Covert Narcissism Test – Are You Dealing With a Covert Narcissist?

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.

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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:

Quiet Arrogance

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.

Hypersensitivity

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.

Self-obsession

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.

Passive-Aggressiveness

Covert narcissists often express their anger or resentment in passive-aggressive ways, such as subtle insults, sullen behavior, or intentional failures.

Victim Mentality

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.

Manipulation

Just like overt narcissists, covert narcissists can be manipulative. They may use guilt, pity, or subtle threats to get what they want from others.

Insecurity

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

This interactive quiz was designed to help you explore the possibility that you may be dealing with a covert narcissist. This questionnaire is not a diagnostic tool but rather an aid to understanding certain patterns and behaviors. The results of this quiz should not replace professional advice.

1. Playing the Victim

When evaluating whether a person often plays the victim to garner sympathy, there are several key behaviors and patterns to look out for:

  1. Emotional Manipulation: The person frequently shares stories of personal hardship or injustice, often embellishing details to make themselves appear more helpless or wronged than they actually are.

  2. Deflection of Responsibility: They often blame others for their problems or failures, refusing to take accountability for their actions. They might say things like “It’s not my fault” or “They’re against me.”

  3. Excessive Need for Sympathy or Validation: They may constantly seek reassurance, comfort, or validation from others, usually in response to perceived slights or injustices.

  4. Dramatization: They might dramatize situations to make themselves seem more pitiful or disadvantaged. This could involve undue exaggeration or even outright fabrication of events.

  5. Frequent Complaints: They may consistently complain about their circumstances, yet never take steps to improve their situation.

  6. Using Their Victimhood to Manipulate: They might use their status as a “victim” to manipulate others into doing what they want, often making the other person feel guilty or obliged to help.

Remember, occasional instances of these behaviors can be quite normal and do not necessarily indicate covert narcissism. However, a consistent pattern of these behaviors could be a sign to consider.

Does this person often play the victim to garner sympathy?

 
 

2. Passive-Aggressive Behavior

When trying to spot if a person demonstrates passive-aggressive behaviors, here are several key signs to look out for:

  1. Sarcasm or Disguised Insults: They might frequently use sarcasm or veiled insults that can be hurtful to others but still allow them to maintain a facade of politeness or innocence.

  2. Silent Treatment: They may give the silent treatment or withdraw from conversations as a form of punishment when they’re upset or not getting their way.

  3. Avoidance of Direct Confrontation: Instead of addressing issues openly and honestly, they may avoid direct confrontation and express their anger or dissatisfaction indirectly.

  4. Procrastination or Deliberate Mistakes: If they’re unhappy about a task or request, they might intentionally delay completing it or make deliberate mistakes to show their displeasure.

  5. Subtle Sabotage: They may subtly undermine others’ efforts or success, perhaps by spreading rumors, withholding necessary information, or not fulfilling their responsibilities.

  6. Denial of Negative Feelings: When confronted about their behavior, they may deny having any negative feelings or intentions, often insisting that the other person is “reading too much into things”.

  7. Resentment towards Others’ Success: They may exhibit resentment or jealousy towards others’ achievements or happiness, often feeling like they are being overshadowed or neglected.

Remember, occasional instances of these behaviors can happen in anyone and do not necessarily indicate passive-aggressiveness or covert narcissism. However, a consistent pattern of these behaviors could be a sign to consider.

Does this person demonstrate passive-aggressive behaviors?

 
 

3. Putting Other People Down To Elevate Themselves

When trying to identify if a person subtly puts others down to elevate themselves, here are key behaviors and patterns to look out for:

  1. Disparaging Humor: They may use humor as a tool to insult or belittle others, often disguising their put-downs as jokes or playful banter.

  2. Comparison: People with low self-esteem might feel good only when they compare themselves to someone they believe is “lesser” than them. This could be in terms of looks, intelligence, wealth, or other attributes 2.

  3. Jealousy: They might put others down out of jealousy, especially when they see someone else doing well or achieving success.

  4. Attention Seeking: Some people put others down to draw attention to themselves or to make themselves feel important.

  5. Deflection of Inadequacy: They may criticize others to deflect from their own insecurities or feelings of inadequacy. By focusing on others’ faults, they can avoid confronting their own shortcomings.

Remember, occasional instances of these behaviors can happen in anyone and do not necessarily indicate a problem. However, a consistent pattern of these behaviors could be a sign of an underlying issue.

Does this person subtly put others down to elevate themselves?

 
 

4. Hidden Agendas

When trying to discern if a person has a hidden agenda, here are some signs and behaviors to look out for:

  1. Inconsistency: They may say one thing but do another. Their words and actions may not align, which could suggest they’re not being entirely honest about their intentions.

  2. Manipulation: They might use emotional manipulation, such as guilt trips or playing the victim, to influence others’ actions or decisions in their favor.

  3. Secrecy: They may be secretive about their plans or withhold information that should be shared openly.

  4. Selective Communication: They might only communicate when they need something, or selectively share information to control situations or people.

  5. Overly Focused on Personal Gain: If they seem overly focused on what they can gain from situations or relationships rather than on mutual benefit, this could indicate a hidden agenda.

  6. Dishonesty: They may lie or distort the truth to suit their purposes.

  7. Lack of Transparency: They might avoid answering direct questions or be vague about their intentions, plans, or feelings.

Remember, occasional instances of these behaviors can happen in anyone and do not necessarily indicate a hidden agenda. However, a consistent pattern of these behaviors could be a sign to consider.

Does this person seem to have a hidden agenda?

 
 

5. Manipulative Behavior

If you’re trying to identify if a person frequently uses guilt or manipulation to get their way, here are some signs and behaviors to look out for:

  1. Playing the Victim: They might consistently portray themselves as the victim in situations, even when it’s not warranted, to make others feel guilty and to manipulate the situation in their favor.

  2. Emotional Blackmail: They might use fear, obligation, or guilt (also known as the FOG tactic) to pressure others into doing what they want. Statements like, “If you really cared about me, you would…” are common in this scenario.

  3. Gaslighting: This is a form of psychological manipulation where they make others question their own perceptions, memories, or sanity, causing them to doubt themselves and become more susceptible to the manipulator’s influence.

  4. Triangulation: They might use a third person to validate their point of view or to undermine the other person’s confidence.

  5. Negging: This is a manipulative strategy often used in the dating world where they give backhanded compliments or start a conversation with a subtle put-down to lower the other person’s self-esteem and increase their need for approval.

  6. False Promises: They may promise to change or do something in return for your cooperation, only to break that promise later.

  7. Blame Shifting: Instead of taking responsibility for their actions, they might shift the blame onto others to deflect guilt.

Remember, occasional instances of these behaviors can happen in anyone and do not necessarily indicate manipulation. However, a consistent pattern of these behaviors could be a sign of a manipulative personality.

Does this person frequently use guilt or manipulation to get their way?

 
 

6. Overly Sensitive to Criticism

If you’re trying to identify if a person is overly sensitive to criticism, even when it’s constructive, here are some signs and behaviors to look out for:

  1. Defensiveness: They might become defensive or argumentative when faced with criticism, even if it’s meant to be helpful or constructive.

  2. Denial: They may deny the validity of the criticism or dismiss it as untrue, rather than considering its merit.

  3. Anger or Resentment: They might react with anger or hold onto resentment when they are criticized, even for minor things.

  4. Blame Shifting: Instead of taking responsibility, they might shift the blame onto others or circumstances to deflect criticism.

  5. Avoidance: They may avoid situations or people who might offer criticism, thereby missing opportunities for growth or improvement.

  6. Overreaction: They might overreact to criticism, taking it as a personal attack or insult rather than a chance to learn and improve.

  7. Low Self-esteem: Overly sensitive individuals often have low self-esteem and might take criticism more personally as a result.

Remember, everyone can be sensitive to criticism at times, and it’s natural to not enjoy being criticized. However, a consistent pattern of these behaviors could signify an excessive sensitivity to criticism.

Does this person seem overly sensitive to criticism, even when it’s constructive?

 
 

7. Over Entitled

The following are some signs and behaviors that indicate that a person is over-entitled and always expects special treatment.

  1. Unreasonable Expectations: They may demand or expect more than is reasonable or customary in various situations, whether it’s at work, in relationships, or in social settings.

  2. Lack of Reciprocity: They might expect others to go out of their way for them, but not return the favor or show appreciation.

  3. Disregard for Rules: They may believe they are exempt from rules or norms that others are expected to follow and may become upset if they are held accountable.

  4. Impatience or Anger: They might become impatient or angry when they don’t receive the special treatment they believe they deserve.

  5. Lack of Empathy: They could show a lack of understanding or consideration for other people’s feelings, needs, or perspectives.

  6. Manipulation: They may use manipulation tactics to get what they want, such as guilt-tripping, gaslighting, or playing the victim.

  7. Superiority Complex: They might act as though they are superior to others, believing they are more deserving of privileges and advantages.

Remember, everyone can display signs of entitlement occasionally, but a consistent pattern of these behaviors could indicate an ingrained sense of entitlement.

Does this person have a sense of entitlement or expect special treatment?

 
 

8. Blame-Shifting

The following are some signs and behaviors that indicate that a person is projecting or blame-shifting.

  1. Avoiding Responsibility: They might consistently avoid taking responsibility for their own actions or mistakes.

  2. Blame Shifting: They may frequently shift the blame onto others, even when it’s clear they were at fault.

  3. Denial: They could deny any wrongdoing, even in the face of clear evidence.

  4. Rationalization: They might make excuses or provide seemingly logical reasons to justify their actions and avoid blame.

  5. Playing the Victim: They may portray themselves as the victim in situations where they are actually the instigator, to elicit sympathy and shift blame.

  6. Gaslighting: This is a form of psychological manipulation where they make others question their own perceptions, memories, or sanity, causing them to doubt themselves and become more susceptible to the manipulator’s influence.

  7. Attacking the Accuser: They might respond to criticism or accusations by attacking the person who is holding them accountable, rather than addressing the issue at hand.

Remember, everyone will deflect blame occasionally, but a consistent pattern of these behaviors could indicate a habitual tendency to avoid responsibility and shift blame onto others.

Does this person often deflect blame onto others?
 
 

9. Low Empathy

Signs that a person lacks empathy:

  1. Difficulty Understanding Others’ Feelings: They may struggle to understand or relate to others’ emotions or perspectives.

  2. Disregard for Others’ Feelings: They might dismiss or ignore other people’s feelings, especially when those feelings don’t align with their own.

  3. Self-Centeredness: They may often focus on their own needs and feelings to the exclusion of others.

  4. Lack of Sympathy: They might not show sympathy or compassion when others are going through difficult times.

  5. Insensitive Comments: They could make comments that are insensitive or hurtful, without seeming to realize or care about the impact of their words.

  6. Struggle with Authentic Relationships: They may have difficulty forming deep, authentic relationships due to their lack of understanding or consideration for others’ feelings.

  7. Manipulative Behavior: They might manipulate others for their own gain, without considering the impact on those involved.

Remember, everyone can display signs of lacking empathy occasionally, but a consistent pattern of these behaviors could indicate a more serious lack of empathy.

Does this person seem to lack empathy for others?

 
 

10. Unappreciative and Ungrateful

If you’re trying to identify if a person rarely shows genuine appreciation or gratitude, here are some signs and behaviors to look out for:

  1. Lack of Acknowledgment: They might consistently fail to acknowledge or recognize the efforts of others.

  2. Taking Things for Granted: They may take things, people or situations for granted, showing little appreciation for what they have.

  3. Expecting More: They could constantly expect more without expressing gratitude for what they already receive.

  4. Minimal Positive Feedback: They might seldom give positive feedback or compliments.

  5. Dismissing Others’ Efforts: They may dismiss or downplay the efforts of others, making them feel unappreciated.

  6. Self-Centeredness: They could often focus on their own needs and wants, overlooking the contributions of others.

  7. Lack of Reciprocity: They might accept help, gifts, or favors without returning the kindness or expressing thanks.

Remember, everyone can forget to express gratitude occasionally, but a consistent pattern of these behaviors could indicate a habitual lack of appreciation or gratitude.

Does this person rarely show genuine appreciation or gratitude?

 
 

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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.

Set Boundaries

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.

Practice Self-Care

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 Narcissism

Frequently Asked Questions About Covert Narcissism

What is 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.

How is covert narcissism different from overt narcissism?

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.

How can I tell if someone is a covert narcissist?

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.

How should I deal with a covert narcissist in my life?

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.

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