8 Early Red Flags You’re Dating a Covert Narcissist

I caught these little-known signs…but didn’t act on them.

Photo by Harli Marten on Unsplash

1. Something is “off” about their texting patterns.

You get the feeling that they alternate between hot and cold, a cycle of hyper-attachment and detachment.

2. There seems to be a lack of presence, especially when you’re together.

They‘re always lost in some kind of self-directed thought, and they forget to be in the here and now, with you.

Photo by Joshua J. Cotten on Unsplash

3. Their moods swing wildly — they’re often prone to rage, and they can’t or won’t let go.

Eventually, everything will “suck” again.

4. They ruminate, and cannot let go.

  • ProTip: You’re probably going to feel like a babysitter, parent, or therapist. They need a lot of reassurance, and no matter how many hours (!) you spend trying to coax and soothe them, it’s never enough.

5. They have imbalanced body-image.

  • If they perceive their body as imperfect, they will berate themselves. Even males may develop eating disorders and be overly concerned about metrics such as their weight, body-fat percentage, or body mass index.
  • If their body looks fine to them, then it’s not just “fine”, it “rocks the free world”, and they’ll show off their assets to make sure everybody knows just how great their legs, their abdominal six-pack, their biceps, or their pecs are.

6. There’s something up with their friends.

They may choose friends whom they perceive as “inferior” in some way.

They surround themselves with people they can feel superior to. In turn, they are intimidated by those to whom they feel inferior.

Friends who are immature or create drama, or perhaps are tangled up in drama in their own lives.

  • These people provide a fair amount of entertainment and even schadenfreude for the narcissist.

Friends who don’t really act like friends.

  • These may be people who once gave them the time of day, but now they essentially ghost them — or perhaps they’ve slowly drifted apart, and the other person was perfectly okay with letting go. The narcissist, on the other hand, will attempt to strike up a conversation (“check in”) with them as though they’re best buds.
  • ProTip: you’ll see a general pattern of the narcissist texting the “friend”, the friend might even reply, but the conversation will be short, and the friend never initiates one with the narcissist.
What normal friendship looks like — Photo by Simon Maage on Unsplash

7. Nothing is ever good enough.

The one hiccup equals imperfection which is almost a personal blow to a narcissist.

8. There’s a strange emphasis on activities and time.

  • ProTip: Set boundaries. Make sure you carve out time for your own hobbies and interests. Make sure you set aside your own relaxation time alone, or time with family or other friends. Make sure you don’t become dominated by the narcissist, because that’s exactly what they’ll try to do.

Other Tips For Handling a Narcissist



An autistic integrative medicine doctor, survived 20y with a controlling mastermind, widowed at 44, starting all over again.

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The Silent Wave

An autistic integrative medicine doctor, survived 20y with a controlling mastermind, widowed at 44, starting all over again.