Overt narcissists are often easy to identify because they throw themselves into the middle of everything. And then for good measure, they will use their loudest voice and demand attention. They don’t just walk into a room. They are the room. Covert narcissists, on the other hand, are a totally different story. Their behaviors will mask their narcissism because they want you to see them as the exact opposite: an empath.
So, how do you determine if she or he is a covert narcissist? Believe it or not, there are ways to get past the way they sneakily hide behind their mask. You can take this covert narcissist test to help you determine whether someone in your life is a covert narcissist.
Why a test? Because usually things start out fine with the narcissist in your life. They probably left a very good first impression. But then, over time, you realized things weren’t quite right. They may have said some weird things that just didn’t sit well with you at the time. Or, they may have randomly hidden things that belong to you. I know, it sounds pretty strange, but oddly enough, it can be a “normal” behavior for a covert narcissist when gaslighting you.
You may have even felt guilty for feeling something was wrong because they seem to be such a nice person. So, you continued to try to think positively about them. Until you just couldn’t shake the feeling that something was wrong anymore.
If any of this sounds like the person you are wondering about, take this short test. Your results will instantly show up after you take the test.
But first, let’s talk a little bit about covert narcissism.
Table of Contents
What are the Signs of a Covert Narcissist?
There are some telltale signs of a covert narcissist. And once you see them, they will not seem so covert anymore. Their behavior will scream narcissism to you. Let’s take a look at some of the major signs of a covert narcissist.
Covert Narcissists Can Appear Shy or Introverted
Covert narcissists love to make themselves look shy. They will actually garner more attention by convincing others that they are trying to stay out of the limelight. While they are smack dab in the middle of the limelight. Over time, the contradiction will become obvious.
The “shy” narcissist will seem to exude inferiority. And honestly, they are probably feeling a bit of that inferiority. But they use it as a tool to get more accolades and attention while pretending to be less than everyone around them.
Let me give you an example. A covert narcissist joins a bowling league. He consistently gets an average of 275 in each game. But he says, “I just don’t know if I am going to contribute as much as anyone else here. I try so hard, but sometimes I just can’t hit the pins. I hope I can do well enough to keep the league happy.” Everyone feels sorry for his lack of confidence and assures him that they really do appreciate him and how well he does. He takes in every compliment passed on in this moment of false shyness and inferiority.
Covert Narcissists do not Take Criticism Well
The prevailing research believes that covert narcissists became the way they are by constant emotional injury and abuse from a very early age. The very people that were supposed to take care of them instead abused them. And it caused their ego to be fragile also from a very early age.
This fragile ego carries on througout the covert narcissist’s life. So, when they are criticized, no matter how nicely, they do not take it well. It devastates them. They feel as though they can’t recover from such a huge blow. And often, they will just move on from the place or people that gave them such discomfort. They just can’t take the criticism because they feel like it is an attack on their entire life.
Covert Narcissists are Passive Aggressive
While overt narcissists will attack directly and aim for the jugular, covert narcissists will destroy with passive aggressive behavior. They need to win at all costs. But they can’t let others feel they are being “bested,” especially not intentionally. So they do things that seem “off,” but the victim can’t put their finger on it.
If the victim feels offended and speaks to the covert narcissist about it, the covert narcissist will not apologize. They will instead convince the victim that they would never intentionally hurt them. Surely the victim misunderstood the narcissist’s words or actions.
The victim feels terrible for thinking less than honorable things about the covert narcissist, not even realizing that they were right about their concerns. But the narcissist threw them off the scent. And now they can do the same thing over and over again while the victim keeps on feeling guilty for thinking less of the narcissist than they should have.
How do covert narcissists get away with this passive aggressive behavior for so long? Because when they get called out for their bad behavior, they turn it around that they were only trying to help, to solve a problem, or to do something honorable. And often they will tell the victim that they are hurt that the victim thought so little of their great effort.
Who is Likely to be a Covert Narcissist?
Almost anyone can be a covert narcissist. They can be found in all walks of life. They can be male or female. Although, in contrast to overt narcissists which tend to be more men than women, more women tend to be covert because they can function more “narcissistically” (is that a word?) than if they were overt.
In spiritual circles, men tend to be more covert than overt. There are definitely those preachers that are loud and in charge. But for every one of them, there could be ten narcissists hiding behind “compassion and service” to their fellow believers. The combination of covert and religious narcissism may be the most evil of all.
Spouses can be covert narcissists, which means it could be years or even decades before the victim spouse has a clue what is going on. And then, even once they know, breaking away to safety is a long and treacherous road. Many victims choose to stay because they have been there so long. They justify that it isn’t the worst thing. And they fear going out on their own after being with the narcissist for so many years.
For the ones that do find the road to freedom, there is no looking back. And many are finding autonomy and freedom for the first time because so many people that marry narcissists do so because they were originally victims of a narcissistic parent.
The Things Covert Narcissists Say
Covert narcissists say so many things that sound nice on the surface but contain little nuggets of nastiness underneath. This is the way they convince people outside of the home, workplace, or wherever they abuse others that they are really nice people.
Here are just a few of the things covert narcissists say:
- There is something really wrong with you.
- I am really concerned for her.
- I would never in a million years…
- We need to pray for her.
- I’m not sure what to do; I think she may really be in trouble (or danger).
- What can we do for her. She really needs some serious help.
For more things that covert narcissists say, some of which are downright weird, click here to check out my full article.
Is it Easier or Harder to Identify an Aging Covert Narcissist?
It can actually be both. Aging covert narcissists, like their overt counterparts, are going to have more difficulty keeping things under control. They have a more difficult time looking as good as they did when they were younger. They aren’t as agile or quick on their feet. And they may not be as quick-witted or able to stay ahead of their own lies anymore.
As their narcissistic mask slips, they have to try to cover up even more. And they are exhausted. At this point in their life, they lose more support, friends, and family members than ever before. Sometimes because their people just get tired of all the BS. And sometimes because they are finally seeing it for what it is.
On the other hand, narcissists that are smart enough to see that it is getting harder to keep up the ruse will tend to get quieter, keep their thoughts to themselves, and speak very strategically. This way, they have less course correcting to do. And they can fool people for a lot longer.
They will still be doing all of the gaslighting, blame shifting, lying, stealing, cheating. But they will be more private about it. Anyone who has experience with narcissists at this point will still be able to see it from afar. But those who are unsuspecting can be fooled for a long time yet.
And Now…the Test!
And now that you have a pretty good idea, let’s take this religious narcissist test! But don’t stress about it. It is only 25 questions designed to help you recognize covert narcissistic behavior anywhere you see it. It also isn’t meant to be a diagnosis or professional psychological help. You will have to go to a licensed clinician for that! But this will help to educate you on what signs to look for so you can learn what steps to take next to get yourself in a good place.
Instructions: There will be 25 questions that you need to answer yes or no on. Upon completing the test, you will see the answers and there will be an explanation as to whether you could possibly be dealing with a spiritual narcissist.
Note: this test is for educational/informational purposes only. It is not meant to give you legal or medical advice, or to replace professional therapy. It is not a diagnosis, just a guide to help you navigate your way through a difficult relationship you may be struggling with.
And with that, let’s begin!
So, how did it go? Did your test show you the results you were expected? Did anything surprise you? I would love to hear your thoughts.
Feel free to share your story below or if you don’t feel safe commenting in a public forum, feel free to contact me here.
Blessings and hugs,
Interested in more quizzes? Check these out:
More quizzes are being added regularly!
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