5 Symptoms Your Mate Might Be A Covert Narcissist

You’ve seen them before, the obvious narcissist, easily spotted by their constant self-important blubbering about unrelated things to any conversation going on around them. Maybe you’ve even had the unpleasant experience of confronting these types in your personal life and are all the worse for it? But what about the other type- what about the narcissist’s little sister? You know, the one who’s a bit more covert about her disgust toward the general public, the one who keeps it under wraps but not quite fully contained?

That’s the purpose of this savvy little read you’re glossing over right now. It might help you spot some signs that the one you’re with (or considering getting involved with) just might be a covert narcissist themselves!


What exactly is a “covert narcissist”?

These types are often times referred to as closet narcissist. They tend to be hypersensitive and vulnerable to emotional jabs even when the typical person wouldn’t necessarily be. As it turns out, people who exhibit these types of traits tend to be more shy, sensitive and even insecure. Those feelings tend to come out in defensiveness and anger.

One psychologist named Scott Barry Kaufman explained to Scientific American:


“While the ‘overt narcissists tended to be aggressive, self-aggrandizing, exploitative, and have extreme delusions of grandeur and a need for attention, ‘covert’ narcissists were more prone to feelings of neglect or belittlement, hypersensitivity, anxiety, and delusions of persecution.”



1. Hidden smugness or superiority

Ever see someone give an eye-roll so profound you’d think their peepers were about to pop straight out of their face? They might not just outright tell you about it, but you can rest assured that what they think of you, what you just did, or simply your opinion is “beneath them” or just “plain dumb” in their opinion. They may not be completely confrontational about it but they’ll have no issue with showing you through snide little actions that they simply do not care and are in no way interested in what you’ve got to say.


2. Utterly self-absorbed

Your typical covert-narcissist will make a snap judgment on whether or not the conversation they find themselves in is even worth their interest- and if they determine that it is not then they’ll simply tune you out until it’s their turn to take the floor.

If you find that the one you’re talking to has a tendency to abruptly change the topic during a pause in the conversation to suit their delight, even if you’ve just asked them a question, then you’re probably dealing with the likes of the covert narcissist.


3. A total lack of empathy

It really doesn’t matter if we’re dealing with a covert or an overt narcissist, they just really don’t give a hoot about anyone’s feelings but their own. It doesn’t matter what you’re going through, and they especially don’t pay any mind to how their words or actions might affect others, especially those they know could be a threat.



They might be a total shell on the inside but often times narcissist know how to fake empathy simply by observing other’s in this state. They use it as a tool to get what they want, so next time you suspect someone you’re dealing with might be narcissistic yet they’re demonstrating powerful (and maybe even obvious) empathy, or showing sympathetic signs… they just might be trying to get something out of you.

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4. They display passive-aggressiveness

Due to the fact your average covert narcissist likes to play their egos close to the sleeve, they’re not going to just outwardly argue with you. Instead they’ll usually opt to just “go with the flow” without the slightest intention of actually sticking to it. If you ever extend an invitation or offer up an idea and they say something like “yeah, great idea!” but never actually follow through in the end then you’re probably dealing with this sort of person.


5. The covert narcissist is highly sensitive

This isn’t to be mixed up with someone who’s just generally sensitive; there is a slight difference here. A covert narcissist tends to be seen as a sensitive type because they don’t respond well to criticism- they just can’t believe that somebody doesn’t see their value and it messes with them.

If you tick off this type of person you’ll usually find them get a lot more smug in the way they deal with you; no doubt in a very passive aggressive way.

It’s pretty important to notice the difference between someone who is just sensitive vs. someone who’s butt-hurt because you don’t see things their way or you simply don’t hold them and their opinions to such a high regard as them.


Dealing with narcissists of any caliber

It’s an unfortunate thing when you’re confronted with the possibility that your mate might actually be narcissistic. The thing to remember is that these types will burn right through you just to save face in almost any situation they think they can get away with. They can be poison to your life and it’s important not to let them get under your skin, and if they happen to just remind yourself that it’s truly not your fault but instead that you’re just dealing with a master manipulator.

Those who don’t value the worth and feelings of others often times hide things, they don’t want to pull the mask off because what’s underneath is very ugly. They know that if you are ever exposed to the truth you’ll run for your life and you absolutely should.

If you find yourself in suspicion of your partner, or perhaps it’s someone you are dating, or thinking of dating. If you know of a friend who’s involved with someone who exhibits these signs or perhaps it’s a beloved family member who’s seeing someone who just rubs you the wrong way… don’t hesitate to get to the bottom of the matter.

9 thoughts on “5 Symptoms Your Mate Might Be A Covert Narcissist

  • August 29, 2018 at 9:18 pm

    I never knew this was me or I could be all this .To be honest it hit where it hurts right on the spot .
    I would get mad if confronted on it or my covers pulled scary I never really knew I have a problem how can I fix it without admitting it to everyone.?

    • September 7, 2018 at 4:18 am

      In my opinion you already are changing it. It’s never easy to admit in any way that we might have a problem no one likes to be confronted with things that suck. For me it’s like if I know it’s true no matter how bad it sucks it usually makes me laugh so I get like fake serious and I go “I don’t come here for this” just a little to much reality for me….and I work on it. Everyone that knows me knows that response is one that means I get it and I’ll work on it. Apologizing is very powerful when it’s genuine. I would definitely want to know you. Your strong and brave and honest . Excellent qualities!!

    • July 7, 2019 at 3:51 am

      Generally speaking, if ur self aware enuf to think and then to write a public plea for help, then ur most likely Not a narcissis. The last thing a narc will ever admit to anyone, even themselves, is that they are a narc. A narc sees their self as Perfect. Better than anyone else. Smarter than everyone else. So they just couldnt be a narcissis. Their way of looking at anything that u say they have done to hurt you is for them to say things like, No I didnt, you hurt yourself. Or no, I dont kno what ur talking about. I wouldnt do/say such a thing. U mustve imagined it, or dreamed it or ur speaking of someone else. They are Perfect and therefore take No responsibility for anything they do bad.

  • August 29, 2018 at 9:25 pm

    Too be honest I felt I cared and it wasn’t me or if I knew I was telling truth I wouldn’t prove it but if I was lying I would go out my way to prove it also munipulation is a trade I perfected I recently noticed my girlfriend telling me I munipulate I fought myself doing it now she left this page here on my tablet so I turn it on and read this I am embarrassed and I don’t want to be this person I hate I can’t help myself to think about other things when someone is talking to me and to be honest I would not hear a thing they said I will repeat back a word to them so they think I listening I am all of the things written here it’s not a good feeling I wan help what do I do

    • September 7, 2018 at 4:21 am

      You know there is an enormous amount of power in honesty and truth. Your seeing your shortcommings is the first step. You feeling bad about being that way…your SOOO on the right path!! Your blessed with a wonderful woman who sees the person in you that you want to be….she loves you unconditionally and already sees you as that good person. Honor her. They don’t make them like that anymore!!

  • September 1, 2018 at 9:18 pm

    I just realized this is describing me and I have married three of them too. I thought it was all them. Anyone ,how do you cure it?

  • September 5, 2018 at 11:53 am

    I would have to say that they know the effect they have on people. Thats part of the manipulation. Because thats their goal is to make took come across as mentally unstable to the rest of the world. And this makes them happy.

    • September 7, 2018 at 4:23 am

      It’s one of the worst feelings to be involved with a person like that. I just walked away from one after two kids and 15 years. Profoundly real….make sure people WALK THEIR TALK….IF NOT YOU WALK. TIGERS USUALLY DONT CHANGE THEIR STRIPES.

  • July 15, 2019 at 9:44 am

    I don’t know if you’ll even get this. The post is dated from a year ago. Just had to give my opinion here…..not personal attack so please just take it as coming from someone who has decided tonight to end a 3 year MISERABLE marriage to a man who has EVERY SINGLE TRAIT of a covert narcissist with passive aggressive behavior as well as being one who will shift from covert to overt as his needs suit him. He is also a danger to be around, did time in prison for killing his girlfriend several years ago and damn near killed me about 6 months ago.
    The problem I have here is that while I truly believe it is in anyone’s capacity to change their ways, BEFORE that can happen there has to be a total commitment to taking the necessary steps to actually follow through! Actions and follow thru are near impossible for a narcissistic personality as it is SO much more than just a bad attitude or bad behavior. These people suffer from abnormal psychological personality disorders and need professional help.
    Those who responded here and made those statements of “I didn’t realize” to some degree or another are 1 of 2 types of people. They are either 1) persons who have not been corrected as to how to be civil and are just spoiled as crap and now at a point of being receptive to outside opinions and capable of change. That’s usually due to the aging process. For them I say GOOD FOR YOU!!!
    The other possibility is that there are persons who responded as described above in the true state of a narcissist. Meaning that those people are so well developed in the art of manipulation and are actually convinced of their self righteous superiorority which, oddly enough, stems from a lack of self worth and an absent capacity for any empathy at all. They will say whatever they need to, hurt whomever gets in their way and lie thru their teeth and CONVINCE all around them! Those are the ones to be Leary of and I say to those involved with those who now suddenly “claim to see the err in their behavior” to tred gently and hold them accountable. First sign of a slip up is the red flag you should be looking for. Then you know you’re possibly unfortunate enough to be dealing with the spawn of Satan. The narcissist will soon come up with excuses for not following thru and take my advice….run as fast and as far as you possibly can because if you get tangled up in their trauma bonding web….it’s hard as hell to break free and if they have violent tendencies, you may end up physically hurt or even killed. It happens everyday and every time they will shout out that THEY are actually the victim…as they cry and whine about how tragic their pitiful lives are. What a croc these people are but dangerous as hell so if you so much as SUSPECT….get on down the road and DONT make excuses for them. There is NO excuse for treating others like they are less than a pile of poop they stepped on.


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