What Are Some Common Phrases Used by Covert Narcissists?

Medically Reviewed on 12/9/2021
what are 10 signs of covert narcissism?
Here are 25 of the most common phrases used by covert narcissists, which seem harmless but often have a cunning subtext.

Covert narcissists share many of the characters of the overt narcissistic, but they are quieter and shyer. These narcissists may manipulate you with words that sound normal and tend to use creative phrases that send mixed messages, which seem harmless but often have a cunning subtext.

25 common phrases used by a covert narcissist

  1. It is not a big deal
  2. It is your fault
  3. I was just joking
  4. Don’t get upset over nothing
  5. You are imagining things
  6. Don’t be so sensitive
  7. Why so defensive all the time
  8. I didn’t say that
  9. I will never lie to you again
  10. I had no idea this would hurt you
  11. You are the only one who doesn't understand me
  12. You are crazy
  13. You misunderstood me
  14. Well, you may have deserved it
  15. I didn't hurt you, you hurt yourself
  16. If it’s not on my mind, I don't think about it, I don't care
  17. Why can't we just forget the past?
  18. You don't understand, I can't be alone
  19. I have done nothing wrong
  20. It is all in your head
  21. What you are saying makes absolutely no sense
  22. My friends hate you, but I always defend you and have your back
  23. You're so insecure
  24. I am like this because my parents were so mean to me
  25. You are a bad person

What is narcissism?

Narcissist is the term used to describe a person with narcissistic personality disorder (NPD) or commonly referred to as narcissism.

A narcissist has narcissistic traits, such as:

  • Grandiose delusions (unusual high belief in self or give extreme self-importance)
  • Arrogance
  • Thoughtlessness
  • Selfishness
  • Low empathy, which makes their relationships difficult
  • Constant need of attention and admiration from others

What is covert narcissism?

A covert narcissist is a person with narcissistic personality disorder (NPD) and has all the narcissistic traits. Covert narcissism is the vulnerable type of narcissism, also referred to as closet narcissism or introverted narcissism.

These people are socially withdrawn, shy, and hypersensitive to criticism and consider themselves better than others. They do not tend to show grandiosity openly, but they are self-absorbed, do not care about others’ emotions, and tend to blame others for all the consequences.

The symptoms of a covert narcissist are often confused with anxiety, depression, and bipolar disorders.

7 signs of covert narcissism

The 7 signs of covert narcissism include:

  1. Even though they have a vast social circle and a great number of friends, they cannot sustain deep personal, romantic, or professional ties due to their self-absorbed nature.
  2. They possess attention-seeking behavior and always ask for more from others without contributing anything toward the relationship. This makes others uncomfortable and difficult to maintain a relationship.
  3. They tend to hurt others’ feelings or cause issues within a group, but they blame others for their intentions and actions.
  4. They worry so much about themselves to a point that they do not care about others’ emotions and frequently rely on others to ease their own negative emotions.
  5. They indulge in friendship or a relationship for their benefit and eliminate any relationship if it is no longer feeding their self-esteem and beneficial. They pursue someone who can provide the attention they seek.
  6. If they do not get an ego boost, they tend to criticize others in such a manner that it causes severe emotions of disgrace.
  7. Despite being introverted, they do not apply the same standards to themselves as they do to others.


17 Everyday Ways to Ease Depression See Slideshow
Medically Reviewed on 12/9/2021
Image Source: iStock Images

Caligor E, Petrini MJ. Narcissistic personality disorder: Epidemiology, pathogenesis, clinical manifestations, course, assessment, and diagnosis. UpToDate. https://www.uptodate.com/contents/narcissistic-personality-disorder-epidemiology-pathogenesis-clinical-manifestations-course-assessment-and-diagnosis

Raypole C. Covert Narcissism: The Quiet Counterpart to Narcissistic Personality. GoodTherapy. https://www.goodtherapy.org/blog/covert-narcissism-the-quiet-counterpart-to-narcissistic-personality-0822197