“Narcissistic personality disorder is named for Narcissus, from Greek mythology, who fell in love with his own reflection. Freud used the term to describe persons who were self-absorbed, and psychoanalysts have focused on the narcissist’s need to bolster his or her self-esteem through grandiose fantasy, exaggerated ambition, exhibitionism, and feelings of entitlement,” wrote Donald W. Black,
Narcissists are everywhere – and they are as unique as they are toxic. In my experience, they often fit into one or more of the following categories.
Here are seven different styles of narcissism. Which ones have you come across?
1. The Narcissistic Winner
– These narcissists derive their sense of self by feeling superior to others. As a consequence, everything becomes a competition. This behavior is not confined to naturally competitive areas such as sports, career achievements, and academics. This type of narcissist must also “win” at seemingly collaborative activities, such as parenting, driving, friendship, and even spirituality. A narcissistic winner is rarely happy for a friend’s good fortune. In their eyes, another person’s success is their own failure. When they “lose” – in reality or in their own perception – their self-esteem takes a huge hit. They may become antagonistic, or try to overcompensate by belittling the achievements of others.
2. The Victim Narcissist
– The victim narcissist is the sneakiest of the bunch. These people are master manipulators who use affection and emotion to keep you close to them. They are very skilled at playing the underdog, and will often create or seek out situations in which they can do so effectively. A victim narcissist will have perfected their sob story. They will easily convince you that the world is out to get them, and that none of their misfortune is their own doing. A victim narcissist rarely takes responsibility for their own life and actions. They use blame and guilt to get what they want from others, often asking for unreasonable favors and handouts. A victim narcissist will become deeply hurt when other people can not – or will not – solve their problems for them.
3. The Know-It-All Narcissist
– This person is convinced that they are more intelligent and well informed than those around them. They treat their opinions as fact and become deeply offended when faced with disagreement. To the know-it-all narcissist, you are either right or wrong – with them or against them. There is no in between. They often preach, but rarely listen. They are known to offer unsolicited advice to friends, family members, and even strangers. However, they will become offended if someone does the same to them. The know-it-all narcissist feels that they have nothing to learn from others. Unfortunately, this causes them to miss out on quite a lot in life.
4. The Narcissist Puppet Master
– These narcissists can absolutely not cope when things do not go as they’d like. To compensate for this, they find ways to manipulate everyone around them. The puppet master narcissist has learned to control others through several different tactics, and is skilled at finding an individual’s weak spot. They have no concept of integrity or empathy. A narcissist puppet master will lie, cheat, seduce, and withhold affection from loved ones to get what they want. They are not above playing friends against one another or using innocent people as pawns. This type of narcissist will seek out your insecurities and vulnerabilities, and exploit them without even a trace of remorse.
5. The Narcissist Antagonist
– This type of narcissist always seems to have an enemy. They scream at other drivers, berate wait staff at restaurants, and leave nasty notes for neighbors who play their music too loud. This expression of their righteous indignation helps them to feel superior and in control. Unfortunately, it also keeps them from maintaining healthy relationships. They likely have few – if any – friends at work, and may even have lost jobs due to office disputes. Their personal lives are in constant turmoil. If they are in a relationship, their partner is likely a very submissive personality with low self-esteem. The narcissist antagonist may be estranged from one or more family members, often with no hope of reconciliation.
6. The Status Narcissist
– To this type of narcissist, self-worth is only real if it can be proven in a concrete way and validated by others. They have little to no internal sense of self. Instead, they put all of their energy into accumulating money, power, and social status. They use these things to give themselves a value, and they assign value to others by the same measure. This type of narcissist knows how much you paid for your house and whether or not you hired the “right” interior decorator. They are president of the PTA and their local homeowner’s association. A status narcissist is often very smart and accomplished. Unfortunately, this is where the depth of their personality comes to an end.
7. The Royal Narcissist
– This type of narcissist feels that they are always entitled to the best. They don’t believe in earning special treatment – they feel that they deserve it simply by birthright, much like royalty does. A royal narcissist will break rules, and will refuse to abide by societal conventions like taking turns or waiting in line. When faced with consequences, they will react as though they are being persecuted or treated unfairly. The royal narcissist, after all, is above things like speeding tickets. They will also treat others – equals or even superiors – as inherently lesser than themselves. The world is their kingdom, and everyone within it is their servant.
“I am in love with you’, I responded.
He laughed the most beguiling and gentle laugh.
‘Of course you are,’ he replied. ‘I understand perfectly because I’m in love with myself. The fact that I’m not transfixed in front of the nearest mirror takes a great deal of self-control.’
It was my turn to laugh.”
― Anne Rice
Narcissists cannot help who they are. However, we can be intentional in our reactions. Don’t allow a narcissist to hurt you, control you, or make you feel small. Sometimes the most powerful thing you can do is just to turn away and laugh.