Understanding Today's Narcissist
Understanding Today's Narcissist

Episode 68 · 4 years ago

E05: Covert Narcissists

ABOUT THIS EPISODE

What is a covert narcissist? And how do they differ from other types of narcissists? Discover the answer in this episode.

For more information, visit www.growwithchristine.com 

Welcome to understanding today's narcissists, where we will explore how you can better relate and manage the narcissist in your life. I am your host, psychotherapist and author, Christine Hammond. Just like all shades of yellow or not exactly the same, neither are all narcissists. It would be a lot easier if they looked exactly the same, because then we could figure them out and identify them very quickly and easily, but that's not the case. There are some narcissists that are a lot harder to pinpoint and know that they're even narcissistic in the first place, because they hide it so well. I call these the silent narcissist. Some people call them covert narcissists, so we're going to talk about that today and distinguish them from what we call the grandios or the overt narcissists, because they are far easier to identify. Think of the grandios narcissist is...

...the one who just loves the center stage, so they are always in front of a crowd. They love attention. All presses good press for them. It doesn't matter what people are talking about. A certain coat, certain overt narcissist. What matters more is that they're actually talking about them. So they don't care what anybody else says is as long as they're the center of attention at all times. Those are pretty easy to identify. I'm sure as I'm talking you can already figure out that we've had a couple of presidents and our current president that definitely fits into that category. Understand that narcissism goes across the aisle. It doesn't matter whether you're a conservative or a liberal, or a Democrat or Republican or even a libertarian. narcissists are everywhere, and the reason they're so obvious in that particular realm of political power and influence is because that's one of the characteristics that they create. They crave that level of attention and...

...there is nothing like getting a national attention. So, having said that, those are what we would call our overt narcissist. So let's talk about the ones that are a little bit more difficult to identify at first. Those are our covert narcissists, and what I'm going to do is I'm going to kind of go through what the DSM identifies as the characteristics of narcissism, and then I'm going to show you how we twist it around to explain the covert side, because the way the DSM presents is it, it presents it as the overt narcissist. So I'm just going to flip it on its side so that you can look at what the underside of this looks like. All right, let's start with a very beginning, which is a grandiose sense of self importance. So for the covert narcissist, this looks like snobbishness. It's this attitude that they are just so all that and that everybody needs to identify with them...

...and and believe that they should be treated a certain way. Maybe they've inherited money and they believe that they should be treated a certain way because they've inherited something. They don't necessarily have to have deserved it. They don't have to have done anything to get there. It could just be that they came from a certain part of the country and they think that that justifies being treated a certain way, or had certain family members or married to a certain kind of person. It's irrelevant. It is just a person who has this snobbish attitude that they are more important than other people. The next characteristic is preoccupied with fantasies about success, power, brilliant beauty or the perfect mate. So in the grandiosis is super easy to see, because they are obsessed with having success and power and looking a certain way and having their spouse be a certain image. Now the covert narcissist is equally obsessed about it, but they don't talk...

...about it. That's the real key. They kind of hide all of this and and they are the ones that are just so frightened, for instance, that they they're going to age. So they'll do anything they can to not age. They will lie about their age, they will mislead people about their age, they will do surgeries so that they don't look their age. They'll do anything to hide it, but they won't just come right out and say, Hey, I'm seventy years old in this is the way I am, like they're not proud of that at all. They're just mortified that they would look older at seventy years old. So as spouse who rejects them in any kind of way during this time period is met with absolute, severe mental abuse, and usually it's a silent treatment because they we hold sex. They do verbal assaults, but they will never, ever, ever do these verbal salts out in public. You will not catch them doing saying things on twitter that...

...could be retweeted like that will never happen with a covert narcissist. And over narcissist you will find them doing that, but not a covert the next characteristic believes they are special and unique and can only be understood by other special people. So when I think about this one, I go back to my days when I was in university and I think about some I'm not saying they're all like this, because I have some good friends who are professors, but I came across the couple of professors who had this air about them and they usually got it after unfortunately, they had a chief tenure, that they could do anything, that they were the smartest people in the room, that they were on top of everything, and they just have this like presence about them, and they would do it in very subtle ways, like completely ignoring you when you walked into the room because you weren't at their level, where you didn't perform the way you thought you should, or you weren't one of their favorites. Whatever. It was like that's what a covert narcissist does. The grandios...

...narcissist like just comes right out and does it and they don't make they don't mince any words about it. They're not they're completely unapologetic about the fact that they believe that they're special. But a covert Narcissis does it through silence. They do it actually through not talking to you at all because you are not at their level. The next characteristic is requiring a constant admiration. So you can see that with the overt narcissists, constant need for attention. That's why they put themselves in entertainment and politics, because there's always a tension to be given to them. Now the covert narcissists will not ask outwardly for this attention or admiration. They just expect that they deserve it and if you don't give it to them, there is just a zero tolerance for it. They will solk, their procrastinate, the lie, they'll be deliberately evasive, they'll work...

...halfheartedly, they'll be obstinate, they'll complain you kind of get the picture right, like, they will just they will they will just passively aggressively not handle something because they are so upset that you did not give them the admiration that they deserve. And here's the kit, here's the kicker. They will even say things like I shouldn't have to tell you that I need this, like how do you know that you need it if nobody tells you? They just believe that they deserve it, they're entitled to it and they shouldn't have to explain to others why they need to be admired. The next one is a sense of entitlement. So a a an overt narcissist. When they have a sense of entitlement, they believe that they should have something immediately. Now, covert narcissist expects others to automatically comply with their wishes, but they don't always state them like. That's the kicker here. Like an over Narcissi isn't going...

...to tell you what they want from you. They're going to just be very upfront. It will be unbelievably demanding, the expectation will be totally unrealistic, but they are totally going to let you know what it is. A covert narcissist does not do that. They do the exact opposite of that. They will not let you know what it is that their wishes really are. In fact, they might even tell you things like, oh, I don't really want anything from you and, and that's a passive aggressive way of kind of saying, Hey, I do want something from you, but I'm not going to tell you because you should automatically know what it is that I deserve or how I deserve to be treated. So it's this little sliding that happens back and forth this. They do this on purpose because they want to keep you guessing. Now hear me when I say this. This is not an accident. This is done intentionally because through their silence, they are keeping you like spell bound, they're keeping you drawn in so that you have to constantly guess...

...at what it is they really need. And then by that they know that they have you. They've got you, because you'll just keep trying this, you'll try that, you'll try this and that and and whatever sticks. Finally, when you figure out what it sticks, then it will never be good enough or soon enough or fast enough or whatever it is. Next one takes advantage of others to get what they want. Again, we can see the super easily in the overt narcissist. They are unapologetic about taking advantage of other people. In fact, they will even say things like, Oh, you deserve to be taken advantage of because you didn't do Blah Blah Blah, where you didn't achieve or if you're that stupid, then it's your fault that you got taken advantage of. Okay, so the covert narcissist is not quite the same at that. They most people do not expect or suspect that they're going to receive mistreatment or manipulation at their hands because they are so quiet about their...

...narcissism. But this is precisely how they go undetected for as long as they do, and then they'll sneakily exploit others right at the very end for their own personal gang. So they don't do it up front, they buy their time. They're much more cunning about it than what you would extain, what you would see, for instance, in a grandiose narcissist. The next one is lack of empathy. So as a general rule, all narcissists have very little and limited abilities to have empathy for other people. But the covert narcissist likes to play the victim card much more so, and they do this by constantly talking about or showing how that they are totally victimized, and that's why they're shut down and don't communicate and don't talk. So when the cover narcissists believes that they've been wrong by others, they will actually completely cut off communication or even remove the person from their life. There's absolutely no grace extended to...

...anyone who might harm the covert narcissist. The next category is envious of others. So that's a little hard to tell that and not so obvious, and either the grandiose narcissists or the covert narcissist. But you will see this enviousness or this jealousy of others much more defined in the covert narcissist because they work hard at not exposing their jealousy. So so they're going to go over the top to demonstrate that they are not jealous. But this is like where money comes into hand, like if somebody has more money than somebody else, they will be insensitively, they will be unbelievably jealous of people who have more money than them. They're not going to come out and say it, but they will do it in a very backhanded kind of way to demonstrate. So for them, when it comes to jealousy, they don't like to be over exposed because they're going to protect their insecurity. They're like fear that they're not as...

...good as somebody else because they make more money or have more money. So what they will do is they will have a lot of sarcastic or demeaning remarks when it's completely inappropriate, as a passive, aggressive way of kind of getting at that person that they're jealous apt. And the last category of shows arrogant behaviors or attitudes. Again, super easy to see that in the over and the overt narcissist, in the covert art narcissist, these kinds of attitudes are mostly hidden from other people. Even those closest to the covert narcissists are going to have a difficult time seeing the air against and it's interesting to me at what I have seen in these cases is that they're actually arrogant about how humble they are, which kind of cracks me up because, like, how can you be arrogant about being humble? But they are like, like they will present this attitude that they are so humble and but in doing so they're showing off how humble they are, which then means that they're not really humble and...

...they're being arrogant about it. So so it's kind of it's a little bit messed up and it's a little confusing, but if you've seen it you'll know exactly what I'm talking about. So this is what it looks like to have a covert narcissist around as opposed to an overt narcissist. I hope some of these things were good examples for you so you can better identify the difference between the two, because knowing the difference between the two helps you to strategize better. How you approach and overt narcissus is very different than how you approach a covert narcissist, and we'll talk about that a little bit later at a different time. Thank you for listening to understanding today's narcissist. If you've enjoyed the episode, please subscribe to the podcast on Itunes to make sure that you don't miss another one. If you'd like to learn more, you can visit us at grow with christinecom. Thanks so much for listening and we'll be back next...

...time. With a new episode.

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