Differences between covert and overt

  • 39 Replies
  • 1902 Views
*

Associate of Daniel

  • Full Member
  • ***
  • 487
Differences between covert and overt
« on: May 19, 2017, 08:14:33 PM »
I'm a little confused about the difference between overt and covert narcissism. I thought I understood but the more I deal with my u/npd exH and his Nwife, the more confused I become.

I'm wondering if anyone can give some examples. If possible to come up with one hyperthetical situation and then give the covert n's possible response and the overt n's response.

Any ideas, Folks?

AOD

*

kazzak

  • Host Member
  • Hero Member
  • *
  • 1181
Re: Differences between covert and overt
« Reply #1 on: May 19, 2017, 08:24:03 PM »
This video does a good job giving examples of the difference

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-WVLZXLyO-M

*

LucilleBluth

  • New Member
  • *
  • 8
Re: Differences between covert and overt
« Reply #2 on: May 20, 2017, 12:35:22 AM »
My therapist (who is an NPD expert) well I was referred to her after my marriage counselor diagnosed my ex as NPD when we were still together. So my therapist saw many of the emails and texts he sent me. She immediately said he was covert, which is why it took me so long to figure out that he was a narcissist. He wasn't really grandiose at all, and he was very needy. He was also a pathological liar and had zero identity, so every person (male) who he met and thought seemed strong he would immediately start mimicking. It was really awkward and embarrassing because he would change his personality a lot. He was also a sex addict, and he raped me once, and thee were MANY times that I had to run and hide behind a locked door because his sexual advances were verging on assault. Of course if you asked him, I was over-reactive and a "f----ing bitch" in every situation where I had to lock him out. I can't stress the sex issue enough. MC actually made him go to sex addicts anonymous classes (useless for a narc, because in a narc's mind THEY are not the problem and never wil be). Narcissists are what they are because of stuff that happens very young, and in one theory COVERTS were neglected, whereas OVERTS were over-complimented or emotionally/sexually abused. Main diff is that coverts were neglected kids, and hide things whereas overts were gushed over. That's just a theory. But my NPDh was a pathological liar, to such an extent that I left him over it. My son actually looked at me one day and said "either you or Dad is a liar". And that's when I realised I couldn't even have a good relationship with my children when you have a chronic liar as a spouse. Coverts seem needy, overts are grandiose, they brag. But both lie, and nothing will ever make them stop lying. My therapist also mentioned that coverts had a lot of similar characteristics of BPDs, as far as lack of control of emotions/outbursts, severe manipulation of others, "gaminess",  and even suggested that coverts might really just be people with both BPD and NPD.
« Last Edit: May 20, 2017, 12:43:53 AM by LucilleBluth »

*

Associate of Daniel

  • Full Member
  • ***
  • 487
Re: Differences between covert and overt
« Reply #3 on: May 20, 2017, 07:03:16 AM »
Lucille, what a time you've had.

And Kazzak  thanks for the link. One thing he said which really helped was that a covert has huge shame but an overt doesn't.

I suspect my u/npd exH is covert and his wife is overt.

Thanks for your replies.

AOD

*

boots40

  • Host Member
  • Hero Member
  • *
  • 1291
Re: Differences between covert and overt
« Reply #4 on: May 20, 2017, 02:52:11 PM »
I have known an overt and my MIL is definitely covert.

Overt
#Confident, completely and utterly deluded about their skills and attributes, do not care if people think badly of them - highly arrogant, often superficially vain or materialistic, more obviously self-centered and do not have great acting skills.  They are more likely to destroy people openly and boastfully without a care in the world about how this may reflect on them

Covert
#Less confident, wants to appear saintly and the pillar of the community, wants respect for good deeds, are the best actors, are capable of playing meek and mild, will sometimes put themselves down to fish for praise and admiration.  They are less deluded than the overt and have some awareness of their faults (like an angel and devil on each shoulder) so will work harder to cover up.  A covert narc will want to be publicly seen as the best parent, husband, charity worker, neighbour etc...but behind close doors have seething resent for everyone that puts upon them.

This is just my observation and understanding - no expert.
"What you say about me isn't nearly as bad as what I know about you"

*

ShinySilver

  • New Member
  • *
  • 23
Re: Differences between covert and overt
« Reply #5 on: May 21, 2017, 05:09:21 AM »
This just confuses me more because my husband cycles between the two.

Thank GOD for this forum to give me some clarity - without it I would feel so alone in this journey!

*

boots40

  • Host Member
  • Hero Member
  • *
  • 1291
Re: Differences between covert and overt
« Reply #6 on: May 22, 2017, 03:33:58 AM »
This just confuses me more because my husband cycles between the two.

Thank GOD for this forum to give me some clarity - without it I would feel so alone in this journey!

Coverts often do cycle between the two.  My uNMIL is a complete contradiction.

The thing about coverts is that they are not confident people but try and act as if...but then the mask slips.  They often try and get admiration from various sources other than just materialism or vanity; charity work, morality, parenting...being the nicest person at work.  But then mask slips....it is like a cycle.

Overts on the other hand are deluded enough to truly believe that are just freaking awesome so there is very little acting, mask slipping or character changing.  No need to fake humility or keep up appearances because they tend to not care about what people think of them - because everyone is beneath their contempt - why would they care?

Sometimes 'Coverts' are called 'vulnerable' narcissists - I think this describes them well.  They are actually very vulnerable people and it doesn't take much for them to feel shame or anxiety.  That is when the arrogant side of their personality kicks in as a defense mechanism.  'Overts' are 'invulnerable' which means they are usually fairly robust in their arrogance.  Their inflated ego consistently protects them from shame or vulnerability or criticism. 

E.g a overt narc I knew was criticized at work (they had broken something and not reported it).  His reaction was to deny everything, walk out of his job even though he had responsibilities, then try and sue the company for loss of wages.  He thinks he is so awesome that he can just walk into a new job the next day.  He thought it was funny when his ex-boss threatened to sue him for breach of contract.  He feels 'invulnerable' and has no idea he behaves like a twit.

My covert narc on the other hand sees criticisms everywhere and is in constant pain, she criticizes herself a lot so thinks everyone else is doing the same.  Her method of dealing with it is usually passive aggressive silent treatment, or she will start a smear campaign out of 'concern'.  When she is confronted she uses fake humility, and is very, very 'sorry'.  Petty acts of punishment that doesn't dint her saintly image (i.e 'forgetting' to invite one of her children to a family gathering, 'forgetting' someone's birthday, using the bible to find fault, being concerned about someone's 'mental health').  She does this because she is not confident like the overt, I imagine she really wants to verbally let rip but that would make her look bad..  She doesn't really think she is awesome and therefore needs to juggle lots of personalities to keep up appearance.  But there are moments when she CAN appear arrogant and haughty for a time, but also be vulnerable and hand-wringing when triggered.  Her nephew recently had a book published - she congratulated him and asked to read it - then handed it back with grammar corrections and critique (like a teacher).  Arrogant - but 'helpful'?  An overt wouldn't even have acknowledged the book, he knows its rubbish without even reading it.

Does anyone else agree?  These are just my observations.

« Last Edit: May 22, 2017, 03:39:08 AM by boots40 »
"What you say about me isn't nearly as bad as what I know about you"

*

kazzak

  • Host Member
  • Hero Member
  • *
  • 1181
Re: Differences between covert and overt
« Reply #7 on: May 22, 2017, 09:53:02 AM »
Hi boots, great description of your experiences between the two. I agree - mMy ex is overtNPD/HPD and MIL is ucovertNPD and I see similar differences. Thank you for sharing with us!!

*

Inurdreams

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • 1465
Re: Differences between covert and overt
« Reply #8 on: May 23, 2017, 09:25:41 AM »
I think what is confusing is that both the covert and overt are Ns.  They may go about what they are doing in different ways, but the end result is the same.

My NBIL is arrogant, haughty, self-absorbed, displays no compassion for anyone.  He get what he wants through lies, manipulation, brute force, yelling, swearing, stealing and breaking the law.   He is who he is, and proud of it, and the rest of the world just has to accept it.

NSIL is "seemingly" meek, soft-spoken, waify, always needs sympathy and rescuing, is a martyr and everything "bad" happens only to her.  Poor, poor NSIL.  Again, she is who she is and the rest of the world has to accept it.  But she is harder to spot as an N unless you have known her well and for a while and you realize that all the "horror and tragedy" she has experienced, bless her waify little heart, has happened to millions of other people, every single day.  And by "horror and tragedy" I mean things like the death of her elderly grandparents (not together, but years apart), her child needing glasses and braces, going through a divorce, having a flat tire, etc.

They both get what the want in the end through manipulation.  NBIL gets what he wants through intimidation, NSIL gets what she wants through people feeling sorry for her.


This is just my experience with overts and coverts.  I am sure there are as many different types as there are people.

Peek not through the keyhole lest ye be vexed. - Stephen King


Response to a Flying Monkey:  Apparently you are suffering under the delusion that I give a damn.

*

boots40

  • Host Member
  • Hero Member
  • *
  • 1291
Re: Differences between covert and overt
« Reply #9 on: May 23, 2017, 10:38:42 AM »
Well I am confused now because I just watched a Sam Vaknin video that says Coverts are not good actors because they don't have the confidence but Overts are thespian standard.

This is the best video I have seen on Coverts and it really made me think every single trait was my MIL - to a point I made H sit through it and he was totally gobsmacked at how spot on this was. This was at a time when I didn't really understand the different types of narcissism as she didn't seem to quite 'fit' the classic narcissistic traits. 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-WVLZXLyO-M

(A bit of swearing in this one in case anyone gets offended).
"What you say about me isn't nearly as bad as what I know about you"

*

kazzak

  • Host Member
  • Hero Member
  • *
  • 1181
Re: Differences between covert and overt
« Reply #10 on: May 24, 2017, 12:14:36 AM »
Well I am confused now because I just watched a Sam Vaknin video that says Coverts are not good actors because they don't have the confidence but Overts are thespian standard.

I'm up for talking through it if you are still confused. My exNPD/HPD had a formal diagnosis so I'm clear on that. My mil is covert.

I think it can be confusing if we try toooo hard to wrap our head around it. But, I'm just learning so open to any criticism.

If you take the most basic definition:

Covert = not openly acknowledged or displayed.

A classic example to me is MIL has encountered a bad situation. She doesn't want others to know about it. That's her nature. To shy away from it. Covertly. A covert actor will play the role in the performance. But she doesn't want people to know. Not the best actor.

Overt = done or shown openly; plainly or readily apparent, not secret or hidden. exNPD/HPD doesn't care about others knowing about the bad situation. There is nothing to hide. It wasn't her fault anyways and she is freaking amazing!! The best actor, to say the least!

Just my take. I think a key part is shame in my circumstances. Overt = no shame. Covert = full of shame and can't stand it. The better actor on stage is the overt one hands down. ime.

*

boots40

  • Host Member
  • Hero Member
  • *
  • 1291
Re: Differences between covert and overt
« Reply #11 on: May 24, 2017, 02:37:01 AM »
Overt = no shame. Covert = full of shame and can't stand it. The better actor on stage is the overt one hands down. ime.

This is a pretty good summary from my observations. 

Maybe my covert MIL isn't a good an actor as I thought because I have clearly seen through the BS.  She is the kind of person that can hug you and insult you at the same time.  She can smile sweetly whilst saying you look like crap.  She can pray for you whilst telling you your life is a mess.  She can be helping whilst saying you are useless.  She lies, but the lies have often a grain of truth but so taken out of context that it becomes a crazy story.  A guess a covert wouldn't risk being caught out telling big whopping lies, but if there is a grain of truth they can back track or just be 'mistaken'.

It makes it hard to defend yourself because she is just one amazing saint.  If only us stupid people will listen.
"What you say about me isn't nearly as bad as what I know about you"

*

kazzak

  • Host Member
  • Hero Member
  • *
  • 1181
Re: Differences between covert and overt
« Reply #12 on: May 24, 2017, 02:46:34 AM »
That reminded me of the cape being pulled from behind the wizard of oz. It looks so different after you see it.

*

Totallytickedoff

  • Full Member
  • ***
  • 394
Re: Differences between covert and overt
« Reply #13 on: May 24, 2017, 04:26:17 AM »
My MIL is the covert variety. Example: when my kids were little she called me after a family gathering to tell me how SIL really cares about like kids and she (SIL) doesn't think I dress my kids as well as everyone else. SIL probably said that. But the covert NMIL clearly agreed and wanted me to know so she used the cover of SIL's remark to relay it to me so that NMIL wouldn't look like the bad guy when I reacted poorly to her opinion. I've got 24 years of similar stories. Very COVERT!

*

boots40

  • Host Member
  • Hero Member
  • *
  • 1291
Re: Differences between covert and overt
« Reply #14 on: May 24, 2017, 06:06:07 AM »
My MIL is the covert variety. Example: when my kids were little she called me after a family gathering to tell me how SIL really cares about like kids and she (SIL) doesn't think I dress my kids as well as everyone else. SIL probably said that. But the covert NMIL clearly agreed and wanted me to know so she used the cover of SIL's remark to relay it to me so that NMIL wouldn't look like the bad guy when I reacted poorly to her opinion. I've got 24 years of similar stories. Very COVERT!

Mine has done the EXACT same thing.  My SIL is a trained nursery nurse and she would use 'SIL says...' to make me feel bad about my parenting choices.  My children are grown up now, but I look back on the photos and think they were very well dressed children.  I have kept a few items of clothing and my daughter often talks about being the best dressed child at parties.  MIL was trying to gaslight me - but under the disguise of being 'concerned'.
"What you say about me isn't nearly as bad as what I know about you"