Deciding to get a divorce is challenging; you have spent years with this person and built a life together. When you said your vows, you thought it would last forever, but now the situation has changed, and you must part ways by divorcing. What can make divorce difficult is when your spouse is a covert narcissist.
Some overt narcissists always show their true selves, but covert narcissists are harder to spot. Divorcing either narcissist will be challenging and can sometimes be dangerous. You will need to plan your departure and know the signs to look for to ensure you get out of this situation on top.
Your covert narcissistic spouse will want to drag the fight out on purpose. They will want sympathy and do not want to admit that they are the reason you are leaving. They are the victim, and they will do and say anything to play into that narrative. There are many ways that a divorce lawyer in New Jersey can help, but you will need to call us before you begin the process.
Signs Your Spouse is a Covert Narcissist
You may not realize your spouse is a covert narcissist at first, which is where the term covert comes from.
“A true narcissist, who could be diagnosed with narcissistic personality disorder, has a range of different symptoms,” which can be found in our blog on divorcing a narcissist.
Some signs you can look for that mean you are married to a covert narcissist include the following:
They Are Quiet
Just because a person is shy and quiet does not make them a covert narcissist. However, narcissists will use their quiet demeanor to get others to pay attention to them and tell them how special they are.
Your Spouse is Passive Aggressive
Your spouse will try to make you feel crazy by pretending they are not mad or pretending to be too busy to get around to signing the divorce papers. When you offer pushback, they try to blame you or the rest of the world for their shortcomings. Their anger is not apparent but will come out in small ways to make you seem like the villain.
Your Spouse Plays the Victim
A covert narcissist believes everyone is out to get them, and nothing is their fault. They hold grudges and will plot to get their way. They will spend substantial time convincing others that you are the bad person and everything is your fault when that is not the reality.
They are Hypersensitive
They will dish out criticism to everyone around them, but when it is their turn to be critiqued, they cannot handle it. Your spouse will flip the situation so that you apologize to them for the criticism. They want you to tell them how wrong you are and how amazing they are.
They Appear to be Empathetic
When they do a good deed, it is for praise, not because it is genuine. Narcissists want others to think they are good people, even if they do not have any true feelings behind their actions.
Your Spouse Suffers from Untreatable Anxiety and Depression
Mental disorders and illnesses do not make a person evil. Narcissists, especially covert ones, will use their mental illnesses to get attention and validation. They might have a long history of battling depression and anxiety where therapy and medication don’t help. When they seek treatment, they want therapists who allow them to vent and do not hold them accountable for their actions. This sign is very tricky, and do not assume that a severe case of depression or anxiety means you married a narcissist.
Do you have a question about divorcing a covert narcissist in New Jersey? Call one of our divorce attorneys today.
How to Communicate With a Covert Narcissist During Divorce
Now that you know the signs to look for, you need to prepare for a divorce with a covert narcissist in New Jersey. They will work tirelessly to make you seem like the bad guy and get sympathy from everyone in your life. Learn to communicate with your covert narcissist spouse by doing the following:
- Be direct:
Do not play their games or fall for their passive-aggressive tactics. You cannot make them see the light even where the facts exist. If you must communicate, stick to the facts and do not need to respond to every communication. in contrast, do not go missing, as they will seek it as part of the game.
The concept of empathizing with a narcissist sounds counterintuitive. Empathize by validating their efforts but do not overdo it. Unfortunately, you will need to work with them during the legal process.
- Be appreciative:
No matter how angry you are, appreciate their efforts. It will help ease the tension and help them work with you towards a resolution.
- Do not get angry:
The one thing that covert narcissists strive for is playing the victim. They are looking to trigger you and get a reaction so they can provide proof that you are the bad person in the situation. Above all else, do not get angry with them to their face. Divorce is difficult, but you must keep cool, especially during direct communication.
While some of these will seem like you are coddling them, it is a way to keep the peace and achieve your end goal. They want to be the victim, and when you do not give them the ammunition to play the victim character, they have no other option but to give in. Do not defend yourself or take anything they say personally. Inform your New Jersey divorce lawyer that you are dealing with a covert narcissist so they can also prepare how to handle the situation.
Prepare with the Help of a New Jersey Divorce Lawyer
Divorcing a narcissist is a life-changing event for you, but in their eyes, they see it as a game they must win. They want to prove to everyone that they are right and you are wrong. They will distort the facts and treat this as a battle. You must prepare for battle with someone you once loved.
Many narcissists do not even care that they are losing their spouse or home or children. They only care that they look like the victor in the end. They will not listen to their lawyer, much less to you or your attorney. The emotional toll of divorce is brutal, but you will need the help of a New Jersey divorce lawyer to handle the legal aspect. Stolfe Zeigler New Jersey Family Law Group has offices in Toms River and Moorestown to better serve our clients.
Contact our divorce attorneys in New Jersey today at 732-240-9555 to discuss your case.