10 Types of Narcissists

10 Types of Narcissists Explained

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All narcissists are characterised by the same underlying traits of having an unhealthily inflated sense of superiority, entitlement and specialness. They all seek constant validation from the outside world to support this fantasy version of reality in which they live.

However, there are a range of different tactics that narcissists will use to gain their much-needed attention and adulation. Depending on the type of narcissist and what their assets are, each one will have their favoured tried and tested techniques.

Let’s delve into the 10 types of narcissists and look at what distinguishes each one from the next.

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What is Narcissism

When we’re talking about narcissism here, we’re addressing those with Narcissistic Personality Disorder (NPD). This is a mental health condition where, as a young child, the person felt such deep shame, self-loathing and unworthiness, that they could not cope. So, they unconsciously said, “No, I refuse to feel those things.”

The Psychological Split

A psychological split occurred as a result of their absolute denial of reality. Their ego self took over and vowed to protect the narcissist from themselves by shielding them from the truth of who they really are until the day they die.

The ego constructed an entirely false reality for the narcissist to live out their days in. Their new reality is a total inversion of the truth as an overcompensation to hide them from their own flaws.

Now, the narcissist lives in a delusion where they are a superior, perfect God, who sits above all other human beings. Their access to the full spectrum of emotions, including compassion, empathy and kindness has been severed so that they can survive at all costs in their new reality.

Although people with NPD live in a made-up world, which is nothing more than a figment of their imagination, to them it is the only real thing.

Protecting The Fantasy

The narcissist’s ego must do everything it can to fend off any evidence that comes the narcissist’s way, which would prove their reality to be false. So, anyone who dares to try and show the narcissist any of their flaws or tries to hold them accountable for their predatory and exploitative behaviour will be lined up in the ego’s crosshairs and annihilated.

The biggest problem with the narcissist’s fantasy is that for it to remain real for them, they need constant validation and feedback from the outside world that supports their delusion. Without that, it will simply fade away into nothingness and the narcissist will be left to sink into the dark, empty hole that sits inside of them. That is a fate worse than death to the narcissist.

Feeding the Fantasy

Narcissists are on the constant prowl for narcissistic supply, because they need a regular stream of it in order to feed their addiction (i.e. their fantasy reality).

Their fantasy is inflated via consistent attention, admiration, adulation, flattery, praise and accolades. All of these things confirm for the narcissist that they are as superior and unique as they believe themselves to be.

Other ways the narcissist can feed their delusion is by controlling others, which makes them feel extremely powerful and feeds into their God complex. They are able to feel powerful by manipulating others for their own agenda.

Whether it be gaslighting, fawning, bullying, guilt-tripping or playing the victim, all of these tactics serve to feed the narcissist’s fantasy reality of being powerful, superior, flawless and special.

Types of Narcissists & Tactics

All narcissists are predatory and operate 100% of the time to exploit others for their own gain. Even though sometimes it may look like they’re acting out of kindness or the goodness of their heart, I can guarantee that they are not. There must always be something in it for the narcissist, otherwise they will not do it.

Everything is a transaction to a narcissist, even when it comes to their own friends and family.

When we’re looking at the 10 types of narcissists below, it’s important to remember that they are all working for the same thing – narcissistic supply to validate their fantasy.

What sets the 10 types of narcissists apart are the tactics they use to gain that supply.

Narcissists learn at a very early age what techniques work best for them in garnering attention and validation. Plus, they have also worked out over the years what their strongest manipulation techniques are.

For an attractive narcissist, they will use their good looks and charm to exploit people. For those who are less physically appealing, they will often use victimhood and the “poor me” tactic to monopolise people’s attention and siphon out their resources that way.

Some narcissists are extremely intelligent, so their fantasy revolves around them being the most superior, God-like figure in their field, which is how they extract supply from others.

Let’s explore the 10 types of narcissists and how they use their dominant features to get what they want from the world around them.

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10 Types of Narcissists

Psychologists have narrowed down those with NPD into main types of narcissists. However, there are a range of different types of narcissists in addition to these categories, with some narcissists displaying traits from across multiple categories.

The 10 types of narcissists are really just a way of categorising the dominant strategies different narcs use to garner narcissistic supply and validate their fantasy.

Main Types of Narcissists

Overt (Grandiose) Narcissist


A grandiose or overt narcissist embodies a personality characterised by an exaggerated sense of self-importance, a constant need for admiration, and a lack of empathy for others.

This is the classic type when people think of a narcissist. You know… the ones who are swaggering through the crowd and checking themselves out in the mirror? Yep, that’s the grandiose all over.

Grandiose narcissists have an inflated view of their abilities, believing they are exceptional, unique, and destined for greatness.

They frequently seek attention, validation, and praise from others, showcasing a grandiose facade to cover deep-seated insecurities, which they disowned a long time ago.

Their relationships are often one-sided, as they exploit others to fulfil their own needs and desires without genuine regard for the feelings or perspectives of others.

A trademark trait of the grandiose narcissist is their arrogance and sense of entitlement, which can lead to an overestimation of their achievements. Because of their massive egos they have a tendency to manipulate or belittle those around them to maintain their self-perceived superior status. And what’s worse is that they do not see a problem with any of their behaviour.

Covert (Vulnerable) Narcissist

Narcissist, Victim, Empathy

A covert or vulnerable narcissist embodies a subtler yet equally damaging form of narcissism.

Unlike the overt type of narcissist, the coverts mask their grandiosity behind a facade of humility, appearing sensitive and self-effacing on the surface. However, beneath this facade lies a deep sense of entitlement, hypersensitivity to criticism, and an insatiable need for validation.

Covert narcissists have extremely low self-worth and can only gain it by receiving constant validation from the outside world. They most often use victimhood and pity to gain attention.

Covert narcs are famous for present themselves as victims, portraying a sense of being misunderstood or mistreated, manipulating sympathy from others.

Their self-absorption manifests in a passive-aggressive manner, using guilt or pity to control those around them while still harbouring a profound sense of superiority. Their lack of empathy and tendency to exploit others’ emotions for personal gain remains a key trait, despite their outward appearance of humility.

Altruistic (Communal) Narcissist

Narcissist and Parents

An altruistic or communal narcissist is the hardest of the 10 types of narcissists to spot.

On the surface they seem so kind and giving, which goes against what we generally pair with narcissism. However, all of that generosity is not as innocent as it appears. The altruistic narcissist still portrays a mixture of narcissistic traits, but they are intertwined under a veneer of charity and benevolence.

Unlike other types of narcissism, they derive their self-worth and validation from presenting themselves as exceptionally caring, self-sacrificing, and devoted to the welfare of others. Their behaviours often revolve around appearing philanthropic and nurturing, seeking admiration and recognition for their supposed altruism.

Altruistic narcissists use their false image of selflessness as a way to gain adulation and narcissistic supply. There’s nothing selfless about it at all.

They engage in acts of generosity not solely for the benefit of others but to bolster their self-image as the ultimate altruist. Behind their facade of selflessness lies a need for constant praise and validation, and they often feel entitled to admiration and appreciation for their charitable deeds.

Despite their apparent altruism, their actions are always motivated by a desire to maintain a superior self-image and receive adulation from those around them.

The best way to spot an altruistic narcissist is to not give them any praise or validation for their ‘good deeds’ and see if their mood shifts at all. They are known to get angry and even accuse others of taking advantage of them if they do not receive the accolades they set out to acquire in the first place.

Malignant (Psychopathic) Narcissist

Narcissist Argument

Malignant narcissists are potentially the most destructive and dangerous type of narcissist. They are characterised by a combination of extreme narcissistic traits and malevolent behaviours.

Malignant narcissists exhibit a pervasive pattern of grandiosity, a lack of empathy, and a relentless pursuit of power and control over others. What sets them apart are their extreme tendencies toward manipulation, exploitation, and a willingness to cause significant harm to achieve their goals.

Malignant narcissists have high levels of psychopathy and will engage in criminal, violent and other harmful behaviours to achieve success and power. They show no remorse and lack a conscience, making them very dangerous.

They display a callous disregard for the feelings and rights of others, often engaging in deceit, aggression, and manipulation to maintain their superiority and dominance. Their behaviour can escalate to include sadism, enjoying the suffering or humiliation of others, and they often exhibit traits of antisocial personality disorder, engaging in deceitful or criminal behaviours without remorse.

Malignant narcissists can pose a severe threat to those around them due to their lack of conscience and propensity for cruelty and violence.

Additional Types of Narcissists

Exhibitionist Narcissist

Exhibitionist Narcissist

An exhibitionist narcissist is the most self-obsessed narcissist you could imagine. They are constantly seeking attention, admiration, and validation through overt displays of their perceived superiority and achievements.

Although all narcissists have an inflated sense of importance, these individuals have an insatiable need to be at the centre of attention, often showcasing their talents, physical appearance, or accomplishments in a grandiose manner.

An exhibitionist narcissist must always be the centre of attention in order to gain supply. Think ‘life of the party,’ photobomber and drama queen storyteller.

They thrive on admiration and adulation from others, frequently engaging in self-promotion and seeking out opportunities to showcase their supposed brilliance or uniqueness.

Their interactions are superficial, driven by a desire to be seen as exceptional or special, and they will openly disregard the feelings or needs of others in their quest for constant praise and recognition. Their behaviour is marked by a relentless pursuit of attention, often at the expense of meaningful connections or genuine relationships.

Sexual Narcissist


A sexual narcissist uses their sexual prowess, charm, and allure to assert dominance, control, and admiration from others.

This type of narcissist exhibits an insatiable need for sexual validation, often employing seduction and manipulation to satisfy their relentless thirst for attention and conquest. They view their sexual prowess as a means to bolster their self-worth and superiority, seeking admiration and gratification while often disregarding the emotional needs and boundaries of their partners.

Sexual narcissists use their sexuality to manipulate, control and coerce others. This is their main tactic for garnering attention, admiration and narcissistic supply.

Interactions with a sexual narcissist are marked by a self-centred focus on their own desires and pleasure, using intimacy as a tool for self-aggrandisement rather than genuine connection or mutual fulfilment.

Somatic Narcissist

Somatic, Sexual Narcissist

A somatic narcissist is similar to a sexual narcissist and the two types can even become intertwined.

While the sexual narcissist uses their sexuality to gain adoration and supply, a somatic narcissist is fixated on their physical appearance, attractiveness, and bodily achievements as the primary source of self-worth and validation.

These types of narcissists are obsessively focused on their looks, physical fitness, and sexual charm, considering these attributes as essential elements of their identity.

Somatic narcissists seek constant admiration and attention for their physical traits, using their appearance and sexuality to manipulate and control others. They believe that their physical attributes deem them more superior and special than others.

Relationships for somatic narcissists are superficial, solely centred around their own physical needs and desires. They will disregard the emotional aspects and needs of their partners because they simply don’t see them as being important.

Somatic narcissists rely heavily on their external charm and beauty to maintain their self-esteem and will prioritise their image over their relationships. They need to keep their physical selves maintained in order to gain a steady stream of narcissistic supply.

Cerebral Narcissist

Cerebral Narcissist

The cerebral narcissist uses their intellectual abilities, perceived intelligence, and academic or professional achievements as the core sources of their self-esteem and superiority.

They are excessively focused on showcasing their intellect, knowledge, or talents as a means of validation and to prop up their False Self’s image.

Cerebral narcissists believe their intellectual superiority sets them apart, seeking constant admiration and recognition for their mental brilliance and accomplishments.

Cerebral narcissists will centre their conversations around pursuits that highlight their intelligence while dismissing or belittling those they perceive as intellectually inferior.

Their relationships tend to revolve around their intellectual dominance, lacking any emotional depth or genuine connection as they don’t deem such things as worthy of their time.

It is often said that cerebral narcissists are so detached from human emotion that they only view sex as an act to be performed for procreation. A relationship with a cerebral narcissist can be an extremely lonely and isolating place.

Spiritual Narcissist

Spiritual Narcissist

Next in the 10 types of narcissists is the spiritual narcissist.

A spiritual narcissist uses a false image of spiritual enlightenment, moral superiority, or religious beliefs as a way to assert their superiority and seek admiration.

This type of narcissist often adopts a holier-than-thou attitude, believing themselves to possess superior wisdom, insight, or connection to higher truths. They use their spiritual or moral beliefs as a tool for self-elevation, pegging themselves above others so that they can gain narcissistic supply.

Spiritual narcissists believe they are piously enlightened, sitting themselves on a throne above others in order to prop up their perceived superiority and specialness.

While appearing devoted to spiritual or moral ideals, their actions only serve to inflate their own self-image rather than genuinely uplifting others.

Spiritual narcissists often manipulate and judge others based on their spiritual beliefs, disregarding differing perspectives and using their spirituality as a front to disguise their underlying narcissistic tendencies. These can often be people who sit in a position of power within a religious or spiritual community.

Antagonistic Narcissist

Antagonistic Narcissist

An antagonistic narcissist can be picked from the crowd by their confrontational and hostile demeanour, using aggression, manipulation, and a desire for dominance to assert their superiority over others.

As the name would suggest, antagonistic narcissists thrive on conflict, often instigating or provoking arguments to make themselves feel powerful.

Antagonistic narcissists are the quintessential schoolyard bully. They’re not charming or talented in any way, so they resort to aggressive behaviours to bring those around them down to make themselves feel better.

They will intentionally set out to undermine and belittle those around them to bolster their own self-esteem. Their interactions are riddled with hostility, contempt, and a need to prove their superiority by diminishing others.

Antagonistic narcissists will commonly use tactics such as gaslighting, manipulation, and verbal abuse to maintain their perceived dominance, all while disregarding the feelings and well-being of everyone around them.

All narcissists are self-serving and need to seek validation in one way or another to keep their fantasy delusion of superiority and grandiosity alive. However, the 10 types of narcissists demonstrate how the range of tactics they will favour in order to extract those resources from others can vary.

READ: Full Glossary of Narcissistic Terms
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