4 Types of Narcissism and the Pattern of Abuse

4 Types of Narcissism and its Pattern of Abuse

Dark Triad Narcissistic Personality

Are you the one who is constantly questioning your self worth, became mentally abused, felt unloved in a relationship, or got blamed for nothing? There are high chances of constant exposure to a narcissistic person with you. Here is why


Among people around us who follow their own life developing their personalities, there are people with personalities who are intentionally bound to harm others and their lives. Possessing this personality is known as a Dark Triad personality. The most common dark triad personality is narcissism and people who are diagnosed by it, follow a certain dark triad narcissistic personality pattern to hurt others.

According to google trends, the term “narcissist” has been widely searched across the world for the past 10 years. This indicates the growth of narcissism in society.

Types of Dark Triads


There are three types of disordered personalities that fall under the dark triad category. They are

  • Narcissism
  • Machiavellian
  • Psychopathy

A person who has a psychopathy disorder cannot control their emotions in hurting others. Meanwhile, Narcissism and Machiavellian diagnosed people are consciously hurt and manipulate others with intention. And that is why it is difficult to identify them in society. 

Toxic Personality


People often misunderstand these disorders with stress, anxiety, and depression in lack of knowledge about these traits. Specifically, narcissistic traits are proliferating within people nowadays. So, awareness must be created about this dark triad narcissistic personality and its patterns 


What does narcissism mean?


Narcissism is a term mentioning people who have similar traits from a mental disorder named narcissistic personality disorder (NPD). A person with a narcissistic personality disorder possesses high self-esteem, lack of empathy, and a grandiose sense of entitlement who seek constant validation and respect by controlling others.


Narcissists have traits of both Machiavellian and Psychopathy that include manipulation, self pride, and intention to hurt others. However, they are not psychopaths who cannot control their emotions. Narcissistic people can control their emotions and also feel guilt and shame while being malignant.


How to diagnose a narcissist person?


In 1988, Robert Raskin and Howard Terry had modulated an evaluation with sets of questions based on the statistical manual of mental disorders named Narcissistic Personality Inventory (NPI -40). The suspect who scores above 21-40 claimed to have more narcissistic traits such as high entitlement, exploitativeness, and more intentional binding characteristics.


Contrarily, a person with a low-end score of 3-10 NPI had been found to have very low self-esteem with high depression and anxiety. And the people who scored from 11-17 were considered to have a moderate personality.


What are the 4 main types of Narcissism?


Psychologists had analyzed the personality of narcissists and found that there are some differences in their traits. According to that, they classified several types of narcissists. The major 4 types of narcissistic personality almost comprise other variants. They are

  • Grandiose Narcissist: High sense of entitlement and control
  • Malignant Narcissist: Violent and deranged in nature
  • Covert Narcissist: Hideous and covertly hurtful
  • Communal Narcissist: Deceitful and act trustworthy

Grandiose Narcissist: “High sense of entitlement and control


Grandiose Narcissists reportedly have high self esteem combined with a high desire for entitlement and control. People with this personality are always self centered and seek to be a leader of a group. A narcissist with grandiose traits often transpires to be a leader, politician, or primary person in a family.

Narcissists can be a great politicians


The desire for power to control others life is itself that drives them to attain such places. They are always appreciated for their courage, boldness, and leadership skills. In lack of constant respect and admiration, they exploit others and attain control.


According to scholars, research says that grandiose narcissists can easily create a large organization or company as they are good risk-takers. However, they tend to fail at authorization by objectifying the employees or engaging in malicious activities for the business.


Do give a read: How do Narcissists achieve success quicker but not long-lasting?


Malignant Narcissist: “Violent and deranged in nature


Malignant narcissists are found to carry more dark triads than other narcissistic variations. They are relevant to psychopathy at times, although their acts are intentionally bound. Malignant narcissists are extremely harmful with bloated self pride. They possess no morals in their act and manipulate situations to their needs.

act of violence


Those who were diagnosed with malignant narcissism were fragile to criticism and cannot take the blame. Instead, their high self-esteem behavior tends to blame others for their inability to regulate themselves. Also, these people fantasize about power, success, and intellect over others. When their fantasy looks to be sliding down, they act by whatever means to achieve it.


To do that, they show no empathy and intentionally hurt others to gain superiority. Malignant narcissists have high insecurity and will find ways to hide them as they are afraid of getting exposed.


Covert Narcissism: “Hideous and covertly hurtful


Covert narcissism also known as vulnerable narcissism does not have more self importance like other narcissistic traits. However, covert narcissists lack self confidence, self worth and seek ceaseless validation from their partners. Covert narcissists are tough to diagnose as they manipulate the partner or victim to get validation by portraying themselves as a weak persona.


In lack of validation, the narcissists intend to covertly abuse and blame shift their partners for their miserable lives. This is why covert narcissists are poor at having healthy relationships. In seek of attention and assurance, they look out for other people than their partners. As a result, covert narcissists lie, cheat and abuse their partners. 

Covert narcissists cheat

Communal Narcissists: “Deceitful and act trustworthy


Communal narcissists use communal ways such as being mutual, cooperative, and trustworthy to gain an advantage over others. As grandiose narcissists, they expect high entitlement but in the form of providing face accompanying and support. Communal narcissists anticipate being an organizer or the reason to organize things in a group.

act like caring and trustworthy


Communal narcissists boast themselves as “I’m a good listener”, “I care about everyone”, “I am trustable among others”, etc., and are always the self implicit or explicit views of their opinions. They give good assurance and guarantee to help others. But in the end, it is always the fake promises and lip service. Even after, they somehow manage to maneuver the situations against the victims through gaslighting.

What is the pattern of narcissistic abuse?


Despite the difference in their personalities between narcissists, people with narcissistic traits follow a certain pattern to gain control and abuse normal people. Also, they use this narcissistic personality pattern to get relationships, abuse family or partners, and exploit them. The narcissists follow the 4 major steps in the pattern to abuse their victims efficiently. They are

  • Envious/ idealize
  • Manipulative
  • Abuse
  • Hoover

Using these ways, the narcissists conduct the incessant abusive cycle on their victims for a long time.


Envious or Idealize


Which type of people do narcissists envy or idealize?


People with a narcissistic personality disorder or narcissistic traits have no empathy and care for others.  In addition to that, narcissists are also occupied with self bloated personalities with self pride. So, narcissistic people with high self esteem always idealize or envy people with a personality of agreeableness and emotional stability.

Idealize and have jealous on others


Narcissists find these personalities as a source to exploit and fantasize that they could have a connection with them. As people who are emotionally stable and have agreeableness personalities tend to appreciate others with kindness and care. That means, these people can constantly validate the narcissist and make them feel entitled by filling their bloated self glory.



Why are narcissists manipulative?


Narcissists find people with a kind and empathetic personality as a source of supply. These kinds of people were mostly nice persons who looked forward to supporting and appreciating others.

Narcissists, especially covert narcissists, find people who are compassionate and are easy to manipulate by depicting themselves as weak and fragile.

Thinking about them always


A narcissistic person has a hollow soul desire to fill them using attention and validation. To do that, they subconsciously manipulate people and make them believe that they need support.


The manipulation includes love bombing, romance, flattery, and the act of need for emotional support. They use these manipulative techniques to develop a strong connection with the victim and gain validation undoubtedly.



Why do narcissists abuse their loved ones?


Narcissists have zero empathy and do not know how people feel. They can cognitively understand emotions but do not intend to stop as their self pride and grandiose nature doesn’t make them feel awful for dark triad actions. Also, narcissists see their loved ones as a mere source of supply for validation and enjoy controlling their partners to feel entitled. They ignore the emotions their partners must feel and deliberately hurt them to assure their control over them.


Narcissistic people love to play with the emotions of the victim and see any relationship as a challenging game. This triggers them to abuse others to gain control of others’ lives. The critical abusive methods that narcissists carry to harm people are

  • Devalue
  • Discard
  • Gaslight
  • Rage



As a first step after having a bond with the victim through manipulation, narcissists begin to devalue them. The devalue is one of the abusive methods in the narcissistic personality pattern that is done verbally. Devaluing is the initial step taken by narcissists to make you question the self worth and abilities of you.

Devaluing sarcastically


As a narcissist partner, they diminish your confidence by comparing with others or models. As a narcissistic parent, they make you question your ability by comparing with other colleagues. Also, narcissists use hostile humor and sarcastic comedy to comment on others harshly and reason it by saying “It was just a joke”.




Once the narcissists find their partners cannot provide the variety of assurance and validation, they are considered to be depleted of the source. So, narcissists seek another form of narcissistic supply while discarding the current partner without any remorse. The sudden discard impacts the victim’s mindset of getting unloved. This hurts them and potentially leads to the loss of mental stability.


Victims often do not know the reason for the discard and start questioning themselves about what did they do to suffer this. In relationships, narcissists mostly use “I need some space” to discard without any reason. They leave the victim confused so that he/she would doubt themselves and not the narcissist. In the meantime, they may get another source and cheat their partner with them or already be in another relationship.




Gaslight is an abusive tactic from the narcissistic personality pattern which is intentionally done by scapegoating the victim. On constant exposure to the gaslighting, one will start having self doubt with depleted confidence and self esteem. The victim might start believing whatever the narcissist says.

the stages of Gaslighting


Gaslighting can be simply put as the blame shifting technique. Narcissists shift the blames that are made about them, often reversing it to the victim, as they won’t hold accountability for their actions. Narcissistic people hate responsibilities and their self loathing personality would not let them accept their faults.




Rage or the act of violence is not every narcissist’s trait. However, the facts say that, according to the US population, there exists 1 person with narcissistic personality disorder (NPD) in 25 people. Outside the US, there are countries with very few people who have knowledge about narcissism. So, there are high chances for you to stumble into a malignant narcissist.


Narcissists starve for entitlement, respect, and power. They go through whatever risk to attain them, which includes all the traits above in the narcissistic personality pattern.


When someone they had access control tries to slip or expose them to the public, they either handle them with brute force or harsh words to abuse them. Children who experience domestic violence are often found to be having parents diagnosed with a narcissistic personality disorder.




Hoovering back is the ultimate technique used by a narcissist to repeat the abusive cycle again. The hoovering tactic includes love bombing, fake promises, apologizing, stalking, and sending others (flying monkeys) to convince you. They use these ways to hold you back in the relationship even after abusing you.

Convincing for hoovering


The love bombing is like “I love you so much, please come back to me”.


Fake promises from narcissists are like “I promise you that I will change”.


Apologizing from the narcissist is more like gaslighting by not owning the mistake actually and saying “I’m sorry that I made you feel that way, I did not intend to do that”.


Stalking is the method to make the victim know that the narcissist misses them.


Flying monkeys are the ones who have a mutual friendship between the narcissists and the victim. The narcissist sends them to convince the victim to come back to them.

Have you ever experienced narcissistic abuse or currently experiencing one? Are you struggling to vent about that to anyone? Remember that venting to somebody who listens to you is the first step to healing. So, register here and vent to a listener who understands you. 



If you got exposed to a narcissist, they are more likely to follow these methods in the abusive narcissistic personality pattern to harm you. When you are experiencing their abusive behavior, it feels like being in a mirage where nothing goes as well as you wish. However, once you figure out the pattern and choose to wake up from the narcissistic spell, things will begin to change.


After that, even if you fear falling into a narcissistic relationship, luckily, you can always diagnose them easily. This is because almost all narcissists follow the same narcissistic personality pattern to torment others.



Q1. What is the origin of the term narcissist?

  1. In Roman mythology, a character named Narcissus got cursed to love his own reflection until death for harshly rejecting the love of Echo. The idea of having high self pride and rejection of others opted this name for people having such traits.

Q2. What does the dark triad personality mean?

  1. People with a personality who are intentionally bound to harm others pathologically are known to have a Dark Triad personality.

Q3. Can narcissists be cured?

  1. No, there is no FDA accredited medicine that is said to reverse narcissism in people. However, talk therapy methods with psychiatrists can be an effective way to reduce the narcissistic traits to harm others.

Q4. How do narcissists stay happy?

  1. Narcissists do not feel joyful, however, the researchers said that narcissists release happy hormones while having validation and respect from others. Narcissists also feel happy when they gain entitlement and control over people.

Q5. What are the abusive methods handled by narcissists?

  1. The abusive cycle from a narcissist comes along with
  • Devalue
  • Discard
  • Gaslight
  • Rage
  • Hoover

Q6. What are the three types of Dark triads?

  1. The three types of Dark triad include Narcissism, Machiavellianism, and Psychopathy.

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