A narcissist is a narcissist but there are some key differences that make up the different types that exist. Professionals have classified several different types of narcissists but there are three, in particular, that I think are important to be able to spot. Although they all come in relatively different shapes and sizes, they all have one thing in common. The one thing that they have in common is that they have no inner sense of value. They must derive all of their value from external sources, or from what we call narcissistic supply. Most narcissists also lack empathy which disables them from truly caring for and loving others.
The Malignant Narcissist
The most dangerous narcissist is what we call the malignant narcissist. A malignant narcissist usually has sociopathic or psychopathic tendencies in addition to pathological levels of narcissistic tendencies. When dealing with this particular type, it’s important to note that you’re dealing with someone who will stop at nothing to get what they want and will do nearly anything to bring you down.
In a divorce setting, you will usually see these types making false allegations against you for unthinkable things. They might claim you have physically or sexually abused them or your kids. They might claim that you have a mental health disorder such as alcoholism, drug addiction, bi-polar disorder, or others. These types will file fake injunctions against you and might even turn to violence, threats of violence, and other intimidation tactics to get what they want while making you miserable.
The malignant narcissist basically has no conscience. This is the type that you will really want to steer clear of and be extra careful in how you extricate yourself from that particular relationship. If you are in a relationship of any kind of malignant narcissist, you’ll want to have a super strong strategy and be incredibly careful in planning your departure to ensure your safety and well being.
The Grandiose Narcissist
Sometimes referred to as an overt narcissist, the grandiose narcissist is what I call your garden variety narcissist. Before I started studying narcissism, that’s the only type that I thought existed. A grandiose narcissist is going to be the one that goes around telling and showing everybody how great they are. They are also known for using lots of superlatives in their conversations with others. A lot of these types are very successful, powerful, wealthy, or famous. They are often great at selling themselves to people in order to achieve their success; however, they typically disregard anyone who has helped them along the way. Similarly to the malignant narcissist, grandiose narcissists often have characteristics that would potentially enable them from receiving a dual diagnosis with another mental health disorder. When someone thinks about narcissism and narcissists, they will generally think about the qualities that make up a grandiose or overt narcissist.
The Covert Narcissist
The most common type is the covert narcissist. These are the ones that I have had to deal with in my personal life. These are the types that have pushed me onto the path of helping others who have narcissists in their lives. If you are dealing with a covert narcissist, I know the kind of hell that you have been living and hopefully aren’t continuing to endure.
The covert narcissist is the kind that I call the wolf in sheep’s clothing. This is a type that comes across as kind, generous, and intelligent. We see these types in the clergy, as lawyers, doctors, and sometimes politicians. To the world, they are often viewed as trustworthy and loyal. Their true behaviors become revealed in the intimate relationships that they develop with their targets. These types are way more stealth and insidious in their devaluing tactics.
They are considered the smartest form of narcissist because they are usually less careless than the other types. They are much less at risk for getting caught or diagnosed. The covert narcissist is much better at passive-aggressive behaviors, gaslighting, and making their victim feel as if they are experiencing death by a thousand cuts.