Identifying Covert and Grandiose Narcissists In Your Life

 / 

narcissistsiIn your life

Not many people know this, but there are different kinds of narcissism, out of which covert and grandiose narcissism are two of the most well-known out there.

One of the most challenging concepts about narcissism is its many different facets. Much like its fellow Cluster B afflictions of antisocial, borderline, and histrionic personality disorders, narcissistic personality disorder is a notoriously difficult condition to diagnose.

The good news is that a diagnosis is not necessary to move on from an abusive partner and begin the work of personal healing. Identifying the traits of a narcissistic individual and learning how to respond and protect oneself is far more likely and possible than achieving a full-blown clinical diagnosis. Sadly, even if someone is diagnosed as a narcissist, change is extremely difficult. The term and label of “narcissist” should not be thrown around lightly, but it’s an unfortunate fact that the traits of narcissism are prevalent. 

Narcissists are the chameleons of human nature. They can project the image of their choosing to fit into a variety of situations or social circles. For example, a typically dominant and aggressive person can present a broken and vulnerable persona if it means they will achieve their needs and wants. Gaining and maintaining control is the driving desire for any type of narcissist.

Personality theorists believe that narcissism can be broken down into two main types: covert/fragile narcissism and grandiose/malignant narcissism. The prominent personality traits are what differentiates a covert narcissist from a grandiose narcissist. These subtypes and accompanying traits can and do overlap, supporting the comparison to chameleons. However, by understanding the structure of the façades, one can learn to dismantle the threats and become immune to the abuse.

Both types of narcissism share core features of arrogance, lack of empathy, and a self-indulgent focus on the self. It is how those traits are expressed that identifies an individual as fragile or malignant. By identifying the characteristics that make up the narcissist’s structure, abused victims can prepare for how they might be treated. 

Anticipation plays a major part in heightened anxiety as the mind and body are both in a constant state of preparing for a confrontation. By anticipating how the narcissist will act, you can not only cope with unnecessary stress but even protect yourself from future attacks.

Related: 7 Signs Of A Female Narcissist

Grandiose Narcissists

These narcissists are the classic image and representation of the personality disorder: they are exploitative, adrenaline-seeking, and carry with them an intense air of entitlement wherever they go. These individuals have high self-esteem to disguise their self-hatred and aren’t afraid to show off or brag to keep up the charade. They are boastful, vain, and arrogant (“I can get any man I want.” I don’t need you, you need me!”).

Grandiose narcissists have low dependence on friends, family, or lovers and avoid true emotional closeness. These chameleons can give the appearance of a devoted spouse or attentive friend (think social media and photo accounts), but the focus of the relationship will always be solely on them.

Grandiose narcissists may depend on another person for a reason but never for an emotion beyond needs fulfillment. If a narcissist is in a relationship it is almost always for a self-serving reason: power, proper appearances, connections, or service the partner provides. Instead of the relationship consisting of equal give-and-take or shared support, the narcissist expects to be served and placated but will never feel sated.

As a result, the demands can increase exponentially, and the partner will begin to fall from favor and forever be scrambling to please. When the narcissist is not being treated exactly as they demand or the service stops producing the desired results, they will explosively react. A breakup will not derail a narcissist for long because they simply move on to their next victim or producer. The partner left behind, however, is the one left with a monumental mess to clean up and heal from.

Narcissism
Narcissism

Covert Narcissists

Covert narcissists are also referred to as vulnerable narcissists. Like grandiose narcissists, coverts have low self-esteem; however, this is where the similarity ends. Grandiose narcissists hide their fragility with bombastic exteriors and arrogance while coverts embrace it and use it as their exploitative tool to elicit sympathy and attention.

This less obvious type of narcissism is hidden behind shyness. Coverts are highly sensitive to criticism, prone to depression and anxiety, and love to share their woe-is-me tales with anyone who will listen.

Coverts are very possessive of their friends, family, children, and partners. A covert narcissist may not want to remain married to their spouse and even move out and date other people but will be furious if the partner files for divorce or if he himself begins dating (“How dare that woman go out with my husband!”). The mentality of “do as I say, not as I do” is particularly strong with covert narcissists because of their possessiveness and high emotional needs. They will manipulate their children, friends, and family members in order to keep them loyal to only themselves.

These individuals harbor expectations of grandiosity and desirableness and will adjust the narrative to fit these expectations. For example, society considers adultery to be wrong and immoral. If a covert narcissist is called out on their affair, the blame is placed on the ex-partner for allegedly driving them to cheat and is therefore admissible. Alternately, the covert may accuse their partner of cheating if the partner mentions a female coworker after a day at the office and bring sympathy upon themselves.

Related: What Is A Covert Narcissist?

Covert narcissists are incredibly hypersensitive and passive-aggressive. They believe they deserve something — power, attention, forgiveness — but they are being unjustly denied or do not want to do the necessary work in order to achieve the end goal. These individuals believe they are better than other people but are being unfairly held back and will respond with resentment and grudges. It is far easier to blame other people than to point the finger at oneself.

In the end, it is impossible to fulfill a narcissist. This is not a reflection on the partner, but rather the grandiose narcissist themselves. There is no love or genuine affection; nothing is ever good enough, and when something is pleasing to the narcissist it doesn’t last very long. The feelings of inadequacy and incompetence deeply hurt the victim by eroding their self-esteem.

If they truly love the narcissist, they will do anything within their power to please with no reward. It is a painful and abusive cycle that has the potential to shatter one’s self-worth. Children and spouses of narcissists all say the same thing: I was never good enough. Counseling, self-reflection, and stopping contact are all ways to reclaim yourself and heal.

Abuse can disguise itself as love, but love is never abusive.


Written By Kristy Lee Hochenberger
Originally Appeared In Psychology Today
narcissistsiIn your life pin
narcissistsiIn your life pin covert

— Share —

— About the Author —

Leave a Reply



Up Next

Do you often feel Defenseless and Defeated? 7 Signs of a Narcissistic Relationship

Am I In A narcissistic relationship? signs that confirms!

Do you constantly try to make sense of things that do not make sense? We know how exhausting that might be, constantly running in a loop with no ends not only drains you emotionally but also has serious effects on your physical and mental health.

If you can relate to the first sentence, you might have ended up with a narcissist, that is, someone having Narcissistic Personality Disorder (NPD). This article discusses the 7 undeniable signs of being in a narcissistic relationship.

7 Ways a Victim Behaves in a Narcissistic Relationship



Up Next

Are Narcissists Delusional? 7 Signs Of A Delusional Narcissist

Are Narcissists Delusional? Signs Of Delusional Narcissists

Are narcissists delusional? It’s a question that has intrigued and confused many people out there. You must have come across certain people who seem to be a bit too obsessed with themselves, and who are always seeking admiration and validation from others. But what lies beneath this self-absorbed façade?

Are these people simply self-centered beings, or is there something lurking beneath the surface? Today, we are going to take a deep dive into the world of the delusional narcissist, and discuss seven glaring signs of a delusional narcissist.

So, are you ready to have your mind blown as we explore the darker side of narcissism and the tangled path it leads down? First let’s talk a bit about whether narcissists are delusional or not.



Up Next

Brain Fog After Narcissistic Abuse? 8 Ways Narcissists Can Muddle Your Brain

Brain Fog After Narcissistic Abuse? Reasons Why It Happens

Have you ever heard of the term “brain fog”? Brain fog is like a maddening haze that seems to muddle your thoughts, makes you forget what you were saying, and has you searching for your clothes in the trash bin? Well, today we are going to talk about a specific sort of brain fog – brain fog after narcissistic abuse.

Imagine that you have just escaped from a toxic and abusive relationship with a narcissist. You are slowly picking up the pieces and trying to get your life back in order, but somehow you feel like your head is not in the right place. Everything still feels very odd and you still feel very lost.

Even though you are free from the clutches of your narcissistic ex, this bizarre mental fog just won’t lift. Let’s explore how narcissists cause brain fog, and the link between brain fog and narcissistic abuse.



Up Next

Manipulating A Manipulator: 8 Subtle Tricks That Will Give You The Upper Hand

Manipulating A Manipulator: Subtle Psychological Tactics

Ever found yourself tangled in a web spun by a master manipulator? It’s a frustrating dance where you are treated like a pawn in their toxic mind games, and your are always the one who is one step behind. But what if I told you there’s a way to turn the tables? What if manipulating a manipulator may not be that hard?

Yes, you read it right. This isn’t just about defending yourself and holding onto your sanity; it’s about mastering the art of subtle manipulation.

In this article, we are going to talk about eight remarkably clever and subtle manipulation tactics that will empower you to regain control and outwit even the most cunning of manipulators. So, are you ready?

Related:



Up Next

Toxic Bosses Unmasked: 20 Warning Signs to Watch For

Toxic Bosses Unmasked: Warning Signs to Watch For

Having a toxic boss can really take a toll on you mentally, and toxic bosses are seriously so horrible. This article is going to help you understand the traits of a toxic boss so that you know which behaviors are not normal and ethical. Read on to know more about the signs of a toxic boss or toxic bosses.

We hear about toxic bosses all the time, but how do you know when a boss is “toxic”? “Toxic” is, of course, a vague descriptor. Are bosses toxic when they throw fits and scream, or only when they break the law?

Or are they toxic when they are immoral or unethical? Are they toxic if they’re nice one day and nasty the next, or just when they make you uncomfortable, nervous, or sick? These are valid questions because these individuals are easy to identify when their behaviors are outrageous; but perhaps less so when their behavior



Up Next

How to Deal With a Compulsive Liar: 9 Effective Compulsive Lying Treatment Techniques for Peaceful Relationships

Tips for Compulsive Lying Treatment and Restoring Trust

Ever met someone who constantly distorts the truth, weaves elaborate tales or downright lies all the time? Dealing with a compulsive liar can be perplexing and frustrating. This is why it is crucial that you learn about compulsive lying treatment and how to deal with compulsive lying in a healthy way. 

Welcome to the world of compulsive liars and compulsive lying, where every story seems too good to be true. These individuals spin elaborate tales effortlessly, blurring the lines between fact and fiction. 

Let’s unravel the psychology behind this intriguing phenomenon by exploring the mysteries surrounding compulsive lying, exploring compulsive liar symptoms, what causes compulsive lying, and most importantly, the available compulsive lying treatment options. 



Up Next

7 Glaring Characteristics Of A Shallow, Superficial Person

Superficial Person: Major Signs Of A Shallow Person

In a world where social media reigns supreme, appearances often take center stage, and the allure of superficiality can be hard to resist. You must have encountered many such people whose charm seems as fleeting as a summer breeze, leaving you wanting for something deeper and more meaningful. Well, you may have come across a superficial person.

Today we are going to take a deep dive into the world of superficial, shallow people, characteristics of a superficial person, and how to deal with a superficial person, so that you know how to distinguish between a genuine person and a not-so-genuine one.

Where facades reign supreme and authenticity takes a backseat, let’s explore how the world of a superficial person looks like.