While introversion, sensitivity, and narcissism are all partially separate traits, hypersensitive covert narcissists are more likely to report that they are introverted and sensitive.
Are You a Covert Narcissist?
You’re probably wondering if you’re secretly a hypersensitive covert narcissist masquerading as a sensitive introvert. Without further ado, here are 23 items that will allow you to gain greater insight into your personality. In a recent study conducted on a group of 420 undergraduates, Jonathan Cheek and colleagues found that higher scorers on this “Maladaptive Covert Narcissism Scale” tended to also score higher on tests of entitlement, shame, and neuroticism, and tended to display lower levels of self esteem, extraversion, agreeableness, and conscientiousness. In contrast, maladaptive overt narcissism wasn’t related to shame, self esteem, or neuroticism, even though overt narcissists reported feeling just as entitled as covert narcissists. It seems if you have to be a narcissist, it’s better to be an overt narcissist than a covert narcissist!
So here’s the test. Be honest with yourself!
Maladaptive Covert Narcissism Scale (MCNS)*
Please answer the following questions by deciding to what extent each item is characteristic of your feelings and behavior. Fill in the blank next to each item by choosing a number from this scale:
1 = very uncharacteristic or untrue, strongly disagree
2 = uncharacteristic
3 = neutral
4 = characteristic
5 = very characteristic or true, strongly agree
- ___ I can become entirely absorbed in thinking about my personal affairs, my health, my cares or my relations to others.
- ___ My feelings are easily hurt by ridicule or the slighting remarks of others.
- ___ When I enter a room I often become self-conscious and feel that the eyes of others are upon me.
- ___ I dislike sharing the credit of an achievement with others.
- ___ I feel that I have enough on my hand without worrying about other people’s troubles.
- ___ I feel that I am temperamentally different from most people.
- ___ I often interpret the remarks of others in a personal way.
- ___ I easily become wrapped up in my own interests and forget the existence of others.
- ___ I dislike being with a group unless I know that I am appreciated by at least one of those present.
- ___ I am secretly “put out” or annoyed when other people come to me with their troubles, asking me for their time and sympathy.
- ___ I am jealous of good-looking people.
- ___ I tend to feel humiliated when criticized.
- ___ I wonder why other people aren’t more appreciative of my good qualities.
- ___ I tend to see other people as being either great or terrible.
- ___ I sometimes have fantasies about being violent without knowing why.
- ___ I am especially sensitive to success and failure.
- ___ I have problems that nobody else seems to understand.
- ___ I try to avoid rejection at all costs.
- ___ My secret thoughts, feelings, and actions would horrify some of my friends.
- ___ I tend to become involved in relationships in which I alternately adore and despise the other person.
- ___ Even when I am in a group of friends, I often feel very alone and uneasy.
- ___ I resent others who have what I lack.
- ___ Defeat or disappointment usually shame or anger me, but I try not to show it.
Done? Now add together all the numbers to come up with a total score.
How’d you do?
If you thought on some each of these, “Oh dear lord, that’s sooooo me,” don’t panic. As I mentioned, there’s some overlap between this scale and other tests that measure introversion and sensitivity. In a recent study conducted on college students, the average score on this scale was in the mid-upper 60s. So if your score hovered around that range, you’re about average in covert narcissism. If your score was below 40, you scored very low in covert narcissism.
If, however, your score was 82 and above, you scored high in covert narcissism. And if your score was above 97, well, you might want to own yourself as a card-carrying covert narcissist, instead of constantly telling people to stop criticizing you because your sensitive, introverted soul can’t handle it.
Now, do genuinely introverted people exist? Absolutely. Are there genuinely sensitive people? For sure. There are even many individuals who are both sensitive and introverted.
But the latest research suggests that there is also a large selfish segment of the population who say they are introverted and sensitive when they really just can’t stand it that everyone doesn’t recognize their brilliance.