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Covert narcissists can be more difficult to detect than their overt counterparts because they tend to be more subtle in their behavior. Some common signs of a covert narcissist include:
Self-victimization: Covert narcissists often present themselves as victims of circumstances or other people, which allows them to gain sympathy and attention.
Passive-aggressive behavior: They may use passive-aggressive tactics to get what they want, such as giving the silent treatment, sulking, or making sarcastic comments.
Lack of empathy: Covert narcissists may have difficulty empathizing with others and tend to focus on their own needs and desires.
Low self-esteem: Despite their grandiose sense of self-importance, covert narcissists may actually have low self-esteem and feel insecure about themselves.
Perfectionism: They may have a perfectionistic streak, setting high standards for themselves and others, and becoming critical and judgmental when those standards are not met.
Need for control: Covert narcissists may try to control situations and people around them, often subtly, to maintain a sense of power and superiority.
Envy: They may feel envious of others who have what they want, and may even try to sabotage them in order to feel better about themselves.