Jim Brillon – Who is a Covert / Vulnerable Narcissist?

Who is a covert/vulnerable narcissist? How are you able to spot one? Mental health specialist demystifies who a covert/vulnerable narcissist is from his point of view and experience as a licensed therapist and clinical counselor.


Whenever most people hear the term narcissist, they often associate it with overconfidence, lack of empathy, an extroverted personality and an over-inflated sense of self. while all these are attributes of narcissism, they are mostly present in grandiose or overt narcissism.

It is essential to also learn of a subtler type of narcissist, the vulnerable or covert narcissist. This is the opposite of a grandiose narcissist.

They share the same qualities with an overt narcissist in that they can be grandiose and attention seeking, they can manipulate, but it is much subtler and comes out in different ways.”

According to Jim, a covert narcissist will want praise and admiration, but they seek it in a more passive-aggressive way. They often come off as meek and introverted but possess a secret grandiosity personality. They will still want to be controlling and see themselves as better than others, but the vulnerable narcissist will not come out right and say it.


Most people fail to spot covert narcissists because they play the victim in their story. What this does is it draws in people with empathetic, codependent or rescuer personalities. These are often the people on the receiving end of abuse from covert narcissists.

I do so much for others, and nobody appreciates what I do.”

Even in therapy, it takes time to recognize a covert narcissist. They tend to be emotionally fragile people and often very resentful. They can be stressed and angry a lot, judgmental, and they will triangulate.”

They will still gaslight you and put you down just the same way the overt narcissist does. This leaves you questioning your reality.

It can be exhausting to live with a covert narcissist because it goes on and on and on. You feel like you can’t do anything right.” That is the thing you can’t. The only way you can protect yourself from a covert narcissist is by staying away or setting up healthy boundaries to protect your mental health and personal space.

Are you interested in learning more about covert narcissists? Mensgroup.com has all the resources and information you need.