Understanding the Different Types of Narcissists

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Do you know someone self-centered and overly confident? Chances are, that person may be a narcissist. Narcissism comes in many forms, from grandiose to vulnerable to malignant narcissists. In this blog post, we will explore the different types of narcissistic personalities so that you can better understand how they behave and why it’s essential for those affected by them to recognize the signs early on. From covert narcissists to somatic ones, there’s more than meets the eye when understanding these complex individuals. So read on as we uncover each type of narcissist one at a time…

Table of Contents:

types of narcissists

1. Grandiose Narcissists

Grandiose narcissists are those who have an inflated sense of self-importance and entitlement. They often feel superior to others and expect special treatment. Grandiose narcissists may be boastful, arrogant, and have a strong need for admiration from others.

These individuals tend to overestimate their abilities or accomplishments while downplaying the achievements of those around them. They may also talk excessively about themselves in conversations with little regard for other people’s interests. Grandiose narcissists can sometimes come across as overly confident or even cocky, believing that they know more than anyone else in any given situation.

Grandiose narcissists may also be highly competitive, constantly striving to outdo their peers to prove their superiority over them. This competitiveness is usually rooted in fear of being seen as inferior by others, which leads grandiose narcissists to go above and beyond what’s necessary to appear better than everyone else.

Grandiose narcissists are often driven by a desire for power and control over other people or situations; this need for domination is usually accompanied by a lack of empathy towards those who don’t share their same beliefs or values. As a result, these individuals will typically manipulate others into doing things that benefit themselves rather than considering the needs of the person they’re manipulating—without feeling guilty afterward.

Finally, grandiose narcissists take risks without fully thinking through all potential consequences first; this impulsivity can lead these individuals into dangerous situations where they might not be able to get out unscathed if something goes wrong (which it often does). In addition, grandiose narcissistic behavior can create tension between family members or coworkers due to its disruptive nature when left unchecked.

Grandiose Narcissists are typically very self-centered and entitled, often leading to strained relationships with others. Despite this, they may still strive for success and admiration from those around them. Moving on, let’s explore the different characteristics of Vulnerable Narcissists.

Recap: Grandiose narcissists are driven by a need for power and control, often manipulating others to benefit themselves. They also tend to be boastful, arrogant, competitive, and impulsive.

types of narcissists

2. Vulnerable Narcissists

Vulnerable narcissists have a fragile sense of self-esteem and low self-confidence. As a result, they may be hypersensitive to criticism or failure, often seeking approval from others to boost their feelings of worthiness. This need for external validation can manifest in various ways, such as always needing the last word in an argument or constantly fishing for compliments from friends and family.

In social situations, vulnerable narcissists may appear shy and withdrawn because they feel inferior to others around them. They might also become defensive when criticized or put down by someone else due to their lack of confidence. In addition, they tend to compare themselves unfavorably with others, which can lead to envy and resentment towards those who appear more successful than them.

When it comes to relationships, vulnerable narcissists can be clingy and possessive due to their fear that the other person will leave them if they don’t pay enough attention or give enough reassurance. As a result, these individuals may resort to manipulation tactics such as guilt-tripping or playing the victim to get what they want from their partner.

Vulnerable narcissists often struggle with depression, as they cannot cope with life’s disappointments without feeling like failures. Therefore, therapy is essential for helping them build healthier coping mechanisms to start feeling better about themselves again. With the right support system and a treatment plan tailored specifically for each case, vulnerable narcissism doesn’t have to be a lifelong burden but rather an opportunity for personal growth and development.

Vulnerable narcissists often have low self-esteem and may be prone to depression. They can be fragile and sensitive, but they can learn to build healthy relationships with the proper support. Now let’s explore malignant narcissists and their characteristics.

Recap: Vulnerable narcissists struggle with low self-esteem and need external validation. They may become defensive when criticized, clingy in relationships, and suffer from depression. Therapy is essential for helping them build healthier coping mechanisms to feel better about themselves.


3. Malignant Narcissists

Malignant narcissists display extreme aggression, manipulation, and exploitation toward others. They may be cruel, vindictive, and lack empathy for the feelings of others. Malignant narcissists often have a sense of entitlement and grandiosity that is not based in reality. They can become easily frustrated when their demands are not met, or they do not receive special treatment from those around them.

Malignant narcissists often use intimidation tactics, such as threats or insults, to get what they want from people. They may also manipulate people by making false promises or using guilt-tripping techniques to make someone feel obligated to comply with their wishes. Additionally, malignant narcissists may take advantage of vulnerable individuals by exploiting them financially or emotionally for their gain without regard for the consequences on the other person’s wellbeing.

In relationships with malignant narcissists, there is usually an imbalance of power where one partner dominates over the other through fear tactics and emotional abuse such as gaslighting or verbal putdowns to maintain control over them. This behavior can cause severe psychological damage, leading to depression and anxiety if left unchecked for too long.

It is important to remember that no matter how manipulative a malignant narcissist might be, it does not allow anyone else to mistreat them; everyone deserves respect regardless of how they behave towards you, even if it means distancing yourself from these types of toxic relationships altogether to protect your mental health and wellbeing first before anything else.

Malignant narcissists are the most dangerous type of narcissist, as they lack empathy and an inclination towards manipulation. However, there is still much to learn about other types of narcissism, such as covert narcissism, which will be discussed next.

Recap: Malignant narcissists are characterized by extreme aggression, manipulation, exploitation, and a sense of entitlement. They often use intimidation tactics to get what they want and may take advantage of vulnerable individuals. Protecting yourself from toxic relationships is crucial to protect your mental health.

4. Covert Narcissists

Covert narcissists are those who display more subtle forms of narcissistic behavior. For example, they may be passive-aggressive or use manipulation tactics such as guilt-tripping and gaslighting to get what they want. Covert narcissists can also feel envious or resentful toward people they perceive as having more success than them.

One example of covert narcissistic behavior is when someone tries to make you feel guilty for not doing something that would benefit them somehow. For instance, a friend might make you feel bad for not helping them move by saying things like “I thought we were friends” or “you don’t care about me at all,” even though it was never discussed beforehand. This type of manipulative behavior is a sign of covert narcissism because the person tries to control the situation and get their needs met without considering their feelings.

Another common trait among covert narcissists is envy and resentment towards others who have achieved more success than them in any given area – whether it be a career, relationships, finances, etc. – even if those successes directly have nothing to do with themselves. For example, a covertly narcissistic person might become jealous if one of their friends gets promoted at work while they remain stagnant in their current position; this could lead to bitterness and an unwillingness to celebrate other people’s accomplishments out of fear that it will only further highlight their shortcomings in comparison.

Covert narcissists are often challenging to identify, as they hide their behavior behind a facade of humility and shyness. However, understanding the signs can help people recognize this type of narcissism and take steps toward addressing it. So now, let’s move on to cerebral narcissists.

Recap: Key takeaway: Covert narcissists often display passive-aggressive behavior, use manipulation tactics, and feel envious or resentful of others’ successes. Tactics may include guilt-tripping, gaslighting, and making you feel guilty for not doing something that would benefit them.

5. Cerebral Narcissists

Cerebral narcissists focus on their intellectual abilities rather than physical appearance or material possessions to gain admiration from others. They may be highly competitive in academic or professional settings and strive for perfectionism in all areas of life.

These individuals often have a strong sense of entitlement, believing they should receive recognition for their accomplishments regardless of the effort put forth by others. Cerebral narcissists may also be overly critical of themselves and others, expecting everyone to meet their high standards at all times.

They can come across as aloof and distant due to their need for control over any situation they find themselves in; this is especially true regarding relationships with other people. Cerebral narcissists rarely show vulnerability or emotion; instead, they prefer stoicism and unemotional even when faced with difficult situations.

In social settings, cerebral narcissists tend to dominate conversations through their knowledge and expertise on specific topics; however, these individuals can become easily frustrated if someone else challenges them intellectually or disagrees with them about something important.

Cerebral narcissists may also display narcissistic rage if they feel like someone has wronged them in some way; this could manifest as verbal outbursts or physical violence, depending on the severity of the perceived offense against them.

Regarding mental health issues such as depression or anxiety, cerebral narcissists often deny having any problems since admitting weakness would threaten their carefully crafted image of superiority over others around them. This denial can lead to further isolation from friends and family members who might otherwise provide support during tough times, making it even more difficult for these individuals to get help when needed.

Recap: Cerebral narcissists focus on their intellectual abilities and strive for perfectionism but can be overly critical of themselves and others. They may dominate conversations, display narcissistic rage if wrong, and deny mental health issues to maintain an image of superiority.


6. Somatic Narcissists

Somatic narcissists prioritize their physical appearance and material possessions to gain admiration from others. As a result, they may be overly focused on their appearance, clothes, cars, etc., to draw attention to themselves or feel superior to those around them.


Somatic narcissists often have an idealized image of themselves based on society’s unrealistic standards. As a result, they strive for perfection and will go to great lengths to maintain their desired look – through plastic surgery, extreme dieting, or obsessive exercise regimes. They may also spend large amounts of money on expensive clothing and accessories to appear more attractive or desirable than those around them.

Material Possessions:

Somatic narcissists tend to use material possessions as a way of showing off their wealth and status in society. This can range from luxury cars and designer bags to lavish vacations abroad or exclusive memberships at high-end clubs. These items become symbols of success that can be used as tools for gaining admiration from others – something somatic narcissists crave above all else.

People with this type of narcissistic personality disorder often display specific behavioral patterns such as grandiosity, entitlement, arrogance, lack of empathy towards others, need for constant validation from other people (especially regarding their looks), manipulation tactics when dealing with relationships/friendships/work situations, etc., excessive vanity about their physical appearance even when it isn’t warranted (e.g., obsessively checking mirrors), and an inability to take criticism without becoming defensive or angry.

It is essential for anyone suffering from somatic narcissism – either directly or indirectly – to seek professional help if needed so that any underlying issues can be adequately addressed before things get worse over time. Mental health professionals can guide how best to manage these tendencies while allowing individuals the freedom to make positive life changes without relying solely on external validation.

Somatic narcissists are often overly concerned with appearance and seek attention through external features. However, there is a darker side to narcissism which can be just as damaging – toxic narcissism.

Recap: Somatic narcissists prioritize physical appearance and material possessions to gain admiration, often displaying grandiosity, entitlement, lack of empathy, and manipulation. To manage these tendencies, it is crucial to seek professional help.

types of narcissists

7. Toxic Narcissism

Toxic narcissism is a combination of selfish behavior that can lead to severe psychological damage for the person displaying it and those around them. It involves an extreme lack of empathy, manipulation, and control over others. Toxic narcissists are often very charming at first but will eventually show their true colors as they become more demanding and controlling.

A toxic narcissist may be grandiose, believing themselves superior or unique in some way. They may also have an exaggerated sense of entitlement, making them think they deserve special treatment from everyone else. This type of narcissist will often use manipulation tactics such as guilt-tripping or gaslighting to get what they want from people without regard for how it affects them emotionally or mentally.

Vulnerable narcissists are usually quite insecure about themselves and feel threatened by other people’s success or achievements. As a result, they tend to put down other people’s accomplishments while simultaneously trying to make themselves look better than everyone else through exaggeration or outright lies about their successes. They may also try to manipulate situations, so they come out on top regardless of who gets hurt.

Malignant narcissists display extreme levels of aggression when challenged or contradicted by someone else and have no qualms about using violence if necessary to maintain control over others around them; this could include physical abuse as well as emotional abuse such as verbal insults and humiliation towards anyone who disagrees with them even slightly. Malignant narcissists also tend not to take responsibility for their actions, which makes it difficult for those affected by their behavior because there is no accountability on their part. Instead, everything is blamed on somebody else’s shortcomings rather than taking ownership of one’s mistakes or wrongdoings.

Covert narcissists typically appear shy and unassuming, but beneath this façade lies a deep neediness and feelings of superiority. This leads them to engage in manipulative behaviors such as gaslighting, lying, triangulation (creating drama between two parties), and playing the victim role – all aimed at getting attention from others while avoiding any real connection due to fear of rejection, failure, or abandonment stemming from childhood trauma(s).

Somatic narcissists focus mainly on physical pursuits such as athletics, bodybuilding, etc., viewing these activities as ways to gain admiration from peers and society. However, since these activities involve direct interaction with other people, somatic narcs are more likely to engage in relationships. Still, they may struggle to form meaningful connections due to being unable to form emotional attachments without relying solely upon the physical aspect of their interactions.

Somatic narcissists rely heavily upon external validation and approval derived primarily through physical appearances, such as clothing style or body shape. As a result, somatic narcissists spend lots of time grooming themselves obsessively to attract positive attention and admiration from others. Unfortunately, this often backfires, leading to further insecurity and low self-esteem due to their inability to meet the ever-increasing standards they set for themselves.

Recap: Narcissism is a complex disorder that can manifest differently; toxic, vulnerable, malignant, covert, and somatic narcissists all have distinct traits and behaviors. Among them are manipulation tactics, an exaggerated sense of entitlement, and a lack of empathy.

6 Strange Behaviors of Narcissists

1. Grandiosity:

Narcissists often have an exaggerated sense of self-importance and believe they are superior to others in every way. As a result, they may brag about their accomplishments or talk down to people around them as if they are better than everyone else.

2. Entitlement:

Narcissists tend to feel entitled and expect special treatment from those around them, even when it’s not warranted or appropriate. They may also take advantage of others without feeling guilty or remorseful.

3. Exploitation:

Related to entitlement is the tendency of narcissists to exploit others for their gain, whether financial, emotional, physical, etc., with no regard for how this might affect the person being used.

4. Lack Of Empathy:

One hallmark trait of a narcissist is a lack of empathy towards others; they don’t care about how their actions might impact someone emotionally or physically because all that matters is what benefits them in the end.

5 . Manipulation & Control:

Narcissists like having control over situations and use manipulation tactics such as guilt-tripping, gaslighting, playing victim, and lying to get what they want out of any case.

6 . Inability To Handle Criticism:

As much as narcissists love giving criticism, they can’t handle receiving it very well at all; instead, they’ll become defensive and lash out at whoever dares criticize them.

What Causes Narcissistic Personality Disorder

Narcissistic personality disorder (NPD) is a mental health condition characterized by an inflated sense of self-importance, a need for admiration and attention, and difficulty forming meaningful relationships. People with NPD often struggle to recognize the needs of others or empathize with them.

The exact cause of narcissistic personality disorder is unknown; however, it’s believed that genetics, environment, and early childhood experiences may all play a role in its development.


Research suggests that there may be a genetic component to NPD as people with family members with the disorder are more likely to develop it themselves.


A person’s environment can also contribute to developing narcissistic traits such as overvaluing oneself or feeling entitled. This could include growing up in an environment where one was constantly praised for their accomplishments or given special privileges without having to work hard. It could also involve being surrounded by people who reinforce negative beliefs about oneself, such as “I am better than everyone else” or “I don’t need anyone else,” which can lead to feelings of superiority and grandiosity.

Early Childhood Experiences:

Early childhood experiences can shape how we view ourselves and our place in the world around us, leading to narcissistic tendencies later on in life if those experiences are harmful, such as neglect from parents, caregivers, or physical emotional abuse from peer authority figures. These experiences can make someone overly sensitive about criticism while also lacking empathy towards others due to not having positive role models during their formative years when they learned how best to interact with others socially and emotionally.

Relationships With Narcissists Can Be Risky

Maintaining a relationship with someone with narcissistic personality disorder (NPD) can be extremely difficult. People with NPD lack object constancy, meaning that when they are angry or hurt by something, they may not be able to see the situation in context and instead focus only on their feelings of anger or hatred. This makes relationships with narcissists incredibly draining and often one-sided.

If you decide to pursue a relationship with someone with NPD, it is essential to understand how they function and what type of person they are. Many experts recommend avoiding these types of relationships altogether, as the long-term effects can be damaging for both parties involved. It’s also important to remember that even if you manage to maintain a healthy relationship, there will likely be moments when your partner’s behavior could become unpredictable due to their disorder.

It is also worth noting that people with NPD tend to have difficulty accepting criticism or negative feedback from others, which can make communication very difficult in any kind of romantic, familial, or professional relationship. Find yourself frustrated during conversations because your partner refuses to take responsibility for their actions or takes things too personally. It might be best for everyone involved to step away from the conversation until things calm down again.

It is up to each person whether they want to pursue a relationship with someone with NPD. Still, it’s always best practice to go into such situations fully informed about what risks may come along so that you can make an educated decision about how best to proceed.


What are the seven types of narcissists?

1. Grandiose Narcissist:

These individuals have an inflated sense of self-importance and believe they are superior to others. They often overestimate their abilities and may be preoccupied with fantasies of power, success, beauty, or ideal love.

2. Vulnerable Narcissist:

This type is more sensitive than the grandiose narcissist and can become easily hurt by criticism or defeat. They tend to feel insecure and inadequate but will still seek admiration from others to boost their fragile ego.

3. Malignant Narcissist:

This individual has a combination of traits from grandiose and vulnerable narcissists but also displays extreme hostility towards anyone who challenges them or does not meet their expectations.

4. Covert Narcissist:

Also known as “closet” narcissists, these people appear shy on the outside. Still, they harbor a deep sense of entitlement within themselves that leads them to manipulate those around them for personal gain without remorse or guilt feelings afterward.

5 Cerebral Narcissists

Cerebral narcissists focus on their intellectual abilities rather than physical appearance or material possessions to gain admiration from others. They may be highly competitive in academic or professional settings and strive for perfectionism in all areas of life.

6. Somatic Narcissists

These individuals may be excessively concerned with their physical appearance and may use this to gain admiration from others. They may also engage in risky sexual behaviors or overspend on material possessions to demonstrate their worth.

7. Toxic Narcissist

Toxic narcissists have a precarious sense of self-esteem and can become easily enraged if they feel like someone has challenged them or failed to meet their expectations. They often display manipulative behavior towards those around them and take no responsibility for their actions. This type is particularly dangerous since it creates a toxic environment for anyone within its reach.

What is the most common type of narcissist?

The most common type of narcissist is the Grandiose Narcissist. This type of narcissist has an inflated sense of self-importance and a need for admiration from others. As a result, they often display grandiosity and entitlement and lack empathy for others. Grandiose Narcissists are also highly competitive and have difficulty with relationships due to their extreme focus on themselves. They may appear charming initially but can become manipulative or exploitative to get what they want.


Understanding the different types of narcissists is essential to recognize them and to protect yourself from their negative behavior. While there are many types of narcissists, it is vital to remember that all have a common trait: an inflated sense of self-importance. If you or someone you know is struggling with selfish behavior, seeking help from a mental health professional can be beneficial. Understanding the various types of narcissists can help people learn how to cope better with these problematic individuals and ultimately create healthier relationships.

Do you or someone close to you struggle with selfish behavior? If so, Rest Equation can help. Our online therapy platform offers a safe and secure space for individuals working with narcissism. We provide evidence-based treatment options tailored to your individual needs, allowing us to support lasting change in both your mindset and behaviors. Take the first step towards healing today by signing up for an appointment on our website!


types of narcissists

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