Unlike overt narcissists, covert narcissists tend to appear innocent, shy, patient, humble and altruistic at first. But when you start interacting with them you realize that they are not what you believed them to be at all. Here are things covert narcissists say that show they are deceptive, harmful and well, narcissistic.
What is covert narcissism?
Covert narcissists, also known as vulnerable narcissists, display fewer visible signs of Narcissistic Personality Disorder (NPD). Although they may still possess narcissistic traits, they also appear to be humble, emotionally fragile and shy.
They are often sensitive to opinions and criticism from others and tend to be worried and stressed. Often, covert narcissists say self-deprecating phrases and constantly compare themselves to others.
Related reading: What Is A Covert Narcissist?
“Vulnerable narcissism entails pronounced self-absorbedness, low self‐esteem, hypervigilance, shyness, social withdrawal and emotional hypersensitivity,” explains one 2021 study. Regardless of how they may appear to be, covert narcissists possess major narcissistic traits such as –
- Being self-involved
- Hypersensitive to criticism
They lack empathy and tend to have low self-esteem & self-confidence. They are also highly self-conscious, have social insecurity, and are defensive.
Covert narcissists desperately crave attention, importance, and admiration from others. However, covert narcissists are experts at hiding their subtle narcissistic traits, which makes them harder to identify.
7 Things covert narcissists say very often
So what do covert narcissists say that can help you identify one? Here are the things covert narcissists say that can reveal their reality and help you spot one regardless of how hard they try to hide their true nature –
1. “I never said anything like that, you seem confused.”
This is one of the most common things covert narcissists say. Gaslighting is a form of emotional abuse that narcissists use to manipulate and control their victims.
The covert narcissist lies, denies, or misleads the victim into believing a false narrative that can make the victim question their own sanity. This is one of the most commonly used narcissistic tactics as it makes the victim confused and full of self-doubt, making them easier to control.
Related reading: 8 Signs You Are Dealing With A Vulnerable Narcissist
2. “No one wants me to succeed, but I will.”
Studies show that pathological narcissism is associated with paranoia. Researchers have observed that automatic negative thought patterns and hypersensitivity towards perceived insults from others can lead to “persistently paranoid ideation” in narcissists. They believe that “even subtle changes within the dynamics of existing interpersonal relationships were indicative of negative underlying motivations on the part of others.”
Hence, statements like “Nobody wants to see me happy,” or “I will show all of you what I am capable of,” are some common things covert narcissists say. They believe that everyone is lucky except them or that others are conspiring against them so that they fail at everything.
Due to their external locus of control, they are never able to control their life nor feel motivated to try. They believe that everyone hates them and tries to take advantage of them, even when it is not true in any way.
3. “You don’t know how much I have suffered.”
Covert narcissists have a strong sense of inadequacy and entitlement, which results in resentment and victimhood. As they lack self-confidence and have poor self-esteem, they feel good about themselves by pretending to be the victim.
They want others to believe that the narcissist has suffered a lot in life and hence, they deserve your sympathy, empathy, love and admiration.
Related reading: The Covert Narcissist: 12 Identifying Traits
4. “Oh, that was no big deal.”
This is one the things covert narcissists say as compliments are hard to accept for them. Covert narcissists are highly insecure individuals with a poor sense of self.
Whenever they are complimented for their accomplishments of performance, they will either downplay their effort or say self-deprecatory phrases to counter your compliments.
They may say something like – “Oh, that was so easy, you could have done it better than me if you were there.” Such statements often bring further compliments, validation and reassurance from others, which the narcissist desperately seeks.
5. “Everyone disappoints me, I’d rather be alone.”
As they lack empathy, covert narcissists are unable to understand feelings. As they are incapable of connecting with others, they become emotionally and socially needy. Their relationships are often empty and superficial as they are highly self-involved and don’t have anything to contribute to the relationship.
As a result, their partner eventually realizes how empty narcissists are inside and the relationship ends sooner than expected. Hence, “I am better off alone,” are some of the things covert narcissists say.
Related reading: 7 Signs of A Female Narcissist