What is a covert narcissist?


Covert narcissists display narcissistic traits but are less overt about seeking attention. They often appear shy or modest while manipulating others for validation.

The primary difference lies in their approach to seeking attention and validation. A narcissist is more overt and openly seeks admiration, while a covert narcissist appears more modest and subtle in their manipulation for validation. Both share traits like a lack of empathy and a sense of entitlement.

Covert narcissists often exhibit traits such as:

1. Modesty: They may appear humble and shy while seeking admiration.
2. Manipulation: Engaging in subtle, indirect forms of manipulation to maintain control.
3. Victim mentality: Portraying themselves as victims to gain sympathy and support.
4. Lack of empathy: Difficulty understanding or empathizing with others’ feelings.
5. Insecurity: Concealing deep-seated feelings of inadequacy behind a façade of humility.
6. Envy: Feeling threatened by others’ success and harboring jealousy.
7. Sense of entitlement: Believing they deserve special treatment without overtly expressing it.
8. Passive-aggressive behavior: Expressing hostility indirectly rather than openly confronting issues.
9. Isolation: Preferring to control others through subtle means rather than direct confrontation.
10. Grandiosity: Having an inflated sense of self-importance despite presenting as modest.

Article by Diane Pulley

Diane Pulley is a BACP accredited and UKRC psychotherapist and Life Coach having graduated from Warwick university. She has worked in private practise for many years with clients presenting various issues, from trauma, depression, anxiety and self confidence. Diane works with both individuals and couples. Her experience has lead her to work with corporate clients delivering stress management training for both staff and management. Aspire You has been born from a personal journey, of Diane's own marriage breaking down after 28 years, when she identified there is a need to support women through this process and help them rebuild their lives. "everyone has the potential to lead fulfilling lives and i am committed to helping individuals achieve that desire"