It seems you can’t get away from narcissists these days. You only have to turn on the TV and heads of states are bragging about making their country great again. Even your best friends are pulling their best duck faces in a pitiful attempt to garner compliments.
But did you know there are different types of narcissists and some are worse than others? As if narcissistic behaviour isn’t bad enough, now we have to deal with sorting them out into a kind of pecking order.
Personally, I’d rather give them all a wide berth, but apparently, this isn’t always possible. You see, narcissists can be both charming and manipulative. As a result, they can inveigle their way into your life before you know it.
So it’s important to be able to identify the types of narcissists in order to have any chance of spotting them beforehand. In fact, there are 4 types of narcissists.
However, in the first instance, it is important to note that where the classification of narcissism is concerned, there are two major categories of narcissists. These are then divided into 4 sub-personality types.
So, the two main categories are classic and closet narcissist.
Two Main Types of Narcissists – Classic and Closet
The classic narcissist
Your classic narcissist is exactly what you’d expect a narcissist to be. This is a person who craves the spotlight. Someone who has to hog the attention. A person who is manipulative and uses other people to further their own advantage.
Classic narcissists are entitled, cold, and have no empathy for other people’s feelings. They can suffer from God complexes and think everyone is here to serve their needs. They are easily spotted.
The classic narcissist has a need for power, recognition, and will make sure everyone knows how special they are. This is who we automatically picture when we think of a narcissist.
The closet narcissist
On the other hand, we have the closet narcissist. This type is much harder to spot. Their feelings of narcissism stem from self-loathing and hatred. So they put on a mask in order to win approval.
Closet narcissists are obsessed with recognition and attention and are envious of those around them who have it. As such, they form a relationship with a certain person or brand to boost their own personal profile.
Closet narcissists want to feel special, but they are more insecure about their feelings. They still have this sense of entitlement and lack of empathy but are not as confident as the classic narcissist. Instead, they piggyback another person’s success and use the halo effect to bask in their glory.
So those are the two main categories of narcissists; now we come to the four personality types. What this means is that the four types of narcissists will fall into either a classic or closet narcissist category.
4 Sub Types of Narcissists
The toxic narcissist
Do you have a friend that always seems to be at the heart of any trouble or drama in your life? This is the natural habitat for a toxic narcissist.
They will find any angle to get into your life and once they are there they’ll cause nothing but destruction. Toxic narcissists are demanding and attention-seeking. They are exhausting to be around.
Everything they touch is toxic or ends up damaged. You find that you lose friends, family members, even money or your job whenever they are involved.
The communal narcissist
On the opposite end of the spectrum is the communal narcissist. This person comes across as the most caring and warm person in the room. They get their attention by being liked and trusted.
This is the person you will go to or share a secret or confidence with. The communal narcissist is trustworthy and selfless. They appear to put others first and are altruistic.
However, this is just a mask. By appearing to be kind and warm, they are feeding their own need for validation and self-worth.
The sexual narcissist
The sexual narcissist has a number of tricks up their sleeves to manipulate and charm you. They are also quite tricky to spot at first. They will bombard you with compliments in order to win your heart.
You might feel as if this is your soulmate or the love of your life. They pretend to love the things you like to get closer to you. They love bomb you and flatter you to sweep you off your feet.
You feel as if you are in a whirlwind fairy tale romance. Then, once they’ve got whatever it is they want from you, they ghost you or dump you without ceremony.
The psychopathic narcissist
Of all the types of narcissists on my list, the psychopathic narcissist is the one you should absolutely avoid. In fact, in regards to serial killers, although the FBI stated there was ‘no specific combinations of traits or characteristics shown to differentiate serial killers from other violent offenders’, they did admit that they shared certain traits.
- Superficial charm
- A grandiose sense of self-worth
- Pathological lying
- Manipulation of others
- Lack of remorse and/or guilt
- Shallow affect
- A lack of empathy
- Failure to accept responsibility
- Stimulation-seeking behaviour
- Irresponsible behaviour
- Parasitic lifestyle
- Lack of realistic life goals
“I don’t feel guilty for anything. I feel sorry for people who feel guilt.” Ted Bundy
In other words, narcissistic traits. But there is a reason why the psychopathic narcissist is the most dangerous of all the types of narcissists. That is at the point of rejection.
We often find that this is when the psychopathic narcissist explodes into violence. We know that narcissists do not take rejection well. Or, for that matter, the loss of face if their grandiose façade is revealed to be false.
But rarely will a narcissist resort to the levels of violence that lead to murder. However, with psychopathic narcissists, the picture is worrying. It appears that coupled with a fear of rejection combined with an entitled sense of possession leads this type of narcissist to behave aggressively.
You see this sort of over-the-top behaviour in abusive narcissistic relationships where one partner tells the other, ‘You can never leave me. I will kill you before I allow that to happen.’ And they do.
In fact, research shows that women are just as likely to be the victim of abuse after they have separated from a partner. It is likely that this abuse is from a psychopathic narcissist.
All types of narcissists are damaging to our self-esteem and well-being. But psychopathic narcissists present a real danger. By recognising each type, we can prepare ourselves and be on the lookout for these malevolent predators.
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