5 Types of Narcissism


Depending on the traits displayed, narcissism can be a positive or negative disorder.

In the positive sense, which is referred to as adaptive narcissism, it can be considered helpful when it manifests in the narcissist as having high self-esteem, confidence, and the ability to appreciate oneself.

On the opposing end, which is referred to as maladaptive narcissism, is connected to traits that don't benefit er positively impact interactions and relationships.

This maladaptive narcissism is usually connected to people's general idea and opinion of narcissism, as most people see narcissism as unfavorable.

Having to deal with a narcissist can be intolerable and frustrating; thus, it becomes necessary and of great help when you can identify the various types of narcissism.

They are various types of narcissism, but there are five common types.

Overt narcissism, as one of the types of narcissism, relates to arrogant and self-concerned narcissists.

Covert narcissism relates to narcissists who have low self-esteem and are primarily introverts.

Antagonistic narcissism is one of the most common types of narcissism and the most unattractive.

Communal narcissism deals with narcissists who seem concerned about equality and fairness but aren't exactly fair to others.

Malignant narcissism happens to be the most severe of the various types of narcissism as they possess most of the traits peculiar to narcissism.

Here are the five common types of narcissism, how to recognize each class, and the typical characteristics of each type of narcissism.

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Overt Narcissism

This can also be called agentic or grandiose narcissism, and most people generally associate it with a narcissistic personality.

Being outgoing, arrogant, entitled, overbearing, highly self-engaging, appraisal-seeking and competitive are common characteristics of this type of narcissism

Persons who are overt narcissists tend to be uncomfortable by feelings of sadness or worry, which causes them to lack genuine friendships.

They also tend to over-exaggerate what they can do and achieve and their brilliance or intelligence because they believe they are special and unique.

They believe they can charm their way through any situation because of their sense of uniqueness and overconfidence.

They don't recognize their own mistakes, but they seem to acknowledge the mistakes of others which can lead one to say they are judgemental.

Overt narcissists are mostly extroverts who use their confidence and charm to gain the attention of others and further paint unique and beautiful pictures of themselves.

Overt narcissism is the opposite of the covert type of narcissism

Covert Narcissism

This type of narcissism is otherwise known as vulnerable narcissism or closet narcissism.

The general notion is that narcissists are loud and overbearing, but covert narcissists seem to be the complete opposite of this notion.

Their traits include low self-esteem, anxiety, depression, shyness, reservedness, fragility, shame, introversion, insecurity, and defensiveness.

Their traits include low self-esteem, anxiety, depression, shyness, reservedness, fragility, shame, introversion, insecurity, and defensiveness.

Unlike overt narcissists, covert narcissists tend to feel unpleasant emotions and easily disagree with others.

Due to their low self-esteem, it is easy for them to believe that they aren't good enough, which makes them harsh to themselves and not receptive to criticism from others.

They tend to compare themselves with other people's achievements because of their feelings of not being good enough.

They are more suicidal than other types of narcissists as they tend to spend time alone because of their introversion.

Covert narcissism is the opposite of the overt type of narcissism.

Antagonistic Narcissism

The antagonistic type of narcissism is mainly considered to be a subordinate type of overt narcissism and it focuses on rivalry and competition.

Some characteristics of this type of narcissism are arrogance, taking advantage of others, competitiveness, aggressiveness, feelings of entitlement, lack of empathy, disregard for others, a high tendency to be unforgiving and lack of trust for others.

Their personality is usually highly unattractive, and unlike overt narcissists, they lack the ability to charm others.

Antagonistic narcissists tend to be highly defensive, primarily angry and assume the worst in others which affects their relationships with others.

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Communal Narcissism

Communal narcissism can be considered a subtype of the overt type of narcissism and the opposite of the antagonistic type of narcissism.

People who are communal narcissists appreciate fairness and equality and consider themselves generous, but in reality, they may not be so.

Some characteristics of this type of narcissism are altruism, the tendency to be easily outraged, empathy for others, and care for others.

Generally, people believe that narcissists don't care about the well-being of others, but communal narcissists defy this belief, but their high self-importance and social power tend to dominate their personalities.

Even though communal narcissists see themselves and consider themselves morally upright and caring for others, this doesn't equate to or justify how they treat others around them.

Their belief in how they treat others isn't necessarily how they treat others.

Malignant Narcissism

Malignant narcissism is the most severe of all types of narcissism, with the highest tendency to cause problems for persons living with it and even those living or interacting with it.

As a type of narcissism, it is more overt narcissism than it is covert narcissism.

Malignant narcissists possess most of the typical traits associated with narcissism, and they desire appraisal more than others.

Other characteristics of malignant narcissism are vindictiveness, derivation of joy from the pain of others, aggression, paranoia, lack of empathy, exploitation, and a strong desire for power, and they tend to cause trouble and engage in substance use.

In most cases, they tend not to suffer from anxiety and can go about their daily activities effectively.

Compared to other types of narcissism, malignant narcissists find it more difficult to have and maintain relationships with others, and they also have the worst response to treatment for their narcissistic personality disorder.

Some of the traits of malignant narcissists are also similar to the characteristics of antisocial personality disorder.


Seeking help through therapy or professional support can help one understand narcissism.

It is important that you know the type of narcissist you're dealing with, which in turn can lead to growth and improved mental health for both the narcissist and you.

There are various types of narcissism, but the most common five, which would aid your understanding, are covert narcissism, overt narcissism, antagonistic narcissism, communal narcissism and malignant narcissism.

Remember to continually improve and update your knowledge of the types of narcissism.


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July 20th, 2024

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