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Discussion Starter #1
Sorry, it's long.

And it's weird to ask for the perspective of people I don't even know and who don't have a medical degree on the subject but I guess that's just what a narcissist would say to deflect the subject. So don't hesitate to state your point of view.

I stumbled upon this post on Quora who was praised by 2.2K, so who was found extremely insightful. I've found many of the remarks to be consistent with some INFP traits, and E4 and particularly Sp/sx (but saying so might as well be a deflecting strategy on my part). So to leave any bias aside, I've bolded the behaviors that were consistent with my personality traits.

And yeah I know a real narcissist would probably not wonder whether he is one, so just to make it clear I don't really think I'm one deep down inside (which is exactly what a narcissist would say).

Here's the Quora post (sorry, it's so very long). It's also there : What are signs of a covert narcissist? - Quora

" In my experience, there is only one sign I always look for to discern a covert narcissist.

The other red flags will pick up narcissists, but they pick up the overts or malignants.

But there is one thing, yes one thing, that is simultaneously so subtle that it makes coverts fly under the radar, and also the one thing which is what makes a covert narcissist a covert narcissist. In other words, this one thing makes coverts different from all the other types of narcissists. It is their signature.

It’s switching off.

Coverts switch off. They practice :

  • avoidance (Yep)
  • ghosting (Yep)
  • withholding
  • neglect (well I suppose I neglect relationships, I neglect my friends. I make sure my cat is fed but that's pretty much it).
  • silence (Yep, I'm quiet, veryyy quiet).
  • pretend not paying attention (I stop paying attention/zone out a lot when people talk about something I can't relate. A frigging whole lot, especially when the conversation is about current politics, social trends, cultural trends. Or just ... ya know, trends. Or anything I can't relate to, which is a lot of things).
  • pretend not hearing you
  • pretend misunderstanding you (I do that too, though when I'm misunderstanding someone, I'm not under the impression that I'm pretending.)
  • pretend there is something wrong with you when you talk about something serious and dear to you (e.g. reframes you as bitter and unable to let go when you share insights on narcissism etc. -> covertly tearing you down by twisting your perspective; this is a form of switching off because they refuse to lower themselves to empathize with your perspective so as to understand it, they switch off listening and understanding) I've done the bolded thing when an INFJ friend said that her ex was a narcissist. Well I didn't said she was bitter but I was super skeptical of her perspective. I still am. And I tend to find the ex in question quite easy to go along with in short bursts.
  • pretend superiority (e.g. I forgave my narcissist, therefore I’m superior to you, you wouldn’t talk so much about your narcissist if only you would forgive them, you should forgive, for your own sake, never let the narcissist change you, I choose love, I choose forgiveness, I choose not to hate, no one is evil, everyone deserves compassion, we are all the same, there is humanity in everyone, etc. -> blowing their own trumpet; this is a form of switching off because they refuse to lower themselves to empathize with your perspective so as to understand it, they switch off listening and understanding) I blow the forgiving trumpet all the time and yeah I tend to view myself as morally superior to people who (in my head) hold a grudge. Which is pretty hypocritical since I've held grudges myself.
  • acting stupid to create situations (e.g. to persistently cause miscommunication and misunderstanding, to ignore you and create opportunities to withhold, to get away with having done harmful things, to deliberately frustrate and antagonize you by doing the opposite of what they are supposed to do, deliberately act bored or switched off while you are giving instructions and then doing the opposite of something simple you asked for e.g. don’t buy eggs -> buys two cartons of eggs and then proudly boasts that you asked for them) Yes for the bolded part.
  • you take a walk with them, you stop by to admire a flower (or you fell down and sprained something), they pretend not to notice and keep walking on without you, and you either look up from the flower to find yourself all alone, or you lie there watching their back recede into the horizon. (I could see myself doing that. Not pretending in that case).
  • they cut in line right in front of you just as you open your mouth to give your order, preventing it, pretend to be oblivious, and happily make their order instead, you stare at their side profile (what the hell! can you believe this girl?) I've probably done that a few times then backed off when I was told.
  • they do something they know they shouldn’t do (e.g. litter, trespass, jaywalk, steal your food or your seat, or chat on the phone loudly in the cinema, leave their car in the middle of the road blocking everyone, walk in the middle of the meant road for cars) and then pretend to be helpless, oblivious, or ignorant when you have an issue with them. Never done that strictly speaking but yeah having an loud orgasm in the middle of the night, talk loudly while someone trying to work in another room. So being rude and inconsiderate.
  • not pick up the phone (done 100%)
  • they pick up your phone call, they are told to pass a message to you, they take the message and never pass it on to you (probably done it.)
  • you are napping, the phone rings, the covert narcissist is right next to the phone, they let the phone keep ringing, it wakes you up, you run across the house to groggily pick up the phone while the covert narcissist was right next to it all along (at other times the phone manages to ring out) (this happens consistently)
  • the receptionist who cuts everyone off midsentence to transfer them, and keeps doing it the whole day, every day
  • they never reply your email (even though they are not busy) (done 100%)
  • they never return your call (phone message) (might have done)
  • you greet them, they look down but make sure they never acknowledge you (they don’t stare at you because that’s malignant, but they make sure they do not reply) (some will look down and give a Mona Lisa smile, like they are slightly embarrassed at their own rude behavior) (might of one out of obliviousness)
  • you sit across them at the party, they look away from you in disgust, avoiding eye contact and refusing to talk to you, a guest passes by, the covert narcissist suddenly beams a smile at you and says ‘hey, remember that time when … ?’, the guest passes on by, the covert narcissist terminates mid-sentence and goes back to snubbing you, until the next guest comes by (done this with people I don't like/who don't like me.)
  • walk out on you midsentence (done this a few times)
  • keep on talking as if to you after you’ve left the room, still holding the conversation but without you (done)
  • covert narcissists are experts at urging everyone to get along, forgive everyone, hate no one, and then mysteriously degrading you through silence and withholding over nothing (they have weird concepts of what getting along means) (done all of this)
  • mysterious sour moods (they are a form of switching off, the switching off of love or joy, sour moods in the absence of concrete causes are a form of withholding, and especially negatively affects susceptible empaths nearby) (done)
  • convenient unavailability or inaccessibility (done)
  • disappear (done)
  • run away from fights they started with their covert antagonisms and microaggressions (done)
  • coverts are experts at telling you they don’t want a fight with you after they’ve finally button pushed you to the limit and caused you to start sorting things out with them
  • snub (suppose I come across as one)
  • ignore (done)
  • always have nothing to say in response to what you just said (covertly deflating you and degrading you by refusing to reflect back to you sanity and gravitas; it’s as if their attitude is always ‘you just said something stupid, I’m not going to honor that with a response’ to everything you enthusiastically share or say) (suppose I come across as this 90% of the time)
  • or they will always give a lackluster or subtly negative devaluation or degradation response to your happy, exciting, inspiring experience (might have done this one)
  • not be courteous when courtesy is appropriate and expected (hyper-courteous at other times as if they were on an audition) (courtesy is a weapon to be deployed in the most inappropriate ways) yes I see courtesy as a toll - not a weapon, though - like something I'd rather not do but I have too.
  • always being the unavailable shoulder for you to cry on only when you have dramas in life (only unavailable when you need them, this is not a fairweather friend, it’s weaponized withholding) I'm unavailable a lot though I'm very much a foul-weather friend.
  • after you tell them your sob story, they make sure they never say a word to console you (e.g. ok, bye!) Won't say "Ok, bye" but silent, yeah.
  • you call, the covert narcissist picks up the phone, you want the covert narcissist to pass a message to someone else, just as you start telling your message, the covert narcissist pretends you’ve finished and says ‘ok bye!’ and starts hanging up, forcing you to scream for them to wait and not hang up on you.
  • making promises just so they can abuse through failing to come through (duper’s delight e.g. ‘you’re a fool to believe my promises or to trust me’) (Made a lot of promises I failed to maintain)
  • making sure they don’t inform you when they go on extended vacations, so that you will call them on the phone, still expecting to make a date for lunch, but there’s no one home to pickup, should you call the police and report missing persons?
  • making sure they cancel plans on you at the last minute, while making sure you never get wind of it any earlier, to create the greatest last minute upset (this is worst when there’s plane tickets involved) Did this one, though not out of malicious intent.
  • frustratingly not give any response or acknowledgement whatsoever when it is appropriate to the situation - the mannikin routine (this is always deliberate, make no mistake, it just appears like an accident each time for maximum plausible deniability) Done that though I disagree with the deliberate part.
  • the impossible to please parent, spouse, child, boss, sibling, friend (yes)
Long story short : so I've done pretty much all of this, albeit without the malicious intent that seem to be implied in the post. I could give a satisfying explanation for all those behaviors (obliviousness, social anxiety, extreme introversion) but looking at the fact, I sure am a bitch. I can also be nice but that's maybe an unconscious strategy of me wanting to pamper my self-image.

So anyway, I'm I the only INFP who find it particularly easy to identify with the picture that's being depicted here ?
 

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It’s switching off.
The defining point of a covert narcissist is the above, so posits the Quora post. I would argue this is more of a coping mechanism that everyone does though. I think the article would have to make the distinction between switching off often and switching off occasionally. I too struggle with some of the behavior outlined in this post, such as never replying to an email though I am not busy, but in general I do not identify with the picture that was depicted there.
 

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I DO relate to many of the things above, but in no way do I consider myself with NPD. I’m just avoidant of most people. I wouldn’t beat myself up about being a “Bitch” tho. “BadAssBitch” something to strive for! I can think of worse labels, for myself. Here’s the key for me, I’m a defensive player, not offense. I’m also avoidant— at times — and I ignore. Cpt Picard says “Engage!” and I reply “Nah .... I’d rather not.” I’m also conflict-avoidant. In the DSM I’m on the page that says “Monkish”. Lol...
 

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I think all these are done by the narcissist as a copying mechanism to avoid accepting blame or something like that, someone else must always be at fault, plus they disengage or are neglectful as punishment when the other person doesn't comply. Just simply saying one is avoidant without taking under consideration the bigger picture isn't gonna help you, because avoidance can be the result of multiple different causes, especially if you are socially anxious. This person, after all, says that those things make the covert fly under the radar, why? because these behaviors are not uncommon at all.

My question is, why are you seeking for this to begin with? Are you looking for a reason to hate yourself or something? If you have issues with anxiety you should get some help anyways, there's usually quite a lot of room for improvement if one's willing.
 

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Are you me? I had the identical conundrum recently, a few days ago. We are truly lost souls connected on this earth, I believe. When somebody offered to me the possibility of being a covert narcissist, I felt so alarmed at how it captured me so precisely. As a child, I struggled with feelings of insecurity. I had a fragile, glass heart that constantly felt embittered and alone. Deep down, I felt unworthy. And it caused me to push others down to raise myself up. I would insult others and flaunt about my flaws, but it was extremely subconscious. I didn't realize that I was hurting others, I was trying to fulfill my own delicate ego. I felt a constant unworthiness ensnaring my heart and always felt out of touch with others. I saw myself as unique and different and alienated myself from others because I never felt like I belonged. Deep down I harbored an extremely bitter hatred towards those I felt different from, excluded by, or hurt by in the past. I looked at the world through dark eyes and a broken heart. It was only through time, when I gradually learned the beauty of the human experience and the worth of each distinct person, grew in my faith, learned how to love again-both others and myself-and battle my flaws, that I came to rise above this "narcissism". I still struggle with pride. Sometimes I will subconsciously boast about my skills, because I deeply treasure them, without realizing it at all. But, in the end, I have realized that I need to not let my pride inflate me from seeing the beauty in others. However, I don't think what the post describes necessarily delineates covert narcissism, it simply illuminates some of the flaws and selfish patterns humankind can fall to. In the end, whether I am a covert narcissist, I know I am a beautiful person with a beautiful heart filled with a world of equally but distinctly beautiful people. And as long as we conquer our flaws and failings with perseverance, love, and perspective, then does it matter?
 

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We are in an era, where everything from beneath is on surphase. We are the last from least. You, me, all of us.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Are you me? I had the identical conundrum recently, a few days ago. We are truly lost souls connected on this earth, I believe. When somebody offered to me the possibility of being a covert narcissist, I felt so alarmed at how it captured me so precisely. As a child, I struggled with feelings of insecurity. I had a fragile, glass heart that constantly felt embittered and alone. Deep down, I felt unworthy. And it caused me to push others down to raise myself up. I would insult others and flaunt about my flaws, but it was extremely subconscious. I didn't realize that I was hurting others, I was trying to fulfill my own delicate ego. I felt a constant unworthiness ensnaring my heart and always felt out of touch with others. I saw myself as unique and different and alienated myself from others because I never felt like I belonged. Deep down I harbored an extremely bitter hatred towards those I felt different from, excluded by, or hurt by in the past. I looked at the world through dark eyes and a broken heart. It was only through time, when I gradually learned the beauty of the human experience and the worth of each distinct person, grew in my faith, learned how to love again-both others and myself-and battle my flaws, that I came to rise above this "narcissism". I still struggle with pride. Sometimes I will subconsciously boast about my skills, because I deeply treasure them, without realizing it at all. But, in the end, I have realized that I need to not let my pride inflate me from seeing the beauty in others. However, I don't think what the post describes necessarily delineates covert narcissism, it simply illuminates some of the flaws and selfish patterns humankind can fall to. In the end, whether I am a covert narcissist, I know I am a beautiful person with a beautiful heart filled with a world of equally but distinctly beautiful people. And as long as we conquer our flaws and failings with perseverance, love, and perspective, then does it matter?
That's beautiful. I just don't know I can find love in my heart right now. Or if I could ever.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
I think all these are done by the narcissist as a copying mechanism to avoid accepting blame or something like that, someone else must always be at fault, plus they disengage or are neglectful as punishment when the other person doesn't comply. Just simply saying one is avoidant without taking under consideration the bigger picture isn't gonna help you, because avoidance can be the result of multiple different causes, especially if you are socially anxious. This person, after all, says that those things make the covert fly under the radar, why? because these behaviors are not uncommon at all.

My question is, why are you seeking for this to begin with? Are you looking for a reason to hate yourself or something? If you have issues with anxiety you should get some help anyways, there's usually quite a lot of room for improvement if one's willing.
I'm looking for hard truth (in the wrong place, I know). I'm seriously asking myself the question of the diagnosis, though.
 

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That's beautiful. I just don't know I can find love in my heart right now. Or if I could ever.
I see where you are coming from (feel free to skip past my self-absorbed, desperate rambling to the next paragraph). I am battling a lot of darkness and confusion at the moment too, and it's a weighing agony on myself. I am severely questioning whether or not I am an introvert or extrovert, which is draining my heart because I truly do not want to be an extrovert. So much of my identity was cemented in my introversion but when I was a child I was a girl spilling with laughter, sparkling with thoughts and a happiness that seems foreign to me now. Sometimes I feel this bursting extroverted energy inside of me and its confusing me so much. I seem to slip into an identity crisis everyday and its painful. I just want to escape, to erase everything I know about MBTI sometimes because I idealized the beauty of INFP and how it made me feel so known inside and now I am just terrified that it is not truly am at my core and its very frustrating. This pandemic is also playing tricks and illusions in me and it is difficult for me to understand who I truly am. I want to trust and believe that I have a beautiful and worthy personality no matter what but I keep feeling INFP branded on my heart, and if I feel myself mentally deviate from it then I feel like I am internally drowning.

Love is a tricky thing. Sometimes we humans are so broken and dark that it feels nonexistent. And there is often a fine line between love and hatred, we find ourselves falling in between these fragile boundaries and losing ourselves in the clouds of out emotion. In the end, however, I think you are truly a loving and heartfelt person. You recognized beauty in my words. That to me illuminates that you have a heart that recognizes and seeks goodness, and desires beauty. That is one of the purest, sheerest expressions of human love, in my opinion. I know it can be difficult to tell. But take a deep breath, and believe in yourself. You are a beautiful soul with a heart and even if you cannot recognize it, I can. It's just a little difficult sometimes. The truth can be difficult to swallow. And in truth, we can be deeply flawed, selfish, monstrous creatures that terrify ourselves with the weight and mystery of who we are. In the end, however, every rose has a thorn, and you are a lovely creation. You just have many thorns, and they can be difficult to accept, but we all do. That is what makes us so beautiful and multifaceted.

If you truly wanted a diagnosis, I suppose you could find a psychologist to share your heart and mind with. Sometimes we cannot hide too long in the dark, we will completely combust otherwise. However, covert narcissism is a new theory and it carries glimmers of many other disorders, such as Avoidant Personality Disorder, so in the end, it may not capture the heart of who you are. It is just a label to describe a cluster of human behavior-and while it can seem daunting to accept, I promise it still will never eclipse from your self-worth.
 

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I've also been battling very delicate feelings about my type and who I am and being wicked. And I was processing some of my narrow-mindedness from the past and thought I would impart it with you. Maybe it can help you to understand how I too drowned in the darkness. But I am grateful that I did, because now I realize how exquisite the light is. How much we need the light:

I'm genuinely wondering if I am truly a homophobic SJ type. Now, let me preface this by saying humans are absolutely beautiful, no matter where their heart leads them. I have so many friends of different sexualities and they are all such spectacular people. But I was a very close-minded and ignorant child. I still have trouble accepting that I might be bisexual because my idea of my heart was that it gravitated towards the opposite gender, and while I do believe I am straight at my core, I feel a strange sense of shame and disturbance at the prospect of being gay. Which means that I am probably either lacking in Ne or perhaps closeting my internal emotions? I feel deeply guilty about admitting this but when I was around fourteen years old, for some reason, I said that I hated a homosexual female that I barely knew. My memory is quite blurred, it might have been because I associated her with something or was feeling embittered at the moment. But I look back on my memories and feel absolutely appalled. It's strange because I've always been somebody lead by emotions, deeply sensitive, in tune with my heart. I had a glittering sense of empathy as a child. I truly cared about others and wanted to heal broken hearts, and while I do have evil shades of myself I know that deep down I want to be good. But this memory strikes me. Later that night I woke up flooded in tears and surrendering to God and stricken by my shame. I'm not sure if this was my faith illuminating my heart or my emotions or perspective. But I have had bisexual friends in the past and still remained with them, I was alarmed but still loved them equally. But for me to say that I hated that poor girl that was a stranger to me was absolutely, incredibly wrong. I always thought of myself as an INFP but maybe I have been delusional all along, maybe I am a deeply fragile xSTJ. In the end, however, I love all people. No matter where your heart gravitates you are infinitely worthy and though I was bathed in hatred as a child, I love you. I promise. I might be narrow-minded, but I am working along the way, to battle my biases. As a Catholic Christian I am still inclined to believe that it deviates from the natural connection between man and woman, but I am shifting my biases and truly trying to change. I hate myself for being so shallow and wicked as a younger human. What was wrong with me? I was so close-minded. But I will no longer fall to the lie of being homophobic. Love is beautiful in itself, and if I am incapable of understanding that, then shame on me.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
I've also been battling very delicate feelings about my type and who I am and being wicked. And I was processing some of my narrow-mindedness from the past and thought I would impart it with you. Maybe it can help you to understand how I too drowned in the darkness. But I am grateful that I did, because now I realize how exquisite the light is. How much we need the light:

I'm genuinely wondering if I am truly a homophobic SJ type. Now, let me preface this by saying humans are absolutely beautiful, no matter where their heart leads them. I have so many friends of different sexualities and they are all such spectacular people. But I was a very close-minded and ignorant child. I still have trouble accepting that I might be bisexual because my idea of my heart was that it gravitated towards the opposite gender, and while I do believe I am straight at my core, I feel a strange sense of shame and disturbance at the prospect of being gay. Which means that I am probably either lacking in Ne or perhaps closeting my internal emotions? I feel deeply guilty about admitting this but when I was around fourteen years old, for some reason, I said that I hated a homosexual female that I barely knew. My memory is quite blurred, it might have been because I associated her with something or was feeling embittered at the moment. But I look back on my memories and feel absolutely appalled. It's strange because I've always been somebody lead by emotions, deeply sensitive, in tune with my heart. I had a glittering sense of empathy as a child. I truly cared about others and wanted to heal broken hearts, and while I do have evil shades of myself I know that deep down I want to be good. But this memory strikes me. Later that night I woke up flooded in tears and surrendering to God and stricken by my shame. I'm not sure if this was my faith illuminating my heart or my emotions or perspective. But I have had bisexual friends in the past and still remained with them, I was alarmed but still loved them equally. But for me to say that I hated that poor girl that was a stranger to me was absolutely, incredibly wrong. I always thought of myself as an INFP but maybe I have been delusional all along, maybe I am a deeply fragile xSTJ. In the end, however, I love all people. No matter where your heart gravitates you are infinitely worthy and though I was bathed in hatred as a child, I love you. I promise. I might be narrow-minded, but I am working along the way, to battle my biases. As a Catholic Christian I am still inclined to believe that it deviates from the natural connection between man and woman, but I am shifting my biases and truly trying to change. I hate myself for being so shallow and wicked as a younger human. What was wrong with me? I was so close-minded. But I will no longer fall to the lie of being homophobic. Love is beautiful in itself, and if I am incapable of understanding that, then shame on me.
That's so brave from you to share this. Your self-awareness is shining through this, too. I hope you find the strenght to fight your homophoby (which seems relative). Maybe it's only normal for Fi users to adopt narrowing beliefs or values but when we're able to see we have put an obstacle to love (either received or given), we can be relentless in our quest towards understanding and compassion.
 

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That's so brave from you to share this. Your self-awareness is shining through this, too. I hope you find the strenght to fight your homophoby (which seems relative). Maybe it's only normal for Fi users to adopt narrowing beliefs or values but when we're able to see we have put an obstacle to love (either received or given), we can be relentless in our quest towards understanding and compassion.
Thank you so much-I was worried that I was revolving the entire post around me. The point was that we all stumble into deep, deep pockets of darkness and hatred. I don't thank I ever truly despised homosexual people, but my heart was very calcified and very ignorant. This reminds me of the time that I read Frederick Douglass's biography, and he tells the tale of how one of his slave masters ' wives was the most beautiful, gleaming pinnacle of love, and treated him with such kindness, but she slowly grew into the monster. It was very eye-opening about the subconscious weight of hatred and how it can completely enthrone any heart, even the purest of ones. Even now I feel so disgusting and hateful deep down-part of me wonders if I only feel remorse because the realization stains my self-image, rather than true shame. But I will not stop battling. I know hatred is cruel and wrong and I want to be good. I think the human heart is a very delicate thing that can either shatter completely or shed light. I am truly confronting my homophobia, even the little glimmers of it that may still exist, and fighting them. I love all people and will never stoop to hatred again.
 
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