In recent years, there’s been a lot more research and people coming forward telling their stories about relationships with narcissists. Named after a character from Greek mythology who fell in love with his own reflection, narcissism is the term for a personality disorder defined by self-centeredness. How that manifests varies by type, of which there are three:
When you think of a narcissist, this is the type you’re probably imagining. They believe they are the best and most important person in every room. They are entitled and expect to receive special treatment. When they aren’t treated this way, they can become very upset and indignant. If they aren’t the center of attention, they get bored. At first, that confidence can be appealing, and many classic narcissists are very charming. However, over time, their friends and partners realize the narcissist doesn’t care about anybody else’s dreams or goals. If the narcissist doesn’t change their behavior and learn to have empathy, they will inevitably end up isolated from others.
This type of narcissist can be harder to spot. They are actually very insecure and can be quiet and shy. They don’t like being the center of attention because it makes them feel exposed. They depend on others for affirmation and will play the victim to get the love they want. This means a lot of passive-aggressive behavior, self-pitying, and manipulation. They are entirely focused on their own feelings and expect others to make them feel better about themselves.
Also known as “toxic narcissists,” this type is very abusive. The term “malignant narcissist” was coined in 1964 and describes a disorder that combines narcissism and antisocial behavior. This person gets a thrill from hurting others and destroying relationships. They are manipulative, deceptive, and often aggressive. They need to feel in control at any cost. This type of narcissist can be very obvious about their motives or subtle and two-faced.