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Overt vs. Covert Narcissism; what’s the difference and why it matters

Narcissistic personality disorder is a mental health condition characterized by:
•grandiose sense of self importance
•preoccupation with fantasies of ultimate success, power, brilliance, beauty, or ideal love
•a belief that they’re special or unique, and therefore should only socialize with other special high status people or institutions
•need for excessive admiration
•sense of entitlement
•interpersonal exploitative behavior
•lack of empathy
•envy of others or belief others envy them
•demonstration of arrogant or haughty behaviors or attitudes.

Of these nine traits, one must have 5 to be considered pathological. So where does overt and covert come into play? Let me explain:

While the traits of narcissism is the same, individuals are not. A covert narcissist, sometimes referred to as a vulnerable or introverted narcissist will appear, due strictly to their introverted personality, to be more emotionally sensitive, shy, humble and anxious. This makes them harder to spot than their outgoing, social, extroverted counterpart, but underneath their softer persona is someone who is just as selfish, manipulative, and destructive.

And so you see covert and overt come down to personality. Introvert or extrovert. But the pathology and tactics are the same. They will both idealize, devalue, discard, repeat as easily as the other.



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