Subtypes of Narcissism

Beside the classic or conventional narcissism (Narcissistic Personality Disorder defined by DSM IV-TR), there are also specific types, or subtypes, of narcissism. The generic term of narcissism was introduced by Sigmund Freud when referring to a person who is pathologically self-absorbed and lacked empathy. Narcissism is a very generic term and covers many different, specific types of narcissists:


Acquired situational narcissism

Acquired situational narcissism (ASN) is a form of narcissism that develops in late adolescence or adulthood and is brought on by wealth, fame or celebrity status. It was coined by Robert B. Millman, a professor of psychiatry at the Weill Cornell Medical College.

ASN is different from classic narcissism as it develops after childhood and is triggered by fans, assistants and tabloid media which play into the idea that the person really is vastly more important than other people. This can exacerbate latent narcissism or exaggerate what might have been a slight tendency toward narcissism and causing it to become a full-blown disorder.

Aggressive narcissism

Aggressive narcissism includes traits such as a grandiose sense of self-worth, pathological lying, lack of remorse and lack of empathy. People with this type of disorder are typically cunning and manipulative and are experts at superficial charm.

Codependency or Inverted narcissism

Codependency, or” inverted narcissism”, refers to a person who is drawn to a narcissist like a magnet and becomes involved in a co-dependent relationship with them. The inverted narcissist caters to the emotional needs of a classic narcissist. This person feeds the ‘narcissistic supply’ of adulation, admiration, praise etc. that the classic type requires. It is often a relative or the mate of a narcissist.

Collective or group narcissism

Collective narcissism (or group narcissism) is a type of narcissism where an individual has an inflated self-love of his or her group in which the individual is personally involved. While the classic definition of narcissism is centered on the individual, collective narcissism asserts that one can have a similar excessively high opinion of a group, and that a group can function as a narcissistic entity. Ethnocentrism is an example of collective narcissism; however, ethnocentrism focuses on self-centeredness at an ethnic or cultural level, while collective narcissism is extended to any type of group beyond just cultures and ethnicities.

Conversational narcissism

Conversational narcissism is a term used by sociologist Charles Derber in his book, The Pursuit of Attention: Power and Ego in Everyday Life. He describes a conversational narcissist as one who enjoys the attention they get from others and will frequently shift the conversation back to themselves.

Corporate narcissism

Corporate narcissism refers to the high-profile, corporate type of personality. This individual, literally, has only one thing on his mind: profits. His narrow focus may yield positive short-term benefits, but ultimately it drags down individual employees as well as entire companies. This type of personality begins to alienate the person not only from other employees, but also from the general population.

Cross-cultural narcissism

The cross-cultural narcissist comes to a new country with pride about his old country, which he hangs on to fiercely. He refuses to adapt to the new country and will go to great lengths to maintain his sense of identity to his old country. Cross-cultural narcissists often hook up with borderline women, who tend to idealize and idolize men from other cultures.

Cultural narcissism

A narcissistic culture is one where every activity and every relationship is defined by the hedonistic need to acquire the symbols of wealth. Symbols of wealth become the expressions of rigid, yet covert, social hierarchies. It is a culture where liberalism only exists insofar as it serves a consumer society, and even art, sex and religion lose their liberating power.

Destructive narcissism

Destructive narcissism is the constant exhibition of numerous and intense behaviors and characteristics typically associated with the pathological narcissist, but having fewer of these characteristics than pathological narcissism.

Malignant narcissism

Malignant narcissism is a term first coined in a book by Erich Fromm in 1964. It is a syndrome consisting of a cross between narcissistic personality disorder and antisocial personality disorder, but also includes paranoid traits. Malignant narcissists will seek higher and higher levels of psychological gratification from their accomplishments, which in turn worsens the symptoms of the disorder.

The term malignant is added to the term narcissist to indicate that individuals with this disorder have a powerful form of narcissism that has made them ill regarding their paranoid and anti-social traits. They seek “total control,” and will use any means to gain- and keep- that control. They challenge, defy, and demean anyone in authority, they feel that others are always “out to get them,” and they blame everyone else for their problems. They don’t want others to like them…they want others to obey, fear, or admire them.

Medical narcissism

Medical narcissism is a term coined by John Banja in his book, Medical Errors and Medical Narcissism. Banja defines “medical narcissism” as the need of health professionals to preserve their self-esteem at all costs, leading to the compromise of error disclosure to patients. It is frequently said that these doctors have a “god complex”.

Phallic narcissism

Wilhelm Reich first identified the phallic narcissistic personality type as someone with an excessively inflated self-image. The individual tends to be an elitist, a “social climber,” admiration seeking, self-promoting, bragging and empowered by social success. Phallic characters are people whose behaviors are reckless, determined and self-assured. Phallic narcissists are intensely vain and personally sensitive revealing that these people still have their narcissistic needs–for which they overcompensate.

Sexual narcissism

Sexual narcissism has been described as an egocentric pattern of sexual behavior that involves an inflated sense of sexual ability and sexual entitlement. In addition, sexual narcissism is the preoccupation with oneself as a superior lover. Sexual narcissism is an intimacy dysfunction in which sexual exploits are pursued, usually through extramarital affairs, to overcompensate for low self-esteem and an inability to experience true intimacy. This behavioral pattern is believed to be more common in men than in women and has been tied to domestic violence in men and sexual coercion in couples. This is commonly called sexual addiction which is a misnomer for either sexual narcissism or sexual compulsiveness.

Spiritual narcissism

Spiritual narcissism is turning the pursuit of spirituality into an ego-building and confusion-creating endeavor. This is based on the idea that ego development is counter to spiritual progress. An example of this would be some evangelical preachers.


  1. http://en.wikipedia/wiki/narcissism
  2. 8182563 types-narcissism.html

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