8 Humiliating Insults Covert Narcissists Use and How You Can Respond!

Sherile Turner-Myles
4 min readMay 17

Unlike an overt narcissist who displays grandiose and overtly self-centred behaviour, a covert narcissist tends to be more subtle and manipulative in their approach. They may use passive-aggressive tactics and veiled insults to demean and control their partner.

Photo by engin akyurt on Unsplash

Covert narcissists employ humiliation and insults as manipulative tactics for several reasons:

  1. Power and control: Covert narcissists have an insatiable need for power and control over others. By humiliating and insulting their partner, they can assert dominance and maintain a position of superiority in the relationship. It allows them to feel a sense of power over their partner’s emotions and self-esteem.
  2. Eroding self-esteem: Covert narcissists often have low self-esteem themselves, and putting their partner down helps them feel better about their own perceived inadequacies. By consistently belittling and humiliating their partner, they can erode their self-esteem, making them more reliant on the narcissist for validation and approval.
  3. Maintaining dependency: Covert narcissists aim to keep their partners emotionally dependent on them. Insults and humiliation break down their partner’s self-confidence and make them doubt their own abilities, creating a sense of reliance on the narcissist for emotional stability and validation.
  4. Gaslighting and control: By using insults and humiliation, covert narcissists can manipulate their partner’s perception of reality. Gaslighting techniques make their partner doubt their own experiences, memories, and emotions, leading to confusion and dependence on the narcissist for guidance.
  5. Projection of insecurities: Covert narcissists often struggle with deep-seated insecurities and feelings of inadequacy. They may project these insecurities onto their partner by attacking their self-worth, appearance, or abilities. By pointing out their partner’s flaws, they divert attention away from their own insecurities.
  6. Preserving their false image: Covert narcissists go to great lengths to maintain a positive public image. By humiliating their partner privately, they ensure that any criticism or negative perceptions are directed at their partner rather than themselves. This protects…
Sherile Turner-Myles

I write about Covert Narcissism and other Personality Disorders, and how they impact relationships.

Recommended from Medium