Last Updated on February 7, 2024 by Milton Campbell
I understand you’re here because you’re curious, maybe worried, about this term you’ve heard – covert narcissist. I want to first say you’re not alone; many people start out just as you have, seeking to understand better. So, let’s take this journey together and dive into the mysterious world of covert narcissism.
What Exactly Is a Covert Narcissist?
Great question! While ‘narcissist’ might ring a bell, the word ‘covert’ throws a bit of a curveball, right? Allow me to clear that up because knowing the difference – that’s where the power lies.
A covert narcissist is different from their overt counterparts. Where overt narcissists are typically extroverted, grandiose, crave attention, and believe they’re superior, covert narcissists tend to keep their self-absorption more under wraps. They’re often introverted, play the victim, and are skilled at blaming others. Pretty sneaky, right?
How Do You Spot a Covert Narcissist? Let’s Dive Deeper.
Alright, I’m going to let you in on some secret tips, things that covert narcissists say, little signals they unknowingly send that scream, “Hey, I’m a covert narcissist!” Are you ready? Great! Let’s dive in.
1. The Victim Role? They’ve Mastered It
You know, a covert narcissist may play the victim so well that they’d likely win an Oscar if there were a category for it! They often toss around phrases like, “Why is this always happening to me?” or “People never treat me right!” Sounds familiar? Yep, those are the red flags you should keep an eye out for. This is their sly way of seeking validation and sucking up that sweet, sweet sympathy.
2. The Art of Passive-Aggressive Behavior
Another sign to look out for in your covert narcissist investigation is passive-aggressive behavior. It’s a craft they’ve honed over time, dishing out underhanded remarks cloaked as compliments. They might say things like, “I wish I could be as carefree about my looks as you are” or “Not everyone can strive to be as perfect as you.” Sly, right? Keep your guard up, my friend; these are nothing but back-handed compliments.
3. The Sound of Silence
Now enters the silent treatment, a favorite tool in the covert narcissist toolbox. Instead of dealing with issues head-on, they might take the passive route, slapping you with a thick wall of silence whenever they believe you’ve wronged them. It’s just another way for them to manipulate others and control the situation—sneaky, huh?
4. Manipulation – Their Favorite Game
Oh, and let’s not forget – covert narcissists are the master manipulators of the emotional world. Keep an ear out for loaded phrases that sound something like, “If you really loved me, you would…” By creating these guilt-trapped scenarios, they’re just pulling the puppet strings, aiming to manipulate you into filling their needs or wants.
5. Sucker for Praise
Another thing I’ve noticed about covert narcissists? They’re absolutely starving for validation and praise. They’ll say things like, “No one ever appreciates what I do!” or “It’s like I’m invisible; no one ever notices my efforts!” They reach out and scoop up compliments like a kid in a candy store.
6. The Seesaw of Self-Esteem
I’ve seen it happen so many times: One minute, they’re on cloud nine, boasting about their achievements with comments like, “I’m the best!” Then, the next minute, it’s a steep plunge down the rollercoaster of self-esteem. They get self-deprecating, claiming, “I’m just the worst, aren’t I?” Can be quite a whiplash, right?
7. Beware of Their Jealous Tendencies
Remember, covert narcissists tend to engage in a bitter game of comparison—they see themselves as perpetual victims of an unfair world. You might hear them say, “It’s so unfair! Why does everything good always happen to you?”
8. The Need to Be Always Right
One classic characteristic of a covert narcissist is the need always to be right. They can argue a point until they’re blue in the face. They can’t bear the thought of being wrong or losing face—it’s as if admitting to a mistake is a crime they dare not commit.
The most important piece of advice I can give is to trust yourself. If you ever find yourself feeling emotionally drained, manipulated, or forced to second-guess your own truth—don’t brush it aside. It’s your psyche waving signals of caution, and my wish for you is to heed those and take care of yourself because you matter! No one should ever dull your sparkle.
Additional Things Covert Narcissist Might Say
Let’s take our covert narcissist chatter exploration up a notch. We’ve already outlined some obvious lines they might throw your way, but there’s more to know in this saga. So, let’s buckle up and dive right into the sea of phrases these sneaky personalities might use – all crafted to manipulate and maintain control over you.
“Do you think I’m overreacting?”
A classic tactic, my friends, this little gem creates an avenue for the covert narcissist to express their often oversized reactions, while simultaneously roping you into validating their feelings. Can you see the clever dual-purpose manipulation at work here?
“You’re the only one who truly understands me.”
Sounds special, doesn’t it? But stay vigilant, valued reader, because this is a classic ploy. By making you feel unique and special, covert narcissists bind you to them, making it harder for you to break free from their emotional manipulation. The more entrenched you are in their emotional web, the more control they gain.
“You know, I never ask for much.”
Keep your ears perked when you hear this one! This seemingly innocent statement is setting the stage for some serious guilt peddling. A covert narcissist uses this tactic to make you feel indebted, setting up the perfect scene for future manipulation.
“You’re too sensitive!”
Ah, this one! Here, they’re not-so-subtly attempting to shift the blame onto you. By labeling you as “sensitive,” they’re invalidating your feelings and perceptions. It’s a classic gaslighting move, be on guard.
“I was just joking; why are you taking things so seriously?”
Another covert narcissist classic is to disguise hurtful or manipulative remarks as “jokes.” If you react negatively, they use this statement as a go-to defense to make you doubt your reaction. Don’t be fooled, it’s just another sneaky layer of manipulation.
Recognize these phrases? Yeah, it’s a bit head-spinning and honestly kind of scary how misleading these statements can be. But here’s the good news. Now that you’re familiar with them, you are better equipped to spot them in your interactions.
When a Personality Disorder Comes into Play
As a quick note, it’s essential to understand that narcissistic behavior can be a symptom of Narcissistic Personality Disorder (NPD). This is a diagnosed mental health disorder, and if you seriously think someone may have NPD, a mental health professional should be brought into the picture.
Your Game Plan to Handle a Covert Narcissist
If you find yourself dealing with a covert narcissist, you might feel like you’re walking on eggshells, right? But hey, don’t worry! I’ve got your back. Here are some practical tips and strategies learned from years of experience and expertise. We’re going to chat about how to handle a cunning covert narcissist – without losing your sanity!
1. Knowledge is Your Shield
The first rule of battle? Know your opponent – in this case, the covert narcissist. Understanding their tendencies, recognizing the signs – that’s half the battle won. I’m proud of you for seeking out this knowledge and equipping yourself with this crucial understanding.
2. Trust Yourself, Always
Rule number two? Trust in yourself, your feelings, and your experiences. Those little niggles of self-doubt you feel when dealing with a covert narcissist? Don’t dismiss them. They’re a sign that you need to stand firm in your truth.
3. Establish Clear Boundaries
Laying your boundaries is as necessary as breathing – and doubly so when dealing with covert narcissists. They’re masters of pushing limits, so be firm and clear about your boundaries. Assertive communication is your shiny sword in this battle.
4. Mind the Emotional Rollercoaster
Covert narcissists are expert manipulators, remember? They can take you on an emotional rollercoaster ride. But now that you know, you can be prepared. Refuse to engage in their emotional games. Stay calm, composed, and detached.
5. Don’t Feed the Narcissistic Supply
Narcissists feed off the emotional reactions of others. Should you find yourself in a situation that sparks anger, resentment, or guilt, take a breather. Remember, you control your responses. Don’t feed the narcissistic supply.
6. Seek Professional Help
There’s no shame in seeking help! Dealing with a covert narcissist is a daunting task. A mental health professional can provide you with sound advice and coping strategies—consider them your reconnaissance scouts in this battle.
And there you have it! A clear and practical game plan you can follow. And remember, you’re not alone in this fight. Many others are walking this path too, and with these guidelines, you’re off to a great start. The journey might get tough sometimes, but remember, you’re made of tougher stuff! So, let’s gear up and face those covert narcissists. After all, knowledge is power, and you, my friend, are powerful!
My friend, I hope breaking down the things covert narcissists say, and their traits have been of help. But remember, recognition is the first step. Stay alert and protect your psyche, because everyone deserves respectful and healthy relationships.
Remember, nobody should suffer at the hands of someone else’s personality disorder. Meeting a covert narcissist with anger or revenge isn’t the answer—sharing your concerns with a mental health professional is.
Always remember, if you feel manipulated or misunderstood, you deserve to find help and escape the gaslighting. Blame should never be the background music of your life. Shake things up, sing your own song, and remember: covert or overt, no form of narcissism has a place in your world.