A few years ago, I visited the tomb of Oscar Wilde, atop of which is a glorious sculpture by Jacob Epstein which sets it apart from all others in Père Lachaise Cemetery, Paris. Something else which set it apart is the covering of lipstick kisses which I am almost certain Wilde, as a covert narcissist would have approved of. This adoration he would have regarded as rightly deserved after being misunderstood at the very end of his life.
The Covert Narcissist
If you, like Wilde are apt to see all around you as inferior and rather than make a scene, retreat into either spoken or written witticisms, knowing that one phrase from you is worth ten of everyone else’s then you may well be a covert rather than a more obvious narcissist. Wilde could encapsulate a whole paragraph of superiority on any topic into a few pithy and extremely witty words. One of my favourite quotes is his commentary upon poverty: “Charity creates a multitude of sins”.
Like Wilde, you will feel misunderstood and ahead of you time or perhaps surrounded by people who cannot see the world in the way you do. Wilde was famously imprisoned for his sexuality and whilst I am not suggesting that there is a link between covert narcissism and being LGBT, if you feel that your choices, lifestyle, needs for living are different to those around you and you judge your choices to be better of “ahead of your time” there is just the slightest possibility that you might be.
Tone Of Voice
Do you like the sound of your own voice rather than listening to someone else’s but are too polite to tell them so? Do you find yourself nodding off (not literally) during your friend’s boring monologue about something or other, only to come alive when they say something which interests you? Wilde was a fashionable guest at dinner parties (before his fall from grace) and would eloquently pick on a phrase used or element of conversation which he then incorporated in his plays.
Covert narcissists are also given to be “passive aggressive”, this is probably because unlike frank narcissists, they find open aggression hard. Some would say that whilst Wilde may not have been passive aggressive himself he certainly created many characters who were, Lady Bracknell in the Importance of Being Earnest certainly fits that category. So, if you have a tendency to leave instructions for others on post-its and use three exclamations where none would do, or if you were the one who made and policed all of the rules in your shared student accommodation…then say no more. If you combine such acts of passive aggressive with other characteristics listed here, you may well be a covert narcissist.
I just hope you are as witty as Oscar Wilde with it then your friends may love you, if you are not too ahead of your time that is!!!
About The Author:
Alex graduated as a Clinical-NeuroPsychologist in 2007 and has worked in a variety of settings. He loves writing about Narcissism and started his blog in 2013. If you like stories like these, read more on his website.