Could you be an introverted narcissist? Below, you will find eight signs that might help you.

Narcissism. It’s everywhere you look. From the endless selfies of today’s younger generation to the diva demands of precious celebrities. That’s the whole point with narcissists, they are easy to recognize. But what if I told you there was a different kind of narcissist that isn’t so simple to spot?

Many researchers believe there are two types of narcissists, the first one is extroverted or overt, and the second is the introverted or covert.

Psychologist Scott Barry Kaufman explains that extrovert narcissists “tended to be aggressive, self-aggrandizing, exploitative, and have extreme delusions of grandeur and a need for attention,” whereas introverted narcissists were more prone to “feelings of neglect or belittlement, hypersensitivity, anxiety, and delusions of persecution.”

Where do narcissistic traits come from?

Narcissism is thought to be created in childhood when a parent or primary caregiver either over-indulges a child or completely neglects them. The child is either rewarded for doing very little and grows up with a sense of entitlement that is not deserved, or they receive little to no encouragement, which inevitably leaves them emotionally void as they enter adulthood.

Typical extroverted narcissistic traits include:

  • Extreme delusions of grandeur
  • Attention-seeking
  • Manipulation
  • Vanity
  • Self-assuredness
  • Self-aggrandizing
  • Exploitative

As for an introverted narcissist, an individual who suffers from this disorder displays signs of:

  • Lack of self-confidence
  • Hyper-sensitivity
  • Anxiety
  • Insecurity
  • Low self-esteem
  • Timidity

At first glance, these two lists of characteristics could not be any more different, but researchers agree that both types of narcissists share some common traits.

They both have an exaggerated sense of entitlement, share grandiose fantasies, are conceited about their so-called achievements, and put their own needs above all others. The main difference between extroverted narcissists and introverted ones is that introverted narcissists keep their grand notions mostly to themselves.

So how can you tell if you are, or know an introverted narcissist? Below are eight signs that might help you:

  1. Self-deprecation

We all fall into the trap of feeling bad about ourselves, belittling our accomplishments, and feeling like a failure. It’s human to feel this way from time to time. After all, many people have issues with their self-esteem and are too self-critical.

However, in the case of introverted narcissists, self-deprecation is a form of attention-seeking. People who always play down their achievements are really begging you to compliment them. This is a sneaky way of asking for approval in what appears to be a humble way.

So how do we differentiate an insecure introvert from a covert narcissist? It is very simple. Introverts who have low self-esteem tend to diminish themselves only in their minds and rarely share their self-deprecating thoughts with others.

Covert narcissists, in turn, will talk about their failures and unhappiness all the time to evoke empathy in you and get your praise and reassurance.

  1. No Empathy

Any type of narcissist cannot put themselves in your shoes, it’s just impossible. Both extroverted and introverted narcissists believe the world exists to serve their needs, but if others need help, it is an inconvenience to them.

The only difference is that a covert narcissist won’t show it openly. For example, if you are in trouble and need their help, they will think up a very good excuse to not help you. Moreover, they will probably distort the conversation in such a way that you will believe they are in an even worse situation than you. So you will end up feeling sorry for them and guilty for asking for their help.

The truth is that it is quite simple to confuse an introverted person for being cold and lacking empathy. Thus, you can assume that an introverted narcissist is just guarded and shy because of their introversion. In reality, however, they really don’t care about anyone else except for themselves.

  1. Childish responses

Question an introverted narcissist and you will get a typically immature response that either shuts you down immediately, or they become passive-aggressive towards you.

This too stems from a lack of empathy and low emotional intelligence. Any type of narcissist can have immature emotional responses and is clueless and indifferent about the emotions of others.

An introverted narcissist doesn’t care about your feelings. So if the conversation is getting uncomfortable for them, they will do everything to end it as quickly as possible. Hence the childish responses or the unreasonable silent treatment.

So if you are calling a covert narcissist out or are talking about your hurt feelings, don’t expect to have a constructive conversation. They prefer to behave in an immature way, ignore you, or pretend that they didn’t hear or understand you than to be exposed or take responsibility for their actions.

  1. A quiet sense of superiority

Extroverted narcissists will tell you in no uncertain terms about how great they are. Introverted ones do it slightly differently; they’ll be unbearably smug and quietly condescending.

They will never openly show their inflated ego to other people. But you can notice it if you pay attention. For example, an introverted narcissist may make sarcastic comments about other people that may come off as funny but are cruel and arrogant in essence.

Watch their body language and facial expressions too. A covert narcissist may express their boredom at your achievements with body language such as eye-rolling or yawning.

They may have a patronizing attitude as well. For example, an introverted narcissist may give you a piece of advice you never asked for. And they will do it in such a way like they are an expert in the field and know better than anyone what you should do. On the surface, it may look like the narcissist is simply concerned about you and wants to help. In reality, though, they couldn’t care less. All they want is to show their superiority and get your praise for their incredible wisdom.

  1. Cannot listen to others

Introverted narcissists do not want to waste time talking to other people about their problems, so unlike empathetic introverts, they definitely do not make good listeners. A good listener is one who puts aside their own dilemmas to concentrate on another person. An introverted narcissist simply doesn’t care enough.

When you don’t have enough empathy and genuinely don’t care, the only thing you can do is pretend that you are listening. Thus, you will notice the signs such as indifferent one-word replies, yawning, looking elsewhere, and a general lack of interest.

All a narcissist wants is to turn the conversation to themselves. Even if you are sharing your personal problems with them and are asking for friendly advice, they will end up talking about themselves. It will show like they are giving you an example or a piece of advice based on their personal experience.

In reality, though, they probably didn’t even hear what you said. An introverted narcissist just wants your attention, that’s all. You may well end up discussing their problems instead.

  1. Self-Absorbed

A very typical characteristic of an introverted narcissist is their sense of self-absorption. Most people, events, or issues are not as important as themselves and they quickly discern who around them will provide them with the attention they require and dismiss the others.

Well, this one can be tricky. After all, all introverted people tend to be self-absorbed to a certain extent. This is because they are overly focused on their inner world and are busy analyzing their thoughts and experiences.

However, just like in the case of self-deprecation that we talked about above, introverts rarely show their self-absorption to others. An introverted narcissist, on the contrary, will show it all the time. Everything always will be about them. Every conversation, situation, failure, and success will have to do with them.

Any narcissist believes that they are the center of the universe, so even a covert one can’t always hide it.

  1. Passive-Aggressive

We have already talked about the immature behaviors of the narcissist above. Passive aggression is one of them. This is a perfect characteristic for an introverted narcissist as they can use a quiet way to disarm or unbalance you. Examples of passive-aggressive behavior might manifest itself in continued lateness or reneging on previous promises and then acting as if it is not important.

Yes, once again, introverts can sometimes behave in a passive-aggressive way too. For example, they may give you the silent treatment if you hurt them. But they do it because they need time to make sense of their feelings and it’s difficult for them to talk about it. In reality, they do care about you and don’t want to make you unhappy.

An introverted narcissist, on the other hand, uses passive aggression as an emotional manipulation tactic and a way to escape from responsibility. They will never admit that they simply don’t care. By ignoring you and giving you the silent treatment, they are making you feel guilty and are twisting the whole situation to their advantage.

  1. Overly Sensitive to Criticism

An introverted narcissist is extremely sensitive to criticism and will either sulk and withdraw from the situation or dismiss you with a smug remark or superior comment.

So what is the difference between a sensitive introvert and an introverted narcissist? An introvert will never overreact. They hate drama and even if your critical comment hurt them, they will barely show it.

An introverted narcissist will do quite the opposite. They will show in every way how much you hurt them and how wrong you are. For example, they will have a purposely sad expression on their face and will refer to your cruel comment again and again. They will do it until you apologize and say how wrong you were.

You see, passive aggression is a covert narcissist’s second nature. They love these kinds of psychological games.

Alternatively, an introverted narcissist may switch to their patronizing behavior and show you that you are not competent enough to give them criticism. They will come out as being superior and misunderstood by a mediocre mind.

There are differences between an extroverted and an introverted narcissist.

Extroverted narcissists are pretty open about their supposed superiority over others. Introverted narcissists also believe that they are unique and special people but think that they are completely misunderstood by others.

By keeping their thoughts to themselves, they manage to maintain a façade, which ultimately, protects them against the outside world. It acts as a comfort to them, as to reveal their vulnerabilities would simply be impossible.

References:

  1. www.psychologytoday.com
  2. scientificamerican.com
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