Covert Narcissistic Grandmother
Covert Narcissistic Grandmother

Covert narcissism is a complex and challenging personality trait that can have a profound impact on the dynamics of a family. When this trait manifests in a grandmother, it can lead to emotional manipulation, psychological abuse, and a toxic family environment. In this article, we will delve deep into the world of dealing with a covert narcissistic grandmother, offering insights, strategies, and guidance to help you navigate this difficult situation.

Covert narcissistic grandmothers can be masters of control, manipulation, and gaslighting, leaving their victims emotionally scarred. However, as a victim or survivor, you have the power to neutralize their influence and regain control of your life. In the following sections, we will explore what covert narcissism is, how to recognize the signs, and most importantly, how to protect yourself from its harmful effects. Let’s embark on this journey to healing, self-care, and resilience together.

Understanding Covert Narcissism

Covert narcissism, often hidden beneath a facade of charm and kindness, is a personality disorder characterized by an excessive need for admiration, a lack of empathy, and a sense of entitlement. While overt narcissists openly display their grandiosity, covert narcissists are more subtle in their manipulative tactics.

Covert narcissistic grandmothers may present themselves as loving and caring on the surface, but beneath that exterior lies a deeply ingrained need for control and validation. They thrive on the emotional turmoil they create, often leaving their victims feeling helpless and trapped in a web of deceit.

Some key aspects of covert narcissism include:

  • Manipulation: Covert narcissists are skilled at manipulating those around them to fulfill their desires. They use guilt, passive-aggressiveness, and emotional tactics to get their way. For instance, your grandmother may employ guilt-tripping by making you feel responsible for her happiness or emotional well-being, even when it’s unwarranted.
  • Control: These individuals crave control over their family members and often use emotional manipulation to maintain their dominance within the family unit. Your grandmother may attempt to control your choices, lifestyle, or relationships, often under the guise of “knowing what’s best for you.”
  • Lack of Empathy: Covert narcissists struggle to empathize with the emotions of others. They may feign concern but are ultimately more focused on their own needs and desires. Your grandmother might appear concerned when you share your feelings but quickly redirect the conversation to revolve around her experiences and feelings.
  • Gaslighting: Gaslighting is a common tactic employed by covert narcissists. They distort reality, making their victims doubt their own perceptions and sanity. Your grandmother may deny previous statements or actions, making you question your memory and judgment.

Understanding these traits and getting into the mind of a covert narcissist is crucial in recognizing a covert narcissistic grandmother. It’s essential to remember that covert narcissists are not likely to change, but you can change how you respond to their behavior. In the following sections, we will explore ways to deal with and neutralize the impact of a covert narcissistic grandmother in your life.

Recognizing the Signs of a Covert Narcissistic Grandmother

Recognizing the signs of a covert narcissistic grandmother is the first step towards protecting yourself from emotional manipulation and abuse. While they may appear harmless at first glance, their behaviors and patterns can be damaging over time. Here are some key signs to watch out for:

1. Manipulative Behavior

Manipulative behavior in a covert narcissistic grandmother takes various forms. She constantly tries to manipulate situations to her advantage, often playing the victim or using guilt as a tool. For example, she may use emotional manipulation to make you feel responsible for her happiness or create scenarios where you feel obligated to meet her demands.

2. Excessive Need for Attention

A covert narcissistic grandmother craves constant attention and validation. She often monopolizes conversations, making everything about herself. In family gatherings, she might dominate discussions and divert attention to her experiences, even in unrelated contexts.

3. Lack of Empathy

Empathy is in short supply with a covert narcissistic grandmother. While she may pretend to care, her genuine concern for your feelings is limited. She struggles to understand or empathize with your emotions and experiences, often dismissing your feelings as unimportant.

4. Gaslighting

Gaslighting is a common tactic employed by covert narcissists. Your grandmother may deny saying hurtful things, claim you are overly sensitive, or insist that your memories are inaccurate. This manipulation tactic is designed to make you doubt your own reality.

5. Controlling Behavior

Controlling behavior is a hallmark of a covert narcissistic grandmother. She seeks to control various aspects of your life, from the way you dress to the friends you associate with, all under the guise of concern for your well-being. This control extends to your choices, often leaving you feeling suffocated.

6. Emotional Manipulation

Emotional manipulation is a classic sign of a narcissistic grandparent. Your covert narcissistic grandmother can use tears, anger, or passive-aggressive remarks to keep you under her influence. She might employ guilt-tripping or emotional outbursts to make you comply with her wishes and feel responsible for her emotional state. Emotional manipulation is a classic tactic of the female covert narcissist.

7. Constant Criticism

Your grandmother consistently criticizes your choices, appearance, or achievements, leaving you feeling inadequate and insecure. Her criticism may be subtle or direct, but it consistently undermines your self-esteem.

8. Enmeshment

She may try to create an enmeshed relationship where boundaries between you and her are blurred, making it difficult for you to establish your identity. This enmeshment can manifest as an excessive involvement in your personal affairs or a lack of privacy.

9. Triangulation

Triangulation is another one of the tactics employed by narcissistic grandparents including a covert narcissistic grandmother. She often involves others in conflicts, playing family members against each other to maintain control. This manipulation tactic can create division and tension within the family.

Recognizing these signs is crucial for your emotional well-being. So, is learning how to take steps to deal with female covert narcissist triangulation.

Understand that you are not alone in dealing with a covert narcissistic grandmother. Many have walked this challenging path before and emerged stronger and more resilient. In the following sections, we’ll explore strategies to help you neutralize the impact of your grandmother’s behavior and regain control of your life.

How to Neutralize the Covert Narcissistic Grandmother

Dealing with a covert narcissistic grandmother can be emotionally taxing and challenging, but it’s important to remember that you have the power to protect yourself and find healing. Recognizing the signs of covert narcissism is the first step towards reclaiming your life from manipulation and emotional abuse.

#1. Set and Maintain Boundaries

Setting and maintaining boundaries is a crucial step in dealing with a covert narcissistic grandmother. Boundaries act as a protective shield, preventing manipulation and emotional abuse from seeping into your life.

Clearly define your boundaries: Identify what behavior you find unacceptable and communicate this clearly to your grandmother. Explain the consequences of crossing these boundaries, and be prepared to enforce them.

Stay consistent: Enforce your boundaries consistently, even when met with resistance or manipulation. Consistency is key to showing that you are serious about maintaining your boundaries.

Be prepared for pushback: Your grandmother may not respond well to your boundaries and may attempt to push your limits. Stay firm and prioritize your well-being over her reactions.

#2. Stay Emotionally Detached

Maintaining emotional detachment is essential when dealing with a covert narcissistic grandmother. Their attempts to provoke emotional reactions are a means of control, so staying emotionally neutral is a powerful defense.

Practice mindfulness: Focus on the present moment and your own emotions rather than getting caught up in your grandmother’s drama. Mindfulness techniques can help you stay grounded and less reactive.

Limit emotional investment: Avoid getting emotionally entangled in her manipulations. Remind yourself that her behavior is a reflection of her issues, not your worth or value as a person.

#3. Practice Active Listening

Active listening is a valuable skill when dealing with a covert narcissistic grandmother. It allows you to gain insight into her manipulative tactics while maintaining your emotional distance.

Listen without judgment: Try to understand her perspective without immediately reacting or passing judgment. This can help you gather information and maintain a calm demeanor.

Reflect and validate: Repeat back what she says to show that you are listening, even if you don’t agree with her. Validating her feelings can sometimes de-escalate situations.

#4. Avoid Feeding Your Grandmother’s Ego

Covert narcissists thrive on attention and validation. By refusing to feed their ego, you can diminish their power over you.

Keep conversations neutral: Avoid excessive praise or criticism. Stay calm and matter-of-fact in your interactions. Neutral responses can help reduce the emotional charge in conversations.

Don’t take the bait: When your grandmother tries to provoke a reaction, remain composed and unresponsive. This can be particularly effective in defusing emotionally charged situations.

#5. Use the Grey Rock Technique

The Grey Rock Technique involves becoming as uninteresting and unreactive as a grey rock to discourage a covert narcissistic grandmother from engaging in manipulation.

Be unexciting: Share minimal information about your life, making yourself a less appealing target for manipulation. Stick to mundane topics to keep conversations uninteresting.

Keep conversations dull: Focus on topics that are unlikely to trigger emotional responses. This can discourage her from seeking emotional reactions from you.

#6. Limit Sharing Personal Information/Vulnerabilities

A covert narcissistic grandmother can use personal information against you. Limit what you share to protect yourself.

Be selective: Only share personal details with those you trust and who won’t divulge information to her. Be cautious about what you disclose, especially regarding your personal life.

Keep vulnerabilities private: Avoid disclosing your vulnerabilities, as she may exploit them to gain control or manipulate your emotions. Protect your sensitive information.

#7. Seek Support from Trusted Friends & Family

You don’t have to face a covert narcissistic grandmother alone. Seek support from trusted individuals who understand the situation.

Share your experiences: Talk to friends and family members who can provide emotional support and validation. Sharing your feelings with them can help relieve the emotional burden.

Create a support network: Lean on those who have your best interests at heart and can help you navigate challenging interactions with your grandmother. A strong support network can provide valuable insights and assistance.

#8. Consider Therapy

Therapy can be a powerful tool for coping with the emotional trauma caused by a covert narcissistic grandmother.

Individual therapy: Consider seeing a therapist to help you process your emotions, develop coping strategies, and build resilience. Therapy can provide a safe space to explore your feelings and navigate the challenges you face.

Family therapy: If appropriate, explore family therapy to address dynamics and improve communication within your family. This can be particularly helpful if other family members are also affected by your grandmother’s behavior.

#9. Maintain a Supportive Network

A strong support network is crucial when dealing with a covert narcissistic grandmother.

Cultivate relationships: Nurture connections with people who uplift and support you in your journey. Surrounding yourself with positive influences can boost your resilience.

Attend support groups: Join support groups or online communities for individuals dealing with narcissistic family members. These groups can provide a sense of belonging and offer valuable advice based on shared experiences.

#10. Focus on Self-Care

Prioritizing self-care is essential for your well-being when dealing with a covert narcissistic grandmother.

Practice self-compassion: Be kind to yourself and acknowledge your strengths and resilience. Self-compassion can counteract the negative effects of emotional manipulation.

Engage in self-care activities: Make time for activities that bring you joy, relaxation, and emotional healing. Self-care is essential for maintaining your emotional and mental well-being.


In conclusion, dealing with a covert narcissistic grandmother is a challenging journey, but it is possible to neutralize her influence and find healing. By recognizing the signs of covert narcissism, setting boundaries, staying emotionally detached, and seeking support, you can regain control of your life and emerge stronger and more resilient. Remember that your well-being is paramount, and you have the strength to overcome the challenges posed by a covert narcissistic grandmother.