Identifying narcissistic personality disorder in a covert narcissist can be challenging since they don't exhibit the typical sense of self-importance associated with the condition. However, there's no need to panic as you can still protect yourself by recognizing the warning signs. Keep an eye out for these 14 red flags to safeguard your heart.
1. He's super sensitive
Dating someone who is emotionally aware is wonderful, but be cautious if they are excessively sensitive. If a guy cannot manage his emotions, uses sarcastic comments to mask his feelings, or shows signs of hidden anger through body language, it could be an indication of underlying issues beyond sensitivity.
2. He can't handle criticism
If you feel like you're walking on eggshells when you need to address something the guy did that you didn't like, it could be a sign that he's a covert narcissist. He may dismiss your comments, use sarcasm, or act superior, making it difficult for you to communicate with him. However, underneath his confident exterior, he may feel humiliated or upset but chooses not to show it.
3. He's passive-aggressive
Recognizing covert narcissistic behavior can be challenging as they tend to resort to these tactics. For example, when you ask a guy for help, he may agree with a smile, but deep down, he resents doing it. Watch out for signs of passive-aggressiveness, such as shifting blame, procrastinating, sabotaging work, or giving you the silent treatment. These behaviors are indications of underlying issues.
4. He needs constant reassurance
Unlike an overt narcissist who seeks attention and admiration through demand, a covert narcissist takes a subtler approach. They may frequently ask if you find them skilled, talented, or attractive to gain validation. Initially, this behavior may come off as endearing, but it can eventually become annoying.
5. He plays the victim card
In a relationship, a covert narcissist may portray themselves as a victim, even when they are at fault. They may exhibit this behavior in other relationships too. The intention is to make you feel guilty and inferior while reassuring themselves of your affection or care. It's a manipulative tactic that can be frustrating to deal with.
6. He puts you down
Even though the behavior of a covert narcissist is less overt compared to that of an overt narcissist, it can still be significantly harmful. Instead of openly stating that you are unimportant, a covert narcissist will employ subtle tactics to make you feel this way. For instance, they may arrive late for dates or ignore your calls to make you feel unimportant.
7. He wants to be seen as kind
Narcissists tend to perform deeds that primarily benefit themselves. For instance, a narcissistic partner may offer a compliment or a pep talk to boost your confidence before a job interview, particularly when others are watching, to gain admiration. Essentially, it's all about them. Their aim is to appear like the ideal partner, but in reality, they are often too good to be true.
8. He's extremely introverted
A covert narcissist is typically introverted and tends to be insecure. They are hesitant to reveal their flaws and work hard to maintain the facade of superiority. They may avoid spending time with individuals they consider inferior to sustain this illusion.
9. He holds grudges
A covert narcissist tends to hold onto grudges when someone hurts or upsets them. They may also hold onto their anger until they can seek revenge. This behavior is what makes them so dangerous and harmful since instead of expressing their emotions, they resort to manipulation and retribution.
10. He lacks empathy
Your boyfriend may appear to be empathetic, leading you to believe he cannot be a covert narcissist. However, that is not entirely accurate. Although he may appear empathetic towards you and others, he could be pretending to be a caring person to create a facade of being wonderful.
11. He's always comparing himself to others
Covert narcissists tend to be envious individuals. For example, if their best friend has a bigger car, they may want to trade theirs in for an even larger car. Similarly, if you're getting a promotion at work, they may feel as though it's a greater success than their recent promotion. They are always comparing themselves to others, which keeps them in a spiral of anxiety and depression.
12. He blames you
A covert narcissist tends to play the blame game and never takes responsibility for his actions. Instead, he'll shift the blame to someone else, including you. For instance, if you confront him about how he zones out when you talk about something important, he'll twist the story and blame you for dominating the conversation, even if it's not true. This manipulative behavior is aimed at making you feel guilty and deflecting from his own shortcomings.
13. He turns his insecurities onto you
If you often feel unsteady and lacking in self-assurance around someone, it's important to consider whether they might be projecting their own issues onto you. A covert narcissist may struggle with their own low self-esteem, and to cope with that, they may try to undermine your confidence. It can be frustrating and damaging to deal with this kind of behavior.
14. He's an attention-craver
A covert narcissist constantly craves attention and validation, especially through praise, to offset his feelings of worthlessness. He also uses his own negative emotions to gain your attention, often calling you late at night to unload his emotional baggage without regard for your own well-being.