Covert Narcissism, unlike normal Narcissism, is really difficult to identify. And couples with a covert narcissistic spouse grow tired and emotionally drained.
Many of you may have heard about Narcissistic Personality Disorder (NPD) or Narcissism. It is the case where a person has an elevated sense of self, and they are so self-absorbed that they are unable to understand or sympathise with another human being. In short, they will make the life of people around them hell. But many of you do not know that there are different types of Narcissism.
What is generally known to the public as Narcissism is the first type, overt narcissism. However, there are different kinds of narcissism, among them is covert narcissism, which is equally dangerous, but much more difficult to diagnose and distinguish. A covert narcissist does not display the elevated sense of self or grandiose that a normal NPD person displays. In fact, a covert narcissist may appear modest or shy.
These people are often looking for other people to fill their sense of selves, while they themselves are empty shells. The marriages with covert narcissist husbands often go long term because despite the wives feeling drained and unhappy they simply cannot pinpoint what is wrong. The covert narcissist husbands are often hyper-sensitive and easily irritable. That being said, they are not really aware that they have a tendency to dominate the people around them by manipulating them. Nevertheless, the behaviour of these covert narcissist people leaves their spouses feeling off-balanced or inadequate.
The overt narcissist is often blatant in his display of grandiosity and says to your face that they are great, however, a covert narcissist won’t. A covert narcissist would always want others to tell him that he is great rather than saying that on his own. And when others do not praise him enough, he grows depressed and tries to induce his sadness to others around him as well. He becomes manipulative to make others admit that he is great.
7 Essential Traits of a Clinical Covert Narcissist Husband
1. Passive aggression
Covert Narcissist husbands conveniently forget spousal requests but make no effort to correct the mistake. Or they’ll complete the job incompetently. When confronted with their behaviour, they whine that their wife is being “too picky,” or “OCD” in expecting a competent performance, implying she’s a nag, or he’ll mope as he attempts to “meet her demanding standards.”
2. He’s “nice” and “helpful.”
Yes, he will be helpful. But he often will use this help as a weapon to hold against his wife at times. This help is designed to boost his fragile sense of self.
3. He’s withholding and resentful
Wives are often confused that their covert husbands can be so helpful and so resentful at the same time. So, he won’t ask you to do anything for him but will resent you for not doing it. He won’t express what he actually thinks about his wife thinking he is being considerate, but keeps resentment in his mind about his wife which may come out at odd times surprising their partner.
4. Impeccable hyper-sensitivity.
Covert Narcissist husbands have an impeccable hyper-sensitivity. They will take offence to criticism real or imagined. They bristle at any suggestion that they have failed in any way, even when they clearly have.
At the extreme end of the narcissistic continuum, these husbands can be extremely emotionally abusive. Wives may feel emotionally abused but are told they are being emotionally abusive. A wife’s reasonable demands for love, attention, engagement, and sex can be re-labelled as cloying, never satisfied, demanding, and overbearing. Your covert narcissistic husband claims that he has been wronged by you if you dare complain about him. And he’ll remind you of all he has done, and how little you’ve appreciated it.
5. Don’t look for outward supreme self-possession. The smugness/superiority is hidden
Blatant in-your-face narcissist husbands are obvious. You can see them coming. They crave attention and demand approval. Covert Narcissist husbands may be sly and much harder to spot. They keenly observe, evaluate, and often silently render abrupt and sometimes merciless judgment. They ruminate about how they aren’t adequately “appreciated.” They have an air of being “absent” or demonstrate overt bored disdain. But when asked directly: “Is something wrong?” they’ll deny it.
6. Utter and complete self-absorption
It’s sometimes easy to confuse the Covert Narcissist husband with a garden variety introvert. Here is the essential difference: Introverts may be quiet, but they are fully capable of bestowing attention and paying careful attention. They can love freely and ask good questions. A covert narcissist husband, in contrast, is a reliably poor listener. They pay far more attention to their own relentlessly evaluative inner dialogue
7. Lack of empathy for others
All clinical narcissists have a lack of empathy for others. And a sense of entitlement. Even when their wives complain about the negative impact of their husband’s behaviours, their Covert Narcissist husbands somehow manage to shift the discussion back to their own needs or accomplishments. Or get rageful.
If you can recognize these traits in your husband or anyone, maybe you should seek professional help from a certified mental health professional. There is no need to live under constant emotional abuse. Seek help.