The 11 Types of Narcissism You Need To Know About

Recognising classic narcissism signs is one thing, but identifying a narcissist in your life is an entirely different game.

Each narcissist is unique, possessing their own quirks and manipulative tactics- a fact that makes dealing with them all the more challenging.

Ever asked yourself why every narcissist seems so distinct from the other? It’s because narcissism isn’t a one-size-fits-all. It presents in various forms and intensities. In this article, I’ll show you how different Narcissists can be from each other.

#1 Overt Narcissism

Overt narcissists are openly arrogant, have a clear sense of entitlement, often disregard others’ feelings, and crave attention and admiration.

If you encounter someone who’s openly arrogant, constantly seeks attention, and exhibits a sense of entitlement while disregarding others’ feelings, you’re likely dealing with an overt narcissist. They’re often seen as the classic embodiment of narcissism: extroverted, self-promoting, and aggressively competitive.

They love the limelight and have no problem stepping on others to keep it. Their inflated self-perception allows them to believe they’re superior to others, and they can’t comprehend why everyone else doesn’t see it.

They’re the ones who continuously boast about their accomplishments, real or imagined, and demand your admiration.

#2 Covert (or Vulnerable) Narcissism

Covert narcissists can appear introverted, often harbor grandiose fantasies, and may feel victimized when their perceived superiority is unrecognized.

While overt narcissists bask in the limelight, covert or vulnerable narcissists present a different, more hidden side of narcissism. Unlike their extroverted counterparts, covert narcissists often appear introverted. They may seem shy or reticent, but beneath this façade, they harbor grandiose fantasies.

They daydream about achieving great power, acclaim, and admiration. Yet, they tend to feel victimized when their perceived superiority goes unrecognized. They’re prone to wallowing in self-pity, feeling that the world doesn’t appreciate their greatness.

If you’re dealing with a covert narcissist, you might find them hard to spot at first. Their narcissism isn’t flashy or obvious. But over time, their sense of entitlement and lack of empathy will start to show. Remember, covert narcissism is still narcissism—it’s just wearing a different mask.

#3 Hypervigilant Narcissism

This subtype is characterized by extreme sensitivity to slights or criticism and a detailed focus on perceived injustices, sometimes linked with covert narcissism.

You might find yourself dealing with a hypervigilant narcissist if you notice an extreme sensitivity to criticism and a near-obsessive focus on perceived wrongs or injustices.

This person is always on high alert, scanning their environment for any hint of disrespect or slight.

They view any criticism, no matter how constructive, as a personal attack. They’re trapped in a constant state of defensiveness and can react with intense anger or withdrawal.

Hypervigilant narcissists also obsess over real or imagined injustices, often feeling victimized and misunderstood.

This form of narcissism can be difficult to deal with, as it requires a delicate balance of acknowledging their feelings while not enabling their hypersensitivity.

#4 Oblivious Narcissism

Oblivious narcissists are often unaware of their impact on others. They disregard the feelings and needs of others out of ignorance rather than intent. This is closely related to overt narcissism.

Oblivious narcissists often stroll through life blissfully, unaware of the damage they inflict on those around them. They’re not necessarily malicious; they’re simply naive about their impact on others. Their lack of awareness can make them appear self-absorbed and dismissive.

You may feel overlooked or disregarded in their presence as they prioritize their needs and desires above all else.

#5 Exhibitionist Narcissism

Exhibitionist narcissists constantly strive to be the center of attention and frequently engage in drawing attention to themselves, similar to overt narcissism.

Exhibitionist narcissists, often seen as the life of the party, constantly seek the spotlight and go to great lengths to ensure they’re the center of attention.

You’ll find them dominating conversations, making grand gestures, and often exaggerating their successes to elevate their status. They’re typically charismatic and entertaining, but beneath the showmanship, they’re primarily concerned with their image and how they’re perceived.

They need constant validation and admiration from others to bolster their inflated ego. They may resort to dramatic or manipulative tactics if they don’t receive the attention they crave.

Their desire for attention often overshadows their consideration for others, leading to strained relationships and conflicts.

#6 Somatic Narcissism

Somatic narcissists are excessively focused on their physical appearance and health, often using their bodies to gain attention or validation.

While exhibitionist narcissists crave the spotlight, somatic narcissists, on the other hand, obsess over their physical appearance and health, frequently utilizing their bodies as tools for garnering attention and validation.

If they are a somatic narcissist, they likely spend a significant amount of time in front of the mirror, at the gym, or shopping for the latest fashion trends. Their looks, physique, and overall health are not just important to them – they’re paramount.

They might perceive their body as a trophy to be admired, often finding ways to bring attention to their physical attributes. They are not just seeking compliments; they seek validation and assurance of their worth.

However, this constant pursuit of physical perfection may leave them unsatisfied, consistently seeking the next best thing to enhance their appearance.

#7 Sexual Narcissism

They use and exploit their sexual prowess or sexual exploits to gain attention and control others.

Sexual narcissists are individuals who leverage their sexual prowess or exploits as a tool to attract attention and manipulate others.

They’re not just confident. They’re excessively proud of their sexual achievements. You might notice them bragging about their conquests, using sex as a means to exert control, or reducing their partners to mere objects of their desire.

They might seem charming initially, but their primary goal is to satisfy their needs, often at the expense of their partner’s feelings.

Their lack of genuine intimacy and empathy can make their relationships shallow and transactional.

#8 Cerebral Narcissism

These types are particularly proud of their intellect, knowledge, and academic achievements. They use their intellect to gain praise and manipulate others.

Just as the sexual narcissist leverages their erotic achievements, a cerebral narcissist takes immense pride in their intellectual prowess and academic accomplishments.

You’ll find them flaunting their knowledge, using big words, and often reminding you about their academic degrees or achievements.

But it’s not just about pride. They cunningly use their intellect to manipulate and control others, making them feel inferior or less informed. Their conversations are often monologues filled with their insights, theories, or discoveries, leaving little room for others’ thoughts.

While they seem to be the smartest person in the room, they lack humility and can dismiss others’ ideas without giving them a fair hearing. This is a key sign of cerebral narcissism, where intellect isn’t used for growth or enlightenment but for power and control.

#9 Malignant Narcissism

This severe form of narcissism exhibits antisocial, paranoid, and sadistic traits. Malignant narcissists can be cruel and take pleasure in causing harm to others.

Malignant narcissism, a severe form of narcissism, displays antisocial, paranoid, and sadistic characteristics that can make a person exceptionally cruel and even take pleasure in causing harm to others. This type of personality is typically manipulative, callous, and indifferent to the feelings of others.

Malignant narcissists might engage in harmful behavior without feeling remorse. They’re likely to show a sense of entitlement, exploit others, and lack empathy.

Paranoia can manifest in them as a constant suspicion of the motives of those around them. They might even show sadistic traits, finding satisfaction in inflicting pain or humiliation on others.

#10 Communal Narcissism

Communal narcissists often portray themselves as altruistic or nurturing to gain attention, validation, or praise.

You may find it surprising, but communal narcissists often wear a mask of altruism or nurturing to garner attention, validation, or praise.

You’ll see them leading community projects, volunteering, or always ready to lend a helping hand. But don’t be fooled; their good deeds aren’t so much about helping others as they boost their image.

They thrive on the praise and recognition they receive for their public acts of kindness. However, their altruistic acts are often self-serving and insincere.

They may even feel superior to others due to their ‘selfless’ actions. Recognizing communal narcissism can be tricky as their actions seem genuine. But remember, true altruism doesn’t seek applause or validation.

#11 Spiritual Narcissism

Spiritual narcissists use their spiritual beliefs or practices to manipulate, control, and dominate others.

While communal narcissists cloak themselves in the guise of altruism, spiritual narcissists wield their beliefs as tools for manipulation and control. They use their spirituality or religious practices to assert superiority, often claiming a direct line to divine understanding.

This type of narcissist isn’t just confident in their beliefs. They’re insistent that their way is the only correct path. As a result, they may belittle or dismiss others’ beliefs and practices, using their spiritual standing to dominate conversations and relationships.

Be wary of anyone who uses spirituality as a tool for control rather than a path for personal growth. If you’re feeling pressured, manipulated, or belittled under the guise of spiritual enlightenment, take a step back. That’s spiritual narcissism in action.

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