Female Covert Narcissist

It’s important to understand that a female covert narcissist is not as obvious as her overt counterparts.

While overt narcissists make their self-fixation obvious, covert ones appear shyer and may even seem humble or caring at first.

If you think a woman you know may be a covert narcissist or that you may be one, these are some telltale signs to watch for and remember.

1. She’s manipulative and lacks empathy

A female covert narcissist has a way of forcing unhealthy relationships to continue because of her manipulative abilities.

Even though she doesn’t have empathy for you, she knows how to exploit you and make you feel sorry for her. She’ll trap you in the relationship, whether you’re a friend, partner, or family member.

In extreme cases, she may say that she’s suicidal or act that way, making it impossible for you to distance yourself from her. Female covert narcissists get upset when they think they may lose control over someone.

She’ll give you gifts, but that’s only to make herself look caring and sensitive. Also, she’ll remind you of her generosity and use it to manipulate you later.

2. She doesn’t take responsibility for her actions

A woman who’s a covert narcissist doesn’t see her shortcomings. She rationalizes her bad choices.

When negative repercussions could cause her embarrassment, she may even make up elaborate lies or stories.

She defends her choices regardless of negative outcomes and blames those on someone or something else. Somehow, she always finds a way to portray herself as the victim.

When you try to give her constructive criticism, she gets upset or dismissive instead of accepting your feedback.

She perceives criticism as a personal attack. Because she’s insecure, it’ll make her feel angry and humiliated.

She’ll save face by acting like she doesn’t care, but it may stay with her and bother her for days or weeks.

3. Her depiction of reality is unrealistic

A female covert narcissist tends to embellish her accomplishments and make up sophisticated lies.

She often compares herself to people around her and may make negative remarks about others’ looks, wealth, or something else that most people would admire.

Her life is special, unique, and exciting. She may tell you that she dated a celebrity, used to be a millionaire, held a prestigious job where she was promoted the first day, and other unbelievable tales.

It’s not just one amazing accomplishment or experience. She has an ever-growing list.

Since she has a strong craving for being admired, she’ll treat you better when you give her the praise she thinks she deserves for her embellishments or lies. If you question them, you’re the villain, and she’s a victim.

4. She has both low self-esteem and hunger for praise

Many studies have shown that females tend to have lower self-esteem than males. Some research also shows that covert narcissists may have lower self-esteem than overt narcissists.

A covert narcissist woman still wants admiration and attention, so you may see both low self-esteem and attention seeking.

She often makes negative remarks about her accomplishments or puts herself down. She’ll do it in a way that baits you to reassure her or compliment her.

When you try to talk about your accomplishments or success, she may make a discouraging remark or offer you a backhanded compliment.

Other people accomplishing things can threaten her, and she’ll say or do what she feels will make her look most important.

5. She gives more than she takes emotionally

Because female covert narcissists invest their energy in serving themselves and lack empathy for others, they tend to make people who know them feel emotionally abandoned.

In comparison with an overt narcissist, a female covert narcissist is not as obvious about her lack of maintaining nurturing relationships.

She’ll seem sensitive or more emotional since she’s better at hiding her narcissism. You’ll soon find out that she’s emotionally unavailable.

You’ll always feel like she’s detached.

Even though you’re always there for her when she needs you, she’s only there for you if there’s something for her to gain, or she can use it later to manipulate you.

Whether she’s a family member, friend ,or partner, you know you can’t rely on her to support you in a time of crisis.

6. She frequently shakes off commitments

Since a female covert narcissist’s focus on herself is paramount, she often cancels plans, misses work or skips out on other commitments to serve herself.

She’ll make plans with you often but cancel most of them.

She’ll apologize and convince you that next time will be different.

She may show up late instead if there’s an opportunity to manipulate you for something she wants or to maintain a degree of control.

When you look back and analyze her no-show trends, you’ll notice that she only keeps commitments when it benefits her. For example, maybe you’ll offer to take her shopping for her birthday.

She’ll show up for that.

When you need to meet her for coffee to talk about issues in your life, she’ll call to cancel at the last minute because she has a fabricated or perceived crisis of her own.

Of course, she’ll also want you to feel sorry for her.

7. She can be herself or who you need her to be

Remember, a female covert narcissist is a master manipulator and has a strong desire to keep her control over the people she’s close to.

It may seem like she’s two completely different people at times.

If this sounds familiar to someone you know, think back to all the times when she seemed like a different person.

When you’re upset with her, not speaking to her, or threatening to cut ties with her, she’ll suddenly turn into the person you want or need her to be.

Whenever you’re not at odds with her, she may act needy.

Since she can flip a switch like that, it’s easy to believe her apologies or attentive behavior when she pretends to care or make amends.

She’ll behave that way long enough to reel you back in and keep manipulating you for whatever she wants. She may also try to make you feel sorry for her.

8. She holds grudges for a long time and small things

A female covert narcissist tends to hold onto everything that upsets her. Insecurity makes her dwell on anything that feels like a personal attack or an attack on the image she’s created.

She may give you the cold shoulder for something as small as a social media comment for weeks.

Maybe you didn’t like her picture or made a good enough comment to praise her.

After you question her, disagree with her or even constructively criticize her, you may notice a spike in passive-aggressive behavior.

She’s not above actually sabotaging you in some way when you upset her. She may find a sneaky way to develop a story and start a damaging rumor about you.

If she has dirt on you, she’ll surely find a sneaky way to put the spotlight on it and get you in trouble or embarrass you.

9. She gaslights you to maintain control

Again, a female covert narcissist is an expert at maintaining impressive lies to make herself look better.

She’ll do whatever it takes to make others see or stay in that fabricated reality where she has control, including using gaslighting tactics to adjust their perceptions.

She’ll focus on ways to make you believe something specific about yourself, question yourself, or question your past.

Unless you’re looking for clues about her gaslighting you, it may be hard to detect because of her lying and manipulating skills.

She may make you feel guilty if you question her, and you’ll feel like the villain for doing it. Her perpetual gaslighting will make you feel emotionally confused and drained.

10. She becomes a nuisance in your social life or other relationships

Because a female covert narcissist wants to maintain control over the people in her life, she may see other relationships as competition or threats. Plus, she doesn’t understand healthy boundaries.

She’d try to push her way into your group of college friends even if she didn’t attend college with you. She may try to get into your family gatherings.

As a romantic interest or partner, she’ll step up her game and try to be part of every relationship to have some degree of control over it.

When she feels like someone else in your life threatens her control over you, she’s not above trying to sabotage the relationship.

You may hear her say things about someone you’re sure aren’t true initially, but she’ll do her best to convince you otherwise since she’s good at gaslighting.

Remember, she always has to be the best and wants you to focus on her.

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