How to Spot a Covert Narcissist

How to Spot a Covert Narcissist

Narcissism is the “buzzword” on social media lately. I have written about narcissism before, but today I am writing specifically about the covert narcissist. The covert narcissist is a sneaky one and is hard to spot. So because many are just tossing this personality disorder loosely, I gotta stop that. I am going to help y’all identify narcissism the best way that I can. I want to stress there is a difference between narcissistic traits and narcissistic personality disorder.  A personality trait is something we all have that is part of who we are, common traits that we all may share. A personality disorder is a disorder. Read my other posts about narcissism –> here.

covert narcissist

What is a covert narcissist?

A covert narcissist is a person who exhibits the traits of a narcissist but displays them in more hidden or subtle ways. They tend to be introverted and avoid attention but still desire admiration and validation from others. They may be passive-aggressive and emotionally manipulative in their behavior, sense of entitlement, and inflated sense of importance may also display signs of insecurity and a lack of self-esteem. Here are some signs to spot one. It is important to learn these. We can’t be out here diagnosing everyone a narcissist when people can be so many other things especially since we are not mental health professionals. 

Spotting covert narcissists can be challenging as they are very skilled at hiding their true intentions and behaviors. Being in a narcissistic relationship can make checking signs hard when you may be shrouded by love. Let me help you check for this harmful behavior. Here are some signs that may indicate that someone is a covert narcissist:

  • Excessive Humility: Covert narcissists often come across as humble and unassuming, which can make it difficult to recognize their narcissistic tendencies.
  • Need for Control: They have a strong need to control situations and people around them, often subtly manipulating situations to suit their needs.
  • Lack of Empathy: They may have difficulty empathizing with others and tend to prioritize their own feelings and needs over others. Emotional empathy is not a strong point. 
  • Victim Mentality: Covert narcissists often play the victim, portraying themselves as misunderstood or mistreated to garner sympathy and attention from others. They have a hypersensitivity to criticism. 
  • Grandiose Fantasies: They may have grandiose fantasies about their own abilities and accomplishments, but are careful to keep these thoughts hidden from others.
  • Fragile Self-Esteem: Covert narcissists have a fragile sense of self-esteem and can be easily threatened by criticism or rejection.
  • Passive-Aggressive Behavior: They may exhibit passive-aggressive behavior, such as making snide comments or giving silent treatment, to manipulate others.
  • Envy and Jealousy: They may feel envy and jealousy towards others, especially those who they perceive as being more successful or talented than themselves.

It’s important to note that everyone has some level of narcissistic traits, and not all people who exhibit these signs are covert narcissists, let alone narcissistic people. There are several types of narcissists. Now I want to make sure you do confuse covert narcissism with overt narcissism. An overt narcissist is the opposite. Overt narcissists are generally loud, outgoing, charming, charismatic, and far from subtle. I will discuss overt narcissism in a later post.

However, if you suspect that someone in your life is a covert narcissist, it’s important to set healthy boundaries and limit your interactions with them if necessary. I hope you now have a better understanding of this type of narcissist. Subscribe to my feed to stay updated on my new posts. Meanwhile, listen to my podcast here.

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