2. They are hypersensitive to criticism
A poor sense of self-esteem and insecurity are the basics of narcissistic personality disorder (NPD). For ninja narcissists, their insecurities may surface as high sensitivity towards criticism. Although most of us don’t like to be criticized, a covert introvert narcissist may often react negatively and strongly to criticism. They can become dismissive, angry or resort to sarcasm to show that it doesn’t affect them, even in the case of constructive criticism. However, they may feel humiliated, empty, mortified or furious inside. This is because criticism shatters their false & idealized beliefs about themselves and incites their deep rooted insecurities.
3. They disregard others
Disregard and procrastination are some of the most crucial tools in the armory of a ninja narcissist. As they are driven by the desire for self-importance over everything else, they can go to great lengths to become and remain the center of attention. Instead of manipulating others like an extroverted narcissist, a covert introvert narcissist will simply refuse to acknowledge you. Like most narcissists, they surround themselves with compassionate and caring individuals and seek opportunities to manipulate them to boost their own sense of self worth. Due to their lack of empathy, they can easily show disregard for others and how unimportant others are to the narcissist.
Licensed professional counselor Jodi Clarke, LPC/MHSP writes “Rather than explicitly telling you that you’re not important, they might stand you up on a date, wait until the last minute to respond to texts or emails, always show up late for events with you, or never make confirmed plans with you at all.” They will never value your interest, opinion or time making you feel irrelevant and unimportant.
4. They think they are special
Almost all narcissistic people think that they are special. But a covert introvert narcissist not only believes that they are special, but misunderstood as well. They tend to believe that they are so unique and ahead of time, no one understands them. They may often feel upset about being misunderstood by others but this is simply a manifestation of common narcissistic traits, like entitlement, grandiosity and superiority. Preston Ni adds “By constructing the superficial belief that one is ‘exceptional’, the introvert narcissist creates a reassuring role, submerging the fearful and vulnerable true self.”
5. They minimize themselves
Ninja narcissists tend to put themselves down as they are strongly motivated by the need for admiration and praise. Instead of bragging about their accomplishment or exaggerating about their success, they tend to minimize it instead to make sure others praise them. This is primarily related to their inner self-esteem issues. Psychologist Dr. Maury Joseph says “People with narcissism have to spend a lot of time making sure they don’t feel bad feelings, that they don’t feel imperfect or ashamed or limited or small.” This is why covert narcissists need others to make them feel better. They are overly reliant on others to boost their self-esteem and they achieve this by putting themselves down.
Read also: Why Narcissists Act the Way They Do
Hence, they tend to give backhanded compliments or act overly humble about their achievements with a camouflaged goal of getting praise, recognition and compliments. This is a strategy for gaining external validation and reassurance of how great they are.
6. They are prone to depression
Most ninja narcissists tend to suffer from certain mental health issues, such as anxiety and depression. A 2017 study states “Narcissism, and specifically the vulnerable presentation, has been associated with depression.” The covert introvert narcissist may also be highly prone to feelings of emptiness as well. Research reveals that people with vulnerable narcissism “may present with salient features of dysthymia, depression, and anhedonia.” The primary causes for such depressive feelings stem from inability to acquire required external admiration and frustration from general over expectations. Moreover, fear of exposure or failure can lead to high levels of anxiety. Depression and emptiness can also result in suicidal ideation as well.