More insight from your *Sofa psychologist into Mariah/Meri and how poor Auj (and maybe Meri’s sister wives) feel. No wonder Auj is depressed! *disclaimer I am thoroughly unqualified as a psychologist just pure speculating and copying from psychology books 😆
In a Relationship with a Covert Narcissist?
Since one of the hallmark traits of narcissistic personality disorder is lack of empathy, the covert narcissist is not going to be emotionally responsive to their partner in a healthy way. They are inept at building and nurturing emotional bonds with others. How could they know how to maintain bonds with others if their energy is always focused on themselves?
The danger is in not seeing through the facade of a covert narcissist, because they're more passive. But they can be just as destructive to relationships as the extroverted types. The emotional abuse might be more silent and subtle, but can wear you down and demoralize you. Your needs and pleas for attention will be discounted or ignored. You can get sucked into trying to constantly console and help this manipulative martyr to no avail. There’s no way you can fill their emptiness, fulfil their need for attention or change their victim mentality.
You will likely not receive many compliments from a covert narcissist as they are always focused on staying elevated to maintain their sense of self-importance and to acknowledge someone else’s attributes would undermine that. If you are complimented, it may be a public performance, which serves only as a purpose to fulfil their own ego and status with others - eg ‘how great is this girlfriend of mine?’ The emphasis being you are an mere extension of them, a possession to be envied. Although the covert is more likely to appear emotionally accessible, it tends to be a performance and usually done with intent to exploit or eventually leave the person feeling small through disregard, blaming, or shaming.
Meanwhile, your self-esteem is gradually undermined. The narcissist lacks empathy for you, won’t see you as a separate individual, and will do what’s necessary to maintain power and control. Their pain and needs will always take precedence, so you’re left feeling alone, neglected, low and resentful.
In general, narcissists are not givers. They find it difficult to put energy into anything that doesn't serve them in some way. A covert narcissist might present themselves in a way that looks like they are giving, but their giving behavior is only demonstrated with the intent of getting something in return.
A simple, everyday example could be something like giving money to a busker on the street. A covert narcissist would be much more likely to put change in the jar when they know the performer or others are looking, in order to help facilitate some kind of interaction that allows them to be praised for giving, they then may cast their net wider and subtly post about the interaction on social media or drop it into future conversation, fishing for further praise and validation from the same experience. Giving anything for a covert narcissist is always more about them and and less about those to whom they are giving.