Understanding and Dealing with Covert Narcissism: A Guide for Survivors
Do you often feel like you’re walking on eggshells around someone, afraid of triggering their wrath or feeling like they’re judging you? Are you constantly tiptoeing around their fragile ego, trying to avoid saying or doing anything that might upset them?
If so, you may be dealing with a covert narcissist. Narcissism is a personality disorder that’s characterized by a grandiose sense of self-importance, a preoccupation with fantasies of unlimited success, power, brilliance, beauty, or ideal love, and a belief in one’s own uniqueness or special abilities.
Those who suffer from narcissistic personality disorder (NPD) tend to have an inflated sense of self-importance and a strong desire for admiration and attention. There are two main types of narcissism: covert and overt.
Overt narcissists are more outgoing and boastful, while covert narcissists are introverted and reserved. Covert narcissists are often shy, but they also have an insatiable appetite for self-admiration and attention.
Signs and Symptoms of Covert Narcissism
Identifying a covert narcissist can be difficult, as they are often able to disguise their behavior behind a mask of sensitivity and introversion. However, there are some common signs and symptoms to look out for:
Sensitivity to criticism: Covert narcissists are extremely sensitive to criticism, and they can become defensive or angry if they feel like they’re being attacked.
Inferiority complex: Many covert narcissists suffer from an inferiority complex, which can lead them to feel inadequate and inferior to others. Self-absorption: Covert narcissists are often preoccupied with themselves and their own needs, and they may not be able to empathize with others.
Passive aggression: Covert narcissists are adept at using passive-aggressive behavior to get what they want or to punish those who they feel have wronged them. Withdrawn: Covert narcissists may be introverted and withdrawn, but they still crave attention and admiration.
Love for fantasizing: Covert narcissists love to fantasize about their ideal life or their imagined successes, often to the point of neglecting real-life responsibilities. Depression and anxiety: Many covert narcissists suffer from depression and anxiety, which can be exacerbated by their inability to connect with others.
Keeping grudges: Covert narcissists often hold grudges and are quick to take offense, even if the perceived offense is minor. Feeling inadequate: Covert narcissists may feel inadequate or inferior to others, which can lead to feelings of anger, bitterness, or jealousy.
Lack of goal or ambition: Covert narcissists may lack a clear sense of purpose or direction in life, as their main focus is often on themselves.
Dealing with Covert Narcissists
Dealing with a covert narcissist can be challenging, but there are some steps you can take to protect your emotional and mental well-being:
1. Don’t Blame Yourself for their Actions/Inactions
It’s important to remember that a covert narcissist’s behavior is not your fault.
They are responsible for their own actions and reactions, and you should not take responsibility for their emotional manipulation or personality disorder. 2.
Setting and maintaining healthy boundaries is crucial when dealing with a covert narcissist. Surround yourself with healthy and supportive people who understand your situation, and make sure you prioritize your own emotional and mental well-being.
3. Learn More About Them
Researching the signs and symptoms of covert narcissism can help you better understand their behavior and manage your situation.
It’s important to educate yourself on the best ways to protect yourself and advocate for your needs. 4.
Communicate Your Concerns
Direct communication is key when dealing with a covert narcissist. Be truthful about your concerns and express your opinions in a calm, non-judgmental manner.
However, be prepared for pushback and defensiveness, as covert narcissists are quick to take offense. 5.
Help Them Seek Support
While it’s not your job to fix a covert narcissist, you can encourage them to seek professional treatment and provide them with resources for managing their situation. However, it’s important to remember that you cannot force someone to seek help if they are unwilling.
Dealing with a covert narcissist can be a draining and emotionally exhausting experience. However, by setting healthy boundaries, seeking support, and educating yourself on their behavior, you can protect your emotional and mental well-being and maintain your sense of self.
Remember that you deserve to be treated with kindness and respect, and don’t let anyone convince you otherwise. In conclusion, understanding and dealing with covert narcissism can be challenging, but it’s important to prioritize your own emotional and mental well-being.
By learning to identify the signs and symptoms of covert narcissism, setting healthy boundaries, communicating openly and honestly, and seeking support when needed, you can protect yourself from emotional manipulation and maintain your sense of self. Remember that you are not responsible for a covert narcissist’s behavior, and you deserve to be treated with kindness and respect.
Don’t be afraid to seek help when needed, and know that you are not alone in your journey. Wishing you all the best in your efforts towards healing and self-preservation.