Unpopular Traits of a Narcissist

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Narcissism is a well-known personality disorder that affects millions of people worldwide.

The condition is characterized by an exaggerated sense of one's own importance, an inability to understand or consider other people's emotions, and a desire to always receive admiration.

Narcissistic Personality Disorder is usually classified into two subtypes, one of which is overt (grandiose) and the other covert narcissism.

Although they share certain traits like a lack of empathy, each subtype usually has different outward manifestations.

Also, some characteristics of a narcissist are not so obvious but can still be just as damaging.

Therefore, it is important to know some of these unpopular traits of a narcissist so you can recognize and learn to handle them efficiently.

Despite the negative impact of these unpopular traits, support for narcissism has surged in recent times, and more people are getting a diagnosis.

An example of these unpopular traits of a narcissist is passive-aggressive behavior.

It usually involves indirect or hidden resistance to the demands or requests of others, often through sarcasm or stubbornness.

Victimhood is also another example of the unpopular traits of a narcissist.

In some instances, narcissistic people play the victim and use their circumstances to gain sympathy or manipulate others.

Additionally, self-sabotaging is an unpopular trait of a narcissist.

This involves them engaging in self-sabotage to create drama or turmoil in their own lives to gain attention or sympathy from others.

Below are more details on the unpopular traits of a narcissist. 

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Shannon Matlock, LPC, NCC

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Passive-Aggressive Behavior

Passive-aggressive behavior is one of the unpopular traits of a narcissist that can be challenging to identify.

This is a type of behavior when the person in question tends to act indirectly aggressively.

In such a case, the person may seem polite but have a hidden hostility, or they may make a comment that seems neutral but includes a backhanded compliment.

Generally, a passive-aggressive person may try to provoke the other party.

For instance, when a narcissistic person intentionally withholds important information from a coworker because they deem it unworthy of their time or attention.

In other instances, the narcissistic person may manipulate a situation rather than directly confronting their colleague.

They may choose to keep information to themselves and make their colleague feel excluded.

This behavior usually stems from their desire to stay in charge and feel superior to others without directly confronting them.

Gaslighting is another form of passive-aggressive behavior that is common to narcissists.

It is a form of manipulation that involves making someone doubt their own memory or sanity by trying to deceive them or alter their perception of reality.

For example, denying events or statements or changing physical objects to make someone question their own recollection of events.


If you ever played the victim, you would recall the emotional need you were trying to fulfill or express.

For someone with a narcissistic personality, it's the same, although they can experience it more frequently.

They may pretend to be the victim if they know they will gain something from making you feel bad.

In fact, their tendency to use manipulation to get their way is one of their unpopular traits.

Although it may be difficult for you to see a narcissist as a victim or as someone who feels like one, it is true.

After all, narcissistic people tend to have an excessive sense of self and a desire for power.

It can leave you wondering why a narcissist plays the victim.

Is it deliberate? Is it a ruse to manipulate you?

It is vital to note that it is a complicated mental health problem, never a decision the individual makes.

A narcissist may play the victim for a variety of reasons, one of which may be a result of the type of narcissism they have.

Some other causes, like a sense of entitlement, denial, lack of understanding, and grandiosity, may be directly related to some of the NPD symptoms.

Grandiosity Through Association

There are some circumstances where narcissists use grandiosity through association as a way to boost their sense of significance and power.

This unusually involves using their connections with powerful or prestigious people or groups to boost their own reputation and social standing.

For instance, even if they barely know this powerful individual in question, they may exaggerate their relationship or connections with the person.

Even if their relationship with them is limited to maybe a brief interaction, they could brag on social media about attending exclusive events or rubbing elbows with powerful people.

In the workplace, narcissistic people may frequently bring up their connections to powerful people, including the CEO or other executives.

They may do this to win over their coworkers and come off as more significant than they actually are.

They might also exploit their ties to prominent customers or business associates to raise their own standing within the organization.

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Self-sabotaging is a common narcissistic behavior that frequently goes unrecognized by many.

In this case, they may intentionally cause chaos and drama in their own life, which can affect those people around them or themselves.

A few examples of these types of traits include substance abuse, excessive spending, cheating on their spouses, and other types of self-destructive conduct.

They often use this behavior as a coping strategy to deal with feelings of inadequacy or to divert attention from one's flaws.

For instance, a narcissistic person who self-sabotages may continuously stir up trouble in their personal life to draw attention to themselves or to win pity from others.

To make themselves seem like victims or to call attention to their own troubles, they could exaggerate or create incidents.


Pseudo-humility is a characteristic of narcissists that is frequently disregarded because it is so easily confused with real humility.

In instances like this, narcissistic people usually have an outward appearance of modesty and humility, when in fact, it is only a display because they are looking for other people's approval and admiration.

For example, they may pretend to be modest by downplaying their accomplishments, all the while seeking approval and respect for the modesty they have displayed.

This way, they are able to win the admiration of others while retaining their inflated feeling of self-importance by projecting an air of humility.

Another example is a narcissistic employee downplaying their accomplishments or contributions to a project to appear modest, but in reality, they are looking for praise and recognition for their efforts. 


Understanding the unpopular traits of a narcissist is essential for managing this personality disorder.

It's important to remember that although narcissism is a complex disorder that can have serious consequences, there are numerous forms of support for narcissism.

By staying aware and informed, people can prevent the negative effects of narcissism from taking hold in their lives.

Some examples of unpopular traits of a narcissist include passive-aggressive behavior, victimhood, grandiosity through association, self-sabotage, and pseudo-humility.


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April 17th, 2024

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