Introverted Narcissists do exist — and many pose as shy people but have a chip on their shoulder. Learn how to spot the warning signs you are in the midst of an overt Narcissist or covert predator.
Introverted Narcissists are socially reclusive, grandiose, hateful people who tend to believe they are far smarter or better than virtually all other people.
Thanks (in part) to reality television stars, people all around the world are starting to talk about how to spot the red flags and warning signs that an Overt Narcissist is in our midst.
But not all people who present with narcissistic traits are the same.
Some of them can be downright nasty in private as well as in public, so handling interactions with them with a healthy sense of respect for their predatory nature is key to avoiding being sucked into drama by an Introverted Narcissist who is socially reclusive by nature.
Psychology Today writes, “Narcissism is often associated with its many external manifestations, including attention seeking, grandstanding, superficial charm, lack of reliability, boundary violation, manipulation, and many other traits.
However, not all narcissists are openly grandiose and outwardly intrusive. Various researchers and authors have written about the introverted narcissist, variously identified as the covert narcissist, the hypersensitive narcissist, the closet narcissist, and the vulnerable narcissist.
This subtype of narcissism is more hidden, and yet can carry the same self-conceit and negative contagion as their extroverted counterpart.”
The self-help themed psychology website notes that people who are Introverts can easily hide it when and if they are Covert Narcissists by nature. The same thing goes for people who lack obvious charisma or ability to mimic empathy in other people; such personality types that tend toward Anti-Social Personality Disorder by nature are easily able to mask their character by remaining aloof and not making it obvious that they think they are actually better than other people.
Introverted Narcissists, or those people who are shy or reclusive by nature but still compare themselves readily to other people, are a strange lot. Overt Narcissists tend to be extroverted and boisterous, while their introverted counterparts have to be prompted to let their true feelings leak out.
Both types display traits of egocentrism, self-entitlement, and a level of grandiosity. However, people might not realize the Introvert has a personality disorder when and if they elect to spend little to no social time engaging in making small talk or idle chit chat with other people.
An Extrovert thrives on attention even when they do NOT have a personality disorder. An Introvert, on the other hand, typically prefers to have their name and face out of the spotlight.
The more narcissistic an Introvert, however, the more likely they are to truly be obsessed with caring what other people actually think of or about them in all circumstances — with their ultimate goal being to impress them but their innermost fears prompting them to treat anyone who compliments them with outright suspicion.
Why would an Introverted Narcissist be suspicious of other people complimenting them? Because when a Covert Narcissist compliments someone, you can bet your bottom dollar that they are secretly jealous of or about to snark them.
Covert Narcissists are the sort of people who simply cannot wait to add the word “but” into a sentence after giving someone a half-hearted or backhanded compliment. Most have an inability to feel happy for the success of another. They are all also fiercely competitive socially and emotionally, taking pride in things like their intellectual ability to pull off insulting other people without anyone noticing.
Covert Sociopaths tend to care more about privacy and control issues if they are not socially or emotionally confident in social settings. They will derive a feeling of pleasure that no one knows a thing about them.
In comparison, an Introverted Narcissist who has a covert streak to their nature is likely to want people to recognize their greatness on their own without the narcy person needing to actually do anything to earn their respect, admiration, or trust.
Introverted Narcissists want to be treated like royalty. However, they grow uncomfortable when and if they must socially participate in creating their own self-aggrandizing buzz.
As the writers at Psychology Today say, “What both extrovert and introvert narcissists have in common is their employment of an outer veneer of superiority, to disguise their inner sense of vulnerability. While the extroverted narcissist will say, in so many ways, that I’m better than you, the introverted narcissist will [merely] strongly hint at it.”
Aloof behavior expressing clear hints at psychological or personal superiority are dead giveaways for Introverted Covert Narcissism. Those who express the traits or characteristics may not have the best physical appearances, so they tend to rely on thinking of themselves as smarter than others or simply more entitled to social respect and praise from other people.
Many Cerebral Narcissists happen to be Introverts by nature. Some will come right out to brag about things like degree holdings and professional accomplishments — expressing haughty behavior and rude mannerisms overtly.
Other less accomplished Introverted Narcissists will simply present with a list of blame-shifting excuses, telling anyone who will listen to their sad tales about how they are actually smarter and better than “educated” people despite never having been willing to or able to go through the hard work of actually going to school, earning degrees, or spending time actually doing anything significant (personally or professionally speaking).
But Sociopaths who are covert by nature are a more sinister and dangerous sort. They are the type of people most likely to finish degrees quietly and do things like infiltrating corporate management structures.
Many people who work odd jobs like driving trucks long-distance, who work the graveyard shift at hospitals or grocery stores, or who are in careers related to law enforcement or military are Sociopaths. An estimated 4% of the global population statistically is estimated to meet DSM5 diagnostic criteria for having Anti-Social Personality Disorder or ASPD, noting that many of them realize they are different from other people but may not know the reason why is because of their ASPD streak.
Because Sociopaths tend to be the worker bees of the corporate world, the drones who operate at middle management levels hated by coworkers or the cutthroat business executives who have no qualms about destroying wetland, for instance, where an endangered species of waterfowl return annually to breed when and if they think they have a new land project that will make them money or the local forest would make the perfect dump spot for toxic waste by criminal deed, keeping their names out of the spotlight helps them succeed.
The more under the radar they are hiding their cold-hearted nature, the more likely they are to professionally (rather than personally) succeed).
But Introversion and Narcissism make for a less stable mix. Covert Narcissists tend to be a bit lazy — the kind of people always looking to take a shortcut or who want to benefit from other people’s efforts without ever having to lift a finger themselves to make something happen. Covert Narcissists tend to expect things like praise and rewards to be given to them in life — without them ever having to earn accolades or respect from professional colleagues or fan bases of interest.
They are the kind of people who will file a frivolous lawsuit in an attempt to extort money from a person or large corporation in a settlement. For instance, if their small business failed due to gross mismanagement, they might jump on the bandwagon to blame shift responsibility for failure on a class-action lawsuit against a large conglomerate for something akin to a man-made natural disaster.
Whining incessantly about how life has not been fair to them is a huge red flag of Covert Narcissism. So is constantly making negative comments or remarks about other people in derogatory tones, then claiming they were simply joking around or kidding when and if a targeted victim elects to ask what they meant or subjectively report they felt hurt, undermined, or invalidated by the comment.
If they can threaten to extort money or get a promotion by blackmailing someone at the office, they will not only expect to be “gifted” whatever demands they are seeking, but also receive accolades for a “Job well done.”
The more passive-aggressive the personality type, the less they will hesitate to socially or financially “drop hints” to smear campaign when and if they elect to speak with someone in person or to talk at a group function like a business meeting or social gathering they have been forced to attend by a boss or a partner.
They truly are almost completely self-absorbed individuals, introverts with Cluster B personality types. Regarding their nature, Psychology Today also writes, “While most mature adults are capable of recognizing nuances of issues and giving people the benefit of the doubt, introvert narcissists tend to focus on only what they selfishly want and find agreeable. All else might be labeled as ‘boring’ or ‘stupid’.”
If they are mild Covert NPD, chances are they will stick to the social ridicule of narcissistic rivals amongst their small circle of close peers. But if they are ASPD people in hiding, look out. Expect extreme amounts of cyberbullying, smear campaigning, backstabbing, and manufacturing of triangulations. If they cannot win at accomplishing some goal or possessing some meritorious trait they esteem, then they are the type who will do or say whatever it takes to bring down their entire team or family with them.
Totally lacking in sincere respect for other people, they are the person who asks how you are doing, then does not bother to actually listen.
Once they hear that you are busy or not feeling well, they will demand you stop whatever it is you are dealing with to do whatever task or chore they command. The Introverted Narcissist, although tending to be a social hermit,
They expect you to help them without returning the favor. But in order to make themselves feel loved, respected, cared for, or powerful, they don’t want you to ever help them at a time that’s convenient.
When their friends, family member(s), partner(s), or co-workers need a helping hand or favor, guess which type is least likely to be found? That’s right — suddenly the Introverted Narcissist is not in the mood, they claim to not feel well, or they simply pull a vanishing act (avoiding social interaction entirely by manufacturing their own chaos inspiring disappearance.
Lacking the ability to engage in fair, partner relationships, the Covert Narcissist might be introverted, shy, and quiet in their typical demeanor, but inside there is a raging inferno of fiercely socially competitive hell.
Real relationships require reciprocity, meaning give and take; in narcissistic relationships, the narcy person demands then gets while the giver gives and gives and gives of themselves until they feel physically used and emotionally worn out.
Claiming to be special but “misunderstood”, the Covert predator looks to secure friendships and personal relationships with those most likely to make steadfast narcissistic supply sources. Not as good as their Overt counterparts at hunting or going on the prowl for new victims, they tend to befriend those who are People Pleasers by nature.
Because People Pleasers are their easiest mark. Because those who by nature or nurture desire to please, they are naturally observant problem solvers.
An Introvert sitting quietly in the corner at a party, fidgeting uncomfortably with his tie or her drink napkin will make the most crowd-pleasing hostesses or hosts feel uncomfortable. If the hospitality agent is an Empath, chances are they will bend over backward to do everything in their power to ensure the “shy” (translation: aloof and manipulative, condescending) person is at the very least physically comfortable even if it is perfectly obvious the passive attention seeker is having an otherwise dreadful time.
Not realizing that a person who withdraws socially from a crowd in an attempt to present themselves as aloof might be a social trick to net gain that person attention, a person who actually lets their own kind nature be projected onto other people can be easily duped by a cunning aggressor.
By trying to alleviate social pains for an Introvert who is actually a Covert Narcissist or an Introverted Sociopath in hiding, People Pleasers run the real risk of socially endangering themselves by relating.
So before you go leaping in to make a friendship with a person who seems to act like they are better than everyone else while they simultaneously avoid joining in during social outings with a crowd, think it through.
- Are there any red flags and warning signs of NPD in their behavior?
- Do they tend to express an extremely haughty nature?
- Does the person contribute negative or positive comments to conversations?
- Do they promote things like fear-based thinking or throw comments around like “be realistic” when and if someone broaches the topic of a new idea for something like a business in their presence?
- Do they seem to feel joy hearing happy news about other people or do they say, “Congratulations…” in a flat tone with a sneer of contempt surfacing on their face shortly thereafter?
- Do they seem to have the ability to express empathy for other people or to relate to anyone on a personal or professional level (meaning are they able to treat someone with equal regard to themselves or their own interests)?
- Are they able to participate in a team player setting without striving to manufacture undermining triangulations or sabotaging any group activity work?
- Does the person spend more time telling people all the reasons why they cannot ___________ (fill in the blank), meaning striving to undermine other people’s self-confidence or another person’s forward momentum on a project that excites them?
- Do they make excuse after excuse about why they have never been able to succeed personally, academically, or professionally speaking?
- Do they strive to promote exclusivity rather than inclusivity with regard to social cliques, religion, or social issues topics related to gender or sexual orientation?
All the aforementioned questions can help a person not only identify a Covert Narcissist disguised as an Introvert but also to reveal hidden Sociopaths. But there’s one major poker tell of sorts that nearly ever well-educated Covert but Introverted Narcissist tends to display — a propensity for Grammar Nazism.
People who dismiss the thoughts or ideas of others for things like spelling a word wrong or for a paper having a grammar error display arrogance coupled with an inability to listen.
By refusing to overlook grammar or spelling errors in an academic report, online in a social media conversation, or in a business setting in favor of comprehension, Grammar Nazis show their true nature expressing itself as an unwillingness to show other people respect, to validate, or to listen.