The term narcissist is a hot buzzphrase online these days, that’s because narcissists are thriving and their co-dependent counterparts? Not so much. People who live with, work with or are in a romantic relationship with people who are narcissists face particular challenges that they seek a way out of. Narcissists are challenging, complicated and to understand how to navigate around them can be like walking on eggshells.
Often times it takes time to recognize that someone is a narcissist in the first place. If you have not been close a narcissist in your life and encounter one closely you may not recognize this. That’s because these traits are unhealthy. You may just think that this person is toxic or hard to get along with but it could be much deeper than this. They could be a narcissist, and what most people don’t know is that there are five different types of narcissists. Navigating this complexity can be challenging if you don’t know what type of narcissist they are and how they operate.
Today we’ll be exploring the five types of narcissists and how they different from other forms of narcissists and why that matters. The more clear you can be on the type of narcissist you’re dealing with the better you can deal with their personality type.
The 5 Different Types of Narcissists
Overt narcissists are the most commonly associated kind of narcissist. These are the most easy to identify narcissists because the traits of a narcissist they wear proudly on their chest. They might even tell you they are a narcissist and wear it almost like a badge of pride! Without it being something that they can change of course, even though that’s false. Overt narcissists carry these particular character traits in no particular order. They tend to be outgoing, arrogant, overbearing, entitled, having an inflated sense of self or self image, are highly competitive (in an unhealthy way), they tend to lack empathy as well as needing to be constantly praised and admired.
Overt narcissists have an easy time feeling good about themselves but they also are very uncomfortable with feelings of sadness, loneliness or worry.
Covert narcissists carry the traits of narcissists but in more of a vulnerable and closet hiding kind of way. While overt narcissists are more obvious, covert narcissists are less obvious and more hidden in their approach and way of going about things. Traits of covert narcissists include having a victimhood mentality, being avoidant, defensive, being insecure and having low confidence as well as having low self-esteem and anxiety, depression and shame. A study in 2017 published on covert narcissists found that disagreeableness and neuroticism were highly associated with covert narcissists. Research also suggests that people who are overt narcissists can be covert narcissists as well. They aren’t mutually exclusive.
Antagonistic narcissists are a subset of overt narcissists. This type of narcissist is more often than anything on the offensive. They focus on rivalry and competition. They tend to be mentally in a state of arrogance, to take advantage of others, a tendency to compete with others as well as are generally disagreeable people who are prone to arguing. A 2017 study found that people who were antagonistic narcissists were less likely to forgive people than any other type of narcissist. That’s not a good sign. A 2019 study found that antagonistic narcissists were also less likely to have trust in others as well.
Communal narcissists is another type of overt narcissist. They act in an opposite manner of antagonistic narcissists. This person actually views themselves as altruistic, but a 2018 study shows a gap between their altruism and their actual behavior. People with communal narcissism tend to be morally outraged easily, or react strongly to things they see as unfair. These people may feel empathetic and generous however the way they treat others doesn’t match up to their own ideals which creates a bit of a false reality. The hypocrisy is there if you read between the lines. These tend to be people who seem to have a ‘bleeding heart’ online and who are always embracing new causes for justice but won’t do anything to help their own neighbors who are in need.
Narcissism can exist in different forms, as we have shared here in this article today. The severity ranges and malignant narcissists are the most severe form of narcissists. This form of narcissism is so bad that the typical ‘benefits’ that most narcissits receive from using people actually harm malignant narcissists directly, because it comes back to bite them. Malignant narcissists are further on the overt side of the narcissist scale than on the covert side of the scale. Malginant narcissists have a strong need for praise as well as tend to be very vindictive, sadistic, enjoying the pain of others, as well as simply carrying a lot of paranoia and aggression. Malignant narcissists can also share traits with antisocial personality disorder. These traits can often lead to substance abuse or legal trouble.
In one study involving people with borderline personality disorder (BPD) these people had a harder time functioning with higher levels of anxiety in everyday life.
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