Not All Narcissists Are Grandiose – the ‘Vulnerable’ Type Can Be Just as Dangerous by Joanna Briscoe
In my reading on narcissism, I’ve learned that some narcissists can also have depression or anxiety.
Psychologists and psychiatrists say that narcissists never realize they are narcissists on their own.
Narcissists will never go into therapy for Narcissism. They will never go into therapy to have a psychologist or therapist help them stop or lessen their narcissistic ways (ie, extreme entitlement, always demanding or expecting validation, going into rages at people, etc).
I have heard psychologists say that a lot of narcissists, by the time they get into maybe middle age, begin becoming depressed, or they began experiencing anxiety.
Why? Well, they begin noticing the unpleasant (for them – they don’t care about all the people who they have hurt) ramifications of their narcissism.
They have been divorced, say, six times by the age of 45, and they may be unable to snare a new mate. So, they get depressed and waddle into a therapist’s office for help. So, they visit a psychologist over their depression (which is an outcome of the consequences of their narcissism).
So… anyway… while not all depressed or anxious people are narcissists, some narcissists are capable of having depression or anxiety and being diagnosed with one or both.
by Joanna Briscoe
August 1, 2021
With covert narcissists, their focus on meeting their own needs is masked by more subtle manipulation and control techniques. They can come across as sweet and innocent, even shy and introverted, and can also seem very caring and helpful.
They can be the shoulder to cry on, but will use what you share with them against you further down the road, and ultimately, with the aim of manipulating you to feel indebted and grateful. Thus providing them with admiration and gratitude – narcissistic supply.”
So what other features distinguish these subtly appealing types with their silent weaponry?
While psychologists agree that the underlying pathology is the same, the different presentation can include other aspects – guilt-tripping, generosity as a means to control and feigning illness to gain sympathy.
As Davies says, the covert narcissist can be a “silent intruder and silent seducer.”
A sense of victimhood appears to be primary, in which the narcissist will persecute from the victim position, often denigrating themselves and thereby fishing for reassurance.
“Since they are poor problem-solvers, I see coverts resorting to the ‘victim’ role as a semi-conscious and very dark tool in their toolkit,” says Slade.
“Once in victim mode they are emotionally persuasive way beyond the ability of a neurotypical person. The sheer effective power of coverts’ ability to manipulate other people never ceases to amaze me.”
“Covert narcissism is really a manipulation through victimhood,” says Dr Ramani Durvasula, who, in her own words, is “on a mission to demystify and dismantle the toxic influence of narcissism on all our lives” and runs a YouTube channel dedicated to the subject.
She uses the term “vulnerable” as well as “covert” for these narcissists.
“You may be drawn in because you feel kind of sorry for them, bad for them. It can be very empowering for you to think you want to rescue them… Most people will not initially see them through the lens of narcissism – their conception is focused solely on the traditional grandiose narcissist – that shiny, charismatic, confident, charming, witty, attractive, textbook narcissist.
“This misses those who, in fact, often present as somewhat depressed, victimised or even needy… However, they have the same themes as their classical and grandiose buddies.”
Davies recommends studying the Karpman Drama Triangle, which demonstrates the roles of persecutor, victim and rescuer in the drama. “See if you can recognise when the ‘victim’ tries to pull you in a ‘rescuer’ role,” she says. “Awareness is key. I do advise clients to arm themselves with as much information as necessary, so they’re able to recognise narcissists before they’re in an abusive relationship with one.”
So the covert narcissist will still seek status and validation, discard other people, feel entitlement and lack empathy, but their methods are more concealed. They may even tell you how introverted and sensitive they are. It is all too easy to fit into the useful role of supporter when someone seems so lovely, so quietly brilliant, yet vulnerable.
“They tend to rely on fear and guilt-tripping as means to manipulate,” says Davies.
(Link): 10 Signs Someone’s Always Playing the Victim (6.05 long video)
(Link): The “Victim” Narcissist | How to tell who is playing the victim (17 minute long video)
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