To understand why, we must first see that abuse is merely abuse. Abuse hurts, but so do many other things in life, like falling off the bicycle, getting rejected by our love interest, or failure at things.
What makes the covert narcissist’s abuse so much more abusive than any other form of hurt, harm, or injury, is the covertness of it. When we know that something hurts, and we know why, trauma is avoided, for example, in things like falling off bicycles, or touching hot objects, even getting hit by other people. But when we have absolutely no idea why something hurtful happened, or that it was even supposed to hurt, we get confused.
And it is this deep, deep, pervasive cognitive dissonance that lies at the heart of the severity of covert narcissistic abuse.
They make you into a very very confused puppy. Confusion and pain create trauma, the more confused, the worse the trauma.
If insanity is doing the same thing over and over again but expecting different results, then precisely that is the insanity covert narcissistic abuse conditions into us. The lies they tell us keep making us expect love or validation when we only receive abuse each time. But each time, we fail to make the connection. And so next time, we repeat our offering, but get the same abusive results. But each time the cycle repeats, the c-PTSD invisibly deepens in severity. We are unknowingly digging a deeper hole for ourselves each time we try harder, and each time they make us believe sweet lies. But we will only uncover that hole decades later.
Overt narcissists and malignant narcissists are bold in their modus operandi, they abuse lots of individuals throughout their day. This makes them distracted, lazy and somewhat sated when they finally arrive home. The covert narcissist meanwhile had been busily pleasing people, helping them, donating money, helping out at church, educating children, saving lives, and the world, and secretly accumulating their day’s resentments and frustrations. But they won’t allow themselves to discharge their toxins outside. So when they finally arrive home, all that saved up toxin from being such a covertly negative person boils over into malice that gets reserved for the select few individuals in their lives they dare inflict upon. So their target gets the distilled, concentrated, condensed dosage of their toxic discharge. And that’s why mysterious punishment suddenly takes place. They have been busting to go home the whole day, waiting to finally discharge.
The covert narcissist is in every way equally sadistic to the malignant narcissist, they are no less cruel, just unseen.
For the other types of narcissists, emotional and mental harm is incidental (but not regrettable), but for the covert narcissist, emotional and mental harm is the very point of their abuse. Because they will not allow themselves to go about it overtly, nor will they allow themselves to exhibit excessive sadism. So everything is covert. They won’t admit it to themselves, and they won’t allow you to see that you are being abused.
How do you go about abusing someone in a non-overt nor not obviously sadistic way? Mostly through mental and emotional torture.
And this is done mostly through confusion, through covertness. Of all the different types of narcissist, the covert ones gaslight the most, and gaslighting tampers with your sense of reality, it is what mental and emotional torture is all about.
Of all the different types of narcissist, the covert is most likely to break their victims, most likely to destroy their minds and healthy habits, and most likely to drive them subclinically insane.
Their lies are like a black hole, sucking you into a dark place and then crushing you, while the real world recedes further and further away at the edge of the black hole.