The words “Narcissist” originates from Greek Mythology. The myth tells the story of Narcissus, who bent over a pool of water to drink some but when he saw his reflection, he fell in love with himself and didn’t want to drink the water because he was afraid he would ruin his perfect image. Some say he fell in the water and drowned while he was looking at himself. His obsession with himself and his beauty has become his downfall.
When it comes to narcissists, usually the first image that comes to our mind is that of an attractive, handsome, charming, and grandiose person, so full of themselves that they never leave their house without a handheld mirror and they always have their camera phone in their hands so that they can marvel at their beauty.
But, even though the common associations with narcissism are that of grandstanding, superficial charm, lack of empathy and reliability, attention-seeking, manipulation, and many others, there are many different types of narcissists who do not have these characteristics.
One of them is the ‘vulnerable’ narcissist. This type of narcissist is probably more dangerous than the grandiose one because it is very difficult to spot. You may know someone for years and not realize they are a narcissist. These types of narcissists have high self-esteem, but they seem reserved and quiet. And because they rarely get the attention they need; they manipulate others in order to get it.
They are always the victims, in dire need of sympathetic attention. They are emotionally draining and hard to be around because their oversensitive nature is combined with them being emotionally demanding as well. Their whole purpose in life is to have as many people around them who will see them for the amazing and perfect beings they are.
Vulnerable narcissists are prone to depression because the life they are living doesn’t match the fantasy life they have on their mind and feel entitled to. They appear to be introverted, collected, and calm. However, the control of their emotions is poor due to the issues they have with their self-esteem. Their way of defending themselves is shutting people out and being passive-aggressive in order to punish them and teach them a lesson. Plus, they will always play the victim card because they always see themselves as victims.
Here are 7 telltale signs that you are dealing with a vulnerable narcissist.
1. “ONE CRIES BECAUSE ONE IS SAD… I CRY BECAUSE OTHERS ARE STUPID AND THAT MAKES ME SAD.”
Vulnerable narcissists tend to half-heartedly listen rather than speak and observe in a judgmental way rather than act. They may not express their negative feelings towards you, but you will be able to sense them from their condescending glare, sighs, eye-rolling, their lack of eye contact, and overall impoliteness and inattentiveness. And when they decide to speak, their words are usually full of judgment and criticism. This smugness is a façade that covers their insecurities because they are not able to connect with other people in a meaningful way.
2. “I AM ONE-OF-A-KIND AND A VERY MISUNDERSTOOD PERSON”
Vulnerable narcissists believe that they are the most special ones and so ahead of everyone else that that’s why they are so often misunderstood by other people. They believe they are smarter and better than others and that’s why they feel entitled to a king’s treatment due to their “exceptionality” with which they hide their underlying fears.
3. “I HAVE DIFFICULTY BEING IN A RELATIONSHIP”
Vulnerable narcissists are unable to be in a relationship and form strong and meaningful bonds with others. Their smugness and aloof nature that are their defense mechanisms keep people away from them. Moreover, many vulnerable narcissists get involved in other things such as games, fantasies, technology, books, cliques, etc. to minimize contact with other human beings.
4. “OH, YOU ARE SICK? BUT WHAT ABOUT OUR AGREEMENT TO DRIVE ME TO THE MALL?”
Every narcissist, vulnerable or grandiose, has a lack of empathy and compassion. They don’t care about other people’s feelings and how their actions may hurt other people. They only care about themselves and their wellbeing.
5. “EVERYTHING IS BORING UNLESS IT’S ABOUT ME”
Vulnerable narcissists are so self-centered that they get bored listening to other people. They think that any situation that doesn’t concern them is not worthy of their attention and that’s why they tend to block out mentally any conversation that isn’t of their interest. They are only focused on their selfish needs and label everything else as “stupid” or “boring.”
6. “I AM HIGHLY SENSITIVE, THEREFORE DON’T YOU DARE CRITICIZE ME”
According to the psychiatrist Glen Gabbard, vulnerable narcissists are extremely sensitive. They cannot handle criticism in a healthy manner and will defend themselves with dismissal (fight) or sullen withdraw (flight).
7. “I WILL ALWAYS DO THINGS AS I WISH REGARDLESS OF WHAT I HAVE TOLD YOU”
Vulnerable narcissists deal with problems or demands in a passive-aggressive way. When you kindly ask them for something, they may say “okay, no problem” but don’t do anything or do as they please. And when you ask them why they didn’t follow-through on your agreement, they may dismiss the whole thing with an excuse or even say that their way is better.