By Sabine Fourneaux
How can a covert narcissist manage to have the discipline and restraint required to keep their nature hidden from the world every day?
They are all about control, but they have to release the tension and they do it covertly. It takes a lot of calculation, observation, and manipulation to operate under the radar like they do. Their minds are busy, busy, busy — but outwardly they look and act like calm, still waters.
My ex released his tension through chronic masturbation and sex addiction. I was unaware for the first 26 years of marriage, and we worked from home together for 20 years so I thought I knew him better than anyone could know a person. But he only told and showed me what he wanted me to know. Then I got ill, and could no longer run our business so he lost that source of supply which had been a huge source for his ego stroking, and me as a source of supply because I now had ‘needs’. Up until then, his life had consisted of work and going for motorbike rides.
What I learned, after I got ill and the devalue and discard began with him unmasking flat out, was that all those bike rides, long dog walks in the woods and endless nights working he was acting out his perversions to release his tension. Late nights up in the office were actually spent sourcing different body parts so he could build his fantasy in photoshop and release to it. During the entire relationship there were signs (there always are but unless we are educated on what to look for we have no idea what the stuff that’s happening means, and, because we are in love, we are not wired to judge such ‘trivial’ things harshly), he would run hot and cold, he was not interested in sex (his addiction is pornography, which resulted in a curved penis from scar tissue due to manual trauma — another clue I did not know), he would have cycles about every 6 months where he’d act completely out of ‘character’ and go on screaming rampages, he would explode in the most scary way if he bumped into a cupboard, he refused to participate in important decisions and was obstructive but still wanted what he wanted even if he got in his own way, he was frighteningly aggressive driving at times — but those were ‘out of the ordinary’ episodes as he would catch himself and anchor the mask back into place and become the calm, gentle and easy going guy once again. Until his inner tension boiled over once more. He would leave the house while I was sleeping and run through the woods naked.
He told me a lot during the unmasking, he did it to shock and horrify me. It was repulsive, everything about him was repulsive. They are so supremely outwardly controlled when they have an agenda. The day before our wedding he was loving and affectionate, joking around getting ready for a ride he kissed me and said he was going for ‘one last motorbike ride as a free man’ as sweet as can be but was actually going to pick up a new office coworker with the plan to have sex with her and not come home — leaving me ‘at the alter’. When she did not comply, he came home with the mask firmly back in place and the next morning had to scramble to get a wedding suit. Looking at the pictures from that day, you’d think you’ve never seen a happier groom. During my illness, while I lay in bed semiconscious in uncontrollable pain for over a year, he was smearing me and alienating me from everyone I knew, stepping out with a girl in her 20s, scoping out my replacements (he enjoyed telling me all about who he considered replacing me with), but to my face he was the doting caregiver whose hands my life was in. They are all about lies, everything about them is false. But the pressure builds and they do leak, we just have to know what it is we are seeing. Unfortunately, it’s always in hindsight after they unmask that we end up picking through the memories and recognizing the clues.
It’s all deception, they are able to do it because they lack a conscience, they have no moral compass, they lack empathy and care for nothing but their own needs.