A woman wondering how to deal with a covert narcissist

How to Deal With a Covert Narcissist

Narcissism can present itself in two very different ways. Covert narcissism is often the more subtle of the two and can be difficult to identify and just as hard to deal with. If you or a loved one is struggling with covert narcissism, reach out to the professionals at Promises by calling 844.875.5609 to learn about treatment for narcissistic personality disorder at our specialized mental health facilities. 

What Is a Covert Narcissist? 

There are two primary forms of narcissism: overt narcissism and covert narcissism. An overt narcissist is often relatively easy to identify.  

An overt narcissist announces themselves with their behavior, demanding that everyone appreciate just how great they are. They may be boisterous, overly confident, full of themselves, and overly sensitive to criticism. 

Covert narcissism, on the other hand, is a more introverted and difficult-to-identify form of these personality traits. A covert narcissist may still believe that they are superior and shares the secret insecurities of an overt narcissist but generally keeps their heightened self-perception to themselves. 

As a result, people can go years without recognizing that their friend, partner, or family member is actually a covert narcissist. This can lead to significant personal struggles for both the person with narcissistic personality disorder and the people closest to them. 

How to Spot a Covert Narcissist 

Covert narcissists share many of the traits of overt narcissists but often display these characteristics in different ways. For example, a covert narcissist may have: 

  • An exaggerated sense of self-importance 
  • A need for admiration 
  • Sensitivity to criticism 
  • A sense of entitlement 
  • A yearning for attention 

Yet, in contrast to overt narcissists, covert narcissists tend to show much subtler behaviors in order to address these needs. Instead of telling grandiose stories or bragging about their accomplishments to others, for example, a covert narcissist may be self-deprecating in hopes of eliciting positive remarks from others.  

And while an overt narcissist may respond to criticism with anger, a covert narcissist may show signs of anxiety or depression in order to gain sympathy. 

Learning how to spot a covert narcissist is often extremely difficult due to the subtle nature of these behaviors. The key element to look for is an aggrandized sense of self, a need for recognition, and an underlying sense of superiority that colors their interactions. 

How to Deal with a Covert Narcissist 

Dealing with a covert narcissist can be incredibly difficult. The traits associated with covert narcissism can lead them to diminish others, hurt the people closest to them, and sap the energy of the people they associate with. 

A few key tips for how to deal with a covert narcissist include: 

  • Taking time for self-care 
  • Educate yourself about narcissistic personality disorder 
  • Maintain healthy boundaries 
  • Remind yourself that you’re not to blame 
  • Reach out for professional help if you need it 

Loving a person with a narcissistic personality disorder can often be incredibly difficult. But taking care of yourself, learning about narcissism, and seeking out counseling or support on your own can greatly reduce the emotional and mental toll that it takes on you. 

Get Help for Narcissistic Personality Disorder at Promises 

Narcissistic personality disorder used to be considered an untreatable disorder, but recent evidence has shown that it is possible for people to improve their symptoms and learn skills that help them to manage their condition in their everyday lives. 

If you or someone you love is living with covert narcissism, reach out to the professionals at Promises by calling 844.875.5609. Our team of mental health experts can then guide you and your loved ones onto the path of recovery and help you start the path to healing.

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