Can narcissists be vulnerable? Believe it or not, the answer to this question is: ‘Yes.’
In general, people with narcissistic personalities are manipulative, self-absorbed creatures who strive to control everything and everyone around them. At first, they seem like they have it all figured out with their vibrant charisma and the enchanting way they carry themselves. But as soon as they get under your skin and trap you with their nasty little mind games, they reveal their true nature.
Vulnerable narcissists, however, are quite different. The red flags exposing their toxic personality are often extremely difficult to notice. They are usually shy, modest, and even introverted. You read that right!
So, naturally, these traits make it nearly impossible to tell whether you’re dealing with a narcissist or not. If you have doubts that someone in your circle might be a lot more narcissistic than they appear, keep on reading!
Here are 6 behavioral patterns of vulnerable narcissists to look out for:
1. They cannot take any form of criticism.
Vulnerable narcissists are incredibly sensitive to criticism. That’s because people with suchlike personalities usually have really low self-esteem. Most of them deal with insecurities far more severe than others around them can imagine. So when someone criticizes them, even if the criticism is constructive and will help them grow, they become extremely defensive, as it makes them feel attacked, or even worse – humiliated. And as we all know, narcissists believe they are impeccable from head to toe, so having someone pointing out their flaws disrupts their whole self-image.
2. They are mentally unstable.
Anxiety, depression, and feelings of emptiness are mental health issues vulnerable narcissists frequently suffer from. Even though on the surface they might look like the most confident people you know, deep down, they are fighting with demons of their own. The fear of failure and the feeling of emptiness in their lives and inside their souls is killing them. Besides, they are often neurotic and extremely self-conscious. Combined with the rest of their insecurities, these negative emotions lead to deeper concerns. And as they cannot deal with these issues on their own, they usually project their negative feelings on those around them.
3. They are intentionally introverted.
Yes, introverted narcissists do exist. They are the ones who usually look unapproachable and dangerously quiet. The vibe they give out can be intensely intimidating at times. But in reality, this facade reveals shyness, not hostility. Vulnerable narcissists cannot handle the thought that their true nature might be exposed if they get too close to someone, so they prefer to act distant and unfriendly to avoid taking that risk.
4. They are excessively jealous.
Envy and jealousy, unfortunately, never leave a narcissist’s side. Even if they have it all, they would still have envy inside their souls. Since, in life, there is always someone better, richer, and more successful, narcissists are constantly jealous of others’ accomplishments. They just cannot be happy for someone else. Meanwhile, they are also convinced that everyone else envies them, as they believe they are superior to others on every single level. This paradox of being jealous of others while being absolutely certain they are jealous of you is common for people with narcissistic personalities.
Just like every other narcissist, vulnerable narcissists use blame-shifting as a way to escape taking responsibility. They are masters at playing the blame game and save themselves from being held accountable for their own mistakes. No matter what goes wrong, it’s always someone else’s fault. On the contrary, if things go even better than expected, they wouldn’t hesitate to take credit for the positive outcome, even if they had nothing to do with it.
Some of the ways vulnerable narcissists express passive aggression include silent treatment, sabotage on a personal level, humiliation, and, as already mentioned, blame-shifting. These are their usual choices of weapons whenever they feel threatened by being exposed. They also use these passive-aggressive tactics in situations, where they don’t get the treatment they believe they deserve. In case someone has the audacity to undermine their superiority, they would do anything to make sure this person ends up regretting it.