How To Recognize And Cope With A Covert Narcissist

More and more people are learning how to spot a narcissist.

Narcissistic Personality Disorder (NPD) has become a well-known diagnosis and people are now learning how to identify the toxic narcissists in their lives. The most common characteristics of a narcissist are an exaggerated sense of importance, a sense of entitlement, and a lack of empathy. While these traits make it easy to identify a narcissist, there are certain people with Narcissistic Personality Disorder who are harder to spot. Although these people have the same tendencies and characteristics, they are less obvious.

Covert narcissists are harder to identify.

Behavior which is ‘covert’ is subtle, difficult to spot, and less obvious than behavior which is ‘overt’. A covert narcissist is someone who is quieter and more withdrawn than the overt narcissist who is loud and extroverted. Despite their introverted nature, covert narcissists are just as dangerous as overt narcissists. That is, they have the same exaggerated sense of grandeur and entitlement as well as the same lack of empathy. Therefore, a covert narcissist can inflict just as much damage as an overt narcissist – except, they will do so more quietly.

There are 4 ways to spot a covert narcissist.

1. They will subtly ask to be praised

Much like the overt narcissist, the covert narcissist has an exaggerated sense of self-importance and believes that they deserve special treatment. However, unlike the overt narcissist, they will not demand to be praised. Instead, they will minimize their talents and achievements to manipulate others into reassuring them. In other words, the covert narcissist will use a softer approach to reach the same goal. Instead of demanding praise, they will skilfully manipulate people into praising them.

2. They will blame and shame you

The covert narcissist will make themselves look like a victim when they make a mistake. Moreover, they will blame you for the way that they feel and they will do this so skilfully that you will feel guilty and ashamed. In the end, they will have succeeded in tearing you down and making themselves seem superior. Although an extroverted or overt narcissist will also tear you down and blame you, they will do so in a more ruthless and hurtful manner.

3. They are emotionally inaccessible

Even though they appear to be kinder than the extroverted narcissist, they are just as selfish. Like the overt narcissist, they lack empathy and are incapable of feeling compassion. If you are in a relationship with a covert narcissist, you may feel as though the relationship is one-sided. Despite constantly seeking reassurance and praise, they never compliment you or make you feel appreciated.

4. They only help you if they need something

A narcissist always takes but seldom gives. More importantly, they only give if they want to achieve something. The narcissist may help you or try to flatter you so that they can use you to achieve a goal. Therefore, every one of their good deeds is done with the aim of helping themselves instead of helping you.

What can you do to cope with a covert narcissist?

1. Remember that their behavior stems from their insecurities

When narcissists try to tear us down, it is difficult to not take things personally. We believe their words and get hurt by their actions. However, in doing so, we only hurt ourselves. To cope with a narcissist, it is important to learn how to not take things personally; the only way to do so is to remember that their behavior has nothing to do with you but rather with their own insecurities.

2. Stand up for yourself

Do not allow the narcissist to manipulate, control, and abuse you. Let them know that you know your worth and that you are strong enough to stand up for yourself. Moreover, show them that you will not succumb to their manipulation and control.

3. Distance yourself

Setting boundaries is vital when it comes to the narcissists in your life. Admittedly, it can be difficult to distance yourself from narcissistic spouses, parents, or siblings. However, you will gradually learn how to keep parts of your life private and out of the narcissist’s reach. It is only by distancing yourself that you will be able to preserve your wellbeing and protect your happiness.

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