Narcissists are great actors. They know how to fit in and adapt to any “cultural” environment. That means in the workplace, in a family, or up any other social ladder they wish to climb in which there is a set of rules they can learn and then manipulate. They also know how to tell you just what you want to hear, and since they are great at anticipating your reactions to things, they’re always ready with an explanation or coercive act to get you to do what they want. Usually this involves feigning empathy to get you to trust them.
Because covert narcs are able to feign empathy, they are the most dangerous breed of them all. But this empathy isn’t just reflected in the words they say to you, or the help they offer because it suits them. This false empathy is also projected at you on purpose in the form of fake subconscious cues.
What that means is covert narcs are purposefully using subconscious body language peppered in their speech or body language at certain important points, so that you are driven into a state of cognitive dissonance between what your heart is telling you about this person and what you are “reading” on them. You naturally read other people — you can’t help it. They know what you are looking for… which deceit indicators you always look for. Do not put it past them to understand these things about you and use it to their advantage.
Consider that your closest narcs may often use subconscious cues or suggestions so that you believe them to be in real distress over something that would require their empathy. They are not capable of real feelings and they are using your own abilities against you.