Books have been written about this topic; so, I am not going to do it justice in one page. The word narcissist is thrown around a lot these days. I think of narcissism as being on a continuum. It can be a mental illness as explained in the DSM-5, but most people aren’t mentally ill; they just have qualities and behaviors similar to narcissism. What are these behaviors?
Grandiosity, an obsessive belief in their own importance
Attention-seeking, an over-the-top need for admiration and attention
Superficial relationships built on exploitation
Lack of empathy
Identity imbalance; distorted sense of self and others
Difficulty with attachment and co-dependency issues
Chronic feelings of emptiness and boredom; a shell of a person
Has a sense of entitlement and is often arrogant and superior
There are different types of narcissists as well. Just to make it more confusing. Remember narcissism exists on a spectrum. There are many types and many traits. Almost no one fits a perfect cookie cutter mold. Here are some different types:
Grandiose -they have an unrealistic sense of superiority. We usually think of the grandiose type when we think about narcissism. They are entitled, can be charming but don’t relate to people well; they’re self-obsessed.
Covert narcissists are usually shy, self-conscious, and hyper-sensitive to criticism. They crave recognition but are often quite miserable and believe their suffering is worse than other’s. they can be referred to as the vulnerable narcissist.
Malignant narcissists are manipulative and cruel. Aggression and hostility define them. They are considered the worse type of narcissist, enjoying the pain of others.
Sexual narcissists are serial cheaters and have an egotistical admiration of their sexual prowess. They’re obsessed with their performance and the need for sexual admiration from others. Their sexuality can be quite fluid.
Somatic narcissists derive their self-worth from their bodies and their beauty. They obsess over their weight and physical appearance. Check out the plastic surgeon’s office or the gym for somatic narcissists. Vanity is their mantra!
A Cerebral narcissist obtains their self-importance from their intellect, from their minds, not their bodies. They get their supply from being smarter and cleverer than their peers. They will try to make you feel mentally inferior.
And lastly, there are spiritual narcissists who use spiritual jargon to intimidate others. They try to project an idealized version of themselves and use spiritual actions to elevate themselves above others. This is similar to the communal narcissist who uses doing good deeds as their main source of supply. they want others to admire them for their good deeds.
As I said at the start, narcissism exists on a spectrum. There are many different types, and their actions may be minimal right up to a mental illness description. But one thing is true of all. They all gaslight their victims as a means of control.
Are you ready to turn off the gas?