The notion of a covert narcissist seems almost impossible. All of the characteristics of narcissism seem to be quite externally-reflective. Like any behavioral disorder, however, narcissism finds its way into introverted and ambiverted people as well as extroverted types.
It could be argued that these traits are just more obvious in extroverts -and, quite possibly, more annoying- but when they occur in introverts they are almost insidious, because it can be very difficult to see them.
Here are the 7 most common characteristics you’ll find in a covert, introverted narcissist.
1. Problems with personal and intimate relationships.
Narcissists aren’t comfortable with intimate relationships as they require vulnerability, a trait narcissists are loath to ever exhibit. If you’re concerned about a person, see if they exhibit any personal or emotional intimacy, or if they seems uncomfortable with doing so.
2. Lack of empathy, or as I see it, ingrained me-first selfishness.
It can be difficult to see a lack of anything, even harder to see a lack of emotional connection. So I see it as me-first attitudes. One classic example if the narcissist was planning a trip to the store but the person who was going to take them gets sick. Instead of being concerned about the sick person they are concerned about their ride to the store. Classic narcissistic behavior that rears its head easily across the whole social behavior spectrum from introvert to extrovert.
3. Self-Absorption, another tricky one that requires a little sleuthing.
Introverts are often quiet and good listeners; covert introvert narcissists may try to appear interested but really they listen for a minute or less, make a judgment, and then block you out.
They don’t find what you have to say interesting or important, and so block out anything you say.
You can visually watch a person zoning out while you’re talking to them, but my favorite way to discern this is to start talking about nonsense things like having a conversation with a unicorn or a dinosaur or a rainbow. If they’re still nodding, they’re not listening.
4. Quiet Superiority or Smugness.
This kind of high-minded thinking of themselves is characteristic of all narcissists.
You can spot it in a covert introverted narcissist, as this behavior almost always expresses in “I’m better than” thinking. Some ways they show this overly dismissive behavior such as yawning or sighing loudly, rolling eyes, looking deliberately bored, distractibility and more. It won’t be quite as overt as the gestures and characteristics of an extrovert but the behavior will still be present.
5. High Sensitivity.
As abrasive as narcissists are, they don’t handle criticism, jokes, mockery or irony very well. Narcissists respond to these things with characteristic dismissive aloofness, a demonstration of their inability to handle any of the commentary on their behavior.
6. The inability to connect with people or have meaningful relationships.
We touched on this a little bit before, but it’s important to note that covert narcissists cannot connect with others in a meaningful way. The only time narcissists make any kind of connection with another person is if they feel that person is useful to them somehow.
Real intimacy and real meaningfulness with another person cannot come from a covert narcissist, or a narcissist of any kind, for nobody else in the world actually exists outside of them in a way that holds any importance.
7. The idea of a misunderstood “special person”:
because the covert narcissist lives in a world of their own creation just as any other characteristically narcissistic person does, they see themselves as special, different, unique, better than and above everyone else.
They think that the reason that society doesn’t value them in the same way is because they have been somehow misunderstood by society. KIt couldn’t possibly be their misunderstanding because they are, after all, uniquely gifted, special, perfect.
Know someone who exhibits these traits? Are you someone who exhibits these traits? Tell us all about it in the comments! We’d love to hear from you.