There are multiple subtypes of narcissistic personality disorder. Covert narcissists are basically the introverted closest type that goes under the radar. Their shy, humble, and anxious personality tricks you into ever knowing that you are getting worked over. At the end of the day, their behavior is a coping mechanism for insecurity and not feeling in control.
Here are 6 signs that you may be dealing with a covert narcissist:
1. They’re overly sensitive to criticism. If you think you can let them know about an issue, think again. Watch out for blame-shifting and manipulative tactics. It’s not quite like gaslighting, but an entirely different monster. Suddenly you will be questioning your character and doubting yourself over the picture they just tried to paint. They will decide to read your mind and are convinced that is their truth. You may not even know what is going on when they decide to shut down.
2. They put themselves down so that you can stroke their ego. They rely on others to build themselves up. Remember, they are shy and humble. It is your job to make them feel good about themselves. If you forget, their insecurities will trigger a reaction.
3. After the 8th time of tiptoeing around a question, you still haven’t gotten a response. When you kindly ask one more time, you will be sorry. This person must feel in control and they must dictate the timeline. You’re not allowed ask questions… just sit in the corner in time out. They are the boss. They may suddenly decide to work things out but only if they find a way to where they benefit.
4. They want to gain recognition without putting in the work. They feel tasks are beneath them. They fantasize about being an important influence and exaggerate their abilities.
5. They are passive aggressive. You will never know when there is an issue until it’s too late. Part of the introvert’s insecurity is to become withdrawn as a coping mechanism when they feel they aren’t in control. When you try to communicate and find a solution, it may be impossible to resolve unless you just give in. This guessing game will drive you crazy. Try to stay cool, calm, and collected.
6. You will never know if you’re doing something wrong because they’ll smugly smile and nod. Later, you’ll learn about all of your imperfections and mistakes, unbeknownst to you, when it’s time for them to present their case of how they are victimized. Their customer service personality will smile will shine, but on the inside they are rolling their eyes at you. Instead of communicating about the little sparks, they let it build into a raging fire that inevitably burns everything down.
If you find you have a business partner, professional relationship, a friendship, a family member, an acquaintance, a significant other, or any other relationship type and you’re stuck in the toxic pattern, find some help to work through it. Talking to a therapist is helpful to acknowledge the situation you are in, and how you can navigate this unhealthy relationship. For some, you may find you can’t walk away. Setting boundaries may be a helpful tool to avoid the trauma they inflict.
Though somehow this person may have convinced you that you’re the bad guy, you’ll find that they never really had any respect for you, nor any genuineness that exists in their soul. Protect yourself, as mental health can oftentimes spill over into your physical health. You cannot control how others behave or treat you but you can draw a line in the sand.