Oftentimes, especially in the beginning of a relationship with an emotional vampire, there are no clear warning signs. This is definitely the case with a covert malignant narcissist, a type of person who's very good at masking her disorder. You often find these predators in the helping professions, such as teaching or social work. Unfortunately, coverts are also drawn into marriage and family therapy.
So, if you decide to see a therapist to help you work through some of the problems a narcissist has created in your life, be very careful that you don't place yourself in the clutches of another morally disordered person. Be aware of anything that seems amiss. In a therapist, this would be someone who talks about themselves too much, instead of focusing on what you need. She may also be a very fashionable dresser, or she may be a little too interested in how you plan to pay for your sessions.
After my own experience with a covert narcissist, I opted against therapy. (Please understand that I am not a trained mental health professional, and I write only from the perspective of someone who's experienced betrayal and deceit.) However, I did gain insight into this disorder from a relative who is a trained therapist. I also did a lot of reading, and, as a practicing Catholic, I believe the Holy Spirit led me to the right online resources, which I desperately needed, in order to shed some light on this encounter.
So, if you think you need professional help, don't necessary listen to me. Be sure to get help if you find that you can't function or are severely depressed. Just make an all-out effort to find a good therapist, and feel free to change therapists if you think it's a bad match.
Anyway, let me get back to my original point of spotting a covert narcissist, who works hard to cover her tracks. Perhaps the only sign you'll see is confusion, which appears whenever you're dealing with this person. Don't ignore this waving red flag, especially if you notice it in a new acquaintance. Narcissists specialize in creating confusion. Normal, healthy people do not.
Pixabay image top by Nemo