Avoid Getting Entangled with Covert Narcissists – You Can Waste Your Time, Effort, Money or Giving that Exhausting Emotional Support and It Won’t Make A Difference to the Recipient
Time permitting, as I go forward, I’d like to do a series of posts warning anyone out there, especially if they are still a “rescuer,” an empath, or codependent, and/or a woman raised in churches teaching traditional gender roles under “gender complementarianism,” of not over-doing things for other people.
I did start a page about this issue which is under construction – I think I’d like to update that page later, or rework it. I haven’t decided. (The page is (Link): Offering Unconditional, Indefinite Emotional Support to Anyone and Everyone, or to the Same Person for Years, in Whatever Situations – It’s a Trap!)
Regardless of the messages you got from your family of origin, or the messages you get from secular culture, or messages you got from your gender complementarian church or preachers as you were growing up:
You have to be very careful and choosy about whom you give your emotional support, time, and attention to, and even among those whom you think are in legitimate need, you have to limit how much you do for the person, and for how long or how often.
There are people out there who have deep emotional or psychological issues, some have incurable personality disorders (such as NPD and watered down narcissistic traits) whom you will NOT be able to save, rescue, or fix…
No matter how hard you try, no matter how much you pray for the person, and no matter how long you spend doing things for them or trying to cheer them up or make their life better.
Never make your choices on whether to help another person, including whether or not to give them emotional support, strictly out of pity or compassion, or you can and will be taken advantage of as you go through life, or end up wasting your time and being left drained.
You will end up exhausted and/or with a depleted bank account, if any part of your rescuing includes financing any part of this person’s needs or dreams in life. Beware.
The following is from the page….
(Link): Covert narcissist: 5 things they do and how to handle them by L. Brown
Are You a Target for Covert Narcissists?
Covert narcissists tend to target a certain personality type. These are people who possess characteristics that make them most susceptible to covert narcissist behavior, people that covert narcissists can manipulate, exploit, and control over an extended period of time.
These characteristics include:
- Nurturer, home-maker (they pity the vulnerable side of the narcissist)
- Extremely sensitive
- Doesn’t have a big social network (they must rely on the narcissist)
- Overly kind
- Self-reflective (they have a desire to become better which the narcissist can exploit)
- Self-sacrificing (even if they do recognize the exploitation, they stay to help)
—– end excerpts from article by Brown —–
I am a recovered codependent who was brought up under gender complementarianism, so yes, while I was in that state (from childhood into my mid-40s or so), I kept attracting damaged people, emotionally needy people, depressed people, social misfits, shy people, selfish people, people with personality disorders – all of these people wanted my time, attention, non-judgmental emotional support, validation, affection, and in some cases, money.
After having spent years and years ignoring my own needs to meet the needs of all these people over the course of my life, I ended up exhausted and feeling taken advantage of.
The vast majority of those whom I helped seldom met my needs in return, and not one that I can recall, ever thanked me for listening to them, supporting them, or helping them in whatever way.
After my mother died, knowing how draining it can be to give emotional support (since I had done it for others for three plus decades!), on those few occasions a small number of people listened to me discuss my problems, I made sure to thank those few individuals. I expressed gratitude.
I never had all the previous needy people in my life thank me even once, not in all my 35+ years of listening to them discuss, cry, or rant about their problems.
Most emotionally needy, narcissistic, depressed, or pessimistic people are oblivious at how tiring it is to listen to them weep or complain for hours and/or over months, especially if they complain about the same problem or two repeatedly and they do nothing to solve the problem(s) they complain about.
During the years I bought into complementarianism and remained codependent, I felt I was obligated to help anyone and everyone who came to me presenting as an injured, hurting, sad, needy person. I felt guilty if I didn’t help these people.
And I felt guilty about putting boundaries or time limits in place (and I was taught NOT to do so by secular, social conditioning, my family, and complementarian Christians), so I didn’t enforce boundaries with these very needy people.
What I just said goes against all the messages women get from secular culture, their church, or their families, which leads them to think it’s their duty (a woman’s responsibility or God’s design, for women) to be nurturing, to grant chance after chance (limitless forgiveness, don’t have boundaries), to “fix” relationships, to grant un-ending emotional labor to other people, to put other people’s needs first at all times, no matter what the circumstances are.
One group of people you have to be on guard against are Covert Narcissists.