7 Phrases Used By Covert Narcissists That Reveal Who They Are

In contrast to overt narcissists, covert narcissists tend to initially appear innocent, shy, patient, humble, and altruistic. But when you start interacting with them, you realize that they are not at all what you thought they were. Here are things covert narcissists say that show they are deceitful, harmful, and a good narcissists.

What is hidden narcissism?

Covert narcissists, also known as vulnerable narcissists, show fewer visible signs of narcissistic personality disorder (NPD). Although they may still possess narcissistic traits, they also appear modest, emotionally fragile, and shy.

They are often sensitive to opinions and criticism from others and tend to be anxious and tense. Oftentimes, covert narcissists say self-deprecating statements and constantly compare themselves to others.

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“Vulnerable narcissism entails pronounced self-indulgence, low self-esteem, hypervigilance, shyness, social withdrawal, and emotional hypersensitivity,” explains one 2021 study. No matter what they may look like, covert narcissists possess key narcissistic traits such as –

To be self-involved
Excessive sensitivity to criticism
They lack empathy and tend to have low self-esteem and self-confidence. They are also very self-conscious, have social insecurities, and are defensive.

Covert narcissists desperately crave attention, importance, and admiration from others. However, covert narcissists are experts at masking their subtle narcissistic traits, which makes them even more difficult to identify.

7 things narcissists say often
So what do covert narcissists say that can help you identify one? Here are the things covert narcissists say that can reveal their reality and help you discover one no matter how hard they try to hide their true nature –

  1. “I never said anything like that, you seem confused.”
    This is one of the most common things narcissists say. Gaslighting is a form of emotional abuse that narcissists use to manipulate and control their victims.

The covert narcissist lies denies, or misleads the victim into believing a false narrative that can cause the victim to question their sanity. This is one of the most widely used narcissistic tactics because it makes the victim confused and full of self-doubt, making it easier to control them.

Related reading: Why Narcissists Twist The Truth: Logical Explanation

  1. “Nobody wants me to succeed, but I will.”
    Studies show that pathological narcissism is linked to paranoia. Researchers note that automatic negative thought patterns and extreme sensitivity to perceived insults from others can lead to “persistent paranoid thinking” in narcissists. They believe that “even subtle changes in the dynamics of existing interpersonal relationships were indicative of negative underlying motivations on the part of others.”

Hence, statements like, “No one wants to see me happy” or “I will show you all what I am capable of,” are some of the common things that covert narcissists say. They think that everyone is lucky except them or that others are conspiring against them so they fail at everything.

Because of their external locus of control, they can never control their lives and don’t feel motivated to try. They think everyone hates them and try to take advantage of them, even when it isn’t true in any way.

  1. “You don’t know how much I suffered.”
    Covert narcissists have a strong sense of inadequacy and entitlement, which leads to resentment and victimization. Since they lack self-confidence and low self-esteem, they feel good about themselves by pretending to be the victim.

They want others to believe that the narcissist has suffered a lot in life, and therefore they deserve your sympathy, sympathy, love, and admiration.

  1. “Oh, that was no big deal.”
    This is one of the things covert narcissists say that compliments are hard for them to accept. Covert narcissists are highly insecure individuals with a poor sense of self.

When they are complimented on their performance accomplishments, they will either belittle their efforts or say self-deprecating statements to counter your compliments.

They might say something like – “Oh, that was so easy, you could have done it better than me if you were there.” Such statements often bring more compliments, validation, and reassurance from others, which the narcissist desperately seeks.

  1. “Everyone disappoints me, I’d rather be alone.”
    Because they lack empathy, covert narcissists are unable to understand feelings. Since they are unable to connect with others, they become emotionally and socially needy. Their relationships are often empty and superficial because they are too self-involved and have nothing to contribute to the relationship.

As a result, their partner eventually realizes how empty the narcissist is inside and the relationship ends sooner than expected. Hence, “I am better off alone” are some of the things narcissists say in secret.

Related reading: 7 Clever Slang Terms For Discussing Narcissism

  1. “I am very busy right now.”
    If you interact with a narcissist daily, you know that it’s just one of those things that covert narcissists always say seem important to you.

Looking busy is a simple and subtle way for them to increase their value to their friends and family. By pretending to be busy all the time, they will make you feel like they are doing something very important, whenever you try to contact them.

While you may believe their lies and think they work hard to meet deadlines, in reality, a covert narcissist is bored with their wit. Not only do they not have much work on their hands, but they also want you to beg them to meet you and boost their ego.

  1. “Some people are very lucky. I can never get anything I want no matter how hard I try. “
    It’s just one of the secret things narcissists say when you compliment them. Why? Because they like to play the victim. They like to play the victim card at every opportunity, especially to hide their failures. They will always find someone or something else to blame for their failures, whether it be their parents, education, finances, life experiences, or even their luck.

They always find one thing or the other to blame, except for themselves. Covert narcissists are jealous of people who achieve success and greatness despite facing obstacles. But they know how to hide their jealousy by acting like the victim in any scenario.

Related reading: Mental Murder Tactic: When The Narcissist Says ‘You Are Dead To Me’

Other common phrases and things narcissists say
Here are some other things covert narcissists say while using different narcissistic tactics –

  1. Love Bombing:
    When love bombs you, a covert narcissist might say things that sound like this –

“I love you so much.”
“I’ve never met anyone like you.”
“How can someone as amazing as you be single?”
“I know we just met, but I think I’m falling in love with you.”
“You can’t go wrong. You are always perfect to me.”

  1. Devaluation:
    Here are some of the things covert narcissists say when devaluing or insulting you –

“There’s a reason everyone says you’re a difficult person.”
“I can never make you happy. Can I? You always want more.”
“Is this what you wear to the party?”
“Stop being so sensitive all the time.”
Instead of blaming me, look at yourself first.

  1. Gaslighting:
    Narcissists love the spotlight and have a set of subtle statements that make you doubt yourself –

“You’re making things up in your head again.”
“Nothing like this happened.”
“It was just a joke. Sit back.”
“I know you like to exaggerate, but that’s not what I remember.”
“Stop overreacting, it wasn’t as bad as you say.”
Related reading: 6 Secret Tactics Manipulators Use to Control and Confuse You

  1. Blame:
    Some of the things covert narcissists say while shifting the blame might sound like this –

“I don’t want to say it, but it was your fault.”
“You are forcing me to hide things from you.”
“No wonder no one likes you. You are so selfish.”
“Why do you always ruin everything?”
“You need to see a therapist as soon as possible.”

  1. Emotional abuse:

Although the abuse is subtle, it can be harmful. Here are the things narcissists say in secret while subtly abusing you –

“I forgot, okay? Don’t make too much of this.”
“For screaming so loud, just let it go. You’re so annoying.”
“You are very manipulative and controlling.”
“You are a liar. I can never trust you.”
“Just admit it, you never loved me.”

Related reading: Are Narcissists Smarter Than Other People?

Dealing with a hidden narcissist

How to disarm a narcissist.

It can be difficult to read the mind of a covert narcissist, but when you pay attention to the common phrases a covert narcissist uses, you will be better able to spot and deal with them. Make sure to set strong personal boundaries, avoid taking things personally, don’t try to change them, and step away if necessary.

Having said that, you should also encourage narcissists to seek medical help because therapy and therapy can help them change their personality and behavior. It may also be helpful for you to seek therapy, especially if you are in a relationship or have been abused by a covert narcissist.

A therapist can help you better understand the mentality and behavior of narcissists and provide you with coping strategies to build a healthy relationship and a better life.

Related reading: What Narcissists Think And What They Say