Are Covert Narcissists Jealous? (A Complete Guide)

In this guide, we will answer the question: “Are Covert Narcissists Jealous”. We also delve into understanding Narcissistic Personality Disorder (NPD), signs of a covert narcissist, and dealing with people with covert narcissism.

Are Covert Narcissists Jealous?

Yes, covert narcissists are jealous. Jealousy is an element commonly found in people with covert narcissism. Due to a sense of entitlement commonly associated with Narcissistic Personality Disorder, a covert narcissist believes they deserve to have what everyone else does. Therefore, when they don’t get it, they tend to be jealous.

What is Covert Narcissism?

Narcissistic Personality Disorder is a mental health condition. According to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Disorders (DSM-), NPD is marked by the following symptoms:

  • a constant need for admiration
  • an unrealistic sense of self-importance
  • lack of empathy
  • difficulty forming meaningful relationships

Narcissistic Personality Disorder is further categorized into two subtypes. These are grandiose/overt narcissism and vulnerable/covert narcissism. Both these subtypes share elements like lack of empathy and a constant need for admiration. However, the difference essentially lies in their outward behavior. 

The overt narcissist is generally extroverted, attention-seeking, and bold. The covert narcissist is introverted, shy, and often self-deprecating. They tend to be more withdrawn and self-absorbed.

Another term for covert narcissism is “hypersensitive narcissism” or “vulnerable narcissism”. Covert narcissists tend to be insecure. They lack the grandiose and loudness associated with overt narcissists. A covert narcissist believes their suffering is the most painful. 

The covert narcissist is generally insecure and self-deprecating. They believe their misery is greater than that of others.

A covert narcissist appears to be modest and shy. This is unlike the loud, bold, and grandiose expressions of the overt narcissist. However, a covert still harbors a sense of superiority. Researchers label this as “secret grandiosity”. They may not openly display this sense of superiority. This feeling of superiority over others tends to stem from their deeply insecure selves. A covert narcissist may avoid any task/situation that challenges this sense of superiority. For instance, they may avoid doing work they believe is subservient to them.

Covert Narcissism and Jealousy

Narcissists, in general, tend to play out the “I’m better than everyone else” song. Despite their inflated self-image, they do experience jealousy. A peculiar trait of a person with Narcissistic Personality Disorder (NPD) is a sense of entitlement. They believe they are entitled to have everything that others have. Therefore, when they lack something, the horns of jealousy might make an appearance.

They may not readily express these feelings. This particularly occurs when they feel others have things they deserve. This could span from wealth to status. This is also evident in their tendency to avoid social situations. People with covert narcissism fear comparing themselves with others in social situations. This often stems from a deep sense of insecurity.

They might also believe that they are envied by people around them due to their sense of superiority. In romantic relationships, people with covert narcissism may try to induce jealousy in their partners. This may be done for many reasons:

  1. This acts as a means to control the relationship
  2. As a means to take revenge for the partner’s bad behavior.
  3. Compensating for their low self-esteem
  4. Seeking security in the relationship

People with narcissism tend to sabotage their own romantic relationships, often by flirting with different people. They tend to induce feelings of jealousy as a means of pursuing a larger goal. They intentionally engage in behaviors that might make their partner jealous and envious. The reasons to induce jealousy may differ between overt narcissists and covert narcissists.

Covert Narcissism Signs :

People with covert narcissism are extremely sensitive to criticism. Situations that generally don’t affect others may stir up unpleasant feelings in a person with covert narcissism. They are likely to get offended easily and put on a defensive stance. They tend to adopt a passive-aggressive approach in such situations.

They are likely to find difficulty in establishing meaningful relationships. People with covert narcissism tend to have “an unrealistic and fragile sense of self”. This affects their ability to engage in meaningful connections with the people around them.

People with covert narcissism tend to avoid social situations. Such situations lead to feelings of jealousy/envy, a tendency to compare themselves with others, or social anxiety.

People with covert narcissism do not respect personal boundaries. They believe their life experiences are more important and difficult. Hence, they will not shy away from talking about it, even if the other person may not be in the right mental and emotional space for a conversation. They tend to disregard the other person’s stance during a conversation, placing emphasis only on their problems. This stems from a need for attention and the desire to be seen as special.

The term “empathy” may not be commonly associated with Narcissistic Personality Disorder. However, people with NPD can show sympathy. People with covert narcissism may display a willingness to help others. They may carry out acts of kindness that one may not conventionally associate with NPD. However, if they do not receive praise, appreciation, or gratitude for their help, they tend to become bitter and resentful. This self-serving empathy is displayed generally to receive admiration for others. In the absence of appreciation, they feel others have taken advantage of them.

People with covert narcissism experience self-deprecating tendencies. They tend to set unrealistic standards for themselves. They believe that others also hold them up to these standards. When they are unable to meet these unrealistic standards, they feel like a failure and experience feelings of inadequacy. Further, these feelings can trigger shame, jealousy, and feelings of powerlessness.

Causes

Previously conducted studies point to various causes of Narcissistic Personality Disorder (NPD). One, individuals with narcissistic personality traits grew up with parents who tended to overvalue their achievements. Their parents were likely to lay emphasis on status, achievements, and praising them frequently. In such instances, children tend to overvalue these elements, believing their superior to everyone else.

In a healthier parenting approach, parents exhibited affectionate and warm parenting styles. Parental affection makes a child feel valuable as opposed to feeling superior. Hence, the child is likely to develop healthy self-esteem.

According to the American Psychological Association, personality disorders, in general, are associated with genetics, verbal or sexual abuse, and childhood trauma.

People with covert narcissism may have parents who had similar traits. They may have been abused as children or could have experienced both. It is not clear as to how people develop different subtypes of NPD.

Dealing With a Person With Covert Narcissism

You may have crossed paths with a person with covert narcissism. It may have been a relationship, a friendship, a co-worker, or just some you engage with on a daily basis. It is difficult to interact and relate to someone with covert narcissism. However, it is important to remember that you cannot change or fix their behavior. Period. You can only focus on your behavior and exercise control over how you interact with them.

Do Not Take it Personally

 It may be difficult dealing with a narcissist. Their sense of entitlement, lack of regard for others, and manipulative tendencies may spill out into the relationship. The person at the receiving end, might blame themselves for their behavior. It is important to understand that narcissistic tendencies have nothing to do with you. It is important to examine your own contribution to the relationship and situation, yet one must not take these narcissistic behaviors personally.

Boundaries are Important

A person with narcissistic traits does not value the presence of healthy boundaries. A sense of entitlement is a prominent trait in individuals with narcissistic personality disorder. As a result, they lack empathy and exploit other individuals. They disregard the need for personal boundaries in a relationship. For some individuals, it may be difficult establishing and conveying boundaries in a relationship. However, it is essential to safeguard your own values. One can start by understanding why they need to set boundaries. This will facilitate the process of establishing them.

Advocate for Yourself

People with covert narcissism can be manipulative. While engaging with them, one might lose sense of their own values, goals and beliefs. It is important to take stock of these or actively advocate for yourself in such a situation. Learning to know yourself better will help you take a better stand for yourself.

Healthy Distance

It may be difficult interacting with a person with covert narcissism. It can be emotionally draining and frustrating. Their behaviors may be embedded in manipulative tendencies and lack of empathy. Their sense of entitlement leads to the violation of personal boundaries. Hence, it is important to maintain healthy distance to safeguard your mental well being.

 Limiting interactions with them might help. This enables you to create space for yourself to heal.

Why is this blog on “Are Covert Narcissists Jealous?” important?

This blog outlines the different sides of a covert narcissist. In case you are dealing with a person with covert narcissism, the information summarised here might help you.

Conclusion

In this blog, we answered the question “Are Covert Narcissists Jealous?”. We delved into understanding Narcissistic Personality Disorder (NPD), signs of a covert narcissist, and how to deal with people with covert narcissism.

FAQs: Are Covert Narcissists Jealous?

What do narcissists hate the most?

For a narcissist, admiration from others is very valuable. They thrive on praise and admiration. In its absence, they are uncomfortable (psych2go.net)

Do narcissists realize they are a narcissist?

Studies have shown that narcissists are fully aware of their reputation as a narcissist. Despite knowing this, they maintain their inflated self-image. They feel others are jealous of them or simply fail to recognize their brilliance as individuals (psychologytoday.com).

Do narcissists ever miss you?

Narcissists tend to see every person in their life on the same emotional level. Their reaction to situations like the end of a relationship might be very different from the general reaction. The person may have been their source of praise and admiration. In the absence of such praise, they might feel frustrated. Hence, there could be two possible outcomes:

They will frantically pursue the person in hopes of getting back with the person.
They might declare that the person did not deserve them/ they are too good for them. They may also pretend to be the ones who dumped the person (psychologia.com)

Do covert narcissists get worse with age?

Narcissistic Personality Disorder (NPD) is a personality disorder. The personality traits of NPD are unlikely to change. A person with NPD will not become agreeable, empathic, or flexible with age. Further, since this is a personality disorder involving the ego, it might exacerbate with age (thenarcissticlife.com)

References

Signs of covert narcissism

https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/covert-narcissist#signs

7 Signs You’re Dealing With A Covert Narcissist

https://www.mindbodygreen.com/articles/covert-narcissist

10 Signs of Covert Narcissism

https://www.healthline.com/health/covert-narcissist#envy

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