Covert Narcissist Always Sick
Covert Narcissist Always Sick

Unlike overt narcissism, which is the better known form of narcissism, covert narcissism is a term that often goes unnoticed and underappreciated. But it can wreak just as much havoc on the lives of those who come into contact with it because covert narcissists possess a unique set of traits that make them masters of manipulation, control, and seeking attention and sympathy.

However, one peculiar aspect of covert narcissists is their tendency to frequently claim illness, even when they’re not truly sick. This behavior can leave friends, family members, and colleagues perplexed, concerned and confused.

In this article, we will delve into the world of covert narcissism, explore the link between their behavior and stress-related illnesses, and uncover the reasons why covert narcissists are seemingly always sick. So, let’s embark on this journey to understand the enigma of the covert narcissist’s health woes.

Covert Narcissism and Illness

When we talk about covert narcissists and their frequent bouts of sickness, it’s essential to understand what covert narcissism is and how it relates to their health-related behaviors. Let’s break it down:

What is Covert Narcissism?

Covert narcissism, unlike its more overt counterpart, is a less conspicuous but equally destructive personality trait. Covert narcissists exhibit narcissistic personality disorder (NPD) traits, but they do so in a subtler, more discreet manner.

For instance, it’s common to see a covert narcissist use passive-aggressive tactics to manipulate and control their victim. So, instead of openly saying what’s on their mind, covert narcissists will say things using subtlety and indirect statements.

So understanding covert narcissism by getting into the mind of a covert narcissist is the first step in dealing with one.

Key Characteristics and Traits of Covert Narcissists

To better understand why covert narcissists seem to be perpetually unwell, let’s delve deeper into some key traits and characteristics commonly associated with them:

  1. Attention-seeking: Covert narcissists have a knack for grabbing attention, but they do it discreetly, making it harder to detect.
  2. Sympathy-seeking: They are experts at garnering sympathy from others, portraying themselves as pitiable or in need of help.
  3. Manipulative: Their manipulative nature allows them to control situations and people without others realizing it.
  4. Controlling: Covert narcissists crave control over every aspect of their lives and those around them.
  5. Victimizing: They often play the victim, portraying themselves as helpless or unfairly treated.
  6. Mind Games: Their manipulation tactics involve subtle mind games that can leave others feeling bewildered.
  7. Control Issues: These individuals exhibit a strong desire to exert control over their surroundings.
  8. Victimhood Complex: Covert narcissists often have a complex where they consistently see themselves as victims – often referred to as Covert Narcissist Victim Mentality.

Munchausen Syndrome and Covert Narcissism

To understand why covert narcissists often feign illness, we need to explore the connection between their behavior and a condition known as Munchausen Syndrome. Let’s delve into this intriguing relationship:

Understanding Munchausen Syndrome

Munchausen Syndrome, also referred to as factitious disorder, is a psychological disorder characterized by individuals feigning illness or causing physical harm to themselves, all to gain attention, sympathy, and medical care. This condition can manifest in various ways, including:

  • Fabricating symptoms: Individuals with Munchausen Syndrome invent symptoms or exaggerate existing ones to deceive medical professionals.
  • Doctor shopping: They often seek treatment from multiple doctors to maintain the illusion of illness.
  • Self-inflicted harm: Some may even harm themselves physically to produce symptoms.
  • Pathological lying: Lying about medical history and experiences is a common trait.

Signs and Symptoms of Munchausen Syndrome

Recognizing Munchausen Syndrome can be challenging, as those affected are often skilled at deceiving others. However, some common signs and symptoms include:

  • Inconsistent medical history: Their medical history may be inconsistent or constantly changing.
  • Unusual eagerness for medical tests and procedures: They frequently request unnecessary tests, surgeries, or treatments.
  • Frequent hospitalizations: Individuals with Munchausen Syndrome often have an unusually high number of hospital admissions.
  • Seeking care from various healthcare providers: They may visit numerous doctors, specialists, or hospitals.
  • Reluctance to have visitors during hospital stays: They prefer to keep their deception hidden from family and friends.
  • Enjoyment of the “sick role”: They thrive on the attention and sympathy received when perceived as sick.

How A Covert Narcissist Uses Munchausen-like Behavior

Now, let’s draw the connection between Munchausen Syndrome and covert narcissism. Covert narcissists may not have a clinical diagnosis of Munchausen Syndrome, but they exhibit similar behaviors for their own gain:

  1. Feigning illness: Just like individuals with Munchausen Syndrome, covert narcissists may pretend to be sick to gain attention and sympathy.
  2. Seeking medical care: They often visit healthcare providers excessively, seeking medical validation for their imagined ailments.
  3. Inventing symptoms: Covert narcissists are adept at fabricating or exaggerating symptoms to create a more convincing narrative.
  4. Manipulating healthcare professionals: They may use their charm and manipulative skills to deceive doctors and nurses into believing their health complaints are genuine.
  5. Maintaining secrecy: Similar to those with Munchausen Syndrome, covert narcissists often keep their deception hidden from loved ones, reveling in the “sick role.”
  6. Enjoyment of attention: Both covert narcissists and Munchausen Syndrome sufferers derive satisfaction from the attention and sympathy they receive when they appear unwell.

Understanding this overlap in behavior sheds light on why covert narcissists are seemingly always sick, even when there’s no genuine medical cause.

Next, we will explore the possible reasons behind their persistent health-related manipulations.

Why is A Covert Narcissist Always Sick – Possible Reasons

Now that we’ve explored the link between covert narcissism and behavior reminiscent of Munchausen Syndrome, it’s time to unravel the enigma of why covert narcissists are seemingly always plagued by illness. Here are some possible reasons:

#1. Manipulation and Control

Covert narcissists are adept at manipulation and control, and feigning illness is just another tool in their arsenal. They use this tactic to:

  • Manipulate emotions: By appearing sick, they can manipulate the emotions of those around them, making others feel guilty or sympathetic.
  • Control situations: Feigning illness allows them to control their environment and the people in it. When they are perceived as sick, others may cater to their needs and desires.
  • Dominate relationships: Covert narcissists often use illness as a means to maintain dominance in their relationships. They can elicit caregiving behaviors from their partners or loved ones, reinforcing their control.

#2. Seeking Validation and Praise

Covert narcissists have an insatiable need for validation and praise. Feigning illness allows them to:

  • Receive attention: Illness often garners a significant amount of attention, which covert narcissists thrive on.
  • Elicit sympathy and compliments: When they appear sick, others are quick to offer sympathy and compliments, reinforcing their self-esteem.

#3. Playing the Victim

Playing the victim is a common tactic for covert narcissists, and feigning illness is a powerful way to:

  • Evoke sympathy: By portraying themselves as victims of their own health, covert narcissists can evoke sympathy from others.
  • Shift blame: They may use their supposed illness as a way to shift blame onto others, making them appear innocent in any conflicts or disputes.

#4. Maintaining a Caretaker Dynamic

Covert narcissists often desire a dynamic where others take care of them. Feigning illness allows them to:

  • Create dependency: By appearing sick, they can create a dependency on others to care for them.
  • Feel superior: Being the one who needs care can make them feel superior to those who must provide it.

#5. Guilt Tripping

Covert narcissists are skilled at using guilt as a means of manipulation. Feigning illness enables them to:

  • Make others feel guilty: When they appear sick, others may feel guilty for not doing more to help or support them.

#6. Avoiding Responsibilities

Covert narcissists often wish to avoid responsibilities and obligations. Feigning illness allows them to:

  • Escape obligations: When they’re “sick,” they have an excuse to avoid responsibilities at work, home, or in relationships.
  • Shift the burden: By appearing ill, they may convince others to take on their responsibilities, further relieving them of any duties.

#7. Maintaining a Positive Public Image

Maintaining a positive public image is crucial for covert narcissists. Feigning illness can help them:

  • Appear vulnerable: By appearing sick, they can portray themselves as vulnerable and garner sympathy, which may help maintain their desired image.
  • Mask their true nature: Illness can serve as a convenient distraction from their more manipulative and controlling tendencies.

#8. Creating Drama and Attention

Covert narcissists often crave drama and attention in their lives. Feigning illness allows them to:

  • Create drama: Illness can create a dramatic storyline in their lives, attracting attention from those around them.
  • Be the center of attention: Being sick puts them at the center of conversations and gatherings, fulfilling their need for attention.

#9. Gaslighting and Manipulation

A form of psychological manipulation, Gaslighting is a tool frequently used by covert narcissists. Feigning illness can be part of their gaslighting tactics:

  • Discrediting others: They may use their supposed illness to discredit the observations or concerns of others, making them appear unreliable.

#10. Leveraging Medical Excuses

Covert narcissists may use medical excuses to their advantage:

  • Justification for erratic behavior: They can use their supposed health issues as a justification for their erratic or manipulative behavior.
  • Avoiding confrontation: Claiming illness can help them avoid confronting uncomfortable truths or conflicts.

#11. Maintaining a Sense of Importance

Lastly, covert narcissists often strive to maintain a sense of importance in their relationships and social circles. Feigning illness can help them:

  • Stay at the center: Illness keeps them at the center of attention, reinforcing their perceived importance.
  • Gain sympathy and admiration: Others may admire their resilience in the face of illness, further bolstering their self-esteem.

Closing Thoughts

Understanding why a covert narcissist always seems to be sick, even when they’re not genuinely ill, provides valuable insights into the complex web of their manipulative behavior. These individuals are masters at seeking attention, sympathy, and control, often at the expense of those around them. By feigning illness, they tap into a range of psychological tactics to maintain their desired image, control dynamics, and satisfy their insatiable need for validation.

It’s essential to recognize these patterns and protect oneself from falling victim to their manipulations. Awareness and healthy boundaries are key when dealing with covert narcissists, as navigating their web of deceit can be challenging. By understanding their motives and behaviors, we can better safeguard our emotional well-being and maintain healthier relationships.