcissistic Sibling--Playing the Meek Card

Your covert narcissistic sibling never was a standout in the family. He/she didn't speak much, had little affect and appeared to be meek--those qualities of being patient, mild, humble, submissive.  This is how other people in your family and circle of friends and acquaintances view this person. I have seen these sibling constellations and it is very difficult to imagine that this person who appears to be transparently harmless could be so psychologically damaging to others, especially his/her family members.

Covert narcissistic siblings can tear a family apart, pitting one sibling against the other and vying for influence and specialness with the parents. The covert narcissist, unlike his grandiose, magnetic, larger than life brother or sister narcissist, this concealed type is very slippery and difficult to detect. Often he or she becomes the child and later the adult who is needy and at the same time, gives preferential treatment to mom or dad to get whatever he wants. The covert narcissist has a gift for making others feel sorry for him. He prays on the mercy of others and misuses and distorts the true reality.

Covert narcissists are gifted at inducing guilt in their siblings. Since they are so holy and long suffering they feel entitled to make their brothers and sister feel guilty because they are not thinking of the welfare of others every moment. They emphasize in stoic toned words that they are self sacrificing, that their pain is not inordinate and wonder why the other sibling is complaining so much. She must be spoiled--that's the reason. "You must be grateful for what you have. Think about others; I do--all of the time. You are so self absorbed I wonder whether you are a real member of this family."This kind of projective drivel works for the covert narcissist and can be very impressive with her/his parents and other siblings. The child who is the object of this malicious scorn becomes an outcast.

If you were forced to play this painful role in your family, I am deeply sorry about all that you have suffered. You were trying to survive and you did. As you heal, remember that you had no choice. Now you do. Look deep within to that small child who is needing your warm support and approval to be your real self. You have always been the authentic one throughout your entire life. I marvel at your courage. Time to fully come into your own and know that you deserve to stand tall with hands in triumph reaching for the skies.
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Linda Martinez-Lewi, Ph.D.
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Book: Freeing Yourself from the Narcissist in Your Life

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