Have you ever come across someone who appeared to be very appreciative, altruistic, compassionate, and often shy? But, after spending some time with them, you notice clever changes in their behavior; the appreciative tendencies were taken over by flattering. Their compassionate demeanor revealed their insincere friendships. And the overt shyness was used as a façade to hide their covert fakery.
Don’t Worry! If you find these patterns of behaviors and personality traits in yourself or in others, does it turn you into a demon? Not yet. Narcissistic Personality Disorder (NPD) and theories of narcissism are only applicable to oneself or others after a professionally proven clinical diagnosis.
Let’s talk about what to do when you spot covert narcissists around you and how they manipulate you through their unusual social behaviors. This article covers the following key points to help you deal with weird things covert narcissists do:
- Covert Narcissists vs. Overt Narcissists
- Narcissistic Personality According to Psychology
- Top 6 Unusual Social Behaviors of Covert Narcissists
- Solutions to Deal with Covert Narcissists
1. Covert Narcissists vs. Overt Narcissists:
It is comparatively easier to spot an Overt Narcissist because their expressive persona does not hide their cunning motives. However, a Covert Narcissist very efficiently puts on the façade of desirable traits, which makes it apparently very difficult to find one.
Overt Narcissists have the aura of grandiosity, which makes them appear important regardless of the situation they are in. They persistently crave admiration and attention, which results in a lack of empathy for others. All these signs are visible in their overt behavior; hence, it is a cinch to identify them.
Covert Narcissists, on the contrary, wear a façade that, over time, builds into an astute persona of being highly compassionate and, in most cases, introverted and shy. Where Overt Narcissists openly take jabs at others, Covert Narcissists very softly and subtly devalue others. They use back-door tactics of flattering someone just to receive compliments in return that fulfill their dire need for attention, and if they don’t get a desirable response, they will make ends meet by depreciating others and also by adopting a self-deprecating attitude.
People often believe that due to their introversion tendencies, Covert Narcissists don’t control others. However, they do control and manipulate their partners through weird things covert narcissists do . However, each and every step is passive and unassertive, which is mainly to deny personal responsibility.
You can also read how they influence their partner in a relationship and how they behave at the workplace here.
2. Narcissistic Personality According to Psychology
The symptoms of narcissistic traits differ in severity and the way they are expressed. However, the pattern of behavior does share some common possibilities of existence within Narcissistic Personality. Besides the apparent symptoms, there are childhood trauma, insecurities leading to a lack of empathy, compromised self-awareness, repressed emotions related to self-esteem, and dominant parenting. All these factors contribute to developing a superior self-identity, with the help of narcissistic tendencies they repress the disturbed idea of self to essentially adapt the grandiose façade.
The following outlook on prominent narcissistic attitudes and behaviors projects a better picture of how to identify weird things covert narcissists do:
Emotional and Behavioral Narcissistic Personality Traits
Passive aggressiveness, apathy towards others’ feelings and emotions, manipulation through sympathy seeking, self-victimization, highly reactive to direct questioning and criticism, frequently belittle and criticize others, sense of superiority, being unduly dramatic and demanding, blaming others for their own mistakes and feeling insecure, faking the severity of injuries and illnesses to gain attention, lacking self-awareness, being passive-aggressive, holding grudges and secretly seeking revenge, offering insincere apologies, indulge in fake intimacy, manipulating others through guilt and shame, etc.
The overall presence of such emotional and behavioral narcissistic symptoms in one or more social settings, and the discrepancies between their overt and covert behavior indicate a likelihood of developing or suffering from Narcissistic Personality in the light of psychology.
Since Covert Narcissists play smart and hide their true persona, their unusual social behaviors are one of the major sources for locating them.
3. The Top 6 Weird Things Covert Narcissists Do
Covert Narcissists greatly internalize their sense of grandiosity, molding the need for superiority inward and evoking a desperate need for attention. Unlike overt narcissists, they appear more vulnerable in social situations and always keep themselves safe from directly controlling conspiracies, though passively leading them.
To understand their façade in a better way, let’s delve deeper into some of the weird things covert narcissists do:
i. Lack of self-awareness and increased self-deprecation
The sense of self-awareness enables a person to manage the coordination of one’s emotions, thoughts, and actions; it also enables us to gauge what others think about us. But covert narcissists tend to engage in constantly maintaining their superior persona for both themselves and social settings, they often become self-critical. These are the most common weird things covert narcissists do. The negative self-talk pattern leads them to appear vulnerable, and that becomes a huge problem for the Covert Narcissists to end this self-induced deprecation. This persistently parallel interest in seeking attention and keeping up with grandiosity, which negates showing vulnerability, results in a lack of self-awareness and increased self-deprecation.
If you are thinking about offering them your sympathy, always remember! Covert Narcissists induce this self-deprecation to appear worthy of praise; you see them scoring 10/10, but they would still say, “I did terrible on the test, huh! Sore loser”, those who are empathetic around would start complimenting their intellectual capabilities or how well they performed on the test; this is exactly what they want everyone to do around them, by insidiously making others unnecessarily praise them.
ii. Defensiveness to Criticism:
Other weird things covert narcissists do are related to defensiveness to criticism . Since Covert Narcissists try their hardest to escape direct involvement and responsibility, if someone criticizes them over something they have done or sets them accountable for their actions, the Covert Narcissists will respond with the utmost defensiveness. They not only deny the claim but, with their playful tactics, turn it into a blame game for others. You will often find them saying, “It’s not me who got late to the meeting; it is actually the boss who showed up early”, Regardless of being wrong, they will never show clear acceptance of criticism. If they are somehow made to seek an apology, the Covert Narcissists would apparently apologize, but the other day they say they never meant it by returning to reprimanded behavior.
iii. Mysterious Social Adjustment:
Psychology defines social adjustment as a person’s ability to get along with social norms and values and how one behaves in different social settings. Covert narcissists, with their increased apathy, find it difficult to adjust themselves around people on deeper levels, even though they indulge in intimacy, but their potential to fit in remains perplexed. Their focus in terms of empathy is predominantly directed inward; hence, they show a lack of empathy towards others who are expecting them to show valid concern.
iv. Victim Mentality:
Covert Narcissists’ victim mentality often leads them to undermine the reasons an actual victim needs empathy; they would passively rant about their misfortunes, seek disregard for comparison, and devalue the victim in every possible way that eventually makes them the center of attention.
v. Fake altruism:
Altruism refers to a person’s selfless concern for the well-being of others. Covert Narcissists yet again prove themselves as admirable by depicting altruistic attitudes in social interactions. They appear to be most charitable and genuinely help people around them, but their compassionate demeanor hides their ugly demand for compliments and validation in return. If their charity goes unnoticed, it will make them feel inadequate, and later they can be seen gossiping over the purpose of the charity and how the beneficiaries are not worthy enough.
vi. Flattering and people-pleasing:
Covert Narcissists’ behavior seems very contradictory to their true selves. It is a bit tricky to understand their real motives since they not only flatter someone to receive appreciation in return, but most of the time they overburden themselves by actively serving other people so they might get counted in high regard. Covert Narcissists create this persona of a good person to satisfy their defective self-consciousness and exert authority.
They greatly engage in people-pleasing and cleverly put certain needs of others before their own until the person offers them gratitude. Once people show them gratitude, Covert Narcissists start controlling them through deceptive manipulation.
This tactic helps Covert Narcissists change their perception of others about themselves and also helps in social adjustment, as it does less harm to their persona than other behaviors like self-deprecation.
The variety of facades and personas Covert Narcissists display are difficult to identify at once; it takes time and great focus to notice the little loopholes and discrepancies between what they say and what they do, despite how long you have been knowing that person.
Covert Narcissists subtly gnawing manipulation might be turning your life into hell, and you have always ended up blaming yourself for all the odds that happened.
4. Solutions to Deal with Weird things Covert Narcissists Do
Not to worry anymore! Right after we provided you with how weird things covert narcissists do mechanism works, about their apparent façade, their hidden intentions, and their key unusual social behaviors, we are here to empower you with some counter tactics that you can easily apply to cope with Covert Narcissists and people with Narcissistic Personality.
- Setting personal boundaries: establish and maintain acceptable limits in your interaction with Covert Narcissists.
- Support: seek appropriate support from family members and friends when necessary.
- Professional Help: safeguard one’s mental health by seeking therapy and professional help to potentially work for recovery and wellness.
- Self-help Strategies: gain in-depth knowledge of the weird things Covert Narcissists do, like faking and flattering. Enhance your learning and understanding via reading published literature, articles, blogs, biographies, journals, etc.
- Identify triggers: after understanding their behavior patterns and actions, identify the potential triggers and try being directive with them.
- Reforming Reactions: control and reform your emotional and practical reaction to the Covert Narcissist’s manipulation; set them accountable for their actions in a subtle way; this may help in mitigating the situation.
Further exploring these traits leads to identifying covert narcissists in other spheres of life. If you want to know more about Covert Narcissists then click here!