8 ways to spot a covert narcissist (and 5 ways to deal with them)


On this article, you’ll be taught every part there may be to learn about covert narcissism.

What it’s.

Methods to spot a covert narcissist.

And what you are able to do if a covert narcissist is in your life.

Let’s go…

What’s a covert narcissist?

Whenever you consider a narcissist, you in all probability consider somebody who’s an consideration seeker and can manipulate anybody to get what they need.

Nevertheless, what chances are you’ll not understand is that not all narcissists are overtly manipulative and smug.

A covert narcissist is an introverted narcissist that’s extremely expert at hiding a number of the apparent narcissistic traits we affiliate with extroverted narcissists.

Covert narcissists aren’t extra harmful than extroverted narcissists. They’re simply more durable to identify.

According to Dr. Craig Malkin:

“The term “covert narcissism” (aka hypersensitive or weak) was coined to seize the sample in narcissists who aren’t loud, useless, chest-thumping braggarts, however are nonetheless — as their companions uncover quickly sufficient — simply as smug and argumentative as individuals with the prouder, extra outgoing model of extraverted narcissism (aka overt or grandiose).”

What actually separates a covert narcissist is the truth that they received’t promote their ego, based on Dr. Craig Malkin:

“What’s different about covert narcissists is that because they’re introverted, they don’t advertise their inflated egos.”

So now I guess you’re questioning:

Is a covert narcissist in your life? And if there may be, how do you eliminate them?

Or maybe you’re questioning when you’re a covert narcissist your self.

Effectively, surprise now not.

Beneath we’ll speak about Eight clear indicators somebody is a covert narcissist. Then we’ll talk about easy methods to take care of them.

Methods to spot a covert narcissist: Eight indicators

1) They’re Extraordinarily Delicate

Is there one thing inherently unsuitable with being delicate?

No, probably not.

It’s okay to really feel harm as a result of private issues or if you obtain harsh criticism.

However covert narcissists have a distinct form of excessive sensitivity:

They don’t prefer to get criticized in any respect. In the event you’re a covert narcissist, you may’t fathom the thought that somebody discovered one thing unsuitable in you.

You consider that you’re the epitome of perfection.

Whenever you do one thing, you suppose that others see you as a flawless human being — even a minor, justifiable comment makes you are feeling outraged.

To place it in different phrases:

Covert narcissists actually consider that the world revolves round them. The one distinction in comparison with outright narcissists is that they received’t simply present how affected they’re.

As an alternative of going ballistic, right here’s what they’ll do:

They’ll take into consideration the criticism over and over of their thoughts.

They could seem unaffected, all of the whereas turning into passive-aggressive with every passing comment.

2) They Act Smug to Categorical Their Sense of Superiority

How have you learnt that somebody thinks so extremely of their self?

Normally, they’ll let you realize.

The second they’ve one thing of their thoughts, they inform it to everybody else. They really feel prefer it’s a blessing for others to listen to their opinions regardless of how unsuitable or derogatory they’re.

Extrovert narcissists will do what they’ll to hog all the eye.

However for the covert sorts?

You’d should be a bit extra observant to uncover their sense of superiority.

Right here’s one in every of their secrets and techniques:

You would possibly suppose they’re so good for seemingly being an attentive listener and observer typically, however that’s how they idiot individuals.

In reality, they observe not out of real curiosity however in order that they’ll choose others. In addition they desire to pay attention than converse, however they’re probably not fascinated about what you say.

Covert narcissists get satisfaction from with the ability to choose others with out being so clear about it.

And anyway, they get to precise your distaste in lots of refined methods:

— Rolling their eyes once they dismiss somebody’s opinions or actions
— Letting out audible groans to precise their disagreement
— Sighing so much when they’re bored or aggravated however they don’t wish to converse out
— Yawning even when it’s disrespectful
— Refusing to provide eye contact
— Giving disconcerting glares
— Offering solely harsh criticisms and never acknowledging the great factors

However even with all these introverted types of smugness, it’s fairly pitiful.


As a result of a covert narcissist is doing no matter they’ll to cover their overwhelming sense of vulnerability. They’ve insecurities like anybody else, however they refuse to let others know.

(To thwart a narcissist from getting you down, try our information on easy methods to love your self here)

3) They Don’t Do Effectively with Forming Relationships

We’re all social animals, so doesn’t that imply we must always do our greatest to attach with each other?

Not for the covert narcissist.

Private bonds are out of their experience as a result of they don’t wish to concentrate on having significant social relationships. Or moderately, they’re incapable of doing so.


As a result of they don’t see anybody else as being worthy to speak to as a lot as them. Of their thoughts, it’s a waste of time to be with somebody of lesser worth.

“Why would I approach anyone if they can’t fully appreciate my presence?” is a query an introverted narcissist would consider.

Thus, covert narcissists normally fail in forming and sustaining real relationships, whether or not it’s of the romantic or platonic sort.

Does this imply they don’t have anybody of their life?

Not precisely.

In addition they have a loving household and a bunch of mates, particularly since they’re not outright impolite like their extroverted counterparts.

The introverted narcissist nonetheless has social bonds, however there’s merely nothing in it for them to justify exerting any actual effort to really join with others.

So that is the tough actuality:

These introverted narcissists worth themselves an excessive amount of that they’d moderately depart a smug, unapproachable vibe than admit that they do have an issue connecting with others.

(To learn to defend your self from destructive vitality, click here)

4) They Discover Methods to Exude Their Sense of Self-Significance

Provided that covert narcissists don’t do properly with forming real relationships, who else will put up with their passive-aggressive, smug angle?

The perfect technique for a covert narcissist is to concentrate on a sure social group or curiosity and slender down their social circle.


As a result of it then turns into simpler to keep up their ‘rank’ within the group:

Fewer individuals round means fewer individuals to masks insecurities from. There are fewer probabilities of being with people who find themselves truly higher than them — however after all, they received’t acknowledge that.

These are some ‘outlets’ a covert narcissist can make the most of:

— Turning into obsessive about video video games
— Studying books on a regular basis
— Being busy with work
— Spending an excessive amount of time on social networks

Now, to be truthful, these actions aren’t dangerous in the event that they’re finished with moderation.

However do you discover the sample right here?

The target of the covert narcissist in doing any of those is to seem busy every time doable, to appear like they’ll’t afford to be with others.

They don’t actually should spend a lot time with their hobbies or pursuits, however it makes different individuals suppose they’re a reduce above the remainder — and it really works.

Give it some thought:

In the event you spend most of your days enjoying a selected online game title or studying a specific subgenre of books, received’t you accumulate sufficient information to change into an ‘expert’ of types?

And this feeds of their sense of superiority.

How so?

By staying in a small social circle of individuals with the identical pursuits however aren’t as immodest and self-absorbed as them, they get to maintain their ‘cool introvert’ persona.

Their friends will suppose that they’re too devoted to their craft to spend time with them, however the true purpose is that they just like the ‘mysterious’ popularity they obtain and it feeds their covert narcissism.

5) They Demand So A lot However Give So Little

It wouldn’t be such an issue if everybody was simply truthful, however narcissists despise being seen as equal to others.

However right here’s the factor with introverted narcissists:

They wish to maintain their picture of being a very good particular person even when they’re not.

For instance:

If a buddy tells them a protracted story about their horrible relationship, the narcissist received’t inform them to close up. They’ll let their buddy inform the entire story.

However of their thoughts, the covert narcissist would have already ready a short-sighted, self-serving judgment of the scenario.

So even when they’re informed a number of data, they may solely contemplate what’s fascinating to them and block out every part else.

In different phrases:

There is no such thing as a level in opening as much as a covert narcissist as a result of they solely hear what they wish to hear. You aren’t going to get the emotional help you want from the likes of somebody who lacks empathy.

Then again, a covert narcissist needs extra out of everyone.

See, their lack of empathy works each methods:

They received’t perceive your scenario, however they count on you to prioritize their emotions.

In the event you get late for work, they’ll sigh and roll their eyes to your supposed lack of labor ethic.

But when it’s them who was late?

Oh, it’s best to perceive how a lot they wanted that additional hour of sleep as a result of they have been so drained. Or that visitors is past their management. Plus, you might’ve picked them up alongside the best way.

Lengthy story quick:

It’s at all times about them.

6) They’re Nice at Making You Really feel Sorry For Them 

It may not be that they do dangerous issues to you after which flip it on you making you are feeling prefer it’s your fault – though that does occur and is a certain signal {that a} narcissist is in your neighborhood.

No, these sorts of narcissists are extra discreet and can pile on the sob tales to attempt to get your consideration.

They’re the individuals who suppose the sky is falling even when it’s a shiny and sunny day.

They’re additionally exhausting to be round as a result of regardless of how nice life is, they may at all times discover one thing to complain about and wreck it for everybody else.

In the event you’re feeling sorry for them, then they’re completely happy as a result of it means they’re getting your consideration and sympathy.

7) They Present a Lack of Respect to Individuals “Lower” Than Them

One other factor to be careful for is people who find themselves good to sure individuals however imply to others, particularly in public.

Whereas most individuals are imply behind closed doorways, covert narcissists will probably be impolite to the waiter or undermine the secretary at work.

They see sure individuals as decrease than them and can deal with them accordingly. This normally includes issues like utterly ignoring the waitress or waiter.

They do it in such a manner that no one actually notices till it’s too late after which persons are left justifying the actions consider they have been within the unsuitable.

It’s very tough and may put on an individual’s self-worth down over time.

8) They Blame Everybody However Themselves

People who find themselves cowl narcissists will blame everybody round them for his or her failures in life, taking no duty for the issues which have gone unsuitable for them in life.

They blame their dad and mom for not having the appropriate training or job and so they blame their boss for not making sufficient cash.

They blame their mates for not serving to them meet the appropriate individuals, and so they blame their romantic relationships on their incapacity to decide to themselves as a result of they’re too busy attempting to assist another person of their life.

It’s all a tightly certain internet of lies and you have to maintain your eyes peeled for it in your life as a result of your happiness is dependent upon it.

Are You a Covert Narcissist?

After studying these indicators, maybe you’re questioning when you’re one your self. Most individuals do.

However what you have to understand is that all of us have a little bit of covert narcissism in us. It’s extra like being on a continuum.

For instance, there’s nothing unsuitable with understanding your value.

What’s unsuitable is if you’ve shaped a delusional sense of superiority that, in your personal introverted methods, you start to despise others.

Whether or not it’s extroverted or introverted, narcissism disconnects you from others.

In the event you understand that you just’re solely listening to everybody else since you like mentally judging individuals and looking out cool, you may be extra of a covert narcissist than others.

You probably have an issue receiving constructive criticism however all you ever do is level out what you don’t like, you may be the self-absorbed introvert in your social circle.

Solely by being conscious of the distinction between introversion and covert narcissism are you able to correctly assess your self.

Methods to Deal With a Covert Narcissist

Everytime you meet a covert narcissist, chances are you’ll, at first be wowed by their stamina and appeal, however quickly you’ll discover that they disagree with every part you say and put you in awkward positions to defend your self understanding you can’t probably win the argument.

They’ll set you up at work and make it appear like every part is your fault. They are surely damaging and broken individuals.

It’s finest to steer clear every time doable and as quickly as you establish somebody as a narcissist maintain your eyes peeled for methods they could attempt to sabotage your efforts.

What if the covert narcissist is your boss or girlfriend? 

Whether or not the narcissist in your life is your boss or your girlfriend, it’s finest to create boundaries and distance between the 2 of you as a lot as doable.

If this particular person is unimaginable to place out of your life, it’s essential to protect yourself at all costs.

Don’t divulge heart’s contents to them in any manner, don’t inform them something private about your self that they may use in opposition to you.

Don’t share work wins and even losses in order that they’ll flip round and throw them in your face when one thing goes good or dangerous sooner or later.

No matter the one that is narcissistic in your life, you’ve an obligation to your self to guard your self, so do your self a favour and get them out of your life as quick as doable, or not less than, pull the chains a bit tighter round your life to allow them to’t get in.

5 full-proof methods to take care of a covert narcissist in your life

In the event you’re wanting extra full proof method to take care of covert narcissist, listed below are 5 essential suggestions to bear in mind:

1) Do it their manner.

Whereas this may not be the reply you thought you’d get right here, one method to take care of a narcissist is to only allow them to do their factor.

In the event that they wish to see a present, go to a film, have a sure dinner, or purchase a sure product, simply allow them to have it.

Their lives are very unhappy and so unhappy actually that they do not know how horrible it’s. They suppose they’re doing nice. However we all know higher.

In fact, you may’t inform them that, so it’s simpler for everybody to only proceed to allow them to have their cake and eat it too.

According to clinical psychologist, Al Bernstein:

“There is no way around this. If you want to communicate effectively with narcissists, you have to admire them, their achievements, and their toys as much as they do. Typically, this won’t require any great effort. They’ll be more than happy to come up with reasons to congratulate themselves. All you have to do is listen and look interested.”

Preserving in thoughts, nonetheless, that you just aren’t going to bend to their will, or put your self in a compromising scenario to appease them.

And, you may at all times revert to eliminating them when you can’t be round somebody like this.

2) Get yours first.

When coping with a narcissist, make sure to do every part you may go to get what you want from them first.

If it’s doable, do your dealings together with your aspect earlier than handing over management to their aspect.

As soon as they’ve management, you’ll lose any probability of getting what you need. They’ll see this management as a win and milk it for all its value.

You’re higher off attempting to get small wins away from them after which transfer on as quick as you may.

If this particular person is in your loved ones, you would possibly select to only smile and nod at them all through your Sunday dinners, but when they’re within the office, you have to get up and present that your job is as essential as theirs and get some floor below you too.

3) Put the highlight on them.

Moderately than attempt to reduce their behaviours by ignoring them, one strategy is to repeatedly level out how horrible their actions and behaviours actually are.

At first, they’ll attempt to undercut you and your place as a result of that’s what narcissists do, however over time, you may be profitable at carrying them down and making them go away.

Once more, you don’t change them and you’ll’t repair their behaviour – solely they’ll try this – however you may’t make it so insufferable for them that they simply excuse themselves from the scenario.

It is a good old style energy play transfer and one which will probably be absolutely tiring, but in addition, very efficient.

4) Cease being empathetic.

One purpose that ordinary individuals attempt to attain out to covert narcissists and repair them is as a result of they really feel empathy for them.

Clearly, there’s something very unsuitable in a narcissists life for them to stroll round treating individuals the best way they do.

They reside lives of such nice expectations that they’re regularly dissatisfied by how issues actually end up and should flip to manipulation and deceit to get what they need out of life. Moderately than really feel sorry for these individuals, cease caring.

They don’t seem to be your duty. They will’t be helped by anybody however themselves and the ironic half is that they’ll by no means see it.

Preserve your emotions to your self and keep in mind that they’re their very own worst enemy.

5) Don’t take care of them in any respect.

As we talked about above, the very best and typically the one method to take care of a narcissist is to keep away from them altogether.

Though simpler stated than finished, it’s value it to take the time to keep away from these sorts of individuals.

Not solely are they poisonous to themselves, however additionally they do an excellent job of dragging others down the bathroom with them.

They exit of their method to make individuals really feel unworthy, uncomfortable, and unliked. They’ll shine a lightweight in your shortcomings whereas by no means providing you with any credit score for the stuff you do very well, and even barely properly.

They like to see individuals fall on their face as a result of it makes them look succesful only for persevering with to face tall.

In the event you can’t stand to be round these individuals – and albeit, who can? – maintain your distance. If it’s a member of the family, interact in minimal contact.

Don’t ask questions, and don’t provoke them. You possibly can’t “fix” them.

In Conclusion

Narcissists are throughout us. Many individuals have covert narcissists of their speedy household, at their job, and as neighbours.

We’re surrounded by individuals who solely take into consideration and act in the very best curiosity of themselves.

Narcissists are categorized as people who act from a place of selfishness, typically manipulating others to raised their very own standing, and placing individuals in hurt’s manner in order that they arrive out on prime.

It’s straightforward to identify narcissists in your office, however it’s not at all times straightforward to see them in your personal household or to establish your self as a narcissist.

If you end up coping with one, bear in mind to maintain your wits about you and don’t emotionally react.

Know your self-worth, set your boundaries and don’t allow them to manipulate you.

(To be taught extra in regards to the self-responsibility and the facility of taking motion, test our best-selling eBook on why taking duty is the important thing to dwelling your finest life here)


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