People with covert narcissism might make dismissive or sarcastic remarks and act as if they're above the criticism. But internally, they might feel empty, humiliated, or enraged. Criticism is a threat because it constitutes evidence that the person's negative view of themselves may actually be true.
The tendency to make disparaging comments seems to be linked to the personality trait of narcissism. For example: People high on narcissistic tendencies see themselves as being more important than others and therefore deserving of better treatment, a quality called narcissistic entitlement.
Although narcissists don't, or won't, show it, all perceived criticism feels gravely threatening to them—the reason that their inflamed, over-the-top reactions to it can leave us so surprised and confused.
Self-Blame Leads to Shame
Because narcissists' inner guiding voice is so critical and harsh, narcissists try to avoid all responsibility for anything that goes wrong. In order to avoid self-hatred, they project the blame onto someone else.
"You're a bad person." "Nobody else will ever love you." "I'm the best you'll ever have." "Have fun being alone for the rest of your life."
When you don't depend on anyone to make money and you use your abundance to take care of yourself and not predators, you will always have the ability to control your own future. This is power, and pathologically envious narcissists are often turned off by it because it means they cannot easily control a victim.
Here are some narcissism red flags to look out for: Lacking empathy. They seem unable or unwilling to have empathy for others, and they appear to have no desire for emotional intimacy. Unrealistic sense of entitlement.
Ridiculing you. Those who live with narcissism may find it difficult to hold positive and negative feelings for someone at the same time. As a result, things may get heated in an argument. You may experience insults, put-downs, and even mocking behaviors, like laughing as you express hurt.
They like to have all the attention on them, which is why they cut their victims off from their friends and family. Often, they will flip between being a victim, being abusive, and being the hero. This keeps everyone around them on their toes because it is so erratic and confusing. It's called the "drama triangle."
Toxic People, for the Most Part, Are Narcissists
Narcissists have absolutely no concerns outside of their own needs and desires. They don't care about the people around them as much as they care about themselves.
Although narcissists act superior, entitled and boastful, underneath their larger-than-life facade lies their greatest fear: That they are ordinary. For narcissists, attention is like oxygen. Narcissists believe only special people get attention.
People with avoidant personality disorder are afraid of being rejected, criticized, or embarrassed and thus avoid situations where they may experience such reactions.
People with NPD may be intentionally arrogant, superior or vain. They will often act in a pretentious way in group settings, belittle others, and look to control conversations. While their self-concept is often an overinflated one, people with NPD typically have a fragile ego.
The narcissist is sensitive to criticism because it leads to feelings of shame, and this can lead to narcissistic injury. When the narcissist experiences shame, their narcissistic supply is rapidly depleted, and they are left to fend for themselves.
The narcissist perceives every disagreement - let alone criticism - as nothing short of a threat. He reacts defensively. He becomes indignant, aggressive and cold. He detaches emotionally for fear of yet another (narcissistic) injury.
In this case, you might expect examples of narcissist text messages such as “I'm in the hospital, but I'm ok now,” “I can't feel my arm, but I don't think I should worry, should I?”, “I've had some bad news, but there's nothing you can do about it.”
In narcissists' efforts to avoid blame, they often combine several fake apologies at once, such as, “I am sorry if I said anything to offend you, but I have strong opinions. Maybe you're too sensitive,” or, “I guess I should tell you I am sorry.
Narcissists tend to display exaggerated body language and facial expressions. The 1990 study on conversational narcissism also found that narcissists tend to be overly dramatic in their hand gestures and facial expressions. They may also speak in a loud tone of voice.
Narcissistic personality disorder is a mental health condition in which people have an unreasonably high sense of their own importance. They need and seek too much attention and want people to admire them. People with this disorder may lack the ability to understand or care about the feelings of others.
"Narcissists are primed to be abusive because they're so hypersensitive, and they don't have empathy, and they don't have object constancy," Greenberg said. "So they are primed to take offence and be abusive and not really understand... It's a lot of work for the non-narcissistic mate."