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Ever encountered someone who appears as sweet as honey but leaves a sour aftertaste? Brace yourself, my friend, for you might have crossed paths with a Female Covert Narcissist. Yep, they’re the masters of disguise, experts in emotional manipulation. Don’t worry, we’ve got your back!

In this article, we’ll unravel the 16 common traits of these hidden narcissists. From their prolonged victim mentality to their boundary-breaking ways, we’ll dive deep into their covert tactics.

And guess what? We’ve got foolproof strategies to help you navigate this treacherous terrain. So, grab your detective hat, buckle up, and let’s uncover the secrets of the Female Covert Narcissist together!

Short Answer: Female Covert Narcissists are deceptive individuals who manipulate with finesse. In this article, we’ll explore their 16 common traits and provide practical tips to deal with their covert tactics.

Key Points:

  • Unveiling the 16 common traits of Female Covert Narcissists
  • Strategies to protect yourself from their manipulation
  • Recognizing the red flags and early warning signs
  • Establishing and maintaining healthy boundaries
  • Practicing self-care and building self-esteem
  • Seeking professional help and support for healing
Table of contents

What is Female Covert Narcissism?

Covert narcissism is a form of narcissistic personality disorder (NPD) that is characterized by a hidden sense of grandiosity and a constant need for admiration and validation. Unlike their overt counterparts, female covert narcissists are adept at concealing their true nature behind a façade of humility, empathy, and victimhood. Their manipulation tactics often go unnoticed, making it challenging to identify their toxic behavior.

Why Understanding Female Covert Narcissism Matters

Female Covert Narcissist 16 Common Traits & How To Deal

Recognizing and comprehending the traits of female covert narcissists is essential for several reasons. First and foremost, it allows you to protect yourself from their emotional manipulation and gaslighting. Awareness empowers you to establish boundaries and prevent falling prey to their schemes. Additionally, understanding female covert narcissism aids in healing from past toxic relationships and avoiding similar patterns in the future.

Purpose of This Article

In this comprehensive guide, we will walk you through the sixteen common traits exhibited by female covert narcissists. Our goal is to equip you with the knowledge and insights necessary to identify these manipulative individuals and shield yourself from their psychological abuse. By shedding light on this topic, we hope to foster healthier relationships, promote self-worth, and empower you to navigate the treacherous waters of covert narcissism.

So, are you ready to unravel the mysteries of the female covert narcissist? Let’s dive right in!

Understanding Covert Narcissism

Before we delve into the intricate world of female covert narcissists, let’s lay a solid foundation by understanding the broader concept of narcissism and differentiating between overt and covert manifestations. Buckle up, as we embark on this enlightening journey!

Definition and Characteristics of Narcissism

Narcissism, in its essence, is a personality disorder characterized by an excessive preoccupation with oneself, inflated self-importance, and a constant craving for admiration and validation. Individuals with narcissistic personality disorder (NPD) exhibit a range of traits that set them apart from the norm. These include:

  • Grandiose sense of self: They possess an inflated sense of their own importance and believe they are unique and superior to others.
  • Lack of empathy: Empathy is a foreign concept to them, as they struggle to understand and connect with the emotions and experiences of others.
  • Pathological lying: Truth becomes a flexible concept for narcissists, as they have no qualms about distorting facts to suit their narratives.
  • Manipulative behavior: They excel at manipulating others to meet their needs and desires, often resorting to subtle tactics to maintain control.
  • Narcissistic injury and rage: Criticism or challenges to their grandiose self-image can trigger extreme reactions, ranging from intense anger to emotional breakdowns.
  • Narcissistic supply: They constantly seek validation and admiration from others, feeding off the attention and adoration they receive.

Contrasting Overt and Covert Narcissism

While overt narcissists demand the spotlight and are easily recognizable, female covert narcissists operate stealthily behind a veil of false humility, empathy, and victimhood. Identifying covert narcissists can be like trying to find a needle in a haystack due to their adeptness at concealing their true nature. Unlike their overt counterparts, who openly display their narcissistic traits, covert narcissists employ subtle manipulation tactics that often go unnoticed. They may present themselves as selfless individuals, victims of circumstances, and champions of humility. However, beneath this carefully crafted facade lies a web of manipulation and self-centeredness.

Challenges in Identifying Female Covert Narcissists

Spotting a female covert narcissist can be a daunting task due to the challenges involved. Here are a few reasons why identifying these individuals can be particularly difficult:

  • Societal expectations: Society often assigns nurturing and empathetic traits to women, making it harder to imagine them as covert narcissists.
  • Mask of empathy: Female covert narcissists excel at playing the empathy card, appearing caring and compassionate on the surface while manipulating behind the scenes.
  • Subtle manipulation: Unlike overt narcissists who leave no room for doubt about their intentions, covert narcissists use subtler manipulation tactics that can be easily overlooked.
  • Victim mentality: Female covert narcissists often portray themselves as perpetual victims, deflecting attention away from their own toxic behavior.

Understanding the intricacies of female covert narcissism is crucial to protecting yourself from their manipulation and maintaining healthy relationships. Now that we have laid the groundwork, let’s move on to the crux of our discussion—the common traits of female covert narcissists. Stay tuned!

16 Common Traits of Female Covert Narcissists

Now that we have a solid understanding of covert narcissism, it’s time to unveil the hidden traits of female covert narcissists. Brace yourself, for these traits may be more common than you think. Remember, knowledge is power, and being aware of these characteristics will help you navigate the treacherous waters of emotional manipulation. Let’s dive in!

Trait 1: Prolonged Victim Mentality

Female covert narcissists have an uncanny ability to perpetuate a victim mentality. They often portray themselves as the target of misfortune, painting a picture of their life being an endless series of unfortunate events. This victim facade serves as a clever disguise, deflecting attention from their own manipulative behaviors and painting them as innocent victims of circumstance.

Trait 2: Excessive Need for Admiration

Behind their humble demeanor lies an insatiable hunger for admiration. Female covert narcissists crave constant validation and attention, seeking it out from those around them. Their self-worth is intricately tied to the admiration they receive, and they will go to great lengths to ensure they remain the center of attention.

Trait 3: Lack of Empathy

Empathy is a foreign concept to female covert narcissists. They struggle to understand and connect with the emotions of others, as their primary focus is on their own needs and desires. Their lack of empathy enables them to manipulate others without remorse, as they are unable to genuinely comprehend the impact of their actions on those around them.

Trait 4: Superiority Complex Disguised as Humility

One of the most cunning tactics employed by female covert narcissists is their ability to mask their superiority complex with a facade of humility. They present themselves as modest, self-effacing individuals, all while harboring a deep-seated belief in their own exceptionalism. This clever disguise allows them to maintain control and exert dominance while appearing unassuming.

Trait 5: Manipulative Behaviors and Emotional Manipulation

Female covert narcissists are masters of manipulation. They possess an arsenal of tactics to control and manipulate the emotions and actions of those around them. From subtle guilt-tripping to emotional blackmail, they excel at pulling the strings from behind the scenes, leaving their victims confused and emotionally drained.

Trait 6: Gaslighting and Invalidation

Gaslighting is a favorite tool of the female covert narcissist. They engage in a calculated campaign of distorting reality and manipulating the perceptions of their victims. They will invalidate your feelings, dismiss your experiences, and make you question your own sanity. Gaslighting can leave you feeling disoriented and doubting your own reality.

Trait 7: Extreme Sensitivity to Criticism

Female covert narcissists may appear humble and unassuming, but beneath that mask lies an astonishing sensitivity to criticism. Even the slightest hint of feedback or constructive critique can trigger an intense defensive reaction. They cannot tolerate any suggestion that challenges their self-perceived perfection, causing them to lash out or retreat into a victimized state.

Trait 8: Passive-Aggressive Behavior

Subtlety is the name of the game for female covert narcissists, and passive-aggressive behavior is their weapon of choice. They excel at expressing hostility, resentment, and dissatisfaction indirectly, through veiled remarks, backhanded compliments, or subtle sabotage. This covert approach allows them to maintain plausible deniability while still asserting control and causing emotional distress.

Trait 9: Envious and Competitive Nature

Underneath their facade of humility, female covert narcissists harbor a deep-seated envy and a relentless desire to outshine others. They view life as a constant competition, always striving to be the center of attention and the best at everything they do. Their envy fuels a bitter rivalry with those they perceive as threats to their grandiose self-image.

Trait 10: Difficulty Taking Responsibility

Female covert narcissists have an innate aversion to accepting responsibility for their actions. Instead, they employ a repertoire of excuses, blame-shifting, and deflection to avoid accountability. They will go to great lengths to evade consequences, portraying themselves as victims or manipulating the narrative to absolve themselves of any wrongdoing.

Trait 11: Lack of Genuine Self-Awareness

True self-awareness is foreign territory for female covert narcissists. They possess a distorted perception of themselves and their impact on others. Despite their manipulative behaviors and emotional manipulation, they genuinely believe they are the epitome of humility and empathy. Their lack of genuine self-awareness makes it incredibly challenging for them to recognize the harm they inflict on those around them.

Trait 12: Exploitation of Others

Female covert narcissists view relationships as opportunities for exploitation. They strategically seek out individuals who can provide them with the admiration, attention, and resources they crave. They will use others as stepping stones to elevate their own status and fulfill their insatiable need for narcissistic supply, discarding them once they no longer serve their purpose.

Trait 13: Boundary Violations

Respecting personal boundaries is not a priority for female covert narcissists. They have a knack for pushing limits, intruding on others’ privacy, and disregarding consent. They may invade your personal space, snoop through your belongings, or manipulate you into disclosing sensitive information. These boundary violations are just another means for them to maintain control and feed their ego.

Trait 14: Grandiose Fantasies

Female covert narcissists harbor grandiose fantasies about their exceptionalism and success. They daydream about their superiority, imagining a life filled with adulation and unlimited power. These fantasies serve as a coping mechanism, allowing them to escape from the reality of their insecurities and the need to confront their true selves.

Trait 15: Emotional Unavailability

While appearing caring and empathetic on the surface, female covert narcissists struggle with emotional intimacy. They find it challenging to form deep, genuine connections with others. Their emotional unavailability is rooted in their self-centeredness and fear of vulnerability, making it difficult for them to provide the emotional support and genuine connection that healthy relationships require.

Trait 16: A History of Unstable Relationships

Unstable relationships are a hallmark of female covert narcissists. Their inability to maintain healthy, long-lasting connections stems from their manipulative tendencies, lack of empathy, and constant need for admiration. They may cycle through friendships, romantic partners, and professional relationships, leaving a trail of emotional turmoil and shattered connections in their wake.

By becoming familiar with these common traits of female covert narcissists, you can arm yourself with knowledge and better protect yourself from their manipulation. Stay tuned for the next part of our exploration, where we will provide practical strategies for dealing with female covert narcissists. Remember, awareness is the first step toward freedom from their grasp!

Expert Says

Laurie Hollman, PhD

Licensed Psychoanalyst, Choosing Therapy | Author, Are You Living with a Narcissist?.


Impact of Female Covert Narcissism

The influence of female covert narcissism extends far beyond the immediate interactions with the narcissist. Its effects can ripple through the lives of victims, impacting their emotional well-being, relationships, and even their professional lives. In this section, we explore the profound impact of female covert narcissism and shed light on its consequences. Brace yourself for an eye-opening journey!

Emotional and Psychological Consequences for Victims

Being entangled with a female covert narcissist can take a toll on your emotional and psychological well-being. The manipulative tactics employed by these individuals can leave lasting scars, including:

  • Low self-esteem: Constant criticism, gaslighting, and invalidation erode your sense of self-worth, leaving you feeling inadequate and questioning your own reality.
  • Anxiety and depression: The emotional rollercoaster of being involved with a covert narcissist can lead to heightened anxiety and persistent feelings of sadness or hopelessness.
  • Emotional exhaustion: The constant emotional manipulation and walking on eggshells can drain your energy and leave you mentally exhausted.
  • Self-doubt: The covert nature of their behavior makes it easy for female covert narcissists to make you doubt your own perception of events, eroding your confidence and clarity of judgment.

Effect on Personal Relationships, Including Family and Friendships

Female covert narcissists wreak havoc on personal relationships, leaving a trail of broken connections in their wake. The impact on family and friendships can be particularly devastating, including:

  • Strained family dynamics: Covert narcissists may manipulate family members, create divisions, and exploit existing conflicts for their own gain, causing rifts and damaging family cohesion.
  • Toxic friendships: Female covert narcissists often seek out friends who can provide them with admiration and validation. They may exploit these relationships, leaving friends feeling used, emotionally drained, and ultimately discarded.
  • Isolation: The manipulative tactics of female covert narcissists can isolate their victims from friends and family, making them more susceptible to their control and manipulation.

Workplace Dynamics and the Impact on Colleagues

Female covert narcissists can create toxic environments in the workplace, affecting both colleagues and organizational dynamics. Some of the consequences include:

  • Manipulative tactics: Covert narcissists often employ manipulative tactics to undermine their colleagues, gain favor with superiors, and advance their own agendas.
  • Team discord: Their competitive nature and lack of empathy can disrupt team dynamics, causing friction, mistrust, and decreased collaboration.
  • Emotional stress: Working with a covert narcissist can lead to increased stress, anxiety, and a hostile work environment, impacting the overall well-being and productivity of the team.

The impact of female covert narcissism reaches far and wide, affecting the emotional landscape, relationships, and professional realms of those entangled with them. It is crucial to recognize the signs and take steps to protect yourself and seek support. In the next section, we will provide practical strategies for dealing with female covert narcissists, empowering you to regain control and preserve your well-being. Stay tuned!

Strategies for Dealing with Female Covert Narcissists

Dealing with a female covert narcissist can be challenging, but fear not! We’re here to equip you with practical strategies to navigate these treacherous waters. By recognizing the signs, establishing boundaries, practicing self-care, seeking support, and implementing effective communication strategies, you can protect yourself and maintain your well-being. Let’s dive into these strategies and regain control!

Recognizing the Signs Early On

Early recognition is key when dealing with a female covert narcissist. Here are some signs to look out for:

  • Inconsistencies in behavior: Pay attention to discrepancies between their words and actions. Covert narcissists may claim humility while subtly seeking attention and admiration.
  • Manipulative tactics: Be vigilant for subtle manipulation tactics, such as guilt-tripping, gaslighting, or emotional blackmail.
  • Lack of empathy: Notice their inability to genuinely empathize with others. Female covert narcissists struggle to understand or connect with the emotions of those around them.
  • Victim mentality: Beware of their tendency to portray themselves as victims, deflecting attention from their own manipulative behaviors.

Establishing and Maintaining Boundaries

Setting and maintaining clear boundaries is essential when dealing with a female covert narcissist. Here’s how you can do it:

  • Identify your limits: Determine what behavior is acceptable to you and where you draw the line. This will help you establish boundaries that protect your well-being.
  • Communicate assertively: Clearly and calmly express your boundaries to the narcissist. Be firm and assertive in enforcing them, without engaging in heated arguments or confrontations.
  • Stay consistent: Female covert narcissists may test your boundaries, so consistency is key. Stand your ground and reinforce your boundaries consistently.

Practicing Self-Care and Self-Esteem Building

Taking care of yourself is crucial when dealing with a female covert narcissist. Here are some self-care strategies:

  • Prioritize your well-being: Dedicate time for activities that bring you joy and nourish your soul. Engage in hobbies, practice mindfulness, exercise, or spend time with supportive friends and family.
  • Boost your self-esteem: Remind yourself of your worth and value. Focus on your strengths, accomplishments, and positive qualities. Surround yourself with positive affirmations and uplifting influences.

Seeking Professional Help and Support

Dealing with a female covert narcissist can be emotionally draining, and seeking professional help and support can provide invaluable guidance and validation. Consider these options:

  • Therapy: A qualified therapist can help you navigate the complexities of the situation, provide coping strategies, and assist in healing from any emotional wounds.
  • Support groups: Connecting with others who have had similar experiences can offer validation, support, and helpful insights. Seek out support groups or online communities where you can share your story and gain strength from others.

Implementing Effective Communication Strategies

When communicating with a female covert narcissist, employing effective strategies can help minimize conflict and protect your well-being. Consider the following approaches:

  • Use “I” statements: Frame your concerns using “I” statements to express how their behavior affects you personally, rather than making accusatory statements.
  • Stay calm and composed: Maintain your composure and avoid getting drawn into emotional or confrontational exchanges. Responding with calmness can diffuse tense situations.
  • Choose your battles: Not every issue requires your energy and attention. Pick your battles wisely and focus on preserving your well-being rather than engaging in unnecessary conflicts.

By implementing these strategies, you can reclaim your power and maintain your emotional well-being when dealing with a female covert narcissist. Remember, your mental health and happiness should always be a priority. Stay strong, seek support when needed, and know that you have the strength to navigate these challenging relationships!


Congratulations! You’ve reached the end of our journey into the world of female covert narcissism. Let’s take a moment to recap what we’ve learned and empower ourselves with the knowledge to protect against manipulation.

Throughout this article, we explored the common traits of female covert narcissists, such as their prolonged victim mentality, excessive need for admiration, lack of empathy, and manipulative behaviors like gaslighting and emotional manipulation. We delved into their sensitive nature, passive-aggressive tendencies, and their envious and competitive spirit.

We also discovered their difficulty in taking responsibility, lack of self-awareness, and how they exploit others while violating personal boundaries. And let’s not forget their grandiose fantasies and emotional unavailability, often leading to a history of unstable relationships.

Armed with this understanding, it’s crucial to educate ourselves and stay vigilant against manipulation. By recognizing the signs early on, establishing and maintaining boundaries, practicing self-care and self-esteem building, seeking professional help and support, and implementing effective communication strategies, we can protect ourselves from the clutches of female covert narcissists.

Remember, healthy relationships and a strong sense of self-worth are paramount. Surround yourself with those who uplift and support you. Seek out authentic connections and build relationships based on trust, respect, and empathy.

As we conclude, let’s encourage each other to stay informed and spread awareness about female covert narcissism. Share this knowledge with friends, family, and anyone who may benefit from understanding the dynamics of toxic relationships.

Together, we can create a world where healthy relationships thrive and individuals are equipped to recognize and protect themselves against manipulation.

Always remember: you deserve to be treated with kindness, respect, and empathy. Trust your instincts, value your worth, and nurture the relationships that bring positivity into your life.

Thank you for joining us on this enlightening exploration. Stay empowered, stay informed, and stay true to yourself!

FAQs about Female Covert Narcissists

Can a female covert narcissist appear humble and kind?

Yes, female covert narcissists often disguise their true nature, presenting themselves as humble and kind while manipulating others for their own gain.

Can covert narcissists change or seek help?

While change is possible, it is unlikely for covert narcissists to seek help willingly, as they rarely acknowledge their behavior as problematic or feel the need to change.

Are all female covert narcissists aware of their manipulative behavior?

No, many female covert narcissists lack self-awareness and genuinely believe their manipulative behaviors are justified or necessary for their survival.

Can a female covert narcissist have successful long-term relationships?

Maintaining healthy, long-term relationships is challenging for female covert narcissists due to their manipulative tendencies, lack of empathy, and constant need for validation.

Are there any effective strategies to coexist with a female covert narcissist?

While it can be challenging, setting boundaries, practicing self-care, seeking support, and implementing effective communication can help minimize the negative impact of a female covert narcissist in your life.



This information is for educational purposes only and is not intended to be a substitute for clinical care. Please consult a health care provider for guidance specific to your case.

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