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A lot of people identify as introverts. But did you know that our understanding of introversion is pretty similar to something called covert narcissism?
As Science of Us explains it, covert narcissism is “all the entitlement and grandiosity most people associate with narcissism, minus the bluster.” Covert narcissists — we’re talking about the trait of narcissism here, not the personality disorder — “take things personally (especially criticism), believe they’re being underestimated and don’t love being bothered with other people’s problems.”
This is like introversion in that introverted people at times feel their skills — from how they interact with others to public speaking — are underestimated, and that they’re misunderstood in a society that values extroverted qualities like constant connection and stimulation.
Of note: Covert narcissism is not the same as overt narcissism. As Angela Carey, a doctoral student who worked on a study about narcissism told The Huffington Post in April, overt narcissists are more prone to bragging. They draw attention to themselves and elevate themselves by bringing others down.
Covert narcissists are much quieter in their narcissism. They may have may have similar thought patterns, but they keep them to themselves — an introverted trait.
“Covert narcissism is sort of a dark side of introversion,” psychologist Jonathan Cheek told Science of Us. “Just like overt narcissism is kind of a dark side of extroversion.”
Not sure if you’re an introvert? Here’s a refresher: Introverts get their fuel from time spent by themselves, while extroverts feel energized by spending time with others. Introverts don’t love small talk, they withdraw in crowds and they crave alone time.
“Think of each of us as having a cup of energy available,” HuffPost blogger Kate Bartolotta wrote. “For introverts, most social interactions take a little out of that cup instead of filling it the way it does for extroverts. Most of us like it. We’re happy to give, and love to see you. When the cup is empty though, we need some time to refuel.”
To find out if you might also be a covert narcissist, head over to Science of Us to take Cheek’s quiz.
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