What Are the Seven Types of Narcissism?

types of narcissism

You’ve likely heard about the classical narcissist, sometimes called the overt narcissist – this person displays the typical traits of narcissism that are much easier to identify than other types.

Types of narcissists

When looking at the different types of narcissists, you must remember that you may come across many definitions of narcissism.

Broadly, narcissistic personality disorder has typical features that most narcissists exhibit in one way or another, regardless of type.

Although, often, the literature on narcissism may seem confusing or conflicting as there are many ways to describe the different types of narcissism.

Hopefully, this article will clarify any questions about narcissistic personality disorder and the different types.

Symptoms of narcissistic personality disorder

Typically, the symptoms of narcissistic personality disorder include:

  • A strong sense of self-importance
  • Self -entitlement
  • Preoccupation with fantasies about wealth, power, brilliance, beauty, and finding the ideal mate
  • Narcissists believe they are superior to others and should only associate with those in a similar position of power or importance.
  • Arrogant or haughty behaviours
  • A lack of empathy for others
  • An inflated sense of self

What is a narcissistic personality disorder?

Narcissistic personality disorder NPD is a mental health disorder classified within the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual (DSM-5) as a ”Cluster B” personality disorder.

The following three behaviours describe the personality features associated with Cluster B personality disorders:

  • Erratic
  • Dramatic
  • Overly emotional

Narcissism is a severe mental health disorder that affects how a person thinks, feels and behaves.

NPD can profoundly impact a person’s relationships and sense of self.

Co-occurring disorders

Narcissists are usually unaware that they have a mental health problem or only seek help from a professional for symptoms of other conditions such as anxiety or depression, known as co-occurring disorders.

Studies show that narcissistic personality disorder may co-occur with other mental health conditions such as anxiety, depression and substance abuse.

Speaking to a professional

narcissistic traits talk therapy

If you think you or someone you know may have narcissism symptoms, you must speak to a doctor or mental health professional for support and help.

Early treatment intervention for a narcissistic personality disorder may prevent your symptoms or condition from worsening.

Seven types of narcissists

According to the research literature, there are seven types of narcissists, each with its signs and symptoms.

Many people who live with a narcissist or have close interactions with such people will understand the impact of being around someone with NPD.

Letting the narcissist go

Psychologists say (particularly in cases of narcissistic abuse) that victims must let the narcissist go as keeping them around can be detrimental to a person’s physical and mental health.

Narcissists have an entirely different way of viewing things from the rest of the world- their perceptions are skewed and often get centred around their needs with little consideration for those around them.

Therefore, recognising the different types of narcissism is crucial as it may help you spot the signs earlier, allowing you to do what is best for your health and well-being.


Studies show there are seven types of narcissists – including:

1. The Overt Narcissist

The overt narcissist is the most prevalent, sometimes called a grandiose narcissist; overt narcissists are aggressive, imposing, extrovert, and attention-seeking.

Overt narcissists display the typical traits of narcissism that might be easier to detect than other types – such people are usually charming and expect special treatment from others.

You may find that overt narcissists are competitive and may prey on other peoples’ vulnerabilities – such people will go to great lengths to win, even if this means debasing others.

2. The Covert Narcissist

Covert narcissists operate differently from their overt counterparts; the covert narcissist is introverted, shy, and quiet, and their manipulation is subtle.

The covert narcissist may appear passive-aggressive and helpless, which can be confusing as both traits usually coincide.

Covert narcissists can be dramatic and excessive when seeking attention and may present themselves as victims.

Covert narcissism

shy narcissist

Studies show that covert narcissists are the most at risk of developing mental health conditions like anxiety or depression compared to other narcissistic types.

3. The Exhibitionist Narcissist

Exhibitionist narcissists believe they are superior to everyone and constantly need physical, mental or intellectual attention.

Such people have a massive sense of entitlement and often look down on others, including their family and loved ones’.

One of the classical features of the exhibitionist narcissist is how important they view their possessions and social status compared to others.

4. The Highly-Sensitive Narcissist

Highly-sensitive narcissists are significantly attuned to the body language and responses of others.

The above may conflict with some typical narcissistic traits where the narcissist is oblivious to other people’s feelings.

However, unlike other narcissistic types, highly-sensitive narcissists are in tune with other peoples’ feelings and reactions.

The above must not be confused with empathy; highly-sensitive narcissists are attuned to others in a destructive manner, such as taking things personally and negatively reacting to criticism.

Highly-sensitive narcissists may try to deflect the attention from themselves and often experience shame and inadequacy.

5. The Sexual Narcissist

The sexual narcissist does not deal with rejection well.

Sexual narcissists crave admiration and praise from their partners, even though they are not attuned to their partner’s wants and needs.

Such narcissists are overly focused on sex but not emotional closeness, meaning they rarely, if ever, pay attention to the needs of their significant other.

The above may cause various issues in relationships where narcissism is present.

6. The Victim Narcissist

The victim narcissist can be the most challenging to spot as such people are master -manipulators who pretend to be subservient and often use emotion and disarming strategies to keep you close.

Victim narcissists may convince you that people are out to get them and that all the negative things happening around them is not their fault.

The victim narcissist has an excellent sob story when the occasion presents; such people are convinced they have no control over their life and that everything has gotten predestined for them.

Victim narcissists rarely take accountability for their behaviour and actions.

7. The Malignant Narcissist

The traits of malignant narcissism go way beyond the desire to be admired or get attention; people with malignant narcissism tend to have a darker side to their ego-centric personalities.

Such individuals care little for other peoples’ feelings and are highly manipulative; essentially, malignant narcissists do not care who they upset as long as they get what they want.

Antisocial personality disorder traits

displeased woman screaming at small woman on the table

Studies show that people with malignant narcissism may have antisocial personality disorder traits and a sadistic side to their personalities.

People with malignant narcissism may display symptoms of typical narcissism but may also:

  • Seek to win at all costs, which may result in a lot of pain, anguish, and heartache for the people around them
  • Be unconcerned about the pain they cause to others – they may even enjoy it or find the pain they cause to other people empowering.
  • Think in black-and-white terms, such as seeing people as all good or all bad

Protecting yourself against the narcissist

No matter what form narcissism takes, it would help if you protected yourself from narcissistic abuse at all costs.

Therefore, understanding the signs of narcissism and the different types is an excellent way to recognise whether a partner, friend, family member or colleague may have the disorder.

The crucial thing to remember is that you do not deserve to be the recipient of narcissistic behaviour, and having family or friends that manipulate you to get what they want is often the first sign.


Moreover, if you think you may have a narcissistic partner, friend or family member, you may consider setting some healthy boundaries to protect your well-being.

Regardless of type, narcissists can cause much destruction to those around them; they can wreak havoc on your life and drain you of all your resources.

Contact us

If you want more information about this article or are concerned about your mental health, contact a Centres for Health and Healing specialist who can help.

Lisa Davies - Program Director of Vaughan Recovery and Kirby Estate

About Lisa Davies

Lisa is the Program Director at Centres for Health and Healing. She lived for most of her life in the Durham region, before moving to Peel five years ago.

Lisa is a Master Hypnotist and is certified in Hypnotherapy (2008), Self-Hypnosis and in 5-phase Advanced Therapeutic Healing. As a Member of National Guild of Hypnotists, she is also specialized in hypnosis training in pediatrics, pain management, neuro-linguistic and stage programming.

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