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What Types of Narcissism Should You Be on the Lookout For?

Narcissists are more common than you might think. So, what types of narcissism are there? How can they be recognized to keep your heart and mind safe?

Types of Narcissism

Narcissists have been around since the dawn of humanity. We’re only just starting to understand what they are and how they damage other people. We also unfairly label selfish people with the title. But it does no justice to the victims of true narcissism. So, what different types of narcissism should you be on the lookout for?

What is narcissism?

Narcissism is nothing new, and it’s important to realize that this is a personality disorder *Narcissistic Personality Disorder* which affects the way a person thinks, acts, and behaves. This type of person has a distinct lack of empathy and don’t feel emotions in the same way as someone who isn’t affected by NPD. The problem is, even if someone isn’t diagnosed as a narcissist that doesn’t mean they exhibit traits.

[Read: How to understand the characteristics of a narcissist and avoid them]

If you want to avoid being hurt or damaged by a narcissist, it’s vital that you know what to look for. I’ll give you a quick rundown of some of the main traits of a narcissist, but understand that everyone is different. Certain traits might appear in a slightly different way from person to person.

– Must be the center of attention at all times

– An enhanced sense of self, they believe they’re the best at everything

– Regular use of manipulative tactics, often called gaslighting. This is a tactic used by narcissists which causes their victim to question their own sanity

– A belief that their opinion is the only one and the right one

– Must own the very best of everything

– A total lack of empathy in terms of understanding or recognizing the feelings of others

– An inability to love in the same way as someone who isn’t narcissistic

– A lack of remorse when they cause someone pain or upset

– They are never wrong in their own eyes

As you can imagine, being in a relationship with a narcissist is no picnic. I should know, because I was in one. Understanding the types of narcissism out there is key to knowing whether or not someone you love falls into one of these brackets. As a result, you should start planning your escape ASAP.

Can a relationship touched by narcissism survive? It’s not unheard of, but it’s extremely rare. If you choose to stay, your relationship is certainly not going to be happy one.

Let’s explore the types of narcissism, so you can inform your choices a little better. [Read: What it really means to be in a relationship with a narcissist]

Types of narcissism

When you read up on narcissism, you’ll find several different types under different names. You’ll usually see the main categories of classic narcissist, vulnerable narcissist, and malignant narcissist, but there are subcategories within them which explore how the narcissist behaves.

Classic and vulnerable narcissists are the most common types, but if you do happen to come across a malignant narcissist, get out of there as quickly as possible. This type of person is not going to care whether you’re hurting or not, and they share certain traits with psychopaths. No fun, I’m sure you’ll agree.

Let’s break down the other subcategories.

Toxic narcissism

This type of narcissist is extremely negative and thrives on drama. They don’t care if they cause pain or upset in someone’s life, and some actually enjoy it. A mild toxic narcissist might be someone who always demands your attention. But when you can’t give it to them, e.g. perhaps you’re busy, they rebel against you and kick up a fuss. A more severe example is someone who causes you major issues, e.g. they get you fired from your job, or they abuse you.

Malignant/psychopathic narcissism

I’ve touched upon this one already, but we really need to give it more airtime, due to the seriousness of the matter.

This type of narcissist has psychopathic traits, and that means they could cause you serious harm, either mentally, emotionally, or physically. It could be a combination of all three. This type of narcissist is a variant of the toxic type, but much more severe and at the far end of the spectrum. Many serial killers and sociopaths fall within this bracket. [Read: How to read the signs you’re dealing with a malignant narcissist]

Vulnerable/closet narcissism

In terms of the types of narcissism you might see, this is one of the hardest to spot. This type of person doesn’t come over as grandiose or showing off as many others do, and instead they’re quite quiet, possibly even hostile, but they drip with negativity. They’re jealous of others, they have no empathy, and they have a sense of entitlement which they enforce over others in a way which isn’t obvious.

This type of narcissist is also likely to attach themselves to someone who is very caring, e.g. an empath, or someone who is high in social standing, to be admired through association.

Classic/exhibitionist narcissism

This is the most common of the types of narcissism. It’s one you will associate with the word ‘narcissist’ most often. This is someone who is loud and proud, someone who doesn’t care about the views of other people, and they regularly take advantage of others in any way they see fit.

They’re self-centered, arrogant, and have a desperate need to be the center of everything. The truth is, this type of narcissist, as with many others, is lacking in self-confidence beneath it all. They might also pull others down to make themselves look better as a result.

Seduction narcissism

This is the type of narcissist we see in many films. Seduction narcissism involves sucking someone in. Then, making them believe how wonderful they are and charming the socks off them, until they believe that they’ve ‘hooked’ their prey. Once that’s done, they usually go cold, cut off the attention, and probably start belittling or upsetting the person involved.

They get a kick out of attracting others, only to push them to one side when they’re no longer interested. In this case, they’ll simply move on to the next person. Cycle repeats.

Most narcissists aren’t likely to hurt you physically, unless they are a toxic or malignant narcissist. These types are extremely dangerous and should be avoided at all costs. The main harm from being around a narcissist is the emotional and mental damage, rather than physical. In some ways, that is even harder to deal with. The scars cannot be seen, and often linger for many years after the relationship ends. [Read: How to hurt a narcissist – 11 subtle counterblows to hurt them hard]

Don’t judge how difficult it is to get away

You might wonder why it’s so hard to get away from a narcissist. Surely, if someone is treating you so terribly, you just hold your head up high and walk away, right? It sounds simple. In practice, it’s not.

A narcissist will go back to their charming, wonderful self when they realize you’re about to leave. They’ll start with the gaslighting techniques to make you question your decision and even your own sanity. Leaving a narcissistic relationship is far harder than it might sound. It can cause severe emotional damage to a victim for many years. Having a loving and trusting relationship after this type of experience is hard for many.

[Read: 16 subtle signs a narcissist is abusing you already]

Understanding the types of narcissism around will help you to identify whether you have this type of person in your life. Nobody should have to put with any type of abuse.

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Nicky Curtis
Nicky Curtis
Having stumbled from one relationship drama to another throughout her 20s, Nicky is now somewhat of a guru in the crazy world of life and love. Telling it how i...
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