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Ideas for dealing with covert narcissist?

(28 Posts)
ExposingCreep Mon 28-Sep-20 12:46:13

Hi all, apologies if this is in the wrong place. I'm a first time user, long time occasional reader as I do enjoy a lot of the content. I am a male, my friend is also male, he is roughly my age without wanting to be too specific about our ages.

For some months now, I have been increasingly concerned about a 'friend' who has a tendency to send texts which are either slightly inappropriate or simply odd. Face to face he is relatively normal, albeit a pompous and perhaps slightly eccentric, not only with me but in general. He will write things in texts that he wouldn't say in normal chat, especially in front of others.

This year he has initiated chat frequently, and even on quiet weeks he has always initiated once or twice. Some of the content seems to be normal checking in, some is light hearted banter, some could possibly be passive aggressive, some is weird in an inappropriate way and some is just odd. In recent months he has notably written less about himself, except when asked a leading question such as 'have you seen Person X' and seems to take a lot of interest in my life, despite the fact I have spent most of my life indoors since March for obvious reasons.

At times he seems to be giving unsolicited advice about things and almost seems to project his own views and interests onto me. A few months ago, my concern was that he was gay - I think he probably is - and was interested in me, while knowing that I am straight. Now, my concern has grown into thinking that he is enjoying making me feel uncomfortable with the volume of messages and the intrusive and/or odd content. My suspicion is he either playing a long-term game, which may involve others, or he is using me repeatedly for short-term gratification on an ongoing basis.

If anyone could give me any advice for (at least) boring him or putting him without making it too obvious or annoying him too much, that would be helpful and very appreciated. I realise some might feel I have been naive, but unlike some of these types, he was very plausible and friendly for at least the first few months, and was very subtle in drawing me in.

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gingerwhinger0 Mon 28-Sep-20 12:52:15

Assuming you're not related, or having to work with him why are you trying to maintain a friendship with him ?
If you want to keep the friendship going ? then don't give him anything to feed off, be very boring in your responses. Google grey rock technique.

Ruminating2020 Mon 28-Sep-20 12:59:00

Please, please, please withdraw from this person. He is making you feel uncomfortable and while I understand you may not want to hurt him, you need to be as boring with your responses and not respond to any when he accuses you of being cold with him.

Like ginger says, ask yourself why you are maintaining a friendship with him. Is the reason worth the potential impairment of your mental health?

Unfortunately, I was close to someone like this and looking back then, I was a people pleasing idiot and stayed far too long in the toxic mess.

ExposingCreep Mon 28-Sep-20 13:05:19

He's not a colleague, but we have volunteered together informally on occasion.

One of the reasons stopping me blocking him is that we have some mutual friends / acquaintances, one of whom is a long-standing friend. If I were to annoy the narc he might compromise my friendship with him. Even if I were to successfully expose the narc, I might look stupid or even two faced.

I have heard of the grey rock technique and have tried it a bit, with only limited success.

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Ruminating2020 Mon 28-Sep-20 13:09:26

Can you confide to the long standing friend about your concerns?Perhaps even show the texts as well?

Narcissists usually do not give up until they manage to find a new victim supply. sad

Good luck op.

gingerwhinger0 Mon 28-Sep-20 13:11:44

I honestly consider friends that are quick to side with someone 'toxic' as not worth the bother. If this individual does manage to sway your friends, consider it a head up that they where never true friends to begin with and move on and find better ones.

ExposingCreep Mon 28-Sep-20 13:17:45

@Ruminating2020, thanks for your good wishes. In the last week or so I have seriously considered sending some of the dodgier ones to my friend - let's call him Sam - but I'm afraid of the hassle it will cause not only to myself, but also to him as he has a busy (and sometimes difficult) home life of his life, for reasons beyond his control.

He also has a history of gravitating towards lost souls, so he might be less hardline than the two friends I have confided in, or indeed posters on this thread.

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Ruminating2020 Mon 28-Sep-20 13:21:27

That's the thing with narcissists, they target people pleasers and unfortunately, people pleasers are too willing to give the benefit of the doubt.

At least there are others who do believe you.

I have been the "friend" who didn't listen to the true friend and ended being burnt very badly.

ExposingCreep Mon 28-Sep-20 13:27:19

Ruminating - I will try to do as you suggest, not necessarily in terms of revealing all the messages. What I might need to do is drop subtle hints to 'Sam'. I'm genuinely not sure if it would be good for the dodgy guy - let's call him 'Lee' - to know, or suspect, that I'm onto him. It might mean less contact and less dodginess, but he might try to undermine me on the sly.

gingerwhinger - in a sense, there is only one I am really bothered, who I have known for a long time. I would slightly bothered about maybe two others, and not really bothered about the rest even though I have enjoyed their company on occasion.

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NoseRinger Mon 28-Sep-20 14:51:08

Boring or annoying him might be the best option.

winterisstillcoming Mon 28-Sep-20 18:19:55

Just step away slowly. Short, late, non comittal replies. Things such as I'm not sure' 'I'll see' and repeat. Just be really boring and stop just short of being rude. He'll soon move on.

ExposingCreep Mon 28-Sep-20 19:13:15


Just step away slowly. Short, late, non comittal replies. Things such as I'm not sure' 'I'll see' and repeat. Just be really boring and stop just short of being rude. He'll soon move on.

I hear you, and your advice is sound, but my worry is that it is far too late. Looking at texts from 18 months ago I was surprised how quickly his pattern was established, albeit he seemed innocent early on. The other thing is, I have always been a bit boring in most of my replies IMO, not even purposefully until recently. And yet he keeps going. confused

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barskits Mon 28-Sep-20 19:31:07

When he asks you questions, how do you respond? Some people are obsessive questioners and they are annoying. I'm wondering whether it might work if you send him a question right back. Such as the example you give were he asks you if you have seen person X, just send the reply back "Why?"

ExposingCreep Mon 28-Sep-20 19:36:48

Such as the example you give were he asks you if you have seen person X, just send the reply back "Why?"

In that example, I was trying to explain he doesn't talk about his own life that much these days, except if I ask him questions such as the above. The obsessive questioning thing is definitely him, but I feel there is more to it than just being annoying.

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ExposingCreep Mon 28-Sep-20 22:06:03

Tried a bit of Grey Rock tonight but not sure how successful it was.

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Shizzlestix Mon 28-Sep-20 22:13:13

Grey rock. Short answer eg ‘No’, nothing else. By responding to him, you’re feeding his addiction to have you respond. He pokes, you respond. Stop responding, maybe answer a bland question once a week.

An old friend of mine started messaging/phoning me during lockdown. It all became too much and despite me asking her to stop calling all the time, she continued. The advice on here was to block her, it was becoming distressing and I dreaded seeing her name appear. I did block her and I barely give her a thought now. It’s a big relief.

MintyYogaTea Mon 28-Sep-20 22:15:37

What think it's narcissism?

ExposingCreep Mon 28-Sep-20 23:36:54


What think it's narcissism?

Intensive messaging over a long period, larger than average interest in his and others' physical appearance (inc. giving advice), pompous manner, intrusive questioning, selective revealing of facts about himself, chats that go round in circles, passive aggressive jokes, self pitying about issues he created himself. I am holding back one rather big bit of info, as it might be outing on the off chance he saw this.

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Ruminating2020 Mon 28-Sep-20 23:39:04

That does sound like narcissistic behaviour to me.

ExposingCreep Mon 28-Sep-20 23:42:53

Ruminating - thank you. I wish I had cottoned on to it sooner.

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Ruminating2020 Tue 29-Sep-20 00:07:23

Especially the intrusive questions and chats that go round in circles. The only way to break that cycle is to disengage completely.

MintyYogaTea Tue 29-Sep-20 01:04:45

@ExposingCreep. I see, yeah the appearance thing especially sounds narcissistic. The other traits I have seen in those with borderline personality disorder which can overlap.with narcissistic traits. This means he someone who has been through profound attachment issues or trauma. Needs therapy. Tell him to get help.

MintyYogaTea Tue 29-Sep-20 01:12:14


Especially the intrusive questions and chats that go round in circles. The only way to break that cycle is to disengage completely.

Yes. I would agree with this. I don't say this to be nasty, I been in treatment myself for BPD although it presented differently in me except for the circles. I did do that. I had to learn where I ended and others began. Learn boundaries and depend less on others to fulil my needs for attachment and connection.

Don't let this guy swallow you whole. He needs help but you cannot give it.

ExposingCreep Tue 29-Sep-20 18:21:13

So, another message today which I haven't replied to yet. I've managed to switch off a little bit this afternoon.

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ExposingCreep Thu 01-Oct-20 15:59:08

So... more messages last night with a more (passively) aggressive style from him. Maybe he's starting to become annoyed by the bore tactic.

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