The exact cause or causes of someone becoming a covert narcissist is not well understood, but there is some anecdotal evidence and psychological theories that suggest a few possible explanations. Some believe that covert narcissism is a result of socializing in an environment where a person experienced emotional neglect, abuse, or trauma; this theory is based on the premise that these experiences lead the person to develop an inflated sense of importance and seek out a grandiose vision for themselves.
Another explanation for covert narcissism is that it is a type of defense mechanism; when an individual is unable to fulfill their own needs for admiration, for example due to a lack of self-esteem, they may compensate through seeking admiration from others in an excessive manner.
Furthermore, an individual’s genetics and personality traits may also play a role in their tendency to become a covert narcissist. Ultimately, the key factors that lead someone to become a covert narcissist are still not completely understood and are likely things such as a combination of traumatic events, environmental factors, genetics, and personality traits.
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What is covert narcissism caused by?
Covert narcissism (also known as closet narcissism) is a type of disorder characterized by a deep-seated pattern of extreme self-centeredness, insecurity, fragile self-esteem, and hypersensitivity to criticism.
It is a form of narcissism that, unlike its more extroverted cousin, does not advertise itself in obvious ways. Instead, covert narcissists rely on subtle psychological manipulation in order to project their desired version of themselves onto others.
The root cause of covert narcissism is not known. It is believed to have biological, environmental, and psychological components. Research suggests that genetic factors may play a role, as the disorder appears to run in families.
It has also been argued that adverse childhood experiences can contribute to its development. People who have been neglected or unloved, for example, may develop narcissistic traits as a way of protecting themselves from future hurt and rejection.
In addition, research has shown that psychological needs, such as a need for admiration, attention and gratification, are present in covert narcissism.
What kind of childhood creates a covert narcissist?
A childhood that creates a covert narcissist is often one where the child experienced a great deal of invalidation. This could take the form of emotional neglect, not receiving the nurturing and support a child needs, or even overt rejection or criticism from a parent or caregiver.
This kind of environment teaches the child to be self-reliant and to internalize their feelings, leading to the development of a false self-image and of an extreme self-centeredness. The covert narcissist will be overly sensitive to criticism and extremely defensive when their sense of grandiosity or self-worth is challenged.
They will have difficulty downloading or empathizing with the needs and emotions of other people. On the outside, they may come across as polite, but emotionally distant and uninterested in forming meaningful relationships.
What is the root cause of narcissism?
The root cause of narcissism is not entirely understood and is likely a combination of multiple factors, including genetics, environment, and upbringing. It is possible that a flawed sense of self, low self-esteem, and insecurity are due to conditions experienced in childhood, such as being excessively praised or the absence of parental warmth.
Having overly permissive, rejecting, or indifferent parents can also shape the development of narcissistic traits and lead to narcissistic behavior in adulthood. It is also likely that biological factors, such as changes in neurochemical balances, play a part in the development of narcissism.
Lastly, certain people may be at risk of developing narcissism due to their temperament and personality type, such as someone who is naturally more extraverted and highly driven.
What are covert narcissists like as children?
Covert narcissists are a type of narcissist that often fly under the radar and can present as more vulnerable or shy compared to the more overt, grandiose types of narcissists. As children, covert narcissists tend to have higher than average levels of sensitivity and are likely to be seen as “old souls” or introverts from a young age.
They may have difficulty regulating their emotions and have trouble with attachment that drastically affects their interpersonal relationships. As a result, they may be prone to isolation or clinginess.
Covert narcissists often internalize their emotions, which can contribute to feelings of anxiety or depression in childhood. They may exhibit perfectionistic tendencies, perfectionistic goals, and could be very sensitive to criticism or disapproval.
They may also display an inflated sense of importance, self-entitlement, and an expectation that they should always be treated as the center of attention. They may also be extremely sensitive when others do not approve of them and may be overly resentful of criticism.
In childhood, covert narcissists may give the impression that they are very shy and socially awkward, which may make them come across as unassuming or humble. They may also be highly intuitive and sensitive to the emotions of those around them, which can make them appear mature for their age.
All of these characteristics can make covert or emotionally sensitive narcissists difficult to identify at an early age.
What does a relationship with a covert narcissist look like?
A relationship with a covert narcissist often starts off looking like any normal relationship; romantic, passionate, exciting and loving. Unfortunately, over time these types of relationships become emotionally and physically abusive.
The partner of a covert narcissist typically feels like they are constantly on a rollercoaster full of ups and downs, trying to make sense of why they feel so alone and unloved.
The partner of the covert narcissist is often left feeling confused and empty due to the frequent manipulation and gaslighting they must endure. The partner of the covert narcissist will often feel unheard and not validated by their partner and develop anxiety and depression due to the lack of emotional attachment in the relationship.
The covert narcissist creates a reality for their partner where their feelings, needs and personal desires remain unimportant and invalidated.
The covert narcissist often exhibits manipulative, passive-aggressive behaviors such as withholding physical and emotional affection and trying to control their partner without them fully knowing what’s going on.
This type of manipulation often leads their partners to feel guilt and an inability to express their own feelings, needs and wants due to a fear of not being heard and the relationship ending.
The covert narcissist often develops strong feelings of inferiority, so they put up a mask of confidence to the outside world. To their partner, they might often appear like a wounded, vulnerable person in need of support and reassurance.
This type of manipulation is often referred to as “narcissistic supply” as it allows the covert narcissist to feel important and superior.
The unhappiness and lack of emotional stability and security in a relationship with a covert narcissist is often difficult to recognize and difficult to free oneself from. If you feel like you are in a relationship with a covert narcissist, seek professional help and guidance, as it is important to learn healthy and safe tactics and methods to protect yourself and your mental health.
Do covert narcs have empathy?
The short answer is that it is difficult to definitively say whether or not covert narcotics have empathy. In general, it is accepted that each individual is capable of feeling empathy, regardless of their roles or professions.
However, because covert narcs are required to assume the identity of criminals to some extent, and are also charged with investigating and infiltrating dangerous criminal networks, it can be argued that this can lead to a blurring of the personal and professional realms.
As such, it can be difficult for covert narcs to differentiate their personal feelings from those required for their roles, which can in turn reduce their ability to feel empathy.
Various studies have attempted to examine this question, with some providing evidence that individuals working as covert narcs can indeed feel empathy. For example, one study conducted with FBI agents found that many of the participants identified that they understood and appreciated the feelings of those individuals they were attempting to capture or investigate.
Similarly, some former undercover narcs have reported having a sense of ‘empathetic understanding’ for their targets, and were able to identify common emotional experiences that could often help them to build successful rapport with suspects.
However, other scholars have argued that the nature of undercover work often puts narcs in a vulnerable emotional position, as they must constantly be prepared to use deception to afford themselves the best chance of completing their mission.
In the process, covering narcs are often observed in a state of cognitive dissonance, in which they repeatedly have to perform tasks that conflict with their personal beliefs. This can impair their ability to feel empathy, although it should be noted that not every individual in this line of work is adversely affected.
In conclusion, it appears that the ability of covert narcs to feel empathy varies from individual to individual, although due to the emotionally demanding nature of the job it is likely that this ability does not always remain consistent.
Does the narcissist care about you?
It is difficult to answer whether a narcissist truly cares about someone else or not. Narcissists tend to be very self-focused and this can lead to them not appearing to genuinely care about others. They may seem to be caring and act in a way that suggests care on the surface, but there is often a lack of genuine concern for someone else.
They may appear to be interested in you or be kind and generous, but these actions may be primarily motivated by a need to be admired or to maintain an image. They may also use people to gain some sort of benefit for themselves, rather than out of genuine care for another person.
This does not mean that all narcissists are unable to care for others, but it may be difficult to determine the true motive behind their behavior.