Are you dealing with someone who seems to have an inflated sense of self-importance, constantly seeking attention and admiration from others while disregarding their feelings? You might be dealing with an overt narcissist. In this article, we will explore the signs and causes of overt narcissist, provide examples of overt narcissists, and offer practical advice on how to deal with overt narcissism. Read on to learn more about this pervasive and destructive personality trait.
What is an Overt Narcissist?
An overt narcissist is a person who exhibits a pattern of grandiose behavior, a need for admiration, and a lack of empathy for others. They have an inflated sense of self-importance and may believe that they are superior to others.
They often seek attention and admiration from others, and may use manipulative tactics to get what they want. Overt narcissists may also belittle or disregard the feelings and needs of others, viewing them as inferior to themselves.
This behavior is often accompanied by a sense of entitlement and a lack of accountability for their actions
It’s important to recognize the signs of an overt narcissist to protect oneself from their toxic behavior. Knowing how to deal with an overt narcissist can prevent further harm to oneself and others, and allow people to set boundaries that protect their emotional and mental well-being.
It’s important to remember that although it may be challenging, dealing with an overt narcissist is possible with the right strategies and support.
Overt Narcissist vs Covert Narcissist
Overt narcissists are easy to spot. They are grandiose, attention-seeking, and crave admiration. They have a sense of entitlement and believe they are superior to others. They often engage in behaviors that showcase their superiority, such as boasting about their accomplishments, belittling others, or dominating conversations.
On the other hand, covert narcissists are more subtle in their behavior. They may appear shy or introverted, but they still have a deep-seated need for attention and validation.
They often feel insecure and struggle with feelings of inadequacy, which they mask by projecting a false sense of humility. They may manipulate others to get what they want, and they can be highly sensitive to criticism. You can read 15 traits of a covert narcissist here.
Here are five key differences between overt and covert narcissists:
Overt narcissists tend to be more grandiose and attention-seeking in their behavior, while covert narcissists tend to be more introverted and withdrawn.
Overt narcissists may be more likely to flaunt their achievements and seek admiration, while covert narcissists may be more likely to downplay their accomplishments and seek validation in more subtle ways.
Overt narcissists tend to have high self-esteem and an inflated sense of their own abilities and importance, while covert narcissists may have lower self-esteem and a more fragile sense of self-worth.
Overt narcissists may feel entitled to special treatment and recognition, while covert narcissists may feel a constant need for validation and reassurance.
Overt narcissists may be more likely to engage in grandiose and exploitative behaviors in their relationships, while covert narcissists may be more manipulative and controlling.
Overt narcissists may be more likely to engage in affairs or serial relationships, while covert narcissists may be more likely to engage in emotional manipulation or gaslighting.
4. Emotional expression
Overt narcissists may be more likely to express their emotions openly and dramatically, while covert narcissists may be more likely to hide their emotions or present a false persona to others.
Overt narcissists may have a grandiose or flamboyant style of expression, while covert narcissists may be more reserved or secretive.
Overt and covert narcissists may respond differently to treatment approaches. Overt narcissists may be more resistant to treatment and less likely to seek help, while covert narcissists may be more receptive to therapy but may struggle with issues of trust and vulnerability.
Treatment approaches may need to be tailored to address the specific needs and challenges of each type of narcissist.
Overt Narcissist Signs
Recognizing the signs of an overt narcissist is very important in understanding their behavior and managing their impact on others. Here are some common signs of an overt narcissist:
1. Excessive self-importance and self-absorption
Overt narcissists often have an inflated sense of self-importance and believe that they are better than others. They tend to exaggerate their accomplishments, talents, and abilities.
2. Overt Narcissists desires Constant need for attention and admiration
Narcissists crave attention and admiration from others and will do anything to get it. They may dress provocatively, brag about their achievements, or use other attention-seeking behaviors to draw attention to themselves.
3. Lack of empathy for others
Overt narcissists have difficulty understanding or empathizing with the emotions and feelings of others. They may disregard or dismiss the feelings of others as unimportant or irrelevant.
4. Belief in their superiority over others
Overt narcissists often view themselves as superior to others, including their friends, family, and colleagues. They may look down on others or belittle them to boost their own ego.
5. Exploitative behavior towards others
Narcissists tend to exploit others for their own gain. They may manipulate or use others to get what they want, without regard for the other person’s feelings or well-being.
6. Quick to anger or defensiveness when challenged or criticized
Overt narcissists often respond with anger or defensiveness when their behavior is challenged or criticized. They may become aggressive or dismissive, and may resort to name-calling or personal attacks.
Causes of an Overt Narcissist
There is no one specific cause of overt narcissism, as it is likely influenced by a combination of factors including genetics, environmental factors, and personality development.
Here are some potential contributing factors:
Some studies suggest that genetics may play a role in the development of narcissistic traits, including overt narcissism. People with a family history of narcissism may be more likely to develop these traits themselves.
The way children are raised can also contribute to the development of narcissistic traits. Children who are consistently praised and rewarded for their achievements without being held accountable for their mistakes may develop a sense of entitlement and superiority.
Conversely, children who are neglected or criticized excessively may develop low self-esteem, which can also contribute to narcissistic tendencies as a way to compensate for feelings of inadequacy.
3. Childhood trauma
Childhood trauma, such as abuse or neglect, can also contribute to the development of overt narcissism. In some cases, a child may develop narcissistic traits as a way to cope with the trauma and feel a sense of control and power.
4. Cultural factors
Societal norms and cultural values can also contribute to the development of narcissistic traits. In some cultures, success and achievement are highly valued, which can contribute to the development of a sense of entitlement and superiority.
5. Personality factors
Certain personality traits, such as low agreeableness and high extraversion, may also contribute to the development of overt narcissism.
I have discussed the causes of Narcissism in the other blog post, What is Narcissism, signs and causes.
Examples of overt narcissist
Here are some examples of overt narcissist behavior:
- An individual who constantly talks about their achievements and is always seeking praise and admiration from others.
- A boss who belittles their employees and takes credit for their work while boasting about their own accomplishments.
- A partner who always needs to be the center of attention and monopolizes conversations.
- A friend who always needs to be the one in charge and makes all the decisions without considering others’ opinions.
- A public figure who exaggerates their accomplishments and success while belittling and demeaning others who do not meet their standards.
- An individual who disregards the feelings and needs of others and uses manipulation tactics to get what they want.
Can a overt narcissist love?
It’s possible for an overt narcissist to experience feelings that they may label as “love”, but their experience of love may be different from what most people consider love to be.
Overt narcissists are typically more focused on themselves and their own needs and desires than on the needs and feelings of others. They may be attracted to people who they perceive as enhancing their status or reflecting well on them, rather than being genuinely interested in the person themselves.
Overt narcissists may also struggle with intimacy and vulnerability, which can make it difficult for them to truly connect with others on a deeper emotional level. They may view relationships as a way to satisfy their own needs rather than as a partnership based on mutual respect and support.
While an overt narcissist may claim to love someone, their love may be more focused on what the other person can do for them rather than on genuine caring for the person themselves. They may also be quick to discard relationships that no longer serve their needs or that challenge their sense of superiority.
Overt Narcissist Test
While a professional assessment by a licensed mental health professional is necessary to diagnose overt narcissism, there are some self-assessment tests that can provide insight into whether you or someone you know may have overt narcissistic traits. Here are a few examples:
- Narcissistic Personality Inventory (NPI): This is a widely used self-assessment tool that measures the degree of narcissism in an individual. It consists of 40 items, each of which assesses a different aspect of narcissism.
- The Hypersensitive Narcissism Scale (HSNS): This is a self-report measure that assesses the presence of hypersensitive narcissism, which is characterized by a combination of overt narcissism and vulnerability to criticism or rejection.
- The Pathological Narcissism Inventory (PNI): This is a self-assessment tool that assesses three dimensions of pathological narcissism: grandiosity, vulnerability, and entitlement/exploitativeness.
It’s important to note that self-assessment tests should not be used as a substitute for professional diagnosis or treatment. If you or someone you know is experiencing difficulties related to narcissistic traits, it’s recommended to seek the help of a licensed mental health professional.
How to deal with overt Narcissist?
Dealing with an overt narcissist can be challenging, but here is an outline of some strategies you can use:
1. Set boundaries
Overt narcissists tend to have a sense of entitlement and may try to dominate conversations or demand attention. Setting clear boundaries and asserting your own needs can help prevent this behavior from continuing.
2. Don’t engage in their game
Overt narcissists often engage in one-upmanship and may try to make themselves look better by putting others down. Don’t engage in this game and don’t take their comments personally.
3. Limit your exposure
If possible, limit your exposure to the overt narcissist. This could mean avoiding social events where they will be present or minimizing contact with them in the workplace.
4. Don’t feed their ego
Overt narcissists thrive on attention and validation. Avoid giving them excessive praise or attention, as this will only reinforce their behavior.
5. Stay calm and confident
Overt narcissists may try to provoke a reaction or get a rise out of you. Stay calm and confident in your interactions with them, and don’t let them push your buttons.
6. Seek support
Dealing with an overt narcissist can be stressful and exhausting. Seek support from friends, family, or a therapist who can provide a listening ear and help you develop coping strategies.
In conclusion, an overt narcissist is a person with a pattern of grandiose behavior, a need for admiration, and a lack of empathy for others. They have an inflated sense of self-importance and may exhibit manipulative behavior to get what they want.
The causes of overt narcissism are complex and may include factors such as childhood trauma, cultural and societal influences, and genetic predisposition. While dealing with an overt narcissist can be challenging, it’s important to remember that you are not responsible for their behavior.
By setting boundaries, practicing self-care, and seeking professional support if necessary, you can protect yourself from the negative effects of an overt narcissist’s behavior.
With awareness, empathy, and perseverance, it’s possible to navigate the complexities of a relationship with an overt narcissist while protecting your own well-being.