If He's Bad At These 3 Things, He's Likely A Covert Narcissist

Ditch him!

If He's Bad At These 3 Things, He's Likely A Covert Narcissist Getty Images

You can't put your finger on it, but something is not quite right with your new main squeeze. When you let your boyfriend know your feelings, he writes it off as not worthy of his attention. That is when he is even listening to you at all. 

What you go through is never as bad as what he's going through. It starts to seem like everything is all about him. He could even cheat on you and somehow found a way to be the victim. None of his friends ever have a bad word to say about him. In fact, its always praise. He always knows what to say to passively manipulate the people around him. But when he's behind closed doors he is judgemental to everyone he seemed to get along with, often tearing them apart. It almost makes you wonder what he really thinks about you.


RELATED: 20 EXTREMELY Brutal Signs You're In Love With A Narcissist

The truth is that there's a monster hiding just beneath the surface. 

While a classic narcissist may be fairly easily identifiable, sometimes a narcissist can be right under your nose and you wouldn't know it. Your sensitive introverted man might actually be a covert narcissist. Psychologist Elinor Greenberg took to Quora to reveal the three telling signs someone is a covert narcissist. Hint: instead of looking at what he does, pay attention to the things he can't do.

What is a Closet Narcissist?

In contrast to Exhibitionist Narcissists who seek the spotlight and openly proclaim their specialness, Closet Narcissists have been trained since early childhood to avoid saying: Look at me! Also, some lack the temperament to openly show off in an extroverted and obvious way.


At home as children, they were usually punished or devalued for bragging about their accomplishments. They have the same underlying problems that we encounter with Exhibitionist Narcissists:

  • Unstable self-esteem
  • Little or no emotional empathy
  • Acute awareness of status hierarchies and everyone’s place in them
  • The desire to be special and above other people
  • Inability to see the self and other people in a realistic, stable way as a mixture of liked and disliked qualities (Lack of “Whole Object Relations”).
  • Inability to maintain a positive emotional connection to those they care about when they are angry, disappointed, hurt, or frustrated by them (Lack of “Object Constancy”).

RELATED: How A Narcissist Thinks (Warning: It's Pretty Messed Up)

What are some things that someone with a “Closet Narcissistic Disorder” will have trouble doing:

1. Public Speaking


They are likely to find it very scary and unpleasant to have to give a speech about themselves and their own accomplishments.

2. Being the Center of Attention in a Group

Most people with Closet Narcissistic adaptations are uncomfortable being in the spotlight. It makes them feel too exposed and vulnerable to being devalued or exposed as lacking in some way.

3. Openly Confronting an Exhibitionist Narcissist

This combines two of their major fears: being in the spotlight and risking being publicly devalued.


Punchline: The name “Closet Narcissistic Disorder” itself strongly suggests that these Narcissists prefer to keep a low profile and get their Narcissistic supplies in a more covert fashion. Anything that puts them in the harsh, bright glare of the spotlight is likely to feel quite risky to them and better avoided.

RELATED: 8 Ways To Identify A Covert Narcissist (It's Easier Than You Think)

Jamille Jones is a freelance writer who taught English in Hiroshima, Japan for 2 years. She's an Asian culture enthusiast, chocolate addict, video gamer, and loves to teach for the heck of it.