Different types of narcissistic personalities

The 6 Types of Narcissistic Personality Disorder—Talkspace

While any one of us can display narcissistic behaviors from time to time, people with narcissistic personality disorder (NPD) have near-continuous or constant feelings of superiority and self-importance that significantly impact their lives and relationships. 

NPD is a challenging personality disorder that can cause you to obsess over things like becoming more successful or powerful than others. It might result in a constant craving for admiration, or in feelings that you’re entitled, or that you deserve special treatment in life. 

All people with NPD have narcissistic traits, but that doesn’t mean that everyone with NPD behaves in the same way. There are different narcissistic personality disorder types that display unique characteristics. Knowing what to look for and how to distinguish between the various types can help you learn to deal with someone who has NPD in a healthier, more productive manner.  

Here, we’re discussing the 2 main narcissistic personality disorder types. We’ll also look closely at 4 other types of people with narcissistic tendencies you may encounter in life. 

What Are the Different Types of Narcissism?

There are 2 main types of narcissism: grandiose and vulnerable. Although both types share some traits, they also result in fairly distinct behaviors.

In addition to these types of NPD, there are other subtypes of narcissism. It can be helpful to think of NPD as a spectrum that includes shared behaviors as well as some notable differences. We’ll look more closely at each below. 

“It’s important to recognize that narcissism can be seen in a few different ways. Not all people you meet who have narcissistic traits will have narcissistic personality disorder. People can present as either grandiose or vulnerable narcissists, which impacts their relationships differently.”

Talkspace therapist Jill E. Daino, LCSW-R

Grandiose (also known as agentic and overt narcissism)

Narcissism is often seen in a negative light, but grandiose narcissistic personalities are typically charming and well-liked. Also known as “agentic or “overt narcissism,” people with grandiose narcissism tend to have a very high sense of self-esteem, which can cause them to overestimate their capabilities. Grandiose narcissism can make people spread flattering rumors about themselves while trying to shut down any information that contradicts their illusions of greatness.

Experts believe that there are two categories of grandiose narcissism: adaptive and maladaptive. 

Adaptive narcissism causes people to build up their self-confidence in order to protect themselves. They’re natural leaders and are often drawn to careers that offer positions in leadership. They crave authority and prestige.

Maladaptive narcissism means someone will have a naturally high self-esteem and believe that they’re entitled to take advantage of other people. This causes them to try to control or manipulate those around them. They may become angry or aggressive when someone disagrees with them or tries to set boundaries.

Vulnerable (also known as closet or covert narcissism)

It’s commonly assumed that narcissism causes people to want to be the center of attention, but vulnerable narcissism typically results in behaviors that are introverted and withdrawn. 

Vulnerable narcissism is also referred to as “closet” or “covert narcissism,” and it would generally be seen in someone who has a low sense of self-worth and craves praise and admiration so they can feel better about themselves.

Vulnerable narcissistic personality disorder types often have elaborate fantasies of becoming successful. They believe that they deserve positive feedback from others, but usually won’t take steps to earn that praise. The lack of recognition can lead to emotional outbursts, which may cause them to feel intense levels of shame. A common personality trait of vulnerable narcissism is playing the victim.  

Research shows that vulnerable narcissism means someone is more likely to experience negative emotions, and they also may perceive compliments as insults. It’s also linked to high levels of neuroticism. 

It’s common for people living with this type of narcissism to struggle with depression and paranoia. They’re often envious of the people around them and tend to blame others for their lack of success.

One important note is that studies show grandiose and vulnerable narcissism aren’t always mutually exclusive of one another. Personalities may fluctuate back and forth during various periods of time. 

4 More Types of People You Might Come Across”

Most people with NPD fall into the grandiose or vulnerable categories, but there are other types of narcissistic personality disorders to be aware of, too.


A common trait between many types of narcissistic personality disorders is a gap between the way one views themself and how one behaves. People with communal NPD perceive themselves as highly generous and altruistic, but behave in the opposite way. While they may become outraged when they witness injustice or see someone being mistreated, they don’t apply that same level of scrutiny to their own behavior.


Competitiveness is a personality trait that’s associated with many narcissistic personality disorder types, but it’s especially noticeable in those with antagonistic NPD. A low level of trust in others creates a tendency to see the people around them as rivals. It’s common for people with antagonistic NPD to argue with others and treat most social interactions as a competition.


The narcissistic personality disorder symptoms of malignant narcissism are severe and can interfere with a person’s quality of life. They’re often paranoid and may obsess over perceived threats. It’s common for them to display vindictive or even sadistic behavior and show high levels of aggression when interacting with others.


People with seductive NPD understand the power of flattery. Like some other types of NPD, this version makes someone crave positive attention. They’ll freely shower targets with compliments in order to get the admiration they desire. When they’re not getting enough praise from someone, they have no problem dropping that person and moving on to a new target.

“You will encounter challenging people throughout your life. Not all of them will have the degree of narcissism that constitutes narcissistic personality disorder, but they might have many of the narcissistic characteristics described. Knowing how to navigate these personalities and keep your boundaries steady is crucial in dealing with narcissism.”

Talkspace therapist Jill E. Daino, LCSW-R

How to Treat Different Types of Narcissism

When it comes to how to help a person diagnosed with narcissisc personality disorder, it can be difficult to persuade people with narcissistic personality disorder to get the help they need. People with NPD often harbor a belief that nothing’s wrong with them. They will likely see any encouragement to seek treatment as misguided or absurd.

“While it might seem counterintuitive to think someone diagnosed with NPD narcissist would seek help, it’s important to know that therapy can help people who want to work on how narcissism is negatively impacting their lives and relationships.”

Talkspace therapist Jill E. Daino, LCSW-R

If they can be convinced to start care, however, NPD treatment can have a very positive impact on someone with NPD’s life and relationships. One study found that 60% of people with narcissistic personality disorder had a significant reduction in symptoms 3 years after starting NPD treatment.

When it comes to treating narcissistic personality disorder, the primary form of treatment is psychotherapy. Working with a therapist can help people learn how to deal with narcissistic personality disorder and become more empathetic and improve their relationships with others. Therapy for narcissistic personality disorder can also teach people ways to build self-worth without needing constant recognition from others.

Because it can create significant conflicts in interpersonal relationships, family or couples counseling can focus on recognizing the harm NPD has caused, strengthening personal relationships, and changing the way someone’s been treating others.

Although there is no true narcissistic personality disorder medication, some people with NPD benefit from both therapy and medication like antidepressants and mood stabilizers.

All narcissistic personality disorder types can benefit greatly from professional treatment. Many people with NPD aren’t aware of their harmful behaviors, and psychotherapy can offer awareness and coping skills. If you or someone you care about has symptoms of NPD, reach out for help today. You don’t have to live like this. 

Talkspace is an online therapy platform that connects you with a certified mental health professional so you can get the treatment you deserve to manage your symptoms. Experience the most convenient, affordable way to improve your mental health. Start today.

See references

  • Hill R, Yousey G. Adaptive and maladaptive narcissism among university faculty, clergy, politicians, and librarians.
  • Wright A, Stepp S, Scott L et al. The effect of pathological narcissism on interpersonal and affective processes in social interactions.
  • Miller J, Lynam D, Vize C et al. Vulnerable Narcissism Is (Mostly) a Disorder of Neuroticism.
  • Jauk E, Weigle E, Lehmann K, Benedek M, Neubauer A. The Relationship between Grandiose and Vulnerable (Hypersensitive) Narcissism. Front Psychol.
  • Yang Z, Sedikides C, Gu R et al. Communal narcissism: Social decisions and neurophysiological reactions.
  • Kwiatkowska M, Jułkowski T, Rogoza R, Żemojtel-Piotrowska M, Fatfouta R. Narcissism and trust: Differential impact of agentic, antagonistic, and communal narcissism.
  • Changes in pathological narcissism. American Journal of Psychiatry.

How Many Types of Narcissism are There and How Can You Identify Them?

As a personality trait, narcissism can be overt, covert, antagonistic, communal, or malignant. As a mental health condition, there’s only one diagnosis.

When you look at narcissism as a trait in terms of how it affects your day-to-day life and ability to form relationships, there are two types of narcissism:

  • adaptive (helpful)
  • maladaptive (unhelpful)

Some research suggests it could be more accurate to view narcissism as on a spectrum from less to more severe narcissistic traits.

You might then imagine that the different types of narcissism fit somewhere along that spectrum.

In general, narcissism is closely tied to:

  • extreme self-focus
  • an inflated sense of self
  • a strong desire for recognition and praise

Learning about these and other narcissistic traits and narcissism types may also help you understand more about the thought processes, emotions, and behavioral patterns that tend to show up with narcissism.

Narcissism as a personality trait vs. personality disorder

When people talk about narcissism, they might be referring to it either as a part of someone’s personality or as narcissistic personality disorder (NPD).

Narcissistic personality disorder is a formal mental health diagnosis, and there’s only one type. This condition is usually diagnosed when narcissism extends beyond a personality trait and persistently affects many areas of your life. There are 9 symptoms of narcissistic personality.

But, researchers and other experts on narcissism have found multiple ways narcissism can show up as part of someone’s personality, including those with the formal diagnosis, and that’s what we’ll be talking about here.

Some research draws a line between two types of narcissism: adaptive and maladaptive narcissism. This helps to show the difference between productive and unproductive aspects of narcissism.

  1. Adaptive narcissism refers to aspects of narcissism that can actually be helpful, like high self-confidence, self-reliance, and the ability to celebrate yourself.
  2. Maladaptive narcissism is connected to traits that don’t serve you and can negatively impact how you relate to yourself and others. For example, entitlement, aggression, and the tendency to take advantage of others. This would be associated with symptoms of narcissistic personality disorder.

When most people talk about narcissism, they usually refer to the types of narcissism under the maladaptive umbrella.

Researchers and experts typically work around five types of narcissism:

  1. overt narcissism
  2. covert narcissism
  3. antagonistic narcissism
  4. communal narcissism
  5. malignant narcissism

Overt narcissism is also known by several other names, including grandiose narcissism and agentic narcissism.

This type of narcissism is what most people associate with a narcissistic personality.

Someone with overt narcissism might come across as:

  • outgoing
  • arrogant
  • entitled
  • overbearing
  • having an exaggerated self-image
  • needing to be praised and admired
  • exploitative
  • competitive
  • lacking empathy

Some research connects overt narcissism with the Big Five personality traits of extraversion and openness.

It also suggests people with overt narcissism are more likely to feel good about themselves and less likely to experience uncomfortable emotions like sadness, worry, or loneliness.

People with overt narcissism may also tend to overestimate their own abilities and intelligence.

One study published in 2018 also suggests overt narcissism might cause someone to overestimate their own emotional intelligence.

Also known as vulnerable narcissism and closet narcissism, covert narcissism is the contrast to overt narcissism.

While many people think of narcissism as a loud and overbearing trait, people with covert narcissism don’t fit this pattern.

Instead, some common traits of someone with covert narcissism include:

  • expressions of low self-esteem
  • higher likelihood of experiencing anxiety, depression, and shame
  • introversion
  • insecurity or low confidence
  • defensiveness
  • avoidance
  • tendency to feel or play the victim

While someone with covert narcissism will still be very self-focused, this is likely to conflict with a deep fear or sense of not being enough.

A study on personality and covert narcissism published in 2017 found that it was most strongly linked to high neuroticism (tendency to experience unpleasant emotions) and disagreeableness.

Someone with covert narcissism is likely to have a hard time accepting criticism. But unlike a person with overt narcissism, someone with covert narcissism may be more likely to internalize or take in the criticism more harshly than it was intended.

Research suggests the categories of covert and overt narcissism aren’t always mutually exclusive. In other words, someone with overt narcissism might go through a period where they show more signs of covert narcissism, for example.

According to some research, antagonistic narcissism is a subtype of overt narcissism. With this aspect of narcissism, the focus is on rivalry and competition.

Some features of antagonistic narcissism include:

  • arrogance
  • tendency to take advantage of others
  • tendency to compete with others
  • disagreeability or proneness to arguing

According to research from 2017 about facets of narcissism and forgiveness, those with antagonistic narcissism reported they were less likely to forgive others than people with other types of narcissism.

People with antagonistic narcissism may also have lower levels of trust in others, according to a 2019 study.

Communal narcissism is another type of overt narcissism, and it’s usually seen as the opposite of antagonistic narcissism.

Someone with communal narcissism values fairness and is likely to see themselves as altruistic, but research published in 2018 suggests there’s a gap between these beliefs and the person’s behavior.

People with communal narcissism might:

  • become easily morally outraged
  • describe themselves as empathetic and generous
  • react strongly to things they see as unfair

So what makes communal narcissism different from genuine concern for the well-being of others? The key difference is that for people with communal narcissism, social power and self-importance are playing major roles.

For example, while communal narcissism might cause you to say (and believe) you have a strong moral code or care for others, you might not realize the way you treat others doesn’t match up with your beliefs.

Narcissism can exist at different levels of severity, and malignant narcissism is a more severe form. It can also cause more problems for the person living with it.

Malignant narcissism is more closely connected to overt than covert narcissism.

Someone with malignant narcissism may have many common traits of narcissism, like a strong need for praise and to be elevated above others. But in addition, malignant narcissism can show up as:

  • vindictiveness
  • sadism, or getting enjoyment from the pain of others
  • aggression when interacting with other people
  • paranoia, or heightened worry about potential threats

Someone with malignant narcissism may also share some traits with antisocial personality disorder. This means someone with malignant narcissism could be more likely to experience legal trouble or substance use disorder.

In a small study involving people with borderline personality disorder (BPD), those with malignant narcissism had a harder time reducing anxiety and gaining a better ability to function in day-to-day life.

Experts work with five main types of narcissism: overt, covert, communal, antagonistic, and malignant narcissism. They can all affect how you see yourself and interact with others.

When it comes to treatment, narcissism can be tricky because many people living with it don’t necessarily feel the need to change.

But living with narcissism does pose its own mental health effects, including anxiety, depression, and substance use — and sometimes the impact of these effects causes the person to reach out for help.

When someone living with narcissism seeks professional support, there’s a lot of potential for growth and improved mental health.

If mental health care for narcissism sounds like something that could be helpful for you, you can learn more about your options here.

6 types of narcissism: what kind of narcissism is useful and what should be avoided

Traits characteristic of narcissists are especially common among successful businessmen and top managers. Although such people can be difficult to work with, they manage to easily gather followers around them, they quickly climb the career ladder and receive high salaries. A study by a group of scientists from Queen's University Belfast showed that narcissists have another advantage - they cope with stress faster and suffer less depression. We figure out whether there is a useful narcissism and how to protect yourself from communicating with a narcissist.

On the Benefits of Narcissism

Kostas Papageorgiou and colleagues rounded up 700 volunteers with signs of clinical or "normal" narcissism (this condition does not have the "dark" side of narcissistic personality disorder) and asked them a few questions about narcissism and mental toughness. All participants were divided into two categories: those who are prone to megalomania, and those who see tricks and conspiracies everywhere. It turned out that representatives of the first category are endowed with traits that help them to be successful in life: self-confidence, purposefulness and psychological endurance. These positive characteristics outweighed potentially negative emotions or stress.

The trump card of narcissists is the belief that they deserve the best in life

People who are prone to megalomania are not particularly interested in other people's opinions - therefore it is easier for them to focus on the task. At the same time, unlike the second type of narcissists (who do not trust anyone), they are prone to extraversion.

Of course, narcissism also has negative sides (we will discuss them below), but we should not forget that the state of narcissism occurs to varying degrees in each person. The main thing is to benefit from your personality traits, and not to obey them.

Papageorgiou proposes to consider narcissism as a bridge between the "dark" (anti-social) and "light" (pro-social) sides of the personality. We can use our dark side when faced with a difficult situation, and in favorable circumstances, remain on the "light" side. Each personality should be perceived as a whole range of psychological and emotional characteristics that manifest themselves at different points in time.

6 types of narcissism

It is important to distinguish between clinical and episodic manifestations of narcissism. The clinical condition can take many forms, and although there is no single formula, take a look at the list of six dangerous types of narcissists to avoid.

1. Toxic

The toxic narcissist is a source of continuous drama in the lives of others, causing them pain and suffering. Such a person will constantly demand attention to himself, but will never take an interest in what is happening with you. He is also prone to physical and/or psychological abuse, which does not show up right away - but once the narcissist has gained your trust.

2. Psychopath

A type of aggressive, unstable personality. Such people are arrogant and strive for power at any cost. They need constant worship and use others to achieve their goals. These are cruel, heartless people. According to clinical psychologist John Mayer, serial killers often suffer from psychopathy.

3. Secret narcissist

This type is the most difficult to recognize because such a person does not always behave like a typical narcissist, but at the same time he clearly believes in his own importance, always craves attention and reverence, is envious of others and is not very good at empathy . Psychotherapist Alice Ruby Bash says that such people can show themselves as ideal companions and faithful companions - give the appearance of an altruistic person, but at the same time associate themselves with a person who is admired and claims to be famous.

4. Exhibitionist

In contrast to the secret narcissist, the exhibitionist always behaves in such a way that everyone knows what a person thinks about himself and about others. Such a person is arrogant, arrogant and surrounds himself with henchmen. According to Bash, exhibitionists cannot go a day without public attention.

5. Abuser

This type combines two terrible features: obsession with oneself and a thirst for insults and humiliation of others. Dr Mayer says that the abuser builds his reputation on intimidation and aggression. Bullying narcissists often seek a position of power and authority at all costs. They enjoy watching others feel worthless and broken. Unlike the "regular" bully and aggressor who pursues some social benefit, the narcissist abuser insults others for his own pleasure.

6. Seducer

The seducer will first surround you with attention and make you feel in seventh heaven with happiness, but as soon as you succumb to his charms and fall into a trap, he will abruptly change his tactics and destroy your peace of mind. He will manipulate you, play on your feelings and use psychological (and sometimes physical) violence.

concept, definition, character traits, type, stages of personality development and recommendations of psychologists

The term "narcissism" first appeared when it was used by the British scientist H. Alice. He described a form of defective personality disorder and related it to the well-known legend of Narcissus, who lived in ancient Greece. He loved himself so much that against this background he was cursed and died.

A little later, Sigmund Freud decided to consider the narcissistic personality type. A well-known psychoanalyst created a theory according to which the narcissistic syndrome manifests itself to one degree or another in every person, including his sexual behavior. He suggested that in adolescence every child feels more narcissistic. Thus, narcissism is an integral part of the character of any person. According to Freud, this form of behavior is not capable of harming others, but only on condition that the child develops in a correct and harmonious way.

Who is Narcissus

Considering the concept of narcissistic mechanisms, first of all, it is worth paying attention to the origins of the word itself. As mentioned at the beginning, according to legend, a certain young man named Narcissus was so in love with himself that he did not hesitate to revel in his splendor. The guy enjoyed talking with young girls who spoke with delight about his amazing appearance. However, he himself never listened to others and did not try to think about how they feel.

One day Narcissus was spending time on the bank of a stream and suddenly saw his own reflection in the water. He fell in love with his beauty so much that he simply could not tear himself away from his image. The guy was gradually drying up from hunger and thirst. In the end, he died.

After his death, in the place where he admired himself, flowers of unusual beauty began to grow, which began to be called daffodils. Since then, the name has become a household name. The behavior of the ancient Greek handsome man fully describes the characteristics of people who today are commonly called narcissistic personalities.

This means high self-esteem and excessive self-love. This term is a complete reflection of a person's tendency to excessive narcissism.

General information

Narcissistic personalities tend to always be in the center of attention of others. They must show everyone how exceptional and individual they are.

Psychologists have been studying this human condition for many years. Specialists show a huge amount of interest in him, because many of them are worried about how psychologically safe people of this type are.

The fact is that very often such selfish natures, who seem to be 100% sure of themselves, actually hide a completely different personality under this bright shell. Very often in psychological practice there are cases in which it becomes clear that egoists have a huge number of complexes, which they simply try to compensate by oppressing others. In this case, we are talking about the latent narcissistic type.

Many questions arise in psychology regarding this term and the disorder itself. Is narcissism a way to hide your fears? Or is it the innate confidence of a person in his impeccability? It is very difficult to answer this question to this day. However, there is a lot of useful information that will allow you to understand this interesting personality type in more detail.

How to recognize a narcissist

Any person in a normal state has tender feelings for himself. However, for some individuals, such narcissism simply begins to go off scale. Such people are in constant self-admiration of themselves. In this case, we are already talking about pathological narcissistic personality disorder.

An egoist is a person who is only interested in his own person. At the same time, he completely ignores the interests and desires of others. In this case, we are talking about the possibility of self-affirmation at the expense of completely different people.

The most striking distinguishing feature of a narcissistic person is a hypertrophied and overly exaggerated sense of self-esteem and love for one's person. However, speaking of such personalities, one more important aspect should not be excluded. It must be understood that the ultimate goal of a narcissist is self-satisfaction.

It would be logical to assume that any person strives for this. However, the narcissist will be ready for any tricks and will go over the heads, only to amuse his pride. Very often in psychology a parallel is drawn between egoism and narcissism. Also, some experts attribute this feature of behavior to psychopathy. Accordingly, in this case, narcissism is the definition of one of the scales of the psychopathic state, which is used in the process of research activities. There are 12 signs of a narcissistic personality type. They help to quickly calculate the egoist. It is worth taking a closer look at them.

12 signs of a narcissistic personality type

There are some nuances according to which a narcissist can be identified:

  • He will never pay attention to constructive or any other criticism from the people around him.
  • This person considers himself perfect.
  • For him, everyone around him is only a servant (or a laughingstock if they do not meet his high criteria).
  • He demands and expects increased attention to himself.
  • A narcissistic person needs constant praise.
  • He sincerely believes that everyone around him constantly thinks about him and envy him because he is an ideal for everyone.
  • If someone does not share his point of view, then this sincerely surprises him.
  • He boasts of even the most stupid and imaginary achievements, because he is sure that he has done something significant.
  • In the course of a conversation, he uses pronounced sarcasm and often offends others.
  • He is characterized by a preoccupation with financial matters.
  • For Narcissus, his own status is very important, so he will never associate with ordinary people.
  • He is sure that he has absolutely no shortcomings, but only exceptional virtues.

Thus, identifying a person with a narcissistic personality type is not difficult. Therefore, when meeting with such an individual who is prone to excessive self-admiration and increased selfishness, it can be said with certainty that he has a similar defect.

However, it is worthwhile to understand why exactly people experience such a change in the perception of their own "I".

The cause of narcissism

In this case, we are not talking about a congenital disorder. People become narcissists as they grow up and realize themselves as individuals. This means that at some point there is a failure, and the person decides to develop only certain characteristics.

As a person grows up, he must learn to be responsible and independent. At the same time, his capriciousness and selfishness develop. However, in a narcissistic child, all positive character traits fade into the background. There is a hypertrophied development of selfishness. Accordingly, such character traits begin to be laid from early childhood.

There is also a theory that genetics influences the development of this disorder to some extent. Of course, if the parents of the narcissist are also very selfish individuals, then there is a high probability that their child will grow up to be just as narcissistic. Therefore, in order for the baby not to begin to cultivate narcissistic personality traits in himself, you need to pay attention to him. Parenting requires a lot of effort on the part of parents.

How to prevent the development of narcissism

Since this disorder begins to affect a person from early childhood, it is necessary to follow some recommendations that will help raise a worthy person from a child.

First of all, you need to be able to praise your child and prove your love to him. However, do not rejoice in any of his actions. Praise should be only if the child really did something meaningful. If parents admire every second everything that their baby does, then this is precisely what can lead to an exaggerated sense of their own exclusivity in this world.

Psychologists recommend that parents, when proving their tender feelings to their children, never say phrases from the series “I love you because you are so smart, beautiful, etc.” In order for a child to feel loved and desired, it is enough just to recognize the fact that he is loved. You do not need to constantly instill in him the feeling that he can only be loved for certain qualities. Also, do not fully try to fulfill all the wishes and whims of the baby. If he constantly gets everything he wants, then in adulthood the child will expect the same attitude towards himself from the world around him.

Also, experts recommend not to exaggerate the achievements of your child in one area or another. If he studies well, there is no need to say that he is an excellent student, etc. Such an unjustified overestimation of self-esteem can negatively affect the child’s correct perception of the world.

In order to prevent the development of symptoms of a narcissistic disorder, it is necessary to exclude the attitude towards the child as the center of the universe. He must understand that other household members need attention and care. You need to instill these feelings in him, and not just focus your life on his desires.

However, one should not go to extremes. If a child is ignored or even tried to humiliate him psychologically, then this may well lead to the opposite effect. If he develops too many complexes in early childhood, this will eventually lead to the development of a narcissistic defense in him. He will act selfishly because he has not received the proper love and attention.

It is necessary to teach the child to be sociable. If he walks on the playground with other kids, he should treat them with respect and not react aggressively if someone made him this or that remark. By instilling these character traits, you can be sure that the child will grow up to be a decent person.

How narcissism manifests itself, based on the gender component

Most people believe that narcissism is a trait that is characteristic only of women. However, you need to understand that if a girl looks in the mirror for a long time, then this does not mean that she suffers from a personality disorder. It must be understood that in the fair sex, such a pathology manifests itself in a slightly different form.

For example, if when building a relationship with a representative of the opposite sex, she gives preference not to the guy who she likes more, but to the one who indulges her whims more, then in this case we are talking about selfishness and excessive ambition.

It is not uncommon for women to show their narcissistic traits when their partners have a small child. As a rule, in this case, the mother begins to try to realize all unfulfilled dreams through the baby. She is so proud of him that this pride passes to her. The mother believes that it is only thanks to her that the baby has succeeded. Therefore, very often on the playground you can hear the conversations of young mothers who proudly talk about the achievements of their children.

If we consider male narcissism, then, as a rule, this type of disorder is most pronounced in adolescence. If a guy stands in front of a mirror for a long time and pays too much attention to his hair, body, etc., then this is a manifestation of narcissism.

If we are talking about men who have already become husbands and fathers, then in this case it is worth paying attention to their behavior with children. As a rule, such people begin to spend less time with the kids, because they experience a very strong feeling of jealousy, realizing that now the place of the "center of the universe" is occupied by a new family member. As a rule, when narcissists acquire families, the personality disorder begins to move to a new level. As a rule, they rarely communicate with their loved ones and relatives, as they are sure that the whole world should revolve only around them.

If the narcissist has not been able to find his soul mate, then over the years he will gradually begin to understand that perhaps he is not as irresistible as he might have thought before. However, very often you can meet 40-year-old bachelors, absolutely unclaimed by the representatives of the opposite sex, who still continue to claim that they are simply in search of an ideal that could match them.

Types of narcissistic disorder

It is immediately worth noting that modern psychoanalysts continue to consider this so-called pathology to this day. Narcissism is still a rather mysterious phenomenon, and it is studied by scientists around the world. However, several varieties of such a personality disorder have already been identified.

Narcissism can be:

  • Constructive. In this case, we are talking about a state when a person is characterized by quite adequate self-esteem and narcissism. This means that the person loves himself to a fairly high degree, but at the same time he is still able to interact with the outside world. However, due to increased self-confidence, when pressured by others, a person can behave quite aggressively.
  • Destructive. With this type of narcissistic character, a person has much more serious mental disorders. In this case, the person is not able to realistically assess their own significance, as well as achievements. People of this type pathologically need to have their importance confirmed every minute by the outside world.
  • Deficient. This form of narcissism is expressed in the fact that a person is not able to evaluate himself as a whole person. This type of disorder is different from the previous ones. Such people are very dependent on the opinions of others. Therefore, they behave selfishly, because they believe that in this case, society will respect them more.
  • Perverse. In this case, we are talking about the so-called malignant condition. A person can be overcome by absolutely inadequate, sometimes even obsessive ideas. Such people behave aggressively in the most unexpected situations. They also have somatic disorders.

Is narcissism a disease or a character trait

On the one hand, this syndrome can really be regarded as a feature of a person. This is explained by the fact that, according to many teachings, selfishness is characteristic of any person from the moment of his birth. However, on the other hand, we are talking about a complete personality disorder, as a person begins to perceive himself as something higher and more significant than those around him. If we are talking about progressive narcissism, then in this case it is certainly a disease that can turn the existence of an individual into an unbearable life, and also negatively affect his entire environment.

If a person has excessive narcissism, then in this case it is necessary to turn to a psychologist who will help him learn to perceive himself in a normal way. This, of course, is about narcissistic personality disorder, which can be adequately treated. If the therapy is successful, then the person has a chance for a normal existence.

There is also a theory that narcissism is a behavioral defect. However, there are many other opinions. For example, some experts describe narcissism as a syndrome. Accordingly, these scientists consider this state of the human psyche from the point of view of psychoanalysis. Even Sigmund Freud proved that such manifestations are characteristic of any person.

It is worth noting, however, that earlier in their research, scientists simply did not view the symptoms of narcissistic personality disorder as a dangerous condition. However, over time everything has changed. Today, narcissism is really becoming not even a disorder, but a full-fledged mental illness. Moreover, in this case we are talking about a pathology that can lead to a rather dangerous condition. For example, if the narcissist does not feel satisfied and does not see that others admire him, then in this case he may fall into a deep depression.

Based on this, you need to take this problem very seriously and consider ways to solve it.


If we consider the narcissistic character as a disease, then any diagnostic measures will be the same as when a person develops a pathology. First of all, the specialist conducts an external examination of a potential patient. After that, a so-called structured interview is conducted, which helps the psychiatrist or psychologist analyze the answers, as well as the behavioral characteristics of the person. After that, the specialist can compare all the data obtained, evaluate the psychology of the narcissistic personality and come to the conclusion whether this psychological disorder is dangerous or just a slightly exaggerated feature of a particular patient.

As a rule, selfishness is quite easily revealed after the first conversation. Usually a person with a similar defect categorically denies having such a problem. The diagnosis is complicated by the fact that the patient does not adequately respond to the recommendations of a specialist and behaves rather sharply in case of criticism. However, the doctor must carry out all the necessary tests in order to exclude the possibility of antisocial behavior or pathology that begins to border on a hysterical disorder.

It must be understood that a person with a narcissistic personality type is, by and large, a sick patient. Therefore, it is quite understandable that he does not understand that he is suffering from some kind of unpleasant pathology that he needs to exclude. By and large, this condition can be compared with alcoholism. However, as in the case of the use of strong drinks, this problem must be addressed immediately.

How to deal with narcissism

In this case, everything depends on the individual situation. If we are talking about a chronic mental disorder, then the treatment will be long and rather difficult. Although a person needs psychological help, he does not yet perceive himself as a problematic person. For him, a narcissistic attitude towards others is a boon.

Therefore, such people do not voluntarily go for treatment. The specialist will have to try hard to find an approach to such a patient.

As a rule, psychologists try to demonstrate benevolence and the deepest respect towards the patient. This bribes him, and he comes to the next reception in order to receive another portion of flattery.

Psychotherapy shows good results. Classes can be held both individually and in group form. First of all, the essence of the problem is explained to the patients, and gradually the doctor brings them to the recognition of the pain of their condition. Once the patient agrees with the diagnosis, treatment is much faster.

Together with a doctor, a person suffering from narcissism finds a constructive solution that helps him lower his self-esteem a little to the required level. However, it is very important that the specialist can correctly understand the cause of the disease and try to exclude it. If this does not work out, then the patient will refuse treatment and will never come to the session again.

In terms of drug treatment, it is used only if the patient suffers from a depressive disorder, he has panic attacks, phobias and other dangerous mental disorders. In this case, a course of tranquilizers or antidepressants may be prescribed. However, you need to understand that drugs are not able to eliminate narcissism. In this situation, the state of a person is only facilitated so that he does not reach the extreme point.


The narcissistic personality type is an extremely interesting topic for many specialists. During the study of this feature of behavior, doctors were able to draw up an approximate picture of the development of the defect. To prevent such a pathology, it is necessary to avoid factors that can make a person more selfish. First of all, it concerns childhood. Parents should provide a harmonious upbringing for the baby. The child must understand that he is loved, but at the same time, responses are expected from him. This means that you can not always indulge your beloved child. Sometimes you have to say "no".

Need to keep a balance. Of course, the kid must learn self-respect and the ability to defend his point of view. However, he must take part in the discussion on an equal footing with the other interlocutor. This means that he must respect not only his parents, but also his peers.

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