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Dear Anonymous,

I am hoping that you are reading my column. I printed your letter and somehow since I receive so many emails, I am having difficulty locating your original email and responding directly to your email. I got a brief response regarding that column to help you get gainful employment. Hopefully it can help other people as well.


Someone emailed me an employment agency that helps people with employment. Please see below:

[email protected]
[email protected]

Re: your latest column subject who wrote that he was desperate for gainful employment.

May this be of help to him, iy”H.



Dear Dr. Respler,

I am unfortunately married to a man who is a covert narcissist. Everyone loves him and he appears to be a very quiet, nice person. However, he can be so passive-aggressive and extremely sensitive. We have been to therapy which he often leaves when the therapist points out destructive things that he does to our marriage. I listened to you speak about this issue on your line on Kol Haloshon. My husband does read your column. Please be so kind and review the points as it will help our marriage. We have a bet that you may not respond to this letter. He actually told me if you respond, he will read it. Thank you so much.

A Reader


Dear A Reader,

I will share some of my ideas, however, this is no substitute for therapy. People who struggle with covert narcissism often have a high sensitivity to what they perceive as criticism. The covert narcissist may make dismissive or sarcastic remarks to the perceived criticism as if they are above the criticism. Nobody likes to be criticized. However, we are speaking of “criticism” that is delivered in a positive manner to help the covert narcissist or to help repair a relationship. For example, if the wife of a covert narcissist is trying to help him eat healthy food and says “I really worked hard on this dinner, it is healthy and low fat and will help us lose weight” The covert narcissist may respond, “It is you my dear wife who needs to lose weight – I have the standard husband cholent belly.” The wife may feel dismissed and did not mean to hurt her husband and may feel twice as hurt as she said “help us lose weight.”

I am not sure if your husband is indeed a covert narcissist and how you came to this conclusion. I will give my ideas on the topic, but since I do not know you or the situation I dislike diagnoses that are handed to me in a column.

My favorite line is “label jars not people.” With everyone reading and all the people thinking they are knowledgeable by reading a book or even listening to a lecture, I want to write a disclaimer in this column that although people may have some tendencies of a covert narcissist, it doesn’t mean that they are a true covert narcissist.

Covert narcissists tend to be passive aggressive. This can involve sabotaging someone’s work or friendship, teasing or mocking remarks that are framed as jokes, using the silent treatment, subtle blame-shifting that makes the other person question what happened, and procrastinating tasks that they think are beneath them.

Covert narcissists will put themselves down so others should boost their self esteem. They can be shy or withdrawn by nature, so they are so much harder to read than the overt narcissist. They can have grandiose fantasies, feelings of depression, emptiness, and anxiety. They tend to hold grudges,envy others, and underneath have feelings of inadequacy.

I wish you hatzlacha and I want to reiterate that I do not accept a diagnosis that was simply written into my column. I hope the information is helpful but remember to label jars not people!


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Dr. Yael Respler is a psychotherapist in private practice who provides marital, dating and family counseling. Dr. Respler also deals with problems relating to marital intimacy. Letters may be emailed to [email protected]. To schedule an appointment, please call 917-751-4887. Dr. Orit Respler-Herman, a child psychologist, co-authors this column and is now in private practice providing complete pychological evaluations as well as child and adolescent therapy. She can be reached at 917-679-1612. Previous columns can be viewed at and archives of Dr. Respler’s radio shows can be found at