50+ Things Covert Narcissist Say (Examples + Reasons)

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Practical Psychology

Navigating the complex world of human relationships, one might come across the infamous figure of the covert narcissist. Unlike their overt counterparts who display clear self-absorption and grandiosity, covert narcissists present a more subtle and insidious form of narcissism. Characterized by a strong sense of entitlement, self-importance, and manipulation, they can be difficult to identify, often hiding behind a mask of shyness or introversion.

What is a covert narcissist?

Covert narcissists are experts at concealing their true nature, making them particularly challenging to recognize and understand. Their tactics often involve passive-aggressiveness, guilt-tripping, and playing the victim to achieve their objectives.

By subtly manipulating others and maintaining an air of innocence, they protect their fragile ego while maintaining control over their environment and relationships.

In this article, we delve into the phrases and statements often uttered by covert narcissists, shining a light on their hidden world of self-absorption and manipulation. By understanding the language and behavior patterns of a covert narcissist, one can better recognize their presence and develop strategies to navigate their intricate web of deceit and control.

Things Covert Narcissist Say

  1. "I'm not like other people."
  2. "I don't know why people are always so jealous of me."
  3. "I can't help it if I'm just naturally gifted."
  4. "I'm only trying to help; you should be grateful."
  5. "I don't need to brag, but I'm pretty amazing."
  6. "I would never intentionally hurt anyone, but some people are just too sensitive."
  7. "You're lucky to have someone like me in your life."
  8. "I just don't understand why others can't see things the way I do."
  9. "It's not my fault that others can't keep up with me."
  10. "If you can't handle me at my worst, you don't deserve me at my best."
  11. "I'm only giving you constructive criticism because I care about you."
  12. "You're too emotional; you need to learn to be more rational."
  13. "I can't help it if people are drawn to me."
  14. "I'm just being honest; I can't help it if the truth hurts."
  15. "You're overreacting; I didn't mean it that way."
  16. "I'm just misunderstood; people never give me a chance."
  17. "You should be thankful for my advice; not everyone gets my insight."
  18. "I know it's hard for you to understand, but I'm on a different level."
  19. "I don't have many friends because most people can't handle my intensity."
  20. "It's not my responsibility to cater to your emotions."
  21. "You should be more appreciative of the sacrifices I make for you."
  22. "I'm only trying to help you become a better person."
  23. "I know it's hard for you to admit, but I'm usually right."
  24. "I don't need to prove myself to anyone; I know my worth."
  25. "If you were more like me, you'd be more successful."
  26. "I really don't understand why people always feel threatened by me; I'm just being myself."
  27. "You know, I'm only hard on you because I want you to reach your full potential. You should be grateful for my guidance."
  28. "I think it's important for you to know that I'm highly respected and admired by my peers, but I'm just being humble about it."
  29. "I'd be careful about sharing your problems with me; I have a knack for solving them, and you might become too dependent on me."
  30. "When I tell you how you can improve, it's only because I see so much potential in you, and I care enough to invest my time."
  31. "I've always been able to achieve anything I set my mind to, but I guess not everyone has that ability."
  32. "You need to learn to be more like me; I always keep my emotions in check, and that's why I'm so successful."
  33. "It's not my fault if people become envious of my accomplishments. I can't help being a high achiever."
  34. "I only surround myself with people who appreciate my greatness; I don't have time for negativity or mediocrity."
  35. "It's a shame that you don't have the same level of insight and understanding as I do; your life would be so much easier."
  36. "You should really try harder to impress me; after all, it's not easy to find someone of my caliber."
  37. "I'm only pointing out your flaws because I want you to be the best version of yourself, and you need my guidance."
  38. "I can't help it if people look up to me; I'm just a natural-born leader."
  39. "I have a unique perspective on things; it's a burden, but it's what sets me apart from others."
  40. "You should really learn to be more assertive, like me. It's the only way to get ahead in life."
  41. "I'm just a perfectionist; I can't help but notice when things aren't up to my high standards."
  42. "It's unfortunate that you can't comprehend my thought process; you're really missing out on some valuable insights."
  43. "You should feel honored that I chose to spend my time with you; not everyone gets the privilege."
  44. "I don't want to brag, but it's hard not to when you're as accomplished and well-rounded as I am."
  45. "I've always been a self-sufficient person; I don't need others to validate me, but it's nice when they recognize my brilliance."
  46. "You should really take my advice more seriously; after all, it's coming from someone who knows what they're talking about."
  47. "I can't help it if I'm more intuitive and perceptive than others; it's both a gift and a curse."
  48. "You're fortunate to have me as a mentor; my wisdom and guidance are invaluable."
  49. "If you were just a little more like me, you'd have no trouble overcoming the obstacles in your life."
  50. "It's really quite amazing how I'm able to excel in everything I do; I guess I'm just a natural-born talent."

How To Identify A Covert Narcissist

1) Passive-aggressive behavior

Covert narcissists often exhibit passive-aggressive behavior as a way to express their feelings of anger or resentment without direct confrontation. This can manifest as subtle digs, backhanded compliments, or deliberate procrastination. For example, a covert narcissist might say something like, "It's great that you're finally taking your career seriously," which can be interpreted as both a compliment and an insult, leaving the recipient feeling confused and hurt.

2) Victim mentality

Covert narcissists tend to adopt a victim mentality, portraying themselves as innocent and misunderstood, even when they are the ones causing harm. They use this tactic to garner sympathy and attention from others while avoiding responsibility for their actions. For instance, a covert narcissist might share a story of how they were unfairly treated at work, conveniently leaving out the part where they provoked the situation or engaged in unprofessional behavior.

3) Guilt-tripping

Guilt-tripping is a common manipulation tactic used by covert narcissists to control others and maintain their self-image. They often make others feel guilty for not meeting their expectations or for standing up for themselves. For example, a covert narcissist might say, "After all I've done for you, I can't believe you would treat me this way," making the other person feel guilty for asserting their own needs or boundaries.

4) Backhanded compliments

A covert narcissist will often give backhanded compliments, which are seemingly positive statements that actually contain a subtle insult or criticism. This allows them to put others down while maintaining an appearance of kindness and sincerity. An example of a backhanded compliment might be, "You look so much better with makeup on," implying that the person is unattractive without it.

5) Emotional withdrawal and the silent treatment

Covert narcissists are known for using emotional withdrawal and the silent treatment as a means to punish those who do not comply with their desires or expectations. This tactic involves ignoring, avoiding, or refusing to communicate with the target, creating feelings of isolation and insecurity. For instance, if a partner confronts a covert narcissist about their behavior, the narcissist may respond by giving them the silent treatment, making the partner feel guilty and desperate for resolution.

Things Covert Narcissist Do

Covert narcissists, with their subtle and insidious tactics, can be highly skilled at manipulating and controlling those around them. One common behavior they exhibit is gaslighting, a psychological manipulation technique designed to make the target question their own perceptions and memory.

By sowing seeds of doubt and confusion, covert narcissists can gain power and control over their targets, leaving them feeling helpless and reliant on the narcissist for validation.

Another deceptive behavior exhibited by covert narcissists is their tendency to play the victim. They often portray themselves as innocent and misunderstood, even when they are the ones causing harm. By adopting a victim mentality, covert narcissists can garner sympathy and attention from others while evading responsibility for their actions. This tactic allows them to manipulate others into feeling sorry for them, further solidifying their control over the situation.

Covert narcissists may also use triangulation, a manipulation technique that involves pitting two people against each other to create conflict and divert attention from their own misbehavior. By doing so, they not only maintain control over the situation but also derive satisfaction from the chaos and conflict they create. This tactic can be particularly damaging to relationships, as it fosters distrust, animosity, and division among those involved.

They're also notorious for engaging in emotional blackmail. They use guilt, fear, and obligation to manipulate and control others, often exploiting their target's vulnerabilities and insecurities. This behavior can leave their targets feeling emotionally drained and trapped, fearing the consequences of not complying with the narcissist's demands. Emotional blackmail can be especially damaging to one's mental health and overall well-being, as it creates an unhealthy power imbalance in the relationship.

Due to the numerous manipulative and controlling behaviors covert narcissists engage in, it is crucial to be wary of their presence and influence in your life. Their tactics can cause significant emotional and psychological harm, leading to feelings of confusion, insecurity, and self-doubt.

By recognizing the signs of covert narcissism and understanding their manipulative tactics, you can protect yourself from their toxic influence and create healthier boundaries in your relationships.

Reference this article:

Practical Psychology. (2023, March). 50+ Things Covert Narcissist Say (Examples + Reasons). Retrieved from https://practicalpie.com/things-covert-narcissist-say/.

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