10 Covert Passive Aggressive Narcissist Traits To Watch For

Pinterest Hidden Image

Last Updated on 11 months by Iva Ursano

This is a new word for me. Narcissism. To be perfectly honest with you, I didn’t even really know what one was. I had to Google the definition. Then I Googled covert passive-aggressive narcissist. Phew.

It all sounded terrible!! And it all made sense to me.

From some of the blogs I was reading, I knew that a narcissistic person was evil. Then I Googled, even more, to see what some passive-aggressive narcissistic traits were. Oy. It was all very crystal clear to me from that moment on.

The passive-aggressive narcissists in my life

If we’re gonna be honest here, I didn’t even know if I had people in my life who had narcissistic traits. Who are they anyway? Turns out I had one or two, or 10. Who knew?

Well, apparently not me.

Until I finally found out what it meant. Then it got real. It was time for me to figure out how that happened, and to make sure it never happened again. You know, the whole *allowing narcissists into my life, staying in my life, and controlling my life* thing.

Ya, I needed to do some self-discovery (again or still, geez). I needed to go back a few years in my life and see if there was a pattern. And then I needed to do whatever it took to make sure that I put an end to this vicious cycle of having covert passive-aggressive narcissists in my life.

I also needed to find out:

  • who I was,
  • where I was weak,
  • what did I need to work on personally
  • how to find self-respect
  • how to form boundaries

Oops I had a lot of work to do.

You might also really enjoy these blogs on narcissism and relationships:

The Surprising Cause of Relationship Paranoia (and how to fix it!)

10 Brutal Narcissist Abuse Quotes

Living with someone who is a covert passive-aggressive narcissist

Does anyone else here have experience living with a narcissist? Such fun, amirite? Geesh. It’s a no-win situation. No matter what you do or say, you’re always wrong, bad, stupid, and unworthy, of anything, ever.

It’s exhausting.

It’s also not that easy to leave someone who is a covert passive-aggressive narcissist and don’t we wish more people would understand this? These abusers have sucked all the life out of us and have mastered manipulating us into believing everything is our fault.

You almost have to experience it to understand it. People say ‘just leave’!! We wish we could.

(this post contains an affiliate link so if you make a purchase I make a small commission-affiliate disclosure)

Being a narcissistic abuse victim

The victims. The ones who put up with all that bull for how many years? Oh so many. The funny thing is I didn’t even know there was a name for it. This toxic behavior of theirs. I just thought they were all jerks.

But they’re more than that.  Who knew?

I often thought I must be overreacting. There must be something wrong with me. Am I too sensitive? There’s nothing wrong with their behavior. Maybe it’s just a result of childhood trauma.

I mean we’re all a little broken anyway, right? That’s their way of expressing their brokenness. I express my brokenness through temper tantrums (don’t judge) and crying.

So, anyway, call me naive if you want, I don’t really care but when I realized that I was a narcissistic abuse victim, oh man, I had several a-ha moments. Seriously. My whole life opened up wide for me to dissect.

The passive-aggressive covert narcissist is smooth, really smooth

I’m only going to discuss 10 traits here but if you Google covert passive-aggressive narcissists, you’ll find many more. In my opinion, these are the ones to watch for.

And keep in mind, these guys are smooth. They have a magnetic quality to them that can’t be explained but not in a good way either. It’s like a toxic magnet.

I get that some of the people in our lives who suffer from narcissistic personality disorder aren’t so easy to get away from. Parents, co-workers, and other family members.

We’re actually kinda stuck with them if you will, but you can limit the time you spend around them OR you can be bold and stand up to them!

Sadly, too many of us lose ourselves in relationships with narcissists and can’t seem to find a way out.

Before we get into the traits of a passive-aggressive covert narcissist I just want to share my self-help store with you. Mini self help eBooks (small but powerful) and my signature course “The 21-Day Life Changing Challenge”

10 Covert passive-aggressive narcissist traits

Without further ado, here we go…

1 They have big egos

Big EgosPin

I just thought it was a *thing*. None of us are perfect, right? Some people have bigger egos than others. No big deal.

But it is a big deal. They are ego-driven. Their importance is all that matters. Ever. You take a back seat. All the time. You put them on a pedestal because you love them (and in their eyes, there is no other place to be) and you feel sorry for their brokenness.

2 They are very defensive


I just thought they were trying to stand up for what they believed in, passionately. I didn’t realize whatever they got defensive about was actually chipping away at their precious ego.

I mean, we all believe in something and stand up for it or protect it and we can all get a little defensive about said things, but wow.

SO defensive. To the point where they would get enraged. Like, they are right and you are wrong, and shut up and stop this conversation now. This was actually a scary narcissistic trait for me. It confused me.

3 They are very inconsiderate


You know, at one point in my life, I was pretty inconsiderate. I mean, I wasn’t a nice person. But I realized it and changed. I can look back now and chalk it up to being selfish and immature.

People who have narcissistic traits are just plain inconsiderate. Period.

They only think of themselves because they are number one, right? See, I just thought that maybe they were raised that way. You know, like only child syndrome.

What do I know?

4 They can be extremely cocky


That’s not even funny and it’s actually pretty annoying. Mind you, I think we all get a little cocky sometimes, no? It’s an ugly trait that many of us wear, some of us wear it for fun, really. Others are just plain cocky, all the time.

Because they’re right, they’re smart, they’re better than you, they’re perfect, they’re…..jerks, really.

Yup, no clue that this was even a covert passive-aggressive narcissist trait.

5 They have many unhealed issues

Unhealed IssuesPin

Quite often, there is something else underlying. They aren’t just being covert passive-aggressive narcissists for no reason.

They suffer from depression, anxiety, seriously low self-esteem, and self-confidence (who knew?), and may have been the victim of bullying in their younger years (childhood trauma, right?)

6 They give you the silent treatment

6 Silent TreatmentPin

Ah the dreaded silent treatment. Ugh!! This one actually hurts me the most (odd I know) and it’s such a childish manipulative move.

They do this because they want to mentally torment you and make you think you did something terribly wrong and everything is your fault.

It’s not by the way.

7 They poke fun at you

Make FunPin

They are constantly poking fun at you, your feelings, your work, your family and/or friends, everything. They never want you to think that you’re doing good or better than them. Ooph that would be tragic.

So they make you feel like you’re dumb, your family is dumb and nothing you do is good, ever. They love to belittle you and they have no problem doing this in front of your family and friends either.

But then, they’re only joking as they would say.

8 They despise criticism

Despising CriticismPin

Don’t even try to give them constructive criticism. That’ll backfire on you and of course, end up with you being the bad guy. As usual.

They can’t handle anyone putting them down or telling them they did something wrong. They’re perfect, remember?

Trying to give them any kind of criticism is a recipe for disaster. Don’t bother. Save your time, energy, and self-worth.

9 They hold grudges

Hold GrudgesPin

Hardcore. A lot. Til the end. Anyone who has ever dissed them ever, in any way shape, or ,form goes on that grudge list. How dare you think they are not awesome and amazing damn you!

Forgiveness and mercy aren’t in their vocabulary. Don’t even bother trying to get them to let go of a grudge. Remember, they’re right, you and everyone else are wrong.

10 They feel inadequate


This is actually kinda surprising. They do feel inadequate, an awful lot, and this comes out in bullying, mocking others, emotional manipulation and so many more toxic traits.

They don’t ever want you to think they have feelings of inadequacy because it’s a sign of weakness to them. They need to make sure you always remember they are strong, they are the best, they are fearless and brave…but they’re not.

I mean there is so much more to the narcissist that I seriously didn’t know. That we don’t know or understand.

I didn’t even know there was a name for this. And then I took inventory of my life and went *Oh I get it now*. All the narcissistic traits suddenly matched a few people in my life.

So what do you do about it? How do you get away from it or deal with it?

Honestly, I have no answers. I try to see the good in everyone. We all have bad in us and we all have so much good in us. Really we do.

Dealing with a narcissist is no easy feat

Trust me, I know. A lifetime of this has shown me that you must be super strong and dig deep to find your self-confidence and even some balls. It takes a big strong person to deal with a narcissist, shut them down and walk away.

I love helping people to do that. Find and pull up their big girl/boy panties and be the bigger person.

Do you have someone in your life who is a covert passive-aggressive narcissist?

Do you recognize any of these narcissistic traits in your partner, family member, co-worker, or someone else in your life? I totally get how hard it is to deal with them. Trust me, I know.

But it’s not impossible. If you are in a relationship with a narcissist you may need to talk to someone or even think about leaving. If leaving isn’t an option, is counseling an option?

Will your narcissist recognize his/her own signs and want to seek help? There are many things you need to think about before leaving or making the decision to leave but one most important thing is your happiness.

You are number one and you must take care of yourself and your happiness first and foremost.

Helping others is my jam

I’m a healer and helper.  I realized that deep inside of me is that person who wants to fix everyone’s brokenness. I’m that girl. *Here let me fix you. You don’t have to be like this forever. Let’s make you better*.

But you can’t fix people. That’s not why we’re here. We’re here to love people. That’s all.

So the bottom line?

Look for the good and if you can’t, then maybe it’s time to just send them love and walk away.

Peace and Love


Did you love this post? Does what I share with you move you in any way shape or form? Do you love the blogs I share with you?

If anything I have ever shared with you has inspired, motivated, empowered or enlightened you please consider supporting my work by buying me a coffee!!

A simple, small, and lovely way to say “Thank you, Iva”!! Click the button below. Thank you love you!! xoxo

Leave your vote

14 Points
Upvote Downvote

Similar Posts


  1. I have people in my life like this, the only solution I have found is to walk away and leave them to wallow in the chaos of there own making.

    1. Smart move John :) more of us need to learn to do that.


      1. But how? How do we move on from something that has damaged us so completely that the only person who could ever live us is the person who damaged us to begin with?

  2. Narcissists are neurotics(means suffering). Dr. Karen Horney said in her classic book, The Neurotic Personality Of Our Time(1938): The neurotic can not forgive others their happiness.

    1. Thanx for that Gary! I’ll have to snoop around for that book.


  3. It’s really sad but it’s such a colosal job try to fix a narcissist! God knows that I’ve tried. But it’s better to send them love, delegate the job to God and wrap them well with prayers.

    1. Amen to that Paz. God will handle us all with great love

      much love to you

    2. It’s true, though we can never fix or help the narcissistic person, walk away and leave it to God, that’s my consolation !!

  4. Narcissism = Asshole, YES!
    And so much more as well. It’s extremely TOXIC is what it is!
    I too have a few in my life, and have put up with these behaviours for many years. After all I was led to believe that there was something drastically wrong “with me”, No I’m not perfect, none of us are.
    But I have come to see that it is not me.
    We cannot fix these damaged broken individuals. I no longer even want to interact with them. It is far to damaging.
    So now it has become about self preservation. I need, we need to take care of us!! Much love to all who are dealing with this in their lives.
    Hugs to you Eva and all who struggle with this. ❤️

    1. Yup yup and yup Debra!! You nailed it. Thanx for your comment and glad you enjoyed the blog.

      much love

      xo iva xo

  5. So loved your article sprinkled with your comedy. Well written. I too have had many experiences with Narcissist (hard to spell that for sure lol) . When I became an energy healer and on the spiritual path. I decided to research this personality from that point of view. This is what I found. All Narcissists come from the same dark force which is why they all carry similar traits to varying degrees.. It is almost impossible to heal them as the dark in them wont allow them to see that there is a problem. Also in most cases the dark got into these people through trauma often at a young age.

    1. Thank you for reading and for your comment Nicole. It is impossible to heal them I think. They need to see for themselves that they need to heal xo

  6. Sadly, when it’s your mother and she’s 85… I can’t just walk away… even tho’ I so want to…

  7. Agree, I live with a narcissist mother, my mother-in-law… 89 years old and she played us really well, for 17 years, sold her house and came to live with us with the excuse of being a widow who is severely sick with a heart condition, only to find out years later there’s nothing wrong with her heart. I was so naive !!! She made my life miserable until 2 years ago when I figured out she is a narcissist. Reading and learning about this disorder has helped be strong and she can’t manipulate me.

  8. I recently left a narcissist. And I’ve had them around me my whole life and I didn’t know. I just felt that I was so different from everyone else and I didn’t belong. I don’t look at them as evil, exactly. But they almost can’t help behaving the way they do. I have done a lot of research on it, and like you Iva, I knew the term, but when I looked it up, I realized finally and truly what it was and nothing was going to change, that I wasn’t doing everything wrong, I wasn’t over sensitive. But what I really learned from it? The universe brings to you what you need to grow and evolve. And since I left, evolve I have. I’ve grown so much and taken responsibility for my own feelings. I’m grateful for all the experiences as painful as they were. And I’ve learned to trust myself instead of ignoring what my soul says, which is how I used to be. And while a work in progress, I’ve learned to love myself. I’ve made it to the place where I can thank them and say lesson learned. But no, I don’t have to be around them, in fact I have deleted them all from my life. They served their purpose now I’ve moved on. Thanks for this!

    1. I loved reading this. I love how you’ve grown. That’s so beautiful. Growth is hard and painful. You’re awesome xoxoxo

  9. Over the years, I have learned the best is to work on yourself. Turn the focus from them to your own self healing and growing. It took me a very long time to realize what I was dealing with. Went through times that I really believed I am not giving enough and It might be my fault. Then, after way too many tries to help that person, you are always bad guy and you realize that nothing will change. They don’t think that they need to work on themselves and always will be someone else to blame.

    1. You’re right. It is best to work on yourself. That’s where your power is. Thank you for reading and sharing your thoughts. xoxo

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *