The difference between a covert and overt narcissist.
The narcissistic personality disorder is a disorder, and can only officially be diagnosed by a professional, those who have the disorder are difficult to spot as they can manipulate the best psychologist, some have even dated them. Personally, if you’re a survivor of abuse, physical, psychological or both, whatever they are, you have every right to judge someone you know as toxic, if they lack empathy, if they exploit others, if they’re self-entitled, if they harm others without remorse you don’t need a professional diagnosis. Learning about the disorder often gives us survives the answers we never got from our abuser, it provides us clarity and closure, as we just can not understand how, or why someone could be so cruel to another, why we didn’t see, or why it took us so long to leave, why we accepted their treatment of us as normal, which was far from normal. To have the disorder, they would need five of the nine Characteristics. However, someone with four can be equally as toxic to be around, and those on the disorder are individuals, it is on a spectrum.
Experts, psychologists, and survivors have discovered three main types and four subtypes, with more and more words being used for these.
We are now hearing, communal, neglectful, benign, stubborn, entitled, status, control freak, and those seeming to be all of the above.
If their main character trait is requires excessive attention. If they have the power and success to match you could be dealing with a classic grandiose; especially if they are big on their looks and sexual conquests, you could be dealing with a somatic grandiose narcissist. If they have the homes, cars, following to match, you could be dealing with a very arrogant overt, grandiose, somatic narcissist, as they can afford to be outrageous with their arrogant behaviour, as they have people around them in support of their alter ego.
If their main character trait is requires excessive attention, but they have a high IQ’s and never understood physical appearance. They could use their mind more to manipulate those around them. You could be dealing with a malignant as they have the intellect to manipulate people and find alternative ways of forging friendships, If they are shy, and haven’t achieved much in life a vulnerable, Covert Narcissist.
They can, and they do cross over—an overt narcissist. Overt meaning done or shown openly, can and will act in covert ways. Covert meaning not openly acknowledge or displayed. All narcissist will act covertly at some point or another, as narcissist lie, and lie and lie to cover up their lies.
“Them not telling you something is just the same as lying.”
“They don’t lie to protect your feelings. They lie to save themselves.”
A covert and an overt can cross over in personality types, although they will lean more towards one, overt or covert are both narcissistic, and both manipulate for their own goals.
If someone lacks Empathy, if they continue to Break promises and let you down, if they seem extraordinarily Jealous and envious to the point they destroy others, whoever they are, you need to get out and stay out safely.
Putting a name to why they do what they do helps, also hearing about one type and that not matching what you were dealing with can be confusing, especially at the start when you’re trying to lose the brain fog and get clarity as to what you’ve been through. Learning the types helps. However, abuse is abuse, and there is no excuse, yes, they know their behaviour is wrong. Otherwise, they would act the hurtful ways they do around all; they wouldn’t try to hide it or play endless Mind games to control others. They wouldn’t Gaslight to confuse those around them, and they wouldn’t lie.
Narcissist personality disorder, is on a spectrum, we can all have a trait or two of narcissism, meaning someone can be confident and achieve success in life, yet they have not destroyed others to get there, they care for others and are not a narcissist, some people can have quite a few, but it doesn’t make them a narcissist, more a toxic person, fool, idiot or just a twit.
You can have people with BPD, that isn’t a narcissist or someone who’s suffered past trauma, most people have suffered from. A traumatic experience in their lives, but not all that have then go around destroying others, many heal and reach back to help others, and unfortunately some try to help narcissistic people, to their own detriment.
”I was that busy helping you. I didn’t see you were destroying me.”
Coverts can seem ok, some well mannered, some polite.
Then as time goes by, something just doesn’t seem right, you just can not seem to communicate with them.
They are not loud, and in charge like you might think someone with the disorder would be.
In the beginning, they don’t tend to be argumentative, but over time, you notice they seem to have a sense of entitlement, and superiority, just not as in your face as you’d expect a narcissist to be. You feel like they are approachable after the Idealisation stage but not overly sure.
The more you get to know them, you notice, they hate feeling vulnerable, and hate any weaknesses been known to others, as you get to know more about them, when you see any humanity or flaws in them, they go on the attack with blame and shame towards you and your faults.
They shut down and withdraw, you just suddenly get the Silent treatment out of nowhere, often leaving you wondering what just happened, there’s a lack of empathy with them, they come across as cold and not interested in you, they just don’t care about you.
They seem almost smug, it’s their way or no way, they come across as a very misunderstood, special person, who knows what others think or feel, and you just don’t understand them,
Lots of Passive-aggressive behaviour, you’ll more often get the silent treatment, sulking off, cutting you mid-sentence, making promises and failing to deliver, often walking on Eggshells around them.
Everyone who manipulates tries to do it under the raider, so Overt narcissists are equally underhand with it, coverts are often the shy narcissists.
They have a lack of confidence and more self-doubt.
The covert narcissist can come across shy, empty, depressed, low energy, you’ve probably got people saying, they’re not quite right, something not all their with them, they have grandiosity on the inside, but the feel ashamed about it. If they get stressed, they might even have some anxiety.
They will be very vulnerable in front of you, gaining sympathy emotions, they will want you to feel sorry for them. They might look very dramatic when they are looking for sympathy.
They believe they have a right to everything, and they are self-entitled, they do believe they are special. They have no empathy, think they are better than all around them, yet at the same time, believe they are not good enough.
They are very arrogant and will not apologise, only if it’s twisted around onto you.
They are people who try to come across as perfect, who are morally superior.
Coverts will guilt trip others as much as they can.
Things like. “ I’ve got no money, but I really, really need to get this, that or other.” They might not directly ask. If they are ill, they’ll want a tone of sympathy. Often making those around them, feel guilty.
They will always play the victim. Even if there is evidence, they will Twist, so they are the victim.
They pass all their, insecurities onto their main partner.
Coverts are the ones who will say. “Are you really going to wear that?” or “I wouldn’t bother doing that if I was you.” They rarely directly Invalidate at you, most often it’s underhand and extremely hurtful.
Overt narcissism these are usually the grandiose narcissist but not always. They are arrogant, boastful and they can be exhibitionist, easily offended to criticism and rage is close to the surface they have grandiose behaviour, they are demanding of specialised treatment, they want to be and will often be known as the best at everything, they really need to be recognised for their uniqueness, believing they are superior to others. Their personality is exploitative and very ruthless in gaining power and control. They have the potential to be a public figure and often but not always have power and money, always at the expense of others. A lot will not secure success, and will simply make up great story’s and lie or exaggerate about their achievements in order to gain the recognition that has never been earned.
Overt and covert narcissists have deep feelings of unworthiness. The overt narcissist will diminish, slander and Intimidate, people just because of their own Jealousy and insecurities they have very high levels of distrust believing, probably because of how untrustworthy they are.
Overts often believe themselves to be better than others, and they usually have an army of people who agree, so they are more outrageous and obvious in their ways. Both overt and covert lack a conscience and will project their own fears insecurities and damaged inner self on to others by lying, manipulating, withholding or abandoning. In fact, whatever tactic they can master to get any sort of reaction from you.
Overts can cheat, but often they have enough people sucked into their lies, or reliant upon them, those around them make them feel special on a more continuous basis, so they feel less need to cheat. However, they are human, so they are as capable of being a serial cheater, just like the Covert, and both are capable of staying faithful, although this is rare.
Overts as most narcissistic people do, believe they have a right to everything, and they are self-entitled, they do believe they are special. They have no empathy, think they are better than all around them, and they believe they are good enough.
Overts are, extremely self-centred and extremely stubborn.
Overts are the more obvious narcissist, as most often have no self-awareness and are oblivious to the impact they have on those around them. They just rule through love or fear, so people don’t stand up to them.
They can come across as very confident and fun to be around, this is often us mistaking their arrogance as dominance, narcissistic people are rarely humble.
They will still play the victim when needed.
They are manipulative,
The tell countless lies,
They exaggerate their achievements,
They will manipulate anything, everything and everyone.
They feel superior to others.
They have a sense of entitlement.
They have a very inflated ego.
They dominate and exploit, lying and cheating their way to the top.
They see others as an extension of themselves.
They are extremely dominant and very charming, which draws people to them, they easily seduce, and when their needs are no longer being met, they move quickly onto the devaluation and discard phase.
When their attempts to exploit others aren’t successful, or their demands and self-entitlement are not being met. They have anger and rage. They will destroy others that don’t conform to their demands.
They can be prone to boredom.
They are extremely jealous of others and very egotistical.
Overt Narcissist is very grandiose very in-your-face and very assertive.
They are impulsive and big risk-takers.
They will exaggerate their achievements.
The first sign that something is wrong is as soon as you start googling someone’s behaviour, when there is something you don’t like about how someone is treating you, or treating those you love, so here you are looking for information of what’s just happened, or what has happened in the past. You’ve turned into a detective, not only if you’re still in the relationship, but if you’ve got out, trying to work it out.
The best thing to look out for is, do they seem entitled, even if they don’t act it? Do they seem to exploit others? Do they lack in empathy? Do they put others down? Do they seem jealous of others? Do you feel like you’re losing or you’ve lost who you are? Do they seem to put you down? Do you feel uncomfortable around them? Is your anxiety levels rising? Do you start things with “This might sound stupid?” Even if you’re not dealing with someone on the disorder, you’re dealing with a toxic person, and you have to decide for yourself to find a safe way to step away.
Rule one if you have doubt, there probably is no doubt, and they are a narcissist if you are doubting if you are because you’d react, and it takes two to tango, no because you have empathy, you loved hard, you hurt hard. Reactive abuse is not the same as abuse, no one deserves to be manipulated or hurt, you are a good caring person who likes to look for the good in others, and there’s no wrong in that, just learning behaviour you will and will not accept from others, From now on, so I People do things you don’t like, leave them to it and find people who love you for you.
Also, if you never used to think anything was wrong with you, and you never used to question if you were a narcissist, being around a narcissist, was what got you questioning yourself, almost everyone that has been around a narcissist, will at some point question themselves when they look for answers.
You might question “, but they can be so nice.” Those on the cluster B personality disorder Narcissists, borderlines and histrionics have a Disorder, they are not healthy people who switch it on when they feel criticism, anger or stress, this is who they are.
Coming out of any form of relationship with a narcissist often leaves us in a state of disbelief, usually because of our own perceptions, values, beliefs, kindness, trust in others, making allowances for mistakes, with the help of their gaslighting, blame-shifting, the silent treatment and projecting their faults onto us. We rationalise, make excuses, blame ourselves and give them the benefit of the doubt over and over again, or through fear of reactions, fear no one will understand, help or believe us, and if you’ve been isolated, fear of being alone can also keep us trapped in the cycle of abuse.
When we finally awaken from the trance they put us under and finally break free for good, it can seem like a never-ending mountain to climb, and we are drained emotionally, physically and financially. Often with the narcissist still playing games.
Here are some top tips for practising daily, even when you take a step or two back, get up and go again, you will find your inner happiness, freedom and a new life for you.
1. Be patient and kind to yourself, and it takes time, work and effort from within yourself. If you’ve slipped up and reacted to them, had a knockback, or just a bad day, it’s ok these things happen, deal with the emotions, then move on from that moment as it is now in your past.
2. Create new routines for you; sometimes we miss the routine we had, starting new ones for yourself, realising you now only have to answer to yourself and do what’s right for you.
3. Release the toxicity out of your mind, and when we’ve been around these people, they poison our minds, then our subconscious starts to work against us. Get help, support groups, find and connect with others who’ve been their, best friends, family, reach out and find someone to help you. Journaling, talking with a trusted friend, support groups, coaches, psychologists, EMDR treatment to release it all from your mind, then work on building your mind to think how you want to, look for the positive, no matter how big or how small and keep going, keep achieving more.
4. Accept and acknowledge the truth, then forgive yourself. You have to realise you were manipulated and duped by an extremely toxic person, who just wanted to use you for your good qualities, they do not care for you, they just want to hurt you, your forgiving kind and generous traits were used against you, being a good person is nothing to be ashamed of, learning to say no will become a deal-breaker with these kinds of people in the future.
5. Set Boundaries and stop all contact, Grey rock if you can not do no contact. At the start it’s going to be really hard, you will have withdrawals, keep going it gets easier. Do it now. You have to go through the withdrawals no other way, it’s far better to do it now, than in ten years time, after withdrawals you will reclaim your happiness.
7. Shift your focus, and you will go through a period of time where you are drawn into your past, they will be running through your mind, the pull of the trauma bond, you might still need to work out some of your past, set aside time to do so, don’t let it steal your present day.
Remember It is not your fault, and no one deserves to be treated this way.
You are now more aware of yourself and educated on life itself, create new visions and dreams for you, take those steps to make these happen, the possibilities are endless, and you never know how far you can go. When you feel down focus on how far you’ve come, even if that’s just getting out, changing one thing can change everything for you.
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Elizabeth Shaw is not a Doctor or a therapist. She is a mother of five, a blogger, a survivor of narcissistic abuse, and a life coach, She always recommends you get the support you feel comfortable and happy with. Finding the right support for you. Elizabeth has partnered with BetterHelp (Sponsored.) where you will be matched with a licensed councillor, who specialises in recovery from this kind of abuse.