Author: John Carter

52 Ways to Identify a Covert Narcissist

covert narcissism and alcoholism

It is not uncommon for two mental health conditions to co-exist (referred to as a comorbidity). Covert narcissists may not be aware of their toxic behaviors or they may not know their behavior is stemming from a personality disorder. This isn’t an excuse for acting in hurtful ways, but it is something to keep in mind when dealing with a narcissist. In summary, whether alcohol is to blame or not, having a person with narcissistic traits in your life can be exhausting and upsetting. Whether or not this person decides to seek treatment, don’t overlook your well-being and your right to a healthy, happy life. In a nutshell, grandiose narcissists may feel proud of their excessive alcohol use, and the problems it can cause, if it makes them stand out.

This may be because low self-esteem is often the reason for these behaviors, as one study highlighted when looking at the connection between cyberbullying and covert narcissism. Exhibiting narcissistic behaviors when drunk, for example, doesn’t inherently mean that a person has NPD. Alcohol can influence narcissistic behaviors, such as arrogance, self-importance, and feelings of superiority that aren’t otherwise present when sober. Personality disorders like NPD are those in which a person has a rigid and unhealthy pattern of thinking, functioning, and behaving.

covert narcissism and alcoholism

Their vulnerability as narcissists is reflected in anger and aggression, envy, helplessness, feelings of emptiness, low self-esteem, and shame. The number of criteria a person meets determines whether they have AUD, and if so, the severity of the condition. A 2014 study into narcissism and the use of internet pornography found a direct correlation between hours spent viewing pornographic material and the extent of narcissism. It also found that people who watch internet pornography are more likely to have narcissism than people who do not. Following alcohol guidelines can help people stay within moderate levels of alcohol consumption. For females, it is not advisable to consume more than one unit of alcohol per day.

Narcissism and social media addiction

While narcissism is a personality disorder and alcoholism is an addiction, narcissists and alcoholics share several characteristics. Recognizing these commonalities can help you understand and cope with people who have Narcissistic Personality Disorder, untreated alcoholism, or both. A lack of empathy makes it hard for someone with covert narcissism to step into other people’s shoes.

Coping with someone with a dual diagnosis can be more difficult than if that person suffered from only narcissism or untreated alcoholism. Although it may be impossible to prevent NPD, people can take steps to reduce the risk of developing additional disorders through the understanding that it is common for substance misuse disorders to co-occur. Calling out covert narcissism can be difficult, but it starts with being mindful of behavioral patterns and paying attention to that gut feeling you have when something feels a little off.

  1. Narcissistic personality disorder (NPD) is one of the Cluster B personality disorders, which are characterized by unpredictable and emotional behavior.
  2. People with AUD may be unable to reduce or stop drinking despite experiencing the negative effects of alcohol or a desire to quit.
  3. If someone you know has alcoholic narcissist symptoms, don’t neglect your own needs.
  4. A person with narcissistic personality disorder may have an inflated or grandiose sense of self-importance or worth and experience feelings of entitlement.
  5. Vulnerable narcissism features traits like low self-esteem, helplessness, and rejection sensitivity.
  6. Although it may be impossible to prevent NPD, people can take steps to reduce the risk of developing additional disorders through the understanding that it is common for substance misuse disorders to co-occur.

Narcissism and alcoholism may both share similar characteristics and can occur at the same time. Recognizing these links traits may enable individuals to seek appropriate help in managing these conditions. This introvertive form of narcissism, called covert narcissism, may cause people to be more sensitive to criticism, have difficulty fitting in and become self-deprecating in an attempt to garner attention from others. Covert narcissists may also be more prone to social anxiety, passive-aggressive behavior and exacting revenge on others when they’re backed into a corner.

Dual diagnosis

Threatened egotism was listed as a factor that motivated increased alcohol use. There is much research to suggest a strong link between narcissism and problematic sexual behavior, notably infidelity and sexual assault. The same factors that drive the problematic use of alcohol and drugs can also drive sex addiction.

You may need to step back completely and cut off contact with someone in more extreme cases where you feel unsafe or uncomfortable approaching another person about their actions and behavior. When we hear that someone is a narcissist, we often imagine them as being overly assertive and outwardly aggressive. In an effort to proclaim they are, in fact, the most important person in the room, a narcissist might bulldoze over healthy boundaries and exhibit a sense of entitlement. You might also consider seeing a therapist who can provide you with coping tools and a means to sort out your feelings. This is especially true if you have conflicted emotions and are reluctant to speak with others who might judge you or your relationship.

All personality and substance abuse disorders are diagnosed based on a strict set of criteria described in the DSM-5. While there is room for interpretation, a person with NPD and/or AUD must meet a minimum standard before a diagnosis can be delivered with confidence. People with covert narcissism can come across as cold, callous, or uncaring. Needing constant validation to manage self-esteem can be draining on both people in a relationship.

When AUD and NPD occur together, it can increase a person’s hostility and aggression. This can make treatment more challenging than it would be to treat each issue separately. Aggressive behavior and pathological narcissism were linked to alcohol overuse in a 2017 study of Canadian men. The association remained intact even when researchers accounted for general psychological distress as a trigger for coping responses like alcohol use. Although it is a relatively new phenomenon, social media addiction has been around since the advent of sharing pictures and status updates online. “If you are concerned that you may be causing a problem in these scenarios, a therapist can help you feel more at home with yourself and figure out why you rely on certain negative behaviors,” says Dr. Albers.

Some narcissists may go back and forth between overt and covert presentations. Keep in mind that no two people with covert narcissism will have the exact same symptoms, either. Recognizing covert personality traits requires looking beyond obvious appearances, past common assumptions and expectations. For this reason, covert narcissism is more difficult to spot, and it can take years to recognize it in someone you think you know well. But the good news is that once you become aware of the patterns and signs of covert narcissism, you aren’t likely to miss them again. People who are experiencing problems with alcohol, drugs, or sex should contact a doctor or mental health professional.

Covert Narcissism Checklist

Both AUD and NPD have distinctive symptoms and features that occur independently of each other. Although estimates vary, up to 6.2% of people in community samples demonstrate NPD traits. Take our short alcohol quiz to learn where you fall on the drinking spectrum and if you might benefit from quitting or cutting back on alcohol.

People with covert narcissism share many of these traits and, as a result, may have difficulty developing and maintaining relationships. However, instead of arrogance and self-importance, covert narcissists are often shy and withdrawn. They also may appear to focus attention on others when it’s actually attention they seek for themselves.

The Overt Versus the Covert Narcissist

Like the overt narcissist, the covert narcissist fails to develop emotional empathy, self-awareness, or a stable sense of identity and self-esteem in childhood. Personality disorders are mental health conditions involving pervasive and often destructive personality traits. People who think that they may have an addiction or a personality disorder should consult a doctor or mental health professional for advice and treatment. A 2019 study involving young adults with vulnerable narcissism found that the disorder can cause overwhelming feelings of shame in the individual. The person then seeks out alcohol or substances to mediate these feelings, leading to more feelings of shame, and so on.