How Many Types of Narcissists Are There?

How Many Types of Narcissists Are There?

There are hundreds of different types of narcissists.

Some of them are easy to spot, and others, not so much.

Within the broader diagnosis of Narcissistic Personality Disorder (NPD), the answer to the question, how many types of narcissists are there based on research is five.

People that have this kind of disorder often lack empathy and have a need for admiration.

You might have been fascinated with the concept of narcissism, and wonder about how many types of narcissists are there?

Narcissists can be classified into two main groups: vulnerable narcissists (or covert narcissists) and grandiose narcissists (or overt narcissists.)

Vulnerable narcissists are more introverted and hypersensitive, but less reactive than grandiose narcissists.

Because they are more internally conflicted than grandiose narcissists, they may be more likely to seek help for their problems.

Grandiose narcissists are more emotionally stable than vulnerable narcissists but also more entitled, exploitative, and interpersonally aggressive.

In this article, you will learn the real definition of a narcissist, the core characteristics, the answer to the question and the answer to how many types of narcissists are there, and the different types of a narcissist.

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Who is a Narcissist? 

Answering how many types of narcissists are there without knowing who a narcissist is, isn't balanced. 

So narcissism is a mental disorder that makes a person feel more self-important, and this personality disorder mostly happens in men but few in women (Learn the signs of women narcissists).

Narcissism is a personality disorder best defined as an inflated sense of one's own importance and an excessive need for admiration and validation.

Narcissists are often grandiose, self-centered, manipulative, and demanding.

Their excessive sense of entitlement drives them to exploit others and feel superior to everyone around them.

They lack empathy, have an exaggerated sense of self-importance, and are preoccupied with fantasies about success, power, brilliance, and the perfect mate.

The cause of this disorder is not known by doctors but based on research; it combines environmental factors and genetics.

Most of the time, this narcissist trait is developed due to excessive appraisal and neglect.

In some cases, this pathological self-personality structure does grow during childhood conditions of excessive idealization and inadequate warmth.

The symptoms of a narcissist are known when you notice someone no longer has feelings for others, a sense of entitlement, and cannot handle criticism. 

If these symptoms are noticed in men or women, they need to be diagnosed by a professional like a therapist or psychiatrist.

How Many Types of Narcissists Are There?

There is only one narcissist based on mental health diagnosis, but it can manifest differently. 

Generally, a narcissist has an inflated sense of self, extreme self-focus, and the desire for recognition and praise.

But to answer how many types of narcissists are there, health researchers have broken it down into five types.  

Covert Narcissism

Covert narcissism is one of the types of narcissism, and it is also known as closet narcissism and vulnerable narcissism. 

Covert narcissism is someone who loves admiration but lacks empathy toward others.

With the popular belief that a narcissist is a loud and overbearing trait, covert narcissism doesn't fit this.

The common trait of someone who has a covert narcissism include:

  • Introversion
  • Insecurity
  • Low confidence
  • Experiencing anxiety, shame, and depression
  • Defensive
  •  Avoidance

Even though someone who has a covert narcissism can be self-focused, they can also have a deep fear of not being enough.

Based on the research on personality and covert narcissism, it was found that it is linked to neuroticism, which tends to experience unpleasant emotions. 

People with this type of narcissism always have a hard time accepting criticism. 

They are likely to take criticism more harshly than it ought to be.

Overt Narcissism

The second answer to the question of how many types of narcissists are there is overt narcissism, also known as agentic narcissism or grandiose narcissism. 

People with overt narcissism are known for their extrovert, attention-seeking, and bold nature.

You can know these people easily because they easily become aggressive or violent if someone challenges their status. 

Unlike covert narcissism, shy, self-deprecating, overt narcissistic people speak out where necessary.

This type of narcissism is what most people know to be the only narcissist personality but based on the answer to the question, how many types of narcissists are there, overt is the second. 

To know someone has an overt narcissism, these are the characteristics they show:

  • Arrogant
  • Entitled
  • Overbearing
  • Exaggeration of self-image
  • Lacking empathy
  • Outgoing
  • Competitive

People with this trait are likely to feel more important and good about themselves, and they are not likely to experience loneliness or sadness. 

These people also love overestimating their intelligence and ability.

Based on research, overt narcissism might affect other people by making them overestimate their emotional intelligence.

The category of overt and covert narcissism isn't mutually exclusive, which means someone with overt narcissism might go through a period where they show signs of covert narcissism.

Antagonistic Narcissism 

Antagonistic narcissism is the third answer to the question, how many types of narcissists are there, is more like overt narcissism but a bit different.

Anyone exhibiting this is focused on rivalry and competition.

It is a narcissism type that is characterized by the derogation of others. 

These people exhibit actions that are unkind and malicious. 

An illustration of someone who exhibits antagonistic narcissism is someone who gives his co-worker a bad look daily.

Some common features of antagonistic narcissism are:

  • Taking advantage of others
  • Arrogance
  • Competing with others
  • Disagreeability

People with this characteristic are always less forgiving than people with other types of narcissists, and they have no or low trust in everyone.

Communal Narcissism  

Communal narcissism is the fourth answer to the question, how many types of narcissists are there is the opposite of antagonistic narcissism. 

A person with a communal narcissist views his/herself as the most helpful person and the most caring person. 

These kinds of people value fairness and are likely to see themselves as generous.

Some common features of communal narcissism are:

  • Easily morally outraged
  • React strongly to unfair scenarios
  • Empathetic and generous.

So what makes a communal narcissist different from other narcissists is their social power and self-importance. 

Communal narcissism might cause you to have strong morals and care for others but may not realize this doesn't match their belief. 

Malignant Narcissism  

Malignant narcissism is the last answer to how many types of narcissists are there, which makes it five. 

This involves combining several things like aggression, suspiciousness, and the internal fragility of those around them.

These people are known for lack of empathy for others and for being manipulative. 

It is more overt than covert narcissism.

Some common features of malignant narcissism are:

  • Sadism
  • Vindictiveness
  • Aggression
  • Getting enjoyment from others' pain.

This kind of person also has some traits with antisocial personality disorders, which means someone who has malignant narcissism is likely to experience legal trouble.


By now, you've delved into the diverse world of narcissism and its many forms, understanding how these narcissistic traits and tendencies can profoundly influence your interactions and self-perception.

Narcissistic behaviors, whether they stem from a grandiose narcissist, a vulnerable narcissist, or somatic narcissist, can pose significant challenges to mental health, and counseling or therapy may be a solution

Indeed, narcissism exists on a spectrum, with conditions ranging from borderline personality disorder to maladaptive narcissism.

Treatment for these mental disorders isn't straightforward, often requiring the expertise of professionals. 

However, with appropriate intervention, progress is possible, leading to enhanced mental well-being.

Yet, our exploration of narcissism doesn't end here. 

There are more facets to consider, such as adaptive and maladaptive narcissism, where these personality traits can either be beneficial or detrimental.

Similarly, we have yet to discuss somatic narcissism derive, which involves a preoccupation with one's physical appearance or health.

The spiritual narcissist, who uses spirituality to justify their narcissistic behavior, and malignant narcissists, who display severe, toxic narcissistic tendencies, are also worth discussing.

So, stick around for future updates, as we delve deeper into the complex realm of narcissism, further exploring how these patterns can impact self-esteem and overall mental health.


Laura Dorwart (January, 2022). Narcissistic Personality Disorder Types,communal%20narcissism%2C%20and%20malignant%20narcissism.

Dr. Jenn Mann ( April 2021). The 7 Types of Narcissists You Need to Know.

Abvy Moore ( April 2020). 8 Types Of Narcissists & How To Distinguish Them

The 3 Types of Narcissism—and Why You Need to Know the Differences, According to Experts

Korin Miller ( February 2022). There Are 6 Types of Narcissists—And Mental-Health Experts Say One Is Super-Important To Avoid

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April 15th, 2024

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