Not all narcissists are grandiose – the ‘vulnerable’ type can be just as dangerous

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The introverted narcissist might be more dangerous since they are more difficult to identify.

By now, most of us have a good idea of what narcissism is. ‘Narcissist’ has become a popular keyword among laypeople. People who are desperate for attention go around the stage of the world, taking advantage of and confounding those who are susceptible to their attractions. In a society that is equally enamoured of celebrities and social media, they have an ideal platform. They are in charge of nations, hypnotise, control, and cause mayhem.

However, a more hazardous subspecies exists beneath the surface of the more conspicuous and well-known ones. A covert narcissist is a wolf that is simply clad in sheep’s clothes, as opposed to the better known, common overt narcissist. “The more silent and subtle variation is often more confusing and sinister,” explains Dr Sarah Davies, the writer behind Never Again – Moving on from Narcissistic Abuse and Other Toxic Relationships, and is a psychologist by profession.

Dr Ramani Durvasula, a professor of psychology, says that this variance in narcissistic personalities represents “a more recent evolution in our knowledge of narcissism”. New research from the NYU Department of Psychology suggests that insecurities play a greater role in fuelling narcissism than a real inflated self-image, and it relates to two main categories: overt and vulnerable (or covert), with a connection to the practice of constantly uploading selfies on social media. Maxine Mei-Fung Chung, a psychotherapist, says of the narcissistically wounded person: “The façade covers deep pain.”

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