Covert narcissism, also known as “vulnerable” or “introverted” narcissism, is a subtler form of Narcissistic Personality Disorder (NPD). Unlike the more overt, grandiose form of narcissism, covert narcissism isn’t always immediately apparent.
Individuals with this type of narcissism may come across as quiet, introverted, or seemingly sensitive. If you have come across a difficult personality and are wondering if this is a case of covert narcissism, this covert narcissism test can provide some insight.
Main Characteristics of Covert Narcissism
While overt narcissists are easy to spot with their grandiose mannerisms and overt displays of entitlement, covert narcissists are more subtle and can often fly under the radar.
They may appear humble, introverted, or insecure, but beneath this exterior is a powerful need for recognition and validation.
Here are the main characteristics of covert narcissism:
Covert narcissists may not openly boast about their achievements or abilities, but they often believe they are superior to others. This quiet arrogance can manifest in subtle ways, such as passive-aggressive comments or dismissive behaviors towards others.
Covert narcissists are often extremely sensitive to criticism, even if it’s constructive. They may react with anger or withdrawal when criticized, and they often harbor grudges over perceived slights.
While they may not openly seek attention, covert narcissists are typically preoccupied with their own thoughts, feelings, and concerns. They often have difficulty recognizing or empathizing with the emotions of others.
Covert narcissists often express their anger or resentment in passive-aggressive ways, such as subtle insults, sullen behavior, or intentional failures.
Covert narcissists often see themselves as victims, regardless of the reality of their situation. They generally believe that they are misunderstood and unappreciated, which allows them to avoid responsibility for their actions.
Despite their arrogance, covert narcissists often struggle with feelings of insecurity and inadequacy. They are constantly seeking validation and reassurance, which can result in needy or clingy behavior
Lack of Empathy
While covert narcissists can often feign empathy when it suits them, they typically struggle to truly understand or share the feelings of others. Their own needs and feelings are always paramount.
The Difference Between Overt and Covert Narcissists
Covert narcissists have an inflated sense of self-importance and a deep need for admiration, similar to overt or classic narcissists, but they tend to display it in less obvious ways.
Unlike overt narcissists who openly seek attention and validation, covert narcissists might appear humble, sensitive, or insecure.
They are often convinced that they are being misunderstood or overlooked, and will react negatively to perceived slights or criticisms. Their narcissism manifests more in their internal thoughts and feelings rather than outward grandiose behavior.
Covert narcissists tend to be passive-aggressive, resentful, and envious. They may struggle with feelings of emptiness, fragility, and fear of rejection or abandonment.
Despite their outward appearance of vulnerability, they still maintain the narcissist’s core characteristic – a lack of empathy for others.
Understanding Our Covert Narcissism Test
Our covert narcissism test is designed to help identify the less obvious narcissistic traits related to covert narcissism. The test includes a series of questions that delve into different aspects of the individual’s personality and behavior.
The approach is based on exploring how the person reacts to criticism, how they perceive their own importance, their level of empathy towards others, and their response to perceived slights or setbacks.
While such a quiz can be a useful tool in identifying potential narcissistic tendencies, it’s important to remember that it is not a definitive diagnostic tool.
Diagnosing any form of mental health disorder, including Narcissistic Personality Disorder, should only be done by a qualified mental health professional, who will use the diagnostic criteria of the DSM-5.
This is because while a covert narcissism test can provide some insights, it cannot replace a comprehensive evaluation by a mental health professional.
The Covert Narcissism Test
Dealing with a Covert Narcissist
If the result of the test indicates that you might be dealing with covert narcissism, it is important that you safeguard yourself with some strategies to deal with the narcissist.
Establishing clear boundaries is crucial when dealing with a covert narcissist. This could include limits on the time you spend together, the topics you discuss, or the behaviors you will tolerate.
Be firm and consistent with these boundaries, and don’t let them guilt you into changing them.
Engaging with a covert narcissist can be emotionally draining. Make sure to prioritize your own mental health and well-being.
This could mean taking time for relaxation, pursuing hobbies you enjoy, or seeking support from friends, family, or a mental health professional.
Avoid Personal Criticism
Covert narcissists are hypersensitive to criticism. If you need to address their behavior, focus on the specific actions that are problematic rather than attacking their character.
Don’t Take Things Personally
Remember that a narcissist’s behavior is about them, not you. Their need for validation, hypersensitivity, and manipulation are a reflection of their own insecurities and not a reflection of your worth or value.
Seek Professional Help
If you’re in a close relationship with a covert narcissist, consider seeking guidance from a mental health professional. They can provide strategies and techniques to help manage the relationship more effectively.
Maintain Realistic Expectations
Change is possible, but it requires the narcissist to recognize their behavior and seek help. You can’t force someone to change if they’re not ready or willing.
Limit Your Vulnerability
Covert narcissists can use personal information against you or to manipulate you. Be cautious about what personal information you share with them.
Final Thoughts About the Covert Narcissism Test
Dealing with a covert narcissist is invariably difficult. They often have deeply ingrained patterns of behavior that can be difficult to change.
Setting boundaries, practicing self-care, seeking professional guidance, and maintaining realistic expectations are all important strategies for managing your relationship with such a personality.
Remember, it’s important to protect your psychological and emotional health when dealing with a covert narcissist. If the relationship becomes too toxic or abusive, don’t hesitate to distance yourself or cut ties completely
Frequently Asked Questions About Covert Narcissism
Covert narcissism, also known as vulnerable narcissism, is a subtype of narcissistic personality disorder. Unlike overt narcissists who openly display arrogant and aggressive behavior, covert narcissists are more subtle and can often come across as shy, sensitive, or insecure.
While both overt and covert narcissists have an inflated sense of self-importance and lack empathy for others, their behaviors manifest differently. Overt narcissists are typically outgoing, boastful, and openly seek attention and admiration. In contrast, covert narcissists often appear introverted, vulnerable, and hypersensitive to criticism.
Covert narcissists often exhibit traits such as quiet arrogance, hypersensitivity to criticism, passive-aggressiveness, manipulation, a victim mentality, and a lack of genuine empathy. Our covert narcissism test is also a good indicator. However, these traits can be subtle and difficult to identify, so professional evaluation is recommended.
Dealing with a covert narcissist can be challenging. It’s important to set boundaries, practice self-care, avoid personal criticism, not take their behaviors personally, and seek professional help if necessary. Remember, it’s crucial to prioritize your own mental health and well-being.