4 Types of Narcissists — How to Spot Each One

The personality traits of Narcissists

3 min readSep 2, 2020
Photo by Elijah O’Donnell from Pexels

The term “Narcissism” might seem to be fascinating but its core goes far beyond mere fascination. We all have a few narcissistic characteristics but individuals on the high narcissism spectrum are more likely to be diagnosed with narcissistic personality disorder (NPD). In general, narcissists have certain characteristics for instance, entitlement, lack of empathy, and a constant need for control.

Types of narcissists and which one you should avoid

According to clinical psychologists, there are four different types of narcissists and by closely observing their personality traits you can assume which type of narcissist you are dealing with.

1) Grandiose Narcissist

This type of narcissist is known to be self-absorbed, entitled, callous, exploitative, authoritarian, and aggressive. Most of the grandiose narcissists are recognizable public figures and tend to have an attention-seeking and charming extroverted nature. They also tend to be highly arrogant, unempathetic and have an unrealistic sense of superiority.

According to psychologist Neo, when dealing with a grandiose narcissist, or any type of narcissist for that matter, it’s important to set boundaries. “Know you can be graceful and assertive at the same time”. “They will push your boundaries, eroding them so a lower level of treatment becomes the new normal. Be prepared to enforce your boundaries — even better, walk away.”

2) Vulnerable Narcissist

This type of narcissist is mostly known as covert, closet, or introverted narcissist. Similar to the grandiose narcissist they’re also self-absorbed, entitled, exploitative, unempathetic, manipulative, and aggressive, but they are fearful of criticism to an extent thus, they shy away from attention and become defensive to avoid any criticism. This type of narcissist is usually insecure and unhappy with their lives, thus, they project their negative emotionality onto others.

According to Malkin, covert narcissists are often abjectly miserable and believe their suffering is worse than anyone else’s. “Yes, they may have been hurt before, but it’s not your duty to rescue them or save them. That’s boundaries, too.”

3) Communal Narcissist

This type of narcissist is most difficult to identify as they portray themselves as the most trustworthy and supportive person and try to achieve this through friendliness and kindness. They are also extroverted and always want to be known as the most helpful and proffering person. This type of narcissist also has similar traits like entitlement and thrust for power.

Source: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_uJs0iGQN0M&list=PLCqIw3lBFzaho2sVf8OnmhkA1Fe1LlEUW

4) Malignant Narcissist

This type of narcissist is known to be extremely narcissistic due to their cruelty and aggressiveness. They’re paranoid, immoral, sadistic, and closely related to psychopathy. This type of narcissist finds pleasure in creating chaos and taking people down.

“They get pleasure seeing people writhe in pain and discomfort,” licensed psychologist Daniel Fox, Ph.D., says. If you know a malignant narcissist, Neo recommends avoiding them completely and cutting off all ties. Any attempts to outsmart them will be unsuccessful and exhausting, she explains: “They’ve spent their lives perfecting the craft of becoming better narcissists.”

No matter which type of narcissist you are dealing with you have to protect yourself from them by establishing strong boundaries and by staying far away from them. If you are a highly empathetic individual then narcissists in your life will often make you feel drained and thus, you have to set your boundaries at any cost.

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Mindbodygreen. (2021, June 30). There are at least 8 types of narcissists — Which ones are dangerous? https://www.mindbodygreen.com/articles/types-of-narcissists

Telloian, C. (2021, September 15). 5 types of narcissism and how to recognize each. Psych Central. https://psychcentral.com/health/types-of-narcissism

Youtube. (2020, January 8). Managing a narcissist (how to shut them down) [Video]. YouTube. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5zp47EakR4U

Youtube. (2018, June 25). The 4 types of narcissism you need to know [Video]. YouTube. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_uJs0iGQN0M&list=PLCqIw3lBFzaho2sVf8OnmhkA1Fe1LlEUW

Oprah Daily. (2021, November 2). Not every selfish person you know is a narcissist — here are the actual traits. https://www.oprahdaily.com/life/relationships-love/a31189989/what-is-a-narcissist/




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