Seven Signs You’re a Covert Narcissist


Thanks to the Greek myth of Narcissus, the son of river god Cephissus and nymph Liriope, we all know that extreme vanity and self-centeredness as that of Narcissus can make someone covert narcissist.

Narcissism has two evil flavors, the very public face of narcissism fronted by extraverted narcissists, and the quiet, insidious stealth bomb kind of the covert narcissist. Noted as far back as 1938 by Henry Murray, a psychologist at Harvard, covert narcissists are masters of mirroring hypersensitivity, delusions of persecution, feelings of neglect and belittlement. While the overt narcissists are always clear about being better than everyone else, the covert narcissist usually hints at it. So if you are beginning to question if you are hypersensitive or plain old narcissistic, here are a few signs to look out for.

You portray a false kind of humility

The covert sort of narcissistic pride that you represent is not grandiose but self-deprecating, putting yourself or your achievements down so you can bait other people into paying you some compliments.

A truly humble person always places others ahead of themselves, but a covert narcissist will do so seeking approval and or high-status positions.

You feel perpetually persecuted

Introverted narcissist just like their big mouthed covert narcissist have a hypersensitivity to being slighted and criticised, and while they may not froth at the mouth at it, they become “injustice collectors.” If you quickly keep accounts of offenses or criticism, sometimes blowing them out of proportion and eventually blaming those affronts on others, then you are a closeted narcissist.

You special snowflake, you.

A covert narcissist views themselves in a different light from others, and that light is most often the limelight. If you consistently feel that people do not appreciate you because they do not understand you, or get you, or that you are ahead of your time, a genius or gifted, you could be harboring a delusional self-image about yourself.

You feel cold about other people’s problems

Both overt and covert narcissists share an ego-centric attitude that serves to marginalize and devalue the significance of those around them. If you have had a hard time listening to other peoples issues, and have a severe disinterest in anyone or anything that does not benefit you, then you are lacking in empathy and are full of narcissism.

Most of your relationships are cold and difficult

A person lacking in empathy will eventually lose the love and friendship extended to them by others because they cannot connect with you at a deeper level. You may mask your loneliness by looking smug or being aloof, but psychologists say this is a mask to ensure that your interpersonal inadequacies remain unexposed, since you are a saint you know! The typical outlet for covert narcissists is usually an immersion into work or pastimes like gaming and books that minimize human contact while keeping their cool self-important personas squeaky clean.

You find other people’s opinions unimportant

Introverted narcissist have a pervasive sense of withdrawn self-centeredness, and make for very poor listeners. If any argument or idea passes as flawed or uninteresting to them, they are quick to tune you out without giving you a chance or any benefit of the doubt in the matter. Unless it is agreeable to their sensitivities, then it stupid or boring and they are quick to change topics to interests that suit them.

You are quietly smug

If you possess eye rolling abilities that would floor Liz Lemon’s, ready to utilize them at the drop of a hat rather than say what you feel, then you could be covert narcissist. Non-verbal cues including long sighs, bored fidgeting or staring at your phone when you are supposed to be listening, are judgmental ways to shout you disinterest in others non-verbally.

Your smug attitude speaks better than words of your negativity, insensitivity, and intolerance, and when you talk, you talk judgmentally putting others down to cover up your insecurity.


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