Are you dealing with a narcissist? Whether it’s in your personal life or in the workplace, learning more about the five types of narcissist can help you understand their behaviour and manage your interactions with them.
Let’s look at the five types of narcissist and explore what makes each one unique.
The Overt Narcissist
We have all come across narcissists in our lives.
You know the type—self-absorbed, always needing to be the centre of attention, excessively confident, and never wrong. They can be difficult to deal with, to say the least.
These types of narcissist are called overt narcissists.
Overt narcissists are the type of people who are always bragging and showboating. They love to be the centre of attention and will go to great lengths to make sure they are.
Dealing With These Types of Narcissist
There are several key signs to look for if you suspect you are dealing with an overt narcissist.
First and foremost, they will always need to be right—even if they’re not.
If you attempt to correct them or point out that they’re wrong about something, they will become defensive and may even become insulted or angry.
Second, they will often attempt to one-up you or make themselves look better than you in any way possible.
This could manifest itself in bragging or making cutting comments about you or others.
Third, overt narcissists tend to be very controlling and may try to micromanage those around them.
Fourth, they tend to have a very short fuse and may lash out angrily over minor things or for no reason at all.
Finally, they will often try to gaslight those around them—that is, make them question their own reality or memory in order to better control them.
If you find yourself regularly dealing with someone who exhibits these behaviours, there is a good chance you are dealing with an overt narcissist.
So what can you do about it?
Tips for Dealing with an Overt Narcissist
Dealing with an overt narcissist can be challenging, but there are some things you can do to make the situation more tolerable.
First, try not to take their behaviour personally—it’s not really about you.
Second, set clear boundaries with them and stick to your guns—they will test you.
Third, don’t engage when they try to pick fights or bait you into arguing—it’s not worth it.
Fourth, try to keep your sense of humor—it will come in handy!
Finally, consider getting outside support from friends or family members so you don’t have to deal with them alone all the time.
Dealing with an overt narcissist can be difficult, but it’s not impossible.
By keeping these tips in mind, you can help make the situation more tolerable and maybe even teach the overt narcissist a thing or two about how to interact with others!
The Covert Narcissist
Covert narcissists are more introverted than overt narcissists and are usually passive aggressive.
They often put down other people in order to make themselves feel better and are experts at manipulation.
Signs you may be dealing with a Covert Narcissist
They constantly seek your validation
A covert narcissist will often fish for compliments about their appearance or accomplishments.
They may also try to make you feel guilty if you don’t give them the attention they feel entitled to.
They exaggerate their achievements
Covert narcissists often inflate their own accomplishments or talents in order to make themselves feel better.
They downplay your achievements
In contrast to an overt narcissist who will brag about their own accomplishments, a covert narcissist will try to diminish your achievements in order to make themselves look better by comparison.
They withhold compliments or praise as a form of control
Another way that covert narcissists try to control those around them is by withholding compliments or positive reinforcement, selectively using flattery as a form of control.
They gaslight you into doubting your own perceptions
One of the most insidious things about being in a relationship with a covert narcissist is their tendency to gaslight their partners.
Gaslighting is a form of emotional abuse where the abuser intentionally causes their victim to doubt their own perceptions, memories, or judgment.
They play the victim card
Covert narcissists are expert manipulators and one way they try to control those around them is by playing the victim card.
If they always seem to be on the receiving end of “unfair” treatment, it’s possible they’re actually manipulating situations so that they come out looking like the victim even when they’re not.
They have an unrealistic sense of entitlement.
One hallmark of narcissistic personality disorder is an unrealistic sense of entitlement – believing that one deserves more than others without any justification for it.
This entitlement can manifest itself in many different ways, but one common sign that someone might be a covert narcissist is if they regularly expect special treatment from those around them without actually doing anything to earn it.
Dealing With These Types of Narcissist
If you think you might be dealing with a covert narcissist, the first step is to educate yourself about the traits and behaviours of this type of personality disorder.
Once you have done that, it will be easier to recognize these behaviours.
The following are some tips on how to deal with this type of narcissist.
First, set boundaries and stick to them. Let them know what behaviour is acceptable and what is not.
Second, try to have empathy for them and understand that their behaviour is coming from a place of deep insecurity.
This does not mean that you should enable their behaviour but try to understand where they are coming from.
Third, do not allow yourself to be drawn into their game.
Do not engage in arguments or try to out-do them. This will only fuel their narcissistic behaviour.
Fourth, try to focus on your own happiness and well-being. This means taking care of yourself emotionally and mentally, as well as physically.
Dealing with a covert narcissist can be draining, so it’s important to make time for yourself outside of the relationship.
The Antagonistic Narcissist
Have you ever interacted with someone who just loves to argue? No matter what you say, they always have a ready comeback that puts you on the defensive.
They love to one-up you, and they take pleasure in making you look foolish. If so, then you might have dealt with an antagonistic narcissist.
These types of people are very difficult to deal with because they’re always looking for a way to prove that they’re better than you. They can’t stand to lose an argument, even if it’s over something trivial.
And if you do manage to win an argument with them, they’ll quickly find a way to turn the tables and make it seem like they were the ones in control all along.
It’s exhausting, and it can leave you feeling drained, defeated, and hopeless.
An antagonistic narcissist is someone who not only displays the usual signs of narcissism – entitlement, grandiosity, self-absorption, and lack of empathy – but also has an extremely hostile and unforgiving nature.
They are quick to anger and quick to take offense. They hold grudges and enjoy making other people suffer, and are the bane of every relationship they are in.
There are some common signs and symptoms of an antagonistic narcissist. Here are some things to look out for:
- They tend to be very critical of others. Nothing is ever good enough for them.
- They love to be right and will go to great lengths to prove it, even if it means stepping on others in the process.
- They’re quick to find fault in others while rarely acknowledging their own mistakes.
- They have a strong sense of entitlement and feel that they should always get their way.
- They’re very manipulative and often use guilt-tripping as a way to get what they want from others.
- They lack empathy and seldom show any concern for how their words or actions might affect others.
- They’re often charming and charismatic on the surface but can be quite callous and cruel behind closed doors.
- They are always right and you are always wrong.
- Apologies are unheard of. They never apologize. It’s always your fault.
- They are experts at gaslighting and spinning reality to their benefit.
- They thrive on drama and chaos.
- Everything is a competition with them and they must always come out on top – even if it means sacrificing your happiness in the process.
- They enjoy making other people feel small and insignificant.
How do you deal with such a difficult individual? Read on for some tips.
Dealing With These Types of Narcissist
Keep your cool
It can be difficult not to rise to the bait when someone is constantly going out of their way to pick arguments with you.
But getting angry will only give them the satisfaction of knowing they’ve gotten under your skin.
So, do your best to stay calm and maintain your composure, no matter how difficult it may be.
Don’t take the bait
Another tactic antagonistic narcissists use is baiting others into arguments by making inflammatory comments or saying things designed to get a rise out of people.
Once again, don’t fall for it! Rise above their petty games and refuse to engage them on their terms.
Remember that you don’t have to put up with this type of behaviour from anyone, no matter who they are or what their relationship is to you.
So, don’t hesitate to set boundaries as needed in order to protect yourself from their toxic behaviour.
This may mean setting some distance between yourself and the person in question or even ending the relationship altogether if necessary.
Lean on your support network
Seek outside support from friends or family members who can provide emotional stability when dealing with this difficult individual.
Seek professional help
If you find yourself struggling to cope with an antagonistic narcissist in your life, then seek professional help from a therapist or counsellor who can offer guidance and support.
Trying to deal with this type of person on your own can be extremely draining both mentally and emotionally, so don’t hesitate to reach out for help if you need it.
Dealing with an antagonistic narcissist can be extremely difficult because they’re always looking for ways to start arguments and prove that they’re better than everyone else.
But by keeping your cool, refusing to take the bait, setting boundaries as needed, and seeking professional help if necessary, you can learn how to deal with this type of person effectively without letting them bring you down in the process.
The Communal Narcissist
A communal narcissist is someone who uses their charm and charisma to take advantage of others.
Unlike other types of narcissists, communal narcissists are not content with just having power over others; they also need the approval and support of those around them.
This need for constant validation can often lead to conflict in relationships, both personal and professional.
If you think you may be dealing with a communal narcissist, here are some signs and symptoms to look out for.
Signs and Symptoms of a Communal Narcissist
- A sense of entitlement; expecting others to cater to their needs without any consideration for what those people may want or need
- A constant need for attention and admiration
- Taking credit for the work of others
- Manipulating or taking advantage of others
- Making decisions without input from others
- Refusing to acknowledge the rights or feelings of others
- They are master manipulators and can be very persuasive.
- Behaving in an oppressive or exploitative manner towards others
- Achieving success at all costs, even if it means sacrificing the wellbeing of others. They are always the centre of attention. Everything is about them.
- They have a strong need for attention and validation.
- They are usually very charming and likable, which makes them good at taking advantage of people.
- Their ego is easily bruised and they can become very defensive if they feel like they are being criticised.
- They can be very demanding, both emotionally and physically.
- Their moods swings can be extreme, from highs (grandiosity) to lows (self-pity).
Dealing With These Types of Narcissist
If you think you may be dealing with a communal narcissist, the best thing you can do is protect yourself emotionally and set boundaries.
Don’t allow yourself to be manipulated or taken advantage of.
Be assertive in your communication with them and don’t hesitate to say no if you need to.
Try to have honest conversations about your expectations for the relationship. Communal narcissists often expect their partners to read their minds, so explicit communication can be helpful in preventing misunderstandings.
It’s also important to keep in mind that their behavior is not your fault—no matter how much they may try to make you feel guilty.
You didn’t cause their narcissistic behavior and you can’t change it, so don’t waste your energy trying.
Just focus on taking care of yourself and protecting yourself from their toxic behavior.
Finally, don’t hesitate to seek outside support if you’re feeling overwhelmed.
Talking to a therapist or counsellor can help you process your feelings and figure out how best to deal with the communal narcissist.
The Malignant Narcissist
Of all the types of narcissist, this is the worst. Malignant narcissism is the most extreme form of narcissism.
This type of narcissism is incredibly dangerous because the individual suffering from it also exhibits characteristics like manipulation, aggression, and even sadism.
Signs and Symptoms of Malignant Narcissism
Some common signs that someone may be suffering from malignant narcissism include:
Need for control
A malignant narcissist will often try to control those around them in order to feel powerful. This may manifest as controlling behaviour, such as telling others what to do or micromanaging them.
A cheater is often a narcissistic individual who cannot be faithful to one person because they need the constant admiration and attention that comes from having multiple sexual partners.
Lack of empathy
A hallmark sign of any narcissist is a lack of empathy, but this is especially true for those with malignant narcissistic personality disorder.
These individuals are unable or unwilling to understand how others are feeling, which can make them seem uncaring or even callous.
Malignant narcissists are master manipulators. They will often use manipulation techniques like gaslighting or emotional blackmail in order to get what they want from others.
Another sign of malignant narcissism is aggression. This may manifest as verbal aggression, like yelling or name-calling, or physical aggression, like hitting or shoving.
Individuals with malignant narcissistic personality disorder often enjoy making others suffer. They may take pleasure in causing emotional pain or humiliating those around them.
Remember, if someone exhibits several of these signs, it’s best to take caution and keep your distance.
Dealing with These Types of Narcissist
Create boundaries: It’s important to set boundaries with a narcissistic individual so they know what behaviours are and are not acceptable.
Be firm in your boundaries and don’t hesitate to enforce them if necessary.
Keep communication minimal: When communicating with a malignant narcissist, always keep your communication concise and to the point.
Don’t give them any extra information that they could use against you later on.
Document everything: If you have any interactions with a malignant narcissist —whether they’re in person, over the phone, or via text—it’s important to document everything that was said or done.
This documentation will come in handy if you ever need to take legal action against them later on down the road.
Build a support network: It’s important to have a strong support system in place—whether that’s friends, family members, or even therapy professionals.
Dealing with a malignant narcissist is never easy, but it is possible.
By setting boundaries, staying calm, documenting everything, and reaching out for support from friends and family, you can get through even the most difficult situations.
Conclusion – Treat Each of the Different Types of Narcissist Differently
Hopefully by now you will have a good idea of the different types of narcissist that are out there, and how to deal with them.
Remember, each type of narcissist is different, so it’s important to tailor your approach accordingly. And if you ever find yourself in a situation that feels dangerous or out of control, don’t hesitate to reach out for help from a professional.
Frequently Asked Questions About The Five Types of Narcissist
An overt narcissist is the most commonly recognized type. These types of narcissist are characterized by their grandiosity, sense of entitlement, and dominance. They are commonly preoccupied with thoughts about success, power, and attractiveness. They lack empathy and have a strong need for admiration.
Covert narcissists, also known as vulnerable or closet narcissists, are less obvious. Their narcissism is masked by their insecurity and sensitivity. They often play the victim, harbor feelings of resentment, and suffer from chronic feelings of emptiness and inferiority.
Antagonistic narcissists are characterized by their manipulative and hostile behaviors. They have a tendency to exploit others, lack empathy, and engage in frequent conflicts. They often have a heightened sense of self-importance and believe they are superior to others.
Communal narcissists are individuals who seek to present themselves as altruistic and caring. They derive their sense of self-worth from their perceived contributions to the community or society. However, beneath this facade, they still possess the classic narcissistic traits of needing admiration and lacking empathy.
Malignant narcissists are considered the most severe type of narcissist. They display traits of both narcissistic and antisocial personality disorders. Malignant narcissists are often aggressive, manipulative, deceitful, and show little to no remorse for their actions. They may even enjoy causing harm to others.
Narcissists often exhibit a pattern of behavior that includes a constant need for admiration, a sense of superiority, a lack of empathy for others, and a tendency to exaggerate their achievements and abilities. They may also be manipulative and exploitative in their relationships.
Dealing with a narcissist can be challenging. It’s important to set clear boundaries, avoid engaging in arguments, and prioritize your own mental health. Consider seeking professional help if you’re in a relationship with a narcissist and it’s causing you distress.
While it’s possible for anyone to change if they’re willing to put in the work, narcissists often don’t see a need to change because they don’t believe there’s anything wrong with them. In many cases, therapy can help, but it requires the narcissist to recognize their behavior as problematic and to be willing to make changes.
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