Our firm specializes in divorce and family law cases that are complicated by narcissism and other personality disorders, and we’ve written an extensive catalog of posts about how to handle the situation if your ex is a narcissist. But we haven’t written much yet about the different subtypes of narcissism, so in the coming weeks and months we’ll be doing a series on exactly that.
Today, let’s talk about the covert narcissist.
The stereotype of the narcissist is a loud, exuberant, arrogant person who is unabashedly self-obsessed. Certainly, many narcissists fulfill this stereotype. But fewer people are aware of the lesser-known, but surprisingly common covert narcisssist.
Signs of a Covert Narcissist
- Quiet or self-effacing attitude
- Outward humility with a tendency to put themselves down (looking for others to reassure them how wonderful they are, no doubt)
- Lacking outward arrogance but with a quiet smugness or superiority
- Passive-aggressive behaviors
- Envious of others
- Feeling that others don’t deserve their blessing but they deserve what other people have
- A lack of empathy for the feelings or situations of other people
- Helping others out of a desire for recognition
The Catch-22 of Dealing with a Covert Narcissist
If you are dealing with an outright overt narcissist and seek support from friends and family, it’s not very likely that you will be met with outright skepticism or disbelief when you voice your suspicions. Because this type of narcissist is loudly self-obsessed, other people besides have also likely caught on to this person’s narcissistic tendencies. Not so with the covert narcissist. The covert narcissist takes great care to project an outward image of humility- so many other people are likely to be skeptical or even hostile to claims that a mutual acquaintance is a covert narcissist. It’s better to get the support you need from a trained mental health professional rather than try to convince mutual friends and family of your suspicions.
Things to Do When Handling a Covert Narcissist in A Divorce
- Let go of the need to convince others your ex is a covert narcissism. If your suspicions are right, most will find out in their own way and in their own time. You’ll just stir up prejudice against yourself going on a crusade to convince others.
- HIRE THE RIGHT ATTORNEY. More than anyone, you NEED an attorney who understands narcissism if you are dealing with a covert narcissist. If you are in Orange County, call us at 949-363-5551 since this is our specialty.
- Get into therapy. You are going to need support that isn’t as likely to come from mutual friends a family. A trained professional who is a neutral third party and who is trained in narcissism subtypes can give you the support you need.
What if my ex is normal but the attorney they hire is a narcissist?
This can happen as well. Maybe your ex is basically a reasonable person but they’ve retained a narc for a lawyer. If you think this might be the case, talk with us. We can advise you on avoiding endless legal hassle and coming to a settlement even when opposing counsel is throwing up roadblocks. But there is hope- with the right legal team and the right strategy, you can defeat narcissistic strategies that can otherwise ruin your life.
The Bad News- Things a Covert Narcissist May Try During a Divorce
Here are some things a covert narcissist is likely to do in a family court battle:
- They may try to convince others that YOU are the narcissist
- Parental alienation, turning the kids against you
- Playing the victim
- Run up the legal bills for both sides
- Try to paint a picture of their ex as totally evil or awful
- Refuse to settle
- Try to restart a matter after it has finally been settled
The Good News
The good news is that you can still come out on top. If you make the right moves and hire the right counsel, the judge who has the final say in the matter can shut narcissistic legal maneuvers down and force your ex to accept a final judgment that awards you all that you are entitled to get. We’ve seen and successfully navigated this situation for our clients countless times and we can help you move forward.
Do you have a divorce or family law question?
Call our office today at (949) 363-5551. We specialize in helping clients who have divorce and family law matters complicated by narcissism, bipolar disorder and other mental illnesses. John A. Bledsoe is Orange County’s premier divorce attorney and a certified family law specialist. Our firm offers a confidential initial case evaluation. to learn more.
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