The Inverted Narcissist: How to Spot Them and What to Do

The Inverted Narcissist: How to Spot Them and What to Do

Do you know someone who is always putting themselves down and seems to have little or no self-confidence? They may be an inverted narcissist. This type of person often appears very meek and shy on the outside, but inside they are raging with anger and resentment. In this blog post, we will discuss what inverted narcissism is, how to spot them, and what to do if you encounter one.

Who Is An Inverted Narcissist?

Who Is An Inverted Narcissist?An inverted narcissist is someone who craves attention and validation from others, but unlike a traditional narcissist, they tend to present themselves as humble and self-critical. They may constantly seek reassurance of their worth or abilities, while simultaneously pushing away genuine compliments or praise.

In relationships, an inverted narcissist may act submissive or clingy, constantly seeking approval and affirmation from their partner. These types of people may also display passive-aggressive behavior or use manipulation tactics to get their needs met.

If you or someone you know is in a relationship with an inverted narcissist, it can be difficult to navigate their constant need for attention and approval. But with understanding and awareness, you can learn how to set boundaries and maintain a healthy relationship.

How Can You Identify Them?

It might be hard to spot an inverted narcissist at first because they often come off as kind, empathetic individuals. But here are some common traits to look out for:

  • Frequent self-sacrifice and putting others’ needs before their own
  • Extreme sensitivity to criticism or rejection
  • Extreme need for approval and validation from others
  • Difficulty setting boundaries and saying no
  • Manipulative behavior in relationships, often gaslighting or playing the victim

These symptoms might sound like those of codependency, and in some ways, inverted narcissism can be seen as a type of codependency. But unlike codependents, inverted narcissists have a deep-seated sense of inadequacy and shame that drives their behavior.

It is important to identify an inverted narcissist because their behavior can be emotionally draining and damaging to your mental health. However, there are steps you can take to protect yourself. Remember, you deserve to have healthy relationships and fulfilling life free from manipulation and control.

How Inverted Narcissist Is Different From Other Types?

How Inverted Narcissist Is Different From Other Types?It is important to note that inverted narcissists are not the same as covert narcissists. While both types may share similar traits, such as a fear of rejection and a need for constant validation, inverted narcissists differ in their motivations and behavior.

While covert or vulnerable narcissists act out of deep-seated insecurity, inverted narcissists actually have higher self-esteem and a stronger sense of self. However, their need for attention and validation is directed towards someone else – typically a narcissist themselves.

Inverted narcissists may not exhibit the same overt arrogance or entitlement as other types of narcissists but instead may appear to be submissive, overly accommodating, and even self-effacing. Moreover, it is believed that inverted narcissists actually seek out relationships with narcissists, often putting their own needs and desires aside in order to please their partner.

So how can you spot an inverted narcissist? One key indicator is a pattern of consistently choosing narcissistic partners or friends. In addition, they may also exhibit codependent behavior, constantly seeking approval and validation from others.

If you suspect that someone in your life may be an inverted narcissist, it is important to remember that ultimately, they are responsible for their own behavior and choices. So do not try to help them until they ask for it.

What Are The Causes And Risk Factors?

There are several potential causes for inverted narcissism, such as:

  • Childhood trauma: This is often the root cause of inverted narcissism, as individuals may have learned to suppress their own needs in order to protect themselves from further harm.
  • Codependency: Inverted narcissists often find themselves drawn to narcissistic individuals, as they believe their role is to serve and please others.
  • Low self-esteem: Inverted narcissists struggle with feeling worthy and deserving, leading them to constantly seek approval from others.
  • Neglecting parents: If a person’s primary caregivers neglected or failed to meet their emotional needs, they may develop inverted narcissism in order to try and fill the void.
  • Invalidation: It is common for inverted narcissists to have experienced invalidation in their early relationships, leading them to believe they are not worthy of having their own needs and wants to be met.

It is important to note that individuals may not necessarily fit into one specific type of narcissism, as there can often be overlap between the different subtypes. Additionally, these factors may not be the sole cause of inverted narcissism, as they can also develop through a combination of various experiences and relationships.

In addition, there are some risk factors that may contribute to the development of inverted narcissism. These include:

  • Being female (inverted narcissism is more commonly found in women)
  • Having a family history of narcissism
  • Being in a relationship or constantly surrounded by narcissistic individuals
  • Experiencing chronic stress or trauma

Understanding the potential causes and risk factors of inverted narcissism can help in recognizing and addressing the issue. It is important to seek professional help, as well as surround yourself with supportive and understanding individuals who will validate your feelings and needs.

How Does It Impact Life?

How Does It Impact Life?This might come as a surprise, but the inverted narcissist can actually have a greater impact on your life than a typical narcissist. The reason for this is that they often fly under the radar and are able to manipulate those around them without being detected. So here are a few negative impacts that an inverted narcissist can have on your life:

  • Sabotage your relationships: This is a common tactic used by the inverted narcissist. They will often try to drive a wedge between you and your friends or loved ones, making it difficult for you to maintain healthy relationships.
  • Manipulate and control: Inverted narcissists are experts at manipulating situations and controlling those around them without drawing attention to themselves. This can result in feeling trapped and unable to make your own decisions.
  • Gaslighting: This is a common tactic used by narcissists of all types, but the inverted narcissist may be particularly skilled at gaslighting because they can do it without raising suspicion. They will constantly manipulate situations and emotions to make you question your own perceptions and reality.
  • Decreased quality of life: It is difficult to live a fulfilling and happy life when constantly under the manipulation and control of an inverted narcissist. Your self-esteem may suffer, and you may find it hard to trust your own instincts or make decisions for yourself.

These are a few ways that an inverted narcissist can negatively impact your life. You should be aware of these red flags and take steps to protect yourself if you are in a relationship with an inverted narcissist. This can be a difficult and painful process, but it is ultimately necessary for your own well-being.

It is also important to remember that not all inverted narcissists are inherently bad people. They may have experienced trauma or abuse in their past that led them to adopt these defense mechanisms. However, this does not excuse their harmful behaviors and it is still necessary to set boundaries and distance yourself from their toxicity.

How Can You Treat Inverted Narcissists?

If you or someone you know is exhibiting the traits of an inverted narcissist, there are some things that can help. A few options are listed below:


It is important for inverted narcissists to seek therapy in order to understand the root of their issues and work towards healing. Therapy can also provide a safe space to process and work through emotions. For example, a therapist can help to identify and address any co-dependency issues. Some of the common therapies include:


It is important for those interacting with an inverted narcissist to set clear boundaries in order for their own well-being. This may include setting limits on communication and not allowing yourself to be manipulated or controlled by the inverted narcissist’s actions. For example, if they constantly call or text and it becomes overwhelming, set a boundary of only responding during certain hours or times.

Another important boundary to set is not allowing the inverted narcissist to take advantage of your generosity and kindness. They may try to manipulate you into doing things for them or giving them special treatment, but it is important to not give in to these tactics.


Self-CareTaking care of yourself is always important, but it becomes even more crucial when dealing with an inverted narcissist. There are several ways to practice self-care, but some tips include:

  • Setting boundaries and saying no
  • Maintaining a support system of friends or family
  • Avoiding substance abuse
  • Exercising regularly and eating well
  • Taking breaks from the toxic relationship

This is not easy and it may take time, but remember to always prioritize your own mental and physical health. It is not selfish to put yourself first in this situation. Remember, you cannot change the other person but you can work on yourself and protect yourself from their behavior.

Join a support group

A major step in coping with an inverted narcissist is to join a support group, whether it be online or in person. This can provide you with the empathy and validation you need, as well as a network of people who can offer advice on how to handle the situation. For example, an online support group could offer advice on setting boundaries and disengaging from the narcissist.

Overall, these are only a few tips to help you spot an inverted narcissist and cope with their behavior. Remember, it is not your fault, and seeking professional help is always a good idea if you feel overwhelmed. Take care of yourself and don’t let anyone manipulate or control you. You deserve to be happy and healthy.

Ready To Find Healing And Self-Discovery?


In conclusion, an inverted narcissist can be difficult to spot and may not even realize they have these traits themselves. This can be frustrating to deal with, but setting boundaries and standing up for yourself is important. It’s also helpful to seek therapy or outside support in managing the relationship with an inverted narcissist.

Remember, you deserve to be treated with respect and love in all of your relationships. So do not wait to address any toxic dynamics or patterns of behavior that may be present. Take care of yourself and your well-being first and foremost.

If you are struggling then please contact Therapy Mantra for help. The team of experts here will be more than happy to help you out and get you on the path to a better life. Contact us today to learn more about our services. You can also book an online therapy session or download our free Android or iOS app.