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  • Recognizing Covert Narcissism

    Covert narcissist (sometimes referred to as a vulnerable narcissist) is a term used to describe a narcissist who presents more subtly than the typical grandiose narcissist. This obscurity makes it harder to recognize if someone is a narcissist and can result in unhealthy relationship patterns.

    10 Traits of a Covert Narcissist:

    Below are common traits displayed by someone with covert narcissism or narcissistic traits:

    1. Passive aggressive behavior: Covert narcissists tend to conceal their anger and disappointment from others. They direct their anger internally, resulting in long held grudges and passive aggressive behavior.

    2. Lack of empathy: Covert narcissists struggle to understand the perspectives of others.  They will, however, make a significant effort to appear as if they are empathetic and compassionate towards others.

    3. Sensitive to criticism: Covert narcissists are extremely sensitive when it comes to criticism or constructive feedback and very rarely take accountability for their actions.

    4. Negative self-talk: Covert narcissists use negative self-talk to gain attention or sympathy from others. This is a form of manipulation intended to disarm others and lower expectations of the narcissist.

    5. Craving admiration: Covert narcissists are just as preoccupied with admiration as an overt narcissist, but they appear humble when receiving this praise. Covert narcissists draw attention to their accomplishments in subtle or passive ways.

    6. Critical of others: Covert narcissists are extremely critical of those closest to them but only engage in this emotional abuse behind closed doors.

    7. Struggling with depression and anxiety: Most individuals with NPD struggle with depression and anxiety, however, the covert narcissist tends to be more vocal about this than the overt narcissist.

    8. Shy or isolative behavior: The covert narcissist is deeply insecure and afraid of others noticing their flaws. This can result in the narcissist withdrawing from social events and gatherings.

    9. Envy: A covert narcissist is often envious of others but does not openly display or discuss this envy. Covert narcissists feel entitled and deserving of things others have.

    10. Hidden grandiose fantasies: A covert narcissist will become absorbed in exaggerated fantasies about their skills or accomplishments but will not verbalize these fantasies to others.

    Therapy for Covert Narcissistic Abuse:

    Help is available if you suspect you are in a relationship with someone who demonstrates covert narcissistic traits. I offer therapy for individuals experiencing or recovering from narcissistic and emotional abuse. Contact me today to schedule an appointment. 

    Online Locations: Nashville, Tennessee – Brentwood, Tennessee – Atlanta, Georgia – Sandy Springs, Georgia – Greater Tennessee and Georgia Area

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