How to Know If You Are Dating a Vulnerable Narcissist (and What to Do About It)

There are three different personality types that encompass the broader traits of people with narcissistic personality disorder (NPL). While you might expect someone with a disarming smile and infectious energy to turn out to be the kind of daffodil you come across, it is possible that someone with NPD will sound more like a misanthrope than a talented Mr. Ripley .

This type of person is a vulnerable narcissist, and while they do not express their grudges in such external ways – rather, they retreat inward and often belittle themselves – they can be just as manipulative and difficult to develop long-term romantic relationships with.

What is a vulnerable narcissist?

Unlike their grandiose brethren, the vulnerable narcissist is more likely to wallow instead of radiating a charm and lovable personality. But they usually manage to suck those closest to them in their maelstrom of negativity in order to gain control over those who are nearby.

As Lifehacker Lisa A. Romano, a certified life coach specializing in codependency and narcissistic abuse, says:

The vulnerable narcissist sees himself as the ultimate victim, and their narcissistic source manifests itself in the form of your attention and their ability to make you care for them, pity them, or make them the center of your world.

A vulnerable narcissist may seem shy or indecisive to get attention, but deep down he craves approval and praise. There are many characteristics that indicate this personality type: “They are easily offended, they are more withdrawn, feel shame, do not like failure or criticism, gain self-esteem from the outside, blame others, and may be neurotic,” says Paulette Sherman. , psychologist, author of the book “Sacred Baths” and host of the podcast ” Psychologist of Love” .

Such a person may cling to superficial notions of superiority, such as a luxury clothing brand or a luxury car, to distinguish them from others. While they cannot outwardly demean people to their faces, they usually speak badly of other people when given the opportunity. A constant theme for them is the expression of the degree of sacrifice. “They may never admit that they feel worse than others, but if you look closely, their language will be an expression of resentment, anger and arrogance,” says Romano.

What to do if you are dating a vulnerable narcissist

In relationships, constructive criticism is normal, but the vulnerable narcissist does not handle it in even the mildest way.

Romano talks about people who have been in relationships with vulnerable narcissists:

Most likely, you were accused of deliberately wanting to harm them, for the slightest constructive criticism. While a healthy partner will appreciate your honesty when it comes to expressing a constructive and sympathetic opinion, a vulnerable narcissist views even the weakest fair share as an attack.

It can be difficult to find yourself in this situation where you may be accused of willful harm for expressing your feelings. As Sherman says, “You need to set boundaries, champion your needs and feelings, and perhaps offer them therapy if you decide to stay in the relationship. You can also leave if you feel it is toxic. “

Relationships with narcissists rarely, if ever, end well. Trying to counter trends can end up being useless, so always remember that professional help is probably your best bet.

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